Homeschool

5 Lies People Believe About Homeschooled Kids

If you homeschool (which I’m guessing you do) chances are that you’ve encountered some of the false stereotypes people tend to hang on to about homeschooling, and homeschoolers, as a whole. It can be so frustrating when you’re going along, feeling happy and successful in your homeschooling journey, only to be met with one of these common homeschooling lies!

And honestly, sometimes I just have to wonder:  do people really mean to lie, or are they just incredibly misinformed and they can’t resist sharing their misinformation?  I’m not always sure the answer to that question, but I know there are certain assumptions made about homeschoolers, some of them woefully inaccurate.

I also know that sometimes a little clarification of the facts is in order, and one way to prepare your clarifications ahead of time is to be aware of the false statements ahead of time.  While I’m sure there are many others out there, here are 5 lies that I have found which people often believe about homeschooled kids.  Tell me if you’ve ever heard any of these:

1. Homeschooled kids are socially awkward.

Let’s get the most obvious lie out of the way first, shall we?

I actually always love this one because it implies that all traditionally schooled kids are very well-balanced socially.  This is sort of laughable because any human being who ever attended traditional school (myself included) can tell you that is NOT the case!  Traditional schools are chock full of socially awkward kids, and yet no one ever asks the question, “Oh, he attends traditional school?  So what are you doing to ensure proper socialization?”

Listen, if being able to discuss politics with a table of elderly men makes my child “socially awkward,” then I’m all for it!  If my daughter is a “social misfit” because she would rather discuss books than pop stars, then so be it.  Good socialization is very much in the eye of the beholder and, believe me, what a lot of people consider healthy socialization is behavior that scares the living daylights out of many homeschooling moms!  And don’t expect us to apologize for that.

2. Homeschooled kids are from wealthy families.

Can you hear me chuckling at this one?

A lot of homeschooling families, (though certainly not all,) do live on a single income.  For whatever reason, that leaves some people with the impression the family’s single income must therefore be ENORMOUS!

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The idea that homeschoolers are privileged is really true only in the sense that they have moms and dads who are willing to make great sacrifice to educate them at home.  Often that means living without many of the luxuries and conveniences which are common to other families.

3. Homeschooled kids are religious zealots-in-training.

People choose to homeschool for a whole host of reasons, many of them having little to do with their religious beliefs.  And sure – absolutely –many religious people do choose to homeschool so that they may impart their value systems, morals and religious beliefs to their children. However, isn’t this something that all parents hope to do, at least to some extent?

For some reason, though, this gets translated into the lie that: “But they’re being indoctrinated!  They’re being told what to think in that strongly religious home!”

My response is this: And that never happens in secular schools? 

Sorry, but there’s not an opinionated and passionate teacher in the world who doesn’t impart, (whether intentionally or unintentionally, blatantly or subtly,) his or her belief system on students.  That should be of grave concern to every parent.  Some are so fearful that homeschooling is producing religious nuts that they never stop to consider how much public schools may be indoctrinating and telling their kids what to think. And ultimately, I also think it’s very important people who spread this lie stop and admit that all parents care about the morals, values and spiritual beliefs of their kids. All  (involved) parents hope to teach their children, not just academically, but also morally and spiritually. Homeschooling just makes this more possible.

4. Homeschooled kids can’t get into college.

While at some point homeschoolers may have had a harder time providing the right documentation for college applications, that time is long, long gone.

Today, this lie completely, verifiably false.  For decades now, homeschooled students have been finding their way into colleges and universities.  Now many of those schools with a history of being very unfriendly toward homeschoolers are opening their doors to homeschooled students, rather than risk losing some of the best and brightest to other schools.

Not only are homeschooled kids very capable of getting into college and flourishing there, but they are also finding more scholarships and financial aid opportunities at their disposal as well. It’s simply not a valid concern.

5. Homeschooled kids are geniuses.

Okay, to be fair: this is one of the few lies we may sometimes wish was true.

But we have to be honest:  Homeschooled kids are really no different from anybody else.  Some of them are brilliant, gifted learners, but certainly not all are.  And while we would love to tell you we are capable of turning even the most mediocre of students into little Albert Einsteins, we don’t always accomplish with our students all the things that we wish we could.

In fact, there are scores of homeschooling parents who choose home education because of a struggling learner who just wasn’t thriving in a traditional school setting.  For many kids, nothing can take the place of one-on-one instruction and an education plan that is individually tailored to meet their needs.  Not all of these children will achieve unbelievable academic success, but many of them will excel far beyond what they ever could have done in a traditional school designed for one-size-fits-all education. And that alone is worth the time, effort, and sacrifice to their parents (us)!

