As a former teacher I have been thinking about the possibility of homeschooling my daughter. She’s only 1½ so I have some time before she’s school-aged. But of course I am already homeschooling her because I’m her mom. I am teaching her about liquids, gravity, safety, bubbles, and a million other things. Whether you work outside the home or not, you are your child’s first teacher and the homeschooling you provide will affect her for the rest of her life.
For example, I just read a fascinating article about how a mother’s reading style affects her kid’s social skills. The authors observed mothers reading to their kids (ages three to six) and found that “the use of cognitive verbs like 'think', 'know', 'remember' and 'believe' by mothers when reading picture books to their children has a beneficial effect on their children's later ability to understand other people's mental states.” In other words, kids benefit when their mothers help them understand other people’s (or characters’) perspectives. The researchers showed these kids a candy container and opened it so the kids could see that there were counters inside, not candy. Then they asked the kids to predict what another child would think was inside the container. The kids whose moms used more cognitive verbs understood that the other child didn’t have the same information about what was actually in the candy package. We read to our kids to teach them language and to encourage them to love books, and it turns out that they are learning much more.
My gift to my daughter is to make the most of this homeschooling opportunity. Our textbooks will be “Go, Dog, Go” and “Goodnight Moon.” Our field trips will be to the zoo, the park, and Nana’s house. We will conduct experiments with bubbles and light switches, and we will reinvent our classroom to suit our needs each day. I think this is what homeschooling is all about. I may never want to give it up!