Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clearly, I'm More Qualified Than Other Mothers


Welcome to the first Family Revised Duets post! Karly and I are both posting on this myth today, and we'd like to bust it open. Oh, you people who are homeschoolers may not believe this one, but I've heard it from others. "Oh, I could never homeschool. But you? You've got a teaching degree so...."

I agree. So what?

Honestly, the transition from public school to a "homeschool" mindset has been rough! I read a lot of books before we began and while it all sounded neat, I just didn't really see how it could actually work. I'm also not going to sit here and say that a college degree is completely worthless. Here, I'll lay out both sides.


I'm not sure it's the degree, but probably more like the teaching experience that has given me some ideas for things to do with my daughters. Certain things that I did when I was in the classroom translated well to our homeschool last year. Of course, that will only work for the grades I have experience with. The highest I ever taught was 4th grade. After's all going to be new to me, you know? And that big tub I have out in the garage of teaching junk will be useless. (It's almost all 1st grade stuff so it's kind of dead to us for a few years anyway.)

And I have to say that I have a LOT of training in early literacy. I know now that all you really need to teach kids to read is books, and paper and something to write with. Most homeschool moms probably already know that. I know plenty of classroom teachers who think they can't teach children to read unless they have their entire bag of tricks from their classroom. Trust me, I know. When I quit work I really wanted to pack up my whole reading cart with me because I couldn't see how I could teach without all the things I was used to using in class. Guess what? Turns out what you need for a class of 25 kids and what you need for your own children are totally different things.

How else has being a former teacher helped me? Let's see...

Still thinking....

Yeah, I think I'm done. No, seriously I'm sure there are other benefits, but they aren't coming to me right now. Dealing with irate parents? A non-issue. Navigating the politics of a school staff? Blissfully, a non-issue. Paperwork and training hours and meeting campus, district, and state requirements? A non-issue. Team meetings and district meetings and staff meetings? Gone. SO MUCH of what used to take up my time is gone and I am left with what I know about teaching. And, as it turns out, very little of what I learned as a teacher applies.


It has been so hard getting out of the public school mindset. My body and my brain are stuck on a traditional school calendar. The very idea that parents are in charge of their kids and not the school is still new to me. When I first starting reading things from people who refused to trust the "government" with their children I thought I had stumbled on some crazies! The more I thought about it, and the more my thinking shifted, the more sense it all made. I was able to step back and look at the whole big machine that is the public school system with new eyes.

Honestly, there isn't one thing that I do with my girls that is the same way I would have done it in the the classroom. Every single thing about homeschooling has been new and different to me--and harder to understand because I was coming at it all with the perspective of a classroom. I'm navigating all the homeschool curriculum and methods such as notebooking, lapbooking, etc. and I feel just like a newbie. Just like anyone else.

And more than anything, I'm enjoying loving each one of my students to death, having fun with them, setting our own schedule, adjusting as needed to meet their needs rather than the other way around, and living life with them.

The two (public school and homeschooling) are not even comparable, in my opinion.

Karly is posting on this same topic today. (And she said it so much better than me!) Hop over to her blog and read what she has to say about being a former teacher turned homeschooler!!!!

Any of you former or current teachers want to join in? Leave your piece in the comments section.


  1. My thoughts exactly! :) Well said, Brenda. Thanks for the opportunity to write with ya!

  2. Love your new look, first. Second, love this post. I was convinced for the longest time because I didn't have any aspirations of being a teacher that I couldn't homeschool. And when you come across those mindsets of the inquisitive, "What? You're homeschooling?" A lot of that insecurity can come racing back.

    It was truly about renewing and reforming my thoughts on family and children and how God was to work through me. Thanks for debunking the myth!

  3. Look at you getting all crazy funky with your blog. You're too cute.

    Good post! I'm going to need to bookmark this.

    Y'all did a good job talking about this, because this is definitely something I've thought about, seeing as how I don't have a degree at all.

  4. Well I can second what you said. I think being a teacher did me more harm than good when it came time to homeschool.

    It was so hard not to get the pointer out and follow the curriculum out to the letter. SKIPPING LESSONS B/C THE KID HAS IT MASTERED!!!!!!! EEEEKKK! It was really hard for me to not dot every i and cross every t! It has gotten easier but I don't think my experience with teaching helped in the beginning. Next year when we add our 4th student to our homeschool maybe some of the "crowd control" techniques I learned might come into play!


  5. I'm so glad you posted on this subject. I am a teacher with dual certification in music & reading. I attended public schools growing up, however my mother chose to homeschool my youngest brother. So from that perspective, here's my 2 cents:

    Teachers in public schools need an education degree because they have promised to teach any child that comes into their classroom. They are responsible for taking a room full of strangers (all from different home backgrounds) and turning them into a learning community where everyone's needs are met. To do that successfully, they need training in literacy development, classroom management, lesson planning & presentation, etc.

    A homeschooling parent has only promised to teach their own children. They know their children's strengths and weaknesses, there is no disconnect between home and school, and the size of the "class" has been reduced dramatically. And as homeschoolers teach, they learn how to teach. Every teacher you'll meet will tell you they REALLY learned to teach by experience; not one of us left college knowing all we needed to know. Good educators are always learning; that is what homeschooling parents do, both ahead of and alongside their children.

    So for those of you without degrees, there is no need to apologize for your "lack" of training. You haven't promised to teach anyone else's children, just your own. If you are willing to put in the time and effort required to add schooling to your list of parental responsibilities, then you are qualified.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)