What Qualifies You To Teach – Homeschool Teachers

The first time we hit advanced high school math I decided I wasn’t qualified to teach homeschool anymore and I sent my son to school. Now my fourth child is doing algebraic quadratic equations. It’s clear to me that I’m not qualified to teach her this subject but it doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to homeschool!

qualifications of a homeschool teacher
There are those about who think homeschooling parents don’t have the qualifications to teach. They may say:

  • Parents don’t understand teaching methods that help children learn
  • Parents lack the ability to teach complex subjects
  • Children won’t learn properly at home

Are these criticism based on evidence or are they just objections from those who don’t like homeschooling.  Here is my response to these allegations put forward in protest of homeschooling.

Parents Don’t Understand Teaching Methods

“You parents naturally know how to relate to each of your children and help them learn. Your biggest problem is that so many of you are afraid that teachers or society or somebody out there will frown on your way of teaching.” Ruth Beechick

It is true that many homeschoolers are not trained school teachers but they do want to understand their children and want to learn how to teach them.  It is also true that schools have good and bad teachers and it is often not their training that makes them good at their job but rather their natural ability. Teaching at home and school are poles apart and the home teacher usually finds what works in the classroom won’t work at home anyway.

There is a steep learning curve for new teaching parents but there are many ways in which parents can teach themselves how to teach. There is a great deal of information to help homeschool parents learn how to teach. Much of it is common-sense and assessing your child’s progress. For books on How to Homeschool look here

Homeschool Teachers Don’t Know It All

“The teacher who allows his scholars the freedom of the city of books is at liberty to be their guide, philosopher and friend; and no longer the mere instrument of forcible intellectual feeding.” Charlotte Mason

There is a pedagogical educational model based on the idea that a teacher is the matter expert who directs all of the learning. In the early years of homeschooling primary aged children this model can work because most parents would be confident to teach from their own knowledge up to about 4th grade. There are also plenty of resources that use this method. The homeschool teacher need only find the resources and books and they can happily help their children along.

However there does come a time when you can no longer claim expert knowledge on topics. And this is when homeschooling parents learn to lean on the experts. Resources that teach areas of weakness can be used and the teacher and student can learn together. The parent is not the fountain of knowledge to all things but they can usually become good researchers and find out good resources and living books by experts who can teach it to their children. This method allows children to be put in touch with great ideas from people who understand topics.

And as the child matures into the high school years, they can steer their educational ship along a much more individualized route. The parents become facilitators to their child’s self directed and critical thinking approach to education. This is called the andragogy model and home educators often adopt this model even if they don’t know the name for it. During these years the parent becomes the coach rather than an encyclopaedia.

In specialty subjects like chemistry, physics, music and drama education can be outsourced when necessary.

Your Children’s Education Will Sufferer When You Homeschool

“Children who are taught at home benefit from smaller class sizes more individualized attention, and the flexibility to work on their academic activities as their abilities and interests dictate. In addition, experts believe homeschooled children are able to spend more time working on their studies—not only quality of time, but quantity of time.” Bryers & Bryers

Homeschoolers tend to do well academically. Various studies have shown this. Probably the most well-known one is the American based Hewitt Research Study which demonstrated that homeschoolers scored 80% on standardized tests compared to the national norm of 50%. (cited Byers & Byers).

Now I don’t want to put my head in the sand here. It is true that some homeschooled children don’t get a good education but it is equally true that many public schooled children don’t get a good one either.  But in my experience most home educating parents take their role seriously and apply themselves diligently to their child’s education and the children do well academically. In cases when they don’t do well, would school have made a difference!

“I meet teaching parents all around the country and find them to be intelligent, enthusiastic, creative people doing a marvellous job of teaching their children. But, sad to say, most of them do not know what a great job they are doing. Everyone thinks it goes smoothly in everyone else’s house but theirs is the only place that has problems.” Ruth Beechick

qualifications of a home school teacher

We May Not Be School Teachers But It Doesn’t Matter

Parents who homeschool are not disadvantaging their children as the critics suggest! And parents can have confidence that they are capable of teaching at home.

Let me finish with these encouraging words from Ruth Beechick.

“I meet teaching parents all around the country and find them to be intelligent, enthusiastic, creative people doing a marvellous job of teaching their children. But, sad to say, most of them do not know what a great job they are doing. Everyone thinks it goes smoothly in everyone else’s house but theirs is the only place that has problems. I’ll let you in on a secret about teaching: there is no place in the world where it rolls along smoothly without problems. Only in articles and books can that happen.” Ruth Beechick
So next time you are asked if you are qualified to teach your children you’ll know how to answer.

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  1. Kelly  November 26, 2019

    Hi I have a special needs daughter who isn’t able to attend mainstream learning due to her intellectual disabilities and her behaviour. She is 15 and should be finishing year 9 but was expelled. I have contacted another school, but they have not yet replied. I’m guessing she has been put in the too hard basket. I personally don’t think I have the patience to teach her as she is also ADHD. Her intellectual age is around 7-8 years. I was going to look at distance education to help with the home schooling. I am just at batter heads and have no idea what to do. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. Tracey Connie-Carbery  May 20, 2019

    Hi, I have a special needs son who is 9 years old. Even though he is in yr 4 he is being taught at yr 1 level which is modified for him. He finds the work hard and he gets very tired. Since Kindergarten he has had a history of not going to school every day as he would get very emotional and irritable. Since Kindergarten he has been bullied. My husband, eldest daughter and I, have thought that home schooling would be better for my son emotionally, mentally and also our family as it is stressful to try and get him to school when he doesn’t want to go and also from the school insisting he goes every day even though they know his history and special needs.

  3. Kathy  November 11, 2016

    Hi I want to homeschool my daughter she is 14 but i was wandering if i needed to finish high school cause i dropped out at a young age.

    • Michelle  November 15, 2016

      Hi Kathy,
      you can always learn along with your child. You will need to put a plan together and work out what she needs to learn. You also need to be able to access people who can help her with subjects that you don’t feel confident to do. I will say dropping in to homeschooling when your child is in Year 9 is more difficult because there is a steep learning curve but it can be done. Good luck!

  4. Tara  February 3, 2016

    Hi I was just wondering how long daily lessons should be? I’m teaching my 5,7 & 8 yr old at the moment and oue days lessons are usually accomplished in 3 hrs. Is this too long/ short for their age groups? Thankyou kindly

    • Michelle  February 4, 2016

      Hi Tara, I think that sounds about right. The older they get the more hours you do. Fill the rest of your days with lots of natural learning and try to keep the electronic entertainment to a minimum during the day. Many homeschool mums only do formal lessons 3-4 days per week when they have young one. The other days can be for homeschool outings.

  5. Bree  November 7, 2015

    Went do you start the homeschool ?
    Thanks you

    • Michelle  November 8, 2015

      Hi Bree,
      I’m not sure if you are asking what time or what age so I’ll answer both. Most people start around the age of 5 or 6. Starting time in the early days was usually around 9 or 9.30. I know others who start at 8pm. It depends how your family routine works best. I hope that helps.




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