I absolutely believed a lot of myths about homeschooling before I started the journey. Here are 10 homeschool myths that people bring up frequently. I had no intention of homeschooling my kids, but here we are in our 6th year. It’s not always been easy, but I don’t think I’d trade it for the alternatives.
Homeschool kids are socially awkward
This is probably one of the top reasons I didn’t want to homeschool. Homeschooling when I was young was often frowned upon, which made socialization more difficult. There was a limited homeschool community. School districts didn’t facilitate participation in extracurricular activities for students that weren’t enrolled.
Now, there are many extracurricular options available for homeschool kids. Our school district even offers a homeschool options program. The district facilitates a weekly day of classes, often specials that are harder to do at home, with licensed teachers from the district. For many, it is the best of both worlds. It offers typical school experiences like science fair, art contests, music concerts, PE, etc. The bulk of education happens at home, but kids can get typical school opportunities. There is often opportunity to participate in local school activities now as a homeschool student.
For our girls, the bulk of our socializing currently comes through gymnastics and dance. We are at the gym or dance studio 5-6 days a week. Total class hours between the girls are about 25 hours per week, which will continue to increase. Biggs has been attending her current gym regularly since she was 4, which means Little Bit has essentially grown up there. Before Covid, Little Bit spent many hours in the bleachers at gymnastics before she was old enough for her own classes. She made friends with kids and parents alike. Most of the gym staff, and many parents knew her long before she was in classes herself. Neither of my children hesitate to welcome new friends into their circle.
Homeschooling requires a stay at home parent
Many factors dictate that our family needs 2 incomes. As a nurse in the hospital, I have the flexibility to work shifts opposite my husband. However, many families are able to creatively schedule homeschool, work, and childcare to facilitate their goal to educate their own children. Homeschool doesn’t have to occur Monday through Friday, 8am to 3pm. School can happen in the evenings, short sessions throughout the day, on weekends, etc. Although homeschool criteria requires the parents to be responsible for greater than 50% of the schooling, homeschool co-ops can be a great option for working parents.
The school will do a better job
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Public and private schools do employ trained educators. I have immense respect for my teacher friends. They have valuable knowledge and education. I believe most teachers truly care about the kids they teach. However, generally, no one is invested more in a child’s success than their parent. Public school teachers have the disadvantage of having to teach to the majority. They cannot fully tailor lessons to the individual learning of each of the kids in a large classroom.
Homeschool parents have the luxury of teaching at the pace of their individual child. Curriculum can be chosen to meet the ideal learning style. If a child that needs extra time to grasp a math concept, multiple techniques can be used to build a solid foundation. However, if the same child reads well above their age level, learning can cater to that strength.
My younger daughter, Little Bit, almost certainly inherited her dad’s ADHD. Homeschooling allows us to utilize sensory tools, essential oils, and exercise breaks as needed. There is no concern for disrupting others while catering to her unique learning styles. We start this diffuser up almost daily with one of our favorite oils. Little Bit is often bouncing gently on this ball while she does her math or language.
I don’t know how to teach
Spoiler alert, I don’t have a teaching degree. Teaching the English language, with all of its exceptions has made me groan many times. I use a calculator as an adult. But, I do know how to learn as an adult. I am not an arts and crafts expert. However, I have learned how to make cute and sturdy bows for the gymnastics team. I learned how to bedazzle matching masks for the girls. I facilitated a zoom painting party during Covid for my daughter.
Handywoman was never a title I planned to acquire. But I have learned to patch cracks in the walls, paint, fix grout, and use caulk. I have learned to mix concrete to use with paving molds. I have taught myself how to grow a garden in challenging conditions.
The point is, my goal is to create lifelong learners. Resources are available to learn almost anything. Plentiful curriculum options exist to guide teaching. There are many options to outsource some learning. If you want to teach your child at home, you can!
Homeschool kids won’t learn independence
There seems to be the perception that homeschool kids are timid, shy, and depend on their parents to navigate everything for them because they don’t go away to school. For my girls, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of their independence may be from their extensive extracurricular schedule.
They also have the opportunity to develop independence with a variety of tasks at home. Biggs was independently making French toast from an early age, probably at least 7. By the age of 9, I was able to hand her recipe to bake something. Other than supervision with the oven, she was able to follow a simple recipe independently. Little Bit has been making her own simple sandwiches and other sometimes startling creations since she was 5.
Emotional intelligence increases independence. Check out how I regularly foster growth of emotional intelligence here. Having an adult readily available to navigate a variety of social situations can help. Early, real time guidance can help build confidence in their ability to interact successfully.
Homeschool kids don’t have friends
Again, this thought is laughable in my house. Before Biggs activities were limited due to intense gymnastics training and Covid, keeping birthday parties reasonable was always a challenge. She had friends from all of her activities. When there is a new girl at gymnastics, she is often selected to show them the ropes and make them welcome. Even Little Bit was commended recently for partnering with the new girls in her gymnastics class.
Although with homeschooling cultivating friendships may need to be more intentional, there are numerous opportunities to do this. Sports is an easy avenue to accomplish this. However, there are a multitude of options across a wide range of interests. And one positive outcome of Covid is the increased availability for online interaction for those limited by geography.
I don’t have time to homeschool my child
Homeschooling does require a time commitment. However, there are many factors that make it possible for those that want to do so. Homeschooling does not require 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Much of the time in a school building are spent with distractions and transitions. The average learners dictate the learning pace in the classroom.
In the early grades, kids can accomplish necessary book work in an hour or two. Later grades can still get through book work in much less time than is spent in the school building. Once kids have learned to read, they can become much more independent in completing work. The curriculum we use, Abeka, offers video lessons to accompany the books. This lessens the burden I have for being prepared to teach everything.
Homeschooling hours aren’t limited to time spent on textbooks. Cooking, meal prep, grocery shopping, gardening, housework, etc. count towards school hours. And for the competitive athlete like mine, PE hours are plentiful. Check out my post on reasons I homeschool here for other ideas for incorporating learning into life activities.
Homeschool kids lack real life experience
Homeschool families come in all shapes and types. Some families choose to homeschool to shield their children from a harsh world. Sidestepping some of the bullying and controversial perspectives taught in public schools can be part of the choice to homeschool. However, homeschool families can seek out “real life” experiences.
Many homeschool families expose their kids to eye opening life experiences. Travel is one example. Schedule flexibility opens opportunities for world travel. Kids can participate in service projects, or serve in a homeless shelter.
I don’t have the patience to homeschool
News flash, neither do I! I don’t have some infinite supply of patience. I get frustrated and impatient when my girls don’t retain something they’ve been taught. My brain struggles to keep up with the endless questions, expecting me to be a walking dictionary.
I rely on a multitude of tools to maintain my sanity. Read about some of the tools we start our day with here. Check out the essential oils we use for emotional regulation here. And read how and why exercise (Gymnastics) is a vital part of our day.
Even with all of these tools, we still have rough days. Some days we throw in the towel, and start fresh the next day. Homeschool is a marathon, not a sprint. One day at a time wins the race.
You don’t get a break from your kids
Many parents tell me they need a break from their kids. So do I! I love my girls, but I also appreciate the times that both of them are engaged in their activities. Work isn’t exactly a break, but it is a change of pace. It’s encouraged to still schedule date nights with your spouse if you are married. Model taking time for self care. Take time to cultivate friendships.
Not all homeschool moms stay at home all day every day with their kids. Yes, homeschool moms are probably with their kids a greater percentage of their time than traditional school. But built in breaks are healthy too.
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The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is merely opinion based on personal research and experience.