I’ve been hearing this a lot from mothers who lack the confidence to teach their own children. But why? Society tells them that if they don’t have a degree in education, they are not qualified to teach. This is ridiculous. In fact, a degree may hinder your child’s learning process.
What does having a degree mean?
Today, having a degree does not necessarily make you more qualified to teach than someone who doesn’t have one. The skills you actually possess are the defining factor. The completion of a list of classes and the required tasks associated with them is not a good measurement.
First, some people can take a class without learning or remembering anything significant. Remember that French class you took in highschool? The fact that I took one is the extent of what I can recall. And did I really need to learn how to speak French?
That leads me to my next question; who decided what essential knowledge is needed to teach? In most secular institutions, a degree in education starts with child psychology and the study of how children learn. Again you could question the integrity of the origins of these topics, but that is a whole other story.
In short, most institutions are guided by the notion that there is no God and people have no spirit. That is how experts look at our children; as animals or biological machines. They try to put them in a box, categorize them, and label them.
Today, having a degree in education usually means two things; teachers have preconceived notions about the learning process, and two, the prestige a degree carries today may be misleading to both society, and the teacher who holds it.
They have just completed 17+ years of schooling. They should be confident! But a lot of the time, they take themselves too seriously. Because the knowledge and techniques that teachers have gained through their degree is seen as essential, the logical conclusion is that it is the best.
What if the assumptions about how our children learn are wrong? That means, the techniques and systems used to teach our children would miss their mark.
Parents’ esteem for a degree is also detrimental. Parents believe “experts” are teaching their children and so, they pass the buck to the “more qualified” individual. When their child slowly starts to fall behind, they start to point fingers. They trusted the reputation of a piece of paper signed off by a stranger whom they know nothing of their motive or character.
Even society on the whole believes that the “highly qualified” institutions can do no wrong and instead of trying something different, they insist that funding is the problem. “The experts just don’t have enough resources,” they say.
Dedication, Care, and Love
Who taught your child to crawl? Who taught them to walk, speak, and use the toilet? Who cried the first time they said, “I love you mommy?”
You know your child best. You should not discount your methods or parenting style simply because you don’t have a certificate.
The stranger who has one is not ordained by God for the job.
God has put the responsibility on you and although everyone is accountable for their own wrong doings, you have to be sure you have done your best. I am, by no means, discounting the dedication, patience, and love that teachers across this nation give to others’ children. I am, however, questioning the efficiency and merit of the system and encouraging you to remember; you are your child’s first and best teacher.
Just to boost your confidence here are 10 successful people who don’t have a degree:
1. Micheal Dell – dropped out of college
2. Henry Ford – never graduated high school
3. Bill Gates – dropped out of Harvard, then 30 years later they just gave him a degree.
4. John D. Rockefeller Sr. – no formal college
5. Mark Zuckerburg – college drop out
6. Mary Kay – college drop out
7. Walt Disney – high school drop out
8. Steve Jobs – college drop out
9. Jane Austen – formal schooling until age 11, homeschooled, never attended college
10. Richard Branson – high school dropout
Rebecca Reid says
Hi there! I’m a homeschool mom too. I hear this ALL THE TIME as well. In fact, four years ago, I said it too. Crazy that I’m about to start my third full year of homeschooling now! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and supporting us all in the process 🙂
I found your blog through the KBN facebook group!
Rebecca Reid recently posted…Learning to Pray in Spanish
That is awesome Rebecca! So glad you didn’t listen to yourself 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Linda Jones says
This is such a great article! That was exactly my excuse — that I didn’t feel qualified. Now that my sons are all grown up, I wish I would have just home-schooled anyway. Admittedly, it seemed quite overwhelming but now I find myself often wanting those years back. Fast forward to today, however, where the education system is clearly changing in our country, and not for the better. Most importantly, parents should closely examine the curriculum and ideals that are being “taught” in the public school system. That alone may compel you to not entrust your child’s “education” to anyone but yourself.
Linda Jones recently posted…Communicate Compassion With Letter C
This article is extremely insulting to teachers. Teachers ARE professionals who care about your children. If you choose to homeschool, that is your right and I respect that. There is no need to put down professional teachers.
I’ve said nothing offensive here. In fact, I acknowledge all the hard work teachers do. If you are offended I’m very sorry.
