Homeschooling your child takes a lot of preparation. You may even want to go so far as to attend online classes in education and/or child development.
If you have decided to home-school, are homeschooling, or if you are even thinking about it, then you will come across people with a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling as a whole. You can choose to ignore these people, but often it takes a lot of effort to deal with these misconceptions, as you have people ask questions, accuse you of bad decision-making, and point out reasons homeschooling is bad. With a little bit of work and understanding, you can deal with these misconceptions without worrying, getting annoyed, or feeling beaten up on.
Remember to understand where others are coming from. While misconceptions aren't a good thing, when dealing with those that have them, remember where they are coming from. They really don't know. They are only going on what they have been taught, told, what they have heard, or what they think is happening. With that in mind, be patient and be kind in how you deal with the people who just don't know and therefore have misconceptions about homeschooling.
Keep up with the misconceptions. Often, the best way to battle misconceptions is by educating those who hold them. It is best to know the misconceptions that are out there so that you can battle them when you come across them. Reading home-school news, joining a home-school group, or a group of home-school parents online in home-school message boards is often a great way to get an idea of what sorts of misconceptions you will come across. Some such misconceptions include:
- Social skills. It is often a concern that children who are home schooled will not develop the social skills that they need. This is fueled by large families who home school and whose children don't interact with others, however this is a misconception and most home-schooled children get plenty of social interaction and are often more polite and respectful then their peers.
- Homeschoolers are religious nuts. It is true that the home-school movement once belonged to a huge portion of people who wanted to protect their children from the evil of the public schools and instill the beliefs that they had in their children. Many of these people were not overly religious, but were seen that way because they were willing to go against truancy laws to school their children at home. Additionally, more and more families are choosing homeschooling for different reasons and this is no longer a movement associated with religion.
- You aren't qualified to teach your children and will not prepare them for college and life beyond. There are some sad and bad homeschooling stories out there. However, you have the skills necessary to home-school your child. There are lots of great resources and a wide range of teaching methods that you can use to teach your child. You can learn as you go and as they learn. In addition to that, most homeschoolers are sought after by colleges because homeschooling often has great results.
Be prepared to respond to misconceptions and to answer questions. Whether it is a stranger or friends or family members who are concerned about your child's education, be prepared to respond to misconceptions and to answer any questions that they have. View it as a time to educate. It is also a good idea to know why you want to home-school your child(ren) and the various ways you will be doing it over the years.
Have your plans laid out. Planning is often a great way to relieve doubts. If you know what you are doing, then it will make it easier for others to understand. Include other teachers, classes, and extracurriculars that your child(ren) will be involved in. Include different methods that your kids will be learning from (video classes, online work, games, books, lessons, lectures, and/or field trips). Plan out a wide range of activities and be prepared to show others that your plans include covering all of what a public school would cover, and probably more.
Know your rights. It is also a good idea to know your rights. These differ from country to country and even from state to state. Brush up on the home-school laws of your area and what is required of you to meet those standards. Also, make sure that you know who to contact should your rights be violated by state or local authorities. In the United States, the Home School Legal Defense is the one to contact should you have legal problems with homeschooling your child.
Homeschooling is a great option for many families. It is important that you are ready to go and you must know that you will probably come against those who don't think that what you are doing is right. Be patient, be prepared, know how you are going to respond, and know how you are meeting your child's needs. The rest will fall into place. If you're still uncertain that you have adequate expertise, know that taking a few online courses in education can help set your mind at ease - and maybe those of people around you, too!
It is also a good idea to remember that you don't have to convince everyone. This has to be a decision that is best for your family and if there is still someone against it, that's okay too.