It was inevitable that my vocation would include home education but I did not begin there.
It all began back in college. You see, I graduated and my first job was at a small private school. My task was to teach arts and crafts and to plan field trips. I loved the work and decided to go back to school and add a teaching degree to my BA.
THAT was a major turning point for me. I enjoyed the classes. I was NOT impressed with my fellow students. This was my first time to doubt the quality of education given in the public schools. I mean, if the errors that my fellow education students were making were common, then I really didn’t want MY future children taught by them!
It went further though. Kids used to learn Latin very young. Teaching students swore up and down that kids at that age were not capable of learning Latin. Now if it was done in the past, why was it suddenly no longer possible? Made no sense to me.
Then I began to read outside of class. David Elkind, The Hurried Child and John Holt’s several books were influenced me greatly. They made sense. I liked the idea of child directed learning. I agreed that our culture was rushing children into mature behaviors for which they were not ready. I didn’t have a solution but the problems were obvious.
THEN I did my student teaching. I’d been eagerly learning about unit studies and the many ways to set up a classroom and had requested a teacher who used those methods. Well, she HAD used those methods until the school moved her to a room too small to set up centers and forced her into the regular mode.
Student teaching was a revelation. Students would get into the swing of a lesson only to be cut off and forced to the next subject when the learning was going well. Counselors came in and sent all other adults out. The kids would tell me later that if they answered a question with what their parents taught them it was always wrong and that they had to make up their OWN answers. We had kids who came to us lacking even the most basic skills. Other children worked the system so they went to the counselor to talk over “their problems” and got out of math class– but we still had to find a way to teach the material to them.
Then there was the professor who outright said that the parents would get in the way of your teaching and that they were not allies but problems. Parents as the enemy? I really did not agree with that one! After all, why would they be the enemy unless we were doing something that undermined them?
By the time I had my certification I knew that I did not want to put my kids in the public schools. But I still wasn’t a home school momma.
My two oldest children started school at a private school that had a very good reputation. I liked their teachers and the philosophy of the school. The problem? Well, every day there was homework and I spent my evenings with my children teaching them the material that the teachers were supposed to have taught that day.
Honestly, they had my kids ALL DAY. They got all the BEST hours of my children’s days and I had to teach the material in the evenings to my tired children when I ought to have been enjoying family time. Where is the sense in THAT?
The last straw was when my first born came out of first grade NOT READING, from a school with a stellar reputation in teaching kids reading, and the teachers blamed ME.
I decided enough. I could teach my kids better and have more quality time with them if I chose home school. That was the beginning of being a home school momma.