Do You Need a Degree to be a Good Teacher?

My husband and I held a debate on Tuesday night. Just the two of us.

It raged for several hours, until we glanced at the clock and realized it was Wednesday.

There are lots of topics capable of causing such a heated discussion when a couple is on opposite sides.

Having another baby? Yeah, that one would do it.

Moving? Most definitely.

Switching careers? Another top contender.

But I even after hours of discussion, I still do not understand how the actual topic of our debate could rank up with these life changing events.


To do or not to do?


It is no secret to my husband I have considered homeschooling our son since the age of three.

The difference is we will actually have to do something about it this fall, as The Tackler will be the magical age of five and half and capable of attending kindergarten.

I know many parents who choose to homeschool. I know many who do not. I see the pros and cons of both sides.

But I remain torn.

I’d love for others to weigh in on their experiences.

Here’s how our discussion broke down.

* * *

Why do I want to homeschool? I think my son will spend most of kindergarten bored. When he is bored, he acts out. He is a sponge when you toss topics of interest at him (right now it’s the solar system, volcanoes, tornadoes, geography, the human body) and it seems a waste to miss more interests by having him sit at desk to learn his letters…. again.

Engineering is important

Engineering train tracks - a secret lesson in spatial relations and planning.

I do not think the basic of skill of “sitting quietly at a desk for six hours” should ever be required.

I am afraid school will snuff out his creativity and joy of learning.

Why do I NOT want to homeschool? Public school means seven hours of “free” babysitting for The Tackler.

Why my husband doesn’t want me to homeschool?  A) I do not have a piece of paper stating that I have completed the degree program to become a teacher. Ever the skeptic, he does not believe me qualified to teach our son.

B) He thinks our son should learn to sit still and be bored quietly at the age of five.

C) Our son wouldn’t have enough social contact.

D) I am too disorganized to teach.

E) He visualizes homeschooling as a home version of public school.

F) I would not be able to teach him in the higher grades.

There are about another hundred reasons, but most boil down to more of part A.

I do not have a degree in teaching. 

He wants me to prove I can teach our son.

I mentioned I have been his primary teacher for almost five years and have done a pretty kick ass job.

He concurred, then countered how Lil Diva is “behind” compared to her brother. He blames me for not spending time teaching her.

There is some truth to that. She never had the benefit of being the only child. Always, my attention is divided.

She learns differently and doesn’t have the laser focus I see with her brother. At least at this age.

And every time I try to teach her, her brother butts in.

Or the session lasts about thirty seconds.

It does not mean I am not teaching her. It just means it’s taking longer for the information to stick.

And really, what is the rush?

Because there is a part of me the feels the more I teach my children now, the more bored they will be when they go to school.

It makes me sad.

Because I loved kindergarten. First grade… not so much.

Both my husband and I thrived on being challenged.

And zoned off in our own worlds when we weren’t.

We just weren’t likely to act out while doing so.

I just find it telling the only positive I see for my son attending kindergarten is “free baby-sitting”.

Maybe it’s a bias I have toward Texas schools.

Maybe it’s the distaste I have for emphasis on standardized tests following the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act and rampant “teaching to the test”.

Childhood is fleeting and I don’t see the rush to force kids to “grow up and sit still”.

My kindergarten was a huge room. We had a grocery store, a carpet for reading, desks in a corner we only sat at a quarter of the time, and a wide open space to unroll a giant roll of paper for drawing. We had recess in the morning, following lunch, and again in the afternoon. That was three entire recesses. We had “nap time” following our lunch recess.

We learned but were allowed to be kids while doing so.

It seems very wrong to me that from 7:45 AM to 2:40 PM the only time “off” my child will have is thirty minutes for lunch followed by a fifteen minute “relax” time. And those three well-spaced recesses I had are reduced to a single twenty minute block.

For those who suck at math, that’s sixty-five entire minutes out of a seven hour day for a five year old to just be.

I shudder to think of my son having to wait until 1:20 PM to get twenty minutes to exorcise his kamikaze energy – unless it happens to be a PE day.

Right now he spends four hours twice a week in a preschool program with a teacher we both adore.

In that four hours, he has sixty minutes for lunch and recess.

There are only ten children in his class.

And we still have days with issues from not listening and acting out.

How would he be in a class of 24 or more students?

I have no idea, but just the thought scares me.

Sure, with the right teacher, maybe everything would be fine.


It is possible he’ll mature dramatically before August – his behavior did improve when he turned four.

Yet even if he did attend, another host of issues crops up.

Losing your travel window.

Enrolling in school also means saying good-bye to the freedom to travel when we want. Because of cost and trying to visit when Iowa isn't a steaming swamp or frigid wasteland, 95% of the trips to visit my family took place during the school calendar year. The single exception was my sister's wedding. In 2011, had my son been enrolled, he'd have missed three and a half weeks of school for traveling to Iowa (May and August) and Colorado (December).

School starts at 7:45 AM. He would have to go to bed an hour earlier to be rested which would completely alter the evening dynamic.

School is over at 2:40 PM – when Lil Diva is napping about 98% of the time. We live too close to ride the bus, which means my husband and I must somehow pick up and drop him off every day.

If my husband is at work and I am home with a napping child, it means I must depend on a friend or neighbor to help retrieve my son…. or wake a three year old from their nap.

Any parent of a three year old understands why the latter idea is near the top of the List of Brilliant Ideas You Should Never Try – right along with “wear Lady Gaga’s meat dress into cage of starving tigers” and “feed blueberries to a child infected with stomach virus”.

I don’t know how the cards will fall – I am not sure what tangible evidence my husband seeks to convince him homeschooling isn’t the worst idea ever. I don’t know if I would be a good teacher.

I know there are lots of options.

I just hope we choose wisely.

I’m curious to hear opinions on either side. Which choice did you make and were you glad, or did you regret it? What would you have done differently if you could?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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50 Responses to Do You Need a Degree to be a Good Teacher?

  1. Wow… that’s a tough one. There would be strong arguments supporting both sides, I suppose.
    I’m sure the Canadian schooling system differs from the American version, but I have lost a bit of faith with the public school system here. I see the “homework” that comes home and am a bit disappointed. My 7 year old is smart and in 2nd grade, but is learning very basic reading and writing – and don’t even get me started on the math… BUT I do believe that the socialization helps. Plus, I think that maybe they learn that not everything can be catered to their particular fancy – Peanut tells me that when he is “bored” at school, he asks the Teacher if he may get a workbook. I’ve made it clear that it’s ok to tell the teacher that he would like a little extra work.
    While I’m not patient, organized or competent enough to home-school, the idea of private school appeals to me. The only thing is that at $800/month, it’s a bit tough on the pocketbook.
    Good luck with your decision… I don’t envy you it. 🙂

  2. Kim Woehl says:

    Before you ponder this any further, I would set up a meeting with your local kindergarten teachers and learn what a day today looks like. You may be surprised. There is very little sitting at desks at least here in MN in our district. As far as that piece of paper, you have shown you are indeed a good teacher and I would not worry about that paper.

