A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that homeschooling parents have to know everything from grammar to calculus because they will be directly teaching it to their children. Not so!
Of course, knowing a lot of stuff is helpful, and I am a huge advocate of parents learning at the same time their kids are learning. But there is no need to know everything about everything as long as you know how to find somebody else who does.
I’m not just talking about the ability to look things up to find answers – I’m talking about mentors. Mentors are other people in your child’s life who are willing to share their interests and experience. They can be youth leaders, teachers, museum volunteers, coaches, tutors, neighbors, family or friends. They can even be virtual mentors: those that are too far away or too famous to meet, but an inspiration nonetheless.
The great thing about mentors is that they can help your kids see what is possible. If your son enjoys playing the guitar, he will be even more inspired by seeing a talented musician play. If your daughter can’t resist climbing on things, sign her up for a class at a real climbing gym. Whatever their interest is, mentors can take it to the next level. They are an invaluable part of your homeschool staff.
Mentors can also inspire greatness. We all need role models, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right role models in our media driven culture. If you ask kids who they admire, they may only know the names of movie, music or sports celebrities. That’s why you need to introduce them to other role models that might appeal to their personal interests (unless their ambitions point toward movies, music or sports). Maybe an animal lover would like to know about Jane Goodall or Eugenie Clark. Maybe an adventurous type would like to know about Ernest Shackleton or Jessica Watson. Find movies or books that will help introduce these people to your kids, then see if they want to learn more.
Here’s a source of role models I came across recently: The (En)Rich List. This is a list of 100 inspirational individuals around the world whose work contributes to a prosperous and sustainable future. Their work may not appeal to young kids just yet, but older kids and adults might want to find out more.
These famous people may not know it, but they can be mentors in your homeschool. You don’t even have to pay them. Their example can work right alongside yours, providing motivation and inspiration to your kids. Meanwhile, real in-person mentors can be teaching your children new skills and higher expectations.
There is so much to learn in this world that you cannot possibly teach your kids everything. Nor should you try. Let other people help you. Then, when you get a chance, pass it on. Share your skills and experience with someone else. You and your kids will learn more, meet new people, and have a much better homeschool experience.
homeschool help, homeschooling, mentors