For the Teachers

I had an idea a few days ago that if I decided to write something here before the holidays were over, it would be about the holidays.  An obvious assumption. 

Then came Friday.

I told myself I wouldn’t write anything about it. Everyone would be writing about it, and I doubted I’d have anything significant to add. Nothing that hasn’t been said already, posted and re-posted on facebook. And most of all, the one thing I wouldn’t say…

I homeschool my children. I talk about it often, because it’s my life. But when so many people were mourning the loss of their children, I couldn’t mention it. But of course, it was on my mind. I gave it some heavy thought, because I didn’t want to say anything insensitive. And what I realized was something I already knew but perhaps had forgotten. I don’t homeschool my children because I want to shelter them from school shootings. That has never been my reason. And if it was my reason, then I would have to question my ability to use reason in the first place.

Evil isn’t only visiting our schools. You don’t even need to do research to hear of other incidents that have happened recently. They’re being discussed on the news, too. If you keep your children home from school to avoid violence, you’ll need to also keep them from malls, restaurants and movie theatres. You might want to consider not staying home as well, because home invasions can be fatal. So am I saying I’m no longer an advocate for homeschooling? No way! But I’m also an advocate for public schooling. I’m an advocate for our teachers.

One of the most heartfelt pieces I’ve ever written here was written about one of my former teachers, a man I love as if he were family. He’s a man, who like so many other teachers, would have put himself between his students and danger if need arose. I’ve seen too many posts and articles written by homeschooling parents that seem to say what we do is better, that we’re right and the parents who send their children to school are wrong. And I want to shout that we’re not all that way. Some of us see both sides. Some of us have respect for the system we’ve chosen not to use.  Or if not the system itself, then the people who breathe life into it.

This fall, when my family was on vacation, we met a man who wanted someone to take a photo of him and his wife. He had a nice camera, similar to mine, but with one difference. Mine is a Canon, and his is a Nikon. If you’re into photography, you know where I’m going. I giggled when he placed his camera in my hands. My Canon hung heavy around my neck, and he glanced at it and chuckled. He pretended to take his camera away from me.

“You’re not gonna throw it down and stomp on it, are you?” he teased.

“No, I’ll just sterilize my hands really well when I’m done,” I teased back. I took the pictures and gave him back his unharmed camera, and we talked for a moment about the Nikon/Canon debate. I find it amusing that such a debate exists. One is not better than the other. In fact, they just keep outdoing one another. That’s the way technology works. And at the end of the day, the superior camera doesn’t win anyway. The superior photographer does.

It’s the same with education. Whether or not my decision to homeschool will benefit my children is dependent upon me, the teacher. Homeschooling vs. public schooling is a silly debate. One is not better than the other. It is an individual decision, and it is different for each of us. And protecting my children from madness may be as difficult for me as it is for any parent who watches her children board a school bus. Would I want to be there to shelter my child if someone pointed a gun at him? Yes. Of course I would. But in my absence, I could only hope to have someone else there, someone who would put herself in danger to protect a child who was not her own.

I feel blessed today, not only because I’m allowed to homeschool my children, but also because I’m part of a nation where other people are willing to love my children as well, if I choose to accept it. God bless our teachers.

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~ by Rachel McMahon on December 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “For the Teachers”

  1. I have thought about home schooling in the past, and whether I’d do it. If I had the reources (tutors for subjects that I’m less educated in) then I would too. But also emphasize that my children get the socializing effects. Thus, I would then send them to high school (so they will be smarter than the rest of the kids… :-P) and get to experience certain things like homecoming, prom…etc

    • Thanks for your input! I had to laugh at your comment regarding your child being smarter! I probably won’t put my kids into high school, but I’ve done a lot of research on how to help homeschooled kids get all the activities the public schooled kids get. There are proms and graduations, etc. You just have to find a local group. Also, I prefer the socialization they get other places, like church. But like I said, it’s an individual decision. Mine came based on health more than anything else and then became our way of life. I wouldn’t trade it!

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