    My youngest has special needs and I too very seriously considered homeschooling. I attended a few classes, learned about how I would gather texts and get info to the school district. I learned what had to be shared and what did not.

    In the end I worried about my own diligence to teaching him and chose public school. He also very much needed more social practice. In hind sight I would have been an amazing teacher and probably should have taken this route for his sake. There are many homeschooling groups and activities that would have met this social niche and I would have not been alone in my teaching. I would have been mentored along and had plenty of guidance.

    Whatever you choose to do, do it in knowledge of fact and it will be a good choice either way.

    • I have been learning about homeschooling since my son turned three, so for about two years now.

      Visiting “our” elementary school is on my agenda for a day when the kids are at preschool (is it ironic I find preschool okay, but dislike what kindergarten has become?). I do not know how much observing I will be allowed to do, but would love to sit through several hours of their day to see what it is really like, and see the teachers in action.

      To me, the issue (especially during the elementary years) isn’t the paper so much as the time commitment and figuring out how to incorporate his sister into it.

      I know many mention “socializing” as a plus, but I know we can easily do that in this community without a school.

      Thank you so much for your input.

  3. Kate says:

    I hope my response isn’t too lengthy. I do not have a degree. But, consider myself to be a teacher to my children 24/7. I am the one who makes sure they complete/understand their homework, get outside help as needed, and teach lessons about responsibility, respect, etc. I believe the uniqueness of each children/parent/family situation determines the type of “school” that will be successful. For my cousin, homeschooling has been the right choice for her children. She has two sets of twins. All do very well academically, have developed good character, and have active social lives. Also, vacations can be scheduled as my cousin and her family wish. But, for me, homeschooling would not work well. While I love being an active partner in my children’s education, I am not their primary academic teacher because our relationships would suffer from me trying to teach them several hours each day. We would be in constant argument mode. I am still a very active participant in their education. I encourage and participate in enrichment opportunities with them family field trips, vacations, extracurricular classes, and family learning time. Both of my children work better on academic matters with others; not me. Taking care to assess the education style that is the best match for your children is important. Your point about matching the right teachers to your children’s learning styles is imperative to their success. So far, I have lucked out with both children. Their teachers have been outstanding. But, there are parents I know who do not feel their children’s educational needs are being met. One has an advanced son, who has been placed with teachers who are fairly rigid in how they teach: one size fits all approach. My daughter has had two teachers who are willing and successful at adjusting curriculum to fit each student. Also, whatever choice you make isn’t engraved in stone. You can always make changes as needed. Some of my neighbors and friends send their children to private schools. Many nearby private schools offer various kindergarten programs (i.e. young fives, 1/2-day, full-day, advanced, etc.), accelerated curriculum at all grade levels to challenge as needed, and smaller class sizes. Good luck in your decision-making.

    • I keep trying to mention we don’t have to be rigid – we could change our minds at any time no matter which method we are using, but I think when I say “homeschool”, my husband’s brain fast forwards to me trying to teach chemistry and calculus – which I am not capable of teaching (it has been far too long).

      I have been looking into partial kindergartens as an alternative.

      My biggest issue is, I know (thanks to preschool) with the right teacher my children do thrive, but that is with a much more relaxed environment – which is really my biggest issue.

      I am likely to homeschool before shelling out for private school.

  4. Kathryn says:

    I think the most common misconception about homeschool is that children will get no social interaction or have no lives/friends etc. I find that this isn’t the case at all. While this doesn’t completely answer your question I think the following video is fabulous and addresses what most people think of homeschooling. I think homeschooling/public school is a very personal decision and depends a lot on the individual family. It is what I am currently doing and I love it!

    • That video is hilarious, and I know it’s true. I know enough homeschoolers to know the assumptions are false.

      I think the one thing my husband truly doubts is my ability to be organized enough to homeschool. I admit I fell greatly behind while I was reproducing and then keeping the kids from killing each other…

      I will have to look at myself and decide if I am ready for that commitment too.

      And I still want to sit in on a school session with you guys. 🙂

  5. Katie says:

    I’m not surprised that this topic led to a multi-hour discussion — it’s a huge decision! And one that we’re starting to ponder as well, since Little Man will be at about preschool age next year and we’re already starting to discuss our kindergarten options.

    First, I don’t think that you need a piece of paper to be a good teacher. There are plenty of people without the piece of paper who are excellent teachers and some with it who aren’t so good. That really means nothing. That said, I also think that there are many benefits to a more traditional school setting than you are recognizing (i.e. more than just 7 hours of babysitting). That’s not to say that homeschool isn’t the best thing for the Tackler — it very well may be. I also think that any school situation, whether homeschool, private school, public school, or any other arrangement, requires active involvement by parents. A more traditional school setting necessarily cannot cater to a single child’s specific interests — that would be impossible. That’s why, when Little Man starts school, Albert and I will look on it as our job to make sure that he’s learning what he *needs* to learn, and also getting to learn what he *wants* to learn so that he still thinks learning is fun.

    Homeschooling isn’t really an option for us, since we both work, but if it was, the questions I’d be asking myself would be along these lines: (1) Does he respond to me as a teacher to be listened to and taken seriously? (honestly,while we teach him a lot, the answer is often no — Little Man pays closer attention to his teacher at PDO); (2) Does he have friends his age who will be in school? Will he want to go see his friends every day like they get to do?; (3) Will he benefit from the social aspect of school? Can I provide that to him in another way if I decide to homeschool? How?; (4) Will he be willing to have some defined learning time when little sister does not and is able to play all day?; (5) Will I be able to teach him to sit still and be quiet? (Because as much as you may dislike it, that *is* something that he will have to learn. If he doesn’t learn it at school, you will have to teach him); (6) Do I have a space in my home that I can set up as defined learning space? (I’m not saying that homeschool is a home version of public school, but it probably will need to be a bit more structured than what you do now, particularly if he’ll go to a traditional school at some point later on); (7) Will I have the time to instruct him like he needs to be with another toddler running around? Will little sister get the time and attention that she needs if I have to teach big brother?; (8) Can I teach him the discipline and self-control to not act out when bored or when something doesn’t go his way? (This is another area where Little Man has benefitted greatly from a more structured environment. He never throws tantrums at PDO, and he has so much self-control and discipline, particularly there. He knows to wait his turn without being told or asked, he knows how to take turns with other kids, he knows how to line up and wait for his teacher. And he’s only 2 1/2).

    Those are just a few of the things that pop into my head. Your answers to all those questions may lead to the conclusion that homeschooling is best. As for the other concerns — bedtime, Lil Diva’s nap, traveling, etc., those are just logistical things that you can work around if you need to. If a traditional school is what’s best for the Tackler, are you really not going to send him because it would mess up your evening dynamic or because it would make travel inconvenient? And naps can be adjusted or you could work out a carpool arrangement with another family (that’s what I did as an elementary student) — maybe you drop off and they pick up.

