What if You Can’t Teach Your Child? (A Big Sigh of Relief to Homeschooling Parents)

What if You Can't Teach Your Child (A Big Sigh of Relief to Homeschooling Parents)

Homeschooling has had to fight some pretty deep-seated myths because the machine that runs the government system of education plants those myths deeply to keep it running.

Every homeschooling parent has heard at some point:

“What if you’re not qualified to teach your children?”

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”

Isaac Asimov

Many people even lobby to have home-educating parents required to pass a certification.

That unconstitutional quest is driven by the myth that a child can only learn when there is a teacher (expert) to teach him.

Nature proves that to be false, as does history and experience.

A child begins learning when he is born, about the world around him, his language, psychology of human behavior, physics and everything else needful to him. He would have to be locked in a dark closet to be prevented from learning, so strong is his innate compulsion to learn.

“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
Ray Bradbury

As he gets older, he doesn’t loose that amazing ability and curiosity to gain needful information, process experiences, and learn about the world around him.

A child needs little more than real life experiences, a person willing to converse with him about the world, and some good books to give him a well-rounded education. Many of our most brilliant ancestors were educated this way.

“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
Abraham Lincoln

Self-education is our aim (should be our aim), not the crippling assumption that a child can’t learn without being fed information.

Most of our own school experiences remind us that “forced-learning” as John Taylor Gatto calls it, doesn’t stick for very long. Our aim should be to open up the world of possibilities, show our children how very easy it is to learn and that they don’t have to wait for a teacher, but have the power in their own hands.

“Education is the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the world’s work, and the power to appreciate life.”
Brigham Young

As homeschoolers, understanding the science of learning should free us up tremendously and help us relax as we help our children grow in knowledge, wisdom and truth.

More than a teacher, our children need someone to lead them to a world full of new things to learn.

Want to learn more about a relaxed method of homeschooling? Less stressful to parent and child? Check out Think Outside the Classroom.


30 Responses to “What if You Can’t Teach Your Child? (A Big Sigh of Relief to Homeschooling Parents)”

  1. Craig says:

    Brigham Young was a leader of a non-Christian cult and really should not be quoted. If you are unaware of the seriousness of the Mormon cult please google it.

    • Craig,

      I’m fully aware but that doesn’t negate the truth of this quote. Isaac Asimov was also a humanist. We can acknowledge a statement someone makes as true or good without advocating that person’s religion or lifestyle or complete way of thought.

      • Craig says:

        Come on that wasn’t the comment I expected. I sure won’t be astounded if people didn’t like all the good quotes from Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Judas.

        • Sorry to disappoint. I agreed with their quotes and they made points that supported my posts. That doesn’t mean I endorse their worldview. I’m sure you have agreed with things said from others whose religion/lifestyle you disagreed. We’re adults here. Don’t miss the forest. By the way, I don’t agree with much of Abraham Lincoln’s life either. Oh, and a neighbor once said something to me profoundly accurate. I agreed with him too. He’s an unbeliever.

          • Kayla says:


            If we could all do as you’ve just said and take profound useful sayings from others who we may in one way or another disagree with we get a lot farther in our understanding of each other. Great point! It is the same idea behind reading books. People will get all bent out of shape over something someone writes in a book, but I’ve always thought you read it, take what you can use and disregard the rest. Great post and discussion in the comments.

  2. deborah says:

    Along a different line: If I’m not qualified to “teach” my own child, why then would I think that I could help him with his homework? Oh, but I can? I do? Oh, then that means that I must be able to “teach” him too.

    I quite like your writing. Nice little parcels of food to chew on.

  3. Rachel says:

    It is indicative of the failure of institutionalized education that it would ever occur to anyone that any parent is unqualified to teach their child the basic skills needed for the child to embark on self-directed learning. If the schools were successful in teaching basic academics (rather than tools for the dissemination of propaganda), every parent would be more than qualified to get their children successfully through the elementary years.

  4. Kayci says:

    Thanks Kelly! I needed this encouragement today. I so often forget how simple homeschooling should be and get caught up in feeling like I have to follow a curriculum or check off certain boxes everyday.

  5. Kim M says:

    Love this post!

  6. […] What if You Can’t Teach Your Child? (A Big Sigh of Relief to Homeschooling Parents) […]

  7. Charity says:

    I appreciate this post so much. Very encouraging!

    As a side note…we’ve been torn apart and rejected by so many churches because of our family size, our choice for me to stay home and mother our children, and our choice to homeschool, that we’ve seriously considered joining the Mormon church, even though we don’t agree with everything they believe and teach. They are most cetainly alligned with more family values than most Christian churches are.

    • Keri says:

      Charity, I’m so sorry you’ve been treated that way by people in churches! That is awful! For the sake of your children, please don’t join the Mormon church. They don’t follow God’s word and it’s a cult. I’ll be praying you find a good Bible believing church where believers act like true believers!

