Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teaching Yourself

Some people think that high-schoolers should be able to teach themselves. They say that homeschooled kids should be trained to read and study and digest information so that, by the time they are 12-16, they will have become quite adept at doing their schoolwork without involvement from Mom.

That happens for some kids. Especially when they are highly motivated to absorb that particular type of information. But what happens when they want to do their schoolwork and do it well, but aren't particularly interested in the topic for its own sake?

What's so bad about needing a teacher? Is a kid a failure because he can't set up an educational program for himself and figure out the material from a book or video? Don't a lot of homeschooled kids take college classes in their teen years? Why? Because sometimes it's just plain easier to learn to use lab equipment or to understand the causes of the Spanish-American War or to repair a lawnmower engine when you've got somebody to teach you. Isn't that why we have colleges? It's easier to master the material when a master is helping to explain it and make it clear.

I don't think it's bad (or selfish or untrusting) of a teacher to think that her students would be better off if they were taught instead of trying to figure things out on their own.


  1. No, it's not. We ALL need teachers, 12-16 or 40-99. We can't possibly know everything, but some things others know and can teach us. I love learning, but I am certain I would not be motivated to learn "on my own" about the Spanish-American war.

  2. YES!

    And besides, they're still KIDS and not ADULTS and don't think like ones. They still need to be told what to do and when and why and often the same thing over and over and over and over and over.

    So when will this sink into my thick skull so I stop EXPECTING mine to act like responsible adults and get their work done? Hmmmm?

  3. I think a child can "teach himself" if he's soinclined, if Mom is too frustrated w/ his recalcitrance and wants him to make or break it on his own and therefore learn a lesson.

    I also don't think there's anything AT ALL wrong with the teen having a teacher like you describe.

    It's good to have options. Both ways work.