Homeschooling Myths – Debunked!
Posted by Cassandra Hsiao
Perks of Homeschooling
Sitting in a comfortable beanbag, a young boy relaxed and lost himself in his book. The living room acted as a classroom for him and his sister during the day, and turned into the rec room as soon as he finished all his work. He had already completed his academic courses for the day, played piano, practiced basketball with his public schooled friends, and enjoyed his hobbies before the day was even half over yet! Homeschooling has become more popular as an alternate to the crammed life of public schooled students. In the recent years, the number of homeschooled students has increased to about 2.04 million in America. There are many who take a stance in the argument of homeschool vs. the traditional brick public school. The stereotypes of homeschooling include poorly socialized, alienated, awkward, overachieving nerds who only care about the grades. Although some claim that homeschooled children are not prepared for the “real world,” there is evidence to suggest that homeschoolers are, if not better, as well-socialized and educated as public school students because of time and flexibility, a customized curriculum that encourages passion for learning, and an interaction with all ages.
Firstly, homeschoolers have the privilege of an adjustable, accommodating schedule. The versatile structure allows students to achieve more in academics, pursue hobbies and passions, and attend events and fieldtrips one would not be able to experience in public school. For example, 19-year old Jesse Orlowski has been homeschooled from the age of three. Orlowski talks about the opportunities presented to him in homeschooling, explaining, “I had a lot of time to pursue outside interests … to really zone in on things… The flexibility that home-schooling gives you, you can leverage that into getting all sorts of opportunities” (Sheehy 1). Orlowski not only expanded in extracurricular activities, but he also focused on his academic passions – math and science, allowing him to dig deeper and eventually gain entrance into the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the fall of 1999, Stanford University accepted 27% of homeschooled applicants, twice the acceptance rate of publicly schooled students (Scheff). Colleges look for students with 4.0 GPAs and a circle of extracurricular activitiescommitted to. Students can take the time to understand subjects deeper or dedicate their time to other events. Therefore, the open-endedness of a homeschooler’s day is reflected in the many events and opportunities available to students, unlike the strict rigid schedule of a public schooled student.
Secondly, because homeschoolers have a very loose schedule, they have the freedom to look deeper into what they would like to learn about, studying what is not required. This cultivates true enthusiasm for discovering and exploring. College admission counselor Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz, who previously worked at Stanford University explains that the benefits of homeschooling include “the possibilities of showing all the kinds of things that colleges are looking for—curiosity, confidence, resourcefulness, ability to dealwith challenges—you name it. That’s a part of being a home-schooled student” (Sheehy) Homeschoolers build characters of independence, self-motivation, and responsibility. Colleges look for well-rounded students who have an eagerness for knowledge. Homeschoolers are more likely to think outside the box and are mature enough to take responsibility for their education. In conclusion, homeschooling develops an attitude of learning that allows students to excel in college.
While I cannot argue that homeschoolers do miss public school experiences, this argument does not support the idea that homeschoolers have poor or limited socialization. The argument states that students have little opportunity to develop friendships with “real” children, falsely implying that homeschoolers are not “real children” or that homeschoolers associate only with like-minded people. This does not mean that homeschoolers are stagnated in their socialization or that they are not ready for life outside of school. There is a difference between being sociable and having social skills. Being sociable varies depending on personality, whether one is introverted or extroverted. It is not related to homeschooling or public schooling. However, having social skills is how to relate to peers in an unstructured setting. Thomas Smedley studied the personal and social skills of homeschool and public school students. He recorded, “In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily, into conformity with their immediate peers. Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service, and adulthood, with an eye on eternity” (Klicka). He found that not only did homeschoolers students rank higher in academics but also that homeschoolers have better social skills and maturity. Homeschoolers have the opportunity to interact with members of all ages in society. They have consistent contact with other children and adults on the job, juxtaposed against public schooled students who spend most their day indoors with thirty other children the same age. On the whole, the stereotype of awkward, antisocial, withdrawn homeschoolers is proven false by their active lives and behavior outside of school.
Lastly, contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers have a versatile agenda, score better academically because of their love of knowledge, and are not antisocial. Public schooled students have fewer opportunities for an interaction with all ages, partly because of a very structured day and little time spent with other ages outside of school. On the other hand, homeschoolers develop a zest for learning and life while socializing with society, enjoying their free time. In conclusion, stereotypes of any kind are harmful, causing people to judge someone without giving them a chance. One should break all the stereotypes of homeschooling and find out more about homeschooling pros and cons before jumping to conclusions.