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Are You Qualified to Teach Your Own Child?

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Not everyone is qualified to teach their own child. 

Staunch homeschooling advocates will answer the question, "Are you qualified to teach your own child?" with an unequivocable YES. 

YES. Simply by being a child's parent gives you the qualifications to educate them yourself at home. Parents do the very best they can, and by the grace of God any educational gaps  melt away. Anyone can homeschool their own child. 

Flip the coin.

Many homeschool critics will answer that same question with a resounding NO.

NO. You must have QUALIFICATIONS to homeschool your children. You must have a high school/college/teaching degree. You must have prior EXPERIENCE. Some children are just better off in brick and mortar school.

When anyone sits down with me to find out more about homeschooling and to SERIOUSLY talk homeschooling with me, I tell them they CAN DO IT! I tell them my own story, and then I give them my Homegrown Learners business card and encourage them to visit the blog.

My desire is to further the cause of homeschooling through encouragement, ideas, and honest conversations. 

Let's have an honest conversation about people being qualified to teach their own child:

* Society has trained most parents to believe they are NOT qualified to teach their own children. 

* Many parents don't homeschool because they think there are too many sacrifices involved. 

* If you really want to home educate you will figure out a way to bolster your qualifications to give your child the best education possible.

Case in Point

Just last week I was having a conversation with someone I've known for quite a few years now. They were telling me that there was no way they could homeschool their child because they "just won't listen to me. We are too much alike and would butt heads all day long. Homeschool would be a disaster. Besides, I want my child to know what the real world is like."

{Let's not even address the last part of the comment above -- we just know that is false.}

This person is NOT qualified to teach their own child. The desire, heart, and faith in herself and her child is lacking. 

My heart breaks for a generation of children who are being raised by parents who don't even think their children will listen to them.

The mom who made this statement is VERY intelligent and capable. She would be a fine teacher for her child. 

Our culture, however, leads us to believe we aren't an authority figure for our child. Children place more stock in what their peers and teachers say than what their own parents say. It's alarming when you really stop and think about the gravity of the situation. 

Homeschooling is not a Sacrifice

It's funny, because I used to think that homeschooling was some big "sacrifice" on my part. I thought I would really be giving up a lot to keep my children at home.

I was supposedly giving up:

  • income
  • time
  • personal interests and goals
  • sanity

Those were the thoughts of a misguided, selfish mom who had a lot of growing up to do. I see now that we have GAINED so very much through homeschooling. Some days it just hits me how much we have gained. Some of the benefits include:

  • a bond with my children that is incredibly deep
  • TIME for our family 
  • authority - my children view their dad and I as authority - not peers 
  • intellectual DEPTH 

Equip Yourself to Homeschool

I don't believe you can just set out to homeschool without a plan. 

Homeschooling takes a lot of careful research and strategy. You need to know what the different methods are. You need to know what kind of learners you have, and what method best fits your learners.

You need to be committed to lifelong learning and pursuit of excellence.

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Resources for Learning

This year I have felt more "qualified" than ever before to teach my children. I believe this directly correlates to the amount of reading and learning I have been doing in my "free" time.  It also speaks volumes of the community I live in and the many moms I am so grateful to call friends. 

Special thanks to Classical Conversations and its ongoing committment to equip parents to train their children in excellence. The community support and culture of learning is something I greatly treasure.

In addition to our weekly community meetings, I also read a variety of books to keep learning with my children, and learning HOW to best serve their needs.   It's also so important to keep yourself EDUCATED - not just one step ahead of what your children are learning, but educated in a broad sense. 

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My favorite resources right now include:

The Core

The Question

Hold Onto Your Kids

Amusing Ourselves to Death

The History of the Ancient World(and other books in this series)

The Well Trained Mind

Recovering The Lost Tools of Learning

 

How do you keep your skills as a homeschool teacher sharp? What are your favorite ways to keep learning and growing? 

And please remember.... You ARE qualified to teach your own child!