We ourselves don't know any different. We went to school. School is what we know. We know how to sit at our desk, whilst the teacher provides the information they tell us is needed. We know if the teacher doesn't tell us that we will be tested on something, then we don't need to bother ourselves learning it. We know that the student knows nothing important and the teacher knows everything.
So that's what many of us, when we start teaching our own children at home do.....we do home-school.
We stand at the front of our children and dictate the ABC's and 123's, whilst they protest at our teaching attempts, because they don't want to copy out sentences or write about what the Victorians used to wear!
Later when they are in bed we sob ourselves to sleep, in a panic, questioning, whats wrong with my child and why he is not wanting to learn. If he was at school he would have to sit there all day doing as he is told...
....And then, in that pit of self doubt, that panic that my child is not learning.....we either decide that's it, get the school enrolment application, or we start to open our minds and think outside the box!
It is at this point, we begin to learn, that effective learning is not necessarily a product of teaching.
Our children from when they are born, are natural learners. They learn a whole language...some even learn 2 in just the first couple of years of life, they learn to crawl, walk, eat, run, jump, draw; they constantly ask questions and want to know about everything going on around them. They always want to ask why and how and back to the why again!
...Then school happens. We start telling them what they need to learn and how they are going to learn it....and all that natural inclination towards learning seems to stop.
We get tantrums and melt-downs. When we do school-at-home, we are doing no better than what the school education system does, we are forcing them to halt their natural inquisitiveness and desire for learning, and instead dictate to them what we feel is important for them to know, whether it interests them or not, whether it is important to them or not.
When we start to listen to our children, and allow them to show us that learning is not just sitting at the table with a pen and textbook, and we let go of all our own years in the public education system, then the real education begins, and we see our children flourish Alhamdulillah.
Children, like adults, have interests. Children, like adults, find things brain-teasingly boring! Children, like adults will often produce better results and remember information which is of interest or relevant to them, and forget (or not even learn) that which is not.
If your child has a sudden interest in volcanoes, then why subdue that natural passion by making her learn about the North Pole instead? Facilitate her in finding out about volcanoes.....help her find books, set up meetings with a volcanologist, let her design her own project to teach you about volcanoes! Trust me, she will do all the work herself....why....because she is interested!
Sure, some things have to be learnt, Arabic, Qur'an, Islamic Studies, even Maths and English.....but it doesn't have to be done with the school-at-home mentality.
Teach these subjects with an education facilitator approach....and see the difference it makes.
Provide the tools the children need, and allow the space (and time) to show you what amazing things they can do with them.