Throw Out Your Old Ideas About School
“Those whom the gods love grow young.”
This chapter is probably aimed more at ex-teachers, but parents can take note as well.
We all make decisions based on our experiences.
If you had a good time at school as a kid you may be tempted to recreate you school experiences for your children.
If you had a bad time at school you may be tempted to create a happier school experience for your kids.
Both of these scenarios are doomed to failure if you apply them to the home schooling experience.
Truly smart people don’t wait to make a mistake to learn the lesson, they learn from someone else’s mistake instead. It saves much time and effort.
I am assuming that you paid for this book, I would like you to get your money’s worth, so listen up!
Home schooling is nothing like school, and if you try to create a ‘school at home’ you will find that your children will be asking to go back to their old school.
While giving a talk at the Yarra Junction Library, a member of my audience asked me why a boy would want to be at home all day with “boring old mum”.
I told her that I was an only child and there was nothing I would have liked more than to spend my school hours in the company of my mother.
Mums are fun to be with.
They know us well and are smart enough to leave us alone when we need to be alone. They make us laugh, and they know how to peak our curiosity. They know how to challenge us in such a way that we rise to the challenge. Mums make excellent teachers because by definition a good teacher cares about her pupil and knows how to pass on a love of learning.
I really want this mum and any other mums (and dads, for that matter) who are reading this to understand how important they are in their child’s educational life.
You are their guiding light educationally. You introduce them to language (good and bad), to numbers, art, drama and a myriad of other things that will excite them for the rest of their lives.
I have an eclectic taste in music having grown up in the 60s and 70s. My love of classical music comes from my mum, and my love of 40s music comes from my dad. I can set the seat on a bicycle to the correct height because my professional racing cyclist father taught me how to do it. My house is full of books because my mum read to me and led by example when it came to reading books for pleasure.
From Boston Blackie to Charles Laughton to Errol Flynn, my parents introduced me to the fabulous world of the movies.
My dad had an amazing head for numbers and because I wanted to be like this amazing man I learned to like them too even though they didn’t come as easily to me. As a teenager, my competitive streak made me want to be better at things than he was and this drove me forward when the work was too hard and the pressure to pass exams was almost too much. The male ego is an amazing thing and my dad knew how to use this knowledge to spur me on. In the end, I was better at some things but he was always smarter than me in the things that mattered, and I learned what it is to be a man by watching his example.
Possibly the mistake that the woman asking the question was making was assuming that her job is to entertain her child.
Her job is to do what my mum did — to make sure that the tools for learning are close at hand, to suggest, to challenge, to occasionally show the way when the need is obvious, to answer questions or, more importantly, to show where the answer might be found, to sometimes make sense of the world, to instil a passion for language and numbers, to put history in perspective, to cherish laughter and recognise sadness, to listen carefully, and many other things besides.
Above all your job is to create a warm, safe place where learning can begin to grow and flourish.
It is said that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’.
I prefer to believe that the parent, mum or dad, who inspires a child, improves the world.
Terry Barca is the author of ‘SCHOOME: An Adventure in Home Schooling’.
“Truly smart people don’t wait to make a mistake to learn the lesson, they learn from someone else’s mistake instead. It saves much time and effort.”
Excerpt From: Terry R Barca. “SCHOOME: An Adventure In Homeschooling.” iBooks.
Photo by Vicki Alford