Dear Parents Who Homeschool:
You are an incredibly brave and heroic group of people, and whatever your reasons (they are as many and unique and individual as the people who make up this group) for taking on the task of educating your children, I salute you for it. You are taking on a task that you were not "officially" prepared for. An additional job that you didn't necessarily sign up for when you chose to have children. You were not given 4 years of professional instruction from experienced professors explaining how to handle classroom management, lesson planning, organizational tips, or educational psychology.
And yet, you are uniquely equipped to handle this occupation. As you begin your Homeschooling journey, I actually have only one suggestion to offer from my educational background and experience. Please, remember to...
...ignore The Drips.
I have discovered two kinds of Drips who wish to rain on my Homeschooling Parade. You meet these two kinds of folks at either your Co-op, Charter School, or Homeschooling Meet-Up.
The first Drip, I'll call "Mrs. Know-it-all". Mrs. Know-it-all has one child whom she home-schooled for 6 years, half of which was online assisted instruction. Although you have not invited her input and are not impressed personally by her child (who still lives at home and works at his uncle's restaurant as a dishwasher), she herself feels she has a great deal to pass on to you. She proceeds to offer home-schooling tips you haven't asked for, insist you use her favorite homeschooling curriculum, and assumes by her attitude that you are a helpless soul and will only be able to home-school by following her infinite wisdom.
The second Drip, we will call "Mr. UsedToTeach". Mr. UsedToTeach barely waits for you to tell him your name before he explains his prior occupation. He used to Teach with a capital T. Professionally. In a classroom. And he still has his credential framed on his wall. He tells you this with much the same attitude of one who wishes to separate the proverbial sheep from the goats, and you immediately understand that you are of a lesser breed, much less intellectual, much less capable, much less likely to ever rise to the title of "Teacher".
The worst by far of these two Drips, is Mr. UsedToTeach. As members of the human race, we've all had to deal with "know-it-alls" in our various walks of life and we already have our own ways of dealing with them, wherever we find them. But when you run into that former teacher who is also an intellectual snob, you have found the one person who is most willing to squelch your aspiring hopes of teaching your own children.
I doubt it's intentional. Likely, it's the natural attempt to justify one's former occupation. But I apologize to you on behalf of all former teachers for Mr. UsedToTeach and his attitude towards you. Not all of us wish to squelch you.
The ironic part is that a credential certainly does NOT a good teacher make. C'mon, we all had one: that one teacher who despised every student in their classroom and children in general, and who couldn't teach to save their lives. I know, it's not politically correct to call any teacher, "a bad teacher" but as a former teacher, let me just be honest about the bad apples in the barrel: they're out there. Even with that credential hanging on their wall. Somehow, that classy piece of paper has not improved on their ability to either enjoy kids or teach well. What's up with that?
You don't have to have a teaching credential to be a great teacher. And, you don't have to be an innately gifted teacher in order to teach well. (That just makes everything a lot easier.)
So back to my first suggestion about ignoring the Drips. Do that, and then seek out the the real sages who don't need to tout their tips to the local crowds and are busy giving outside the limelight, where nobody sees. Find the Homeschooling parents whose kids impress you and ask them for their best tips. They will believe in your ability to teach, as they believed in their children's ability to learn. They know you have what it takes. They will encourage and help you every step of the way.
Be confident in your ability to teach your children, in the same way that you have trained them to do everything else you taught them to do.
And what about the title of this blog? Aside from the click bait virtues of it, there is one time that a Teaching Credential comes in really, REALLY handy while Home-schooling:
For the pure, unadulterated pleasure of refusing to let Mr. UsedToTeach look down on you when he shares his professional background. Three times now, in this first year of officially home-schooling my firstborn, I have run into a Mr. UsedToTeach. The third time, I hardly waited for the individual to finish telling me they were a former teacher before I interrupted, "Yeah, me too."
It's such a pleasant, indulgent way for me to shut down any superiority. It makes that teaching credential (which is stuffed in a box under my bed somewhere) all worthwhile.