Making the Transition from Parent to Homeschool Teacher
Many parents who are intrigued by the idea of homeschooling worry about their qualification to be the teachers to their children. Teaching seems a job best left to professionals who have spent years training to be good at communicating and educating children. There is also a natural uncertainty about teachers' jargon such as worksheets, rubrics, lesson plans and study skills. While parents are capable of understanding all this, they are sometimes concerned that they may short change their children if they take over schooling them at home.
There is really very little reason for this fear. While trained teachers are professionals who are good at their job, teaching at home is different from teaching at school and so the same skill sets are not required. Controlling a large group and keeping children of different ability levels engaged is different from managing a small class of one's own children. Parents have an understanding of how to engage their children and how to work with them and this is a great asset that replaces some of the credentials.
Parents are the people who teach children the most important of life skills and they do this often with no prior experience - parents do not think too often about whether they are qualified to teach their children to eat and sleep and to be socially integrated. They happen almost as a matter of course and being a parent-teacher also follows this course to some extent. Once a parent decides to be a teacher, they can educate themselves about the curriculum and the legalities and then move on to the task of communicating with their children. Simplicity and a willingness to explain processes can make any topic a great source of excitement. A parent will have the opportunity to pick themes and topics that are of interest to the children and this is an additional advantage, as any teacher will agree.
The commitment and love that a parent brings to the homeschool far outweighs any handicap they may have as untrained teachers. A person who is willing to commit time and effort to the task of making their children's lives better will definitely be able to find ways around learning issues that may crop up. A child may learn better in the morning rather than the afternoon and may enjoy hands-on experimentation more than literature based learning. This degree of variation may get lost in a larger group, but a parent teacher will be able to adapt to addressing the needs of each child.
A parent can use outside cues to signal shifting roles to his or her children - by setting aside a class room area and by setting aside defined times of day for schooling both the parent and children may be able to deal with their dual roles better.
Homeschooling is not a one-size fits all proposition and any parent willing to learn the ropes and approach the process with organization and patience will find that it is not as hard as it seems. There are no rules on how to be a parent-teacher and this means that there is no right or wrong way to do the job. Remember that the ability to have fun and be flexible is part of the job description of being a parent and it is helpful to keep that attitude as a homeschooling teacher also!