Ah, those insidious homeschool myths that continue to plague us homeschoolers and stop others from trying because of unfounded fears. Parents and In-laws constantly harking on outdated myths and criticizing your decision? It’s about time we discuss myths vs. reality and give another side to the story. One backed by research and real-life experience. Here we go!
Myth 1. Homeschoolers are awkward and weird.
TRUTH: All kids are weird. Period. The only difference is that homeschool kids get to embrace their weirdness without the worries of peer pressure or bullies breathing down their neck. They get to explore interests and passions with curiosity and excitement even if those interests aren’t considered cool. They are allowed to mature slowly and intentionally and may still be playing with dolls at age 12 and may not be interested in romantic relationships by junior high. I’m ok with that.
This extended childhood is one of the main reasons I chose to homeschool in the first place. I wanted them to be who they were without being penned in by the most popular clique of the day.
I love weird. It means I’m letting my kids be who they are and not letting anyone make them feel bad about that.
Myth 2. Homeschool parents have superhuman patience
TRUTH: I have ADHD, depression and anxiety so I can attest to the fact that I have no more patience then a parent with traditional schooled children. I would considered my lack of patience to be one of my biggest ongoing struggles. Many of my homeschool mom friends have the same struggle with patience even without mental health disorders. It’s a parent thing.
I homeschool despite my impatience and along the way have developed coping methods to deal with the moment when things feel like they are about to explode. Like when my son has taken 3 hours to do 1 hour of work and we need to leave the house in 10 minutes. My girls have been bickering all morning. I need to plan dinner. The house looks like a bomb went off. The rabbit peed on the carpet. I haven’t taken a shower in 3 days. The dogs wont stop barking….the.constant.noise!
We all deal with impatience (and if you don’t can you please share your secret?). We homeschool moms are no different so if that is your worry don’t let it stop you!
Myth 3. Homeschooling is only for religious families
TRUTH: No, homeschooling is not only for religious families. There are many different reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children, including religious beliefs, concerns about the school environment, dissatisfaction with the curriculum or teaching methods and more. Homeschooling is a choice that is available to families of all backgrounds and beliefs and the decision to homeschool is a personal one that is made based on the individual needs and circumstances of each family.
Today, there are more secular homeschoolers then ever and secular choices are plentiful. Christian materials and resource still dominate the curriculum market, but this is changing fast. There are many groups dedicated to secular homeschooling and can help you find the resources you need with or without a religious bent.
Myth 4. You have to recreate school at home in order to be an effective homeschool
TRUTH: Desks, colorful posters, a dedicated room, tests, grades and pop quizzes. When many people start considering homeschool, they imagine themselves standing in front of a chalkboard with a pointer, lecturing. While some families may choose this approach, I personally know none.
What seems most common are families that homeschool in a variety of settings, including home, libraries, parks and other learning locations. Think snuggling in the recliner while teaching your child to read. Or, sitting in the backyard while talking through a grammar lesson. Even having one child at the table doing math, another on the couch using a Spanish app and a third on the front porch with his daily literature reading. Meanwhile, you are starting a load of laundry and getting ready for a story hour at the library. It’s a much more organic way of homeschooling, where home-life and education merge to where there is no distinct line between them.
Living becomes learning.
Myth 5. Homeschoolers are always home and isolated.
TRUTH: Carschooling, Roadschooling and Worldschooling would not be a thing if homeschoolers stayed home all the time. This myth is simply not accurate. Most homeschoolers are actively involved in a variety of activities outside of the home, such as sports, music lessons, volunteer work and more.
Carschooling is when schooling takes place in a car. It can involve a variety of activities, such as reading, writing , listening to podcasts or audio books or doing math problems. It’s meant to fill the valuable time that many homeschoolers use while shuffling between activities and home. It can be an excellent way to learn about a topic/subject that just doesn’t fit into the daily routine.
Roadschooling, on the other hand, is when parents take the child on an extended roadtrip or vacation for educational purposes. This can be the family taking a year sabbatical to travel the US national parks in an RV or the short weekend trip to a place in your city you have never been. It is a way for parents to combine their love of travel with their commitment to homeschool and it allows students to learn about different cultures, historical sites and the natural world through first hand experiences.
