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.
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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.
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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.Have we somehow lost our appreciation for the privilege of #homeschooling? Maybe so. #ihsnet
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 Homechooling
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- On the blog in case you missed it: Defeating the Green-Eyed Homeschool Curriculum Monster, 10 Children’s Books About the Moon, 5 Easy Ways to Teach Music, What to Do When You’re Tired of Church, and Meeting the Master Artists: Leonardo da Vinci Unit Study Resources.