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Hard Teachers, Easy Teachers, and Homeschooling

Hard Teachers, Easy Teachers, and Homeschooling

A recent conversation had me thinking.  A mom of a teenaged boy in public school told her son that it was important for him to have hard teachers so he would know how to deal with a difficult boss.  That led me to wonder.

What experience are my children having?  How will it prepare them or not prepare them for life?

While I don’t necessarily agree that having a difficult teacher prepares you for a difficult boss, I do agree that learning to handle difficult things prepares a child to handle difficult things in the future.

Then I remembered…

My kids don’t get to slide.  They don’t get an easy teacher.  If they don’t do the work, I know.  If things are too easy, we adjust to make them more appropriate.  There have been great hurdles.  There has been “blood, sweat, and tears” from time to time where my children needed to put in great effort in order to achieve success in a task.

Just the other day my 6 year old encountered something quite difficult in her schooling.  She started to tell me that it was too hard and she couldn’t do it.  I took her little face in my hands, gave her a hug, and told her that hard was good.  It was good for her to do hard things.  She discovered that this task was hard for her older siblings too and then she gave it her best.  Later she admitted that difficult things are more interesting than easy things.

While we are relaxed in many areas of schooling, I don’t equate that with being an easy teacher.  When I had an easy teacher it typically meant that there was little effort needed in the class.  At the same time there was little that I got out of it.  Relaxed homeschooling often goes hand in hand with engagement.  When a child is engaged, learning happens and learning sticks.

I think some outside of homeschooling may see homeschooling as an easy path for the child where the child doesn’t have the experience of learning to deal with difficult tasks.  I disagree.  Homeschooling allows for challenge.  Teachers tend to teach to the middle, but homeschoolers teach to the child and can adjust the difficulty level to match the child.

While my children may not have experienced the stereotypical hard teacher, they have also not experienced the all-too-common situation in schools where the focus is on the final grade rather than learning.  My kids have faced challenge, but have not normalized completing a class where little has been learned.  In homeschooling, we progress when something is learned.  There is no sliding.  There is learning.

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