Homeschool Mother’s Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling

Have you looked into the tired eyes of a public school teacher lately? Have you crossed paths with an overwhelmed mom scrambling to cook dinner, do laundry, and help the kids with homework an hour before bedtime? This homeschool life is a gift to so many of us, yet we often take for granted the privilege of homeschooling.

Homeschool Mother's Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling

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If you haven’t recently spent time outside your homeschool walls, it’s possible that you’ve been missing one of the greatest gifts of the homeschool lifestyle. Sure, we’re all thankful for the gifts of homeschool, but have we somehow lost our appreciation for the privilege of homeschooling? Maybe so.

Homeschool Mother’s Journal:
The Privilege of Homeschooling

My kids and I visited a local historic site with our homeschool group a couple of weeks ago. It was an incredible opportunity to step back in time and view life as it was during the 1800s. We had a wonderful time on that trip, but a conversation I had with a volunteer there stands out the most when I think of that day.

This volunteer watched our group from the sidelines and was taking in the sights and sounds of our diverse group. All of our families were gathering for a picnic lunch when our conversation began. It started by her asking me about our group: how often we meet, what we do together, and that sort of thing.

After I answered those questions, the conversation turned to my family. I shared about our homeschool journey and what a typical day looks like around our table. As I shared, she smiled, nodded, and echoed what a blessing it is to be able to educate our children at home and give them exactly what they need when they need it.

When Teachers Can’t Teach

Even if you don’t live in the United States, it’s likely that you understand what a potentially catastrophic move it was to bring up public schools in the conversation. I don’t know why I did it, but I did — right there, to a complete stranger. I mentioned that I don’t envy public school teachers.

I told her that I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have the freedom to teach from the heart and to have the stress of teaching to the test. I only said those things in light of the discussion that happened just moments before about being able to lead our kids in a learning lifestyle.

Did I know when I spoke those words that I would bring her to tears right there in a field surrounded by a bunch of homeschool families? No, but I also didn’t realize I was speaking to someone who recently left the teaching profession.

I remember reading an article about teachers quitting mid-year from Sallie Borrink and thinking, “My gosh, how sad…” but I can only grasp this kind of thing so much since I’ve never been a public school teacher. I’ve always been a homeschooler. Nonetheless, my discussion with this volunteer reminded me of this quote from Sallie’s article.

“Teaching is no longer about teaching, but is instead about managing a school environment and preparing for high-stakes standardized testing.”

It turns out that’s exactly what drove this ex-teacher to quit. The job she left wasn’t the job she was trained to do. She didn’t follow the dream of teaching so that she could teach children how to take tests or leave behind the students who needed more than a cookie cutter education could provide. No, that’s not what she dreamed of doing.

A Fresh Perspective:
The Privilege of Homeschooling

The conversation with that precious teacher left me with something incredible: the reminder that home education is a privilege. It’s a privilege to teach, to guide, and to help our children become who God has made them to be day in and day out. May we never take this homeschool life for granted again.

Here’s the thing, we don’t have it easy as homeschool parents. This is a high calling that comes with a lot of breaking and pouring out of ourselves, but let’s not assume that the public school teacher has it any easier.

Homeschool Mother's Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling
Many public school teachers are just as called to what they’re doing as we are, yet most of them aren’t allowed to fulfill their callings. They’re denied the opportunity to implement so many of the very ideas about education that called them to it in the first place.

The Privilege to Be What They Need

Let us be more grateful than ever that we can meet our children where they are. Let us vow to smile, not sigh, when the kids want to read it one more time or play for a few more minutes. Let us celebrate the freedom to educate our children at home and model a lifestyle of learning.

Homeschool Mother's Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling
Let us be mindful of how special and unique it is to customize our homeschools to meet the needs of our children and our families. Let us be thankful for all that we have because of this homeschool life, but extend grace to those who aren’t allowed the freedom to teach. After all, we don’t have to homeschool. We get to homeschool.

