Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fitting In

EDIT: see bottom of post.

We are very much looking forward to being weird homeschoolers who do not "socialize" our children. We are very much looking forward to having our children at home, sheltered from government intrusion and other people's "socialized" kids. Hahahaha!

How many pointless fads and trends did I put my parents' money through when I was out being "socialized" in public and private schools? Looking back, none of the dumb trends amongst the children had any long term benefits. Now, I know that kids, being kids, will want many of these things, but how many of them could've been completely bypassed if I hadn't been surrounded with other conformlings?

- In elementary school, I wanted to have cool shoes, because all the cool kids had cool shoes. Reebok pumps come to mind.

- About 3rd or 4th grade, it was no longer cool to have a hard plastic lunch box. The cool thing was the have one of those soft foam zippered lunch boxes, with ice pack inside. Admittedly, they probably do insulate better.
- Around that same time, I had to have a Body Glove shirt, because those were cool. I'm sure someone else has got to remember the Body Glove trend. In the picture below, I was wearing my one article of Body Glove clothing.

- This didn't cost any money, but wearing your backpack over only one shoulder was cool. By college, most people figured out that it makes loads more sense to actually use both straps.

Harmony's entries:
- I remember just HAVING to have a 'cool' TrapperKeeper in elementary school. It's what all the cool kids had!
- In high school, it was the 'thing' to bring your lunch in a brown paper bag. I remember my mom being very distressed about this: "But it's not reusable! If you just used your lunchbox, we wouldn't have to keep spending money on your lunchbag..."
- In middle school, I decided that to be cool I needed a cool backpack.
- And don't even get me started about the super-expensive back-to-school wardrobe that was a must every year. With $50 tennis shoes being essential.

It would've been so much less stressful for both of us if we hadn't had to feel like we had to fit in with the cool kids. I suppose our detractors might blame our own insecurity for feeling like we had to fit in, and that they, being headstrong and individualistic, didn't care about what others thought. Well that's okay. But for the rest of us then-fragile people, it would've been a load off our collective back. If only I could go back in time and convince myself that it really, really, really doesn't matter.

Of course homeschooling doesn't mean the end to all of children's problems. But from what I read, it is quite a way to avoid a lot of them.

EDIT: I will add that these fads were made even sillier for me because I did not play basketball (Reebok pumps), nor was I a surfer (Body Glove).

Anyone else have any fitting-in items to add?

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4 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Laura

    I mostly remember school clothes, including those canvas high-top basketball style shoes. Now I can't even remember what they were called!! Haha! They were 'so important' back then, too.

    We have so far had 8 years of experience in homeschooling our children. Actually, it's been 13 years since our oldest was born, but I mean 8 years since we purposed to homeschool our children and help them to become lifelong learners on their own.

    I am pleased to no end that when our older sons have money to spend, they have their own interests regarding what to buy or save for, rather than following some crowd.

    I remember now -- they were Converse shoes! I also recall the push when I was in high school for the 'rebels' to each be different from everybody. We were so busy ensuring we were not like anyone else, that we failed to see that we were all the same.

  • Birdie

    Judging by your fads, you must be about the same age as my (MUCH younger) little sister! ;) Count yourself lucky; the fads for my age group were dorkier!

    Eaglewood and I have been homeschooling our brood for more than ten years now. They have been some great years. It's wonderful seeing our eldest approach the finish line, too!

  • Alan

    Television is a big factor in this--both the shows and the commercials. Harmony will remember many conversations where we reminded them that the advertisers just want to separate her from her money-- trying to trick her into giving them her money. The "stuff" is never as cool as they make it look on TV.

  • Harmony

    "Harmony will remember many conversations where we reminded them that the advertisers just want to separate her from her money-- trying to trick her into giving them her money."

    Yes, I remember that very well. In college I took a course on drafting -- and for some reason, this included a small segment on advertising and how marketeers often make wildly inaccurate claims, how you can make statistics look like just about anything, and how easy it is to trick consumers. The whole time I was thinking "yep... all they want is to separate us from our money, just like Daddy said" -- too bad I didn't always take your advice when I was young and impressionable. ;)