Okay I have been asked this numerous times before but yesterday I had a lady come around to our house, she was a representative for a political party and she really got to me. She started by asking what political party I support and what would make me change my vote. So I asked her – what is your parties policy on home education? She could not answer that, she had no idea, she told me their home education policy was not important and should not affect the way I vote. So I told her I would never support a party who did not support home education.
At this point I was happy to end the conversation, but she then got a bit forceful and told me
“I am actually an ex-teacher!” (really not sure how being an ex-teacher makes her an expert on home education – but I was not going to go into that, as far as I was concerned this conversation was over). I was about to close the door she demanded “What are your qualifications to home educate?”
Okay so this person comes to my home trying to get me to support her political party, she does not know where they stand on home education and then quite arrogantly wants to know if I am qualified to home educate. hmm. Now I got a bit miffed and my husband who was sitting in another room gets up and walks over, stands out of her view but lets me know he is ready to start arguing if I ask him (my hubbie does have a legal degree and is 100% in favour of home education and will happily argue with anyone who tries to tell us our kids should be in school).
But as this stage I am going into mama bear mode – so I quite calmly (I was actually impressed that I kept my cool). Start telling her. Well firstly there are not enough school places for all the school age kids in this country. Secondly the schools are not set up for kids who are neurodiverse. My kids are thriving in our home learning set-up, and no I am not a teacher but I am not trying to teach a class of kids so I don’t need to have a qualification. I am a mom and I am helping MY kids learn in OUR home, there is NO class set-up so I do not need to be qualified. But she still did not get it – in her mind I needed a teaching qualification. What was interesting as we continued talking/ arguing the only time she started changing her attitude towards me was when she heard I was actually a Chartered Accountant. Both my husband and I picked that up – as soon as she heard the words Chartered Accountant, she started treating me better and suddenly thought I was capable of home educating me kids.
After she left my husband and I talked about what had happened and we both came away with three thoughts on the conversation
1. The fact that she was an ex-teacher meant she thought she was an expert on home education.
2. She thought I needed to be qualified (guessing she meant be a teacher) to home educate.
3. As soon as she heard I was a Chartered Accountant she assumed I was capable of home education.
There is ONLY ONE qualification that any parent needs to be a home educator.
You need to be devoted to your kids learning.
That is it. There is no degree needed, no teaching experience required.
All you need is the desire to want to help your kids learn. The determination that means you will spend your time reading up, researching and doing learning activities with them. I have seen a number of home educating families in action and all of them have this one thing in common – a parent (or parents) who are completely devoted to their kids learning. And that parent ALWAYS spends their time reading and learning what to do to help their kids progress. No qualification needed.
Home educators do NOT teach a class full of kids, they help their own children learn. It is one-to one, or one-two learning, very different to a class set-up. Home educators have the flexibility to adjust the learning to their individual kids.
I have never come across a home educator who has taken the decision to home educate lightly, everyone has thought long and hard about it and has done a $%^*&* of reading on it. Home educators don’t know everything about every topic but they gets their hands dirty and learn with their kids. They tend to be experts at saying – ” lets find out together”, or “I don’t know that answer but if you give me some time I will figure it out”.
So please if you come to my door trying to get me to change my mind about your political party, don’t assume I will not argue with you about my right to home educate. And NO I will not vote for any political party who is ant-home education, never going to happen. Ever.
Side note – I am not anti-teachers. I think teachers are amazing. I could not face a class full of kids. I do believe that the school system is not set up for all kids. The classes are too big, the teachers are stretched beyond what they should be. We home educate because we don’t think the school system supports neurodiverse kids.