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?