The Importance of Teachers

One might erroneously believe that homeschoolers dislike or distrust teachers.  On the contrary, most homeschool parents LOVE teachers.  For one, we parents are primarily teachers of our own children.  But we also know that other teachers (whether fellow home school parents, public school teachers, or specialized instructors) are invaluable to our children’s development.  And teachers can be found all around us.  Here are just a few examples of teachers in our lives:

Grandparents:  Right now, my mother is paying an extended visit from Washington state. Each time she visits she teaches my daughters about sewing crafts (something my older daughter loves).  They rehearse the piano and the guitar together (something my younger daughter thoroughly enjoys).  And perhaps best of all, Grandma tells the girls about her past — they get to learn about history first hand.  Even better, my mother has spent decades exploring our family tree, so she is wise in the stories of our ancestors.

Field Trip Guides: We are fortunate enough to belong to several wonderful homeschool groups.  Every week, we manage to join other homeschool families on a field trip adventure.  Some of the other parents are expert guides.  In fact, two years ago, we traveled to Yellowstone National Park and we’re given first-class tour by one of the moms in our group (Thanks Vicky!).  Vicky has been to Yellowstone over one hundred times, and her expertise helped to create a remarkable educational opportunity for our kids.

Tutors: My older daughter is still having difficulty with reading.  Although she has just turned 10 years old, she reads at about a third-grade level.  Now, this is not for a lack of effort.  My wife and I have tried scores of different reading programs.  Some of them helped, some of them didn’t.  However, our first real breakthrough came when we began going to Valencia Tutors.  Once she began working with a reading specialist, she began to blossom.  Her confidence levels tripled.  She didn’t become so frustrated with the learning process.

The funny thing about it:  The teaching style of the tutor and the learning material is about the same as our own.  However, our daughter responds differently when she works on her reading in front of us.  She feels more pressure — although I’ve tried my best to create a comfortable, stress-free environment.  I think she’s been so eager to please us by learning how to read that reading with Mom and Dad is a lot more challenging  than reading in front of a friendly tutor that has no stake in the relationship.

Sometimes working with someone other than the parents gives the child a chance to relax — and a chance for the learning process to take flight.

Who Else? Of course the list of different teachers could go on indefinitely.  I’ve given three types of teachers that are important to our family.  What about your experience?  What teachers are essential to your homeschool experience?