    • Charity,

      I’m sure it’s so very painful to be rejected by those who claim faith in Christ. However, the Mormon’s do not claim that faith, so for believers, are not an option. You’re right though, our lifestyles align far more than most Christian denominations, which is a travesty. I pray you can find a (reformed?) church that encourages you in your family.

      • Kayla says:


        Just wanted to encourage you by reminding you that nothing in this life if wasted. God has the power to redeem every situation, nothing is wasted with God. Your childhood experience and all that you’ve gone through/are going through can and will be used by him in some way. You may see it or you may not. Kelly often writes about things/choice/events that have profoundly affected this world. In some way God used the trials etc in those peoples lives to make it happen. Stay strong… you are stronger than you know!

        • Kayla says:

          I also meant to say, that maybe God is trying to use this time without a church to strengthen your family through family worship, family bible reading (family altar). We’ve missed church the last two weekends and have had a wonderful brunch, worship, and bible reading time. So maybe that’s something to consider. And don’t make it complicated. We look up songs on you tube with lyrics and sing along. Then my husband reads a chapter from the bible and we discuss what it means, that’s it! Simple.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Dear Charity,

      I am so sorry about those church experiences, and the animosity your family has faced. And it is understandable how, after all this time that you’ve been looking for a church home that will welcome you and your family and treat you with love and respect, you would consider worshiping with kind people whose moral values more closely match yours than do professing Christians who reject your lifestyle.

      And yet… (please know I write with the utmost of love).

      Charity, we who believe in the Jesus of the Bible are called to worship God in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

      God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

      Those who are members of the LDS, calling themselves “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” (or Mormans, as they’re sometimes referred to) do not worship the Jesus Christ we know from the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God. Their “Jesus” is not our Jesus, and their gospel is a different gospel, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      If you had a chance to watch the video Kelly posted below (June 5 at 11:33 am), or if you’re familiar with Mormon teaching through other sources, then you’ll know that their “Jesus” comes from “the heavenly father and the heavenly mother.”

      They also believe that Jesus’ “parents” were humans before that and received “celestial exaltation.”

      In the video, starting shortly before the 1:11:00 mark, the speaker, a former Mormon who is now a Christian, states what he was taught when he was part of the LDS church.

      Our heavenly father, before he was god over our earth, he himself achieved celestial exaltation with his wife, but before that, our heavenly father used to live on some other earth somewhere, some other world somewhere, and when he lived on that world, he was a worthy man. So when he dies, the other god allows him to become a new god, and that’s how our heavenly father became god.

      In other words, the LDS belief is that humans can achieve celestial exaltation if they are good enough, and a man who also has a good wife can become god of the earth he is given, where together the man and his wife become the parents to their own spiritual children, just as “Jesus” is the spirit child of his heavenly father and heavenly mother.

      The speaker rightfully uses Isaiah 43:10 to refute this belief:

      Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

      Charity, there is no way to worship the One True Living God in spirit and truth among people who believe these things, as kind, gentle, lovely and welcoming as they may be. They are worshiping a god who does not exist, and we cannot be in unity with them and with Christ.

      Please consider God’s words in 2 Timothy 3:14-15:

      14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

      15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

      Again, Charity, I am very sorry about the trials borne of those awful experiences you’ve had with some people who profess to be Christians. The answer, though, is not to begin worshiping with anyone who believes things that are not in God’s word, with people who are relying on works righteousness to earn favor with God.

      Satan masquerades as an angel of light. He makes it sound so appealing to fellowship with very nice people. (And by that, I don’t mean to say that adults cannot associate or be friends with people of other beliefs.) The thing with satan, though, is that he is subtle, and would love to persuade weary souls like you and your husband that it would be better to go beyond friendship and actually start worshiping with morally upright but doctrinally incorrect people than to be without a church home for a time.

      Stand firm in the faith, Charity. Put on the full armor of God, and resist the enemy’s advances. (Ephesians 6)

      The Lord knows what you need, and He will provide in His timing. He will lead you to a situation in which you are able to worship in spirit and truth.

      If I can be of any assistance in helping you find a church home in your area, please email me, Charity. (I don’t think I have your current email address, but mine’s the same as it’s always been.) The denomination to which I belong has always been welcoming of children being with their parents in the church services, and our family has never received a discouraging word from anyone in our church (of over 1000 members) about our large family, our homeschooling, or anything. There are church bodies who both preach the Word of truth and receive children and their families with open arms. I pray the Lord leads you to one soon.

      You can count on my prayers as you wait on the Lord, Charity. I wish you and your family many blessings.

