Education and the changing landscape of the public school system have been in the spotlight lately. Many of the changes are controversial. You can’t say the word “Common Core” without mutual cringing from both supporters and detractors.
Among the changes to core curriculum and standardized testing is talk of longer school hours and more restrictions. Kids go to school under mounting pressure. Social situations are tense. Security is tight. Zero tolerance has extended from a mantra for criminal offenders to include an eight year old who says the wrong word or brings the wrong toy to school.
For most parents there is a feeling of helplessness surrounding their circumstances. After all, kids have to go to school, right? It’s just one of those things we have to accept.
Other parents are taking a deep breath and stepping out of the world of public school and into the world of homeschooling.
Homeschooling: The Growing Trend
Homeschooling in the United States is a growing trend. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2007 there were at least 1.5 million homeschooling families. While some homeschooled for religious reasons, there was also an increasing number of families who homeschool because of concern for the negative school environment or concern over the academic curriculum.
But just like anything that is different, there are always the naysayers and the ones that shake their heads, citing anecdotal and individual issues as a widespread reason why homeschooling is not a good thing.
But statistics prove otherwise as homeschooling students are consistently testing at or above expected academic levels.
Homeschooling: State and Federal Laws
In the United States, homeschooling is legal in every state and is gaining an increasing number of families. State laws differ. Organizations such as Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) contain links to individual state laws and requirements. They vary from stringent to relaxed.
Despite the legality and the proof that homeschoolers do better there are still common misconceptions and beliefs about homeschool families.
1. “Homeschool” does not mean we school at home.
One of the common misconceptions about homeschooling is that we try to replicate school at home. Most of us do not nor do we feel a need to. When you factor in the amount of time it takes to assemble a classroom of kids. Give instructions. Pass out worksheets. Take care of questions and behavioral issues-- the actual in-classroom time of learning is many hours less than the average hours of attendance.
Many homeschoolers, though, choose not to use the “you must learn this thing in this certain way method.”
Homeschool families can adapt to the learning style of each kid. Does your kid think better when they are moving rather than glued to a chair? Make an active game of the lesson, putting the answers on the floor and having your kid jump to the right one. Or go for a walk as you talk about your Biology lesson.
If they are a visual learner you can add a video supplement to the text of the textbook or read it out loud if they do better with auditory learning.
These accommodations, while they can exist in the public school classroom, are not likely to exist in the depth or extent of each individual child’s need.
We also seek out active learning. We go to the museum and talk to the curator or the zoo and talk to the zookeeper. We attend history re-enactments and go behind the scenes at the candy shop. We immerse ourselves in our community and we learn in the process.
While there are some great public school field trips that attempt to do the same, homeschoolers typically do these activities in a smaller group or as individuals, allowing for more in-depth time and attention that just can’t exist for larger groups.
2. We get it done faster than you.
Homeschoolers can do the same amount of work as a public schooler quickly and more efficiently. Part of it has to do with sheer volume since it is likely that a homeschooling family is working with a much smaller group of students than a public school classroom.
We can work quickly. We can move ahead on concepts that are mastered. We can linger over ones that are problematic. At the end of the day we can pace it to meet our kids’ needs and still have extra time for recess and other extracurricular activities.
3. Many of us aren’t particularly religious.
And many of us who are religious are not homeschooling for those reasons nor do we make it the focal point of our lessons. While we can’t underestimate the trailblazing that the early religious homeschoolers made for the growing population of homeschoolers today, current U.S. homeschoolers are an increasingly diverse population that are no longer citing religion as their most prominent reason for homeschooling.
Many that aren’t in the homeschooling community have trouble letting go of the image of conservative homeschoolers and ultra-religious fanatics. And the news-cycle loves to find examples of those families who have very strict, last century lives and religious ideals.
But the truth is that most homeschoolers are just average people. You may be in line with them at the grocery store and not even know they are homeschoolers (unless their kids are with them and it’s 11 AM on a Tuesday).
4. Our kids are more creative than yours.
Okay. Not really. That was just to get your attention. There are plenty of public school kids who are awesomely creative and interesting. But here’s the problem. Many don’t have the time to devote to their pursuits the way homeschoolers do. Because we can get academics done more quickly and make learning more personalized, our kids have time to pursue other interests and more time to devote to those.
Many homeschoolers have talents in arts or music. Others find a propensity for electronics and science and voluntarily spend hours learning and working with experiments. Others are talented bakers or dancers or volunteer at the animal shelter.
The point is they just have the time that today’s high stakes testing, hours of homework, every minute scheduled student does not have.
Sir Ken Robinson's Thoughts on Schools and Creativity
5. We've heard the whole socialization thing, and it's dead wrong.
If you get an eye roll when you ask a homeschooling family “What about socialization?” then you’ll have to forgive us. We might have heard this a time or two---or a hundred. While it’s the most common concern among non-homeschoolers, it is probably the most laughable of the reasons people cite for not homeschooling.
While we might do some school work at home, most of us spend at least several days a week out of the house with---shock----other people.
We do sports lessons, music lessons, co-op classes, field trips and community service projects. Some of these are done during the hours other kids are in school. Others are done right alongside public school students.
The truth is that we are out and about in the community. Our kids talk to other kids. They talk to other adults. They interact at or above the level of most other public schooled kids.
Some people then correct what they’ve said and actually mean “what about being in a classroom all day with the same age peers, sitting at a desk and being told to keep quiet.”
Yeah, well that’s not really very social, is it? And oddly enough, our kids seem to do just fine with sitting in a classroom or standing in line or being quiet when the need arises. These don’t tend to be skills that take 13 years to acquire.
6. We have bad days, too.
It’s not all rosy and Norman Rockwell at our house. We have bad days too. We get on each other’s nerves. The kids are hyper or in a bad mood. Or the parents are in a bad mood. Or both. Sometimes nothing is working. The concept doesn’t make sense. There are too many distractions. Or not enough.
