Parent/Teacher Role in Home Schooling

While I love the fact that we home school, being new to this I have struggled with the boundaries between the parent and teacher role. I want to be an excellent parent and when I think of that I think of someone who is compassionate, caring, encouraging, loving, kind, and supportive; challenges their children, supports growth, requires respect and good manners, but allows freedom and independence while encouraging alternative thinking. Aren’t those the very same qualities I would look for in an excellent teacher? Yes.

Over the last seven months of home schooling, I’ve learned that there is a blurred line between teacher and mother. I always thought they would be well defined. Prior to becoming aware of this I allowed myself to go over without transition into the role of teacher. Murphy’s Law number one, without a bit of a defined change there is chaos. I would feel overwhelmed by wanting to answer every question, pay attention to every whim, listen to every story, read every emotional queue and sometimes that just isn’t reality. Now I say to the girls, we are starting school, I need you to put on your student hat, raise your hand, wait for others to speak and we will address each need one at a time. This I feel is a teacher role, not a parent role. As a parent, I juggle 100 balls up in the air and deal with them all at once and hope not one falls. As a teacher, I must recognize the difference between vying for Mom’s attention and true needs for assistance and support. I find by explaining to them that we are now in a student/teacher situation eases their transition as well. It generates a verbal definition of transition and helps them to respect each others learning boundaries. As my daughter says “no questions are bad questions” and I agree, but learners need to encourage each others growth – not have  a competition to see who can speak the loudest to get the attention first.

Some naysayer will say ‘don’t you provide that same time and attention as a mother?” The answer is yes, I do, but defining boundaries during school makes all of us more successful. As with life; work, home, education, family – everyone has boundaries and transition it’s part of life and it gives us room and energy to evolve.

“Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One thought on “Parent/Teacher Role in Home Schooling

  1. I think it is much better that you are homeschooling two children at once. While this may not seem like the case always to you :), they have to learn to wait for others to finish asking/answering questions. With that, they learn patience. If I were to home school my son, he would not get the opportunity to learn those much needed skills.

    I also think I would have a problem drawing the line between the different personas. As it is, I treat everything like it is a learning opportunity. Therefore, I think I would always been in both teacher/mother roles together, and again he would not learn what it is like to have one and the other separate. Hats off to you for being able to separate the two!

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