The myth is that there are ‘subjects’ that ‘parents can’t teach.’ I presume that the logic is that because a person has not professionally trained in a certain ‘subject’ that he or she can’t help younger people learn basic information about that ‘subject.’ For me, that brings to mind an aphorism I had hanging up when the kids were home. “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”
“Got Art? Got Music?” is couple’s way of giving something back to …, 4 January 2008, Baker County Press, Macclenny, Florida
Parents of locally home-schooled children have found the classes to be beneficial. Art instruction is sometimes not covered in the home-school curriculum because parents don’t feel qualified or have any idea how to teach it.
In pointing out the myth, I don’t mean to denigrate private classes in anything, or the instructors. Private classes by people with talents have been around for years, decades, centuries and millennia. Learning at the knee of a master (or mistress) has a venerable history.
What irks me is the ‘parents can’t teach’ meme. (the “home-school curriculum” meme — as if there is One Curriculum To Bind Them All — raises hackles, too) The writers of this myth miss an important aspect of homeschooling — learning alongside the kids.
In high school, I wasn’t college-track material (I’m guessing mainly because of boredom and wisecrackery), and I missed classes such as chemistry and physics. I learned astronomy on my own, but schools rarely offer high school astronomy so it isn’t something I would have learned there, anyhow. It wasn’t until I was homeschooling my younger three kids that I had the opportunity to find out what basic chemistry and physics were about. The learning was fun, and my own education continued. Why should I have been denied that learning opportunity because I was unqualified to teach? To my way of thinking, denying me learning at any stage would be a net loss. Aren’t we all supposed to be buying into the Lifelong Learning jazz, or am I only supposed to accept instruction from the instructors someone else chooses?
As it turned out, I was able to explain some aspects to my kids using ‘adult logic and common sense,’ and conversely, they were able to explain some aspects to me (mostly concerning those slippery numbers). We helped each other.
As for art (the subject of this post’s article), the kids and I traveled the path together again.
- Mommy, It’s a Renoir
- Ed Emberley’s books
- Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
- Drawing With Children
Couching learning in a professional student/teacher relationship perpetuates the idea that children must always be instructed, and that if a person isn’t professionally trained, he or she is most useful as a doorstop. What a dreary, march-in-time-to-the-drummer, existence. I prefer a slightly edgier, and adventurous path.
posted by Valerie