Why a retired Homeschool Mom is the Best Candidate for Your Job: An open letter to the employers who aren’t paying attention to my resume.

Dear Future Employer:

First, every job posting is the same.  There is a description of the requirements and the qualifications of the ideal candidate.  I understand, my resume and cover letter is a little different, or maybe not different enough?

That’s because I can’t say I what I want to say on them.  So here, I will explain what will make me excellent at any professional job.

It is not because I finished my M.Ed. in one year to earn a new credential.

It is not because I know so much more than anyone else about the content of the position.

It is not because I have so much experience in the field that I am the most obvious choice in the universe.

business-people-represents-globalization-corporate-and-businessm

It is because I was a homeschool mom.

I know that the world of work does not recognize motherhood as a qualifier for professional employment.  Homeschooling does not give me recognition as a highly qualified educator according to the state department of education.

Yet, I submit that being a homeschooling mom is a terrific prerequisite for any job.

Before I began homeschooling, I was a professionally trained teacher.  I was very proud of all I knew about child development and learning theory.  But then my son, the beholder of my heart, when to kindergarten and did not learn the same as the other kids in his class.  I have written about this experience here.

Convinced of my ability to get him “back on track,” I quit my teaching job.  The plan was to help him get caught up and send him back to school in second grade.  However, by grade 4, he was still not reading.

The Ed.D. who tested my son looked at me with concern, even reproach, when he explained my son’s learning disabilities.  Finally he concluded with “I don’t know why you just don’t give up. Your son will never learn to read”.

To that I answered, “You’re wrong.  I will teach him to read.”

Being a mom means that whatever I don’t knowhow to do, I will learn.  When I declared that I would teach my son to read, I wasn’t depending on my professional qualifications as an educator.  I didn’t know the first thing about how to teach students with learning disabilities. It was my love for him that determined that I was going to learn what I needed to learn and do whatever I needed to do.

I read everything I could get my hands on and tried every suggestion I was given.  Progress was painfully gradual.  But as I learned, I adjusted. I came up with some of my own ideas.  I kept what worked and threw out what didn’t until finally he began to read.

Being a mom meant that I would be courageous, tenacious, optimistic, and hopeful. Being a mom meant that I was determined to try again after every setback.  Being a mom means getting into the messy and then cleaning it up.  It means that love wins when nothing else can.

Even though I do not know everything about the position I’m applying for, and although I have never done some of the required duties in a professional setting before, I can guarantee you have never met a more determined learner.

And though I do not have years of experience in your specific requirements, I will not quit after a few setbacks.  I will work until the goal is achieved.  You can trust me to care for the thing that matters to you the most. I will not disappoint you.

Because I gave 17 years to homeschooling my kids – and teaching many other people’s kids, too.

Because I sacrificed my career goals to assure my children could have any future they chose.

And I will never regret it.

But my life isn’t over just because my kids have grown up.  I still have a lot to offer and a lot that I still want to accomplish, but first, I need the professional opportunity.

So look no further.  Hire me.  I’m the candidate you’ve been looking for.

Because  it isn’t the credential or the experience that is the most important element in your search for a great employee.  It is that unquantifiable  x-factor that every employer looks for on the resume and tries to clue in on in the cover letter. My courage, my determination, my creativity, my optimism, my tenacity, my never-give-up-until-the-job-is-done strength of character is what makes me the best candidate.

And I became those things
while being a homeschooling mom.

 

I

Advertisements

Becoming a Teacher

By Lori Michelle

(I’m an award-losing author…and here is yet another edition.  In the attempt to get my writing “out there” I enter contests from time to time, and this is my latest award-losing entry.  But having my own blog means I have my own little forum for growing in my writing.  Hope you enjoy reading about how God taught me about being a REAL teacher.  If you would be so kind as to comment, or ask questions, I’d be so grateful.  Thanks.)

Two months after I graduated college with my BS in Elementary Education, I got my first job.  I became a professional educator, as in I was finally getting paid to do the job for which I received my formal education.

But I didn’t become a teacher until years later.

And my guru in the art of learning would be my own son.

Warren* was a feisty, friendly, full-of-life five-year-old the year we enrolled him in kindergarten.  When I dropped him off at school in the morning, I would watch my little toe headed boy with his yellow jacket and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpack bound into the school building without looking back.

