Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Teaching the Kids, Part I

I've written about my reasons for homeschooling before: I believe in togetherness, respect for individuality and contemplation, personal attention, integrity of life, letting children care, and giving children time to be children and parents time to be parents. This is not to say that these principles can't be found in other education systems, but I truly believe that homeschooling gives us the time --raw minutes and hours -- to focus on childhood and learning. And I get to design my own uniforms (check out the painting to the right! I think I'll go for ridiculous lengths of red robes this time!). Just kidding. I'm lucky if we're all dressed by 11am.

Seriously, though, it's time for me to think about homeschooling again: goals, theories, and practical decisions. It's that time of year when mothers and fathers everywhere turn to thoughts of, "OHMIGOSH! It's the middle of July! It will soon be AUGUST!" Walmart was Back-to-School ready last week. Writing is how I process and make decisions, so here it goes.

Now, we must begin with a confession: School is fun for me. I love to pour over the books and possible curricula, I love to make maps and timelines, and I love love love to practice Gregorian chant and purchase beautiful art prints. This is because I am a nerd: Facebook is my crack, and books are my stiff drink at the end of a long day.

You do not, however, have to be a nerd to homeschool. You may hate graphs and charts. Lists of books and the course syllabus for 1st grade Math may give you hives. You may have flunked Algebra I. You are still the best teacher for your child (especially in the early elementary years) simply because you are Mom or Dad. If you can read Little Bear, you can teach first grade.

So, as I write about my decisions and thought-processes over the next few weeks, please don't think I'm especially suited to teaching my children. I'm not. I yell at them daily, I lose my temper. I love books; I'm not so good at housecleaning. I'm really good at finding saints' biographies; I'm not a saint myself.

The only qualification I have to teach my children is this: They have been entrusted to our care by their Creator. He who puts us to the task will give us the strength to do it: if we are called to educate them at home, we can. Period. Those are qualifications I share with every parent out there, nothing special to see here, folks.


mums said...

You might add a top-ten quote from your father: "You only raise them once". Makes one pause!

Melanie B said...

Oh goody! I look forward to this series with all my nerdy heart.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! I will pore over this and attempt to reassure myself that homeschooling is doable. Nerdy moms, rejoice!