I know you are expecting me to say that the biggest reason to homeschool in 2022 is something like…
The Critical Race Theory debate
Sex Education for kindergarteners
Common Core Math
Out of control bullying
The lack of prayer or God in schools
Or some other lightning rod topic that many people think homeschoolers are clinging to with white knuckles.
And I’m not gonna lie, there are a good number of things on that list that motivate me to continue homeschooling my three kids – we will begin our 6th year of homeschooling this fall!
But there is another reason that I think parents should have their eyes on homeschooling in 2022.
Why 2022 Is The Year to Take Homeschooling Seriously
One of my very first blog posts was written years ago – Why I Finally Pulled My Kid from Public School and Started Homeschooling.
In this post, I list all the things that plagued me during my oldest child’s kindergarten year and eventually led to me pulling her out of school.
Since then, I have noticed many more things that keep me homeschooling…but just this year, I found a completely new and rather significant reason to add to that list.
You see, I started following a public school teacher’s channel on Youtube.
She was funny and I related to a lot of her jokes as a teacher – even as a homeschool teacher.
Suddenly my Youtube account started blowing up with other teacher youtube channels…and I was shocked at what I saw.
Without exception (eventually, this included the original teacher channel I was following), they all had videos about why they had quit teaching.
I started binge-watching them in fascination as they laid open the education system for all to see. In cringe-worthy detail, they explained why they left teaching and what a disaster we have for an education system.
I had vaguely followed the news stories that substitute teachers were hard to come by (apparently janitors, parents, and the national guard were called on in some cases), but I didn’t realize that teachers were leaving the profession in unprecedented numbers.
And no, this was not anecdotal Youtube drama.
I started looking into articles from NPR, US News & World Report, Business Insider, EdWeek, NEA, and many others that reported on the educator shortage as a five-alarm fire for our children and our country.
I Did Not Watch These Videos and Read These Articles From My Ivory Homeschooling Tower
I began to worry so much more than I ever have about our local schools, children, and working parents.
I am completely aware that homeschooling is not practical (or desirable) for everybody.
We need public schools!
If teachers continue to leave at the rate they are and fewer and fewer people join the teaching profession…where does that leave our kids and the future of our country?
Why The Teacher Shortage Should Have You Thinking (A Lot) About Homeschooling in 2022
In my former life, I was a registered nurse in a trauma center.
And that means that I have a lot of opinions about hospitals, doctors, and healthcare in general.
If I started to hear that a local hospital had doctors and nurses leaving in (even slightly) higher numbers than usual, that would be a huge red flag for me. I would definitely consider looking into another hospital for work or to take my family for care.
The decreased staff tells me there is something serious going on at the core of the hospital, and I don’t want to personally find out what it is while receiving treatment or while my family is receiving treatment.
The same would be true of the school system.
Education is one of the most important things in a child’s life…and right now the schools seem to be in a free fall while they figure out how to solve their many problems.
Below I have the common points I saw come up again and again from teachers who have left the profession or who are strongly considering walking away from teaching (the NEA reported that 55% of teachers are considering leaving sooner than planned!).
I encourage you to read it with an open mind, and thoughtfully consider if this is the public school you grew up in, and if it’s the public school you want influencing and socializing your child 8 hours a day, 180 days a year, for the most formative years of their life.
1. Near Constant Shifting Focus, Approaches, and Standards
Almost every teacher described a scenario of their superiors constantly changing standards, curriculum, programs, and even the teacher’s responsibilities.
From one season to the next, the teacher would have to change routines and approaches with their children to match whatever their superiors were suddenly putting out.
One teacher described a situation of starting the year teaching reading one way…and then by January, she was told to teach it a completely different way.
Everything had to change. Even though the previous system had been working well for the children.
2. Teachers Do Not Have the Freedom To Run Their Own Classrooms
This was probably the most surprising to me.
Teachers do not get to run the show in their own classrooms. They cannot customize lessons to match what their individual classes need.
They must walk in lockstep with whatever the administration is telling them to do.
If the teacher thought a certain approach would help their class, they could not use it if it did not match what the administration has already put out. As you can imagine, this is very frustrating to a professional teacher – who is not entrusted to teach as she/he sees fit.
As I listened to teachers talk about this in their “Why I Quit Teaching” videos, it reminded me of a homeschool mom I met years ago. She had been a teacher for gifted students at a private school. The kids were struggling with a concept she was teaching, so she showed them how to diagram sentences.
This unlocked a lot for the kids and they really started to fly through the material. They were going up to the board to mark up sentences, working in teams, and enjoying the process. An administrator came in to observe and demanded the sentence diagraming stop.
Regardless of the results or the students’ progress, that approach did not match up with the approved method of teaching that material.
My friend handed her notice in that week.
3. Parents Are Out of Control
Across the board, teachers said that dealing with parents was one of their main stressors.
Parents would continually side with their child, blame the teacher, complain to the principal, and in some cases, they would get other parents riled up against the teacher on social media.
Other parents were completely out of touch. No matter what the child had done in school, the teacher could not get a response from the parent.
In years past, the parents and teachers had worked as a team to raise educated, productive citizens. Today, teachers and parents seem to come off more as rivals as they argue over the child’s behavior and grades.
