A New Year’s Round
Ring it in ring in the new year
Bells are ringing bells are ringing
Peace and love throughout the new year
Joy! Joy! Joy!
~from The Runaway Christmas Tree by Christine Lavin
The New Year is upon us and it is time to start anew! The New Year presents opportunities for all of us. Our families have been created and have evolved, our parenting roles have been established, and our experiences as a home teacher have provided a new sense of personal growth and commitment.
Being a home teacher may be your first “formal” teaching experience. However, informally, you have been “teaching” your children from the very beginning: to walk, talk, dress themselves, ride a two-wheeler, etc. The list goes on and on, and you will continue to do so for the entirety of their lives. As your children learn, you may find yourself also learning more and more about how to successfully and creatively combine the role of parent and teacher. Most of us already feel comfortable with this arrangement, however, because much of our parenting has included a natural and innate form of teaching.
Your own unique and invaluable approach to the art of teaching unfolds more each and every day as you deepen your role as loving parent and guiding teacher. Oak Meadow’s many years of working with teachers and parents-as-teachers have produced some invaluable guidelines that may also enrich your individual approach to the teaching process.
A former Oak Meadow teacher, Ellen Hall, shared these guidelines below:
Clear your time and space. How many great discoveries have been lost to a phone ringing? How many carefully set moods and wonderful stories have been interrupted by the doorbell? Once I began turning off the phone for that special hour or two and leaving a note on the door, the sense of completion and fulfillment was very satisfying. If you have younger children who tend to distract attention from focused learning, plan this time around their naps. Even twenty minutes of uninterrupted time is a great start.
Become comfortable with each other. Talk or joke a little with your child during the lessons; open up to each other.
Start with something simple and familiar. Start by doing something with your child that is done well, so that your child can experience validation of the innate intelligence within. Critical comments in the beginning only lessen the enjoyment. The constructive criticism can come later when the confidence is solidified.
Introduce new material. Be sensitive to the skill level in the subject you are introducing. Introduce the new material as clearly as possible in its entirety. If there is interest shown, capitalize on that by breaking the process up into parts.
As you begin to put these guidelines into practice, the most important fact to remember is that the overriding consideration is always the need of the student. This should never be lost to the form suggested. In other words, what helps the student in learning should be the primary focus, whether it fits the guidelines suggested above or not.
In this New Year, I wish you more personal fulfillment and satisfaction in your teaching endeavors. So, ring in the New Year with Peace and Love, and may you have JOY! JOY! JOY!