Nice Unicorn

Growing up homeschooled is a little like growing up with a unicorn that only you can see. You spend all day, every day, pretending that it doesn’t exist so that people don’t think you’re weird, and then one day you meet someone who says “nice unicorn. What’s his name?” And it’s just such a relief to know that a)you’re not crazy and b)you’re not alone.

It’s also a very difficult thing to try to explain, which is why I was so floored to read this post called “Of Homeschooling and the Cohort Effect” at Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings.

Those of us who were part of the pioneer Christian homeschooling movement, no matter how extreme or not, no matter where on the spectrum of conservative to liberal we were, we relate to each other in ways we cannot relate to the rest of our age cohort. In reality, we experienced history differently. We had our own culture and our own leaders and our own historical events that the rest of America knew nothing about, but that were very important to us. They defined us and we were proud of that. It’s not the fact that we were all home educated that creates this dynamic. It’s the fact that we were all part of a home education movement that was not just counter-cultural, but *anti* cultural.

Libby Anne compares it to being from a foreign country, which I think is also pretty accurate. We speak the same language as the people around us, we have the same government and the same flag, but make no mistake, we are not like them. We are fundamentally different, because we were raised in a world that was fundamentally different by design.

But the amazing thing about the internet is that we’re finding each other. We’re comparing notes, we’re laughing at the long denim skirts we wore and the how we got “prayed for” by our more conservative friends for listening to dc Talk.

And it’s wonderful. It feels amazing. This is the cohort effect at work, the ability to connect with others who share our experiences. We might feel like we have to defend our upbringing to outsiders, but together we can pick it apart. We can talk about the bad as well as the good. This dialogue is needed, and more than anything else it makes me feel hopeful for the future of homeschooling.

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