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Who is a homeschooler? - Page 2

Poll Results: Who is a homeschooler?

 
  • 16% (20)
    The person with kids at or above the mandatory ps age
  • 13% (16)
    The person with kids who are at least kindergarten-aged where kindy is an optional program
  • 11% (14)
    The person with kids who are at least preschool-aged who plans to hs into later years
  • 37% (45)
    The person who plans on homeschooling (age irrelevant) and is gathering resources along those lines
  • 6% (8)
    All parents homeschool at some point just by virtue of spending time with their kids
  • 13% (16)
    Other (please explain)
119 Total Votes  
post #21 of 50

So hard to define

I think if children are not in school, and learning "school skills" they are homeschooling. It's hard to define school skills but they include learning letters and numbers.

A six month old can't be homeschooled but a four year old may be. If the parent wants to unschool and the child is unmotivated (perhaps due to some bad school experiences in the past) and chooses to watch music videos all day long, I don't consider that homeschooling. That is just a school drop-out.

If unschooling is done sucessfully, I consider it a method of homeschooling. If the child learns to read and write by using grocery lists and road signs, she is still learning school skills. If a child learns about the civil war by watching videos and going to a museum she is learning history. It's not as if a child must use textbooks and worksheets in order to learn. I don't know if unschoolers want to be called homeschoolers, but I consider it a type of homeschooling.
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallory
But then when people ask me if my preschoolers are in school, I like being able to shake up their view by saying no, he's only 3, or 4, or 5.
I like to say that, too!

I voted "other", but consider us to be homeschoolers who are not yet homeschooling . Meaning, that is our paradigm and our path, but dd is not yet homeschooling age. We attend homeschooling meetings, events, and field trips....but other than that, nothing structured at all. Doesn't mean that she isn't learning academics, however! I would have to keep her in a closet for that to happen.
post #23 of 50
What's wrong with allowing some self-definition?

Case A) A family with a five year old does not call what they do homeschooling because they haven't implemented a curriculum yet (which they're planning on doing next year), even though they're doing the same things as:

Case B) A family with a five year old who considers themselves homeschooling because they've chosen unschooling, and they can see their child learning new things every day and they're not planning on doing anything different next year, as opposed to their neighbour:

Case C) A student mom who can't afford day care for her five year old, who perforce attends the public kindergarten, even though Mom is committed to homeschooling and emphases to her child that school is just another place one learns, and that the learning that takes place at home (or out in the world) is just as legitimate. She plans on having her child home next year after she graduates and will be working from home, as opposed to:

Case D) A father who has just lost his wife, who had been the one staying at home unschooling their children (including the five year old). His in-laws, who never approved of their daughter's method, have sued for custody, and his lawyer has advised him to get all the kids in school next year or risk losing them. He considers his family a homeschooling one, with this a temporary interruption until the legal matters are sorted out.

A one-size-fits-all definition rarely even fits most, and always is a misfit with some. I can understand the arguments of the "It's not really homeschooling until..." crowd, because there is something different, in the eyes of our culture, between not having a child in preschool and not having them in fifth grade, but can't we admit that it's a little more complex or nuanced than "Only after 8!" or "All parents who teach their kids are homeschooling!"?
post #24 of 50
I think you need to simultaneously ask yourself why you need to have a title, or be so specific in its definition... Is it to include people and have a network of support, or to exclude people?
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
I think you need to simultaneously ask yourself why you need to have a title, or be so specific in its definition... Is it to include people and have a network of support, or to exclude people?
Very good point. One of the reasons I call myself a home educator and will continue to do so is social -- ds and I both rely on and benefit from the company, support and inspiration of other home educators.
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan
I said, "other."

LEGALLY, you're not homeschooling until your child is of mandatory school age.

