A few days ago, someone asked me if I used to be a teacher. She had been looking through the blog at some of our learning activities and wondered how I came up with some of the ideas. Since I get this question from time to time, I gave my standard reply,
No. I'm just a parent
She gave me a look and replied
Of course you are not 'just' a parent.
That caught me off guard because you know what? I totally agree with her. Of course I don't even believe there is any such role as "just" a parent. I would never ever tell someone they are "just" a parent. So why was I guilty of denigrating myself (and as a consequence all other parents who don't have a formal teaching background)?
Well. We won't go into the psychology of that. I'm sure it will be all too depressing. Suffice it to say, I'm no longer going to answer with "I'm just a parent."
I'm not sure exactly how I'll respond. It's true I'm not a formal teacher, a librarian or a literacy specialist. Other than teaching theater to university students, my experience is only with my kids, but I have a learned a lot about how to help them grow in their own educational journey.
...and truthfully, I've done most of it with little effort on my part. I could never homeschool, because I am basically too lazy. Yes, I make it look all pretty and shiny for the blog, but I can honestly tell you, I am not a high achiever when it comes to kids' activities.
However, looking through our arsenal of at-home learning activities I see that I am fully qualified to have fun learning with my kids.
I may not have had a science class since "Astronomy for Poets" way back in 1991, but I can ....
- Run an informal DIY science camp with my kids, to learn about polymers, simple machines, air pressure and much more.
- Set up simple science stations for my kids
- Host a STEM play date
- See all our science learning ideas
I may not have studied math since I took calculus at 16 (honestly, who can understand that stuff?) but when my son showed an aptitude for math, I helped him...
I may have only gotten a B in high school art because my teacher felt I had "little natural talent", but I try to inspire my kids to...
- Get creative with active art projects
- Explore color
- Decorate the windows
- Pay attention to how my son works on crafts so I can help him more
- See all our art and craft ideas here
I may not have a degree in social sciences, but...
- I put up maps for my kids to examine
- Read folktales from around the world
- Teach my kids to have compassion for others and give back to their community
I'm not an occupational therapist, but I've discovered ways to support my kids' fine motor and sensory needs at home, such as...
- Using journals for pre-writing practice
- Playing with small objects from nature
- Making giant dot to dots
- See all our fine motor skill activities
I may not be a reading specialist, but I learned all on my own how to...
- Enjoy poetry and share that joy with my kids
- Choose early chapter books for my advanced reader
- Find early readers so my younger son won't scream in frustration
- Make a gazillion book lists
I do have a PhD in theater (see, I'm not entirely uneducated) and I can share with you ideas to try even if you don't have a degree in theater!
- How to use an actor's toolbox to make reading wordless books fun instead of scary.
- How to use oral storytelling to make housework easier. And toothbrushing, too!
- See why you should take your kids to the theater.
There is so much more! Have you seen our GINORMOUS list of indoor activities? I'm pretty proud of it. I'm also pretty proud to be not "just" anything.
But let me say in closing, you do not have to do activities like this to be more than "just" a parent. There is no such thing as "just" a parent.
What's your favorite way to learn alongside your kids?