I never really planned to become a homeschooler. I grew up in the Dominican Republic where everyone goes to school, and did not have a clue there were alternatives to public and private school. I had great teachers who inspired me, motivated me, and taught me to love learning. I didn’t get enrolled into homeschooling because I hated the school system, as a matter of fact, my children have only been to private school.
I’ve been a homeschooling mom for a few years now and I can say without a doubt that it’s one of the top 5 best decisions I’ve made in my life. I can feel this will be long post, because while I don’t claim to know every homeschooling myth there is, I’ve heard many:
MYTH #1 ~ Kids don’t get social skills ~ I don’t claim to be the best mom on the planet, but I’m no Mother Gothel, either. Homeschooling does not mean locking your children out of the world, as a matter of fact, my daughters are extremely integrated, aware, and their social skills are superb, leaving everyone they interact with in real awe. I am excited to know that my daughters’ self-confidence is not determined by peer-pressure and that we choose the people -of all ages- we want to be around – or don’t.
MYTH #2 ~ Homeschoolers don’t value education ~ I go to homeschool fairs and belong to several homeschool groups, and most members are highly educated folks [ like lawyers, doctors, former public school teachers, etc.] In Canada, you even get perks for homeschooling! It is also well received in the US. According to a study by the National Home Education Research Institute, there were 2.04 million homeschooled children in 2010 and it’s a fast growing trend for effective education.
MYTH #3 ~ Home Educators MUST be professional teachers ~ This has been a source of constant awkwardness for me. I have been teaching adults for over a decade, but when I tell others I teach my children – AT HOME!!! – they seem puzzled, almost in disapproving shock, and sometimes even ask to see my credentials. I’m not going to lie, “at first I was afraid, I was petrified“ but I have survived… and so have they. It’s been a great experience and an academic success.
MYTH #4 ~ Homeschool curriculums are Difficult and PRICEY! ~ Sure many curriculums were highly intimidating to me. I didn’t even go to school in the U.S. so I was clueless about a lot. Even the most expensive ones are still way cheaper than paying private school for two children – especially for a single mom! I save money in tuition, gas, dreaded costumes, unnecessary school materials (we recycle a lot), and even daycare (for my new baby). And you get teacher’s discounts with your homeschool ID!
We decided to use Time4Learning, a virtual interactive curriculum that covers preschool through high school, and it has been amazing for my daughters: fun, flexible, and AFFORDABLE.
In addition, it is a simple classroom where lesson plans are optional, progress reports are on demand, activities are animated, and quizzes/tests are automatically graded. Time4Learning offers demo lessons and a curriculum overview, if you are interested. It makes life so much easier!
MYTH #5 ~ Homeschooling takes too much time ~ Time was actually the decisive factor for me to check out homeschooling. I used to wake up in the wee hours to get backpacks and breakfast ready, pack a healthy homemade lunch, and drive across town to make the 7 am car-line, which was only shorter than the afternoon car-line for pick up. Between homework and extra-curricular activities, the girls were exhausted and we couldn’t really bond. Our homeschooling takes LESS time than it took to drop-off and pick-up the girls from school, and with no homework, they can sleep in, we can snuggle and do our morning scripture study, and they can do what they love without stress and at their own pace – plus, family togetherness!
MYTH #6 ~ Homeschooling will stress you out! ~ Sure homeschooling requires effort and time, but I do not miss our rushed breakfast, car-line, binder-keeper days, to only have tired, stressed out kids that missed me – and each other – all day. I am more relaxed, we are more relaxed. They are rested, happy, and excited to do school at their own pace and when they are alert and ready to learn. We hug, pray, take breaks when needed, and switch subjects, when necessary. I love the flexibility and freedom of homeschooling and it gives me sanity and peace of mind, because we have become time-management moguls. However, what I am most grateful for is the unbreakable bond that is created through being together and actively teaching my children eternal principles, positive values, and life skills in every teachable moment. I love it!
MYTH #7 ~ Homeschoolers miss out on school resources! ~ Although I personally don’t take advantage of a lot of the public school services available, homeschoolers are eligible to enroll in PE, music, art, and other programs. Like Tim Tebow, they could play sports or get a scholarship, and of course, they could apply for colleges when the time comes. I am not sure how long we will be homeschooling, though the girls say “forever;” we will just continue to do what works and discard what doesn’t. I’m so happy that my daughters now have more time to pursue their real passions: art, music, writing, reading, cooking, sewing… They also have more time to play and bond as sisters – and best friends! Co-ops are another great resource, where you can send the children a few days and share the schooling – I don’t do this but some of my homeschooling friends do swear by them!
I am not saying you SHOULD homeschool. I don’t believe it works for everyone. What I am saying is it works for me, it works for our family, and it makes us happier. I like to share happiness… that’s me!
Have you heard any homeschooling myths you want to share with me? I’d love to help debunk them!