Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Overcoming My Teaching Degree - Part 2

Back to that line so many seem to rattle off regarding our decision to homeschool, "You have a teaching degree so it must be easy for you." Well I have been thinking a lot about this and have come to the conclusion that while for some that may be true, my education degree and teaching experience has often been as much of a hindrance as a help in my circumstance.

Let me tell you a little about my oldest son, Thatcher. This is the abbreviated version, but you can read the entire story in my other blog if your interest is piqued. Thatcher has ADHD, sensory processing issues and some autistic tendencies as well. When he was little we tossed around the idea that we would keep him home if we needed to, but I don't think either of us truly thought that would come to pass. But through a series of events we became convinced that homeschooling would be the best path for the kiddo God gave us.

Let me say, I am not anti-public school; I don't think most homeschoolers are. Yet, the reality is that public school is best suited for a certain type of child: one who can sit still being pretty important for sure. To ask my little guy to sit at a desk for several hours a day, walk in a straight line, sit cross-legged and wait his turn to share his idea on the latest book he's reading...well that would be like asking me to conjugate a page of French verbs. It isn't going to happen!

That's where I am struggling. I have been so trained in one methodology that it's been really tough wrapping my mind around a different way of doing things. I don't want to simply bring what I did in a classroom setting home and replicate it. Homeschooling can (and should in my opinion) be so much more than that. I have been reading and researching off-and-on for two years now. I have decided that Classical Education is the best fit for us out of all the pedagogies out there. Yet as I am preparing to plan out our first grade year I keep going back to my public school days without even realizing it.

I expect him to sit still while I am teaching him but what's wrong with letting him jump on the trampoline while he is learning to count by 9's or recite his poetry for the week? I want to be done with school by 3:00 each day but why can't we be done at 11:00 am some days and 7:00 pm others? I want him to be generating creative journal entries even though I have read Charlotte Mason's writings and The Well Trained Mind which encourage copywork, dictation and narration instead. I tend to forget that we don't just have to read in a text-book about the life-cycle of a butterfly but we can observe metamorphosis close up. Most importantly I forget that one of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that my kid gets to be exactly who God made him to be. He doesn't have to be on anyone's timetable for when he "should" be doing things. I definitely don't want to forget that.

Why did I choose blog about this? I have many homeschool friends say they covet my teaching degree and I have learned to respond, "Well, I've been working on overcoming that to be a good teacher for Thatcher." Be encouraged! You better have the ability to see things with fresh eyes. You think "outside the box" so much more readily. You are not bound by years of indoctrination thinking it has to be done a certain way. You are the ones that come up with innovative curriculum, and you are the ones who answer questions others never even think to ask. I envy you...and I'll be haunting your blogs to borrow all your wonderfully creative ideas.

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