Many parents miss out on the riches that education at home provides when they hear homeschooling myths and believe these myths are true. Therefore, in this article, we’ll focus on debunking common homeschooling myths and tell you why these myths are propagated.
We’ll talk about the following myths:
- Homeschools don’t have the educational resources a school does
- Many homeschooling families are often poor
- Homeschooled children are academically disadvantaged
- Many homeschooled children can’t find jobs after they finish homeschooling
- Homeschools teach a narrower worldview than public schools
- A lot of homeschools promote abuse
- Homeschoolers lack social skills
Let’s get started!
Homeschooling Myth 7. Homeschools do not have the educational resources that a school does
MYTH BUSTED: While it might be correct to say homeschoolers don’t have the same resources as schools, many homeschooling families would argue they have different resources. For example, there are many public facilities like swimming pools, libraries, botanical gardens, science and art museums to do their study in. Plus, a plethora of diverse curriculum options.
Why the Myth is Propagated: Because many of us have only experienced an education that consist of a school building, library, and other such resources. Consequently, we find it difficult to think of community facilities as potential educational resources.
Homeschooling Myth 6. Homeschooling families are often poor
MYTH BUSTED: This myth is a bit of an old one that is fading into the oblivion as homeschooling becomes more mainstream. However, it was only three years ago that I read an educated professor saying she thought this was the case. On the contrary, homeschooling families have average (to slightly lower) household incomes despite usually having only one breadwinner in the family. Additionally, many families find ways to increase their income or better their situation either through side hustles, frugal living, or career advancement.
Homeschooling Myth 5. Homeschooled children are academically disadvantaged
MYTH BUSTED: While it’s certainly true that some homeschoolers perform poorly, studies show homeschoolers, on average, outperform public school children in standardized tests (see Homeschool vs Public School Test Scores).
An interesting study found that structured homeschoolers significantly outperformed public school students. However, unstructured homeschoolers (such as unschoolers) did significantly worse on standardized tests compared to public school students.
In the latter case though, it’s important to keep in mind that unschooling parents are not educating their children with hopes of them going well on standardized tests. Many of these parents don’t believe test scores are good indicators of what a child can achieve.
Why the Myth is Propagated: A large proportion of homeschoolers come from schools who couldn’t accommodate children who have different abilities or neurologically diverse needs. This may happen due to the inability to meet the child’s individual needs, improper use of funding, lack of special education resources and specialized teachers. Another reason might be if they think homeschoolers don’t do their lessons and, instead, play around all day.
Interestingly, many gifted children end up homeschooling due to the shortcomings of schools who don’t give gifted children enough work which challenges them. Even if the school has a gifted program, it may not be enough. Hence, parents of gifted and twice gifted children homeschool.
Homeschooling Myth 4. Homeschooled children can’t find jobs after they finish homeschooling
MYTH BUSTED: While some homeschooled children may find it difficult to find a job after homeschooling, this is usually not a problem at all. In fact, a child – no matter their education – can do a SAT or ACT and be recognized by a tertiary institute. They don’t need a high school completion certificate at all! However, by law, a parent issued high school diploma and transcript should be recognized.
“Yes. Homeschool programs are valid under state law, and although in most cases are not accredited, have equal standing with public and private school programs. A high school diploma is simply a document issued by the administrator of the program verifying that a student has completed that program’s course of study. For homeschoolers, the administrator is usually the parent; thus, parent-issued diplomas are legal and valid documents. The Higher Education Act of 1998 affirms this by clarifying that a homeschool diploma does not need to be officially recognized by the state or accredited to be valid, or for the student to qualify for federal financial aid.” (Source:HSLDA.org)
There have also been instances of certain employers, such as Chick-A-Fil, being even more willing to employ homeschoolers as they realize homeschoolers are generally employees who have a great work ethic.
Why the Myth is Propagated: 20 years ago this was the case as homeschooled children found it more difficult to get recognized if they didn’t have a conventional high school issued certificate. If you or your child ever has any trouble contact: HSLDA.org.
