A Passion for Learning
Would you believe me if I told you that there is one key ingredient that your homeschool needs?
The most important part of a successful homeschool is a parent that is passionate about education.
Many people believe that the so-called "experts" know best - even in the homeschool world. We want the experts to tell us which math program is the best or how we should teach reading. We'll even go so far as to pay an outrageous sum of money for an older edition of a history encyclopedia just because it was recommended by an expert.
But guess what? These experts don't know your kids, you, your family, or your homeschool.
YOU are the expert when it comes to your children and your homeschool. Do you need to brush up on some subjects? Sure, we all do. You DO NOT do this by studying every homeschool curriculum ever created and spend sleepless nights trying to decide which math program you should use.(A little secret about the best math program? It's the one that doesn't cause your child to burst into tears.)
What you do need to have a successful homeschool? A passion for education - your children's education and your own education.
Why should you continue to educate yourself?
When kids are young it's easy to teach them. But, as they get older, much of the learning becomes independent and the relationship slowly changes. It changes to one of discussion. Your students now want to know why. Why did such-and-such happen? Why did this guy do that thing? Are you ready for those discussions?
Maybe you're ready to have a discussion about the causes of the American Revolution. But what about the effect of that revolution on other nations, especially France. Do you feel able to intelligently discuss that topic with your children?
This is just one small example (and one that made me gulp because I really didn't know much about the French Revolution) but I could replace it with so many more examples. I want to be prepared with answers, even if it's "I don't know, let's look into that."
Can I make a suggestion? Instead of spending endless hours searching for the perfect math (or grammar or history, etc.) program, spend that time educating yourself.
Are you passionate about education?
We tell our children that education is important and that we should always be learning and growing. If we're not demonstrating that then we are sending them a mixed message.
I've come to believe Latin is an important thing for our homeschool yet I don't know the language. So, instead of just letting my daughter go-it alone, I am learning right along with her. By my actions, I am showing that I believe this is important.
If you haven't listened to Susan Wise Bauer's talk, Educating Ourselves while Educating our Children (available at Peace Hill Press), I highly recommend you listen to it. Consider it your 'teacher training' and the first step in your self-education journey.