Am I Qualified to Homeschool My Child?
Did you fail Algebra? Maybe you didn’t read until you were well into third grade, or you barely managed to pass English. Does this mean you aren’t qualified to homeschool your child?
Some parents agonize over whether or not they are qualified to teach their children at home. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to know everything first, and then pick and choose from this extensive knowledge and teach your child, like picking books off of a shelf. But really, you’d probably be better off picking out actual books!
This is because no one knows everything…not even certified teachers!
But what about methods and techniques of teaching? If you’re not a teacher, how do you know how to teach?
These are just some of the issues and dilemmas that parents face when they consider homeschooling. Here are some tips and discussions on how you, as a parent, can know whether or not you are qualified to homeschool your child.
Knowledge of Your Child
No one knows a child like his or her parents. Even the most well-meaning teacher does not have the personal interest in your child that you do. That’s just how parenting is – you have unique insights into what makes your child tick that you may not be able to put into words. But that insight will hold you in good stead as a homeschooling parent.
As noted above, you can’t be expected to know everything or even to learn everything beforehand. You and your child can learn some subjects together, and/or you can seek out resources other than yourself to teach your child about something. For instance, if your child is very interested in chemistry but it was not your strongest subject, look up chemistry lessons online or check out DVDs from the library; find local tutors, and check out books to help you teach the subject. Check your state homeschool law, though. Some may have specific requirements for certain (or all) subjects.
Another great resource is other homeschoolers. It’s amazing how many experts and knowledgeable people there are in so many fields. Think how much more true to life such a learning scenario is than a classroom slide show or textbook. A lot of areas have homeschooling groups or co-ops that you could join.
The Power of Information
We live in an information age. If it’s not at the library, it’s on the internet; and the library is probably on the internet, too! We live in a time when it’s easier than ever to find the information you need to educate your child. Remember, you don’t have to know everything. You just have to know where to find it.
School in a “Box”
These days there are so many different programs that are available straight for a “box”, basically a bundle put together for each grade level. It takes all the guess work out of everything. Most will come with schedules, teacher’s notes, etc. A few that we used early on were Sonlight, My Father’s World, and Alpha Omega Publications (not affiliate links). There are also some states that now have schools set up online, but most will still have to report to a school and be considered public, so make sure to research thoroughly.
Make sure you research the legal requirements for your specific state. All states are different. A good place to start is through the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Their site has great information on the different states. And you can sign up for a yearly membership in which they are available to assist with any legal homeschooling matters. We have used them every year of our homeschooling so far, and fortunately we have never needed to use their service. But the website has great information. And the group is always advocating for homeschool laws.
Some of the resources we use are listed below. These are affiliate links (which means we will make a small percentage if you were to buy anything; however, it does not cost you anything extra).
This site is awesome for online teaching from K-12th. We have been members since they started the site, and we were subscribers to their magazine before that. They have classes in just about every subject, and they have many resources for parents including articles and planners.
Also known as CBD, this is a great resource for buying materials, or for just researching all that is out there. So many new materials come out every year, so this is usually one of our first stops for looking into curriculum. And they frequently have sales and clearance items.
This site is focused on online unit studies. We have used a few of these so far, including the Solar System Online unit study. Beth has done a great job of putting the resources together so you don’t have to research it.
This site offers curriculum, books, math manipulatives, and so much more. They also have toys and games for active play.
Yes, You Are Qualified to Homeschool
Don’t listen to the critics. It is your choice to homeschool or not to homeschool. There are pros and cons for either. Maybe you only want to homeschool for the younger years and then send them to public school for high school. That’s okay, too! You know what is best for your child. You know best how your child thinks. Remember, there is an “average” to everything because not all children are the same. Some children may read when they are 3, while others may not read until they are 10. That doesn’t mean that one is smarter than the other. The important thing is to do what’s best for your child. And remember, learning is more than just about school books. It is also about learning life lessons and teaching your child to be ready to face the world.