We are not perfect parents who don’t understand how anyone could not want to be with their kids 24/7. We get it. Kids can be tough. Parenting can be tough. We all need a break.
But unlike a public school teacher who must keep pushing on despite the bad day, we have the flexibility to say “you know what? Let’s stop this for now or for the day.”
We can take a break. Go to the park. Go to lunch. Go to the zoo. Because we can come back to that this evening, or tomorrow, or the weekend. There is no rule that says we must school from 8-3. We can school from 7AM to 10 AM or from 8 PM to 12 AM.
We can take turns with other homeschooling families. “You take my kids to the park while I take a break and I’ll do the same for you next week.”
Flexibility can make the bad days be a little less bad.
7. Yes you could do it, but you’re making excuses.
Another common phrase we hear from non-homeschooling families is “Oh I could never do that.”
Well, yes, you could. I’m going to call you on that one.
Despite the idea that one parent must stay home and one parent work (or even that fact that it must be a two parent household), many parents find a way to adapt their schedules to both work and homeschool.
Some of the ways this can happen is to stagger schedules, work from home or elicit help from other homeschooling families or extended families.
With some creativity, many families work and homeschool. Since the actual schooling part doesn’t necessarily happen during regular public school hours, creativity and flex scheduling can allow many different types of families to still enjoy the benefits of homeschooling.
What I’ve learned is that usually when someone says “I could never do that” what they are really saying is “I don’t want to do that.”
And that’s okay. While many of us enjoy and see real benefits to homeschooling, most homeschoolers do not particularly care or feel the need to ask you to change your decision to public school. The reverse isn’t always true as homeschoolers and homeschooling kids are often grilled by strangers who believe the clichés and myths but know little to nothing about the particular family they are feeling the need to question.
We get it.
We get that it still isn’t the norm for most families and that it feels threatening to some people who think we are crusading to end public education as we know it.
The truth is that we have the same goals that every other parent has. We want what is best for our kids and we are working just as hard as every other parent to find and implement that. We really don’t have time or feel the particular need to tell you how to parent.
We only ask the same courtesy.
Sir Ken Robinson Notes How To Make All Types of Education Better
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I get my parents to homeschool me?
Answer: Homeschooling is one of many great choices for getting an education. If you want to be homeschooled, you should research the laws and requirements in your state and present an organized plan to your parents along with reasons why you think this would be good for you. For some families though, this may not be the option that works best for them. It truly needs to work well for parents and kids.
Veteran Homeschooler on September 15, 2018:
On the topic of “socialization,” my experience has been that people don’t really mean socialization as that word is conventionally defined. Homeschoolers can interact with civility, courtesy, consideration, cooperation, compassion, wit, and humor as well or better than most institutionally educated students. It’s the value system of homeschoolers that often stands out in sharp contrast to their non-homeschooled peers.
My kids are not prematurely sexualized, they feel no pressure to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, no pressure to become sexually active. That is not to say they don’t look forward to the day when they can enjoy the intimacies of sex; it’s just that they know sex belongs in a committed, adult relationship (aka marriage).
My kids don’t know who most of the latest-and-greatest pop music performers are. They don’t worship celebrities. They don’t watch reality TV. They don’t care about the latest fashion trends. They don’t care if other kids think such things are important.
My kids approach everyone with a presumption of friendliness. They don’t worry about the social rankings that institutionally-educated kids inflict on each other. They don’t make social calculations about who or what is cool or not. The social status that leaves other kids’ stomachs churning in knots are just not a factor in most homeschoolers’ lives.
In other words, homeschoolers’ socialization looks a lot closer to what adulthood is supposed to eventually look like. Unfortunately, institutional schools have left so many broken children and teenagers in their wake that lots of adults never really grew up, and are still worried about keeping up with the Joneses, and being “popular,” and fitting in at all costs.
So if someone accuses homeschoolers of not being socialized the same way other kids are, I will agree, and I will thank God!
Veteran Homeschooler on September 15, 2018:
I’ve been homeschooling my children for 14 and counting...all the way through high school. I am active in my local homeschool community, having found many ways to both serve and ask for help through the years. While this article has some great points and some great feedback, I do have a few quotes to which I’d like to respond.
Quote: “Many...have trouble letting go of the image of conservative homeschoolers and ultra-religious fanatics.”
A: An unfortunate smear against those who homeschool with the express intent of providing a Christ-centered education.
Quote: “But we do hear a lot of noise from the few home-schoolers who resent paying taxes to support public schools or who insist that public schools are nothing more than indoctrination factories for ‘the government.’”
A: And you’re going to hear more now. I don’t share the multi-culti, morally relativistic, globalist, big government views enforced by government schools. And yes, paying $7,000/year in real estate taxes to subsidize a school system we will never utilize is a burden worth complaining about.
Quote: “In some families, both parents have to work outside the home and some parents are not mentally or emotionally able to homeschool.”
A: I personally know families who have two working parents and still homeschool. Solutions can include staggered work schedules, a grandparent stepping up to help, online programs for older students, and homeschool co-ops. The Robinson Curriculum is a self-directed program created by Dr. Arthur Robinson so his kids could continue homeschooling after his wife died. I’m sure there are many more solutions out there.
As to parents who are not mentally or emotionally able to homeschool, are they able to even be parents? If you can successfully raise, nourish, nurture, and train a child in a healthy environment from newborn to age 5, you can homeschool.
Quote: “...the one thing missing from a homeschool experience is the student learning to deal with people/teachers/other students who are different or disagreeable.”
A: I had no idea institutional educations had solved the problem of human conflict. Huzzah! Time to disband all human resource departments, and reduce both tort and criminal justice systems to a skeleton crew.
Quote: “I'm a single mom with elementary school aged twins, one of whom has classic autism.”
A: There are homeschool support organizations at regional, state, and national levels who offer support (both material and practical) for homeschool families in need, and for those with special needs. Look them up. Start with HSLDA.
If you are saying you’re a single mom without the support of parents, siblings, dear friends, or a church community, then you better start reaching out to other networks of moms (formal or informal) ASAP! You better learn how to be a great friend to equally great women so you can have each others’ backs. Look to the autism community for additional support networks.
