Many people are reluctant to homeschool their kids for a variety of different reasons. However, most of these reasons are really just fears, rooted in the unknown. I remember thinking that homeschooling was just doing school at home and wondering why someone would do that. Once I found how completely wrong I was, I started to fall in love with the idea of it. And yet, I still had many fears. In this article, I will address five misconceptions about homeschooling. By just having more understanding, you too may have a change of mind and heart.
My Kids Will be Socially Awkward
This has been one of the most common misconceptions over the years but has gradually lost some steam. As more people are homeschooling, many people are realizing that homeschooled kids aren’t lacking social skills.
I believe this is true for a couple reasons. One, kids have many opportunities these days, whether it be at church, on sports teams, in co-ops, or merely in the neighborhood to interact with their peers.
Two, interacting primarily with other kids their age isn’t going to make kids have great social skills. Homeschooled kids have the opportunity to interact with people of many different ages, including those much older and younger. Through these interactions, they can learn how to have mature conversations with people of any age.
And let’s face it. Some kids are just awkward. I work with 4th and 5th-grade students at my church and many of those public schooled kids are awkward. It doesn’t have to do with how they are educated. It’s just their natural personality.
So rest assured, if you homeschool your kids, it does not mean they are bound to be socially awkward!
My Kids Will Not Receive a Good Education
While this is an understandable fear, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, recent studies show that homeschoolers actually score higher on standardized tests than both public and private schooled kids. Yes, higher!
For one, there are countless curriculum options available these days that are very challenging for homeschoolers. Because student to teacher ratios are much lower at home than in a classroom, each student can go at his or her own pace, not being held back or pushed forward. Thus, students can really get the attention they need for each subject.
Moreover, as most people know, education does not simply include that which we learn from textbooks. It is so much more than that.
Learning at home gives students a well-rounded education in real life as they see it played out before them each and every day.
From cooking, cleaning, and running errands, to interacting with adults, to welcoming people into their home for co-ops, homeschoolers can get an education in life experiences that they will take with them for years. Not to mention the learning available through field trips, mentorships, internships, and other arenas outside the classroom.
Because education can take place in fewer hours at home with far fewer students, kids, at least in the younger years, have more unstructured time in their day. They do not have to sit at a desk for the majority of their waking hours only to go home to do homework.
With that free time, their minds are able to create and think more outside of the box. Having the time to think and tinker and play is actually learning. Just ask Google if you are not convinced!
I Need to be a Trained Teacher
This fear is related to the one above. However, it too is very untrue. I believe credentialed teachers are very valuable and have one of the toughest jobs there are. In fact, I have very close family members and friends who were and are great public school teachers. Partly because of this, I feared that I wouldn’t be good enough because I don’t have the training.
Yet, you know your children better than anyone else does. You are aware of all their tendencies, shortcomings, strengths, and triggers. These simple facts help equip you to teach them well.
Additionally, it goes back to the great resources out there – a variety of great curriculum, tutors, online classes, teaching DVDs, etc. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Research what is there and utilize it.
Finally, you will grow in your teaching abilities. As you teach, you will grow more comfortable doing it. With each student you teach, you will be better prepared on how to tackle each subject.
Just like with anything else, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Keep growing, keep learning, keep stepping out in faith. You can and will be able to do it!
I Can’t Afford It
While there is a cost for the curriculum and supplies you will need, you might be surprised at how much you actually have to spend.
The bottom line is, if you really want to homeschool your kids, there will be a way to do it. Don’t let finances hold you back. There are even scholarships for struggling families through www.hslda.org
I Don’t Have Enough Space
I remember having this concern when we first started homeschooling. We lived in a very tiny apartment and my husband was working nights and needed to sleep during the day. I kept reading how people would set up their homes with dedicated homeschool rooms or spaces. That was no way possible for us.
However, learning took place and still does, all over our home. We mainly work at our kitchen table. The benefit…it always needs to be cleaned and organized after breakfast. No room for messes to be left out!
We also read on our couch and even outside. What could be more comfortable and inviting than that? On nice days, we often sit on our deck while my kids read aloud to me. And on cold, rainy days we snuggle together on the couch.
You don’t have to have a lot of space to be able to homeschool. Create an atmosphere of learning wherever you are.
Be creative. You may have to have educational materials in your kitchen or bedrooms. Maps may replace fine art on the walls. The alphabet may line your crown molding. Books may be in your living room in baskets or on shelves.
Whatever it may be, be creative with whatever space you have and learning will happen! I know people who homeschool in a trailer. So don’t let a lack of space hinder your decision to homeschool.
I hope I have helped clear up some misconceptions about homeschooling and settled some fears you may have had.
(More articles by Katie can be found at www.itakeheart.com)