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