Getting Home Schooled

By Scott Schimmel

In today’s education environment, there are more choices than ever before. There are private schools, charter schools, individualized and personalized 1-1 schools, there are online schools, hybrid charters, and, of course, home school. Home schooling students these days isn’t as unusual or rare as it was a generation ago. In fact, it’s become so normalized that kids don’t even pick on the home schooled kids anymore (at least rarely). According to the Department of Education, nearly 2 Million, or 1.77% of students K-12 are now homeschooled. 

But, if you think about it, everyone is home schooled. 

Home is where we learn about life and how to live it. It’s at home, in our primary relationships, where we learn what our story is, whether or not we’re to be people who take personal ownership of our problems, and it’s where we learn how to connect with people. The problem with most people and most homes, though, is that the environment isn’t setting us up to thrive into adulthood. 

As we work with hundreds of young people each year, we’re learning to spot the patterns inside of people’s homes that are at odds with making a great and easy transition into adulthood. We often see parents and primary caregivers hand down to students stories that aren’t helpful, or truthful. For instance, people clearly align themselves to labels they’ve been given in their family, whether spoken or not. Labels like, “I’m the dumb one.” Or, “I’m the one in my family who struggles socially and at school.” Those labels are stories that get deeply wired into people, and typically conflict with wellbeing for their entire lives. 

We can see the patterns of blame and lack of accountability in young people. When a family has a posture towards the world and life circumstance that sees the world as out to get them, the young person takes the same stance. We also see the patterns of dysfunctional relationships, whether relationships that are too close and enmeshed, or hostile and full of anger or shame. If we can’t learn how to have proper, loving relationships at home, we’re going to have a difficult go at it. 

We are all homeschooled. If you went to school to understand your family and how they shaped you, what would you discover about yourself?