Parents As Teachers: How Good a Teacher Am I?Sep 3rd, 2011 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Parents as Teachers
Are Parents able to teach home school curriculum home?
Every homeschool parent worries about their teaching skills, just as every parent faces times when they doubt their parenting skills. The truth is, parenting and teaching go hand-in-hand …in fact, they’re interchangeable.
So if you find that you’re frequently asking yourself “How good a teacher am I?”, take a deep breath and relax. You’re doing fine! You probably never really thought about it but you’ve been teaching your kids since Day One. You are a teacher – it has always been a part of the parenting job!
Teachers matter…they play a critical role in child education. In addition to serving as surrogate parents for a portion of the day, they have an impact on how children view course material. Teachers who are enthusiastic about the material galvanize students with their passion. In traditional American schools, however, teacher enthusiasm can become blunted after repeatedly teaching the same material over and over again. Homeschool parent-teachers don’t need to refresh their enthusiasm for the same-old material…it’s hard to feel bored when the subject is as new to you as it is to your child! The excitement you exhibit gets your child-student engaged, interested and curious…so be an infectiously enthusiastic teacher!
In case you’re still worrying, though, here are five tips on keeping yourself in check as a hybrid parent-teacher:
1. You may have preconceived notions of what a classroom is, and what school means. The homeschool classroom of today can be almost completely virtual or it can be a room set aside for learning and decorated like a classroom. It can be a formal space or a temporary “during the day” kind of space…but it doesn’t have to be a traditional classroom.
Think about the specific tools your child uses to learn. Is it an e-classroom, with a focus on technology? Is it an early childhood education space, communicating visually to foster the child’s social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional development? Whatever direction or type of program you choose, remember to make sure your conception of classroom is compatible with how your child learns.
2. Likewise, teaching doesn’t have to be compartmentalized into pre-arranged classes. There are teachable moments throughout each and every day…embrace them! Depending upon the child’s (or children’s) age, different types of programs (online and otherwise) can be much more flexible in structure and scheduling.
3. A parent can’t just be a strict, traditional teacher. Those aforementioned teachable moments can also be humorous moments…being able to laugh with your children is critical. And as a parent-teacher you need to be supportive whenever possible, sympathetic when needed, and firm but fair when necessary. Just as your child possesses a specific learning style, a homeschool parent should work on identifying their own appropriate teaching style
4. You know your children best, so incorporate their passions and interests. Sure – some kids think learning is fun and embrace it, but others may appear to need some coaxing. The truth is, kids love learning…but like adults, they dislike being forced to learn.
In a classroom setting without any context, learning about math percentages can be boring and difficult; when seen through the lens of your child’s specific outside interest, however, percentages become much easier to understand: think batting averages, the amount of life remaining for a video game character and shopping discounts. Don’t be afraid to use their interests to make learning more relevant. In fact, the more you can relate their studies to their interests, the better they’ll learn, the more they’ll enjoy it…and the easier it will be for you as the teacher!
5. Here’s a question I hear frequently: do I need a teaching certification to give my children a proper education? The short answer: you already have one…it’s your child’s birth certificate. As I mentioned above, you’ve been their teacher since they took their first breath…so don’t second-guess yourself now! Homeschooling parents are effective teachers because they are with the same students year after year and are in the best position to understand the student’s strengths, weaknesses, interests and moods.
Still not convinced? Research has shown that not only is there is no correlation between a child’s performance and teacher qualifications, but that having a Bachelor’s degree in education may actually have a negative impact on student math scores!
If you feel certifications or degrees will make you a better teacher, than by all means pursue them. But realize that this is something you are doing for yourself, not for your child. You’ve been their teacher since…well…forever, and you never received a ‘License to Parent.’ If a certificate or education degree framed on the wall makes you feel better, that’s perfectly fine. But homeschooling is about the art of the possible – even when it runs counter to the traditional – and frequently inferior – learning methods that “certified” teachers employ.
Remember, being a good teacher is a part of being a good parent and there aren’t any hard and fast rules. Like parenting, teaching is all about being responsive to the needs of the child. You don’t need a formal classroom with structured classes – almost everything your children do throughout the day offers teachable moments!