Homeschooled Redditors Share Their ‘Cultural Shock’ Moment

By Sana Ahmad - December 19, 2019

School days are probably the most carefree days of everyone’s life, aren’t they? You not only get to learn new things on a regular basis but also get to make friends and have your share of fun with them. You learn to socialize, you grow as a person; in other words, basically, get out of the cocooned or sheltered life your parents provided for you up until now!! Every once in awhile, we get hurt in the process but that doesn’t stop us from boycotting school altogether, because come on, school is fun! Well, maybe not on the days when you forgot to do your homework or simply did not come prepared for the internals or when your best friend called in sick or your favorite teacher was substituted by a rather grumpy one. Honestly, guys, we can’t think of more reasons to hate school right now! But can you blame us?

But, but, but… in your entire life, have you ever given the concept of ‘Homeschooling’ a thought? Sounds a little distant for some reason, right? Like limited interaction with the world for a whole lot of time… No, thank you!! Anyways, we are not saying the practice itself should be done away with. It is just something that we did not want for ourselves. You may have a different viewpoint on this and that is totally okay too!!

One thing about homeschooling all of us would agree on is that those homeschooled more often than not have their initial cultural shock moments when they become a part of the normal schooling system. Read to find out what these homeschooled Redditors have to say about the same…


First Fire Drill Ever

Credits: Memecreator

“I was home schooled for a few years and never even heard of a Fire Drill before.
Then I went to public school and had a Fire Drill with no prior warning.

Literally thinking in my little school kid head, taking in all this new social stimuli and freaking out that there’s gonna be a giant drill made of fire that will come boring down at any moment…

I don’t think it’s exactly ‘culture shock’ but thought it was worth sharing.” (robhan)

Color Combination Gone Wrong

Credits: Imgflip

“The day I wore a pink cheetah-print sweat suit, all-white sneakers, and a High School Musical T-shirt to school, and didn’t understand why people were laughing. I had no concept of “cool clothes,” or even “socially acceptable clothes.” I was homeschooled from 3rd through 6th grade, and had just moved cross-country from a very small town (I was 13 when this happened). I also didn’t know how to open a locker. I’m still a bit odd, but a lot better adjusted.

EDIT: It was hard to tell back then, but I’m a girl. I wore a lot of pink to make myself seem more feminine. I don’t have any pictures from the day I wore this outfit, but most of the pieces were given to my sister, so I’ll see if I can find it.” (Iamnotapyro)

Never Hit On Before

Credits: Makeameme

“I grew up in an extreme religious-conservative school, home schooled for a year, and then jumped into public high school in tenth grade. I was also a couple of years ahead, so I was only 13 at the time. Third day of school, the guy sitting across from me in Biology says, “I been with one hundred chicks, and baby you gon’ be number one hundred and one.”

Edit: For all the questions– no, I did not become #101. And since that was the first guy to ever hit on me, I spent the next several years unable to recognize the social cues that meant someone was interested in me.” (daintyknave)

Not A Stud Anymore

Credits: Memeshappen

“I was homeschooled all the way until sophomore year of high school. That year was fraught with culture shocks, but one stands out in my mind:

P.E. was my favorite class. I had always been competitive, and my years doing sports practically full-time as a homeschooler prepared me well and I quickly rose to the top of the class. I excelled at all things, understanding the ins-and-outs of all the various sports we played, gradually saving precious seconds off my mile times and whatnot. I was an unstoppable god…until the swim unit. Don’t get me wrong, swim went well too, but afterwards, we were all told to hit the showers. I got out the pool, pleased with myself for the longest time spent treading water and the fastest laps. I pride fully swaggered off to the boys locker room, stripped off my suit, hung it in the locker, grabbed my toiletries, and confidently strode towards the showers only to find that I was the only one naked. It was like something out of a nightmare.

Edit: I remembered another! Up until High School, I thought all drug users were hardened criminals who were always on the lam and that drugs were very difficult to procure. My naivety did not last long.” (Synesthesiologist)

Parents To Blame

Credits: Makeameme

“I was surprised by the fact that guys and girls talked to each other a lot just as friends. My parents were (and still are) the type of people who believed that all guys want is to sleep with you and all girls want is protection, so I was always nervous around guys in general before realizing that it was crap, and that I wasn’t a freak for wanting to sleep with somebody. I still get anxious when talking about crushes because it was never something I did as a younger kid. Also dances are confusing as hell.

