Thursday, August 14, 2014

"Everyone thinks that I am crazy! How can I teach my kids, when I am not a teacher?!" (It's long, but necessary!)


Summer break is coming to a close, and I am busy with lesson planning and preparing for our first year as traditional homeschoolers! After so many hours of research, so many books checked out from the library, and unlimited amounts of Google searches, I think I finally have my Kindergarten plan completed. I am taking some time to reflect on the years that we have spent on this journey. I remember the first year that we decided to homeschool our children, I was terrified, but confident that this was the best choice for them. Going through so many blogs and homeschool forums, I see questions and concerns from parents all of the time, wondering if they can do this? Can they homeschool their kids effectively without being a certified teacher? My answer is a confident (and experienced), YES! If you have the desire, the love, the dedication, the discipline, and the time to homeschool, you can do it. Having fears and doubts are common and they will continue throughout your homeschooling journey, but doubts and concerns can arise even when they attend public school. What I have discovered as a veteran, homeschooling mom (I love saying "Veteran Homeschooling Mom" is that if you create an environment for learning, children will learn effortlessly. I have a great example for you, I was stressed about putting off teaching my 5 year old how to tie her shoes for so long, recently. I wanted her to learn before the middle of Kindergarten. Well, as Kindergarten approached, I was concerned that she may not make my deadline. So, I decided to show her the technique and art of shoe tying, and try my best to allow her time to practice on a daily basis. I also decided that I would give her space to learn. There was no set time to learn, and I didn't tell her when to sit down and practice. I let her desire to learn to tie her own shoes be her guide. A funny thing happened, she has learned in a matter of a couple of weeks. I introduced the technique, guided her through, and let her go, free to master this life skill, and she did it! The same is true for just about everything that they will learn in school. It is important to introduce new skills, go over the techniques, but if you let them free to explore and learn, they will learn. How well they master a skill is determined by how much time you spend practicing and perfecting it.

"Who Told You That You Were Not A Teacher?"

From the time our kids are born, we are their teachers. Now, I am not taking anything away from school teachers, we need them (well, we need the "good" ones). Having a degree is very useful , it makes them experts in the field, and society will not allow you to teach anyone else's children without one. However, you can a have a gift and a passion for something even without officially having the piece of paper, but more than that, determination, drive, a love for your children and their future can work some amazing powers....It can make you a great teacher! A newborn can learn, babies learn to talk without a Language lesson or curriculum, and children learn...period. How well they learn is affected by so many other outside forces, but that is where you come in!. Create an environment where learning is constantly happening, give them the confidence that they need to thrive and tackle what life gives them, be their safe place to fall when a task seems overwhelming, and redirect them back when they are ready to give up. Be there, but don't always be there....make them responsible, independent learners. I know it hurts when they can't seem to figure something out and the frustration drives them to tears. I know that you want to just snatch the pencil from them and do it for them, but be strong! Not allowing them to tackle things on their own, does not help prepare them for life. Sometimes, looking away for a moment, is the best thing that you could do for them. Teach them that they have what it takes to accomplish anything that they put their minds to, and if they can't do it right away, keep reinforcing it until they master it. What happens if you discover that homeschooling is not for you? Simple. You can trust them with a school teacher that has been trained to teach, and they will continue to learn. There are no failures when the end result is the same....confident, healthy, happy, children who are equipped to handle life! I am not anti-brick and mortar school, on the contrary, I actually daydream about sending my kids about 20 times a day. I am however, passionate about homeschooling and I KNOW that it works for my family. 

Crazy Like A Fox

So, people think that you are crazy for homeschooling? I am sure a lot of people think that I am crazy, but being "normal" is so overrated. If I am crazy for wanting to give my kids the best future and education possible, then yeah, I am crazy. If I am crazy for believing that I know them, their abilities, and am able to guide their learning better than anyone else, then I plead guilty. If you believe in something, and you know that it is best for you and your it! People will always have something to say. Find supportive people who will help you with your decision and then let the results speak for themselves.

 I can plan a lesson while cooking dinner, I can teach addition with M&Ms, I can make a visit to the library more fun than going to the zoo, I can print pages of worksheets and lessons without sweating, I can teach 3 kids (different ages) at the same time, and my Sharpie marker is my magic wand; I am a Homeschooling Mom, it is what I do! I have the power and so do you!
Blessings in your journey!