Do I Need A Degree To Homeschool?

mom studying at college
How smart do you need to be to homeschool?

Being a homeschool teacher seems a bit scary. Will you know enough to be effective at teaching your kids? Becoming a homeschool mom wasn’t a difficult decision; however, finding out the requirements took a little bit of research. Here is what I learned before I started to teach my kids.

Do I need a degree to homeschool? No, you do not need a college degree to homeschool. There are 14 states that specify educational requirements on parents. The extent of these requirements are a high school diploma, GED, or being capable of teaching. Washington State has stricter requirements, but having a degree is not the only option to homeschooling.

One common thought of parents looking to homeschool is whether or not they are smart enough to teach their kids. I mean think about it, most of our kids have different teachers who focus in general areas. They have certifications and degrees. So, how can we do what they do? My answer is we don’t. I’ll explain what I mean throughout this article

13 States with Parent Education Minimums

First, lets look at a chart of the 13 states that have parent education requirements. If your state is not included, there are no parent education requirements in your state. Make sure that you check requirements before homeschooling as laws can change. This is a very important topic for elections. Make sure you know where your representatives and council(wo)man stand on the issues that concern homeschooling.

StateMinimum Education
CaliforniaLaw states parents must be “capable” of teaching.
There is no definition of “capable”.
GeorgiaHigh School Diploma
KansasLaw states parents must be “competent” instructors.
There is no definition of “competent”.
New MexicoHigh School Diploma
North CarolinaHigh School Diploma
North DakotaHigh School Diploma or
Temporary monitor without a diploma
OhioHigh School Diploma or
Temporary monitor without a diploma
Pennsylvania High School Diploma
South Dakota High School Diploma
VirginiaHigh School Diploma
There are several ways to get a waiver.
Washington4 ways to be eligible:
1. supervised by a certified person
2. complete specific number of college credit
3. take a home-based teaching course
4. school boards declares you are qualified
Washington D.C. High School Diploma or
Waiver if you can prove ability.
West VirginiaSolely at the discretion of superintendent

Parent Led Education

Parents are the best persons to direct a child’s education (in my opinion). If for no other reasons, it’s because they are ours. They share our DNA, our love is unconditional, and we are the first people to dream for them.

It’s so interesting how my kids’ behaviors and thought processes have a lot of similarity to mines or their dad’s. We are the ultimate source to raise them. What they need comes from within us. Sometimes we may not have the tools to meet their needs directly, but through listening and watching we can direct them to what they need.

When we homeschool our kids, we are taking charge of their education. For many parents, that may be a teaching role. For other parents that may look like delegating a customized learning plan for our kids.

Either way, our kids are able to grow in an environment that is focused around their needs and the collectiveness of their family’s dreams for their lives. My goal for Accomplished Kids has always been to help kids become the best versions of themselves. A great way to do that is orchestrating their education in a way that is custom fit to them.

Parent-led education is all about a child learning system being directed by their parent. Every aspect of what they learn is directed by the parent. There are no boxes that we have to put them in because their education no longer has to consider thousands of other kids and their needs. It’s just about our kids.

If my son wants to stand and do his math, so be it. He is still learning. If my daughter wants to learn sewing we can do that as well. History can be so political and many school districts have higher powers that decide what pieces of history are taught and to what degree. Parents can choose to teach history and their kids’ interests instead of children sticking to lesson plans and curriculum that are massively produced and thought based on political agenda.

The part that we need to get you use to with homeschool is that as a parent you get to decide what is important for your child to learn. Yes, there are core topics that are important for every kid to learn, but every child doesn’t need college to be accomplished.

We have artist, writers, coders and others who can become very successful through a collections of skills obtainment and non-college training. Then there are our doctors and attorneys that would need a different type of learning plan. Whatever your child’s need, you would be in-charge of them getting what they needed.

Starting Homeschooling (The What, When, Where, and How)

Starting homeschooling can feel a little overwhelming. I think that is because society puts a lot of pressure and doubt on parents who decide to homeschool their kids. It is helpful for every homeschool parent to deschool when moving from traditional school into homeschooling.

In addition to deschooling, it was helpful for me to include my kids in on their learning plan. We talked about all the things they would like to learn. We explored their interests whether they appear to be school focused or not. Remember schooling is different from learning and our goal is for them to learn.

So, what is homeschooling? It is a process by where kids’ learning climate is governed by a person in their home. When do we homeschool? Many homeschoolers have year-round schedules because learning never really stops. In our house, we homeschool throughout the entire year. During the summer months we do not have “full” days nor a normal schedule. My goal for my kids is to keep them learning and having fun.

