Homeschooling it seems has as many variations as there are practitioners. More actually. If you talk to most anyone who has homeschooled more than one child they will tell you how they had to modify their basic plan from child to child, somestimes drastically. This of course, is what makes homeschooling such a scary looking cliff to jump from. It’s just not easy to evaluate the waters below. Public schools however, are in essence, all the same. That’s why we can grade them. This school is an “A” school, this one is a “B.” We can do this because public schools are, by design, an apples to apples comparison.
Now, I’m not going to spend time educating you on all the variations on homeschooling. Google can lead your research there. The reason I mention this is so I can define what homeschooling is to us. I’ll define our “vocabulary” which may or may not agree with the way you have heard these words used by others. As I’ve managed to discover, context matters, so I want to be sure I set the proper context for my posts that follow.
For instance, we contacted a teacher to evaluate our plan. From her perspective (county homeschool assessor), we were labeled “Unschoolers.” Our current plan does not at all resemble what most Unschoolers would expect. From her perspective however, we took a look at all the available options such as the public Florida Virtual Schools, Umbrella Schools, CoOps, Unschooling, “Big Box” curriculums, online/edelivery courses, local commercial “homeschooler” activities and treated the whole big thing like a buffet, picking and choosing the parts we wanted. As such, we failed to fit into any one category and were thus labeled “Unschoolers.” What this most likely means to her, is she cannot just use her knowledge of existing curriculums and then test our kids against it. She’ll have to be more creative and look more closely at exactly what our curriculum consists of.
In my next post, I’ll discuss a bit of the lingo and how it applies to us, affects us or is interpreted by us. That will hopefully set the context needed to discuss more details concerning how we are going about this whole thing…