Chances are, if you have school-age children, you've thought a few times you would love to home-school - like when your 7-year-old came home saying THAT WORD, because even young kids are saying it at school, or when you knew your child could use some one-on-one attention that wasn't going to happen in a class of 30 - but immediately dismissed the idea.
And that's what many of us do when fleetingly thinking about homeschooling - we don't even consider it because of some common misconceptions or fears.
Here are five of those myths about home school - and the truths behind them.
Home-schooled kids will turn out weird because they won't get to socialize
This is probably the biggest fear moms have about home school because we all want our kids to be well-rounded and happy. School doesn't just teach math and science; it provides opportunities (and, yeah, we all know from experience that too many of these are unpleasant ones) to be in social situations with people of all backgrounds and personalities. So we bite the bullet and keep our children in school, where they may face bullies or kids with potty mouths, so they can learn real-world social skills.
But honestly, is anything in "real life" like junior high or high school? We all say we're glad we don't have to go back to those days. So why make your kids go through them at all? There are lots of other ways to get your children interacting with some great peers, whether it be through community events, church, extended family or resources set up specifically for home-schoolers.
You'll go crazy with kids at home all the time
OK, so this may actually be your top concern, or it's a close second. Sure, some moms really do love having their children home for summer or winter breaks, to relax together and do fun activities. But many of us dread the inevitable bickering and fighting that happen after our kids spend just one day at home together. Having them at school regularly keeps them apart from each other, out of each other's stuff and personal spaces and with their friends, opening up some much-welcomed quiet time for mom. It's a lot easier to get things done at home or run errands without kids underfoot all the time. Because, after all, every mom has to have some alone time every once in a while.
However, life with home-schooling can actually be less stressful for everyone, for a few reasons: You aren't at the mercy of projects, tests, activities or other demands imposed by schools and teachers and "the system." You can actually have more fun together doing what you choose to do. Your schedule is much more flexible because you can get a lot more schoolwork done in less time each day, leaving the rest of the day open to explore your own extracurricular ideas and interests.
And you can always find new ways to carve out that crucial "me time," whether it's by taking advantage of community resources or coordinating group activities with other home-schooling parents, or just banishing them to their rooms for an hour or two (ahem ... giving them opportunities to learn to entertain themselves in the quiet of their spaces).
Parents who home-school are those "granola," "hippie" or "un-schooling" types
Face it: You know who you picture sometimes when imagining yourself joining the ranks of home-schooling parents. They are the ones who are a little on the edges of society, choosing a relaxed, off-the-grid lifestyle, who don't use the internet. But really, the families who home-school are the most normal and well-adjusted ones around. They have smartphones, eat junk food as much as you do, and are really fun and personable and social. And very, very few people out there go the "un-schooling" route (learning natural lessons in the course of life and without using structured classes to teach children). Home-school parents make sure their children are getting the necessary classes and skills mandated by state requirements.
You'll have to spend money
Public school is paid for by tax dollars, but home-schooling requires you to buy materials - and figure out which curriculum is best for your family. It's true that it might cost you a bit extra in the beginning as you try different "brands" that are out there. But if you do your research - online, with trusted friends, with local home-schooling groups - you likely can limit that waste to a small amount.
And even better, home-schooling can save you money. You can vacation in the offseason when everyone else is tethered to school schedules so prices for hotels, airfare and amusements parks and so on are lower. Plus, you don't have to do school fundraisers or get supplies or goodies for a whole class of 30 (times however many kids you have in school).
Your kids won't get to be in activities or have the resources public schools offer
School has so many great extracurriculars, whether it's sports or drama or music. But the truth is, many communities have these kinds of activities available as well. Check out your city's or county's programs, sports or classes. There's likely a community theater or two; soccer, baseball, basketball; even a youth orchestra. And home-school groups are available everywhere. You can find a group of parents who are home-schooling and share and pool resources. That's not to mention what's available online, like great educational games or streaming services such as the Dove Channel that provide awesome educational programs and appropriate content for young ones. And don't forget you can take time as a family to travel to museums or historic sites, whenever suits you. The world is your oyster.