Can You Homeschool Your Children if You Didn't Go to College?


Can You Homeschool your children if You Didn't Go to College? Not only can you, but you should!

The less education the parents have, the more likely their children are to do poorly in public school, but this changes when you homeschool. 

Research shows that even if you don't have a college degree, your children will perform better academically when you homeschool them. 

Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute found that homeschoolers whose parents had no college education scored at the 83rd percentile compared to public schooled kids of the same, who scored poorly at the 50th percentile. 

Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out.
— ProLiteracy

The above quote refers to public school children; the same learning gap closes when you homeschool. Homeschooling puts children of parents who did not graduate from college at an advantage right below that of parents who did, the latter scoring at the 87 - 88th percentile.

This is fantastic news for parents who were not educated beyond high school. It means your children will have the same shot at success as the children of parents higher up the socio economic ladder when you homeschool them. 

For many children, this could be the difference between becoming a high school dropout or a college graduate.

But how do you homeschool if you lack a good education yourself? 

The majority of homeschooling parents went to public school which hardly qualifies as a good education with 20% of high school graduates being classified as functionally illiterate. Regardless, if you have gaps in your general education, as most people do, then becoming an autodidact will correct this.

An autodidact (for those who may not be familiar with the term) is someone who is self-taught like Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was arguably one of the most impressive autodidacts in US history. 

According to Theodore Roosevelt, Hamilton was "the most brilliant American statesman who ever lived." Not light words from a man who was highly intelligent himself.

It may surprise you to know that this brilliant statesman didn't go to school until he was in his late teens. Hamilton was believed to be about seventeen years of age when he first enrolled in the preparatory school, Elizabethtown Academy.

While he grew up in poverty, his mother owned 34 books that Hamilton would have read during his earlier years. Historians have surmised that amongst them were the poetry of Alexander Pope, Plutarch's Lives, and Machiavelli's The Prince.

(Not quite the Andy Griffiths' series mentioned in my post about the classics!)

I have always held the contention that you could leave a child in a room full of great books, and they'd do a better job of educating themselves than a public school. 

Not that I recommend this method as a first choice, but I had to fall back upon it myself from time to time and found it came with its own advantages.

Without my prompting, for example, one time out of pure enjoyment my children memorized all the American president's first, middle, and last names and the order in which they held office.

For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain. 
— Dorothy Sayers

This is just one of the many things children will teach themselves while buried in a room full of books. 

You may not have the genius of a Hamilton, nor is it required of you, but you're an autodidact too. All of us teach ourselves things we want to learn when we don't have access to a teacher or a mentor or just because we can.

There are two ways you can approach homeschooling. If you're at all like I was—self-employed and short on time—then you'll probably follow the method I most frequently used. It's called Winging It. 

Here's how it worked: I'd start by opening the grammar book, a subject I had been somewhat deficient in ever since my public school days, and I'd learn along with my children. 

Did they know that I was learning alongside them? Absolutely not! I was omniscient in their eyes, and this is precisely how you want to appear.

If you expect your children to be good homeschool students, they first need to respect you and believe you know more than they do. Why would anyone study under someone who knew the same amount or less?

Don't get me wrong; it wasn't that I knew the same amount or less than my young children—this would be absurd, but, like you, I had some gaps in my education and grammar was one of them. There's no better way to learn something than to teach it.

While we teach, we learn.
— Seneca the Younger

If you feel insecure about teaching your own, however, the Winging It method might be too much of a stretch.

For those of you who need a more concrete method, then you want to start by becoming a competent planner when you homeschool. You will need to plan not only their schedule but also what you have to learn to stay ahead of your children.

Yes, that's your plan; you're going to stay one step ahead of your kids. 

Once you know what you have to learn, you will become a clandestine student. After your children have gone to bed, you will stay up at night and learn what you intend to teach them the following day or week, depending upon how far ahead you're able to prepare. 

Whatever it is that your children are studying, you only have to learn a little more for your children to think you're a Hamilton too.

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There's one exception to this: anything your children need to read; you don't need to read ahead of time. You can, but it's not necessary because you can read along side them.  But any lesson you need to teach, you want to be well prepared to teach.

Does it sound like a lot of work? It's really not. Prepare as much as you can but don't become overwhelmed. If you like learning, if you enjoy reading, your preparation time will be leisure time for you, not work. 

Look at it as your chance to get an education too. You'll be much better educated yourself by the time you finish homeschooling your children.

If you do homeschool, and if you ever find yourself feeling faint-hearted as a homeschooler, remember these words: you cannot possibly do worse than public school unless you try! 

There's no real secret to homeschooling. It's a terrific lifestyle that allows you to hang out with your books and your kids every day and go on educational outings with friends often. 

What more could you want?

What, excuse me?

A vacation, you say? 

If you would like to become a more competent homeschooler, please join the waiting list for my upcoming course: How to Homeschool the Smart Way.

If you enjoyed this, you might like my free download Ten Books Every Well-Educated Child Should Read.

If you need help with your homeschooling, you can schedule a one-hour consultation with me (that's usually all you'll need)