Beyond Stereotypes: The New Face of Homeschooling

Written by Misha Thompson of Kind Birds and The Thompson Story

A note from Jamie: Trying to conquer our homeschooling fears means we have to also overcome negative stereotypes and limiting beliefs. The discussion in the comments on Monday reminded me of this encouraging post, written and published last February by Misha.

Recently I posted a question on my Facebook page. Can you tell me honestly, I asked, all the reasons you would never homeschool your kids?

Within less than a day I had over 50 strong opinions posted and some even stronger ones in my private in-box.

“Before I started homeschooling,” one friend said, “I was frightened I would lose my sense of humor–and start wearing jumpers.”

“I would never have enough patience. – I’m not organized enough. – I’m not smart enough. – I don’t think I’d have enough energy. – I am an introvert. – I would be too lonely.”

“I want to have a career. – I would never be able to make friends. – My kids need socializing.”

We have all have felt these worries and many of us have had them spoken from friends or family members.

Here are three things to remember as you consider homeschooling:

1. There may be many good reasons not to homeschool. But stereotypes should not be one of them.

The new face of homeschooling does not look anything like it did thirty years ago. In fact it looks nothing like it did even just five years ago. The new face of homeschool is as varied and modern and beautiful as mothers and fathers and children and all of their needs are.

The new face of homeschooling is inner city, rural, suburban, hip, trendy, multilingual, simple, crafty, classic, apprenticeship-based, nature walking, take-out eating, conservative, liberal, intentional, frugal, community based and neighborhood connected.

In short, it is everything you are.

Whoever you are, whatever your values are, the way your family loves and lives life – that is exactly what kind of homeschooler you will be.

I am still learning who we are as a family, what we love and who we can become. I am being educated right alongside my children and that is one of my favorite things about homeschooling. I never planned to live this life. But I have found that every single stereotype I had heard (or even believed) was totally wrong.

2. For every one of those aforementioned concerns, there is a family out there making them a moot point.

I ‘ve seen a single mom juggling a handful of kids without an organized surface in site and enjoy it sincerely, exhausting though it may be. I have seen a mom with thirteen kids, and a mom with a newborn and two young ones, both teach their kids and still deal with the laundry. I have seen moms who juggle full time careers and trade off with dads. I have seen both parents who get their kids up early enough to homeschool them before they go to work and I have seen parents discover their careers though homeschooling.

There are now a myriad of families homeschooling in cultures all around the world. There are professors watching for them in universities because they have learned that homeschooled kids can be remarkable initiative takers, confident and poised communicators. There are countless studies out there about all the reasons homeschooling is a positive choice.

Photo by Misha Thompson

3. Homeschooling is a mosaic made up of millions of unique lifestyles and faces. Be confident to be yourself! 

I have found that what I teach my kids has less to do with what we do together and more to do with who I am as their mama. That has been hard to face. It’s easier to teach than be. It’s easier to stereotype than be confident.

So although in our home we love books and researching, polka dot umbrella walks and dancing to piano practice before dinner time, our greatest work is in trying to embrace life and enjoyment in such a way that it will color our children’s days with joy and fearlessness and allow them to do the same.

“The point is…what makes our children thrive,” I had a friend write to me recently, “what gives them the opportunity to be their best selves.”

We are not stereotypes, we are all beautifully able to be as individual as the children we are raising and teaching.

What are some stereotypes you had about homeschooling before you got started?

About Misha

Misha is a writer and teacher on the subjects of pain and joy. She loves paddle boarding, dutch salty licorice, and she really, really loves sunshine. (She lives in the Pacific Northwest.) She also loves her kids who still give her grace after all her screw ups as a mom. She writes at The Offense of Joy.


  1. I LOVE what you had to say about this. LOVE LOVE LOVE. (sorry, I can’t help it.) Over the last couple of months I’ve realized that a lot of how I was homeschooling was based on other people and not who I am as a mom and who my kids are. It’s my first year and I hadn’t quite figured it out. Once I realized I was doing that, everything changed. I felt like I had to be the stereotypical homeschool mom, juggling everything, doing everything “by the book.” People even give me surprised looks when I say I homeschool because I guess I don’t “look” like a homeschool mom. What does one look like, exactly? 🙂 To read this post is so refreshing and encouraging to know that I can be me and that it’s OK. I think we do our kids and ourselves a disservice if we try to be anything but that. Thank you for sharing. You’ve inspired me today.
    .-= Gina’s last blog: L-O-V-E =-.

    • Thank you so much, Gina. And I couldn’t agree with you more! I too have had some raised eyebrows at me when I say I homeschool. (I think it’s those big red sunglasses. 🙂 ) I am so impressed with people like you that are breaking that stereotype mold. You inspire me!
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  2. I love this post! You are absolutely right on. I’d say if there’s one thing homeschooling families share (and there may not be even one thing) it’s the confidence that there’s something important in our way of life that we want to share with our children. Whatever that way of life may be.
    .-= leah’s last blog: he shall not live on bread alone =-.

    • Leah, I think this is such a beautiful thought and you put it so well. “…there’s something important in our way of life that we want to share with our children.” That is so well said. I completely agree and I have to admit it gave me a lump in my throat. I think that is a big part of our motivation in our home for sure.
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  3. Thank you for posting this!! We’ve decided to start homeschooling our oldest daughter in the Fall, when she starts Kindergarten. I’m so nervous! I’m not scared about teaching her, I’m just nervously trying to beef MYSELF up before our decision becomes widely known in our families and the questions come in. I’ll be watching to hear what everyone else says 🙂
    .-= Myrnie’s last blog: Stocking the Pantry =-.

