11/15/10

Truth or Misconception: Exploring Homeschooling Myths

Blog Cruise ButtonOn more than one occasion, I’ve heard questions or comments like these:

1) Boy, it sure would be nice if my kids could take off as much time as yours do.

2) But what about socialization? 

3) You don’t have a job, you only home school so you can do this for me.

This week’s TOS Crew Blog Cruise addresses myths of homeschooling.  I don’t know if the questions and comments I encounter are truly myths but they do represent some misunderstandings of home education.  Let’s look at each of these comments.

Boy, it sure would be nice if my kids could take off as much time as yours do.  Home education is flexible.  We are not limited to Monday through Friday from 8am to 2pm (or 9-3 or what ever the public school hours are). We can school any day of the week!  We are not restricted to September through June (or August through May).  We can school year round or use a more traditional school calendar.  I plan our school year so that we meet the legal requirements of our state (equivalent instructional hours) and the personal goals and requirements my husband and I set for our girls. It may appear that my girls have more time off, but the reality is that we just have a different schedule than our public school district.

But What about Socialization? I would almost be willing to bet that this would be classified as the number 1 homeschooling myth: home school children are not socialized or do not have social skills.  

Socialization has several meanings.  Generally, when someone asks “what about socialization?” they mean “do they get enough time with friends?” or perhaps they mean “do they know how to work in groups and get along with people?”

I want to take a moment and explore a different meaning of the word socialization.  According to the American Heritage High School Dictionary the first definition listed is :”to place under government or group ownership or control”.   With that denotation first and foremost in my mind, I reply I do not want my children socialized.  I choose to home school because I do not believe my children belong to the government.

The second definition states “to make fit for companionship with others; make sociable”.    I do not believe the primary purpose of public education is socialization by this definition.  For the naturally outgoing child, public education may provide more of an outlet for social opportunities (chatting during lunch hour or on the bus or before the bell rings) but (and I could be wrong) I don’t remember any classes teaching me specially how to get along with others and to be a companion.   And for those children who are naturally shy or find crowds difficult, public education provides rich fodder for anxiety. 

I believe that it is imperative that we teach our children to love others as Christ loves us.   I believe that all children need to learn how to work with others and to give and take in relationships.   It is a myth that home school children do not have the opportunity to learn these skills.  

You don’t have a job. You only home school so you can do this for me.  Let’s get this out right now.  I do not sit around eating bon bons all day and watching television.  Being a home school parent is like having a full time job.   In addition to making sure that my family has clean clothes to wear, some hot food to eat and a reasonably clean house to live in,  I am also responsible for the education of my children which includes lesson planning, teaching, mentoring, grading and record keeping. Teaching is a full time job whether it be in a private, public or home school situation.  I think I get the most flexibility and the best benefits though.  I love it when people ask my children “do you like your teacher?” (the person doesn’t realize we home educate) and my daughter responds “No!  I love her!”

I love answering questions about home education and sharing about how it works for my family.   If you have a question I’d love to hear from you!

Check out the Crew Blog for this week’s Cruise to see what other myths Crew mates are debunking!

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7 comments:

  1. Ah yes, your #3 was so right. Homeschooling is a full time job. Then parenting is a full time job. Oh, and being the housekeeper/cook/laundress is a full time job.

    No wonder we're so busy - we're doing the jobs of 3 or more adults!

    Great post!

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  2. Excellent post! Thank you for listing #3! Ugh! That is one that drives me crazy. One day someone wanted me to wait at their house while they were at work for a repair man to come. I'm not kidding. Like, I homeschool, so that means I do nothing all day??? LOL! My kids get that question a lot too, and they always just look at me and giggle while saying "yes!" LOL! Thanks for participating in Blog Cruise this week!

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  3. Oh I agree with #3......like I sit in a hot tub eating bon bons and reading romance novels all day long. We have friends that say/ask the same things with "but you are home all day you have all kinds of time". NOT!!!

    Great post!

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