As a parent I have put an emphasis on education from basically day one. In fact, I enrolled my daughters early in preschool. At two years old both my daughters went twice a week to preschool. As a three year old my eldest daughter was going three times a week.
Then, in March of 2020 the world kept spinning but we all hunkered down, and time seemed to stand still for a few months. I love playtime and free range parenting. But, I seized the moment and on Monday, July 13th I started For S’s and G’s Preschool.
For shits and giggles to me. For Stella and Geri to my daughters.
My year as a home school teacher
In brief, it has been my most rewarding year as an educator to date.
There are no words, or phrases that I can share that will truly express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to lay the foundation for a life rich in literacy with my daughters. We’ve been reading together since In utero. This year we learned how to read and write. We also began learning basic math concepts, The Scientific Method, and important calendar dates. I did not take any of this lightly and it’s something I hope they keep forever. However, I know that probably won’t stand out to them as they get older.
This last year has also been my most challenging of my professional career as well. Our parents are our first teacher. But, to teach your own children is something completely different. Where does dad end and Mr. Tucker begin?
I spent 11 years in the late elementary grades. I student taught in a third grade classroom. I never thought I had whatever it is that made a great early elementary teacher. Not surprisingly, I never thought I would ever enjoy being in a kindergarten setting. But as life often does it had other plans for me. As soon as Missy and I made the decision to not return the girls to their preschool for the 2020 school year Mr. Tucker was reawakened.
Thanks to my SAHDLIFE I already had enough materials to run my very own preschool. I read through the Indiana Kindergarten standards, made a calendar, started developing units, got an area set up in The Den for learning, and off we went.
I’ll never forget that next morning. You’re mom and I loaded you into the Tucker Bus. She drove you around for a few minutes and I did my best Clark Kent into Superman transformation. I hustled back downstairs and out into the bus zone to greet my students as their mom dropped them off.
That’s when all the Tucker Ladies met Mr. Tucker. Mr. Tucker is the Ken I want to be. He is always composed but vulnerable. He has more patience than anyone I’ve ever met. He has an almost supernatural way of connecting with people, especially kids. He always sees the good and is extremely difficult to irritate.
He sounded like dad.
He looked like dad.
But, he insisted he was not your dad.
On day one we fought through your tears and my own worries and anxieties. We read, we played, we created, and in the blink of an eye you were both back aboard the Tucker Bus. I quickly morphed back into dad and greeted you as the Tucker Bus dropped you both off back at home. We learned how to read, write, history, social sciences, and practical math.
As with any school year I took a lot of pragmatic risks, made mistakes, learned from them, researhed, planned, tweaked my delivery, switched schedules, changed approaches, and overall flow multiple times throughout the year.
Education doesn’t just happen in school
Home, is one of the most important parts of school.
School, according to Google is as an institution for educating children.
Education does not just happen within those designated institutional walls one hundred eighty one days out of the year. Education does not just happen between the hours of seven and three during those one hundred eighty one days. Education isn’t just for those of us who are between the ages of six and eighteen. I wish to live in a world of life long learners. But as I look around that doesn’t really appear to have ever happened.
Our world is a classroom. It is and should be used as a to educate our children. It’s the existentialist in me.
For a lot of US school was and is cheap child care.
As an Indiana Public Educator I can tell you the second most important part of any school year is the home. The first is student engagement.
The school year goes by fast. The school days are filled with all kinds of inefficiencies. The time allotted for teachers to teach the exorbitant standards throughout the day can be counted in seconds and minutes as opposed to hours, days, or weeks that it really takes to transition from our short term memory into our long term memory.
Stella is heading off to Monon Trail Elementary School here in Westfield for Kindergarten. Shortly after that Geri and I are going to do another year of PreK here at home. I have an opening if anyone from around Westfield is interested.
As with the eleven previous years, it all happened too quickly and I hope my students learned as much from me as I did from them.