Do Parents Need Credentials to Teach Their Children?

I saw an article in PARADE Magazine yesterday titled Should Home-Schooling Be Illegal? Of course, I have to say no. I was homeschooled (Note I didn’t hyphenate that. “Homeschool” is only one word; just ask Merriam-Webster.). From first grade through high school graduation, my mom was my teacher. Occasionally, I’d attend a class provided by the local homeschool support group, which meant someone other than my mom taught me for a brief period. A local university provided gym class for homeschoolers to give education majors a chance to teach.

When I was a freshman in high school, my best friend’s mom taught three classes: speech, literature, and writing. I attended all three, even though I was sure I’d hate the writing class the most. I know, that’s a weird thing for a writer to say, but you have to keep in mind I struggled to pass English class for most of school career thanks to learning disabilities. Until that writing class, I absolutely hated writing and did everything I could to avoid it. Then my mom’s friend taught us the basics of writing, and I fell in love with creative writing. She taught me about characterization, writing vivid descriptions, all the necessary elements to good fiction. Thanks to her, I fell in love with writing and haven’t stopped since that class. I guess you could say she’s the reason I became a writer.

If you go by the article in PARADE, she should never have taught that class. She never graduated from college and didn’t have any kind of teaching credentials. She just volunteered to teach a couple of classes for our local homeschool support group. All of the students enjoyed her classes, and we learned a lot from her.

The moral of this story? Teaching credentials don’t necessarily indicate competence as a teacher. I’ve met fully licensed teachers with years of experience in the public schools who don’t meet the educational needs of children. Yes, they might complete the curriculum, but how much did the children actually learn? Parents, on the other hand, have the time to focus on the areas their child struggles with and can help them learn more than if they’d gone to the public school.

The majority of homeschool parents don’t have teaching credentials. A lot of them never even went to college. Does this put their children at a disadvantage? Far from it! Universities, corporations, and even the military actively seek homeschooled students. Kids who had parents for teachers tend to be well-adjusted, intelligent, respectful, hardworking, and responsible. Academically, homeschooled students meet or surpass the level of their public school counterparts.

Do parents need credentials to teach their children? No. Look at the studies people have done to “prove” homeschooled children lack quality education. All those studies prove is that parents with only a high school education raise intelligent kids who go on to excel at the university level.

Don’t take away a viable, and in some cases the best, educational option for kids. Vote in PARADE Magazine’s poll and let your voice be heard.

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