You don’t have to be a teacher

Homeschooling: You don't have to be a teacher | Happiness is here

Many times when a stranger has found out that we homeschool I have had the question, ‘Oh, are you a teacher?’ One person even said to my husband ‘What makes your wife think she is qualified to do that?’ Firstly, my oldest child is 5. If after completing high school myself I can’t help a 5 year old learn everything they need to know, then that’s not a great advertisement for school. However, I also think that I am the best person to teach my children no matter how old they are.

So, why do I think I am the best person for this ‘job’?

Because no-one knows my children better than I do.

Because no-one is more invested in their education.

Because I care not only about their academic education but their development as a person.

Because no-one else loves them more than I do.

Because I am the most motivated to see them do well.

Because I believe that young children should be surrounded by people who love them.

Because I can give my children a stress free childhood.

Because the fact that most people send their children to school doesn’t mean it is the best choice for our family.

Because their education is my responsibility and I will do what I think is best for them.

Because I can.

I can do this. Before I had even considered it, the world had me believing that I couldn’t. That someone else was better able to take care of my children than me. That only trained teachers can educate children. That when my child reaches the age of 5, I am no longer good enough to be in charge of their education. Well I am not buying it anymore. I am the best person for this job.

Now I want to be clear… I think teachers are amazing. Most of them are passionate about their job and fabulous at it. That, I do not think I could do. Looking after 30 kids every day is not for me. But I am not trying to be a school teacher. My children’s education doesn’t look anything like school and so I don’t need to know how to be a teacher. I would never call myself a teacher. I think of myself as more of a facilitator in their learning. I am not trying to fill them up with facts, but rather enabling them to become self-directed learners and fostering a love of learning in them. I absolutely do not need to know everything. I think this is the biggest misconception…that I need to know about everything in the school curriculum so I can pass that information on to my kids. Not true. It’s ok not to have the answers. They ask so many questions that I have no clue about. But we find the answers together. I am teaching them how to learn. And that is not difficult.

It also doesn’t have to be perfect. There might be things that we miss that they decide they need to learn later, and that is ok. There is no expiry date on education. The alternative, school, doesn’t automatically guarantee a ‘perfect’ education anyway. But I will do my absolute best to give them an education perfectly tailored to them. And if I raise children who are resourceful, curious, creative, problem solvers, self confident, fulfilled, well rounded, passionate, and who love life and learning, then I have succeeded. I can do that. I am doing that.

Homeschooling: You don't have to be a teacher | Happiness is here

40 thoughts on “You don’t have to be a teacher

  1. I am a qualified teacher and I couldn’t agree with you more. It comes down to the old saying, ‘Where there is a will, there’s a way.’ Your attitude is spot on.

  2. I taught 8 years in the public system and when I declared that I was homeschooling my children I still had people ask me how I would know if they were learning what they were supposed to know. We were just starting Kindergarten, too. Unfortunately, people don’t think before the speak. Who knows your child better than you?

  3. Well I am absolutely a teacher and I specialise in the most important subject there is……..life. I teach my children about real life……now I ask, where is that “subject” in school?

  4. I love your attitude, am starting home schooling my son (8) in September and am hitting all the negative comments from people who are frightened by anything which is not the ‘norm’. Your an inspiration and have hit the nail on the head. πŸ™‚

  5. This post was just the encouragement I needed! We just started home schooling and the negative attitudes of others towards it can just be overwhelming. To top it off, I’ve found traditional home schooling Moms are quick to advise on what curriculum I should be using when they hear that our days are structured around my daughters questions and curiosities.
    I’m so glad to have found your blog today!

  6. Sometimes where there’s a will there isn’t always a way. I’m a single Mum and just can’t see how I can home/unschool without a wage coming in πŸ™

    Totally agree with what you’ve said -you don’t need to be a teacher to help your child learn! Having worked in primary schools (generally with children who don’t fit into the system) I’m not comfortable sending my son and feel I could offer him so much more. Sadly he’s an only child so maybe he will enjoy going to school -we can only make the best of our situation!

