Why I’m Not a Good Homeschooling Teacher

Everyone thinks I homeschool my fourteen-year-old daughter, Charlotte. I don’t. She homeschools herself.

I try to help her:

“Charlotte, I have a new book we’re just about to start reading. What you like to join us?”

“No thanks, Mum. I have something else planned.”

“Charlotte we’re going to watch this DVD. Do you want to watch too?”

“Not right now, thank you Mum. I’m in the middle of something else.”

So Sophie, Gemma-Rose and I settle on the sofa together and enjoy learning without her. Charlotte disappears into her bedroom, her mind busy with her own activities.

We meet up again at lunchtime. “What did you do this morning?” I ask.

My middle daughter puts down her mug of tea. Her face lights up as she shares some of her morning’s discoveries.

“Don’t you ever get fed up working on your own?”  I ask.

“No,” Charlotte replies. “I’ve got too many interesting things to do to get bored and fed up.”

After lunch, I pull out the records book I am required to keep for our homeschooling registration. “You’d better tell me again exactly what you did this morning, Charlotte. I need to record everything in my book.”

“I watched a video on Germanium. Did you know…”

A few minutes later, she moves onto the next item. “Then there’s maths. I beat Imogen’s score on that Pinata game.” Charlotte grins with delight. Obviously, there’s some sisterly rivalry going on.

“I’m reading about Catholicism and the New World. Did you know…  And I read some more of Through Shakespeare’s Eyes. I’m also reading Villette. Then I did some Latin. I had a problem but I sorted it out. I’ve nearly finished the course! Oh yes, I’m planning another chemistry lesson for the girls…”

I am scribbling at a furious rate.  Then I have a brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of it sooner? I grab a new exercise book from the shelf and thrust it at Charlotte. “It would be much easier if you kept your own records book. You know exactly what you’re doing. Just write it all down.”

“Ok!” Charlotte seems to like this idea. I like it too. It will be easier. But is it good I have less to do? Soon Charlotte won’t need me at all.

I think of the fun we used to have, learning together. Times have changed. Charlotte and Imogen have charged off on their own learning adventures without me. Yes, they still like to join me and the younger girls when we are doing something that sounds particularly exciting like watching a Shakespeare play or driving to the lake or going for a run. But really, they are independent. They have their own ideas and don’t need me anymore.

“You don’t need your mother to homeschool you any longer,” I tell Charlotte with a sigh.

She puts her arms around me and hugs me close. “I do need you, Mum. Actually, I need some new suggestions. I’ve read all those books you found for me. I want to know more about…”

Yes, Charlotte does need me. She needs me to search for all those wonderful books and other resources which keep her enquiring mind satisfied. I open the computer and start looking.

“Bring me your Kindle,” I shout some time later. “I’ve found some great books and a wonderful website about history and Shakespeare. I’ll email you the link.”

Charlotte appears with a grin. She can’t wait to look at what I’ve found.

Am I a good homeschool teacher? No. I don’t really teach. I just find interesting things to engage my girls’ interest and step out of the way. They do the rest.  But is that enough?

I guess we all have doubts at some time. Are our children learning all they need to know? Will they really be prepared, when it’s time to move on from homeschooling, to study at a tertiary level?  Just to be sure, shouldn’t I structure my children’s curriculum in the last year or so? Shouldn’t I insist Charlotte and Imogen need me to direct them?

No. Sadly I am aware they don’t need such help from me. Sadly? I’m not really sad. That’s just the mother in me talking. Instead, I am very excited. Children really do learn what they need to know. They can be trusted.

“So what are you going to do this afternoon?” I ask Charlotte.

“I will practice the piano. Then I’m going to bake some muffins. After that, I’m going to work on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel…”

It looks like Charlotte has it all planned out. Imogen is busy too and Sophie and Gemma-Rose have just disappeared out the door into the garden. It seems no one needs me this afternoon. Sad? No. I am happy. I have a couple of hours all to myself.

I think I will write…I think I will write about why I am not a good homeschooling teacher.


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    • Amy R
    • November 4, 2012

    I can't believe NO ONE has commented!!! Just reading the title, "Why I'm not a Good Homeschooling Teacher", got me giggling.

    P.S. I loved Villette.

    1. Reply


      I bet readers get the wrong idea when they read the title of this post! Maybe they expect something like… confessions of an awful homeschooling mother??? Well, it's just as well the girls are so independent, I probably wouldn't cope if I had to teach them everything.

      I imported this post from my other blog. It's been buried here for a while. Maybe no one saw it before. Or maybe no one wanted to stop and comment. I find that sometimes. People read but not everyone stops to say hello. I am glad you stopped though. I always love chatting to you on my blog and elsewhere!

      Thank you, Amy!

      God bless.

    2. Reply


      I forgot about Vilette. Charlotte said she enjoyed it but found it a bit anti-Catholic… the attitude of one of the characters, perhaps? I haven't read the book so I can't comment. What do you think?

    • Anonymous
    • December 22, 2012

    Dear Sue. I was just feeding Beatrice to sleep and stopped by here via Leoni's blog. As ever, it is a treat to read your inspiring, gentle, kind, beautiful words. It's windy and wet here in Ireland, and dark now. It's amazing to think of you in hot Aussieland! Wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Christmas. Much love, Anna xxxx

    1. Reply


      I am so pleased to see you here on my blog. Thank you for stopping by and saying hello!

      I hope all is well with you and your family. No doubt you are enjoying little Beatrice. I often think about you in Ireland. I have this vision of you gently parenting your children in your beautiful country (I visited Ireland many years ago and decided it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world). I must be cold at your place at the moment. We've had some hot weather but some cool rainy days too which I love! Such a relief from the heat.

      Thank you for your Christmas greetings. I hope you have a very blessed Christmas. May it be full of love and many special moments. And may God bless you! Sending you a hug and lots of love!

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