Edit: Yes, I get it guys want sex. But so do girls, and I was taught to feign disinterest no matter what because it is evil and for satanists/devil worshippers/insertbadthinghere. Also, I forgot to mention that before I started school (in fifth grade), I wore only solid colored velour track suits.” (yomommawashere)

You Don’t Write Everything Down

Credits: Knowyourmeme

“I went to public school for kindergarten and 9-12th grade, besides that I was heavily isolated by stupid parents, not even allowed to go outside to the fenced yard. Yep, Internet and TV were my teachers, I actually liked learning because I had no pressure to do so—

Until high school.

I was plunged into public school because my father was sure that I needed to graduate from a HS instead of homeschool. MANY things shocked me, not just about school, but about people in general, as I had been practically under house arrest for so long.

I had no idea you couldn’t copy and paste from multiple sources and put it together in an essay. Big fat embarrassing F on that one, in front of the class.

Biggest failure due to homeschool was that I thought I had to write down literally EVERY WORD the teacher said during a lecture. So I completely stressed myself out trying to write insanely fast and get everything down in my notes. I did horribly in my classes until I learned from others how to take notes, because during the whole class period I was just busily writing down everything, not learning the material.

EDIT: Wow, thanks guys, I didn’t know note-taking like a maniac was a problem for others, too! Great tips!” (HeelsDownEyesUp)

No Concept Of Dissent

Credits: Memeshappen

“For me it was dissent. Just the concept that you were allowed to disagree with something. For me everything was presented in a black and white, a good or evil, when I got to college everything was a sea of gray. Edit: I get it, there are 50 shades of gray. You aren’t being original. stahp.” (PhantomTireBuyer)

Super Spoiled Kid Joined School

Credits: Imgflip

“A girl who was recovering from cancer joined my highschool class in 11th grade. She had never been to a real school before as she had been hospitalized from a very young age (6 or 8?). We really felt bad for her and took her in as best we could as we were a small class full of very nice people. Within the first day at our school it was apparent she had the social maturity of an 8 year old. She wasn’t mentally handicapped, she had just never interacted with people before other than her parents.

Now the culture shock part. She was super spoiled by her parents so when she came to school she treated us like she treated her parents. At lunch if she saw something she liked that someone had packed in their lunch, she simply demanded it. Out of fear or pity, most kids just gave it to her. We talked among ourselves and decided that we needed to just say no as it was just making the situation worse by spoiling her more. So at lunch we started saying “No, you cannot have my food. I brought this, and if I give it to you I will not have anything to eat.”

The first time someone said this, she just stood there in shock. She looked like it was the first time someone ever told her no. She instantly freaked out and started screaming and crying. She had to be picked up by her parents.

This wasn’t the only incident, just the most memorable.

This was MANY years ago, but last I heard she was going to do some social skills rehabilitation or something to get her ready to be around other people her age before going back to a school. Her parents agreed with us that it wasn’t our job as classmates to try to correct her behavior.

EDIT: A lot of people have commented on how well we handled the situation. I suppose it is relevant that I went to a very small (non-religious) private school. We were a friendly but tight-knit group (36 in my graduating class). I don’t think this would have happened in a big school. She would have probably just been bullied and ignored. More about my school.” ([deleted])

One Who Had Fundamentalist Parents

Credits: Imgflip

“A friend of my sister’s is an unbelievably sheltered, very very homeschooled, extremely Fundamentalist Christian in Sydney. One day, my sister and her friends were making jokes and talking, and one said “you’re so dirty etc, I bet you shower naked” to my sister. She laughed and they all started making the same joke to each other. Eventually, this poor sheltered lass had to put her hand up and say “why is this funny?”

She showered in a swimming costume, as did her whole family, because nakedness is immoral. They asked how she cleaned herself, she got EXTREMELY embarrassed and refused to explain further because that would require talking about bare skin.

This poor little dear, I want to hug the crap out of her. She’s also never read and fantasy novels, because they imply that magic isn’t a tool of the Devil.

