Homeschool Moms: Are They Smarter Than Their 5th Grader?

Mary Boyer, the first teacher in Upper Arlingt...

Dear Aimee,

I am not too familiar with homeschooling, but as an educator have seen pros and cons. Why is it that a teacher needs a degree to teach school, but a parent can home school without having any higher learning?

I can speak on this topic with some authority. My kids have experienced the gamut of education alternatives. They have been in public school, private school, and home schooled.

Which one was the best? The one we were doing at the time. They each have served their purpose, had their own strengths and weaknesses, and have instilled invaluable lessons in my children’s hearts.

I believe your question on certification of instructors boils down to the fact that we live in a free country. How we choose to educate our children, as long as it is helping them to achieve the necessary milestones, is completely up to the will of the parent. A public school teacher must meet requirements because they are an employee of the state. The state is endorsing them as professional educators by employing them and paying them. Therefore, guidelines and educational requirements have been put in place to ensure quality of state offered education. At home, it’s a different story. Some states require regular testing, lesson plan submissions, and curriculum approval of home educators. Oklahoma is very lenient on what it requires of a home school parent. As with anything, there are those who will take advantage of the situation and allow their children to slack off, but honestly in my time in the local home school community, it was just the opposite. Every parent I met had very high expectations for their children.

My last point strays from your question a bit, but I can put my finger on one thing that has disappointed me on my tour of educational opportunities in Oklahoma. There is always someone with no regard for any other type of education that is different from the one they are involved in. Private who hates public, public who hates home school, home school who hates private, you can pretty much make a circle of disdain and follow it around until your head spins. It’s the old “if you aren’t doing it like me, then you are doing it wrong” mentality. We all want affirmation that what we are doing is right, and imitation is the highest form of flattery. But, I applaud the parent who makes decisions based on the good of their child even in the face of adult peer pressure to do otherwise. (Sorry kids, peer pressure isn’t checked at the door when you graduate high school, it follows you all the way through.) When critiquing other’s methods, it is always good to remember that most parents love their children and want nothing more than to see them achieve all they were created for. It is important to keep one another accountable, but as long as children are growing and prospering, leave some room for different. In this big world full of pressure to be the same, sometimes a little different is exactly what our children need.

Aimee Jones is a small town columnist and aspiring novelist surviving and thriving on the Great Plains of Oklahoma. Click the Follow button at the bottom of the page to recieve The Plain Wife writings by email. Happy Reading!

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