    Are your only options public school and homeschool? (answer may be yes). Is there a good private school that has a structure more like what you want? What about a Montessori school? Maybe a Reggio Emilia school or a Waldorf school? One thing that we plan to do with Little Man once he’s old enough (4, I think) is start him in supplemental Chinese and Japanese language lessons through a community group here. Supplemental instruction in stuff that Tackler is interested in could help keep him interested in learning.

    Anyway, it’s easy to ask the questions, but there are no easy answers. Good luck! (And sorry for the very long comment).

    • There are lots of options, and I’m researching those too. Austin is a great city that way. Regarding your questions:

      1) It depends on his mood. Often during Lil Diva’s naptime (and during other one on one times with either me or CG) he will pick a book or start talking about a topic of interest (i.e. volcanoes) and that is when he will go into “sponge mode”. He does tend to listen behavioral wise better to others than to me.

      2) All of his friends are in either different districts or an older grade. No one we know will be in his grade & if I recall, you don’t really mingle with other grades in elementary school.

      3) Just going to my gym gives him social experiences (I get 2 hours of childcare a day). Thanks to nice weather, we go to parks in the winter and they are full of kids. Plus, I know several moms who homeschool with children my age. I am not worried about socialization. In fact, my son typically gets along better with older children because they can articulate their wishes better.

      4) Lil Diva is likely to still attend preschool, so at least two mornings a week he would have me to himself. She still naps so there is also naptime. She is also getting old enough that by the time she is 3, she will be able to join us in a limited fashion – this is how she learns much of what she knows.

      5) He can sit still and quiet when absorbed in something entertaining. He’s spent an hour just looking through books on his own. We have bad days like anyone else, or times he is full of more energy and squirrelly, but for the most part (for me) he is good when we have to sit down. I know learning “circle time” where he was expected to sit and listen even if he wasn’t interested caused problems in the past. More to the point, I don’t think a 5 year old should have to sit for long periods just to prove they can. In several years, my expectation will be different. My issue is having him sit through things he already knows repeatedly, getting bored, then acting out because.. well, he’s bored.

      6) He could use his room, the game room, the kitchen, or a portion of the family room as a school place to study. I don’t plan on a lot of “sit down at a table” activities, other than some workbooks, drawing, and handwriting while he’s young anyway. He learns well when moving, doing, and even just reading a book together and point out things in pictures.

      7) This is the biggest thing, but it isn’t Lil Diva that is my concern, so much as.. me. The selfish part of me that wants to write a book. To me, it is really the main obstacle (besides getting my husband on board), and I will have to make a commitment. That being said, I do not plan on teaching him six hours a day, especially in kindergarten. Much is learned through simple play, interactions, even computer games. At most I would likely spend two hours a day of one-on-one dedicated interactions (maybe more on good days, less on bad ones) to teach him. Then I let it go, and give him time to incorporate and process what he learned. It almost immediately shows up in imaginative play in ways I never thought of.

      8) My son gets better and better at curbing acting out and listening as he gets older. Does he listen better to teachers? Yes. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how when with me, just that he “forgets” and tests me instead. Going to school won’t change that. We also take books everywhere and for backup (say, doctors visits where you have no idea how long you’ll wait) there is always the games on the cell or iPod. The biggest issue is getting him to cope with his perfectionism streak. Nothing will lead to a whiny meltdown faster than “failing” at what he wishes to do.

      I do plan on doing supplemental activities. He’d been doing swim school for over a year, but he’s taking a break on that for a few months. I’d like to see what sport or other activity he has interest in and have him sample that as well.

      I don’t mind the long comment. I wrote this post for the precise reason to create an informed discussion to make me think of all the alternatives and the results of each.

  6. John says:

    I’m a huge believer in the public education system, even if I despise “teaching for the test.” However, I know that a fancy piece of paper does not a good teacher make. Much like everyone teaches for the test now, that fancy piece of paper simply means that you’ve received a set of requirements. However, those who have that piece of paper have, or, at least, had, something every teacher needs – the want to teach, which is, really, what makes a good teacher.

    Having read your blog for awhile, and having no shortage of early-elementary teachers at my disposal (my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two aunts were all kindergarten, 1st grade, second grade, or special-needs teachers at points of their lives), I’d really suggest holding The Tackler back a year. I think, if push came to shove (a very real potential problem with him, I’m sure), he’d actually be ok in kindergarten this year . . . but he’d exceed if he started a year later.

    And I do believe it’s the social aspects that call for public education more than any purely-
    educational aspects.

    • Jacque says:

      I don’t understand. Hold the kid back a grade? He already knows the content of kindergarden. So in public school he might be labeled disruptive in class. But hold him back so the other students aren’t disrupted? So he can sit quietly the next year while learning nothing? Is that what school is about these days?

      I don’t buy that good social skills are built at public school. Kids could benefit way more from learning social skills from mature people that are not their age. It’s unfortuate that schools are expected to teach social skills now along with math and science. Social skills should be taught at home, regardless of where the kids learn their academic subjects.

      • As you’ll see, I agree with you on this. My son can be very well behaved – if he’s engaged and interested.

        It is the possible boredom and lack of physical activity that has me most worried, and waiting a year would not change that.

    • I know holding back for social reasons is very common, especially among boys, but I agree with Jacque’s comment below – that would be the worst thing we could do.

      Holding back The Tackler for another year and starting him in kindergarten next year would mean he’d learn almost nothing in kindergarten – other than their rules and maybe some stuff with graphs. Putting him in a situation where he is bored all the time, just because he might be better able to handle that boredom, would be very, very bad.

      He also tends to do better interacting with older children, because he mimics things, and they are more likely to model “good” behavior. Nothing gets him acting out like when his sister is and he feels this gives him license to as well.

      I used to be a big fan of public schools. Then No Child Left Behind happened and we moved to Texas from Iowa.

      I’m not ruling out public school yet – I do plan on visiting it.

      Also, I think this article might help you understand some of the pressures society puts in place.

      Thank you for weighing in. Your comments are always appreciated.

  7. Leigh Ann says:

    I agree with Kim — talk to the school and ask them to give you a breakdown of the kindergarten day. My good friend is an asst principal at Jollyville Elementary, and as I was reading, I was considering asking her the same thing.

    I think that a mom who is dedicated to homeschooling would be able to teach her children appropriately. The idea of not having a rock hard set day and being able to jaunt off on an impulsive field trip once in a while is attractive, as is the ability to allow them to express their creative freedom and learn at their level, not at the level of 20 other kids. But I know that I’m not dead set on homeschooling enough to be good at it. Or patient. Or organized. I laughed at the “7 hours of free babysitting.” Because it’s kind of true!

    Lil Diva sounds a lot like Zoe, and that’s not your fault. Everything changes when you have more than 1 child, which is another reason I don’t think I could homeschool. She’s so distracting. And the girls are so distracting. I’m pulled in too many directions. But like you said, things could be totally different when they’re 5. I’m still eager for things to change at 4. But I still think of Zoe as being so much of a baby than the girls were at her age, but just because I have them to compare her to. The first child or children learn because you teach them. The following ones learn by doing. She’s done a lot of things much sooner, but I know that I sat with them a lot and taught them their numbers and letters. I haven’t really done that with her. But she’s learning it because she hears them counting in hide and seek and sees them drawing circles and squares and hears them talking about colors and letters. So don’t think of it as she’s not learning…she’s a totally different kid and she likely just has a different way of learning or a different pace.