What have I missed?  What are some of the lies and misconceptions you’ve heard about homeschoolers?  How do you discuss and/or refute them? 

About the author

Tanya H

Tanya is a servant to Christ, wife to a great man, and homeschooling mom to four amazing kids in north central Kentucky. She once insisted she would never homeschool, but God wore down her defenses until now, 8 years later, she can’t imagine her life without the added joy of homeschooling. When she isn’t helping with math, folding laundry, or sweeping the remnants of the last school project up off the kitchen floor, you’ll find her tucked away somewhere with a spoonful of cookie butter in hand, typing away on her laptop or crying over a Dickens novel.

7 Comments

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  • Love this.
    I get so tired of people making negative generalizations about homeschoolers. Think about how upset people would be if we said things like, “Oh, no, you send your kids to public school? Aren’t you afraid they’ll turn out to be criminals?” just because some children who attend public school grow up to commit crimes.

  • Great article! I am new to homeschooling and so happy I did it as my kids started doing so much better academically. I especially liked the one about socializing.
    I know so many kids in public school who are very socially awkward and Vice versa. I came to a conclusion that public school is not a guarantee of a socially adequate child. In many cases it actually can produce social issues in a child. My first grade daughter used to have a meltdown in the car on the way home from school every single day of school week because someone at school was unkind to her or simply ignored her. Now that she is homeschooled, she is a different child. So happy, and she has no problem to communicate with others anywhere we go. She is just an outgoing child. I don’t agree with anyone saying school is a must for producing a socially-balanced child.
    Thanks for the article, author!

  • As someone who homeschools one of my children, and has others in public school, I want to address one thing you said in this post . ” Sorry, but there’s not an opinionated and passionate teacher in the world who doesn’t impart, (whether intentionally or unintentionally, blatantly or subtly,) his or her belief system on students. That should be of grave concern to every parent. While some are so fearful homeschooling is producing religious nuts, they never stop to consider how much public schools may be indoctrinating and telling their kids what to think.”

    I both agree and disagree on this. Yes, I believe that everyone in life that we encounter, wants to spread their viewpoint…at least if they actually believe in it. But that doesn’t mean I want to shelter my children from all viewpoints that aren’t my own. Yes, I’m a Christian and I absolutely want to pass my faith on to my kids. But, I am not gravely concerned about their teachers: for several reasons. Even with my kids in school I have more of their time than any single teacher they will have. So, there going to come across a whole lot of people with different beliefs there, sure, but mine will be the constant in their lives (mine and my husbands). And based off of my own experience, that a teacher has different viewpoints they may want to instill doesn’t mean they are bad. They have different life experiences they can share with my children. I seek out the same for my homeschooled son by taking him to a co-op. And sure, I’ve come across a few things we’ve had to tackle (actually more from classmates than from teachers)…but I’m tackling them at home at an age when my children still come to their parents about these things, in stead of them tackling them on their own when they come across them later, when they’re grown (which they will.). Also, I know from my own public school experience that what is important is not who you’re exposed to, but how you are prepared for that exposure.

    Not that I’m saying you should send your kids off to public school. Homeschooling is great for so many reasons. But I hate the idea that we should have this fear about public schools indoctrinating our kids, as if all the teachers at the schools were on the same page and had some sinister purpose.

  • I agree 100% with this but would also like to add the question that I’ve usually gotten, “You homeschool so your kids can’t be in sports.” Actually they can be since there are numerous local public sports programs as well as programs through the YMCA.

    I would also like to comment on the teachers imparting their views. I watched my older kids in public school after having been homeschooled from K-6th and I can say it’s true, many teachers are pushing their viewpoints on our kids. Fortunately mine had a solid base to refute what the teacher was trying to pass off as fact to the other students. When the teachers staged a walk out to protest our governor’s frugal use of taxpayer money they told the kids lies to get them to walk out with them. My kids were some of the only ones who stayed in the classroom. The other kids walked out to support their favorite teacher for something they had no clue about. I agree that our kids needs different points of view but schools are way different than they were 20+ years ago and they’re not getting good, fact-based information with which to have healthy debates and draw solid conclusions from. It’s one sided liberal rhetoric that isn’t helping them learn anything.

  • the lies that I’m told are
    1. your home will never be clean
    2. your kids won’t get as good an education as public school kids
    3. you can’t afford to homeschool
    4. your kids deserve to be around kids their own ages like in public school
    5. kids take too much from you, you need to send them to public school so you can get a break from them.

    good thing I’m used to rocking the boat! Happily homeschooling still, starting year 2 with 3rd grade, 1st grade, and pre K

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