More and more parents around the United States are warming up to the idea of homeschooling. They see that the merits are solid, and the bonus is not having to deal with Common Core Standards and/or testing to the test. Additionally, parents can see the advantages of one-to-one (or small group) learning as well as children learning to their own pace. Finally, parents can also appreciate the added advantage of side-stepping issues such as bullying, peer pressure and meeting “social standards” that are set by students themselves.
Despite these many obvious benefits, some parents just can’t bring themselves to actually consider homeschooling. The idea of being responsible for your own child’s educating can seem daunting. The task can see huge and the stakes can appear high. If this describes you or someone you know – let me share with you these HUGE homeschooling myths.
I don’t feel qualified to teach as you need to “know” how to teach.
This is one of the biggest myths that keeps people from homeschooling their children. But, stop and think about this for a moment. Who taught your child to use a fork, knife and spoon? Who taught your child to tie their shoes and brush their teeth? Who taught your child to make their bed and dress themselves? Who taught your child their ABCs?
Most parents are already homeschooling their children part time -they just don’t realize it. Homeschooling is not much different from what you are already doing to help them with their learning. Just because you don’t get paid by a school system doesn’t mean that you are less qualified than someone who is getting paid to teach them.
The truth is that the following two things are the ONLY qualifications you need to educate YOUR child.
- A deep love for your children
- The desire to see them succeed
But, I don’t have a teaching degree, or even a college degree, so how can I possibly be qualified to teach academics?
First of all, let me tell you a secret, people who get a degree in teaching have very little train on how to actually teach. While I was working on my bachelors and master’s in education, my classes centered around the following concepts:
- Theories in education
- How to manage a classroom
- How to make fair tests
- How to create lesson plans
- How to create meaningful projects
- How to reach various learning styles
- How to integrate technology (as it was beginning of the internet as we know it today) into classrooms
- How to work in a school
Very little of what was taught is the “nuts and bolts” knowledge on HOW TO TEACH. And honestly, NONE of it applies to homeschooling.
Most of the best teachers truly see themselves as facilitators of information. They management learning, provide the directions and the materials for a student to learn. Most parents have plenty of experience in this department.
The sad reality of this, is that parents are taught to believe that they are unfit to teach their own children. We have been taught to believe that our children’s education belongs in the hands of the “experts”, who are more qualified than we are. Myth!!!
With this said, it CAN be overwhelming to parents. I am not going to deny that. This is why programs, such as OTA exists. Open Tent Academy allows parents to pick and choose what they want to “hire out” for so that they can ease their own teaching load. The beauty of Open Tent Academy is that we are still allowing homeschooling parents to pick and choose based on their child’s needs and desires.
I don’t have the patience it takes.
Huge myth! If you ask one hundred homeschooling parents if they believe that they have the patience enough to teach their children, 99 of them would answer “no”. So, let me ask you, how do you think we do it? Where does the homeschooling parent get the patience they need to spend all that time with their children, much less teaching them to read, explain multiplication or write an essay.
Patience comes a day at a time and with practice.
It is OK to have tough days.
It is OK to hire out to homeschooling teachers when you do not feel confident.
These are options in homeschooling.
Homeschooling means YOU take charge of your child’s learning.
Homeschooling parents are not perfect. We don’t decide to homeschool and become “patient angels” the next time. Personally, I believe a sense of humor balances us off when our patience runs thin.
I don’t have the room in our home for a classroom.
I hate to tell you that homeschooling is NOT “school at home.” What that means is that you don’t need to replicate the “school” experience, look, atmosphere in order for your children to learn. Homeschooling is what works for you and your children. And every homeschooling household looks different. Yes, some people create these fancy havens for their homeschooling child; however, that is REALLY not necessary.
Personally, our home had a “great room”, you know those multi-purpose kitchens and dens areas – open space, which included a fabulous eat-in kitchen area. we used the kitchen table with an amazing cubby system/bookcase from IKEA. Yup – that was it.
This piece from IKEA was our organizational system. It kept everything in one place. Well – things migrated but they always came back here.
The bottom shelves had basket/cubbies for art supplies, manipulatives, basic school supplies etc.….. second from the bottom shelves had paper of all sorts: notebook, construction, graph, oaktag, poster etc.……. And then, the next two layers of shelves any books, textbooks, library books etc. we were using…. and finally, the top shelves had all our educational board games that we used during a homeschooling day.
And our final myth, I have to work; therefore, I can’t homeschool.
Throughout my daughter’s homeschool education – I worked. It wasn’t traditional working – like 9 to 5; however, I did work. I tutored other students. I taught homeschooling classes. I even worked for a publishing company. Yup – I worked.
But with this said, the key to affording homeschooling is directly related to how committed you are to the idea of homeschooling. If you are really convinced that you ought to homeschool, then you are more likely to find ways to make it affordable.
FACT: There are tens of thousands of two-income and single parent families that homeschool today.
To make homeschooling work, you have to let go of some preconceived notions. You need to think creatively about how to earn an income. In today’s world of online job opportunities this is so much easier. Homeschooling parents can share the “load” of homeschooling and tag team when necessary. Homeschooling parents can hire a tutor or set their child up with an online class to provide some free time for the parent to work. Grandparents, aunts/uncles can also pitch in and spend time with the children when the parent has to work. Homeschooling is all about thinking about life in a creative way.
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher.
She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.