I’m the Homeschool Mom Without an Education Degree

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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Think you need an education degree to homeschool successfully? Think again.

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.

I’m THAT Homeschool Mom — the One Without an Education Degree

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. Click to Tweet

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 am THAT Homeschool Mom -- the One Without an Education Degree

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?

Think you need an education degree to homeschool successfully? Think again!

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24 thoughts on “I’m the Homeschool Mom Without an Education Degree”

  1. What makes you better than the people who spend so much time and money having to get a degree to teach? This isn’t about knowing your kids. This is about standardization. You may be a better teacher than a person who got a degree but it’s not right to hold some people to a certain standard and then to hold others to a different one. I have a degree in education and earning it was not easy. It is insulting that anyone can choose to be an educator without putting that work and dedication in. It isn’t your fault that the law allows you to do this but it is insulting the way you flaunt it. No other profession is like this. It would never be legal for someone to perform surgery on their children at home without a medical degree. Why should teaching be any different?

    1. I respectfully disagree. Formal training can be incredibly valuable, but that doesn’t make it completely necessary in every situation. There are many professions that happily hire employees based on experience in lieu of formal training. Granted, that’s not the case for doctors or nurses as you mentioned, but we would have a dramatically different workforce if everyone had to have a formal degree in order to work in their current fields. That said, I fully acknowledge I would need formal training to teach in a classroom setting. That’s a completely different scenario than teaching my own children in my home, though.

      My thoughts on educating my children and my right to do so shouldn’t be insulting to public educators. I’m truly grateful for the work you do, but choose a different educational model for my children. That model isn’t available through the American public education system. That doesn’t undermine the work you do or the degree you earned at all. It just means that I’ve done my own work and continue to do so in order to help my children thrive according to their unique giftings, goals, and needs.

      Again, I’m grateful for public educators. You are a gift to our communities now more than ever.

  2. This is a good post! I’m a homeschool mom with a degree and I have said so many times that my degree has been such a hinderance to being a homeschool mom. It’s put me in a box I’ve felt like. At first I thought I had to have my little classroom and do everything like the schools. I’m so thankful for what homeschooling has taught me. You don’t need a degree to homeschool, just a love for your children and learning.

  3. Love this post! in my opinion it’s not the degree that they should be looking for rather the passion of the person who wants to teach. When you have the passion to teach, then for sure your students will learn a lot from you, because you can deliver all the lessons in an exciting and enjoyable way, not the typical boring class in schools.

  4. I LOVE THIS! When people hear that I homeschool, the response I usually get, “Yeah, but you were a teacher.” I try to explain that the 2 are totally different. This post explains it so well!

  5. Great points, Emily!

    One of the questions I heard over and over was, “But … how will you teach them higher math and science?” I replied that if the children were supposed to be able to understand those textbooks, I thought I should be able to as well. It was never a question in my mind whether I was capable of teaching them.

  6. I homeschooled my oldest all the way thru to college with out a college degree myself. It was always about what was the best fit for her school wise and homeschooling was her choice so even those subjects that I didn’t know we dove in and tried together. Now she is in college and working towards a degree in cultural anthropology, at least that’s the current plan. As a parent you don’t let anyone tell you what is best for your kid, you are the one who gets to make that call.

  7. You are right. I’m a retired hs mom, and still have no degree.
    I suffered through my ps education under teachers who not only did not know how to teach, but also did not know how to be decent people.
    In my one semester of college (got my MRS degree!) in advanced placement English class, my professor did not know a gerund from a participle and could not diagram a sentence.
    All of my 5 children attended college with earned scholarships and all graduated with very good records. All are employed in their chosen fields. All are moral, happy adults who together have given me 15 grandchildren so far.
    A piece of paper did not produce that.

  8. Love this article ! And I totally agree, I am also that mom that has no degrees , but I’m feel confident that I can learn together with them. I am french but I’ve learned how to teach my kids how to read in english too, now we are learning italian together! when I was young I didn’t like math , now I have so much fun doing math with my kids!

    1. So EXCELLENT! Exactly my thought on the subject. God has blessed parents with the ability to educate their own children. If He gives us the responsibility to teach them spiritual matters, which He does, wouldn’t we also be capable of much less important things like academic learning!

  9. Dusti Palenzuela

    Thank you!!!! My 4 year old has been in a preschool for the last two years and I recently got out of the Navy to be at home with both of our kids. We travel a lot due to my husband still being military and we don’t live in either state where our families reside… homeschooling has been the next step for us this next year as my son starts kindergarten… I have been doubting myself bc I don’t have a degree and all the moms that I know homeschool do. Thank you thank you for your words of inspiration!!!

