Are you qualified?

Are you qualified
Written by contributor Rachel Wolf of Clean and Lusa Organics

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.

Further reading:

Have you ever lost confidence in your ability to homeschool, or have others expressed their concerns to you? How have you navigated these moments?

About Rachel Wolf

Rachel Wolf woke up recently and realized that she's living the life she has always wanted. Her days are spent with and two spunky unschoolers, running LuSa Organics (her small business), and hanging the laundry out on the line. Rachel writes about her homeschooling, homemaking, and non-violent parenting path on her blog Clean.


  1. Cassandra says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot more stirring about this Common Core stuff. I don’t actually know what it is, but the gist of what I’m hearing is that sometime soon, states are going to require any parent who wants to homeschool to be certified in Common Core teachings in order to homeschool, and will not be allowed to do any kind of unschooling. I already know in Washington where I live that I have to meet with the district superintendant to prove I’m qualified to teach and have my own record in the system to be monitored. I hate it! I can understand checking in with the kids every couple years to make sure they’re learning something, but now it’s not enough to regulate public schools to death, they also want to regulate home schoolers.

    • I’m creating a homeschool common core e-book that will help parents track the childs progress. I homeschool 3 kids at the moment and I use different styles for each kid–the worksheets that I am developing will help me keep track of each child as they meet the common core standard. If you are interested let me know!
      renee baude @joyfulmom’s latest post: 4 Tips for Water Conservation Earth Day 2013

      • Rosalyn S says:

        I’m interested! Please email.

      • Julia Ewing says:

        I greatly appreciate your help. This is my first year at homeshooling and believe that God will give me all I need as he always has. After all he did entrust them to us. So I believe he will lead us through this for his glory. God bless you. I have no website.

      • I’m interested also..

      • Gina Ramirez says:

        I will be interested as well. Please email me information .

    • Cassandra – I am a homeschooler in Washington state, the owner of a small business advising homeschool parents and a volunteer for Washington Homeschool Organization. I can tell you that legally you are NOT required to meet with your school district superintendent or “be monitored.” If you are willing, please contact me via email at jennifer @ jumpstarthomeschool . com
      I’d be interested to find out what your district is requiring and help you get them out of your hair. That is simply not how homeschooling needs to work in Washington State!

  2. This is great!
    When I first started homeschooling I had a Mom ask me “are you a teacher?” and I proudly answered without skipping a beat “I am now!” and that ended our conversation.
    Be Blessed.
    renee baude @joyfulmom’s latest post: 4 Tips for Water Conservation Earth Day 2013

    • Heather! I am from Bolivia and I want to homeschool. Would you like to be in touch?
      Find me on facebook “sofia soruco de rojas”.
      God bless you!

  3. Heather says:

    I live in Bolivia with my husband and two children. The challenge here is that it is practically illegal to homeschool. I have to constantly explain myself and our choices. I see it as a global education of sorts to explain to Bolivians and the many foreigners that live in my town, what homeschool really represents. I have the advantage that I can enroll my children in a distance learning school and it will count as “education” in the US so I will not have a problem with the Bolivian authorities. Most of the people I speak to about homeschooling tell me they have never even heard that it so I am spreading the word.

  4. I LOVE this Rachel! Learning is a complex and beautiful life-long process. It is NOT a downloading of facts and information! We have so many resources all around us, so many ways to gather the information that we and our children need, and more than that as parents we have the crucial element in learning – relationship. I also find for me in the modern world, I’m acting as filter as much as funnel for my young children – my goal with bringing information isn’t speed, it’s the right thing at the right time.
    Kelly’s latest post: Circle Time in the Waldorf-Inspired Kindergarten Homeschool (Part One)

  5. Thank you SO much for this post! I want to print out that first quote (about not allowing our children to fall through the cracks) and hang it on my wall. I’ve been asked by family and friends in education “what makes you think you’re more qualified to educate him than a teacher who actually went to school to learn how to be an educator?” Well, I’m educated, just not in the field of education. I have passions in reading, writing, science, environmentalism, history, etc. And I know how to meet my kid on his level without frustration. Thanks for this reminder that we ARE qualified. 🙂
    Kat’s latest post: Earth Day for Preschoolers

  6. Well I AM a certified early childhood educator and spent 10 years teaching in the public and private schools! This was my first year as a “real” (my child is now public school age) teacher and my struggle was how much more efficient homeschooling is! As I planned the year; curriculum, schedule, structure all based on my education and experience I went into homeschooling full of confidence! The first week I thought we just needed to give it more time, the second week I thought what if he’s not homeschool material?, the third week I was frustrated and knew I was doing something wrong! He was finishing work faster then I could assign it, he was enjoying what he was doing ALOT!, he was constantly asking me what he could do next, he has a lot of time to “goof” off! I was baffled because this was kindergarten and I was doing exactly what I did the 10 years I taught kindergarten and never had this problem then!!! After conferring with several other homeschool moms (who were not first yearers) I realized that the problem was that I am a qualified educator. Once I stopped thinking like a classroom teacher/qualified educator our homeschooling took off! We have done SO much this first year and he has enjoyed it SO very much and I have enjoyed it too!
    Jenn’s latest post: God Chose Adoption