She also has no idea what her vag**a is for. She’s 16. As in, she literally doesn’t understand how reproduction or periods work, because whenever she tries to ask her parents tell her off for “immorality”. I’m going to have to give that girl a “where do babies come from” book soon. My sister was the one who explained why girls need pads, and why her panties were always ruined at the end of the month.” (TranshumansFTW)

Cross-dressing Comes As A Shock

Credits: Memegenerator

“Okay great I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. So I was homeschooled all the way through middle school and my mother was a super fundamentalist Christian conservative crazy person and told me my entire life about the liberal gay agenda trying to destroy god’s word, the church, and turn me gay. Then I started going to high school halfway through freshman year. I was so worried about all of the godless and worldly kids that were going to try and turn me away from my good Christian upbringing, but I bravely gathered my stuff and went to my first day of public school. Unbeknownst to me it was spirit week! And not only spirit week, but Sadie Hawkins day! In our school this was a day where all of the students were allowed to dress up in costumes of the opposite genders essentially cross-dressing. So here I am a little scared homeschooled Christian spelling bee champion walking around in this scary Alabama high school full of gender benders, cross-dressers, transsexuals, and homosexuals trying to indoctrinate me! All the girls were in baggy jeans and shades or top hats and fake mustaches, while the boys were all dressed as ballerinas or certain pop stars with wigs and tp b**bs. And of course they were all messing with me. It was terrifying. Then I got back up the next day and stalwartly put on my armor of Christ (sword of truth, shield of righteousness, helmet of salvation…etc lol) and found the strength to prepare myself for this worldly assault on my principals. Then I got there and everyone was dressed like a celebrity and someone had the decency to tell me what spirit week was. Hilarious looking back on it but I did have a rattling culture shock.” (euphem1sm)

Cult Of Some Kind

Credits: Cheezburger

“One of my best friends always tells me that the first day he went to school everyone stood up and sang the national anthem. He proceeded to move his lips and think to himself, “Are we in a cult or something?” (HippyFlippie)

Not A Criminal Thing To Do


“So many people smoke weed! Before I got my first job I always assumed it was just something big criminals did. That’s just how it seemed. Since then, three years ago now, I’ve realized everyone I work with does, and that’s ok.” (bobthekiller29)

Love For San Francisco

Credits: Makeameme

“I wasn’t home-schooled, but I was born in a small town and went to a private, very religious school for ten years. Then I took a trip to San Francisco that fell on the weekend of the LGBT pride fest, and the first shop I set foot in sold vibrators exclusively.

Needless to say I live in San Francisco now.” (Hafell)

Awkward Side Of Home Schooling

Credits: Reddit

“It wasn’t one thing. It was a many year long process of discovering that I was carbon copy of my parent’s opinions/world views. 12 grades of homeschooling made me a conservative, Christian, socially awkward person with exactly zero experiences that I could use to relate to people my own age. But hell, I could sure spout some close minded crap…

First I learned that my “biology” class had been made up of actual lies to support their religious agenda. That sent me on a knowledge binge that ended in my concluding that there is no credible evidence of any higher power. And I can’t even fully enjoy that life choice because everyone assumes it is just rebellion. And from there it just cascaded. I had to rewrite all my opinions. Some stayed, but most changed to varying degrees. Thankfully my parents have accepted it which was surprising to me.

I had to overcome social anxiety that homeschooling reinforced. It took 6 years of studying people and forcing myself to mimic them before I finally felt “normal”. Even now I’ve accept that I’ll never 100% be able to relate to people my age, although it gets easier as I get farther away from my childhood.” (Bosticles)

Pros Of Homeschooling

Credits: Quickmeme

“My ex was home schooled up until high school. She said the biggest difference was the rigidness of the structure. When she was home schooled, if they came up on an interesting tangent they’d pause the class and explore it. For example, between the end of the American Revolution in 1783 and the beginning of George Washington’s presidency in 1789, who governed America? What exactly was happening inside the chrysalis while the caterpillar is changing into a butterfly? If there’s a quadratic formula, is there a cubic formula? A quadratic formula? A quintic formula? Also, when they got bored or tired and wanted a change of pace, they could switch to another subject. Can’t do that in regular school.” (MushroomMountain123)

From A Bonafide Homeschooler’s Diary

Credits: Makeameme

“Homeschooled from kindergarten through 12th grade, so bona fide homeschooler here.

To be honest, the only thing that I was fairly behind in was in anything sexual or sexually related. Like, embarrassingly so…to the point where I asked my adult cousin if she gave birth through her belly button… when I was 14. Ouch. Fortunately, I eventually discovered Urban Dictionary, and my embarrassing questions ceased.

