501 Life Magazine | ‘Read, read, read’
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‘Read, read, read’

by Brittany Gilbert

When it comes to our children’s education, it’s easy to feel unqualified. For some reason, we think that other people are better equipped to teach our kids, and it’s just not true. The truth is, you are your child’s first and best teacher. You are more than qualified to teach your child. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have an education degree or formal training in teaching children. 

It also doesn’t matter whether your child is in public school, homeschool, private school, etc. The most equipped student is one who is supported and taught at home, in addition to wherever their primary source of education comes from. It requires work on the parent or guardian’s part, but it is well worth it.

Canaan Gilbert checks out a book.

Read to and with your children

I’ll never forget when our first child was barely 2, I called a local homeschool hero. Everyone had recommended her when it came to learning how to teach your kids at home. I asked her when I needed to start putting my child in a program and what else I needed to do. She said, “Read, read, read.” She elaborated, “Sit your child in your lap and read to him as much and as often as you can because it makes a world of difference.” 

No matter their age, reading is a huge opportunity to engage with your children and help them grow. When they’re little, you read to them. When they’re learning to read, you take turns reading with them, and when they’re older and reading proficiently, you can help them get engaged in books that will interest them. 

Spend time when they’re learning 

It’s really lonely to be isolated away from your family because you’re working on homework. There have even been studies that show kids do a lot better in math when they’re in a more social setting as opposed to being shut up in their room to work in private. Some personalities will differ, but kids can be given an opportunity to sit at the kitchen bar, or parents can sit at the table and read or do their work while their student is doing school work. 

Remember that your child will hear your voice in their head. So when you act out of frustration or are quick to yell at your child because they are forgetting something or not doing their work how you think they should, that voice is what they will hear whenever they mess up. 

Instead, you can practice patience and encourage your kids. Remind them how smart and hardworking they are, even if it doesn’t seem like they are working very hard at the time.

Be their advocate

If they are receiving education outside of the home, know exactly what’s going on. As a former teacher, I can promise you that teachers love when the parents know what’s going on and are supporting their children. It takes a village. 

If you are home with your children and are their main teacher, it’s OK if you’re learning right along with them. To be honest, as a homeschool mom, I am excited about all of the things I will learn with my kids. There are so many things I know that I missed or didn’t learn the right way the first time, so although it will be a challenge, we will all make it through — together.

 

Brittany Gilbert

Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have three children and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at b.gilbert37@gmail.com.