7 Common Misconceptions about Pulling a Child Out of School to Homeschool
Do you increasingly get the feeling that public school isn't right for your child? There are many reasons why students may not thrive in public school, but the truth is this: every child has a different learning style and traditional schooling tends not to recognize that.
Pulling a child out of school to homeschool is a tough decision, but it is one that can bring rich rewards in the quality of both your children's education and your family life. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling.
Here are seven widely-held myths and facts that show why these myths simply aren't true:
1. Parents must be qualified to teach.
Many parents mistakenly believe that in order to homeschool their children, they need to be certified or have other teaching qualifications. In reality, most states don't make any such restrictions. A few states do require a high school diploma, but most do not.
In addition, there are a variety of options that can soften the burden on parents when pulling a child out of school to homeschool. For instance, you can purchase homeschool materials, join a homeschool group, or enroll your child in an online homeschool program with a team of qualified instructors.
2. State laws make it difficult to homeschool.
Often the fear of navigating state laws will keep parents from pulling a child out of school to homeschool, but the truth is that states generally have fewer restrictions on homeschooling than you might think. Here are the some of the main homeschooling requirements:
- Notification: Most states do require you to notify the local school district that you intend to homeschool your child. Some states only require this notification once, while others require it every year.
- Parent qualifications: A few states require the parent to hold a high school diploma. Others simply have a vague requirement that a parent must be capable of teaching. However, no teaching certifications or qualifications are required.
- Mandated subjects of study: Many states require that homeschool students learn certain core subjects, but since not all of them require end-of-year assessments, this mandate may not be enforced.
- Assessments: Some states require an annual assessment of homeschool students, while others only require periodic evaluations. Some states do not require any assessment at all.
As you can see, there are actually very few hoops that you will need to jump through in order to homeschool your child, and you may even find that some states make exceptions based on religion. In addition, if you use an online homeschool program, your child may be considered a private school student, in which case even these few requirements no longer apply.
3. Homeschooled children spend all their time on the computer.
Due to the prevalence of online homeschool programs, some parents fear that pulling a child out of school to homeschool will mean spending a lot of time in front of a computer. While it's true that students will need to spend some time on the computer completing coursework, it's important to remember that as the parent, you will control much of their homeschooling experience. Many homeschool parents encourage child-driven projects, take their children on educational field trips, join homeschool groups and youth groups, and more. In the end, your child could actually spend much less time sitting still than the average public school student.
4. Parents need knowledge of advanced subjects.
Another concern you may have is that you don't know advanced subjects well enough to provide your children with a balanced education. For instance, many parents aren't proficient in calculus or chemistry. Luckily, there are many resources for homeschool parents in order to fill the gaps. Homeschool groups enable parents to share knowledge, and community resources such as museums and libraries are great resources for learning. In addition, online homeschool programs offer curricula and certified teachers to help supervise your child's education in subjects you don't feel comfortable teaching.
5. Homeschooled children lack socialization.
Many parents worry that pulling a child out of school to homeschool will unfairly handicap him or her by limiting social interactions. In reality, many parents of homeschooled children have found the opposite to be true. Public schools restrict socializing in favor of study, not to mention most traditional schoolchildren only get to socialize with other children of the same age.
Homeschooled children, on the other hand, have a wealth of social experiences available to them. Field trips and special projects allow them opportunities to talk to a wide variety of different people, and extracurricular activities offer all the same socialization opportunities that traditionally schooled children get. In addition, homeschool groups and church-sponsored youth groups offer plenty of opportunities to socialize and learn in a group setting.
6. Homeschooled children will miss out on special education and/or extracurricular activities.
Many parents worry that pulling a child out of school to homeschool will deprive the child of access to special subjects, such as music, physical education, extracurricular activities, or even the special education public schools give kids with learning disabilities. Luckily, there are many ways to ensure your child still enjoys these benefits.
Your child can still take advantage of opportunities such as after-school sports or clubs, and even special education for learning disabilities, while being homeschooled. Field trips, youth organizations, and independent research enable a much richer education in the arts than most public school students get. And in reality, homeschooling makes physical activity easier, since your child won't be tied to a rigid classroom schedule all day. For students hoping to get a driver’s license, most areas have independent driving schools, which provide classes and driving practice for students even without a connection to a public school.
7. Homeschooled students won't get into college.
If you want your child to be able to go to college, you might be worried that you'll sabotage that plan by pulling him or her out of public school. Never fear - you won't hurt your child’s chances of getting into college by homeschooling, and in fact you may even help him or her by teaching time management and self-motivation skills, tools that not all students have after graduating from traditional schools.
Homeschooling with college in mind does take a little planning on your part, but it's not difficult. You'll need to make sure your child completes the expected high school subjects, such as math, science, language arts, social studies, and a foreign language, so research a few colleges you’re interested in to verify their admission requirements. You'll also have to make sure your child takes the ACT and SAT assessments. You may find it beneficial to enroll your child in an accredited online program, which will ensure that the required courses are completed and allow your child to earn a diploma with a school's name on it.
Taking a Leap of Faith
It doesn't take genius parents to successfully homeschool a child. All it takes is faith: faith that you can do this, and faith that if you encounter something you can't do yourself, you will have the resources available to help you through it.
Enlightium Academy is one of those resources. For parents who want additional guidance navigating the homeschooling journey, we offer an accredited program with faith-based curricula and certified instructors. Homeschooling is a big decision, but should you decide it's the best one for your family, we'll be here to help both you and your child trailblaze your way to success.
We'd love to hear your stories about taking the leap of faith and homeschooling. Share your experiences in the comments section below!