Homeschooling myths—busted!

KIWI, Parenting | July 25, 2012
KIWI

Myth: Homeschooling is a fringe movement.

Busted! There are more homeschoolers than you think: “It’s mushrooming,” says Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., author of Homeschooling in America. “There were 15,000 homeschooled kids in 1975, and there are two million today.” According to a report from the National Home Education Research Institute, enrollment in schools for pre-K to grade 12 increased less than one percent from 2007 to 2010—but the number of homeschooled kids increased at least 7 percent during the same period.

Myth: Homeschooled kids are weird because they’re not socialized.

Busted! Most homeschooling moms we spoke to made three points: First, there exist many homeschooling groups and classes where kids get to socialize with one another; second, having your child surrounded by 30 other kids his own age for several hours every day may not be the best form of socialization; and third, in the real world we don’t socialize only with people our own age, but instead connect with everyone from babies to seniors. Homeschooled kids socialize with people of all ages at homeschooling groups, in their neighborhood, in outside classes like Italian or jewelry-making, on sports teams, and in volunteer groups.

Myth: Homeschooling is illegal.

Busted! Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Requirements vary by state; for example, you may need to have your child tested at independent testing centers periodically or turn in portfolios of work to your state’s division of non-public education.

Myth: One parent has to stay at home to homeschool.

Busted! While in some cases one parent gives up his or her career to homeschool, many homeschooling parents these days run businesses from their homes. For example, Marla Beck, who homeschools her 5-year-old daughter, is a writer and writing coach, Marie-Claire Moreau and her husband run a construction business from their home (Marie-Claire is also a professor), and Melissa Stauffer is a virtual assistant.

Myth: Homeschooling is time-consuming.

Busted! Teaching your child at home doesn’t typically take the full day as it does at school. You can teach at your kid’s pace, and because you have only one or a few kids and not 25, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in “classroom management”—basically, keeping a bunch of kids in line. Also, as your child gets older, she’ll do more of the work on her own, so you don’t need to constantly supervise her learning.

Myth: Homeschooled kids are behind academically.

Busted! This is difficult to study since homeschooled kids don’t have to take the same tests as conventionally schooled kids, and also because homeschoolers and conventionally schooled kids represent such a broad range of academic ability. That said, “The evidence would seem to suggest that homeschooled kids are not in any way in academic trouble,” says Murphy, based on his overview of homeschooling research.

Myth: Parents need to know everything their kids need to learn.

Busted! While parents can learn along with their kids in subjects they feel shaky on, they can also hire tutors, arrange co-op classes with other homeschooling parents, get their kids involved in distance learning—there are home study options available for all grade levels—or have their kids take classes in certain subjects outside the home, such as at local colleges or adult education centers.

From the pages of KIWI magazine

Talk about it

Would you ever homeschool your kids? Why or why not?

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