I can’t speak for you, but I do not have a degree in elementary or secondary education.
Though I am teaching my children, I have no certificate to prove my qualifications.
Indeed there is plenty that I do not know.
I have not memorized the names of our forty-three past presidents, all 196 countries, or the periodic chart of elements.
I am neither a math whiz nor a spelling genius.
And yet there is also plenty that I do know.
From botany and biology to ornithology and geology, I have my strengths.
It’s true. I’m human.
However despite my gaps in knowledge I am qualified to teach my children.
More so than anyone else, in fact.
Because what qualifies me to teach is not the sum of facts in my head.
What qualifies me is how well I understand my children and how deeply I care about their learning.
In our family there are no cracks for these kids to fall through.
During the years since we committed to homeschooling there have been times when my confidence is shaken.
Because I want so much to get this right.
Many of us may wonder at times if we are qualified for this job.
Do we have what it takes to guide our child’s learning straight through to adulthood?
Perhaps you have also heard these doubts in the voices of family, friends, or strangers when they ask:
“Oh, you homeschool your children? Then do you have an education degree?”
Or someone telling you, “I could never homeschool because I don’t know enough about [insert subject here].”
Or when someone asks, “How can you be sure your child will learn enough [science, math, geography, physics, anything]? You can’t possibly know it all!”
We can’t. We simply can’t know it all.
And that’s normal.
So instead of trying to know (and then teach) it all, I see myself in two roles with my children: that of their liaison and their partner in learning.
Parent as Liaison
Rather than attempting to be an authority on All Things Worth Knowing, I am the bridge that connects my children with people, resources, and tools to help them reach their goals.
Even with limited financial resources we have access to books, publications, and experts on a myriad of topics.
I facilitate connections between my child and the people or tools that can guide their learning.
When my daughter wanted to learn French we found a friend to serve as her tutor.
When we wanted to take our math skills to the next level we bought a curriculum.
When my son became curious about blacksmithing we found a local artist to share his craft.
As homeschooling parents we are not alone on this journey.
We are surrounded by a community of people and an abundance or resources, just waiting to be tapped.
Parent as student
Part of my job as a homeschooling parent is to be honest about what I do not know, and then to seek knowledge right alongside my kids.
When I stand before my child and admit to not having the answers, it humanizes his own experience.
And then together we set off to find the solution.
This delivers two important messages to our children:
1. It’s okay to not have the answers, and
2. Learning never ends.
So each day we learn side-by-side.
And when my children see me stretch and learn and struggle along side them, they know that their own struggles are valid.
And they learn to persevere. And accept the imperfections they see in themselves and in others.
Do I have all the answers? No.
But what makes me a
good great teacher for my child is so much more than the facts I have memorized.
It’s individual attention, dedication, and understanding.
It is time, energy, and love.
It’s sharing the journey and learning together.
So are we qualified?
Are we ever.
Have you ever lost confidence in your ability to homeschool, or have others expressed their concerns to you? How have you navigated these moments?