Monday, December 12, 2011

Teaching "everything" when homeschooling

Often when people learn we homeschool our children we are asked “How can you teach everything?” There is an assumption that we are the only ones involved in the process of educating our children. They don’t believe we are capable of teaching anything higher than 2nd grade. After all everyone knows that only the professionals know the subject material and can thus teach.

Homeschoolers have long learned that you don’t have to be a master of a particular topic to teach it. With a teacher’s edition of a math course it is fairly straightforward to help children master a topic. And as homeschoolers we frequently get others to help us. We call this the “General Contractor” approach to education. Janine and I don’t have to teach each topic. As the parents we are in charge and we may decide to have others help. 

An example of this happened recently. A local theater group is putting on a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. This is one of our favorite stories. We have watched the Linda Ronstadt version somewhere between twenty and fifty times over the last decade. Our children will often sing the songs and quote the lines. All three daughters decided they wanted to try out for the musical.

Our daughters have only been in a few plays. They are not seasoned performers. Many groups have performances on Sunday which we avoid. We are happy that this group will only have performances on Friday and Saturday.

I talked with Janine and we decided to hire the daughter of a friend who recently got her BA in theater. This young woman has been doing plays and musicals for almost twenty years now. She came over last week and again today. She had the girls do some cold readings. She explained what a typical tryout was like and gave a number of tips. Here are a few:

  • For monologues always state the author of the piece, set the stage and explain the motivation.
  • Dress: Be profession, have solid colors, blue and red are good, want flattering colors, no heals, don't do all black or white
  • OK to move about during the monologue
  • Cold readings - probably will do some from Pirates of Penzance, and the script will be different than the movie
  • And once in the play always check with the director before cutting your hair or changing your look
  • Bring lots of water, drink frequently, no sweets, bring lots of pencils, there will be changes to the script so need to be able to make changes, but also erase old changes

I was pleased with how the two sessions went.

As homeschoolers it is wonderful that we are in charge of the education of our children, and that we have so many options to get help. (A few other places we get help is with math tutoring and trumpet lessons.)

The tryouts are tomorrow so wish us luck.



C T said...

Good luck!

Deila Taylor said...

great post, I totally agree -- how funny people are about whether you can teach everything. Once in high school there are so many options too. We have the kids start taking classes at the college.

Henry Cate said...

CT - Thanks. Our daughters all got chorus parts. The oldest is one of the pirates and the younger two are policemen. It should be fune.

Deila - thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.