While homeschooling is the best decision for some families for a variety of reasons, many people have misconceptions and generalizations about parents, students, and families who are homeschoolers that may not be accurate to the true experience of homeschooling. These are some of the common misconceptions.
Not on a schedule
While some homeschoolers may tout the benefits of an unscheduled school day, where the homeschooled student makes his or her own choices of skills and activities, the vast majority of home school experiences have some level of organization. They often make rules about time spent on specific subjects and the amount of time that is spent on creativity and discovery. The homeschooled situations that are quality experiences often have set schedules much like a regular school day is for those who attend public schools.
Another common misconception is that students do not have assessments such as tests and quizzes. Homeschooled students are just as likely to take assessments and have grading opportunities as the public school student. Homeschooled students will take history and math tests just like other students.
A misconception in the minds of many people is that homeschoolers are fringe groups with odd anti-establishment beliefs. While there are some that may fit that description, many families homeschool for a variety of reasons. Some examples include military families that move frequently, parents with special needs children, and even families living in rural places that make travel to schools difficult. Usually homeschoolers are similar in beliefs to most other families and do not represent fringe beliefs.
One concern about homeschooling is that the family teachers are not qualified to teach the students and that the students will not receive a quality expert education. While there may be some who may not be qualified to teach, others are self-taught and college educated. Some of these homeschooled families are led by a parent who actually is a certified teacher not currently employed as a teacher. The majority of homeschooled parents take the role as teacher seriously and make sure they are giving the student a quality education.
Go months without education
There is the myth that homeschooled students may go months without much education so families can travel or do other endeavors that they desire. This misconception is largely untrue and the homeschooled student often does school related activities year round instead for nine months. It is possible that they may take school work along during trips and may make the trips part of the educational process. There is more likelihood that the homeschooled experience will be a well-rounded experience of research, reading, writing, scientific experience, history lessons and more, all integrated into the same experience.
Poor social ability
Often a negative aspect that is synonymous with homeschooling is the belief that homeschoolers promote an unsocialized child that has difficulty getting along with other people and making friends. Most homeschoolers promote other ways for their children to socialize with others, often through church and community activities, community sports programs, as well as playing with children who live near them. While some may have less socialization than others, many homeschoolers make significant effort to encourage social participation.
Not utilizing school curriculum
A common misconception is that homeschoolers do not have access to the public school curriculum. School districts do provide textbooks to homeschoolers that must be returned at the end of a school term. Homeschoolers are able to follow the state and national standards and are able to use the exact same book that the public school student is using.
While much is made of the freedom homeschoolers have in their choices and experiences, equally there is a strong belief that homeschoolers miss out on many key right of passage situations such a participating in the prom or participating on the football team. While the opportunities may be different, it does not mean that the student is without similar opportunities. There is nothing to say that a homeschooled student cannot be asked as a date to the prom and there are many club sports and activities that are not part of the public school system available for participation.
Homeschooling is not unlike so many other areas of our society that are often misunderstood. While homeschooling may not be for every family, it certainly is a positive experience for many who consider it as a rich and quality educational experience.