HOWEVER, I love that people with toddlers and little ones are getting involved with hsing groups. Around here, "everyone" has their kids in preschool from the age of 2 or 3, so there's great pressure. Having the support of a group of hsers means a lot and I think it might keep people from caving into the pressure to send their kids away. So, I feel good when I see families with little ones joining homeschooling groups and activities.

OTOH, I think the reason that preschool has become so accepted is that the more people did it, the more necessary it seemed. In the same way, we see mandatory school ages coming down, and now mandated preschool discussions, etc. etc. So there's the danger in people saying they're doing ANY sort of "school" (homeschool or preschool) with younger and younger children--it becomes seen as something expected, and pretty soon, instead of slings, 6 month olds will be expected to be in programs. But we seem to be headed in that direction anyway.

So, I guess for me, it only matters in the legal sense. I wouldn't want to see people identify themselves as homeschoolers when their kids are little, only to have the government start tracking and expecting records from them, yk?
Joan,
I agree with everything you said! But the part that I highlighted in bold print is what worries me most.

Take Care,
Erika
post #27 of 50
I plan on homeschooling but I'm not yet a "homeschooler". DS is four and is currently in a preschool/daycare program at my college's child care center, so I don't think I could really call myself a "homeschooler" yet, even though I have always been his main educator.

Frankly I don't like the term at all, my goal is NOT to "school" my DS. I think it should be called something else.
post #28 of 50
I don't think the term is as flexible as some would like it to be. To me, those with preschoolers who are planning on enrolling them in school really are "parenting", not "schooling", regardless of the activities. Even when we originally planned to send my dd to school, we did a huge variety of activities and she learned at home, just like her brothers did after her--but, at the time, we had no intention of hsing. There was no intent to continue; we were just doing what parents do--playing and learning together. Once we decided to hs, my dd was in 3rd grade, in public school. My younger children were 1 and 4, and we spent the year exploring homeschool groups, finding our footing, but I simply said we were preparing for homeschooling, making the connections. I wouldn't define what we were doing with the boys as hsing, even while I was seeking appropriate resources--we were parenting.

We finally connected with a wonderful AP homeschool group, with a large number of preschool children. The parents were fully committed to homeschooling and to building a community with other like-minded moms. But, there was one mom who kept defining herself as a hser, even though she unquestioningly sent her older child to public school and was preparing to enroll her other children. She was just parenting. She was making no long-term committment to homeschool. She just wanted a ready-made community, and, while the rest of us were looking forward to growing and learning together, she saw us as a temporarily enrichment group and, frankly, that just pissed me off. She defined herself as a homeschooler who had no real intention to homeschool, but she had a heckuva lot to say about whether we were AP enough for her standards. It was really weird, and unfair.
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CinnamonDeMarco
If the parent wants to unschool and the child is unmotivated (perhaps due to some bad school experiences in the past) and chooses to watch music videos all day long, I don't consider that homeschooling. That is just a school drop-out.

Many (most?) unschoolers believe that there is learning in just about everything, even music videos. My kids are free to watch music videos if that is what they want.
post #30 of 50
Oh and I voted other. There is the legal thing which refers to a child who is of an age that would normally be required to attend school but who is instead being educated without school. And then there are the kids who are too young to be considered "school" kids, but who are learning at home with their parents.

As an unschooler I think kids are learning from the time they are born and that's that. But I never have been one to classify and such.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
If the parent wants to unschool and the child is unmotivated (perhaps due to some bad school experiences in the past) and chooses to watch music videos all day long, I don't consider that homeschooling. That is just a school drop-out.
There is also "de-schooling". And after a child has been in the public school system for so long, de-schooling is such an important part of helping them move forward, helping them rediscover what the public school system buried. It's not dropping out, it's recentering. No, my dd didn't watch videos all day, but she was frustrated and burned out after dealing with a constant onslaught of timed tests and she needed to deprogram, to rediscover her interests and her passions, in order to find joy in learning again.
post #32 of 50
Subscribing to a liberal unschooling philosophy, life is his/our education. And well, my son has been living a life for almost 3 years. Sure the issues change as he ages, but he has always been learning. And I try to take every opportunity to answer his questions and assist him in any way that I can.

