Teach your own? Really?
I taught a homeschool co-op class of twenty 8 to 14 year olds about Africa. I asked my teacher-turned-homeschool-mom friend to teach me everything she knows about classroom management in five minutes. (She was a schoolteacher before her homeschool days).
Turns out, classroom management skills weren’t required 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 their 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.
Originally, I was told that teachers know everything they need to know to teach kids. And I don’t know everything there is to know about everything. (PS I’ve heard first hand from teachers that they don’t know everything.)
In fact, I’ll tell you that I learned basic arithmetic right alongside my oldest child, because some of it I didn’t grasp in school.
Now that we’ve been homeschooling for a few years, I’ve learned there are many things I didn’t learn in school. (I just didn’t realize I didn’t learn them, and turns out I survived just fine without them.)
My goal in my homeschool co-op class was to keep the kids’ attention and discuss a topic in which they may or may not have had interest. Their reasons for attending may have been: mom decreed it. There might have been a seed of interest in my topic: all things Africa as we travelled to Kenya.
There may have been no interest. I might have been boring them silly, but they weren’t rude enough to tell me. I didn’t have enough time in the group to get to know these kids. I only understand my children (and one of them wasn’t interested).
Teaching my own is not so difficult.
Even with my own kids, teaching my own takes some figuring and intentional observing. Naturally, I’m motivated.
- I care that they learn.
- I care that their interests grow.
- I care that their understanding expand.
- I care that their ability to communicate blossoms.
So I’m as intent as a mama with a preschooler helping him sound out words.
If I don’t know something, I find a book, Google, or YouTube it. Of course, John Holt’s encouragement that I can teach my own helps too.
Knowledge is found at the tap of a finger.
In my Friday morning class, I kept sharing what I know about Africa (which, of course, was limited despite having visited), I engaged them with questions, I incorporated a few stories, and lightened the topic with a few games, but I’m not teaching my own.
At the end of six weeks, it’ll be their mamas that know their kids, will discover more of their curiosities, and will again, most assuredly and capably, teach their own.
Are you considering homeschooling your kids?
I’ve got a free mini-course that introduces you to me, so I can get you from “I don’t know where to start, to I’ve got a plan.”
I’ve got a full course that inspires you to consider what an education is anyway, and get you thinking and planning for your child’s education.
I’ve got a course that will get you from “I don’t think I can do this, I’m too uncertain, nervous, or afraid” to “I know I can do this, I’ve got this girlfriend.”