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Back to school?

Tomorrow is the first day of school at our house. No, that’s not right. On Monday we will start our lessons. That’s not it, either. On September 3, we will resume slightly more structured lessons for the older children. That’s better. Or is it?

Home education renders useless a lot of the terms that are useful, appropriate and helpful for mass schooling. For example, my 5 year old asks what grade she’s in. Well, if she went to public or private school, she’d be in kindergarten. But we “did school” (or whatever) last year. Currently, she’s doing mostly “1st grade” work. But she still doesn’t know how to tie her shoes and she’s five in so many ways. So where does that put her? I just tell her she’s in kindergarten and that just means she’s five, which she already knew. She learns stuff. Then more stuff. Then she turns around and teaches her younger brothers or older sister what she’s figured out. She works through one topic, skill, etc., then moves on to the next thing. Consistent difficulty in getting or sustaining an erection, levitra best price Kamagraukoffers a wide range of Kamagra Products. Being the chooser means taking the initiative and controlling the sex life, and has achieved very good results. viagra 25 mg There are innumerable causes of having the erectile dysfunction is almost similar to wholesale prices viagra . After the time period of 24 hours between two consecutive dosage Don’t take the medicine during cardiovascular problem * You http://www.devensec.com/news/Flu_list_memo_2017_and_VIS.pdf online cialis should avoid taking this medication. We start something new, see that she’s not ready for it yet, then pull back and go a different direction. You know, she’s learning.

And I’m learning to jettison a lot of the terms and tools commonly used in more formal schooling. They just don’t fit (and sometime seem a bit silly) when it comes to home education. Yes, the “back to school” excitement can be fun. Yes, it’s handy to be able to say, “she’s in 1st or 5th or whatever grade.” And it’s hard to let go of these conventions. I’m a product of public schools and these things are ingrained in our culture and my head. I try to say education rather than school, not because I think school is in any way a negative word, but rather because “school” it isn’t what we do. “School” is a building, a place. We don’t go there.

What we do is learn together and explore and grow. Sometimes that involves pencil and paper, lots of times it involves books and conversations. We aren’t unschoolers in the way the term is typically used. But in another sense, we are unschoolers in that we aren’t doing school. So we don’t get to use the common words when it comes to education. We’ll adapt. We’ll come up with our own terms, borrow some others and expand our vocabulary as we explain this adventure in education. Ooh, look, another teachable moment. We’re on our way.

7 responses to “Back to school?”

  1. Jane Avatar

    I like that. …” ‘school’it isn’t what we do. “School” is a building, a place. We don’t go there.”

    That explains it all so well!

  2. Rebecca Avatar

    I’m finding this to be true too…I tell my kids, “you’re a first grader (or whatever) this year” so they have something to say when people inevitably ask them what grade they are in, but it really is meaningless when you homeschool.

    We “went back to more structured lessons” today…that sounds so clunky…but we just got back from a vacation that was probably just as educational as what we are doing this morning.

  3. Elisheva Hannah Levin Avatar
    Elisheva Hannah Levin

    Yes, you’ve got it! It is ingrained, I think. I was having a hard time last week describing what we were doing, because we’ve learned all summer. And we’re learning in a similar way now. We finally called it “not back to school day” but that sounds a bit negative.

    Then today, I mentioned that my ds does not want to go to UNM. One of my colleagues said, “Well, what grade is he in.”

    I said, “Eighth. Well actually he is doing high school work in some areas and mid-school work in others. Some of what he is doing does not even fit the school paradigm. I guess he’ll go to college in about 5 years…”

    You explain my problem perfectly. I am forwarding the link to this blog to my colleague!

  4. Mrs. L Avatar
    Mrs. L

    Amen – ‘schools’ are for fish, not people.

    Are you ready to start school in September?
    No, we don’t go to school, we are home educated, and our academic year starts in January.

    Did you do school today?
    No, we don’t do school. We do study, though.

    What are you studying this school year?
    We don’t go to or do school. But for this academic year we are studying . . .

    What grade are you in?
    We home educate, so grade levels are not something which we acknowledge.

    While these sound snotty, they work just fine when said with a soft heart and a smile.

  5. April Avatar

    The explanations of “what grade they’re in” and “what they do” can get long can’t they?

    I still gotta work on getting “school” out of my vocabulary. My 7 & 5 year old use it regularly, but the longer we “homeschool” the more I realize we do nothing like “school.”

  6. Lostcheerio Avatar

    I always wonder why people ask what grade the child is in. It’s like when you have a toddler, they always want to know how old he/she is, as if… it matters.

    What grade are you in? Forty-fifth. WHAT? We homeschool. Ooohhh. Back away, citizen. Back away. ;D

  7. […] The strict structure of traditional schools is great for traditional schools, but as I’ve said in the past, school is a building. We don’t go there. […]

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