Friday, October 9, 2009

I Didn't Teach Him

On my walk one recent morning, I realized something that has been ruminating in my mind since.

Our Nathaniel, 13, is an American history whiz. I am not exaggerating in the least. (This wasn't the realization--that's basically established fact...)

I want to assure you, the point of this post is not "homeschooling vs. government schooling".

That said, I am so glad that he is a child who is educated at home. If he went to the government school, I would think to myself, "Wow, that history teacher must be really something!!!"

But in that respect, I'm his history "teacher", and I assure you, I am not something.

I am probably the WORST at history. And I got straight A's in high school. Well, except for a B+ in phy ed one year, but we don't really need to bring that up.

I don't understand anything about history. I couldn't tell you who the Union or Confederate generals were , couldn't tell you which president served when, no idea about any territories becoming states, etc. etc. etc.

But Nathaniel can.
You could ask him, "who was president in 1841?" And he could tell you.
You could ask him about virtually any battle and he would know the specifics.
He knows which presidents didn't have a First Lady; he knows who was president when indoor plumbing was installed in the White House.
He knows when treaties were signed and which Native American tribes were involved.
He knows all about the railroads that were built and all the trails that took people into the West. He knows when those parties met with Indian attacks and how many survived.
He knows which war tactics were common among which Indian tribes.
He knows why we went to war each time and who were America's allies and when each country entered each war and under what circumstances and who their leaders were.

I think you get my drift--he's a walking encyclopedia when it comes to history.

And I didn't teach him a lick of it.

He learned it himself! He discovered it himself and retained it himself!

That, my friends, is one of the great joys of home-educating. I cannot possibly teach my children everything they need to know. I can only facilitate their education by making sure we get books from the library and books for Christmas and books for birthdays. My children drool over books. I drool over books. Books, books, books! We love 'em.

I have said for many years, "if you can read, you can learn."

People often ask questions like, "how are you going to teach fill-in-the-blank?" Usually it's a subject like chemistry, or just high school subjects in general. It is hard to explain that my philosophy is that I don't need to teach them it, I just need to help them learn it.

I will admit that a couple years ago, it bothered me to realize that my children knew things that I hadn't taught them. I felt like they were learning better than I was teaching them, because they knew things that even I didn't know. I realize that may sound funny, but that's the best way I can put my thoughts into words on that one.

It was so freeing to arrive at this conclusion that I am talking about today!

I am so blessed that God has asked us to educate these kids at home. I get a ring-side seat to all their light bulb moments and to watch them have conversations with other kids and adults where I learn things I didn't know!

I leave you with this: Nathaniel knows how historically challenged I am. He told me the other day as we were leaving the library, "Uh, Mom? I saw that they have a book here called History for Dummies. I know that's not a very nice title, but ahhh..."

I had him go back in and check it out for me.

It's about time I learned some history.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Aunt Melissa,it's your nephew who has the letter z in his name.I don't want to publish my name on the internet.I don't really have blogs but I would have if something didn't mess up.I do have one blog but it was a test.


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