Are You Capable of Homeschooling?
The question I have heard more than any the last few weeks is, "Am I capable of homeschooling?" I want to reach through the computer and give you a hug of encouragement right now. It saddens me and I want to take some time to address the question and build up your confidence.
Each person has a picture in their head of what homeschooling looks like. For those of us that came from a public school experience, it looks quite a bit like the school experience that they came from. That is how it was for me when I started 10 years ago. The picture in my mind included a strict schedule, text books, worksheets, and desks. It is natural to draw from your own experiences and it is hard to deviate from what is so ingrained into you.
Consider where each of these things stem from. With hundreds of kids in a school a schedule is of critical importance or you just have chaos. Textbooks give teachers a consistent source of information from one class and year to the next. Can you imagine trying to relay the same information to 7 different classrooms full of kids each day without a book to guide the way? What a nightmare that would be. Worksheets allow teachers to evaluate a student's progress without having to communicate with them. Teachers have to teach and evaluate a lot of students. All these features of a school are fundamental to making it all work in a mass learning environment. None of those things are in my mental image of homeschooling anymore. I do not need to teach to 35 different kids. I need to teach two.
Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to share that experience with your children? Then you are more than capable of homeschooling! You do not need to have mastered all the information to teach it to your kids. You can learn it together, making you both better and building a relationship with them that will last far beyond their homeschooling years.
Let me tell you a story. One year the kiddo was learning long division in his math program. I could not for the life of me remember how to do that. How often do you use it as an adult? Never! My son got to see that I do not know everything. He got to see that even adults can learn. He saw how I learn and find information. It was a fantastic refresher for me and I actually like doing long division now. Both of us learned together and we both remember it better because we did it together.
Why do you feel like you aren't capable? It might be because of homework. Parents traditionally have trouble helping their kids with their homework. It is probably because they don't experience the lesson and they also don't have the teacher's answer key. It makes parents feel incapable of participating in their child's education. It comes down to a lack of information more than lack of ability. Teachers have a degree in education that you probably don't have. That may make you feel an inadequacy to teach. What they are learning to do is mass teach. You don't need to do that. You will be able to figure out how your child learns without a degree. Maybe you already know.
Living in Quebec, I am in the most challenging and hostile homeschooling environment I have ever been in. Yet our homeschool is more relaxed and enjoyable than it has been...and I am doing high school and preschool at the same time. My mental image of homeschooling has changed drastically over the years. We spend more time learning things I don't know together than me teaching things I already know. Our schedule is more of a vague routine. We don't fight over assignments because I don't give him any. The kiddo comes up with the projects and I resource him with what he needs and help him along the way.
You taught your child to walk. No one taught you how to teach that. You taught your child how to interact socially. They did not learn that in the school, they knew before they started. You already teach your child so much each day. How to cook, clean, play, care, we are naturally designed to learn together with our children. whether you choose to homeschool or not, I want you to know that you are capable of learning and teaching. I want to empower and encourage you. You can do so much more than you know!