Schooling children at home is becoming more and more prevalent as parents look at a variety of schooling options for the children. A question that comes up often when choosing to homeschool is the question of whether a parent can really become a child's teacher. Below, we will look at some questions that often surround that big question to find the answer.
What if the parent has no degree? There are many curricula on the market that will contain everything needed to instruct the child. Even when a packaged curriculum is not used, the parent can teach the child from the chosen class materials. Most textbooks and workbooks will come with answer keys. When they do not, it is quite simple for a parent to look up the answers in an encyclopedia, in the study material, at the library, or on the internet. Another thing to remember is that just because a person has not gone to college and received a degree, it does not mean the person is not intelligent.
Many people enjoy studying about a variety of topics at their leisure. Even when this is not the case, as previously stated, the answers are simple to find and they can be found prior to instructing the children. Many parents who homeschool examine the material before presenting it to the children. According to the HSLDA, there is no significant difference between the scores of a home schooled student whose parent held a degree, versus a student whose parent did not. Homeschooled students also score significantly higher than public schooled students.
What if the child has questions the parent cannot answer? When there are questions presented by the child, the parent can instruct the child by teaching them to refer back to the study material to answer questions. Parent and child can do this together. If the question is not found in the study material the parent can say something like “Let's learn more about that” and can look in encyclopedias, through other study materials, and even on the internet. There are always a variety of ways to find an answer.
What about subjects the parent knows nothing about? There are a variety of options for this scenario. One option is for the parent to learn about the subject a little bit at a time, ahead of the child, and then instruct the child on the topic. Another option could be to hire a tutor for those subjects. Another way to solve this could be to enroll the child in an online school, either just for that subject, or for all subjects, depending on the child and family's needs. Yet another option could be to place the child in a class outside the home for that subject. There are likely many more options. Those are just a few.
Will it be stressful for the child? Some may worry about children feeling some sort of anxiety over their parent teaching them. Some students may feel pressured to over-perform. If that is the case, if the stress does not die down after a reasonable amount of time, home school may not be the right choice. However, in many situations, the children will actually feel a comfort in knowing their parent will be instructing them. Many children might actually feel a relief of stress from homeschooling.
How will the parent separate school and home? Depending on the family and the style of schooling, this may not even be necessary. With homeschooling, there is the benefit of being able to school in the same loving and nurturing way as you would parent. However, if a family does prefer to separate school and home, a schedule and set of rules that the family sticks to for school time can easily take care of that.
How will the parent know what to teach? Just as a traditional teacher derives information from the Department of Education, so will a parent who homeschools. This information is easily attainable and is public information. Also, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has plenty of helpful information and resources to point parents in the right direction.
Can a parent be a homeschool teacher without a degree? While having a teaching degree would certainly be helpful and beneficial, it isn't always necessary. While this will not be the right choice for every family, there are many homeschooling families that are successful in schooling without a parent having a teaching degree. All factors should be weighed before making a decision like this. However, with determination and dedication, teaching home school without a degree is certainly possible.
--Photo taken by author--