I only say this because you seem to really want to homeschool. If you decide to pursue a conventional education, please utilize every resource available to you. There is never failure in admitting you need help. And personally, while I don’t care for the social and political leanings of government schools, I wouldn’t hesitate to put all that aside if it served a greater good for one or all of my children. Good luck and God bless you.
L C David (author) from Florida on February 27, 2018:
While I do know single moms that homeschool and work from home, I agree that it may not be feasible for every single situation, no matter how much we may want it. Best of luck as you figure out what works for your family.
What about Single Moms? Someone Has to Work on February 26, 2018:
I loved this article until #7. I don't think it's fair to say that anyone who says they can't is really just saying they won't. I'm a single mom with elementary school aged twins, one of whom has classic autism. I want so desperately to homeschool my son (and my daughter) but someone has to work. Trust me, I've run the numbers. Even on child support only, we can't make it. My kids won't eat. And no I don't have any family who would welcome me - my son's type of autism is very isolating. So, I will keep trying to figure out a way to get him homeschooled but for now, I have to provide shelter, food, and clothes. Unfortunately, for single moms it may actually be a matter of "can't" rather than "won't" no matter how badly we want to homeschool.
Tiger ann on February 11, 2018:
The schools where i am try to scare you with, "its against the law to take them out to homeschool." or even go as far as going to your front door and threaten to return them to school every begining of the year! -local police will not take action against them coming to your house, but tell you, "you should bring them back to school, its not right for you to homeschool." I "disobeyed" everyone and homeschooled my oldest daughter, now shes taking college courses and shes only 10! (To be fair, she was always ahead of most kids in the district.) -the school refused to evaluate her to move forward because of, "her age".
Michael Milec on January 22, 2018:
Perfect picture how it is done in this country. Thank you.
Homeschooling goes on from very first day of a child’s arrival.. Without provision of any "public" schooling, homeschooling would be only alternative from start to finish... the next step would be selective.
L C David (author) from Florida on January 22, 2017:
Thanks so much for your comment and concern. First, this fear of isolation to "like only" can be applied to many students. Think of the students who live in the wealthier parts of town, who are zoned for the same school district. Are they likely hanging out all day with those from very similar backgrounds and socio-economic status? Yes. Just like that, some homeschoolers tend to group with those of like mind (such as similar religion or similar style of curriculum).
In the real world of homeschooling, I've found this to be far from the truth. The homeschoolers that are part of our local co op, for example, are diverse in ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, learning styles etc. Just like in the real world, when you bring two or more people together there is likely to be a difference of opinion. There are likely to be conflicts with teachers, other parents. I've noticed my own children having pretty sophisticated political discussions with friends who DO NOT agree with them. They talk, they listen, they debate. Then you know what they do? They go hang out and play, or go to someone's house and play video games or go swimming in the community pool. Any student can be taught to respect others, to learn how to handle conflict, and to learn to embrace diversity rather than reject it. Public school is not the only place for that kind of exposure.
All students need to learn to navigate the world whether they are homeschooled, public-schooled, or private schooled. Opportunities within all these forms of education exist to learn, grow and embrace diversity. One experience doesn't really reign superior in that aspect. All can be insular if they want to be. It's up to the parents to make sure they are not.
Kathleen Cochran on January 22, 2017:
I've observed the one thing missing from a homeschool experience is the student learning to deal with people/teachers/other students who are different or disagreeable. This experience is a vital part of growing up prepared for the real world. I'd be interested to hear the experiences of parents who have dealt with this part of the education process.
Anne on January 16, 2016:
I wanted to homeschool ---He refused.
Saying how all the geeky kids were homeschooled. I put my daughter in preschool after many arguments. It was not worth it--I could have easily taught her what they did. The preschool teacher acted like she owned my daughter. Snapping pictures of her without asking me. How would I know what or where she is going to use that picture? WHen I showed up unannounced to bring her something, the teacher was visibly upset. She kept saying I should have called! She is 4 yrs old ! When I walked in, I was politely reprimanded that their policy is to call before you show up. I have no idea why. I got the feeling that parents are not in charge of their kid when they are in school. The teacher is! I did some research and found that to be slightly true!
Against "his" wishes, I pulled her out at the end of the year and never looked back. I am not with him anymore because we DO NOT agree on this subject. This child gets one childhood and I know I can do a better job. Love homeschooling and now a single parent plus I work at home. Yes, it is a lot of work--but I see the benefits! If I can do it, anyone can whether you are poor, or single with zero support!!!!
Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on August 16, 2015:
Excellent hub that everyone should take notice of. I myself have learned more about home schooling than ever before. The socialization is definitely the most talked about issue and it even gets played for laughs on TV and in comedy. However that's pure ignorance and a complete lack of knowledge on those individuals. With the rise in school shooting and violent behaviors/bullying it's not surprising that homeschooling is on the rise. It actually seems a lot more beneficial than traditional public schooling.
Chantelle Porter from Chicago on August 09, 2015:
I homeschooled my son with autism and regret not one minute of it. We had a wonderful time together and he had the opportunity try many subjects that if he had gone to public school he would never have had. It is not easy. It is a full time but totally worth it.
Gabriela Montoya-Eyerman on August 07, 2015:
Hi, I did homeschool for a while, then had to go back to work (teaching in a public school and hubby didn't want to do the homeschooling on his own). I really miss it. I am not teaching any more s maybe we will be able to do it again when I convince my husband that it can be done.
Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on August 05, 2015:
This hub has cleared all the myths I had about homeschooling. Fascinating hub and very insightful
L C David (author) from Florida on August 05, 2015:
The universities here do accept homeschoolers and there are a variety of ways to go about achieving it. Homeschoolers can take exams just like public schoolers and are not limited. They often do very well on testing (don't take my word for it, look it up for yourself in reputable journals). Some universities also seek out homeschoolers because they tend to be self-motivated and interested individuals.
suraj punjabi from jakarta on August 03, 2015:
Interesting. I have always wondered about the socializing bit, but I guess you have clearly explained that they get to interact with other kids through the extra curicular activities. But I wonder, can home schooled kids be accepted in university? And what about exams? Like govt exams (do you call it govt exams in the US?) How do you participate in that and make the transition from home schooled to university? I am from Indonesia so I don't how this works.