After a few weeks, he began to change.  His exuberance and excitement about school diminished. He was overstimulated when came home from school.  He was grumpy and overactive and even sometimes violent towards his little sisters.  I noted the change, but felt it was simply an adjustment to school.

A few months went by and suddenly I began getting phone calls from the teacher concerning his behavior.  Warren had hit a student over the head with his lunchbox.  Warren had pulled down a girl’s pants in the lunch line.  Warren had spent yet another afternoon in the “time out” corner.

I began to wonder to myself, “There must be a pattern here.  There must be a reason.”  So I began marking on the calendar every time I got a call from the teacher or principal.

At the parent-teacher conference, I brought my calendar with me.

The teacher began to show me evidence outlying her concerns for my son.  It was March of his kindergarten year, and Warren could not write his name, much less any other letters of the alphabet.  Warren could not tie his shoes.  Warren spent more time in “time out” than out of it.

I brought out my calendar and pointing to the pattern that had emerged, I asked, “What happens every 10 days?”

The teacher surveyed my notes and exclaimed, “I change out the centers every 10 days!”

So every time my son had finally began to learn a new skill, the centers were changed and he had to start over again.  My son was frustrated.  Even though he was bright, he wasn’t learning at the pace of the other students.  The constant change and struggle to keep up was making him feel defeated and incapable and angry.  He acted out his exasperation the only way his five-year-old emotions knew how.  His behavior was communication…my son had unmet needs and required my advocacy, my voice, and my intervention.

So, I made a radical move.  I quit my job as a professional educator and decided to home educate my son.  That was in 1993 and homeschooling was not yet a “movement.”  At least not in the area of North Carolina where I lived.   (There were only a handful of homeschooling families in our entire county, and my resignation caused quite a ruckus in my church and among my teacher friends…but that’s another story)homeschooling

I said I will only homeschool for a couple years…just until I get him caught up.  After all, I had taught many children to read as a professional educator!  I knew just how to help him!

Except I didn’t.

I tried everything I knew from my years of being a professional educator.  I tried every curriculum or method I could find.

I read to him scads of books on all kinds of topics.  We did science experiments.  We took nature walks.  We spent hours at the library or at the museum.  He spent ages building, inventing, playing, and climbing.  Anything that stimulated his interest, we explored, from rocks to medieval castles to cooking.

Yet, in the fourth grade, my sweet son said to me, “I just want to go to the library and pick out a book and read it!”

Nothing I tried worked to help my sweet, bright, fun-loving, feisty son learn how to read!

I reached out to a Doctor of Education for help.  He performed a full battery of psychological and educational tests on my son.  On the day that I was to find out the results, I arrived full of hope and faith that this man would finally have the answer to my son’s learning difficulties.

In a nondescript room with only a small table between us, the professional educator labeled my son’s learning disabilities one by one.  He attempted to communicate to me the severity of the situation.  I kept asking him what could be done, but obviously, I simply wasn’t grasping the immensity of the problem. He finally burst out, “Your son is NEVER going to read!  Why don’t you just give up?”

I drew in my breath slowly and forced back hot, angry tears.

“Sir,” I began shakily, “I will not give up on him because I am his mother!  You are wrong.

  1. SON. WILL. READ!”

I collected my purse and my papers and I stood to leave.

I became a teacher that day.  I decided that I would do whatever it took to teach my son to read.

And I did.

By the end of 5th grade, Warren could read on the 2nd grade level.  By the end of 7th grade, he was on the 5th grade level.  When Warren was in the 8th grade, he decided he wanted to go back to formal schooling.

He graduated from high school when he was 16, and graduated from college with a B.S in Business at age 19.

Today, he is an Assistant Vice President for a major financial company in New York City.

When Warren went back to school, so did I.  I renewed my teaching credentials and went back to the classroom, too.

But this time, not as a professional educator, but as a teacher.  My years outside of the formal classroom with my son had taught me more about the true nature of education than all of my college courses and years of experience combined.

I now teach special needs children who have difficulty learning in the traditional way.  I believe in them until they can believe in themselves.

I treat my students as if they were my own son or daughter…looking for that unmet need that calls for my advocacy, my voice, and my intervention.  I utilize my knowledge as a professional educator, but I devote my heart as a teacher.