One of the biggest challenges homeschoolers face is that social stigmas and misconceptions. Here are 5 of the biggest myths that need debunking about homeschooling. Myth #1. What about socialization? Fact: If you ask a homeschooler this question, be forewarned. This is the most often asked question that homeschooling families in general find rather frustrated to answer and, often, find insulting. Society has a view of homeschooling as a isolation – as if their children were in lockdown or not allowed to participate in the real world. In reality, many homeschoolers are actually never home! They are out in the community – participating in co-ops, groups, classes, lessons, volunteer opportunities, playdates, etc. They are interacting with a wide age-group of people around them instead of being divided into age categories as they do in the public system. The school system itself is not intended to be a social environment, but geared to education. Myth #2. Homeschooling is only for highly religious people. Fact: Although there is a large community of faith-based home educators, they aren’t the only group of people who homeschool! There is a growing trend of families who are choosing to homeschool for non-religious reasons. Allergies, special needs, disapproval of the public school methodology, bullying, finding their child behind in school – the list is unending as to the reasons why a family chooses to homeschool. Myth #3: The school board gives you the curriculum. Fact: This is completely dependent on where you live. Each province/state has it’s own set of rules and involvement. Here in Ontario where I live, we basically have no connection with our local school board. It’s recommended that we notify the board to tell them of our intent to homeschool, and we are on our own. We buy/find/use our own curriculum materials and work as we’d please. Compare that with Alberta, whose regulations are more involved. Albertans work with a facilitator to develop a learning plan – and depending on if the family wants to be fully-led by the school board, will be provided complete curriculum materials and funding. Myth #4: Homeschoolers do “school at home.” Fact: Homeschoolers educate in a wide variety of ways. Some homeschooling families DO use the school model as their design for education. Desks, workbooks, teacher, chalkboard, etc. This works for them. But not for everyone. One of the beautiful things about schooling your kids is that you can choose methods and styles that are best for their needs. Some families like the classical method, while others prefer child-led learning (or unschooling), and still others combine a mix of everything – classifying themselves as eclectic. Some families use online or computer based programs and some do learning through living books. Unit studies, lapbooks, notebooking – trust me, there’s 1001 ways to homeschool. And they don’t all look like the public school method at all. Myth #5: You can only homeschool until high school. Fact: You can homeschool forever. Life is learning! Some families do choose to move into the mainstream schooling world when their children hit the high school years. But, it’s not the only solution out there. More and more resources are coming available for homeschooling families for high school. In addition to distance learning, there are online schools and other options. Once finished high school, students can even do online post-secondary. It’s not impossible, it’s just different. Hopefully this answers some of your questions about homeschooling. Do you have more questions? Ask them here and I’ll try to answer them as best I can!
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