Actually Janine, as a previous educator (still certified), and a parent to a child whom I have considered homeschooling, and whom I have decided to not send to Preschool despite the push of society (not the school system) to do so, you have said offensive things about educators. And, if I came to this site confused about my decisions and looking for answers, I would likely dislike the words here so much that I’d decide to send my kid to public schools.
Here are just a few of the things that seem offensive to educators, and those who support educators despite their opinion on home schooling. You may not have meant them to sound that way, however without an explanation that is how they come across:
1) “a degree may hinder your child’s learning process”–that somehow someone with a degree will make your child learn less effectively is absurd. Yes, in a public setting they may not be able to teach religion, but religion can be taught at home/church/private school, etc. And a degree means that the person holding it has been through extensive study on how the mind works and learns at different stages of childhood. They have also been taught some strategies to deal with more common issues that children might have learning, in case traditional styles don’t work for them. Yes, traditional education doesn’t work for all kids, but it works for many, thus the statement seems offensive at best.
2) “having a degree does not necessarily make you more qualified to teach than someone who doesn’t have one.” I agree for the kids who can learn no matter what strategies they are taught, this could be true. However for a child who needs a different approach, those of us with degrees typically have a few more tricks up the sleeve, figuratively speaking. This is incredibly important in the early years in teaching the fundamentals that can then be expanded on. But if a child can’t read, studying the Bible becomes more difficult.
3) “most institutions are guided by the notion that there is no God and people have no spirit.” While this is true of public settings, there are plenty of private settings this is not the case for. Being as I have never worked in anything but public settings, I will agree with this with the emphasis on INSTITUTIONS. However I fail to see the correlation between an institution and the people working within it. At least in this case where the institution is the government. I know very few teachers who do not see each of their students as individuals with souls. And like I said, I only work in public settings. Most educators, despite their institutions, are loving people who deeply care for their students. This statement tied into your other comments about the “person with the degree” makes it seem as if you don’t quite believe that?
4) “Parents believe “experts” are teaching their children” Your use of quotations in this sentence as well as many other quotations in your writing, are condescending. Yes, those with a degree are considered experts in the area of education. This is true because they have studied the field with great intensity and with a great desire to learn all they can. Sure, there are different theories of learning, but those are all touched on in their education. It would be like if you had a question on something Biblical, who would you ask? Someone who has studied it, or a friend who never opens their Bible, doesn’t go to church, but says that God gave them the gift to answer all of your questions? Sure there are different theories, but I personally like to, at the very least, START with what the well studied individual has to say.
5) “Even society on the whole believes that the “highly qualified” institutions can do no wrong and instead of trying something different, they insist that funding is the problem. “The experts just don’t have enough resources,” they say.” This is so loaded with judgement and misinformation that I’m not entirely sure where to start. PLEASE, PLEASE inform me what trying different would look like. Explain to me how you would take a classroom of 30 kids, 20 or more of whom have never even heard about Christ, and 18 of whom have little to no support at home, and make sure you meet all of their needs. Especially when the federal government gets involved and informs the educators of these kids that they are not allowed to leave any of them behind. In other words, we just keep pushing them through. So by 3rd grade, an educator has 30 kids at 25 different levels to try to meet the needs of. Yes, it’s not a perfect system. The missing peace isn’t better teachers. It isn’t more money, as money doesn’t replace all things. It’s better families. THAT is what is needed. Parents who care about education. Parents at all. So to say the teacher’s aren’t highly qualified is asinine. They just have their hands full. And THAT is the reason I consider home schooling. I think my son would be fine in school if he is an average learner. I think he would thrive in many ways there that he wouldn’t at home. And I might still try it. But I’m not opposed to homeschooling, especially if he would need it. But let’s stop blaming the teachers and lets point fingers where they need to be pointed.
I must say, I am glad you have chosen to home school. As an educator, I would not want your child in my classroom. Your lack of respect for the job would trickle down to your children and make my job even more difficult. I know you said “I am, by no means, discounting the dedication, patience, and love that teachers across this nation give to others’ children” however it seems like an after thought. A way around anyone who reads the judgment in the rest of your writing. I hope I’m wrong. I truly do!
