The Case For Homeschooling: Childhood Bullying

Caffeinated Thoughts
8 min readJul 18, 2023

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School was a terrifying experience for some of us. Just in case you didn’t know.

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

I recently came across a comment on a Facebook post which very openly criticized and ridiculed homeschooling. It was put across quite sardonically, referring to how a homeschooled child would refer to a glass of water that was half full. Some of you might have come across that popular meme online about a half-filled glass of water and how an optimist, pessimist, and realist would refer to it. That was the meme this person commented on.

I noticed a lot of other similar comments online explaining how homeschooling would lead to dumber kids and how it would prevent them from gaining people skills in life. A lot of people don’t seem to understand why someone would choose to be homeschooled instead of going to public school. Childhood bullying happens to be one of the reasons why.

When someone is forced to go to an institution they don’t like or be around a group of people they hate, a lot of unintended things start happening. They might completely lose interest in what’s being taught at the institution and develop unhealthy coping mechanisms for much of the psychological abuse they face there.

BethPavlik from ‘Teach From Home’ perfectly puts my point into perspective in this Youtube short on homeschooling:

We must have the choice of whom we choose to socialize with regardless of age, the institution we’re at, or the stage of life we’re in.

It shouldn’t be all or nothing. I’m not categorically saying that everyone should homeschool 100% of the time. I’m saying that a student’s reality shouldn’t be black and white. A student shouldn’t have to choose between paying attention in class and getting good grades or being beaten to a pulp by his/her classmates. They must have the option to be homeschooled if necessary due to whatever reason they feel is valid and justifiable. Take my case for example. If I had the option to drop out of public school and be homeschooled, I would have taken it in less than a heartbeat. The lack of rigidity and structure would a million times pale in comparison to the torture, mistreatment, and psychological abuse I’d endure had I been forced to attend school every single day.

I am well aware that parents have to be qualified to homeschool and make it their job. Not everyone can leave their jobs to homeschool their kids. But neither is each and every kid at school bullied as well. For the handful of us who are more susceptible to bullying because of our looks, our ethnicity, our mannerisms, our sexual orientation, or whatever else is deemed offensive to bullies these days, homeschooling can definitely be the go-to option for education, either partially or fully. It doesn’t have to be black and white. Really!

I would have picked homeschooling a million times over being constantly bullied and harassed at school which forced me to give up studying altogether. My grades suffered. I had to face my bullies in school each and every single day. I had no choice. More than that, no one ever believed me. Teachers brushed off my complaints against the bullies as me being too hyperactive and instigating them to attack me. My parents always believed I was lying. When a close “friend” of mine picked up a big fight with me inside our housing colony, my dad intervened only to break up the fight and not to take my side.

Every single day I would be faced with existential dilemma first thing in the morning. Do I go to school and face my bullies, or stay at home and face the wrath of my parents?

When a “friend” lied about me starting a fight with him (and when I retaliated and hurt him grieviously), he got his parents to accompany him to my house and complain to my parents about me with my parents again believing only their version of the story thoroughly berating me in front of them and even after they went home. The repeated complaints from other kids’ parents further reinforced their belief that I was the problem child in every situation and that none of them could be lying. My “friends” realized this early on and took full advantage of it. Once, they all ganged up to go and complain to my dad that I had smoked a cigarette, when I had only picked it off the ground out of curiosity. We were all adolescent and it was something new.

Needless to say, my dad believed them and grounded me for the day.

Relief from these situations came in various shapes and forms but the comfort and consolation from them, if any, was only fleeting. There’s not much relief one can gain from a situation when, deep down there, you know for a fact that things are going to go back to square one once the source of comfort no longer exists.

Occasionally some kid would come along to take my side and defend me from the bullies, but the relief would only be temporary before they themselves switched factions or eventually moved to another school or another section. On another occasion when I was in a grade closer to high school, a bus mate of mine forced me to train with him in mixed martial art every day as he couldn’t stand seeing me being punched and kicked around by the bullies all the time. And lastly, a teacher who actually believe me would come along and act as my guardian angel and would punish the perpetrators.

But what kind of consolation is it when bullies get away with a couple of slaps on the palm with a ruler when they kicked, punched, and instigated fear in their victims every single day for years together? What a pathetic joke! I’m not condoning violence or providing justification for anything, but I kind of understand why American school shootings are such a thing. After all, school bullying is a hundred times worse there!

If I got lucky, my bullies would transfer out or get moved to another section the next year. But it was mostly the same kids year after year. If I was that kid today, I’d give a million bucks to get pulled out of school and be homeschooled. No one should ever have to go through what I’ve been through. It would be lonely and isolating, but at least I wouldn’t be stabbed with pens or have my balls grabbed at a dozen times a day. I wouldn’t be kicked around like a football or punched around like a boxing bag in the intervening moments between periods when there was no teacher in the class.

There were many years in between where I wasn’t bullied at all. Thats how I even survived. It’s also why I don’t remember childhood solely as a traumatizing experience. I remember it somewhat as a mixed bag. Unsurprisingly, the years I wasn’t bullied were also the ones where my grades were the best. So at least there was peace at home. When it was bad, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. But when it was good, it was heaven on earth. I learnt how vicious these cycles were in their ability to put me into a heaven or hell mindset. All my years of childhood and schooling were of me constantly oscillating between this metaphorical-but-very-real heaven and hell.

My grades see-sawed as per the goings on at school. When I was bullied, my grades suffered, and so I would constantly get berated at home as well. When I wasn’t bullied, my concentration in class would dramatically improve along with my grades, and so would the ambience at home. In the time it lasted, it really felt like heaven on earth, as there was peace all round at every front.

I was either in the worst recesses of hell or on cloud 9. There really was no in between.

Daily outdoor play under the scorching middle-eastern sun was the only reprieve during the ‘bad’ years. It was the only outlet I had. I played football and cricket with other kids in the colony every single day. Even when no one came out to play, I used to cycle around the colony all by myself for hours together. It was the only time I could be myself without opening up myself to bullying or harassment by anyone else. On one occassion I cycled for 4 hours straight (in the middle-eastern summer) even though my parents had gone out and had asked me to take refuge at a family friends’ after it got dark. When they got back home from shopping at 9 in the night, I was still pedalling around the colony.

When we all finally moved into high school, which is the 11th and 12th standard in the Indian education system, that’s when it finally stopped. It didn’t just stop. I also got into a gang, like how it usually happens at that age (does it for everyone though?). That stopped most classmates from bullying me as the provocation would usually be perceived to be a gang challenge than a personal threat. In a surprise twist of events, I used my connections to threaten one of my erstwhile bullies which prevented him from attending school altogether for a couple of days. It was sweet revenge while it lasted.

But it was nothing compared to years of being chased down the wide empty hallways and corridors of school from a sharp pen about to stab my back, or a pair of legs ready to kick my butt and knock me to the ground. I know American kids have it a hundred times worse. I’ve seen it all in the movies. Am I supposed to feel good that I never had my nose broken or kicked so hard in the stomach that I coughed up blood? Or that I was never locked inside a bathroom stall and beaten senseless? Or that I never broke any bones? I don’t know. It’s all subjective. Some kids in India have even committed suicide or have lifelong mental illnesses for much less.

So who’s to say I’ve suffered more or you have?

In the end, many of us were bullied all through our lives at school. And that’s the point some of you need to understand before making vague assumptions about why some children would prefer to be homeschooled.

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Caffeinated Thoughts

No niche in particular. I am a keen observer of society and gain my inspiration for new articles from observation.