Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top Ten Homeschooling Myths

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Many public schools around the nation are heading back to school this week or next. I thought today might be a good time to dispel some common myths about homeschooling. I've been educating my children at home since my oldest was five years old. He turns 17 today and yes, I am in denial about the fact that he's six feet tall, needs to shave daily, and wears a size 12 shoe. In my head he still looks like this:

However, the kid went and grew up on me - literally! 

But I am digressing into my own little pity party here. On to dispelling those annoying homeschool myths.

{Myth #1} Homeschoolers are "unsocialized"

So let's first look at what "socialization" actually means (defnition taken from www.dictionary.com)


a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norm,values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

Unless I'm missing something, no where does it say anything about having to go to public school to learn how to be properly socialized. My children learn on a daily basis (a continuing process) how to interact with people from all walks of life and any age which is a bit more like real life I think. They can carry on an intelligent conversation with a child younger than they are, the same age as they are, and even older people all the way up to and including adults. They don't shy away from unknown people and in fact, I have to make sure they have some sense of "stranger danger" since they've never met one! Time after time I am complimented on how well they converse and "socialize" with all people. While it's true there may be an awkward homeschooler from time to time who does not interact with others well, I can probably show you a few public school counterparts who are just as awkward.

{Myth #2} Public school is the normal way to educate children

Obviously since I'm including it in my myths, it's not true. No where in the Constitution does it mandate education of children. In fact, there were few public schools in the early formation of our country and most children were educated through private tutors, their parents, or apprenticeships. It's only been in the last 100 years or so that public school has changed to resemble what we have today. Here is a good article with more information.

{Myth #3} You can't homeschool high school.

Yes, you certainly can. I've been homeschooling my oldest since he was five. He starts his junior year in just a few weeks. In fact, I think homeschooling high school is a bit easier than the younger years. At this point he is an independent learner. It's my preference to include him on some of the things we all do each day, but for the most part I hand him his books and a checklist and he completes it on his own. We discuss some of his work and I am here to help him if he needs it. However, I certainly do not stand and lecture him daily on his subjects. I find the resources needed to teach him the information and he learns it on his own. After all, homeschooling shouldn't resemble a public classroom (in my humble opinion) and my job is to help facilitate learning - not actively teach the information.

{Myth #4} You need an "accredited diploma" in order to be accepted in to college

I need to stress something here...not all public schools are accredited so why should homeschoolers even have to worry about this? Because if you are a public school - even if you are not accredited - you will be treated as if you are. In fact, out of the 102 public high schools in my state, only 97 are currently accredited according to an article in our local paper from last year. This includes the local high school that my son would be attending if he were in public school. And further research shows that my alma mater isn't accredited these days either.

{Myth #5} Homeschooling moms have to teach every single subject themselves

My job as a homeschooling mom is to give my children the best education I can. This simply does not mean I am an expert in every single subject. This also does not mean I sit and lecture them every day on every subject while they frantically write notes. In fact, that never happens. Ever. There may be times when they all sit (yes, even the 17 year old) and listen to me read, but it's never a note-taking environment. It's a "let's-talk-and-discuss" this environment and a "tell-me-back-what-you-just-heard-so-I-know-you-understand-it" environment. In fact, last year and this year my two older boys are even taking some online classes taught by others. Why? Because one wanted to learn Chinese and I have absolutely no ability to teach it. All of my boys also use computer courses for some of their coursework as well. Why? Because my math skills are horrid and I needed an "expert" teacher who could explain it to them in order for them to understand the concepts I struggle with. It's not about me actively teaching them every single day. It's about me making the necessary resources available to them every day in order for them to learn.

{Myth #6} Homeschoolers are super smart!

Again, this is a stereotype that has been perpetuated over and over. Yes, some homeschoolers are brilliant and get their college education at the age of 12. My children are not such children.  The joy in homeschooling is that you can tailor the education to your child! I don't have to worry about little Susie who is a bit behind in class or little Johnny who is light years ahead of everyone else. The education I provide my children is specific to their learning style and their needs. And I only have three students. That's vastly different than trying to teach 25 or more students at the same time every single day. My hat does go off to the public school teacher trying to do just that.

{Myth #7} Homeschooling is too expensive

It can be but it certainly doesn't have to be. In this day and age there are literally thousands of free online resources that make homeschooling an affordable option. If one has an internet connection and a printer, one can homeschool for almost nothing. One of my new favorites that I share with folks who ask about saving money on homeschooling is Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool. This website has a full year of coursework set up for grades preK through 8 and she's currently working on high school. She is a mom of many who started putting together her own curriculum while a missionary overseas. She was using the free resources she found online and put together the website in order to share it with not only her children as they grew but made it available to everyone with an online connection. It's amazingly generous of her.

We are also a one income family. Over 12 years ago we made a lot of sacrifices in order to live this life. We sold our "dream" house after only living there two years and moved to a small four room apartment. I remember taking back bottle and cans to get a few extra dollars and scrounging for change so I could have a bit of "pin money." It can be done, but it's hard. And I'm certainly not saying everyone should go this route, but it's how we made it work for us.

{Myth #8} Homeschoolers never leave the house

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh wait, while I catch my breath!!! I have to be very conscious of what I sign up for otherwise we would be on the road all the time. It's very easy to over schedule a day, a week, or a month due to all the fantastic opportunities we are presented with, but I have learned over the years that it's better to pick and choose the opportunities rather than to be constantly on the go. It's hard to educate at home if you are rarely there.

{Myth #9} Homeschooling families are ultra conservative

I do not wear skirts every day and, in fact, I wear them rarely. I am typically in jeans and a t-shirt. Yes, we attend church and we do include Bible study in our coursework, but we also listen to music (Christian artists though), watch movies, and read books that many find controversial (dare I say "Harry Potter?"). We are as normal as your next door neighbors or perhaps even more normal! We are Bible-believing Christians, but that is not the sole basis for our reason to homeschool.

{Myth #10} Homeschoolers spend the day in their pajamas

This never ever happens at my house. While some families may opt for this, it never happens here. It's actually a pet peeve of mine and even when my boys were babies, I rarely took them out in public in their jammies. Of course, I've seen the newest fashion trend and quite frankly I think my kids are dressed in regular clothes more often than their public school peers. I see folks in their PJs everywhere - including the woman walking alongside the road this morning at 11am.....

This is just ten of the more common myths. There are more, but my purpose in writing this is to simply say that while homeschooling may not be for everyone neither is public education. I do not judge anyone for the way they educate their children, so please think before you ask me if what I'm doing is even legal.

Check out more {Top Ten Tuesday} links over at Many Little Blessings.

Many Little Blessings


  1. In your case, homeschoolers are never at the house. You should probably call yourselves Tahoe schoolers. Now I need to go get out of my pajamas so we can start school.

  2. As a mom who homeschooled all 4 of my kids I thought your post was right on -- You only left one thing out that homeschooling actually enhances the day-to-day relationships parents have with our kids. With my oldest just graduating from home high school in May and heading off to a prestigious 4-year East Coast university now, I can't imagine why MORE people don't enrich their kids with the homeschool experience. I am so glad we took our kids out of traditional school and took the homeschool route!


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