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Different names for the idea of homeschooling?

780 Views 14 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Dar
I'm so new to this-- forgive me if this has been discussed recently.

I just read this article: Students Don't "Work"- They Learn found via

It got me thinking. Maybe "homeschooling" isn't the right word. I don't really like the term "unschooling" because while I subscribe to the concept, the term is based on the negative ("this is what we DON'T do").

Do any of you call homeschooling something different? A group I'm in calls it "home educating."

After reading the article, I'm thinking maybe I'll tell DD that she isn't a homeSCHOOLER, she's a homeLEARNER. Or maybe we'll just say she's a learner, plain and simple.
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Child led learning, natural learning? There's another one I can't think of right now.
Worldliving? We don't homeschool, we take advantage of what the world has to offer us.
DH and I call it home educating for the most part.

We aren't schooling at home, but sometimes it's easier to say homeschool than to get into a long discussion that doesn't really pertain to anyone outside our family.
Well, the homeschool group I'm in is called 'Real World Learning' and I think that just about sums it up
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I completely agree with you about the given names not being ideal. When someone asks my DD about school, I just say, "we learn at home." That doesn't perfectly fit the bill either, though, because we learn everywhere, right? I just feel awkward saying, "the world is our oyster."
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How about, "My child is involved in a self-directed, independent course of learning with a facilitator."
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i like to call it Free Range Learning/Education... but when "the world" asks dd (5.5) why she isn't in school we say we homeschool - it is much easier than describing our educational philosophy to the cashier at the grocery store :)) while others wait in line after us...
I like "independent study". Basically what you do at home is what more progressive school programs will allow in independent study courses.

But yes, "homeschooling" is an easy answer for casual conversations.
Right now calling what we do at home together "homeschooling" works best for us. The reason? My son is only 4, but of course every adult who talks to him ends up asking him about school. His reply is usually along the lines of "Mommy teaches me" or I do school at home". I like the phrase "home learning" or "learning at home".

Teresa Jo
Like most of you, we'll use "homeschooling" most, because that's what most people recognize. But I don't always like it because it does carry the implication of school-at-home, which of course many homeschoolers do... but it really doesn't cover the whole umbrella, KWIM?

We're not radical unschoolers either, I think we're pretty eclectic, but we're certainly not strict school-at-home, and I get tired of having to explain THAT when people inevitably make that assumption. "What grade are you in?" "Oh, I homeschool." "Wow, that's great! So what grade are you in in homeschool?" *sigh*

I like "free-range learning", I like "real world learning". Maybe something like "Family-Based Independent Education"?

Ooh, how about "Family-Rooted Independent Education?" Then it could be F.R.I.E. -- free!!

I just looked up synonyms for 'independent':
absolute, autarchic, autarchical, autonomous, freewheeling, individualistic, nonaligned, nonpartisan, on one's own, self-contained, self-determining, self-governing, self-reliant, self-ruling, self-sufficient, self-supporting, separate, separated, sovereign, unaided, unallied, unconnected, unconstrained, uncontrolled, unregimented

In this context, I like autonomous, self-determining, self-governing, self-supporting, unconstrained, and unregimented.

Family-based Autonomous Independent Learning? No good -- that spells FAIL. Though that could be the greatest irony of all... lol...

Home-based Autodidactism?

Freedom-based Learning?
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These are all great names! I think we're going to have to just call ourselves homeschoolers in public for now . . .DD balked at the idea of saying anything else!

tankgirl73, playing off of your idea, how about F.R.E.E.= Family-Rooted Engaged Education? or Free-Range Engaged Education?
Well, I guess the term I use really depends on who it's being used for. When it comes to using labels to inform other people, I personally wouldn't put too much thought into it. Most people aren't going to derive the meaning that you intended from the label you use. They're going to interpret it in their own way. So trying to come up with just the right label that describes what you're doing probably isn't worth the effort. For most people, I just say we homeschool. That's what's easiest. They aren't really interested in the details of our life (i.e - mine and my family's). They just want a simple way to categorize us and explain why our children aren't in school. Homeschooling accomplishes that because it's a term most people have heard before, and therefore understand without any further explanation.

Those individuals that are interested in details beyond basic small talk generally fall into one of two categories. Either they "get it" and therefore don't need a label, or they're concerned about our children and want to make sure they are being well taken care of. In this instance, I still find that the term homeschooling works best since, again, it's something most people understand and it let's them know that even though our children aren't in school, we are thinking about their welfare.

For myself, I don't call "it" anything, because I see no "it" that needs labeling. We're just living our lives in the best way we know how. I have a problem with labels (and I don't mean in the sense that I don't think we should be labeling each other). I mean that when I use a label, I feel obligated to learn exactly what that entails, and to follow that definition strictly. And when I don't follow it, I feel guilty. It's a weird quirk of mine, which has given me quite a bit of grief over the years when I've failed to live up to what I thought a wife should be or a mother should be etc. Over time, I've learned it's best for me if I place as few restrictions on how I define myself and my life as possible. Part of that includes not using unnecessary labels. When it comes to the question of schooling, we just don't do it. We don't homeschool, or even unschool. We just do what we need to do to be happy in this world. We live.

Does that mean we never do school-like things? No. For instance, when helping the children learn Math and English, I use a curriculum. I believe that strong Math and English skills are essential to getting along well in this world, and want to make sure they're covered well (and not simply leave them up to chance). But I wouldn't label our use of a curriculum "schooling." They're just tools I use to help me be a good mom for my children.

When it comes to my dd, and how she views our life, I've told her we can just call what we do homeschooling. She never seemed to need a label, and would quite happily inform others that she doesn't go to school. But since this leads to strange looks, and difficult to answer questions, I've told her it's easiest if we just tell people we homeschool. So that's what she does.

I'm not sure if that helps or not. I hope I haven't been too confusing
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We say we are "School-Free". But when someone asks us if we homeschool, we say "Yes". The other day a woman asked dd1 "so mommy teaches you school at home?" and dd1 responded, "Sometimes I guess, but mostly I just learn!"
Yeah. We say "homeschool" to people who are completely otside of the community and have no framework for anything else, because it's easier. We say unschooling to people within the homeschooling community, and don't really have a problem with being defined in the negative because, well, I do think that's what makes us different from people who don't unschool - they do school, and we don't. I'm not against the "un" prefix- I also try to be unbiased and unselfish, as well as unmatched.

We used to just say "We don't do school," and give sort of an ingenuous look, and that was fun but got old sometimes...

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