Thursday, February 08, 2007

Homeschooler or home educator?

An interesting post in a local homeschooling support group about using the terms 'homeschooler,' 'home educator,' 'teacher' and so on. It got me thinking and I decided to pour out my thoughts here.

I have different views on the subject:

1) Are we getting too nitpicky and philosophical if we go to such extremes as to say, "I'm not a homeschooler because I'm not running a school!"? According to the law here, we ARE schools. We fall under home education laws, but our places of education are considered schools. Why can't we still be schools and be different from all the other schools? Do we have to find a new label? I think of Sudbury Valley School. It is a school, yet it's so vastly different from most schools out there. I think it's great that the idea of school is being broadened!

2) Are most homeschoolers actually teachers? Many are. And I don't mean by their certification. I mean that they do what teachers in a public school would do: they present information, they have a child do work in a book, they evaluate... A synonym for teacher is educator. Does it make a difference if somebody considers themselves a teacher or an educator? Maybe in certain nuances, but if you see yourself as a teacher the way you would see yourself as an educator, then there is no difference.

Many people don't set out to formally teach their kids things; that's fine. Then they don't need to consider themselves teachers. Some are more like the Montessori guides, helping kids, but not really insisting that they learn any specific thing. But we certainly shouldn't adopt the term "home guide". lol.

3) And yet, on the flip side, so many non-homeschoolers (or home educators, take your pick!) do NOT get homeschooling so perhaps it WOULD be a good idea to have different terms other than teacher and homeschooler and things like that. Because kids in school spend their whole days at school then go home, so many people hear the word "homeschooler" and think the kids are at home all day long. They question the parents' ability to teach children because they're not certified teachers.

Lots of thoughts.

7 comments:

Jane said...

I always found it strange to say 'homeschooler' mainly because in England it is called home education and homeschooler sounds too American.....I guess as an unschooler it didn't really fit either...but I guess that goes along with the whole thing about grades...in the UK if you home educate then you don't use grades or anything so I found it strange here when homeschoolers asked what grades my children were in....I assumed that home educators here would be like in the UK and reject everything 'schooly'.....

In the end I don't think it really matters....I think more and more people are meeting more and more homeschoolers and unschoolers and seeing for themselves what it is really all about...it will take time but it is becoming less extreme.....most people I talk to now know 'someone' who homeschools.......

Jane said...

Daisy...could you please askk Pam to Email me...I have NO ONES email addresses any more since the pc was reformatted so I can't contact anyone!

I lost all my emails and addresses!

Pam said...

I got the message! (and still loving your blog Daisy!)

Hi Jane!

Lisia said...

When we first pulled our children out of school, I called myself a "home educator" in an attempt to express that what we were doing was *not* a variation of school. But people would give me a confused look and ask what home educator meant. I've since embraced the term "homeschooling" because at least people have heard of that. Interested people then ask *about* our homeschooling and discover in the course of the discussion that in our case it is not "school at home". If people who are not interested assume homeschooling means school at home, I don't feel it matters.

I don't call myself a teacher - I don't think of myself as one. I think I have a Montessori prejudice against the term "teacher". It doesn't come up often but I guess I would say I was a "parent" or "homeschooling parent" if I had to give myself a title. To describe my role in my children's education, I like the term "facilitator".

Daisy said...

And see, I can't call myself a facilitator because that's the name we give to the teachers from the school board we have to meet with twice a year. lol

Lisia said...

lol!

Heather said...

I say we "homeschool" because most people get the basic concept which is our kids don't go to school. Mostly I would describe us as life learners...but that is too over the top for some people. And then discussing unschooling is just WAY too much...people who are misinformed will usually think UN means NO and parents are being negligent, lazy and providing no education whatsoever. Far from the truth.