by Norma Vandevender
There are multiple reasons why a parent decides to educate at home. Despite the various reasons, the common factor is love and the desire to give their children the best education possible. When you start with love, education at home is possible. Residing where the state law supports you makes it more feasible.
On June 15, 1994, the Texas Supreme Court guaranteed the right for Texas parents to educate their children at home without fear of prosecution. The court ruled that schools at home are considered a type of private school and thus offering parents great freedom in their educational curriculum and schedule. Since it is established that we have the right to educate at home, you may still be asking yourself, “Can I educate my children without a teaching degree?” Yes! You most certainly can! With proper guidance and preparation, an education at home is possible.
I am not an occupational therapist, but I helped my daughter to crawl. As she got stronger, I taught her to walk, eat, and use the bathroom. I am not a speech-language pathologist, but I was able to teach her how to talk. I am not a pediatrician, but I took care of her when she had fevers, scratches, and a couple of stomach viruses. On all these occasions, I may not have had a degree, but I informed myself and searched for solutions of how to undertake her development or take care of her health. I made lists of the necessary things and armed myself with the tools. The answers were not always easy to locate or given to me by my family. I read books, subscribed to new-mom blogs, and talked to my daughter’s pediatrician to reach an educated decision regarding what was best for her well-being.
So how can a parent without a teaching degree be an educator at home? By applying the same process of setting goals, researching the unknown, and seeking out expert advice. Fortunately, in San Antonio, there is FEAST, your homeschool resource center dedicated to helping families on their teaching path. Their mission is to support the benefits of parent-directed education. Think of them as your partner on this journey. With a staff and board of directors comprised of homeschool families, they can help you get started on the right foot, steer you around the speed-bumps, and make sure you get to the next phase of your journey. I turned to them multiple times, and they helped build up my confidence to teach my child. Also, veteran homeschooling parents and guardians are loaded with experience and homeschool knowledge. They are eager to share what has worked and what was thrown out the window. They too have felt those nerves and have questioned themselves like every new homeschool parent.
There are so many additional educational resources on social media, especially with the situation we are experiencing this year with the pandemic. Seek out homeschool groups (list available on FEAST website), the local homeschool community, your local library, and subscribe to homeschool blogs.
When the going gets tough, you can always seek out the help of a tutor because you do not have to teach all your child’s classes.
Take a deep breath, let your love for your family be the fuel that drives your attempt to offer a well- rounded education to your children, and remember that you do not have to feel alone in this. There is a support group out there to help along the way. Yes! You can teach!