Am I QUALIFIED to Homeschool?
I knew that I wanted to homeschool my children, but I just didn’t feel qualified to teach my children everything they needed to know. I feared that my sons would have “educational gaps“. I wasn’t confident in all the subjects, least of all math. I didn’t know where commas went or the dates of major wars.
But I did WANT to homeschool, that much I knew.
So, I made it my mission to fill my sons’ lives with people who could make up for my weaknesses.
Despite being driven by my own insecurities, I saw many benefits of providing my boys with a variety of teachers. Soon, finding free or affordable sources of learning became part of our method and was one of the driving forces that led us to travel full-time as a family.
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Why I wanted more teachers for my kids
The fear that drove me to fill our lives with many teachers were the words “educational gaps.” Like I said, I’m terrible at math, I struggle with commas, and I can’t tell you the date any war started or ended. I needed some co-educators to fill in where I didn’t excel.
While these “educational gaps” were the initial motivation for ensuring the boys had a variety of teachers, it was a lie. Instead, I found that I had educational gaps. After 13 years of being educated by the public school system and 4 years of college, there was plenty of information that my brain had not retained.
Now, I get to walk hand in hand with my children as both an educator and as a learner.
I can struggle through a lesson over The Mesozoic Era or I can place them in front of a geologist who loves breaking it down for them. Learning from someone who delivers it with excitement is a priority for me.
Passionate people are one of the reasons my children love to learn! The lessons taught with passion make the biggest impact! So now, instead of struggling through a topic, I try to find someone else who can teach it with knowledge and passion.
My opinion is not the only one that exists! Being isolated to my mindset alone is not going to serve my children well. When they are given four different perspectives on one topic, it requires them to form their own opinions instead of just playing “follow the leader.”
Since no one believes exactly what their parents believed, I wanted them to start practicing forming their own ideas at a young age. I want them to learn critical thinking skills that will serve them later in life. We have had amazing conversations (after the lessons) when the teacher said something that didn’t align with our belief system.
Providing a different perspective provides an opportunity to ask them what they think and find out how their minds work.
Different Teachers for our Kids
Who are these passionate educators to which we entrust our children’s education? No, we can’t afford private tutors! Here are some of the people we rely on to help us on this educational journey.
Sometimes, we visit a local museum or science center. Other times, we ask a business owner to tell us about their profession.
We have set up classes with local naturalists, survivalists, and geologists. Afraid to ask if people will teach your kids? Most people love talking about themselves and most passionate people love educating others about the thing they love. I get more “yes” responses than I ever imagined possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Friends and Family
My father-in-law is an electrician. When my youngest fell in love with anything that involved electricity, we sent him to stay with his grandfather for a week. He learned more during that week than I could have taught him in a year.
Think about the skills that already exist in your network of friends and family.
We live in a world where information spreads at a faster rate than we can process it. We use podcasts, YouTube videos, and documentaries from online streaming services as a piece of our education.
Stream videos online. Warning: this method requires a little research and developing a strong eye for spotting fake news.
There are several curriculums that come with a DVD filled with all of the lessons.
You only need to get really good at hitting the play button! I will always choose a math curriculum with video lessons. I believe this is one of the main reasons my youngest still has a great attitude toward math. He hasn’t had to listen to me try to explain it!
We currently use Acellus, Math-U-See, and Khan Academy as some of our video teachers. Even though they are geared toward older learners, my son has enjoyed classes from The Great Courses since he was only nine-years-old.
Use the internet to find resources for learning.
Tips for finding teachers:
- Ask! Don’t be afraid to ask if someone is interested in teaching your child or a group of homeschool children. Even if the answer is no, they might be able to direct you toward someone who is interested.
- Use Social Media. Look for local homeschool groups on Facebook. We lived in an area where several moms were already coordinating field trips and classes.
- Be Prepared. Before going to the class or field trip, have your child write a list of questions about the topic that will be covered. Tell them to listen for the answers and write them down if it is appropriate. This helps them to stay engaged and gives them a way to start a conversation with the teacher.
- Do Your Research. When using online resources, always check the source. Watching a presentation on solar power given by a 3rd grader to her class doesn’t have the same value as listening to a person who has chosen solar energy as their profession. Both presentations have value, but both serve different purposes in the classroom.
Homeschooling when you don’t feel qualified
There is a world of people out there who are ready to teach our children. Look around at the people in your life and the resources in your community. If you want to homeschool your child but you don’t feel qualified, remember that you don’t have to do it alone.
The experience can open you up to an entirely new world of people and ideas if you choose to let it. As a homeschool mom, you are in a unique position to choose what goes into your children’s brains. You are the gatekeeper. Their world can be as big or as small as you make it. Finding teachers for your kids widens their scope and enhances their schooling while filling in any “educational gaps” that you may have.
I am no longer insecure about my abilities to homeschool my kids. I am confident in my abilities to provide them with a variety of teachers (as well as myself) while exposing them to a wealth of life experiences.
Tina studied Elementary Education at Drury University. Instead of teaching in the public classroom, she went on to homeschool her children. After settling down in Missouri for 10 years, the family now travels the United States together, learning from a mixture of online resources and the world around them. She is the creator of The Explorer’s Notebook and The 100 Goal Challenge.