Designed to Teach
God creates a man and a woman in His image, makes them one in marriage, and commissions them to multiply and have children. God calls the father and mother to train, teach, and nurture their sons and daughters. When God calls, He equips. Moses questioned his own qualifications, but God knew His man. Moses’ unique background equipped him to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Parents are uniquely designed to teach and train their children.
While every parent is a teacher, not every teacher is a parent.
Every parent wants his child to live a good, long life. Parents want their sons and daughters to develop skills that will enable them to succeed in life. No one is as motivated to give them these skills as is a parent. Being a mom or a dad is not a job; it is a life calling.
Parents do not need academic qualifications to teach their own children. If moms and dads are willing to learn along with their kids, they will make fine teachers. Even though I had a college diploma and had taught in a classroom setting, I knew that as my wife and I taught our own children, I would need to learn real phonics, a creation view of science, and a providential approach to history. All of this was new to both of us, but Sandi and I were willing to learn along with our boys.
Parents know how their students learn and much of what they know. I call this the Deuteronomy advantage. Since you are with your children when you rise up, walk by the way, and lie down, and since you have read most of the books and watched most of the movies they have, you know what they know.
On the way to a Fourth of July parade, my six-year-old asked why we were celebrating this day as a holiday. I was able to weave an account of the history of our nation that he could understand using movies I knew he had seen (The Story of a Patriot) and places I knew he had been (Bunker Hill and Williamsburg). Even David Barton could not have taught any better than I, because I knew my son.
Parents can adapt the curriculum to their student’s style of learning. Sandi began teaching our sons with traditional textbooks and worksheets. Eventually she saw that this one-dimensional form of teaching was not what her sons needed. Because my wife wanted her sons to love learning, she chose to teach with KONOS, a hands-on, unit study approach. They moved from the classroom desk to the woods, the garage, and the kitchen. All three boys have since graduated from college, and one has gone on to earn two master’s degrees. They are all accomplished lifelong learners, thanks to a mom who was willing to adapt and learn along with them.
The Efficacy of the Tutorial Method of Education
Parents tutor individuals instead of managing classrooms. A tutor has the freedom to teach a student based on what he knows and not by how old he is. A tutor also moves at the child’s pace and not at the pace of a textbook. Whether a student is gifted or challenged, a tutor can adapt the material for each individual child.
When you are with your children, you have unique opportunities to apply and reinforce what your children are learning. I received a call from an excited mom who had been baking cookies with her daughter. As they took the warm cookies out of the oven, they noticed they were placed in rows of three. They had been studying skip counting by three that morning, so they began counting the cookies: “3-6-9-12-15.” Here is real-life application that only a parent who teaches math—and cooking—can make.
While good classroom teachers may possess many of these traits, their success will depend on the flexibility they are allowed, the number of students in each class, and their opportunities to spend a few minutes with each individual student during the course of the day. Most professional instructors are convinced of the superiority of the tutor model. Institutions of higher learning may boast about their teacher/student ratio being fifteen to one, but only parents have achieved the ideal ratio of one to one.
Parents are created, called, and equipped to teach and train their children.
Parents are specially qualified and incredibly motivated to see their children succeed.
Parents are tutors, not classroom managers.
Parents make wonderful teachers. Rejoice in your unique gifts and enjoy the journey!