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Rethinking Your Role: Headmaster, Not Teacher


There are a lot of reasons why homeschooling can leave you feeling overwhelmed. But the prime reason tends to be trying to do everything rather than delegating. Whether it’s trying to run a side hustle alongside your child’s classes, teaching children of multiple ages, or just keeping homecooked meals on the table, when you feel like there’s not enough time, delegation might be your core issue.

I know I’m certainly guilty of this. A sense of misplaced frugality combined with a healthy dose of pride has left me trying to cook everything, clean everything, and teach everything. I’m here to tell you that this is impossible. Schools pay not just teachers but janitors and kitchen staff for a reason.

So, what’s the solution?

Begin by rethinking your role in your home school. Most of us home educators think of ourselves primarily as teachers. And this is, in part, true. Part of deciding to educate at home means embracing an approach to life that sees learning as a constant activity, not something that happens at a desk between 7am and 3pm.

However, the next step is realizing that you are not a teacher but a headmaster or headmistress of a small, private school. You may teach some of the classes, but your primary job is ensuring that the right people for the job are handling all the tasks involved in running your school.

Sometimes this may mean paying for a service to take care of some of the home tasks. We have, at various times, used meal prep services, lawn services, house cleaners, and mother’s helpers. If you have older children, these are frequently tasks that can be offloaded to them, with the added benefit that you are preparing them to take on adult responsibilities.

However, you can also have other people teach your children. There are multiple ways to do this, from coordinating with other homeschoolers in a co-op, to hiring a private tutor, to using online classes.

We have used all of these methods at one time or another. Co-ops are excellent for activities best done in a group, like physical education or arts and crafts. We’ve used tutors for music and foreign languages. And we have been using online classes for the last several years to allow our children to discuss the Great Books with their peers. Technically, these are all things that we could probably do on our own. However, they have allowed us to spend our valuable time more deliberately, and given our children the opportunity to learn from experts in their field.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with schooling, step back and see where delegating some of your workload could help bring some relief.

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