Don’t Be a Teacher

One day I was extremely frustrated with homeschooling. For weeks my children had been consumed with 'getting done' with school so that they could play. My children were impatient when I tried to explain things to them. They didn’t want to play any learning games or do educational activities. They just wanted me to help them put the right answers on the spaces and call it a day.

So I decided to call their bluff. I said, 'What if we just copy the answers from the teacher’s manuals into your workbooks. It’s much faster that way, and I won’t have to bother you with learning anything at all.'

My children looked at me with horrified expressions. One said, 'Mom, that’s not fair!' Another said, 'That’s not right!' They all said, 'No, Mommy, we want to LEARN!'

I’m convinced that all children want to learn. Learning is interesting, challenging, worthwhile, and fun! But the problem with learning is that school gets in the way sometimes. Too often we get tied up in our curriculum and being a teacher and forget that our goal is learning.

In my classroom I had this poster, 'Your teacher’s goal is to help you attain yours.' Have you asked you children what their learning goals are? You would be surprised at their answers. I begin each school year asking that question.

When my son was in the first grade, I asked him, 'What would like to learn about this year?' He said, 'Rocks, bugs, and guns.' Do you know how much science you can do with rocks and bugs? Do you realize how much history you can cover when you learn about guns? In the third grade one of my daughter’s goals was to read all the American Girl books. It became my goal to help her accomplish this. This year, one daughter wanted to take geometry and algebra II at the same time. I’m helping her make that happen.

It’s important not to be a teacher, but a facilitator. All children want to learn. All children want to be prepared to fulfill their dreams. To have a parent who loves them enough to make their future secure is a much higher calling than teacher.

We aren’t the only ones dreaming. Only God can dream dreams so amazing that they are beyond our comprehension. He can turn our fears into confidence. He can turn our weakness into strength. He can turn our foolishness into wisdom. He can take our bumbling failures and create a resounding success. Even if you feel inadequate and unprepared, He is asking you to trust in His sufficiency.

Put you trust fully in God. Teach your children to answer their own questions, to set and meet their own goals, and to become the godly person He desires. Then high school will be the bittersweet joy it is supposed to be and you won’t have to worry about those pesky nightmares anymore.

Lori M. Henry is married to a very supportive husband and is mom to three terrific teenagers. She has homeschooled her children since kindergarten and graduated her eldest in May 2004. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and has taught in many settings from public and private school classrooms, to homeschool co-ops, to one-on-one instruction at home. Her articles can be found in Christian Woman, The Gospel Advocate and Guideposts for Kids on the Web. You can reach Lori at realmom007@yahoo.com.