Sometimes homeschooling is unfairly labeled “bad” by people who have never considered a non-traditional educational choice.
Our world has evolved into choices and freedoms such as an Uber or taxi, Airbnb or Hotel, ordering online or going to the store. Education is evolving as well, but it’s been much slower to change.
Homeschooling is becoming more mainstream as families seek options to fit their lifestyles and beliefs about education. Remote work and abundant resources are changing the educational landscape.
Those who don’t understand homeschooling or want a different educational path may believe it deprives children of a “normal” school experience.
This perception is changing as non-traditional school options become more common. Below are 10 naysayer myths and thoughts to consider before forming an opinion that homeschooling is “bad.”
- Homeschoolers are lazy.
Homeschoolers don’t have the same schedule as they would in a traditional school but they stay busy! Many homeschool students get their work done early in the day and explore other interests with the rest of the time.
Home education is guided by mastery of concept and skills, not a linear set of skills with continuous testing. This more relaxed school environment is the reason why some choose to homeschool.
Homeschool students must complete academic goals the same as their peers in traditional schools but the schedule is flexible. If some students procrastinate more than others, it’s more of a personal trait and not a result of homeschooling. If students in a traditional school tend to procrastinate in that environment, it would likely be the same if they were homeschooled.
As for pajama days, it’s possible some days end up that way and can be more of a perk than a problem! Most families have a typical morning routine and pajamas are not an option.
2. Homeschoolers are not prepared for the real world.
This opinion likely comes from people who assume traditional schooling prepares kids for “the real world” as they deal with conflict and negative social interactions.
The traits needed to be successful in “the real world” can be taught in a home education despite not having school experiences of teasing, being left out, and other peer pressures.
Homeschooled students interact with people of different ages and backgrounds in various situations. This is more closely related to future life experiences than students who interact daily with peers of the same age in structured environment.
To be prepared for the real world, students need people and time management skills for almost any path they choose. There are a lot of opportunities for homeschoolers to develop these skills such as volunteering, part-time jobs, or assisting parents with home or work management tasks.
As for missing out on peer pressures to learn life skills, there’s a lot of maturing that takes place between the playground years and entering the workforce. School experiences, negative or positive, are not part of the skillset needed for the working years.
A homeschool education actually allows for more in-depth studies and experiences on a variety of subject matter as a lot of curriculum choices are driven by student interest. One could argue that internships, elective courses and the freedom to teach all kinds of life skills, gives homeschooled students an advantage in navigating the real world.
3. Homeschool students miss out on popular school activities.
This depends on a person’s belief about what is or isn’t a popular school activity.
Some people have positive experiences and memories of things like prom and pep rallies while others didn’t attend or actually dreaded those types of activities.
Here’s a complete look at what homeschool students miss out on in comparison to traditional school activities and other options they have for participation.
Areas that have large homeschool groups organize sports teams and organize special events for their students. In many states, laws are changing that permit homeschooled students to participate in public school sports.
A homeschool co-op can provide resources and opportunities for special school activities if this is important to a child or family.
4. Homeschoolers have limited viewpoints.
Homeschoolers are typically under the guidance of their parents, family, friends and community groups. The only group that’s missing compared to those in the traditional school setting is that of different teachers.
Teachers are given a set curriculum to teach that may or may not include varied viewpoints. A good teacher may present academic material in a way that leaves room for healthy debate, but even then it is more limited than opportunities with home education.
Home education does not always indicate a narrow view of the world while public education does not always mean a broader view of the world.
Home education provides more freedom to explore and discuss different sides of a topic. Learning experience can include debate and the value from considering different viewpoints.
5. Homeschooled students are unsocialized.
Socialization, or lack of, has long been a reason for why some people say homeschooling is “bad.”
It’s an interesting statement considering traditional brick and mortar schools do not allow for long stretches of socialization. It’s more common to hear “no talking” or, as is often the case for younger students, procedures such as “lights off” for silent lunch.
Socializing should not be defined by conversations among peers the same age. It’s much more than that.
Socialization involves speaking to and engaging in conversation with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Some homeschoolers are very social. Some are more reserved and shy around new people or situations. This is a personality trait that would follow in any educational setting.
Homeschooling offers kids the opportunity to socialize across many different settings with all different kinds of people. It’s past time for socialization to be a reason against homeschooling.
6. Homeschoolers academically underperform their peers.
In order to have these types of homeschooling statistics, you would have to test and collect data across the same environments and using the same protocols. The majority of homeschool students do participate in some form of testing, but not always under the same protocol as students in a public school.
Based on existing research studies that examine SATs or other data sets, homeschoolers perform the same or better than student in traditional schools.
To be accepted into colleges, homeschoolers must provide the same entrance criteria as other students.
There is a wide range of academic abilities among homeschoolers just as there are in any school setting but no research to date that homeschoolers as a group underperform their peers in traditional schools.
7. Homeschool students will not have lifelong friends.
This statement assumes that students only make lasting friendships during their school years.
People make lifelong friends at all ages and stages through their life.
College, community groups and work opportunities all provide ways to meet and develop friendships.
Some lifelong friendships may be formed after K-12 schooling, especially for kids who were perhaps more mature or didn’t share as many common interests with school-age peers.
Homeschool co-ops and community activities provide opportunities for children to as well as families to nurture and grow lifelong friendships.
8. Homeschooled kids are weird.
There are past presidents, current celebrities, inventors, artists, musicians, athletes and people of all backgrounds who were homeschooled. Many among them have quirks.
There are past presidents, current celebrities, inventors, artists, musicians, athletes and people of all backgrounds who went to traditional schools. Many among them have quirks!
Are homeschoolers weird? It’s weird that this is even a consideration when talking about kids.
Educational experiences are part of childhood and young adulthood but they do not define who is successful and who is not. One group is not “normal” while the other is “weird.”
Thankfully all kids, homeschooled or not, have colorful personalities and grow up to become colleagues, neighbors and friends.
9. Homeschooled students are unhappy.
Offensive homeschool jokes and generalized statements about homeschooled students being unhappy are made by people who really have no idea how a homeschool environment operates or what it looks like.
Homeschool students have their good days and bad days, just like other students.
Issues of neglect that are publicized of kids who are homeschooled are the rare exception.
Most homeschooled families are involved with the community and the kids do not stand out as “unhappy.”
10. Homeschooled students can’t go to college.
Homeschoolers can go to college and many do. Some homeschoolers go to college sooner than their typical age peers since their path is customized and personalized.
The high school years are a bit more involved on the parent’s end to help the student navigate credits and college entrance criteria, but many homeschool students continue their education in college.
One of my favorite articles written by a former homeschooler comes from Nathan Barry, a highly successful online entrepreneur. He writes about being homeschooled:
Homeschooling encourages this respectful relationship between parents and kids. It is more than just the class or the format, its a way of interacting with your kids as equals and partners in their own learning. Ultimately I’m so grateful for the incredible time and energy my parents invested in me and my education.
The real truth about homeschooling is that it’s a wonderful fit for some kids and some families.