Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | July 4, 2015

When Teachers Homeschool Their Own Children

Bella Wang Photography, LLC

Former School Teacher’s Two Homeschooled Daughters

School teachers run in my family.

My dad was a special ed. teacher.  My mom was a second grade teacher.  My aunt and uncle (a husband and wife duo) were both teachers.  My sister is a kindergarten teacher.  Two of my cousins are teachers (and I only have three cousins!).  I was a Spanish teacher.

I was taught to support public education before I learned to brush my own teeth.  And yet, when I had my own children, I opted out of the system to which I’d pledged allegiance.

My story is not unique.  Many former teachers opt to homeschool their own children.  The idea was formally introduced by David Guterson in his book Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense in which he grapples with the inconsistency of his choice to homeschool his own children and his profession as a high school teacher.  Guterson explains,

“Learning theory tells us to teach children as individuals who learn in their own unique manner. The finest possible curriculum is precisely the one that starts with each child’s singular means of learning. Instruction and guidance are best provided by those with an intimate understanding of the individual child and a deep commitment to the child’s education. These principles derive not merely from the homeschooling movement but from contemporary research into how children learn. They are not merely adages fabricated by homeschoolers but precepts grounded in a science that should inspire us to reconsider both our roles as parents and the shape of public education.”

I think that it’s easy to call teachers (and former teachers) traitors for homeschooling their children.  But if, instead of going to a place of anger and judgment, we really sit with the idea that teachers are choosing to homeschool their own children, we discover a profound message.

The majority of teachers go into teaching because they love children.  That’s certainly why I went into teaching.  So all of these teachers (turned homeschoolers) took their responsibility to educate the children in their classrooms very seriously.  They didn’t just work 180 days a year.  In addition to all of the lesson planning, correcting, book keeping, and report card writing, they dreamed about their students at night.  Outside of their classrooms – in the car, on the subway, at the movies – they struggled to come up with new ways to reach their students.  New possibilities for teaching multiplication to those three kids who just couldn’t seem to grasp it.  How to engage Jamie with the other kids.  How to best approach a parent with the recommendation that her young daughter repeat kindergarten.  Teachers pour their heart and souls into their work.  And these same people, having made their living by teaching other people’s children, opt out of that system for their own children.

Teachers turned homeschoolers sought a different educational model for their own children.  An educational model that better supported their children as learners…as individuals.  One that better supported their families.  They chose homeschooling.

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