Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things
When I was a girl, I used to have a little cupboard, all to myself, in my grandmother’s dining room.
I called it my “Teacher Closet.”
My third grade teacher had something similar in our classroom and she called it, you guessed it, her “Teacher Closet.” It was filled with glue bottles, pencils and colorful paper. She kept her grade book in it, along with boxes of chalk and her own books.
I filled mine with almost the same. School supplies, an old reading workbook I found at a yard sale for a quarter, and all the pens my grandma would let me swipe.
It was my pride and joy. It was a nod to what I already knew to be true.
I wanted to be a teacher.
Last month, a good friend of mine called to say that she was pulling her son from school and starting to homeschool again. I was excited to have another mom to hang out with and offered to help if needed.
What she said really struck me.
“I never wanted to be a teacher, Shawna. I have always liked other things. I want to homeschool my son, but honestly, I am not you. I don’t love the idea of teaching.”
The more I thought about our conversation, the more it occurred to me that is true for so many homeschoolers I know. In fact, I would say the majority of homeschooling moms that I am personally friends with, did not start out with a general desire to teach.
Most would say they never thought they would make the decision to teach, much less homeschool, but they took on the responsibility because they knew it was right for their children.
Maybe you can identify?
For The Homeschool Mom Who Never Wanted To Be A Teacher
There are a few things I think are important for us “teacher types” to admit when it comes to homeschooling. They are the same things I want to say to encourage those of you who never had any desire to be a teacher yourself.
1. It Really Is OK.
After more than eight years at home, educating my children, I can honestly say that the desire to teach has very little to do with actually helping your children learn.
Just like when they learned to walk or use the big girl potty, helping our children learn has a lot more to do with our being their parent and a lot less to do with any teaching credentials or desire to hoard school supplies in a closet all your own.
2. Try Not To Compare.
Here’s the thing – although most of the actual homeschool moms I know in person did not have a desire to teach, a lot of the ones who blog online did. Some of my closest online friends worked in the school system and now blog about homeschooling.
We do it because, you guessed it, we love to teach. We use our background in ways that make sense for us on our blogs – but that doesn’t mean our homeschools should be compared to yours!
This leads me to my next point…
3. You May Actually Be A Better Homeschooler Because You Never Wanted To Teach.
I am 100% serious here. When I went to school to be a teacher, I learned about a million things that I needed to unlearn when we started homeschooling.
My children had to endure more than a year of me acting like our dining room was an exact replica of the formal classrooms I had just pulled them out of, much to our detriment.
Not being a “teacher type” allows you to do what you do best and already have a ton of experience in – being their mom and helping them learn things.
4. Asking For Help Is Not Failing.
If you are struggling and feel like homeschooling is becoming too much, please don’t be afraid to ask for help! Teachers do it all the time. So should we homeschooling parents.
There is no shame in admitting that you have no idea where to start, or your child’s latest inability to progress in math has you losing sleep. In fact, looking for ways to partner with other moms often has the immediate effect of making you feel a lot less alone.
Asking for help is not failing. I think it’s the secret to truly owning your homeschool experience.
If you never wanted to be a teacher, please know you are not alone. In fact, no matter what it may look like online, I think you may actually be a part of a growing majority of homeschool parents.
Wanting to teach is not the same as wanting to help our children learn.
Did you want to be a teacher before you began homeschooling? If not, how has it been going for you and your children?