Debunking Those Pesky Homeschool Myths – Part 1 of 5

“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:

Individual Attention

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.

Safety

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

 

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4 Responses to Debunking Those Pesky Homeschool Myths – Part 1 of 5

  1. Bravo! Thank you! I was homeschooled my entire education. When my parents started NOBODY was doing that! But that was that was over 25 years ago! It still amazes me how ignorant people are on the subject!

    • Christine says:

      Wow, Jennifer, I had no idea you were hs’d! That is awesome! I just met a hs’ing family whose kids are 24, 19, and 16 – all hs’d, from day one on. Watch for their profile in a couple of weeks!

  2. fleshtheworld says:

    Love the article. For me the only obvious concern that pops up for homeschooling is the social part of it. For public schools, the only good thing about it is the social part, but even its social part is not good because of all the other bad things that comes with public schools. The second concern is, bad parents 🙂

    Any thoughts on those 2 as a homeschooler yourself?

    • Christine says:

      Well, how do you define social?

      Better yet, as an adult, how often do you find yourself surrounded by your age-mates? It is an artifice – one that limits children’s thinking and ability to be flexible. My six-year-old interacts easily with all ages. She is not shy around adults, teens, or other children. She plays with a broad age range – four years old to as old as twelve – and relates with them well. She recently joined a Girl Scout troop that was filled with girls just one year older than her. All of them were in first or second grade public school while she is kindergarten age (although she is currently studying first grade curriculum). They refused to play with her once they learned her age, arbitrarily deciding she was “too little” for their activities. It took moving her to a new troop filled with a wide range of homeschooled girls (ages 5-15) for her to feel at home.

      Homeschoolers do not usually make these artificial distinctions – and readily accept younger and older children into their midst.

      Socialization is the lie that we have been taught to excuse a homogenous behavior mandated in an artificial and short-lived setting.