    Good luck!

    • KarenW says:

      The Texas education requirments for kindergarten are online. I used that and several other version from other states when my son was that age. I noticed that he had achieved almost all the standards before kindergarten and through play without direct instruction.

      Also The legal requirement for school attendance is first grade. Kindergarten isn’t even required legally.

      • I’ve been reading about those, along with the curriculum they use for kindergarten so I know what topics are covered.

        They learn so much through play.

        I know kindergarten is not required, but if my son has to sit through so much, it would seem best to start him in a more relaxed environment versus first grade. I don’t know. I’ll have to check out the differences.

    • Lil Diva is also learning through listening and observing – a lot – it just has a longer learning curve. She did many things way earlier than her brother and can climb like a five year old (only her arm and leg span limit her).

      I know in the scheme of things, it does not matter if she learns things at 2.5 that her brother knew before age 2. It will all blend out.

      She also loves to mimic. Whatever her brother does, she wants to do. As she gets older, that means she will want to do the lessons too, or she will listen and repeat them back.

      Honestly, the seven hours of free baby-sitting would be the best thing for me and my dreams of writing. It is totally true.

      I fully plan to get a schedule and visit the school, hopefully observe the classes if they let me. I’m not sure on their policy. I just have to wait for a day they’re at preschool.

  8. Katie says:

    I also thought about whether the Tackler should be held back a year. I know it’s not here yet, but I think it’s very likely we will hold Little Man back a year from when he can technically start. It’s a maturity thing, not an intelligence thing. I think boys just mature a little slower and may need that extra year. That will mean the kids will probably be only 1 year apart in school (though 2 in age), but so be it. I don’t want to start him before he’s ready.

    • As I mentioned above, my biggest concern is boredom = acting out. Holding him back a year would not help that, only ensures he is more bore, but maybe acts out less.

      I know my brother was held back though, just because he lacked the will to study or sit still at all. The Tackler can sit still, if engaged and interested. And if he gets time to run it out later, but with the little recess time…. that’s an issue.

  9. M. P. says:

    Hi, I have a tween daughter who attended a small, private, alternative school for 4 years. It was expensive, it was small, there were problems. We have been homeschooling now for 3 years. I have a B.A. in History. Am I an expert in all subjects? No. When it comes to math concepts that I have forgotten, I re-learn them as she learns them. When it comes to a language that I never studied, we are learning it together. There are more curricula for homeschoolers than you can possibly imagine, in all subjects. As far as being able to teach in the older grades, there are plenty of places to send your child for classes. My daughter takes science and writing at two different places set up by former or retired school teachers who are now teaching homeschoolers. In addition, there are many online “schools” offering classes for homeschoolers as well. My daughter took a Latin review camp this past summer and it was all done online. The bottom line is, what do you want to do with your time and will your husband support you? Your son will be fine with whatever decision you make. Most of all, though, he will be happiest if his parents are happy, so you have to choose what is going to work for your marriage. You can always try one or the other schooling option and change later.

    • The bottom line is, what do you want to do with your time and will your husband support you? Your son will be fine with whatever decision you make.

      This is true. I consider my readiness and willingness to commit to homeschooling (and giving up that 7 hours of “free” baby-sitting) the biggest hurdle. And convincing my husband.

      This discussion is very useful in helping me weigh either side to help me decide if it is worth it to make that commitment.

      Thank you for sharing your story too.

  10. Adam says:

    Couple thoughts:
    1) Statistics show that the median elementary school teacher is of below-average intelligence. That is, your odds of getting a teacher that is as smart as you are, Kelly, is really quite low.
    2) At least half of teaching skill is not the teaching, but classroom management. Homeschooling obviates that necessity.
    3) I didn’t homeschool because a) Minnesota schools are generally awesome, and b) I would go crazy.
    4) I think the “sit and be still” environment of schools does little good for young boys.
    5) However, I have not known kindergarten to be like that in the slightest. It’s a place to get up and move around.

    • Thanks for the input from the other end of I-35. 🙂

      I will observe and talk to see how “sit down” they are. They certainly weren’t like that in my day, but so much has changed. And I’m in Texas.

      I do wonder if “3b” would not come into play, but I love to see him learn.

  11. Oh Kelly, we should have a phone convo on this one. First I agree with Kate who confessed: “I am not their primary academic teacher because our relationships would suffer from me trying to teach them several hours each day. We would be in constant argument mode.” This was not always the case, but by the time he was 8, Monkey no longer wanted me to tell him what to do. Um, that doesn’t work when home-schooling. That said, you could home-school until things stop working. I would be more concerned with the fact that L’il Diva is a big distraction and there are standards for homeschooling. It’s not a free-for-all.

    But I am with you. You would have so much more control over the materials. And anything and everything is considered valuable learning. You can take vacations and still be in school. And assuming you have Tackler involved in other activities — sports and extra-curricular activities — I wouldn’t worry too much about socialization. That said, if you decided to transition him to a traditional school, how would the other students be? Would they be accepting or cruel to the new kid? In my son’s experience, entering a new school was positively traumatic. The kids had already made their friends and they weren’t particularly welcoming. That was hard.

    Have you already done the pre-testing to see if Tackler is emotionally ready for kindergarten? Or is it kind of a done deal there? Not all kids are ready. And in NY State it is NOT a requirement that kids attend kindergarten. So you could home-school for kindergarten and then reassess. You could see how the year felt for everyone. If it went well, maybe hubby would cut you some slack. In NY State, teachers are required to provide education for 4 hours. (The schools in my home district are 1/2 day up for kindergarten. Is half-day an option where you live or would you be required to provide 7 hours?) It’s worth investigating. I’m also thinking about what all of this would mean for you socially. Tackler’s friends will all be in school. You’ll need to network with other home-schoolers, which isn’t impossible — just an extra thing to do.

    Alas, it sounds wonderful but teachers have very little play time. Ask Leanne. Or Clay. Or Tyler. (Or me.) And then look at my hair. Or my nails. We love what we do, but we don’t have a lot of freedom. You will be living with your student. There will be no escape. For either of you.

    Can’t wait to hear what you decide.

    • I am totally up for that phone conversation. I’ve been meaning to talk to you since last summer….

      I also don’t believe I have to stay with whatever course I decide. If whatever I choose did not work, I would switch.

      Texas is one of the states with zero requirements for homeschooling. You don’t need to give tests, lesson plans, anything. In theory you could do nothing other than give your child the materials to teach themselves (this method is referred to as “unschooling” and is more common as kids get older). In Texas, a homeschool is classified as a private school, and thus, subject to whatever they wish to do.

