Homeschooling Myths

Photo By Landon Hendrick Photography

I'll say it again and again, being a stay at home has been the best decision that I've ever made. One of the biggest blessings has been, having the option to homeschool my little ones. I am not going to sit here and lie and say that it is easy, because its not. I'm not going to tell you that it doesn't come with frustrations because it does! With that said it has been one of the most rewarding tasks as a stay at home mom. It is so rewarding to see that my four year old is not only at level but above level academically.

So why am I writing this blog? As awesome as homeschooling has been for my family, it hasn't been easy to deal with the criticism of those who are skeptical about homeschooling. It never fails! At every gathering or conversation I have with a parent that has opted for the traditional educational system, they have something negative to say or suggest about homeschooling. Here are some of the questions I get asked every time :

  • Aren't you afraid that your child is going to be socially awkward?
  • How are your kids going to handle the real world after being sheltered?
  • How will they be able to apply for college ?
  • There is no way that your child will have a well rounded education if they are homeschooled.
  • What makes you qualified to educate your child?
  • Your children won't be able to participate in extra curricular activities
  • All homeschool mothers are religious freaks. 
I intend to keep my cool and stick to the facts and will provide you with a list of case studies that you can feel free to read up on your spare time. I've done the research and so I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with educated responses to the questions and statements commonly made about homeschooling. 

Photo By Landon Hendrick Photography

Socializing skills are incredibly important in life! They play a huge role in your relationships and job placement. Many people seem to be very concerned with homeschooled children lacking these social skills, being an outcast or socially awkward. Many are skeptical that they can learn these social skills in a home controlled environment. Some even question whether homeschooled children will be ready for the real world and the harsh realities they will experience when they are no longer safe in their little home with their families. This is do to the misperception that homeschooled children are kept away from the world and social interaction like prisoners. The reality is that homeschooled children are just as social if not more than traditionally schooled children. Homeschooled children actually have more opportunities to socialize because they can complete curriculum that takes all day in a traditional setting, in a couple of hours, leaving more time for extra curricular activities like ballet, gymnastics, martial arts etc. In schools, children tend to form clicks and once formed are less likely to be inviting to new members. Case studies have actually shown that homeschooled children, on the other hand, from a very young age realize that in order to have friends they need to be open and welcoming and nine out of ten times they initiate the greeting. I have experienced this first hand with my oldest daughter, Kylie (4yrs). She is known to walk into a room with kids and say "Hi my name is Kylie, I'm four! Whats your name? Would you like to play with me?" Its pretty funny to watch! I have seen her approach other kids the same way when they are in her territory as well. 

Photo By Landon Hendrick Photography
Contrary to popular belief, children who are homeschooled are very confident and independent. They learn to self initiate tasks, be organized and strategize. Although many doubt that these kids will be able to face the harsh realities of this world, the reality is that they adapt just as well as traditionally schooled children. I would argue that homeschool children are aren't the ones that face the harsh reality of being introduced into the real world since they are living in it everyday and interacting with people of all ages and cultures while others are in a school setting.  One case study showed that adults that were homeschooled interviewed better than traditionally schooled adults and they obtained qualities that fit more in leadership roles. I  can make an educated guess that this is definitely an advantage that will facilitate being in the real world on their own. 
Photo By Landon Hendrick Photography
Some argue that homeschooled children are deprived of a well rounded education.  There's a huge concern that homeschooled children won't receive a good education because they aren't working with teachers instead they are being taught by parents who did not specialize in education and may not have the skills to educate any child. They worry that this deprivation will hinder their chances of getting into college. Yet supporters of homeschooling will argue that homeschooled children have an advantage because they have one on one attention. If a child needs extra help with a subject or topic they can receive that help without shame or worry that they will get made fun of by their classmates. If they understand it, they are also able to move forward to the next lesson without having to wait for others to catch on. They get to move at their own pace which ensures that they are actually learning and applying all the concepts vs just memorizing for the next exam and then forgetting. Having the capability to work ahead or take extra time on a specific topic, and having the opportunity to explore topics that are of interest to them further than they would ever explore in a traditional school environment, is just some of the benefits of homeschooling that help ensure that they receive a well rounded education. Studies found that 75% of homeschool children attend college where only 48% of traditionally schooled children attend college. Not only do these kids have just as good of a chance as traditionally educated children to have a well rounded education and get into a prestigious college, studies insinuate that they may actually have better chances of getting into better schools since they overall perform better on standardized test and admissions test such as the SAT and ACT. 

Homeschooling has become more popular over the past years and contrary to what some believe, it isn't just for religious freaks. 2.5 million children are homeschooled. Out of that 2.5 million 77% say that the main reason they opted for homeschooling is because they disapproved of the academic structure in the schools and 91% stated that they were concerned about the environment of other schools. I'm not saying that there isn't religious homeschoolers but at the end of the day the main concern is providing a safe environment that their children can excel and learn in. Many homeschooling parents just want to offer their children an education where they are motivated to explore their creativity and to think out of the box. There has been an increase with concerned parents that schools are teaching students to pass a test. The curriculum is centered around passing an exam. If they don't pass, they will be held back a grade. The dissatisfaction for the new educational structure along with the increase in bullying and tragedies that have been plastered over the media are the shared reasons why you'll find more and more parents are considering homeschooling. 

