Confessions of a Home Educator; I’m not teaching them much,

A lot of homeschooling parents will refer to themselves as their children’s teacher, and I suppose all parents are teachers to some extent in that we have to teach our children how to do things or about stuff. This side of the pond home educators tend to say they are not teachers, but rather they facilitate their children’s learning. I think I’m a bit of everything, but that’s what comes with being a mother. All mothers who mother are teachers, facilitators, mediators, and loads more just by dint of bringing up children.  Is it different being a mother who home educates to being a mother whose children go to school?

Honestly, yes. It’s quite different. There are some things that overlap. I no longer have evenings filled with homework and grumpy children who have done hours at school and now have at least a couple of hours of homework. All the homework is done in learning time so their evenings are their own. In fact quite often their afternoons are their own, and they have learned to cook, paint and do some rather odd science experiments in that time. Quite often learning does happen in the evenings but it’s because they’ve found something that interests them, not because I’ve nagged them to get it done because it must be handed in.

But the main reason I don’t see myself as a teacher is because I don’t have a clue about a lot of the things they are learning. I never did grammar at school so now that Ronan is doing lots of it, I can get completely lost. Fortunately his workbooks are clearly laid out and so if he gets stuck we go through it together. Usually he gets it before I do.

Thankfully the children are not limited to learning only what I can teach them, and this has been good for me too. I am learning maths (properly at last) alongside the children as they watch the DVDs or Khan Academy vids. I am learning Latin (I only know choir-Latin) and Greek thanks to the great curriculum I am able to get from America where homeschooling has been going on longer and where there seems to be a commitment to good resources. I am also learning Spanish with them.

I’ve picked up my love of history again we learn together and there’s plenty of stuff they have taught me over the years as they went off following an interest.

The joy of home ed is I don’t have to be the teacher who knows and talks at them about what I know. I can be just as ignorant of the subject as they are and we work on it together. The fact that so many suppliers offer CD, DVD or other forms of lessons makes this so much easier.

No more “prove it” fears.

We are registered with the Local Authority because I pulled the older ones from school. I was obliged to write to the school explaining I was removing the children to educate them at home. The head then sends the letter to the LA and so we are registered. Families who have never sent children to school don’t have to be registered.

In the early days I was paranoid that I wouldn’t have enough “proof” that I was doing what I said I was doing so we got through a LOT of workbooks and worksheets and I took (and still take) lots of photos.

As it happens I’ve never had to show the LA person anything as they aren’t obliged to look and they aren’t obliged to look because they don’t offer anything to help.

P1020699I still print off a lot of sheets really but now that I’ve invested in a good quality whiteboard the children can use that for lessons and rub it out later. I don’t need to have “proof” on paper.

I haven’t been seen by the LA for a couple of years, which I assume means they are happy with what I am up to.

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