      You see, I have done a lot of research. 🙂

      Kindergarten is also not required, but I believe a good transition to “sit down all day” school to avoid getting into trouble.

      The only half day kindergarten option is via private institution – it is from 7:45 AM to 2:40 PM for public schools.

      I am considering this option because his current preschool has a kindergarten program that is 4 hours – it just completely conflicts with Lil Diva’s preschool schedule (irony) and I would spend all of my “free” time commuting or waiting to drop/pick up one or the other. (example, kinder class runs 8-12, M-F, but K has it T-Th from 9:30-1:30.

      I also already have friends who homeschool kids his age. His current friends all live in a different elementary district. Many are in kindergarten this year.

      Homeschooling is not like teaching 25 kids – you can accomplish in 2 hours what it takes school an entire day. So the time commitment (other than planning) is not much more than what I do already – I just would not have a break for preschool anymore (which does make a part of me want to cry).

      Right now my son wants to go to “six year old school”. Why? He sees the playgrounds and wants to play on them. He has no idea he’d only get 20 minutes a day on it. Meanwhile we will often spend 2-3 hours at a park on beautiful mornings.

      Thank you for weighing in!

      • Oh! Kel! If Texas doesn’t have rules, it’s a no-brainer! Homeschool for the year, reassess and –hopefully — by then, he’ll be ready to jump inton1st grade material in public school. Or you’ll love it and want to keep going. The big issue sounds like getting husband on board. Maybe a few sessions with a marriage counselor would be money well-spent! 🙂

  12. Laura Q. says:

    Hello there,
    I don’t know you, and I only just read your blog for the first time because it was forwarded to the homeschool community. 🙂

    You have your motivations in the right place. Here’s how I would tackle it: no decision is forever. Even if YOU think you would homeschool for life, you can compromise with hubby perhaps by “trying” it at home for kindergarten. And then trying first grade. Repeat until it’s time to change. Conversely, you can “try” kindergarten in school, and if he’s bored, frustrated, and acting out, you can yank him out for the rest of the school year and try it your way. Seriously, it’s okay to do it either way.

    OK, the other point I’ll address is about the second child being “behind.” My DS is 3 years younger than DD, and during his toddler/preschool years he “missed” some of the treasured one-on-one time that DD had had with me. He learned his alphabet a little later than she did. But… now he’s 5 and he refuses to do kindergarten work because he insists on 3rd grade work like his sister. My “behind” child keeps up with decimals, the constitution, molecules, and Tolkien. So don’t worry about the second one being “behind.”

    And I don’t have a teaching degree.

    The babysitting would be nice, yep. And a clean house is a pipe dream. Plenty of time for “me time” for about 40 years starting at age 50. I can wait until then.

    Good luck with your decision and you’re a good mom just for caring enough to think about it! Your kids will end up well educated either way, because YOU will make it happen, either way.

    Laura Q.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment when you have no idea who I am.

      Nice to meet you. 🙂

      I feel Lil Diva would be the same, she just learns a bit differently than her brother, but has to do what he does.

      You’re right, nothing is set in stone. And even if he went to public school, I’m sure we would supplement his education to keep the brain growing.

      I just don’t want his joy of learning to be lost, because it is a magical thing to watch.

  13. Annie says:

    I debated homeschooling – researched, went to a conference, prayerful consideration, etc. It’s definitely a very personal decision. What is best for one is not best for all. I think most parents feel like their kids aren’t ready for kindergarten when they are technically old enough and have met the required level of knowledge to start. It’s a tough emotional hurdle. I certainly didn’t feel like my children were ready to be away from me, but I was shocked at how they made the transition and really loved school. (I have 3 in school now. Taz goes to K in 2013.) I was more nervous and tearful than any of them were!
    Although I can’t tell you which choice is right for you, I can tell you this. You are never stuck with your decision. If you choose one way, and then realize another is probably better you can always switch! My very best friend homeschooled her children for 4 years and at that point realized it was time to send them to public school. That’s a long story, but it’s a bit like Renee said. The relationships were starting to suffer. They are now thriving in PS. I also know people who did the opposite – public school first, then started homeschooling.
    As a SAHM with kids in public school, I can honestly say I am still very much a teacher to them. And I spend a lot of time in the classroom, volunteering, having lunch together, and doing the FUN stuff. 🙂 The school day goes fast – and in Kindergarten they have plenty of recess, snack breaks, circle time, nap time, etc. In our district they do “center time” so the kids move around all day. They rarely sit in one place very long!
    Great post. You are such a wonderful mom for considering all your options!

  14. ocdtalk says:

    I began homeschooling my children back in the mid 1980’s when most homeschoolers were either Fundamentalist Christians or ex-hippies (I was neither). I actually became interested in homeschooling while I was studying to become a high school math teacher……my own personal opinion is that a degree in teaching does not a teacher make. Also, you’d be surprised how many teacher’s children are homeschooled…….that tells you what they think of schooling. My daughter ended up going to public high school, my son homeschooled until college, and my younger daughter is graduating from a tiny Montessori high school this year………they are all different kids with different needs and each chose a different path that worked for them.
    I’d just like to add a couple of things to what people have already said…….one is that I rarely actually sat down and taught my children anything. We joined homeschooling co-ops and programs, visited museums, joined theater groups, library clubs, math teams, etc………as they got older, they took classes at community colleges, online, etc. Many of these opportunities are either free or low-cost…….the resources are endless, really. The other thing I’d like to respond to is the question of socialization. Kids are with other kids in school, but in many cases, there is little positive socialization there. Many homeschoolers actually homeschool so that their children are not exposed to the “socialization” in school. Homeschooling does not mean sitting at home…… can join homeschooling clubs, sports teams, girl/boy scouts, local theatre groups, just to name a few things. These are opportunities for quality “socialization.” .
    Finally, I saw my role as more of a facilitator than a teacher, and I would not have traded watching my children grow and learn for anything. They are all “successful” in the traditional sense of the word…..if you are up for an adventure, give it a try… year at a time!

  15. My kids attend a fantastic school and had a kindergarten experience that we never could have replicated at home. You need to go see the schools and talk to the teachers before you make a decision.

    Once upon a time I was a teacher and while I agree that you don’t need a piece of paper to be a good one the reality is that not everyone is. I know a lot of people argue that they can learn about a particular subject so that they can teach it to their child but that doesn’t mean that they will do a better job than someone who specializes in that.

    It is like saying that if you read a book about brain surgery you could turn around and operate on someone. It is not nearly that easy.

  16. Cupcake queen says:

    Several points here:

    1. While no paper is necessary, it would be helpful. The passion for learning is of utmost importance, because that’s what your kids will see and what they will learn. That said, I’ve tutored, etc. enough to know that the communication of knowledge to others (whether adult or child) takes real skill. Some have a knack for it and others don’t, regardless of a degree. The degree, however, gives more knowledge in how to convey that information. So it may not be necessary, but is not entirely useless either.

