Okay, it’s time to fess up. If you’re a homeschool mom or dad, how many times have you had someone either hint or outright say that parents aren’t qualified to teach their kids?
I’m guessing it’s happened to you at least a few times.
A few months back, I was binge-watching homeschooling videos on YouTube. (Hey, I do that sometimes.) As I was scrolling through the comments, I came across one in which the author was adamantly opposed to homeschooling because, once again, “parents aren’t qualified to teach their kids.”
That one comment really got me thinking – and a little fired up – about how ironic that mindset is.
3 Reasons Why the “Parents Aren’t Qualified to Teach” Myth Reeks of Irony
1. The first five years (aka – B.S. (Before School)) of a child’s life is filled with learning.
Make no mistake about it. Parents are their child’s first teachers. In the first five years of life, children learn how to sit, crawl, walk, talk, dress themselves, learn the names of objects and people, count, feed themselves, and interact with others, among many, many other things.
This doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Do parents send their kids to school to learn how to talk – arguably one of the most difficult skills there is to learn? No! These abilities are picked up completely naturally, with the influence, nurturing, and guidance of their parents.
2. Parents are expected to prepare their children for kindergarten and to help with homework.
I can’t speak for all school districts, but ours actually tests what children know at kindergarten registration to see if they’re “ready” for kindergarten.
Parents are expected to teach their kids how to count, know their alphabet and identify letters and numbers, write their name, identify colors and shapes, and put puzzles together.
Do I think parents should teach their kids these things? Yes, when they are ready, but that’s a post for another day.
The same goes with homework. Parents are expected to help their kids with their homework. In fact, they’re often required to sign or initial a paper each night stating that they checked their child’s homework and that their child read for x number of minutes.
Do I think parents should help their kids with homework? Yes, although, if you ask me, homework shouldn’t exist. A parent who helps their child is not only offering them support but is also better able to keep a close eye on what is actually being taught.
My point is this:
If parents aren’t qualified to teach their own kids, then why do schools expect them to do so much teaching?
3. If the school system failed the parents, won’t it fail the child, too?
This is perhaps the biggest irony to be found in the “parents aren’t qualified to teach their kids” logic.
Let’s break this down a bit, shall we?
If parents don’t know enough to teach their own kids, that must mean the school system didn’t do its job.
Why in the world should parents send their kids to the same place that failed them?
Think about it.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe we’ll ever convince everyone of the effectiveness of homeschooling. What I do hope, however, is that I’ve given you some logical reasoning to use the next time the subject pops up.
In the meantime, don’t ever let anyone second guess your decision to homeschool. No one knows your children like you do, or loves your children like you do. Sometimes people are afraid of that which is unfamiliar to them. Don’t ever let that stop you from doing what you’ve been called to do.
You are doing the right thing. And your kids will thank you for it.
5 thoughts on “Think Parents Aren’t Qualified to Teach Their Kids? Oh, the Irony!”
The notion that only trained teachers can teach our children is ridiculous to me. And your logic about the system is spot in. Once a woman in my church asked me what makes me qualified to teach my son. I answered her, “God does!” And looking back on my school days, I had teachers who only wasted my time. They weren’t there to teach. They were there to collect a paycheck.
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I love your response to the woman at church!
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I’ve considered all but the last reason before, particularly during my time working as a bus aide. I am pregnant with my first, and many of the younger children were excited and curious about the little one growing inside of me. I was frank with them, and answered all of their questions about a baby’s growth and development inside the womb. One day a seven-year-old boy asked me if I would send my child to school. I shook my head and told him that I would like to teach the child myself. He looked at me, confused, and said “Why do you want to teach your own kid? That’s a teacher’s job.” Even at that age children are convinced that only someone with the title of “teacher” can teach. This amused me, since the kids often spent the hour and a half bus ride getting extra learning time in whatever subject interested them, because their “bus aide” had more quality time per child than their teacher in school did. I would never tell a public schooled child that their parents are in the wrong or hurting their education, but I did answer that little boy. I told him that I AM a teacher and I grew up teaching. As a homeschooler I was not only trained to learn, but to teach others with me. I just don’t teach in a “regular” school.
I only wish adults were as accepting of this answer as the kids on my bus were. The kid frowned, thought about it, and went “Ok. I guess you can teach your own kids….” It was pretty cute from a kid, but sad that this was such an unheard of concept for him.
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I know. We’re dealing with that with a neighbor boy now. Unfortunately, he’s a little older, so he isn’t as accepting of the fact that a parent can teach their kids. We’re working on ways to deal with his comments to the kids. 😦
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Something that may help the kids, if they are feeling discouraged, is to ask them why they love being homeschoolers. On bad days it might take a minute, but I’ll bet they each have several reasons to enjoy it. Furthermore, remind them that teaching degree or no, homeschool parents will always have more time for their students, more flexibility for the students needs and learning style, and quite frankly, they love their students more than even the best of public-school teachers could.
My siblings and I soon learned that trying to convince another kid with reason only ends in hurt feelings and frustration. But most children will at the very least accept that YOU love to be a homeschooler and your teachers are the best ones for you.
Some kids will still say unkind or thoughtless things, but you never know which kids are influenced by the gracious behavior of others. One of the greatest skills I learned as a homeschooled kid was the art of courtesy and grace towards others….and sometimes, that’s really all we can give to kids (and adults) who aren’t interested in seeing things from a different perspective.
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