“I could never homeschool – I couldn’t stand to be with my kids all day.”
And variations thereof. A prevalent myth that needs to be busted, shredded, incinerated, and its ashes blown into space.
My first thought at hearing this kind of comment is “Are they serious or just confused and uncomfortable?”
My second thought is that I can’t imagine not wanting to spend time with my kids, even if homeschooling did mean being with them all day. We have so much fun talking and playing jokes on each other and working together. They are funny and smart and often surprise me with their opinions and insights. When they get on each other’s nerves, or mine for that matter, everyone is quick to self-correct and restore our relational equilibrium. Our home is, on average, peaceful and pleasant. Are other people really that dissatisfied with their family dynamic?
Thirdly, this is another one of those assumptions made by those who have never homeschooled. They talk as if home education requires us to sit at the kitchen table and barely move from the hours of 8am to 8pm. Nothing could be further from reality.
Conclusion: It is a myth that 1) homeschoolers are always home 2) homeschooling families are in each other’s company every minute of every day.
There are days that I miss hanging out with my kids because either I’ve had Things To Do and Places To Go all day, or they’ve been out and about with various activities. It takes focused effort at times to make sure that we can connect as a family on a regular basis.
Tomorrow, for example, I’ll spend a couple of hours with another officer on our homeschool support group leadership team to discuss the meetings being planned for the year. Then I need to take Emma to a Bible study, and later, Noah has his last driving school class.
We will have our morning walk together, which is a nice way for us to connect every day, and we will probably sit down to have lunch. Other than that, we will not likely be in the same room until near bedtime. That’s the reality. We have our own interests, and the freedom to pursue them.
I wonder if these homeschool misconceptions are holding parents back from homeschooling their children. Many express intense dissatisfaction with their child’s school experience. Class sizes and teacher/student ratio, the obsession with standardized testing, health issues, and violence make public schooling inconvenient and sometimes harmful. But in trying to imagine something they’ve never experienced, or worse – thinking that homeschooling = traditional school at home – they talk themselves right out of what they feel instinctively is best for their kids. They are afraid to even try.
Don’t allow these kinds of myths to keep you from looking into home education for your family. If you wonder what homeschooling is really like, there are books, blogs, and homeschool support groups with meetings that are open to anyone interested in more information.