Homeschooling – Being the Teacher

Many parents who consider homeschooling are concerned with their own ability to teach their children. They feel that they are not trained as a teacher, or they do not have enough education, or that they will in some way make a mistake and permanently damage their child. Having homeschooled all three of my children, I am here to convince you that you can teach your child if that is what you want.

Legalities

Let’s first look at some legal issues. Each state has its own requirements for allowing parents to homeschool their children, but there are several common legal requirements. Again, you need to research your particular state.

First, you typically do not have to be a licensed professional teacher to homeschool your child. This means that you do not have to take any courses in education or child development if you do not want to. There are many resources available to you both online and at your library which can tell you everything you will need to create a good curriculum for your child, down to the individual daily lesson plan. If you still feel that you need help doing this, there are full curriculums you can buy that will do this for you.

Second, the usual requirement for parents to homeschool is a high-school diploma. As long as one of the parents has a high-school diploma, you are legally able to homeschool your child. There is typically no requirement for a college degree, and certainly no requirement of a specific college degree. Some states are satisfied if one of the parents has a GED, but some states do not accept a GED as an adequate substitute. Again, look into the requirements for your state.

Finally, you can homeschool your child for any reason you want. You do not have to claim any particular religious affiliation or anything else of that nature. You do not have to tell the state why you are homeschooling, only that you are. If you want to say more, certainly you can do so, but there is no requirement that you do.

Knowing Enough

While most parents are legally able to homeschool their children, many parents feel that they are inadequately prepared to do so. Maybe they were not top-notch students, or it has been a long time since they were in school, or some other concern. For whatever reason, parents often feel they simply do not know enough to teach their children.

My response to this has two pieces. First, I want to reassure you that you DO know enough to teach your child, particularly in the early grades. Second, when we started to reach areas where the parents did not already know what had to be taught, the process of learning WITH the child became an exhilarating and bonding process, bringing our family closer together. Let me explain both points.

First, when a child is starting school, they are learning material that you do know. Well into middle school, the material the child is learning is something that is commonly understood by adults. What you need more than academic learning is patience, understanding, and love for your child. Teaching someone to read, to handle arithmetic, and to write understandable sentences is not a question of learning but a question of helping your child. Even elementary science can be easily acquired by the parent from free resources, as well has the necessary history and other subjects.

Only after the child has become a more advanced student will there be a potential lack of learning on the part of the parent. By this point, however, you have developed a sense of trust and rapport with your child well beyond what is normal, so now you and your child can start learning together. Again, there is a wealth of information available to you from free resources, both online and in person. You can go to museums together, conventions together, and do research together. You will perform experiments where neither you nor your child knows what is going to happen until you complete the experiment. This co-learning is incredibly satisfying, and it builds an almost unbreakable bond between you and your child.

Do not let your uncertainty and doubt hold you back from homeschooling. If you have the desire to teach your child yourself, let yourself be guided by your hope and your love rather than your fears. Your child will benefit from your interaction, you will benefit from the strengthening of your family, and everyone will learn to love learning since it was done together.