Who is a homeschooler? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Who is a homeschooler?
The person with kids at or above the mandatory ps age 20 16.95%
The person with kids who are at least kindergarten-aged where kindy is an optional program 16 13.56%
The person with kids who are at least preschool-aged who plans to hs into later years 14 11.86%
The person who plans on homeschooling (age irrelevant) and is gathering resources along those lines 44 37.29%
All parents homeschool at some point just by virtue of spending time with their kids 8 6.78%
Other (please explain) 16 13.56%
Voters: 118. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Based on our recent discussions, I'm curious how other people in this forum, outside of the handful of us that have been discussing it, define "homeschooler".
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#2 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 10:55 AM
 
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I chose "other" because I think it really depends on the perspective of the discussion.

If the subject of the conversation is homeschooling as an alternative to public/private schooling, you're comparing age-peer kids in vs. out of the school environment. I think it's only meaningful to include school-age children who are exclusively at home.

But, on a wider scale, I think we all teach our kids, from the day they're born (well, ok, from a few weeks later. They don't do much except eat, sleep and poop those first few weeks ) and every hour we're with our kids even if they spend many hours in school. I don't think that many public/private school parents consider themselves to be homeschoolers even though they may teach their kids a lot on their own; so it's not really exclusionary to leave them out. But many ps parents consider themselves forced to ps, due to work or whatever, and consider their kids *real* education to happen at night and on weekends when the parents are guiding them. In that case, I would call them homeschoolers who send their kids to the government's day care...
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#3 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 11:31 AM
 
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I went with "other" because I don't think this is something that can be externally defined. If someone self-defines as a homeschooler, I sure as heck am not going to tell them he or she is wrong. To do so would be a serious slight against afterschoolers, beforeschoolers, any parent acting upon or executing educational goals for their kids, really. In fact, I'm kind of alarmed at the zeal shown in some quarters for attempting to define some families out of homeschooing by drawing some kind of border around certain activities for certain age groups that happen at certain times of day.
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#4 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 11:33 AM
 
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i chose the first option, but i distinguish between homeschooling and homeschooling / unschooling.

unschooling is a way of life, it is not about 'schooling', it is about learning and dicovering, and following ones interests. i have been unschooling dd since she was born. i will label myself as a homeschooler, for the ease of reference to others, when she is mandatory school age.
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#5 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 12:23 PM
 
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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?

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#6 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 12:29 PM
 
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When they are school age.

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.
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#7 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 01:37 PM
 
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I put other. There is no better school than the home . Most people who feel they are homeschooling are probably right.
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#8 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 02:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalupamom
I went with "other" because I don't think this is something that can be externally defined. If someone self-defines as a homeschooler, I sure as heck am not going to tell them he or she is wrong. To do so would be a serious slight against afterschoolers, beforeschoolers, any parent acting upon or executing educational goals for their kids, really. In fact, I'm kind of alarmed at the zeal shown in some quarters for attempting to define some families out of homeschooing by drawing some kind of border around certain activities for certain age groups that happen at certain times of day.
I agree with this and voted "other" as well.

I am frankly surprised at how eager some folks are to limit the definition. One of the things that I find so exciting about the homeschool movement is that it has refused to allow the state or other institutions to "define" what "schooling"/learning is. Yet, here are homeschoolers limiting and restricting what "homeschooling" is.
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#9 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 02:35 PM
 
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I went with other.

My kids are 3 and 20m.
I have researched a variety of school options including homeschooling, but am not sure what we will do.

For now I plan/am 'homeschooling' preschool, but may or may not homeschool later grades. What does that mean? It means I do a combination of free play, and structured play at homes. It means I try to engage my oldest in one class, and have passes to museums/zoo's. We do theme days/weeks on occasion. We do a lot of 'building' and 'construction'.

I try to make the environment very learning friendly, but not academic.

The idea is that by the time they are ready for K+, if we go to 'school', they'll know all or more than they need to.

Why do I consider this homeschooling as opposed to just typical SAHM stuff?

Because in this day, a HUGE percentage of kids go to school. I hear people say how, OH, MY child is sooo much more better off b/c they are going to daycare, or going to preschool. People now look at preschool as 'necessary'. With the culture change coming, keeping kids at home is outside the norm now... In addition, I try to encompass more than the 'norm'. Even their Christmas presents.. I try to do a balance of items... things that are physical, musical, construction, pretend, nurturing, art, etc.


SO... none of the choices above reflected my situation. PLus, it really just depends... if a person is making the conscious choice of homeschooling, well... then they probably are. :-)

Tammy
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#10 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 02:46 PM
 
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I've been formally homeschooling for a little over a year, and my dd is not qualified to start kindergarten until Fall 2006 b/c of her bday.

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#11 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 03:07 PM
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For those who chose: The person who plans on homeschooling (age irrelevant) and is gathering resources along those lines - so you believe that a person can be homeschooling even if her children are in school, because she's planning and preparing to take them out?

