How Are You Going to Teach XYZ????

One of the most common questions homeschoolers hear from outsiders is “How are you going to teach ___”.  You can fill in the blank — calculus, chemistry, algebra, physics, whatever.

That question always perplexes me.  It’s so easy for people (children, grown ups, teens, anybody) to learn things!

There are books, online videos, tutors, classes, web sites, video games, scripted curricula, family friends, PSEO… Really, there are dozens of ways that are so much better than the old “30 students in a classroom with a teacher” method!

Case in point:  Victoria’s photography


Victoria is 13 years old and has become an excellent photographer.  This is despite the fact that I know nothing at all about photography or cameras.  Her dad has taught her a little bit, but she is almost exclusively self taught.

Friends sometimes tell her, “I wish I had a fancy camera like yours so I could take pictures like that!” but the truth is, her camera is complicated and it’s much harder to take good pictures with it than it is with a point and shoot.  I know — I borrowed it one night at the pageant and tried to take pictures with the thing.  It was a bit of a train wreck.

So how did she learn?  She read books, web sites, manuals and blogs.  She experimented.  She talked to professional photographers and asked questions.  She practiced.  She brainstormed.  She joined Flickr groups.  She read and studied and tried things out.

And I happen to think she’s done a better job teaching herself than most outside teachers could have!

Although I admit I may be a bit impartial.

(All photos by Victoria Bayer)

There is an old saying that teaching is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.  I love to watch my children tend their fires.  🙂


13 thoughts on “How Are You Going to Teach XYZ????

  1. What delicious photographs she takes!
    I was really interested in photography growing up, but I could never touch the camera and was told to ‘go and study it when I grow up’. When I did grow up, I wanted to study either photography or interior design, and I was told not to waste my intelligence on non-universitary studies, I could always do a photography course after I was done with them.
    I handle a camera quite well for an amateur, but your daughter is amazing! Way to go family, for following your children on their quests!
    Sharing on FB and in Sunday Surf and adding you to my google reader


  2. Wow, these photos are incredible!! I am a self-taught amateur photographer and… wowza, she is 13?! That is incredible. Well done on lighting that talent on fire.

    I think the question behind the question ‘how you going to teach XYZ?’ is really ‘how are you going to teach XYZ when it is so boring nobody would *want* to learn it if they weren’t forced’… isn’t it? Is that not really what they are getting at? Well, I guess it depends on the person. Some people just think only ‘trained teachers’ who *know* stuff should teach, so I guess it depends on what their particular fear/objection is.

    I am sitting on a fence somewhere. My kid is only 1.5 so for now she is very much a self-directed learner but feeling that home/unschooling is not for *me* (as beautiful as it is in principle). So my question is this, does school necessarily kill self-learning? As I said I am a self-taught photographer. My hubby is teaching himself to play the guitar. I have learned many things for myself… and I went to school. Is your feeling that school is actively crushing of one yearning to learn or just that it is not ideal for all?



  3. great photos and i love the old saying – “teaching is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire”
    god speed and love to you


  4. Pingback: » How Do You Get Kids to Want to Learn the Boring Stuff? Magic and Mayhem

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