It’s time for debunking common myths about homeschooling and getting you the REAL TRUTH about those homeschooling myths so you can set the record straight for your family, relatives, nosy neighbors, and even yourself . . . once and for all!
So Crazy Uncle Joe has been driving you insane with all those homeschooling myths and facts and homeschool stereotypes (and other things against homeschooling), huh?
Or, what about Nosy Neighbor Nelly who seems to have an abnormal interest in her petunias when the homeschoolers are playing outside during “normal” school hours?
Has she been getting in on the “common homeschooling myths” action and asking you about homeschool socialization?
And, how about you?
You may even have some misconceptions about homeschooling,
especially if you’re new to this game (or just really, really tired).
You’re probably wondering about those homeschooling pros and cons and is homeschooling is better (or is being homeschooled going to ruin my life), right?
Let’s Set You (And Your Crazy Relatives) Straight
On Common Homeschooling Myths and Common Homeschool Misconceptions That Everyone Thinks Are True (and talk about all those things you hear against homeschooling) and Give You Some Homeschool Encouragement!
What are the top 10 common myths about homeschooling and common misconceptions about homeschooling?
- Homeschoolers don’t get socialization (aka: homeschoolers will never know how to interact with other kids).
- Only religious, weirdo freaks homeschool.
- Homeschooling is illegal.
- Kids need the structure of traditional school to be successful and independent in life.
- You need a college degree or a teaching degree to homeschool.
- Parents who work can’t homeschool.
- Homeschooling is just regular school, but in your pajamas.
- It’s too expensive to homeschool.
- Homeschooled kids can’t play sports.
- Homeschoolers can’t go to college.
And, I lied, I’m going to slide one more in for a Top 11 homeschooling myths and homeschooling misconceptions:
11. Homeschooling parents need a ton of patience.
LET’S START WITH #11: HOMESCHOOL PARENTS HAVE A TON OF PATIENCE.
I’m so not patient.
In fact, I’m quite an impatient person.
Before I understood homeschooling, this was a HUGE concern for me . . . until I realized that homeschooling is just like anything with parenting:
Sometimes you’re going to totally rock this gig and other times you’re going to, well, suck.
Do I lose my patience while homeschooling?
Do I also have amazing days of patience?
If this is one of your concerns and making you scared to homeschool, think about it this way: how do impatient people do anything in life?
How do they patiently stand in line, or take four-hour tests, or sit in a college class for an hour, or wait during an appointment to get their driver’s license updated?
(Because, let’s be honest, that drivers license thing will test the patience of Job.)
Impatient people just work within society’s patience parameter because it is part of life.
And, homeschooling is no different.
So, how hard is it to homeschool your child?
There will be days when you will be impatient with your homeschooler (and your homeschooler will be impatient with you) just the same as there are days when parents of traditionally schooled kids will be impatient with their kids during homework time or doing anything else as a family.
It’s all good.
No need to go away mad (forever).
HOMESCHOOL MYTHS DEBUNKED #11:
YOU DO HAVE THE PATIENCE TO HOMESCHOOL!
(And, on the days you don’t, FIELD TRIPS ARE YOUR FRIENDS.)
TOP 10 MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING
Now, let’s tackle those top 10 common myths about homeschooling that homeschool parents hear.
We’ll give you the homeschooling myths and facts that prove it wrong.
(Or, at least I’ll make up something that sounds really, really good.)
(I kid. I kid.)
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING #1: HOMESCHOOLERS DON’T GET SOCIALIZATION
To be honest, homeschool socialization was a big concern for me before I truly understood the homeschooling process.
How will I make sure that my social butterfly is being fulfilled and that she fits into society?
It weighed on my mind until I came to a full understanding that I control what I do in homeschooling and how my child learns, including when to be with other kids in group learning situations like play dates or classes outside of the home.
If I want her to participate in the Wear Your Butterfly Wings to the Park day, we can do that.
If I don’t want her to join the Cook Bugs From Your Backyard class, that’s OK too.
(Because, HARD PASS on eating bugs for this family.)
What I’m trying to say is that you have full control of your homeschooling, too.
If you’re like most homeschooling families, your kids will have a great deal of group learning opportunities outside of the home.
