We’re often asked how long we’ll home educate our children for. It will be fairly straight forward, people seem to feel, while they’re little. But the older they get the more complex and demanding their educational needs will become, and at that point – surely! – we’ll be handing them over to a school.
Serious mathematics. Deep historical analysis. Foundational chemistry and physics. These things go beyond the normal skill set of a parent, and it would be negligent of us to try and teach our children subjects we’re not masters of.
But there’s something rather curious about that position – if I went to high school (I did), and if I studied mathematics, history, chemistry and physics through to the end of my schooling days (I did), why am I not equipped to pass at least some of that on to someone else?
Perhaps the teaching was ineffective. Or maybe I was just a poor learner.
Whatever the reason, I can honestly say I can’t teach my children things like trigonometry and molecular theory. I simply can’t remember enough about any of it. Neither can my wife, who was also taught those things at school.
But it is not relentlessly presenting information that ensures learning, it is that the learner is ready for it. That they are interested at the time. That they are in the right headspace. That they can slow down if they’re not fully understanding things. That they can connect it to the world around them so it has meaningful context. That they are free to learn in their own way, in their own space, in their own time.
It is not our children’s age that impacts our ability to teach them. It is knowing who they are and what makes them tick. It is knowing when to push forward on something and when to peg it back. It is knowing how they will best receive information and making sure they know when and how to find it when they’re ready.
It is that beautiful synergy between a child ready to discover more about the world and a parent in tune with when to open the right doors so they can.
That we can do. That we are qualified for.