Taking a chance on yourself and jumping headfirst into a new lifestyle of home education is intimidating, especially if you don’t know if you are really up for the task.
All parents want the very best for their children and they want to give them the very best education possible. But too often they feel a deep sense of inadequacy about taking control of their children’s education because they do not know what “a good education” actually looks like when managed in the home. Most of us only know what education looks like in terms of sitting in class all day with trained teachers and textbooks and the principal’s offices.
We know the home is not going to work the same way, but we can’t imagine an alternative. So the obvious reaction is for parents to look to the professionals to do it: “Tell me what curriculum to buy. Make a lesson plan for me. Give me a video my child can watch because I don’t want to mess this up.”
Many parents think they need the professionals to do it all for them because they simply don’t know what exactly they are supposed to be doing. If they did, they would gladly become the heroes of their child’s education. That makes sense. Doctors get training. CEOs get training. Athletes get training. Tradesmen get training. But who teaches any of us to educate our children? (I don’t mean simply teaching them to read. I mean also equipping them with study habits, thinking skills, emotional control, and social graces so they can mature into successful and happy adults.)
Despite this widespread feeling of inadequacy among parents, many homeschool gurus will say things like, “You don’t need teacher training. It’s your job to teach your children.” Well, it may be true that parents do not need the kind of training that a teacher would need if she were going into a profession of teaching twenty-five children all the same age in a classroom and preparing all these children with different temperaments, learning strengths, and backgrounds to all take the same standardized test at the end of each year. For teachers entering this profession, a great deal of their teacher training involves crowd control. They need to learn how to get twenty-five 6-year-olds to stand in a line, sit at a desk for hours, and do as they are told so the teacher can maintain order.
It is also true that parents have a natural advantage over professional teachers: No one will ever know, understand love or want the very best for any child like the parent. No one. But no matter how much good a parent wishes for the child, it doesn’t mean you always know how to provide that good.
The kind of teacher training a homeschool parent needs is wildly different than the kind of training a professional teacher needs.
The kind of teacher training a homeschool parent needs is wildly different than the kind of training a professional teacher needs. Parents need to know how to keep the toddler from putting all the 2nd-grader's math manipulatives in his mouth. What subjects need to be taught when; how to choose a curriculum that will work; how to keep up with teaching and washing laundry, etc. Parents need to know how to spot a potential learning disability and where to go for help. They need to know how to light a fire for learning within themselves so they can pass that amazement and wonder onto their children. They need to be shown how to make daily chores legitimate academic work.
Why do we think that tasks like home education, home management, or raising children should just come naturally when we no longer have a community of maternal mentors to teach us the tricks of the trade?
If you are overwhelmed or have failed in the past, it is not your fault. Honestly, there are a lot of homeschool products out there — curriculum, lesson planners, co-ops — but not a lot of training available to help you know how to use all that great curriculum: which curriculum will work? How to engage your student? How do you keep from becoming burned out? You want to know “What is this supposed to look like in the day-to-day, and how can I manage it without losing myself and my dreams in the process?”
There is also a lot of bad information out there. For example, have you seen the ads that claim to be able to do it all for you? “We make the lesson plans so you don’t have to!” Or they suggest that you can set your child in front of a screen and their online academy will do all the teaching.
These are both really bad ideas and will actually hold you back and keep you from the keys to success.
If you have started to fear or maybe already fear that you somehow can’t do this, I want to put those fears to rest right now.
You just need the right steps and the right people to show you the right steps.
By Judith Jolma, Founder of Sophia Homeschool.
Sophia Homeschool teaches parents how to homeschool. Learn more about our training at Sophiahomeschool.com
Learn how to create a homeschool method and environment based on your family's needs so you can thrive. My Foundations of Homeschooling Masterclass teaches parents to work with their budget, schedule, learning style, teaching style, and resources so each member of the family has his or her needs met— including yours! Learn to create a peaceful and joyful learning environment that lasts a lifetime. Identify learning differences and adapt your educational plan accordingly. Unlock the mysteries of teaching multiple grades at once. By knowing what your needs are, you will save thousands of dollars, time, and energy on methods that do not work. We will end homework battles and restore your relationship with your child.