At this time last week I had no idea which question I was going to tackle next for this series. Then, as the week progressed I got more and more reminders about why I feel qualified to teach my children at home. I don’t have teaching credentials. In fact, I’ve never even been to college unless you count the 3 math classes I took through the concurrent enrollment program at my high school. By some standards, I am far from being qualified to teach children. But, I know that I am more than qualified to teach my children, and a few experiences this week have reaffirmed that to me.
Charlotte Mason is quoting Pestalozzi when she writes,
“The mother is qualified, and qualified by The Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; … and what is demanded of her is–a thinking love. … God has given to thy child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided–how shall this heart, this head, these hands, be employed? to whose service shall they be dedicated? A question the answer to which involves a futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education.”
According to Pestalozzi and Mason, a mother is divinely endowed with all she needs to be the principal force behind encouraging development in her child. The most important thing being her love of the child. I’ve got that in overflowing bucket loads.
L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a talk in the April 2010 General Conference of the church titled, “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home.” This talk was referenced during both of the talks I heard in sacrament meeting on Sunday.
In the talk Elder Perry first spoke of what he learned from his own mother,
“My mother understood the value of teaching her children about standards, values, and doctrine while they were young. While she was grateful to others who taught her children outside the home at either school or church, she recognized that parents are entrusted with the education of their children and, ultimately, parents must ensure that their children are being taught what their Heavenly Father would have them learn. My siblings and I were quizzed very carefully by our mother after we had been taught away from the home to be certain the correct lessons were reaching our ears and shaping our minds.”
He continued by emphasizing that times have changed and parents face different issues now than they did when he was a child, but one truth remains,
“Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go” (Proverbs 22:6), ultimately this responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children.”
These children were sent to me, and I was given the responsibility to see to their care and development. Our family has decided that the most effective way for us to do that is to school at home.
Tsh’s (Simple Mom) Words
As I was going through my feed reader this morning I came across an excellent post by Tsh on Simple Mom titled “Let Your Child’s Schooling Release Her Education“. While her post focused on the difference between education and schooling and defining what you expect from both, there was one part that caught my eye. It was an excellent post, you should go read it.
Tsh was talking about the school they decided to have their daughter attend and how the school required the parents to sign a form stating that the parent is responsible for the child’s education, not the school. Truth be told, I wish more schools and more parents took a similar stance. Like Tsh said, they may be outsourcing the teaching of certain subjects to the kindergarten teacher, but that doesn’t mean that the responsibility for educating the child has transferred hands.
So, what qualifies a person to home school if they don’t have teaching credentials?
I believe that all parents are meant to raise their own children. It is a divine responsibility and a blessing. As such, we are given all things which we need to fulfill that responsibility. That doesn’t mean that I feel I can just skate by without any work. The time that I have spent learning about how children develop and learn has been immensely helpful. The time I have spent learning about educational philosophies and methods has helped me to solidify what I want for my children.
I spend a lot of time with my children. I am able to see things in them that many others would miss. I know how they will react to almost anything before it ever happens. I know what they need, what they are capable of, and how far they can be pushed. I am their mom, and that is what qualifies me to be their teacher.