But I think worrying about who is or who isn't a homeschooler is divisive.
post #33 of 50
Really it is (and should always remain) mostly self-defined. I'm not sure why anyone cares if someone else calls themselves a homeschooler or not.

I think it depends on the family, the area in which they live and their circumstances.
I think age of children is absolutely irrelevant and am surprised that this is an issue for some. Legally the manditory age is different for many states. Socially, in many places it has become expected that all kids will attend K... and becoming more expected that they will attend preschool. Technically it may not be manditory but it is so common it might as well be.
My dd is not legally required to attend school until age 7. She is 5 and has never been in school. We are not registered homeschoolers with our state yet. I still say we are homeschoolers because that is what we are doing IMO. Most kids we know went to preschool and are now in kindergarten at a school.
I would be perfectly okay with someone saying they homeschool when their child is actually still enrolled in a school because I can see circumstances where that applies. Maybe because they are a single parent who can't afford child care or something but want to homeschool so they do it at nights or on weekends. Maybe they want to let their child finish a semester or year with all their friends but have already started homeschooling before formally pulling their child from school. Maybe their child is enrolled in a school but misses a lot due to illness. If that parent is teaching/unschooling with their child and wants to consider that they are homeschooling for that time period then why not?
post #34 of 50
Yes, I agree there are many factors that are just too varied to make for a reliable definition.

For example, the factor 'compulsory school age': Here in the UK it is 5, in Germany it is 6, in some US states it is 7 or 8 from what I've read here. Are UK children home educated from age 5 and their counterparts in, say, Missouri, who are doing the same activities are not yet home schooled for another 3 years? Compulsory school age is arbitrarily imposed by the government of a particular location... It's not something I take into account when thinking of education, simply because it is arbitrary and not based on any intrinsic qualities in the individual child.

Or, the factor 'registration as a home educator with the state': In the UK, this doesn't apply. We never have to register with the state, file any paperwork or otherwise officially declare ourselves as home educators. When my son turns 5 (compulsoy school age) nothing chnages for him or me. We're not in any different situation legally, or socially. According to the definition I've seen here 'you're not a home educator until you've registered with the state as one', I guess I'll never qualify.

Another factor I have seen is social: 'When they are school aged, all their friends are in school and it's hard to find activities for them to do'. For me, that's already the case. Everyone here starts school at 3, so ds can really only meet other children in home ed groups. His music class stopped when the children turned 3, because 'they were all off to school anyway'.

Of course, home educating preschoolers takes a different form from home educating 8 year olds. Home educating 8 year olds takes a different form from home educating 14 year olds. Again, not a valid reason to exclude one age group, IMO.

Those who think of home educating preschoolers as parenting, miss the point. I parent and educate my son. The two processes are not mutually exclusive.

I prefer our UK term 'home education' to home schooling, because 1) many of us aren't trying to emulate school and 2) education refers to the process as well as the outcome whereas school refers to only one particluar medium for that process/ outcome.
post #35 of 50
Great post eternal_grace You put into words just what I was trying to think, but couldn't. if you kwim.
post #36 of 50
I've been reading this thread with interest since I consider myself to be homeschooling preschool. My dd just turned 4 and I feel like I have been doing things different than the typical SAHM stuff since about 2 1/2. I am probably not homeschooling Kindergarten with her, however, but I do feel I am homeschooling preschool for several reasons. I don't think that the fact that we might not homeschool elementry makes what I am doing now less legitimate.

