Thursday, February 24, 2005
Common Homeschooling Myths Dispelled
1) I could not stand to be with my children all the time. If you cannot stand to be around your own children, something is drastically wrong. Ask yourself why you do not like your children, and then take steps to fix that problem. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, no matter where your children are educated. If you just have not spent much time with your children up to this point, you may expect the transition period to take a little longer, but the more time you spend together, the more you all really get to know each other and come to enjoy each other's company.
2) I would need a college degree in education to homeschool my children. Thousands of parents all over the world are successfully teaching their own children, without benefit of any higher education themselves. Some parents successfully homeschool who have not even completed high school themselves. Parents can learn right along with their children.
3) I do not know how to teach. Explaining any concept is teaching, so if you have given driving directions, demonstrated proper throwing/batting technique, or shown someone how to change a tire or how to set the table, you have taught. Most new homeschool parents simply do not realize how much teaching experience they already have. If you truly need assistance in explaining the educational material to your students, teacher's manuals are available for most curricula, and many give step-by-step guides for interacting with young students.
4) I could not teach things I do not know -- like calculus or violin. Academic subjects (like calculus) are all explained in the textbooks, so you can learn it right along with your student, and teach it to them if/when they become stumped. (Some adept students may be able to teach themselves higher math by studying the textbook.) Other things (such as music lessons) can be learned from a private teacher, just as any student takes piano lessons from a private teacher.
5) I am too disorganized to homeschool. If you are already able to exist in your home, you are probably able to homeschool. Organization helps, but it can be tackled a little bit at a time as the needs arise. Some families start simply by keeping each child's books, pencils, and other supplies in a box, and stacking the boxes in an out-of-the-way place during non-school times.
6) I could only teach one child at a time. With practice, it becomes easier to get older children started on their work first, then spend time working with the younger ones. An older child can help a young reader practice while Mom is busy elsewhere. One child may do their daily chores, eat breakfast, shower, or do an easy subject while Mom helps another child with their difficult work. Homeschooling does take teamwork, but in time, you will all learn how to cooperate together.
7) My children will not listen to me. A miraculous transformation takes place the first time Student asks a question and Mom gives the answer: suddenly Mom is viewed as Teacher. (If your children absolutely will not listen to you, refer to Myth #1 -- again, this is a serious problem no matter where their education comes from.)
8) My children will not have any friends. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at the friends your children currently have and consider if your child would be better off without their influence. The only friends you will lose through homeschooling are the ones you want to give up. You can still play with neighbors, church friends, scouting friends, soccer or Little League or T-ball friends, etc.
9) My children will not learn how to interact with other people. You have no people in your family? You live in a dark cave, 500 miles from your nearest neighbor? You never go to a store or a doctor's office? What your children will not learn is how to become mindless automatons who cannot do anything without instructions.
10) My children will never leave the house. Homeschool support groups abound for children's activities, Moms' support, family potlucks, etc. Field trips can be spontaneous family activities or organized with large groups. Homeschool families have the advantage of taking off "gorgeous days" and doing schoolwork when others have a "snow day." With trips to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and play-days at the park, there will be days when you will feel like you are never at home!
11) My children could not go outside during school time. Shopping trips double as consumer math class when you teach a little comparison-shopping to your students. A doctor's visit becomes a field trip when you ask a few extra questions. All children benefit from outdoor activity or recess. You are just not bound to following public school schedules. (Curious shoppers usually accept the answer "We've got a half-day off from school.")
12) My spouse and I both have to work. "Have to" is not the same as "want to." Many families today consider "luxuries" to be "necessities." Take a serious look at where your money is going before you completely close the door on homeschooling. Often the second income is being spent primarily on child care before and after school, a professional wardrobe for the 2nd wage earner, and convenience foods because no one has time to prepare meals. In other cases, responsible older students have been able to do their schoolwork alone during the day, and then discuss the lessons with working Mom & Dad in the evenings. (Single parents have also been able to successfully homeschool through creative scheduling or work-at-home situations.)
13) Homeschooling would take too much of my time. Most of the time in public school classrooms is spent waiting: waiting in lines, waiting for students to be quiet and pay attention, waiting while the teacher deals with 20+ other students, etc. Careful studies have shown that less than 2 hours per day is spent in actual teaching and learning in public school classrooms. Homeschooling eliminates the need for much of those time-wasting activities, allowing homeschool students to complete all the work required for a day in a short period of time. The rest of the day can be spent in personally chosen activities: developing a hobby, working ahead on schoolwork, individual sports and recreation, family activities, household chores, etc.
14) Homeschooling costs a lot of money. Without the peer pressure of public school fashion or extra costs for school trips or school lunches, homeschooling can be quite economical. Some curriculum materials can be used over and over, whether by your own children or resold to other families.
15) Homeschoolers have to be tested each year by the public schools. The laws governing private education vary from state to state. Check with Home School Legal Defense Association (http://www.hslda.org/) for a listing of the laws in your state. Many options are available for compliance with the law, and yearly testing is not always required.
16) Homeschooling only works through the elementary grades. Homeschooling works just as well through high school and college. There are many curriculum options available for homeschooling through the upper grades (even through college).
17) My children could not participate in sports. Many families take advantage of city-sponsored recreational leagues, YMCA/YWCA children's teams, or dual-enroll their children in the public schools specifically to participate in sports, music classes, foreign language classes, etc. while completing the bulk of their academic work at home. Large homeschool support groups now often organize sports teams and hold their own games and tournaments with other homeschool groups or private schools.
18) My children could not do science experiments at home. Science can be effectively taught at home, even without expensive lab equipment. Some homeschool curriculum suppliers now rent lab equipment. Homeschool families often pool their resources and share equipment and expenses, sometimes teaching cooperative classes together. Community colleges have accepted homeschool high school students into chemistry, physics, and other classes, enabling the student to earn college credit at the same time he is earning high school credit for the same class.
19) Homeschoolers do not get a diploma. Homeschool families may purchase diplomas and diploma covers or design their own diploma on their home computers. (Public school diplomas are also designed on someone's computer and signed by a person who may not even be a parent or has never spent time with the individual students.)
20) Homeschoolers have to get a GED instead of a diploma. A homeschool high school diploma is valid. A homeschool transcript and ACT or SAT test score are accepted for college admission.
21) Homeschoolers cannot get into college. Colleges now routinely recruit homeschoolers, knowing that they are eager, self-motivated learners (and generally not party animals).
22) Homeschoolers cannot get into military service. All branches of the U.S. military now accept homeschoolers on the same level with high school graduates. Homeschool graduates rank above GED recipients in the military.
23) Homeschoolers never smile. Homeschooling brings out your best, so if your best is smiling, laughing, and having a good time, you will. If, however, frowning with a sour disposition is the best you can muster, well...
Posted by Carolyn M @ 1:07 PM |