As homeschool parents, our goal is NOT to teach; our goal is for the kids to LEARN. I could have taught my kids "at grade level" and they wouldn't have learned a thing. Instead, I gave them curriculum at their ability level, and then they had to learn what they didn't already know. I believe that older teens MUST learn how to teach themselves. If our children go to college, they will be expected to learn all the textbook material on their own. College lectures are most often supplemental to the textbook - not the same content. If our children don't go to college, they will still have to teach themselves computer skills, online banking, or how to buy a car.
My kids taught themselves advanced math (pre-calculus) and calculus. They taught themselves physics
. I know they learned the material because I gave them the tests. I didn't know what the calculus symbols meant, but I knew my kids' answers matched the answers on the key! I could have taught them biology and chemistry (because I'm an RN and I know that stuff) but they taught themselves instead. It worked out better for us when they taught themselves, and I just checked up on them from time to time. Alex taught himself economics
, doing graduate level work in economic thought (we were later told by his Colege professor) while he was still in high school. He even taught himself psychology and business law, and earned fabulous grades on the college level CLEP exams in these subjects.
Here's my point: a child will teach themselves subjects they are interested in. It works out great for a kid who is working on an intensely academic, college prep curriculum as well as a kid who is in a relaxed homeschool environment. Learning is more important than teaching. I have seen SO many notes addressed to me about "getting it all done" that I just want to put in a plug for prayer and quiet time. I found that when I was consistent in adding them to my day that I could "get it all done." When I wasn't consistent, I got frustrated; either I was expecting too much, or was frustrated too easily. When I spent time with God, things went more smoothly in our homeschool. Do you think learning is more important than teaching? Please share in the comments!
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Please note: This post was originally published in November, 2007 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.