Parents considering homeschooling sometimes wonder what homeschooling looks like. Those who have never met a homeschooling family before or know very little about the subject may have a hard time imagining what the work of a homeschool teacher is really all about. Particularly the teaching part, which few ever witness because it usually takes place inside the family home.
Folks may wonder,Does mom use a lectern or chalkboard? Are lectures followed by question and answer sessions? Do homeschooled kids raise their hands to ask questions? Where do the children sit – at desks, tables, on their beds, or where?
So, what does homeschool teaching actually look like?
The truth is that homeschooling moms and dads may choose to act like “teachers” if they want to, doing all of the kinds of things that teachers do — including writing on chalkboards and asking children to raise their hands before responding to questions. Some parents enjoy this technique and their children find it fun to imitate school, only at home.
On the other hand, parents may also just continue to act like moms and dads — which isn’t a far stretch from teachers anyway since parents already “teach” all of the time. And even if moms and dads don’t look like what most people think teachers should look like, they are teachers nonetheless.
Talk to a couple dozen homeschooling parents and you’ll begin to get a pretty good idea of how the teaching is done in homeschooling households. What you’ll probably hear is that the kind of teaching depends on the subject or the activity being taught.
You’ll also hear that teaching must continually adapt to the age of a child, which methods or materials are being use and how “involved” the children want their parents to be (or need them to be). This is why, in some cases, parents sit right beside a child, ready to go over the assignment, answer any questions, or jump in and help whenever they are needed. In other cases, parents meet with their students periodically throughout the day, and then walk away in between meetings while children work independently.
It all depends on the situation.
Very young students, non-readers and students who require constant help or encouragement will need mom or dad nearby during a good part of the day.
Older students, kids doing virtual schooling, or students completing independent work (quiet reading, for instance) can be given more space.
When multiple kids or entire families school together, parents tend to stay somewhere in the center of activity, accessible to all of the children at once.
The great thing is that parents can adapt to each situation. Plus, they never have to continue something that doesn’t work the first or second time around. The changing role of the parent/teacher is all part of the personalized experience that is homeschooling.