Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Homeschool Stereotypes and Reality Checks

Homeschooling is a growing movement. More and more people are pulling their kids out of public and private schools and doing it themselves. There are a lot of reasons for this. The internet for one is so full of resources for learning and blogs showing you how that it is not nearly so intimidating anymore. Technology has also changed the face of the employment market and I think there is a growing consensus that public school is not keeping pace with the changes necessary for what the future will hold. But despite all these changes and the growing community of homeschoolers, there is one thing that has stayed the same.


So, I just wanted to bust a few of those using just the Mom's that I know from our local group and a few that I regularly interact with online.

STEREOTYPE #1 - Homeschooling is only for crazy evangelicals who don't want their kids to learn about evolution.

REALITY - In just our small group here we have devoutly religious mothers from several Christian faiths. Christian homeschoolers do make up a large percentage of the community, but we also have a Muslim family, agnostic families, and even an atheist family. Online I know several Pagan and Jewish families. All homeschooling.

STEREOTYPE #2 - Homeschooling is mostly done by Conservatives who don't want their kids learning about the gay agenda at school.

REALITY CHECK - I would say the fastest growing segment of the homeschooling community right now is actually more liberal in their political leanings. They gravitate towards unschooling methods and other alternative models like Waldorf, or Reggio Emilia. These methods are also popular with very environmentally conscious families. Take a look at this article if you don't believe me.

STEREOTYPE #3 - Homeschooling is something really only available to those with a lot of money.

REALITY CHECK -  I know homeschoolers living on the brink of poverty, some trying to navigate a sudden/long term job loss, many stable middle class, and yes, some very well off.

STEREOTYPE #4 - Public school teachers hate homeschooling.

REALITY CHECK - Some do. Many mothers in our community are former school teachers. Two of the fathers in our community are actually principals. Some teachers are against homeschooling because of what they've seen come into their classroom after it failed. There are many teachers who choose to homeschool their kids because of what they saw in the classroom. We are not enemies.  Realistic homeschool parents understand this. I think most teachers do too.

STEREOTYPE #5 - Homeschooled kids are brilliant and accomplished.

REALITY CHECK - Some are very impressive. Some are pretty normal and just right on track. In fact, I'd say academics wise, most are just pretty right on as far as grade level goes. And some are behind. Pretty much, just like public schooled kids.

STEREOTYPE #6 - Homeschooling looks like school at home.

REALITY CHECK - Not even close. For some it does. For others it's a reading free-for-all interspersed with regular classes, museum outings and camping trips. There are so, so many methods out there. Roadschooling, unschooling, Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio, Classical, Thomas Jefferson, literature based, and on and on. It takes a while to let go of our preconceived ideas of what school should look like. But when we all embrace our own vision and why we felt called to this, school looks just the way it needs to.

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