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Who is a homeschooler? - Page 3

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 #41 of 50
[QUOTE=UnschoolnMa] And then there are the kids who are too young to be considered "school" kids, but who are learning at home with their parents.

QUOTE]

But in the absence of abuse or neglect, would this not encompass all children of this age?

Here's where I am coming from on this.

My neighbour is the head of communications for our local school board and previously she worked in the Ministry of Education. She's run a couple of marketing and communications type of focus groups on educational issues, specifically why people do and don't choose public schooling and how people rate various educational options. We were chatting one day regarding her findings. There were trends in her research to indicate that the term homeschooling is being applied to and by parents of preschoolers who fully intend to send their children to school and are simply trying to 'hothouse' their children. Homeschooling is developing a certain cache (sorry no french accent) and it appears to be colliding with the trend to have academics pushed down to younger and younger kids. It appears that parents are using that term to legitimize and then amplify what should be imo everyday parent/child interactions - reading, exploring, playing and talking with our kids.

This concerns me on a couple of levels. One I don't think the push to younger and younger academics is a good one for children, or our school system. Two, I do think that it confuses the issue of what homeschooling is and why we choose this option.

I can also see it taking a toll on the resources of homeschool groups like mine which are asked to devote a lot of our budget, materials etc on preschool books, activities etc which are available in a number of other places - the library, the early years centers etc. The "older", more experienced homeschoolers are fading away because they aren't getting their needs met and this is a detriment to all our members.

I understand that there are many here who have made the decision and commitment to homeschool and can see themselves doing it over the long term. And I imagine many of you will follow through on that commitment. I think that is wonderful - really. I admire you for the energy and commitment you are putting towards your children's education.

Karen
post #42 of 50
I am not currently homeschooling, but I am sympathetic to the entire movement.
post #43 of 50
I said "other" because a person who's gathering information may or may not have children, and I think that you have to have children before you can home educate them.

That said, I think that you should feel free to call yourself a homeschooler from the moment that you make the decision that school is not a place that you want your child to be. For some people, that happens at 18 months, for others not until the child has already been in school and miserable about it... It can happen at any time at all, but you have to already have the kids.
post #44 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4
There were trends in her research to indicate that the term homeschooling is being applied to and by parents of preschoolers who fully intend to send their children to school and are simply trying to 'hothouse' their children.
Okay... but why make the assumption that any/all of the people posting here fall into that category?

Quote:
Homeschooling is developing a certain cache (sorry no french accent)...
I'm not sure what you mean by "cache?" Could you explain, please?

Quote:
it appears to be colliding with the trend to have academics pushed down to younger and younger kids.
There are many homeschoolers (here in particular) who are doing academic work with their younger children without pushing them in any way, shape or form. I find it highly offensive that so many people make the assumption that a young child who is doing academic work and is actively assisted or even taught by their parent/s is being "pushed" or "hothoused."

Quote:
It appears that parents are using that term to legitimize and then amplify what should be imo everyday parent/child interactions - reading, exploring, playing and talking with our kids.
This is a different thing entirely-- you're talking about unschooling now, or maybe ecclectic homeschooling? Which is the problem-- early academic work which parents of preschool aged children are calling "homeschooling" or unschooling parents of preschool aged children claiming the same thing?

Quote:
This concerns me on a couple of levels. One I don't think the push to younger and younger academics is a good one for children, or our school system. Two, I do think that it confuses the issue of what homeschooling is and why we choose this option.
I don't know-- I believe that if more is expected of children, they will perform at higher levels in every arena. I'm not saying that I think it's appropriate or reasonable to sit with a child who is obviously not ready to learn to read/do math/whatever, and I don't think it's reasonable to attempt to teach a child who can't communicate with you, but I do believe that the way to achieve greater academic performance is to expect greater things from students, and I've seen many studies which support this idea.

I don't see how it confuses the issue of what homeschooling is, though. You'll have to fill me in on that one.

Quote:
I can also see it taking a toll on the resources of homeschool groups like mine which are asked to devote a lot of our budget, materials etc on preschool books, activities etc which are available in a number of other places - the library, the early years centers etc. The "older", more experienced homeschoolers are fading away because they aren't getting their needs met and this is a detriment to all our members.
That's just sad, but do you really think that the answer would be to exclude parents of preschool aged children entirely? What about families with teens and toddlers, where are they supposed to go? If parents of older children aren't participating in homeschool support groups, who's fault is that? Seriously... if they want/need more support, why aren't they making that happen?