Not only that, homeschoolers actually have a more real-life version of socializing where they are with a group of kids of all ages and stages.
(If you think about it, being in a room with kids of your exact same age is . . . unusual. That will never happen again in life like it does in traditional school settings.)
In addition to our at-home learning, my kid also participates in these classes outside the home: drama, music, Spanish, martial arts, skating, cooking and more.
We also do random free class offerings through museums and businesses, field trips, and play dates or meet ups.
There are plenty of opportunities for my daughter to socialize throughout the week.
So, if you’re worried about homeschooling and social skills, don’t be!
(But, you should be worried about the exhaustion you’ll feel from running your kids to a million different homeschooling events.)
(Don’t say I didn’t warn you…)
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #1:
HOMESCHOOLERS GET PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO SOCIALIZE WITH KIDS OF ALL DIFFERENT AGES AND STAGES.*
*It’s your social life you should worry more about. But, that’s for a different post…
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING #2: ONLY RELIGIOUS, WEIRDO FREAKS HOMESCHOOL.
methods that have nothing to do with religion.
Why Are Homeschoolers So Annoying?
People who don’t know much about homeschooling sometimes assume that homeschoolers are made up of just a few unusual families here and there who are homeschooling for religious reasons.
(And, they use this as validation and one of the reasons not to homeschool.)
Some parts of society have this image that homeschoolers make up a very small percentage of people who look like they stepped out of Little House on the Prairie and isolate their families like “freaks.”
(And, of course, you should know by now that we aren’t freaks . . . we’re homeschool super freaks!)
People tout these things as negative effects of homeschooling or dangers of homeschooling.
However, these people may be surprised to learn that homeschool statistics report there are an estimated 1.7 million homeschoolers—or about 3.4 percent of the school-age population—in the United States.
That’s certainly not an insignificant number!
(And, if we’re all freaks, then there are a lot of freaks roaming around! YAY US!)
Out of the homeschooling parents who answered The National Household Education Surveys (NHES) program survey of 2012—which is the latest published aggregate on homeschool data—64 percent reported “a desire to provide religious instruction” as their reason for homeschooling.
However, it was not the top reason parents listed for homeschooling.
A whopping 91 percent listed “a concern about the environment of other schools” as their reason for homeschooling.
- There are still many homeschool families who educate at home for Bible-based learning.
- There are also homeschool parents who teach religious studies during homeschool, but that may not be their biggest motivation for homeschooling.
- Other homeschooling parents do not consider themselves religious and do not homeschool for this reason nor incorporate this topic into their learning.
The point is this: no matter your belief system or reasons for homeschooling, there’s a place for you.
We have homeschooling friends of all different backgrounds and affiliations.
There is a great deal of diversity in homeschooling today!
You can learn a lot from each other if you open yourself to it.
(I mean, I’m super different and you’ve already ::eyerolled:: at me at least three times so far, but you’re still here. See how we can all get along?)
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #2:
HOMESCHOOLERS ARE MADE UP OF A DIVERSE GROUP OF FAMILIES OF ALL BELIEF SYSTEMS AND BACKGROUNDS!
Grab this #1 BESTSELLER that covers 30 common homeschooling myths (and gives you the REAL truth), including resources and activities. INSTANTLY saves you time because the research is done for you!
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING #3: HOMESCHOOLING IS ILLEGAL.
So, Is it legal to homeschool?
And, What are the homeschool requirements?
Get this (here’s some homeschool statistics that will blow your mind): in some states, homeschooling was still illegal as recently as 1993.
Beanie Baby fanny pack homeschooling years, that’s not very long ago when was homeschooling legalized.
Now, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in America, but laws vary by state.
(Have questions about when did homeschooling begin? Read about THE SUPER WEIRD HISTORY OF HOMESCHOOLING AND EDUCATION.)
Where is it illegal to homeschool?
Homeschooling IS illegal in some other countries (like Germany).
So, if you live outside of the United States,
then move to the U.S. check the laws for your country.
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #3:
HOMESCHOOLING IS LEGAL IN EVERY STATE IN AMERICA.*
*But fanny packs may not be…
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL #4:
HOMESCHOOLED KIDS WILL NEVER BE DISCIPLINED OR INDEPENDENT.