    • Myrnie, I so relate. It took me eight months to even be able to admit it to myself that I was going to homeschool – primarily because I knew I would get some very tricky questions (and those illusive eyebrows raised.) The very, very best advise I ever got about this was to ask questions back.

      So if someone says “Well, how are you going to handle the socialization issue?” to respond by saying “What socialization issue do you mean? What do you feel concerned about?”

      It puts the onus on the question asker to express the validity of their concerns rather than on you to prove it’s not an issue. (Even if it isn’t.) And it also allows them to clarify, too. “Oh, aren’t you worried that they will be socially deprived and that they will never get to go to prom?” Then you know what their specific question is.

      And then you can address just those issues (if you want to.) Asking questions back has saved me so many times from being put on the defensive and given me a chance to catch my breath and choose my response while they are still explaining their question.

      I hope that helps you a little bit.
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  4. Great post. Love it. SO SO true. I still get “the look” when folks find out we homeschool. I still get the “WHY would you DO THIS to your kids?”…you know, as if I am torturing them or depriving them. But I will say that more and more I get the “oh how I wish I could” or the “thats wonderful” (my fave)!!! Im glad that the “face” of homeschool families is becoming more accepted. I know its hard to find your own “look” as a homeschooler. But once you do…its incredible! 🙂

  5. Misha, This is wonderful! You are speaking my language friend. And I just lOVe that photo of your family. I had quite a few misconceptions when starting out years ago. But it has been such a pleasure to meet, in person and on-line, people who blew those stereotypes out of the water and encouraged me to just be me in homeschooling my kiddos.

  6. Fabulous insight, Misha.

    “Whoever you are, whatever your values are, the way your family loves and lives life – that is exactly what kind of homeschooler you will be.”

    I think that is one of the most important things a new homeschooler (and even many veterans) need to hear. Homeschooling is as varied as the families who persue it as a lifestyle.
    .-= Heidi @ Mt Hope’s last blog: To Love =-.

    • Thank you, Heidi. It’s funny because one of the things I was critiqued for was my classical approach initially. You made it look so beautiful and anything but “weird” and gave me someone to point to as a great example of what I wanted to be doing. And then I fell in love with Shapespeare and my six year old’s giggles when we read him and grew in confidence myself. 🙂
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  7. We are officially homeschooling yet. Our little ones are 4yo and would start K a year from Aug. (Our older two are in public school (7th and 4th) but are from my first marriage and I don’t have any options to pull them out – tried that already.) I really want to hs the little ones and while my husband is for it on some levels and very disappointed with the education the older kids have gotten (in quality and inspiration), he also has strong views that homeschoolers are ‘weird’ and doesn’t want our kids to be. I have 1.5 yrs to ‘figure it out’ in order to secure his approval. His views are still very traditional and he worries what the boys are missing out on by not going to preschool. He told me recently he’d like to know I’m covering all the topics they’d be getting in preschool, that I have a PLAN to teach them whatever they need to know so in case they do go to public school they won’t start behind. Unfortunately he and I have different views of ‘education’ for 4yos and I have to figure out how to balance my desires for the kids with his.
    I’ve started getting involved in the large homeschooling community here but haven’t found a group we really click with yet.

    • I am totally in your boat!

      • Shannon and Jen, I hear you. I am working on addressing this issue in an upcoming post. The long and the short of it is I think community is the way to go. The more support you have and the more examples partners can see of well-adjusted, thriving families that are doing this, the more I think it helps. Also, I think the more joy we experience in it and the more we find genuine enjoyment in teaching our kids, the more catalytic that is to our whole family.

        And then there is also asking the questions I mentioned in reply to Myrnie’s comment above. Asking what they are most concerned about may open the door to a comprimise. Is it being a part of sports? Being around groups of kids? There are lots of ways we have found to do both/and.

        My kids take some classes in areas I am not as good as teaching (i.e. music) and I make sure they can be with groups of kids their age in other ways. Mostly, though, as the front-line considerers of homeschooling and researching it all, we have the benefit of seeing so many thriving, happy kids that are homeschooled. Exposing people to that does wonders for breaking those stereotypes of “weird.”
        .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  8. I am grateful to learn all of this insight from people who are more experienced. I am doing a co-op homeschool preschool with 4 other friends (we rotate who teaches each week, and it is great), but I am nervous for when it is just me, teaching my kids. I think my concerns are learning how to balance being the teacher and being the mom…or do you differentiate? Right now, our “preschool” has set up lessons plans ready to go, but I am worried about when it is me doing everything. What kind of resources are out there that show what they should be learning at certain grade levels and such? (it seems to be constantly changing). I don’t want my children to worry about the competitive aspect of public school, but I do want them to excel and be on the same page as other children their age. I love this blog and I am grateful for those contributors and people leaving comments. It is helping me a lot to prepare for the coming years.

    • Sarah,

      There are lots of books and websites out there about what your state requires each grade level to have learned. If you have a good book store in your area they should be able to point you to some wonderful resources. You could also call your local school and ask what websites their teachers use to make sure they are staying on track with state requirements.