The main one is that what we do here, looks very different than what everyone else I know who is a SAHM and sends their kids to preschool does with their kids. We have had themes since 2 and do activities based on themes. It's was pretty loose at 2 and early 3, but I definately feel that I try to recreate the positive aspects of a preschool enviroment (in a better way) at home. We did LOTW and lots of theme units. For example, No other SAHM (that is not a homeschooler) that I know spent 8 weeks talking about bugs in depth with a 2 3/4 year old. (Granted she is really bright so alot of things are not over her head and has been interested in a lot of things very young). Anyone that knows me comments on all the stuff that I do with her and say that I should homeschool. Even my art supply drawer (ugh, closet) looks different because it is so well stocked for all our projects. My friends comment that is what preschool is for, so their house doesn't get messy. And that they laugh that I have googly eyes (how else are you going to make a puppet, lol)

As she neared 4 this fall, our school stuff started to look more like homeschooling. We are doing Sonlight theme schedule PK and Singapoore math. We also do a Totline science activitiy. All child led and only if she wants to, but she really enjoys it. I know for me, there is a vast difference is what I do with my preschooler (and always has been) than other moms who are relying on preschool to fill those needs.

The other main reason I feel that I am homeschooling has already been discussed alot on this thread, so I won't go into it much. But that EVERYONE here sends their kids to preschool. I have started answering, we homeschool preschool to the where does she go to preschool. And it is a totally more accurate answer than "we don't do preschool." Because I am doing preschool type stuff with them at home. Most people are familiar with homeschooling and nod and go on their way
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat
I would be perfectly okay with someone saying they homeschool when their child is actually still enrolled in a school because I can see circumstances where that applies. Maybe because they are a single parent who can't afford child care or something but want to homeschool so they do it at nights or on weekends. Maybe they want to let their child finish a semester or year with all their friends but have already started homeschooling before formally pulling their child from school. Maybe their child is enrolled in a school but misses a lot due to illness. If that parent is teaching/unschooling with their child and wants to consider that they are homeschooling for that time period then why not?
This is "the line" for me. If people who's kids are enrolled in school can be called homeschoolers, then the word is meaningless. The parent who's "hsing" nights and weekends while sending their child to school might be *supplimenting* their schooling...the parent who's waiting for the end of the year to take their child out is *planning* to homeschool. The child who's enrolled in school but misses a lot due to illness is just that, a child who goes to school but misses a lot due to illness.

EVERYONE can't be called a homeschooler. Without definitions, there's no point to having words at all.

mz_libbie22, I agree about the term -- I too wish the term "school" was not a part of our identity. "Life learner" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but we're sure not "schooling."
post #38 of 50
I said other. I believe anyone who self identifies as homeschooling and doesn't have a child enrolled in a school is a homeschooler. This is just another semantics/label discussion, which are so..
Maybe this is why I prefer the term "homelearning" - you can start that at birth without getting anyone uptight about using the term.
post #39 of 50
I didn't pick a choice, partly because as a parent I don't consider myself a hser. My 7 yo dd, OTOH, is definately a hser!
Me, I sometimes struggle with the fact that I am as schooled as it gets after 19 years of public schooling and then teaching ps!
We are a hsing family, but *I* am not a hser.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
The parent who's "hsing" nights and weekends while sending their child to school might be *supplimenting* their schooling...the parent who's waiting for the end of the year to take their child out is *planning* to homeschool. The child who's enrolled in school but misses a lot due to illness is just that, a child who goes to school but misses a lot due to illness.

EVERYONE can't be called a homeschooler. Without definitions, there's no point to having words at all.
You are entitled NOT to consider your child homeschooled in those instances. You are entitled to define what homeschooling is for your own family.

I don't think it is fair to apply your own definition and judgement to other people though. EVERYONE has different definitions of homeschooling. We don't agree on that definition and I don't think we ever will.
That doesn't mean it isn't defined. It doesn't mean everyone is a homeschooler. It means that if someone calls themselves a homeschooler (or a homeschool family) I can accept it even if it is very different than what I would do. I don't get concerned about who gets to use the word and don't see why anyone else should get uptight about the label.

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