Do you have to be given any kind of 'test' in order to homeschool your kids?
In the state of Missouri, no. Theoretically, I could be totally illiterate, but so long as I "provide instruction" in the core areas of reading, science, communication arts (that's English, all you old folks!), mathematics and social studies, and keep a record book and portfolio of my child's progress, it would be totally legal.
Though how to do all those things without at least a functionally literate friend involved in the process would be tricky.
I know you are not dumb, but what if some really dumb person wants to homeschool their kids? Then their spelling and maths etc. is hopeless too!
I don't want to misconstrue what Tracey is asking, because it's a good question. Why shouldn't there be some minimum standard to teach a child? Surely teaching a child is a very important undertaking. But I'm also of the opinion that parents, even very illiterate and/or unintelligent parents, for the most part have their child's best interest at heart. And most people know when they're in over their heads.
I need to hop on a little rabbit trail for a minute... bear with me and hop along, too...
Speaking comes quite naturally to most children. I can speak in full sentences, and my oldest child learned to speak well enough so that we were unconcerned about his speech. I didn't need to get an expert with a degree in speech therapy to help me. However, even though I'm an experienced parent, with my fifth child baby J, I'm calling in some help. J is almost 19 months now and does not even imitate sounds. Even though I'm "smart," I do not feel comfortable any longer doing this on my own without at least a little assistance and guidance from someone with some highly specific training on how to help children who are slow to speak.
The speech therapist doesn't come over and take over my parenting for eight to ten hours a day, but she does pop by once a week and help us learn a new sign or two and works with J a bit on signing. I think it's an unusual circumstance, however, that children are unable to function on a basic and age-appropriate level without specialists involved in their education. Usually Mom or Dad fits the bill just fine.
Ok, we're hopping back...
I suppose I have to flip the question upside-down in my mind as well. WHO is going to decide when I'm good enough? And why would they have that authority? Anytime I hear questions about my qualifications or lack thereof, I don't take it personally for myself. I'm college-educated and can turn a phrase reasonably well. People generally don't cackle at my typos and lack of good grammar. I'd probably be able to pass any test they could throw at me.
But what about other parents? There are plenty of very good parents raising their children who may not be able to express themselves as well, but who deserve every chance with their children. And it's my firm belief that we've sneered too much at the vocational-type student or the janitors and grocery-clerking jobs. There are vast numbers of folks working these jobs that keep our economy going and *deserve* to be proud of the work they do. And learning physics and reading Antigone in the original Greek are not qualifications for that work. Maybe we need to let up a little. It's a big world out there, and I'm not going to say that the mom who is raising her daughter to know very little about math but much about sewing is doing her a disservice.
I guess I'm just all for toleration of others, even while knowing that such toleration means that some parents really *will* do a crummy job. Some parents who send their kids to public schools do a crummy job, too, but I think that point may be immaterial to the matter at hand. I suppose I see the encroachment of the state into every area of my life, and I'd like my children's minds to be free.
Of course, I say that, and then I send my older two kids on the yellow school bus because I'm a hypocrite. *shrug* See? I need to be tolerant because I'm not perfect myself. ;]