Where do we homeschool? There are several places you can use to learn. Here is a list:

  • home
  • library
  • outside (nature walks or parks)
  • in the community (museums)
  • learning centers
  • co-op groups
  • paid classes
  • online classes (with or without interaction with other kids)
  • charter schools
  • apprenticeships
  • tutoring centers

How do you homeschool? The simple answer is based on the laws of your state, your goals for your child, and your child’s interests you will cultivate an environment where they can learn.

  • Learn your state’s regulation on attendance, required subjects, parent’s education, and reporting. (Many states do not have requirements)
  • Create a list of subjects you want to teach and find or build curriculum to meet that need.
  • Create a schedule that allows for flexibility and does not use dates for lesson plans. The great thing about homeschooling is being able to take more time if you need it.
  • Organize your environment to meet your learning and reporting needs.

Deschooling (Schooling vs Learning)

Deschooling is when children and parents give themselves time to transition away from the formats and mental restraints of traditional school. In this time, you do not complete normal classwork. When kids go to school there are certain ways they are trained to behave around learning. For many this could include:

  • learning isn’t fun its just something you have to do
  • Learning through lecture
  • remaining seated at a desk
  • raising hand to answer vs having conversations
  • lack of thinking outside of the box
  • inability to challenge information
  • not having control of what they learn
  • not being able to apply their learning style to the content
  • having to share their teacher with 30 other students
  • quick delivery of information (not fully grasping information before moving to new information)
  • one test fits all students
  • and so much more

Homeschooling is different in a lot of ways. I have an entire article devoted to learning styles but deschooling is a great time to explore your child’s learning style and your teaching style. I would suggest to use free homeschool curriculum and then build your actual curriculum purchases (or self build) based on how you and your child interact with the free curriculum.

It is suggested that you take 1 month of deschooling for every year your child has been in school. Now deschooling doesn’t mean your child isn’t learning because our kids are always learning. We just have to learn how to grab those experiences and turn them into focused intentional learning experiences. Here are activities you can do during your deschooling process:

  • journaling (my daughter loved parent-child passing journals)
  • creative writing without reprimand. Just let them write about whatever and not correct it. I had a struggle at the beginning with my daughter not wanting to write because of fear of getting her story marked up. So, I would have her write the story and then read it to me.
  • Become an editor. On a different day I’d have her pick one of her writings and she would edit it for spelling. With Alexa I had her go through her writing, find words she wasn’t sure were spelled correctly, and fix them. Then she would neatly rewrite her work for penmanship.
  • Nature walks are so amazing. You can go outside and talk about the things you see. The things you don’t know what they are, create a project out of researching it.
  • Museums and local attractions are full of knowledge.
  • Art classes
  • Kits where kids can build and practice engineering.
  • Take a toy and talk about it’s design and how it works
  • Finding a local co-op group where kids can go once or twice a week and learn with other kids.
  • Library- let kids pick out books to read and set daily reading times. If your child’s struggle was reading in school pick books below their reading level, audio books, or read to them (record yourself reading the book that they can play back while flipping the pages). The goal is to redevelop their love for reading.
  • Randomly ask what time it is or tell them to remind you to do something at a certain time.
  • put your child in charge of counting money in grocery stores.
  • have them add up your budget for the month
  • chores and how to do it right
  • self care and hygiene lessons
  • documentaries
  • teach them how to cook and follow recipes
  • interview relatives and friends about their professions
  • Ask grandparents what life was like when they were kids
  • get involved in sports

Related Questions

Can you deschool with charter schools? No, it’s not the same because there is often an oversight in content that your child is actually learning. It’s not the same as independent homeschooling. It’s more like taking a correspondence course at a college. However, you can take some of the deschooling activities and add it into your child’s learning plan to help bring back their love for learning.

How do you know you are doing enough when homeschooling? Before you start homeschooling you should have a goal of what you are trying to accomplish. Maybe that goal is college or learning to read by decoding any word and know how to apply all math operations by 5th grade. Then you should create a road map to accomplish those goals. If you are following your road map and set to finish on time you are doing enough.

JaLes is a homeschool teacher. She has studied human behavior, child development, and psychology of learning. She is successful at planning, writing, and creating successful learning materials. She is a co-administrator of a Texas homeschool co-op where she teaches students ranging from Pre K- high school-aged. Learn More: