A friend of mine was told recently that she wasn’t qualified to teach her children . Now my friend is tough and frankly doesn’t need me to go to bat for her.
But this did get me thinking about all the anxiety I experienced around this issue when I was younger. This was something I struggled with immensely in my younger years- the thought that because I do not have a college degree I am not qualified to teach my children. I know better now. However, I feel we need to think about this for a moment.
What Makes someone qualified?
At its most basic level, if you know how to do something then you are qualified.
To be completely candid, our current method of teaching teachers at the Colegate level are not working. Our schools are failing. Not because of a lack of funding . America’s schools are well funded by and large. So what are we failing? Why can’t our children read and do basic math?
We are not teaching mastery of the subjects – and that is the fault of the school districts, the curriculum and the teachers. Our literacy rates have plummeted, even as our educators go to college for longer amounts of time. How can that be?
In the days of our founders, you might have four years or six years of formal education , and yet they were all well educated. They spoke multiple languages, thoroughly understood about astronomy and physics. They created systems , and inventions.
When we measure our 13 year mandatory education prison sentenace against the education of our founding fathers, who were brilliant , and yet many didn’t attend school for half of what we mandate our children complete today.
How can this be?
We have placed our trust in the experts. We believe the kindles they feed us that because they studied teaching in college for four years , or even six somehow that makes them the experts on education.
If teachers are the experts then we expect them to have thoroughly mastered the basics , right? So what do teachers study in school?
Most teaching degrees require courses that include information on child development, child psychology, and classroom management.
While I understand and applaud these worthy goals, an understanding of current physiology of children doesn’t make you an expert in the realm of academics. Studying the best way to teach multiple children makes them experts at being classroom managers, not educators.
So how does that help you? How does that make you qualified? It may seem that I’m picking on teachers. That’s certainly not my aim. I love teachers. I’m thankful for the teachers that shine brilliantly , who offer kids hope and encouragement. I’m immensely grateful to all the good teachers who work hard , and who genuinely care about their classes.
I simply want you to realize they are not more qualified to teach your children than you are. (They are possibly more qualified to teach thirty children at one time than you. )
If we aren’t interested in reproducing the public school system, then why would we expect to train like their teachers train? Why would we tell ourselves that we aren’t as qualified as them, when we are trying to do something completely different? Its absurd and illogical to hold ourselves to a standard that we don’t want to meet , and frankly would be wise to completely abandon.
We aren’t interested in school at home. We aren’t interested in replicating the classroom environment around our kitchen table. We want our children to master reading and art Homeric and grammar . We want them to be well read. To have gotten o know really beautiful works of art. To genuinely love their fellow man. To have a purpose larger than themselves. We want our children to own their learning process, not to be force fed little factoids of information.
This is why we are qualified. Because we have a burning desire to educate our children , and we won’t let anyone stand in our way.
So now that we have laid that foundation, what does make you qualified?
1) God says so.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10, 6:5-9, 11: 19
Ephesians 6: 4
Psalm 78: 2-4
2) you know your children better than anyone else. You know know their thought process, motivations, personality, strengths, weaknesses, quirks. This uniquely qualifies you to teach your child in a way they can clearly perceive and understand.
3) You have your children’s best interest at heart . You also have a vested interest in their future, right. You love your kids. You want what’s best for them. And when you take on the responsibility of teaching them, you are insuring that you are going to work your tail off to give them the very best education possible. Even the sweetest, kindest, loveliest teachers in the current education system will not match your intensity when striving to give your kids a quality education.
You will naturally work harder than any other person you might delegate a portion of their education to. Coaches, teachers, tutors, etc.
4) you are qualified to teach your children because you’ve already done so!
You have already taught your children. By the time they enter preschool, you have logged thousands of hours teaching them to talk and walk. You taught them basic manners, how to get along with others. You’ve read to them, done art projects with them. You’ve taken them on walks , taught them to share. You’ve taught them colors, shapes, numbers and abcs. You’ve modeled correct speech and behavior. you widened their vocabulary, read to them, taken them to grandpas workshop… you’ve provided learning opportunities.
You did all of these things, and more , because as parents who love our children, teaching them comes naturally to us. We want them to learn. We want to share the things we are interested in with our children. We truly are our children’s best teachers because we are their most natural teachers.
5) Because of these things you are uniquely positioned to customize your children’s education. Whether to capitalize on their talents , shore up their weaknesses, or a little of both. You can also prioritize the subjects that your family values. For Zach and I , we prioritized history. This is something that we value. For you, I’m sure it’s something different.
6) You are an expert at something. You have specialized knowledge. I don’t know in what area, but I know that you have strengths, talents, skills , maybe even formal training that others don’t have. Pass on this specialized knowledge to your children. you are uniquely qualified to do so.
7) You’re qualified because the results have already been proven. The research backs it up. Check out the National Home Education Research Institute for more in-depth analysis. Or HDLDAs website for some great statistics.
8) Your resources. You’re qualified because of the educational materials, projects, experiences , that your family has access to, that your family values, the resources you have that other families may not.
You’re qualified to teach your children. I have full confidence in your ability. After reading this, I hope you do as well. Thanks!