It is not necessary to take children to a teacher for piano or to take your dog to a class for obedience. Try both at home like everything else.

A Biblical Home Education, Ruth Beechick

Teach them how to teach themselves.

This concept is a wonderful key in a homeschooling environment.  There isn’t anything a child cannot teach himself with the aid of an interested mentor.  And he is guaranteed to learn more, retain more, and move farther along by doing so.  Many home-educated children have taught themselves (and become very proficient at) Latin, certain types of math, art skills, music skills, and countless and varied interests — all with a loving mentor on hand to encourage, inspire, and provide the necessary resources.

Yes, there are probably prodigies who, depending on where they want to go with their skill, may be well-served to learn under a well-trained mentor.  But never forget, a student will never be above his teacher.  There is always a limit to this type of usefulness, no matter what the field of interest.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you “try it at home.”

  • Keep an open eye.
    As a mentor you need to know where your student is, address the challenges he faces, and show him what he needs to do to to keep moving forward.
  • Provide useful resources.
    Books, kits, tools, and whatever else may be required are like tinder that fuels the fire and propels the student forward.
  • Provide time.
    Your child will need time — lots of it! — to dig in.  He will also need one-on-one time with you on occasion.
  • Help him become a researcher.
    He will need to learn how to find what he needs to know.  Help him learn to ask the right questions.  Depending on his age, turning him loose on the Internet will not be an option for most families. You can always print off information from carefully-selected sites.

The freedom to pursue an interest unimpeded and develop a skill is one of the best gifts a homeschool mom can give her child.

Researchers watched for two years as the children creatively advanced in their drawing skills.  Then half the children received ten lessons on drawing something restrictively just the way the teacher told them to.  They copied or traced drawings, followed teacher instructions line by line, or colored ready-made drawings.  After the ten lessons all children, about six years old by then, took a field trip to a fire station.  Back at school, they could make drawings of anything they wanted to from their trip.  The “creative” children tried to depict a fire truck or something that impressed them on the trip, some more readily and more successfully than others.  Children with the “restrictive” lessons drew flowers, trees, and other items that they had been taught in the ten lessons.

Overwhelming evidence is on the side of letting young children develop their art awareness naturally.

A Biblical Home Education, Ruth Beechick

There are always online courses (many free), real or virtual tutors, self-instructing curriculum, or homeschool co-ops for those who are faint of heart.  But first — try it at home!

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