Many people are reluctant to homeschool their kids for a variety of different reasons. However, most of these reasons are really just fears, rooted in the unknown. I remember thinking that homeschooling was just doing school at home and wondering why someone would do that. Once I found how completely wrong I was, I started to fall in love with the idea of it. And yet, I still had many fears. In this article, I will address five misconceptions about homeschooling. By just having more understanding, you too may have a change of mind and heart.
My Kids Will be Socially Awkward
This has been one of the most common misconceptions over the years but has gradually lost some steam. As more people are homeschooling, many people are realizing that homeschooled kids aren’t lacking social skills.
I believe this is true for a couple reasons. One, kids have many opportunities these days, whether it be at church, on sports teams, in co-ops, or merely in the neighborhood to interact with their peers.
Two, interacting primarily with other kids their age isn’t going to make kids have great social skills. Homeschooled kids have the opportunity to interact with people of many different ages, including those much older and younger. Through these interactions, they can learn how to have mature conversations with people of any age.
And let’s face it. Some kids are just awkward. I work with 4th and 5th-grade students at my church and many of those public schooled kids are awkward. It doesn’t have to do with how they are educated. It’s just their natural personality.
So rest assured, if you homeschool your kids, it does not mean they are bound to be socially awkward!
My Kids Will Not Receive a Good Education
While this is an understandable fear, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, recent studies show that homeschoolers actually score higher on standardized tests than both public and private schooled kids. Yes, higher!
For one, there are countless curriculum options available these days that are very challenging for homeschoolers. Because student to teacher ratios are much lower at home than in a classroom, each student can go at his or her own pace, not being held back or pushed forward. Thus, students can really get the attention they need for each subject.
Moreover, as most people know, education does not simply include that which we learn from textbooks. It is so much more than that.
Learning at home gives students a well-rounded education in real life as they see it played out before them each and every day.
From cooking, cleaning, and running errands, to interacting with adults, to welcoming people into their home for co-ops, homeschoolers can get an education in life experiences that they will take with them for years. Not to mention the learning available through field trips, mentorships, internships, and other arenas outside the classroom.
Because education can take place in fewer hours at home with far fewer students, kids, at least in the younger years, have more unstructured time in their day. They do not have to sit at a desk for the majority of their waking hours only to go home to do homework.
With that free time, their minds are able to create and think more outside of the box. Having the time to think and tinker and play is actually learning. Just ask Google if you are not convinced!
I Need to be a Trained Teacher
This fear is related to the one above. However, it too is very untrue. I believe credentialed teachers are very valuable and have one of the toughest jobs there are. In fact, I have very close family members and friends who were and are great public school teachers. Partly because of this, I feared that I wouldn’t be good enough because I don’t have the training.
Yet, you know your children better than anyone else does. You are aware of all their tendencies, shortcomings, strengths, and triggers. These simple facts help equip you to teach them well.
Additionally, it goes back to the great resources out there – a variety of great curriculum, tutors, online classes, teaching DVDs, etc. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Research what is there and utilize it.
Finally, you will grow in your teaching abilities. As you teach, you will grow more comfortable doing it. With each student you teach, you will be better prepared on how to tackle each subject.
Just like with anything else, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Keep growing, keep learning, keep stepping out in faith. You can and will be able to do it!
I Can’t Afford It
While there is a cost for the curriculum and supplies you will need, you might be surprised at how much you actually have to spend.
The bottom line is, if you really want to homeschool your kids, there will be a way to do it. Don’t let finances hold you back. There are even scholarships for struggling families through www.hslda.org
I Don’t Have Enough Space
I remember having this concern when we first started homeschooling. We lived in a very tiny apartment and my husband was working nights and needed to sleep during the day. I kept reading how people would set up their homes with dedicated homeschool rooms or spaces. That was no way possible for us.
However, learning took place and still does, all over our home. We mainly work at our kitchen table. The benefit…it always needs to be cleaned and organized after breakfast. No room for messes to be left out!
We also read on our couch and even outside. What could be more comfortable and inviting than that? On nice days, we often sit on our deck while my kids read aloud to me. And on cold, rainy days we snuggle together on the couch.
You don’t have to have a lot of space to be able to homeschool. Create an atmosphere of learning wherever you are.
Be creative. You may have to have educational materials in your kitchen or bedrooms. Maps may replace fine art on the walls. The alphabet may line your crown molding. Books may be in your living room in baskets or on shelves.
Whatever it may be, be creative with whatever space you have and learning will happen! I know people who homeschool in a trailer. So don’t let a lack of space hinder your decision to homeschool.
I hope I have helped clear up some misconceptions about homeschooling and settled some fears you may have had.
Sunday morning, I read the book of Esther before going to church. I looked at what was next on my reading plan, and opened my Bible. Esther was only ten chapters so I read the entire thing before getting ready to leave for church.
That morning, unknown to me ahead of time, the teaching was from the book of Esther. God is never mentioned by name in the book, but He is there throughout the story.
Esther was written for a Jewish audience and those to whom is was written would have seen the hand of God behind the curtains of circumstances without being explicitly told. The Jews are a people who had served God, then forgotten God, served God, then forgotten God. Or better, rejected God and served other gods. But their history and culture, even when Esther was written, was of a people who had been given promises from God and had seen God work. They knew of the God who controls circumstances and keeps promises: the story of Esther was one more evidence of His sovereignty.
The story of Esther served the Jews in antiquity and can serve us still today. As I read through the story in one sitting it was obvious to me that God was at work. The story is amazing. I can’t go through it all, and I’m assuming you already know the story. If you don’t, then you need to read it.
Haman wishes the Jews to be annihilated. But because Esther is queen she is in a position to stop this plot and save the Jews.
Here are a few highlights to show God controlling circumstances:
Queen Vashti refuses to come at the king’s command (Why? Why on this occasion?)
Esther is chosen from among many women to be queen. (What are the odds?)
Mordecai learns of a plot to assassinate the king (How? Why was this made known to him?)
The king couldn’t sleep. He asks someone to read to him. He reads the story of Mordecai uncovering a plot to kill the king as the chronicles are read. (What are the odds of this? Surely there were many other things to read? And many stories in the chronicles? How did the reader happen to get to this story that night?)
As the King is asking if Mordecai had ever been rewarding, who should walk in? Haman! (Why at that moment? Are you kidding me?)
Haman hated Mordecai and was planning to hang him. Now he is to lead Mordecai through the city and proclaim the King’s favor upon Mordecai. (So many servants of the King and his court, but he chooses Haman for this tasks? What irony? What sovereignty? Who but the King of Kings could organize this?)
Esther is given favor from the king when she walks into the court uninvited.
Each detail is a link in the chain which finally binds the reader to the fact that God controls circumstances.
God is still in control of circumstances today. I told my wife recently as she was headed into surgery to remember the story of Esther and that every little detail was in the hands of God.
God controls circumstances and keeps promises. In the end, the Jews were not exterminated, and they continued to flourish. Their history wasn’t all roses from that point on but God preserved them because He had promised to bring a Messiah to the world through them.
God had promises to keep and He will keep them. He is able to move on King’s sleep patterns, control what histories are read, control the timing of a man walking in to visit the king, and on and on.
What promises has he given to you? Be encouraged – He is still in the business of keeping His promises!