      As far as wearing the two hats of mama and teacher, I think it’s trickier with younger kids and at preschool age especially. Don’t be afraid of still beng mama and even holding your child on your lap as you teach a larger group. I did that with one of my kids in a team-teaching scenario and it helped them realize they were still my favourite and feel more secure. 🙂

      As kids get older they seem to get into the groove more of seeing you in both roles. This would be an excellent question to ask some of the more experienced homeschoolers here on our site, though.
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  9. Love this! Thanks for the encouragement. When I taught middle school and high school some days I had to remind myself that the answers were in the back of the book. Some homeschooling days are like that too. You don’t have to know every thing!
    .-= Sandra’s last blog: Our Family Rules! =-.

  10. Lovely article– I particularly appreciate the point you made that there may be reasons not to homeschool but stereotypes are not one of them.
    I have three little ones at home right now (one being an infant a week old!) and am open/curious about the possibility of homeschooling but often wish there was some helpful guidance on how to determine if homeschooling is right for you or your children (like a list of ideas/thoughts/considerations to ponder on the nature of your child and his best interest as you prayerfully consider it).
    Of course I know these actual reasons would be as many as families who homeschool– but I’d love to hear more about the discernment process, from families who chose and chose not to homeschool.

    • Congratulations on your new little one, Lisa! I think that is a great point you bring up, and maybe we can address those concerns in some future posts about how to determine if homeschooling is the right choice for your family.

      Thanks for the idea!

      • In regard to discerning whether or not hs is a good option for your family, I found the articles on the Sonlight curriculum website to be helpful.

        I finally (nervously!) jumped into hs this year. Looking back, I am SO glad I had the courage to try it! It has been a huge blessing to my family and I am so thankful I have been able to spend this year with my son at home with us. To anyone who is unsure, I would encourage them to simply try it for a year….the worst case scenario is that you will decide it isn’t right for your family, and then put your child into another form of schooling the following year. I am very glad I gave it a chance and didn’t let my worries/fears make the decision for me 🙂

    • Here is an essay I wrote about our reasons:

      Feel free to contact me with other questions. We are finishing our second year snd still loving it 🙂

  11. Oh how my heart needed to hear this today and to hear the responses from other women here as well! Thank you Misha!
    .-= Kristen’s last blog: Beautiful Blogs =-.

  12. The most important thing to remember when making the decision to homeschool is that it’s not a permanent decision. You can change your mind! We re-evaluate every year what our kids need to learn and how best they can learn that. My teens are now in FT college, 2/3 homeschooled and 1/3 homeschooled, based on their preferences and needs.

    For those of you worried about keeping up with schooled peers, don’t worry. We don’t have national standards, so a child who moves from one local school district to another is likely to be ahead in subjects and behind in other subjects. (Believe me. I did this many times.) If the schools themselves don’t care what other schools are doing, why should you? Take as much time as you need, don’t dwell on re-learning things you already know, and I can guarantee you your kids will be ahead of their conventionally-schooled peers no matter what curriculum you choose (or none!)
    .-= Princess Mom’s last blog: Cymatics: Sound and Creation =-.

    • I think that is such a good point, Princess Mom.

      Homeschooling doesn’t mean a forever decision–we can change and evaluate everyone’s needs as we go. I think approaching it that way also makes it less intimidating!
      .-= Jamie’s last blog: Beyond Stereotypes: The New Face of Homeschooling =-.

      • Princess Mom – I was thinking about your comment again this morning while I was running and felt like it was important to come back and say how much I agree with your point.

        We – regardless of how or where our children are educated – take our kids’ education one year at a time. There is no way of knowing what their unique needs will be ahead of time. And that flexibilty allows for be open to changes that suit who they are and what their current educational priorities are.

        It also takes a heap of pressure off of me to take it one year at a time.

        Thank you for saying what you did!
        .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

        • I totally agree! I was nervous about starting homeschooling this year (could NOT commit myself to homeschooling my 3 young children for the next 20 years!) But I decided I could take it a year at a time…and evaluate each year what the best educational route was for each of my children. It took a lot of the pressure off when I viewed it as something to review & consider annually. I knew that I could homeschool for the next 10 months…and beyond that, time would tell.

  13. As a homeschooling mom of six (in our 16th year), I’d say this is one of the most cogent (and non-repetitive!) posts on homeschooling I’ve read in ages.

    Way to go!
    .-= Alison Moore Smith’s last blog: Best Toys: 60 Educational Family Games =-.

  14. Loved this post. As a homeschool graduate, married to a homeschool graduate, and now a mom getting ready to homeschool (officially) in a few years, I am keenly aware of all the stereotypes. But the fact is, it isn’t about the blue jean jumpers, or the tie die, or making models of the solar system. It’s about fostering the love of learning and the love of family ~ and the love of family learning together.
    .-= Natalie @ Naddy’s Blog’s last blog: New Header 🙂 =-.

  15. Oh where have you been!!! What a great post!!! I love that “homeschoolers are a mosaic”… we are not all dressing our children in smocks, made from organic hemp, harvested at four in the morning before they got on with five hours of latin translation and…” I could go on!!! I guess it is true of all aspects of life, no one likes to be fitted into a box!
    .-= se7en’s last blog: How To Keep Se7en + 1 Kids Busy All Day… =-.

