Let’s clarify some of the most common misconceptions about homeschooling, because quite frankly, there are too many good reasons to homeschool and way too many myths associated with doing so.
The Argument: Homeschooling hinders the social development of children because they cannot learn to interact with others. It also hinders their ability to deal with diversity.
School should NOT be the primary method of developing social skills. School is not where children learn how to behave in society. That job has been traditionally the job of the parent and it is about time that it is returned to them. School is not about socializing. It is a structured environment meant for learning. Because so many parents think that students should socialize in school, emphasis has been taken off academics and placed on social skills. Social skills are taught at home, in the community, and through activities outside the classroom.
The Argument: Children cannot learn everything that they need to know in a homeschool environment because it is not structured.
In traditional schools, children spend 45-50 minutes a day in a subject class. The reality is that this time is by no means enough time to learn everything. When classrooms are filled with dozens of students teachers have to deal with each of their personalities, personal issues, life baggage, learning -styles, and let’s not forget administrative duties. When all is said and done, no matter how organized a teacher is or how well they manage a classroom, 45 minutes is in no way enough time to teach.
In the homeschool setting, you do not have these time constraints, If you notice that your child needs to spend more time on writing, you can give it to her without worrying about testing dates or ignoring others. Homeschooling can be better for a child because it is individualized learning. Most children learn better when they receive one-on-one instruction. The number one problem with schools is overcrowding and underfunding. If you take that factor away, students will naturally do better. They get more attention and the learning is tailored for their needs.
The Argument:Not every parent is qualified to teach.
Parents do not have to be college educated, but do have to be resourceful. This is true in both the home school environment and the non-home school environment. If you are home schooling, it helps to have graduated high school as you do need a basic working knowledge of the subjects, but when you do decide to home school, there are SO many resources available for you. You just have to be willing to look for them and use them. You have to have the grace to admit that you don’t know something and the will to find the answers. Additionally, parents may be better qualified to teach their children because they know their children better than a teacher will. Parent swill know if the child had a bad day and that is why he/she is acting out. Often times clashes in the classroom can be avoided if teacher’s were privy to this kind of information.
With the current influx of teachers from alternative certification programs like the NYTF and TFA, it is absurd to assume that all teachers are better qualified than all parents to educate children. The truth of the matter is that you will have bad homeschooling parents and you will have bad traditional teachers. Even if you are not home schooling, you still need to be active in your child’s education so being resourceful helps. You may need to provide your child with extra materials and guidence to ensure academic success.
The Argument: Traditional schools teach competition and street smarts.
Let’s get serious. I have taught and I am not buying this one at all. I equate street-smarts with common sense and quite frankly, from what I have seen, traditionally educated students are no more street-smart than those who are not. I’m not quite sure if common sense (i.e. rational thinking) even kicks in until after college when a person has a chance to gain some life experience.
As far as competition is concerned, Homeschooling can remove unhealthy competition that is so prevalent in traditional schools. Yes, competition is good later on in life, but young children need to learn to have faith in themselves. They need a solid level of self-esteem before they can deal with the pressures of peer-competition. In fact, homeschooling can prevent kids from falling into the dangers of peer pressure because they have been given an opportunity to form their own identities without worry of being “cool” or “freaky”.
Reposted by Kristina Daniele. The original version of this article was originally posted at Minit.com in June 2006 and on Examiner.com in 2009. What appears here is an edited and revised version of those articles. All versions were written by me, Kristina Daniele.