A few weeks ago I went to center city to turn in my children’s portfolios for the 2010 – 2011 school year. As the school district’s representative flipped through my children’s work we began chatting. She was surprised to hear about the many field trips our homeschool group has had, the gym classes that are available to homeschoolers through a local university, the sports and drama groups my kids have participated in, and the social network that seems to exist between homeschool families.
After I left I began to reflect on our conversation and I realized I had quite a few misconceptions about homeschooling before I began doing it as well. I’ve written this article to help clarify some of the more common ones people have.
Misconception #1 – Homeschooling Is Illegal: It’s not illegal. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. For a copy of Pennsylvania Homeschool law, check out this link. http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/Pennsylvania.pdf
Misconception #2 – You Need a Teaching Degree to Do That: Actually, you don’t need a college degree at all. According to Pennsylvania Homeschool Law, you only need a highschool diploma or GED. Please see the Home School Legal Defense website for more information on this subject. http://www.hslda.org/
Misconception #3 – Homeschool Kids Aren’t Socialized: This is probably the most common misconception I hear. People are often surprised to find out that my kids are involved in sports, drama, youth group, and regular gym and field trip activities with other homeschoolers. It is true that homeschoolers must be intentional about finding groups like these to participate in, but I think its fair to say that most homeschoolers do seek out these things for their family. I’m sure there are homeschoolers out there who keep their kids at home by themselves all day, but I don’t know any. Check out this article for more on homeschoolers and socialization. http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Homeschoolers_Real/
Misconception #4 – A Homeschool Day is a Regular 6 hour School Day: The hours families spend homeschooling their children each day vary quite a bit depending on the ages of the children and the curriculum being used. However, in general, kids can be taught the same information as kids in a typical school setting and do it in far less time. Why? Wasted time is eliminated. A teacher may spend 10 minutes getting everyone settled after recess. 5 minutes calling role. 15 minutes helping a struggling child, while the rest of the students wait. 20 minutes over the course of the day addressing kids who are interrupting the class in some way. 60 minutes giving “busy work” (given to kids to keep them occupied while teacher helps other students, grades papers, etc). Because all (or most) of these things are avoided by schooling at home, teaching information consumes far less time.
Misconception #5 – Homeschooling Doesn’t Work: I’ve heard this phrase a number of times from different people, and I’m still not quite sure what people mean by it. Do they mean that kids aren’t learning enough at home? Statistics say that academically, homeschool kids outperform public school children in all subjects. Check out this article for more on this subject. http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp Do they mean that homeschoolers aren’t prepared for college? Studies show that homeschoolers excel at college. Check out this article for more information. http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000017.asp Do they mean that homeschoolers don’t contribute to society? According to a recent study, adults who have been homeschooled are far more likely to be involved in a community activity than the average adult. Check out this website for more on this subject. http://www.nheri.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=171&Itemid=47
In short, homeschooling does work, not only for each student, and homeschool family, but for our society as a whole.
Copyright July 7, 2011 by Gwen Fredette