Y ou’ve heard them – they’re those lies people believe about homeschooling families. Okay, so they’re probably not lies so much as misconceptions. Some of them I’ve even referred to as “homeschool propaganda” before because they’re things that a few homeschooling families tried to convince me were true of all homeschooling families.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s the fact that some things will sometimes be true for some homeschooling families, but nothing is ever true of all homeschooling families.
1. All homeschool moms wear denim jumpers. Um, no. Some of them do. I don’t recall ever seeing any of my homeschool mom friends in a denim jumper. Oh, wait. I think one friend might have had one once upon a time.
Denim? Yes. Jumpers? Not so much. Jeans and a t-shirt make up my wardrobe in the winter. In the summer, it’s denim shorts and a t-shirt. No jumpers of any fabric are to be found in this household.
2. All homeschool moms wear Birkenstocks with their denim jumpers. Okay, are you ready for complete transparency? In my early years of homeschooling, I bought a pair of Birkenstocks, based purely on that image. Seriously, I bought them because that’s what homeschool moms wear…and because I needed a new pair of sandals.
Those are the most uncomfortable shoes ever. I still have them. They sit beside my door and are the shoes I slip on when I go outside to get the mail or take the dogs out. Give me a good pair of New Balance or Saucony any day, thank you very much.
3. All homeschool moms get up before the sun to go milk the cows and gather the eggs in their Birkenstocks and denim jumpers. I know homeschooling moms who have cows, chickens, goats, and various and sundry other livestock. I know homeschooling moms who get up really early.
Most of the homeschooling moms I know, however, do not own livestock. They may be like me and look a bit enviously on that more self-sustaining lifestyle – or they may have no desire to have any part of that.
And, as far as that getting up before the sun part, y’all know that’s not true of all of us. Some of us are blissfully unaware that 6:00 happens more than once a day.
4. All homeschool moms have a herd of children who follow them out to milk the cows and gather their eggs, all dressed in their Birkenstocks and denim jumpers. I think, really, most homeschooling families with more than the national average of 1.83 children really prefer to just call them “children,” rather than “herd.” I think most of them are aware of what’s causing that and are probably tired of rude, insensitive comments about their family size.
The thing is, though, there are lots of homeschooling families with only one, two or three children. Really. I have honestly had people say to me, “But I thought all homeschooling families have lots of kids.”
5. All homeschool moms, followed by their herd of children, come inside from milking the cows and gathering their eggs to bake loaves of fresh bread while wearing their Birkenstocks and denim jumpers.
I used to bake bread sometimes. In my bread machine. Too much fresh bread (with melting butter and strawberry preserves) is not conducive to weight-loss however, so my bread machine is gathering dust.
It’s safe to say that plenty of homeschooling families get up late into the morning, gather around their one or two kids, and pop some store-bought bread into the toaster to go with their bowl of processed cereal…while dressed in their PJs.
6. That herd of kids all consider each of their siblings their BFF. <—There it is! That’s the homeschool propaganda I bought into.
My kids do love each other and the older two get along really well. The younger two used to get along well, but they’ve been going through a rough patch. They are not BFFs. I do think they’ll come around and don’t let somebody outside the family try to pick on them. They will circle the wagons and stand up for one another.
There are homeschooled children who are very close with their siblings. There are probably a lot of them who do consider their siblings to be their best friends. That being said, homeschooled kids bicker with their siblings as much as public-schooled kids. I do think that homeschooling offers the opportunity to foster closer relationships, but it’s not a guarantee of sibling harmony.
7. That herd of kids gathers happily around the kitchen table, big happy smiles on their bright, shiny faces, eager to learn because they’ve all been instilled with a love of learning. <—There’s the other one.
We have been able to tailor our curriculum to what best suits each of the kids. They are all happier with their current curriculum than they have been with some of the choices we’ve tried and discarded. And, they will admit to liking the stuff we’re currently using.
However, the fact remains that most days they could come up with a laundry list of things they’d rather do than school. Many days, I could, too.
And, then, there are those rewarding times when they admit that, really, they “kind of like” school.
8. All homeschooling families are conservative Christians. Yes, mine is one of those conservative Christian families (though not always conservative enough to suit everyone, but since the only one I have to please is God, I’m okay with that).
I live in the Bible belt. The vast majority of homeschooling families I know are conservative Christians, too, but as far as homeschoolers in general go, as wide a variety of faiths or lack thereof are represented as in the general population.
9. All homeschooled kids are shy, social awkward geniuses. Once, when I took the kids to the doctor, the physician’s assistant, after finding out that we homeschooled, commented something to effect of, “Oh, you homeschool – your kids must be so smart.”
While that was much nicer than the more popular negative comments, homeschooled kids reflect the same spectrum of skills, talents, and giftings that traditionally-educated kids do. Not all homeschooled kids are strong academically.
I doubt any of my kids are ever going to win the National Spelling Bee, but they are talented in the areas in which God has gifted them. Oh, and they are so not shy – not even the boy, who used to be.
10. Homeschooled kids aren’t prepared for real life. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the homeschool graduates that I know in real life move on to life after homeschool. Their success has been such an encouragement to me.
I’ve seen some of them go away to successful school careers. Others have moved into the workforce and are discovering how to support themselves. Still others have stayed at home to work and continue their education.
The common thread, though, is that they have all gone on to personally fulfilling, successful lives after homeschool. All the homeschooled kids that I know personally have been just as prepared for life after graduation as the traditionally-educated kids I know.
What homeschooling lies (or misconceptions) have you heard over the years?
This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.