Dar

 
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#12 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 03:26 PM
 
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I voted, but for me, it really boils down to, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

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Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#13 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 03:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
For those who chose: The person who plans on homeschooling (age irrelevant) and is gathering resources along those lines - so you believe that a person can be homeschooling even if her children are in school, because she's planning and preparing to take them out?

Dar
I chose this option but it doesn't quite grasp what I feel. I didn't choose it because of the reason you questioned though. For me, the person who is planning on hs'ing and is gathering information is the parent of young children who knows she isn't going to put them in any formal schooling situation. I'm not sure about the parent who has already enrolled her children in school but plan on taking them out at some point in time.

I consider myself a homeschooler. My ds#1 is now 4, though I considered us homeschoolers when he was 2 & 3 because I knew that was what we were doing long term. Around here it's not unusual to have children in preschool at 3 (I was), and it's unusual not to have your child in preschool at 4. Legally, I'm not considered a homeschooler (well, private school teacher ) until ds#1 hits 6. But, I'm also not into limiting who is an who isn't a homeschooler based on legal definitions. Personally, imo, I don't see parents of young children who label what they do as homeschooling risking the academic future of others because TPTB might get wind of it and start saying, "See, we need mandatory preschool at age 3." Homeschooling, whether it be classical, relaxed, or radical unschooling, is a way of life no matter the age of the child. We choose to do things differently and buck the system in a way. I am proud of the homeschool label and get a little : when it's insinuated (and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, just a general observation) that I'm not a "real" homeschooler because I have 2 more years before I legally have to declare anything regarding my son's education. We homeschool. Period. We started homeschooling the day ds#1 came home from the hospital (dh actually stayed up all night with him and read Dr. Seuss because it was a rough first night ).

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#14 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
For those who chose: The person who plans on homeschooling (age irrelevant) and is gathering resources along those lines - so you believe that a person can be homeschooling even if her children are in school, because she's planning and preparing to take them out?

Dar
I didn't even think of that option. Maybe I should have voted Other. Actually I was thinking of my own situation where my kids are not yet school age, but I very much consider us homeschoolers. I've planned on homeschooling since before my children were even born. For us it is a lifestyle.
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#15 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 03:53 PM
 
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I am one who voted homeschooling is when the child is at or above mandatory ps age.
I will say I am homeschooling my preschooler, but he is not doing anything than I did at his age, because I didn't go to preschool. I see preschool as an option, so I dont consider that to be a time of officially homeschooling.
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#16 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 04:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
For those who chose: The person who plans on homeschooling (age irrelevant) and is gathering resources along those lines - so you believe that a person can be homeschooling even if her children are in school, because she's planning and preparing to take them out?

Dar
Why not? Who says the transition has to be cold turkey?
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#17 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 04:29 PM
 
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This is the only option that I disagree with: All parents homeschool at some point just by virtue of spending time with their kids . All parents parent their kids, but not all parents homeschool. If you send your kids to school, you're not a homeschooler, you're a parent with kids in school. If you homeschool, you're a parent with kids who are homeschooled.

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#18 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 04:55 PM
 
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I'll admit I picked the first option. I homeschool my 7 year old; my younger kids aren't "schooled" yet. When ds was K age, we added more structure to our day and our learning, but he still wasn't schooled yet. We weren't doing what I consider school yet, so I didn't define us that way until first grade, when we started formal lessons.
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#19 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLittleWonders
I chose this option but it doesn't quite grasp what I feel. I didn't choose it because of the reason you questioned though. For me, the person who is planning on hs'ing and is gathering information is the parent of young children who knows she isn't going to put them in any formal schooling situation.
Yes, that's what I meant when I wrote that option. Sorry it wasn't very clear.
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#20 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalupamom
I went with "other" because I don't think this is something that can be externally defined. If someone self-defines as a homeschooler, I sure as heck am not going to tell them he or she is wrong. To do so would be a serious slight against afterschoolers, beforeschoolers, any parent acting upon or executing educational goals for their kids, really. In fact, I'm kind of alarmed at the zeal shown in some quarters for attempting to define some families out of homeschooing by drawing some kind of border around certain activities for certain age groups that happen at certain times of day.
My thoughts exactly.
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#21 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 05:24 PM
 
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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.
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#22 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 05:53 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 05:58 PM
 
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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!"?
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#24 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 09:14 PM
 
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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?
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#25 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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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.
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#26 of 50 Old 11-10-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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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

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#27 of 50 Old 11-11-2005, 03:32 AM
 
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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.
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#28 of 50 Old 11-11-2005, 03:52 AM
 
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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.
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#29 of 50 Old 11-11-2005, 04:24 AM
 
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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.

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#30 of 50 Old 11-11-2005, 04:30 AM
 
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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.

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