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[A Parent’s Perspective] From the Classroom to the Kitchen Table

[A Parent’s Perspective] From the Classroom to the Kitchen Table

We know parents are more important to learning now than ever. That’s why we wanted to include a parent’s perspective on how school has changed this year—for teachers, for students, and for families. The excerpt below is written by Nicole Provencher-Natale, an educator and mother of two, who is embracing the challenges and joys of teaching from home. 

School looks different for my family this year. We have moved our studies from the classroom to the kitchen table and I am now my children’s primary teacher. Educating at home was a tough decision for my family, but one that has brought a new appreciation for the time we spend together and the intellectual milestones we are reaching. While making the decision to educate at home was tough, what was even more difficult was overcoming the idea that education needs be hard. I do not mean education does not need to be challenging; instead, we need to dispel the idea teaching our children needs to “look” a specific way to be beneficial.

As someone who did well in the traditional schooling system, educating at home was a huge leap. I questioned myself and my ability to be the best teacher for my children. What I found was many other parents were facing the same dilemma. We want to make the best choices we can. For me this has meant remaining flexible and planning a solid curriculum that would play to the strengths of each of my children. I asked myself what was most important and what was negotiable in our little classroom. For me, I decided a classical education was the right fit for our family and jumped in feet first.

The last few months have affirmed my decision, but have not been without their own set of challenges. What I have found is most important to our learning dynamic is that I need to take cues from my children. My son loves words. He reads library books with gusto and often finishes his stack of borrowed materials long before our next library trip. However, he sometimes struggles with numbers. My daughter lives for math. She will eagerly add up and subtract long columns of figures, but stalls in her enthusiasm when we put away sums and bring phonics to the table. When my children were attending public school and each was expected to learn the same skills at the same pace these varied interests would have worried me; however, now I listen to their needs and I am not afraid to make lessons fun and supplement with additional resources. I have learned education is not monolithic. There are many ways to get from point A to point B. Finding what works best inspires critical thinking, and – in fact – has created some interesting conversations at our classroom table.

Education can be empowering. Teaching at home has permitted me to engage with my children in a way I was lacking when they attended local schools. As the formative influence in my children’s life it makes perfect sense that I should teach them their early lessons. For those, like me, who by choice or situation are finding themselves thrown into the role of parent/educator we can do this. And, I have feeling we can do it well.

Want to learn more about your child’s Edmentum programs? We’ve pulled together several resources and tools designed for parents and caregivers that will support learning from home. Visit our Family Resources page to get started!

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Nicole Provencher-Natale has taught Literature, rhetoric, and creative writing for 15 years. She received her BA and MA degrees in English from Our Lady of the Lake University. She also holds an MFA in Creative Writing and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. Intensely dedicated to education and learning, Nicole has served in several community literacy initiatives and projects. Nicole lives in Ohio where she cares for her veggie garden, chickens, and young children. She enjoys quilting and poetry. This year she is embarking on a homeschool journey with her children ages 5 and 6.