  16. I came to homeschooling (and even motherhood) somewhat reluctantly. Once I realized that it was the best way to preserve my kids’ boundless love of learning, I embraced it. I love learning alongside them (and, sometimes, trying to keep up!). It isn’t a walk in the park every day, and I could sure use a break right about now after a rather long winter indoors, but I really can’t imagine our life without homeschooling now.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  17. Amen to the article and all the comments! I have been doing preschool at home w/ my 4 year old and we will start a homeschooling hybrid program for Kindergarten next year (1 day a week at a Classical school where I currently teach, the other 4 at home). I think one of the most important things in ALL of motherhood, homeschooling included, is being CONFIDENT and INTENTIONAL in what we do.

    I recently had someone tell me that I shouldn’t homeschool my daughters because they would be *too smart* for public school if I ever had to send them. I just had to laugh : )

    • Oh that’s funny about your daughters being too smart. Haha – like that’s a bad thing or something? Most college students have no idea how to write, do research, or study for that matter. If you give your daughters those skills, they will certainly be much better off than most!
      .-= sarah’s last blog: Oh the things I could do… =-.

  18. Misha,

    Loved this article. I am a second generation homeschooler- you so hit the nail on the head! It never fails to surprise me some of the responses I get when I mention that I was homeschooled and am now homeschooling my own children. I like breaking their stereotype “boxes”.

    I wish I could tell moms not to stress so much. I get asked constantly if my mom ever changed my curriculum and how I felt about it- they are so very worried about ‘gaps’ and academic achievement. I love seeing the relief on their faces as I tell my story and they realize that as long as they are doing what works for their family and their children, the rest of it will fall into place.
    .-= Joy’s last blog: Love Story: Redemption… =-.

    • Joy, That is beautiful. One of the beauties and benefits of homeschooling is being able to make “course adjustments” that make what I am teaching most applicable and beneficial to my two very dynamic learners. They change and grow and I can shift what I teach them accordingly.
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  19. Incredible. Absolutely what I needed to read as we tread the waters of HSing. Definitely going to share this with my husband who was HS’d 20+ yrs ago. Times have changed! 🙂 Thanks Misha!

  20. Yes, I have to agree this is perfect timing. My husband and I have been discussing homeschooling my daughter next year, and after her conference today, we decided that public school is not going to meet her needs. His biggest concern though, was that I will still be teaching public school part-time next year, and how could she learn if I was not at home every day? Your point that school can happen at anytime helped to reassure him. School does not have to happen between 8 and 3:00 (and I’m also fortunate to have my mom there for her when I am not!)
    .-= Casey M’s last blog: Wow =-.

    • Casey – My kids were thrilled to hear that even our president was homeschooled for a time by his mother. Albeit in very unconventional hours (early, early morning before she went to work) but he was educated by his mother nonetheless. I think you are doing something beautiful by making it work for your family.
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  21. I was homeschooled myself, so I came into homeschooling my children without the usual stereotypes. BUT, I have had to struggle with doing things differently than my mother did and that’s hard! I was raised that a schedule is vital, we worked on school until it was done, even if that meant going from 8am to bedtime some days when things were hard. My mother was all about textbooks, workbooks and hated the very idea of phonics.

    With my oldest son, we’ve just started into school. I’m using phonics, which my mom is still against, but we’ve had wonderful success so far. I incorporate a lot of play into school (well, my son is four, but still) and he is learning while having fun. Every morning, he gets up and is eager for school . . . he LOVES it! That right there shows me that I’m doing the right thing. My son is eager to show off his new knowledge and skills to his papa and brother and he is having a blast and, to tell you the truth, so am I. So I guess my stereotype was that school had to be strict and not fun at all.
    .-= Expat Mom’s last blog: Special Days =-.

  22. Love this article, and I love that the stereotypes are slowly disappearing!

    We’re one of those “atypical” families (if there is such a thing anymore!). I work from home full time, and next month my husband will be making the transition to being a stay-at-home dad. We’ll homeschool together, (hopefully) balancing out each other’s strengths and weaknesses along the way.
    .-= Mandi @ Organizing Your Way ‘s last blog: Affiliate Marketing, Disclosures & Earning an Income from Your Blog =-.

  23. Half of my siblings were homeschooled and now I homeschool. My dad has commented how fortunate we are to have such a large HS community, and very regular opportunities to get together/learn together (weekly skating & swimming; writing workshops; bowling; pottery classes…) – all these things my mom and younger siblings didn’t have. Not to mention all the resources at our disposal. My mom had to order most of her materials from the States (we’re in Canada) and didn’t have inter-library loan. Anyways, times really have changed, for the better in many (but not all) ways. I do think that modern homeschool families have to guard against burnout, though, b/c we are apt to want to have it all/do it all which is not always best for the homefront or family relationships.

  24. Such great points, Misha, and beautifully written. I am proud to be able to break the jumpers and road kill dissecting sterotypes alongside you.
    .-= daffodil_lane’s last blog: Happy Valentine’s Day =-.

  25. I fought homeschooling for so long. Mostly because of all the stereotypical reasons people give for being wary of homeschooling: I’m not patient enough. I’ll never have time for myself. I don’t want to wear a jumper. I can’t teach math.
    We are still in our first year of homeschooling my 3rd grade daughter and we absolutely love it!! We love that we don’t have to fit into someone’s box and we can teach our kids to stay out of the box. There is such great freedom in homeschooling that I never realized before. I had always thought of it being restrictive and it is just the opposite.

  26. I am printing this out and hanging it on my fridge. I just started homeschooling my 4th grader in January. Your post today is what I needed to hear.

    .-= Aimee’s last blog: Homeschool: Journey =-.

