Do you need a 4- year college degree in Childhood Education in order to teach your children through high school? I find it odd that one of the most often questions I get asked as a homeschooler is about my educational background. Typically, it is from those who have higher education degrees. Usually, they seem satisfied that I have at least obtained a 4-year degree, even if it isn’t in childhood education. However, the belief that an educational degree is a must is not true. It can be helpful, but it is not a must.
Educating is Hard Work, but the Education is Not
In the public school realm, I personally would like to know that my children were educated by an educated person. But to me, having a 4-year degree really shows more about the ability to learn then it is about the actual degree. I don’t want it sound like I’m putting teachers down though. They deserve the credit for all they do. Being that I homeschool, I understand how difficult it can be to educate children. However, it is not the subjects themselves that are difficult. Doing the work that I should have learned during my Pre-College schooling years is not
It’s not hard to add and subtract, However, It is getting 30 kids to stay focused while dealing with the 30 different learning differences in the children that makes it hard work. (also quite possibly -the recording/grading and tests required by the state adds to stress levels.)
The great thing about homeschooling is that I am not educating 30 kids. I am focused on my own kids. My desire to see them succeed increases my need to understand them and help them learn. Most everything they do in Elementary school is not difficult. It is difficult to teach children sometimes, but the actual work is not difficult.
Much like being a mom, washing dishes and floors, wiping noses and butts is not actually hard, it’s the act of doing all of it together or the juggling of it all, that makes it hard work.
The Curriculum is Designed to Help You
During the late middle to high school years, the subjects can get more difficult. But personally, I would be cautious about sending my children into a school system if it left me feeling incapable of educating them myself. You should have left high school with the ability to understand the basics of all that your children will be learning. If not, then that system failed you.
But even if it failed you, you should have learned enough to be capable of learning. When my son started Pre-Algebra I had to spend a little extra time relearning it myself. It usually only took me about 3-5 mins before most of what I learned 20ish years ago came flooding back. (the curriculum for homeschoolers also does a good job providing plenty of help and information for me to teach/or relearn the information)
I Can Learn Alongside My Child
During a large portion of my own school years, I never had an official “English” class. (thanks to the Progressive West) You don’t have to read my blogs for very long to realize that grammar is not my strong suit. My education system failed me there. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of learning it, nor teaching my kids. Most often, we learn together.
But it is my willingness and attempts to learn it that keeps me capable of teaching my kids. In fact, this blog, which at times may read more like a word vomit (since it’s hard to spend much uninterrupted time editing with five kids) is also an attempt to force me to learn. So, I can better understand and better teach my kids in an area that I myself struggle with.
I also believe that by the time a child reaches 15-16 years of age, they should have all the education they need for the ability to learn on their own. This will be the basics of college. The information is provided, and it is for the young adult to learn it. The teacher does not hold their hand.
Teaching children how to learn should be the basis of the Elementary/Middle school years with high school helping them learn to succeed on their own. This is our real goal. Not making sure every child learns Calculus when most students will never need to know it in order to succeed in their life.
Now if you have a kid, who struggles in an area, that is completely understandable. I have a struggling learner myself. But homeschoolers have more freedom when it comes to educating their kids. Thankfully we live in a day and age where information is found at our fingertips. If you can’t help your child because you yourself struggle in math, don’t fret. The first person you have on your side is your spouse. He can also learn math and help your child.
There is no rule that it must be the mother who does the majority of the teaching. You have the option of Co-Ops with other parents who excel in the areas you struggle in. You also have an option to hire tutors. There are plenty of options to ensure your child will succeed. (Video lessons are awesome too!)
You Can Do This
Parents don’t need the “school system” in order to educate their children. They don’t need a professional with a degree. What they do NEED though, is the willingness to do whatever it takes. I myself fail at this sometimes. I get really tired too. I couldn’t imagine how tired teachers can get. But what keeps me going is a simple fact that they are my kids and I refuse to let them fail. Something that I can’t guarantee from any other teacher at any other school where many of the teachers are clearly overworked and underpaid.
You can also check out the NHERI website and according to Brian D. Ray Ph. D “Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.” You can read more about their findings here. https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/