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My kids are just barely old enough to homeschool now — the older two are 2 1/2 and 4 — but we’ve been planning to homeschool since they were born.  Plus, my husband was homeschooled from third grade (I think) through twelfth grade.  So, with his background and our plans, we’ve certainly heard our share of comments about homeschooling!  It always amuses me, the mainstream perspective on the matter.  And for the record, I support a parent’s right to choose the type of schooling that is most appropriate for their family — homeschooling is what works for us.

1) They won’t be socialized!

This is the first thing most homeschooling parents hear, but also one of the silliest.  Have you met my children?  (Or many other homeschooled kids like them?)  They’ll walk up to anyone, of any age, race, gender, etc. and start showing off, telling their life story, asking for help, etc.  They’re constantly out at museums, church, stores, playgrounds, etc. and they make friends everywhere they go and enjoy talking to a wide range of people — not just people in their peer group (though they have that, too, at church).  This is a lot more “authentic” socialization than the same 30 children sitting in a classroom everyday, or even children within 2 – 3 years (say, 1 – 3 grades) on the playground together.

2) They won’t get to do extra-curricular activities.

These days, many local schools allow homeschooled children to participate in their extra-curricular activities for free!  Score.  Also, many parents sign their kids up for art classes, intramural sports teams, dance classes, music lessons, and all kinds of other activities.  In my area, we have several children’s museums plus a nice zoo, and we have memberships to all of these.  They’re not missing out.

3) The parents are Bible-thumping Christians.

Maybe.  But this is a stereotype of homeschooling parents that often doesn’t pan out.  Being a fundamental Christian isn’t the only reason that families choose to homeschool.  There are plenty of people from all different faiths and backgrounds who choose to homeschool, especially these days, as it’s gaining popularity.

4) The parents can’t let go of their children.

So silly!  There is a perception that parents literally must have their children close to them all the time and control every single thing they do, and this is why they homeschool.  It can happen — I did know one mom who had just one son, who did act this way — but typically it’s not true.  A lot of larger families homeschool.  They simply can’t keep track of every child at once if they have 4, 5, or 8 of them!  (Not that they “lose” them, but they’re “on top of” them either.)  Parents homeschool because they believe their children will receive a more individualized and superior education if they are at home.  It has nothing to do with being unable to let go.  (And if that is a reason for homeschooling…carefully examine your motives again.)

5) The kids don’t really learn anything.

Still silly. :)  Kids can’t help but learn.  When they’re small, just playing and helping with everyday activities teaches them a lot.  We go grocery shopping and we do math.  We cook and that’s science and math.  We sew and that’s more math (measuring).  Crayons and scissors and paper is art.  And so on.  With older children, there are tons of curricula that you can buy; there are online homeschools; there are college courses; there are even co-ops where parents with particular skill sets teach “their” subject to children from several families!  Most homeschoolers go on to college and do quite well.  So yes, they learn a lot!

6) The parents aren’t qualified to teach if they don’t have a degree.

Oh my…now, this, more silliness.  Parents know their children the best, and know their child’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.  And presumably even the largest families are dealing with a maximum of 10 – 15 kids at once; most nowhere near that many.  That automatically makes the “student-to-teacher” ratio quite low.  Any parent who’s had a reasonable education knows how to read and do basic math (and, since they know their children and have curricula available to them if they choose, do not need a formal education in pedagogy to know how to teach their children).  With older students, it’s true that a parent may not be qualified to teach, say, calculus.  This is a situation where a parent typically recognizes his/her limitations and sends the child to a college course or other method of learning.

7) They’ll never learn to compare themselves to their peers.

Probably.  But I’d consider this a good thing!  Why would I want my children to worry about how they measure up to others?  I want them to worry, first and foremost, about always working to better themselves, to “beat” their own best!  Whether they’re strong or weak in an area, I want them to always work to improve.  I don’t want them to feel that they “can’t do it” because others can; or feel they don’t have to work hard because they already do better than most.  How is that useful?  By not making them compare at a young age, they’ll have the self-confidence not to need to compare so much when they are older.

8) They won’t know how to fit into a group.

Again, very silly!  Most kids do participate in homeschool groups or different types of classes.  They definitely have group activities.  My kids participate in AWANA, which, at my daughter’s level (she’s 4) is a large group of perhaps 50 or 60 kids.  She learns through this how to handle herself in a large group; they also break down into tables of 5 – 6 kids each, so she learns how to handle herself in a small group there.  Not to mention that since kids aren’t in a group everyday for 7 hours, they don’t worry only about the group.  They also learn how to work well individually, and don’t worry about “fitting in” and other useless nonsense.