In my defense, it wasn’t entirely related to me being homeschooled, but more so to the fact that I was just an incredibly innocent individual, and when my friends would make a reference that went over my head, instead of helping me out a little, would simply smile and say, “You’re so innocent, you wouldn’t get it.” Thanks 🙁

That’s really it though. I had lots of friends and participated in sports and school events through the private school my homeschool group was a part of. To this day, when I mention that I was homeschooled, I get lots of shocked looks and exclamations of, “But you don’t act homeschooled!” Well, I have friends that are more innocent than me that went to public schools, so I think it is safe to say you really can’t judge a person based purely on how they were educated.” (kitkat1122)

Over Emphasis On Socializing

Credits: Memecreator

“How little actual learning mattered. I was home schooled almost my entire school career aside from kindergarten, 3rd grade and 4th grade but in highschool I took some electives at an actual campus. Literally no one gave a crap about their studies. I had always paid extremely close attention to what I was learning and figured that was sort of the point. I had no idea there was such a huge emphasis on socializing. I’d come to class and people would want to hang out. I was like, what the hell for? I’m not here for fun. I’m here to get this class over with. Now that I’m older I can kinda see how I missed out on some of the more fun school stuff. On the other hand I didn’t have to deal with idiots. So there’s that.” (Buffalady87)

Just A Normal Kid Here

Credits: Makeameme

“I was homeschooled my whole life. I literally have no idea what the inside of an elementary, middle or high school looks like. I’m 22 and in college now but I can’t really say there were any real culture shocks. I had normal friends because I was always in some kind of sport/club/activity with them as well as other homeschoolers. There is a lot of misconception and misinformation about homeschooled kids. People always assume I’m a religious, sheltered, socially awkward person because of it but I’m not. Just an average girl who started working a boring job at a movie theater when I was 17 like all the other kids. I may not have a ton of friends because of it, but I love the ones I do have and I think I’m better off because of it.

Edit: I forgot to add that my parents chose to homeschool my siblings and I because they aren’t fans of the American school system and didn’t want our education to rely on an underpaid and over stressed teacher. I learned a lot about myself in terms of what my passions and goals are and got an awesome jump start on them due the extra time I had in my day.

There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it.” (pwniess)

Confusion Over Steak Fries

Credits: Memegenerator

“This happened to one of my brother’s friends.

‘John’ was homeschooled until 9th or 10th grade. They went out to a sports bar or something to eat, everybody ordered dinner and ‘John’ ordered steak fries for dinner. My brother’s group of friends kept asking why he ordered steak fries for dinner. When the fries came, he immediately bit into one, got a confused look on his face, and broke another one in half. “B-but these are normal fries!” His friends started cracking up when they realized that he thought steak fries were fries filled with steak.” (quwertie)

Parents Did A Fine Job

Credits: Quickmeme

“I was home schooled with my brother from ~2nd grade until about high school (I began my freshman year as a 12 y/o) because we were gifted students in rural Virginia. (Both my parents did an amazing job providing my brother and I with a great education and now he and I are doing great socially and academically)

My parents kept me and my brother involved in sports and other clubs so there were no huge issues with same age social interaction.

Sarcasm – Did not understand it existed, did not know how to use it (I still have some problems expressing it in my vocal tone but I know it’s an issue so I try to avoid it unless I’m around friends who know)

Extremely gullible – I grew up around people I trusted (Family friends and adults with little animosity)

Neither my brother or I have much tolerance for people making extremely illogical and emotional decisions – both of our parents were and are very good at making sure to talk things out with us and explain why rules are rules and why we can/can’t do something…. this has unfortunately led to some issues where people apply labels such as “cold hearted” or “Vulcan.”

Fashion – I literally did not understand why people would wear uncomfortable clothing to impress others…… These days I have a good fashion sense, but darn all my fabrics are soft at least

I could go on, but really those were the big ones.” (homeschoolthrowaway3)

People With Authority Could Be Wrong Too

Credits: Imgflip

“Too late, this will be stay buried. [Edit: Thank you for reading down to this, I love you guys 😀 ] [Edit two: Wow I feel a lot less alien, knowing you guys also fight this instinct. I want to add that my ideas of authority figures really came a lot from books I read, I gorged on books. And Levar Burton and Mr Rogers. I thought they were the rule. >.<]

Still a shock that teacher or other authority figures could possibly not be right. So many times this has burned me.

I was barricaded from the world, so no television, no radio, not even allowed to play with neighborhood kids. That was until I was 11, parents divorced.

