"I am convinced that
the time spent by the teacher
in digging out of the child
what she has put into him,
for the sake of satisfying herself
that it has taken root,

is so much time thrown away"
-- Annie Sullivan (Helen Keller's teacher)

I just strew their paths

with interesting things.
--Sandra Dodd
Homeschool Diner logo - 1960's style sign with atomic starburst
Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
Deep Thoughts

The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics

But I Don't Know How To Teach!
So, how will I be able to homeschool?

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Parents often wonder how they will be able to homeschool if they aren't a trained/certified teacher.  But,
in reality, teaching your own child -- one-to-one or with a small group of mixed-age siblings -- Is very
different that teaching to a classroom.  Using a variety of materials, a mixture of hands-on and
community resources, and, maybe even trying out alternative teaching philosophies is quite different
from the "classroom teaching" that teachers do, and are trained for in college.  

And, if you think about it, homeschooling certainly isn't the first time that we have been "teacher" to our
children.  Think about all the things that, as parents, we have "taught" our children to do over the years
-- from eating with a spoon, to walking, to buttoning a coat, to right from wrong.  

How did we manage all this instruction? We don't often write a lesson plan for what we want to teach
them or read what we want them to know out of a scripted book.  We teach by example, or by helping
them do it themselves (supporting them where they need it), or sometimes by direct one-to-one
instruction. Sometimes we tell them where to look to find out what they need to know.  Sometimes we
leave them to figure it out on their own -- while we watch, with silent encouragement, or bated breath.  
All of these methods are also used -- quite successfully-- by homeschool parents.  

If your children have already been in traditional school, it may take some time for your children to get
used to the different ways that you, as parent, may approach teaching.  Often, children who are fresh
out of a school setting are used to *only* direct instruction, and may have trouble becoming more
independent learners.  They will wait to be told what to do along each step of the way (as they were
expected to do in the classroom).  It is good to help your children to move into a more active role in
learning, rather than passively waiting to be taught.  Most of us want our kids to become lifelong
learners, with the confidence and know-how to tackle whatever new skills they will need in the future.  
We, as homeschool parents, can help them develop these skills.

It often takes families a few years of homeschooling to get past the direct teaching method as their
main approach... after all, it is what we grew up with, and what we think of as "school".  And some
families never do move beyond that approach.  Some parents prefer that they (or their homeschool
program) direct the whole show, and it works well for some families, and for some kids. Others
eventually move in different learning/teaching directions.

There are lots of ways to teach and lots of ways to learn.  The benefit of homeschooling is that we have
the freedom to "mix it up" and try something different, just to make things interesting.  Here are a few
good articles on the ways different families homeschool.  Hopefully you will find them useful.  They may
even give you the confidence to explain your methods to those in your life who may wonder how you
can really be teaching, if you aren't in front of the blackboard all day.

15 Common Characteristics of Successful Homeschools (The Magic is in the Child) advice on
becoming a successful homeschooling parent by Diane Flynn Keith

Strewing: Definition and Suggestions by Sandra Dodd

Lesson 4:  How to Teach What You Don't Know -- by Terrie Bittner (scroll down past all the ads to
find the article ;-)

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully  by Ruth Beechick -- a Christian-focused writer gives
nitty-gritty help for each subject in each grade (4-8)  (see her 3R's series for K - 3rd)

Learning All the Time:  How small children begin to read. write, count, and investigate the
world, without begin taught
by John Holt

The Defeat of the Schools by James L. Mursell, 1939 -- a look at why children don't, generally, retain
much of what they learned in school

Schools Are from Mars, Homeschoolers Are from Earth by Patrick Farenga -- do we devalue
real-life learning by using "educationese"

Certificate of Empowerment from Sandra Dodd

The Wrath of Mom by Jenny Runkel -- nice article about keeping things in perspective "When I can
stop taking myself so seriously, I can also stop taking the things my kids do so personally... "

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants -- if you're a native (or can hire or borrow one) ... then you
already have an advantage over most teachers. If you're an immigrant, then you'll do no worse that
most teachers ;-)

Multi-sensory Instruction and Learning Styles from Learning Abled Kids -- what's a kinesthetic
learner?  How do you incorporate multi-sensory teaching techniques?  What are physiological learning
preferences?  This free online tutorial covers it all :-)

Index of Learning Styles and Strategies by Felder & Soloman -- a description and a short quiz (free
online) covering a learning style model described by formulated by Richard M. Felder and Linda K.
Silverman.  Condsiders the traits of active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and
sequential/global.  The quiz questions are aimed at older students -- you will have to think of
appropriate substitute questions if you want to do the quiz with young students. Here is a link to
detailed descriptions of the styles used in this quiz here --
Learning Styles and Strategies

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish --
Maybe you hesitate to homeschool because you and your child "butt heads" too often?  Or you already
homeschool but you wish there was more cooperation among your children?  Or you wonder about the
most effective ways of praising your children or how to keep them from becoming trapped in "roles"?  
Well, this book is an excellent place to start.  Topics include strategies for the situations above, plus,
how to engage your child's willing cooperation, how to express your anger without being hurtful, how to
set firm limits and still maintain goodwill, and how to resolve family conflicts peacefully, and more.  
Includes cartoon examples of parents handling the same situation in different ways, practical examples,
and stories from real parents.  An amazing approach that really works.. and it's never too late to begin

You can find more advice on teaching different topics in the Homeschooling by Subject
section of the Homeschool Diner, such as
"How to Teach Art",  "Help Me Teach Math!", and  
"How Do I Teach Science at Home?",

Related Resources

Donna Young Printables -- free forms and charts for keeping track of high school credits, goals,
book lists, making high school transcripts and diplomas, daily planners, household planners, etc
Homeschool Tracker -- software for tracking assignments, field trips, making transcripts, etc., use the
free basic service or buy the CD-Rom
Student ID Card -- free online template, send with your older children who need to be "out and about"
during the day, or just have fun with it

Related Issues

Giving Your Child "Voice" by Richard Grossman, Ph.D.
Respect, Obedience, and Education -- wonderful thoughts on showing and earning respect in
families and schools by Steve Hein
by Deirdre V. Lovecky, Ph.D. --
we all know a few procrastinators... what planet are they from? ;-)
The Wild Child a "deep thought" by Scott Noelle
try out our
Yahoo! Group

join the conversation!
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Copyright 2005-2012 by Julie Shepherd Knapp,
unless otherwise noted.

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