  27. I am struggling with the decision to homeschool my oldest who will start kindergarten in the fall. My biggest concern is what do I do with the 2 year old who is into everything. Any suggestions?

  28. Misha ~ you are truly beautiful from the inside out. This is a gorgeous, never a truer word was spoken, piece.

  29. I had never even heard of homeschooling a few years ago. Nobody I know (not that I know many people at all) does it, and it just honestly never occurred to me to do such a thing. I’ve read a few of the comments, and I’m amazed at how many people out there are interested in homeschooling! I mean, I think it’s wonderful, really – but I do still wonder why I would want to homeschool. Currently I am with my son 24-7, going on two years now. I would really, really, really like a break from being with him ALL THE TIME. Really, kudos to those moms who can stand no breaks whatsoever. I might be more for it if I got a few hours to oh, you know, go to the doctor, dentist, hair dresser… maybe even take a shower? (Not that I don’t enjoy being with him, really I do! Absolutely.) And making friends is an issue for me – where on earth would he meet other kids? I’m new to this area, so I don’t know anyone at all. I don’t think I’m the best example for him, to be honest! I can’t even keep my floors clean. 😉
    .-= sarah’s last blog: Oh the things I could do… =-.

    • Hi Sarah. I don’t think that is a long-term strategy for successful homeschooling. It’s important for kids to have friends, and it’s important for Mom to have breaks!

      One of the things my husband and I talked about when we were considering home education was how we could make it work for all of us–to avoid burnout in Mom especially. Many homeschooling parents do burnout, and often I think it’s because they didn’t come up with a plan at the start.

      There are tons of homeschooling groups for kids out there, especially if you are in the US–so that is often an easy source for friends, field trips, sports, and so on.

      So just know that none of us are supermoms, and that homeschooling can work if it’s right for your family!

      All the best,

      .-= Simple Homeschool~Jamie’s last blog: At the Heart of Homeschooling =-.

    • No mom can stand not having a break:). I certainly can’t. Whether you homeschool or not, we all need a break at least occasionally from whatever the daily grind is. My oldest is in K, and I admit that sometimes I feel a little panicky when I think of the years stretching ahead. But, honestly, I feel panicky, too, when I think about how awful the district’s math curriculum is, or how bored my ridiculously early reader would get doing phonics again.

      There’s lots of ways for kids to meet other kids. All those extra-curricular things that kids at public school get to do? Homeschooled kids can do them, too–ballet, soccer, baseball, rock climbing, swimming lessons, art classes…lots of kids there to meet. Will they become close friends? Who knows. Going to school doesn’t guarantee making close friends, either. Making friends is hard for me, too, so thank goodness I have kids who go up and talk to other kids at the park! Then it’s easy for me to talk to the other kids’ parents:).

      Homeschooling obviously isn’t for everyone–but it’s not any more Super Mom than working outside the home and trying to keep the floors clean;).

  30. I loved this article. I sent it to a few friends on facebook – and to my surprise they all know you!!! (Through YWAM) Our family is working at YWAM Costa Rica and we just started homeschooling our four boys (ages 7,4,2 and newborn) 5 weeks ago. It’s a new adventure, and I am really loving this new website, it’s very helpful – especially being away from any sort of community groups or support groups, I feel pretty much on my own in this, really don’t know what I’m doing and find a lot of support online. (Homeschooling is actually ILLEGAL in Costa Rica, so I keep it pretty hush hush that I’m doing this! People here do not understand the concept at all) Sometimes i feel totally lost, but I really appreciate being able to get online and get some advice from other moms out there. Thanks for your great article – I definitely have some fears about raising typical “homeschooled kids” those ones we all saw growing up that are just so WEIRD. But I read this and I think it’s true – there’s a new face to homeschool and I don’t think I need to fear those stereotypes!
    .-= Leslie’s last blog: Some Thoughts on Behavior =-.

    • I hear what you are saying, Leslie. I tell people I can be weird and I was never homeschooled. 🙂 I think being online – as many have said – is an invaluable resource and encouragement! You sure have your hands full with four boys under seven – I hope you continue to feel really encouraged here.
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

    • Love this point. The individuality, or rather the freedom to express it, is what we seek. Freedoms for our children that we may not have had. Well said. 🙂

  31. Thoughts on ‘weird’ homeschool kids: I too have seen some HS kids that seem so awkward or socially inept but for the most part, the homeschoolers I know are not this way. Many are different, though, and this is what I want. They are sometimes quirky (ex. willing to express funky personal style in clothing), passionate (they know what they love; not peer-directed), many love words and great books (they’re not afraid to love classics or genres that their public-school peers would typically shun); they are respectful to adults (and children of different age groups) and can hold interesting conversations with you on a variety of topics. I don’t want my kids to be social misfits, it is true, but neither do I want them to look/talk/behave like the majority of kids I meet these days. I want them to know who THEY ARE and WHO THEY WANT TO BECOME and be willing to go against the grain where it is important for them to do so.

    • That is such a great point, Kika! “Comfortable in their own skin” is kind of how I think of it, and you’re right–I do hope it looks a little different to the “norm.”

      .-= Jamie’s last blog: At the Heart of Homeschooling =-.

