It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since our decision to homeschool. What a whirlwind of a journey! I often think back to this time last year, when I was reading everything I could get my hands on about giftedness and homeschooling, and worrying away the minutes. I’m not going to lie, folks. Initially, when I learned that our son was profoundly gifted, I felt very alone, and I wondered how I was going to pull this whole thing off. But then I delved a little deeper. I started this silly little blog and lo and behold I met others like us. The beginning was such a blur that I don’t even remember how it happened, but I was invited to join the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum bloggers. Suddenly, I felt at home. I found others who had fallen into this whole homeschooling thing. I found GHF friends like Celi of Crushing Tall Poppies. Do you guys know her? If not, you should. Like myself, Celi was an educator before she stumbled into homeschool and gifted advocacy. She is an amazing mom, educator, writer, and advocate… and she just wrote the book that is currently on my nightstand!
Folks, I’ve never had a guest post on my site but when I heard that my GHF friend Celi had a book out, I needed to read it. And then I needed to have her post here! Why? Because her story is one that will speak to you. She gets all of this. I found solace in her story and I hope you will too. Celi took me up on the offer and she’s here today on My Little Poppies. I’m so excited!! So, without further ado, I present to you my GHF compadre, Celi:
Traitor. Turncoat. Defector. Deserter. Renegade.
Why would she do it?
Why would a devoted public school teacher leave the classroom and her career she trained for to join the ranks of the opposing side, those unconventional rivals? Why did she leave the classroom for
h o m e s c h o o l i n g?
Despite how paradoxical or rebellious it may seem, there are many of us in this growing public-school-teacher-to-homeschool-mom sisterhood. We’ve been on the front lines of our public educational system, smack dab in the heart of the system—the classroom. And we’ve seen firsthand the many ways public education just doesn’t work for all students. As dedicated and experienced as so many of us teachers were, we saw the problems in the public education system and we saw how the system just didn’t work for our children.
Reaching each child at her level of achievement, teaching each child using strategies that best meet that child’s learning needs and matching the pace of instruction to each child is impractical and mostly undoable for a busy classroom teacher.
Homeschooling is, to say it simply, the opposite of the impersonal, uniform nature of public school education. We left behind a system where many children are taught in a homogenous classroom, now there are far fewer children in our own unique homeschools, where individualization of instruction is nearly impossible, now it is second-nature for us, where standardization reigns, personalization now rules. It is a whole different ball game and a much better environment for many children.
But before you go and think that homeschooling is easy peasy lemon squeezy for us former teachers because of our training and experience, let me first say that classroom teachers were trained to educate a group, a larger group than the typical number of children one family has. Everything in public school—textbooks, tests, classroom management, discipline, instructional strategies—is geared towards standardization and simplification to manage and educate approximately 25 students per class at one given time. Discipline and classroom management skills were a needed high priority. Providing the most appropriate education was a focus, but only within the strict construct of educating a group efficiently. Traditional classrooms involve teaching the same-age group of children the same level of work despite the achievement level or aptitude of any given student within a teacher’s classroom. You might see where I am going with this.
When we first turned to homeschooling, many of us former teachers at first tried to recreate the classroom at home; that is until we discovered it was unnecessary to teach in that way, and probably detrimental to the education we wanted to provide our child. The aha moment for some of us public-school-teacher-turned-homeschool-moms was sometimes hard-earned. But when it comes to choosing great curriculum and creating unique learning experiences, our training did help us synthesize our knowledge of traditional education with the outside-of-the-box education homeschooling offers thus making homeschooling the best of both worlds for our kids.
Now, to answer the original question: why would a public school teacher leave the classroom to homeschool? We left because we found a better education more befitting our children. We left because we knew a personalized education was better than a standardized one. We left because our children required more than what they were getting. We left because the public school system wasn’t working—for our children and for many others.
Our current public education system has been underserving and under-educating many children for many years in too many school systems throughout the U.S. and the world. As classroom teachers, we saw the decline of the public education system and how it was underserving many children who have special educational needs, needs that can’t be met in a standardized system using a one-size-fits-all curriculum. We knew we wanted better for our own children.
Education shouldn’t be minimal. Learning should not be hated. Teaching should not be standardized. Going to school should not be painful.
As teachers, we saw this so we joined the growing ranks of the public-school-teacher-turned-homeschool-mom sisterhood.
BLOGS from the Sisterhood of Public-School-Teacher-to-Homeschool-Mom:
Celi Trépanier was born and raised in south Louisiana. She grew up with a strong Cajun French heritage, eventually married a French-Canadian, and has three wonderful sons. She currently resides in central Iowa with her husband and youngest son.
Celi has a vast and varied background in education. She received her B.S. from Loyola University in New Orleans and her M.Ed. from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, then taught in Louisiana, Ontario, and Alabama, in public schools, private schools, and homeschool co-ops.
Celi became a passionate advocate for gifted children after tiring of her family’s painful battles with traditional schools and the misunderstanding and neglect of gifted students. Through adversity came her passion, her strength, and her voice. She advocates for the educational, emotional, and social needs of all gifted children, and her dream is for schools and society to one day understand the truths about giftedness in children. Her writing centers on her advocacy for gifted children and her own journey with her three gifted sons. Her emotional and sometimes pointed posts can be found on her website, Crushing Tall Poppies. You can follow Celi on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
So, tell me folks… are YOU an educator-turned-homeschooler? Can you relate to Celi’s story? I love hearing from you all. And, when you’re done sharing your thoughts, please hop on over to Crushing Tall Poppies and show Celi some love. We all need to stick together!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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