Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why I am qualified to homeschool my children.

It's not because I have a degree. I do have a degree in child development which is basically a developmental psychology degree with an emphasis on preschool education. When I got out of school I was basically qualified for minimum wage jobs. It was very discouraging. All the jobs in preschool education paid very little. I ended up working for a couple of day care centers, then Head Start, then ditched the field altogether and used my degree to open the door and get a state job in the food stamp office. They accepted my degree as something, maybe proof that I could learn? It got my foot in the door anyway. Of course they had to train me on the laws, the methods etc. I was in training for probably 6 months off and on. Later on, after my first baby was born and I wanted to be home with him, I got a diploma from a correspondence school to do medical transcription and switched fields again.

A lot of people think that the college degree that I have helps me homeschool but honestly, I don't use anything I learned so many years ago. What I use is my basic common sense, the internet and books that homeschoolers who have went before have written. Really, all you need is to know the laws where you live; what you are supposed to teach, how many hours and days you are supposed to have school, what you need to report and to whom and then you can do it. All of these things are easily found on the internet, just do a search on homeschooling laws by state or country. Then, go to a curriculum fair or order a homeschool catalog and get some curriculum.

Your children can do all of their schooling by correspondence school, by computer/virtual courses (even in kindergarten!), by computer software courses, through workbooks (there are tons of these) or by hands on curriculum. The homeschool publishing world has exploded recently and there are many, many options. Some of the workbook/textbook based courses even have a script for the teacher read to the student! If you really don't feel that you can teach a subject to your child, even with computer software, DVD classes or a script to follow, you can hire a tutor or trade off with another homeschooling parent who is better at that subject than you are. Your child may be studying rocket science, but it's not rocket science trying to find a way to get them taught the subject matter - it's just basic parenting. If your child wants to learn to play the piano, you find them a piano teacher or teach it yourself if you know how. If they want to know how to dance or do karate, you find them a class.

I have no doubt that I could do this even if I never had set foot in a college classroom. So far, I have not hired anyone to teach my kids, but we have done a ton of field trips and participated in homeschool co-ops. Also, we often call in Dad for a math consult. (He's got a college degree too, but not in math.) What I'm trying to say is it's not my degree that makes this possible. I'm not saying that teachers in schools don't need degrees. It's a lot different teaching a group of kids and aligning with state educational standards and preparing for testing and all the other things teachers need to do. I'm only educating 3 easy, reasonably well-behaved kids. It's not the same thing at all.

That said, I also know that homeschooling is not for everybody. Some people just don't want to and that's fine too. Everyone has to make their own choices, just don't let not having a degree hold you back. That's all I'm trying to say.

I think I could've made that a lot shorter. ;-)


Tiany said...

Great post, I couldn't agree with you more! A great reminder that "YES" we can do this!

Amy said...

I couldn't agree more too! I am one that also has a degree in Elementary Education.....but never really used that as a basis for our homeschooling.


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