Honestly, I’ve never been asked why I think I’m qualified to homeschool my children, but I’m sure some have silently had that thought.
We live in a society obsessed with credentialing, so of course, everyone assumes you need a government issued teaching certificate to be a competent homeschooler. I understand their confusion; kids can’t even have a lemonade stand without proper licensing today.
So why would any parent think they are qualified to homeschool their child? Just who do they think they are?
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Am I Qualified to Homeschool My Child?
Fortunately, I played the school game very well. Good grades, honor graduate, scholarship, and college attendance leading ultimately to a Master’s degree, so when people quiz me, they usually relent and assume I’m probably an okay homeschool mom.
However, did you fail Algebra? Are you dyslexic and struggled with reading? Maybe you didn’t attend college, but does this mean you aren’t qualified to homeschool your child?
But here’s a little homeschooling secret for you, as you teach you also learn. So you don’t have to agonize over whether you’re smart enough to homeschool your children. No one knows everything, not even a certified teacher.
The other worry parents often have is that they don’t know how to teach. Isn’t that the essential skill teachers learn in college? But I have a question for you, is there some magical song and dance that will force learning into your head? Real learning requires a willing recipient of the knowledge, not the latest and greatest pedagogical methods.
Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent. ~ Plato
Hmmm, I wonder if Plato had a teaching certificate?
So what qualifies a parent to homeschool their children?
Personal Knowledge of Your Child
I don’t mean to be snarky, but they are your children. No matter whether you gave birth to them, adopted them, took them in as foster children, or assumed custody due to a difficult situation, you took on the responsibility of giving them a loving, safe home.
Because of the intimate relationship you have with them, no one knows your child better than you. Even the best of teachers don’t have the insight you have as the parent, because we all know how children can be completely different at home compared to the rest of the world.
Let’s look at this even more critically; a teacher has 20 or more different students every year. You have your children day after day, year after year. Who knows better what they need and respond to?
Accessing Outside Resources in Your Homeschool
As I said before, no one knows everything, and for that, I’m happy. However, It is simple to find outside resources to help your child with whatever subject they’re interested in learning.
- Find online videos or lessons
- Check out DVDs or books from the library
- Find a tutor to help your child
- Visit museums
- Participate in local classes or co-ops
I have no idea how to play the flute, but my 16-year-old learned by attending our music co-op.
Some homeschool moms get creative and join forces to tackle subjects. Perhaps one mom teaches math while the other helps with writing. There are no rules dictating how you make homeschooling work in your family.
Wealth of Homeschooling Information
There is a reason this is called the information age. The amount of information and resources we carry around in our pocket is unfathomable.
I like to think of this as the decentralization and deregulation of information. What we would like to learn about is no more than a few clicks away.
In our family, we routinely search for answers to the most mundane of questions, but in doing so, we learn so many new things. This research also shows us the interconnectedness of life and how seemingly unrelated topics can link in surprising ways. I had no idea of the connection between docking a dog’s tail and taxes until we recently questioned the practice.
However, this amount of information has a downside. The biggest struggle homeschooling parents of today face is wading through the various methods, curriculum, and beliefs about education. The access to information is prolific, but we have to decide what is important and what is true.
We should use this access to information as the boost we need to be confident in our choice to homeschool rather than get bogged down in the numerous choices.
A Shift in Our Educational Mindset
Above all else, the most significant change we can make to better prepare ourselves to live a life of learning with our children is to have a shift in our educational mindset.
Believing some experts have a required superpower that you don’t possess is what makes you feel inadequate to the job of encouraging curiosity and learning in your children. I want you to stop and think about that for a minute.
The very system that most of us navigated in preparation for our lives as adults, that was deemed so vital to our success, apparently didn’t prepare us enough to raise our children. They believe so little in the product they produced (high school graduates) that we’re not even considered fit to teach our children basic math, the alphabet, and colors or shapes. Does anyone else find this as ridiculous as I do?
Once we see education as something other than credits and grades, our mindset surrounding learning opens up in a way that cannot be contained within four walls and a school year.
Be a Brave Homeschooling Parent
Deciding to homeschool takes a fair amount of braveness. We have to prepare ourselves for the unsolicited questions and comments. The burden of proof we are held to is high, but don’t let this intimidate you.
You can homeschool your children. In fact, there is no one better prepared for the job!