As a formerly home-schooled student, you could say that I did fit in more than a few of the “geeky kid” stereotypes. For example, yes, Anne of Green Gables was my favourite book and movie for a long time (my thirteen-year-old self used to have a pretty big crush on the character of Gilbert Blythe). Yes, I listened to classical music—I still do. Field trips meant that my family would occasionally make a day trip to the Telus World of Science or an excursion to Drumheller so that my mum could make my siblings and I write a report on dinosaurs. Also, I‘ve been reading Dickens and Austen and Shakespeare’s works since I was in grade seven because my parents chose to use a curriculum that encouraged such readings in the relatively earlier stages of learning.
With that said, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I was educated in comparison with what sorts of movies, music, and books I choose to indulge in today. Did the curriculum my mum picked out for me influence what kinds of things I like or dislike today? I think so.
I’ve always gravitated towards classic literature (Jane Austen is the bomb) and older music—I own at least 25 vinyl records that are strictly classical/baroque—and as far as Shakespeare goes, I’ve never had issues reading his unabridged plays because of how I was trained. I’m not saying that I’m smarter than the average person by any means; I just want to assert that a person’s background regarding education plays a massive role in what sorts of entertainment pique that person’s interest. Adding to that, I was never formally trained in politics or social studies, so my knowledge of those subjects, as well as my interest level in them, is pretty limited. I don’t usually read books that have strong political themes because I simply cannot understand them. Knowledge cannot stem from ignorance.
On the other hand, one of my friends grew up reading more contemporary things and listening to more mainstream music. She was very involved in extracurricular activities, such as dance and theatre, while I was not. I don’t think that this is necessarily better or worse than how I was taught and raised, but her education in a school that was decidedly focused on the arts is the reason that she is involved in theatre and dance even while sticking to a busy university schedule. She has an appreciation for the forms of entertainment that I was unable to develop to the same extent. Alternatively, my fascination with Beethoven and Pride and Prejudice is something she can’t relate to, as she was never given the opportunity to explore those as extensively as I did.
It’s dawned on me lately that most of the time, a person’s entertainment preferences run a little deeper than just taking a casual interest in The Chronicles of Narnia. The chances are that if you grew up with your mum reading you the Harry Potter books, you'd appreciate them as an adult. This isn’t to suggest that people who don’t grow up with certain forms of entertainment are unable to enjoy them—just that those people might not hold them with the same regard as someone else who did grow up with them.
While I’ve certainly grown beyond my awkward homeschool stage and branched off from the geeky thirteen-year-old I once was, parts of my childhood have stuck with me. For instance, I’ll always opt for Bach’s Goldberg Variations when I don’t know what else to listen to. I still prefer to sit at home on a Friday night and read a poetry anthology as opposed to going out and singing karaoke with friends. My point is that the way you’re trained will set the stage for the entertainment that you find enjoyable; we’re all raised differently, and that plays into what we choose to enjoy. That said, next time your friend recommends a song that you end up hating, don’t tell them that their taste in music sucks because it’s just different from yours. We won’t all like the same things, and that’s okay!