Homeschooling Myth 3. Homeschools teach a narrower worldview than public schools
MYTH BUSTED: Homeschools may not teach the same worldview as public schools, however, it’s difficult to say they could teach a narrower view than public schools. My own homeschooling upbringing introduced me to the beliefs of many different religions and the detailed arguments for and against each worldview.
Why the Myth is Propagated: Because homeschools don’t always teach the same worldview as public schools, they’re often accused of teaching a narrow worldview. However, this assumes public schools teach a broad worldview. Public schools teach religious humanism and say they’re not teaching a religious worldview at all. Simultaneously, they refuse to teach a balanced view of other religious worldviews. For example, they’re happy to teach evolution, but won’t teach creationism. On the other hand, many homeschools will teach about creationism and evolution and leave children up to decide what they believe, given the evidence.
Homeschooling Myth 2. Homeschools promote abuse
MYTH BUSTED: The main reason people homeschool is to give their children a better education than they think schools can provide due to parents concern with the school environment, bullying, violence, and moral development.
In fact, according to CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS): Nearly 24% of students had been in a physical fight on school property one or more times during the 12 months before the survey. (Source: CDC.gov)
- Of public school children in 8th through 11th grade, about 3.5 million students (nearly 7%) surveyed reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult (most often a teacher or coach). The type of physical contact ranged from unwanted touching of their body, all the way up to sexual intercourse. (Source)
- This statistic increases to about 4.5 million children (10%) when it takes other types of sexual misconduct into consideration, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism.
“Notably, legally homeschooled students are 40% less likely to die by child abuse or neglect than the average student nationally. Truants, by contrast, are seven times as likely to die as the average student nationally.
That is, in families where people are legally homeschooling, there is a significantly lower incidence of child fatalities due to child abuse or child neglect.” www.nheri.org
Why the Myth is Propagated:
Unfortunately, there are bad homeschooling families – just like there are bad families who send their children to mainstream schools – and these families seem to get a lot of media coverage when they homeschool because of the myth that homeschools promote abuse.
Similarly, there are families who don’t homeschool but register saying they do. In many cases, these families were previously in a public school setting, already being monitored by DHS or had been reported to DHS, and then the parents removed the child/ren from public school under the guise they would be homeschooling. What they actually do is neglect their children and/or abuse them. Often times, the media blames home education instead of fixing a broken DHS system.
Homeschooling Myth 1: All homeschoolers lack social skills
MYTH BUSTED: While some homeschoolers lack certain social skills – especially if parents don’t value socialization – the majority are well-adjusted individuals with great social skills (see Chapter 12: Socialization: Why on Earth Homeschool).
Homeschoolers relate differently to others because their social experience is usually different.
Indeed, homeschoolers tend to have much closer and warmer relationships with their parents and siblings than schoolchildren. They can also talk to younger and older people better than many schoolchildren, simply because that’s the demographic they’ve spent more time with.
Why the Myth is Propagated: Because many of us have only experienced school socialization with peers and teachers which takes up most of our free, social time, we may find it difficult to see that other groups of people can provide adequate socialization. Related article: Dear loved ones I am not worried about socialization.
Conclusion: 7 Homeschooling Myths and Why They’re Propagated in Society
It’s easy to see that some homeschooling myths are propagated due to a homeschool bias that is stereotypical and incredibly outdated. Other myths are furthered due to misunderstandings rooted in our inability to see how homeschooling could be different to school. Still others occur due to the homeschooling families themselves and the way the media reports negative news stories. In all, it helps to be aware of the myths about homeschooling when we look at our choice for our children’s education.
What are some homeschool myths that you have come across?
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Guest Post! Meet Rebbecca Devitt…
Rebbecca Devitt is the author of Why on Earth Homeschool: The Case for Christian Homeschooling. She’s the wife of a husband who is her best friend and makes her laugh and a son who is too cute for words. She’s dabbled in Nursing, Medical Science, Medicine and Law before settling down to her dream job—being a full-time mother! The family lives in Wollongong and actively participate in their wonderful church, Wollongong Baptist Church. Rebbecca has written for various blogs including Homeschooling with Heart, Why on Earth Homeschool and her own Christian homeschooling website, How Do I Homeschool. As you can guess, her passion lies in helping people to homeschool well.