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Kathy Ceceri

Homeschoolers in Popular Culture

By October 1, 2013

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TV BoyI once read what was meant to be a funny blog post about homeschooling written by a young public school teacher. One of the items on his list of why you should not homeschool your children was that they would feel marginalized when they got to college and discovered the phrase "That's so homeschool" is slang for "socially awkward."

As you can imagine, homeschooling parents by the thousands wrote in to try to set the record straight. There was backpedaling and apologies and qualifications, although it took a couple of years for the writer to understand how really offensive his words were. (He has recently removed the post, although you can read the original here.)

Here's the thing: The homeschoolers I know are, for the most part, regular people. They work and try to create a comfortable home for their families and spend a lot of time and energy making sure their kids get a good education and are able to pursue their own goals.While their methods may be somewhat outside the mainstream, their values are much the same.

But popular culture hasn't caught up to reality. When you see homeschooling characters on TV or in the movies, they are either comic relief or scary outsiders. And as I wrote last week, homeschooling in novels is used as a symbolic way to show a character wants to withdraw from society.

Where are the normal, everyday homeschoolers in pop culture? If you spot any, let me know!

Image: Ableimages/Getty Images


October 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm
(1) Katie says:

Your last post on homeschoolers in books has gotten me thinking of plots for books that feature homeschooled kids who are just…kids. Nothing weird, nothing stereotyped. It’s obvious there’s a vacuum in the market that needs to be filled. Sounds like a challenge.

As for normal homeschoolers in pop culture, I haven’t seen any. We’ll get there eventually, it takes forever for anything non-mainstream to filter through. Pop culture has a ridiculously small-town view of “new” ideas, when you get down to it, even when those ideas aren’t so new.

October 3, 2013 at 4:29 am
(2) Leah says:

Ever hear of the cartoon Doug? There was a kid who was homeschooled part time and was portrayed as very normal.

October 3, 2013 at 10:42 am
(3) Kathy Ceceri, About.com Homeschooling Guide says:

Katie, definitely a challenge! Something I’d like to tackle one day too.

Leah, I remember the show Doug, but not that character. I’ll have to check it out!

October 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm
(4) Julia says:

Doug’s creator, Jimmy Jinkins, is a Christian. I grew up with him, and he’s a great guy. I think I remember Patty Mayonaise was home-schooled, at least partially.

October 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm
(5) M. Borrego says:

I think there was a series of books for kids, Monster of the Month Club, that had a homeschooled protagonist. Would have to check to see whether she was fairly portrayed, though.

October 15, 2013 at 10:55 am
(6) Joy says:

There is a website that has an extensive list of books featuring homeschool characters plus reviews. Some of the books also have educationa activities to go along with them! Homeschoolliterature.com

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