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  • Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

    With over two million homeschooled children in the U.S. Today, homeschooling is becoming more and more common. However, many people still do not even consider it an option, often due to simple misconceptions. Here are some of the most common reasons why people say they can't or won't homeschool and simple answers that may cause homeschooling to look like a viable option after all!

    “I can't homeschool because...”

    I am not trained as a teacher.”

    Guess what? Neither are the vast majority of homeschooling parents! However, according to statistics, a parent's educational training does not seem to be a significant factor in determining how well a child will do and many colleges are now eagerly seeking applications from homeschoolers. For example, in 2004 Stanford accepted 27% of homeschooled applicants, nearly double their overall acceptance rate.

    I am not smart enough”

    This concern goes right along with the previous one. But, again, facts do not support this as a good reason for not homeschooling. Homeschoolers consistently outperform both public schooled and privately schooled children. Plus, one of the most exciting things to me is that I get to learn right along with my children! I am getting a much better grasp on the timeline of history and on basic math facts (yes, I am actually learning a few things from elementary math lessons!) than I feel I ever got in my formal education. And I will be the first to admit that my kids have taught me many things that I did not already know. We are all learning and growing together!

    I want my kids to be socialized.”

    So do most homeschooling parents! However, we want our children to socialize with other children and adults who will be a positive influence on them. By homeschooling, we are given more control over exactly who those other children and adults are. As homeschooling parents, we have more opportunity to be more involved in our children's social interactions. Further, homeschoolers have a more natural socialization experience that better prepares them for life, as they are among children and adults of all ages, while school trains children how to socialize within their age group only.

    While it is true that the social interactions among peers often require more effort for homeschoolers, the number of homeschooling families continues to increase and as a result, the opportunities are also increasing. Most cities have at least one support group (and often times many more) that provide field trips, park days, and special events for their members to connect with some friends closer to their children's ages.

    I cannot afford to give up our second income.”

    This is certainly a legitimate concern. Some people simply cannot afford to have only one parent working. However, there are more ways to cut expenses than one might realize and even if both incomes are truly necessary, there are reasonable ways of working around this problem, too. There are many mothers who work part-time in addition to homeschooling. There are also fathers that homeschool when the mothers are able to bring in a better income. Furthermore, I have even heard of single parents who were able to homeschool their children effectively. (Dr. Robinson, noted scientist and creator of the Robinson Curriculum is a great example). And if your children are teens, consider allowing them to homeschool themselves. There are many good books available on this idea and it is not as radical as it may sound. After all, do you know a subject best when someone else is “feeding” it to you or when you are researching and exploring it for yourself?

    I would not enjoy being around my kids all day.”

    This is the one reason that saddens me the most! Many people do not think they could handle being with their own children all day long. And certainly there are times when everyone needs some kind of break. However, while it is common to hear the “I can't wait to have them out of my hair!” refrain from the parents of traditionally schooled children after a long summer break, it is not so common to hear this sentiment among those who homeschool their children and are with them constantly.

    This is probably because children who are schooled in a formal setting cannot feasibly be given as much attention and character training throughout the day. Furthermore, no matter how wonderful the teacher (and praise the Lord for the good ones!), a parent naturally has more concern for the development of their own child and has more time to implement it than a teacher in a classroom of 30+ children does. It is also worth considering that if you do not enjoy being around your kids all day, then perhaps that is exactly what is needed. . . one-on-one time for serious character development. After all, you are responsible for your child's training. So, if your children are in need of some character development, then what better way to accomplish that than for you to homeschool them?

    I do not have the patience.”

    Neither do I! In fact, patience is one of the many lessons that I am always learning by homeschooling. I believe that this is, in fact, one reason why homeschooling is so valuable not only to the children, but also to the parents. We learn so much about ourselves in the process and are afforded so many opportunities to grow spiritually along with our children as we teach them. I am quite certain that I would not be nearly as patient with my children if I was not homeschooling them. In order to be successful in the duty, I must learn this area of self-control and practice it daily.

    I don't want to have “weird” children.”

    Let's stop and consider that for a moment. Who determines what “weird” looks like? How do you define “weird”? Isn't “weird” just another word for “different”? And is “different” always so bad? In our family, “weird” is considered a compliment! To us, “weird” means that our children are different. And, in fact, they are! But, if you are considering homeschooling, then chances are you are looking for your children to be “different” in some way because you see some shortcomings in the traditional model of education.

    Perhaps you want them to achieve more. Perhaps you want them to be able to converse on an adult level. Perhaps you do not want them to know all the words of every teeny-bopper artist of the day. Perhaps you want to have more hours to focus on character development. If you homeschool, your children will be different . . . but not necessarily “weird.” Children who are brought up around other children of all ages, as well as adults, naturally mature faster and are able to be more independent than most other children their age.

    I am not 'called' to homeschool.”

    Certainly, we all need to follow the Lord's leading in whatever way we choose to educate our children. However, I believe many parents are not called because they are not listening! It seems to me that very few parents actually consider homeschooling as an option at all. Most assume that they will send their child to either a public or Christian school, but very few even have homeschooling on their list of serious options.

    What a privilege it is to be with your own children—God's blessings to you—all day long, teaching them what they will need to know and how to use their gifts to be successful Christians! What better way to live out Deuteronomy 6:4-9? I believe we should all desire that privilege as our first choice and only set it aside if God is clearly leading us down another path. Perhaps not all will be called to homeschool, but shouldn't we all have the desire to be?

    I hope this has demonstrated that if you are considering homeschooling, there are answers to the concerns and questions you have and if God directs you, He will not leave you in your journey. Many who may have not thought it possible will be called to homeschool. But, no matter what path God leads you on, whether to homeschool or not to homeschool, He will use it to His glory! Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . .
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