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A Mom's Guide to Homeschooling Like A Pro Teacher
The Homeschooling Mom’s Worry
Parenting by nature is a job that entails worry and concern. From the moment your child is placed in your arms you are admiring them, enjoying them and worrying about them. It absolutely never stops.
You worry if you are feeding them properly, choosing the right diapers, and maintaining the right schedule. As they grow older the worries increase to include things that you know will have a lasting effect on the type of adult they eventually turn out to be. One of those concerns is definitely their education.
If you are a homeschooling mom, then you can multiply these worries a thousand times every single day. You have taken on an entire aspect of your child’s life that many other parents do not worry about that much. A non-homeschooler sends their child off every morning fairly confident that the “school” will do their job well and educate their child. You have chosen a different path, however. You have chosen to take this responsibility on yourself.
Here enters doubt. How can you, if you are not a professional teacher, give your child a quality education? This question haunts many homeschooling mothers who are not trained as teachers themselves. What makes me think I am qualified to do this? These types of doubts and insecurities can be crippling to the homeschooling effort. So how do you overcome these doubts and become the teacher your child deserves?
The Wonder of Homeschooling
The wonder of being a mother is that you have been a teacher since the very moment your child came into this world. Mothers instinctively start teaching their babies.
You talked to your child all day about things that were going on in their little world. You pointed out colors, numbers, animal names, and played patty cake. You read them books, and taught them songs. You taught them where their eyes, nose, ears and mouth were. You guided them as they took their first steps and tossed a ball. You showed them how to build block towers and the fun of knocking them down. You’ve taught your child how to dress themselves, brush their teeth, make their bed, say please and thank you and thousands of other vital skills and information that they must have in order to be good, clean and decent people. You have been a teacher from day one.
The correct perspective to have concerning your teaching abilities is that now, in the realm of homeschooling, you are simply going to expand your teaching career. Now you are going to move beyond patty cake and putting on socks and you are going to apply some of those same principles to other topics like math, reading, science, etc.
Homeschooling Isn't Rocket Science
Homeschooling tends to get over complicated, because the people who are teaching in schools have had years of university training. This causes want-to-be homeschoolers to believe that there are complicated and mysterious skills that must be learned in order to teach a child something.
The truth of the matter is that much of what trained teachers learn in college is geared toward teaching large groups.
Teaching a large group of children is an entirely different skill set than teaching a small group, especially if that small group consists of your children! You already know your children inside and out so the psychology training that teachers complete in order to relate to and understand their students does not apply to you.
You also will not be dealing with cultural conflicts in your classroom, which is another aspect of teacher training at university. You don’t need five college classes on how to deal with parents. Nor do you need special training on special needs. If your child has a special need you are already an expert on it. Rest assured that a good deal of the training professional teachers receive does not apply to homeschooling families at all.
What You Do Need
In order to teach like a pro teacher you only need a few things. First, you need to have control of your students. Since your students are your children, you need control of them.
The best quote I’ve ever heard on homeschool was, “You cannot teach a child you cannot control.” And by control I mean that there should be enough established authority between the parent and child that the child can follow basic rules conducive to learning. This will look different for each family, but basically you should be able to get your children on task and keep them there for a certain amount of time.
Secondly, you need materials which you feel confident using. This again will look different for each family. Homeschoolers can get pretty defensive in this regard as there are different methodologies out there, but at the end of the day you cannot execute a method or a curriculum well if you are not comfortable and confident with it. If everyone is telling you to go one direction while another direction works best for your family, go the way that works every time. Only you know which curriculum or method works best and most comfortably for your children.
The third thing you need to teach like a pro is a plan. This is one thing that professional teachers receive training in that might actually benefit homeschooling moms, but it's nothing that cannot be learned through a book from the library or online.
Lesson planning is important in the sense that you need to know what everyone is working on and where they are headed. You should definitely invest in a good lesson planner book, and take plenty of time to write out your lesson plans in as much detail as you personally need in order to execute the plan efficiently.
When You Plateau As A Homeschooler
Just like in dieting, sometimes homeschoolers reach a plateau in which they don’t seem to have the tools or know how to move forward.
You can plateau in subject matter. This is where your child has reached a level or subject that is truly beyond your knowledge. You can plateau in the “needs” department if your child develops a need that you simply have no knowledge on how to meet.
There are lots of ways to plateau in homeschooling but a plateau is not failure. It is simply a signal to work harder, research deeper and get creative.
You can learn anything. Lack of knowledge is no longer the barrier it used to be due to the web. For example, if you child is struggling with a complex maths problem, visit Khan Academy. No matter what your child needs, you capable enough to find the necessary information and use it to benefit your child.
There are tons of resources and articles available on homeschooling. There are support groups that will help you find creative out of the box solutions when it seems you’ve hit a wall. Professional teachers plateau too, and they start digging deeper for new tools and solutions.
Every Kid Needs A Champion
Be Your Child's Champion!
As the parent, you are the ideal person to champion your child's education. You don't have to transform into a pro teacher, because you are already someone far more powerful - a parent!
You are your kids’ mom; you can do anything your child needs you to do. You can homeschool like a pro because you were your child’s first teacher and you will always be your child’s best teacher.
Homeschool Like a Pro Teacher
In a nutshell:
- You don't have to a qualified teacher to be a great homeschooler.
- Parents are natural teachers - they start teaching from day one of a child's life.
- Much of the teacher training at university doesn't apply to homeschooling.
- Control of your children, confidence in your curriculum and lesson planning will help you homeschool successfully.
- When you face barriers, work harder, research deeper and get creative.
- As the parent, you are your child's best teacher.