This year marks my 10th year of home educating. We did not start off on this path with our older boys, but rather transitioned to it when my eldest son was entering 4th grade in 2006. Not a single year since we began this lifestyle has looked the same. We even entered the realm of hybrid homeschooling when our third son began going to a local public school in 2013. If there is one thing that I’ve learned through the ups and downs of it all, I would say that I now know every parent is really a homeschooler.
Okay, I just heard a collective gasp from across the miles:
“Wow….wait a second? What do you mean every parent is really a homeschooler?”
YES! That is exactly what I have learned.
Every parent is ultimately responsible for their children and that includes their education.
It does not matter if you are teaching them at home yourself, homeschooling with the use of remote learning experiences, or sending them to a private or public school setting. In the end, YOU are the one most vested in their success and as such will have a role in their education. >
As I have walked the path of all the options mentioned, I thought I’d share about how I came to that conclusion.
Before a child has even entered school, you (the parent) have been teaching them so very much.
As a baby, you talked to them which gave them an immersion experience to learn their native language. You encouraged them in learning big motor skills like walking, running, hopping, and maybe even riding a tricycle.
You helped them learn to get dressed, to tie shoes (well, that could be a maybe given the prevalence of slip on or velcro shoes), to have basic manners (please and thank you!), and maybe even important information such as their address and phone number.
By reading aloud to them, you have helped lay the foundation for literacy so that they can learn to read. Some of you might even have a child who so loved reading that they taught themselves through careful observation when you were reading to them.
Whether away from home or with you at home for preschool and early elementary years, you work on things like fine motor skills whether wielding a pencil or pair of scissors. If you managed to escape a child’s desire to color and create projects at home in the preschool and early elementary school years, then I would be amazed. My house has had little shards of paper hanging around for more years than I care to mention.
As they learned to write out letters and read beginning words, you sat alongside them as both cheerleader and guide for the formation of those skills. Reading books and talking at bedtime helped to not only strengthen bonds, but to keep them learning.
For some parents, being connected to their child through volunteer work is important. Class moms who coordinate parties and teacher appreciation gifts, playground monitors, chaperones for field trips….all of these are ways that a parent assists in their child’s education. When my older boys attended private school, I volunteered as a parent helper in their class. I helped not only them, but the other students as well, to go through learning activities which the teacher had pulled together.
As they grew, the homework changed including the amount they bring home. While the primary teaching may occur at school, I have yet to meet a parent who has not assisted to some degree with their child’s homework. I might not go so far to DO parts of a project for my son, but I will help where he is struggling and encourage him in the process.
I spend time quizzing him on spelling before his test at school. My husband and I take turns going over math problems to check for accuracy. And, we talk about big concepts being taught. I also have the perpetual question when he walks in the door every afternoon: “What do you have for homework tonight?”
If I thought that ended when high school was over, then I was wrong. My college freshman is doing the ‘commuter college’ option to save money this year. I’ve had him coming to me with questions on homework for both chemistry and trigonometry this week. If he was away from home in a dorm room, I suspect I would still be asked in a text or phone call on occasion.
There is no one way to go about raising a child, including educational options.
Every child and family is different and the best solution one year may not be the best the next year.
But when the dust has all settled, it can truly be said that every parent is really a homeschooler.
— Laura O’Neill (@LauraOinAK) September 8, 2015
Have you home educated your child either solely or to supplement what they are learning in school?
What changes in your involvement have you seen over the years?