There are myths about education that necessarily become myths about homeschooling because they are closely related. We’ll debunk the following myths about homeschooling in this post
- Homeschooling is expensive
- School is the only route to exam success and university
- Homeschooling is simply doing school at home
- Homeschooled children won’t be socialised
- People who homeschool or were homeschooled are weird
- Homeschooling takes up loads of time
The Biggest Myths About Homeschooling
Most myths and misconceptions about homeschooling come from a lack of understanding of what homeschooling is and what it is not. Homeschooling is simply a parent or guardian providing their children with an education. In homeschooling, we can do this in a loving, responsive, supportive environment rather than in a school.
The myths about homeschooling likely stem from lack of understanding as to what the school system is and why it’s there. The school system came about to school the masses for factory work or the army, whatever workers were required. It’s a system that allows parents to go back to work and pay taxes.
Schooling and education are not the same thing. This is why so many (particularly in the UK) prefer the term “home education” over “home schooling.”
Mass schooling absolutely does suit some children and some families. This model is mostly passive with teachers trying to impart knowledge. It works for some, it worked for me.
In home education, we want something different for our kids. We want to spend our time with them and give them more freedom to learn. Homeschooling or home education is a lifestyle as well as an educational style.
Within homeschooling there are various methods, unschooling, worldschooling, wildschooling, there are many families homeschooling differently. Within more structured homeschooling there in Montessori, Charlotte Mason, classical and faith-based styles. Homeschooling varies tremendously.
Is homeschooling expensive?
No, homeschooling can be completely free. If you choose to, you can also spend a lot of money on it. If you have books, an internet connection, and some pens and paper, you don’t need to spend any more. In homeschooling, you don’t have to pay for school uniforms, sports outfits, required supplies, extra school outings, packed lunches, fuel for the school run, and bus costs. If you are to be at home all day you may spend more on heating, electricity, or air-conditioning. You may spend more, or less, on food. The big expense of homeschooling is in one parent or guardian not having employment outside the home. If a parent works from home they can still be a double income family. You can then spend a lot of money on workbooks, worksheets, boxed curriculum, textbooks, microscopes, travel, field trips, more computers, telescopes, and science kits, but most of these aren’t essential. Homeschooling can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be and can suit your budget. Sitting exams for homeschooled kids can be costly.
Can homeschooled kids sit exams and go to university?
Yes, homeschooled kids can sit exams and go to university. They can also sometimes go to university without sitting the regular exams. Alternate pathways exist as they do for mature students. Kids can sit the British GCSEs and iGCSEs as independent candidates, in Australia there are alternative routes to tertiary education including the TAFE system. An important question to ask here, is do they need those pieces of paper? Is a happy, lucrative, meaningful life only likely with a university degree?
Is homeschooling doing school at home?
No, homeschooling is absolutely not school at home. During the pandemic school closures the word “homeschooling” became commonly used to describe kids taking their school classes, via online portals, with their regular teachers. These kids are still in the school system. In homeschooling children are outside the school system with no school involvement at all. The parent has retained their responsibility to provide the children with a quality full-time education. When a parent decides to send a child to school, they have handed over that responsibility to the school. Homeschooled kids do not normally do school lessons at home and do not usually follow a school timetable or year structure. There may be a few homeschool parents who do it this way
How do homeschooled kids learn social skills?
Homeschooled children learn social skills from their parents and siblings as all children do. They gain further social interaction from the people outside the school gates. Most people are outside the school gates. Homeschooled children normally play with friends, neighbours, family, and other kids at the playground. They go to homeschool groups and get together and as they get older they may take courses and classes. Homeschooled kids go to the same sports clubs or group activities as school kids and interact with online friends in the same way school children do. Socialisation for homeschooled kids is guided by loving adults, not school-yard bullies and their peers.
Are homeschoolers weird?
I don’t think I’m particularly weird. I have quite a few friends who homeschool and they’re not weird either. Homeschooling certainly doesn’t make kids weird, kids turn out to be who they were born to be. It’s often noted that homeschooled kids are more mature than school kids and this is particularly noticeable if you meet homeschooled teens. They don’t shy away from adult conversation as some school kids do. Yes, there are weird people in homeschooling circles but there are plenty of social misfits that are products of the school system. I know homeschooling families in many countries and from many walks of life, most aren’t weird. Homeschooling families often have a closer bond because school doesn’t pull kids away from the family unit.
Does homeschooling take up loads of time?
Homeschooling can take up as much or as little time as you want it to take. It depends on your goal, your children, and their learning styles. Homeschooling parents don’t normally “teach” so there is no lesson preparation. Some parents have to write a curriculum, some buy curriculum materials which their kids work through. Some homeschooling families have no curriculum at all, they follow the child’s interests and provide rich and varied learning experiences and materials. To cover the school curriculum, at home, but this mostly is not required, is much faster at home than in a classroom environment. The school system adds a lot of wasted hours to the day, from the school commute, break times, and settling children in class. Many families are able to work from home or have online income streams, while homeschooling.
I hope I’ve managed to clear a few things up. I’ve homeschooled my kids for over a decade, they now have good exam passes, jobs, they volunteer and are taking higher studies. I’ve been through the process and encountered the critics. These myths about homeschooling are common in the general population and we can’t really pass blame onto people for not knowing. We all learn through life, we’re not born knowing everything and now, hopefully, I’ve added some knowledge about education and homeschooling. Thanks for reading. If you have any other homeschooling myths please leave them in the comments.