Should Homeschoolers Get Teaching Credentials? California Court Says: Do it, or Face Criminal Charges

Posted March 12, 2008 by

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I have always wondered if people who homeschool should get some kind of teacher training before they start–you know, so they could brush up on school subjects and find out about all the new things being taught out there. I actually briefly considered homeschooling my son, but my lack of math skills has always held me back. You see, I know my son will be more advanced than I am by the time he reaches, oh, 3rd grade. (Seriously. Long division without a calculator sends me into a panic.)

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are thousands of parents out there who are homeschooling and doing an excellent job. I personally know a few families who, for various reasons, decided to go that route and have been very happy with their decision. And bad math skills aside, I wouldn’t rule it out for myself if the situation ever called for my son to leave the public school system. (Though I would probably enlist the help of a tutor–for both of us!)
Now, a state appellate court in California has ruled that parents in that state will need teaching credentials or risk facing criminal charges. A little “Spanish Inquistion” if you ask me–I mean, come on, are they really going to lock up parents who are homeschooling without a teaching certificate? The ruling will most likely be appealed, perhaps all the way to the California Supreme Court, but it does make you think: Should parents who home school get training or not? And who, if anyone, should monitor the safety and education of kids who are homeschooled?


Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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