Homeschool Myths That Even Homeschool Parents Believe

(And What's Wrong with Them)

Teenagers standing in front of a wall with graffiti, a girl standing in the foreground
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If you've homeschooled (or considered homeschooling) for any length of time, you're probably familiar with the common stereotypes and homeschooling myths. Some myths are so prevalent that even homeschooling parents may fall prey to them.

Don't allow these myths to cause unnecessary conflict in your homeschool.

Homeschooled Kids Are Weird

While we adamantly deny that homeschoolers are weird, many parents secretly worry that it's true.

We fear that our kids really are peculiar and that it’s all because we homeschool. This fear may cause us to stress over minor idiosyncrasies and quirks or begin secretly watching for signs of weirdness.

Does my kid fit in during social situations?

Is my child talking endlessly about his latest obsession to an audience whose eyes have glazed over?

Does my kid have dozens of friends?

Is she invited to sleepovers and play dates?

Is he too quiet/loud/outgoing/shy?

There’s nothing wrong with helping a young child understand how to navigate social situations. It's okay to clue him in on how to read body language or facial cues to understand when others are bored or uncomfortable. 

It is a good idea to provide opportunities for your homeschooled child to make friends or investigate the reasons for exclusion if that truly is the case.

However, a child’s basic personality is going to be the same regardless of where he is educated.

A boy who is obsessed with LEGOs, Star Wars, or Pokémon is going to be obsessed with those things as a public schooled student or a homeschooled student.

A girl who prefers only one or two close friends to a group is going to have that preference at home or school.

There are weird kids in public school (surely you remember a few) and weird kids in home schools.

Whether you call it quirky, nerdy, geeky, eccentric, or peculiar, a child’s personality is not determined by where he or she attends school.

Homeschooled students may have more freedom to indulge in their obsessions or follow their passions. They may grow up more slowly than their public-schooled counterparts (e.g. watching cartoons past the age when public schooled kids are teased about watching them or not having a boyfriend/girlfriend at an early age). 

They aren’t taught to conform to the crowd through teasing or bullying. This non-conformity isn't weird. It's allowing a kid to be his or her authentic self.

Homeschooled Kids Are Unsocialized

Similar to the secret worries about our homeschooled students being weird, some parents worry that their kids really will be unsocialized and unable to interact with others. This fear may cause parents to enroll their child in too many activities or worry unnecessarily about one who is naturally shy.

If you’re the parent of a social butterfly or a sports enthusiast, your child may enjoy being in scouts, on a sports team, in multiple clubs, part of a co-op, a member of he mock trial team, and lead in the homeschool play.

But maybe you’re just exhausting yourself and your student (and your wallet!).

Yes, homeschooled children do need opportunities to socialize, but that doesn’t mean that you have to enroll them in every single activity available. And, you certainly don’t have to do so to prove to your child, yourself, your nosy neighbor, or well-meaning relative that your kids are socialized. Invest in a few meaningful activities that your students enjoy and that fit into your schedule and your budget.

Don’t worry if your student isn’t interested in dozens of activities. Some children are natural introverts who feel emotionally and physically drained by numerous of activities with many people.

Other kids go through phases of interests. For example, at one time, my youngest was on a competitive gymnastics team that met three times each week for practice. She also took vocal lessons and attended a social activity for homeschooled teens twice a month.

That was followed by a season in which she wasn’t involved in any extracurricular activities. I wasn't worried. It wasn't long before I was taxiing her around to a variety of activities again.

All Homeschoolers Are Child Prodigies

Based on common stereotypes, there seem to be only two options for homeschooled students. Either they are academically hamstrung students who will never be able to make it in the real world, or they’re child prodigies who excel academically, win national spelling competitions, and graduate college at 16.

Both extremes seem to have infiltrated the minds of many homeschooled parents, causing undo stress on them and their children. The child-prodigy mindset can cause parents to place excessive academic pressure on their children and fail to recognize his unique gifts and talents.

It can cause unnecessary stress for parents of homeschooled students with learning struggles. Parents may push a child to read, for example, before he or she is developmentally ready or worry that they aren’t doing enough in their homeschool.

That fact is that homeschooled kids range from struggling to gifted learners, just like their public-schooled counterparts. Many homeschooled students, like the majority of public-schooled students, are average learners.

That doesn’t mean that we should lower our academic expectations for our students. Rather, we should expect them to work to best of their abilities to reach their full potential – without stressing if their full potential doesn’t result in academic superiority.

We should allow our homeschooled kids to follow their passions while strengthening areas of weakness. And we should provide an academically-sound homeschooling experience that prepares our children to pursue whatever educational or career options appeal to them after graduation.

Homeschooling parents deny these myths but sometimes allow them to cause lingering fears and doubts. That makes the myths dangerous because, in the effort to combat worry, we may put unnecessary stress and unreasonable expectations on ourselves and our students.

Don't let the fear of homeschool stereotypes invade your home and school. Instead, view your children as the unique individuals that they are and put unfounded doubts and fears to rest.