You know when you’re struggling to find a word? When it’s slipped down the back of your sofa brain and you can’t grasp it? Then you start to think; ‘Oh heck! Is this a sign of things to come’?
Well I find it really comforting when my twenty-two year old does exactly the same. Just thought I’d share that with you in case you need the comfort too!
I’m often angsting over words. It’s what I do. Because one small word makes a mega difference. And since I’m writing about home education a lot I’m often angsting over the word ‘homeschooling’, as used in the title of my previous post.
I hate the word. For it suggests ‘school’ at home. And we didn’t do school at home and judging by many of your comments and messages there’s quite a few of you who are the same. ‘Schooling’ suggests something done to the kids, which is not what we’re in to.
And ‘schooling’ and ‘education’ are wildly different things.
I always feel that ‘schooling’ implies a kind of drilling into a child, a forcing of stuff into a person. Whereas education is a leading out. Schooling inevitably has elements of institutionalisation and therefore a narrowing of mind. Education is the broadening of minds – of an individual – that has nothing to do with institution. Schooling suggests a school-style structure, when home educating is wide and diverse and often unpredictable – yet still extremely successful as such, as those graduating are now proving.
It is all about approach and the approach we took, like many other home educators, centred around the individual and their personal development. It sometimes required guidance and self-determined structure, but it was more often than not autonomously derived in consultation with them – we were more the facilitators. It was always guided by respect. The respect of both the individual’s right to develop in the way that suited them and the wider world, and the place they would make for themselves within it.
School does boast that this is what they’re aiming for. That may be true, but home educators take a wildly different route to get there – a route that ‘schooling’ doesn’t well describe.
However, I suppose I will adopt the phrase ‘homeschooling’ sometimes because, ironic though it is, it is a term widely used and recognised to describe those children who are learning out of school. And it is often only you deeper thinking parents who recognise that difference between schooling and education.
And there are some similarities perhaps, between school learners and home learners, particularly in our common goals (although thinking about it that’s questionable too). And common practises to help us reach them. But perhaps we don’t have to get too tied up with words, just get on with the real process of helping our kids develop into the educated people they need to be.
However, the term home schooling will always rankle; ‘schooling’ always feels slightly coercive, that’s just how I feel about it.
What about you? I’d love to hear your comments on the matter – am I just really angsting for nothing?