Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homeschool Myths BUSTED

    My kids LOVE the show Mythbusters! Every time they watch a show, they run around the house conducting their own (safe and supervised) myths to bust. I love how the Mythbusters crew work through the scientific method every episode in such a fun way. As my readers know Science is not my favorite subject to teach.

     Well, this post has nothing to do with science or the scientific method. It is just a list of myths I have heard over the past 2 years I have been homeschooling. I cannot speak for every homeschooling family, which is why I prefaced each myth with the word "ALL", but in my homeschool these myths are officially BUSTED!

Myth #1-All homeschooling moms have a dozen kids and no fashion sense.- 
      I only have 2 children. I don't have a clue what the latest fashion styles are. I just wear what is comfortable. I am a blue jeans and t-shirts kind of girl. I teach in my bare feet.

Myth #2-All homeschooling families have a homestead out in the country. They wake up early to  milk cows, bake bread, and sew our own clothes.-     
     ROFL!!!! I have a confession to make. We don't wake up until 9:00 unless we have to!
     I live in a 2 bedroom condo in Daytona Beach. The only farming I have done is on Farmville. Ok, we have fed our Pastor's chickens when he was away but that was a rare treat. I don't have a garden or even a yard. I have a balcony and I can't even keep my fake plants alive. the only animal we have is a Miniature Dachshund
      I do not bake! :-P OK, I am trying to get better about that. I make my kids birthday cakes but trust me it is only special occasions. Bread is NOT a special occasion. We eat whatever loaf is the cheapest and says "wheat" on it.
     Oh and I can't sew! If it can't be mended with a hot glue gun, I throw it in the garbage. Then we run off to the thrift store and buy a replacement. Daddy does the sewing. Only when he is building a new Star Wars Costume or sewing a patch on his uniform though... I have nothing to do with it.

Myth #3-All homeschooled kids are socially deprived because they never go anywhere, have any friends, or any contact with the outside world.-
     My kids LOVE being homeschooled because they spend sunny days by the pool, at the beach, and in the park. Between church, field trips, playgroups, co-op, and the neighborhood kids, they have plenty of friends and social opportunities.

Myth #4-All homeschool families are super conservative Christians who are raising their kids in a Bible based bubble that will one day pop.     Well, I am a Christian but not all homeschool families are! I know pagan, Buddhist, atheist, and Jewish families. They are all just as fed up with the public school system as I am. As much time as we spend out and about in the world, my kids can't help but be introduce to many cultures and religions. We are Christians and we are Americans. This country is a melting pot and I wouldn't want it any other way!

Myth #5-All homeschooling moms should have a teaching degree or their children will have gaps in their education.-     Well first of all I do have a degree in early childhood development. I was a teacher for 5 years before I had my own children. However, I don't find it particularly useful in a homeschool environment.
Furthermore, I went to public school and I suffered HUGE gaps in my education. In fact, I find myself learning many new things right alongside my own children.
     I do not think I can teach my children everything about the world but I can teach them how to find the answer. As long as they know how to ask questions, research, and solve a problem on their own, I believe they will have achieved the highest measure of intelligence.

Myth #6-All homeschoolers spend 6-7 hours a day at home with a pile of textbooks.      Just because it is called home does not mean that we are home all day. We do school in the car, at the playground, the museum, the zoo, the library, the beach, and co-op... We don't even have a classroom. When we are home we are on the couch, the balcony, the bed, the floor, the dining room table, and the computer.
     Just because we call it school does not mean that we have a pile of textbooks and tons of worksheets to work through each day. I do not use text books that are a boring list of facts. We read books that breath life into education. Interesting, captivating, living books that make learning exciting.
     Since my class has only 2 students in it, we do not need to spend as much time on a lesson as a teacher with 30+ children learning at different speeds. When they get it, we move on, when they struggle, we slow down. We do not have to wait on the other 30 kids to finish their worksheet and my child will never be "left behind". I know exactly when he has grasped the concept of fractions and when he needs me to slow down and approach it a new way. We have no set timetable to get school done. Some days we fly right through in an hour and a half, other days we muddle through for 4 hours but we have not had a 6-7 hour day yet.

Myth #7 All homeschooled children are sheltered from media and have only educational toys.-     I buy toys from the same store as everyone else. While we do have a good bit of educational toys, we also have a ton of  non-educational toys too.
     Obviously my kids watch TV. They play video games too!!! I am pretty sure I would be divorced if I tried to take them away. LOL We have a Nintendo 64, Playstation2, and Wii. Not to mention our Nintendo DS, a DSiXL, and Daddy and Mommy play them as often as the kids. I have the top score on Mario cart!
     Yes, we monitor what our children watch on TV and how much. I will maybe write a post about that another day but, I will not apologize for being a responsible parent in this area. I will tell you though, that our children are not sheltered. They have seen most movies rated up to PG-13.

Myth #8 All homeschooled children have no hopes of getting into college.- 
Actually, homeschooled children have just as good a chance to get into college as public school children. They have the same shot at jobs and the military too. Homeschooling is not viewed as an educational disadvantage. My children are still very young but out of the 7 homeschooled adults whom I know personally, all but one has gotten into college. The 2 who have graduated thus far already have rewarding careers. They have all transitioned very successfully into adulthood! I expect no less from my own children.

Myth # 9 All homeschooled children are painfully shy.-
     This statement was OBVIOUSLY NOT made about MY KIDS!!!! My kids talk to anyone and everyone they meet. Shyness is not in their DNA.
      I didn't even know this was a myth until my Aunt added it to this list. Her reply is as follows,
"Take a look around at any school, public or private, and you will find children with learning disabilities, children who learn quickly, children who have trouble concentrating, children who are class clowns, children who are mentally challenged, children who are athletic, children who hate school, children who love school, children who are outgoing, and children who are shy. Now look at homeschooled children. You'll find all the same kind of kids. Some will be shy, because that's who they happen to be."

Myth # 10 All homeschoolers think their way is the only way.-     I KNOW that is not true. I never thought I would homeschool until I fell into it. Here is another wonderful quote from my aunt a veteran homeschool mom,  "Homeschoolers know that parents have to decide what works best for their own family. If they are Christians they can ask God what route he wants their family to take. God made us all unique. When homeschoolers go on and on about the positive aspects of homeschooling people say, "They think they're better than everyone else!" That is so not true. When you hear us go on and on about the awesome stuff the kids are into, it is because we are backed into a corner sometimes several times a day having to defend ourselves for the decision we have made. Do other parents have to defend their choice of education repeatedly sometimes to total strangers?"

     Every family has their own reasons for the education choices they make for their children and none should pass judgment on the other.

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