Being Mom When You’re the Teacher
When your kids are little, your role as mom is intertwined with your role as teacher. From birth, your kids are learning as you are teaching them EVERYTHING. Even before homeschooling “officially” begins, you are already established as your kids’ teacher – you teach them how to walk, talk, eat with a fork, and tie their shoes. You are also there for them as a comforter and protector as they learn to navigate their world. You are there to share their excitement when they say, “Look, Mom!”
As you enter the elementary years, you teach them how to read, write, and count. Those things seem easy, though, when you contemplate the idea of teaching upper level courses and preparing your teen for life after high school. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be an expert in everything to successfully homeschool high school. And, your roles as teacher and parent to your child through their early years have well prepared you for your roles as teacher and parent to a teen.
As the mom to high school, middle school, and elementary school aged kids, I juggle multiple grades and diverse activities on a daily basis. I spend a large part of my day as teacher, and in our house, we might be working on times tables, practicing drums, and conducting a DNA experiment all at the same time before sitting down to discuss World War II over lunch. We attend field trips together, and my younger child has the benefit of learning from his older brothers. As mom, I still break up squabbles and assign chores, but I also have a vested interest in their lives that an outside teacher would never have.
So, how do I balance my role as mom with my role as teacher, especially as we journey through the high school years?
As my teen begins to work more independently in high school, I become more of a coach and counselor. Although there are still some things we sit down and do together, much high school work involves independent reading, research, and study. My teen will write essays, analyze literature, learn a foreign language, and develop opinions about historical and current events.
In addition, he will delve into topics in depth and discover where his interests lie. As teacher, I will facilitate discussions, provide feedback, and hold him accountable. I might find myself “teaching” subjects I never took myself, and I might not have all the answers. But, back to the good news – I don’t have to know all the answers. My job is to teach my teen how to find the answers, and often, he will teach me. Plus, I can always consult the teacher’s guide!
High school coursework is accompanied by greater responsibilities and more choices. Get your teen’s input when deciding on curriculum, and be flexible. Make time in their schedules for fun, and turn off the teacher mode from time to time to be the listening ear and the shoulder to lean on. You can also still share their excitement and successes when they say, “Look, Mom!
High school isn’t all about algebra and chemistry. It’s also a time for late night conversations, giggling at inside jokes, encouraging them in their growing independence, and trusting them with more responsibilities. Guess what? It’s also a fun ride. You get to discover who your child really is, and how your roles as teacher and mom have paid off. And that is an awesome thing!
My article originally appeared at Home Educating Family.