    2. The above point being made, you yourself have said you are not sure how you’d do as a teacher. Answer questions now as to how exactly you would execute the homeschool idea. What kind of curriculum would you use? Where would you get your resources? I know standardized tests stink, but are you open to using them for simply a tangible measure of progress? Plan it out and even consider starting now. That way, you’d give homeschooling a test run for EVERYONE. A test run for you to develop confidence and know-how as a teacher, a test run for hubby, who has doubts about organization (and other stuff), and a test run to see how Tackler responds to you as a teacher. It’s a lot harder to say no to a concrete, well thought out plan than a nebulous idea. You can give hubby (and yourself) a real picture of what life would be like in the homeschool scenario. If it doesn’t work, send him to kindergarten in the fall.

    3. Reorganization and adjustments (travel, etc) will need to be made no matter which path you choose.

    4. To echo a previous comment, nap logistics are just logistics, and eventually Lil Diva will grow out of a nap. The bigger question is, how will Lil Diva’s presence effect Tackler’s homeschool experience? How will Tackler’s homeschooling effect the attention that you can give Lil Diva? To me, this is a BIG one.

    4. At some point, sitting through something you don’t want to listen to must be learned. It’s learned at a different time for every kid, but I really think that it’s an important thing. Even if a homeschooled kid grows up to own their own business, they’re still going to have to sit through things thy don’t want to.

    5. The above being said, are you sure about the recess thing? My kindergardener get two recesses per day and PE every other day. I was really concerned about this too, before he started.

    6. I’m not advocating public schools (especially not in TX) but I do find that they offer some things: 1. socialization and 2. Exposure to things you may not think of. For instance, there’s no way I’d have been able to sufficiently expose The Big One to art or theatre arts. Music, yes, but it’s kinda nice that I don’t have to find (or transport him to)) a kiddie theatre arts class or art class. They also offer a whole slew of extra curriculars (robotics, golf, volleyball, etc) for a nominal fee.

    7. The love of learning to you rightly seek to foster can be done during vacations and breaks and days off, if you choose to not homeschool. There are SOOOO many, not even counting summer!

    Forgive me if I’ve been blunt:-)

  17. dana says:

    I learned late that public school was not the right place for my active and insanely curious little boy. I was happy to drop him off at our highly rated public school for some “me” time. The kindergarten year was okay mostly because he had a teacher who really got him and realized so many of his issues was because he was just a really smart kid who just wasn’t being challenged enough. First grade things got worse and it all eventually fell apart by the middle of third grade. Nothing worse than a bright and bored active boy in public school. I remember one teacher in first grade wanted all of the kids to sit on the floor with their legs “crisscross applesauce and their hands folded in their laps like little snow globes.” Most of the girls were okay, but the boys for the most part looked like they were in pain as they struggled to obey. By the middle of third grade I finally realized he was wasting valuable time just being in school. I wish I had known what I know now before I put him in school. Those school years between kindergarten and third grade really took the wind out of his sail so to speak in regards to learning. Fortunately my husband was totally on board with my decision to homeschool because he saw first hand what public school had done to his son. My son is now 14 years old and he still marches to his own drummer when it comes to school stuff. He still loves homeschooling and has no interest in going to a public high school. While I am college educated, I am not capable of teaching him some of the high school subjects. Thankfully here in Austin there are some great classes that middle and high school students can take for the subjects they want to cover. For example, we do history for the most part and language arts at home as I have found some wonderful homeschool curriculum for that, but I leave math and science to the experts.

    Your son and situation sounds perfect for homeschooling. You don’t need a teaching credential and you’re teaching your son already. You sound like a smart mom, I know you will do a great job and Austin has a great homeschooling community. You can’t go wrong, but you certainly could by putting your child in kindergarten this fall.

  18. KarenW says:

    I was a certified elementary teacher and have taught or substitute taught every grade K-8. I homeschool my kids now because I saw what the classroom was like and knew that a family could provide an even better learning environment.

    More than that I have since become convinced, from reading about homeschooling – particularly Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s work- and talking to homeschoolers who love John Holt (all three are former public school educators) that the best and lingest teacher my child will have on earth is himself.

    More recently Dr. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston University and not a homeschooler, has been sharing the similar thoughts at .

    I would direct your attention to his initial series called “Children Educate Themselves” and the post on why chidren hate school.

  19. Jacque says:

    If your child already knows numbers/letters, etc., you are already started in your homeschooling adventure!! You just need to decide if you want to continue.
    Here’s my advice. Nothing is set in stone. Follow your heart, and see how it goes. You can always change your mind. A homeschooled child can still enter the public system, and vice versa. It sounds like you would really like to try homeschooling. So try it. If at any time it becomes clear that he is not learning from you or is challening your level of knowledge, he can always be put in public school. You can also send him to public school for certain classes or activities. But if you don’t try it, you’ll never know. Of course, the opposite is also an option. You can try having him go to public school. If the behavioral tendencies to act out when bored become a problem, you have a strategy already! That’s awesome! Usually the strategy is simply to discuss punishment options until the child grows out of the stage or drops out of school.

    Responses to your husband’s specific objections:
    You do not need a degree to teach your children. The things you will teach are basic. If there’s something you don’t know, you pass along a true learning skill: how to look up the answer. As far as learning and teaching styles, google “learning style.” There’s tons of info about this. What I learned in the teaching classes I took? Most students learn by doing or seeing. And most teachers teach by lecturing/speaking. When you have 20ish kids to teach, you don’t have much one on one time for activties and learning. Good teachers try to incorporate these activities, but it’s hard when you have to have so many duplicates for each project. It’s exhausting. If your child learns best by doing, I think he would have a tremendous advantage as a home school student. And would probably struggle in school. At best, a public classroom offers a variety of activities, for students who learn by listening, seeing, and doing. But you could cater lessons specifically to each child. You will have the time and flexibility to accomodate whatever your students need! And you have a passion for your own children that a teacher just can’t replicate. .

    So there is a difference between the abilities of your son and daughter and you worry she will get left out. Stop comparing them this way! Your son sounds really smart and advanced. You can’t assume your daughter will be the same. And she may simply have a strength that you cannot measure yet. Also, you have the most experience teaching your son. She may have a different learning style and this may be why it seems she learns slower.

    Concern about social contact. This is the biggest myth out there about homeschooling. Would you take your kids out to do things? Homeschooling has a bad rap because of the people who homeschool to keep their kids from being exposed to society. If you stay home all the time, sure your kids are going to lack social skills. This is true even if the kids go to public school. But homeschooling offers more flexibility. You can volunteer with them. Go to a nursing home, for example. Homeschooling gives you a chance to teach your children how to socialize–even with people who are not children! Gasp! It is a new concept that “socialization” means kids learning social skills from other kids their own age. Kids used to learn social skills from their families. Even in my grandparents’ time, they had one room school houses with a variety of age groups. Now a “socialized” child knows how to speak to other children. Since I have graduated from college, not once have I been in a work environment where everyone was my age. What does being segregated by age prepare a person for??

