Five Homeschooling Misconceptions By Asha Oshun’ Mali
When I told my mostly middle class family that I was thinking of homeschooling my children, I was met with a host of negative responses. My mother, in particular, was mortified. “Home school!” she
said exasperated. “Now why would you want to do that? Don’t you know home school children don’t get into good colleges? And, how will you socialize them?”
I did not know how to respond to her then. What I did know: was that I was not crazy about the education my children were receiving at their perspective schools.
I did not blame their teachers at all for this-I knew they were doing the best they could-and honestly, I feel it’s a parent’s job to ensure their children are getting a quality education.
But still, I did not know how the home school processed worked. So, I turned to what I am good at; snooping.
I stalked internet websites on homeschooling for weeks, learning all that I could. I also took a trip to the library-a handy free resource-and read books on the subject as well.
Added to this, I found out through word of mouth-which friends of mine knew home schooling parents. I learned a lot from my quest, and I certainly learned a lot about home schooling misconceptions.
Misconception number one:
One of the most common misconceptions is that home schooled students will not be able to socialize with other kids.
Having my children not only socialize with other kids their age, but also participate in community service programs, was very important to me when considering the option of homeschooling.
I wanted to make sure they had hands on experience for their perspective career interest and I also wanted to make sure they understood the importance of volunteering their time to help others in
My thirteen year old wants to be a Veterinarian. I wondered how I would be able to make sure she was able to learn more about animals.
I found out through my research, that she could not only get experience by working at animal shelters , but that she would also be able to fulfill a community service component by
volunteering her time.
And as far as socialization is concerned, there is plenty of information available on the internet. Home-school.com (www.home-school.com) is just one of the many sites where you can find home
school social groups for your particular state.
There are also sites that can help strengthen your child’s skills by allowing them to interact with other learners their age. Helium.com (www.helium.com) is one such site.
Helium offers teenagers, 13 and up, the chance to display their writing and the opportunity to read the writing of others.
The site also offers message boards where children can get useful advice for improving their writing, while connecting with other kids their age at the same
Misconceptions number two:
A friend was careful to advise me that homeschooling was illegal. I told her I did not think so, but she insisted. “You are going to go to jail and lose your kids if you home school girl.” She
While the mere thought of doing something illegal-especially where my children were concerned-was terrifying for me, my research showed me that homeschooling is indeed- legal.
There are state rules that must be followed however.
I was reassured after learning from Fine Homeschooling.com (www. finehomeschooling.com) that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states.
I was also encouraged by the fact that there were many sites that had detailed information on the legal information regarding homeschooling for each state.
One of the most informative was the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association.( www.hslda.org)
The site is very detailed in regard to the legal ins and outs of what you can and can’t do as a home school parent or guardian.
Misconception number 3:
The next misconception I was met with was that to teach children at home you needed at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate.
I learned that is in not true either. However, each state has different laws regarding homeschooling.
In Georgia for instance, all you need is a high school diploma. And, you have to make sure that you hand in an attendance sheet at the end of every month so that you are in compliance with truancy
laws.Teacher Certification is also not required in most states. You must be careful, however, to make sure that you are competent at the subjects you are teaching.
Your child’s education is extremely important.
Don’t be afraid to enlist tutors to aide you in giving your child the highest quality education possible.And you will need to make sure the tutors are qualified. In some states, like California,
tutors must be certified. However, you will have to do the research to find out what your states home schooling laws are. Listed below are some websites that can help you find the legal home
school information for your state.
Misconception number 4:
“Are you going to be able to afford it? I mean, the economy is pretty bad out there and you won’t be able to work full time if you home school.” This was a legitimate concern for me. I knew that I
and my husband would have to work.
But, I knew too ,that our schedules could be set up in a way that would allow us to offer our children the best of our time, resources, and attention.
As far as affordability is concerned, homeschooling is no more expensive than public school and far less expensive than most private schools. Homework on your part is important.
The internet offers a plethora of websites on homeschooling.
One of my favorites is Successful Homeschooling (www.successful-homeschooling.com). This wonderful website gives useful information and links on where to find cost cutting materials such as used
books, free and low cost homeschooling links, and much more.
And there are many other sites like this one available on the web. Just head over to Google and do a search. You will be amazed at what you will find.
Misconception number 5:
Can home schooled children get into good colleges? According to Karl M. Bundy they can and not just in America. Mr. Bundy (www.learninfreedom.org) , list well over 1,000 colleges that have
accepted and still do accept home school students.
And, some of America’s finest colleges and universities, like Harvard, are listed as well. If you are worried about standardized test like the A.C.T and S.A.T, you don’t have to.
According to Isabel Shaw in an article written for Back to School with Family Education (school.familyeducation.com),
“On average, home schooled kids score one year ahead of their schooled peers on standardized tests. The longer the student home schools, the wider this gap becomes.
By the time home schooled children are in the eighth grade, they test four years ahead of their schooled peers.” (school.familyeducation.com)
Of course, you as the parent educator will have to do your own foot work where getting your child into the school of your choice is concerned. But, that would be your job no matter what system you
choice for your child to attend; private, public or home.
All in all, homeschooling can be an enriching experience not only for your children, but for you as well.Don’t listen to the naysayers; do your own snooping. You will be surprised and delighted at
what you will find.
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