When I tell teachers we homeschool, I always feel a bit worried that they might feel offended by our choice. Today, at a wedding shower, we sat at a table with 2 lovely elementary school teachers and 1 high school teacher, just the sorts of teachers I would want for my kids. Rhubarb was with me and, while I was away from the table, apparently had a discussion about her homeschooled life with them. They were more than kind about it when I returned and asked a few simple, curious questions (nothing with any sort of judgment). I found myself wanting to tell them how our decision had nothing to do with the public schools and especially with teachers such as themselves. I wanted to reassure them that I think teaching is an amazing profession and that I hold teachers in high esteem. And shoot -- I'll just say it -- I wanted to grab the 2 young ones and hug them all big and motherly-like and tell them I can just tell that they are awesome teachers and to keep on doing a great job -- but that would have been both patronizing and weird -- since I had just met them and all.
The fact is that teachers do not factor at all into our decision to homeschool, except for Mrs. Garner-Pain (not made up) from Middle School. She was mean. Other than her, though, I have enjoyed a myriad of fabulous teachers who not only helped me to learn, but also truly helped me form my system of values.
If I am to be completely honest, however, I cannot rule out all schools when considering our reasons behind homeschooling. When we lived in the far burbs, I could not imagine sending my Haitian children to what was a fairly homogeneous school in a district that was cutting programs Edward Scissorhands-style (art, music, PE, sports, RECESS? Would ESL be next?). We really did not feel comfortable with that particular school so at that time in our lives, for our family, homeschooling seemed like a more harmonious option. We figured that once we moved (which we thought at the time would take a good 5 or so years), we would send them to the public school.
But, aye, here's the rub: we all REALLY like homeschooling. It jives so well with our family style. It works beautifully with the learning styles of Rhubarb and Eggplant. It offers us the freedom to explore all that Chicagoland has to offer as a family. It affords the children opportunities to pursue their interests in depth. It has helped the children really stay connected and allows us all to both learn and play together. It provides the freedom we need to continue learning Kreyol (RE-learning at this point). And I would, of course, be remiss were I to leave out the following vital point: we get to go to the beach whenever we want (this is very important when those developing brains shut down due to a lack of exercise and everyone needs a little time to just play).
Severe lack of segue...
To conclude this quarter's installment of Lakeschooling 101, I say "Bravo" to teachers everywhere. You are the cream of the professional crop and I hope I am helping my children to learn with the same passion you share with your students everyday. You are an inspiration and I thoroughly enjoy discussing education with you.
And, for now, we will remain a homeschooling family for a variety of reasons (none of which are about you). Hugs. Kisses. Pats on the back. Not at all patronizing.