Quote:
I understand that there are many here who have made the decision and commitment to homeschool and can see themselves doing it over the long term. And I imagine many of you will follow through on that commitment. I think that is wonderful - really. I admire you for the energy and commitment you are putting towards your children's education.
But that's not what you're saying with the rest of your post...
post #45 of 50
[QUOTE=Karenwith4]
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
And then there are the kids who are too young to be considered "school" kids, but who are learning at home with their parents.

QUOTE]

But in the absence of abuse or neglect, would this not encompass all children of this age?

Here's where I am coming from on this.

My neighbour is the head of communications for our local school board and previously she worked in the Ministry of Education. She's run a couple of marketing and communications type of focus groups on educational issues, specifically why people do and don't choose public schooling and how people rate various educational options. We were chatting one day regarding her findings. There were trends in her research to indicate that the term homeschooling is being applied to and by parents of preschoolers who fully intend to send their children to school and are simply trying to 'hothouse' their children. Homeschooling is developing a certain cache (sorry no french accent) and it appears to be colliding with the trend to have academics pushed down to younger and younger kids. It appears that parents are using that term to legitimize and then amplify what should be imo everyday parent/child interactions - reading, exploring, playing and talking with our kids.

This concerns me on a couple of levels. One I don't think the push to younger and younger academics is a good one for children, or our school system. Two, I do think that it confuses the issue of what homeschooling is and why we choose this option.

I can also see it taking a toll on the resources of homeschool groups like mine which are asked to devote a lot of our budget, materials etc on preschool books, activities etc which are available in a number of other places - the library, the early years centers etc. The "older", more experienced homeschoolers are fading away because they aren't getting their needs met and this is a detriment to all our members.

I understand that there are many here who have made the decision and commitment to homeschool and can see themselves doing it over the long term. And I imagine many of you will follow through on that commitment. I think that is wonderful - really. I admire you for the energy and commitment you are putting towards your children's education.

Karen
I sympathize with a lot of your concerns here, but ultimately I do not agree.

I do agree that the push for early academics is not good for children, both in the long and short term. I know some people believe that expecting more of children will lead to greater academic performance. I question that belief for many reasons, which I will not elaborate in this context, however we can agree to disagree on that. We are all doing what we think is best for our kids.

I do not think the moniker "homeschooling" should be restricted to school aged children, but my rationale for that belief has nothing to do with the fact that many parents of pre-schoolers are doing academic work. And, I would be very careful not to make that the "reason" that three year olds are "homeschooling." I still consider my almost 5 year old a "pre-schooler." I do not do any formal academic work with her. I greatly respect the waldorf philosophy of the importance of play and imagination in developing a whole person, not just an academic superstar. But, just because I am not doing academic work, does not mean that I am not homeschooling. I have done much to cultivate an environment where imagination and play can flourish, and that, I believe, is different than the kind of atmosphere and attitude that exists in the pre-school homes of my IRL non-homeschooling friends.

The point about homeschool groups is well taken. I have found it difficult for groups to meet the needs of very young children. As a rule, homeschool groups do an excellent job of bringing together a wide variety of age groups. But, it is difficult to integrate younger children into the group. I still think it is valuable to have homeschool groups open (especially because there are many parents of school age children who also have young children), but it is also useful for the pre-schoolers to meet separately in a sort of co-op, to provide the kids with a place for free play. Yes, there may be some "hothousers" who join in, but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.
post #46 of 50
I can definately see the argument that labelling who is and who isn't a homeschooler is an exercise in divisiveness.

On the other hand, I also see an argumement that in the spirit of inclusiveness, many terms have been so watered down as to be almost meaningless - or at least carry a very vague meaning to the general public.

I have a 5 y/o whom I think I'm homeschooling in that we have a nature table, look at workbooks when he wants, do science experiments together at a certain time of day. He calls it our homeschool. But I don't introduce ourselves as homeschoolers -- mostly because he's not yet an an age where he'd be enrolled in the school system, and I think it would confuse people if I said we homeschooled. Mostly, actually, I don't talk about it anymore than anyone else talks about the educational type things they do at home with their preschool aged children.

Next September when the school bus drives right past our house without stopping, speeding those young children away from their families to an institution that will mold them up, my son will still be standing next to me. And then, I'll call myself a homeschooler.

