Isn’t it interesting that a homeschool parent’s qualifications or lack thereof can cause objections to homeschooling? For whatever reason, there’s this notion that only those with a background in education are truly capable of teaching and training children and teenagers.
Here’s the thing, I am that homeschool mom without an education degree. I am that parent in question and I want to shout it loud that it can be done and done well.
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So, if you find yourself feeling a little unqualified today, listen up. I want you to know why I don’t let it hold me back and why you shouldn’t either.
I’m THAT Homeschool Mom —
the One Without an Education Degree
It doesn’t happen often anymore, but I know what it’s like to have a family member or friend from church insinuate that I’m doing my kids a disservice by homeschooling them. I also know the pressure of feeling the need to defend myself to a stranger who’s barreling down and discrediting the homeschool lifestyle we’re privileged to live.
I know those things well. When those moments come, they come hard and fast and I have to remind myself quickly that I am enough and I’m the best choice for educating my kids – even without an education degree. Here are the other truths I hold on to in those moments:
My Qualifications Are Relative
It never crossed my mind that some could deem me unqualified to teach my own children when we began our homeschool journey back in 2009, especially since the only disqualifier was that missing education degree.
Granted, I’ve not had someone challenge my personal qualifications or abilities, but I’ve had my share of conversations about why homeschool parents should and shouldn’t be allowed to educate their children.
When those conversations occur, I admit that an education degree can be helpful at times when you’re homeschooling. However, I also point out that it shouldn’t be required because parents are teachers by default. Well before preschool or kindergarten age, parents work with their children to teach all that’s needed in each stage of development.
Some of those cases involve verbal instruction, some involve leading by example, and some rely on watching within arm’s reach as children learn on their own.
Indeed, parenting and teaching are often one and the same even when there’s no formal training.Parenting & teaching are often one and the same -- even when there’s no formal training.
No one objects to parents teaching their own children anything and everything needed before preschool age. But somewhere along the way, parents have been duped into thinking they aren’t qualified to teach their own children beyond that point.
It’s nonsense and I reject it.
As a parent, I am perfectly qualified to teach my own children because I’m a capable person. I can think for myself, learn new things, and guide my kids through all their stages. I don’t need to turn them over to “the experts” simply because my kids are of the compulsory age for school enrollment.
I Can Learn What I Need to Know
I don’t have to have an education degree to homeschool because I can teach by learning with my children. The best part is that I can learn as I go and learn what I need to know in the season I’m in. I don’t have to be an expert on every subject on every level.
It’s encouraging to know that I don’t have to know all the answers in order to homeschool. I don’t have to be an expert in astrophysics, calculus, or 18th century literature. Those things are nice, but I don’t have to be well-versed in any of those things in order to homeschool.
In fact, I can homeschool without a degree because what I’ve learned or not learned doesn’t always matter. What I’m learning now matters more.
A willingness to learn alongside my kids provides them with a powerful example. It shows them that I’m teachable and that I’m ready to stretch myself in ways I never planned.
Is there a better posture for learning than this? I doubt it.
Classroom learning and Homeschooling Aren’t the Same
The concern with qualification isn’t usually about qualification at all. It usually comes down to the fact that some people simply don’t believe that legitimate education can happen outside of a classroom.
In other words, they don’t trust what goes against their idea of normal.
That said, I admit that I would seek further training if I had plans to teach in a classroom with twentyish kids each day. Despite being perfectly qualified and capable of teaching my children according to my beliefs about education, I would need training if I wanted to teach all of yours according to a government-sanctioned structure.
I can be that homeschool mom without an education degree because I’m not educating my children with the government’s public school model in mind.
I don’t need that degree because the methods and philosophies that come with an education degree don’t align with my own.
In the end, what good is this blessed education degree if it only prepares me to teach in a traditional classroom?
So, yeah, I absolutely am that mom homeschooling without an education degree and I’m okay with that.
What about you? What encouragement would you share with other homeschoolers who feel unqualified to teach?