Kara Skinner from Maine on August 03, 2015:
This is a really neat hub. I'm glad to know homeschooling can work because even though I'm nowhere at the age where I'll have kids of my own, I do want to homeschool for at least part of their school careers because of the overall negative experience most kids have in middle school especially. I was worried about the socialization thing, but I can definitely see how that isn't necessarily an issue. Thanks for sharing.
kriswilson12 on August 02, 2015:
I enjoyed your article. Our daughter goes to a private school but the state pays for it. Right now there are only 5 kids in her 11th-12th grade class. I thought about homeschooling but her psycological and educational difficulties would make it hard. I did not want to pull her out of the only school she has ever known. She is a teen and we adopted her a year and a half ago.
Chance Harvey on June 08, 2015:
I was home schooled and I loved it. Some really great and true stuff in this hub. Thanks for sharing.
Aquene Zechender from Pittsburgh, PA on June 04, 2015:
My children are not yet of school aged however I am an educator who will ideally be homeschooling so its interesting getting the perspective of those who currently do.
L C David (author) from Florida on June 03, 2015:
Hi Jen and thanks for reading. As a freelance writer I either must take pictures myself or pay for pictures or find ones that are fair use. I'm, unfortunately, not a photographer. Nor do I have funds to buy images. All of these pictures can be found in the public domain and are free to use. This is not meant to make homeschooling look old fashioned but rather, timeless, I guess. I mean, after all, it's public school that's actually the new kid on the block. Alas, if I were independently wealthy I could hire out wonderful and glossy photos of all the great and diverse homeschool families that I know. But I'm just an average, middle class homeschooling mom like many of you. So for now we'll have to enjoy the nostalgia. I loved the opening picture and honestly, it's pretty much spot on whether you are examining education now or a 100 years ago. And then again, maybe I'm just a bit old-fashioned myself.
Jen on June 03, 2015:
Lone this article!! We homeschool and this is spot on. But... Why must the pictures be from the early 1900s?!? Why not use real homeschooling families in the pictures?? It makes homeschooling seem idyllic and it's NOT. It makes us all look old fashioned and we are NOT. Change the pictures and j will share this with waaaay more people.
Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on April 27, 2015:
This is a very well written Hub. I disagree with one point...not all parents can homeschool. In some families, both parents have to work outside the home and some parents are not mentally or emotionally able to homeschool.
Melissa Orourke from Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras on April 27, 2015:
I was a home schooling parent. One of my "kids" now has her Master's Degree, another will have her Bachelor's in two weeks, another is a Freshman, and my youngest now goes to an International Bilingual School. The International school has multi level classrooms.
When people asked us about "socialization, " I point out that the only time in life you are with only your own age group is in a public or traditional school setting.
One thing we loved is traveling. Home educating our children gave us the opportunity to do so when air fares were lower. (not during public school vacation.)
Glad you wrote this hub, voted thumbs up and useful.
The world inside and outside your door is a classroom!
McKenna Meyers on April 26, 2015:
As a teacher I totally see the benefits of home schooling. I wish I could take each little child in my lap to read her a story -- stopping whenever she wanted to make a comment or ask a question, pausing to make connections between her life and the characters in the book, halting to check whether she's comprehending. I do my very best with 20 children, but it's not the same. As you say, there's a lot of time used up in the day for non-educational activities -- lining up, going to the bathroom, waiting for everybody to quiet down, going to assemblies, etc. More and more teachers are required to ignore what they know is best for their students and do other -- too many standardized tests, too much "escalated" learning (not developmentally appropriate), too much emphasis on the 3 R's and not enough on art, music, drama.
Arie Sears from Philippines on March 20, 2015:
I hope I can convince my parents to home school me. I've spoken to my mom about it but she, having minimal knowledge about it, simply stated. "Home school is for the rich. We're not celebrities."
I wish I were home schooled. School does kill creativity, and its clear to see that I'm never happy at a traditional school. Plus, the people there are quite rude and I have classmates who smoke, drink, do impure things and they talk about lewd topics and nonsense, and its quite hard to study in that environment.
CATRYNA on March 19, 2015:
I home schooled my children through the 80's and 90's and now my grandchildren are, in turn, being home schooled. I would have given my right arm to have been home schooled as a child. I hated school and the lies they taught and vowed at 9 years of age that I would not allow school to interfere with my education and I would find a way so that my future children would not have to endure what I had. And, that is exactly what I did.
Hannah Overlock from Maine on March 11, 2015:
This hub was very helpful! My husband and I are newly married and are unsure what we plan to do for our children's educations. I am a certified high school science teacher, so I am not opposed to public schooling. I also attended public school for my entire education. My husband was home schooled, and would prefer that we home school our children. I have been hesitant about home schooling, particularly during the elementary years. I am nervous to teach such fundamental concepts and skills to my children when I don't feel qualified to. This article helped me gain a bit more insight into the questions of home schooling. Thank you for posting! If you have any other advice or insight, I would be very interested to hear it!
L C David (author) from Florida on February 08, 2015:
That's a great question. I think one of the things to remember is that it depends on where you live. And this is true for homeschool or public school. I grew up in a very white community and nearly everyone went to the same church. So the people I went to public school all looked like me and had the same beliefs as me. That had everything to do with where we lived. Public school did not expose me to diversity. In my current community there are diverse people. So we not only associate with them in the community we also have them in our local homeschool groups. I see you are from New Zealand so it may be different there. But here in the American South it really depends on where you live and has very little to do with which way you choose to educate your children. I'm happy that my homeschooled children have diverse friends in their homeschool groups and diverse interactions in the community.
