I originally thought that starting a homeschool blog as a licensed teacher would be helpful. Maybe I'd be able to contribute something important, some necessary knowledge into the homeschool realm.
Now I worry that my voice might actually be detrimental. Am I perpetuating this harmful idea that only certain people are qualified to homeschool their own children?
Over the past few years, I've realized this truth:
You don't need to be a teacher to homeschool your children, just a learner.
The word "just" is in no way meant to demean being a learner. It emphasizes this: we all can be learners, therefore we all can homeschool our children.
This is where I like to throw in the caveat that if you dropped out of your own schooling early, then completing your own education before beginning your child's makes sense. But for most people with a high school diploma or more, educating their own children is completely possible, if they are open to learning alongside their children.
There are three main reasons why I believe this is true:
1. Education trends are constantly changing.
The education degree I earned more than 15 years ago is outdated. The methods I learned have been disproven with more "research," and approaches to classroom management have now become politically incorrect. A teacher does not rely on their teaching degree alone, but the constant intake of new ideas and information: on learning.
I started my student-teaching experience in a rural school district in Indiana. I arrived rosy-faced and excited for the possibility of changing the world. Teachers make a difference!!! But, I was quickly told by my supervising teacher, who apparently wanted a student teacher to ease the long wait until his retirement, that my methods were too liberal for this rural place. Reading real books was too extreme for this school, and instead, I should rely on piles and piles of worksheets to delve out to the class in order to ensure real learning occurred. I quickly had to learn how to appease the old ways of this teacher while hopefully getting something meaningful out of this experience.
That story illustrates that a teaching degree varies in meaningfulness from place to place. The home is a place where a teaching degree isn't very meaningful.
2. There is a lot you don't know
While there is a lot that you do know, understanding that our knowledge isn't complete is key to homeschooling. We don't want to just impart wisdom onto our children, but we want to teach them to thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Having the mindset that you know all that there is to know doesn't model this important aspect of learning for our children.
When we go into a lesson showing our children that we are learning too, the pressure to have all the answers is gone. If you didn't feel like your own education was complete, now's your chance to complete it. Read a book that you feel like you missed out on. Go to the library and research that economical principle that you never learned in school. It doesn't matter if you haven't learned it before, because you're learning it now.
3. You already have the "management" part down
Much of teacher education revolves around managing a classroom. Getting 30 students to stay quiet enough to listen to what your saying, compliant enough to do what you tell them to, and organized enough so that the day doesn't explode into chaos is probably one of the most difficult parts of teaching. But when you homeschool, you've already been doing those things for years with your own small brood of people.
The systems you use to manage your home have probably been in place since the start. When homeschooling enters the picture, you figure out what changes need to be made to your space, schedule, and discipline in order to make it work. No one can teach you this. Your home is unique, your children are unique, and so are you. Find all the tips and ideas that you can on Pinterest, but no one will be able to tell you what is best for your family.
Homeschooling isn't easy, just as teaching in a school isn't. Don't let the comments of people who have never been in your shoes deter you from this amazing lifestyle.