Homeschool Mother’s Journal:
April 2017

  • In my life this month: We have an offer on our house… let the packing begin! Selling our house and moving to an apartment is the first step in our latest chapter in ministry: church planting.
  • In our homeschool this month: We’re adding Spanish to our days through Foreign Languages for Kids By Kids. My kiddos are already loving these video-based lessons!
  • A quote to share: Childhood is so brief and yet so open and formative that we must not neglect our responsibility to furnish it with what we know is good. – Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart

Homeschool Mother's Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling

Homeschool Mother's Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling

10 thoughts on “Homeschool Mother’s Journal: The Privilege of Homeschooling”

  1. It is an amazing privilege to be able to homeschool. I no longer hear the stories from my daughter about the girls at school training her to be more like them, telling her that her beautiful eyes are too big and hearing day after day how they won’t let her check out more challenging books because no one believes she can read them. I no longer have to prod my son out of bed to have him head to school with tears in his eyes and be told he has to “wait” by his teachers. Thank you for this reminder when I think “how did we get here”? I wouldn’t trade it for any other place.

  2. I so enjoyed this article. Seeing the pics also reminded me of many happy days homeschooling along the Oregon coast with my own children. We started homeschool 15 years ago as a temporary solution to an immediate problem. It was such a joy to find that freedom to teach to our children’s unique skills and challenges. Hard days? Of course, countless. But the overarching feeling for our family is deep and humble gratitude

    1. Thank you for sharing a little of your homeschool journey with us, Christa!

      “It was such a joy to find that freedom to teach to our children’s unique skills and challenges. Hard days? Of course, countless. But the overarching feeling for our family is deep and humble gratitude.” <3 I couldn't have said it better!

  3. This article never hit the privilege of homeschooling that always strikes me: The privilege of having one parent stay home and teach. Many families are denied that by economic realities. Growing up as the child of a single mother in the 1970s my mom worked from before 5am until 7-8 PM at two jobs Just to keep us clothed and housed. And when she moved in with my Grandparents so she could work one job she stayed in a career that didnt challenge her but paid well until my brother and I left home.

    I am not saying that Public School was perfect, or even that it treated me well (it didn’t), but it did give me the tools to continue my education and provide me with a basic understanding of how Bureaucracy works. And while good fortune and low housing prices here in Lane County allow us to home school our kids I am aware that not all are so fortunate; that it is not my hard work alone that makes this possible, or even my wife’s had work as the home schooling parent, but a fair amount of good luck. I will never look down on those who for whatever reason whether it is financial, educational or whatever.

    Which brings me to the last thought. At a number of homeschooling events I have heard commentary about “wasted taxes” because their children are lucky enough to have one parent stay at home and educate them. I think this is the true aspect of privilege. Personally I am glad to live in a good school district eve if none of my kids go there currently. It means that the neighbors kids get a good education even if there mom works at a minimum wage job, or their parents own a small business and work dawn to dark, or maybe neither parent has the desire to home school. It means that if something were t o happen to me there is a safety net that includes a good education for our kids. And being proud of this means I happily pay my taxes to support education, because i believe education is for everyone, not simply those who have the good fortune to stay home and provide it to their own children,

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Duncan. You bring lots of great points to the conversation here. This post was primarily written with a teaching perspective in mind. For my family personally, our homeschooling comes with financial sacrifice, but we still make it happen. That said, I absolutely acknowledge there are situations where it’s simply not possible to choose to let go of employment.

      That’s why you’re spot-on about the importance of homeschoolers being advocates for education rather than warriors of an anti-public school movement. Those who choose a different educational path (and even contribute to those paths) aren’t our enemies; instead, they’re our neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. Why on earth wouldn’t we want growth and improvement for them as well?

  4. This was such a heartfelt post and a great reminder that we should always be thankful for the blessing of participating in this lifestyle. :)

  5. What a wonderful privilege it is! I do know how much it is because I had to fight for my right to homeschool when we first started. To have to fight made me a homeschooler for life, whereas before we were just going to try it for one year, haha. I have never taken my right for granted and will never give anyone reason to believe that I don’t homeschool with all my heart. <3

    Congrats on getting an offer on your house!

    1. I’ve never had to fight for my right to homeschool, but I can absolutely see how that would keep you from ever taking this lifestyle for granted!

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