Sue Minot from Wellington, New Zealand on February 08, 2015:
Jamie: I was interested in what you wrote, as a homeschooled kid (as most posts here are from parents homeschooling or considering it for their kids). One concern I have about homeschooling, that doesn't seem to get discussed very much, is that even if you can provide the level of peer socialisation kids need at various stages of their development, I wonder about the diversity able to be provided. My kids went through a multi-cultural high school with kids from varied ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and it's been very beneficial for them overall. Can homeschoolers provide this for their children, or are they only mixing with similar families?
R-Gabrielle from Chicago-Land Area on February 06, 2015:
Like the post! I was home-schooled and did very well. I also tested better than the average student at the local community college where I live, and moved on to a grad school later. From my experience, the ability to have a positive socializing aspect of homeschooling is dependent on the parents, the environment and the community. I lived in a very small community, so I grew up to be sheltered due to my parents homeschooling me. The fault wasn't homeschooling; it was the community around us as well as my parent's inability to create a more social environment.
Lambservant on January 29, 2015:
So glad you wrote this. There are some who dis homeschooling in order to justify some of the wrongs of the public school system. Very good statistics and information.
2FarNorth on January 28, 2015:
Very insightful read. I began homeschooling my son this school year (7th grade). My first thought was 'Why haven't I done this sooner?'. He's very self motivated, which is super helpful. The biggest perk, in my book, is that I know him on a different level now. I've always been a hands on parent but knowing his strengths and weaknesses in regards to learning, I think I believed what I wanted to. I've learned the cues in his work skills that I could've never done in a public school setting. Having received awards for volunteer time, etc, I felt like I was there and knew what was going on - man, I was wrong. My son is amazing! We have such fun together! That's not to say that he, or I, am perfect. We definitely have our days. In my experience, the homeschool families I know are just what the article states - normal, everyday people. I feel lucky to be counted amongst them. Don't know it 'til you try it!
Jamie on January 26, 2015:
See, I agree with all this stuff. I think homeschooling is a creative, wonderful way to learn and develop and socialize. My friend was homeschooled, but he lived on a sailboat with his family, exploring the world.
Me, on the other hand...? I was in the mountains homeschooled, only saw people like 3 times a week and then it was in groups, but I was more interested in one on one, and I was shy and scared of people.
To anyone out there who wants to homeschool your kids, for the love of God make it intentional that you get them out of the house. Sports, activities, live in a neighborhood with other kids around so they aren't stuck in the house with just their siblings.
Isolation is the biggest reason I hated homeschooling. My parents were controlling, I didn't have close friends, couldn't really leave the house. There was a point when I didn't have a single person to open up to for 6 years, and that was when I struggled with depression and other things.
Homeschooling is great, if you are wise about it. Don't just assume your kids are fine only seeing people every so often. They need friends, good friends. You have a unique opportunity to show them incredible sides of the world, culture, that sort of thing. Don't waste it.
Jeff Berndt from Southeast Michigan on January 25, 2015:
I can't say enough good stuff about this article.
It's great that homeschooling works for you and your kids!
It's great that you're willing to share how you've made it work!
It's great that you recognize that it's okay to send your kids to public school if you want!
You say that most homeschoolers are usually not anti-public school, and I believe you: most people are content to do their own thing and let others do theirs. But we do hear a lot of noise from the few home-schoolers who resent paying taxes to support public schools or who insist that public schools are nothing more than indoctrination factories for "the government." It's nice to hear the well-balanced opinion of someone without a political axe to grind.
As for homeschooled kids getting involved in public school activities, well, if homeschooling families pay the same taxes as families that send their kids to public school, why shouldn't they take advantage of the things the public schools can offer, but that the homeschool experience can't? There aren't too many homeschool marching bands or football teams, for example. Why shouldn't homeschooled kids--whose families support public schools through their taxes--get to participate?
L C David (author) from Florida on January 25, 2015:
Some states do allow this and some don't. However, homeschooling families also pay taxes for the schools so I personally don't see a problem with it. After all, the homeschoolers are "socializing" with their public schooled peers, something that non homeschoolers seem very worried about and the homeschoolers are also sometimes filling in roles that are needed.
Extra chorus members, extra actors for the drama club and extra players for the sports team.
What should be understood and what I do say above is that homeschoolers are usually NOT anti-public school. But sometimes the school isn't a good fit in regards to larger classrooms or curriculum pace. Sometimes a parent has very little choice because as you probably know, IEP's are very hard to get and sometimes still don't get fulfilled correctly.
Finally, I'm sorry it bothers you that homeschoolers participate in extra curricular activities. To me it's a great example of working together, being with other students from all educational backgrounds and learning through experience.
Public School Teacher on January 24, 2015:
It is interesting to me, however, that most parents that home school in my area also get their children involved in extra curricular activities in the public schools. This seems like a double standard to me.
Karen A Szklany from New England on January 24, 2015:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this hub and am listening to the 2nd TED talk video featuring Sir Ken Robinson as I write this.
When my daughter was 5, she was not allowed to begin Kindergarten because her birthday fell after the "cutoff" date for entering. That was when I decided to "home-school" her. During the year that she needed to wait until she was age-eligible for Kindergarten in our local public school, she learned to read, count, and add. She played outside quite a bit, and we visited a bunch of museums, hiked, etc.
To appease my husband, who thought we would be terrible parents to deprive her of the Kindergarten experience, I enrolled her for a year of Kindergarten. Ir was an okay year for her, but there was too much premature emphasis on academics and not enough on social relationships, which Kindergarten used to be about.
The following year, we returned to home-schooling. As she has grown older, she has learned to dance, identify edible plants in the wild, cook, write, etc. We also belong to a home-school cooperative, participated in girl scout troops, and now are members of a youth knitting circle. She and my husband participate in a book club at a local library and he is relearning German while guiding her through online "lessons." He enrolled her in a program at Paul Revere House in Boston around Paul Revere's Midnight Ride. She has seen every episode of "Liberty's Kids" and the Neal DeGrasse Tyson "Cosmos" series. Together we have read through all of the mythology books written by Rick Riordan....and are having a blast together. She is also part of a Commedia del'arte troup in our co-housing community.
