When you’re considering homeschooling, you’re likely to hear (or read) a number of myths mixed in with facts from a range of different sources. And it’s the myths that can make you question whether homeschooling is the best option for your family. After all, as a parent, your primary goal is to do the best you can for your family, including ensuring that your children receive a quality education and good preparation for leading happy, productive adult lives. The good news is that I can help you separate the myths from the facts. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common myths as well as some truths, based on my many years of experience and involvement in the homeschool community, to help you make the best possible decision for your child. I hope this helps you determine facts vs. fiction when it comes to homeschooling.
Homeschool Myth #1:
Homeschoolers aren’t prepared socially for living in the real world.
Traditional schools typically place children in a classroom with students of a very narrow age group. Some people think this is simply how things are done. But, as homeschoolers, we have other options! With homeschooling, our children have the opportunity to engage in activities, go on field trips, take classes and participate in groups that allow them to get to know people of widely varying ages, which is usually what happens in the real world.
You know (and probably like) people of all different ages. Why shouldn’t your child? Besides that, a homeschool child often socializes with everyone from the neighborhood children, family members, and friends of the family to the librarian, the mailman and the checkout lady at the grocery store. The walls of a traditional school are not a necessary ingredient for becoming a social being.
Homeschool Myth #2:
Homeschooled children aren’t independent and don’t thrive after graduating high school.
The general idea of this myth is that the home educated are sheltered and overly dependent on their parents for everything. How could they possibly thrive when it’s time to leave the homeschool environment?
Homeschoolers, on average, do spend more time with their parents than their traditionally schooled counterparts, but this doesn’t make them more dependent. I believe the opposite is true. I’ve found that homeschooled children have more confidence and are better equipped to face the “real world” after graduating high school.
With a healthy attachment to their parents and a safe haven to act as a sort of headquarters. Home-educated children typically have the freedom to explore, challenge themselves to try new things, and learn what interests them personally, all things that lead to independence. Likewise, homeschool parents often encourage independent learning, volunteering, and classes and activities in the community. Older homeschooled children may choose to pursue part-time jobs and some even start their own businesses as well. With a safe “nest” from which to fly, homeschoolers can independently soar, secure in the knowledge that they have that safe “nest” to return to.
Homeschool Myth #3:
Homeschoolers don’t do well in college.
Some wonder, if home-educated children don’t spend years learning like most people do in a traditional school setting, how can they truly thrive and compete in a higher-education setting? Others may have the idea that homeschoolers do not have a rigorous education at home and, therefore, aren’t up to a rigorous college education.
We have to keep in mind that every student is an individual, with unique strengths, weaknesses, and interests, regardless of whether he or she receives an education at home or attends a traditional school. As such, whether or not a former homeschooler excels depends on a range of factors, just as it does with students educated in traditional school settings. These factors include, but aren’t limited to, the child’s unique abilities, level of interest, and commitment. However, most homeschoolers who apply to college are accepted, and once enrolled, over 66 percent of them graduate. This is actually higher than the graduation rate of traditionally educated students.
Because homeschoolers are actively engaged in their learning while growing up, they tend to be actively engaged and responsible in their learning at college. They typically get to class prepared, they meet with their professors and ask intelligent, thoughtful questions.
Homeschool Myth #4:
Homeschoolers regret having been homeschooled by their parents.
Sure, I’ve had regrets in life but homeschooling isn’t one of them! Quite frankly, I struggle to recall anyone I’ve known that has regretted their decision to homeschool their children. Even if it turns out that homeschooling isn’t the right choice for a family, it’s rare they regret the time spent together.
Sadly, it seems that negative experiences get more press or exposure than positive experiences. I guess that is because the negatives make such juicy news. We all have things in life that we wish we’d done differently. However, the vast number of homeschoolers I’ve met and interacted with have fond memories of their education at home and believe it positively contributed to the adults they’ve become.
There is a study to back this up! The HSLDA completed a study of over 7,000 formerly homeschooled students, and over 90 percent of them were glad they had been home educated. Of course, statistics can’t tell you everything about every homeschooler, but these are pretty good numbers to consider. The bottom line is homeschooling is what you make of it, and it’s hard to go wrong when parents create a loving, supportive environment in which children can learn, explore, and challenge themselves. Most parents put great effort into creating a positive learning environment for their children, and with that kind of effort, most succeed!
Homeschool Myth #5:
Homeschoolers can’t find jobs after graduation.
I love this one! It’s almost funny because not only are homeschoolers getting great jobs after graduation, a lot of them have great jobs before they graduate! With a more flexible schedule, a lot of homeschoolers are able to work during times that their public-school counterparts cannot and they often find meaningful employment or internships in the fields or industries that they are interested in, which leads to better employment and opportunities after graduation.
I can see how those who don’t have experience with homeschoolers could find it hard to imagine that a person who did not take the traditional educational route can succeed in finding employment. Many are just used to the idea of traditional education, then graduation, possibly college, and then finding a job. However, many homeschoolers go on to college (and some go on to graduate school) while others find productive work in their communities. The occupations of former homeschoolers are wide and varied and over 70 percent get involved in some type of community service. Though their route is not traditional, homeschoolers do not find themselves blocked from achieving their goals and excelling in wide and varied jobs, professions, and business endeavors.
Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but for those who choose it for their families, it can be a wonderful experience that not only provides for a happy and memorable childhood but also prepares children for having rich and satisfying adult lives.