Homeschooling Myths and Realities
By Judy Arnall
When one mentions that they are considering homeschooling, well-meaning relatives and friends speak up with all kinds of questions. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding homeschooling:
“Only special types of people can homeschool their children. I’m not one of them.”
Everyone home schools their children from birth to at least age five. Every parent is their child’s first teacher and for some parents, that doesn’t stop when their child enters school. Parents suddenly don’t become incompetent as soon as their child turns 6.
Parents continue to provide stimulation and learning opportunities for their child up until high school and beyond. They enroll them in lessons, daycamps, and activities. Homeschooling parents just decide to do this for a greater portion of the year then other parents. There are as many reasons why people homeschool as there are people who do it.
“I have to fight with my children to do their homework. I can’t be fighting with them over the entire curriculum!” It’s a fact that in parenting, many times children do not comply with their parents wishes and this tends to turn parents off of homeschooling.
Homework is an agreement between your child and their teacher. There is not much leeway in the assignments because the teacher has to deal with an entire classroom. Homeschooling is between you and your child. Everything is flexible. If your child hates doing an assignment, find another way for him to learn that is fun such as field trips, games, movies, or computer games. There are many more ways to learn than just workbooks and textbooks. The scope, depth, and methods of delivery of key concepts are all negotiable in the home environment.
The grade by grade curriculum is so expansive because it provides jobs for the education industry. At home, some parents can teach 8 grades of math in one year, because they are only managing 1 child!
Homeschooling takes much less time than school. And no homework to fight over. Children will have a lot of time to pursue their passions.
Kids are born to learn and will continue to seek out knowledge. It’s natural that humans, from infants to seniors, want to know about their world and how it works. However, they just might at times have a different learning agenda than you. If you have a bad day (and you will) just give up on teaching, go with the flow and go have some fun- build your relationship and try your agenda again in a few days or weeks.
“I don’t have the patience to teach my child.”
Homeschoolers come in every shade of parenting styles and patience levels. For those who have little patience, they rely more on fun activities that are enjoyable for the whole family in order to teach the core subjects. Or they let the children teach themselves. Children are like sponges and will soak up information that they are interested in. Most children are naturally interested in all the subjects of the elementary core curriculum at some point in time. If you run out of patience, just let the agenda go and you will witness your children still learning!
“I need to earn an income and be away from home during the day.”
Many homeschoolers work part time and some even full time while juggling children’s activities and schedules. Finding childcare for school aged children not old enough to stay home alone can be a challenge though. Babysitting co-ops and parents tag-teaming childcare helps to alleviate this.
“My children are very sociable and need to be with other kids during the day.”
Homeschooling is so social, that most homeschoolers express the desire to spend more time at home and have some down time. According to the Fraser Institute in Canada, the average home schooled child is registered in 8 activities per week, and most of them involve other children.
Most cities are full of activities, groups and social events for homeschoolers to mix and mingle with children and parents of all ages, ethnicity, religion and personalities. In between activities, there are play-dates between homeschoolers during the day. The social mix of homeschooling, instead of age-grading children, actually reflects the social mix that people get in “the real world.”
“I can’t afford to homeschool.”
You don’t have to buy a lot of things. To start, just get a library membership and use the internet. See how your child learns, perhaps through books, or field trips and games. Many parents even work part time or full time and have the babysitter supervise the learning process. Hopefully, the government will fund homeschooling to its actual costs in order to make the choice to homeschool available to all socio-economic level families.
Guest Blog Author Details
Judy Arnall BA, DTM, Canadian Certified Family Life Educator (CCFE)
Judy Arnall, BA, CCFE, DTM is a certified child development specialist and master of non-punitive parenting and education practices. She is the bestselling author of Unschooling To University; Relationships matter most in a world crammed with content, available at your nearest bookstore.
Best-selling author of 5 print books on non-punitive parenting and education