It's amazing how much home-schoolers can accomplish, isn't it?
Thanks for the encouragement!
It helps to have family support, but with enough self-confidence it is doable despite lack of family approval. We have lots of support from other home-schoolers here in Massachusetts.
Though I have an M.Ed. in Elementary Education and have taught in classrooms, I enjoy home-schooling my daughter most.
Mark B1205 on January 23, 2015:
Missed my favorite. We take nice day off and school on snow days.
Wendy on January 23, 2015:
Completely agree on #7! I hear it all the time. I just smile softly and nod. But totally disagree that one parent needs to stay home. Both my daughter's father and I work full time. I work nights/weekends he works during the day on weekdays. It works if you make it work.
Ethan Digby-New on January 22, 2015:
Interesting post, and I do tend to agree. I was homeschooled for a large portion of my life, and I found that during that time I was actually learning information as opposed to simply memorizing textbooks and useless details at "real" school later. Very well informed and researched hub, nice job!
L C David (author) from Florida on January 22, 2015:
Where I live we have a strong homeschooling community and it is so common I don't face a lot of opposition. It helps that our school are pretty bad here so most people think that if you can homeschool, there isn't much reason not to.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 22, 2015:
Congratulations on the HOTD. I was a teacher for eighteen years, only one of which was a public school system....that was a conscious choice on my part, and I'm sure you can guess a number of reasons why. Having said that...do you face much opposition about homeschooling? I don't remember hearing any negativity about it when I was teaching. In fact, most teachers who had seen the mess in the school systems, thought homeschooling was a great alternative and made great sense.
PaigSr from State of Confusion on January 22, 2015:
Nice touch on the poll having the option for - depending on the child. The same can be said for our household. We currently have one home schooled and one at the public school. And as a side note, let's hear it for my wife the mom and 95% home school teacher.
Learn Things Web from California on January 22, 2015:
I sometimes meet parents who tell me they want to homeschool but feel like they can't. So, they keep their kids in schools they aren't happy with. But with all the resources available now like classes aimed at homeschoolers and online resources, it's become far easier to do.
RTalloni on January 22, 2015:
Meant to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award!
Also, it's always interesting to do a real comparison of media representations of families, particularly religious ones, and truth. Thanks for covering so much territory in this hub.
ShirleyJCJohnson on January 22, 2015:
We homeschool, rather unschool, because our classroom is the world at large. We take nature hikes out at the back 40 or go to local museums. We've recently joined a homeschool group and the kids are going to start 4H this summer. Our choice mainly was getting no help with our daughter who is moderately Autistic from the public school. And bullying. But as I am now a licensed minister, homeschooling affords me work on sermons while giving the kids Biblical history and other Bible study lessons. It works for us. Our schedules are more flexible and if on one day we have "abnormal" classes and have to do something in a weird, crazy way, then the next day it's back to the text books. My kids mind me better and are more adept in social situations that most other kids who are schooled in public settings. Each family has to decide for themselves whether to home school or public school, and I don't feel either sect should be negatized for their decisions.
LongTimeMother from Australia on January 22, 2015:
I home-schooled two of my kids at different stages. One in high school; one much younger. It is interesting to see so many hubbers with homeschooling experience. :)
L C David (author) from Florida on January 22, 2015:
I appreciate all the comments and responses! It's great to see so much positive and so much support. Please know that if your comment just repeats one of the myths I've already covered in my article, I will not likely publish that comment. And as I said in my article, each family needs to find the right path for them. For some, that is homeschooling and for some that is other educational methods! Be happy and at peace with your choices and allow others to make theirs!
RTalloni on January 22, 2015:
We home schooled ours, now our grandchildren are being home educated. I always knew my kids would be able to do a better job, btw, partly because of what much of Sir Ken Robinson's expresses in his TED talks. Good for him and good for you for speaking up.
H C Palting from East Coast on January 22, 2015:
The success of any student, home schooled or not, depends upon the student and their parent's involvement and encouragement, or lack thereof. I enjoyed reading this truthful hub. I have figure skated for many years and met many skaters who have been home schooled. I have yet to meet one that hasn't been socialized or even comes close to any of the many myths that you discuss here. Excellent hub!
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 22, 2015:
Great Hub. Reasonable, informative, encouraging. You provided information to dispel some of the most common myths and concerns. I home schooled one of my sons (now 35, and working for Apple) for two years when he fell way behind in public school. I might have continued but my husband wasn't supportive. But our church had many families who successfully and creatively homes-chooled their children.
I am now a professor at a Liberal Arts University. Both home-schooled and public school students have come through my classroom for almost 20 years now. Undeniably, the home schooled students are bright, creative, flexible, and work very hard. They are excellent students, self-motivated. With very few exceptions, Home Schooling seems to be very good for students and for families. Great Hub. Thank you. Sharing.
Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on January 22, 2015:
I salute all the homeschoolers out there. Something I had always wanted to do, yet didn't feel qualified enough for it. I have family members who were brave enough to face the "public eye" on this controversial subject. I will continue to encourage anyone who participates in any home schooling endeavor. Exciting! Congratulations on HOTD, I loved your humorous statements too.
Emily Tack from USA on January 22, 2015:
My eight children were home schooled off and on - due to a lot of unexpected circumstances in my life. One of them was home-schooled from the age of 13. So many people told her she should go to high school, or college, or some other place, and get a degree, as she would never get anywhere in life.
Well, that same young lady is going to be 30 this year. She has traveled all over this country, has been to Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and Germany. She is married, with one son and one baby on the way. She is a competent jeweler, a great employee, and a marvelous wife and mom - AND, she is smart!
