The question itself had me all torn up inside.
Here she was, filled with nothing but fear over the possibility. She knew that she wanted to homeschool her 3 beautiful children, but her feelings were shouting lies that she was struggling to drown out.
“Do you really think I am smart enough to homeschool?” she asked again, hoping that I would offer up something strong enough to convince her. My mind was racing with possible ways to answer the question. I felt about as desperate to convince her as she was to hear that convincing.
How smart do you have to be to homeschool? I wondered to myself. Was there some level that you should achieve? A certain score on the SAT?
I thought about the thousands of peers who sat in those education classes with me in college. I thought about the teachers I had worked with over the years. And I thought about all of the things that I “knew“ back then.
It’s kinda funny to consider that I was sitting across the desk from parents who at least had a 7-year head start on me, and yet they often took my advice as authority. True, I had studied learning disabilities and I had a tool belt of behavior management skills, but much of what I learned in college truly didn’t give me an educational advantage over parents. Let’s face the facts, I had no children of my own.
Now, I’m not suggesting that one cannot be a good teacher until they have children of their own. That is hardly true. But I am suggesting that no one on the planet knows my kids as well as I do. And I will also add that no one has figured out how to help them as clearly as I can.
Which led me to the answer to her question.
Am I smart enough to homeschool? Of course you are! No one knows them the way you do. And no one will ever have the time to truly know them that well. (Yes, I hate this about the school system, but it’s true.) The beauty of homeschooling is that you can meet the specific needs of your children in ways that a traditional school setting could never accomplish.
And that is educating. There is nothing out there that says you must raise a Mensa scholar or that the only way to point A (college) is through point B (some arbitrary program). Educating a child is meeting his/her needs so that he/she can learn more about life. This is just as true in the school setting as it is at home.
Do you need a college degree to homeschool? How about a teaching certificate?
Of course not. Teachers primarily learn how to manage large groups of people and meet special circumstances or needs. There are a few classes where they learn how to teach a particular subject, but often those methods are changed by the time they graduate. Why? Well, every child is different and one method will never work for everyone. In a classroom setting, teachers are constantly trying to make up for this.
And this truth, my sweet friend, is why you are more than able to homeschool your children. You don’t have to know all of the answers. You don’t have to know how to teach certain subjects. You simply need a heart for your children and a willingness to learn! You will find the rest in the amazing resources that are available to you.
Even if you never took a certain subject (like say Calculus) or you simply cannot diagram a sentence to save your life, you can still teach your kids. There are video classes, online classes, co-ops, and more to help you. And don’t forget the teacher’s guide. In it you will find a wealth of helpful tips for how to teach something.
Believe me, I know that if you are new to homeschooling or still considering it, the waters can seem deep and consuming. Don’t let that scare you. Yes, there is a lot of information out there. It’s a good thing. We need information to help us. My best advice to you is to keep your homeschool simple, attend an awesome homeschool convention every year, and leave the worrying to God.
Don’t forget, He is always faithful to equip us for that which He has called us! (Heb. 13:21)