Homeschool Is School Too: Happy #TeacherAppreciationDay

It has been a crazy day.
But, it’s Teacher Appreciation Day and nobody has crazier days than the mighty souls charged with making sure our little ones get the education they need to protect both their futures and ours.

So, if the President of the United States can find time to celebrate teachers today, I had better take a moment to give a shout out my children’s teacher.

This lady is awesome.
She spends countless hours developing lesson plans, planning activities and field trips to make sure that my kids are well educated, well rounded and well informed. My children are so precious to me (it’s like my heart jumped out of my chest and started running around). So, it means the world to me that their teacher gives them all of the individual attention they can handle.
My kids’ teacher has a deep appreciation for my cultural heritage. My Granny says, “If you don’t know where you come from, there’s no way you can ever know where you’re going”. I believe that. So, to have a teacher who not only will talk to my kids about Black history and our people’s contributions to this country, but also help me to pass on family stories and an appreciation for our migration stories, Westside (of Chicago) stories and love stories and the like…I’m blessed.
This woman is smart. She’s committed. Hardworking. And I’m really attracted to her.

That’s because she’s my wife.

Yep. We’re in that rapidly expanding universe of middle-class Black folks who have opted out of the traditional school system. We still believe in public school (my wife taught in one before she took the job at our house). But, we believe in parent choice. And this is the choice for us.
Since this community is growing, it is high time we stake out a space for ourselves in all of the teacher appreciation stuff.

I know there are a lot of folks out there that still don’t get it. Who think that homeschoolers are not real teachers. You just need to meet my wife. It would be good for you to recognize that teaching is the art of passing knowledge. Nobody…not even powerful unions has a monopoly on that art. We don’t all need to become homeschoolers, but we do all need to become dreamers and innovators. We all need to free ourselves from the tyranny of monolithic ideas about teaching and learning.

So Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to all of the homeschoolers out there. If nobody does anything nice for you, do something nice for yourself.

Because I know one thing: my children have the best teacher in the world. I think the fact that she is also their mom has a lot do with it.

(I love you Z and thanks for being a great teacher!)

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Chris Butler is first a husband and a dad. He has been involved across the spectrum of public engagement activities and has worked with a number of diverse constituencies in urban and suburban communities. He has also been involved in several political campaigns including his service as a youth and young adult coordinator for Barack Obama’s primary bid for U.S. Senate. Chris worked as deputy campaign manager and field director for A+ Illinois where he developed a strong, statewide field operation including over 500 organizations and 50,000 individuals around the state working to bring adequacy and equity to Illinois’ school funding system and as the director of advocacy and outreach at New Schools for Chicago, a leader in school reform in Chicago. Chris is a 2006 graduate of the Ministry Training Institute and holds a degree in civic and political engagement from Northeastern Illinois University.