Myths about Homeschooling

When I published my workbook in 2006, I went on homeschool sites, offering a free copy to any mom who wanted one.  I ended up giving 800+ copies to homeschool families around the country. Not only did I want their input but I knew if they liked my book, they would recommend it to others. 

Four years later, I’ve sold 9,000+ copies!  Having given out 800+ copies, I received emails, some extremely poignant, from moms all over the country who wrote to me about their children. What have I learned from homeschool moms?  That the following myths are not true:

Everyone who homeschools does so for religious reasons.  Not true.  Although many families do homeschool to promote their religious and moral values, there are secular homeschoolers.

Everyone who homeschools does so by choice.  Not true.  I’ve received any number of emails from moms, particularly from moms of special needs children, who tell me they had no option but to take their child out of school because the school was not addressing their child’s needs.  Some children had been severely misdiagnosed; others, horribly bullied or ignored by teachers.  Some mothers gave up the struggle and brought their child home.

Homeschool families homeschool all their children.  Not true.  As in the situation described above, a family may choose to homeschool a special needs child and leave other children in the classroom.

Homeschool families are white and middle class.  Not true.  I’ve heard from many African-American families who tell me they homeschool because they do not want their children, particularly their sons, to be “socialized” by underachieving peers. Not only do homeschool families represent all races and religions but social economic groups. As families depend on only one wage provider, some families  make great financial sacrifices to homeschool.  Budgets are often tight. 

Homeschooled children will not develop social skills.  Not true.  Homeschool children often have numerous siblings.  Their school is like the one-room schoolhouse frontier families attended.  Also through soccer teams, sports, music lessons and the like, there are numerous opportunities for children to socialize with others.

Homeschooled children may thrive in the elementary years but will suffer in the high school years because what parent could teach all those subjects?  Again not true.  I’ve found that in the high school years, moms find other homeschool moms proffcient in the subject, hire tutors or enroll a child in a community college class.  These children often take AP classes.

Universities frown upon homeschooled children.  Not true.  Universities like diversity in their student body.  Homeschooled children offer that.  Not only do they tend to be more self-directed and inquisitive but also well read.  Many have had opportunties for travel or have lived abroad.

Homeschooling families have rigid structures.  Not true.  Homeschooling gives families enourmous flexibility in scheduling.  Music lessons?  Why not in the morning when teachers are more readily available?  Five-day a week classes?  Why not four days and the fifth one spent at a museum or historical site?  Dad flying to New York on business?  Why not have the family go along and visit the Natural Science Museum and all the fascinating places the city has to offer?   Studying American History?  Why not a sidetrip to Washington D.C.?  There is great opportunity to make the world the virtual classroom.

Thank you to all the homeschool moms who shared their stories with me.

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