In 2008, two million students were homeschooled. It is estimated that this number is increasing by 15 percent per year. The rise in recent years of homeschooled children has not dispelled the myths that surround this choice, but many parents are discovering a shift in public opinion on this choice. Some common myths are:
Homeschooled children do not receive the same quality of instruction as their public school counter parts. Recent studies refute this misconception. Homeschooled children often outperform students from class based instruction.
Homeschooled children are raised in extremist religion environments. It is true that many parents choose to homeschool because they wish to incorporate their religious beliefs into the learning process. 83 percent of parents surveyed by the National Center for Educational Statistics decide to homeschool based on religion and moral reasons.
Homeschooling is used to cover up child abuse. Some states, such as Illinois, do not require parents to notify districts when they homeschool their children. Others require notification to the school district in which they reside, such as Oregon. There are measures in place in most states to monitor these students. One such technique is the requirement to bring students in for standardized testing. However, there has not been any solid evidence that children who are homeschooled face a greater risk of abuse.
Homeschooling decreases social experiences for children. Homeschooling, by nature, will give rise to the challenge of providing a positive social experience for children. There are many resources a parent can use to offset the lack of interaction with peers. Parents can participate in a co-op with other parents in their local area. Some districts allow students to attend physical education classes, join sports teams, or be a part of music, drama, and art programs. After school activities such as sports, scouting, camps, or recreation center programs give a social outlet with adding social pressure into the learning environment.
Homeschooled children cannot earn a high-school diploma or go to college. There are different routes a parent can take to ensure entrance into college. While a parent can issue a “homeschooled” diploma, a college might not accept it for their entrance requirements. As the student enters high school territory, choosing concurrent AP classes that allow college-credit might be an option. Accredited virtual schools give the flexibility of homeschooling, but can offer a structured, self-paced curriculum that will give the student a diploma. The homeschooled student can also take the GED exam which will attest to general education requirements being met.
Homeschooled children are often gifted, talented young men and women with a learning style that does not fit into the box of public school. Parents make the choice to homeschool to give their children a well-rounded education with an emphasis on their core values. Homeschooling does not imply children are living in the shadows, away from prying eyes and attitudes. Children can learn when they need to learn, then engage in social activities without having to deal with the social pressures that often override education in the traditional environment.