Education is not a one-way street. In order to have a successful outcome, all parties involved must work equally as hard as the other. In the public or private school sector, there are three parties: the parent, the child, and the school. For homeschooling families, the three parts include the parent, the child, and the curriculum. The curriculum in homeschool families will look different as it is serving the unique needs of each family. Regardless, it is an important part of the overall success of homeschooling.
I’ve been a part of Virtual Education for several months now. I see the value and recognize the possibilities and potential it has to change education the way most people see it. But what we must keep in mind is that virtual education, while it may enhance the overall educational experience, can never take the place of the teacher. We must find a way for educators to interact with their young students. Simply providing the material to children isn’t enough. There must be an invested adult participating as well.
The teacher (or the curriculum), in turn, can never take the place of the parent. Homeschool families already understand this. But for some families in the “school” school, educators are expected to take the place of the parent. Not only are they expected to teach academics, but they are expected to deliver character education, social skills instruction, and more. Education starts in the home. Parents must be actively involved in that process as well.
Have you ever felt like you were doing the bulk of your child’s school work? This should not be the case. Parents should facilitate learning and kids need to be responsible for the bulk of the work. What are some of the reasons we take over some of our children’s responsibilities? They take too long, the work is messy, they ask too many questions, it is difficult for us to explain and easier just to do it ourselves, etc. Believe me, I’ve been there! But when we take over our children’s work and responsibilities, we teach them nothing. Well, perhaps we teach them that their work isn’t good enough, or that we are too impatient to let them figure things out on their own. But as far as life lessons like problem-solving, time management, and working through difficulty goes, we rob them of those lifelong skills.
If your children are not responsible enough to bathe on a regular basis, brush their teeth regularly, clean their room, do the dishes, etc. without being reminded, they most likely will not be responsible enough to do their school work independently. Remember, we are building a foundation and shaping our young learners to be independent adult thinkers and learners. A foundation cannot build itself.
Each part of the machine must be in working order. Each part depends on the others for success. When parents, kids, and schools (or curriculum) all work together (the trifecta), our children will soar!