“Schools are different now, they’ve changed a lot you know!”
As a home educating parent I hear this a lot. People want to believe we just don’t know what goes on in schools, as if they operate in secret or something. Not the case, obviously.
You know who knows a lot about what schools are like? Teachers.
I recently read an article which made this very interesting point…
“In biology, there’s a descriptor – “indicator species”. An indicator species may be unusually sensitive to environmental changes, and biologists monitor the indicator species for signs that something is amiss in the environment.
I wonder when somebody is going to notice that teachers are an indicator species. When we leave public schools with our children, people should consider that there’s something amiss.”
When I shared it online so many teachers contributed their stories about why they had chosen not to send their own children to school. Some of them made me angry, some made me sad, some made me feel super passionate, some made me feel hopeful, some made me feel hopeless. That’s too many feelings for one person, so I decided to share it with you, ha!
I hope the experiences shared here by teachers help in some way. Maybe they will help make the decision to homeschool easier, maybe you will feel less alone in your beliefs or observations, maybe they will give you a picture of what schools are really like.
Why Teachers Choose to Homeschool Their Own Children…
They have a huge amount of experience
Firstly, what I noticed when I read through all the stories was that these teachers had so much experience!
“I am home schooling my autistic granddaughter after being a primary teacher for 40 years.”
These were people who had been in the schooling system for a long time, who had studied education greatly, who absolutely do know what school is like.
“I’m a registered ECE teacher with 18 years experience. We have been homeschooling a year and it has blown my mind how many people I have met who are ex-teachers who now homeschool. There are HEAPS!”
“My husband and I are both educators with Masters degrees in our fields. Unschooling our kids allows us to follow what we know to be true about human development, good mental health practices, and childhood in general.”
“My husband is a Prof. and I have a M.Ed in special education”
The people that commented and sent me their stories were the people who had been in schools for a long time. The fact that they had spent so much of their life dedicated to education but still didn’t use it for their own children was already very telling.
They are disillusioned with the system
“Over the years, I’ve gone from thinking nothing of the system, to not liking it, to thinking it just doesn’t work anymore, and now I believe it was designed to fail kids.”
Over and over again, the stories conveyed a feeling of disillusionment.
“I became a teacher to make a difference in children’s lives, but was completely and quickly disillusioned with the environment teachers and children are in.”
“There is little to no support and the class sizes continue to climb while the funding continues to decrease. I finally decided I’d seen enough.”
“My dream was to integrate the outdoor, nature, garden, environment ed into the classroom. The reality is there is no time for anything but testing, testing prep, data analysis, meetings about data, meetings about tests, meetings about how to get the scores up, etc “
Teachers wanted to help and support children but realized that within our current system of schooling this wasn’t possible. They were dealing with data and standardization, not individual children. They were tied to a system that wanted them to implement teaching like robots, instead of responding to individual needs. In fact, they found that what they had learned about what is best for children and how they learn was not even being respected in schools. They literally couldn’t give children what they need. Test scores were more important.
“The things I’ve learned about motivation to learn are not being fostered in public schools. Things are being taught to children when it is not developmentally appropriate. Most schools are still giving young children homework, even when all the research shows it is not helpful. Anxiety around standardized tests is a huge problem. Recess time is being reduced. Teachers are over worked and underpaid. Until there is a major paradigm shift in the school climate, I will not be comfortable putting my kids in public school.”
“What hits it home for me is when you consider how long the school system has been in place. If a private company had been running this long, it would likely function like a well oiled machine, with a clear purpose and probably making good profit with efficient staff. Now, I realise schools aren’t the same as corporate businesses but the system has been around so long and it’s still a mess, no clear direction, no clear purpose, and by it’s own standards it’s failing, all of that even with lots of teachers working very hard and giving up lots of time. So when you look at a system that is as inefficient as schooling you have to question whether it’s the right thing to do.”
As a homeschooler one of the first questions you get is ‘what about socialization?’ Somehow people have come to believe that schools teach healthy social skills. As we have all experienced, that is not the case. Teachers agreed…
“As for the social side for children – well, teachers are under so much pressure to reach targets that children often miss playtime and lunchtimes while over stressed teachers desperately try to justify how much support they are giving to reach those targets. Autistic children are still expected to reach targets too despite the reaction to pressure. It’s a hive of stress!”
“Schools function as virtual prisons. Very nice prisons, for sure, but with strict rules and consequences. Students who do not comply are punished, labeled, looked down on, thought of as less smart, and less likely to succeed in life.”
“In school, they only socialize with kids in their grade level and class and only during very limited times unless they’re breaking the rules.”
“You have all these very prison like ways of treating students. Lining up in silence, can’t use the toilet during lessons, any misbehaviour at all and you’re in isolation for the rest of the day, the school actually hired an ex-police officer to help them ‘police’ the corridors.”
“They just push them forward year after year even if they have not learnt the content and we were getting further and further behind. The class environment did not promote thinking, creativity, self reflection, resilience etc”
While school is supposed to be ‘educating‘ our children, and helping them learn, many teachers thought it was doing a very poor job. What they knew about learning prompted them to remove their children from the system.
“I actually felt like unschooling was more in line with what we learned about how people learn in my education courses. Of course, that looks so different than what you are expected to implement in the classroom, because it just isn’t possible to create a space for the non-linear creative way we learn when you are trying to move 30 people along at the same pace; and moving them along is necessary so they can test well so the school can have funds and resources (and you can have a job) for next year. It’s a terrible system if it’s viewed through the lens of how we naturally learn.”
“I am a teacher. We unschool. I occasionally still supply teach and every time I do, our choice to live the way we do is reinforced by what I experience in schools.”
“The heavy, exclusive focus on reading, writing and math, I feel, kills creativity in school. There is nothing wrong with those subjects but they can be learned alongside the students’ primary interests. When a child realizes that the problems they want to solve, the interests they want to pursue, and the goals they have can be achieved with the relevant math, reading, and writing skills, then they are motivated to learn those skills knowing that it helps them.”
Experiences From School and Teaching
The stories that saddened me the most were when people shared things they had observed in school, or how school had impacted their children. They speak for themselves…more in link below
Having Their Own Children Gave Them a New Perspective…more in link belowRead the rest of the article here: http://happinessishereblog.com/2018/10/why-teachers-choose-to-homeschool-their-own-children/?fbclid=IwAR3VDrcZyTQtuld_t5FFfq5BKRxI-0C5iX8t1h0KgSDfdydNsLfMoB8CdhM?
Why do teachers choose to homeschool their own children? It seems because they are educated, they know what school is like, and they want the best for their children. I think that’s telling.
You can read the full stories shared by teachers in the link below. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.
Read the full stories shared by teachers here: http://happinessishereblog.com/2018/10/why-teachers-choose-to-homeschool-their-own-children/?fbclid=IwAR3VDrcZyTQtuld_t5FFfq5BKRxI-0C5iX8t1h0KgSDfdydNsLfMoB8CdhM
Needing help for your home schooling journey: https://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
Information on getting started: https://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/
Information on getting an exemption: https://hef.org.nz/exemptions/
This link is motivational: https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online: https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/