Monday, January 7, 2013

Questions People Ask Me About Homeschooling Part 3

The next question I get asked has to do with the qualifications that are needed to homeschool your children.  While each state varies, I think that at the time of this post, California only requires that the homeschooling parent be "capable of teaching" and rhis does not mean that they have to have completed high school.  The bottom of this post contains a link to the Home School Legal Defense website which clearly outlines the requirements of each particular state for a parent to homeschool their child. 

3. Sure you can homeschool, you were a school teacher, but I could never have the knowledge, skill, expertise, organization, you name it, to do what you do.

I appreciate the confidence that teaching has given me to attempt to teach my own children. I appreciate the perspective that I have from seeing both sides of the equation. But, I have to say, there are many theories that I have had to unlearn and habits that I have had to leave behind. And furthermore, as a teacher in homeschool co-ops, I have had the opportunity to work with lots of homeschool children. Some of my best students have been sent to school with notes from parents who struggle with spelling and grammar.

As a homeschool parent, you are not teaching your students everything you know. You are teaching them how to learn and infecting them with a contagious curiosity about the world around you, its people and its wonders. They can and will surpass you in some areas of their passion as early as the fifth grade. Another bonus is, you get to, uh, "relearn" some of this stuff for the first time. Punic wars, anyone? Latin declensions? Solving quadratic equations? Yeah, some of that you will skip this time around, too, thanks to wonderful DVD's, co-ops and online classes.

One thing that I learned from public school is that one of the most important factors in how much a student will learn in any given year depends less on the expertise on any given subject or on having a certain type of degree, but more on how much their teacher believes in them and the encouragement that they get from them. Who better to do that than the person who loves them the most in this world?

Quick facts:  41 states do not require homeschool parents to meet any specific homeschool qualifications.  (Three states—CA, KS, and NY—require homeschool teachers to be "competent," "qualified," or "capable of teaching." In California, Kansas, and New York, a parent can be recognized as competent or capable of teaching without having a high school diploma or GED.)

The nine states that require only a high school diploma or GED are: GA, NC, ND, NM, OH, PA, SC, TN, and WV.

To find out more about the exact legal requirements for each state, go to Homeschool Summary of Laws.

Note:  In addition to teacher qualifictions, each state has it own records that it requires.  HSLDA is a great resource for this as well.

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