There are many misconceptions and misappropriated stereotypes concerning home schooling. Many fear what is unknown, and while home schooling is more commonly accepted in modern society than it was twenty years ago, there are still many erroneous ideas floating about concerning those who choose to educate their children at home. Unfortunately, these myths are more widely known than the truth, and it is important for them to be firmly debunked.
Some of the common myths surround the competency of parents to home school, the poor socialization of the home schooled children, their inability to enter college or re-enter an educational institution, and the government’s authority to oversee the home schooled children’s progress.
Firstly, parents do not need a teaching certificate or some degree in education to make them qualified to home school their children. While it makes sense to ensure that teachers employed by institutional education facilities meet requirements for the job and thus have been certified, this does not mean that a parent must have the same training in order to see to their child’s home education. When a parent starts home schooling from a young age it is not difficult to stay ahead of the learning youngster. The parent guides the child’s learning, but the child also becomes quite self sufficient to learn on their own. They learn how to learn, rather than just learning what is continually drilled into them through conventional education methods. They are not spoon fed, they learn to master whatever is given to them, which is a valuable aid in life. Any parent can read the textbooks along with their children and help them over any hurdles they encounter in the learning process.
Many home school parents join co-ops where one parent may be really strong in math and the other in history and they trade off in their strengths to aid the children. There are numerous resources available today for the home-schooling parents. Many Christian schools will work with home schoolers to come in for testing or other activities. If parents explore the resources and connect with other parents who are home schooling they will find they can do it.
Many people have known or heard of the awkward socially inept geeks that are purportedly stereotypical of a home schooled child. While it is true that this can be a weakness of home schooling, it is easily avoidable. Home schooling today is much more widely accepted and the community resources are much more readily accessible. There are many extracurricular activities that can give them the social environment lost from not being in a traditional school environment. There are sports teams, music classes, dance classes, marital arts classes, gymnastics, drama classes and the like that are available for home schooled children to participate in. Moreover, if the family is very involved in the life of their church they will also find friends and socialization there. The important thing is for the parents to provide these opportunities and to watch to be sure their children are socializing and not hiding away in their studies. Children do not need to learn in a classroom setting in order to have the benefits of socialization.
Parents will worry that their children will not have the same chance for acceptance into a prestigious college or any college of their choice. In reality, this is a huge myth. Colleges welcome home schooled students and some even offer very good scholarships for them. The reason is that home school children excel in college due to their advantage of having learned how to learn without being spoon-fed by professors. Professors rely on their students to be mature enough to be prepared for class and well studied on their own. They lecture and they leave the rest of the learning up to the students. Home schooled students are better prepared then other students to face the college world for they are statistically better learned and have greater maturity socially to be a wonder student for the college. Similarly, should a home-schooled child be placed back into an institutional school they will adjust well and be above average for their grade level.
Lastly, a persistent concern is government regulation of home schoolers. Some states have laws, which compel the home schooling family to report the children’s progress, curriculum, and parental qualifications to the local school board. However, there is always in every state a religious exemption the family can take to avoid this encroachment on their rights to raise their children as they please. Some will argue that these laws protect the children from not being really educated at all, but that really is the parents prerogative. To weed out the few that would be doing something they ought not to is not a good reason to usurp the rights of all parents to home school as they see fit.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to every form of education, rest assured that the negative stereotypes linked to home schoolers can be easily avoided and the myths easily debunked. It is good to get the whole story and not to be satisfied with illl-informed sound bytes. If someone has nothing good to say about something, chances are they are not a worthwhile source of information concerning it. Home schooling is hard work for both the parents and the children, but it is equally rewarding.