I’ve been homeschooling my children since my oldest was 2 years old. I’ve come across many supportive people and a few not so supportive ones. Unfortunately, it’s these discouraging naysayers whose comments and questions linger the longest with me, most likely because I’m not usually snappy and sarcastic to strangers- so I often replay the things I could have said differently. Among all the questions I get asked, there are 3 that seem to pop up the most. Sadly they are also the most discouraging. Whenever I get asked these questions I try to think about how the Lord would answer them-so to accomplish this, I must go right to the Scriptures.

Question #1

“Do you think you are smart enough?”

OH, HOW I CAN’T STAND THIS QUESTION! It is the bane of my homeschooling existence, lol. I get asked this so much you’d think I had a t-shirt on that says “Ask me if I’m smart enough”! First of all, I would never question a person’s intelligence, at least not out loud and to their face! How extremely rude is that?! I mean, when a woman gives birth, do you ask her if she is smart enough to name her child, to feed her child or to teach the poor kid how to walk and talk? How is this any different? If you have learned things that you understand, then of course you are capable of teaching them to another person. And whatever needs to be taught that you feel you are not equipped to teach you can always hire a tutor for or if it’s something unnecessary like imaginary numbers(seriously, how many 14 year olds want to be engineers???) then you could probably skip it.

Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”NIV

Do I think I am smart enough? Yes, I do. No, I do not have a degree in early childhood education, but I do have a degree in psychology. Even if I didn’t, I personally don’t believe that a parent needs a degree to be able to relate to their own child, to discover their learning style and to translate subjects, beliefs and the ways of life to their child in a way that that child can grasp it, retain and it and make it part of who they are to become. I don’t mean to come as defensive, but this question could be interpreted as either the asking party deflecting their own insecurities in their teaching skills upon me OR that the asking party generally thinks I’m too stupid to be a teacher. Let me remind you of the beloved author Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was a teacher of her own school by 15 years old! Surely if she in the midst of puberty was wise enough and worldly enough to be a teacher of others’ children (yes, said in sarcasm) then I at 30 am equipped to educate my own babies! I’ve never been to a public school (unless you count college), but most of the people who I know who have graduated from these places have come out and told me themselves that except for one or two favorite teachers, they more or less felt like products in a factory assembly line; pushed through their school days as if on a conveyor belt and spit out into society on graduation day. If this is true, then I don’t regret the choice I’ve made in educating at home. I never want my children to feel like they are just a number or a time waster for a teacher who is there just to put in his hours and clock out. I want them to love learning and reading and feel accomplished every time they master a new skill; I want to be there to witness that little light bulb go on each and every time synapses connect and understanding occurs. I love seeing the way their little minds work to grasp a concept in a way even I have never looked at it before. And nothing brings me more joy than to hear strangers compliment how beyond their years they seem, only to hear my kids answer “Mommy and Daddy teach us” when they ask what school they go to. It’not an ego boost for me, because it is not our doing- all glory is given to God. He has made it possible for us to do this, for our children to understand what we are trying to convey to them every day and if anyone deserves the applause and praise it is Him.

Afterall, I’m just a Mom.

Maria Votto is a Jersey girl living in Spencer, WV. She is a devoted housewife and SAHM to 4 children ages 8, 5, 4 and 2 and in her limited free time she loves writing at her blogs The Heart of Ruth and 8 Years of Growth, baking healthy treats for family and finding ways to save money through couponing and making homemade products.