Top 10 Myths About Homeschool–Debunked

Posted January 27, 2010

Homeschooling is rapidly becoming a popular method of education. Many families are making the choice to educate their children at home for a variety of reasons based on everything from religious to educational to civic reasons. Some families with gifted students or students with special needs find that educating their children at home provides a better education than what they can get in public schools. With homeschooling on the rise, it shouldn’t take long for tired stereotypes of homeschooling to fall by the wayside. In the meantime, take a look at these ten myths about homeschooling to learn how to separate the fact from fiction.

  1. Homeschooled children won’t develop social skills. This popular myth is just not true. The image of a homeschooled student spending his or her days locked in a house with just a parent and hitting the books, never seeing other people, is just not accurate for most of the homeschool situations. Homeschool families often take advantage of parks, museums, cultural events, and other public opportunities for learning. Many homeschoolers participate in co-ops where learning takes place with other homeschool families. Dr. Raymond Moore has done extensive research on homeschooling and socialization and states that the type of socialization homeschooled children receive is actually more conducive to promoting socialization skills than the noisy, crowded classroom of 20-30 children that is typical in public schools. Research done by Dr. Patricia Lines at the Discovery Institute in Seattle backs up these claims, demonstrating that homeschooled students can be very well adjusted with few behavioral problems.
  2. Homeschoolers take money away from public schools. Some argue that when families choose not to send their children to public schools, they are depriving the school of federal funds available based on the number of students in the school. The truth is that homeschooled students cost public schools much less since the schools are not out the expense of educating those children. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, homeschool families pay property taxes that support public education, even if their children do not attend the public schools. This money goes toward educating other children for the greater good of the community, but not toward educating their own children. By some accounts, homeschool families are saving taxpayers about $10 million in public school funding.
  3. Homeschooled children don’t know how to take tests. Many people believe that because homeschooled students don’t sit regularly for tests, they can not perform well on exams, specifically standardized tests that students may need for admission to college or graduate school. The fact is that homeschooled students did exceptionally well when compared to the performance of public school students on student achievement tests. Home-educated students scored, on average, in the 80% percentile, compared to the public school-educated students, who scored on average at the 50% percentile. The fear that homeschooled students will not gain access to higher education or graduate programs such as law school or medical school is simply unfounded.
  4. Homeschooled children can’t get into college. The fear some people have is that colleges won’t be accepting of a student educated at home. Not only are schools accepting of homeschooled students, some colleges and universities have even begun to actively recruit homeschool graduates and some have also modified their online applications to include questions specific to homeschooled applicants. Statistics reveal that not only are many homeschooled students taking college level courses prior to attending college (74%), but these students are also earning degrees at rates similar to or greater than students educated in other school settings.
  5. Homeschooled students won’t be able to find a job. Some people feel that employers will not be receptive to employees who achieved their education at home. The reality is that many employers recognize the strengths of students educated at home. Some companies, such as Chick-Fil-A, actively recruit employees that were homeschooled. Statistics indicate that homeschool students go on to get jobs in a wide range of fields, including professional careers such as medicine, office jobs, careers in the service industry, and in technical fields.
  6. Homeschooling parents need special qualifications to teach. Some people believe that in order for parents to successfully teach their children, they must have a background in teaching, teaching certification, or some other type of special qualification. Research shows that while the level of parental educational attainment does make a significant difference on the quality of education their children receive, there is not a significant difference if those parents are certified teachers.
  7. All homeschool families are extremely religious. It is true that there is a faction of homeschoolers who have made a lifestyle choice that includes homeschooling as a part of their deep religious convictions. This group of people does not make up the entirety of homeschoolers, though. There are many other reasons that families opt for homeschooling, including dissatisfaction with public schools, a child’s special needs, the flexibility homeschooling affords, and the ability to incorporate specific values the family holds important, religious or otherwise.
  8. Homeschooled children are not getting a quality education. Educating children at home seems to some an ineffective way of teaching children. In reality, most homeschool curriculums are much more diverse than the typical classroom education. Students often have an opportunity to learn about subjects first-hand in a much more dynamic manner. Trips to the museum, to see wildlife in its natural habitat, and learning about other cultures by traveling are but a few of the examples of how rich a homeschooler’s educational experience can be. Many educators agree that a hands-on approach to learning is a more effective way to learn.
  9. Homeschooled children don’t have a realistic view of the real world. The reality is that many homeschooled children take part in music lessons, sports teams, volunteer work, and other extracurricular activities held outside their home. These students also frequently participate in their education in public places, which further exposes them to the world outside their homes. Homeschooled students grow up to be active adults in their communities, with a much larger percentage being involved in their community than public school-educated adults.
  10. Homeschooling isn’t legal. Some people are under the misperception that homeschooling isn’t legal and that all children must be in an institutionalized school. The truth is that while laws vary from state to state, homeschooling is not illegal in any of the 50 states in the US. Each state has its own laws regarding specific requirements such as testing, notification of your decision to teach at home, and specific subjects taught. It is wise to discover what these laws are prior to making a decision to homeschool, but rest assured that homeschooling is perfectly legal.

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