Myth: A parent isn’t qualified to teach their child at home. If the parent is willing to learn, dedicated to their child’s education and resourceful, they can successfully home school their children.
At the lower grades, much of the content covered is basic knowledge most adults already know. Should a parent find themselves stumped, say, in helping with reading instruction, they have a teacher facilitator to help them through it. Structured curriculums are available that lay things out nicely and ‘teach the teacher’ how to proceed. As children mature and the content becomes more specialized, they may choose to take online or in-class courses in order to work with a subject specialist. Another option is to create a parent co-op where parents swap areas of expertise. For example, one parent trades teaching French to the group of children and in return, a different parent teaches art to the group of children. These are just two of the many ways home schoolers make sure their kids are getting what they need.
Myth: Home schoolers miss out on socialization.
Home schoolers have numerous opportunities to socialize with other home schoolers through classes, activities, park days and field trips. Like children who attend school, home-schooled children participate in sports, fine arts and other activities within their communities. Home schoolers may actually have more varied socialization experiences since they have opportunities to interact with people of all ages within their communities. In addition, because they spend more time at home, they have more quality time with family available. Also, due to the nature of home schooling, the negative aspects that may be present when children socialize in same-aged groups, such as peer pressure and bullying, are much less prevalent. Yes, home-schooled children socialize; it just looks different than in a school setting.
Myth: Home schoolers won’t be able to graduate and/or attend post-secondary education.
In fact, the opposite is true as confirmed by a number of studies, most recently in the latest report by the Fraser Institute. Home schoolers tend to have higher graduation rates as a rule and also tend to rank in the higher percentiles, academically. There are many reasons for this success, though perhaps the main reason is because of the individualized attention a parent, working with only their own child or children, can provide. Home-schooled children can have a program tailored to their needs. If they need to spend more time on a concept, they can and they can do so without feeling they are holding anyone up. This means they needn’t ‘fall behind’ and even though some children will work through something more slowly, the learning they do can be more solid. This means kids who may have struggled in regular school may actually be more successful learners due to the flexibility and individualized attention available through home schooling.
Myth: Home-schooled children are odd.
People are diverse and interesting and surprising and quirky in so many ways. Home schooling lets children hang on to more of their individuality. It’s not a question of one way being right and the other way being wrong. It just comes down to your values and priorities as parents and what you believe to be the correct path for your children. If you’re considering home schooling and are haunted by this myth of ‘odd’ kids, read the biographies of successful Canadians who home schooled for part or all of their education. A handful of my favorites include Margaret Atwood (eminent Canadian author); Stephen Lewis (Canadian politician and founder of the Stephen Lewis Foundation); Ryan Gosling (actor who starred in the movies Crazy, Stupid Love and The Notebook, among others) and Taylor Swift (highly regarded Canadian musician). One could argue that each of these people is odd, but personally I’d argue that they’re odd in a good way.
Teresa is an author and educator living a lifelong learning adventure as she home schools her youngest child.
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