I loved homeschooling my children when I was able to, and they are all bright, and well-adjusted socially.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 22, 2015:
Professional and passionate. Thank you so much for setting the record straight. Your article effectively answers questions non-homeschoolers would like to ask. You certainly deserve the HOTD accolade. Congratulations!
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 22, 2015:
Most of the seven points are things that I ALWAYS told people about homeschooling back when our boys were home-school age and I was active as a support group leader. Now, when the topic comes up, all I have to do is point proudly to the accomplishments of our well-adjusted, highly-respected, very successful adult sons and the fact that homeschooling really does work (for those who take it seriously) speaks for itself. My bottom-line advice for prospective homeschooling parents is to read to your children daily, teach your children to read when they're ready, show them where and how to find information, and model life-long learning and godly character. That formula worked for our family and I'd recommend it to anyone. Congratulations on Hub of the Day honors!
Whonunuwho on January 22, 2015:
We home schooled our kids and both of them have been very successful in their lives. It is a viable alternative to public education and at times much more progressive. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.
Cari Jean from Bismarck, ND on January 22, 2015:
We just began homeschooling our only daughter (who has special needs) this year. She would have been in 5th grade. While my husband was eager to homeschool her, it was a harder decision for me. After weighing all the pros and cons, we decided to give it a try. The primary reason being she still didn't know how to read. I can honestly say it was the right decision and she is making progress with her reading and in other areas. We have a great support system where we live which helps immensely because we have found that it is not easy but it is worth it!
Dbro from Texas, USA on January 22, 2015:
What an informative and interesting hub, LC! My children are all grown (youngest 21), and they are all products of public schools. They ended up with great educations (two are lawyers and one is a senior in college). I always wondered about homeschooling and whether it would be a good option for my kids. I was a schoolteacher, so I wasn't worried about my capabilities to teach them. What I did worry about was whether I could be objective about my own kids and their performance. Could I resist the urge to "help" them too much?
I'm sure there are all levels of quality when it comes to a homeschool education, just as there are all levels of quality when it comes to parenting. I think it's great that people have the choice - the bottom line is whether or not the children receive a quality education.
frank nyikos from 8374 E State Rd 45 Unionville IN 47468 on January 22, 2015:
Good job LC and congrats on hub of the day. I'm a firm believer that there is no one educational option a student has. I taught part time at a community college for years. I frequently thought up projects that were out of the box not only for my class but to share with others in a blog. There are those like yourself with the initiative and drive to teach their own children (applause) and then there are those that do not have the right attributes to teach their own. If you do choose to send your child to a school to learn then you should let the school do their job. I would never dream of sending my personal finances to an accountant and then proceed to tell the accountant how to do their job. That I think is the big failing in education today. That is why I believe homeschool children get as great and education or better.
PS I do post from time to time some Math related hubs if you can stay awake long enough to read through them.
Sue Minot from Wellington, New Zealand on January 09, 2015:
Both my boys (now 16 and 18) went through the public high school system here in New Zealand, and both have done very well -they're accomplished musicians, as well as having succeeded academically in big sized classes.
I get the feeling the homeschooling movement is much bigger in the US than it is here in New Zealand, and I suspect this has a lot to do with the quality and safety of the state schools over there. Whatever decision a parent makes for their kids is fine with me, as long as they get a good education. Many parents (and I include myself in that, as I'm a single parent), can't afford to homeschool -so it becomes an entirely academic issue for us!
Dirk Wichgers Jr on January 08, 2015:
One of the best ways to "cement" learning and to keep new knowledge locked in and/or reviewed, is to teach what you have learned. How many opportunities do school students get to teach things they have recently or previously learned? Pretty much none. Homeschooling families rely on this to a large degree. One of the greatest joys homeschooling parents experience is watching older siblings teaching younger siblings. Especially when they fall into it without being asked.
johnrpack on January 08, 2015:
Home-school students are generally more creative that public-schoolers. This is not due to any inherent differences but rather because home-school parents are already engaged in a creative exercise (the effort to teach their children) and actively encouraging creativity among their children. On the flipside, the public schools encourage conformity, learning at the pace of the slowest students, doing mind-numbing homework beyond the point of learning (e.g., 40 math problems -- when 10 was enough or even when 50 was needed), and group disciplinary techniques.
Lorrie on January 08, 2015:
I home educated two of my children we didn't home school in the 90's. Why I say home educated is because just about anything could be turned into a lesson. Yes we had daily lessons.
My son says I taught him how to learn.
Both went on to college graduated with honors. My daughter is getting her PhD.
When people ask questions I always try to get a crossed it is a life style and a commitment. And if you are not willing to give 110% then don't do it.
Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on January 08, 2015:
Thanks for sharing your insightful hub. I have heard many great aspects about homeschooling and hear more and more every day.
Ampra Xu from Suzhou, China on January 07, 2015:
This is an interesting topic. Usually it is difficult for parents to break the conventional rule of schooling. Sometimes if you home-school your children, others may speak of you in a negative tone and even think this is crazy and stupid. I am a Chinese person, I have never heard many people talk about about this yet. Once there was one rule breaker, who educated his son at home but was finally accused by his former wife by saying he didn't send his son to school under China's 9-year compulsory education law. However, the man's son was amazing. He became quite excellent after experiencing his father's homeschooling. Indeed, his father arranged very scientific schedules for him to learn although they are different from the traditional schooling modes. Not sure of the final story, but this shows homeschooling can be very successful. Great hub!
Tabitha on January 06, 2015:
This is a wonderful insight to homeschooling families! I have home-schooled my daughter off and on since fifth grade as a single parent with one younger son. I started homeschooling due to frustration of my daughter being bullied at the age of 11, and finding ill help within the school. I kept my son in public school because at a younger age he was tested just below the asberger spectrum with a high IQ and at the time I was overwhelmed, but knew that the special services classes would be of great help to him. I put my daughter back into public school once we moved to another town and I had to maintain 2 jobs. Her freshman year she became very ill requiring constant children's hospital trips, homeschooling was the best option, and I had the support of the high school counselor. She wanted to experience prom and other public school activities, so we put her back in public school the 2nd semester of her sophomore year. She was able to carry the last semester of her freshman year, first semester of her sophomore year and the current public schooling of her sophomore year all at once and maintain an A/B average.; (This was due to the fact that the state of Missouri does not require you to or accept your records for homeschooling, although we kept them). She is now in her junior year back at a public school. I must say I miss the homeschooling community, but would do it in a heartbeat again if she asked to finish out with it before going off to college! Thanks for stepping out there and showing that homeschooling comes from all walks of life!
