Should Olympians Be Considered Homeschool Success Stories?

Are Olympic athletes who were homeschooled good examples of typical homeschoolers? Should they be seen as homeschool success stories? Or should they be discounted since many of them have to homeschool in order to pursue their Olympic careers? These are good questions, and there aren’t really any simple answers.

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Should Olympians Be Considered Homeschool Success Stories?


During the last Olympics, there was some controversy over Simone Biles. She was one of the athletes who had to be homeschooled in order to have time to train for the Olympics. Obviously homeschooling gave her the time she needed to train, and obviously things went very well for her at the Olympics! So I suppose if you look at it that way, you could definitely say homeschooling worked very well for her! So where’s the controversy? Keep reading!

In an interview, Simone stated that she was upset about “having” to homeschool. Her mom had explained to her that, if she wanted to continue in gymnastics at the elite level, she would have to homeschool. According to her mom, that meant, “There would be no prom, no after school activities, no hanging with classmates.” Then, according to the interview, Simone said, “I was just so lonely all the time. I missed, like, all my friends at school and stuff. But I mean, in the end, it worked out.”

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”800″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#574078″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Homeschoolers are well able to have friends, participate in after school activities, have a prom, participate in organized sports, and hang out with friends.[/mks_pullquote]


So why the controversy? Well, the article makes it sound like it was homeschooling that caused Simone to have to give up the prom and after school activities and hanging out with her classmates. In reality, though, many homeschoolers (most homeschoolers in my own experience) are able to participate in all of those things and more! Homeschoolers have so very many opportunities now! There are co-ops, play days, holiday parties, study groups, organized sports and yes…even proms! In other words, homeschoolers for the most part do not have to give up any of those things Simone mentioned!

My point is that, even though the article didn’t make it clear at all (and Simone may not have even really realized it herself), it was not homeschooling that caused Simone to miss out on so many opportunities to do things with friends and participate in after school activities and other leisure activities. It was the level of training and work involved in becoming an Olympic athlete.

Another point I would make is that it is very definitely possible to homeschool and enjoy it! In fact, most of the homeschooled students I know (and many more that I don’t know personally but know online) love homeschooling! Of course there are some who don’t love it just as there are some publicly or privately schooled children who don’t love school and would prefer to be homeschooled.

I think many folks still have some misconceptions about homeschooling simply because they are uninformed about homeschooling and how it has changed over the years. They don’t realize that homeschooled students as a whole perform better academically than their publicly and privately schooled peers. As a whole, homeschoolers perform better on standardized tests. And as a whole, they are very involved in their communities. And, yes, they are well socialized! (Meaning that they are well able to get along with and have conversations with not only peers but also with other students who are younger and older as well as adults of all ages.)

It was sad that Simone had to leave her school and that she wasn’t able to participate in after school activities with her friends. But that was part of the decision she made when she decided to train for the Olympics. And, as she said herself, it turned out for the best!

But the important thing to keep in mind is this: Homeschoolers are well able to have friends, participate in after school activities, have a prom, participate in organized sports, and hang out with friends. People who are informed about homeschooling know that these things are very possible and are definitely available to most homeschoolers. Those who are ignorant of homeschooling assume that these things aren’t available to homeschoolers, but if they would do some research on the topic, they’d see that the opposite is most often true.

So why is this even an important topic? Because those of us who homeschool and know that it’s a wonderful educational choice and a wonderful choice for bringing up our children to be well-adjusted and well-rounded people want those who are interested in homeschooling to know the truth! We don’t want misconceptions and stereotypes to keep potential homeschoolers from becoming actual homeschoolers. We know what a great thing homeschooling is, and we want to share it with those we know and love.

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  1. That’s for writing this article. This is exactly how I felt when Simone’s story arose. My platform is “homeschooling the way You want to”, so I applaud her taking advantage of the freedom to pursue her goals. But I certainly want homeschooling presented in the full light of all the benefits!

  2. Yes! I’m a homeschooler and the socialization myth drives me crazy! I’ll be hopefully writing a post dispelling that myth soon 🙂 great article! Thank you.

  3. Thank you so much for reminding us of the power of choice! And, as with everything, a snapshot into anyone’s world at any given time can give us such an impression of the bigger picture (that parable about the blind person describing an elephant by holding only the tail!)
    We are so fortunate to have the liberty to choose our time and how we spend it; and *hopefully* through our day to day encounters, we get to exemplify our lifestyle models and inspire those around us!
    Keep up the fantastic work you are doing!

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