9) They won’t have access to all the materials/experiences that public school affords.

This is up to the parents, obviously, and the area in which they live.  I’m lucky — living in a major city, there are no fewer than 3 children’s museums within 45 minutes, plus several libraries, a zoo, and many other amazing resources.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  My husband grew up in a very rural area where you had to drive at least an hour to go anywhere.  They managed to provide him with books and computers and all kinds of needed resources.  Parents might need to get creative, and definitely have to be “on top of it” but they can certainly do it.  Even parents with limited income could barter with other parents — “I’ll work with your child on science if you help mine with math,” or “I’ll sew something for you if you help my child with French.”

10) They can’t “graduate” from home school.

Tell that to my husband. :)  Kids can get a GED from homeschool, which colleges will accept no problem (usually along with ACT or SAT scores).  They don’t need to go to a “regular” school in order to actually “graduate” or as a necessity for college or career.  Homeschool students are known to be so successful that some colleges and companies actually enjoy having them!


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (6.5), Daniel (5), Jacob (3), and Nathan (1.5). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a popular book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. She also recently released Healing With God's Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies, which teaches people to use natural remedies to keep their families healthy. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children.

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13 Comments

  1. Great post! I have just recently decided to continue homeschooling my daughter next year for kindergarten and I have been hearing all of these things, especially on the topic of socialization. Socialization in the public school setting is more like assimilation and survival of the fittest, and most popular. I know, because I taught public school for the last 5 years. That isn’t really my goal for my children. I also agree that they don’t need to learn to compare themselves with others. We want our children to have an intrinsic desire to be the best they can be, not better than the next guy. Thanks for the post!

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    • My experiences were the same when I graduated from homeschool in 1993. I went on to travel the world, doing internships, graduating with a 3.99GPA from a highly respected university, my husband and I own two successful companies…. I’d say that I did okay being homeschooled! ;o) If fact, my husband, looking over my shoulder just comments — “Recent studies are showing that most companies would actually PREFER to hiring homeschoolers!!”
      So, glad to hear that others have been and are being just as successful with their homeschool experiences.

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  2. I’m so torn on this. I work right now, so I”m not even sure it would be possible to homeschool, but I’m also worried I would stink at it. lol

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  3. About the socialization thing–This requires the parents to take their kids places! I was homeschooled from 4th grade through 8th grade, and during that time, the only interaction I had with other children was at church. We also moved a lot, and in one place we were lucky to have next door neighbors with a girl the same age as me. That’s it. I didn’t get to participate in other activities or have a chance to meet a lot of other kids. Most of the kids I did meet didn’t want much to do with me, I was too weird. THIS IS COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE! I have no problem with homeschooling now that I’m a mom, and I’m considering it for my soon to be 5-year-old. But I will not make the same isolating mistake that my mom did.

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    • I want to add to your comment, Heather. I agree that some homeschooling parents do a bad job. I’m beginning my homeschooling adventures and loving it, but my child is desperate for social activities and friends so I have to make sure I don’t squash that important part of her personality. My decision to homeschool means I must maintain her need in that area, even if I’d rather spend all our time at home doing family activities. I can also say as a high school teacher (I teach part time on the days that my daughter goes to a homeschool co-op class) I made the decision to homeschool because of the AMAZING kids I’ve had the pleasure of working with who were homeschooled up until high school. These kids are typically independent learners, leaders, uninfluenced by peer pressures, and very good communicators. BUT, I’ve also had a few students from homeschool backgrounds that were completely WEIRD. They were literally afraid of other kids, as if they were never allowed to play with other kids in their entire life! It took almost 3 years for one of my students to chill out and behave “normally” with everyone else. As parents we may have strong convictions about how we want our children to be raised, but we have to remember that the teenage and young adult years can be brutal and it is our job to make sure they will function well in THEIR culture. I emphasize “their” because I think it’s our job to stay up with pop culture, even if we choose to reject it and keep it out of our homes. I believe that homeschool parents have more control in managing how their kids learn to react to the peer and cultural pressures, because no matter what we do, our kids will eventually be adults in the “real world”.

