As a homeschooling family, we have heard it all: our children are going to be shut-ins, they won’t know how to share, they won’t know how to deal with diverse groups of people. It never ends. This entry seeks to debunk the widely held myths and stigmas that are tossed around at homeschoolers.
While we acknowledge that the daily grind of homeschooling isn’t as interactive as the average day in a standard classroom, we take pride in the outrageous amount of effort we put into ensuring that our children grow alongside their peers. Everyone needs to feel the sting of rejection or the tingle of jealousy–we agree that those things are part of growing. But watching that action unfold in front of you allows you the luxury of helping your homeschooled child process the emotional bruises that come with growing up.
Homeschoolers get to socialize with family, parents, neighbors, friends, and members of the community just as brick and mortar students do. Have you heard of facebook? There are also huge Homeschooling groups that are regional, national, and local. If you look, there are probably groups for people who enjoy eating sand, so why wouldn’t there be a group dedicated to a well-rounded homeschool experience?
Are kids allowed to talk during class in a brick and mortar school? Not during instruction time. They can usually talk before after, and during lunch. So maybe 40 minutes a day? The socialization kids receive in school is really overrated.
How We Socialize
One of the larger international groups I am in has 24k Members. They meet in person once a year in the US. Our local groups have a ton of families. We dedicate one day a week to a full park day. That is one whole day of socializing! This likely adds up to more socialization than one week of standard school.
We also go on camping trips regularly and there is a trip planned in 2018 to stay overnight at NASA, which is not only exciting but we will definitely be socializing. So we not only socialize, but we get to know these families very well. If an issue arises, we are in cahoots with child’s parent(s) and can address things civilly so that both kids learn from it. The purpose isn’t to lock our children in an overly idealized box, but to give them a safe place to fail.
We also do regular things like sports, clubs and play with neighborhood kids.
In fact, a study released in 2000 by the Discovery Institute showed that homeschooled children were scored as “well-adjusted” by trained counselors and exhibited fewer behavioral problems than their peers.
Oh, boy. I hate to break this fact to you, but some top-tier colleges like Yale, Dartmouth, and UC Berkeley actually seek out homeschooled kids and accept them at a high rates (66.7% of homeschooled children, compared to 57.5% of traditional public school children). All children have unique qualities and skills, and as a Homeschooling mom I am happy to be able to allow my kids to focus on that and implement it into their daily education.
Homeschoolers are also often recognized as being self-motivated and self-disciplined. Many of us have other children in the house, so just as in brick and mortar school, kids need to learn to have initiative. Time management and personal responsibility are qualities that we certainly teach as homeschooling parents.
I am not sure how this myth started. Personally, this is one of the reasons we choose to homeschool. My son is brilliant. One of the smartest kids I’ve ever come across and I am not just saying that because I am his mom, I am saying that as an educator who has seen hundreds of children his age. He also has SPD. I can tailor the way I teach to accommodate him. He has an IEP that is followed to a “T” because I have that kind of freedom and time while homeschooling him. While the teachers I know are all absolutely incredible, sometimes the class size and other distractions and issues get in the way of fulfilling all special needs in the best possible way. This is not coddling, but making sure I provide the tools to accommodate his needs and to help him overcome the obstacles he has. We keep it rigorous, and stick to a routine. We’ve even made a something we call the Homeschool Planner: The Well Planned Day to keep ourselves on top of things.
Stuck at Home
Wow. I could have died when my son told his neurologist that he just sits around all day swimming, playing video games and watching TV – he looked at me like I was “one of those moms.” IT’S SUMMER. Isn’t that what most kids are doing? Of course during the school year he would probably have a similar answer, but what kid lists off their curriculum when asked? When I was asked what I learned in school the answer was “nothing.” No kid wants to be put under that pressure, and for some reason people love asking homeschoolers.
Also on a side note: STOP QUIZZING KIDS! We teach them not to talk to strangers and most kids are shy by nature. Do you typically quiz a kid when they tell you they go to a brick and mortar school? No? Then don’t quiz homeschoolers. They don’t know you! You have no influence on their life. You are not proving anything by getting no answer or a wrong answer. I promise.
As I mentioned, we have a park day once a week. We also get with other families to do things outside of the house. We plan and all get passes to museums, aquariums and the zoo. We attend local events and take turns hosting the group at our homes. If anything, we are outside more than the average brick and mortar student. The library offers classes, as does the local parks and recreational systems. So we can attend those individually or as a group! If anything, we could cut back on some of the stuff we do.
Unqualified Parent Teacher
This one really gets me. Now, my husband and I are both former teachers. I am K-6 and he is 6-12. With that being said, if you are a caring parent, if you invest in your child’s education. But it doesn’t take a trained teacher to homeschool. You can do it, too! Life is about learning. School teaches you to learn (yes, homeschool, too). There are so many resources; online games, curriculums, library resources, co-ops, and if you are really stumped and your child is having difficulty in the way you are presenting the material, you can always hire or barter with a tutor. Online and in person options are plentiful.
Homeschooled kids are “normal” like any other kids. They are kind, funny, smart, friendly, loving, clever, spirited, brave, endearing little creatures. They love making new friends, they love learning and playing and are just like non-homeschooled kids.
In fact, education in our country began in the home, and only became an institution when the government began calling for certain attendance guidelines. A new homeschool revolution has taken place, and our numbers are growing. For more, check out our detailed History of Homeschooling article, for a fascinating look at how far we have come.
Can homeschoolers fall through the cracks? Are there parents who are not providing an education for their kids, claiming that they homeschool? ABSOLUTELY!! Just the same as there are traditionally educated students that are falling through the same cracks; no education system is perfect. But it’s about time we get over the stigma that a homeschoolers education is sub-par to the traditional school setting.
Before you get started, take a look at the best way to kick off day one with our DIY First Day of School Chalkboard. It’s beautiful, and will start things off right.