If homeschool moms were suddenly subjected to surprise teacher evaluations, would you pass?
My appraisal might look something like this:
Maybe I would get a gold star for good intentions and great expectations? That is, if the evaluator could get past their initial impression of me before coffee and a bra. Because you know they would show up inconsiderately at the crack of dawn, around 9:00am. We don’t rise with the sun! We have no fields to plow or cows to milk! And we have a rather short commute to school, about 25ft and a flight of stairs. We stopped the pretend play of tardy-slips and morning announcements by week two into our homeschool adventure. It just got too weird reading a fake lunch menu into a walkie-talkie. I mean, the student body knew I was lying. The teachers’ lounge was not really off limits, and we have never served pimento loaf in our kitchen.
Thank the good Lord no one has shown up to give me 30 minutes to prove I have not spent 4 years ruining my children. This may happen in some states? I do not know all of the laws governing homeschoolers around the US, and may the odds be ever in your favor if you are taken by surprise by a know-it-all with a clipboard checklist of all the reasons you suck. Cause I just know that if it happened to me the judgmental trespasser would have arrived at the most opportune 30 minutes in which to question my discernment. Like when my youngest argued with me that he did not have to answer a math question because the problem stated, “If today is July 7th, write the date 6 weeks from today.” But it was not July 7th, he argued. It was October, so he did not have to answer the question. And I had to agree. Cause, he had a point!
Of course, it would be too much to ask for an evaluator to show up for that awesome 30 minutes after the twins (4th grade at the time) had published their own newspaper upon some brown packing paper. They included headlines, classifieds, editorials, and an entertainment section and read it like the male version of Little Women in their grandest British accents. The paper was distributed with only minor editing errors and no public complaints or requests for retractions.
But then again, those days I feel I have won at homeschooling could be interpreted, let’s say… differently, on a teacher evaluation.
The truth is most of us rebels of “the standard” would totally bomb any formalized teacher evaluation. Duh. One of the best things about homeschooling is that we get to set the standards in our own classrooms. Or kitchen tables, Or comfy sofas. Or upside down from the top bunk, though I don’t recommend this location for chemistry. And we can change our standards without a moment’s notice if it suits our students needs, or because we just did not feel too “teachery” at that moment and called a creative thinking day of reflection at the movies.
Really it is our kids who set the standards for how we approach teaching. And their standards are made out of flammable paper we can light on fire if ever that method stops working or gets boring. An evaluator may find using a magnadoodle to teach spelling sort of ridiculous, not knowing that it made spelling fun for little Sally and she actually practices her words, and handwriting, several times a day.
Eventually some homeschoolers may learn to teach themselves! Then what? An evaluator shows up and there you are playing on your phone or painting your nails. Cause little Johnny is working through his calculus lesson on his own while editing his latest client’s website.
Your evaluation may look something like this:
Even the best of homeschoolers would fail standard teacher evaluations. Despite the public embarrassment that could befall homeschoolers everywhere if we make the news for failing our surprise judgements, I know I would be somewhat happy to fail. You cannot measure speed with a thermometer. And you cannot measure the quality of a uniquely designed plan of individualized education using a checklist for manufactured drones.
However, we are capable of evaluating ourselves. Or you can ask for feedback from your clients and coworkers, if you dare. I know I have tried some pretty ridiculous things in efforts to educate, motivate, or just get though a not so exciting day in our years homeschooling. I have also had some moments where I wish there was a witness to my master ninja teaching skills.
So, I have decided to make a list of my best and worst homeschool teacher moments as decided by myself, my husband and my 3 favorite students.