I am happy to say that I whole heartedly agree with you in one VERY important issue. You are so right when you say the parent is the first and best teacher for each child. You are right when you say that God gave you that job. If a person sends their child to public school, the teacher isn’t there to raise them. They can’t. They only get them 7 hours a day for 180 days a year, for 13 years. That’s a very small fraction of their life. So yes, even if one sends their child to public school they still need to be their child’s teacher. But, they don’t have to be their child’s ONLY teacher.
Amanda, Thank you so much for taking the time to voice your opinion. There is no need to be offended, it is simply an opinion, and I welcome others to share their own. The problem most teachers have is that they learn about teaching from secular universities, and much of the theories they are taught are based on a mountain of lies. And unfortunately, they take those lies and apply them in the classroom. In my opinion, that is part of the reason kids are learning so little in school. One of the major lies, is that children are animals, biological machines. Another is that children can be “educated” in a one-size-fits-all factory. (As you said, there is only so much teachers can do, when they 30 kids packed into a class.) And perhaps the biggest lie, is that education can be secular. You cannot teach a child about the world, while divorcing the world’s creator from the lessons. God should be the main course, not a weekend snack.
I know lots of teachers, and many of them love the Lord, but they are also the harshest critics of school. The teachers who do know what they are doing, aren’t allowed by the administration to make the changes they need anyway. Finally, not all teachers are good; not all teachers care. That is also true of parents, but to a much lessor degree. And whether teachers are qualified or not, school isn’t working. “Unqualified” homeschooling mothers are beating our “professionals.”
At any rate, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am sorry if I offended you; that wasn’t my purpose. I know you said that you would not want my kids in your classroom, but if I did send my kids to school I’d want them to have a teacher like you, because I can see that you really care.
Liz Szilagyi says
I’m with Amanda on this one. I was really excited by the title of this article, but immediately was turned off by the tone. First, I was never once taught any of the lies you listed in your reply. If anything, I was taught (in a secular university) that teaching students principles was the most important part of my job. It was very clear, in my training and in my experience in the profession, that all our educating is useless unless we help build character. In fact, some of my agnostic co-workers were the most successful at completing this task.
I’d be curious to know what grounds you have for saying “school isn’t working.” Of the three schools I worked in, two were more than exceptional, and, with the help of parents, I’ve seen many students achieve great success. Most importantly, I saw school communities support dozens of parent-less children.
Thank you for your response. I am sorry it has taken me this long to reply however if I’m honest I had forgotten about this comment altogether until your blog once again ended up on my pinterest page due to someone I follow pinning it. I can tell from that fact alone that your message has obviously helped others in some way. For that I’m grateful! Just because it doesn’t help me, doesn’t mean it’s not worth saying. I too believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just have to object to things that are presented as fact when they are not. I truly believe it’s one of my spiritual gifts in a sense. I don’t deal well with dishonesty and it’s deep in the core of my being. So deep, that even though I know you believe what is written here, and probably with all of your heart mind and soul, I have to agree with Liz, that although I went to a secular (public) university to get my degree in education, I was never once taught that kids were animals (biological machines). In fact in regards to education I have never even seen anything of the sort. Education, at a college level, is about what works to reach each child as an individual. It embraces the fact that all people are different. All learn differently. All have different strengths and weaknesses. And while it’s not necessarily looking at it from the angle of a Creator who made them all differently, it still is very much the same concept of understanding and embracing the differences. Which of course is also in response to your inaccurate statement in regards to one-size-fits-all factory. The opposite is often stressed. I personally took MANY classes where a good chunk of the emphasis was answering questions such as How do you reach those kids who don’t just learn in one particular way? and/or How do you enhance those kids who are functioning above the rest of the kids in your class? And while I understand your concern about education being secular, I in fact have been able to bridge that gap just recently with a very dear Christian friend who found herself divorced from her daughter’s unbelieving father. (I’d go into detail here but I truly believe it’s not relevant to what I have to say at this time) Her daughter had asked about why it rains. She had told her daughter it was because God wanted it to rain so the water could help the crops grow. Her daughter, after spending the evening with her father, came back to my friend, very upset, and said, “Mom, you lied to me. It rains because….” and gave an entire scientific description of how and why it rains. My friend was so upset about it because she wanted her daughter to know that God is in control of all things and now her ex husband was making her out to be a liar. I assured her that both answers were indeed correct. They are not separate. And next time it rained she could explain it to her daughter. You see, God wants it to rain to make the crops grow, and he DOES that by using the scientific methods her dad explained to her. God didn’t just make it rain. He made the water molecules. He made them move. He made the clouds. He made all of it. So secular school doesn’t mean it can’t line up with God. In fact, it offers a way to explain things more in depth at times. To show just how INCREDIBLY amazing God and His Creation truly are. I know, this is a very juvenile small example, but I think the truth is it can be applied in all areas. It’s also why I say you are so incredibly right that you are the first teacher to your children. Maybe even the best earthly one, because you get to make those connections for them! My son is only 3 and I already think helping him make those connections from what he learns outside of the comfort of his house (his unbelieving cousin’s house, etc.) is one of the most amazing parts of being a parent. After all, I must remember this child of mine, doesn’t really BELONG to me. He belongs to his CREATOR! And I’ve been given the job to point him towards it in all areas of life. Go forth and make disciples of all people. How does one do that in the comfort of only believers?
