Thursday, June 16, 2016

Not Qualified to Teach Our Own Children?

     To my homeschool moms and those that are on the fence of thinking they don't know enough to take the plunge. Remember, you graduated from the system (public or private) and they said you fulfilled the requirements to graduate. Why do you feel inadequate to teach your own kids?

      Think about this: Teachers went to college to learn how to teach a group of 25 or more kids at one time. They learned classroom management. You aren't managing a classroom.

     They learned how to work the overhead projector (now the smart boards), how to use a laminator, how to make an informative bulletin board, etc. Do you have these things? Probably not, so don't worry about it. Can you work your computer? Can you Google? Can you put a dvd in your dvd player? Good. You have that class covered.

     They learned how to create elaborate lesson plans. One that must state Essential Questions;  State the State and National Standard they are covering that day;  Spell out exactly what they are doing in each class; List the different types of learning styles in the classroom and how they plan to address each; State how each component will be assessed for the lesson; State how each component will receive a grade;  ETC.  Your homeschool lesson planner needs not be elaborate or detailed like a classroom teacher's plan.  You may write down a generalization of what you will do today.  You may write that the week before, the day of, or after you completed the lesson/activity.  Heck, you may write it down days after, because you got so caught up in the learning process or life and just forgot to log it! 

     They learned how to keep a grade book, write a test, analyze the results, etc. You may keep grades, put them in a grade book, and analyze what your child got wrong. (You don't have to do this in most states.)  You are also able to sit with your child and see why they got something wrong and learn from it within minutes of your child completing their work. Then you can make sure your child understands the mistakes before moving on to the next task. The teacher must grade all the papers of the class, record the papers, analyze the papers, go over the results with the entire class, and it can take days for the papers to get back in the hands of the students. They have already moved on to the next task during this waiting time and there isn't time to reteach what is not understood.

     How many of you did horrible on a test and then a couple weeks later finally understood the material? It was too late to go back and redo the test. Your homeschooled child can, though. Some say that it isn't fair and you shouldn't record the new grade. Why isn't it fair? Wasn't the whole point to learn and understand the concept?  The system doesn't allow this to happen.  It is too much work and time.  I can understand this.  There are students that take advantage of not studying before the test because they wanted to party and have a good time.  They then would want to retake the test on their own terms.  Teachers don't have time for this.  Homeschool parents know their kids and can decide the outcome of their own child.  Some don't cut slack for irresponsible behavior of their child not studying.  Some understand that their child just isn't grasping a concept and know to put it away and come back later to see if it clicks.  We have that luxury!

     So, now it boils down to "Oh, my! I was horrible at X and I could never teach X to my child. A teacher that teaches X is the only way to have my child learn X." WRONG! "They spent hours in college learning X, I didn't." How many had that teacher that was really smart, but couldn't really teach X where you could understand it?  Do you know that some teachers that are teaching X haven't a clue what they are teaching to your child?  The chemistry teacher may have a degree in biology and has taking a couple courses of chemistry way back twenty years ago.  They barely remember all of it and are trying to just keep a chapter ahead of their students to get through the year.  Or the World History teacher was an English teacher that was moved  do to numbers of classes needed.  The last time she had World History was fifteen years ago in college or was it high school?  Hmmmm....  So, don't think that teachers are always experts in the field they are teaching.

    I love this quote in the article I read: "Homeschooling a subject beyond my knowledge base is totally possible because homeschooling isn’t about teaching my child what I know. Homeschooling is about providing an education and I can facilitate my child’s learning even if I know little about the subject. - Eclectic Homeschooling"  (All the sciences that I took on top of the education classes have only on occasion come into play in our hs journey. My kids are not me and the natural sciences are not their cup of tea. Although, I do sneak it in here and there!)

     Like I said in another post, I let my kids follow their passions. When Egee told me she wanted to clog, my response was "No, you don't." I wasn't going to be a dance mom. She repeatedly asked to learn. I barely knew what clogging was and definitely couldn't help her out. I told her if she wanted to clog then figure it out. She happily proceeded to watch YouTube videos and learned to clog on her own. A few months later, I agreed to formal lessons. The instructor couldn't believe she was self taught!  She had not encountered another child with this drive to learn on her own to the degree Egee did. 

      I don't always remember the math that they are doing. Yes, I cheat and look at the answer. Usually, it jogs my memory and then I sit with my child and we work out the problem together. Other times, when my memory isn't jogged, I take out the smart phone and Google it. Don't you just love Google? I do! We can figure out just about anything with it and we learn. Oh, by the way, this is not cheating. It is using a resource to learn how to do something. (How many of you already do this with your kid's homework?)
There are so many websites, YouTube channels, homeschool moms and dads, people in the community, etc. that can help you facilitate your child's learning. So, don't think that your own education or not being a trained teacher should keep you from homeschooling if that is your desire. If you care for your child's education and are willing to take a leap of faith, you can homeschool, too! Remember, you were and always will be your child's first teacher.