Teaching Treasures™

Home Education Consultant

Can I teach my child

If you can read and write, you have the skills needed to teach your own children. If you can’t read or write you wouldn’t be reading this. I have never met a mum or dad who didn’t want the best for their children. There is nothing wrong with sending your child to a public or private school but if you do, then you should be involved in their education as much as possible. What I have often observed in the homes of many people is parents becoming to busy fulfilling their own values, desires, needs and fancies that the children miss out on parental guidance and help.

So what happens in these families where parents become to occupied with their own pursuits? Parents usually enrol their children at extra time consuming activities such as gym, footy, basketball, ballet, art classes, camps and even extra curriculum tutoring because they’ve noticed the letter to grandma was full of spelling mistakes. These activities in themselves are not bad but when parents use them to avoid a more personalized contact with their children, you can recognize a trend in family breakdown.

In a lot of instances the parents are prepared to spend lots of money on all of these time consuming and extra curricula activities because they either feel guilty not spending the time with their children or they need an extra break from their children. Other people, who end up looking after the children, earn a living from this trend in our society, but does it really make the children any happier? If your child goes to school, spend time with him/her when he/she comes home. Help with the homework, show interest in what he/she does and assist with problems as much as you can.

If you decide, or you are already teaching your child at home then you don’t need a lot of extra curricula activities. Some parents have formal learning in the morning and drag their children to basketball on Monday and ballet on Tuesday. Singing lessons on Wednesday, art lessons on Thursday and children’s club on Friday. Swimming on Saturday and church on Sunday. If you are like that then I guess you have missed the whole idea of home education. One or two extra activities a week of your child’s choice is probably all that is needed. If you do three or more, you are probably very busy, puffed out at night and maybe even dreading the next day because you’re still recuperating from the previous day. Does this sound familiar?

Some years ago my sister visited us from the Netherlands. What astonished her most were not the kangaroo steak or emu pie but the fact that our home-life was so relaxed. Her daily schedule included most of the above mentioned activities and her life was so busy that she simply had no time to stop and think. The beauty of teaching your children at home is that you can be relaxed. Take your time to complete tasks. I’m not saying, sit on your bottom until ten o’clock and then decide to do an hour of schoolwork, no…! In order for you to be relaxed you must be organized. Have some sort of routine, a schedule, but be flexible enough to change at a moment’s notice. Prepare worksheets or projects beforehand so you’re not scrounging in the morning at nine o’clock for something to do for your children.

It is imperative to be organized if you have several young children. We had five children in eight years so I know what it is like. I needed a set curriculum when I first started 'homeschool' because I had no confidence and no experience in teaching my children. A set curriculum helped me to be organized and gave me time to look after the baby and toddler. Once the children grew up a bit more I noticed their boredom with the same dull, repetitive workbooks and that’s when my eyes were opened. I had gained the experience, become more confident and was ready for a challenge.

As I explained previously, I started writing my own worksheets, created projects for the children to do and generally had a wonderful time doing so. I became aware of how much I had missed out over the years. In hindsight, I wished I had done what I’m doing now earlier but maybe I was not ready for it. Maybe I was just a chicken or maybe I had listened to too much ill advice from family and friends. You know the kind of stuff… you can’t do that. You are not qualified! How dare you teach your children, you haven’t even gone to University! You can’t even speak the language properly let alone teach your children. Ouch… that one really hurt!

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