“You want to know why you shouldn’t homeschool? Homeschoolers are poor. They’re socially inept. And of course, you know they’ll never get into college. I also heard that they aren’t very well educated because you can’t learn properly if you don’t have a certified teacher showing you what to learn.” But, are these statements true or homeschool myths?
I was homeschooled myself, I’m currently homeschooling as a parent. I’ve written a book about homeschooling too. However, I commonly hear a lot of myths about home education. I’d like to correct these misconceptions in this article.
Let’s get started!
They’re Unsocialized! (The BIGGEST Homeschool Myth!)
This is a huge one! It goes something like this:
To fit into society, you need to be in society. Homeschooled children are at home all day and don’t socialize much. They need to spend more time with peers their own age. Also, this needs to start early in preschool, or at least by age six. Otherwise, kids will be clueless when they enter the real world and start a job. Hah! They won’t even be able to get a girlfriend because they’ll be so socially retarded!
On average, they socialize with three groups a week (i.e. church, homeschool co-ops, homeschool groups, family catchups). This is on top of their day-to-day interactions in the community or neighbourhood.
Some homeschool parents argue homeschoolers are better socialized than school children. At this point, it’s important to look at the definition.
But, broadly speaking, the aim of socialization is to make a child recognize the social norms within his or her community. Some of these might be:
- Yes, I need to wait until Mr Snezno stops speaking before I speak. And if that’s not going to happen, is there a polite way I can interrupt?
- No, I shouldn’t mumble and look at my toes when this lady is asking me a question.
- Yes, I should wear deodorant otherwise people won’t be able to concentrate when they talk to me.
I’d argue homeschoolers are often better socialized as they’re not confined to socialize with only one age group in school. School students, on the other hand, have far less exposure to people of different ages, and sometimes fail to develop the skills needed to talk to others of different ages.
Homeschoolers are Dumb
This is one of the homeschool myths that I never hear these days, but here’s the argument if you haven’t heard it yet:
If you don’t go to school, you won’t get an education. And if you don’t have an education, you’re gonna look pretty dumb.
These days, homeschoolers tend to have more of a reputation for being overly intelligent. In fact, a common homeschooling question is, ‘Are homeschoolers smarter than public school children?‘
The answer of course is no.
But, homeschoolers have so many more opportunities to broaden their horizons and learn new things due to the massive amount of spare time they have up their sleeves.
What this means is that they can learn piano, take care of the veggie patch, work on their entrepreneur venture, attend sport lessons, do their curriculum homework, learn to cook, go on a socializing trip ALL IN ONE DAY.
You don’t have the time to do all this in one day if you go to school.
Furthermore, school kids are often exhausted when they get home.
But, homeschoolers can pace themselves.
This means they learn to think more broadly, and often more critically as they’re not always being told what to think. Instead, they’re learning how to think.
Furthermore, as far as excelling in homework goes, homeschoolers have one-on-one access to parents who can help them with their schoolwork issues and deal with their problems as they arise.
This is a huge academic headstart and probably accounts for why their test scores are almost always better in studies compared to their public school peers.
Help… They’re all Fundamentalists!
Of all the homeschool myths, this is my favourite. It goes like this:
Look at them! In their little Christian cloister…they’re hatching plans…probably don’t vaccinate. And just look at those skirts…down to the ground! They’re really no good for society. You know what we should do? We should outlaw homeschooling. That’s what. Get rid of those fundamentalists!
It makes me laugh because it’s got a grain of truth to it. But, only a grain.
Home educated students are very different from mainstream students in school. I’d like to argue this is a good thing. And it’s good for society. Something like, ‘If you had chicken for dinner every night, wouldn’t you get sick of it?’
You might say, ‘Well, I’d prefer chicken over tofu [tofu being the homeschoolers]’
If you’re still following me, I’d like to argue that homeschoolers are more like beef. (And I’m so sorry to any vegetarians out there!)
But the point is that homeschoolers are very beneficial to society, as they’re often well-brought-up, polite individuals and quite remarkable in these ways.
As home education is becoming more popular, the demographic is changing. And these people homeschool for many different reasons.