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  4. Love this post!! And just wanted to add that in some states they even have graduation ceremonies with real diplomas provided by organizations like the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency. :)

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  5. I’ve heard all of them except for the “group” argument. Great list by the way! My husband and I both graduated from homeschools. Both of us also graduated from college with excellent GPA’s. We now have two children with another on the way and we plan on homeschooling. Our parents had some college but my husband’s father is the only one with a degree. I say this because it really is easy to homeschool your kids! Kate’s right. There are tons of options for every learning and teaching style out there. You just have to do a little looking around. One thing I would seriously recommend is that as soon as you decide to homeschool, join HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). There are some people who take these arguments way too seriously and think they can prosecute you for it. HSLDA saved my husband’s family from an over zealous truant officer who failed to recognize my mother in-law’s Homeschool as valid till HSLDA stepped in and corrected the officer.

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  6. I was horrible at homeschooling my kiddos but have a profound respect for those who do it well. I went back to working at a merger and acquisition firm and my kids are thriving with teachers. They seem much more inclined to listen and learn in a more formal environment. I will say that homeschooling is whatever you make it. Give it tremendous effort and you are blessing them. Colleges do seem to be catching on. Keep on making whichever choices allow your kiddos to be the best versions of themselves.

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  7. Heather, your concerns are so normal and so expected that there are books, blogs, vlogs, online support groups, local support groups, yearly regional conferences…. name it! Most HS familes are one income but a lot aren’t. Curriculum can range from free to $1000′s. Where the mettle is required is to internally know, trust, and believe that your choice is what best fits your desire for your legacy. HS is constantly under attack and challenged like veganism or gluten-free eating. HS is controversial as homeopathic medicine or vitamin and mineral supplements. Fear is valuable when it prevents morbidity. Fear is a jailer when it prevents discovery. Good journey to you and God bless your discoveries!

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  8. Lol…I was hsd and got right in to a compatative nursing school with no “official” diploma. I also got to test out of some of the math classes. I am loving (most of the time ;) ) homeschooling my 5 and almost 7 year old.

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  9. Great list. I would add about the socialization that I don’t want my children to be “socialized” like I was in school- learning what is appropriate based on whomever is the leader of the pack at the time. It made me feel weird because I didn’t fit in to what they deemed normal. I want my children to realize their own gifts and interests and be confident in who they are before I worry too much about their social life- having said that we have four girls that are learning to get along together at home. I think that getting along with others will come eventually but disagree with the socialization argument from those questioning homeschool because I don’t want my girls to act like the majority. I must add that I am aware there are exceptional public school children that are not so easily swayed, but homeschooling was my personal conviction.

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  10. I’m all for homeschooling if it’s done right (like it sounds like you would do it :) ) but I would never be able to homeschool my own because of my own homeschooling memories. I actually didn’t have hardly any socialization and I don’t feel like I did get as good of an education as I could have gotten. I feel like I only survived homeschooling. Then I went to a small christian college and even there had a horrible time adjusting to ‘outside life’. I loved the classes but I know I was so awkward and didn’t know how to converse normally with people. I have worked so hard to overcome that but it’s been a struggle! I really appreciate people who do homeschooling well – it takes a lot of work and commitment!
    But on another note, in PA (at least where I grew up) you actually can get a diploma. I have an official diploma, not a GED.

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  11. I know this is an old post, but I just had to pipe in. I am now 26 and was homeschooled from fourth grade through graduation. I wish to heck I could go back to my young self and assure myself that I would turn out just fine. That I was getting a superior education compared to most of my peers. That I would go through the awkwardness of the teen years and turn into a fine, sociable adult. I grew up feeling different in a bad way and just wanting to be like my friends who went to “real school.” I did not fully appreciate the investment my parents made in homeschooling me until I got into the real world as an adult and realized what an advantage they gave me. I started taking classes at the community college at age 15 and really began to blossom. I graduated with an accounting degree at age 20 and was valedictorian of the school of business (of over 500 graduates in my class). I am now a CPA with a successful career and wish I’d had more confidence in myself growing up. My husband and I are now expecting our first baby, so I will be taking some time off to be a stay-at-home mom once baby arrives. We are already 100% sure we want to homeschool our kids. I think when my parents were doing it, it was so uncommon, and there weren’t a lot of local resources. I felt so alone and isolated. I will definitely do things differently and hope my kids can be more secure in themselves than I was. Anyway, I had a lot of adults tell my parents these 10 silly things you list. I wish people would keep their opinions to themselves. I really took a lot of it to heart and grew up thinking I’d turn out defective somehow. I think it’s important to explain to homeschooled kids that they are just fine and that things will pay off when they are adults. I never met a successfully homeschooled adult when I was going through it. I know things are much different now and that I can only improve upon what my parents gave me.

    Reply

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