I guess if other parents of preschoolers want to say they're homeschooling, it doesn't really bother me (although it used to confuse me). This isn't a huge issue in my life or anything. But in my mind, I'll be homeschooling when the other kids are schooling. That's just what makes sense to me.
post #47 of 50
Quote:
I guess if other parents of preschoolers want to say they're homeschooling, it doesn't really bother me (although it used to confuse me). This isn't a huge issue in my life or anything. But in my mind, I'll be homeschooling when the other kids are schooling. That's just what makes sense to me.
I think it very much depends on where you live. The reason I feel it's unnecessary to define what home education is for others is that I believe whether or not we call ourselves home educators is borne out of our own unique, individual circumstances. I'm calling myself a home educator because in my life, that's the only way to communicate to others what we are doing without any confusion. In the interest of clear and concise communication, I've got to be practical and use what works and is understood unambiguously.

Here's just one very recent scenario to illustrate my point:

We are moving to a new house next week. Yesterday we got the keys and paid a visit to the house. When we left, we decided to introduce ourselves to our next door neighbour. We met her and found out she has a 4 year old son. Here's how the conversation went:

Neighbour: 'So is K. (ds) in nursery?'
Me: 'No, he's home with me.' (Usually my first standard answer.)
Her (looking confused): 'Oh, so is that something you're looking into? There are some nice nurseries around here...' (looks at me expectantly)
Me: 'No, we're home educating him.'
Her (looking first suprised, then excited): 'Oh, that's wonderful, I have a friend with a 5 year old son in S. (nearby town) who is also home educating and her son is just divine and very advanced.'

Maybe it's a UK thing. Maybe it just depends on your location, whichever country you're in. As long as the label 'home education' assists me in communicating to others exactly what we are doing, I'm going to use it.
post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat
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.

:
The only place this discussion has ever come up for me, has been on these boards. It's not something I go around debating on a daily basis. But, the post I quoted from, WAS suggesting that ANYONE can call themselves homeschoolers, even those who send their children to school. That's what I was addressing. (Although I don't actually know anyone who does this, it illustrates the need for minimally agreed-upon terms.) There surely are hsers of different ages and styles and methods and philosophies, but they all have a common base that makes them homeschoolers. Anyone CAN call themselves anything they like, but there's going to be a ton of confusion if people just make up their own definitions.

Words are sometimes exclusionary. I'm not sure why that's a problem for some. We use words all the time to define ourselves and by doing so, exclude some traits. I cannot call myself a "public school parent" because, by our culture's accepted useage of the term, that does not define me. (Just as I would not call myself a "business man" because I'm neither in business, nor a man.)

Now, language is certainly fluid and changeable, but if the word "homeschooler" became an accepted way to describe children who go to school, I'm sure those who do not send their children to school would create another term to describe themselves in order to identify what they do, and yes, exclude themselves from the ps/private school people, when necessary.

From what I've seen of this discussion, it sounds to me like some people are arguing/debating the terms in a general way while others are viewing this as a personal attack. That's unfortunate. Fwiw, I think definitions are important, both socially and legally. However, I use the term "homeschooler" even though we don't school at home, even though my youngest isn't "school age" yet.
post #49 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
Okay... but why make the assumption that any/all of the people posting here fall into that category?

I didn't. I'm not speaking here of anyone specific - just having a general discussion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
I'm not sure what you mean by "cache?" Could you explain, please?
Sorry - french term...cache (cachet) means that it has an approval or high standing, an attraction for people - I'm not expressing this well and all I can think of are more french terms to explain it It's becoming cool to homeschool. With the gaining awareness/popularity of homeschooling and its academic success there are people (according to my neighbours research) that are saying they are homeschooling their preschoolers with the sole intention of getting them ahead in school. There is also a significant portion of people who don't homeschool but who believe this is happening and it registers as an unfavourable impression of homeschoolers. This is research based - not just my opinion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
There are many homeschoolers (here in particular) who are doing academic work with their younger children without pushing them in any way, shape or form. I find it highly offensive that so many people make the assumption that a young child who is doing academic work and is actively assisted or even taught by their parent/s is being "pushed" or "hothoused."
I didn't say this is happening here. I said that this is what my neighbour's research said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
This is a different thing entirely-- you're talking about unschooling now, or maybe ecclectic homeschooling? Which is the problem-- early academic work which parents of preschool aged children are calling "homeschooling" or unschooling parents of preschool aged children claiming the same thing?
I think in your rush to disagree with me you are misunderstanding me. I'll try again. According to my neighbours research and in my experience w my homeschool groups there are people who adopt the term homeschooling because they think that it adds more credibility to what they do w their kids, with no intention of homeschooling or even an understanding of what homeschooling is all about. There are also those who agressively homeschool academics in order to give their kids a perceived advantage in school - again w/o the intention of homeschooling past school age.