    • I’m sorry if my comment came across too strong/wrong! By Weird, I just meant those children that are very socially awkward, withdrawn, have trouble making friends or relating to society – most likely relating to being overly sheltered or raised in a “bubble” so to speak. Recently I am seeing a total change – and more of what you are describing – which is the goal for our kids. I totally agree with your statement, “neither do I want them to look/talk/behave like the majority of kids I meet these days. I want them to know who they are and who they want to become and willing to go against the grain where it is important for them to do so.” Very true. This what I think we’re striving for! And also why i appreciated this article so much and shared it with several friends and family, hoping that they could get an understanding of how homeschool is changing.
      .-= Leslie’s last blog: Some Thoughts on Behavior =-.

      • Just so you know, I wasn’t at all offended by your comment it just inspired me to share my thoughts on the topic 🙂

  32. In my blog, I’ve actually been addressing the idea of homeschool archetypes, rather than stereotypes, that are present in secular homeschooling families. It’s partially tongue in cheek of course, as no person is ever fully an archetype, but stereotypes do tend to start somewhere — usually within personality archetypes, which are then negatively twisted.
    .-= Smrt Mama’s last blog: Secular Homeschool Archetypes: The Organized Mom =-.

  33. Great job, Meesh. This sounds like a lot of back and forth conversations you and I have had together. I do agree that it has changed so much; morphed into something very unique and free flowing, like any family or any child. Homeschooling has an identity all it’s own. Nicely said, as always.
    .-= Tracie’s last blog: =-.

  34. This is an interesting post. I started HSing my 2nd grader last fall, so this is our first year of officially homeschooling. When we started, I absolutely knew it would be the right thing for him academically, but wasn’t sure it would be the best for my sanity. I still have some issues to work out, such as making sure I get some alone time to recharge, and figuring out how to continue with my own career, which is important to me.

    I have found myself fighting the stereotypes in my own mind and in the mind of others. We are fortunate that we live in an area with many homeschoolers and a friendly environment. One interesting side effect of that is that there are so MANY choices, it’s hard for me to pick what to emulate! We are in a deliberate year of experimentation as we figure out what will work for our family, and I feel so fortunate to be finding a community around me to learn from, to try different things and figure out what will work for us. The challenge is to be confident in what we are doing and not feel that because we don’t fit one of the other “methods” of homeschooling, we are not doing it “right.”

    • Jennifer, I love what you said about “a deliberate year of experimentation.” That is such a great perspective and so healthy. And I totally hear you about the luxury and difficulty of having so much to say no to and figuring out what to say yes to (with self care and a career.)

      I had breakfast this morning with a mom who homeschools/ed seven – the oldest is is post-college, the youngest is 12. She was saying it’s a day by day dance, figuring it out for each season and child. And for each of us and our needs, too, I would imagine.

      I think your perspective is so good already. And it was helpful to me to hear it. Thank you!
      .-= Misha’s last blog: Stereotypes And Joy =-.

  35. I think it is quite a stereotyped subject! A lot seem to think it is a bad idea, but if you think about it, there are worse things going on lately like parents not spending any time with their kids cause of work etc…The presence of the parent in their childhood is oh so important.
    .-= Kelly’s last blog: Top 5 Posing and Directing Photography Tips =-.

  36. Growing up homeschooled, I’ve heard a lot of stereotypes about homeschooling. Friends, strangers and relatives make a lot of assumptions about homeschooling, here are some I’ve heard.

    1. They’ll be unsocialized – Also known as social misfits, you knew this would be the first one didn’t you?
    2. They’ll be sheltered
    3. They won’t be able to adjust to college
    4. They won’t fit in with society – Have you checked out society lately?
    5. People only do it for religious reasons
    6. They need to experience school things like proms, homecomings and recess – I know a lot of people whose lives would have been less “enlightened” had they not

  37. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things about it! my website is about human resources salary. would like some feedback if possible

  38. This discussion is addressing some of the very things I have been mulling over. I always said I was not built for homeschooling, and yet now that one daughter is in full time school and one in part time (every other day K) I find I miss them! AND I feel completely out of control of their learning experience. So much of my day seems to be getting them up to go to school, doing school assignments with them, getting them to bed at a good hour to get sleep for school – and in between they are gone. So now I am left with what have always been my biggest objections for our family to homeschool
    – public school exposes them to a lot of people and situations for growth that homeschooling would not. That is, I realize that homeschooling provides many opportunities and experiences, but perhaps what it does not do is force them to figure out how to deal with different types of people in close quarters?
    -how would I maintain my ‘good mom’ status in the face of being around my four kids ALL day, every day? I’m a firm believer that a good break can make for a better mom! Honestly, I think the too much together time might be my biggest fear, at the same time more time together is one of my motivations for considering hs!
    -we live rurally, so putting them in different classes etc. would require a lot of driving, and some months of the year it just isn’t a good idea.

    Any advice to offer in any of these quarters? I’m all ears!

    • My biggest fear about compulsory schooling is that my kids time will be overscheduled! We homeschool, live rurally, and only sign up for a few things, we use an online curriculum which has been fun (yes, FUN!) for all of us, and we let the rest of the time unfold naturally and enjoy this short time we have together before they rush off to be whoever they will become. Swim lessons, a summer nature course, a few playdates, we keep it easy and fun. I have never been afraid to say no to plans if I didn’t feel up to it, or if the kids were worn out. What’s nice about hs is that you may go at your own pace so to speak. I say, try it and see what you think! You really won’t know what you think until you do. And there is NO SHAME in changing your mind later. See what happens. I have always said that if my kids tell me they want to attend regular school at some point, I will be open to that. Don’t plan the next ten years. Just go day by day. It keeps you more sane. 🙂
      Sincere luck and love to you and yours.

