6 Myths About Homeschooling Debunked

homeschoolingFor the most part, I think I'm pretty open-minded, and try to see past stereotypes to individuals rather than groups or labels. However, there's one group I know I've been highly judgmental of without really thinking too much about it -- homeschoolers.

For years, the mere thought of anyone choosing to homeschool their child left me appalled (at the thought of doing so myself) and pretty well resigned to the fact that they were crazy eccentrics of some type. But as they say, with age comes wisdom, and as I've aged, given birth to children, and seen and heard the horror stories that happen in our nation's public school systems, I've definitely changed my thinking about the practice. Also, lately I've met a diverse and dynamic assortment of women who homeschool their children, and to my surprise, they're totally cool.

I think in general, it's a group that's largely misunderstood and plagued by myths. In order to explore some of these stereotypical views, I recently caught up with Rebecca Grado, a licensed intuitive psychotherapist and author who homeschooled her own children, to debunk six of the top myths about homeschoolers.

Myth #1: All homeschoolers are crazy eccentrics.

Actuality: A popular misconception is that homeschoolers are children of religious fanatics who want to keep their offspring separated from the evils of the world, or hippy-dippy folks who have opted out of mainstream structures. The truth is that people from all walks of life and all areas of the world homeschool these days. As more parents are breaking through the misconceptions of homeschooling, and recognizing the incredible opportunities available to their children, they are opting for the method.

More from The Stir: 10 Free School Worksheets & Learning Activities for Home

Myth #2: Homeschooled children are lonely and isolated.

Actuality: No matter what path we choose for our children, we will be confronted by challenges. Ensuring that our homeschooled kids stay connected to other children their age is an important issue that needs to be addressed and not dismissed. Because there is not a built-in community of peers as found in the traditional school system, it’s important for parents of homeschoolers to provide play dates and activities with friends. The concern that our child might become isolated and lonely is valid, but it is also easily remedied by signing them up for activities like scouting, martial arts classes, sports, or 4H.  

Myth #3: Kids who are homeschooled won't be able to function in the "real world."

Actuality: Homeschoolers spend their days in the real world, interacting with those of different age ranges, cultures, and economic levels. The misconception is that they’re sitting at home all day cut off from the world. In fact, they’re shopping, banking, interacting with others, and it’s through these interactions, that they learn to respect others, form friendships, resolve conflicts and cooperate with others. Many studies show that homeschoolers are actually better prepared to handle the realities of life because they are more confident and self-assured. They exhibit greater leadership skills and a stronger work ethic.

Myth #4: Kids who are homeschooled will never get into college.

Actuality: Homeschoolers are more likely to attend college (74% vs. 46% of traditional students.) More colleges like Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, and Yale are actively recruiting homeschoolers because they recognize the unique qualities that they offer -- they are self-motivated and self-disciplined. Homeschoolers have higher GPA’s than their counterparts, and they score 15-30 percentile points higher above public school students on standardized test scores. They also score higher on college admission tests like the SAT’s and ACT’s.

Myth #5: Homeschooling is just an excuse for kids to goof off all day.

Actuality: Homeschoolers can accomplish in a few hours what takes a typical classroom a week or more to cover. There is so much busy work and wasted time in the traditional school system. A common question among new homeschool parents is, “What were they doing in school all day?” Once these parents know how little time it takes to complete the course curriculum, they’re left wondering what was being taught during the 6-8 hours their kids were away (especially given the mountains of homework coming back each evening.) So what do homeschoolers do with all of their free time? They explore subjects that pique their interest. They visit museums and points of interest around their communities. They work ahead, read books that appeal to them, and experience the freedom to explore in depth topics that are only minimally covered in the classroom. They also have the time to do what kids are supposed to do -- play.

More from The Stir: Why Home-Schooled Kids Are Smarter

Myth #6: Even if I wanted to homeschool my kids, I wouldn't be qualified.

Actuality: One of the biggest misconceptions of homeschooling is that as a parent you have to have all of the answers in order to be qualified. Many parents don’t feel they have the education to tackle this task. Most school districts provide the course curriculum for your child -- and that includes the syllabus, tests, and the answer keys. Your child learns to work independently, and when needed, you job is to help them look up key information and answers to questions. With the right resources and commitment, you have everything it takes to succeed.

Do you homeschool your children? Would you ever consider doing so?


Image via jimmiehomeschoolmom/Flickr


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sofia... sofia0587

Yes! Especially with all the teacher sex scandals here in socal, I don't trust teachers anymore and with the budget cuts I don't feel that teachers in my area even care to teach anymore.

femal... femaleMIKE

I think that parents who homeschool do so because schools in their neighborhood stink. There are lots of wasted time at school.

nonmember avatar Darlene

I homeschool our youngest boys, aged 5 and 9.
It has been a wonderful experience for my family, The freedom to choose materials, and the safety of our home outweighs the public school any day!

nonmember avatar Angela

For the last two years I have homeschooled my two children. They are now 14 & 9. Both did well in school, but do even better at home. We are part of two homeschooling groups and participate in music and sports. We also have time to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. We really love being able to do all of these activities in addition to schooling.

nonmember avatar Sarah

I homeschool, I do so because I dont trust public education. I know to many high school kids who cant add.

nonmember avatar Dawn07

I was homeschooled until 9th grade and am now homeschooling my daughter.

nonmember avatar Yes

I went to a great elementary school and then a terrible middle school when we moved where I had to skip a grade so I was at my level. It went only downhill from there. Education quality varies from locale to locale, so if we are not lucky enough to get a good school or afford private, I may homeschool.

But I see a lot of people who homeschool, and I honestly can't believe they are doing a proper job. I will only homeschool if I myself can make the commitment to be a teacher when I need to be, and put the homemaker, wife and mom aside when it's called for. It seems too easy to let it all kind of blend in and lose structure.

Momma... MommaGreenhalge

I would love to homeschool, but our financial situation doesn't allow for a parent to stay at home at this point in time. Homeschooling or not, I will make sure my kids know the difference between words like insure and ensure.

*Psst... that was a hint to proofread better.*

nonmember avatar M

@mommaG, how about "pique" not "peak" too?! For an article about education...

nonmember avatar JPro83

Great article. Helped lift my spirits a little. I've been planning on homeschooling my future kids, but I'm slightly intimidated. This helped calm my nerves about it a little.

You silly proof readers. I do the same thing though. Lol. That's how you can tell the people who enjoyed and/or did well in English class. It's not like we try to find faults in articles. We just naturally spot them. I also noticed peak vs pique. Haha.

It's okay though. Not every blogger is a grammar nazi. Probably better that way to be honest. I feel like the minor mispellings add flavor to the author's work. It takes away the idea that the writer is some uptight English wiz and brings to table an honesty you don't usually see in the world of journalism.

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