Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Homschoolese 101

Like any other area of specialization, homeschooling has a language all its own. Here are some definitions to help you become fluent in this unique area:

Homeschool, home school- (There is some disagreement about whether this should be one word or two with the majority coming down on the side of one word. 

My personal favorite is “home’s cool"). 

The term refers to a child not enrolled in a “traditional” educational institute, whose education is being directly controlled (paid for) by his parents. This ranges from one parent teaching every subject, to parents or neighbors teaching and taking the child to various tutors, private and community classes, and educational co-ops.

Correspondence school- A service provided by private schools or curriculum providers. The correspondence school sends the child their books, keeps records, and assigns the child to a teacher under their pay. The teacher gives assignments, and corrects work. The parent supervises the child’s work and mails (or emails) assignments to the teacher. 

Some find the records and accountability to be necessary and reassuring. Some find it annoying. Legally it counts as homeschooling.

Virtual school- same as above but on the computer. This ranges from: 

  • Abeka’s video school (they set a camera up in the back of the classrooms of their best teachers) to 
  • Alpha Omega’s Monarch school (totally on the internet, similar in structure to video games, completely computer taught and self-paced, and 85% computer corrected) to 
  • Ron Paul’s curriculum (a combination of articles and videos on the internet, with assignments completed by the child on the child's own blog and Youtube channel. Help is sought from other students through the curriculum’s forums resulting in students teaching each other thus reinforcing their own knowledge.)
  • There is even Kahn Academy (totally free, funded by Bill Gates) to Easy Peasy (a mom's daily assignments to her children for K-12 using free resources, links, games, etc.)

Educational co-op-All humans have gifts, ranging from astrophysics to keeping the church vacuumed. 

Many times a group of homeschoolers will discover that several of them have gifts in certain academic areas; one may be an ex-professor of chemistry, another a history buff, and another an accomplished artist. They can arrange to each teach their subject of strength to everybody’s children. 

These “classes” can include all ages or just a few; occur weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or in just one or two sessions, depending on the needs and talents of those in the group. Generally, the co-op class just includes the lecture part with the parents making sure the work gets done at home.

Independent study- The child is enrolled in a traditional school and meets with an assigned teacher once per week or month, depending on the program (some Independent Study programs have all their school contained on the internet. I.e. K12). The teacher assigns and corrects the work and keeps records. 

The parent is the baby sitter/ enforcer. The Child is required to meet all the same requirements as the traditional student, (testing, attendance records, required courses, etc.) This is government funded and controlled. It is not homeschooling, legally speaking, sense the parent really doesn't have control.

Charter school- Taxpayer funded alternative to regular public school. Some charter schools have campuses that students attended everyday and some don’t. Either way, the students must still meet all public school requirements and are ultimately under the control of the government educationally.

Traditional school- an institution where the child spends five days per week, six or more hours per day in a room with other children (usually in their own age and socio-economic group) being taught by one teacher or one teacher per subject. Also called “brick and mortar” schools. 

This covers both traditional private and the majority of public schools. The one who pays the bill holds the ultimate authority for the child's education, so private schools are really responsive to parents, while public schools are responsive to politicians.

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