Ah, homeschool myths. Are there any home educating families who are immune to their consequences? I’m going to say no.
As we start our 11th year of homeschooling tomorrow (yikes!), I thought I would commemorate this occasion by dedicating a post to some questions I think every single homeschooled child has heard at some point in their lives.
While the topics of these questions run the gamut from academics to extracurricular activities, they all have one thing in common: they’ve been perpetuated by some insanely false notions about what education and real life actually look like.
Here is my attempt to briefly explain why these inquiries are completely off the mark, and why people need to stop asking them.
8 Questions Every Homeschooler Hears at Least Once
1. What’s 8 x 7?
(Or 12 x 2, or what year did Columbus sail the ocean blue, or who was the first President, or…)
I honestly don’t understand why people feel the need to quiz homeschoolers. Our public education system is failing miserably, yet most people would never even think to grill a public school student.
Stop interrogating homeschoolers. Not only is it not helpful, but it is embarrassing to them and extremely rude.
2. Can you read?
You might assume people are asking this question of 5- and 6-year-olds. That assumption would be partially correct. Believe it or not, there are people who feel perfectly comfortable directing this question at 12-year-old homeschoolers. (I know. It’s happened to us.)
I find it quite a bit ironic that people have the notion that children who are homeschooled can’t read when public high school students are graduating while being functionally illiterate.
Here’s a fun fact: the literacy rate in the U.S. was higher before compulsory schooling was instituted, and that still holds true today.
3. Is your mom (or dad) a teacher?
I can understand where people who don’t know anything about home education might be coming from with this question.
The quick answer to that is that, while some homeschool parents might certainly be certified teachers, most are not. A teaching degree has no bearing on a dedicated parent’s ability to educate their children.
Honestly, I feel sad that so many people have forgotten that parents were the primary teachers of their children for almost all of history. Teaching has only been an actual career for a small amount of time.
4. Don’t you feel like you’re missing out on the real world?
Here’s the truth – sitting in a building all day long at a desk is not the real world.
On the other hand, homeschoolers are more likely to interact in their community because living and learning are intertwined. The best learning happens through life itself.
5. Do you ever get to see kids your own age?
Before I answer that, I’d like to point out one thing: this whole idea of “socialization” never came about until compulsory schooling was in place.
The idea that kids absolutely must spend the day with a group of kids their own age is actually contrary to what happens in the real world. Think about it. The only place this will ever happen is school. It never happens in the adult world. Ever.
And let’s not forget that school children are continuously told by their teachers that they’re not there to socialize. Am I wrong?
With that being said, yes, children do enjoy being around other children. School is hardly the only place for that. Homeschoolers have opportunities to make friends in their neighborhoods, in sports programs, in extracurricular activities, at co-ops, at church, etc.
Might I add that with the lack of supervision in schools, I’m glad my kids aren’t getting their “socialization” there.
6. Don’t you want to go to college?
This is another question that has no foundation in reality.
Several years ago, the mother of one of my daughter’s friends was trying to tell my daughter that she could never go to college because she’s homeschooled.
Colleges like Harvard are actually recruiting homeschoolers. To put it bluntly, homeschoolers know how to learn while much of public education is merely memorization (and indoctrination).
To be quite honest, I find it a bit tiresome that people are so obsessed with college in the first place, but I covered that a few months ago, so moving on…
7. What about prom??
This one really gets me. Why would anyone sacrifice their child’s education (and well-being) for one night that is quickly forgotten and will have no impact on their child’s adult life? I wouldn’t consider it a positive thing to have an adult whose entire existence revolved around the fact that they were prom king or queen.
Are we really this shallow?
Now that I got that out of the way, there are homeschool proms that teens can attend if they choose to. So far, none of my kids have been interested, but in the event one of my kids ever does want to go, at least I know that I won’t have to protect my kids’ eyes at a homeschool prom.
8. What about sports?
Like the prom question, this just isn’t something that is worth sacrificing a child’s education over. I understand that some kids are athletically gifted, but there are alternatives, such as youth leagues and organizations like Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Here in PA, by law, homeschoolers are allowed to try out for school sports teams. (I have found in my own district, however, that the coaches will give preference to public school students.)
Again, though, homeschooling is about priorities. To me, education and a Christian upbringing will win out every single time.
So now it’s your turn. Did I miss anything? What questions have your kids been asked?