For years, actually, decades, I have seen it. Great attention and massive kudos are given to the wonderful classroom teacher for her hard work, creativity in teaching, and passion for all things academic. Her ingenuity is tweeted for whole districts to praise. Awards of recognition are received. And, rightfully so. I glean much from these tremendous teachers myself.
However, I have also been inspired and impressed by a quieter and more reserved group of teachers. Homeschool moms: those selfless women who give their time, attention, and energy to home education.
These women are the unsung heroes in my world. Those who do the job well - who take it seriously - who love learning - simply knock my socks off!
Case in point. Sarah spent several hours researching, planning, and prepping for an erosion unit in science for her two elementary aged children. As the four week lesson came to a close, and the incredible hands-on erosion experiment succeeded, her kids cheered. They LOVED it! They all talked about the outcome around the kitchen table, repeated the process, and jotted down their observations. Sarah was pleased.
And, just like like that, it was over. Time to get dinner started. Sarah did not tell her neighboring colleague about her success. She did not add it to a Google Sheet as evidence for her upcoming review. She did not post it on Class Dojo. At our next meeting, I did get to hear all about it from her childrens' perspectives. She just smiled.
Homeschool moms do not experience a whole classroom of excited learners. They do not get emails or cards from parents who appreciate all they do and the time they devote to teaching children. Before any big holiday or school break, their desks are not covered with gift bags. And, at the end of each month, there is no paycheck being deposited into their bank account or increasing retirement benefits. Those are enjoyable, motivating, and reinvigorating perks for many classroom teachers, but homeschool moms keep going because they simply value what they are doing. I respect that.
For you, the homeschool mom, it must be enough, intrinsically, to watch your daughter performing her adorable happy dance because she suddenly discovers the crafting supplies you have set out for a fun project. Your cup must quietly fill to the brim observing your son take a break from his math page to feed his bugs and watch them eat with great curiosity. And, hopefully, the shared experience of sitting in the family room together reading Where the Red Fern Grows brings peace to your soul. For these are the simple, subtle yet powerful gifts a homeschool mom receives on a day-to-day basis.
Through my own teaching experiences, I have been both teacher and homeschool mom. From classroom desks seating 36 students to our own MPR/guest room with our youngest son, I have worked out countless lessons in my planning book. I will be very honest and say they are both hard jobs when done well. They both demand enormous amounts of time, energy, and organization. Both can be emotionally and physically draining. And, the pressure to be effective cannot be overlooked. Both impact the lives of future generations.
So, for all the moms who choose to tackle the challenging homeschool life, deserving recognition, I applaud you. Certainly, you do not hear it enough, but I will tell you that your sacrifices are commendable and your love is amazing. Stay strong, Homeschool Mom!
Melissa Webb is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.