Together, we have more than 30 years of experience homeschooling our kids. Between the two of us, we have 10 children, including an attorney, a freshman at a prestigious music conservatory and an adult child on the autism spectrum, plus one precious grandchild. And we have homeschooled them all (babies are homeschooled too).
Perhaps the biggest myth about homeschooling is that it creates socially inept kids. If we had a dollar for everyone who asked us how our homeschooled kids managed to socialize, we’d be rich. Here’s the truth. There are many socially awkward homeschoolers, just as there are many socially awkward public and private school kids. But homeschooling in itself is not a recipe for producing maladroit kids. On the contrary, many homeschoolers have excellent social skills.
The lack of socialization myth is closely linked with another myth – that homeschoolers spend all day at home. Many homeschooled kids, especially those who live in urban and suburban areas, spend a good part of their day out of the house, interacting with people of various ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds. As a result, it’s common for homeschoolers to have close friends who are different from themselves in many ways.
One of our teens, for example, works for a high tech start-up company, where his co-workers hardly remember that he is still in high school. To them, he’s just another colleague. The expectations of him are the same as they are for any adult co-worker, and they value him both professionally and personally, which would not be the case if he was socially inept.
Another common homeschooling myth is that it’s primarily a religious decision. Although two thirds of homeschoolers in the United States identify as Christian, and many of those families cite religious reasons for homeschooling, secular homeschooling is gaining traction as families from all different walks of life opt out of the system in order to give their children a unique experience.
“Our goal as parents is to provide a learning environment that includes conditions optimized for self-directed education,” said homeschool dad David Martin. “This has resulted in us providing a type of homeschooling for our children that includes less time at home and more time out in the world.”
Over the years, we have had countless people ask how our kids will get into college. As it is with many homeschoolers, Jody’s oldest son Chase faced no obstacles to higher education. He received a full scholarship to undergraduate school and then graduated from law school. He is currently working for a non-partisan organization dedicated to lowering the national debt.
“This incredibly unique and customizable form of education was a huge asset for me,” Chase said. “Homeschooling amplifies a student’s strengths, helps identify and address weaknesses, and puts him or her in a position to explore passions, be creative, and embark on a journey that cultivates a well-rounded and grounded young adult.”
In spite of these and other myths surrounding homeschooling, it is becoming more widely understood, accepted and even celebrated.
Jenni Stahlmann and Jody Hagaman are mothers with nine children between them, from an attorney to a pre-schooler, and one on the autism spectrum. Together they host a nationally syndicated radio show, “POP Parenting.” They are also freelance writers and international speakers. Get more information on their website, jenniandjody.com.
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