If someone doesn’t understand the process of homeschooling, they might question if “Is homeschooling effective?” and (wrongly) assume that homeschooling parents dictate every moment of a child’s day.
(It’s just another homeschool misconception in the long list of homeschooling debate issues.)
Many homeschool parents allow their kids unstructured time to direct at least a portion of their own learning, which helps to create a level of autonomy, independence, and discipline.
An author on Education.com writes, “Preschoolers need unstructured time to learn how things work, solve problems, use their imaginations, and practice skills they’ve recently learned. And most of all, they need time to just be kids!”
A post on the Stanford.edu site further explains:
“Kids love unstructured time because they have the privacy to fail while taking risks or learning how to be a social primate. At recess, kids have nearly 100% choice over what to do with their bodies, with the safe assumption that in case an injury does occur, an adult on duty will be on the scene in due time. Provide kids with a rich, not necessarily antiseptic space to explore and they teach us a lot about ingenuity, inclusivity and learning through play. ”
There is a great deal of learning that takes place when a child, even an older child, is allowed unstructured learning and free play.
Kids, in turn, become more responsible and more independent, which is some of the many positive effects of homeschooling.
And, it doesn’t suck all the fun out of learning!
(Don’t be a fun sucker, man. Just don’t do it.)
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #4:
HOMESCHOOLED KIDS ARE OFTEN RESPONSIBLE AND INDEPENDENT BECAUSE HOMESCHOOLING FAMILIES DON’T JUST FOCUS ON LEARNING, BUT ALSO ON LIFE SKILLS.
(That’s right. We totally rock.)
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL #5: YOU NEED A COLLEGE OR TEACHING DEGREE TO HOMESCHOOL.
SO . . . What Do I Need To Homeschool My Child?
You’re probably wondering what qualifications do you need to homeschool?
Or, you may have even asked, “How do I get certified to homeschool and become a homeschool teacher?”
But, GUESS WHAT:
You’ve already been teaching your child even if you aren’t a homeschooling parent!
However, for some reason, as soon as we put a title on it (“homeschooling parent”), we get nervous and start thinking we’re not good enough (not smart enough, not educated enough,
not fanny pack worthy enough, or whatever) to lead our kids in learning.
When, in reality, that’s what we’re doing every day anyway, no matter where a child goes to school.
So, when wondering, “What do I need to homeschool my child?” remember that you probably already have everything you need!
And, guess what else?
You can homeschool and you do not need to be a former teacher or have a formal college education or become a certified homeschool teacher to do so.
(Bonus points if you own a tin foil hat, though…)
With that said, there are many states that do require homeschooling parents to have some level of education (or other educational requirements) in order to homeschool.
For those states, the requirement is most often a high school diploma or GED.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR STATE LAWS FOR THE HOMESCHOOLING REQUIREMENTS and PARENTAL QUALIFICATIONS!
So, “teach” away with your degreed, or diploma-ed, certified, or GED self!
You won’t even get in trouble!
(And, if you do get into trouble, there’s always ice cream to make you feel better. You can even have it for breakfast. Ain’t nobody the boss of you…)
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #5:
YOU DO NOT NEED A COLLEGE DEGREE TO HOMESCHOOL YOUR CHILDREN IN THE UNITED STATES.
(But you do need to know that the Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries. If you don’t know that, you might want to reconsider homeschooling.)
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL #6: PARENTS WHO WORK CAN’T HOMESCHOOL.
Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart.
It is all encompassing and that includes taking up a majority of your day.
With all of that said, there are those who work and contribute financially to the family—even single parents—while successfully homeschooling!
(Yes, you can be a single working parent homeschooling!)
Can a working parent homeschool?
Some homeschool families have both parents who work, and some single parent families work outside of the home while still homeschooling.
How homeschooling works for these families will depend on what kind of job the parents have and how flexible it is.
How To Homeschool When You Have a Full Time Job (or Homeschooling While Working From Home)
Here’s an example of how families work and homeschool:
- One parent works during the day and one works at night.
- The day working parent may homeschool from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then hand off the kids to a family member, caregiver, or a co-op class.
- The second (late working parent) may then take care of additional homeschool activities or pick up the kids from their co-op class or caregiver.