Hi again Amanda,
In educational psychology teachers are taught that people are biological machines that can be conditioned, that is what Pavlov’s dog experiment was supposed to illustrate, among other experiments. All their theories are based evolution, which schools also advocate and teach. Although you might not have heard them say that about children, they are asserted that through their methods and “science”.
Responding to the last thing you said, “Go forth and make disciples of all people. How does one do that in the comfort of only believers?” I would say this; A 5 year old put into kindergarten is not ready to make disciples. He needs the training and instruction that God commands parents to give him before he is throw out into the world. Several studies, like the Southern Baptist Family Council study, have proven that somewhere between 70-80% of public schooled Christian kids are walking away from their faith after graduating high school, while only 6% of home schooled children do. The reason is, children spend most of their time in a secular world, and then even in the evenings they are forced to do more school work, so little time is letf for family or Church.
I feel school is dangerous; I have tons of family and friends that turned their backs on God in school, including my husband and myself. So, I feel the need to warn parents. I respect that others might not agree, and I think it is helpful to have respectful conversations and hear both sides.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
I fully understand where you are coming from when you speak of Pavlov. I would have thought the same thing until I went through the educators program at a public college. I was even ready to fight that battle with my instructors. However, I found that both as an undergraduate as well as a recent graduate student (just last summer I took continuing ed classes to keep myself certified, and did so at a different public university than my undergrad studies), both professors mentioned Pavlov, but said not to spend a lot of time on his theories as they have moved well beyond that way of educating and thinking in the field. In fact, one professor told me in a CHILD DEVELOPMENT class that there would be one question on Pavlov on any assessments he gave, and it would be in regards to where the thought process of education used to be and how far we’ve come. So in my personal experience, Pavlov is not where the focus of educators remains. In addition, as I stated before, science does exist. It exists because God made it. Science is defined as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” So studying structure and behavior does have it’s place. And much of what science has to say is accurate and amazing. Even Albert Einstein said, “The more I study science, the more I believe in God.” And honestly when I was a bit younger I had questions about how science could seem so right yet Christians seemed to separate it from God. It wasn’t until a science teacher in a PUBLIC school, whom I trusted to ask about that because I knew his Christian beliefs, that I was able to start seeing that indeed the two are related because all things science are also all things God being amazing.
