The "Ideal" Teacher - part 1
by Steven Horwich

Either you are a parent who is considering homeschooling a child (or several children), a parent who is already homeschooling, a tutor, or a trained teacher. So you, like millions upon millions of others, are now directly involved in the education of children.

This is a book about homeschooling specifically, and education in a broader context. There are many reasons a family may elect to homeschool.

There are millions of families homeschooling in just the United States, and each has their own set of reasons to pull their children away from institutional education. The bottom line – whatever your reasons to homeschool, it's almost always the right thing to do. And it's a
huge responsibility. You're going to want to get it about as right as a thing can be gotten.

It is the opinion of this author that there is no more important pursuit today than educating a child. Not ”schooling” a child, by the way. There's a difference, as you'll soon see.

Anyway, you’ve heard all the speeches about how children are tomorrow’s leaders, and how they'll inherit the world we leave them, etc. Good reasons to educate a child!

Let’s assume for now that you have your own reasons to be very interested in educating a child, and in getting the job as right as you possibly can. You’ll investigate those reasons shortly.

These will be “goals” that you've established for the education of a child. Of course, your goals for that child are only a part of the “goals” equation. The government of your country doubtless has some “goals” of their own, when it comes to education, and perhaps they have some power to enforce their educational priorities. And your child may have goals of his or her own, as well.
We certainly hope so!

This chapter deals with the “goals” of education. Let's work to develop answers to some key questions about your student's education. These will be action-oriented answers. They will be answers that will help define what you will do to educate your student.

Teaching is a dynamic and active thing.

The teacher who believes that his students are intractable is kidding himself, or he has students who are taking drugs or who are being abused in some way to make them intractable.  Students are not innately intractable. People are not innately intractable, and a student is simply a young person.

Nope. Human beings are innately voluble. They change, constantly. And so the act of educating a child requires adjustment and change when actual education is occurring, rather than baby-sitting, or some bizarre form of boot camp or prison for children.

The educator has to contend intimately, directly with at least two dynamic relationships. The first is the dynamic relationship between the educator and student. The second is the dynamic relationship between the student and what he is learning. What the student is learning will daily change his views and his life. And so the student is likely to change.

There are other lesser important dynamics at work, which an educator may well need to deal with to some extent.

The student's relationship with family and friends may be an issue. The student's involvement with video games, TV, and other potentially destructive distractions may require the educator to step in. The relationship between the family that is homeschooling and the state with its requirements and mandates, may be an issue for an educator attempting to homeschool a student along lines that the state may not understand or approve of.

Next month part 2 will focus on what qualities and educator needs to succeed.
Steven Horwich has been a professional educator for over 40 years, and a homeschool advocate and author of curriculum for 15.  His K-12 secular curriculum, STEPS ( has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide, and includes world history, science, civics, creative writing, study basics, current events, and lots of arts.