We had the chance to put to rest a few misconceptions about homeschooling recently. Not sure we won any converts, but at least we were able to explode some of the myths that a few acquaintances have somehow absorbed through their limited--or nonexistent--exposure to homeschoolers.
1. All families who homeschool do so because they are religious "overachievers." We actually started homeschooling before dh was Christian, and before I was fully surrendered to Him. We now feel that an education based on honoring the Lord is our central goal, but we didn't start out that way. The truth is, anyone can homeschool. (And I personally have seen Him use homeschooling to bring many families closer to His Son!)
2. The only people who homeschool are those whose children are really, really smart. My kids happen to be pretty bright. I honestly hesitate to talk about that fact with non-homeschooling moms sometimes for the fear of reinforcing this myth. Honestly, if you believe that God gave you your children because He knew what He was doing, then why wouldn't you believe that He will equip you to deal with their minds, be they brilliant, average or what the school system would label as "Special Needs"?
3. Homeschoolers have big families. I have three kids. To some people, that's a big family. I know a family with 8 children who do not homeschool. I know families of onlies who do. In this case, size most assuredly does not matter.
4. You can only teach subjects you yourself are an expert in. Oh, my. If this were the case, the public school system would be at even more of a loss for teachers than it already is. Thanks to the blessing of almost too many curriculum choices, homeschoolers can teach and learn right alongside their children. Add to this the option of friends tutoring in their own areas of expertise, the variety of co-op and museum classes available, and books (!!!) and I think anyone will see the folly in this argument.
5. You can't be a mom and a teacher at the same time. Really? How do you explain that to the new mother carefully sounding out words for her toddler? Don't let her know how much she's confusing her child by teaching and mothering at the same time!
6. Children who are homeschooled just don't fit in. Praise God for this one! The assumption here is that it's good for kids to fit in with their peers. Personally, I hold to a different standard.
7. If you homeschool your older children, their younger siblings sit in a room by themselves all day. O.k., the person who told me this one doesn't have children, so she can be forgiven for assuming that it's possible to consign a toddler to a defined space and expect him to respect the banishment. I think we all know that this is a joke!
8. You can homeschool because you have a college education. Yes, I do. But I know others who don't, and I can't say my kids are any better off than theirs. What they have in common is a set of parents who are committed to their education. They don't teach any courses on that in universities, as far as I know.
9. Homeschooling takes up a lot of time. It can, no doubt. I have days where I am "on" from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. But I also have days where we are relaxed and just loving a lifestyle of learning. Both are o.k. Both are normal.
I haven't even touched on the "s" word or any of its subcategories here! I am amazed that in this day and age, all of these misconceptions still surround homeschooling. I'm sure my list is far from complete. Anyone care to share the things they've come up against?