Spoofs & Satire

Photograph by Martin Hogan

Home Schooled

Home-schooling gets a bad rap from advocates of traditional education. Our writer defends his parents’ choice to create a high school at home, including a prom.

It’s time to put your unfounded criticisms to rest, home-school critics. As a product of this system, all I can say is that I’m an extremely well adjusted, successful 38-year-old man who loves his mommy and daddy very much.

I’m not here to convert people. “To each his own,” my parents always say. They’re full of little pearls like that. A couple of others I remember are, “You’re not lonely, you’re just hungry,” and “Everyone outside these walls will eventually try to kill you.”

By educating me at home, my parents were able to give me individualized attention without the usual distractions that kids in regular school experience, like dating and friendship. Not to mention that traditional school can be dangerous. I’ve heard about kids catching the flu and chicken pox, even Judaism.

And how about those poor kids lugging all those heavy books to and from school every day? My books never went anywhere, just like me. I felt so bad when I’d see kids on my street giggling and chasing each other around with those awkward backpacks.

So I didn’t get to play team sports, I played plenty of other great games. Two classics that come to mind are run-to-get-the-mail and find-the-spatula. The last one was a zinger: My parents would hide that thing in some really crazy places where you would never expect a spatula to be.

At its core, homeshooling is about the powerful bond between parent and child. You wake up together, then you study together. You eat lunch together, then finish out the school day together, then do homework together and eat dinner together. And the weekends, well that’s your time to let loose and really just be together. Not as teacher and student but as parent and child. Sorry but bonds like that don’t form when you’re shipping your kid off to some building with other kids their age with similar interests.

My parents added a lot of extra touches to ensure my experience was authentic. For instance, did they have to throw me a home prom? Of course not. Did the three of us dance our faces off that night? We really did.

My parents added a lot of extra touches. Did they have to throw me a home prom? Of course not. Did the three of us dance our faces off that night? We really did.They also went to great lengths to expose me to different ethnic backgrounds and cultures—another hot issue for homeschool critics. Every so often my mom would pretend to be Canadian. She’d say things like, “I hope you’re studying for tomorrow’s test, eh?” Her voice echoing under the giant brim of her Mountie hat. So Canadian. They also once got me a piñata for my birthday, a bovine-shaped candy vessel, customary at the birthdays of Mexican people, which we are not. It was gutsy and it was festive and I applaud them for that. So please, take your cultural-perspective arguments elsewhere.

If you’re like most skeptics, I bet you’re wondering how I did on my SATs. Well, I nailed them. Not to toot my own horn, but I did well enough to get into some top-notch universities. And I would have gone to one of them if I didn’t take my parents up on their generous offer to home-college me.

Those were four of the wildest years of my life, and most valuable too. I learned so much during that time—like Russian literature and the surprising whereabouts of two bicentennial quarters buried under the cushions of our living room couch. I found them my junior year but God knows how long they were there.

I guess that’s what college is about after all—discovery. You think I would have found even one bicentennial quarter in some coed dorm somewhere? Fat chance.

Colin Nissan is a freelance advertising copywriter living in Brooklyn. When he isn’t writing commercials, he’s doing voice-over work and contributing to sites like McSweeney’s and the Huffington Post. His first book, Don’t Be That Guy, was published in April. His work can be seen at colinnissan.com. More by Colin Nissan