The First Teacher

I just spent the last few days figuring out “curriculum” and making a “school space”, but I’m not a homeschooler.

Because of this the way I spent the last few days might qualify me for being mentally unhinged, but bear with me.

I’m a big fan of the whole notion that a child’s first teacher should be his parents, but I’m not such a big fan that I feel (personal calling of course) that my husband and I are meant to be our children’s *only* teachers.  Most likely, in two years, we’ll be waving tearfully as our five and a half year old walks off for his first day of kindergarten – at the local public school – and I’m okay with that.  I believe in public (and private) education; this isn’t saying I believe every school and district is perfect, or that the system as a whole is either.  If ours was anything except what it is there’d be some reconsidering going on.

My son recently was moved up into the 4 year old room at daycare (which we use about one to two days a week).  He’s not in “preschool” yet, but he was moved up with the older kids because of his late birthday.  He’ll be starting some simple educational activities with the rest of the not-quite-preschool-age kids this week.  Since we don’t use this facility all week we want to compensate at home, but I wouldn’t call us homeschoolers.  I like to think of us as home-educators, with some school on the side and if I could keep up this kind of schedule – two or three days at school, the home educating for another three or two days at home – I would jump at the chance.

Anyways, back to the point (I think I have a point), I’m proponent of home education.  This is because I believe it is my job as a parent to inspire a love of learning and discovery, and a sense of wonder in my child.  Whether or not I’m the one teaching him ABC’s or Greek History isn’t vitally important to me, but those building blocks are.  It’s our job as a parent to inspire those interests, to show that the acquisition of knowledge is not only important, but fun.

I also believe it is our duty to be our children’s educators of the more tricky subjects of morality, character and virtue.  When I type that out it sounds like I’m training a chivalrous knight – but maybe the world needs a few more knights and few less pop-culture princes.  I believe it was the Popcak’s who got me to think about the idea that one of my goals as a parent should be that my children *want* to mimic me.  That we, as that first educator, should strive to be what our children desire to be.  That is bigger task than the ABC’s ever will.

We’re just on the tip of the proverbial iceberg – there is so much more to do, so much to observe, so much to guide and follow.  My home is officially a place of education – not only in the acquisition of knowledge, but in the seeking of goodness and truth.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

5 thoughts on “The First Teacher

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  1. Beautiful, Molly. I think you're totally right. I'm totally excited to educate my kid(s) full-time throughout most of their young lives, but I completely agree that no matter what, parents are the first teachers. And our most important subjects are definitely morality, character and virtue. And it's so valuable to always see the home as a place of learning. Outside education is just bonus.


  2. Around here there are a few homeschool/alternative school study centers where children can go for one or two days a week for extra classes but the rest of studies are done at home. Two are new within the last few years. I wonder if there is anything like that around you? Or maybe you should start one…I think you'd be GREAT at it! (Plus, if it was a paid thing like they are here, maybe you could pull a small salary from it!)


  3. Oh that would be great! I do plan on broaching the subject with our homeschool assistance program after kindergarten about that possibility – maybe I can drum up interest by then to do a trial program.

    We have good options when it comes to private school here, but only three or four charter schools in the whole state =(


  4. Yes! And I will say, I've always been of the mind that public or outside of the home education should always be suplemented at home – I just wish more school schedules allowed for this!


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