There are many misconceptions about homeschoolers. The falsehoods are often myths based on partial truths or experiences with a limited number of homeschooling families. They are so prevalent that even homeschooling parents start to believe the myths.
Skewed homeschool statistics that don't reveal accurate facts about homeschooling sometimes serve to further the misconceptions.
How many of these homeschooling myths have you heard?
1. All homeschooled kids are spelling bee champs and child prodigies.
Most homeschooling parents wish this myth were true! The fact is, homeschooled children range in ability level just like kids in any other school setting. Homeschooled students include gifted, average, and struggling learners.
Some homeschooled kids are ahead of their same-age peers and some, particularly if they have learning struggles, are behind. Because homeschooled students can work at their own pace, it is not uncommon for them to be asynchronous learners, This means that they may be ahead of their grade level (based on age) in some areas, average in others, and behind in some.
Because homeschool parents can offer their students one-on-one attention, it's easy to strengthen weak areas. These benefits often allow kids who started out “behind” to catch up without the stigma associated with learning challenges.
It is true that homeschooled students often have more time to devote to their areas of interest. This devotion sometimes results in a child displaying greater than average talent in those areas.
2. All homeschooling families are religious.
In the early days of the current homeschooling movement, this myth may have been true. However, homeschooling has become much more mainstream. It is now the educational choice of families from all walks of life and a wide variety of belief systems.
3. All homeschool families are large.
Many people think that homeschooling means a family of 12 children, huddled around the dining room table doing their schoolwork. While there are large homeschooling families, there are just as many families homeschooling two, three, or four children or even an only child.
4. Homeschooled kids are sheltered.
Many homeschooling opponents share the opinion that homeschooled children need to get out and experience the real world. However, it is only in a school setting that kids are segregated by age. Homeschooled children are out in the real world every day - shopping, working, attending homeschool co-op classes, serving in the community, and much more.
5. Homeschooled kids are socially awkward.
Just as with ability-level, homeschooled students are as varied in their personalities as kids in traditional school settings. There are shy homeschool kids and outgoing homeschool kids. Where a child falls on the personality spectrum has much more to do with the temperament they were born with than where they are educated.
Personally, I'd like to meet one of those shy, socially awkward homeschooled kids because I sure didn't give birth to any of them!
6. All homeschool families drive vans - mini- or 15-passenger.
This statement is largely a myth, but I do understand the perception. The first time I went to a used curriculum sale, I knew the general location for the sale but not the exact spot. This event was way back in the ancient days before GPS, so I drove to the general area. Then I followed the line of mini-vans. They led me straight to the sale!
Anecdotes aside, many homeschool families do not drive vans. In fact, crossover vehicles seem to be the mini-van equivalent for modern homeschooling moms and dads.
7. Homeschooled kids don't watch TV or listen to mainstream music.
This myth applies to some homeschooling families, but not the majority. Homeschooled kids do watch TV, listen to music, own smartphones, participate in social media, attend concerts, go to movies, and participate in any number of pop culture activities just like kids from other educational backgrounds.
They have proms, play sports, join clubs, go on field trips, and much more.
The fact is, homeschooling has become so common that the biggest difference in the daily lives of most homeschooled students and their public or private schooled peers is where they are educated.