Even with all the data and proof, there is still a lot of doubt about homeschooling. There are still those who say it’s foolish, unwise, irresponsible, or even selfish. Stories of families who use the guise of homeschooling to mask corrupt parenting fuel the cloud of judgment many still hold to.
Today, I want to debunk a few of the myths surrounding homeschool and what better way to do that, then by giving you some examples from our little homeschool.
Myth #1: Homeschooled Children Aren’t Properly Socialized
This myth, thankfully, is one I have never personally had to deal with, however, it is a common one. For us anyway, this is far from the truth.
In our little corner of the world, we are out and about daily. Keeping the kids involved in their community and allowing them to follow their interests means I spend a lot of time getting them to and from their various extracurricular pursuits. Activities range from music and band at the local public school to scouting and team sports. We do this to allow the kids the opportunity to interact with other kids, to get out of the house, and to learn more than just what we are able to teach here.
More than just interacting with kids, we also give them opportunities to interact with their community. Everything from running errands with me, to sending them to the store allows them the opportunity to be social, to meet new people, and to learn life skills.
All this extra effort pays off too. The kids have the opportunity to do things that we can’t here. They get a chance to get out of the house. The community knows who we are, and the kids are able to maintain friendships they started years ago.
Honestly, this myth does makes me giggle a little, simply because as a kid I remember countless teachers telling me school was not a place to socialize. But I digress…
Myth #2: Homeschool Families Just Want To Shelter Their Kids
I don’t want to shelter my kids from the world but I do want to prevent them from learning about things too young. As a parent, that is my right.
I don’t want to create a false reality where the world is a kind and safe place at all times but I do want to prevent them from learning about all of the evil out there at one time. There is something to be said for letting a child simply be a child for as long as possible.
I don’t want to indoctrinate my children into believing only what I have taught them, rather, I do want to prevent the indoctrination of my children to morals and values that directly go against our beliefs.
For us, this one is a balancing act, as I am sure the same can be said for countless other homeschool families. We do our best to balance; to be sure we are presenting both sides and leave room for personal convictions and opinions. We don’t shut out the outside world simply because we choose to educate differently.
Myth #3: I’m Not Qualified To Teach My Children
Out of the three here, this one bothers me the most. I am not sure why we as a society have decided that parents are not qualified to teach their own children. Or, why we have decided to downplay the role of the parent.
Worse, why we would think its ok to belittle a person into thinking they can’t do things.
Steve Jobs is credited with saying, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Now, I don’t think I can change the whole world, but I do think I can change my world and the world for my children.
I do that every day by getting up and giving my all to my kids. By devoting countless hours to learning, planning, and then educating. By being willing to look up information and answers to their questions.
No, I do not hold a teaching degree but I can tell you that as a graduate of public education, not all teaching degrees are equal. I had many wonderful teachers, but I also had many who were not. A teaching degree in and of itself does not make a great teacher.
What does make a great teacher? One with passion and with interest. One who can spur a love of learning. A person who is willing to try and try again until a student is able to learn the materials even if that means approaching a subject in a different manner. Humility, patience, gentleness, kindness… these are all the attributes needed in my opinion to be a great educator. These are the attributes I try to strive for.
Some days, my aim is better than others.
But each day the goal is the same: to teach my children a little more than they knew the day before. To allow them to follow their own interests and think outside the box. To ask the questions that lead to the answers about whatever is on their minds. Because, even if I don’t know the answer, I will try to find it.
Don’t Let The Myths Fool You
There are countless other myths out there surrounding homeschooling. This list is far from complete. But the reality is, if you are serious about educating your child, you can overcome any obstacle out there. You can find a way to teach and to help your children succeed.
Homeschooling is growing, and as it continues to do so and as homeschoolers continue to do well, we can prove that this isn’t just a fad. We can show that homeschooling is about so much more than simply keeping your kids home every day, knowing what they are learning, and having a front row seat to their childhood. It’s about a way of life that is centered around the family and the joy of being with the people in your home.
There is hope in the chaos that is homeschooling your children, regardless of what others may say. There is joy in the little victories that is advancing your children daily in their knowledge and abilities. And there is a delight in knowing that you are playing more than a second-string role in the raising of your children.