4. No Significant Consequences For Children
A close second to the parents was dealing with unruly kids who have no fear of consequences for their behavior – because there usually aren’t any.
Former teachers say that children could be disrespectful and even violent towards teachers with very little chance of significant punishment.
I listened to terrible stories of students distracting whole classrooms, refusing to follow directions, verbally assaulting teachers, threatening teachers, one even punching a pregnant teacher in the stomach.
And no discipline was given to the child.
The teachers who left said that kids do whatever they want and no one will stand up for the teacher or protect the teacher.
They have to fend for themselves.
This is an excellent quote from the uber-popular Honest Teacher Vibes:
“Admin is scared of county office, county office is scared of the parents, the parents are scared of the kids, and the kids ain’t scared of nobody.”
And just to be clear, the teachers repeatedly said it wasn’t the fault of the kids. They were just acting out naturally in a situation where there were low expectations and no consequences for behavior. The real issue lies with parents and the administration to follow through with kids who need more structure and boundaries.
5. Work-Related Anxiety/Depression
With continually changing standards and procedures at the highest levels, parents against teachers, kids acting out without consequences…you can imagine that the job stress level is high for teachers.
Many, many, many teachers talked about issues with anxiety and depression because their job was so demanding. Some even having panic attacks in the classroom while dealing with large classes and unruly children.
I stopped to talk to a public school teacher recently while checking out a neighborhood we were looking at moving into. I thanked her for her work in education and told her she is a gift to our future.
She smiled and told me that the cast on her arm was from a fistfight that broke out in her class. She was knocked to the ground, hit her head, and her wrist broke.
She told me that I really should consider putting my kids in the local public school though (not the inner city school she works at) because the nearby school has kids who quietly follow directions. “It’s a really good school. The kids walk in a line and do what they’re told. My daughter was amazed when she started going to school there.”
I was actually amazed that the barometer for a “good school” was a lack of chaos and kids who did what they were told.
Didn’t it use to be things like graduation rates, college acceptances, outstanding teachers, and an engaged student body?
6. Low Expectations/Everybody Wins
Teachers are under enormous pressure right now to get kids up to grade level and pass them on to the next grade.
Even though many of the kids should be held back.
That could be because of the pandemic, and it could be from a lack of motivation.
Many teachers described the frustration of having to give grades to kids who didn’t earn them…because the admin demanded it.
One extreme case (well, I hope it was an extreme case) was told by a teacher who had to give A’s to every student in his class, even the students who did not turn in a single assignment.
He lamented about how that made the students who worked really hard on their schoolwork feel.
I know some might say that is fallout from virtual classrooms and the chaos of COVID. I think this goes deeper though.
Teachers talk about how they feel the need to constantly be entertaining and making sure the students are having fun. Hard work is almost discouraged by administrators when they walk through the classroom.
Including fun “tech” things in the classroom is seen as a high priority, but little to no academic rigor when it comes to core subjects.
Teachers are worried about what kind of expectations these kids are going to develop about the real world if they’re not challenged with more difficult tasks.
7. These Kids Are Not College Ready
Probably one of the most haunting comments I heard from the teachers was that the kids will get into college on their grades, but they’ll flunk out because they have not been prepared for academic rigor.
And studies would back that up.
Multiple articles have been written on the fact that the large majority of high school seniors are not ready for even community college-level academics, particularly in Math and English – even if they had very good grades.
It’s a complicated issue to untangle, but most of the articles I read point back to the education system as failing the student.
What I Am Not Saying About Homeschooling in 2022
I’m aware that this article is not going to win me a whole bunch of friends, so I want be very clear about what I am not saying here.
I am not saying everyone should homeschool – that would be crazy!
I am not saying all public schools are bad. Many are deeply flawed though, and it would be difficult for a parent to be able to find out how flawed.
I am not saying all teachers are bad. Hopefully from reading this you can see that I have a ton of respect for teachers, and I sympathize with what they are struggling with right now!
I am not saying public school kids are monsters. As I said above, the issue is with the parents and the administration working together to create a reasonable system with firm boundaries and consequences.
What I Am Saying About Homeschooling in 2022 Due to the Teacher Shortage
If you have been toying with the idea of homeschooling.
If you have been considering it.
If you’ve been curious about it.
2022 is the year for you!
The education system is currently in a state of emergency. They can’t get substitutes, and they can’t keep teachers. Colleges are even reporting low numbers of education major enrollments. The system is in a free fall as they attempt to fix problems on all sides.
Maybe you felt like homeschooling your kid was risky…but I’m telling you that at this point, it’s risky NOT to homeschool.
Go back and reread the reasons I just listed about why teachers are quitting, and tell me that you couldn’t possibly provide better.
Giving your kid a solid, well-rounded education through homeschooling has never been more attainable. There are so many curriculum options and so many supportive communities popping up all over.
When I first started homeschooling, I was terrified – but I have seen the results!
If you’re ready to take the plunge, click on the image below and I’ll get you on your way, Mama!
Still not sure if homeschooling is the way for you? Check out How to Finally Decide About Homeschooling
Do you have your own reason for homeschooling in 2022? Share in the comments!