    Wish we lived in Finland -that’s a school system I could compromise for πŸ™‚

    • Jenni,
      I can not speak for you personally of course. However, if you have not already, I do encourage you to connect with a trusted (most likely secular but definitely all inclusive) home education organization as well as local support. There are countless single parents who make this work in various ways including creative jobs and work hours, having others care for child for periods of time, etc.
      I’m in MA (and am from PA) myself so if either of those places connects with you, feel free to contact me directly for supportive chat. Although I have a feeling that you’re not in the states. Either way, please know that you have support out there! Best πŸ™‚

    • Jenni, I hear you! I’m also a single mom, and it just isn’t possible. There are apparently “countless” single parents who do it all… but I doubt it!

      If you can do it, do it. It’s great. Homeschooling is great. I managed to stay on welfare for the first 5 years of my son’s life, so he could have a full-time mom at home. I “homeschooled”, absolutely! And my son is very bright, as a result. But if you’re alone, without the actual support of a partner, and perhaps even without the support of other relatives… it’s just a guilt-trip, to beat yourself up, about not being able to “do it all”.

      My son has taught me a lot about who he is during these last 3 years in public school, by how he faces the challenges he meets, there. He is very creative: he comes-up with creative solutions. And his gusto has taught me how to address problems in my own life better, too!

      Keep your chin up!

  7. Beautiful. I often struggle with this myself – the push and pull of not quite feeling right about the idea of sending my little ones to school one day and yet, not knowing if I’m overestimating my own abilities by thinking that way. But who in the world would be more motivated to teach them as fully as possible as me? Thank you for sharing.

  8. hi sara! i send my kids to a great school but i couldnt agree with you more! the school that i send my kids to is the progressive kind with a small ratio of 1:6 but whenever my daughter finds it hard to understand a new topic at school, i would always take the time to do my own way of teaching her and im always sure she “gets it”more than when she does at school. im just saying that because we know our kids more, we are always able to tailor teaching more personally than any other human being in their world. And my daughter would always declare “my mom is the best teacher in the world” lol =)

    im not a teacher and im always almost too busy for myself but im never busy for my kids =) im always reading your posts and i love all of them! thank you for always writing… your stories inspires me.. i hope someday i can also homeschool my kids.

  9. What a beautiful post. It’s like you can hear my heartbeat. We home educate our three awesome girls and I’ve just come out of a tough time worrying and stressing over whether I’m doing anywhere near a good enough job. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart. It’s such an encouragement!

  10. Totally agree!
    Love from a homeschooling primary teacher who believes being a teacher part time actually makes home educating more difficult as you ignore all your training to get the best results and happy little learners!

  11. Hi Sara! My homeschooling days are now over having schooled two children K-12. I wanted to write and say that you have the exact right attitude about your homeschooling journey, making you perfectly qualified to be your child’s best teacher! How wonderful for you to have got it so right in the midst of your endeavor. Best of luck to you and your family. And from personal experience, you’ll never regret one minute of your decision. It will be one of the best you’ve ever made!

  12. Right now feeling really sad because i am not able to homeschool my daughter. My husband wouldn’t agree with it plus I need to work away from home at least 4 days a week. I’d love to homeschooling her. She’s in an excellent school and enjoys it very much. But she insists on the fact she would rather be with me. Being a mum is heartbreaking sometimes. Good for you you had the choice. I love your post.

  13. I LOVE this post. This attitude from people drives me crazy. Firstly, I find it a tad insulting that people don’t think I am capable of teaching the basics, secondly it makes people think that education can ONLY happen in schools and therefore people don’t feel they have a role in their child’s education other then homework. My kids are in their third week of trying out school but twice this week I have had ” oh now they can have ACTUAL teachers.” So incredibly insensitive…. I was also blasted by a family member because I chose to let them go to a school that supports homeschooling, no homework and is non competitive but is 45 minutes away, rather then putting them in the local traditional school. People are quick to tell us how it should be done….:(

  14. Love, love, love!! So very true, well said.

    I’ve been contemplating unschooling our three children (possibly four). I have wrapped my head around the socialisation issue, do you reckon the same ideas around socialisation apply to working as a team/group? How do you incorporate this in to your days?

    Thanks heaps for your posts. They are very inspiring.

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