This is a short paper I wrote last semester. We had to take an article of our choice and analyze it, and I took the opportunity to talk about homeschooling. 🙂 Enjoy!
Over the years homeschooling has become a topic around which many myths and misconceptions have been constructed. In the article Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling1, Michael H. Romanowski challenges four of these myths. Given his several years as a high school teacher and college professor, Romanowski witnessed many of these misconceptions played out right in front of him. The four myths discussed in this article are that homeschooling produces social misfits, homeschooling creates bad citizens, homeschoolers have difficulty entering college, and parents only homeschool for religious reasons.
Romanowski provides the reality associated with each myth. First, that homeschoolers actually socialize profusely and they relate to their peers and to adults normally and maturely. Second, research has shown that homeschoolers grow up to be active, successful adults in their communities and are often self-employed, indicating strong self-reliance and independence. Third, homeschoolers are frequently accepted into prestigious universities with at or above the national average in SAT/ACT scores. Homeschoolers have no difficulty in relating to their peers or dealing with the academic or social university life. Further research has shown that while many people homeschool for religious reasons many also do so for curricular reasons, bettering family relationships, and creating a different learning environment for their children—self-paced, catering to a kid’s unique creativity, and special-needs cases.
Michael H. Romanowski is a former high school teacher and professor at Ohio State and is currently a professor in Qatar. He wrote Revisiting Common Myths About Homeschooling in early 2006 for The Clearing House Journal2, Vol. 79 No.3 pp. 125-129. The Clearing Houseis a journal on educational issues, strategies and ideas geared toward an audience of middle-school and high school teachers and administrators. They have been publishing articles since the 1920’s.
Michael Romanowski3argues that homeschooling is misunderstood by both the general public as well as by most educators. As someone who was homeschooled my entire life up until university, I have seen and been confronted with these misconceptions. Often times, as a homeschooler you don’t realize how many misconceptions people have about you until they ask you questions like, “How do you make friends?” and “How do you get into college if you didn’t go to school?” or “Don’t you wish you went to ‘real’ school?”. Then you’re just left questioning people’s intelligence like, “What do you think a homeschooler is? An alien from another planet? Cause I make friends the same way as you, get into college the same way as you, and I am doing ‘real’ school, only I get to do it at home! (so that’s a plus, ha!)”
However, there are a lot of people who do know the reality of homeschooling and its benefits. These are the people that appreciate homeschoolers, or at least don’t stare at you like you just grew horns when they ask you where you went/go to school and you answer “Oh, actually I’m/was homeschooled.”
These are the same people that admire you when you say that you’re technically in 9thgrade but you’re doing some 11thgrade and taking college courses as well. Trust me, the response varies from “Oh, wow!” to “Interesting…” to “—blank stare—“. It’s also a challenge as the homeschooler when you get asked what grade you’re in because honestly, how am I supposed to know what grade I am in when I am taking four different grade levels…Mom, do you know? (As an aside, these questions typically come from cashiers wondering why you’re not in school at 11AM.)
Romanowski’s effort to dispel these homeschooling myths is part of a campaign on behalf of homeschoolers, I feel, for acceptance. In the conclusion of the article he states that educators and communities need to focus on the bettering of our children’s education rather than comparing and contrasting homeschooling and public schooling. Both have things to learn from the other and should learn them sooner rather than later in order to improve to the utmost the quality of education for our children and future generations.
Education is so vitally important in life that it cannot become the center for arguments about differences that don’t matter when the real issue, a great education, is being left by the wayside. Simple misconceptions can be righted so easily and differences can be talked about, bettered, or accepted, and the end result is a better education without the struggle for mere acceptance.