teaching

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve been working on a project and honestly it’s taken quite a bit out of me. I’ve noticed a trend as homeschooling grows and decided to look into it more… then I decided to write a short book about it. Currently I am in the drafting and researching phase. The topic? Why do most people first assume that parents aren’t qualified to homeschool when first hearing that another family is doing so? And second, I wanted to answer the most commonly asked questions in-depth, coming from a very gentle, but knowledgable angle. So I have been reading and reading and reading and then writing until I don’t have much time or energy for a post.

As I read and made notes of the concerns of family members of those who homeschool, it led me down a path and eventually I ended up reading quite a bit about a public school teacher’s training and the thought public school teacher’s have on homeschooling. I have to admit, at first I was fuming! On a public forum some school teachers admitted to thinking that parents aren’t qualified to teach houseplants… then in another breath go on to write that teaching involves very little of their actual college training and that the biggest hurdle is classroom management. Not being one to let things go, I decided that I also needed to write a little bit to bridge this gap between us… those who teach our own kids and those who teach other people’s kids. It will add time to the project, but it is needed BAD.

There are pro’s and con’s to both hs’ing and ps teaching. For those who have decided to teach, whether at home or not, we all work very hard at what we do and we all have a desire to teach children. Yes, there are many aspect of the government-run schools that really rub me the wrong way, but it’s not the teachers… unless they are miserable in their jobs or judge kids based on where they learn. Equally so, in our homeschool there are skills I am not to proud to admit that I can not provide. Mostly, speech therapy for my son. Second, free organized sports.

What I love about homeschooling is the freedom my kids have in learning to live in the “real world” now. They don’t have to wait until college or after high school to be thrown into life. A question I get asked all the time is about socialization. For the first time in my homeschooling career (because it is a full-time job) I have decided to show patience for that question. Especially in my writing. I address the concerns of socialization in a complete chapter all on its own. Basically, my kids learn to socialize the way others do… by being social with other people of all ages, but mainly kids. Homeschoolers aren’t forced to sit in their homes all day long. To get personal here for a moment, I came out of school not knowing how to be social. I never learned that skill. I remained detached and extremely shy except when loaded on dope. Schools do not teach socialization. I went there and so did my husband and we both agree that it’s not where we learned that skill.

What I admire most about ps teachers is that they love teaching so much that they went through years of schooling and studying in order to do so. I respect that. I don’t think the problems in the schools have much to do with the teachers at all. If anything, it’s what I like about the schools today. I like the teachers. I loved my teachers growing up. When I was in kindergarten my teacher was my best friend. Yes, seriously. My Dad will see her every so often and she still remembers me and asks about me. She was an angel and taught me how to read and write and do other things too. I loved being with her. I really do respect the job and feel that we have a lot in common, hs teachers and ps teachers. It just hurts to hear that some of them think a homeschool mom couldn’t teach a houseplant. I taught three children how to read, how to properly make science hypothesis, test the theory and to conclude the results. I teach my children so much that when I brought my son into the school to see if he was behind in areas other than speech, the public school specialist said this… “Do you think that your son isn’t behind, but that maybe your other children are advanced?”  So I guess they are correct, I can’t teach a houseplant, but I can teach my children.

I agree that there are hs’ers who struggle and can’t meet the demands and put their children in school because they can’t do what is needed in order to homeschool. I’m glad those parents recognize their limits and do what’s best for their kids. And because these kids come into the school system with large gaps in their education, ps teachers see the worst of homeschooling. Most homeschool curriculum uses a mastery approach, not a spiral approach like the schools do which means this could show gaps if a parent jumped around a lot in their curriculum choices. Or, the parent simply may not guide their child educationally. It happens.  From the research I have done so far, it looks like many of them know we are going to fail and they will have to “pick up the pieces” despite national average test scores showing that homeschoolers are leading the way.

I have a real problem with this miscommunication. I don’t like feeling on guard when dealing with employees at my son’s speech therapy school. And I don’t want them to have to feel threatened by me. A very humble and honest teacher wrote in one of the forums I frequent that homeschool moms who do a good job and learn to teach at home can make teachers feel bad about all the money and time they spent training to do the same job. She wrote that after her 30 years experience teaching ps she believes that homeschool moms do just as good of a job when they are self-educated and knowledgable in teaching. Which we are, well me and most of the homeschool mommies I know. None of us take our jobs lightly. All teachers, at home and in the ps schools are educated in teaching children. I have logged countless hours away from my family in order to educate myself in all areas of elementary education, specifically reading, creative writing, and math. Currently I am heading into the murky waters of middle/high school science and history. It’s fun, but very time consuming. None of the hs moms I know of just decided to homeschool one day and don’t look into the formula’s of teaching. We are not reinventing the wheel here. There are proven ways of teaching and we simply stand on the shoulders of former teachers/homeschoolers who have already paved the way, at home. Going as deep or as shallow as needed, one on one with our kids.

One last point… my school teachers taught me well. So well in fact that I am able to continue my education and learn to teach my kids. This is a testament to the teachers who have dedicated their careers to teaching. If I were not capable of homeschooling my own children, well then that would be a bad mark against public schools. If the public school system is not able to teach me enough to read and write, and therefor I could not learn enough to teach my children the letter sounds, than maybe everyone ought to be homeschooling… get where I’m coming from? The same argument that only a trained teacher can teach successfully is lending itself to the theory that those coming out of said system are not qualified to teach a first grader math. Food for thought.

Anyway, as I write and write and read and write some more I am seeing that there needs to be some sort of bridge gapped between the two types of teachers. Originally I came up with the idea to write a book in order to explain homeschooling accurately to my family. In a non-defensive and non-hostile manner. Sometimes when I talk about the joys of homeschooling I can tell they just don’t get it. So I wanted to have a book that was sympathetic to the fact that until one homeschools, it’s hard to understand how and why it works. My Dad was a teacher and my MIL was a teacher. And now I am a teacher. One type of teacher is no smarter or better at her job than another type of teacher. I am sure there are bad homeschool teachers just like there are bad public school teachers, but for the most part, there are many, many good teachers in both homes and schools. Hopefully all of my digging and reading and hard work will pay off one day in a book that defends all teaching in general and doesn’t pit one teacher against another.  We’ll see.

Thanks for reading. Have a good day friends.

Love,

Jackie

 

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