I shared my teaching background, then explain, "And right now, I'm homeschooling. I have one entering 1st grade and one in upper level preschool at the moment."
There was that slightly stunned silence, as there often is when a homeschooling former teacher is found in the midst of seasoned professionals who are still deep in the trenches of traditional schooling.
So I followed it up with, "Originally, I went into teaching with the hope of someday homeschooling my own kids. Now I am doing that and I am absolutely loving it."
There was another stunned silence and then the gal to my right laughed up at the ceiling: "I could NEVER teach my own kids!"
Now it was my turn to feel stunned. I have heard this kind of comment from parents who do not homeschool but wish they could. Usually, it stems from a concern that the professional teaching chops might not be there, that they might fail their kids and be unable to pass on knowledge in some way. So, my initial response came from that experience.
"But you ARE a teacher!" I said.
Several in the group chimed in, "It is not the same thing."
And then, of course it dawned on me, that what was actually being admitted here had nothing to do with one's ability to teach. It had to do with the desire/inclination/will to spend that kind of solo time with one's offspring. To devote the hours needed to be mom, dad, teacher, nurse, psychiatrist, disciplinarian, that "all in one" kind of role that you fulfill to the utmost only when you choose to homeschool.
And inside I felt that overwhelming admiration that I so often feel for those who take up the torch and choose to homeschool their kids. Homeschooling parents, you ROCK! You dare to walk the paths that professionals fear to tread. You do it with knowledge, grace and the know-how that comes from knowing your child.
I feel compelled to share it again because it is important that you know it: Homeschooling parents, you are AWESOME!