Parents can Teach
By Kim Yonkers
One of the greatest obstacles facing parents who wish to take their children out of the public school system for home schooling is fear – especially fear about their abilities to teach. No parent wants to be responsible for their child missing out on any important educational elements but, in most states, parents don't have to be certified teachers in order to instruct their children at home.
When it comes to home schooling, parents have to be prepared for the fact that they're going to be doing some learning of their own. You can't automatically be an expert in every topic that you'll need to help your child with, and each parent will find their own strengths and weaknesses. The key is to avoid passing those weaknesses onto your child. Angela MacArthur, editor of homeschoolingplus.com, reminds parents that "The trick is to be ready to be flexible and creative. The fact is, parents can teach – and they might actually prove to be the best teachers for their children!"
Really, the great thing about home schooling is the flexibility – you decide what's going to be taught and how. This means, if there's something that you don't feel comfortable with you can always find alternate ways to teach it to your child. This is where you really get the chance to give your child an education they'll never find in a traditional school. Many home schoolers take advantage of video and internet sources (as do many teachers and professors in campus school settings). Some also decide to learn with the student so that a sense of exploration and discovery shape the lesson. Instead of providing straight answers and direct guidance, parents join the child in solving problems and researching the topic.
There are a number of different resources and paths to take when you're teaching your child. Why take the 'traditional' route when you've already decided that it's not right for your child? When it comes to subjects you're unfamiliar with you could:
• sign your child up for an individual class (either in school, online or at a community center)
• arrange for your child to sit in on college lectures
• attend a speech or other community event
• attend a tour guided by an expert
• consult an author or other type of expert for tips, or even invite them to your home to speak with your child
• canvas other home schoolers and see if there are lessons that you could 'pool': you teach several children in your area of expertise and your children attend 'classes' at another home schooler's place for any topic that you need help with
If none of these options appeal to you, then it's your responsibility to educate yourself in the subject area so that you can pass that knowledge on to your child. Make sure you do your homework and be prepared for questions!
Don't let fear or uncertainties stop you from home schooling your children. Remember, teachers don't know everything! Most public school teachers specialize their learning throughout their post secondary education and have to refresh their memories – or even learn something new – when they're preparing to step into the classroom. Things will be no different for a home school teacher.
About the Author
Kim Yonkers is a mom of three who has been home schooling for several years. In her free time, she works as a freelance writer for homeschoolingplus.com - a site that offers various information for home schooling parents and families featuring information on home schooling, home school material, and more.
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