Former Teacher Becomes Home-Educating Mom, but WHY?

November 19, 2012

As my beloved eight devoted blog readers can attest, I used to be a classroom teacher. I have experience in both the public and the private classroom situations. In fact, I wasn’t keen on having my own kids at all. I thought I would manage other people’s kids for them. Hahahahaha. Hard to manage kids whose parents aren’t exactly education-minded, but that is another story.

I eventually had a cute little red-haired baby boy. Three months after his birth, I found that another baby would be coming along about the time of the first baby’s first birthday. Two cute little red-haired babies graced my life, razing it and changing it forever: enter Nicky and Lauren.

About 14 months later, baby Taylor joined the family circus, followed by Franklin about 17 months after Taylor. I now ran a pre-school. Ha!

I absolutely loved having babies and toddlers around! Okay, a shower was a rarity unless my husband was home to mind the manic masses, but my memories of sitting on the floor in our family room, listening to four-year-old Nicky read Who Will Bell the Cat? and other stories to his little siblings are priceless. I’ve got some this on cassette tape, actually.

Yesterday’s blog was about GOALS.

What are some good goals when it comes to educating children? Here is a short list of the personal goals I had when I began home educating little Nicholas at age four:

  1. Present new information in various forms: workbooks, readers, texts, etc.
  2. Test when necessary to make sure information is learned to an A level.
  3. Move on to the next thing, letting my child’s readiness be the guide.

Because I had a degree in elementary education and had taught school before having my own children, it never dawned on me that children would enjoy learning if left to themselves. Isn’t that a strange thing to say? But it’s true.

In the classroom, children had to be pushed and pulled along for the most part. In my experience as a mom who was home educating her child, however, I found that Nicholas moved very, very quickly through his lessons because he could go at his own speed. He didn’t need to wait for the class to finish up; he was the class!

Nor did he know that he should not be enjoying this thing called school. Ah! But that was the difference! It was not school; it was learning at home. We weren’t up at the crack of dawn, gulping down breakfast, scrambling to find matching shoes, and running out the door to catch the school bus, separated from everything related to family.

Instead, learning was a natural thing done in the comfort of our own home along with family, on a schedule that worked well for us, not for an entire school system. What a cool thing it was to be able to tailor learning to my student! What an improvement over group learning!

I wasn’t just providing the opportunity for learning; I was there to ensure that learning took place, the learning of all the subject matter, not just 75 or 88 percent of it, but all of it. And then we moved on, directed solely by my son’s desire to learn—a desire which was voracious.

Why would I want to send my child to a school when he could have such fun learning at home and could move at his own speed? I simply did not want to miss out on time spent with him either.

If I put him on a school bus, that meant forty fewer hours per week I would have to spend with him, times thirty-six weeks in a year. That equals 1,440 hours apart per year. Multiply that times twelve years, not counting kindergarten, and that comes out to 17,280 hours—roughly three full years of his life spent elsewhere.

Yikes! Why did I have a child only to entrust him to someone else to influence, mold, and shape? That didn’t make any sense.

I knew my son could learn better at home than he could anywhere else. For now, home education was for us. We’d worry about high school later.

Additionally, at age four, Nicky had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This was quite a shock, of course. And years ago, there was no way to accurately test blood sugar at home as there is now. Another reason we decided to keep Nicky at home was that we knew we could keep a better eye on his health challenges than any school nurse could. If your child has chronic health issues, learning at home is certainly a wonderful option to explore.

Thus began our home-education adventure.

(Nicky is now 23 and would shudder if I called him Nicky ever again. Half the fun of having kiddos is tormenting them, right? LOL So next time you see him of post on his wall, call him Nicky just for fun.)


About the Author

Joanne Calderwood has been called America’s Homeschool Mom. She is an underwhelmed Mom of eight great kids, owner of, and an author and columnist. Her new book, The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence, enables parents to teach their kids to teach themselves with excellence.


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