Hi, my name is Jackie and to the best of my knowledge, I coined the term, true homeschooling. in a previous HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast episode, I casually defined true homeschooling in the following way.
“True Homeschooling means you are legally homeschooling, that you are not using a public school curriculum or model in your home. You are not signed up through the public school system. You should be signed up legally as a home schooler.”
When I began using this term, I had never heard it used anywhere else. I believe that true homeschooling is best defined with an explanation of why I coined this term. I’ll share a more thoughtful definition of true homeschooling toward the end of this article.
Why I Coined The Phrase True Homeschooling
During the COVID19 Pandemic of 2020, schools around the world shut public school buildings down and children began doing public school at home. Teachers, parents, and children of both the private school sector and public school system began calling doing public school at home – homeschooling.
Doing private or public school at home IS NOT homeschooling. In fact, these children were not homeschoolers, but they were doing public school at home. The differences between doing public school at home and true homeschooling are significant. One large difference lies in who is legally responsible for a child’s education.
Now, before I go any further, I want to be clear that it is not my intent to diminish the efforts of families who are doing private or public school at home or teachers who are trying to guide these families as they do public school at home. However, clarifying the difference between homeschooling and doing public school at home is very important. Please continue reading to understand.
The Inaccurate Use Of The Word Homeschooling
Veteran homeschool families, like myself, couldn’t help but notice the understandable, but inaccurate use of the word homeschooling by people around the world. Parents who have been homeschooling their children for years understand that there are significant differences between doing public school at home and [true] homeschooling.
Do you see the problem? People who had transitioned from going to school every day were now doing public or private school at home – but they were calling themselves homeschoolers.
As the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank, I needed a way to differentiate between this casual and inaccurate use of the word homeschooling and true homeschooling.
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Why You Should Understand the Differences Between Doing Public School at Home & True Homeschooling
If you are doing private or public school at home you might think that homeschooling is awful! Here’s the deal. True homeschooling is very different than doing public school at home. That probably is terrible!
When you are truly homeschooling your children you have so many more choices. You can choose the style of homeschooling that works best for your family. In addition, you can decide if you want to use curriculum or more of an unschooling approach. As a true homeschooling family, you can decide how you want your schedule to look!
I want to help parents and children understand that doing public or private school at home is very different from truly homeschooling because as a true homeschooling family, you have many more options.
What’s The Difference Between Doing School At Home And True Homeschooling?
The key differences between doing private or public school at home and true homeschooling are choice, responsibility, approach, and flexibility. Let’s dive into each.
Parents who are truly homeschooling their children have generally chosen to educate their children this way. Yes, there are circumstances when homeschooling is the only option. For example, if a child is very ill, parents might choose this legal designation because the child cannot possibly keep up with the public school requirements.
However, for most of us who are true homeschooling families, we have chosen to educate our children from home. This is a key difference between doing public school at home and true homeschooling.
As true homeschooling parents, we want to spend massive amounts of time with our children and we want to homeschool them.
The second key difference is responsibility.
True homeschoolers have chosen to be responsible for their children’s education.
If you are doing private or public school at home, then you are choosing to allow another entity to dictate how your child is educated. When a child goes to school, parents can easily point a finger at the school system when things aren’t going well.
As a true homeschooling family, we cannot give credit to or blame another entity for our child’s education.
We take full responsibility for our children’s education. We usually do this by choice.
The third key difference is choice in approach to education.
While most homeschooling parents start by using a school-at-home approach to their children’s education, they eventually realize that there are many different ways to help their children learn.
The focus often shifts from following curriculum to focusing on learning.
By choosing to educate their children from home, true homeschooling parents acknowledge that school is not synonymous with education.
The last difference that we’ll cover in this article is about the flexibility of homeschooling.
While laws vary from state to state and country to country, overall, homeschool families have a lot of flexibility in how they help their children learn and in how they live their lives.
The flexibility of true homeschooling cannot possibly be matched by families who utilize the public school system.
Muddling The Definition Of Homeschooling – A Bigger Problem
Let me explain another reason that the muddling of the word homeschooling troubles me. I am concerned about the future legal rights of true homeschoolers.
Now, let me be clear, I am not a lawyer and HomeSchool ThinkTank does not give legal advice. With that being said, I understand that words are powerful.
It concerns me greatly that the media, the government, teachers, parents, and children are calling public school at home – homeschooling.
When the definition of a word becomes muddled, it can make matters very unclear.
The Word Homeschool Usually Implies a Legal Status
The word homeschooling often implies the legal status of how a child is educated. For example, in most states and in many countries, if a parent wants to truly homeschool their child, the parent is required by law to register their child with the state or government’s department of education as a homeschooled student.
While your local law needs to be considered, if you are actually homeschooling, you may approach your child’s education in a very different way than is done in the public school system. You can learn how to homeschool your kids here.
Public School At Home Video Isn’t Quite Homeschooling
While this video is entertaining, it’s what doing public school at home looks like. This is NOT the same as homeschooling.
Doing public school at home is quite different from real homeschooling. If you’re interested in true homeschooling, then check out the links below.
- Join HomeSchool ThinkTank Happenings.
- Visit our Start Homeschooling section.
- Learn how to homeschool your kids.
- Discover different styles of homeschooling.
- Read THINK HOMESCHOOL: Live & Learn Your Way.
Protecting the Word Homeschooling
If you are like me, you do not want true homeschooling to be lumped together with this new breed of “homeschooling.” While I am using the term true homeschooling frequently when speaking and writing, I am only doing this to clearly distinguish the differences between real homeschoolers and people who are doing public school at home.
I do believe that it is important for true homeschoolers to defend both the every day use and the legal use of the word homeschooling.
We need to help people who are doing public school at home understand the significance that their casual use of the word homeschooling has and help them define doing public school at home differently.
As true homeschoolers, I believe that it is our responsibility to protect and defend the word homeschooling.
Definition Of True Homeschooling
“True homeschooling is when a parent has chosen to take full responsibility for their child’s education. A child is presumably not enrolled in public or private school. The parent has likely registered their child as a homeschooled student with their government’s department of education. A true homeschooling family is unlikely to follow a public school curriculum or model in their home and has a choice in how to approach their child’s education.”
This definition may alter slightly over time, but this is the essence of what true homeschooling is.
True homeschooling includes choice, responsibility, and flexibility in your approach to your child’s education and in your ability to alter your family’s daily living habits in a way that suits your family.
Live & Learn Your WayTM
There are many reasons that I chose the slogan, Live & Learn Your WayTM for HomeSchool ThinkTankTM. I firmly believe that every family is unique and has the right to live and learn in a way that works for their family.
In my opinion, this is not a right that you should wait for a government to grant you, but one that you must own and insist upon for your family and the future of your children.
Please, do your part and help protect the word homeschooling. Kindly help others understand that true homeschoolers are the only families who are homeschooling.
If this rings true to you, then maybe you’ll consider sharing this article with other parents, educators, homeschooling groups, and organizations.
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More Articles & Podcast Episodes For You
- Check out our Start Homeschooling area.
- School at Home vs. Homeschooling.
- Learn more about Jackie & HomeSchool ThinkTank.
- Discover more resources on our blog.
- Are schools dumbing down children?
The Phrase True Homeschooling
One of the first times I used the terminology, true homeschooling, publicly was on April 7, 2020, I used this phrase in a podcast episode entitled: Is School At Home The Same As Homeschooling?