Friday, September 19, 2008

Balancing Being "Mom" & "Teacher"

Today's Heart of the Matter focuses on the difficult balance between playing the roles of both mom and teacher. For every homeschool mom, this is something that we deal with at times.

From personal experience, I believe that it's much easier to handle these dual roles if you homeschool from the beginning. It's all that the child knows and everyone is used to mom being the teacher.

Where I see people really struggling with this is when they decide to begin homeschooling after the child has been in a more traditional school setting for several years.

One thing that I firmly believe is that the school environment, not intentionally but just as a natural result, sets up a parent versus teacher mentality. How many times do you remember your parent telling you something that directly contradicts your teacher? Tiffany had a good example of it this week. While her example is about a grammar question, sometimes there are deeper issues at stake such as one's world view.

The reason I've gotten down this trail is that once you've gotten to that point, it's harder to bring a child home and have them respect you as a teacher as well. They have been trained that the teacher knows best. (In many cases, such as algebra, this may be true!!!) I have had many moms tell me that their children won't listen because "my old teacher did it differently."

The first thing I would recommend in this situation is to give your child some time to decompress from school. When you first bring them back home, allow them some time to just chill. Don't push academics for the first few weeks. Encourage reading, explore your neighborhood, maybe pick up a book of science projects at the library and have them pick one to work on. As the child learns that education is not just sitting in a classroom, they will hopefully become more receptive to what you have to offer. You can gradually move into more formal studying once you have gained their trust.

For those who have been homeschooling all along, there is often very little delineation between your job as mother and teacher. All of life can be used as a teaching opportunity - from cooking, to driving, to shopping. As a bumper sticker I love says, "Homeschooling - the world is our classroom." Personally, I love the fact that our schooling is not limited to the time we spend poring over books, but is woven throughout our lives.

Balancing being both mom and teacher to your child is easier than you think, once you have gained the child's respect and trust. It can be a joy and a heartbreak. The ultimate thing to remember is that both of these roles are indeed God-ordained for parents. In Deuteronomy we are called to teach our children. In fact, today's school model is very modern in the scheme of history. Homeschooling was the norm for thousands of years.

By choosing to wear both hats, you are following in a time-honored tradition. It may take a little getting used to at first, but after a while it will flow effortlessly.


Blessed Nest said...

Thank you for this post of encouragement! I have been homeschooling since birth and my daughter is officially k-5 as some would say...I am a new at homeschooling, just starting out. I feel like I've been doing it for 5 years as the world is school. My daughter is reading a bit not because I've drilled her but because we read....It's a fun and fascinating journey. Thanks for your wisdom and knowledge!!

Sherry said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I am a new homeschooler, so trying to find the balance is a struggle. You definitely have
been an encouragement.
Have a great weekend!

Mommy Reg said...

I think you are right starting from birth makes the balancing act easier. I started out from birth with my munchkins but I was a teacher before I had my kiddos so I fell into the thought that school time is the only learning time and you need all the books, worksheets etc. This year is so different because God has been showing me the balance that was missing. Thanks for that encouraging post.

Nancy M. said...

I wish I had been able to start from the begininng with my first son. But, I was working then. I have been doing it for a year now.

He loves it, but I do hear "that's not what my old teacher said" sometimes.

He also usually has no clue what grade he is in. What is up with that?

NCLighthousekeeper said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject. I agree wholeheartedly that "decompression" is necessary for most kids coming out of a traditional school environment, and moving toward more of a "lifestyle" approach to education makes the line between mom and teacher hardly noticeable.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Shelby said...

Another prospective homeschooler here. I have a 3 yr old and a one yr old and plan to homeschool from the beginning. Glad I found this blog. I will keep up with it for sure! Very uplifting!


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