Even though homeschooling has become an increasingly popular approach to education over the past decade, there are still many misconceptions that negatively color a person’s perception of this practice. Many of these misconceptions are unfair and downright false, based off of limited experience and little to no knowledge of what homeschooling consists of.
We’re here to break down these myths and separate the truth from fiction.
Myth: Homeschooling Students Never Leave the House
In reality, many homeschooling parents consciously make the effort to ensure that their children have experiences outside of the home, even if the home is where the bulk of their education takes place. It is not at all uncommon for outdoor exploration and field trips to be a part of their established curriculum.
As home-based learning is best when led by the child, the parents take it upon themselves to develop lesson plans, activities, trips and crafts that appeal to what they love and what their strengths are. A passion for science or art could mean the student gets to spend a lot of time inside of museums. A love of nature invites them to step outside their front door and learn everything they can about the natural world around them. There are endless possibilities for education outside of the home.
Myth: Homeschooled Students are Deprived of Socialization
Aside from their educational pursuits, homeschooled children are not without opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and make friends. Homeschooling groups are a great resource for likeminded parents to connect, as well as their children, and form long-lasting friendships with homeschooling as the common ground. Homeschooled students also participate in sports, the arts, theater and other activities outside of school – just like any other traditional student.
Even if they cannot participate in a school’s sports teams or programs, there are ample opportunities for them to get involved with other children elsewhere. Houses of worship, libraries and city-organized teams and events are just some examples. You might be surprised to learn of all the chances that homeschooled students have to connect with each other once you examine what’s available in your area.
Myth: You Need to be an Educator to Homeschool Your Children
The average parent makes for a perfectly fine homeschool teacher! While there may be benefits to having a history in education as a career, or to have an advanced degree, there is nothing stopping the typical parent from teaching their children everything that they need to know to excel in a homeschool curriculum. The truth of the matter is, students who are homeschooled often out-perform their traditionally educated peers – regardless of their parents’ level of education or career choices.
What drives the success of a homeschool curriculum is not the parents themselves, though their role as educators cannot be understated. As homeschooling is child-led and curriculums are formed with the child’s input and interests in mind, this offers parents many ways to connect their children with information.
Consider this: Many children in a traditional classroom setting struggle to succeed. Why is this? Well, there are many reasons. One of these reasons is the lack of individualized attention that is often required for a student to get the most out of the material. When a teacher is educating 30 children in the same fashion, without the time or resources to give them all the attention they need, the students who don’t learn in that fashion often fall behind. Yet teachers are exceptional at what they do, and they’ve gotten degrees for it. Being educated by one’s parents in a one-on-one setting means that the student won’t be prone to falling through the cracks and being neglected or forgotten.
Myth: Only a Small Portion of People Homeschool Their Children
Did you know that there are over 2.3 million homeschooled children in the United States, at this very moment? That is not a small number, and it is certainly not the fringe group that some people believe homeschoolers to be. More and more parents are accepting the benefits of homeschooled education and choosing to take this route with their children. The number of homeschooled children has more than doubled in the past decade – a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Myth: Families Who Homeschool are all Alike
There are many reasons to homeschool one’s children, including but not limited to the following:
- To remove their children from a toxic school environment.
- To provide support to children with learning disabilities.
- To help keep students on-track when their families move (such as military families, who may have to move often).
- To provide a student-centered education that isn’t offered in traditional schools.
- To implement a religious component to their education without the aid of a private religious school.
There are many more reasons that might motivate a parent to homeschool their children, though the ones above are some of the most common.
Additionally, homeschooling families are just as varied and unique as families of children who participate in a traditional school. Single parents, extended families, nuclear families, same-sex families all choose homeschooling. Parents of all educational and professional backgrounds may choose to homeschool. There is no doctrine in place that dictates that a family must meet X, Y or Z criteria to reap the benefits of a homeschooling education.