Home Schooling Myths and Facts

Who are the homeschoolers?

Well, for one, they are children of dedicated parents who only want the best education for their children.  Homeschool parents often spend entire days, weeks, months and years finding appropriate lessons for their children that fall in line with their beliefs.

My friend Steve is a homeschooling parent. There is nothing unusual about Steve, except that he is a seventh-degree black belt in Karate, teaches “Sword” and lets me sit in on drums with his band on occasion.  His son and mine play quite normally and nicely together and have been together in Steve’s Karate class for what seems like eons.

But homeschooling was relatively new to me, So, little by little, I started to peak around the steep brick walls of my rather lofty public school prejudice.  After all, I had attended the prestigious NEWTON SOUTH High School in Massachusetts.  Homeschooling was not even a whisper that would get you summarily disposed into detention. It was more like a Latin word that probably had some meaning but that no one ever used.

Certainly homeschooler were, as the characters on “Lost” put it, “The Others.” Then, “Whoosh. Bam. Splat. Holy blasphemy Batman!”  What I discovered was not only eye opening, but incredible.

First, I discovered that homeschooling is not all “home schooling.”  Much instruction of homeschoolers is done outside the home and virtually everything, every day, is a lesson.  A trip to the grocery store can fill an entire semester. Yes, everyday life is a series of lessons if you know how to find them!  Why is the sky blue?  Why does the sound of a siren change as it passes? Why is the grass green, the ocean blue and the sun yellow?  Why are we hungry and what happens to the food we eat? While we are on food, what food did the 300 Spartans eat leading up to the Battle of Thermopylae? Why was that particular geography so important? And where are Greece and Persia anyway?  Buying some new sneakers? Where and how are shoelaces manufactured? Grab the globe, pencil, paper and computer, and pull them up to the kitchen table. It’s time for a lesson!

The other day, I was at the bank closing my account, basically, well, because I hate banks. I started speaking to the very sweet representative there.  Turns out, she was homeschooled!  “That explains my social awkwardness,” she said.  But she was being coy in playing into the prejudice she knows the rest of us have toward homeschooled students. Not only was she lovely, sweet and incredibly competent, she was so impressive that I almost changed my entire opinion about banks and reopened my account!

Here are some facts and figures about homeschooled students:

There are nearly 2,000,000 student currently being home schooled in America. A recent study found that 95% of homeschooled students, now adults, were glad they had been home schooled, 92% believed their homeschooling had been advantageous to them, and over 82% said they would homeschool their own children. Further research suggests that the more mainstream homeschoolers perform far above others in standardized tests.  Further, there is no evidence to suggest that home schooling adversely affects or inhibits socialization skills.   Quite the contrary. Traditional school can often cause social anxiety, undue peer pressure and lower self esteem.

Listen,  we can agree that homeschooling is not for everyone.  In fact, it is quite hard! Could you find a lesson in every day news and events?  Would you follow a prefabricated online curriculum?  Would you go to the zoo accompanied by a textbook to teach lessons on mammals, primates, genealogy and cell biology?  Would you go to the arboretum to teach a lesson on plant cells?  Could you teach Singapore Math, Microbiology, Etymology, Entomology or the meaning of Frost’s The Mending Wall?  Probably not.  So, would you hire a homeschool teacher, or attempt to find everyday lessons in everyday activities every day?  Would you buy a home in what is becoming the latest trend in homeschool living: The Homeschool Living Community?

And so, American education has come full circle, from the one-room little red schoolhouse, to the monolithic brick prisons (a la the previous Newton North) and back to the one room schoolhouse for the local community.

My point is this. Homeschooling is not weird.  It is perfectly fine. The students are perfectly fine.  Instead of seeing them as weird or outsiders, we should admire them and see them for what they are: the next generation.

They follow large footsteps such as those of: 

  • Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Winston Churchill
  • Albert Einstein
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright
  • Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
  • Timothy Dwight – President of Yale University
  • William Samuel Johnson – President of Columbia College
  • Horace Mann – Father of the American Common School, John Witherspoon – President of Princeton University
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Jonas Brothers – Kevin, Joe, and Nick
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Amadeo Giannini – Bank of America’s founder
  • Horace Greeley – New York Tribune founder
  • Soichiro Honda – creator of the Honda automobile company
  • Ray Kroc – founder of McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain
  • Joseph Pulitzer – newspaper publisher; established Pulitzer Prize
  • Dave Thomas – founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain
  • John Muir
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Albert Schweitzer – Physician
  • Sir Ernest Shackleton – Explorer
  • Jason Taylor – plays in the National Football League
  • Frank Lloyd Wright – Architect
  • Elijah ben Solomon Zalman – Jewish scholar.

Finally, let me close this (hopefully) eye-opeing blog with  with a statement from Chris Jeub:

Home schooling neither isolates children nor harms their academic growth; it does, however, come close to the true definition of education: the passing down of culture.

Neil Chyten

Chyten Educational Services