Before I lose cool points (I kid, I kid), it was only for two years. But, still. I was. And? It was some of the best times in my life. Honest.
It was late summer before 2nd grade. I had *just* gotten the oh-so-awaited-for slip of paper in the mail that said my teacher-to-be's name on it. I read it. I gulped hard. Because, OHmyGOSH it was her. Mrs. Blank. [Of course, that is not her real name. I have an irrational fear she may actually google her name and come hunt me down. So I will refrain from using it, please and thank you.]
My whole little 7 year old world got rocked in that instant.
I can remember so vividly when my sisters best friend at the time (who was older & "wiser" ha! than I) started freaking out over my classroom assignment because "that teacher is the biggest, baddest, meanest lady you will EVER meet!" She didn't stop there. She just kept telling me how horrible of a teacher she was and that it will be the worst year ever. And of course? My tiny, little, malleable brain at the time totally believed every word she said. In fact, I hung on them. And? I cried.
I cried to my mom about how scared I was about school. I remember, literally, sobbing in fear of starting the school year. Literally.
Honestly, I don't know the details on how it happened--but I remember my mom suggesting that she'd homeschool me instead.
Me? Stay at home? In my PJs? And my MOM COULD BE MY TEACHER??? This rocked. Not to mention, all my little almost 2nd grade anxiety left me immediately. I had peace about the school year. In fact, I was excited.
Looking back now, I'm both shocked and amazed that my mom offered that solution for me. It's not like I was an only child. I had (and have) two older siblings who were both in school at the time, and my little toddler brother was home at the time, too.
I felt like my mom really 'heard' me. She knew I was more than distraught about the school year. She felt she was in a place in her life to handle homeschooling me, she offered that option--and then we began that journey.
It was fun. I LOVED it. We did lots of art projects, nature walks, field trips, science experiments, and even some collaboration with other home schoolers. I honestly think that during that time is when I truly found my love for all things artsy, which obviously influenced my life--hence being an art teacher. But, it was a rockin' time. In my 2nd grade head, nothing was better. Nothing.
In fact, we continued to homeschool all the way through 3rd grade. I even started my 4th grade year doing it. Circumstances with my dad's business at the time led my mom to have to start working in a secretarial position with him. I came along to work with her everyday, and in between doing some paperwork & answering phone calls here and there, we still managed to do my schooling.
According to state standards here in Pennsylvania, I had to go into the public schools for yearly testing like all the other kids. About halfway through my 4th grade year I went in for testing and they placed me in a really great 4th grade classroom. I instantaneously adored the teacher. She was funny, made me feel comfortable and welcome & genuinely loved teaching as it practically oozed from her pores.
I came home after a day in that classroom and told my mom confidently that I was ready to go back to public school. Within a few days, I was registered and assigned to that exact classroom with the teacher I loved. It could not have worked out better.
I continued on that year and finished up strong. I even remember sitting next to a boy who picked his nose as a recreational sport and put the boogers on my desk. Despite booger-boy, it was still a great year.
I never did homeschool again after that. Heck, I graduated from public school.
But what my mom did for me those few years was awesome. She saw her daughter all super distraught and anxiety ridden over starting 2nd grade--and she validated my feelings. I was heard. She was in a place to be able to do it, and she did.
So, for those years--I'm grateful. And for my mom, too.
This post was inspired by my friend Jess, who's currently in the thought process of possibly pulling her K & 1st grader out of public school to teach at home. Until she blogged about it the other day, I hadn't really thought too much about my experience. But, I was unhappy--my mom saw that, and like Jess puts it, "...as a teacher, I know that unhappy kids don't learn well."