Now, hell, 21 years later I still can’t absorb that people with authority could be wrong, or malicious. Does not compute.” (PenguinOD)

People Are Too Mean To Handle

Credits: Makeameme

Definitely how cold people can be. I have never been around a bunch of people who weren’t my family, and who were not looking out for my greater good. I never knew people use other people. High school was a shocker for me in that regard.” (DoesItSmellLikeTuna)

Inside Jokes Ft Homeschooling

Credits: Quickmeme

“For me, it’s often what non-homeschoolers don’t understand or do. My homeschool group is like a high school to me, so we have our inside jokes and culture and I forget how not everyone else has the same pop culture. Like, every homeschooler I have met has seen The Princess Bride and LOTR way too many times, we have our own schoolwork rants about popular homeschool curriculum, we’ll make jokes about homeschool stereotypes, etc. So I’ll say something like “that’s so homeschooled” to someone who isn’t, and they either get it regardless, or ask me to explain and explaining a joke like that never really works.” (camelliaphile)

The Science Guy To Blame

Credits: Reddit

“Aww I missed this. I was homeschooled K-12 in a very religious household. I grew up thinking gay people were going to hell, and democrats were godless. That changed around the time I started going to college at 15. I think the biggest shock (though not necessarily related to culture) was finding out how much bigger the world is than the one I shared with my family. I’ve essentially rejected everything my parents taught me for a much more balanced worldview. I blame Bill Nye the Science Guy. :P” (iamthesoviet)

No Coffee For Me Please

Credits: Memeshappen

“Honestly I’m 23, been through college, and still feel like I’m still not adjusted.

Probably the biggest one was when I told a girl I didn’t want coffee after a date (I was 19….). My buddy explained that one to me and we hooked up after the next date 🙂

Edit: apparently I probably will always feel like I never fit it. Oh well. I’ve been reading this book called “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance,” and I think I’m ok with not fitting in.” (Bullfuckinshit999)

When You Miss Deductive Reasoning

Credits: Quickmeme

“The lack of deductive reasoning. I just don’t see it from my friends. I was homeschooled thru highschool and reading and deductive reasoning were the most emphasized subjects.” (Jo351)

Experiences Vary For Obvious Reasons

Credits: Imgflip

“Not everyone has the same experience when it comes to being home schooled. I’m sure it depends on a number of factors, such as the parent(s)/teacher(s), the kid, and their social life. For me, I was the kid whose parents decided to pull me out of school after the third grade when they received a “revelation from god” that he wanted them to home school me and the rest of my siblings.

Since then I had little to no social life up until my late teens when my father decided to go to seminary and we moved to a town with other people (lived in the middle of nowhere before). I’m not sure that I’ve ever really had “culture shock”, but I and most of my other siblings have dealt with social awkwardness and sometimes severe social anxiety. I really didn’t have much structure and order in my life growing up, and it still shows sometimes. I managed to get my GED after I turned 18, which is more than I can say about some of my siblings. I spent a semester enrolled in a technical college that my parents suggested, but didn’t continue because the course that I was taking was for a certificate and the credits wouldn’t even transfer. That, and I already knew most of what they were telling me about graphic design since I had access to the Internet and had been playing with Photoshop nearly every day since I was 14. Anyway, I digress.

To summarize, I sometimes feel lost, like I’m floating through life haphazardly. I just turned 29 and I’m currently living with my grandparents since my 5 year relationship failed and I am now jobless and carless.” (colorwizard)

Weird Obsessions

Credits: Quickmeme

“The universal Abercrombie & Fitch obsession. Also, it was really foreign to me how some people’s opinions mattered more than others and how if those popular kids had some particular characteristic, others would imitate.

This was the fifth grade, my first time in a school setting and none if it made any sense.

Edit: my teachers really liked me though. After a parent teacher conference, my mom said it was partially because I was the only kid that didn’t say “like” two times per sentence. So there’s that.” (MakeYouThink)

Parents Taught Better

Credits: Quickmeme

“At 17, I found out that my drinking wine at dinner was underage drinking and illegal. Sorry, Dad!

Also, How undisciplined the other children were. We were always allowed to use curse words, but not in intimate public settings & never in anger, so I was pretty flummoxed by the vulgarities thrown at the teachers. In anger. With poor grammar.” (fearlessductaper)

Stealing Incident At School

Credits: Cheezburger

“I didn’t have a gym locker on my first day of ‘real’ school, so I left my purse out on the bench in the locker room. I came back after gym was over and my purse was gone. At first I thought I had just misplaced it, but then someone pointed out that it was stolen. Looked all over the locker room and ended up being in one of the stalls. All my stuff was dumped out, but luckily I had nothing of value in there so I didn’t lose anything. I was dumbfounded that someone would do that. Especially at school.” (mhbaker82)