    1. I’m so thankful you stopped by, Dusti! Don’t ever doubt yourself… you can do this! <3

    2. Dusti,
      Just want to let you know I have friends who have teaching degrees and are employed as teachers who have told me, “I don’t think I could teach my own children.”
      It’s common, in fact, for them to think that way. However, I cannot explain that!

    3. My son’s special needs teacher said homeschooling her child didn’t work. My closest friend who is also special education background said she couldn’t homeschool either. The piece of paper doesn’t always mean anything. You know your babies better than anyone.

  10. I hear “but how can you homeschool, you never went to college” all the time. The funny thing is, where I live you don’t even need a high school equivalent to homeschool. You don’t in most states, for that matter. And studies show that even children who ARE homeschooled by mom’s without a GED or high school diploma do better than their counterparts in school. Because mothers care more than anyone else does and know their children better than anyone else does.

    I was just recently reading Loretta Lynn’s book and her mother, who probably had a third grade education, taught her to read and she considers her the best teacher she has ever had. A mother with limited education who wants to homeschool her children now has many more resources than all of the mothers who did it in olden times. We have the internet, the public library and, if we so desire, boxed curricula that tells is exactly how to teach. Unless you cannot read, you will find a way to teach your child if you are determined to.

    I often see college graduates my age whose grammar and spelling is abysmal. Mine is nowhere near perfect but when colleges are graduating people who think medieval is spelled midevil and cannot tell tell, too and to apart, what does a degree really mean?? Very little of what I learned was learned in school and having had enough of the peer pressure and senseless memorization of school is exactly why I didn’t go to college. I just wanted to be done with it and get to learning a real trade.

  11. Very encouraging. I do not have a education degree either. There are some subjects that I really really struggle with!
    One thing that stuck out the most was that you are not educating the kids with the governments public school model in mind…. That was probably the most encouraging thing I have read in a looooong time…. Thank you!!

    1. You’re so welcome, Ellen! That’s something I point out frequently when asked about my qualifications. It helps to remind others that our goals as homeschoolers don’t necessarily reflect those of the public school model.

  12. i have gotten that comment about being under qualified.. I feel like i am way more qualified to teach my own kids than anyone else on this planet. I know the ins and outs of my kids personalities and their limits and if they are acting out because they need to move or if they are just being silly goobers.. my son oh my goodness if he was in school i can’t even imagine the trouble he would be in. He is constantly moving.. hes a 7 year old boy they get what 15-20 minutes of recess 30 if they are lucky but its probably split up..!! he is literally moving ALL DAY it makes even me crazy sometimes haha! he is also more stubborn than a rock.. he would be labeled the trouble kid in class for not being cooperative and probably being rather disruptive… i don’t want that label for my kids when i know how his mind works..

    1. I totally agree. There’s no one who knows your kids better than you and what’s more is that there’s no one who loves them more than you. Those are the very reasons to be the one to teach them! And those things that would get your 7 year-old in trouble are the things that make homeschooling such a great choice. Kids don’t have to be disciplined for the things that make up their personalities. 😉

  13. I love this and thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts. I am also a homeschool mom with no degree and felt intimated about it, but when God called me to homeschool it was more about HIM and HIS best for our family, not my degree or credentials. God is so good, we are going into our fifth year of homeschooling!! And I love it (most of the time) 😉 Teaching all three children now: 8th, 3rd, 1st <3

  14. Excellent post, Emily! And you’re so right. Every teacher I’ve talked to about this says that they spent the majority of their time in college being trained in classroom management. And that isn’t something that homeschool moms need to know how to do.

  15. I have an education degree but I don’t believe it makes me anymore qualified than any other parent. My degree is in Early Childhood Education and I think it helps me feel more confident in my decision to let my children play more than “learn.” Everything I was taught in college talked about how important play is across all the developmental domains. However, when I got into the classroom to do my student teaching and later as a sub teacher I realized how little control teachers have over their classrooms. This saddens me and was one of the things that pushed me into looking at homeschool. The worse place to sub was kindergarten, which is all day, no centers for play, and the children were given worksheets to practice estimation. I wanted to throw the lesson plan out the window and let the kids explore measurement with blocks, themselves, whatever they could find, anything but a worksheet. But I knew that the teacher was as bound to her lesson plans as I was.

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