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Q&A: I want to homeschool, but am I qualified?

Posted: Children & Teens » Homeschool » Kids Learning | January 1st, 2004



Question: Help! I want to homeschool, but I do not feel qualified to teach my children.

Lara Ashmore responds: Some parents may feel insecure or unqualified to teach their children; however, parents really do make the best teachers, especially for younger children! Real learning does not take place when children are presented with facts and lists to memorize but when learning is integrated into daily life by loving and caring people.

If you feel unsure about homeschooling because you are not an expert in every subject area, you should relax! There are numerous support resources available to you, including professional curriculum packages, local and online support groups, school and library resources and even virtual schools.

Local homeschool supply stores, teacher education stores and internet sites sell packaged curriculums as well as other helpful educational supplies and materials. Commercial curriculum packages are especially helpful to parents who are new to homeschooling or are insecure with the idea of being the teacher.

Many of these packages include scripts, which are word-for-word suggestions on how to present the material to your child. So even if you do not know anything about 19th-century art history or speaking Spanish, you can buy programs to help you teach these subjects to your children. (And a side benefit of homeschooling is continuing education for you!) A product called Curriculum-Fair-in-a-Box provides samples of popular curriculums that can help you decide what is best for your family.

Local homeschooling support groups are a terrific resource to those new to homeschooling. Experienced homeschoolers are usually happy to offer advice and support to new homeschoolers. If there is not a group in your area, join an online support group. Find out if there are curriculum fairs or homeschool conferences coming to your area.

Talk to your local librarian and find out if the library offers any special services for homeschoolers. Even if they do not, they can help you locate useful reference materials.

Some private schools are starting to offer services to homeschoolers. They may offer online courses, evening and weekend enrichment classes, tutoring services and more. Local colleges and universities often allow older homeschool students to take courses to supplement their home learning experience. Virtual schools such as Oak Meadow and K12.com offer complete home learning solutions with parental support provided by experienced teachers.

These resources may help you feel more comfortable in your role as a homeschooling parent and teacher. Once you get into a routine and feel more confident, you may find yourself creating your own unit studies or branching out into more relaxed homeschooling approaches.

© Lara Ashmore

Lara is the founder and director of the Dallas, Texas, vegetarian group Veggie KIDS. She currently works with the Robert Muller Center for Living Ethics exploring creative uses of technology and conducts parent and teacher education workshops on a variety of topics including multiple intelligences, parenting in the digital age, multimedia scrapbooking and digital storytelling.

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