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Answering the Nay-sayers

"You're Not Qualified to Teach Your Children"

How do you respond intelligently when someone tells you that you are not qualified to teach your children? Below some of our HomeschoolChristian.com message board participants give some possible responses.

Laurajean: You are qualified to be your children's parent. You do not need any special credential or degree or education to be their mother. A degree does not a teacher make. Because someone has a degree or credentials, does that mean they care about your children or love them more than you do...or does that make them more concerned about your children's welfare and education? Just tell them to remember that the ark was built by amateurs, and the Titanic was built by professionals!

Lorinda: I am credentialed and have a Master's in education. It doesn't help one bit in homeschool teaching - or classroom teaching for that matter! Experience and asking questions of other teachers is the best way for any teacher to learn - whether in the classroom or at home.

Tell them you have resources totalling hundreds of years of experience at home - US! I've been homeschooling for 20 years, have taught in public and private Christian schools and find the best information here at HomeschoolChristian.com.

Kysa: I am qualified to teach at college--but not high school. In most states, one must have taken "secondary education" (a worthless block of at 1 year of college courses) to teach in a high school. But to teach in a college, one must have at least a master's degree in one's subject matter. I am, therefore, qualified to teach biology and chemistry to college students. I could even teach those classes to college students planning to be teachers! So if it is SSSSSOOOOO important to take those "education" courses, why don't the professors who teach the teachers have to take education courses BEFORE they teach the teachers?

Tammy in AL: But, I've been teaching my children since they were born! Haven't we all? We teach them that when they are hungry we'll feed them (and they figure out very quickly that we move even faster if they cry louder, especially at 2 a.m. ). We teach them that if they pull themselves up on their hands and knees they can scoot around, and eventually get up and walk. We teach them to talk. We teach them that they shouldn't touch hot things or they will get burned. We teach them our likes and dislikes in lots of things, whether we mean to or not. Parents teach their children so many things before school ever comes anywhere near their children's lives. I just can't grasp the concept that a parent needs some kind of a piece of paper to certify they can teach their own child.

Diane Smith: Here are a few points to use:

  1. You have been teaching your children since birth already. Homeschooling is a continuation.
  2. The requirements for a teaching credential are really quite MINIMAL. Passing those requirements does not insure that a teacher will be the best possible teacher for your child or even an effective communicator of ideas. Who knows if the teacher squeaked by in the some of the undergrad subjects? They're not experts. Most homeschoolers read as much info about teaching approaches and learning styles in the first couple of years as the student teacher in his/her course of study.
  3. These studies
    Study 1
    Study 2
    show that a parent's education - or lack of - DOES NOT have any effect on the test scores of homeschoolers. Through a parent's commitment, effort, enthusiasm, and attention, a child easily picks up on the importance of education. The same study shows that in public school, student scores DID drop in the cases of parents with limited education. It is speculated that this was due to the "hands-off" approach of some parents in the public school situation, their inability - or disinterest - in conveying the importance (or even love) of learning, their inability to establish and enforce good study habits at home, etc. You hear everyone talking about how important it is for parents to be involved with their child's education in the public school system. Homeschoolers have the advantage of having that involvement built into every moment of everyday.
  4. As mentioned above, teachers are not often experts in what they are teaching. A homeschooler does not need to worry about not being an expert either. What better way to teach a child HOW TO LEARN than to admit when you don't know the answer and then walk through the process of finding out together - research skills at their best. You may not be able to answer a question at the drop of a hat - GOOD! You would be doing your child a favor by telling him/her all the answers. But instead your child will be learning how to find out those answers. I think that's one reason why homeschoolers are often good self-learners.
  5. It is a fact that very often, teachers are placed in classrooms outside of the area that they were trained in. PE coaches become history teachers, 2nd grade teachers teach 6th grade, etc.
  6. As someone else mentioned, teachers will never have the same love and committment to YOUR child, or the same understanding of strengths and weaknesses that you will.
  7. A credentialed teacher with a classroom of 25+ kids with different learning styles and needs cannot compete with the one-on-one learning opportunity provided with a homeschool parent.
  8. You've been through K-12 courses yourself during your life as a student. Homeschooling is your refresher.

Cathe: Who is being rude enough to say that to you? You are not required to answer them. Develop some "getaway line" such as, "We're doing very well, thank you." and remove yourself.

Ellie: If your husband's relatives are bringing up this subject, he needs to have a discussion with them and tell them to lay off, because he trusts you and that's all that matters. In the absence of his support, I would sweetly refuse to discuss it with any of them, and I wouldn't try to "prove" to them that my children are being educated, either--no testing, no showing samples of their work, nothing.

Judy G: It doesn't matter, they won't get it anyway. I have a B.A., a lifetime California teaching credential, and 10 years classroom teaching experience. But when my cousin found out I was homeschooling, she was astounded. "How do you make sure they're learning what the state wants them to know?" She was serious! So don't worry, because you'll NEVER please them! And by the way, I've learned a lot more about teaching from homeschooling than I ever learned in my credential program, or all that classroom teaching. Plus I get a lot more support here. So smile at them, and go for it!

HomeschoolChristian.com Resources Related to This Article

Homeschooling Support Section for more tips and encouragement!