There’s often a push for legislation that would require homeschooling parents to be certified teachers. I think the assumptions behind it are that only certified teachers are capable of teaching children, and that a student’s learning ability is limited by what the teacher knows. I want to share through personal examples, scripture, and research, why those assumptions aren’t true, and why I’ve begun to think of it as “the miracle of homeschooling.”
We started homeschooling when our son was beginning second grade and continued all the way through to his high school graduation. My son, now 22 and a business owner, knows a lot of things that I don’t know. (I’m using him as an example because our daughter’s skills are more in line with mine and don’t illustrate this point as well.) Homeschooling allowed him the time to pursue his own interests, and he taught his self many things. As I wrote in “Homeschooling and Entrepreneurship,” early on he demonstrated an aptitude for electronics and technology. Here are some examples of things he learned without any help from me:
- When he was about ten, Hayden showed me a robot he had built and told me about gear ratios. He learned that, programming, and many other things by playing with Lego Robotics.
- He was about eleven when he started taking computers apart. By the time he was in his early teens, he had a definite opinion about which brand was superior. He also advised me which brand of batteries to buy, and why.
- When we moved into our current home, Hayden was about thirteen. I remember him examining one of the light switches and exclaiming, “Oh, cool! A mercury switch!” I had never heard of that, so I asked him what he’d said. He proceeded to demonstrate and explain the mercury switch. I still don’t know how he knew about that.
- When Hayden was seventeen a neighbor was selling some antique motorcycles that didn’t run. My husband bought them thinking that he would decorate our family restaurant with them. Hayden begged for one of them. We really didn’t want him riding motorcycles, but since it didn’t run, my husband let him have one. To our amazement (and dismay), Hayden used the internet to find out how to totally rebuild that motorcycle. He got it running and was riding it.
I can assure you that he didn’t learn any of those things from me. The reason I’ve shared these examples is to demonstrate that our children’s learning is not dependent on, or limited by, us.
The following passages are among the ones that offered me the most reassurance in homeschooling. When I found myself worrying about not doing a good enough job, or was tempted to compare my kids to others. I hope you’ll see them in a new way, too.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV)
That verse was one of our homeschool mottos. Notice that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” We started each school day with Bible study. It was the foundation of our school because without the fear of the Lord, we couldn’t have the beginning of knowledge.
“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)
God has a plan for each of our children’s lives and He knows best how to prepare them.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The following passages are evidence of God giving knowledge. Insert your child’s name and imagine what special skills and knowledge God might bestow on him/her:
“Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.” (Exodus 28:3)
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.’” (Exodus 31:1-6)
“He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers–all of them skilled workers and designers.” (Exodus 35:35)
When you feel inadequate as a teacher, read this one:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)
Dr. Brian Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute, has done extensive research on homeschooled students. I have always found his results fascinating and encouraging. I’d like to reference two points from his report, Research Facts on Homeschooling, which are directly relevant:
- Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
- Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
(Ray, Brian D., Dr. “National Home Education Research Institute.” Research Facts on Homeschooling | Research. N.p., 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.)
Isn’t that amazing?! Parents who didn’t attend college have homeschooled their children just as successfully as those who did! Furthermore, being a certified teacher doesn’t make a discernible difference.
You’re Not Alone
Scripture tells us that God equips those He calls, so I believe that by being equipped as parents we are also equipped to “train up” our children. If God has called you to homeschool, He has already equipped you to carry out that task. All you need to do is to be willing to let Him work through you. It’s scary to take on all the responsibility for your children’s education, but I hope that you feel reassured that you are equipped to handle it and that you aren’t alone. That’s the miracle of homeschooling!
Research Facts on Homeschooling, by Dr. Brian Ray
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