For many parents who have chosen to enroll their children in Christiana, one of the appeals is the benefit of allowing their children to be taught by tutors with more experience—or at least more recent experience—with certain subject matter. In fact, this was one of the motivators for some of the moms who formed CHA twenty-two years ago. It simply made sense to partner with other homeschool moms and to share their knowledge, passions and gifts. One advantage of this partnership was the freedom from investing precious time learning (or relearning) material to teach their children. This advantage can also be a handicap.
So, there you sit with your child at your side, available but unequipped to help. Before you throw up your hands in defeat and say, “You’re on your own, kid,” remember to use the tools available to you. And what exactly are these tools?
First, depending on the class, you may have access to the actual lesson in a textbook. Review the lesson with your child. It may just be that the one-on-one presentation of the material will be enough to jog his memory (and teach you). Also, lessons taught during class are often accompanied by material to reference at home. Clean out and organize your child’s binder; you may be surprised what you find in there! Lastly, judicious use of the answer key/teacher’s manual can be a tremendous help.
But isn’t it wrong to look up the answers and give them to your child? Well, yes. Doesn’t that simply ensure a good grade but neglect actual learning? Absolutely! So, what is the answer (bad pun intended)?
This is where your wisdom and judgment come in. Each situation is unique, but it’s always good to know that you are leading your child to the correct answer. With that knowledge, you may have a better comprehension of the material yourself. It can also provide a path toward asking your child the right questions. Or, even better, it can equip you to help him ask questions of himself. These questions and his answers—not the ones in the teacher’s manual—are where real learning takes place.
As a last resort, you may simply need to provide your child with the correct answer. Ideally, this would lead him to understand the error in his thinking. He would have that “Aha!” moment which would help him to comprehend the lesson and to proceed with the rest of the assignment. If all of your best efforts are not successful, be sure to let the tutor know. But, if your use of the answer key provides your child with the opportunity to learn, consider it a victory. No, it is certainly not cheating.
This is part of the Board Bits: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks series.
Is there a question about CHA or homeschool that you would like answered?
Submit inquiries to Tracey at firstname.lastname@example.org