A parent is, of course, a child’s first teacher. But it has always been my contention–as a public school teacher and a mother–that that job didn’t end once my children entered a formal educational setting. If anything, watching my children’s burgeoning skills has made me realize all the more that there is so much more for them to know, so much more they are capable of learning.
We have always aimed to keep things interesting for our sons–reading daily, of course, but also traveling, visiting museums, having conversations. But in the recent weeks we have added a degree of formality to what we were already doing to supplement their educations.
Every day, Monday through Thursday, for one half hour–after their homework for school is complete–Oscar and Edgar stay at the table and continue their work.
The reasons I do this–even after the technical work of the day is done–are many; but they are guided by some of my core beliefs:
- I believe in formal education but do not believe that our children’s teachers are solely responsible for their educations.
- I believe that growing up in a home that values, practices, and models learning on a daily basis can only do my children good.
- I believe the more they learn the more they want to learn.
- I believe their potential is limitless and that there is nothing they can’t do.
I am proud of the work they’re doing, of the strides they’re making, but I will neither take nor accept credit for any of their successes. Their achievement belongs to them and is a direct result of their efforts.
Children–indeed all people–rise to the expectations that are set for them. And it is my solemn promise to my children that–in word and deed–I will never underestimate what they are capable of learning.
Oscar asked me the other day if we could “do homeschooling forever.” I smiled, knowing this won’t be forever. One day soon (too soon) his–and his brothers’–knowledge will surpass my own.
But, truly, isn’t that what we want, what parenting is all about?