With the school year upon us (well, some of you anyway: we don’t start back until after Labor Day), now seems like a perfect time to address some homeschooling myths. Since we started down this road six years ago, we’ve heard all sorts of “concerns” and questions in that time.
Today I want to break some of these long-perpetuated stereotypes to encourage moms who may be curious about homeschooling…and to prevent the rest of you from sticking your feet in your mouths in the Target checkout line (based on a true story). Ready?
Myth #1: Homeschooled children are not socialized.
Let’s tackle this one immediately, because I think it’s probably every homeschool family’s least favorite. We get it: the bulk of the universe is deeply concerned about homeschoolers’ social skills. Our own school liason on the base where Branden was stationed for some time wondered, out loud, in the middle of our “new to homeschool” meeting, how our children would ever learn to stand in lines.
I won’t speak for every family out there, but my kiddos are with their age group quite often through church, field trips/activities with fellow homeschoolers, extracurriculars, and free time with friends. Even better, in my opinion, is the fact that they are with ALL age groups quite often. They are inclusive of smaller kids and can hold their own in a conversation with an adult.
Oh, and we can stand in lines, but please don’t get Elyn started on having to be the caboose.
Myth #2: Parents who homeschool are just overprotective. You can’t just keep your children locked away from the world.
Every family has slightly different motivation for homeschooling, but I can nearly guarantee you that for every one parent whose motivation is to shelter, there are a dozen who have no such intentions. The last thing most of us want is for our babies to waltz into their college classes sounding like Bobby Boucher in The Waterboy. Homeschooling can be an amazing opportunity for travel, and can be used in a very intentional way to expose kids to many cultures and world views. Our morning starts with a “meeting” that involves age-appropriate discussion of current world events: no locking away, no ornery gators.
Myth #3: But they miss out on SO many experiences!
I will concede that in decades past, this may have been true for your average homeschooling kiddo. These days, nearly all those experiences are offered: from gym, art, and music classes, to field days and proms, some determined trailblazing moms have made sure their kids don’t miss much of anything. Watching my bigs play with a parachute in their cooperative gym class made me so ridiculously happy.
The one complaint I was given from my crew was that we didn’t have book fair, so now we do a bi-yearly Barnes and Noble trip for that sole purpose. Heck, if your kid misses them like my oldest did, you can even order lunch trays. Which sort of transitions nicely to my next myth…
Myth #4: Homeschoolers are weird.
This is another one we hear. A lot. “I knew this kid who homeschooled, he/she was SO weird…” Okay. it’s true. My kids are weird. Capital W. Weird. But I would bet my coffee AND wine money on the fact that they would be even if they were in conventional school. I’d also bet that you knew some weird kids in your school, too, yes?
Maybe sometimes homeschool lets the wonderfully weird kids stay weird. I sure hope so.
Myth #5: Supermom.
Ohhh, this one. I think homeschool moms (and dads!) are amazing, but not superhuman. I don’t have the patience of a saint. Truth is, I used to get just as frustrated over Baylor’s hour of homework when he was in public school as I would any given school day now. I do not have a teaching degree, I am not a craft queen, and I am not Mary Poppins. I’m just willing to show up and be, as someone once said, “one day ahead of them.”
I’m going to take a small rabbit trail here and say that if you’re in the habit of saying to homeschool moms how you “could never stand to be with your kids all day” in front of both your kids and theirs, please stop that. It’s awkward for everyone. And I really enjoy being with mine…although a trip to the grocery store alone wouldn’t hurt my feelings.
Myth #6: Homeschoolers do not get a proper education.
Your average homeschooler is doing more than fine on the academic front, even those with parents who hold no education higher than a high school diploma. Their median standardized test scores often fall between the 70th and 80th percentile. Our bigs both currently score, on average, about two years beyond their actual grades.
Aside from the numbers, homeschoolers are being sought out by Ivy League Schools. This seems to be due to their independent study skills, self-driven work habits, community service hours. Well rounded educations can brought about by a school with no, or sometimes many, walls.
Myth #7: I homeschool, therefore you should homeschool.
It almost never fails: I tell someone new that we homeschool and I get an explanation as to why they do not. Sisterfriend, no, you so don’t have to do that. My oldest was in public school for three years, and in that time he had brilliant, wonderful teachers. I’m so thankful to them; to all the hard-working teachers out there. My hat is off to you mamas up before the sun in the drop-off lines. We started homeschooling simply because there was a chance of Baylor being in THREE different schools in one year with my husband’s military career. It was meant for a season, but it just happened to continue working for us. Every year now, the option is open. The choice is theirs. I always said this would not continue if it wasn’t working, and I still hold to that. Even if none of that were true, though- really. You know your littles best. We are all doing our best. No judgment here. Not an ounce.
Myth #8: Homeschoolers hang out in pajamas all day.
Well. I mean. If we’re home, then yeah. Pajamas. Not even sorry.