L C David (author) from Florida on January 06, 2015:
School is a pretty artificial social situation, actually and may be more of a hindrance than a help. Most homeschooled kids spend a lot of time in social situations---ones that mimic real life---different ages, different situations, real-life scenarios. If school works for you or your family that's great. I just want to dispel the myths (like the one you have in your very comment) and help people realize it is a wonderful and valid way to raise a family (as are many other ways as well). We don't live in a bubble. We don't tend to avoid social situations Sometimes, I think people get homeschool confused with those who neglect their children (and claim they are homeschooling). Those are very different situations. Hang out with some homeschoolers in social situations. Get to know them. We are a pretty neat bunch of people.
L C David (author) from Florida on January 06, 2015:
Hi Carol. Yes I homeschool my two kids. I do happen to be a teacher but the rules vary by state as far as what is required to homeschool.
stacy on January 06, 2015:
I've homeschooled for 18 years (12 kids).
HOmeschooling is tough. I used to blame IT for the hardships of parenting.
Parenting is hard work.
Carol Houle from Montreal on January 06, 2015:
Interesting, and I'm curious. When you say "we", does that mean you homeschool your own kids? Or must a teacher be employed for it to be legal in the US?
Stargrrl on January 06, 2015:
Well, this hub was interesting, although I still think people need to learn how to cope in social settings such as school. But otherwise, not bad.
Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on January 05, 2015:
Homeschooling is definitely the trend these day ; fascinating article and very informative
Cheryl Simonds from Connecticut on January 05, 2015:
Great hub. My daughter is interesting in homeschooling but was afraid of the socializing issue. This will help her in her efforts. Thanks!
CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on January 05, 2015:
That is interesting- my daughter teaches a class of 8 year olds- sometimes they are tired but she still has to carry on- if you were at home you would find something quiet to do whilst the child got their strength back. Socialization is obviously good for anyone but I understand that home schooling does not mean schooling alone- there is a lot of interaction between parents and other families. However I don't think it is an easy option- it must be hard work for parents
Jicotea Kinsella from Jacksonville, FL on January 04, 2015:
I was homeschooled off and on throughout middle and high school. It seemed that EVERYONE asked about my socialization... I was involved in so many extracurricular activities which always seemed to surprise people. It only took about 3 hours a day for me to do the same amount of academic work that is done in a regular school. I plan on homeschooling my own children to some degree because I think it was the best thing my parents ever did for me!
Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on January 04, 2015:
I always wondered how homeschooling worked. I think I would have liked it. I was very into school, especially in the lower grades, and a lot of time at public school is spent waiting for teachers to discipline certain students, taking attendance, or reviewing what we had gone over the day before. In the end, they sometimes only got in about 15 minutes of teaching per class. There were a lot of movie days and "I don't feel like teaching" days, and instead you were sent home with hours of homework that you could have gotten done during the school day. I like the idea of having a flexible schedule, more time for productive interests, and personalized pacing. Great Hub!
Alyson world travel family on August 13, 2014:
Hi, just wanted to say nice job. We homeschool, actually, we worldschool, that's what they like to call it, we travel full time. Great, balanced, non-offensive post.
David BruiseDude from Cleveland, Ohio on August 10, 2014:
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 20, 2014:
This is a good hub. It clears the air regarding a lot of misconceptions that other people tend to have when they think of homeschooling. Great information!
kathleenschwab on December 28, 2013:
I am a teacher who offers English classes for homeschool students in my home. I usually have around 15 -20 students in total per year, split up into 3 or 4 classes. My students are wonderful - creative, independent, and socially skilled. A few bad apples have given the homeschooling barrel a bad name - every large and diverse group will have some troubled members. But the average homeschooled kid that i see has a free-thinking family highly invested not just in education, but in life.
Some may not be aware, but a growing number of homeschooled students are not completely or even primarily taught by parents, especially when they get to high school. The family seeks out experts in various subject areas, in my case writing and literature. I have a friend who also teaches homeschool classes, who has a BS in Physics and a Ph.D in Computer Science.
mommywolf from USA on December 27, 2013:
Very nice! The socialization thing drives me nuts sometimes. And sometimes you run into people who are gung-ho for homeschooling. My granddad was recently recovering from an illness at a care center, and the folks there were delighted by my son. Running around, chatting with folks, giving hugs, and visiting. Not at all bothered by wheelchairs and such.
We're normal folks.
erinshelby from United States on December 22, 2013:
Interesting insights. There's a homeschool convention for those interested - check my site for more info.
C E Clark from North Texas on December 22, 2013:
Agree with much of what you say here. My daughter is 25 and I home schooled her start to finish. She was through high school by age 11 and auditing classes with me at the university at that time.
I've written several articles published here on this site about home schooling and my experience with it.
Currently I work at our local school district. When I actually home schooled my daughter I had a dozen new reasons for doing it every day. Now that she's been finished for several years, I STILL have several reasons everyday why I'm so glad I home schooled her and would to it again in a New York heartbeat. Anyone who is capable of home schooling their children should absolutely do so and make learning better and easier at the same time for their children, and their whole family.
Well written, and voted up/useful!
Beverly Hicks Burch from Southeastern United States on December 21, 2013:
I homeschooled my son from 5th grade until he graduated from high school in 1998.
He served his country in the Middle East in the USAF after 9/11 and is now a police officer and a school resource officer.
So, I agree, we're normal people.
Interesting hub. Thanks for breaking the stereotypes.
Annie from NewYork on December 21, 2013: