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Seven Common Homeschool Myths
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There is a lot of debate, which we believe is a good thing, about homeschooling.  Debate and discussion is a natural and healthy part of our democratic and American way of life.  But, with all of the debate going on about homeschooling, it makes sense to separate fact from fiction.  Below is a list of seven common myths about homeschooling that need to be debunked.  They are in no particular order, but are likely to appear in any discussion by those knowledgeable - or less so - on the subject.

Myth: Homeschooling is not legal.  The fact is that homeschooling is legal in all fifty states.  The Home School Legal Defense Association, a national organization can provide information on the statutory requirements of the process.  Also, while our Supreme Court has not yet ruled specifically on homeschooling, it has supported it as part of a wider ruling that upheld parents’ right to “establish a home and bring up children”.  The final ruling by the Supreme Court mandated that states could set educational standards, but they could not limit how parents could choose to meet them.  The educational standards governing or regulating homeschooling, therefore, varies by state and includes: a single statute or a group of statutes that apply to homeschooling, specific laws that apply to private schools, or statutory nomenclature or specific wording that applies to homeschooling.

Myth: Homeschool education is just not as good as public/private school education.  For every criticism that can be leveled at homeschooling in the form of something that homeschooling does not provide, there can be found a group of parents whose children are not getting that thing in the usual school setting.  This applies to the selection of a curriculum and the design of a syllabus to meet the specific needs of your children; the application of time and attention to the specific needs of your children; and the ability to customize a learning schedule that fits very closely with the needs of your children and the constraints of the family in general.

Myth: Parents are not as good as teachers to teach kids.  By the time any child reaches school age he or she has been taught many things, academic, social and practical – all by their parents.  A parent who is attuned to their children, while perhaps needing to decide what method they will use to homeschool their children, already has the essential skills required to educate them once those basic decisions are made.  A parent’s commitment to their child’s education, therefore, can be and usually is just as strong as or stronger than a teacher’s.

Myth: You can only learn socialization skills in a public/private school setting.  This is not true because socialization also happens in many other environments besides school, such as ones neighborhood, place of worship, community at large, and family.  Homeschool field trips also offer a chance for socialization as the child explores various environments.  And some school districts allow homeschoolers to join the student body for extracurricular activities such as sporting and other outdoor events, band membership, drama and debating clubs, and so on.

Myth: Homeschooled kids suffer from a lack of events (team sports, proms, etc.) available in public/private schools.  The number of events and activities that can substitute for those available in the usual school setting are “too numerous to enumerate”.  My son and I created a new activity we called “Alge-ball”, a combination of algebra discussions while tossing around the football.  We also analyzed the differences in hill climbing between our mountain and road bicycles.  We built things in our garage, and went on field trips to learn about boat building and a lot of other fun things.  We recorded these events in our homeschool journal and wrote reports about them for inclusion in our homeschool portfolio.  Neither he nor I felt a sense of loss.

Myth: Homeschooled kids suffer from a lack of facilities (labs, gyms, science equipment, etc.) available in public/private schools.   I daresay Henry Ford, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, all people who used materials at hand to create multi billion dollar industries, and more importantly to shape and enrich the lives of billions of people, would not be hobbled by not having access to a tool, lab or a printed circuit board.  I think they would, instead, find a way to express their creative drive and spirit by any means necessary.  Okay, maybe this is “evangelizing” a bit, but my point is that homeschoolers have just as much creative drive and motivation to use what is at hand as publicly/privately schooled kids.  Actually they may have more, because a lot of the limiting factors in the school system are absent in the homeschool environment.

Myth: It’s tougher to get into college if you’ve been home schooled.  Consider the story of Erik Demaine.  He started college at M.I.T. at age 12, received his B.A. at 14, and then earned a PhD from MIT at the ripe “young” age of 20.  He then was hired as the youngest full professor ever at MIT, and two years later won the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” for his theoretical research in origami the Japanese art of paper folding.  Erik was homeschooled.  His homeschool teacher was his dad, Martin, a self taught computer scientist, mathematician, and artist in glass blowing.  While his is not the usual case, it is nonetheless a homeschooling success story and shows that homeschooling does not have to be an impediment to gaining a college admission.

The fact of the matter is that homeschool education is on the rise, not diminishing, in the United States.  According to a study conducted in 2009 by the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of children homeschooled has grown to 1.5 million, which represents a 75 percent increase since 1999. This represents a growth rate of between 15 and 30 percent per year.  One could make the case that this would not be so if the above myths were true.  At Academic Boot Camp Tips you can explore more facts and various other aspects of the homeschooling adventure.  We invite you to participate with us as we undertake this journey in education.


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