There are the some questions that we, as homeschool moms, repeatedly get asked and even once asked ourselves. What about socialisation? What about sports? There are answers to those questions! But still there are these myths about homeschooling floating around. I hope to, in my own simply researched way, try and tackle some of these questions.
1.Children are isolated.
Contrary to ignorant belief; home schooled children are not bubble wrapped and kept indoors all day unable to associate with the outside world. In fact they have varying opportunities to go on many different outings, as a family or as a co-op group during normal “school time”. They get to go to museums, parks, beaches, animal farms, and shows. A trip to the bank even becomes a lesson on banking and money. A visit to the supermarket, with all 3 children, becomes another learning opportunity. One child reads the shopping list, while another is adding up the totals. Many homeschoolers are involved in their local church and or community. It could be argued that placing the same group of children in the same classroom 5 days a week is a type of isolation itself.
*“Dr. Brian Ray, the founder of the National Home Education Research Institute and former professor of education and science, has found that home schooled children have a greater degree of community involvement than their state-educated peers.”
First lets look at what socialisation means; “the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status”
Therefore how can children acquire these habits from other children who are still also learning how to socialise themselves? No! They need to learn how to socialise from their parents. According to Dr. Raymond Moore
“The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be ‘socialised’ is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today.”
There is no platform for negative socialization or bullying in a home-schooled environment. In fact home-schooled children are able to make friends of all ages, sex or race because they are not confined to a segregated group like in a classroom. The only other place in the ‘real world’ where you find such groups are in the military and in prison. Not exactly the adult status we are aiming for right?
3.Children cannot participate in extra curricular activities.There are soccer clubs, drama clubs and there are other activities such as cycling, running, archery, swimming, surfing, gymnastics, horse riding, ice-skating, paddle skiing, mountain climbing and ballet. There art classes, ceramics, photography and music. Many homeschoolers are actively involved in sports or activities because they love it, not because they are forced to. Some schools even allow homeschoolers to participate in their school sports.
4. Parents are not qualified to teach.
Although some parents may not have teaching degrees, the fact that they are parents; alone qualifies them for the task. They know their own children, their strengths and weaknesses. The school system unfortunately cannot always recognise the full potential of every student but a parent can! There are also a lot of support groups around South Africa for parents. There are many curricula available, which are aimed at both parent and child. There is a copious amount of reading materials and resources available from the Internet. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore as I mentioned earlier have provided help for homeschoolers for many years. “Better late than early” and “School can wait” are amongst the most popular. If you think about it; if a child has a question in a classroom with 30 other kids, the teacher doesn’t have the time to answer each and every question, where as with one on one attention the question can be answered. Not even teachers know the answers to everything and in a home environment; parent and child can research the answers together. It develops an inquiring mind rather than being spoon fed information.
5. Homeschoolers do not support public schools.
This is just totally untrue. Just because a parent opts to home-school their own child for whatever reason (and there are many) does not automatically mean they do not support public schools. Every family has to make the choices that are right for them. There are some really amazing schools out there and not everyone can home-school. Also, us as home school parents would love to be able to unite and work with the schools rather than against them. On the contrary, it is the homeschoolers who are judged or looked down on for being different. It is basically just another form of discrimination that is so prevalent in our society when anyone does anything against the social norms.
Stereotyped and labeled ,homeschooling parents just want the best for their families. Each homescool family is different and does it differently and that is the beauty of it. There are many styles of learning, some use unit studies, some are eclectic and use a variety of curricula ,while others unschool or nature school. Each family chooses the best path for them depending on the uniqueness of each individual child. We are not producing little boxes.
For more interesting facts about homeschooling, check this out on Wikipedia;