You cannot homeschool through high school.
As with many of the myths of home schooling, this one is disappearing with time. Of course, many, many families have successfully homeschooled through high school (including our family!). Still, it can be a daunting consideration. Many people fear high school; but with so many options now open to home schoolers, we really have no reason to worry.
If you homeschool your children, they will all be geniuses.
Sorry … It is true that the one-on-one tutorial method is superior and that, on average, home schoolers have the test scores to prove it. However, there are just as many students struggling at home as in public schools. The good news is that with this low student to teacher ratio our students have a better chance of success.
A school room is essential to the success of your home school.
A school room is wonderful for organizational purposes, but it can become a trap. You begin to think of it as the room for learning. It is more important to understand that learning is occurring every minute of every day. Where does learning happen? – in the kitchen or the living room, in your yard, at the library or the neighborhood park … and even in the school room!
You are not qualified to teach your child.
Who is better qualified? A teacher having a degree in education does not guarantee your child a better education. Can you read? Can you learn? Perhaps the best answer you can give to a child’s query is, “I don’t know – let’s look it up!” Your heart for your child’s education will see you through.
You will leave huge gaps in your child’s education.
Oops—how did this one get in here? It is not a myth; it is true! But guess what. Public schools and private schools would also leave huge gaps. It is not possible to teach everything there is to know. Teach your child how to learn, and there will never be a gap that he cannot fill by himself.
The perfect curriculum will make the perfect home school.
Some will work better than others, but almost anything will do. The key is to use your curriculum as a resource. Do not let it be your master. Research learning styles and teaching methods and make informed choices; then be flexible enough to personalize the material for your situation.
You must do every exercise on every page of every workbook.
After all, you bought them! This is what happens when you become a slave to your curriculum. This is also one of the greatest causes of burnout, especially in children who do not enjoy bookwork. Have your student show mastery and then move on. Most workbook pages have busywork built in because they were designed for a classroom full of children. Each page must contain enough work to allow mastery by the slowest student in the class. Even workbooks designed specifically for home schoolers must make certain that there is enough work for the student to thoroughly understand a concept. When your child understands the concept completely, you can feel free to move on. Doing every single problem becomes overkill, and this is a major source of resistant behavior.
Your friends and family will understand.
Some of us are more fortunate than others, but almost everyone faces this at some time—the well-meaning neighbor who sees your children in the yard or parents and in-laws with educational backgrounds who feel their grandchild is being denied an adequate education. To combat this, try getting people involved. Introduce yourself to that neighbor and explain that you homeschool. Prepare work to show to the grandparents or host an open house with punch and cookies where your children display their work and/or give an oral report. If you have relatives who are truly antagonistic to the idea of home schooling, discuss with them your reasons for home schooling. Ask them to give their support to your efforts for a set amount of time—for example, one school year. Tell them you will be happy to sit down with them again at the end of that time to discuss your progress and to hear any concerns they still have. Ask them to not undermine your efforts during that year with a bad attitude or disparaging remarks but to be positive and supportive. It is very important to get them involved during that trial period. If they live nearby and have an area of specialty that could be turned into a class, ask them to become a teacher to your children or to oversee an extracurricular project like building a birdhouse or planting a small garden.
Your children will be social misfits.
This myth is not as troublesome as it once was; we now have statistics and results to disprove it. At no other time in a person’s life does he spend the better part of his day in a room surrounded by people his own age. Home schooling activities bring our children into contact with people of all ages, allowing them to develop true social skills.
And the NUMBER 1 HOME SCHOOLING MYTH (Drum roll, please …)
Home schooling will solve all of your problems.
Oh, how I wish this one was true! Alas, it is not. In fact, you may end up with a whole new set of problems! Just remember that God has called you to homeschool and He will equip you. If it is His plan for your family that you teach your children at home, then obedience to His call will bring great rewards!
Mary James – has written 14 posts on this site.
Mary James has a heart for those parents who are new to home schooling or in the process of making that decision. She is the mother of eight children, and is currently homeschooling the seven who are still school age. Mary serves on the Texas Home School Coalition Board of Directors and is the president and cofounder of of Smoothing the Way, a support group to inform and encourage those who have decided to take on the exciting, yet sometimes daunting, task of educating their own children. Mary and her family live in Bastrop, Texas.