      • Kimberly says:

        I’d love to hear which online curriculum you use! Thanks for your comment 🙂

        • We use the k12 online school (you can google it). We missed open enrollment the first year, and so had to pay for the “iCademy” which is technically considered “private schooling” so we didn’t have to tell anyone we were doing the unHoly “HomeSchooling” at first!!! But the iCademy is the same as the regular k12 curriculum. We are pleasantly surprised by how long learning actually takes. Not as long as a full school day when you have a one teacher to two students ratio. That leaves us with TONS of time for hiking, grocery gathering together, visiting friends and relatives together, and just plain old playing.

          As a side note, we have had to organize our days within the home so that I can have a few minutes to myself, and they can too. Quiet time as it were. But I find them to be wonderful about helping my husband and I with any chores, and they are especially aware that the messes they make were made by them and must be picked up by them. Mainstream be damned, we are raising sweet, smart and conscientious citizens of the world! It makes me proud. They will pull their own weight, and they are creative problem solvers.

          And any playground we go to, they are immediately surrounded by friends. So I guess I don’t worry too much about socialization. They chat with me all day as well!

          Hope this helps. Above all, do what you feel is right. You are the one who has to live it with them. Their fierce leader needs to be confident in her choices. {You could try Waldorf Schools if you find regular schooling to be lacking in the inspiration department, but are not yet ready for homeschooling. Waldorf schools pull creativity out of their children. Children will forever know how inspire themselves. 🙂 }

  39. Thank you for this well-written article, Misha. My oldest is nine and I’ve just now hit my stride. All is not perfect and we change things on a monthly basis but I’ve come to accept that as “okay.” I was inspired at our AZ homeschool convention where the speaker, Voddie Baucham, told everyone to “get off the plantation.” He meant that we often do things because we’ve always done it that way. He said that we are free to create our educational opportunities as we see fit for our family. We don’t have to fit into anyone else’s mold. I was so inspired by a lady I spoke with for computer support. She was a divorced mom. She told me that while I was talking to her, she had three children sitting on the floor of her office doing their lessons. Her company allows her to bring them to work with her so that she can help them in between calls. Where there is a will, there’s a way.

    The best thing that ever happened to us was discovering that my 9yo has learning glitches. We were advised to take it easy and just do some brain cross-training exercises and reading and math. We ended up basically unschooling all last fall and just playing Legos and learning robotics and taking nature walks and playing with friends. My son made so much amazing progress after three months! His reading fluency and writing skills were much improved! Not from endless drills and practice and tears but from relaxing and letting him grow into his learning and using other means to achieve the goal. I’m such a relaxed homeschooler now that I don’t worry about anything – even though I want them to have their A.A.s when they graduate from homeschool high school and go on to Hillsdale College. ; ) They are learning all the skills they need to do that but learning to love learning and having fun along the way!! Happy Home Educating!!

  40. What a wonderful overview!

    I realize that the longer I homeschool, the wider my own homeschooling approach becomes. And I have met such diverse homeschoolers who do it differently for differnt reasons. When I started out, I had an idealistic and rather narrow definition of homeschooling and now that we have travelled along some scenic schooling paths, I percieve the wide range of motives, methods, principles and ideals that shape homeschooling.

    While “nothing is cast in stone” in homeschooling, as long as it is all built on the Rock, we will love learning and grow and learn together.

  41. I love this post. Thank you for sharing the thoughts so close to our hearts. Most of the time we are confident in what we are doing! The rest of the time, we bluff. Because, in the end, you are what you pretend to be. And we are happy. xo

  42. LOL… jumpers and humor lost! Yes, there are stereotypes out there! Thank you for this fresh perspective and post. I agree completely that each homeschool journey is as unique as the family involved. It is important to support each other in the homeschool community, differences and all, because we (our children included) do get looked at and evaluated by others…. We need the confidence to be what we have been called to be, and live before an audience of ONE!

  43. It’s amazing to me how far homeschooling has come! I AM one of the “stereotypical” HS moms…right down to the denim jumper. Honestly, I am the only person I know like this. I am so thankful for the diversity that we have come in contact with! My kids probably get enough of “my version” of HS at home and it is a relief to experience how others do school when we meet with others at co-ops, convention, etc. Oh, and since I love to see how the families are made up on lists like this, we have almost 4 children (6 yob, 2 yog, 11 mob, and baby gir due in July).

  44. I have to say this is one of the most exciting times to homeschool! There is an overabundance of curriculum out there and lots of interesting families doing amazing things with their homeschools. What is incredibly exciting for me is how technology has brought all of us together so that as a community we can support one another and help each other succeed. It’s no longer accurate to say all homeschoolers are…(insert your own description). Instead, I am seeing more and more parents take control of their children’s education and teaching them to love learning which will benefit them so greatly in the long run.
    AprilS’s latest post: Video Games- A Solution to Student Engagement- or Just Gaming the System

    • My family homeschooled during a time when there was not much internet interaction as you have now, so I agree this is a great time to start homeschooling.

      The computer and the internet has improved the whole learning process for everyone, which can help learning become a life long process.

