Podcast: How Do You Balance Being a Parent and a Teacher?

How Do You Balance Being a Parent and a Teacher?

How do you balance your roles as a parent and a teacher?

There’s a funny thing that happens on the road to becoming a home educator, and it happened to all of us — you were a home educator! Wait, that sentence makes no sense.

Let me help you out.

Remember when your baby was a newborn? Remember that scary feeling when you drove home alone from the hospital? Or perhaps you gave birth at home and suddenly the midwife packed up and LEFT!

That’s an unnerving moment, isn’t it? You are entrusted with that baby’s total care without any training, without certifications. Heck, you need to pass a test to drive a car, but you’re expected to grow a baby from scratch just because you’re called parents?

And so it begins. You become the educator while you are a total novice. You learn as you go and you impart all that wisdom to the baby from feedings to burpings to sleeping on her back.

The way you began is the way you continue and I talk all about it on this week’s podcast!

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Cast your mind back to when you were raising small children. Whether you worked full-time, stayed at home full-time, or something in between, hours of your day were dedicated to parenting that baby. And while you were with that child, you were teaching them to do all of the things that people do: talking, eating, tying shoes, drinking out of a glass without making a mess, going to the bathroom without making a mess, and on and on.

None of these things were on a syllabus. They weren’t scheduled. Some of them weren’t even intentional! When a need arose, you met the need; you used your natural parenting, love, and kind voice to guide your child into the skills they needed to be successful.

So here’s the thing — homeschooling is merely an extension of all that love, trial, error, and research. Your task is to be the parent who leads and educates just as you had been when your child was not even five.

What changes in your relationship with your child as you start homeschooling is not the expectation of who you are, but what you think education is. You don’t shift from being a parent to being a teacher. Your idea of what education is changes.

When your child was learning to tie their shoe, you didn’t think of that as a school task. But learning to subtract? Well, that’s school.

And because we have this perspective, we feel that we need to become a different kind of person, and the person we imagine is a “teacher.” As a result, we immediately reinsert ourselves into a classroom learning environment. We think of ourselves as a person who:

  • prepares lesson plans,
  • has a schedule paced out over days,
  • and provides assessments and grades.

We start to treat being a parent and being a teacher as two different hats that we swap at various points in the day, and that doesn’t always sit comfortably with us because the two roles often feel at tension with each other.

But you are already functioning as a teacher by virtue of parenting! You can’t not be an educator. It just goes with the territory.

Three Ways You Can Be a More Effective Parent While Educating and a More Effective Teacher While Parenting:

  1. Give up your need to be an expert in either role. You’re learning too, and you don’t have to already know everything.
  2. Take your time and give yourself time to discover what your child needs. Our kids have the opportunity to learn at home according to their own pace — and isn’t that one of the key reasons we decided to teach them at home in the first place?!
  3. Outsource what you find difficult to teach and costly to your relationship. There’s no shame in hiring tutors, taking online classes, participating in a local co-op, or going to the local high school part-time.

Our goal with this season is to focus on your questions, both the questions you’ve been asking throughout this podcasting journey and the questions you haven’t asked yet. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook groups — wherever you have the opportunity to reach out, please send a message about what you’d like to learn during season six of Brave Writer.


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