Homeschooling has come a long way since the 1980s, with more than 2.3 million homeschoolers in the U.S. alone. Nevertheless, a number of myths still prevail about homeschoolers as bespectacled nerds who may excel academically but stumble socially in the real world.
Do any of these homeschooling myths sound familiar to you?
Myth 1: I don’t have any teaching experience, so I couldn’t teach my kids.
According to research from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), homeschoolers’ academic achievement was not related to their parents’ level of formal education. Home-educated students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public school students on standardized academic achievement tests, including those who didn’t have certified teachers as parents.
When you think about it, parents are already the best teachers their children could ever have – showing them how to walk, speak, dress themselves and ride a bicycle, among other things.
And when you think of famous homeschoolers in the United States – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, for example – very few, if any, of their parents were certified teachers.
Myth 2: I’d be sheltering my kids and not preparing them for real-world socialization!
Fortunately after more than 20 years, the homeschool movement has grown up enough to put this myth to rest.
As homeschoolers have graduated and entered the workforce, they have proven well equipped for the real world. Studies have shown homeschoolers outperforming public school children in college grades and graduation rates, communication, daily living skills, socialization and maturity.
(See this PBS article about homeschool socialization, where researchers from the Discovery Institute noted that “homeschool students demonstrated fewer behavioral problems than their peers.”
We aren’t completely dismissing this argument, though – see more in our article, 5 ways to address the socialization question.
Myth 3: I’m not an upper-middle-class family, living in suburbia with a white picket fence. How could I have the resources or time to homeschool?
For years homeschooling was painted as a reality only for WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) families, but research is proving this false. The NHERI found that about 15 percent of all homeschoolers are from minority backgrounds.
Furthermore, the demographics of homeschoolers span a wide swath of U.S. society: low-, middle- and high-income families; atheists, Christians and Mormons; and parents ranging from those without a high-school diploma all the way to those at a Ph.D. level.
MPE families reflect this diversity. We serve families across many socioeconomic levels (including single-mom households) as well as families of different cultures.
Myth 4: Our family budget is stretched at the moment. How can we afford everything a quality homeschool needs?
Homeschoolers succeed regardless of family budgets!
As research from NHERI demonstrates, homeschool students’ academic scores are largely unaffected by household income. In addition, homeschooling families spend an average of $600 per student. Contrast that to taxpayers spending an average of $11,732 per student in public schools, not counting capital expenditures.
No matter how much money was spent on their education – from parents spending less than $600 per student to those spending $600 or more – homeschoolers still scored in the 86th-89th percentile range.
Additionally, a number of ministries and organizations exist to help families in need with free or low-cost curriculum. (See our free or low-cost curriculum ideas here.)
Myth 5: I’d be doing this all on my own. How could I find support?
We’re so glad you asked. Homeschooling support groups are everywhere, and if you’re living in the Kansas City area, look us up!
Over 1000 homeschooling families have access to the following benefits through MPE membership:
- Informational support group meetings, retreats and other events
- List of cluster (support) groups
- $15 discount on annual HSLDA membership
- Free admission to the annual MPE conference (a more than $60 value!)
- Access to annual standardized testing for grades K – 11
- High school graduation ceremony (must meet certain criteria – call our office for more info)
- Seller discounts for our annual used curriculum sale
We also recommend the following homeschool resources on this page.
What other homeschooling myths or questions have you heard or need help with? Feel free to comment below.
We originally published this blog post in September 2014. We have updated it for timeliness and detail.