What happens when a homeschooler goes to college and becomes a teacher? Welcome to my life.
One thing I don’t think I’ve talked about on this blog is homeschooling. But having been homeschooled growing up is a part of my life. Even now that I’m in college it still affects me. Recently I was talking to one of my education department teachers and he was commenting on the number of students we have in the department who were homeschooled as children (this includes me).
He had two thoughts on this, one being: what are their classrooms going to look like? Back when this professor was a grade-school (I’m guessing) teacher he gave a spelling test every Friday, not because a professor in one of his teacher education classes had told him to do so but because growing up he’d had a spelling test every Friday. It was a normal part of his routine. So what about the teacher who hasn’t had much experience with such routines? The teacher who has barely even set foot in a school before she starts student teaching? How will she know what to do when it comes to such things?
Honestly, I can’t answer this. I can guess what I would do, maybe even what other homeschoolers would do. But that’s all it would be, a guess.
I can say that I think it would depend very much on the level of structure and routine one had as a homeschooled student, or at least how much routine your parent tried to enforce. There’s probably homeschoolers who did have spelling tests every Friday. But there’s probably plenty who didn’t. In my family we didn’t have to raise our hand to go to the bathroom; we didn’t say the pledge of allegiance every morning, or sit calmly in uncomfortable seats attached to desks or any of that.
As my professor went on all I could think was: yes, that’s why classroom will be so awesome. My classroom is going to be child-centered. This professor happens to be the one teaching my intro to special ed class, he worked in special ed himself for many years. So one thing he knew I could understand is differentiated instruction. In homeschooling it’s all differentiated instruction, a lot of what is taught is tailored to that particular child in lots of situations. I admit differentiated instruction will certainly be hard with 20-30 little ones clamoring around but having been homeschooled I recognize the value of it.
Again, this is a guess. There’s plenty I’ve learned in just my one and a half education classes that has taught me so much and changed or enhanced a lot of my thinking and my behavior towards children. Yet I think child-centered is something I won’t ever forget, something we can all agree is important, something so ingrained and integral that I won’t believe you if you tell me it doesn’t matter. I know it does. Homeschooling has showed me that.
In the end, routines, though beneficial, are not necessarily what make teachers great. Rather, a great teacher genuinely cares for his or her students, just like any homeschool parent does.