Is this because you were home-schooled?

I almost forgot we had another moment with the previously home-schooled kid this week.

My 8th graders are supposed to be using their class time as of late to take notes for their research papers. Becky and I have given them pretty specific guidelines, with 6 essential questions they’re trying to answer. We’ve talked about how to take notes, done some examples, and talked about how many notecards you should have to answer each essential question.

So early in the week I announce to the kids the deadline for finishing their notecards. As I talked about it, I repeated our expectations that they should have approximately 3-4 notecards per question. (8th graders HATE ambiguity)

Previously home-schooled kid raises his hand and says:

“Um, if the information I’ve been taking on my note cards, from all the books I’ve read, have nothing to do with the questions you were talking about, what should I do?”

I looked around the room, because often the other students can see how difficult it will be for me to answer this kid without being openly facetious, and sure enough, a few were watching to see what would happen.

To give myself time to think, I often repeat the kids’ questions. So I say “So, what you’re telling me is that the information you’ve been gathering for the last two weeks has nothing to do with the questions we’ve asked you to answer?”

And straight-faced–“Yeah.”

Me: “Ok. STOP! Don’t write down anything else that has nothing to do with the assignment, and focus all of your energy from here on out on answering the questions that were given to you.”

Him: “Oh, okay.”

Me, internally, but really wanting to say it out loud: “Is this because you were home-schooled?”

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