  45. I’m looking for a little advice. I love your blog, it has really helped in our decision to want to homeschool.
    My husband and I have been considering homeschooling our five year old who is due to start kindergarten this September. It’s something we both really believe in but due to family pressures (they all are convinced I will be ruining any chance she has at a normal life) I have been doubting myself and was having trouble making a final decision until this week. We decided that it was definitely what we wanted to do.
    I found out from my daughter today that my mother has completely sold her on the idea of public school by telling her that it is lots of fun and that she will make lots of friends. Now my daughter is convinced that she absolutely wants to go and is quite upset that she won’t be. I realize this could change by September but I guess I’m just wondering, should I take this into consideration? If she still feels very strongly about it should she get a say even at 5 years old?
    Also, any ideas on how I should deal with my mother. We are very close and I hate to jeopardize that. This is the only thing we disagree on and we just don’t discuss it.

    I was also told by a friend that I shouldn’t homeschool because my daughter is an only child, any thoughts on this?

    Lisa’s latest post: Conserve Energy While You Bake

  46. I love this post. “For every one of those aforementioned concerns, there is a family out there making them a moot point.”
    That is so true. I’m a single mom of 6 kidlets and I chose to homeschool them while trying to go back to school and working part time. People tell me all the time I’m crazy for not using the “free babysitter down the road” or that I must think I’m superwoman. In reality, it all boils down to priorities. We give up other things to be able to homeschool because I feel this way of education is the best choice for my family and education is important to me. You do what you have to do when you have to do it and the rest takes care of itself.

    And I also love one of the comments made above “there’s something important in our way of life that we want to share with our children.”

  47. i grew up surrounded by the denim-jumper-wearing homeschooling stereotype. i just figured it was something i’d never do because, like all those other families, we didn’t believe the phone was evil and there was a demon in the tv. moving overseas has made homeschooling a part of our lives, and i’m loving it so much. as we spend time overseas and in the states our kids will rotate being building school and homeschool (even when they go to building school overseas i’ll still supplement language arts in english at home), so i know it will always be a part of our lives. my daughter is on track to start building-kindergarten next year and i’m so excited for her but i’m already missing having her to myself all day to read books and explore things together! i’m looking forward to raising my kids with both experiences. hopefully we’ll all come out in one piece :).
    andie’s latest post: rachels favorites

  48. When my family homeschooled from K-12th grade many moons ago, I had to definitely learn not to take anything negatively or personally that anyone said or did. If I had, it definitely would have effected the outcome, because we confronted lots of strange reactions and shunning — even from neighbors and other family members.

    But being that I had a negative school experience, myself, and in spite of that I graduated with a degree in Art education (but only substituted for a short while.)
    However, having a degree or taught in a public school setting is not what was important — it was changing my attitude along with learning other new words…

    Words like resiliency, perseverance and consistency were very important — amongst many others that we learned along the way. Also, what we found — the simpler the process got — the easier it was to learn.

    My sons have graduated out into the workforce and become productive citizens, and that has been very gratifying. They are working in careers they enjoy and get along with all types of people. (People always, bring up the inability to socialize as a negative aspect of homeschooling, but I think that homeschooling allows for more opportunities to socialize.)

    I do have to say that we had no idea how the transition from home into the workforce was going to be, and they didn’t know if they would be able to compete. But it turned out they had all the skills they needed and then some.

    So homeschooling has been a great thing for my family, and I would recommend it to people as a way to ground and bond with your family.


  49. nicole says:

    I am enjoying my first year of homeschooling my daughter (Kindergarten). I wasn’t nervous when I started ( I was actually homeschooled for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th) but I did have to convince my in-laws, they are on board now and supportive. Luckily, homeschooling is very popular in our town and she’s going to do a weekly 3 hour co-op next year. This is a great article!

  50. Ahh how nice to read all those happy words ! Am glad for all of you.
    Good to know that there are people sincerely enjoying it! Someone mentioned general approval from the community. It means the change has begun 🙂
    You may want to check out the list of i gathered together.
    Monica’s latest post:
    All Benefits of E &8211 Learning

  51. After reading this post, my concept of homeschooling has changed ‘coz just like before I’m against of it but now, I’m confident enough to homeschool my children ‘coz one on one tutoring with my children is one of the most effective method of teaching.

  52. Melanie Rudd says:

    I’ve been homeschooling for 8 years and my sister just started last year. We were at our state convention a couple of weeks ago and I was telling her how much the face of homeschooling has changed just in the last 5 years! I now see a mixture of all kinds of people at the convention, and at our local homeschool group meetings. I think it’s great that people from different backgrounds and beliefs are learning about this wonderful method of helping our children to get the best education we can provide for them. Before homeschooling, only the very rich could have private tutors. Our children have private tutors who love them more than anyone else in the whole world and that is priceless!

  53. I received 1 st business loans when I was 20 and that aided my relatives a lot. However, I need the auto loan also.

  54. i really needed to read this post today. thank you!
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site’s latest post: How To Parent The “Right” Way and Baby Sleep Tips by Brenda Nixon

  55. Fantastic post!
    My stereotype was that the kids who were homeschooled were the kids who, due to ADD or ADHD couldn’t function well in the class room.
    I Had alot to learn! Now we’ve been homeschooling for ten years!
    karen Loe’s latest post: I Wanna Stay Home

  56. amy fiorita says:

    This is my first year in homeschooling. I was up against the lack of socializing. Both of my kids can talk with anyone of any age and they’re respectful plus have manners. You think you know your child, but homeschooling has been a great blessing because I’ve learned even more about each of my kids!!

Share Your Thoughts


CommentLuv badge

Never miss a blog post,
PLUS get Jamie’s FREE ebook: