Saturday, August 16, 2008

Myths: Home-School Myths

Real Truth
By Mimi Rothschild

Despite statistics that show facts to the contrary, home-school critics still continue to make statements about home-school with the intent of putting this educational choice in a bad light. Home-school parents and students alike know that these statements are without merit, but many people who are considering home-school and do not know the real facts may be discouraged from making the choice due what the critics are saying- and this is unfortunate.

One of the most common complaints from home-school critics is that children who are being educated through home-school are socially isolated, and become ill-prepared to deal with the real world as adults. Not only is this completely untrue, it is also more of a true statement to say that home-school students learn earlier and better how to function in all aspects of society. Home-school students socialize with their peers through clubs, recreational activities and community sports programs. In addition to this, home-school students also tend to be more active in community programs and volunteer organizations, giving them the chance to interact with people who are older and younger than they are.

Another complaint from critics is that home-school parents are not qualified to teach their children effectively. Statistics simply prove this to be untrue. The majority of home-school parents have no teaching degree, yet home-school students consistently score higher in academic tests than their publicly schooled peers. The personalized attention that a home-school student receives and the parents' desire to give their home-school children a superior education makes a teaching degree unnecessary. Home-school parents take their children's learning seriously, and they use every resource available to ensure a quality education. Statistics prove that they are succeeding quite well in reaching this goal.

Having a curriculum where faith and worship can be incorporated into learning is a choice that parents do not have with public school, which obviously helps some parents decide to home-school. However, this does not mean that these home-school parents only emphasize religious instruction to the exclusion of all other learning. Home-school parents want the best possible education for their children, and through home-school this is being successfully achieved. Many simply want the choice to include religion, and public school denies that choice.

Though home-school critics also claim that all home-school children are taught in the same manner, the opposite is actually true. One of the benefits of home-school is that it incorporates flexibility and a personal approach to learning that is advantageous for home-school students. No two home-school families are alike, and the variety of home-school methods reflect this.

More Myths about the Practice of Home School

There are many myths surrounding the practice of home school. It is incredibly difficult to separate the truth from the fiction regarding home school. Although it is a growing trend, home school makes up such a small percentage of schooling that goes on in this country that it can be difficult to make any inroads at all with the general population. Armed with a little knowledge, however, you can inform your friends, neighbors, and loved ones of the truths about the home school option for this country's children.

One of the great myths of home school is that it is primarily a bastion for upper-middle class white people. While it is true many home school kids are white and some do have a decent amount of money, the fact of the matter is that home school families often have to give up a lot financially in order for home school to be viable. Basically, home school requires that one of the parents quit his or her job and take on the responsibility of teaching the children, giving up careers, second cars and bigger houses for the sake of their kids.

Another myth about home schooling is that home school parents cannot possibly match the qualifications that teachers have and cannot possibly do as good a job educating children as certified teachers can do. While there are some dedicated teachers out there working in a long uphill battle who truly want to teach your children, the fact of the matter is that formal educational theory has little place in the real world of teaching students. All the conferences and post-graduate work can't help a teacher to teach if the teacher doesn't have the supplies and the support of the school district.

Finally, there are persistent thoughts among the larger community that home school is for reclusives and religious fanatics. This is not the case at all. Many secular people as well as modestly religious people choose alternative education like home school for any variety of reasons: from inadequate local schools to medical reasons, and many other private matters. The home school community is a diverse group. Sure, there are lots of extremely religious people of many faiths who choose to home school, but home school is also the province and the right of every American. More and more, average, middle-of-the-road people are choosing home school for their children.



Mimi Rothschild is a homeschooling mother, writer, children's rights advocate, and Founder and C.E.O. of home education company Learning by Grace, Inc. She and her husband of 28 years reside with their 8 children right outside Philadelphia, PA.

Rothschild launched Learning By Grace, Inc. because she believed that our nation's public school system has failed parents and students. Learning By Grace, Inc. offers online education through a multimedia-rich curriculum to PreK-12 children across the country and throughout the world.

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