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Millions of parents around the world are finding themselves suddenly faced with the need to homeschool their children. They didn’t choose it, but now that it comes to it, they’re going to do the best they can for their children.
There are a lot of Myths floating around out there about homeschooling. To set the record straight, I present the Top Ten Myths about Homeschooling, so you’ll be prepared for homeschooling success right from the start. Forewarned is forearmed!
(If you missed Part 1, see Myths 1–5.)
Myth #6: My Children Will Love Homeschooling
Are you starting to notice a pattern to each pair of Myths? I’m not sure how all of the most common myths about homeschooling are all completely opposite ideas, but when we’re dealing with Myths, I guess reason and logic weren’t at work in the first place…
Some people begin homeschooling believing their children will love it. That is such a great way to start off!! My children were that way, and it definitely makes everything a lot easier, from the start.
But again, remembering that forewarned is forearmed, I’m just going to warn you that it won’t always be that way.
This is going to come as a shock. I know you never saw this on the Duggars, or on the news interview with the mom who put all of her homeschooled kids in college at age 12, or on your homeschooling friends’ show-off facebook posts, but…
Your children are sinners.
Sometimes, they will have bad attitudes. Sometimes, they will be lazy. Part of your job is to teach them not to think complaining, negative thoughts (see Myth #5).
Here are some Bible verses you’ll want to keep handy, for those situations:
Do all things without murmuring and reasonings… (Phil 2:14)
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men… (Col. 2:23)
And, when all else fails, don’t forget the 5th Commandment:
Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be prolonged upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
But hopefully, as you lovingly teach your children good character day by day, they really will love homeschooling, at least most of the time!
Myth #7: I Have to Teach Each Child Every Subject!!! (There’s Only One of Me!)
Yes, you’re right; unless you only have one child (and servants to attend to all of your other duties), you cannot teach each child every subject, patiently tutoring them through every detail. It’s physically impossible.
But not to worry—this is not what is required of anyone. There are several reasons why this is a fallacy.
For one, when you start running your one-room schoolhouse, there are many subjects you can teach all of the children together. For example, I read history books, the Bible, and literature to all of my children together. Yes, the children come away with different levels of understanding, depending on their ages, but they all learn a lot, right at the level where they are! Many homeschoolers use a method called cycling. We might read about American history this year, ancient history next year, Western Civ the third year, and then cycle back around again. That way, the child who’s only seven when we studied American history will be able to learn more when we do it again, at age 10 for him. Science videos and experiments, art and music, and memory lessons all work great in the age-integrated classroom.
Another thing that will help is that, as they get older, your homeschool students will be able to start teaching themselves. In fact, this ability to learn on their own is one of the reasons why homeschooled students succeed at college!
There are also a wealth of great resources you can use to help you teach your children, from a local co-op to video-based instruction (but see Myth #8 Corollary).
And finally, your child didn’t get anything like that kind of attention at his school. Let the pressure off; this is something you can handle.
Each homeschooling family will get creative and find the solutions that work best in their own family. Pray to God for wisdom, and He will help you!
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and reproacheth no man, and it shall be given him.
Myth #8: Homeschooled Children Can Teach Themselves
I know I just said that as they get older your children will start to teach themselves, but there’s the rub: as they get older. Without that caveat, you’re about to fall for a pretty big Myth.
I know I did. I’d heard about homeschooling only taking a couple of hours a day (that’s only for the first 2-3 years!), and about the children being self-learners, and I somehow ended up with a fuzzy idea that this thing was going to be a piece of cake!
Here’s the thing: First, you have to teach your children how to be self-learners. This is best done around ages 9-11. As they’re starting to have more reading assignments, writing assignments, and math lessons, plan to basically hold that child’s hand for a year or two.
Encourage him to read assignments for himself, but be available when he needs help. When he doesn’t understand things, ask leading questions to help him figure it out by himself. Keep a sharp eye on his handwriting, punctuation, and basic grammar. Try to get him into the habit of doing things right and well. And then, more and more, you’ll find that he knows how to do things the right way, thinks through his reading assignments and comprehends them, and can pick new lessons up and learn them on his own.
He’ll get there, but you need to plan on patiently guiding him there!
Myth #8 Corollary: Computer Classes & Public/Charter School Online Courses Are Homeschooling
I’m hesitant to address this one. But it’s definitely one of the Top Ten Myths about homeschooling, so I’m gonna go there.
Let me start by saying that there are some wonderful video courses out there, and I love a good one! We own a half-dozen full video courses, and our children are still too young to use any of them!
But this sort of curriculum can be so helpful that there is a temptation to overdo it…
When a child gets on a computer in the morning and does all of his classes through different computer-based curriculums, that child may be physically in the home doing schoolwork, but he’s not being homeschooled.
The heart of homeschooling is that the parents are intentionally interacting with their own children, that parents are not only enabling their children to learn academics, but that parents are teaching their children godly character while doing it. Computer and television screens have a way of pulling all of our attention into them, so that the actual world around us fades into the background. You want to make sure that that is not what ends up happening with your student, in his daily schooling.
Plus, teaching your children to be truly literate is going to require using… wait for it… books. And paper. And a pencil. (And an eraser!)
When there’s a subject that’s too difficult for you to teach, or when you find a video course taught by a really gifted teacher, you may deem it appropriate to use that in your curriculum. But it’s really tempting to farm out the whole thing to a bunch of online courses, and then in many ways it’s just the same as if your child were back in a school building away from you every day, again. Keep it in balance.
Myth #9: I Should Teach My Children the Same Stuff the Public Schools Teach
Well, now we’re in my wheelhouse. 32 Million US adults who were educated in public schools are functionally illiterate. In science, “The net result [of science education in schools] is that students come away memorizing a great deal of material that they regurgitate on tests that emphasize recall and think that they know science.” Public school graduates don’t know geography, history, or math. These links barely scratch the surface; every one of us knows from our own experience that we came out of the system knowing less than our parents and grandparents learned; and the generation after us has learned even less than we did. Each generation is coming out of that system knowing a lot less than the generation before it.
Grammar of Grace has articles and resources to help you find a much, much better approach to elementary education than what we learned in public school. If you’re ready to consider something different, start with how education used to be.
Myth #10: I’ll Only Homeschool Til the School Opens Up Again
Well, now, I can’t possibly know if that’s a Myth or not; it’s entirely up to you.
But I suspect you’ll enjoy getting to know your child better during this time; I think you’ll start to see positive changes happening in your child; and I hope you’ll think it’s worth it to keep making these sacrifices, for the lifelong good of your precious young one.
So those are the Top Ten Myths about Homeschooling. Folks who are homeschool veterans, or friends how have just started into it, what other Myths have you noticed about homeschooling? Please share in the comments below!
Thanks for dropping by; please keep us in prayer!