Worldschooling is like Roadschooling but intensified. It is a term used to describe a family who takes their children on trips throughout the world as part of their schooling. They learn about different languages, cultures, architecture, the ancient world, and local activities like snorkeling, hiking, museum tours or food tours. It is a truly unique and immersive educational experiences, meant to help students develop a global perspective, increase their independence and self-reliance as well as foster a love of learning.
So you can see, homeschoolers are out and about in your community and others everyday.
Myth 6. Children are trapped by their parents and don’t want to be homeschooled.
TRUTH: When we started homeschooling the choice was ours, not out childrens. However, as they have gotten older, it has become a mutual choice. We will always try our best to allow them choice in their education.
I don’t see this as uncommon. As children grow, they may become more involved in the decision making process and have a greater say in their educational experience. This is a positive aspect of homeschooling as it can help to build independence, self-confidence and responsibility in the student. This isn’t typically offered to traditional schoolers like it is to homeschoolers. One could argue that the traditional schooled students are the ones trapped and not wanting to be there.
Myth 7. Homeschooling follows the public school calendar.
TRUTH: One of the main benefits to homeschooling is its opportunity for choice and freedom to decide how and when you would like to school. There are also no state laws that require you to follow the public school year, which leaves you open for more flexibility in deciding your own school year. Many parents create their own schedules, which can include year-round schooling (with extended breaks for family visits, holidays and travel) or a more hybrid system with a few weeks on and a few weeks off.
Personally, I homeschool year-round which I have found to be the most relaxed and flexible for us. We basically school if we are home and don’t when we are away or have family in town. I still have to make sure that we meet the minimum number of instruction days/hours set by my state, but that is pretty easy to do without any major planning at the beginning of our new school year.
Myth 8. Homeschooling isn’t effective in the long run
TRUTH: The myth that homeschooling is not an effective way to educate a child is largely based on misinformation and outdated perspectives. Studies have consistently shown that homeschooled students perform at least as well as, if not better than, their peers in traditional schools, particularly in academic subjects such as reading, language arts, and math.
Furthermore, homeschooling can provide a more individualized and tailored education, which in turn can lead to better academic outcomes and personal growth for students. Homeschooled students consistently score higher on standardized tests and are usually well-prepared for college when the time comes.
Myth 9. Homeschoolers will have huge learning gaps
TRUTH: Learning gaps are a product of poor education, not something that necessarily happens with homeschooling. When we are discussing learning gaps, what are we really talking about anyways? As we already know, research shows that homeschooled students typically perform as well or above their traditional schooled peers. So any perceived learning gaps that parents notice are typically dealt with with the individual student. This can mean stopping all other math instruction until fractions are mastered or finding a private tutor to help with a subject that the parent and student finds challenging.
All students, homeschooled or not have learning gaps. There is no possible way to learn everything there is to know in this world. Learning is a life long pursuit, but because many homeschool parents try to foster a love of learning vs. plain old academics, homeschool students are typically well equipped to find out answers and discover new learning opportunities as they grow up.
Myth 10. Homeschoolers cannot be accepted at elite colleges
TRUTH: All elite colleges accept homeschoolers, in fact colleges like Harvard, Yale and Stanford are actively recruiting homeschoolers. Homeschooled students are more often then not well-rounded and have unique backgrounds and experiences, making them attractive to colleges. Admissions decisions for homeschoolers are usually based on a more comprehensive evaluation process that takes into account the individuals self-directed learning, achievements, extracurricular activities and standardized test scores.
Homeschooled students may also need to provide additional documentation, such as transcripts or portfolios, to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. There is no limit to what they can do after high school just because they were homeschooled.
Homeschooling has been a subject of much debate and misconceptions. While some people may hold on to certain myths about homeschooling, the truth is that homeschooling can provide a high-quality education and lead to academic success. Homeschooled students are not isolated, they have opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities and can easily develop strong social skills.
Homeschooling can offer a flexible and personalized education that is tailored to a child’s individual needs and interests. While it may not be the right choice for every family, homeschooling can provide a unique and valuable educational experience for those who choose it.
It is important to separate fact from fiction when considering homeschooling for your children and make informed decisions based on accurate information.