Hey you! Yes, you there, sitting there reading this on your phone or on the internet, asking yourself if you can possibly be a homeschool teacher when you've never taught anyone, or if you're just plain nuts.
Yes you're nuts.
Being a mom or dad already has its challenges and our kids drive us nuts half the time, so I'm not entirely sure why that was even a question. We're all half mad most every day just trying to keep up with the little energizer bunnies that we call kids.
As to the first question - can you do this - you can. Think back to when little man was really little. Did you teach him to tie his shoes or about colors? What about when you taught little miss to ride her bike or read her first board book? That's teaching! Here's the rub: You've been a homeschool teacher their entire lives and didn't even know it.
We have become so obsessed these days with credentials and certifications, that we've forgotten to ask the very real question of: What makes a teacher?
Here are my ideas:
- A teacher is someone who shares knowledge and information.
- A teacher is someone who infects those around them with a love of learning.
With that in mind, here are my favorite ideas on how to be a great homeschool teacher (or anywhere else!):
- Do it with love. Anything in life is best done through love, and if you're not in a loving mood at that moment give yourself some time to get there before beginning your day.
- Show interest in the things that interest your children (even if it's gross).
- Treat learning as an adventure. Your kids explore the world this way, they should learn that learning is more of the same. Remember, even a trip to the park can be educational!
- Watch for overload. You know the look, their eyes glaze over, they lose focus and seem completely uninterested in your very existence... when you see this starting, it's time for a break, which leads right into the next tip.
- Give them lots of free time. Unstructured free time teaches problem solving, social skills, critical thinking skills and more. Let them take their favorite stuffed toy on an adventure and have deep meaningful conversations with it. Yes, it'll get dirty, but childhood is supposed to be messy!
- Let children fidget a little, it's normal and necessary. Experts say that sitting still shuts off a child's mind, and that they learn best on the move.
- For ADD and other focus-related issues, try using something like these Mandalynths. I found them recently at a convention and my boys LOVE them. They seem to relax the boys (and myself) and help them focus.
- Most importantly - have fun growing with your children! There is no substitute for a loving parent and no teacher can match you for devotion. You will be amazed at what you find together! No matter how dedicated a teacher (I teach music), we simply cannot match a parent's love and devotion.
I compare homeschooling to jumping into a pool... that isn't quite warm yet. Jump in with both feet and just go for it because if you tip toe in, you may never get there and you'll have missed some of the most precious moments!