Teacher knows best

I’ve never held myself up to be a homeschooling expert. It’s just conversation and questions and a healthy does of opinion. I’m sharing my odyssey is all – I try not to slip into evangelising. If I’ve ever held myself up to be some sort of expert I apologise – I’m so not. This is about what’s going on for me in my homeschooling world. I’ve been homeschooling less than a year and my kid is only 3. In many cultures he’s supposed to be at home. Home not schooling.

It’s been an important journey for me in a lot of ways, raising so many questions about education, parenting, womanhood and life. I have been surprised – shocked even and have had to question certain the world is flat ‘certainties’ I’ve grown up with. I would never have gone on this journey if my child had been going to school or nursery. Funny how everything suddenly becomes the teachers’ problem. Your job is just to complain if you don’t like the end result.

Last night I spent a few hours on the phone with a distressed mum who was not happy with her kid’s learning at a popular preschool here. I understood her complaints – the teaching wasn’t organised enough, not transparent enough, the facilities weren’t good enough and the head had no formal early years education. Fair dues.

We assume that the teachers know and we don’t and we can’t do it ourselves because we don’t have this special knowledge that they have and then it turns out they don’t have any special knowledge. Errrr hell yeah it’s a recipe for disappointment! What are teachers teaching when they have not had any accredited teaching/training? Are they imitating teaching as they understand it – probably informed by their own childhood? Are they enthusiastic about a particular type of teaching philosophy and following that? Perhaps they just downloaded a curriculum?

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you need any kind of teaching/training to teach YOUR OWN CHILD or even just to give one on one teaching to another child (although it would probably help) but when you are responsible for many children’s education where you can’t tailor it to the individual and you need to set a pace and manage a variety of goals then I think being educated yourself in the management of early years education is important. Otherwise the parent might as well do it themselves, right? That’s partly why I homeschool, because I’m not seeing the genius behind what many nurseries here in Nigeria do besides provide a nice forum for play, socialisation and learning. As soon as you want to tinker with their set menu – you quickly get frustrated and disappointed.

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