Am I Qualified to Home School?, by Kami
Regardless of what type of home schooling you choose for your family, most of us have spent a lot of time, energy and even money researching the different styles, curriculums, co-ops, and more. Most of us take this process and the ultimate decision very seriously.
Personally, I am one of those people who will GLADLY share any and all information I have come across on our journey. Sadly, I do meet people that are not willing to share once they hear that we choose to use a virtual school. Some of them have actually looked into and made informed choices/opinions. Others just jump on media band wagons and will not talk to my family at all. Doesn’t matter that we just want to learn more about a certain style of home schooling, a curriculum or co-op. They hear “virtual school” and immediately shut down.
Since we began this adventure I have been asked a lot of questions by family, friends and people we meet while out and about, but I also come across questions or topics in the blog world, Facebook and online news websites. I came across one last week that really had me annoyed. I don’t why I let it get to me, but it did. So I wanted to share my thoughts.
The blogger asked if anyone else was starting to worry about what preschool to send their child to. I responded that I was not worried since we have decided to home school. I added that I know home schooling isn’t for everyone, but that it works for our family.
The blogger responded with “Do you have a background in education?”
Now, as it turns out, I do. I have been working with young children since I was 12 years old. When I say that I mean I started taking babysitting courses, first aide/cpr classes at 12 years old. In high school I took a class where my classmates and I were taught to make lessons plans to teach preschool and prek aged children. We were taught to make snack menus, how to discipline age appropriately and so on. Then we actually got to teach a preschool and a preK class! I worked in a child development center and an elementary school while in college for my AA in Early Childhood Education. I worked In a daycare center before I had my own kids and have been a registered/licensed provider in 3 states and while living overseas. So yes, I personally have LOTS of experience in early childhood education!
You know, A,B,Cs and 1, 2, 3s! This is shapes, colors, beginning writing and reading skills, and the idea of being in a group and following a schedule/routine. It is about learning to share, learning to communicate, and maybe even learning to tie your own shoes. This is NOT rocket science! Anyone how has finished about the 5th grade should be able to “teach” this material. Learning for 2 and 3 year old is not about book work, work sheets, and lectures. It is about learning while you play!
Before someone jumps all over me, PLEASE know that I have NOTHING against preschools, daycare centers, learning centers, PreK programs, public schools or private school! Our son went to a British Montessori preschool while we lived overseas. He went to a DOD elementary school while we were overseas. He has been in public school in two different states since we have been back in the USA. So I have nothing against any form school, whether it is at home or not.
Also, if I was paying for my child to be in a preschool or PreK program then you bet I would be asking questions like “Are your teachers certified?” “Do your teachers have training or degrees in early childhood education?” “What curriculum does your program use?” ‘What sort of training does your staff have to attend every year?” and so on. Because like any parent, if I am paying out of pocket for my child’s education then I want them to get the best that I can afford. So I am NOT dumping on these programs.
My concern is that someone doesn’t realize that it does not take a college degree to teach your child skills obtained in preschool. It doesn’t take a degree to homeschool your child all the way through high school for that matter, but today we will just stick to the basics:
YOU CAN DO IT! You are capable! Since your child was born have you not helped teach them to sit up, crawl, feed themselves, walk, talk, and all those other basic life skills without even thinking about it. Did you take classes? Did you buy a curriculum? Sure many of us will read books about parenting styles, age appropriate skills and development, but did someone have to teach you the basics or did your own basic instincts kick in?
Do you read to your child? Do you talk and sing to them? Then you are teaching pre-reading and pre-writing skills. Do you count with them? Then you are teaching numbers and pre-math. Do you point out shapes and colors? Then you are teaching them. ALL of this can be done while playing and is all learning! It doesn’t take a fancy curriculum to do it. Sure, there are plenty out there and some of them are fun, but they are not a requirement.
Before our son went to the preschool I mentioned, he was already recognizing all his letters, even wrote a few of them. He could count to 25 in English and to 11 in Spanish. He knew all his shapes and colors and many of those in Spanish as well. He could read many basic sight words as well. His teachers were actually very impressed with him!
I just want anyone who is contemplating doing any form of home schooling to know that they are perfectly capable of doing so and it does not take a college degree to do it! If/when you get to a topic of subject area that you are not strong at, there are literally millions of websites and resources out there to help you through it.
Teachers do not graduate college knowing everything they will ever have to know in order to teach in a classroom. They are taught to use the curriculums they are given and the resources available to them in order to teach what is required by their school to teach. They take classes and training throughout their careers to teach them techniques to use to teach different learning styles. The curriculums that homeschoolers buy usually include manuals that help us teach the subjects or site resources for additional help. They don’t just send us a bunch of work books and text books and expect us to know it all.
Many of the co-ops help parents pair up with each other and help teach each other’s kids the subject those parents are comfortable with. Some even hire teachers/tutors to help with more advanced subjects and to do college prep. Local colleges even offer classes to both public and homeschool students that give them high school and college credit!
Choosing to homeschool means you are making your child’s education your responsibility. You do not have to have a degree in anything to home school your children—all you have to have is an open mind and the willingness to learn!