The Four Roles of a Homeschool Parent (and none of them are Teacher)

Photo credit: deathtothestockphoto.com

Traditional school teachers tend to be focused on ways to transfer knowledge from the curriculum to the student.  This is the dynamic we have all grown up with, and our society accepts it as the best learning method.

Homeschoolers are asking, "How do I encourage my child to take ownership of their education, develop learning goals, and design their lives so they can reach their objectives?"

As you organize and plan for your homeschool, this question will guide all your choices. Even though the goal is for students to be self-motivated and independent, you still have an important role in your child's education.  

As a matter of fact, Homeschool Parent, you have four important roles in your child's education. 

You are a Learning Coach.  

Coaches create time for learning new skills and practicing existing ones. They evaluate progress and offer feedback. They find the weaknesses the students need to focus on, and put them in the position of exercising their strengths. They encourage and inspire when things get difficult and students are feeling weary. They encourage teamwork and give students opportunities to collaborate with others to meet their learning goals. 

You are a Tutor.  

A Tutor provides an individualized learning environment so education is personalized for the student. They do not take over, but are there to assist when the student asks for help so students can continue to navigate through ideas and information unhindered. Tutors do not disseminate information, but instead ask open-ended and leading questions to spark inquiry. Tutors are like academic training wheels, and they can give needed balance and stability so students grow in confidence. 

Photo Credit: deathtothestockphoto.com

You are a Mentor. 

Mentors are all about The Big Picture. They aren't so focused on the acquisition of information, but on how information can be applied in the real world. Mentors listen carefully to their students, discuss the child's goals and ambitions, and help them further develop their education and career strategy. They have a meaningful relationship with the student built on respect, communication, and trust, and because of this can provide needed accountability.  Mentors nurture the whole student, acting as a role model of good character, expecting their child to exhibit honesty, courage, perseverance, kindness, and a work ethic.  

You are a Coordinator. 

The availability of educational resources has exploded, from the local public library to homeschool catalogs to the internet. A Coordinator sifts through the overwhelming number of options and coordinates with the student to make the best choices for their learning preferences and education goals. A Coordinator sometimes has to be creative when there isn't an easy answer for a particular need, and can guide the student to unconventional solutions. They can spot problems in the learning process and assist the student in troubleshooting and making necessary changes. The Coordinator aids the student in creating and maintaining the schedules and programs that support and enhance the homeschool environment and experience.

This obviously answers the question, "How can you homeschool if you are not a qualified teacher?" We can homeschool because we are not teachers. We don't need to stand in front of a class of thirty kids and try to get them all on the same level and lesson plan page by Test Day. We don't have to possess an expertise in a certain subject area, because we can find the resources our students need for any area of complex or specialized knowledge. Of course, if we are proficient in a subject area or have a particular skill, it's a joy to be able to pass that along to our children.

However, we recognize that our children need to take responsibility for their own education. We can be their coach, their tutor, their mentor, and we can coordinate time and resources so our child receives a quality education suited to their academic and career goals.

Do you see a role for yourself as homeschool parent not mentioned here? Share your questions and suggestions in the comments below -