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I’m Not a Teacher – Can I Homeschool?

The short answer is yes, of course you can – if you are willing to make changes to your lifestyle that make home education a possibility.

The trend with people over the last century now, is to send their kids to school so they can work long hours at a job, and come home to a (hopefully) well educated child. They accept that this is the way things are, and after all, shouldn’t we have the “pros” do the schooling?

My challenge to those of you who may be reading things wondering if you can homeschool, wondering if you can indeed find a way to make time to educate your children at home, is to list the pros and cons of your current lifestyle. My list would be something like this:

Pros:

  • Healthy income, with plenty of surplus funds to take the annual family vacation.
  • Consistent routine so you always know what you’re doing.
  • Having loving spouse and kids waiting for you at the door…wait…that’s a fantasy. it’s more like a dog pile whenever I get home from somewhere…anywhere…even just taking out the trash.

Cons:

  • Don’t get to see the kids very much, and much of that time is spent on homework.
  • Rigid routine that allows little to no flexibility.
  • Remember that loving spouse? More like frustrated person I live with who is trying to prevent the kids from tackling me on the way in the door.

Obviously, this is not the life for me. I don’t deal well with routines where I have no control in the way things are done. My biggest complaint (until common core that is) about school was that by the time the kids got home, they were so tired that they couldn’t focus on the homework and were frustrated to tears by having to do what they (and I) perceived to be work that should have been done at school!

The question became: “Why am I doing all this extra work with the kids and their school work when they go to a great school??”

And then came: “Why not just cut out the middle man and do it myself?”

Well this last question is a bit scary – after all – aren’t the teachers the pros? They went to school to learn to teach, right? Let’s analyze that a little bit. When someone has a degree, and is educated according to arbitrary standards, that by default makes them an expert – thereby making someone without that same education unqualified. I believe this to be the biggest hurdle many people need to overcome. Before there were professional teachers, with classrooms full of children, and even after, parents did the majority of the educating of our youth. In the US the literacy rate was about 90% up until the 1920s – and only about 50% of school aged people were enrolled in school. You can’t tell me they were all being educated by private tutors with fancy degrees. Edison was homeschooled, so was Lincoln, along with a great many other amazing people in our history! These parents didn’t have advanced degrees in anything, but what they did have was a vested interest in the educational outcome for their children. 

I contend that when the parent is the primary educator, they are far more likely to put the needs of their child above the needs of themselves. They are willing and able to change course if they find something is simply not working. I ran across a study not long ago that said the “education gap” that the education industry talks about closing between whites and non-whites does not exist in homeschools.  (I’ll find this tomorrow and link to it – my sleep deprived mind can’t seem to find it now. Here is a link to an infographic from HSLDA.org) Homeschooled children, no matter what their racial background, performed equally well across the board and outperformed children who were in public schools.

This, I believe, is about more than the individualized attention we give our children during the school day, it is about being fully vested and responsible for their education. When we send them to school, we can complain if the teacher isn’t good enough for little Johnny, we can push off that responsibility to the school staff. When we’re the teacher however, the burden of responsibility falls upon us. That makes us become better, smarter and more involved in order to become the teacher and parent our children need us to be.

So back to the original question – I’m not a teacher – can I homeschool?

I have always thought that as you believe so shall you become. If I believe that I can do it, that I can homeschool successfully, then what’s stopping me?

What do you believe? What changes do you need to make in order for it to work?

What do you think?