    • I loved your comment Jenn! My step mother in law insists that I need a formal education to educate my children (ages 5, 6 and 7). She is a teacher in the public school system and doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to put my children into school- her ‘argument’ is “imagine the things you could do if only your children were in school!” I don’t even know how to respond to that! My husband’s family has made no effort to educate themselves on homeschooling, and would rather judge ignorantly. She then says she doesn’t know how to relate to my children because we homeschool… “I can’t ask what they learned in school today, or what their teacher taught them…” THEY AREN’T ALIENS! Geesh! Any great posts for dealing with ignorant family members?! 🙂
      Jessica Griffin’s latest post: Lindy’s Stamp Gang’s Birthday Blog Hop

    • I’m a former public school teacher too. My girls aren’t public school age yet but man, even doing ‘preschool’ with them is so hard to just ‘let go’ of classroom teacher thoughts. Glad it’s going smoothly now!
      Ashlee’s latest post: My Favorite Things… This Week

  7. I am drinking in this sweet reminder. No, I don’t know it all but I love the freedom of guiding us all and learning along with them. Thanks

  8. Thanks for sharing. I completely agree. Parents know more about their kids & what is best for them. I”ll be sharing this with others. 🙂
    Kerry’s latest post: Approaches To Homeschooling – Free Online Workshop Series

  9. I remember the day when we were meeting at a local Perkin’s, parents that formed the local homeschool board association. The waiter asked “You are teachers?” when he saw our clipboards, notebooks, pens and highlighters…
    We all stopped for a moment, looked at each other and answered “Yes! We are teachers.” I think it was that moment that it struck me, that I was not pretending to teach my children, I was actually their teacher for this journey of school for the next while. I needed to own it, act like I was a teacher and believe in myself. That does not mean I don’t check myself constantly, but it does mean that I need to believe in what I am doing!
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Pastors’ Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

  10. That was amazing. Thank you. I’ll be saving it to share when this topic comes as (as it so often does) in our lives! Thank you for writing so well what I feel.
    monica’s latest post: The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends.

  11. I love this so much! I just started homeschooling my 1st grader and I love having her near again, asking questions and working together. The hardest part, for me, is the state regulations hanging over my head. My daughter won’t sit down and work on a standard curriculum. I’m so worried that I am not sticking to the plan I had to send into the district. That I don’t have enough work to show for what we did. I wake up every morning worried that I’m not fulfilling the state (NY) requirements and will be forced to send her back to school.

    Yesterday we talked about where rocks come from while we hiked in the Great Smoky Mtns. That wasn’t in our plan, but it was wonderful.
    Kiasa’s latest post: Natchez Trace Parkway

  12. Thank you so much for this, Rachel! It’s so encouraging. Like many homeschooling parents, I doubt myself, my abilities, my skill in navigating this learning journey with my child. But I love how you said, ” What qualifies me is how well I understand my children and how deeply I care about their learning.” THERE, I am an expert, because the school system and the best teachers will never know or cherish my child or want her to succeed like I do. Plus, I feel God has entrusted my daughter into my care, so, like a gardener tending a young sapling, it is my privilege to protect her and nurture her so she can grow and thrive, and one day, be the tree that can offer shelter and fruit to others. Thank you so much for reminding me that I am qualified by LOVE!

  13. I love when I come across a blog post that says everything that’s already in the heart or on the minds of every other home schooling mom. This post does that. We are qualified because we know them, we have time for THEM, we love them…
    Stephanie’s latest post: Emotional Lessons in Home School

  14. Darleen Saunders says:

    Excellent article. Who could argue with this assessment? When I would get queries on my qualifications for being my child’s teacher I would often say that I was actually more educated than the public school teachers who were teaching my child, but that alone did not make me a good or even better teacher. It was my personal knowledge of her and of my ability to chose great resources for her that being secluded into a classroom could not provide. Instead of just reading about the world, we went and experienced it.

  15. Kirsty says:

    Agree whole heartedly, as one with an ed degree! Also the fact that someone has an education degree in no way makes them a total expert on any particular subject. We are all learning, all the time.

  16. So funny to read this today, just after having someone question why my little guy – at just four years old – wasn’t in school. Bah…

    Right now, it is so easy to fall back on the fact that he is young. Oh, he’s just four! I say. Soon, I’ll have to actually own up to the fact that I homeschooling. And proud to be doing so.
    Danielle : : Crafting Connections’s latest post: Mini-Magazine #3 : : Story Shells

  17. we homeschool but our little boy goes to the local kindergarten- he will be home for 1st grade. Both groups of parents are basically the same with all sorts of diversity…except the one ‘category’ that is missing from the homeschoolers- parents that actually don’t care all that much about the kids’ learning. We all care!
    priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)’s latest post: be merciful as the Heavenly Father is merciful

  18. Wow, I’m just now seeing this article in 2017, but I’m sure it will be timely for a long, long time. I homeschooled my son. This beautiful, encouraging article says everything I believe and I couldn’t have said it better!! From now on anyone I come across who’s thinking of homeschooling, I’ll refer them to this page! Thanks for sharing.

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