Homeschool Myths & Kinda Funny Stereotypes
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
There are so many to choose from. I’m just going to pick my favorites and the ones I was most guilty of. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously for this section.
Socialization: The #1 homeschool myth on all the lists is that homeschoolers are unsocialized. I am guilty of asking this question myself. More from concern for my own kids than everyone else’s. If I had my rathers, I would be a hermit. How in the world are my children going to be socialized? Let’s define socialization before we get too far into this topic.
A continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position
The process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society
I chuckled when I found these definitions because the sample sentences are ‘socialization with students has helped her communication skills’ and ‘preschool starts the process of socialization’ and I am using these definitions to dispel the myth that kids need a classroom to be socialized.
If, by definition, socialization is in part about acquiring a personal identity, how is this to be accomplished if every child in the class is expected to behave and respond like every other child in the class? And do we really want our children taught norms, values, behaviors, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position by a room full of their same-aged peers that don’t know any more about life than they do? Talk about the blind leading the blind. This was totally missed on me. I had never stopped to consider what socialization really meant. Socialization is one of the easiest parts of homeschooling - even for an introvert like me.
Parents aren’t qualified to teach. Full transparency - I didn’t really think very hard about the qualifications of other parents, I was just fully confident in my ability to teach mine. I do have a graduate degree in language acquisition and have worked in the public schools for several years, after all. I never said this out loud. Can I get a side of humble pie to go with that platter of crow! In my defense, I had zero confidence in my ability to parent all day every day. My plan was to teach through the afternoon and parent in the evenings. Turns out those two things are not separate. Who knew? Certainly, not me! I’ll share more about it later, but my biggest regret in transitioning to homeschooling is that I skipped deschooling. I truly believe our transition would have been much smoother, had I been a C average student with no “higher” education. There is research to support this but that is for another time. You are more than qualified to teach your children no matter your educational background - in my case even in spite of it.
Another interesting thought here is that we have no issue sending our children to private schools. Many times teachers at private schools are completely uncredentialed or licensed. Private schools don’t even have to be accredited (ahhh the horror!). Don’t get me started on accreditation. I would almost prefer my children to attend an unaccredited school if we weren’t homeschooling. That’s a topic for another time.
Homeschool kids are weird. So are public school kids. And private school kids. Kids are weird. People are weird. Embrace it or get over it. Weird is fine! We all have our quirks. So long as it isn’t sinful or harmful, let’s embrace it. A lot of other posts will say “Nuh-Uh” to this stereotype. That’s fine too. Homeschool kids are just like other kids. I happen to love that kids are “weird” which I guess makes them all normal… I digress.
Home educated children cannot go to college or get scholarships. This was my big-picture-thinking husband’s biggest concern. Yes, they can. And they do. In droves. Competitively. Sometimes they graduate high school with 4-year college degrees. They are often sought out by colleges and universities because homeschool graduates who aspire to go to college are typically self-motivated, disciplined, and independent learners. Statistically, homeschoolers also score higher on standardized tests, even though they are rarely taught to the test. I’d also like to add here that one of the beautiful freedoms of homeschooling is that if your child has no desire to go to college, you don’t have to cater their education to scholarships or college acceptance. They can explore the trades or entrepreneurship or whatever else they feel called to. Mack and I are in no way pushing college or saving for college (gasp-the horror). If that’s the path they choose, we will support and encourage them every step of the way without reservation. If not, we will support and encourage them every step of the way without reservation.
Only licensed and trained teachers and therapists can educate children with special needs. I’ve been a little cheeky with some of the other myths but hear my heart on this one. I am a licensed therapist who works exclusively with children who have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). I will be the first to tell you that I rely heavily on the participation of parents to help my students, their children, achieve the goals that we collectively set for them. I’m not trying to talk myself out of a career here, but I don’t know your child as well as you do. I’m just here to come alongside you and your family to help. You’re the expert on your child. There are plenty of resources and therapists to help you fill in the gaps along the way. But isn’t it really about the journey? Working in specialized education has opened my eyes so much to the importance of meeting children where they are and not demanding that they be somewhere else where some other kid is. Every homeschool student has an “IEP” and it doesn’t take a quarter of the school year to get it initiated or amended. And all the SPED teachers and parents said “Amen!”
All homeschool school kids are gifted and brilliant. My kid asked me a few days ago if you could use glass cleaner on mirrors. I can’t make this stuff up. Whoever said there are no stupid questions, never visited the West house. I will say that, even in the midst of all the goofiness, I was surprised at how much more my kids learn when left to their own devices (not electronic devices). The same kid that asked about the glass cleaner, repaired the fan I put out on the curb when it stopped working. Maybe lots of kids are brilliant in one way or another if given the opportunity and environment to thrive. And maybe they're all a little nutty like mine.