Monday, July 7, 2008

Are You a Trained Teacher AND a Homeschooler?

There's been a lot of debate about certification for homeschooling parents but one group that hasn't been heard from, at least in any organized way, is the group of homeschooling parents who are or have been professional teachers. The media hasn't asked question of this group. The CTA certainly hasn't. And there's been no collective response from those of us who had education degrees.

Why not?

What if the teachers among us wrote some posts about how their degrees and teaching experience has been helpful, harmful or not an issue at all? What if the posts were collected by someone (just a meme?a wiki page? a blog?) so that when the question of qualifications comes up we have a resource to point people towards? It seems to me that the experiences of those of us who are teachers is absolutely key to the discussion.

I think this is important. Anyone interested in heading this up? Or at least in writing about their experiences and linking back here?


Jacqueline said...

Hmmmm....very interesting proposal. I am a former teacher and I have to say that there have been times when I think my teaching background has been more of a hindrance than an asset in teaching my children. It was harder for me to think out side of the box about learning. At the same time, however, there were also times when me background helped me to laugh off concerns put forward by others as they criticized homeschooling. I would be very interesting in reading what others have to say.

JJ Ross said...

I had this same idea before the turn of the century! :) Silly me. I got the stuffing kicked out of me both locally and online for my trouble, by homeschoolers who were not former teachers and were therefore deeply suspicious of my public school background and intentions. Many decided I was some sort of charter school scout or spy because I didn't seem to think exactly like they did.

JJ Ross said...

Sigh. Here's an example at Daryl's, just today.

Barbara Frank said...

Interesting question. Most of the former-teacher homeschooling moms I've counseled have stumbling blocks that came from ed school. In my experience, if they can relax, they generally end up having a great homeschooling experience with their children. For a couple of people, that's been a big if, though!

Kim from Canada said...

I am afraid the opinions of 'professions' about a parent's ability to homeschool is of little value. The whole process of homeschooling is about being a parent first, with 'teacher' being one of the many descriptions within the parenting role.
If a parent can read and write; if they believe the time spent in raising up their children has a worth to it; if the love is heavily mixed into the responsibility, than no amount of certification will improve the end result.

Cari said...

I have learned more about learning and education from life experience and my own reading/research than from my teacher ed. program. I think my teaching background gave me confidence when I started, but all the "expertise" that I use in teaching (or supporting learning in) my own children and in the tutoring that I do has come from sources that any parent has access to. I find that teaching a classroom of students requires different skills and abilities than working one on one with a single student.

An additional point that I feel is important - the certificate that I earned does nothing to protect my children from abuse or neglect. Cases like the one in California are about protecting children from physical mistreatment or from not being cared for adequately. I don't care how many classes or tests a person passes - how does that have any bearing on his or her ability to control anger, give to a dependent unselfishly, etc. We assume that most adults who are functioning in society have developed an appropriate amount of self control to do these thing, unless they prove otherwise. Why would we assume homeschool parents are any different? Or that earning a particular certificate would make them any more self controlled or unselfish than others.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Teaching was my second career. Before that I was a biologist. Now I am a homeschooler. I am still licensed in my state and I have an MA in Special Education to boot.

I posted something on this back in December 2006 when I started my blog. I will post something again soon, and link.

The upshot, for those who do not want to wait is that I don't believe that any of the skills I learned for licesure nor those that I used in the classroom are particularly useful for unschooling my son. In fact, recently I have returned to the classroom for a summer job, and I had to relearn quite a lot of the "teacher talk."

So IMNSHO, no, parents who homeschool have no need of license. It would be counterproductive.

Dawn said...

This is good to hear. Really, it echoes a lot of what I've heard from otehr teachers-turned-homeschoolers. Now, how do I make some central resources availible for stories like these?

kat said...

Another former public school teacher turned homeschooler piping up from the gallery!

I agree with several other moms that my training did little to help me as a home educator, but it did help me learn crowd control. I'm afraid that it put me square in the camp of "school at home" because I'm afraid they won't learn enough otherwise.

We are about to start our 6th year at home and never want to go back to teaching other people's children, my students are usually on time, on task, and on their best behavior!