Again according to her research with the focus groups the effect is that there is added confusion and misunderstanding w the term homeschooling as most of her non-h/sing participants agreed w the definition that homeschooling starts when children are of school age and not participating in institutionalized school programs (j/k or k - 12).

Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
That's just sad, but do you really think that the answer would be to exclude parents of preschool aged children entirely? What about families with teens and toddlers, where are they supposed to go? If parents of older children aren't participating in homeschool support groups, who's fault is that? Seriously... if they want/need more support, why aren't they making that happen?
I never said that they needed to be excluded. I do think that there needs to be a balance and given that in our community (like in others) there are a number of other places that parents of preschoolers can access support, resources, activities etc I do think that it is prudent to focus our efforts and resources on providing support for older homeschoolers who do have different needs and face different challenges.

There are plenty of activities for families as a group in our group and in our community. We do have various age options for things like our Roots and Shoots groups etc. But we are also conscious of 'age drift'. Here's an example of what I am talking about. Our local library runs a homeschool lego club for kids ages 5 and up (age set in part for safety reasons) w an open play group with Duplo and other toys for younger children at the same time. The library was inundated with requests to lower the age range and a number of parents ignore it all together. The result is that a number of the older kids have faded away. Too much chaos, not enough lego, not enough space safe from preschoolers knocking stuff over, difficulty in implementing some of the group activities due to age differences. This same scenario is repeated at science days, at plays etc despite age restrictions or guidelines. And in general with our group it is the parents of multiage families who are frustrated b/c they want to have some activities for their older kids. They ARE trying to make it happen and unfortunately their efforts are not working well because of a strong preschool contingent who believe that their needs are the same as the needs for older homeschoolers and they just aren't in this case. Sure there is the option that they start their own group and take their resources, experience, and commitment with them, which I think would be a shame. It's interesting to me that you are arguing inclusiveness and yet you're suggesting that they should be less inclusive to solve a problem precipitated by the need for including preschoolers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
But that's not what you're saying with the rest of your post...
I'm relating some research and experience. My message is not inconsistent. I do think there is value in what the members here are doing with their preschool aged children. I did similar things when my eldest was preschool age and I do similar things with my younger kids now.

I hope this post clarifies my previous comments.
Karen
post #50 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4
This same scenario is repeated at science days, at plays etc despite age restrictions or guidelines. And in general with our group it is the parents of multiage families who are frustrated b/c they want to have some activities for their older kids. They ARE trying to make it happen and unfortunately their efforts are not working well because of a strong preschool contingent who believe that their needs are the same as the needs for older homeschoolers and they just aren't in this case.
I have been gathering hsing info since my oldest was less than a year old. There are a couple of great hs groups in my community, and I knew someone socially who happened to be part of one of them. I attended a few events when ds was still in arms/toddling. I haven't gone back since then, except to a few days when the groups plan on going to the local Children's Museum. There were mostly older kids, and as you pointed out, my kids' needs aren't the same. There are plenty of preschool age programmes around here, at community centres and libraries, and it was easy to find moms through church for playdates. Now, it was probably easier for me to walk away from the hs group because the only kids my ds's age who were there had older siblings there. They weren't really participating, just hanging out with their mom while their older sibs took part.

I don't really care what other people call themselves, though I do agree that the word becomes meaningless for some purposes when everyone can call themselves homeschoolers. I have been looking into homeschooling for more than 5 years, but this is the first year that ds is required to attend school (actually, since he has a fall birthday, technically he could just be in SK this year, it is up to us), and I thought of myself more as planning on homeschooling. I sort of thought of *myself* as a homeschooler when ds was K-aged because I was planning on it, but I wouldn't have said I was homeschooling him. But that's just my opinion on my family's situation. But I'm also in the relaxed on academics for young kids crowd (our "school time" we have started conists of me reading to the kids, and then we basically do what we want for the rest of the morning. Our rules are no tv and no comp games), so maybe that makes a difference.
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