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Homeschool Teacher Qualifications

Why Homeschooling is on the Rise

By Autumn Burke

Beyond the statistics, when someone talks about homeschooling, usually two points come up. The first is whether the parent is qualified to teach their child, and the second and possibly biggest question to homeschoolers everywhere is about socialization.

Qualification is a big concern because opponents of homeschooling believe that parents do not have the ability to teach children like a certified teacher does. I do agree that teachers have accreditation beyond what typical homeschooling parents do, but I also believe that parents have the ability to teach a child any class that they would need, especially in the elementary years.

Children have an ability in homeschool that is not available to them in a traditional classroom. If a student has a question in class, it might not be the appropriate time to ask the question, or the teacher might be too busy to answer; however, in homeschool if a child has a question, time can be taken to answer the question or look up the answer if it is unknown. I do not believe that everyone knows all of the answers, not even teachers; after all they are human as well. Dave Arnold of the National Education Association (NEA) stated, “You would think that they might leave this—the shaping of their children’s minds, careers, and futures—to trained professionals” (Arnold, 2008, p. 1). Why would it make more sense to leave these important factors in a child’s life to a person who the child will only be under for a year, who does not have time to develop the child’s strengths and weaknesses and provide one-on-one time with the child? After all even Albert Einstein homeschooled.

However, parents who aren’t confident about teaching higher level classes now have resources to supplement them such as online or correspondence courses, co-ops, and community college classes (Fagan, 2007, p. 1). With these classes—usually utilized in math or science but available in all subjects—students have the benefit of a teacher knowledgeable in the subject, tutoring and usually access to the teacher for specific help. This closely resembles the online courses being offered at community colleges.

While I do disagree with the statement that parents are not qualified to teach their children, I believe that there should be end of year testing. This requirement is on a state to state guideline, and I believe that it should be made mandatory so that a parent can prove that homeschooling is effective for the child. If public school children are required to take these tests, then so should homeschoolers. Virginia law states that all families must register [with their local school district] on a per yearly basis and submit results of professional standardized testing scores (similar to SOL) although there is an option of “religious exemption” that does not require any end of year testing (Fagan, 2007, p. 3). The study “Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America” also found that students ranged in the 86th percentile “regardless of state regulation,” whether a state had no regulations or a large amount of regulations (Klicka, 2006, p. 2). These statistics show that state regulations on testing, on what degree of certification a parent has (which can range from no high school diploma to certified teacher to holder of a non-relational bachelors degree), compulsory attendance laws, etc., all have no significance in regards to scores achieved on tests.

Next page - Homeschool Student Socialization / In Conclusion

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