I began teaching a homeschool co-op class of twenty 8 to 14 year olds about Africa yesterday. I asked my teacher-turned-homeschool-mom friend to teach me everything she knows about classroom management in five minutes. Turns out, I didn’t require the info, because the kids were astute and engaged. The only chattering I heard was from my own daughters, and with one fell swoop of their names spoken in the presence of peers, they were magically quietened.
Since bringing my children home, the second most common question I’ve been asked, next to the ‘S’ question, is “are you a certified teacher”? Nope, I am not. I have been told that teachers know everything and I don’t know everything there is to know about everything. In fact, I’ll go further and suggest I’m learning math right alongside my oldest, because this wasn’t something I grasped in school. Now that we’ve been living this way for a few years, I’ve learned there are many things I didn’t learn. I just didn’t realize I didn’t learn them, and turns out I survived just fine without them.
My goal yesterday was to keep the kids’ attention, discussing a topic in which they may or may not have interest. Their reasons for attending may have been because their mom decreed it. There might have been a seed of interest since we did travel to Kenya last year. There may have been no interest. I might have been boring them silly, but they weren’t rude enough to tell me. I don’t have enough time in the group to get to know these kids. I don’t know how they think or where their interests lie or how they learn. I only understand my children.
That is why teaching my own is not so difficult. Well, it takes some figuring and intent observing, but I’m motivated. I care that they learn. I care that their interests grow, that their understanding expand and their ability to communicate blossoms. So I’m as intent as a mama with a preschooler helping him sound out words. If someone asks me how helicopters fly, I can’t answer. Just know they do. So we find a book, google or youtube it. Knowledge is found at the tap of a finger.
In my Friday morning class, I’ll keep sharing what I know about Africa, engage them with questions, try to incorporate a few stories and lighten the topic with a few games, but I’m not teaching my own. At the end of the six weeks, it’ll be their mothers that will know their kids a little bit better, discover yet another of their curiosities and they will again, most assuredly and capably, teach their own.