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Ten Myths About Homeschooling and Anti-Homeschooling Excuses
Prospective homeschooling parents must face fears, doubts, and myths that prevent them from making the decision to homeschool their children. This article is an attempt to dispel the myths, dispel the fears, and disqualify the excuses against homeschooling that prevent many parents from having the wonderful experience of homeschooling their families… (yes, not just kids, parents homeschool too!)
1. I don’t get along with my kids/ My kids have bad attitudes/ My kids won’t listen to me.
This, to me, is one of the best reasons for homeschooling. Instead of running away from discipline issues that need to be addressed, loving parents must embrace opportunities to teach and train their children to be respectful and obedient. They must learn to reach the hearts of their children, not only using various methods of behavior modification and punishment, but actually building heart-to-heart relationships with their children.
Ignoring the problem or expecting the teacher to deal with it does not show love and commitment to children. They will test their boundaries and need parents to care enough to establish and enforce boundaries. Homeschooling provides many opportunities to build parent-child relationships.
2. I’m not well educated/ I can’t teach subjects like math and science
Research has shown that the level of education of homeschooling parents is not a factor that determines the success of homeschooling. Even high school dropout parents have successfully homeschooled their children throughout high school. Parents who have not had a good school career are often able to fill in the ‘gaps’ in their own education as they progress through different concepts with their children.
Homeschool curricula are designed to be used by non-trained parents, professionals, and self-taught students. In most cases, clear instructions are provided, parent guides and solutions are provided. Some curricula even include instructional DVDs where the teacher teaches new concepts for the benefit of both parents and students.
As a last resort, homeschoolers can do the same thing as school-going kids if they struggle with a subject – they can go to private tutoring.
3. I can’t afford it.
With all the options and choices of curricula available plus free resources available online, there is no basis for this excuse. Most homeschooling families survive on one income and still provide their children with a quality education.
At worst, you can limit yourself to spending the same amount it would cost for your children to attend school, minus extras like school clothes, lunch money, fundraising contributions and other school-related expenses.
Since most of your money will be spent on books and materials that can be reused with younger siblings, you can get great value for your money.
4. My kids just LOVE being with their friends
If your children prefer to be with their friends rather than family, they may have already developed an unhealthy dependency on their peers. This may not seem like a problem at the preschool or elementary school level, but just wait until they hit the teenage years!
As an alternative, homeschooling allows children to build good relationships with both parents and siblings. When their identities are strongly rooted in their families and they have good family values, then children are able to develop healthy friendships outside the home.
Homeschooling allows parents to choose the social interactions their children experience. Parents can protect them from negative peer pressure or bad influences until children are old enough to be gradually exposed to them and mature enough to make good decisions and build good relationships.
Homeschoolers don’t just stay at home. They also hang out – just not during school!
Research has also shown that, in general, homeschoolers have better social skills with a wider range of age groups than school-going children, whose social interactions are mostly limited to their own age group.
5. I have no patience
When I first started homeschooling, I read somewhere that you only get patience if you need it!
The same goes for other character traits that homeschool parents need, such as persistence, humility, self-sacrifice, compassion, diligence, etc.
Through homeschooling our characters are molded, shaped and matured and we become equipped to do what we are called to do.
6. I am afraid of failure.
I often tell my children, “Courage is doing what we have to do, EVEN WHEN WE FEEL AFRAID.”
It’s amazing to me how many parents are afraid that they might screw up their children’s education, but they don’t seem to be afraid that some teacher might screw it up even more!
When you see how many children suffer for various reasons in the school system, it is even more incredible that parents are willing to entrust their precious blessings to complete strangers for 6+ hours a day!
As a parent, you love your children like no teacher ever will, you have their best interests at heart and you are able to provide them with a tailored education, tailored to their individual needs.
Unless you are dedicated to successful homeschooling and solving the parenting and discipline problems that may arise, there is no reason why you should not do an equal or better job than a paid professional.
Now, I’m not saying that any parent can be a school teacher – no, I think it takes special training to teach a class of 35 plus kids who aren’t yours in a school situation…but I believe it’s a commitment parents can do well your work at home.
7. Will I manage? I’m already stressed.
Many outsiders see homeschooling as nothing more than an added responsibility—the burden of their children’s academic education. However, to put it in a different perspective, homeschooling is a lifestyle that brings a lot of flexibility to a family’s daily life. This could be just the thing to help a stressed parent cope better with the demands of the family.
Since everyone is together, not rushing in different directions, life is usually simplified. Children are at home and can be trained to help around the house.
Sometimes a parent may initially have to stop certain outside activities or commitments, such as extra church programs, sports, or hobbies. However, this is not always the case and many homeschoolers are just as, if not more, involved in their communities than non-homeschooling families.
Sometimes these activities simply need to be rearranged to accommodate the homeschool lifestyle.
Learning to adapt and put family first is often a good thing. I know too many people whose children are treated as second-class citizens for the so-called good of the community, so that the parents can get approval from their peer group for their good deeds and efforts!
8. We have such a nice teacher/school.
There are certainly very good teachers and schools with good results and a good reputation. However, do the values of the teacher or the school match your family values? Will a nice teacher always be the one to teach your child?
Often the school is legally required to teach a curriculum that may conflict with your beliefs. No education is neutral. If you don’t know what your kids are being taught, maybe you should find out the underlying belief system.
No matter how kind the teacher or school, only YOU have an intimate loving relationship with your child and ultimately you are responsible for your child’s education, whether you pass that responsibility on to the school or not.
9. I need more stimulation/ I can’t just stay at home/ I love my job.
As career workers, many of us initially find our identity in our work, satisfaction in the approval of our co-workers, our boss, or simply the paycheck at the end of the month.
Choosing to stay at home as a wife and mother requires a shift in mindset and an acceptance that there is no tangible reward at the end of many days and months. You realize that raising well-educated, confident, and secure children is one of the greatest accomplishments one can strive for. For many of us, it is obedience to God’s calling.
Although the stimulation may be of a different kind than at work, homeschooling can be very stimulating for parents because it offers you the opportunity to learn and explore topics of interest with your children. It gives you time to enjoy educational trips, tours, excursions, co-ops, crafts, hobbies, sports, and even business opportunities at home.
(Many homeschooling parents, like myself, have website-based businesses that earn good income and are self-paced! Check out the links below.)
10. My parents, in-laws, friends, neighbors or church, etc. will not approve.
For some reason, we all like to have the approval of others, especially those we respect and have intimate relationships with. However, if you and your spouse agree that homeschooling is best for your children, you must have the courage to stand up for your beliefs.
For many non-homeschoolers, homeschooling is a foreign concept and people don’t understand why you DON’T just do what you did and send your kids to school.
Sometimes people feel that by choosing to homeschool you are tacitly judging their choice of homeschooling as second best, so they attack your choice because offense is their best defense.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your children, not your family and peers…and a good response is to tell others that you feel your choice is the best for YOUR family, but realize it may not be the same for other families. You don’t even have to explain your reasons!
Many homeschoolers have had to deal with criticism and skepticism from outsiders, but in the end, as they say, ‘the proof was in the pudding’. Many times, after a few years, others have seen the good fruits of a homeschooling family and earned the respect and support they initially lacked!
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