I hear all the time how concerned people are about the socialization of homeschoolers. They seem to think that the children with the “unlucky” fortune of having a parent decide they should stay home to be taught the lessons of life must be kept locked in a basement with no sunlight. Okay, that may be an exaggeration. Or maybe it isn’t.
All I’m saying is that I’m all to familiar with this conversation:
Them: *smiling* “Where did you go to school?”
Me: *smiling* “I was homeschooled.”
Them: *grimacing* “Oh.”
With that in mind, I’ve decided to shed some light into the mysterious homeschool situation. My point in this post is not to condemn or put down public schoolers. Most of my closest friends are public schoolers. I just want to ask for a little more respect on behalf of a concept that most simply don’t understand. I will point out some stats that may seem like I’m knocking public schoolers, I’m not. I’m just talking about averages and hoping everyone will understand that I don’t think I’m better than public schoolers; I think we’re equals and would like to be treated as such.
Myth #1 – All homeschoolers live on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately, I was not raised on a farm. I say unfortunately because who in their right mind doesn’t love animals? I did get to hang out on my grandparent’s farm, but I lived in a cute colonial house with plenty of land to run around on and neighbors my age just a half-football field away.
Myth #2 – Homeschoolers have no friends.
I had loads of friends growing up (which is shocking for those who knew my bratt-a-tatt self back in the day). I didn’t have to go to school to form social bonds, I had church and something called a “co-op” to attend. It was basically a big meeting of homeschool families who wanted to spend a few hours just chilling together, although the kids were usually getting taught how to create things. I had neighbors in my area that were my age, I had people available to me.
Having friends isn’t about where you’re schooled, it’s about how you interact with people you come in contact with.
Myth #3 – Homeschoolers are backwards and shy.
Okay, this one is a partial myth. Some homeschoolers are backwards and shy, but so are some public schoolers. That’s a personality thing, not a school environment thing. I, for one, was not shy. I was a sassy-loud-mouthed-in-your-face-what’s-up-dawg?! kinda gal. It’s not that I enjoyed people, I really didn’t at the time (again, I was a bratt-a-tatt), it’s that I wasn’t afraid to talk to people.
When I got older and realized people didn’t like the sassy-loud-mouthed-in-your-face-what’s-up-dawg?! kinda gal much, I decided to pull back and quiet down. I eventually became an introvert, up until I decided it was time to try being nice and see what happened.
Not that you needed to know the story of my personality’s development… but anyways.
My older sister was right off the bat a friendly magnet. Everyone wanted to get to know her and spend time with her, the same goes for my brother who was the loud and obnoxious but nice version of myself. My younger sister is super friendly, but introverted so she doesn’t actively seek out people time. See? In my family alone there were four different personality types and we were all homeschooled.
Myth #4 – Homeschoolers won’t do well with employment because they don’t know how to interact with people.
THIS IS SO NOT TRUE. Being homeschooled actually teaches people that playing nice and listening to authority is key to a successful life. It teaches discipline because they are solely responsible for success and failure. They don’t get graded on a curve because they are the curve. Instead, they learn to work hard and ask for second chances when they mess up.
Myth #5 – Homeschoolers don’t see the light of day.
I was lucky enough to be the daughter of a dad who traveled a lot. With the ability to take my school with me, I was able to join him and see more of the U.S. by the time I was 16 than most adults see by the time they bid adieu to this life. On our travels we met all kinds of people, witnessed world famous marvels and learned so much about the culture we’re blessed with here in America. So you could definitely say we saw the light of day. Kind of a lot. It’s no wonder I was so tan as a kid. Wish that were the case now. Le Sigh.
Myth #6 – Homeschoolers have terrible hygiene because they don’t see people outside of their family.
Um. Just. Wow. Okay. Do I really have to dispel this myth? C’mon folks. This is just offensive.
Myth #7 – Homeschooled children do not perform well on tests.
Okay. I’m not trying to brag, so I’ll just quote a couple of stats instead: “The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.)” and “Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.” See this link for more details on that.
Myth #8 – Only religious families homeschool because they want to indoctrinate their kids.
I’m not going to lie, most homeschoolers are religious. But not all of them. And kids aren’t simply being homeschooled because parents want to indoctrinate them. I have a friend who started homeschooling because a child was struggling to keep up in public school. The teachers didn’t have the freedom to spend more individual time with him, so she figured she should give him a year of learning at home and see what happened. We were so excited when he not only caught up but started to pass up his public schooled friends.
Myth #9 – Homeschooling hurts kids because they’re sheltered from the real world and won’t acclimate well once the structure is yanked away.
Sigh. Let’s quote a few more stats: homeschooled adults “participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population, vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population, and go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population.” Once again, see this link for more details on that.
Myth #10 – Kids hate being homeschooled.
I loved being homeschooled. Yes, I did go through a very short-lived period where I wanted to attend school. That faded quickly with the freedom to travel, the hands-on approach to learning and the exciting possibility of graduating with honors at just 16 (and I did *waiting for you to finish applauding* 😉 ). I’m not alone in this. Most of my friends who were homeschooled wouldn’t trade their experience for the world. In fact, a lot of the kids would just tell you that they’re so thankful they get to sleep in, wear PJs and finish school before 2pm.