By Shehnaz Toorawa
Parents often consider homeschooling but are held back by beliefs and concerns that, although valid, are usually false. Here are common myths about homeschooling:
1) My kids will be isolated without social interaction!
Families that homeschool are rarely isolated. The Pan-Canadian Study on Home Education found that, on average, homeschooled children engage in eight types of activities outside of the home, such as trips, sports, playgroups, religious programs, etc3. With a little effort, homeschooling families can benefit from a variety of classes, support groups, programs and events in the community.
In the Greater Toronto Area, for example, homeschooling groups run a host of activities, including weekly art classes, nature programs, sports programs, a martial arts class, a Science Explorers program, book clubs, Quran and Islamic Studies classes, and more. This is in addition to weekly playgroups, monthly trips, yearly science fairs and other events that homeschoolers organize.
2) I don’t have a teaching degree so I can’t homeschool!
Most homeschoolers do not have teaching degrees—and they don’t need to! The Pan-Canadian Study on Home Education performed a statistical analysis which revealed that “no difference can be found between the academic percentile ranking of those students whose parents hold teaching certificates compared to those whose parents do not”.3
Most homeschooling parents learn as they teach, by observing what works best for their children and by talking to more experienced homeschoolers.
3) My kids will never be independent from me!
In a society where peers matter more than parents, children who prefer your company are a blessing! In a homeschool situation, parents are the main moral, spiritual and academic reference point. A secure relationship with parents gives children strong moral and spiritual foundations to rely on when they desire independence. Early independence without solid foundations and role models may leave children to wander in wrong directions.
4) My kids won’t get into university!
Research shows that the majority of homeschooled children excel academically. In 2003, over 94% of home-educated students scored above the Canadian norm for both grade equivalency and basic skills3.Universities accept homeschooled students and have application procedures for them, such as portfolios, interviews or examinations.
6) Kids need structure and organization and I’m not an organized person!
Just as there are a variety of personalities and learning styles, there are a variety of homeschooling styles. Some families are relaxed with little structure while others are highly organized with daily and weekly schedules. Each family thrives with the level of discipline and structure that suits them. Regardless of how structured you are, homeschooling is highly efficient—the one-on-one attention and lack of pressures and distractions allow children to cover more content in less time.
1 Van Pelt, D. (2007). Home Education in Canada: A Summary of the Pan-Canadian Study on Home Education 2003. Canadian Center for Home Education. Retrieved from http://www.hslda.ca/cche_research/SummaryFinal.pdf