Most people probably associate myths with traditional folk-fore and urban legends. You know, the usual suspects such as monsters, ghouls, and the supernatural. But the myth here is about a different kind altogether since the topic talks about homeschooling socialization myths. Many presume that homeschoolers are a bunch of anti-socials who only know how to sit and hide in the house the whole da. Except this is not the truth as school is not the only place to learn social skills. If you are one of those parents who wonder whether the homeschooling socialization myths are true, fret not as we set the record straight here by unraveling the myths surrounding it.
Myth 1 : Homeschoolers are weird oddballs who behave abnormally
Are homeschoolers weird and have emotional problems? If you think so, you are probably wrong. According to studies of homeschooled children, homeschooled students tend to have higher self-esteem and are less likely to get involved in antisocial and self-destructive behaviour compared to a matched group of traditionally schooled students. Further findings have revealed that adults who were homeschooled as children showed that they were most likely to be involved in civic issues that raise awareness for public concern and less likely to be engaged in illegal vices such as criminal activities compared to the rest of the population.
Other findings have shown that homeschooled children have better leadership skills due to their learning environment which focuses on independence and resilience. Another study found out that homeschooled children have higher chances of developing social skills such as cooperation, assertiveness, empathy and self-control compared to public school students.
Based on a study by Richard G Medlin who is a psychology professor from Stetson University, it was found that homeschool students possess a more positive outlook on life as they are generally happier and satisfied with their surroundings since they are cultivated with higher moral reasoning that is more if not at the same level as other children, therefore showing less emotional problems are less selfish in behaviour compared to their peers.
However, even though experts say that it is not fair to determine one’s social skills and personality traits through tests and surveys, but based on both the scientific and real-life evidence that exists today, they have come to a consensus that homeschool students are normal, well behaved and stable kids.
Myth 2: Homeschooled kids don’t get enough of socialization
This is perhaps the most common misconception about homeschoolers that a non-homeschooler can make. Why? Because many people define socialization based on the perspective of a traditional school.
- The number of friends. For example, how many friends that they hang out with and interact with daily in real life.
- Simple and random peer-to-peer conversations such as chats on the bus, at the lunch table, on the playground, or in the school hallways.
- After school activities such as school sports and clubs where children join hands and get together to learn how to socialize through cooperation, teamwork, and unity.
- Outside of school, get-togethers such as going to the movies or partying with friends.
- Familiarity with the latest pop culture and trends that are relevant to school-going children and teens.
However, the above is just the stereotypical type of socialization that non-homeschoolers know. In reality, homeschoolers are also involved in many of the same types of socialization, just in a different setting but with a slight twist. For example, local homeschool groups and co-ops offer kids the opportunity to socialize and mix around with their peers. This group and co-ops often consist of a niche group of other homeschooling parents who quietly join hands together to bring their kids to meet together with their peers, so that there is no distraction from all the surrounding noise made by noisy kids at a public school.
Through the meeting of local homeschool groups and co-ops, children are provided with the opportunity to build friendships, relationships, and bonds that are good for bringing up their self-esteem and confidence. And while traditional students tend to socialize with a specific age group, homeschool groups, and co-ops will ensure that your child gets to socialize with kids of all ages and different learning abilities whether it is younger, or older people or kids who are slightly advanced to your child when it comes to learning.
Studies have revealed that homeschool students are more likely to develop higher-quality friendships with their peers and establish good relationships with older people such as their parents and other adults. Homeschoolers are not isolated loners who do things all by themselves as they have their routine of extracurricular activities too. Local libraries offer not only book memberships but other attractive perks such as clubs and activities that any student is welcome to join provided they pay a small fee in return. Plus, many homeschool groups and co-ops often join hands together to organize field trips that involve homeschoolers not just from a certain age group, but from all walks of life as well.
Myth 3: Homeschoolers are isolated from society and civilization
Are homeschoolers isolated loners who are stuck in the house the whole day? A home does not have the environment as a traditional school but nor is it a jail cell. The truth is, homeschooling offers more flexibility which means that not 24/7 of the day is occupied by work or lessons. In between hours, homeschoolers get to enjoy fun-filled activities such as joining a co-op group at the local theatre production or feeding chickens at a farm. Also, there is this misguided perception that you can only gain more friends through mixing and mingling with public and private school students.
But ask yourself, can your kid forge true friendships with any random casual acquaintances that they have just met? Do you kids even talk to everybody during class? To stress on, traditional school kids are accustomed to its rules and regulations such as being in class on time, having to learn certain topics and subjects, and pass through exams that are compulsory for them to pursue higher education. In contrast, homeschoolers can decide their own time of learning hour which means they are free to mix and mingle with their peers whenever they want to.
Myth 4: Homeschooled students are sheltered individuals who cannot meet the fast-paced demands of today’s society.
Public school kids have to go through the same learning routine repeatedly. For example, learning Geometry on a fixed schedule and time without fail as if they are wearing a matching set of uniforms. Meanwhile, homeschool kids can do a variety of things at the same time such as cooking, baking, balancing a budget, pay bills, do cleaning, shop wisely, and do laundry – all without interference from adults. Homeschool kids are taught not only hard skills but soft skills as well so that they are ready to face the real world when they grow up.
To nurture and boost these much-needed life skills, random acts of kindness such as volunteering at nursing homes or food banks, or other charitable organizations were instilled as part of their homeschooling curriculum. For example, each homeschooling child is evaluated and marked accordingly based on the score of their performance. Through these experiences, children can learn how to communicate with other adults(who are not within their circle of family members), see what the real world looks like(for example, underprivileged people and their suffering), and most importantly, teach them how to appreciate the good things that they have in life.
Homeschoolers are also taught how to work independently, given that resourcefulness and self-reliance are some of the skills that employers value, especially if they decide to enter the workforce after they have graduated out from homeschooling. Other than that, homeschoolers also learn how to work in a team; mainly through participating in co-ops and homeschool groups as these are also some of the essential skills that employers value in a productive employee.
Through all of these experiences, homeschooled students are armed with a strong sense of responsibility and valuable life skills that enables them to become self-dependent go-getters that are ready to take charge of the real world( regardless it is in college, workplace, or in dealing with difficult situations such as challenges in life and everyday conflicts ).
It’s common for people outside of the homeschooling community to have some kind of prejudice against homeschoolers and put them in a bad light by seeing them as different, abnormal, or not in the same league as the educational upbringing of traditional schooling kids. But this stereotype exists due to outsiders not having any real knowledge of what homeschoolers do daily since homeschooling is conducted behind closed doors.
In short, homeschoolers are no different from most regular kids. Despite what others may think, homeschoolers are not bound to their desks or locked up in isolated basements – far away from civilization. The only difference is that they socialize in a different way and setting which probably leads to a lot of misunderstanding and confusion from others. After all, people often judge others easily based on something that they do not quite understand.