02 January 2016

Thinking of Homeschooling? A Teacher Prep List.

There are sooo many posts out there about what sort of curriculum to buy or what to say to the neighbour's cousin's best friend when she makes snippy remarks.  But I haven't seen many about what the homeschool teacher (that's YOU!) should do before embarking on this adventure.  So here goes:

MYTH:

"You're a mommy and somehow that means God is going to give you everything you need to be the super-dee-dooper best teacher everrrr!"

FACT:

It's a big step, even to think seriously about homeschooling.  It does take time and it does take work if you want to do this well.  No teacher is ever going to love your child as you do, so therefore with effort there is no reason you can't do a great job (assuming basic literacy and all that, but then... you're reading this).

Here's my list of ideas for homeschool parent training/ preparation:

1.  Ounce of Preparation.  Bla bla bla.


Do you hate teaching or doing your kid's homework with him?  Does the sight of a reading log made you want to scream?

Good!  This is a good sign.  I promise.  The homework the public school sends home is total and utter crap, taught in the most back-assward manner possible.  That you hate it?  Means there is hope for you.  Rejoice!

Find something you like at your kid's level, that you want to teach?  And you are pretty much ready right there.

2.  Phone a friend.  Get a mentor.


Take a look at the blogs of public school teachers.  Do they have bad days or weeks?  Ohhh, you betya.  And you can see their friends commenting with some encouraging thoughts or ideas on how to handle things next time.  Having friends and mentors keeps you balanced and either helps you get the perspective that this, too, shall pass... or inspires you to do things differently.

3.  Teacher Training!  


So you can't attend the same workshops as the teacher at the school up the road.  (That is probably a good thing, but that's another post.)  But you can go to a workshop at a homeschool convention, or you could watch a youtube video about a given concept.  Caveat:  not all of these are of good quality.  I've never personally gone to the "how to be godly while doing laundry" sorts of workshops near me.

4.  Pitch What's Not Working.


Sometimes there's much to be said for following through with commitments, sticking to a curriculum and learning from it even if it isn't your fave, and so on.  But you know when that line's been crossed a while ago.  Trust yourself.

5.  Love your job. 


Kids in public school can tell which teachers were just a few years from retirement, who's the alcoholic that calls in "sick" or needs a "personal day," and who just doesn't flipping care.  Yeah.  I'm looking at you, "Mrs. Perry" of 11th grade English.  We all knew your need for water during class time was a total joke.  How you kept your job when you reeked of booze is beyond me.

Anyway, if you want your children to be as excited about learning in fifth grade as they were in Kindergarten?  Much of that is up to you.

Happy teaching!

6 comments:

  1. I read this even though I have no thoughts at all of home schooling my kids. Because they are in their 30s and 40s now :)

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    1. That'd be a bit weird if you did, but you could teach them to garden! :)

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    2. If they had any interest in gardening, but they don't :(

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  2. Having been trained as a teacher (special ed), when I started off everything was all kosher---used the same books. By year 3, I was looking at unschooling, which previously had been a dirty word. Still, Ben was prepared for Tech School, and just graduated with an associates in CNC Machine Tool. Unschooling amounted to preparing him for his future by picking up on skills he would need, and things he loved. I loved homeschooling, whether kosher or unschooling. He worked so hard, but like you said of homework...none of that stuff. No "busy work". He was a joyful learner.

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  3. I want to add...for parents of kids who spend so much time on homework, he used to spend up to 4 hours a night just on homework. He spent 4 hours a day at homeschool.And learned just as much.

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    1. Keeping the joyful learning is SO IMPORTANT! It's why we get "truancy" and so on later. Now I am reading of little second and third graders starting to burn out, as they've been drilled since preschool.

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