The "Ghost of Public School Past" Tea with Julie starts.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, February 17, 2024

Hi Friend,

It's time for a new Tea with Julie series. Our next topic: Beware the Ghost of Public School Past!

We'll talk about:

  • The Ghost of Public School Past (below!)
  • You Are Not a Teacher
  • You Gotta Be Home to Homeschool
  • Trust Yourself: You Are Smart Enough
  • Grading Ruins Everything
  • The Best Testing Method is Not Testing

The Ghost of Public School Past

You know her voice. She whispers in your left ear. Her wispy form hovers on your left shoulder. Her name? Mrs. Cox. In her hand? The red pen.

“You haven’t done enough writing with your kids this year.”

“What about grammar? If you don’t teach your children how to diagram sentences, they won’t get into college.”

“Your kids are behind their public schooled peers. Better admit it: the schools are better at creating writers than you are. Give up.”

“Why haven’t you had your children write essays yet? You are so behind.”

“You still don’t know how to use a semicolon and you call yourself a home educator?”

“What about structure and assignments? What about year-end testing? You can’t get there just by freewriting every week.”

“Your children are terrible spellers. If they had a spelling program like you had as a child, they’d be better spellers.”

And of course, the worst of all:

“You aren’t good at writing. How can you possibly teach it?”

These whispers come from a memory—a teacher, a schooled lifetime. While you’ve chosen to home educate your children, you yourself (probably) were not homeschooled. So when your confidence flags, the disembodied voice of “official education” pipes up to fill the empty, lonely space of self-doubt.

Here’s what you need to do:

First, with your right hand, bring your right thumb up and over the top of your right middle finger (in a circle). Then raise it to your left shoulder. Now: Flick that ghost right off your shoulder with two flicks! Bam! Be gone!

  • Mrs. Cox is not invited to your poetry teatimes.
  • She doesn’t get to correct your kids' freewrites.
  • She can no longer judge your child’s spelling while ignoring the content of the original writing.
  • And she’s not allowed to judge your writing. Her red pen is dry!

Mrs. Cox doesn’t decide for you. YOU decide for you and your children. Remind the ghastly ghost that you chose to home educate because you didn’t like the rubric of public education—the very whispers she uses to trap and badger you.

Strengthen your own voice—your core, that lives inside, making choices, and loving your children.

Feel free to adopt the following messages (or your version of them) to buoy yourself when your doubt swells.

  • I have chosen to home educate my children because I believe in the values of homeschooling.

  • I am a fluent English speaker, and read professionally copy edited writing every day. I know enough English to read it with comprehension and to write it with competence. Therefore, I can lead and guide my children in the art of writing.

  • My lack (in grammar or spelling or punctuation or academic format) is not insurmountable. I’m an adult. I can learn alongside my children. I am capable of remembering the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect,’ how to use a colon or em dash, how to spell ‘accommodate,’ and how to structure a five paragraph essay. 

  • I choose not to use a red pen because the red pen has created untold damage in the lives of my peers (and my life). I’m happy that I never have to use one, if I don’t want to.

  • My goal is to promote and support the natural growth in writing in my individual child, not to hit school scope and sequence for all children.

  • I am smart. I am kind. I am important.

You chose not to listen to The Ghost of Public School Past when you chose to homeschool. When she says, “Boo!” then flick her off your shoulder!

Then carry on.





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Julie Bogart
© 2024 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer



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