Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Debunking Homeschool Myths

In 2007, there were 1.5 million homeschooled students in the United States according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  This number has been steadily rising since 1999, and represents a 74% relative increase.  According to this study, in 2007 the most common reason given for homeschooling was to provide a religious and moral environment, and the next most common reason was concern over the safety of the school environment due to drugs and negative peer pressure.

Zefferine Payne, who is a homeschooling mother of four children, sat down with FLF to explore all the aspects of this educational opportunity.  She has homeschooled her children for the past 11 years, and has been a part of this still small but steadily increasing movement.

In this article, we will combat fears in regards to providing homeschool education for your children.  If you've played around with the idea of homeschooling, or know that you should be homeschooling for whatever reason, or just want to learn more about homeschooling, this article is for you.

I’m not smart enough, and I’m not a good teacher.
Due to all of the resources available now, anyone with a high school education can homeschool at least up to the middle school level according to Payne.  There are a wide variety of curriculum options that allow the parent to be the sole teacher and grade all the papers, or with the use of technology, you can share the responsibility of teaching.  Here are your options:

  •      Entirely computer based where all materials are sent to you on a disk
  •      Streaming video
  •      On-line education (similar to an online degree program)
  •      Teaching DVDs
  •      Your local homeschool association
  •      Parent as teacher
Of course you can mix and match these options, and supplement yourself as the teacher in subjects you’re comfortable with and use these other options with subjects you’re not comfortable with.  Payne loves the A-Beka, Christian Liberty, and Bob Jones curriculums because they’ve been around for years, Christian based, and they’ve been rigorously tested.

I don’t have enough money to homeschool.
Homeschooling is a financial commitment, just like most things worth having.  Typically, in a homeschool family, only one parent is working outside of the home.  As far as the cost of homeschool curriculum and materials, the cost is nominal and depends on how much of the teaching and grading of papers you plan to do on your own or if you would like the organization to provide you with grading and teaching services.  Curriculum costs can range from $600 - $1,500, with the organizations listed above.  (Please do your own research.)  Here are some options for you to consider if you cannot afford to go down to one income:

  •       Allow another homeschool family to teach your child(ren) and work out the financial details with them
  •      Find a night job, so that you can homeschool during the day.  (It has been done, but you have to want it.)
  •      Draw a line in the sand and figure out what’s most important to you.  If you know you should be homeschooling, then cut back in some other areas to make it possible.
I want my kinds to be social and develop relationships with other kids.
Homeschooling is definitely still an option that is in the minority, however, you have to do what’s right for you.  There are homeschool associations all over the country that can provide you with social opportunities for the kids, as well as, parents.  The association Payne uses for some of her children’s education is The South Suburban Home School and Gym Group.  They offer gym classes, dance, hockey, archery, basketball, and chemistry classes just to name a select few.  You can also meet up with other homeschool families for play dates, field trips, and classes.

My family will think I’m weird if I homeschool my children.
This may be true, however, you have to do what makes sense for your family.  Pray and ask God to show you what He would have you to do in regards to your child(ren)’s education, and move forward with that without wavering.

Payne never really saw herself as a stay-at-home/ homeschool mother until it was time to send her first child to Kindergarten.  She’d always felt uneasy with taking him to the babysitter, because she had to be away from him for the better part of the day.  He attended a church pre-school program, and he learned quite a bit, and was very advanced.  When it came time for the Kindergarten round-up and she learned that her son would not be taught to read during his first year of school, and he would be given another year to play, Payne was certain that it was time to do something different, so she prayed, and God opened doors and showed her a way.  She was exposed to homeschooling through the families that attended her church, but she didn’t know much.  She took the task on, because she wanted to be in control of her children’s education and give them the head start they needed in life.  As a college student, Payne learned very quickly that she wasn’t as equipped as the other students although she was always at the top of her class.  Under her tutelage, her children will have every chance at success.

***This post isn’t a pro-homeschool article to make everyone want to jump right in.  However, I am presenting an option in regards to providing quality education for children.  My personal belief is that God cares about His children, and if you have any concern, present it to Him, and He will give you peace.

What are your thoughts on providing a homeschool education?

Zefferine Payne is currently homeschooling three of her four children, and has homeschooled for the past 11 years.  Payne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.   


  1. I think you addressed some great points on homeschooling and debunking some of the myths! I don't have kids so I couldn't tell you if this is something I'd do. Great article!

  2. Always glad to see good articles on homeschooling. I was homeschooled from 2nd grade through my senior year of high school so I guess I'd call myself a veteran. :)

    Absolutely agree with everything here. I think some of the biggest challenges to homeschooling (the need for socialization and the belief that homeschooling doesn't provide "quality education) have been proven mostly baseless, especially in the last twenty to twenty-five years.

    You can always find examples of people who did not homeschool well, students who come out of homeschooling SEEMINGLY less capable of interaction with their peers or whose education appears to have some "holes" in it. However, I would say that this is still a minority of homeschooled students and has everything to do with the success (or lack thereof) of an individual family. Not every homeschooler is "well-adjusted."

    Having spoken with other adult friends who were also homeschooled, we talked about the necessary transition process from being students within the family structure to being students in a more instituational academic environment. This transition process is normal, necessary, and not really unlike what any other high school graduate beginning higher education may experience (just different). The way we communicate in family units IS going to be different than the way we relate to other students who we don't know.

    Sometimes I think homeschooling didn't prepare me to be polite/accepting/kind about other people's perspectives in the classroom. It's perfectly fine to disagree but while my worldview is intact, it's important for me to learn that alienating people of other faiths or opinions will not alter their perceptions or make them think differently about Christians. Successfully arguing my point won't make friends and it probably won't change anyone's mind. I wish I had been reminded that God's love is the most valuable thing I have to offer anyone I encounter.

    It was difficult for me transitioning from homeschooling to adulthood to realize that, though my educational experiences had been very unique and really exceptional, that a lack of these experiences did not mean that the other students I would encounter would be uneducated or stupid. That I could still learn quite a bit from them. That our differences did not make us academic "enemies." It sounds silly but these were attitudes that I held as a child.

    I apologize for the novel-length comment. I LOVE hearing about homeschooling and its success! It certainly was a success for me as a student. I have not made a decision yet about whether Kyle and I will homeschool our children or not but certainly, some of these issues I saw in myself will impact the way I approach home-education (which, by the way, should be happening in EVERY home, not just full-time homeschoolers!)

    Thanks so much for posting about this!

  3. @Elizabeth- Wow! Thanks for admitting that you had a bias against non-homeschooled people. I just wish women, especially would allow other women to make the best choices for their families and not the choice they feel is right. I don't think there's one right way, but you just have to follow God's way. My philosophy is that all children should be homeschooled at least part time, and it doesn't have to be formal. However, we can't rely on the school to teach our children EVERYTHING.

  4. Thanks for writing this article. Although Ava is only 15 months, homeschooling is something that I have been giving much thought. I've had the opportunity to be home with her since birth and Im grateful to be the person imparting and impacting my child. I teeter with the idea often and am still undecided but I take great interest in hearing more about the pros and cons and can appreciate hearing the perspective of someone who was homeschooled such as Elizabeth. Great subject choice!

  5. @Tosha- I'm glad you found this helpful. Keep doing your research, and don't be afraid!


I love reading and appreciate each and every comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...