Common Concerns


EVERYONE has concerns when considering home education. However, this is a path that was blazed for you by brave pioneers in the 1970's and 1980's. Now there is a terrific track record available to help still your fears and those of your relatives. The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling includes results of many different scientific studies on homeschooling and is a highly recommended book for countering all homeschooling objections. These studies clearly show that homeschool students are well-adjusted people with sound academic achievement and excellent prospects for success.

Lack of Family Support

Your friends and family may be your biggest supporters or the loudest nay-sayers. It is very important to have the agreement of your spouse, so spend all the time you need to address any worries that you may have. Once you are in agreement about the benefits and appropriateness of homeschooling for your family, you are ready to face your family and friends with a united front. As these nay-sayers reel off their objections, listen carefully. Acknowledge their concerns as valid, and then try to answer them. Having the book mentioned above in your pocket will allow you to quote statistics that support the pro-homeschooling point of view and will give you tremendous confidence.

Unfortunately, all the talking and studies in the world will not convince some people. There is at least one person in every family that is dead-sure that you are ruining your child, and you simply will never be able to sway his or her opinion. In that case, you should remember that you are the parent, and you get the chance to raise your children as you see fit, just as this person had the chance to raise his or her children. As your children grow and blossom in the homeschooling environment, the proof will be provided to this individual, but he STILL may not change his mind. As painful as it is, you may just have to accept the situation. Ask other parents for support as many have faced family who disagree with homeschooling.

Socialization

Socialization is one of the most frequent objections to homeschooling. All those friends and relatives are quick to wail, "But what about socialization? Johnny will be a social misfit if you home educate him!" Homeschoolers have many, many thoughts on this topic, but here are a few quick items for your consideration.

  1. Just exactly what social skills are we discussing? Manners? Social skills when meeting people?
  2. Is there any other time in life where you are locked in a building with people exactly your same age?
  3. Do children learn better from one another in a controlled environment or by meeting new people of many ages and experiencing a diversity of educational opportunities?
  4. Is peer orientation more important than having a close family?
  5. Do you value "running with the crowd"?

Most people with the socialization objection have never met a homeschooled student. Homeschoolers are generally more friendly and relate well to people of different ages. One of the best ways to convince your doubting relatives is to let them meet some exemplary homeschooled children. After seeing the MANY activities available for homeschoolers and meeting a few families, their minds should be put at ease.

Click here to see Brevard County support groups.
Click here for some of the many activities that are open to homeschoolers.

Academics

Your family or friends may object to homeschooling on the basis of academics. Perhaps they feel that you are unqualified to teach your children because you do not have an advanced degree, a teaching certificate, or other qualification. You may even feel unqualified to teach certain subjects. Reassure yourself! This IS something you can do! First of all, if you are willing to learn alongside your children, you can increase your education at the same time as theirs! Secondly, many programs are completely scripted, and other programs are available on video or as computer-based learning. As the student progresses, Florida virtual school, dual enrollment at the community college, and on-line classes from tutoring companies, colleges, and universities are all available.

Another academic concern is that the homeschooling child is not getting as good an education as he would in public school. Given the state of our public school system as a whole, it would be very difficult to have poorer results; however, if the child is parked in front of the TV, Nintendo, or other mindless entertainment all day, it might be possible. The diligent parent has no worries! If this is a concern, the easy solution is to administer a standardized test to your child each year. The California Achievement Test is readily available for $20 to $25 (including grading and a report of the results.) See these links:

http://www.setonhome.org/testing/default.php
https://www.homeschools.org/class/itsform_clp.htm

You may administer the test at your convenience. Most homeschooling parents are pleasantly surprised with the scores, but if you find some deficient areas, you can always take extra time on those subjects. Please note that this test may ONLY be used for your yearly evaluation due to the county if administered by a certified teacher.

Another concern is that the child will not be able to get into a good college or university. In the pioneering days of homeschooling, this concern was valid, but that path has been blazed! Colleges are actually recruiting homeschooled students because of the reputation they have developed as motivated, self-starters. Check this site for a list of colleges that have accepted homeschool graduates:

http://learninfreedom.org/colleges_4_hmsc.html

Some families are choosing to homeschool much of college. For more information, visit our Homeschooling College page.

Special Needs Children

Many families find that they are able to make better progress withtheir special needs children through home education. As a resident of Brevard County (or any county in Florida, for that matter), you are entitled to the services that the School Board offers EVEN WHEN you homeschool. If you would like your child tested for learning disabilities or for the gifted program, call the county's Exceptional Education department at 321-631-1911 and request assistance. After the testing is completed, you may decide whether you would like to avail yourself of the available classroom and therapy options. Remember that these are OPTIONS, not requirements. You may decide to use the results of the testing to pursue your own therapy methods at home or with private therapists.

If your child has documented disabilities and was enrolled in public school during the past year, he or she is probably eligible for a McKay Scholarship, which pays tuition for enrollment in the private school of your choice. Some private schools will provide you with the curriculum and support to homeschool your child when you enroll using the McKay scholarship. To get started, read the requirements on this page, and ask on the Brevard Homeschool discussion group about private schools that are homeschool-oriented.

An outstanding book for hope, inspiration, and helpful ideas is Homeschooling the Challenging Child by Christine M. Field. Written from a Christian perspective, it offers practical suggestions and many personal experiences of families homeschooling special needs children.

Additional sources of information for home education of special needs children:

NATHHAN: National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

HomeschoolChristian.com's Special Education Section

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) offers consulting on special needs situations