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Despite home schooling’s greater acceptance and adoption, stereotypes and inaccurate statistics about home schooling have perpetuated a number of myths and false assumptions about the practice. What follows is a look at the 3 most common misconceptions about home schooling---mistaken beliefs that hopefully will be dispelled once and for all.
Misconception #1: Homeschooling creates social misfits
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In the article titled, Home-Schooled Teens Ripe for College, Kelly claims that teens schooled at home are “better socialized than most high school students.” Admitting that it sounds counterintuitive, Kelly says that the very fact that homeschooled kids aren’t around “dozens or hundreds of other kids every day” is what makes them better socialized. “Homeschooled students often spend less time in class,” Kelly went on to say, “giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.”
The idea that public schools provide students a healthy social environment for students is also flawed. Mounting evidence of bullying and other social issues associated with public schools is playing a larger role in parental decisions to homeschool their children. According to information found on the U.S. Dept. of Education’s website, 91 percent of homeschooling parents said that “environmental concerns” were at least a partial reason for homeschooling, while 25 percent of parents surveyed said that these concerns were the primary reason.
Misconception #2: Homeschooling families are all alike
A common misconception among the uninitiated is that all homeschooling is essentially a movement, and that all homeschooling families therefore fit the same stereotypical mold. Many believe that families that homeschool share common religious, political and socio-economic backgrounds, that they use the same basic teaching techniques, tools and materials, and that homeschooling families are more prevalent in specific areas of the country.
In reality, homeschooling families come from all walks of life. If these families do share anything in common it’s most likely a desire to spend more quality time with their children, coupled with concerns that the public school system is no longer able to provide their children a quality education in a healthy and positive environment.
Misconception #3: Homeschooling can’t provide a quality education
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While the above assumptions may appear to have merit, mounting evidence suggests otherwise. In fact, the aforementioned article in U.S. News & World Report revealed that teens who are homeschooled are equally and possibly even better prepared for college than traditionally schooled students. As evidence, the article references the results of a study comparing students at a doctrinal university from 2004-2009. According to the study, homeschooled students graduated college at a higher rate---66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent---than their publicly schooled peers.
It’s not surprising that the findings of the study fly in the face of the “unqualified” parent argument. After all, parents are not the sole providers of their homeschooled student’s educations. In today’s connected world many parents participate in homeschooling networks, allowing them to take advantage of one another’s expertise in various subjects. This is especially effective for teenage homeschoolers who need a more advanced education. In addition, many homeschooled students of high school age go on to attend community colleges to help them better prepare and meet the requirements of four-year institutions.
As for the misconception that a homeschooling environment robs students of educational tools and opportunities found only in the classroom, technologies such as learning software, VSAT communication technology, Internet subscription programs…etc., now make it possible for homeschooled students to have the same advantages as those who are taught in a classroom.
Like many unique ideas and practices that are first looked upon as deviations from the norm, homeschooling has been plagued by many false assumptions. However, as more studies come to light, and the benefits of homeschooling become more apparent, misconceptions about the nature of homeschooling are destined to become a thing of the past.