If you attended a traditional school growing up, you may not be familiar with how homeschooling works. You may wonder how homeschooled children make friends or assume parents must not work if they’re educating their children during the day. While no two homeschooling families are exactly alike, we noticed there were recurring myths about the homeschool community in general.
“I think it is important to note that homeschool parents do not take our children’s education lightly,” said Nicole McDonald, a homeschooling parent. “If anything, most of us tend to go above and beyond to make sure that we are meeting a need that our children have to make their educational experience the best it can be.”
We asked McDonald to share with us her experience as a homeschooling parent in order to debunk a few myths surrounding the homeschool community.
Myth: If a parent chooses homeschooling for one child, they’ll choose to homeschool the rest of the family too.
There’s no homeschooling rulebook that requires a family to choose the same modality of education for all of their children. As a mother of four, McDonald had to consider the best method of instruction for each child.
“Homeschooling came onto my radar after the birth of my second daughter. I never thought that I would be one that homeschooled my children, but the concept of it always intrigued me. My oldest daughter attends public school, so I assumed the rest would follow suit.”
McDonald’s three youngest children require specialized resources and instruction. After careful consideration, she decided homeschooling would provide the best environment for academic success.
“I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to homeschooling my children to give them the best opportunities that I can. I am so fortunate that I have the ability to do this for my children and I am extremely grateful.”
Myth: Parents are not qualified to teach their children.
Parents have a variety of resources at their disposal. McDonald shared with us a few resources she uses to develop a curriculum for her children.
“We use a few different online learning programs, including IXL, Homer Reading, and ABC Mouse. We also integrate workbooks from the Dollar Store and wipe-clean learning books for the alphabet, numbers, and handwriting practice. Lastly, we incorporate materials from our local library. I like to keep it as budget friendly as possible. There are hundreds of options to choose from. Some families choose to stick to one complete curriculum, and some people piece together what works best for them.”
Myth: Homeschooled kids are stuck indoors at home all day.
Homeschooling provides children and parents the freedom to learn on their own terms.
“Our classroom is wherever we want it to be, and our kids have so much fun learning in ways that work best for them.”
McDonald explained how getting out into the community and participating in co-ops with other homeschool families keeps her children engaged.
“There are co-ops and programs available to homeschooling families. They offer a variety of subjects and activities that every child can enjoy, including specialized events for children to make learning fun.”
In McDonald’s homeschool community, the programs are inclusive of all students.
“These programs, groups, and events are not limited to just your typical student. They also include those with special needs.”
Myth: It’s impossible for homeschooled students to make friends.
It’s not uncommon for homeschooling parents to receive a question about how children can make friends if they don’t attend traditional school. According to McDonald, people fail to realize that homeschooling families can arrange for social gatherings to occur during a “school day,” and can include academics as well.
“We have so much freedom with homeschooling. We can socialize whenever we want. We have playdates with other homeschool families multiple times a week, and we partake in field trips frequently through our co-ops or other homeschool groups that we are a part of. There is no sitting in a classroom for six hours a day being told not to talk because class time isn’t a time for socialization.”
Myth: Homeschool parents are stay-at-home caregivers without careers.
Not only do some homeschooling parents work, but they are also tasked with more household chores than people realize.
“Some homeschoolers have their own careers that they still need to keep up with, in addition to the ‘extras’ that come along with homeschooling. People don’t think about how there is more housework from being home more, and how we are making more meals than a typical family eats at home during the week all while fitting in school activities.”
Myth: Homeschooled children don’t go to college.
“I think it is important to note that colleges and universities accept homeschooled children. From my research, and from listening to fellow homeschoolers, colleges and universities welcome these students with open arms.”
Homeschooled students not only attend college, they also have the opportunity to earn college credit before they graduate high school. Credit-by-exam programs AP, CLEP, and DSST allow students to earn college credit in subjects they’re already familiar with. The best part? Traditional students can take advantage of credit-by-exam programs too.
“Many of my friends that homeschool have children that are inching their way towards their senior year. Some of these teenagers have been taking college-level courses for a couple of years already. They will graduate with almost enough credits for an associate’s degree. This is just one of the many benefits to homeschooling.”
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