In the days gone by before Sunday School came along, homeschooling was how many people were educated. Today, the home-schooled are the minority tribe, with some ill-informed outsiders brewing up misconceptions about them. Indeed, some misconceptions of homeschooling are so absurd that your toes might start laughing.
Misconception 1: Homeschoolers are lacking in socializing skills with their peers.
This idea about homeschoolers lacking in social skills may be true for a few children with special needs that prevent them from socializing with strangers around their age group initially. However, given sufficient time, even these homeschooled children with special needs will be able to make some friends among their peers. On the contrary, homeschoolers spend more time with their teaching parent than their peers, and thus experience a sense of emotional and social security that others who are schooled in a normal classroom setting may not have. They are therefore more able in socialising with people of any age, let alone peers.
Homeschoolers undergo a curriculum specially tailored to their needs, and they therefore are usually academically more stable unless they have special needs that hamper their learning abilities. Most homeschoolers therefore have more time and are likely to be more adept at making friends because they have the time to do so at a deeper level. Moreover, homeschoolers these days are required by law to belong to a homeschooling association that will support their parents in one manner or another, giving them opportunities to get to know other homeschoolers of their age group.
Indeed, if children are homeschooled for ethnic or religious reasons, they already belong to a cohesive community that can provide the socializing that homeschoolers miss out on in a regular school setting. Hence, it is not quite true to say that by and large all homeschoolers, if not most of them, are lacking in socialising skills with their peers. Indeed, they may outshine those peers in a regular school setting in terms of socializing skills because through interaction with their parents and siblings, they have more opportunities for positive socialising skills to develop.
Misconception 2: Homeschoolers do not know how to behave in large groups.
This misconception often follows the one that homeschoolers do not know how to socialise at all. On the contrary, because of the opportunities for positive communication that their teaching parent, family members and ethnic or religious community provide, homeschoolers are more likely to be at ease in large group settings than their peers in a regular school setting.
Because they spend more time at home where their parents can monitor their social well-being, homeschoolers are more likely to be corrected in anti-social behavior than their peers who go to a regular school and put under rules that may inhibit communication.
Misconception 3: Homeschoolers lack the facilities available in schools.
The world is the classroom of today’s children. With advancement in technology, children from well-to-do family may well travel to another part of the world and back within the same day in their private jet, and access more facilities imaginable. Indeed, it is sad to observe that because children in schools may not behave in the absence of their parents, their school teachers may be afraid to let them near the facilities available lest they damage them, so the facilities often become white elephants.
Homeschooling associations and co-operatives often make certain facilities available to homeschoolers and their teaching parent, so it is indeed a misconception that homeschoolers do not have facilities that are provided in regular schools, other than a regular sized classroom. Indeed, they may be exposed to even more facilities than their peers who go to regular schools as they can go on field trips and learning services anytime they deem necessary.
Misconception 4: Homeschoolers lack the discipline to complete their work as scheduled in a classroom environment.
On the contrary to this misconception, under the watchful eye of their teaching parent and in a small group, homeschoolers get more work done than they would in a classroom environment where the teacher has to tear herself apart to cater to the twenty-odd students, often as as many as forty-odd in the Asian classroom.
Because teaching parents have fewer children to focus on, they are more able to make promises and carry them out than regular school teachers, even when they have children with special needs under their charge. Hence, more often than not, homeschoolers get more done than they would in a regular classroom setting.
Misconception 5: Homeschoolers are dependent on their teaching parent’s guidance most of the time.
Parents who choose to homeschool their children more often than not recognize the ability for homeschoolers to become independent learners than if they were in a regular school setting. This is because teaching parents are able to give them the headstart that a regular classroom teacher is not able to due to a large enrolment in his class – individual assistance tailored to the needs of the student. Children who are given more immediate feedback and remediation become more confident learners than those who have to wait at least a day for their written work to be corrected and returned to them by regular teachers.
When homeschoolers are taught to use search engines and computer assisted instructional software, they get the knowledge and feedback they need to move on more quickly than they would if they had been in a regular classroom setting. It is therefore not true that homeschoolers are dependent on their teaching parent’s guidance most of the time. On the contrary, teaching parents would be more aggressive in getting their own children to be independent as soon as possible.
Misconception 6: Homeschoolers do not follow a rigid timetable as regular schoolers have, and are thus disadvantaged.
It is often true that homeschoolers have more flexibility than their peers in a regular school environment because their parents have fewer children to split their time among. Their parents therefore are able to accord recess as and when they need to, to free time up for a sibling who may require more attention from their parents especially when their sibling has a learning need. Nonetheless, these homeschoolers have to follow a curriculum as well, and are therefore required to complete the syllabus because they may have to take state-approved assessments. No thinking and forward-looking parent will allow their children to be disadvantaged.
Misconception 7: Homeschoolers do not follow the normal curriculum and are short-changed in knowledge acquisition.
It is not possible to learn everything there is in the world, but when a child is taught the skill to fish in the right place for knowledge, the world is in his hands. A more comprehensive community library equiped with online search facilities and the Internet highway and search engines have made self-learning a reality. Homeschoolers who are taught to be independent learners often go beyond the syllabus, and crunch up more knowledge than regular school goers.
Similarly, the teaching parent must equip himself with the syllabus his homeschooling children need to go through and therefore design learning experiences that will meet the same curricular needs than regular schools do. In fact, because he is going one-on-one, he will be able to tailor his curriculum to meet the individual needs of his child, and even go beyond that required for his age group because he is able to go faster at topics that he can cover with ease.
Misconception 8: Homeschoolers are not taught by certified teachers, and are thus disadvantaged.
Although parents may not be certified teachers, they may still have the natural ability to teach. After all, teaching is a skill that everyone can pick up. What a parent need to do is to gain the knowledge and experience he needs to know before he can impart them to his children. For parents who are not confident in teaching some subjects, they always have homeschooling associations and co-operatives that will help them seek out relevant teachers and tutors to cover the grounds for them.
Misconception 9: Homeschoolers will never find colleges or jobs.
On the contrary, because homeschoolers ultimately become independent learners and workers, college doors and job opportunities avail. Homeschooling makes students capable enough to survive on their own, students who know how to seek out answers for themselves through the Internet and through other means such as inquiring of others. They are also likely to pursue online tertiary education and make it with honorary mention. Employers these days seek out independent thinkers with alternative and better solutions, and the home-schooled fit the shoes.
People who swear by the mentioned misconceptions show themselves to be ignorant of the changes in times. Perhaps it is out of envy that they misconstrue facts. Perhaps they themselves lack the skills and ability to teach their own children and thus have to depend on excellent teachers and expensive tutors to fill the gap that they themselves are not able to. Capable and caring teaching parents have changed the homeschooling environment so much that homeschooling is seen to be a more viable option to education than regular schools.
Think of the reality that truly successful students in regular schools today are supported by concerned parents and tutors, and you will have to agree that the mentioned misconceptions are indeed ridiculous careless utterings of folks who do not think before they speak.