Certainly, a proportion of homeschoolers are from Christian families. And, yes, these parents choose to homeschool as they feel they can better teach their children their beliefs and values better than schools…and many do.
They’re Slightly Richer than Churchmice
Out of all the homeschool myths, this is one with a grain of truth:
Uneducated people don’t realize the value of education. So they tend to homeschool their children more. And then homeschool moms are all stay-at-home moms so they don’t earn extra income for their family either.
Homeschool families tend to survive with only one breadwinner. They do this because they see value in personally investing in their children’s education.
And yes, having only one breadwinner means there is a huge loss of income.
But, while homeschool families often do earn less than the average wage-earner, they don’t earn much less or don’t earn less at all in some cases.
And this is why I’d classify this one as a homeschool myth.
They Have No Life Skills
The argument for this homeschool myth runs something like this:
If children are stuck at home all day, how are they going to learn about real life? After all, you need to get into the world to be able to develop life skills, don’t you.
This one might address two issues. Firstly, we want children to have practical skills (like money skills, or handyman skills). Secondly, we want our children to be socialized. The socialization question has been dealt with in Homeschool Myth #1.
But, we’ll deal with the practical skills question here. And I’ll start with my husband’s complaint about his school experience.
He complained that (even though he went to a top grammar school which cost his parents a mini fortune) he learned very few practical skills.
By the time my husband had finished his education, he couldn’t use a drill, had never used a hammer, and didn’t know anything about practical money skills. He also only had very basic cooking skills.
And (I’d argue this is very important), he didn’t know the difference between a duck and a goose.
My homeschool education taught me all this and much more. This is because we spent time with my father who taught us many handyman skills. We had a garden where we grew vegetables and learned the names of various flora and fauna.
We also kept animals as pets, or as food sources (such as chickens).
My parents also taught me how to efficiently cook, sew and clean.
But, there’s no way I would have had time to learn all this if I’d gone to school.
There’s No Way Homeschoolers Are Going to Harvard
This is one of the homeschool myths that put many parents off homeschooling:
If you don’t go to school, you won’t be able to get an end of school year certificate. And if you don’t get that, you won’t be able to get into college. Or do tertiary education.
While this may have been true a few decades ago, it is very easy to enter college these days. This is because there is a myriad of pathways you can take to get a tertiary education.
My two brothers and I entered college using three different pathways.
And this was 10 years ago.
Tertiary education is a lot more accessible these days.
Perhaps this is because colleges seem to be more about making money and less about teaching students proficiently.
(BTW, I DON’T recommend college for homeschool graduates…do this instead. It’s way better.)
And as far as Harvard goes, homeschoolers are prefered and welcomed with open arms! This is because they usually have an amazing portfolio due to their free time.
As such, Harvard is as easy (or easier) to enter for homeschoolers these days.
Parents Can’t Teach – You Need a Real Teacher
The argument on this one goes something like this
If your parent teaches you, how can you learn anything properly? After all, they’re not certified. And some aren’t even decently educated. Besides, who are these homeschool parents to think they can do a better job of teaching compared to certified teachers???
Sadly, this line of thinking fails to recognize the amazing brains children are born with. Kids can learn most things themselves thanks to:
- and other influential people around them.
I was homeschooled myself, and I learned how to spell from the mountain of books we got from the library each week and my curriculum books.
My parents taught me about financial matters, but we also learned a lot about money from books we borrowed from the library.
And if you think you need special qualifications to homeschool, that isn’t true either.
My parents are a great example of this being untrue. My brothers did law and architecture degrees and worked successfully in these fields while I did a medical science degree and a year of medicine…all this with parents who didn’t have teaching or education degrees.
One thing my Mom and Dad had in spades, though, was love and patience. They always encouraged us and I believe this encouragement is what has enabled us to be where we are now.
Conclusion: Debunking Homeschool Myths
Thankfully, many people realize the common homeschool myths that have done the rounds over the last few decades can’t be true. This is due to excellent blogs and journalism which has dispelled these myths over time. Now home education isn’t a scary option. Instead, it’s becoming a valid choice for parents who are unhappy with their children’s education in school or think they can teach their children better than the schools can. If you’re interested in homeschooling, check out how to get started here.