Below is an unedited version of my first draft of an article I am writing. I hope it is enjoyable!

It was a beautiful evening in Rome, just warm enough to sit outside without being chilled.  The sky was clear allowing a few brave stars to combat the brilliant lights of the city.  From my table under the canopy I could hear laughter and shoes tripping over the cobblestones, and somewhere, a few streets down perhaps, an accordion.  This was the life!  Eating dinner outdoors at a cozy Italian restaurant with a bevy of friends and acquaintances.  I was living the life that every American girl dreams about, the adventurous life abroad in Europe! 

Then three words brought me crashing back into reality: “You were homeschooled?” Said someone from down the table in a tone of utter disbelief, just as the antipasti was just being served.  There was nowhere to run as I was sandwiched in the middle of the long table, and crawling under it was definitely out of the question.  “Yes, I was.” I replied with a little bit of haughtiness in my voice, but at the same time thinking maybe crawling under the table would not be such a bad idea.  Now the questions would begin and everyone will drill the homeschooler on the various difficulties, oddities, and habits of my elementary education.  What on earth is the point of graduating from college if people will continue to ask you about your highschool education, I thought that became null and void the moment you held that bachelors degree in your hand.

“But you don’t look like you were homeschooled!” Returned the girl.  I looked down at what I was wearing: a beige colored wraparound dress, gold shoes, my hair down and gently pulled back, a cute purse perched on my lap, fun yellow earrings, all the normal trappings of a young woman.  To this day I am not sure what that comment is supposed to mean.  I cannot tell you how many time people have commented that I don’t “look” like a homeschooler, but you can be sure that its been quite a few.  All the other homeschoolers I know don’t look like anything or anyone particular, we look like normal people, living lives in a normal world. 

What on earth does looking like a homeschooler have to do with anything?  Its not like we grow a third eye in the middle of our foreheads.  We don’t have a special “homeschooler pins” that we wear after we graduate.  I mean really, most people don’t wear their highschool letter jackets in college, what makes you think I am any different. What do people expect us to look like? Aliens? In fact, I’ve had friends be offended and miffed that they were considered “homeschooler-ish.” Which I guess means that they don’t have any sense of style and look bookish. But that isn’t homeschoolerish, that is unstylish, lots of people look like that, go to any grocery store in America and I am sure you will find tons of unstylish people that weren’t homschooled. 

For the most part homeschoolers and their families are very normal people.  And like most normal people, we have our own quirks and idiosyncrasies that make us unique individually.  But I am always amazed at most people’s stubbornness to admit that homeschooling is just as good a form of schooling as any other.  And I am also amazed at other people’s shock that I am not a blathering idiot without any social graces and do actually know that a man named Millard Fillmore a president of the United States of America.  And for that matter, do they know that both Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were homeschooled? 

What exactly am I trying to do here in this book?  It is my goal to explain homeschooling from the homeschoolee’s point of view.  It has already been hashed over multiple times by mothers, physiatrists, and various other people, but never by the child. And since homeschooling is a very recent reoccurrence in our nation, I am one of the last of the forrunning children in the homeschool movement.  By the time I graduated highschool homeschooling was becoming well known, but I assure you while I was a child I had a really hard time explaining to grown ups what my mother was doing.  They just wouldn’t or couldn’t get the fact that I was learning how to read, write and do arithmetic at home. I hope to answer the questions that a lot of people have about homeschooling and to repair our rather damaged appearance.  An appearance that has been damaged not by our brilliance, but by the stereotype with which we have been labeled.

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