29: Principal and Teacher
Dear Principal of the School Meeting in Your Home,
My wife and I home educated our four sons over a period of twenty-one years. Our first son began formal education in 1985 and our fourth son graduated in 2005. Most of the daily instruction was done by Sandra. I helped teach the math, and added my input to other subjects when I could, but Sandra did the heavy lifting.
I viewed my position as the principal or administrator of our home. I was available for curriculum decisions, perhaps some discipline, and for consultation. But my main job was to make sure the on-the-job teacher was supported and doing well.
Here are a few questions for the principal, that may help prime the pump:
- What is the state of your school? How are the students progressing?
- How is your teacher? Does she feel supported?
- Does she have enough money for curriculum? Are the students obeying her and treating her with respect?
- Is the school achieving your goals and measuring up to your expectations?
I hope this picture of Dad as principal and Mom as day-to-day instructor helps you. But regardless of how your home school operates, here are a few essential ingredients for a successful home education experience.
- Be on the same page. Both parents are responsible for the training of the children God has entrusted to you. Spend some time to identify your goals and objectives for your children.Some of these may be as broad as teaching them the word of God. Others may be more specific, such as teaching the six year old how to read and the eight year old how to memorize his multiplication facts. Other goals may be more geared to character development such as treating each other with respect or being honest.If parents can get away, even for an evening, to plan and discuss the coming year, all will benefit. And if you can, write down your objectives for the coming year and refer back to them periodically, perhaps each month or every other week. Seek God together as to His plans for your home and what is on His heart for your family.
- Protect your teacher and watch for symptoms of burn out. Good teachers have a tendency to do too much. A diligent principal will monitor his prized instructor and help her to have the yoke that comes from Jesus.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 If the day-to-day activities are becoming overwhelming, pray and search together for the yoke that is doable and the burden that is light.
- Help each other to stay the course and evaluate what things are in line with your vision for your children and family. There are a lot of good activities to choose from. Choose wisely which things are of God for this season of your life, and which are a burden, and though good, may need to be let go.
- Recognize that each of you as parents have unique strengths and capabilities. You are a team. Think of yourselves as participants in a three-legged race. Working together produces the best results.
- My wife needed a short period of time each day, just for her. She explained to the boys that after lunch she would be putting on a red hat. This hat signified that she was not to be approached or disturbed, except for emergencies. She needed that time to recharge her batteries. Find out what your teacher needs and make a plan for regular seasons of refreshing.Perhaps she needs a night out with her girl friends. Perhaps she needs a date with you. Parenting is a long race and we need wisdom to see how to run this race well, and how to build one another up.
I hope these insights have been helpful to you. If you have strategies that have worked for your home, please send them along.
Have a Blessed Autumn,