“I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think.” – Anne Sullivan
Note to reader: A few years ago I had written up “5 Homeschool Myths” and I just ran across it in my files. I’ve added some detail to them and I’m going to take these week by week…so here goes…
On a typical school day in the United States, 75 million children will spend a majority of their day exclusively in the company of their age-mates. However, nearly 3.2 million children will have a far different structure to their day. For these homeschooled children, their homes and families are the center of their life and learning.
Who are these homeschoolers and why do they homeschool? Are they religious zealots? Are their children anti-social or under-educated? Myths and misunderstanding about homeschooling still abound.
Myth #1: Homeschoolers are Religious Nutjobs
According to a study conducted by the National Household Education Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau, “home schooling is not primarily a religious phenomenon.” Of those surveyed in 1996 and 1999, 33% stated that it was for religious reasons and only 9% due to moral concerns. First and foremost among respondents was the issue of educational quality.
There are many reasons families choose to homeschool. Yes, some choose to do so as a result of their religious beliefs, but most have very different concerns. Let’s look at some of those reasons:
Many parents are concerned with the state of their local schools in regards to the quality of the education and the conformist, one-size-fits-all curriculum. Educating children at home often allows for one-on-one attention, as well as the luxury of specifically designing a curriculum or learning plan to meet the needs of the individual child.
In the wake of school shootings, bullying, and the abundance of illicit drugs available in public schools, more and more families are choosing to school their children in the safety of their own homes.
Family Connection & Values
John Taylor Gatto writes, “It [compulsory education] breaks families, intellects, characters.” He goes on to question why parents would choose to put their children in the hands of strangers who are paid to care for them, when the children could be home with those who love them?
More and more families are watching a sea change occur when their children go away to school. Even at the preschool level, children become more anxious, less verbal, more angry, less happy. Returning to the love of home, surrounded by those who love and care for them, instead of spending their days with strangers paid to care for them, is often all a child needs to blossom again.
Recently a friend of my daughter’s wrote to me to tell me of the amazing changes she had seen in her two-year-old since she was taken out of daycare. She said, “In the past month Kenzie has exploded with vocabulary, potty training like a seasoned expert and has magically gone from the IQ of a 1 year old to that of a 5 year old! She can identify transportation, colors, count to 5, and even microwave scrambled eggs. How is it in the year she was at a licensed daycare she learned to just throw toys and cry?”
Some people do choose to school for religious reasons. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them nutjobs. The reasons that parents homeschool are wide and varied, as are their children, their cultures, and their individual lives.
Stay tuned for next week’s Homeschool Myth – Homeschooled Children Are Not Socialized