I’m not a mom but a hip (ok that’s questionable:) homeschool nanny. I’ve been watching, loving and teaching other people’s children for 12 years. I’ve always wanted to have children of my own, and the idea of homeschooling them always fascinated me, but I came to realize God might have a different plan for my life. I have a chronic nerve pain condition, fibromyalgia, and in order to keep it somewhat under control I take medication every day, medications that you can’t take and be pregnant. While I realize it’s very likely I will never have children of own, I am so blessed because 12 years of being a nanny has given me plenty of opportunities to affect the life of a child as well as try out all the parenting ideas I’ve always wanted to try–like homeschooling.
I’ve been doing preschool homeschool for the last 2 years with the 5 year old I nanny for. I take an eclectic approach combining workbooks and flashcards with library resources and tons of field trips.
While I don’t claim to be an expert like you homeschooling mamas who are in the trenches everyday (you guys are my heroes, seriously!), I’ve learned a thing or two. Here are 5 things nanny homeschooling has taught me.
Life is a classroom-Every trip to the store is a lesson in money management. Every trip to the park is a lesson in botany. Cooking for a sick neighbor is a lesson in serving others. Homeschooling has taught me that most learning has nothing to do with sitting at a desk.
You’re never too old to learn- I have learned so much myself through teaching the little guy I watch. It’s so sad that most people limit learning to 12-16 years in a classroom setting. The majority of life lessons happen outside a classroom. Lessons like how to be a friend, how to love and serve others, how to manage money, and how to be a diligent worker. I’m so thankful I get to re-learn all these lessons myself while teaching them to the children I watch.
Enjoy the little things- Learning is fun! The sad thing is, for me, going to traditional school sucked the fun right out of learning. Seeing the enthusiasm in the little boy I watch for each new lesson we do has renewed my love for learning!
Children deserve our best-Not just in terms of our time and talents but the best resources too. And the great part is I’ve been able to design fun and interesting lessons with just free library resources. When I was trying to teach the little guy I watch his colors, I got books on modern art. Not only did he learn his colors but he was also exposed to beautiful and interesting works of art. In the last year we covered topics such as Vikings, Ancient Egypt, the Titanic, Pompeii & Volcanoes, which were all far more interesting than your typical preschool lessons. When we wanted to learn about the seasons, we went on a nature walk. When we wanted to learn about weather, we got a documentary from the library. There’s nothing wrong with workbooks and worksheets (We use them a lot!) but nothing beats learning by doing and growing by exposing ourselves to the best resources out there.
Parenting is hard-I have nothing but total respect for mothers. For 9 hours a day I teach lessons, entertain babies, plan activities, clean up messes, do laundry, chauffeur kids around, and did I mention clean up messes? But at the end of the day I get a break. Just caring for children 24/7 for 18+ years is a monumental task. Then throw homeschooling into the mix, and I can only imagine how challenging that would be. But I know from my own work with children that the rewards are great too.
On the rough days when I’m tired of ordering library books and planning lessons and activities, I’m reminded of these lessons that homeschooling has taught me. It encourages me to go that extra mile and put the same love and devotion into the kids that I watch as I would put into my own.
What lessons has homeschooling taught you?
Stacy lives in Ohio. She loves Jesus, traveling, the ocean, writing and sleeping in. She blogs & v-logs (video blog) about living with chronic pain from a Christian perspective, her adventures as a nanny, frugal living, and helping the least of these. Check her out at Finding Purpose in the Pain. You can also find her on twitter and facebook.