Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name....

Amid threats of thunderstorms and hail, fire and brimstone, we are going hiking today at Clifty Falls. We'd visited it last September and because of the drought, found it Clifty but no Falls. We hope to have a bit of water to view, but in the stream beds, and not on our heads.

In my small mind today is the thought that I've always been uncomfortable with the term "homeschooler". It implies school desks, textbooks, an American flag in the corner of a room complete with blackboard whiteboard (lest I show my age). I am asked about my "qualifications" and grade books, how I keep track of attendance (uh, if the student doesn't report to class I would call the police). It's the "schooler" part that bothers me, though certainly, we have times when "home" doesn't really apply either, since we are often on the go.

When we faced the decision as to whether to send the kids to school or not, we decided to take a positive approach and choose to learn at home because we thought it best, not because it was the only alternative to a bad situation should it develop. As we proceeded, we liked it enough to not change. Yet, it never really looked like "school" and all that implies with the mindset, the paradigm of school culture. It was more about "learning" and less about structure of "school".

Often, adults ask my kids questions like "what grade are you in?" or "what school do you attend?" because they are unable to formulate real questions that show interest (and that you would use with an adult) like "do you have a hobby?" or "what interests you these days?". It is with these limited questions that we end up replying that we "homeschool". There's that word again, school, reinforcing all that it implies.

I've decided that "homelearner" is a better description and answer, for we don't do "school" the way the word implies and learner gets more to the heart of the change I'd like to see in and out of schools. Still, the home part conjures again the poor isolated child that is never socialized. Ah, how about "home-based learners". I may try that on for size. Perhaps, it is only a name, but sometimes, Mr. Shakespeare, words can change things.

Notes:
Thanks to It's All Nurture and her post on being a "non-schooler" (also a good choice) for the blog topic.

We're out of chicken food, so I'm off to get more quickly before we leave. Buffy, who is our very oldest chicken, has decided to lay again. Miracles do happen. Just to be ornery, the two Aracaunas decided to not lay eggs since Buffy is.

You can't grow flowers in pots if miniature horses get up on your deck and eat them.

5 comments:

Flock Fold Kids said...

So the chickens are not the culprits with the flower pots after all?

Fellow home-based learner,
Christine

Junosmom said...

Oh, yes, they've also done their share of damage - but they're fenced right now. Roxie (mini horse) must be suffering from depression, for she has been getting up on the back deck and eating my St. John's Wort.

Annemarie said...

Often, adults ask my kids questions like "what grade are you in?" or "what school do you attend?" because they are unable to formulate real questions that show interest (and that you would use with an adult) like "do you have a hobby?" or "what interests you these days?". It is with these limited questions that we end up replying that we "homeschool". There's that word again, school, reinforcing all that it implies.

If your comment about birds & eggs didn't absolutely cement the fact that you are many times smarter than me, this did. My poor kids, being at the itty-bitty ages of 7 and 8, face these questions with horror stricken looks as they glance at me for approval to let it be known that we homeschool.

~Annemarie

Jean N. said...

In England, they use the term Home Educator, rather than Homeschooler. I liked that and happily adopted it, because I don't like the 'school' part of homeschooler either.

pita-woman said...

I admit that I'd never heard of homeschooling (or whichever title you prefer to go by) 'til about 14 years ago. Our neighbors at that time homeschooled their 2 daughters, but their method left me scratching my head & doubting the merits of homeschooling.
Their method was to order a bunch of video tapes, have the girls watch them, take a test, then order the next bunch of tapes. They've since moved away, so I couldn't say one way or the other how the girls turned out with their education.
But having followed along with Junosmom over the past few years, I can definitely see the merits in her style, & certainly a lot of quality time spent with the children, which so many parents miss out on, & the closeness of the siblings. :)

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