Tuesday, October 7, 2008

To Teach or Not To Teach

Or in other words, The Role of the Homeschooling Parent....

As I have stated numerous times before, I do not consider myself a teacher and don't consider what I do "teaching". Instead I look at my roll in this journey as a 'facilitator'. I am there to guide.

The way I look at it, a teacher is a person that imparts information to their student or students. A teacher studies a subject, learns all they can about it and then instructs others in what they have learned.

This is not what I do. My job is to make sure that my children have the tools and means to learn and accomplish whatever it is they desire and to do so for themselves. A teacher is not required for learning. People learn things all of the time without the benefit (or hindrance, depending on how you look at it) of a teacher.

For an example, let's look at Drake's current topic of choice. He is all about Greek Mythology right now.

So, if I was a teacher I would spend the next few weeks studying and learning everything I could about Greek Mythology. Then I would sit Drake down and tell him everything I learned. After that, assuming he was still interested, we would try to fit in a project or create some artwork. If there was time, assuming there was some lingering amount of interest, we would take a field trip. That all sounds good except for the fact I have made Drake wait two weeks for information he craves right now. Heck, who knows what he will be interested in two weeks from now!!! This is passive learning. Delayed passive learning at that!

However, as a facilitator we would probably skip straight to the projects, art and field trips. We would keep the interest piqued while hunting down every book we can find. We would learn as we go. Drake would read everything he could on Greek Mythology and tell me about what he learned. In essence, Drake becomes the teacher and I, the pupil. Drake has an active role in his learning.

A passive learner retains only a small percentage of the information they are given. When the child takes an active role in learning, then information is internalized, assimilated and understood in a manor no amount of 'teaching' can match.

So to answer the question, to teach or not to teach...

I chose NOT.

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