Thursday, May 7, 2009

You CAN Teach Your Child

I am my girls' best teacher.

Wanna know how I know?

Quick recap if you are new here: I taught public school for 11 years. God changed my heart and our family a LOT in the course of 3 or 4 years and I prayed fervently for God to bring me home. He did. We are now a homeschooling family. Something I NEVER thought I would be doing. Being home seemed an impossible thing to ask for.

And now I have trouble watching others teach my kids. Let me explain.

Sweetheart and Little Bit were taking karate. Sweetheart is STILL taking karate, but Little Bit hung up her gi after the first time she was expected to spar. She was not a fan.

So the parents sit there and watch the class. Sweetheart (and Little Bit) were both a bit lost for the first few classes, understandably. I think I've heard the teacher say to them, "Don't look at your mom! Look at me!" about a hundred times. Why do they keep looking at me? They didn't know what to do, and so they looked to their parent. I think that's how it should be, by the way. And I hear that I should expect them to look more to their peers as they get older. Is that true? Do I have to let that be the way things play out? Don't worry, I'm not suggesting they sit at my feet until they are adults....I just mean, can't parents have such a relationship with their children that they don't necessarily depend on their friends only but on their parents as well? I'm just asking. I think that may be psychology talking.

So anyway, it's totally frustrating to sit there and watch my children be confused and listen to the instructions that are being given to them and see that they still do not understand. I KNOW if I could just say one thing to them, it would all be clear. I even know what that one thing is. I know better than their karate teacher. Not about karate, mind you, but about how to teach my children.

And since I am the one teaching all the subjects to them, I know what they've learned. How different that is from when Sweetheart was in public school and I would wonder what she was learning all day! The backpack didn't offer any clues, and she was full of information as most children are when their parents question them about their day at school. But now....

At our mid-week small group meeting last night, my girls were the only children there besides a 12 year old girl. It was very strange--our small group is normally crawling with kiddos. So instead of leaving the room for a children's lesson, the girls sat with us. I had Sweetheart open her Bible and read along with the story. It was from Acts 14 when Paul and Barnabas healed a man and the people in the city thought they were gods. Our ears perked up when we saw that they thought Barnabas was Zeus! I bumped Sweetheart, whose eyes got wide. We've been studying Zeus in history and so she very well understood this story. No one else would have known that. I'm not saying that's bad-it's just that it is so much easier to help your child make connections when you know what they are learning.

We are the only homeschooling family at our church and I think people look at us and think, "Well, Brenda was a teacher, so I'm sure she does OK." Karly and I dealt with that myth here and here. You can teach your child. You are the parent. They are probably already looking to you. You will be involved with them and know what they are learning. There will be no gaps as the new teacher next year tries to figure out what they know and don't know.

Homeschooling just works.


  1. Yep! That's about all I can say - you're completely correct!

  2. So true... we are the only homeschooling family at church as well but I have actually had people say to me " What makes you think you can teach your children , do you have a masters in education? " ( some people are soooo rude ) I just tell them, I know my children better than any one else and I have the time and dedication for them that they need when they struggle with something. I have noticed, unfortunately to say, that the majority of the rude remarks I get from people are actually active school teachers. I have had them say , I went to school for this, you didn't. To which I say, well, maybe when you become a parent you will understand better. By the way, I didn't go to school to become a parent but I think I do a pretty good job at that as well !!

    B - I would have had a hard time not saying something to the girls when they didn't understand. Kuddos to you for sitting back and watching their reactions. BTW - Are you going on the field trip today?

  3. Um...well, actually one night I did speak up. And the teacher jokingly pointed to his black belt and said, "Do you have one of these?" THAT is where the restraint came in!!!!!

    And Giovanna, I was one of those public school teachers who had attitudes about parents homeschooling. *embarrassed grin* I didn't say it to their face though!!!! I was just very ignorant and got many homeschool failures in my classroom. And I thought, "THIS is homeschooling? No thank you!"

    Nope--I'm not going

  4. Brenda,I read here daily.I love your blog and learn a lot from it.I am an almost 40 homeschooling mom.I have 5 children b13,b11,b6,g5,and g5mo. yes! we would except more if God gives them to us.I think I may be ageing out though.I want you to know that at my house my children are each others best friends and my 13 year old would rather spend time with me talking about his books and games than anyone else.He has a very good head on his shoulders and can out think me politicaly and spiritualy.My kids are social but we've spent alot of time teaching them what God want them to put into thier minds so far it has paid off.We belive we are raising adults not teenagers.

  5. Good post, Brenda.

    Just last night at church, one of the public school teachers was asking me how I grade their papers, record grades, etc. When I explained that when they get something wrong, I go over it and they do it over until they get it right, she laughed and said, "You're probably as good as a real teacher!"

    Ummmmm... probably?

  6. LOVE that Sweetheart joined you in study and actually understood the passage you were reading. :)

    And, that is so true what you said about kids being expected to look to their peers in mainstream education. I am so thankful my kids will be seeking my husband's and my guidance for MUCH longer than if they were put into public school, especially since Big Sis could easily be swayed by peers.

  7. Very interesting post Brenda. There is just one thing that comes to mind about the karate situation looking to you for help. Although I think it's great, it seems that they need that outside instruction at times as well to prepare them for the outside world when they become adults and start working. You will not be there to coach them then. Hope this made sense.

    As for homeschooling. I have a question for you. We've talked it over with our daughter and do not want them in a public school once they are finished with grade school. We want them to go through grade school though to learn good socializing skills. Then I will either home school them, or they will attend a Christian school. What are your thoughts on this? Does it make sense to do it this way, or do you feel we are making a mistake by letting them go through grade school in a public school? Thank you. Tammy

  8. I have always loved hearing your words here. I love that with your background and life experience that you can give such a fresh take on such a BUG subject. You warmed my heart yet again today. I too have found every word you have written to be true in my own home. :)

  9. Tammy, I understand what you are saying, but I disagree a little. I think we have been told that our children need to hear from others and we believe it. "Break those apron strings!" "You've got to let them grow up sometime!" etc. I simply do not think that is as true as we would like to believe. Yes of course it doesn't hurt them to hear from someone else and they will have to listen to others sometimes as dad and I do NOT know everything! (Shock!) But hopefully they will filter who they listen to through us, as we teach them to filter what they hear through God's word. For example, teaching them what commercials are really trying to get them to do, etc. I want them to learn to discern who they should listen to, and when we are there to help them's better.

    The end result of this thinking is parents who believe they need to send their toddlers to school or they will ruin them. Hogwash.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)