Our Child’s First Teacher

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Categories Education, Parenting, Preschoolers

On my blog I have recently begun a series called “Thinking about Homeschooling.”  My twins, my oldest kids, are only three; but, after reading, thinking, and praying about schooling for my kids, my husband and I feel like we should very really consider homeschooling our kids. The good news is we have two years to officially decide if that is the route we want to go.  Hence the series.  In the meantime, however, I am reminded that we, as parents, are our child’s first teacher.

As our girls are now three and preschool-aged, we decided we would try to put them into preschool of some type.  We asked around where we could enroll them, how much people were paying, etc, and realized there was no way we could afford  for our two kids to go preschool.  It would easily cost us around $200 for our two kids to attend two days a week (much more for three days).  We are on a very limited budget at the moment (one family income and living off student loans), so this is just not an option for us.

Fortunately, some other parents of three year-olds from church were interested in doing a group preschool.  We decided to meet for two hours once a week for the school year.  And so far we’ve only had two lessons.  And I taught the first one. (You can see my lesson HERE)  And I loved teaching it!  (I was once upon a time in the Art Education program at BYU, but switched to a Studio Arts emphasis.)

Only having preschool once a week isn’t exactly what I wanted (I would love to meet twice a week), but all of us have other children, and one mother is in school.  But, I’m thankful for having a group to meet with.  It means I’m only in charge once a month!  I feel like preschool will give me a small taste of what homeschooling might be like as I plan lessons and activities for the kids.

But, the kids in this little homeschool preschool group of ours are at different levels academically.  My kids are pretty bright and already know their alphabet and numbers, though they can’t read yet.  And then there’s all sorts of preschool things that they don’t know how to do yet, like tie their shoes, tell time, use a calendar, and so on.

So, in between preschool sessions, I am planning on doing some additional teaching at home. I am a stay-at-home mom and have the wonderful opportunity of being able to do whatever I want to do with them.  I see trips to the library, the children’s museum, parks, art museums, and more in our future.  I want to expose my children to all kinds of learning.

But, the greatest learning will take place within my home.  Because, we, as moms and dads, as parents, are our child’s first teacher.  Our children learn love, patience, language, manners, etiquette, foods, service, potty training, joy, and fun at our doing.  So, regardless of whether or not you work full-time, part-time, or stay-at-home; whether your children are in school, not in school, go to preschool twice or three times a week, or you homeschool; you need to remember that you are your child’s first teacher, and probably their best teacher.  You may not be able to teach them all the math, science, English, or history that you think they should know (and that the state requires), but you can most importantly teach them about how to be a part of a family, community, and faith.  We can teach them how to cook, clean, believe, share, love, show affection, work out frustrations, work hard, and more.  We have such a wonderful influence over our children!  So, let’s remember our responsibility to teach our children good things this school year.

So, as your child heads back to school in whatever capacity, remember that you are still your child’s first teacher, and most likely their very best teacher as well.

ldskatelyn lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three kids – 3yo g/g twins and 5mo baby boy.  She adores her children and her husband and her simple life.  She is looking forward to the next time she’ll be in charge of her homeschool preschool group. She writes about her life and the things she enjoys over at What’s up Fagans?

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Katelyn is a stay-at-home mom to three year old fraternal twin girls, Lisa and Alison, and a brand new baby boy, named Michael. She is enjoying having a newborn again and also loving the dynamics (so far) of having kids of different ages. When Katelyn isn’t playing or taking care of her kids, she’s often reading a book, blogging, watching a movie, or taking care of business. She’s also a talented artist, a Sunday School teacher to a group of 6-year old kids, a supportive spouse to her graduate student/math teacher husband, and a musician. She works hard to have a clean house, great preschoolers, and a happy home. She shares bits of advice and much of her life over at her personal blog What’s up Fagan’s?

3 thoughts on “Our Child’s First Teacher”

  1. Katelyn, your point is such a valuable one. I think that we, as a culture, too often expect school and teachers to raise our children for us. That’s not their role. I send my girls to school to learn to interact with their peers and to be challenged in ways that I cannot or do not challenge them at home. But pursuing their individual interests, teaching them morality, good decision-making, financial literacy, generosity and the value of community, that all falls to me. I’m very fortunate that those are all things that their teacher also values, but her job is to teach them academics and maintain order in the classroom. Raising the kids is my job.

    1. Thanks Sadia! I was hoping to remind all of us of that. It is SO easy to want to leave all the learning to others, but we really are so so important in our child’s learning!

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