    My experiences: We plan to homeschool. Since before our son was born. Lots of reasons. No child left behind (implemented as no gifted child gets ahead). The limitations that are on teachers (no choice in what topics to teach–less control all the time about how things are taught). Too much reliance on standardized tests. Too much celebrating of nothing. (Graduating preschool, really??) Too much emphasis on sports rather than learning. Too much teaching what to think instead of teaching kids to think.
    The biggest impression though, came from real life. I coached a team of 7th grade girls that had one homeschooled girl who was dropped off to participate. She could relate to me and hold intelligent conversations about the game and strategy. She would volunteer to help out and actively cheered for other players. She got along with the other girls so well that she could transend the “clicks,” haning out comfortably with the popular girls and yet was confident enough to befriend our socially isolated and less talented girls as well. I wish you and your husband could meet her because there would be no doubts left. For the record, this girl was not the most talented basketball player and she was not the smartest girl on the team. But she did know how to work hard and how to learn. It might seem handy for your 5 year old to learn to sit still. But I would rather have a child who is comfortable in a variety of situations and places than one that just knows to “sit down and shut up” whenever adults are around. If they know how to socialize appropriately with adults, they don’t have to sit still and be bored.
    Good luck! There is no “wrong” decision.

  20. Pish Posh says:

    Do you have any solid reason to assume the kindergarten teachers can’t handle your child? There are so many good teachers out there who have been trained to handle all sorts of different children. I believe you have the best intentions and I am familiar with your concerns. Its a really bad idea though to home-school your child.

    Let me weigh in as a college professor. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t home-school your child. There is a reason that our teachers are educated and trained and experienced. We’re really not hacks and our job is NOT something anyone can do, even the smartest most well intentioned loving person. Please trust me on this, and if not, read the research.

    This is my experience. I have taught at 3 different types of schools and I have been teaching for 12 years. Everywhere I go, I have always been able to spot a home-schooled student immediately and without anyone telling me they are home-schooled. Home-schooled students stand out in skill, ability, behavior, and personality. Two of them have been proficient and good students but have social skill problems. The rest of them have SEVERE problems and are WAY behind in so many different areas. They stand out markedly. Many have been nearly illiterate, despite their best efforts. ALL of them have had to work harder than the average student to catch up.

    Why on earth would you deprive your child of a trained teacher and a socialized environment? I understand the theoretical reasons, but in practical life it is such a bad idea. My friend thinks its tantamount to child abuse. I wouldn’t go that far because I’m sure you have great intentions. But for my two cents, as a teacher I have to weigh in by saying its an incredibly bad idea and I hope you will talk to the elementary teachers and keep reading on this.

    If you’d like I can give you more information for your consideration?

    • Jacque says:

      I think your input and experience as a professor is a valuable addition to this discussion. But did you ask every student you had if he/she was homeschooled? It makes sense that you could pick out ineffective homeschooling. But if a homeschooled child was well socialized and did not stick out like a sore thumb, how would you have known he/she was socialized?
      From the part of your post that isn’t opinion, like about “And the research is crystal clear on this one point if you believe nothing else I’ve said: students learn best when among peers,” can you direct us to where that is written? I am curious what the resource says about why siblings can’t qualify as peers.

      • Jacque says:

        Oops, edit:
        But if a homeschooled child was well socialized and did not stick out like a sore thumb, how would you have known he/she was homeschooled?

  21. Pish Posh says:

    Also a lot of these parents who say socializing isn’t a good enough reason for public schooling – and that their child gets plenty of socializing from niches and community and that they are taking care of it… please keep in mind that these are parents, not other children, not teachers with experience, not adults, and not future-seers. Sometimes parents get tunnel vision. They want to do the right thing and they think they are, but that doesn’t mean they are.

    Not a single student I have ever encountered in the approximately 2700 students I have worked with, who was home-schooled as a child, has had adequate (I’m not saying “good” I mean even “adequate”) social skills to thrive in college and their professional life.

    Even if you try out home-schooling for kindergarten or even partially – all you are doing is allaying you own concern for your son acting out – and setting him back not forward. You need to trust the teachers more, you need to trust the process of children and socialization. Far too many parents nowadays think they can protect or over-control, organize, and plan the social environment to such an intense degree.

    And as an English teacher, every single home-schooled student except one had horrific writing and communication skills. Their parents were not trained in child education, child development, grammar, etc., and felt that reading and writing some stories was good enough. Moms and dads are teachers in so many ways – but not in subjects.

    Teachers learn how to teach math, english, history, social studies, and so forth to particular ages. They have years of training. Parents, despite their best efforts, even genius parents, are not trained in child education or multiple subjects.

    And the research is crystal clear on this one point if you believe nothing else I’ve said: students learn best when among peers. All through school, all through life, we learn from working alongside others. Arranging play dates is NOT the same thing. Children need an environment away from parents, and with other children and trained adult leaders. Child psychologists show us the importance of this environment.

    Languages, art, mathematics, communication, music, history, chemistry and other sciences – what will you do when you need to teach these? You may think your child can just be plopped into 5th grade once you realize you can take his learning no further. But my experience shows, and so does child education rates, that even when children are above their peers in one subject in these scenarios, they are far behind their peers on the whole.

    Because education is holistic (not in the hippy sense) – but it is an amalgamation of larger things, it is the complex web and interchange of dialogue, roles, social environment, peers, teachers, leadership, and information from trained specialists.

    Nobody likes NCLB but people who are not teachers. Teachers have your child’s best interest at heart, and so do you. But teacher’s have a whole arsenal at the ready with which to help your child prosper and succeed. Acting out is not enough reason to deny him that.

    I know you will make your decision with great thought – please consider mine and please don’t home-school your child. It will make my job that much harder when he is in my class and I have to spend extra hours helping him catch up and filling in the blanks for all the things he never got to learn.

  22. Wow, that’s kind of overwhelming. I think homeschooling is a big responsibility and commitment and that it used to be a real struggle to teach secondary level subjects but with all the technology and support available, especially in the US, I think that it’s got a lot easier. School seems very different to what I remember, a 7h45 start! My primary school classes were all much like your kindergarten, that’s how it should be. 🙂

  23. Pish Posh says:

    Sorry if you don’t mind me adding one thing. When you think its mostly this “piece of paper” stating you’re qualified to teach your child… you realize that its more than a piece of paper right? Teachers don’t just pick up a piece of paper and wave it around.

    I’m sure you’re qualified to be a parent, and because you’re thinking about what’s best for your child you’re obviously a good one. Paper isn’t what qualifies teachers – education, training, apprenticeship (which at least in my area continues on – I go to workshops, I give presentations, I have reviewers monitor me, I take tests, I read books, I work with other teachers, I train other teachers, I take exams, I am evaluated, I write articles, I do research, I watch other teachers teach and they watch me, and I strive constantly to be better), practice, experience, and a degree.

    That isn’t a piece of paper.

    I have years of learning, growing, practice, and experience teaching in addition to education and degrees.

    That isn’t a piece of paper.

    I am trained not only in my subject area but in learning styles and teaching strategies. This took years and a great deal of experience.

