Today I bring you a guest post from GHF Author Celi Trépanier. Celi is a former public school teacher turned avid homeschooler and advocate. Her new book, Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling, is now available through Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press. Today she shares her thoughts about homeschooling, first as a teacher and then after she made the leap into home education.
Vividly, I remember sitting in a graduate education class in college, just to the professor’s right, in the second row, with the early morning sun pouring in through the windows. Part of the lecture for that day was on homeschooling. I don’t remember everything about that lecture because it was so long ago, but etched clearly in my brain is the image of my professor standing behind the podium as she first slowly enunciated the word homeschooling while resting her wrists on the upper portion of the lectern as she formed an “X” by crossing her two index fingers—a clear sign of what she thought of homeschooling.
Yes, I got that message loud and clear. I learned homeschooling was evil, especially to those of us teaching in the public school system. That was the first time I had ever heard of homeschooling and my instructor’s opinion directly forged my own opinion of homeschooling.
The second time I heard about homeschooling was shortly thereafter. A dear college friend of mine, along with her young children, were coming from out of town to spend the day with me and my children. I had not seen her in months and when her oldest son, who was 7 years old at the time, came bounding into my living room, the first question I asked him, a very common question, was, “How’s school?” He replied immediately and I could hear the polite, but defiant tone in his voice as he answered, “I’m homeschooled!”
I was shocked, stunned. I thought my dear, sweet college friend had lost her mind or that something devastating had happened. I just knew she was making a mistake as I recalled the image of my professor making that X with her crossed index fingers.
Today, my friend’s oldest son is a very successful computer programmer. Her second son is a chemical engineer, and her third child, a daughter, recently graduated from a well-known university in marketing and business. All three were homeschooled their entire school careers. All three had full college scholarships. She is my homeschooling mentor, my role model—my homeschooling inspiration. Homeschooling was not evil and my college instructor with her fingers forming an X was wrong. My opinion of homeschooling was now much more favorable—for others, not ever for my family.
Then I found myself in a situation where I needed to turn to homeschooling for the first time. Life has an ironic sense of humor sometimes. My college friend was the first person I called for help and advice, but it wasn’t a smooth transition from homeschool hater to homeschool lover.
I kept recalling that image of my professor standing at the podium forming the X with her index fingers and I wondered what my fellow teachers would think of me now. I was officially a traitor. Having been a devout public school teacher now embarking on homeschooling, I didn’t go in easily.
About three months into my first homeschooling journey, I was all in. I was hooked. Sold. I was now a devout homeschool believer. That first year of homeschooling was joyous, inspirational, fun, educational, and simply wonderful. The level and depth of homeschooling education and the opportunities for educational experiences not feasible for traditional school students amazed and delighted me and my child.
But, was my child learning? Weren’t we having too much fun to be learning? According to the books, workbooks and tests we were using, my child was most definitely learning and loving learning.
Yes, homeschooling works. Your child will learn. And he will love learning. As a former public school teacher, I would now rate a homeschool education as more experiential and engaging than a public school education. It may not be an educational option for everyone, but it is a superior educational option on par with any public or private school.
Homeschooling—my belief is no longer an index-finger-X, it is a definitive two thumbs up!
Celi Trépanier was born and raised in south Louisiana. She grew up with a strong Cajun French heritage, eventually married a French-Canadian, and has three wonderful sons. She currently resides in central Iowa with her husband and youngest son.
Celi has a vast and varied background in education. She received her B.S. from Loyola University in New Orleans and her M.Ed. from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, then taught in Louisiana, Ontario, and Alabama, in public schools, private schools, and homeschool co-ops.
Celi became a passionate advocate for gifted children after tiring of her family’s painful battles with traditional schools and the misunderstanding and neglect of gifted students. Through adversity came her passion, her strength, and her voice. She advocates for the educational, emotional, and social needs of all gifted children, and her dream is for schools and society to one day understand the truths about giftedness in children. Her writing centers on her advocacy for gifted children and her own journey with her three gifted sons. Her emotional and sometimes pointed posts can be found on her website, Crushing Tall Poppies.