Thursday, May 5, 2011

Schooling at Home vs Homeschooling

The term "homeschooling" has taken on different meanings, of late. Up until about ten or fifteen years ago, homeschooling was defined as a parent teaching a child/ren at home using their own resources, creating a well-rounded curriculum of their own choosing, of core subjects including PE, art, and music. It was the parent's responsibility to search out and find the type of materials needed and wanted to teach at home. The parents were to provide everything a child needed to succeed in his/her educational goals or direction, including textbooks, workbooks, projects, supplies for experiments, etc. This required funds from the family budget, either great or small, and time constraints became a thing of the past; meaning there was no "teaching to pass an April standardized test." This opened up endless possibilities and opportunities for the "teacher" to spend as much or little time on a given concept or subject as deemed appropriate --- at least, in Arizona where homeschooled children were and are exempt from standardized testing - probably due to the high level of education parents were providing themselves. The state does not provide any supplemental funding to homeschooling families.

Now, the term "homeschooling" encompasses any type of schooling at home, beit original homeschooling, as described above, part-time schooling where students spend part time learning at home and part time learning at a physical building, online schooling where all of the curriculum is provided (and sometimes computers, too), and "group" homeschooling where parents pool their strong subject abilities, and take turns teaching a "class" made up of their own children. Schools that are state funded require their students to take the standardized tests, both in elementary school and high school.

In the past, we've homeschooled up to seven children at a time at home. But since living out here on the edges of civilization for the past 6+ years, our kids have been in public schools. Many times I've been tempted to bring them home (and probably should have) and resume our homeschool routine because I was really unhappy with the school. But after hearing about the alternative of online high school a few years ago, a few of our kids came home and worked on the computer. For us, it's worked out great.

BUT, I still have great memories of actually homeschooling the kids:
  • using books I bought at a discount store,
  • creating my own master copies of the human skeleton,
  • buying a slab of clay to use for writing cunieform as part of a history lesson,
  • saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, along with prayer,
  • playing a game on a redesigned gameboard to teach letters and sounds to a preschooler,
  • and being done with school just after lunch.
I loved it and I miss it. And I still have nearly everything I used back then. I give lots of credit and praise to families who DO actually homeschool because I know how hard it can be and how rewarding it is. But at my age, now, I think educating the kids on the computer is just as thorough.
Okay, here's my rant:
Homeschooling is teaching children at home using your own materials that you purchased, after having registered yourself with the state as being a homeschooling family.
Homeschool is NOT taking classes on the computer, or attending state funded classes either online OR in a building.
Therefore, for us, we are NOT homeschooling ---- we are online schooling.
And there you have it!

1 comment:

Nonna Beach said...

I have many friends who Home School their children and I admire them all. I find it amusing that the Teacher's Unions are constantly at odds with home schooling and are scratching their heads as to why home schooled kids test so far above public educated kids. I also love it when a home schooled kid wins the National Spelling Bee !