I have a confession to make. I am a TERRIBLE teacher. My parents were both teachers at various points in their lives, so you would think that lesson planning and stern disciplinary measures would be somehow engrained in my psyche, but I’m afraid I must have been absent the day they handed out overhead projectors in heaven. Writing on a chalkboard gives me a feeling much akin to watching people bite off their toenails with their teeth. The smell of rubber cement makes me unusually nauseated. And talking in front of a crowd…well…let’s just say the last time that happened willingly I was sitting in my high chair in a local Denny’s reciting the lyrics to Old MacDonald.
So what in the heck am I doing homeschooling two defenseless children?? Oh, if I had an Itunes download for every time I have asked myself that question over the years. The truth is that homeschooling was about the furthest thing from my mind when Uber was ready to sign up for kindergarten. But fate stepped in, and gave our precious little guy a life-threatening illness that turned our life upside down. His immune system was pretty shot for a while and so homeschooling was about the only option we had. That, or one of those weirdo bubbles John Travolta used in that 70’s movie.
So we embarked on our homeschooling journey, my hands trembling at the idea of my impressionable little guy looking to me to teach him about the world. I mean I figured I could get a few months out of 80’s trivia and the abridged history of U2, but then what? What more did I have to offer? I sought help in all the normal places, of course. Homeschooling guides, curriculum publishers, the web. I ordered homeschool materials, and they arrived in all their bland, insipid glory. We pulled the stuff from the box, and shudders went down my spine. But I was determined to meet this challenge. I would learn to write with red ink and talk in a monotone. I would stock up on manilla folders, and finally memorize all the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. I was going to be the best darn homeschooling mom the world had ever seen!
Until I realized I couldn’t teach. Thank God, some people just have this wonderful ability to impart knowledge to others. Their words inspire us to be curious – – even excited– about learning. My words inspire my children to see how many pieces of lint have gathered in their belly buttons since their last bath. Our homeschooling journey might well have been a short one if I hadn’t discovered that I do have an innate talent of sorts. You could almost say I have educational technology radar. Over time, I have discovered that there is almost no subject that can’t be taught with the right amount of electricity and a good DSL connection.
Want to learn about punctuation? Punctuation Power software is ready to teach you every mark you will ever need to make smiley faces in your emails. Don’t understand diagramming? Use this Power Point site to help you understand why it is that the participle goes under the subject (it will not, however, help you figure out why you are forced to learn something you will never, ever use in your life again – – sorry). Need to dissect a frog, but the smell of formaldehyde makes your stomach go on strike? Dig into Kermie virtually– – with your mouse!
I have yet to discover a topic that we couldn’t tackle the techie way. Teaching is way overrated, if you ask me. I think it even gets in the way of learning, sometimes. We have made this homeschooling adventure work because we love the electronic information age. In our house, my boys have learned that if you want to know something…you don’t go to mom for it. You look it up on Wikipedia. Unless you need to know Tootie’s real name on the Facts of Life or which came first – – Atari or Intellivision. In that case, pull up a desk…this class is now in session.