Everytime we are out and about during what is considered the typical school times and school days we tend to become engaged in several different types of conversations. When people see my kids out and about they usually get asked if they are enjoying their day off of school. Once people find out we are a homeschooling family we get one of two responses. The first one is my favorite. This response generally goes something like this: “Wow, that’s fun.” and we all go off on our own way. The second response tends to have the tendency to get way more confrontational if I am not careful with how I respond. This response tends to come in the form of a myriad of questions about the logistics, mentality, and reasoning behind the homeschooling movement.
In general these conversations will be somewhat amusing to me, however, there are days when some of the horrible myths that people have bought into when it comes to how children are educated just get under my skin. So today I am taking a step away from the holiday theme and I will be debunking some of the homeschool myths that annoy me the most.
Myth #1: Parents aren’t qualified to educate their own children
Truth # 1: Parent’s are far more qualified than anyone would like to believe.
The idea that parent’s aren’t qualified to educate their children is a myth that has been force fed to us by the government. If you take a look at the requirements for homeschooling throughout the country there are very little in the way of educational requirements for the parents. The places, such as where I am at in New Mexico, that do have some education level requirements it is no more than a high school diploma or GED.
The fact of the matter is I, as a parent, know my child better than any teacher can. I know my children’s learning styles, I know their likes and dislikes, and I have the ability to tailor their learning environment to be what ever will ensure the best possible result. While I truly believe that most educators out there are doing what they do because they genuinely want to make a difference in the world there is no possible way they could have my child’s best interest at heart entirely. If they did then that would me some other kid was being ignored. That is just the nature of the beast.
Myth # 2: Most homeschooled children are not provided with enough social interactions.
Truth # 2: This idea is so far from the truth it’s almost not even worth touching.
The number two argument against homeschooling I hear most often is “What about socialization? Aren’t you afraid your kid is going to become anti-social and weird.?
First of all, have you met my kid’s parents? Of course my kids are going to be weird. They were doomed on that front from the start. However, the one thing they aren’t is “anti-social.” Society has some twisted idea that children in a traditional brick and mortar school get some magic formula for how to interact socially in the world. However, if you walk into any traditional school in the country and you are going to find a hall way full of classrooms. Inside each of those classrooms is 25-30 children all within 9 months of each others ages. They will all be sitting in desks or at tables behind a closed door where a single teacher stands at the front of the classroom and attempts to download information into those kids brains. There is no “social interaction” outside the 15-30 minutes of recess time and the 30 or so minutes for lunch.
The thing about most homeschooled kids is that they are with their parent’s 24/7/356/ This usually means that they go along to the grocery store, doctor appointments that usually aren’t theirs, business meetings, and anything else that might require their parent’s attention. This means that home-schooled kids have to learn how to engage with the entire world around them. They have to learn to communicate with adults several times their age as well as children younger than they are. It is truly a total immersion situation, unlike that of a typical school setting.
Myth # 3: Homeschool kids can’t participate in extracurricular activities.
Truth # 3: There is actually more time for homeschool kids to be involved in activities that are tailored to their own interests.
The great thing about “extracurriculars” is that they are just that~extra. This means that they aren’t part of the requirements for a well rounded education. In most places there are a variety of way and resources for homeschooled kids to be actively involved in extracurriculars. For some this means participating on the public school sports teams. In a lot of states there are statutes that allow for homeschooled students to try out and take part in the team sports just as a public schooled kid can. Other kids get involved in leagues and teams developed specifically developed for the local homeschool community. And then, there are outside resources that homeschooled kids can get involved in that provide opportunities for extracurricular growth and enrichment.
Myth # 4: I must be a saint with the patience of Mother Theresa to be able to educate my own children in my home all the time.
Truth # 4: While I love my children and am confident in our decision to homeschool, each day presents its self with new challenges that test and try my patience to the very bitter end.
I always laugh when I hear this one particular comments. It’s as if the people to whom I am speaking have not taken a good hard look in my direction before engaging in the conversation. If they had they would notice the fact that I am out in yoga pants and the same “Let’s Get Cozy” sweatshirt that it is obvious I slept in. My hair is a HOT MESS and the children with me are not fairing any better. One is wearing a pair of shoes a size too small, one has hair flowing all over the place because the hair brush is lost again, and one still has a smear of peanut butter across her face left over from breakfast. I am barely holding it together and I am just trying to make it until nap time.
The truth is, as much as I love homeschooling, I will be the first to admit it is hard. My patience quickly wears so thin you can see through it to the middle of next week. Sometimes I lose my temper and I yell at the kids, sometimes they lose their temper and yell at me. There are days we fly through all our work and get done well before lunch time. Other days we are lucky to make it through 1.5 subjects before we have to stop and eat. And then, somedays the only way we are getting through any type of learning is to see how many “National Geographic” or “History Channel” shows we can get through before dinner. So no, I don’t have the patience of a saint. And if you were to peek in the window and watch a day in the life of this crazy homeschool family, you would be pleased to discover that our crazy probably looks a lot like yours.
Not once, in all the time that I thought and planned and evaluated the logistics and plans for homeschooling did I think that it would be a walk in the park. But what I did have was the conviction that this is the right direction for our family. No matter where you go or who you talk to there will always be questions, snide comments, and concerns for our well being simply on the basis of “we homeschool” but it is my hope that slowly over time I can work to debunk some of the myths of homeschooling and allow you to get a little peek of what life is really like in the homeschool room next door.
Thanks for taking this little Blogmas detour with me today. What are your thoughts on the rise in the homeschool movement? Have any of these myths crosses your path? Let me know in the comments and I will catch you all tomorrow for more of Blogmas 2019!