Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday's Top 10: Myths about Homeschoolers

Growing up in a small, southern town I didn't run into many homeschooling families.  The one family that I did know caused me to wonder, "Why in the world would they want to do that?????"  There was little understanding and a lot of ignorance on my part about their choice to homeschool.  Homeschooling was discussed very little and people were not very open about their reasons to school at home.

Now that we are educating our children in the home setting, I want others to understand why.  I want them to see that we are a normal, loving family.  I want the general public to find value in our choice even if it isn't their own current path.  I want others to be accepting and encouraging.  I want to turn the critics into advocates (which is exactly what happened to me about 1 year ago...although to be perfectly honest it wasn't a blog post that accomplished that.  It was the Holy Spirit working in me).

In an attempt to correct the untruths and preconceived notions circling around, I'd like to dispel some myths.

This Tuesday's Top 10 focuses on those myths...the incorrect thoughts about the families that choose the homeschool path.  Some of the myths listed below were some of my own incorrect ideas and some have recently been mentioned to me by people unfamiliar with homeschooling.  I hope this post can educate others and reassure those who have steered away from homeschooling because of a myth.


Top 10 Myths About Our Homeschooling Family
(and these are in no particular order)
**Disclaimer:  The use of "we" refers to my immediate family.  I do not speak for the homeschooling community as a whole...only my family and what we have found to be true.  

1.  Homeschooled children are unsocialized.  They are lonely and isolated.  This is a hot button issue for many of us and to be honest when I first felt the calling to homeschool this was my main concern.  I'm really not even sure how to address this one because "socialization" means something different to all of us.  All I can say is that my children are not lonely or isolated.  They have a large extended family and church we interact with regularly.  They attend sports programs and extra-curricular activities.  They have play dates with friends.  They can have a conversation not only with someone their own age but children, adults, and senior citizens.  They are well-adjusted children.  Are they socialized to the norms of our culture?  Definitely not...and for us that is a good thing. Click here to read more about research findings.

2.  Homeschooling families hate the government and want to live "off the radar."  We are active, law-abiding citizens.  We love our country and its ideals.  We aren't keeping our children locked away in an attempt to hide them from an invasive government.  

3.  We feel that public schools are wrong.  We do not think public schools are wrong; we just feel they are not right for us at this time.  God has called us onto a different path.  I was once a public school teacher. Many of my family members are retired or currently teaching in public schools.  Our children have friends that attend public school, and we financially support the schools with our taxes and fundraisers.

4.  We, as parents, want to be controlling and overbearing.  We may be viewed as over-protective, but we do not see this as a negative.  We desire to guide, protect, lead, and shelter our children.  Itakejoy.com recently posted on this very topic...a great read!

5.  Homeschooling families sit at home all day.  There are some days I wish we could just sit at home. :)  We have regularly scheduled weekly activities away from the house, and we frequently take road trips both near and far.  Even when we are at home, it is not like we are crammed into a little dark dungeon together.  We are often playing in the yard, creating something from nothing, reading together on the couch, or watching favorite movies.    

6.  Homeschooled children will not get into college.  Colleges are actively recruiting homeschooled graduates.  Colleges realize the potential and unique characteristics they can offer.  Also, research shows that a much higher rate of homeschooled graduates attend college as compared to public school graduates.  And once in college they usually perform higher.  

7.  Homeschooled kids will not be allowed to play sports.  This varies depending on where you live and the relationship between the local homeschool community and public school system.  Our town is currently working on making it possible for homeschoolers to participate in sports, band, and other programs offered through the school system.  However, the public school, is not the only option for sports.  City recreation departments, homeschool co-ops, and the YMCA often offer sport programs.  If this is an interest for our kids, we can and will definitely find an outlet.

8.  The homeschooling parents are not accountable to anyone.  While government regulations can be lax in certain states, I am nonetheless held accountable.  I am accountable to my children to give them my very best.  I am accountable to God...remaining in His will, training the children He blessed me with, and teaching them His commandments.  And yes, we do follow state mandated laws concerning the homeschooling program.  We are held accountable.

9.  Homeschooling is rare and an oddity.  This may have been true many years ago, but homeschooling is growing in popularity and the numbers are rising.  The homeschooling population has increased from 13,000 in the 1970s to over 1.5 million.  It is no longer rare.  If I mention homeschooling to someone today, they will either know someone who was/is homeschooled or either they were homeschooled themselves.  

10.  Homeschooling families are crazy and weird.  Hmmm, well I don't think we are weird.  We are on a road not traveled by all, but I don't think this makes us crazy.  In my conversations with other parents, I have often heard, "I wish we could homeschool."  I believe it is a desire for many but obligations and circumstances keep them from taking the leap.  All it takes is a mustard seed.  Luke 17:6  :)

11.  Homeschooling parents must be trained and qualified teachers.  I felt the need to add an extra one because this one I hear a lot...people doubting their own abilities to teach their children.  They feel inadequate and think special training must be needed.  A good friend once told me, "God doesn't call the equiped.  He equips the called."  I have found this to be true over and over.  When God leads me into something new, He will most definitely give me all things to make it work.  So fear not!

In His love,

We finally have some cooler temperatures in the deep south!  So next week I'll share some of our favorite fall activities. :)    



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