Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Overcoming My Teaching Degree - Part 1

When we decided we would keep our oldest son home rather than send him one-eighth of a mile to our neighborhood school with some of the highest test scores in the state, I could count on one of a few responses: the blank stare, or "Oh, that's nice." (complete with monotone voice) being right there at the top. The most common still to this day goes something like this, "That's great, but I could never do that. You have a teaching degree so it must be easy for you."

Well two years down this road and I can say - homeschooling is many things, but it is never easy! It is actually the hardest thing I have ever done. Take me back to the days with 22 kids who were not my own. Someone else decided what I would teach and when. I had 3o minutes for lunch complete with adult conversation and an hour daily to plan kid-free. I was done every day at 4:00 with the luxury of not having to think about school until the next morning, had summers off and I was paid.

Contrast that to homeschooling. I only have three children versus 22 but educating my own weighs so much more heavily than teaching a classroom full of someone else's. I bear the responsibility of researching the seemingly millions of curriculum choices and then making a wise decision based on our budget, a knowledge of my child's strengths, weaknesses, learning style and not forgetting a teaching method I can live with, too. No lunch breaks here, and for that matter no sweet cafeteria ladies to clean the dishes, wipe down the tables and sweep the floors either. An hour to plan each day kid-free...heck, I would just love two private minutes to use the restroom. Leaving each day at 4:00 is not an option (although some days I wish it was), summers are spent frantically trying to prepare for next year and I have yet to receive a dime for any of this!

Don't get me wrong, being a public school teacher is tough stuff, but in my experience and opinion, homeschooling up to this point has been much harder. And I taught both ends of the spectrum: the kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and those who dads and moms were true rocket scientists and astronauts (I live in the shadow of NASA's Johnson Space Center). I was the teacher who was at all her students' plays, concerts and sporting events and arrived an hour earlier than required to work with all my "late-bloomers". I loved teaching and devoted all I had to my students and their families.

Now to the point of this whole post: I am finding more and more that I am having to "overcome my teaching degree" and seven years of experience in public schools to be a good homeschooler. I'll tell you why next time.

1 comment:

Staci in WA said...

Thank you for sharing this insite. Homeschooling is tough. (I have only been doing it for 2 years) My mom taught school for 30 years and she would agree that teaching at home is harder, different but harder. By the way I found your blog from the WTM message boards. Blessings to you!
~Staci in WA