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I worked in schools for over 2 decades. My kids are homeschooled.

Amelia Shearer   

I worked in schools for over 2 decades. My kids are homeschooled.
  • I worked in schools for over two decades and loved that my kids were in school.
  • The pandemic forced remote learning and my kids thrived.

I thought I could never homeschool my own kids.

It wasn't for me. Not only did homeschooling seem difficult and intimidating, but as a former teacher, I loved that my kids were in school.

For more than two decades, I worked in schools — as a classroom teacher, after-school program teacher, volunteer, tutor, and substitute. I taught all ages, from preschoolers through high schoolers. I was an ardent supporter of public schools and thrived in traditional schools myself.

But the pandemic made me reevaluate everything.

My kids thrived during remote learning

Remote learning during the pandemic wasn't for everyone. Surprisingly, my family loved it. There were growing pains, but this new version of school worked for us.

In particular, one of our children is a talented student but faces social challenges in certain settings, like school. During remote learning, for the first time, they had the freedom to focus on learning without the social exhaustion of a seven-hour school day.

They thrived.

I was available as a consistent aide for them, which our school system had been unable to provide. With more selective social interactions, our kid was able to approach those interactions from a place of strength and curiosity.

After years of trying to fit our child's needs into traditional school, we finally, and inadvertently, found where they fit best, and it was learning from home.

We could travel

Along with that realization, we'd long dreamed of my spouse working remotely so we could spend time in other countries. I wanted my kids to experience other cultures and ways of life. When the pandemic forced employers to explore remote work, this far-fetched dream became plausible, and by homeschooling, we weren't limited to summers. We decided to lean into learning through travel.

While homeschooling, we've traveled to a dozen US National Parks and lived for a month each in Spain and Kenya, with an upcoming stay in Costa Rica. Being able to travel during off seasons means more affordable prices and more ideal weather.

I wanted them to have anti-racist education

Prior to our decision, our local school board faced regular opposition to diversity and inclusion efforts. As in many communities, discourse became divisive. Speaking at a school board meeting in favor of inclusivity, I realized I didn't want my kids' education caught in the crossfire of political talking points. I wanted them to learn honest, thought-provoking, age-appropriate lessons about difficult topics, but I knew as an educator that teachers needed to tread carefully for their own protection in the current political climate.

Classroom teachers are the best people to guide students through these topics, but their freedom to teach is constantly being challenged. In the meantime, my kids have a teacher in their home who can teach without hesitation and answer their questions without repercussions.

I wanted them to be safe

There have been 18 school shootings on K-12 school grounds in the United States so far this year. Our district receives multiple threats each year, some deemed credible enough to result in increased police presence or building-wide searches. District administration closed school for two days after credible threats to minority students. Meanwhile, mental health and counseling services for students are overburdened and underfunded.

I feel anxiety for friends and loved ones every time we get the district's warning notifications, but a part of me also breathes easier knowing my own children are in the backyard working on science projects, not practicing lockdown drills.

Homeschooling wasn't on my radar. Yet it was the missing piece to helping my child and expanding my kids' perspectives. It's worth rethinking the possibilities of what education can be.