By Sarah Borroum
The Most Common Home-schooling Myths Exposed and Explained
Even though the number of home-schoolers in the United States increases every year, many people still believe that families who choose this lifestyle are, to put it bluntly, messing up their kids for life.
That’s wrong, thankfully, and so are the rest of the most popular myths about home-schooling and its participants. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about this rapidly-growing group of people. “Home-schoolers don’t socialize.” That’s just wrong. Period. The classroom is not the only place for children to interact with each other. Even before kids start school, they spend time with other children. They socialize through play dates, neighbors and day-care. And, like adults, kids also meet other people through personal activities such as sports, religious meetings such as church and hobby/personal interest groups.
And even after children start attending school, they interact with other kids through extracurricular activities. Sports teams, scouting events, and other after-school programs, as well as other children in the neighborhood, all make up a regular kid’s social network. Even if that child doesn’t go to a regular classroom five days a week, he has that series of friends and acquaintances to help him learn the social skills and other things that he’ll need for the rest of his life.
“Home-schoolers hang out at home all day.” For some, this is certainly true, but many are part of home-schooling groups. These groups come in any variety that you can imagine. Some are large; others are small. Some are headed by certified teachers; others are led by parents. Home-schooled children often even have the same classroom hours as their publicly-educated counterparts: they just don’t attend the local public school.
One of the greatest advantages to being home-schooled is that field trips can happen any time of the day, week or year. Home-schooling groups can go to the most popular places in the middle of the week, when other children are in school, to avoid the crowds. They can also plan field trips and other outings around parents’ schedules so that more Moms and Dads can be involved by taking a half-day off work, for example, or requesting a vacation day before the event.
“Nobody takes a home-school graduate seriously.” This might have been true in the past, but today’s higher-education scene is different. Universities actively recruit home-schoolers. One example is in Texas, where several major universities use the same online application form. This form explicitly asks if the applicant was home-schooled: something that most assuredly does not count against that student.
Employers also look for home-school graduates. Small companies and large corporations alike understand that home-schoolers aren’t anti-social or otherwise defective: in fact, many employers value these graduates for their independent study and thinking skills.
“Most kids are home-schooled because they were kicked out of regular school.” Some have been expelled from public school, but most home-schoolers are in fact welcome in their local school districts. There are many reasons to home-school, so making any assumption about why a kid isn’t in a traditional classroom will probably be wrong.
“Home-school parents need to be certified teachers.” In most cases, this is false. While there are plenty of teachers who belong to home-schooling groups, and do in fact teach these students, this is usually not a requirement. Unfortunately, certified teachers aren’t required in all public school districts either: thanks to the teacher shortage in some areas, districts can opt to certify their own teachers: a practice that circumvents state certification.
“Home-schooled children are painfully shy.” There are shy children no matter where you look. Public and private schools are filled with children who aren’t overly social: a personal character trait that has little, if anything, to do with education. Most home-schooled children have more than enough social skills to interact with other people of all ages and backgrounds without any major issues.
“Home-schoolers are robbed of important childhood events like the prom and sports.” Home-schooling groups can have prom night. And there are plenty of home-schoolers who go to the “regular” prom with their dates – students who attend that school.
As for sports: home-schooled students are often allowed to play on local high-school teams. And when that isn’t possible, there are other leagues that welcome home-schoolers. The students only miss out on football, volleyball or basketball if they choose not to find a team to join.
“Not many home-schooling families have the science labs like the ones at the high school.” Some home-schooling groups do, though. Parents can also rent the equipment or take their children on field trips to science exhibits and other such places. Plus, many science experiments can be done with simple household items, which any parent can pick up at the grocery or hardware store.
“Home-schoolers don’t have P.E. classes.” Most don’t run laps in the gym, true, but they exercise their bodies in other ways. Home-schooled kids can be involved in sports – team or individual – and take up any other physical activity that they like. There’s more to staying physically fit than playing with the ripstop-nylon parachute that the fourth-grade gym teacher drags out every rainy day.
And, because home-schoolers are rarely put into groups of twenty to sixty or more children, their physical activities are more rewarding. They don’t have to wait for most of the period to have one turn with the basketball: instead, they can play with the rest of the small group the entire time so that everyone gets more exercise and practice with teamwork skills.
“Home-schoolers can’t serve in the military.” Right now the U.S. Army is actively recruiting home-school graduates. According to goarmy.com, home-school graduates can receive up to $40,000 in cash bonuses, as well as over $70,000 in money for college.
Most of the myths are perpetrated by people who don’t think about home-schooling logically – and by people who don’t actually know any home-schooling parents or children. Looking at the facts and truths of home-schooling will usually show that the stereotypes are wrong. And even if a few of them are true in some cases, that still doesn’t make the entire idea bad.
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