The Virginia Parent Teacher Association says homeschooled children will be ill-served if bills in the Virginia legislature, HB 1340/SB 499, are signed into law, and change one of the categories under which Virginia parents may homeschool. The first homeschool option under Virginia law is to allow homeschooling for a parent who has earned a “baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.” Under the proposed law change, this would change to requiring only a high school diploma, an option that already is available to Virginia homeschooling parents.
- Yes, Virginia, you CAN homeschool without a college degree!
Despite the change is wording only, the Virginia Parent Teacher Association opposes the change.
- W*USA 9 News, Washington, DC, 2 March 2006, Virginia Debates Home Schooling RequirementsBut the Virginia Parent Teacher Association is worried. They say it may put home schooled children at a disadvantage by allowing their teachers to have lower qualifications than their counterparts in the public schools.
Click on the “related video” to hear the televised report.
Although the requirement of a college degree for teaching, there is no statistical evidence that parents having earned a degree makes a difference in the quality of home education.
- Education Now, Summer 1999, A nationwide study of home education: early indications and wider implicationsIn many cases, teacher-parents said that teacher training made them realise that parents could teach. While some teacher-parents found their teaching experience a hindrance, others found it an asset.
We parents without college degrees have not been living in a time capsule so that our mental faculties are frozen at the high school level. We’ve negotiated whatever life circumstance has brought children into our lives, and we’ve raised those children, learning as we go. We have read books, magazines and newspapers. We’ve listened to political debates on television and voted in elections. We’ve gone to work, earned money, bought cars and licensed them, and bought homes and possibly improved them. After earning all that money we’ve managed budgets and filed taxes. Sometimes we’ve even traveled. And though it all, we’ve performed, participated and plowed through all the myriad tasks of adult life in the (Gregorian calendar’s) 21st century.
I was never taught ‘computers’ in my 1960s-era high school, but here I am, online. Ditto for my husband, and yet now he fixes computers for a living. It’s his fourth career field after having retired from two other systems. Are those examples anecdotal? Yes. But if you collect enough anecdotes and sort and file them appropriately, pretty soon you’ve got a statistic.
Additionally, although to some people keeping score it won’t matter much, we learn as we go in homeschooling. If something works, we keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, we stop doing it. With apologies to all the fine teachers in schools, we homeschooling parents are not salaried workers marching through another year to retirement, teaching the same material One More Time, almost by rote when ‘teacher-proofed’ materials are used. We high-school-diploma homeschooling parents are as actively engaged as our college-degreed colleagues. We care as much, we work as hard. Concerning what we do with our kids, we sift, we sort, we choose. It doesn’t take a college degree to be able to see what is or is not working educationally for our children, and we make our own adjustments.
Teacher-proofing schoolrooms is bad policy, and so is parent-proofing homeschooling.