Years ago I decided to be a homeschooler. My oldest daughter was five and it was time for her to start Kindergarten. I knew NOTHING about teaching or homeschooling, but I wanted to teach my children at home.
My homeschool endeavor ended in failure. Enrolling your child in school after an unsuccessful homeschooling attempt is terribly humiliating. I’ve experienced both sides of this coin. I was the parent who ran to enroll my child in school two years behind. And I’ve been the public school teacher who comforted parents who feel guilty for trying to homeschool.
There is no judgement here.
It took me a while to lick my wounds and be able to speak kindly about myself as my children’s first teacher. I was my own worst critic. Nobody else needed to scold me. And they didn’t! I scolded myself in front of them before they could get to it.
It wasn’t until I became a teacher (after returning to school in my 30’s) that I was able to forgive myself and give myself credit for having solid reasoning behind my decision to homeschool.
I remember the moment I stopped judging myself. The mother of one of my students had wrestled through homeschool the previous year and felt guilty that her child wasn’t where she thought he should be academically. I could tell she had prepared herself for judgement from me.
Again, there is no judgement here. I saw right away that she was me a few years before!
She was a good mom to be willing to seek out the best education for her child. She started homeschooling because she thought that it would be good for him. When things didn’t go as she expected, she sought other solutions for educating him. How is this failure? How is this a bad mom? It’s not. As I hoped she would find peace in her decisions, I realized that I also needed to do the same for myself.
I forgave myself that day because I couldn’t give her honest compassion while holding myself to a different standard. I believe this homeschool parent was trying to work in her child’s best interest at every turn – even to the point of turning to a school system to find hope for her child and expecting persecution for herself.
Nope, no judgement here.
If you’re a school teacher and you find yourself working with a homeschool family that is a bit behind. Please speak kindly to them and about them. Include them as part of the solution, but also understand that they’re weary from the fight.
Expect that these kids will likely shine among your students in unique ways. This mom wants her child’s teacher to see his unique light and to protect it from getting snuffed out. That’s why she lovingly chose to be his first teacher.