my identity as a home educator

Why do I examine my identity as a home educator?

Because I’ve been asked questions like this: “So what do you really do?”

I was asked that question so often in the first decade of my full-time parenting role that I naturally explore my identity as a home educator.

My identity as a home educator: who am I

My four kiddos were born within eleven years…I had a few things to do. So I was surprised anyone was asking what I really did.

(Like this parenting gig was a figment of my imagination.)

“You’re a homemaker?” a stranger asked.

“No, home educator.”

“Then homemaker?” the bank clerk persisted.

“No…home educator…” Seven years in, I know how to respond to the onslaught of confusing questions about this lifestyle and when to be firm.

At a different time, in a lawyer’s appointment, I was asked to declare my profession for will preparation.

“Home educator,” I answered nonchalantly.

“Housewife, then.” (It’s a theme. If it starts with home, it must end with wife.)

What would one expect me to say?

The majority of my time is spent, well, educating my children.

I don’t have a pension, no unionized benefits, and can’t call in sick days (though I really should take PMS days), so you can’t call me a professional educator but I spend so much of my time home educating that I surely can self-label as a full-time home educator.

Do I have a role in society only because there’s a Human Resources with my name on a file?

In a day and age where common culture dictates that successful women must work outside the home, and must attempt the work-home balance, very little affirmation floods the parent-at-home world.

  • What do you really do?
  • Or what did you used to do?
  • Or what were you trained to do?
The question is asked, as though what I’m presently doing isn’t as much value as what I could be doing if I were earning a pretty buck or seeing my name in lights.

If there were magazine headlines helping homeschool moms, or even moms at home, balance their child’s needs with their own, they might say this…

  • How to have a house tidy in ten minutes
  • Teach the five-year-old to read even though they can’t sit still
  • Explain the marriage and divorce of fractions through addition and subtraction
  • Conjugate etre with your kids while thinking about the next thing you need to do in your day
  • Homeschool mama fantasies: peeing independently

I can compare myself to the apparently expected norm that is a modern-day full-time working mom and see why they see me left wanting.

I can even do this with my husband.

As a medical physician, he shares his cardioversion stories, the baby deliveries, the procedures, the ambulance transfer stories, and the anonymous case study discussions.

You could call this a spousal medical residency. And I find it all very interesting, enriching my life.

One day, he sent me a pic…
(They were prepping for North American Ebola transmission.)


I, on the other hand, hung with the kids, reviewed spelling phonograms, read level one readers, multiplied fractions, changed the laundry load twice, checked math books while making lunch, and rushed everyone out the door to piano lessons.

I have an onslaught of external pressure and occasional self-questioning to fuel my flames.

But I always go back to this thought: My life has a beginning and an end. So what do I want to do with this life?

Exactly what I’m doing.

So if they want to know what I really do, I’ll just have to continue my response on repeat: Home Educator.

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Teresa Wiedrick

I help overwhelmed homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.