Last month, my sister graduated from a Romanian university with a master’s in education. I am so proud of her. She has been working on this degree for years, a bit at a time, as time and circumstances allowed. In addition to being a mom and an author, my sister has been working for a Christian radio station for more than two decades. She is not really planning on being a teacher, but she felt this master degree would give her the knowledge to continue to write and produce children’s radio programs.
As homeschooling moms, we also ought to invest in ourselves through continuing education. It is not only traditional classroom teachers who need in-service days. Home educators should read at least one book a year about how to teach. Summer time is the best time for this, of course, because many of us take at least a month off from teaching actively.
If money and time were not an issue, homeschooling moms could even get degrees online from accredited schools. These days there are so many online degrees to choose from, one need not leave her home to pursue a bachelor’s or a master’s. I have a lot of friends who homeschool and already have a graduate degree. But they chose to put those diplomas on hold in order to pursue the art of mothering and home educating their own children.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that we use Right Start Mathematics. This curriculum is very different from the math I learned and not just because I was raised in Eastern Europe. Written by Joan Cotters, Right Start Math is Montessori-inspired, with lots of manipulatives and visualization of numbers through the use of an abacus (not an affiliate link).
It has been rather unusual for me to re-learn math a certain way. I had days when I questioned the wisdom of teaching math this way. However, I pressed on. I don’t like to switch curricula often unless my children are not challenged by it or not learning through it. As I persevered, I realized the problem was in my head. My children are learning math. My son scored highly in his nationally standardized test.
As I sat back and analyzed my relationship with math, I was surprised to find myself inspired to look more into the art of teaching math. I even wondered if I did not want to pursue an advanced degree in math instead of foreign languages, which have always been my first love. Getting an advanced degree in subjects such as master of science in mathematics, foreign languages has been a personal goal of mine for years now, but something has always come up, more urgent or more important. And I always thought I would want to pursue foreign languages, not a math degree.
I am not saying I am ready to make a decision. I am just allowing for a subject other than French, English or Spanish to sit in my goal box for an advanced degree, when the time is right. That’s all.
In the meantime, I would encourage all of us to read at least one book a year about how to teach and attend at least one homeschool conference a year. If you live nearby Knoxville, TN I would definitely encourage you to attend next week’s Appalachian Home Educators Conference, where I will be one of the speakers. The inspiration and information which come from such endeavors will take you far and keep you going through the upcoming school year. And, should circumstances allow and should you heart desire it, definitely look into getting a master of science in mathematics online.