You Are Already Homeschooling (Even if you don’t know it)

Dobson, Linda.  Homeschooling: the early years : your complete guide to successfully homeschooling the 3- to 8-year-old child / Linda Dobson.

A parent is a child’s first teacher. Many of us don’t even realize that we are teaching. Even if you send your child to daycare or preschool, there is a good chance you are working in tandem with his or her other teachers to enrich learning.

I know this has been the case with my family. My toddler amazes me every day with what he knows even though I haven’t explicitly taught him anything, at least not in the traditional way I would have done as his teacher.

Dobson shares a great quote about how this works. One of the homeschool parents she talked to had this to say, “I didn’t know about homeschooling” when I started out, but “was automatically supplementing their education at home.”

“Any good parent does this,” she continues. “This is why I tell people considering homeschooling since they’re helping their children so much at home, ‘You’re already homeschooling part time!’ This often startles parents, giving them just enough courage to bring their children home.”

We live in what should be a golden age of curiosity, but compulsory schooling tends to quell that natural desire. Our schools don’t foster creativity and function in some pretty outdated ways.

Dobson encourages us to “bypass the ‘middle man’ of schooling, an increasingly obsolete notion in this Age of Information, and jump straight into your own extended excursion in education.”

You don’t need fancy materials to start homeschooling either. There is no need to run out and buy a curriculum or new resources. What you have on hand should be good enough to start right now.

“First, you’ll look around your home with the eye of a learning traveler, see how many learning resources you already have on hand, and learn about others that seasoned travelers recommend.”

There are plenty of resources that you can find for free. The public library is one great source and you can also find countless things from the Internet as well.

You can also listen to your child and direct their curiosity.

When your daughter as questions as all toddlers do, “this provides you with clues as to what books, activities, and field trips will hold her interest because they promise answers to important questions.”

School works in small chunks of time. At home we can spend as much time as we want exploring a subject or interest of our child. We don’t need to worry about them getting bored either.

“Contrary to popular belief, young children have quite long attention spans. When they’re interested in a project just try to distract them—and shame on you if you do!”

Interest drives learning and can take you in some great new directions.

“It amazes me that an interest in one thing is an energy, a momentum that carries children on to learn so many new things. Her life seems very much like this. Her world started out so narrow, but for every new dream she reaches for she accomplishes much more along the way.”

Not only are your child’s first teacher, you might also be his ‘best teacher.’

“I really do know my children better than anyone else, and as long as I can find the resources, I am the best person to educate them.”

Here is a closing thought . . .

“Teachers, those parents with the most direct knowledge of school classrooms, are turning to home education in growing numbers. Former teachers with intimate knowledge of the way the system works offer comparisons between public or private school and homeschooling for those considering both options.”

As a classroom teacher with 18 years of experience, I can attest to this fact. I am a home educator now and couldn’t be happier for both me and my family.