Photo By Landon Hendrick Photography
Okay so maybe now you look at homeschooling differently. You may even , after reading this, feel like maybe you want to homeschool your child but still feel inadequate to educate your child. After all, you aren't a teacher and just the thought of having to put curriculum and lesson plans together terrify you. Fortunately, there are many resources that can make it possible for you to homeschool your child. There are free programs that will provide you with curriculum and test so that you can successfully teach and measure improvement for your child. Your child will learn to work independently and you will serve as backup to help them learn how to find the answers when they don't know it. There are other resources that you can pay for curriculum. There's even support groups where stay at home moms that homeschool, meet and take turns teaching subjects and planning field trips and activities so that your child can interact with other children their age. I have Kylie set up for homeschooling with Faith Assembly Academy. The benefit in a private school like this is that I can create the curriculum myself and the school generates the report cards and transcripts for my little Kylie. This also gives us the added benefit that if Kylie were to have a hard time with a subject she could go on campus, for a reasonable cost, for that subject and get help from a teacher that specializes in that subject. This program also allows her to participate in school field trips, sports and extra curricular activities if she wanted to. 

Overall homeschooling is a perfectly great way to educate a child and has many added benefits. Of course I want to caution that if you decide to take up homeschooling for your child, it is a lot of work and patience especially when they are young. As they get older they will work more independently which will only prepare them for the real world when they are in college. There are many resources and studies that will argue that homeschooling isn't just as good as traditional education in a school setting, but better. They provide convincing findings that homeschooled children gained qualities that ensure that they are successful in their future. I've listed below additional resources for anyone who may be interested in researching more about the pros and cons of homeschooling and additional resources on how to get started. 
Photo By Landon Hendrick Photography


Homeschooling Resources:

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Have you prepared a Will ? Have you appointed a Guardian?

Photo by Landon Hendrick Photography 
Motherhood is so amazing. The moment I became a mother, I feel like my whole life changed. I was now responsible for a little life. I knew that everything that I did from that point on would play a role in the future for my daughters life. Along with that very real sense of responsibility  also came so much joy and happiness. I was excited for what was to come. I was excited for the sleepless nights that awaited me because I knew that they would be sleepless because this perfect little person that I created needed me. Although exhausting, it was something Landon and I had planned for and we were just so ready to be the best parents that we could be.

After a while, the chaos of having a new baby at home settled down. We were in the most blissful state in our life. I can't quite remember what brought the topic up but Landon and I started talking about what would happen if God forbid, something unfortunate were to happen to both of us. Who would watch over our girls? How can we prepare to make the transition as easy as possible for our loved ones? Who would we appoint to handle our estate? How can we make sure that our wishes are carried out? All of a sudden a dark cloud of worry hovered over us! We never had to worry about this before, and it felt like it was a huge risk we would be taking if we didn't get this taken care of.

So where do we begin? The first step that we took was to appoint a guardian. We thought very carefully about this. After all this would be their new parents. We wanted someone that had the same values, and beliefs as we did. It was very important that this person was someone that they knew and trusted and that had been present in their life. This was so hard! You never realize how cocky you are until its time to pick someone that you feel is as good or better than you to raise your child. Regardless of the qualities you consider to decide whether they could be your child's guardian, the next step is to have the conversation. You want to make sure that this person is willing and wants to take on this huge responsibility. Landon and I sat down with the person we were considering in the order  of which we preferred. Thank God, the first person on our list met was ecstatic and honored to be appointed guardianship over our girls. It was a HUGE sense of relief! Step one. Check!

Photo by Landon Hendrick Photography
The next step we took was to put finances in order. We calculated the cost of all of our debt, college for the girls, and living and realized that we needed to up our life insurance. Raising kids can be expensive and the last thing that I wanted was to burden financially the appointed guardian. We immediately contacted our life insurance and bumped it up. We also changed the beneficiaries. We hadn't realized that our girls weren't even listed on there as beneficiaries. We updated all the beneficiaries on our 401k, mortgage insurance and accounts. It is important to do this! I've heard nightmare stories about money staying in limbo because nothing was prepared prior. The last thing you want is for your children not to have access to this money and now they aren't just dealing with the grief of loosing you now they are dealing with their entire foundation falling apart. It's just too much! 

"How do I ensure that my wishes are carried out?" At this point I've done all this work and now I was faced with "how the heck do I make sure that the money is handled correctly. How do I make sure that the girls end up with the guardian we had so carefully elected?" Just saying "This is what I would like" isn't enough. At the end of the day once your dead, your dead and there's no way you can reinforce  it. Plus I wanted to make sure that the money was used to pay off debt and our house first. I didn't want the money to get blown before the girls even entered high school so I wanted to appoint an allowance and then set up a trust fund for money that they couldn't touch until college and then another amount once they graduated college or hit a certain age. We all know how money can make great people get greedy and selfish so I was really concerned with how can I legally enforce this once I'm dead. How can I make sure that the money is used for my daughters and not something else. A WILL and a TRUST! The next step is to prepare your will with all the details that you have already thought of. You can find a lawyer and get all of this prepared. It can get pretty expensive our you can contact your church. Our church actually had this resource available. They offered a lawyer that would help process our will and give us legal advice. 

Photo by Landon Hendrick Photography 
Life isn't guaranteed. You are here one day and can be gone the next. My hopes are that in reading this post you were able to analyze what would happen if you were to not be here for your children anymore. What would happen to them? Who would take care of them? What will happen to your debt? Will your children inherit your debt before they even get a chance to begin life? Will the person you appoint to care for them be able to financially care for them? Have you bought a life insurance? Have you updated your beneficiaries? Are your funeral expenses covered, or will your children be faced with having to cover that cost? Have you prepared a will to ensure that your wishes are honored? I hope that this blog gives you an idea where to start! I know that just having to think of not being here to protect my girls was overwhelming and I just did not know where to begin. Hopefully my experience will help yours be a little easier. Below are some resources to assist you in getting started.

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