I have made this statement many times and heard it countless more times by my mother when she described my own education, despite this I always make this declaration with a slight feeling of nervous dread. I immediately expect the familiar eyebrow raise and “oh…that’s nice” response.
I know that for most, home education is unknown territory; it’s unfamiliar and unknown. It is perhaps for these reasons alone that I should be confident and excited to share our chosen educational path. I should demonstrate more confidence– but this is often easier said than done. The usual concerns raised regarding homeschool are not always easy to explain or defend.
It is not always easy to explain how homeschooled children learn to socialise, how we, as parents, know how to teach them, or how they will fair long term with a homeschool background. The issues surrounding home education are largely unwarranted. However, ‘homeschoolers’ have come a long way in disproving these misconceptions over the past few decades.
Myth #1 – Homeschoolers do not learn how to socialise.
Can children learn social skills in mainstream school? Yes, of course – to a degree. But we cannot accept the notion that school is the only place, nor is it the healthiest place, to learn how to socialise. A child’s experience in school is significantly different to authentic, ‘real life’ society.
In ‘life’ our children interact with people of all ages, backgrounds, and mannerisms. They are required to communicate with other people both in person, over the phone, and online. it is important that they learn how to effectively cooperate and exchange differing opinions with neighbours, family and friends. In life outside of school children absolutely cannot escape the need to socialise. This is not such a requirement for children in school. Schoolchildren spend their days strictly in the company of their peers under the supervision and leadership of a handful of teachers. Children learn to behave within the social structure of their particular school, pecking orders, and school routines. It is when children are finally home that they learn how to socialise with the world at large.
Myth #1 Busted – Homeschoolers have superb opportunities to learn how to socialise outside of school.
Myth #2 – Parents Can’t Teach.
If we were to ask a dozen different teachers, from a dozen different cultural backgrounds, pedagogical theories, and eras, the best way to teach children mathematics we would undoubtedly receive a dozen completely different answers. Excellent teaching is not founded on the knowledge of how to teach it is fundamentally having the desire to teach and most importantly possessing a passion for learning. Some of the most brilliant teachers are those who simply love what they are teaching and can inspire a love of learning in their students. Encouraging a love for learning is something that we as parent do all the time. it is in fact parents above anyone else who care the most about the success of their children.
Myth #2 Busted – The best teachers are the ones who care that their pupils love to learn – parents are perfect for this job.
Myth #3 – Homeschoolers Do Not Learn Mathematics.
When we think of teaching mathematics we often panic. Our thoughts immediately conjure the image of muddling through advanced calculus with our children and not having the faintest idea what we are talking about. Realistically though, children begin learning math at the beginning – with counting. Parents are more than qualified to help children with the concept of counting. Adults have in fact solid foundations in these mathematical basics whether or not they believe they do. With a bit of forethought, patience, and with the help of a good mathematics curriculum, parents do an excellent job of helping their children learn math and homeschooled students commonly excel in University Mathematical and Scientific studies.
Myth #3 Busted – Learning math begins at the beginning, with counting. Parents are completely capable teaching children how to count.
Myth #4 – Homeschool Families Need to be Wealthy.
The belief that a family needs to be wealthy to successfully home educate is comparable to the idea that couples need to be wealthy to have children. In many ways extra money makes both of these life choices easier but wealth is not a prerequisite for either. Families ‘make do’ with what they have. Families who are not wealthy are often required to be more creative with their schooling methods – but really, creativity is one of the most valuable tools for learning. Families who live on strict budgets create curricular instead of buying it; they source resources on-line, collaborate with other homeschooling families and take full advantage of libraries and museums. Instead of enrolling in many different extracurricular activities, special consideration is given to each child and his or her own unique talents and interests. Homeschooling families have the ability and time to focus on specific interests which, in many cases, eliminates time and money that might otherwise be wasted if the child was in public or private school.
Myth #4 Busted – There are many educational resources available to the creative families. Homeschoolers do not need to be wealthy.
Myth #5 – Homeschoolers Do Not Have Friends.
Children who do not spend their time in a classroom full of children will not have a classroom full of friends, true. But homeschoolers form endearing relationships outside of school that are often unique and long lasting. Children at home spend the majority of their time with their families and within their communities which means that homeschoolers commonly socialise with elderly neighbours and children of different ages. Homeschoolers develop friendships with older and younger children easily and often having close relationships with siblings and family members. Also, although it not often considered important when we think of children and their social lives, homeschoolers grow accustomed to spending time alone without the stimulation of busy schoolrooms. Nurturing the skill of being comfortable in your own company is priceless for lifelong happiness.
Myth #5 Busted – Children at home from close friends with family and neighbours and are also comfortable being on their own.
Myth #6 – Homeschoolers Can’t Get into University.
I can personally bust this myth simply by saying that I was educated at home, from the first grade through high school, and I was accepted into University and thrived there. Homeschooling parents and students might need to think about college a few years earlier than mainstream families so they are able to prepare whatever necessary requirements their colleges of choice might demand but Colleges and Universities are homeschool friendly these days and there are several resources to help parents and students prepare.
Myth #6 Busted – College and University admissions are growing easier and easier every year for homeschoolers.
Myth #7 – Homeschoolers Don’t Do Sports.
This must be one of the easiest myths to bust regarding home education. Some of the greatest athletes choose homeschooling because they want to pursue their chosen sport and need the time to do so. Yes, it is true that homeschoolers do not participate in the iconic high school team sports and do not experience the spirit and culture that goes along with them but we have to remember that this ‘culture’ and ‘spirit’ is unique to certain geographical areas and do not represent the wide variety of sports available to talented young athletes. Homeschoolers have many, many opportunities to participate in athletics and there are many resources able to guide families towards the organisations that will be right for them.
Myth #7 Busted – Many successful athletes choose to homeschool. There are many opportunities for homeschoolers to do sports.
What are the most common myths you have heard about homeschooling?
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!