- There are also single parents who work daytime shifts and then homeschool in the afternoon or evenings.
- Or, maybe the parent works at night and homeschools in the morning or during the day.
We have friends where one parent works only on the weekends, leaving them both at home to homeschool during the week.
So, when asking, “Can I homeschool while working full time?” the answer is YES.
Because homeschooling is so flexible, it can fit around different work schedules for parents.
You’ll be tired, but — meh — who needs sleep anyway?
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #6:
THERE ARE PLENTY OF HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS WHO WORK AND HOMESCHOOL!
(They’re the super grumpy and tired ones at the homeschool group meet-ups. You’ll be able to find your tribe with no problem.)
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL #7: HOMESCHOOLING IS JUST REGULAR SCHOOL, BUT IN YOUR PAJAMAS.
Let’s first tackle the “regular schooling” part.
Homeschooling is not “regular schooling” or a mirror of public school.
In many states, parents get to choose their own homeschool curricula and method of learning, which can vary greatly from what is being taught in public school.
Even if homeschool families live in a state where they have to follow a state-required curriculum, homeschool parents can still provide learning in the environment of their choice and supplement learning how they want.
So, homeschooling is not at all like regular public school. Every homeschooler’s schedule and learning and experience is different.
However, the part about the pajamas can be true.
(Pajamas are kind of the home school uniform!)
There have been many cold winter days where we didn’t have to get out of the house and my daughter did her studies in her pajamas.
(OK, that was a little white lie. Sometimes we just don’t feel like getting dressed. It has nothing to do with winter. Don’t judge.)
Does wearing pajamas while homeschooling impede her learning?
I’m She’s comfortable and I she gets to learn while being comfortable.
I would say sorry, but I’m not sorry at all that
I homeschoolers get the benefit of this comfort.
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #7: HOMESCHOOLING OFTEN LOOKS NOTHING LIKE REGULAR SCHOOL (BUT WE CAN LEARN IN OUR JAMMIES!)
(And, haters gonna hate.)
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL #8: HOMESCHOOLING IS TOO EXPENSIVE.
What is the Cost of Homeschooling?
(And, how much does online school cost?)
Just like any facet of raising a family, your expenses will be determined by your choices (like insisting that the cost of cable is worth it so that you can have the
Bravo channel to watch Real Housewives science channels for learning).
For homeschooling, it will include decisions like what curriculum you use and what activities your kids are involved in outside of the home.
If your homeschooled kid is involved in a lot of extra classes, your expenses will be higher (just like if a traditionally schooled kid is in a lot of extracurricular activities).
Multiple homeschool sources list that the average cost of homeschooling a child the first year is around $600 to $900. Your homeschool costs may be lower or way higher, based on your choices.
Homeschool can easily cost more if you factor in outside classes, homeschool activities, and homeschool programs.
Your first homeschool year will probably be the most expensive because you are just figuring it all out.
You may have a few trial and error purchases (curricula, books, online classes, etc.) before you find what really works for you.
One of the biggest expenses you will probably incur as a homeschooling family will be curricula and at-home courses.
There are boxed homeschool curriculum or online courses available that will make your homeschooling life easier.
However, these curricula and courses can run into a few hundred dollars for each kid or learning level (at the most expensive end of the spectrum).
On the other hand, there are many free or cheap resources where you can find homeschool curricula, study units, worksheets, and online reading that help keep homeschooling expenses down.
(Repeat after me: the library is your friend!)
(PS: Free online public high school is not actually homeschooling, so understand the difference between homeschooling vs. schooling at home.)
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #8:
THERE ARE MANY FREE AND LOW-COST RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR HOMESCHOOLING.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING #9: HOMESCHOOLERS CAN’T PLAY SPORTS
So, how can homeschoolers play sports?
(I mean, beyond just building your own ball field like in Field of Dreams.)
Each state has the ability to determine if homeschoolers are eligible to participate in public school sports.
In some states, homeschoolers can play sports at public schools.
For example Arizona statute states, “Homeschooled students are allowed to participate in the public schools’ interscholastic activities ‘in the same manner’ as pupils who are enrolled in the public schools.”
However, there are other states that prohibit homeschoolers from participating in public school sports.
California statute specifically states, “California Interscholastic Federation prohibits homeschoolers from playing on public school teams.”
