After several wonderful discussions with other homeschoolers and speakers at the recent MHA conference, I have come to the amazing conclusion that I am not a teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I am not stopping homeschooling nor am I ever slightly upset at this realization. It finally makes our years of homeschooling perfectly clear.
As I kid myself, I rarely read a book and then only when assigned and learning about history was not only boring but overwhelming and scary. As a kid I liked math. Two plus two always equaled four and it was never confusing.
So why, now, after 8+ years of homeschooling, do we gravitate toward reading and history and do math as quickly as possible to get back to reading? The answer was my recent revelation – I am not a teacher.
When we read a novel or history book, my kids and I are learning together. Yes, I know more vocabulary and can often answer a question when it arises but those questions are part of an open dialog between myself and my children not just me asking the questions and seeing if they can answer them correctly.
In many cases I do not know the answer to the question and it is then that we discover it together, unlike in math where I still play the roll of the teacher and they play the parts of the students. In writing and spelling I give the assignment and then correct it. This is not as comfortable scenario in our family school.
Luckily, so much of those less comfortable subjects come up in the books we love to read. Heartbeat by Sharron Creech involved a character learning about and using footnotes. This inspired my family to try some writing using footnotes. I did not create the assignment but I help if someone is struggling with the concept along the way.
In Hatchet by Gary Paulsen we read about a boy who figured out that water refraction was making things look like they were in different places and therefore preventing him from successfully spearing a fish. Using an old aquarium we investigated the same principle and even turned it into a bit of a game seeing who to come the closest to the object underwater. While they played the game, I used some basic books and the internet to find a chart showing how and why water refraction works then we looked at those together and talked. No worksheet, quiz or lesson plan involved.
So thank you Sharron Creech and Gary Paulsen and all the amazing authors that help me not have to be a teacher.