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To many modern children and teenagers, the homeschooled kid is something of an enigma. Do they ever leave their house? Is there something wrong with them? How do they make friends if they can't go to school?

Truth be told, the majority of homeschooled children are no different from those who attend public and private schools. And while some are pulled from other schools due to learning disabilities, a good number of their parents simply think their educational needs will be better met at home. Homeschooling can come in many forms, from literally being taught by a parent to a co-op that hires teachers for their kids.

Homeschooled kids do not show up in media very often, but when they do, they are usually shown as either socially inept nerds or religious fundamentalists who have been sheltered by their paranoid parents. While some homeschooled kids fit these stereotypes (the term 'homeschoolers' in some parts of the homeschooled community refer solely to children fitting this stereotype; in other parts of the homeschooled community 'homeschooler' is a self-identity for anyone homeschooled), not all do. In Real Life, there actually are homeschooling-parent-led networks of homeschooled kids who get together with other homeschooled kids for events just to offset this sort of social issue, though each homeschooling family's involvement in that sort of thing varies.

Usually when homeschooling does come up, it is either by having a stereotypical homeschooling character introduced or by having the main characters attempt homeschooling themselves. Usually, neither turns out well. Occasionally the Moral Guardians will be pro-homeschooling.

Examples of homeschooling characters:


Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • In Kick-Ass (both the comic and the movie), Mindy AKA Hit-Girl didn't go to school and was raised as a Tyke Bomb by her dad. She does join a school at the end of the film, after her father bites the dust and her nemesis is defeated.
  • James-Michael in Omega the Unknown is raised in the mountains by his parents, who are secretly robots, and we are then treated to his experiences moving to NYC's Hell's Kitchen where he attends a rather terrifying Inner-City School.

Fanfiction

Film

  • In RV, The kids of the other family that Robin Williams' family keeps running into are homeschooled, heading for university within the foreseeable future.
  • At the beginning of Mean Girls, Cady has a voiceover talking about how she knows people think all homeschooled kids are nerds (illustrated by a girl with mega-braces at a spelling bee spelling "xylocarp") or religious nuts (a family of redneck boys, one of whom explains how God created guns "so that man could fight the dinosaurs, and the homosexuals"), but she is neither of these things.
  • Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer.

Literature

  • In Harry Potter, Word of God says that many Wizard families homeschool their children before they can attend Hogwarts, including the Weasleys. Most of the usual factors of this trope are averted, however.
    • In Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, it was stated all Wizard families were allowed to keep homeschooling their children instead of sending them to Hogwarts, albeit few, if any, did so. It became forbidden when a Voldemort-controlled Ministry declared Hogwarts attendance mandatory. It's never been stated if the law was changed again after Voldemort's downfall.

Live-Action TV

  • Saturday Night Live: The TV show "Quiz Bowl" pitted a group of public school kids against some homeschoolers. [1] [2]
  • Very extreme example in Law & Order SVU, where the kid ends up killing his own brother.
    • There were a couple of more realistic home schooled kids (indeed one of the antagonists of the episode was a lawyer who automatically decided that the villain was being persecuted because of this trope).
  • Cougar Town featured a trio of homeschooled kids who have a creepy, Children of the Corn vibe to them. They make chalk drawings on other people's driveways, and woe to those who dare hose the drawings off.
  • When Bill turned Jessica into a vampire on True Blood, one of her first reactions was: "No more homeschool?" When assured that this was the case, vampirism didn't seem like such a bad thing to her.

Tabletop Games

  • In Transhuman Space, homeschooling (by means of an AI tutor) is the norm. It's mentioned that (most) parents are aware of the importance of socialisation, and there are various places and events for kids to do so. The supplement Personnel Files: School Days 2100 is set in a "normal" (by 20th century standards) school, and specifically notes that this is an unusual situation.

Web Comics

  • In the Web Comic Li'l Mell, a kid called Homeschool Joe appears in two storylines: "The Horror of Rukavina Caverns" and "Homeschool Joe Goes to School" (in which Mell brings him to school as a Show and Tell exhibit). He's depicted as a bright but nerdy kid who speaks mostly in factoids about his current field of study: bats in the first storyline, George Washington in the second. The same character, much older, appears in college in Smithson, another comic by the same writer.
  • The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon begin with the titular hero's first day of public school after having been home schooled his whole life.
  • Dumbing of Age, the latest addition to the Walkyverse, has Joyce, who describes herself as the most-socialized member of her homeschool group. She very much fits the 'fundamentalist' stereotype, though she's also a protagonist and treated sympathetically.

Western Animation



Examples of attempts at homeschooling:

Live-Action TV

  • An episode of My Parents Are Aliens had Brian try to do this with Josh after falling foul with his teacher. It didn't last very long as Josh found Brian's Biology lesson stupid.
  • Buffy suggests homeschooling as an option when she's expelled from Sunnydale High ("It's not just for scary religious people anymore!"), but the idea is never pursued.
  • Angie tries to do this with Carmen in The George Lopez Show after she leaves her public school and dosen't succeed very well.
  • In Desperate Housewives, Gabrielle temporarily has to deal with homeschooling her daughter. Though she is completely inept at it and ends up letting her cleaning lady teach instead.
  • Owen Cronsky in Less Than Perfect was homeschooled by his parents, and there were a few jokes made about it(like Claude and Ramona being surprised that he had an actual graduation ceremony), but it's still one of the more positive examples of this trope, as Owen turned out fairly succesful from the experience.


Newspaper Comics

  • A recent story arc in Baby Blues had the kids requesting to be homeschooled.
  • Curtis was homeschooled for a short period of time during a suspension from school.

Western Animation

  • Marge tried this in The Simpsons when Bart gets expelled (ironically for something he didn't do). She even converted the garage into a classroom (which resulted in Homer almost running over Bart twice). Actually sort of a strange example: Bart started doing much better academically, but a Reset Button Ending allows him to go back to school, and for some reason Marge decides to send him back instead of continuing to teach him.
    • In another episode, Bart tricked the teachers into declaring a strike. Milhouse's parents hired a tutor to educate him.
  • After the Channel Hop to ABC Saturday Mornings, Doug had Patti Mayonaise being homeschooled by her Dad for half of the day. Unlike most examples this was actually portrayed as successful.
  • In the Family Guy episode "E. Peterbus Unum", Lois tried to teach Meg and Chris after the U.S. army blockaded "Petoria." Chris got sent to his room for passing a note saying that Ms. Griffin was hot.
    • In "Foreign Affairs" Peter tries to homeschool them again, but sends them back when it turns out that Chris had learned nothing from the experience. Of course, this isn't so much because of homeschooling per se as the fact that it's one ditz trying to teach another.
  • In an episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot, Wakeman tries to homeschool Jenny. Jenny goes with it, thinking she won't have to do any work, but it turns out that Wakeman has a classroom set up for her and she has even more work to do as usual. She ends up missing her friends and goes back to Tremorton High.
  • Angela Anaconda once claimed to have caught agoraphobia so she'd never have to go to school ever again. Being homeschooled and having less time with her friends made her confess and accept punishment for having lied.
  • South Park: Eric Cartman once tried to enjoy the perks of homeschooling (namely not having to go to school).
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