(Why all the hate, Cali?)
So, check your homeschool state laws if you’re interested in your children participating in public school sports.
(And, if you live in a state that says “NO” to homeschooled kids on their public school sports teams, just move.)
There are also many other options for kids to play sports when they are homeschooled: leagues, homeschool classes, community group sports, recreation leagues, traveling leagues and more.
(Shout out to Molly for reminding me to add this!)
HOMESCHOOLING MYTHS DEBUNKED #9:
HOMESCHOOLERS CAN PLAY PUBLIC SCHOOL SPORTS IN SOME (SUPER COOL AND ACCEPTING) STATES.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING #10: HOMESCHOOLERS CAN’T GO TO COLLEGE.
Homeschooling families can create a homeschool transcript of the homeschooler’s work or provide an overview of the work that is more like a resume.
(Uh huh. Really.)
Just check with each college on their specific application process and and be sure to ask if they have specific college requirements for homeschoolers.
In some cases, a few homeschoolers may run into issues when applying to colleges.
But, it’s not your fault!
The problems seem to stem mostly from some colleges not understanding state homeschooling laws and inaccurately requiring homeschoolers to provide a GED (or other requirements), which has led to confusion and misinformation circulating that it is hard for homeschoolers to get into colleges and universities.
For example, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) discusses an issue where two Florida homeschooled students were told that they needed GEDs if they wanted to attend the local community college.
Once the HSLDA contacted the college and made them aware of the homeschooling laws, the homeschooled students were admitted to the college with no issues.
Is homeschooling bad for college?
Many homeschoolers have found that they easily transition into college because they’ve spent some amount of time in independent study during homeschooling.
Additionally, the focus on life skills by many homeschooling families is of great service when a homeschooler goes off to college!
(YAY for knowing how to do your own laundry!)
HOMESCHOOL MYTHS DEBUNKED #10:
HOMESCHOOLERS ARE REGULARLY ACCEPTED INTO ALL TYPES OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES–INCLUDING IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS (from Homeschool to Harvard)!
Please refer to our DISCLOSURE STATEMENT.
If you’re anything like I was, you probably still have a ton of questions or have heard even more common myths about homeschooling and need answers.
I’ve got you covered, BOO!
I WROTE A #1 BESTSELLING BOOK THAT COVERS HOMESCHOOLING TIPS AND GIVES A LOT MORE HOMESCHOOLING HELP!
With my homeschool background and also over 17 years of experience in education, teaching, academic writing, and research, this is the book that I wish I had when I started homeschooling — one that gives legitimate answers to all those homeschooling myths (with research and statistics to back them!).
And, a book that shoots down those homeschool misconceptions!
But, most importantly, it’s a homeschool book to arm you with answers for yourself and to share with others in your life who are questioning your homeschooling choice!
And, it’s fun, relatable and conversational so that it doesn’t feel like you’re reading some academic textbook full of blah-blah-blah boringness! (YAY!)
“An excellent resource for families considering homeschooling, as well as for homeschooling families ready to change things up! I wish this book had been available when I first started homeschooling. Full of wisdom and humor – highly recommended!” -Jen Duncan, Creator
HelpingHandHomeschool.com, homeschooling 13 years
GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING … WITHOUT ALL THE FRUSTRATION!
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(I’ll be here, waiting in my pajamas with my fanny pack, pricing my Beanie Babies.)
Pssssst: Lots of people have told me that they got a copy for unsure family members and it really helped!
NEED MORE HELP WITH HOMESCHOOLING?
HOW TO START HOMESCHOOLING TODAY!
We’re so excited that you’re interested in starting your homeschooling journey! We also know that finding out how to get started can be COMPLETELY OVERWHELMING. We’ve created this FREE STEP-BY-STEP guide to help!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM
Tired of falling down the homeschool curriculum rabbit hole? UGH. WE GET IT. We’re going to show you how to jump off that homeschool curriculum train to nowhere and FINALLY choose the right curriculum—once and for all!
BALANCING HOMESCHOOLING & HOME
What if we told you that balancing homeschooling and home (and work or anything else) can’t be accomplished? What if we also told you that we can show you what to do instead of “balancing” that will completely change your life?