      Love in Christ,

      • Charity says:

        Thank you for your very thoughtful response to my comment. I agree with what you, and Kelly have said. We wouldn’t join the Mormon church, for many reasons, but several months back I’d have to be honest and say the pull was quite strong. We moved across the US a little over a year ago and where we live now there a lots of Mormons (along with Mennonite and lots and lots of Amish). We were doing a lot of reading and asking about what exactly the LDS church believes and teaches, but this so not a consideration now. Also, I was raised in a cult and am very, very leary of joining any church or group because of what I was raised in. I still have a lot to overcome from my childhood and therefore am incredibly cautious about what my children are taught and from whom they learn it. You could call me paranoid.

        And then there’s wine and drinks of the aort, and that’s a no-no to LDS. And we enjoy a drink occasionally, and responsibly. Occasionally, because I’m pregnant a lot, (and seems we’re pinching pennies so tightly we can hear Lincoln screaming, more often than not) a d responsibly, because that’s how Jesus said to be with alcohol. 🙂

        • 6 arrows says:

          Amen! And I’m so glad to hear of the Lord’s strong hand of protection on you and your family, in keeping you out of the LDS when the pull was strong. His faithfulness endures forever.

          May the Lord bring you healing from the scars you sustained in your childhood church experience, Charity, and give you peace that transcends all understanding.

          May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13

          • Charity says:

            I meant to say that I’d like to have your email again. Perhaps Kelly can give you mine if she sees this comment. I’d rather not put my email our here in the open. 🙂 Thanks C! 🙂

            • 6 arrows says:

              From one C to another, you’re welcome. 🙂 And I don’t post my email online, either. Kelly (if it’s OK with her) can either pass mine along to you, or give yours to me, whichever is more convenient.

              Thank you, ladies. 🙂

  8. Jessica says:

    As a ‘Mormon’ (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)and most definitely a Christian, and a homeschooling mother of 18 years, who has day in and and day out taught my children to follow the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to read His scriptures, to turn to His atonement when mistakes are made and to pray always; it hurts to be bashed on a blog that I enjoy regularly.
    We’ve lived in several states and have found Christian groups as a whole to be the most judgmental, exclusive groups when it comes to homeschooling. I’ve cringed at times and felt that the anger and hatred from Christians could well turn people away from Christ.
    If more time was spent being Christ-like and banding together to strengthen christian faith and less time bashing others’ faith in Him, the world would be a better place, in my opinion. It’s a sad day when raising your family in light and goodness through Christ’s teachings and example attracts hatred from those who profess to be His followers.
    Kelly, I love your blog…and am simply sorry to feel unwelcome here.

    • Jessica,

      I’m sorry you feel “bashed” but Mormonism differs from Protestant Christianity in ways that forbids us to accept it as true. The bible instructs us to discern between the true gospel and false teachers, and as such, Mormonism does not uphold what we believe to be true from God’s Word. (I realize you feel the same.) I don’t know that “judgmental” is the right word, since we are commanded to make this distinction and reject false teaching. I have had some wonderful friends who are Mormon, and while they are lovely people, embracing lovely values and live beautiful lives, nevertheless, I believe they have some doctrinal differences that alienate them from the true Church of God. I’m sorry because I know how deeply that hurts, and yet real love demands I say it.

    • This is an excellent message from a former Mormon about why we believe the way we do. Very thorough and precise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEdVBzrYy00

  9. Ellen says:

    As someone who has a degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Classical Greek and a minor in Natural Resource Economics, I have to say, after spending many years helping in the classroom while my son was young, and later working part-time as a special education aide (both not-severely handicapped and severely handicapped children, some mainstreamed into regular classrooms), as well as currently working as a crossing guard at an elementary school, what it takes to be a teacher and to teach adequately is a skill I think you may be underrating. (Sorry for the run-on sentence!) I never felt I could teach, and I have a far greater body of basic knowledge than most people. And learning a subject along with your children while trying to teach it to them is not something I would recommend for something so important. Take care…

    • Well, Ellen, when you go through high school as an honor student, graduate with an Advanced Placement Diploma, clep a semester of college courses, graduate from college with honors and then start homeschooling and realize you didn’t learn much at all from the “experts”, and you are, for the first time getting a real education while you teach alongside your children, you tend to have a very different view of homeschooling.

      That is not to say there aren’t wonderful, gifted teachers in the system. I just believe “the system” is constructed in such a way that it is not the most conducive to learning.

  10. 6 arrows says:


    Regarding the section of this thread that has been removed: I am sorry for my part in the discussion. I said things I should not have, no doubt hurting you in the process, and I was not being a good example to the younger women reading here, either.

    Please forgive me.

    I am stepping away from all blog reading for the summer to focus on family matters, my home business, and mentoring via email a dear young mom. But I wanted to offer my sincerest apology before I leave. I truly am sorry.

    Have a blessed summer.

Leave a Reply

Dissenting comments are welcome only in the spirit of "iron sharpening iron"; hateful or angry responses will be removed at my discretion. You may add your gravatar (image) at Gravatar

WordPress Themes