I agree with you, a 5 year old is not capable of being a disciple. However, he can be light to the dark if his home time is spent in the Word. Thankfully the public school system we live in is not overly obsessed with homework, which means IF I decide to send my son, he will still have plenty of time in the Word, both at home and at church, Sunday school, Awana programs, etc. As far as your statistics, I’m not sure how accurate those can be as I don’t know how anyone can judge for sure who is and who isn’t following God, except oneself and the Lord. But I can assure you that the opposite is also true. My father-in-law never heard the gospel at home. He heard it from peers at school. He was invited to church activities from peers at school. The same is somewhat true of me. I was raised strict Lutheran. Had it not been for my peers in late grade school and junior high asking me to join their fun youth activities at church, I would never have come to know the Lord the way I have now. So no, I don’t think my son at 5 will be assisting to bring kids to Christ, but I do KNOW that by 10, these things can and do happen. And while it’s a scary to send kids to school (I agree with you entirely, and it’s part of why I am considering home school), I know that God’s got them right where they are needed. And even if they lose their way for a moment (like you and your husband, and even myself and my siblings), sometimes we have to lose sight for a moment to learn how to appreciate and love more deeply. Again, I am not at all against home schooling and I know you are making the right choice for your family. I HIGHLY respect that! I am sure you are doing well by your kids. My concern from the start was, and continues to be, putting down the school systems and the educators. You said at one point that you think that parents who don’t care are less common than teachers who don’t. I am seriously SO glad that has been your experience. Mine has been VERY different as we live in the middle of a big city. And for the last 10 years I have worked (as a para, as a sub, and as a volunteer) in an alternative school where students whose behaviors have warranted them to be kicked out of “normal” public schools. The age of these kids at this school run from 5 to 21. And each and EVERY one of them comes from a horrible home life. Yes, I fear my kid learning some of their behaviors. But I also feel like they need compassion, friendship, and love more than anyone I’ve ever met. I will not encourage my son to be friends with these kinds of kids, but I will encourage him to love them. To be the Bible they have never seen. To shine their light and show them the respect they have never received at home. No, maybe not at 5, but for sure by 10. That will be the case no matter where I decided to send him to school. I will fail. My son will fail. But God NEVER will!
Yes Pavlov is definitely old news, but it is still the foundation of educational psychology, and yes schools have progressed, but only further down the same road. B.F. Skinner is now the standard and schools are rapidly outgrowing him as well. The point is, schools are shifting from teaching their “truths” to conditioning them, forcing students to form behavior patterns that contradict the teachings of home and Church. My husband has researched this topic for several years, and just published a book on it a few days ago. I think that if what I have written offended you, his book would do much more than that. But if you are interested in hearing the other side, you can email me privately email@example.com and I will give you a code to have it for free. I can see that you are passionate about education, and so you will either absolutely love More Blood, or absolutely hate it. But either way, it will give you a better idea of where I am coming from and go much deeper than I can go in a comment.
The study I referred to was a survey of parents in the Southern Baptist Church, asking them if their children where still attending Church and walking with the Lord. So, I think parents would probably have a pretty good idea. I believe another study found that, something like 30 percent did return, but even that isn’t very encouraging. However, I don’t need a study anyway. I grew up school, I saw how I, and most of my friends and family, slowly turned away from the Lord. My husband and I did return to faith, but most of our friends did not.
I agree that science is good. I never said that it shouldn’t be studied or taught. But behavior psychologists use their science in schools to manipulate unknowing children away from their faith. Also, schools teach evolution, which is the antithesis of science, replacing all we’ve come to know and have observed with an atheist’s fantasy.
As far as criticizing schools, I meant to, but for the most part teachers are doing the best that they can in a system designed to hamstring their efforts. And while an alternative high school may be the exception, the rule is generally that parents will always love their own children more than other students. They can’t help it; it is practically biological. That is not a bad, but a necessary reality, similar to how a wife has a special love for her husband above all other men.
Finally, whatever you decide, I wish you the best and pray that God keeps you and your family. If you continue to teach in the school, I pray that God finds a way to use you to shine light in that dark place. If you keep your son in school, I pray that he is among the small remnant that despite all schools devices, keeps his faith.
Thank you for continuing the conversation. Even if we haven’t completely agreed, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
Beth Ryan says
mothers, not mother’s.
Jane Austen, not Austin.
You are not qualified to teach your children.
Right Beth, because teachers never make typos! Sad that when you read something, you value the grammar over the content. That is exactly what public education does to kids! But thank you just the same for taking the time to edit my post.
Just wanted to throw my two cents into the pot and tell you to keep up the good work! I just found your blog about an hour or so ago- so I haven’t had a chance to check EVERYTHING out, but so far what I’ve seen I have liked! God bless you and your beautiful family. As a new mother, to a sweet two month old baby girl I find you to be somewhat of an inspiration, and already don’t know how you do it! I look forward to reading more on your site as I try to figure everything out.
Keep your head up! You are doing an amazing job! Have a GREAT day 🙂
Good post. I definitely love this site. Keep it up!
Cvent recently posted…Info Marketing
Mia White says
Love this, so true! I just recently wrote something VERY similar on my blog, in response to a friend with many of the hesitations you mentioned above (just as I had before we made the leap into home-education, knees shaking.) Great minds think alike! 😉