With almost 7 years of homeschooling under my belt, I can say with certainty that I have heard of many misconceptions when it comes to homeschooling. Until I had my first encounter with a homeschooling family when I was a Sunday School Superintendent, I had my own misgivings when it came to the subject. If you had asked me then, I would have told you that homeschoolers are hippy, religious fanatics who are over protective and shielding their children, who were all wearing jean jumpers by the way, from the world. I’m glad to say I was wrong. All of the homeschool families we have come across are caring, loving, helpful people who support and encourage and understand differences.
I believe that most of the misconceptions come from being uninformed. So ,as with me, I’m sure others just want to educate the world on this incredibly, enriching educational choice.
As a homeschooling mother of 4, I have had to debate these issues with our families, our friends, our neighbours and society in general. As I lay these out, please realize that there are always exceptions to the rule. Just as we are different from other families in our own cities, we are different from other homeschool families all over the world. However, in this beautiful world of ours it truly does take all kinds. Life would be dreadful if we were all clones.
#1. Is this even legal?
Oh, the height of misinformation! It would just take a quick Google search for anyone not familiar with homeschooling to find out in less than 5 minutes that it is in fact legal to homeschool in Canada and the U.S. I believe society in general has been fed an incredibly negative image of homeschooling from the media. What are they suppose to think? It is such a disservice to us who do homeschool who have to put up with jeering neighbours and very unfair questions.
Yes, there are different rules governing each state and province and they do need to be followed, but for the most part if people would just ask the homeschool parents if it is legal, we would be more than happy to set them straight. I believe the more positive media that people see, the better this situation will get.
#2. What about socialization?
Having heard this concern so many times, it makes me wish people could spend a week in my home. They wouldn’t question that anymore. My children are articulate, friendly and will have a conversation with anyone of any age. They are involved in many social outings and activities with public school children every week. They love life and they love people, all people. They are very tolerant and wouldn’t shy away from speaking or praying in public.
I live in a small city and there are an overwhelming amount of homeschool and community activities to keep us out of the house all day. I have to consciously make the decision to say no to some outings so as to have time for schoolwork and family time. You can become so wrapped up in the socialization bubble that you neglect fostering relationships with your children in the quiet times at home.
I do realize that there are homeschoolers who are not social and are not involved in community activities, but from what I’ve seen they are few and far between. Just like there are public schooled children who don’t socialize in school well and are not in any activities outside of school, there are homeschoolers like that; however, I believe we need to be judged on an individual basis, not in a lump sum.
#3. It’s too expensive!
It can be expensive to homeschool. If you allow yourself to become a curriculum junkie and buy all the latest materials from all the lovely and compelling ads that you see in the pursuit of the PERFECT curriculum, you will be struggling financially and emotionally. The perfect curriculum doesn’t exist. A fancy curriculum can promise you the moon, but if you don’t utilize it correctly or it is not in line with your children’s learning style, it is no better than a free resource off of the internet.
I begin researching for materials for the coming year starting in January of the current year. That way I have lots of time to prepare and analyze the styles and to determine if that free resource off of the internet is equally as good. You need to keep your head about you at all times when it comes to determining what’s really necessary.
I have been researching homeschool methods and materials since my now 12 year old son was 3 months old, because I knew the time would slip away and I would be forced to make a decision. I like to be prepared and for most part I have been. I only spend what I’ve wanted to, not what I’ve felt pressured into. It is possible to homeschool for free, minus printer ink and paper.
#4. I could NEVER spend that much time with my kids! When would I get time for myself?
While it is true that your children being home 24/7 can be trying on the nerves. I see the benefits of close relationships between my children and I and between siblings being close that far out way any inconvenience I may feel on not getting alone time.
If someone is concerned on getting alone time there are several ways that can be accomplished.
– arrange with a fellow homeschool mother to take her children for an afternoon and vice versa
– make sure the children go to bed at a decent time so you can have time with your spouse or alone.
– be honest with family and friends, let them know you need regular alone time, even if it’s just shopping without littles. Give them the chance to offer to watch your children.
– Let your spouse know it’s important for date nights or solo shopping sprees. If he sees how happy and relaxed it makes you, he’ll see the benefits of stepping up and taking the children to the park for a few hours or hiring a sitter for some much needed romance.
– many homeschool progams require a parent to sit and wait. If it’s a library take the time to peruse the adult section. If it’s someplace else, bring along a book, laptop, project you’re working on. Or take the time to socialize with fellow homeschool mothers.
– the one that works for me is letting my children know that I cannot be there constant source of entertainment, they can read, play LEGO’s, invent a play, play quietly in their rooms, watch the occasional educational video.
Please do not make the decision to not homeschool based on how much time you believe you need alone. It can be a false trap to causes you to lose out on the joys of homeschooling.
#5. Homeschoolers are lazy and undereducated.
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is how my four children can develop their talents and interests and that they have the time they need to be interested in subjects and dig deeper if need be. My children are involved in community activities like Scouts Canada, Guides Canada, AWANA, Gems and Cadets, swimming lessons and homeschooling activities such as CO-OP’s, LEGO club, French class, soccer, gym and swim, skating and dance. And that’s just what we do, there are many more things we could do.
I know this is not true for every family; however, my children are one grade ahead of where they would be in public school. I believe that is in large part to the less one on one attention it takes to accomplish the same things at home. We also school year round so there is no need to play catch up at the beginning of the year. I find that because I’m able to correct my children’s work instantly they do not develop false methods of doing schoolwork.
When I made the decision to put my children in school for a year and a half, they fit right in. I just missed our time together as a family so we brought them home for good. Society claims tolerance for different lifestyles and choices; however, the homeschool family rarely benefits from this tolerance.
It is my hope that we as homeschoolers are not intimidated by the naysayers and stand firm for what we believe is the best choice for our families.