    That isn’t a piece of paper.

    I am trained and have experience designing an educational curriculum, lesson plans, textbooks, class activities, interactive skill-building sets, use of instructional technology, and behavior management as well as a variety of teaching strategies.

    That isn’t a piece of paper.

    And even as the best parent in the world, you don’t have that. You may be qualified to be a wonderful and loving parent who can teach your child many things. You are not qualified, however, to be a full time teacher to your child. Talk to the teachers, see what they do and what they have in mind. I bet you will find they have a lot more than a piece of paper to share.

    • Ginagurl says:

      I see nothing wrong with with teaching your child at home WHILE he goes to public or private school. I agree with your husband. You are in no way qualified to be your child’s sole teacher. He will be exposed to different personalities, different cultures and different learning styles. Also, it is important that your child knows and believes that his world does not revolve around his mother. Very creepy Oedipus complex on the rise here!

      • While I appreciate your opinion – everyone is entitled to their own – the teacher part of me (that does exist without a piece of paper) feels it must address your final, and semi-inflammatory statement at the end.

        “Very creepy Oedipus complex on the rise here!”

        Oedipus was not homeschooled by his mother. In fact he was abandoned as a baby to die by his father because of a prophecy and never knew his mother. Because of this he later unknowingly killed his father and married his mother.

        Had his mother homeschooled him, he would have known she was his mother, thus never married her. It was having his mother a complete stranger that led to the events causing him to be married to his own mother.

        So using “Oedipus complex” in this way is not only inappropriate in this intelligent discussion – designed to cause a rise out of those in favor of homeschooling – but is illogical in its comparison.

        I will concur with your first statement – just about every parent I know with a child in school has to teach them at home. Their children are bored in school. It is part of what inspired this post.

  24. Lisa says:

    We have two children, one who has home schooled since he demanded to do so in 2nd grade (he is now 16 and still home schooled, although he’s taking two community college courses per semester as a dual-enrolled student) and the other who attended conventional school (private through 8th grade, public through high school) and is now a freshman in the Plan 2 honors program at the University of Texas. I do not have a degree. My husband and I have ALWAYS disagreed about home schooling, it has been rough on our marriage. And yet, I have no regrets.

    Our conventionally schooled daughter was in tears every single day of her high-pressure high school career. She was overbooked (her own decisions, not mine, but most certainly with her dad’s enthusiastic support) with activities like co-editor of the school paper, president of an art society, unpaid volunteer mentor with younger girls once a week, paid mentor with younger students once a week, etc. She took AP classes, where she learned to take AP tests successfully. The week after she graduated, I received two pieces of correspondence from the school district: one was her impressive report card, the other was a notice that we might be taken to truancy court because of her excessive tardies (she was exhausted and frequently 10 minutes late for school — the class for which she was late was an ‘early, zero hour’ course in art).

    She lives in a dorm down the hall from “Mary,” who was home schooled. Mary is the older sister of one of my son’s close friends. Mary was always happy during her home school years. In high school, she took two classes per semester at the community college and many hours of instruction in dance, singing and art. She did not have a strenuous academic schedule. She was busy – but not stressfully so.

    She is in the same prestigious program that my daughter is in, so her home schooling didn’t hold her back. Mary is very happy and relaxed at college; my daughter is still stressed, doing too much and has realized that her “fabulous” education has not put her far ahead of her friends who were home schooled and are now in college with her.

    Our home schooled son has a great group of friends, many interests and meaningful volunteer activities. He is not stressed. He is not sheltered.

    I have taught lit classes and computer applications class for him and his friends. He took an AP Chem class with a home school mom who holds her PhD in chemistry. Six kids in the class. More labs than my daughter had in public school. He took a writing class and public speaking class with a home school dad who is nationally respected journalist and public speaker. There were fewer than 10 kids in that class. He LOVED it. Home schooled son scored well enough on the SAT to get into the honors program at the community college. He has a friend who attends the “gifted and talented” public school who told me “School killed reading for me.” My son has read as much if not more of the books on the AP recommended reading list and has enjoyed the experience. When he was younger, we read them together and discussed them – it was a joyous experience for us both. He approaches reading and writing with passion. He has studied math with little help from me other than checking his work, using a program designed to help home schoolers study advanced math. He is now taking PreCalculus and doing well.

    My focus has been on teaching him how to learn on his own. You can do this. Your children have different personalities and different learning styles. You will find social groups and educational coops and day time classes for home schoolers. You will find support online from other home schooling parents. Your husband may never “get comfortable” or be happy with your choice to home school. But if your child is happy and equipped with the skills to learn what he wants and needs to learn, then you will have given your child the best gift of all.

  25. jesterqueen1 says:

    My kids go to private school because the local Montessori program didn’t work out for them. That saddened me. And I’m gasoline to their fire, so homeschooling isn’t an option. But I yearn for it. My husband loves public schools (I hate them, will always hate them, and have no respect for NCLB) and if we were in any other city, we would be at WAR over this issue. Here are my answers to your husband.

    A) I do not have a piece of paper stating that I have completed the degree program to become a teacher. Ever the skeptic, he does not believe me qualified to teach our son.
    When I was in the 9th grade, I was ready to kill myself because of bullies at school. My mother, who has no such piece of paper, FINALLY accepted my arguments and pulled me out. I was so happy. I learned so much. BY THAT AGE I COULD TEACH MYSELF with her guidance. I took some correspondence courses where I needed an expert (math) or had an avid love (creative writing), and I went to college instead of the eleventh grade.

    B) He thinks our son should learn to sit still and be bored quietly at the age of five.
    Depends on the kid. Some kids actually don’t get really bored. My daughter doesn’t, I’m shocked to find. (I died died died every day). You might want to go look in on the kindergarten program and see how the class is run. Your son may be out of his seat more than you think. OR HE MAY NOT. If he IS going to be sitting still for hours on end, and if he DOES already know this junk, there is NO reason not to either homeschool for kindergarten and enroll him later, homeschool altogether, or force the school to skip a grade.

    C) Our son wouldn’t have enough social contact.
    Garbage. The school district may allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurriculars. Even if not, there are other activities not run by the school district where your son can get plenty of exposure to other kids.

    D) I am too disorganized to teach.
    Garbage. See your own arguments. You may eventually have to set boundaries with your son so that your daughter can have her own time, but how old IS this kid? How much is she supposed to have managed at what age?

    E) He visualizes homeschooling as a home version of public school.
    Garbage. Garbage garbage garbage. Note my restraint in not swearing. In homeschooling, you can actually take advantage of some awesome stuff, like museums, and the whole world becomes a learning experience. (Isn’t that closer to real life anyway?)

    F) I would not be able to teach him in the higher grades.
    Garbage. See A. Also, there are homeschool groups that are especially effective when you don’t feel able to tackle a subject.

    Your husband needs some books. There are fantastic ones out there. Note. I have bought them, even knowing I can’t homeschool, and my husband will not read them. Infuriating. Hopefully, your husband is more reasonable than that.

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