Monday, August 10, 2015

The Truth Behind Some Popular Homeschool Myths.



I remember being in high school when the neighbors from down the road approached me to ask if I would tutor their homeschooled children. I had no idea what to expect, I didn't even know kids could be taught at home! These were the days before the internet and social media. I taught them karate, algebra, and even some life skills. Their families wanted to make sure the kids knew what to expect in a public school setting, etc. It was at this moment I formed a large assortment of stereotypical thoughts about homeschoolers. My mom had looked into homeschooling me, so I could focus more on my martial arts training (I was good y'all!) and so I could avoid some health issues I was experiencing....but the laws at the time in my state prevented me from being homeschooled. So that also shaped my world view some. It wasn't until Facebook when I found out a couple of friends were homeschooling, and they were nothing like my preconceived notions of what homeschooling truly is.

 My son was, at that time, in a special needs pre-school, and his teachers at the time were pro-public school so I was going with that....right up until his Kindergarten orientation, and then the game field changed and I was thrown into a world of which I knew next to nothing. I polled my friends (super formal of course, via Facebook status update) to ask them what they thought of homeschooling families, and what myths or stereotypes they have heard. Since this is a back to school special (hosted by The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection,) I'd like to address some of the popular homeschooling myths! And if you wish to read more great Back to School blogs from the Back to School Blog Hop, just click this link and you'll find a whole list!

1.) Homeschooled children are unsocialized.




Sigh....if you only knew how much I LOATHE this statement. First, children should be in school to receive an education, NOT to socialize. With that out of the way, see all those kids being followers of that one kid who is causing a lot of trouble on the playground? Yeah, not the kind of socialization I want to reinforce. See all those kids in the restaurants acting up, being loud and rowdy because they have been cramped in a school desk for 8 hours that day? Yeah, not the kind of socialization I want to reinforce. See those kids who blindly follow all orders because they aren't allowed to question any type of authority, even if they know that authority is wrong? Yeah, not the kind of socialization I was to reinforce. My son is socialized in a way that is going to benefit him as an adult. He is taken out in public! He is taught how to behave in ALL settings, not just in a desk or at a table with others who are typically his own age, and most likely matching to his own social and ethnic demographics. No, he is socialized around young, old, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, his ethnicity and all others we encounter during the day. He can conduct himself during a formal business meeting, a college class during final exams, the doctors office, grocery store, playground, etc. And he can do so with proper manners, behavior, and reactions to whatever is thrown to him. John Dewey saw schools as a place to learn to live, rather than a place to just acquire a skills set.  So yes, homeschoolers are unsocialized in the way sitting in a classroom for hours each day will socialize one, but they are socialized in a much more productive and meaningful way that has a direct impact on life in society. I'm more concerned with his ability to carry a conversation with those of a different demographic category rather than his ability to sit quietly at a desk for 3 hours. Pierce vs. Society of Sisters shows why there's so much emphasis placed on "proper socialization" being attained only via. public schools.  They sought to eliminate parochial schools to eliminate the influence of catholic culture. I'm not one to limit his exposure to those who are different from us. THAT is socialization.

2.) Homeschoolers are not taught proper academics. They are trained to be parents (mothers mainly) or farming.



Ok, so I admit to having thought this myself. And yes there ARE courses out there to teach girls how to be motherly or homemakers, and courses to teach boys to be bread winners.But they are not the sole curriculum set. AND, those courses are taught in public school as well...it's called Home Economics! Also, this gender divide is seen in school when boys are encouraged to pursue science and math fields, and girls are steered toward social sciences. There were classrooms here that were fully gender segregated! (How's that for socialization?) In our state, we MUST teach 5 core subjects: Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts. How we choose to teach those are our choosing, but our children must show progress through the subjects or pass an end of the year assessment exam with a 50% or greater score (nearly 10% higher than than the score of our state public schools!) There is a whole world of Homeschool curriculum that is leaps and bounds beyond what is found in our local public schools. Plus, we can take the time to fully explore and investigate the subjects and topics, and move at a pace that allows Mr. B to completely master a topic, rather than move at the speed that majority of the class is on, or that is dictated by the governing body. The academics offered and taught to homeschoolers is second to none! Homeschoolers frequently outscore than public school peers on SAT/ACT exams, receive scholarships, and excel in college. Homeschool students are already acclimated to self paced learning and detailed learning that is found in college. They choose majors that are of interest to them, which is most like areas they explored to the max as a homeschool student. Mr. B has actively taken part in a French class AND meteorology classes on the university level before his age even hit double digits. That is the beauty of homeschooling. The student develops a true love of learning, and WANTS to learn more.

3.) Parents are not educated enough to teach their children.




The first public school in the United States opened in 1635 in Boston. Of course, this wasn't for boys. the first school for girls wasn't until nearly 100 years later. Teachers required no expertise, except in the topic they were teaching. No 4yr degree needed.  The ability of the teacher was a local decision that had nothing to do with educational level. How in the world were children taught who went to "school" before 1635, or the female students, or the ones who simply couldn't afford to go to school?! GASP! The HOMESCHOOLED by "Uneducated" parents or taught in groups by teachers who were not any more educated than the parents. My dad did not have a college degree, yet he was more intelligent that the great majority of people I've met, and equal to the rest. My brother has a 2 year certificate from a career college, I have a 4 year BA and 4 minors....my brother is as smart or smarter than me and just as qualified to teach a child! Curriculum companies plan out their products with directions and guides, and even video instruction. And if the parent feels it is needed, there are tutors available also. How do "uneducated" parents help with homework? Why are they entrusted with their child's education at home when the school sends home hours of homework if they are not qualified to teach their children? Beyond all of that, parents are the leading peer reinforcement group a child has. Who better to teach them?

4.) We all sleep until noon.



I'd be thrilled to sleep to 9 or 9:30! No...just no! You see, logic says this can't be possible! We have our kids with us all the time. We still have dr's appointments, grocery shopping, errands to run, etc. We have to keep house, go to the bank, etc....etc....etc... There is no way we could sleep until noon, educate the kids, and still do everything that needs to be done on a regular basis. Sleep until noon...HA! I wish!

5.) Homeschooling is only for Christian Fundamentalists or those who wish to brainwash their kids. 


We are Christian, but that isn't why we homeschool. We are not anarchists, we don't hate the public school board, we are not anti-teacher. Actually, I have several public school teacher friends! And I know as many or more homeschoolers who are agnostic, atheist, pagan, Muslim, Hindu, and a few others as well. I'm not saying religion doesn't play a part for some, but that's not the case for all. And there's no brainwashing going on here. We homeschool because one on one instruction is best for Mr. B to reach his full potential.

6.) Homeschoolers do nothing but fun things to learn. 



Well, not every myth is false! We do do a LOT of fun things, and they all have an educational component. We go on dozens of field trips, we play a lot of games, we read a lot of great books, and we take part in a lot of group activities. Why should learning be dull and boring? Who says learning can only happen in a stuffy room full of tables or desks and chalk dust? The world is our classroom, and we take advantage of as much of that classroom as we can!



There are more myths and falsehoods, but those are for another blog. Homeschooled kids are the same as any other kid! They like to laugh, play, have friends over, and just enjoy life. You have some who struggle with their classwork, some who are very gifted and brilliant, and then average students who just want to hurry up and get their "homework" finished. There is no one size fits all model of a homeschooler or a homeschooling family. If you know one family who homeschools, then you know one family who homeschools!


Please check out a few other Back to School Blogs that are going on this week! Rumor has it, a few of them may have a GREAT giveaway going on, too!
Marcy @ Ben and Me
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

4 comments:

  1. Oh, how I wish the sleep til noon myth was true! :-)

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  2. Wouldn't that be nice! HAHA! No...we stay up until the wee hours of the morning, cat nap a couple of hours, and then get the day started. Sigh...lol!

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  3. I wish I would wake up before my children and not grumpy at their loudness. I wish I would go to bed early and not be up with the baby again. But yet, I don't want these baby years to end. According to my fitbit I average about 4.5 hours of sleep a night, and I'm usually up at eight, but still... alas.

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  4. As with everything, the truth of a situation lies in actually KNOWING the situation before you form opinions about it. That is such a difficult thing to do. Thank you for a straightforward post about the truth behind some of the myths that get perpetuated in our society.

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