Labels, like those on soup cans, can help with organization and identification. In the homeschooling world, a label for what kind of homeschooler you are can make it easier to find like-minded individuals who are educating their children in a similar manner.
But the whole concept of labels can get messy when homeschooling labels are tossed around in either a superior or demeaning way to accuse other homeschoolers of not doing it right.
The unfortunate reality is that some homeschoolers have taken educational labels and skewed them into something that is not only no longer helpful, but is now a new reason for others to stress out: What kind of homeschooler am I? What label do I fit under? And if I want to claim that certain label…am I doing things the right way?
Well friends, I’ve figured out a couple reasons why the labels really shouldn’t get us all worked up.
Reason #1: My kids don’t care what kind of homeschoolers we are.
With all this crazy obsession over labels, I had to stop and wonder: do my kids have in-depth knowledge of the term radical unschooler? Do my kids know what classical education is? Do my children know the difference between Charlotte Mason and Waldorf inspired homeschools?
I asked my children once what kind of homeschoolers they thought we were, and after the blank stare, and the, “what do you mean what kind of homeschoolers are we?” the answer came: “We don’t go to public school. We learn at home. That’s what kind of homeschoolers we are.”
Isn’t that simple and beautiful? To my children, our learning at home is just that. Learning at home. The way we do it is the way we do it.
You may also enjoy… What Kids Think About Homeschooling
We’re just homeschoolers, mom.
I’ve learned that the labels we toss around (sometimes not very nicely) are for the moms. The dads. The teacher at co-op. The lady in the homeschool support group. The neighbor who homeschools…but not the way you do.
The labels, at least as far as I can tell, mean nothing to the kids.
I don’t homeschool for grandma, or the teacher at co-op, or the lady in the homeschool support group, or the neighbor. I homeschool for my children.
Reason #2: I can’t even figure out a label for myself as a person.
The other reason that labels in homeschooling can be tough is that for the parent, a label can sometimes make you feel that you need to fit into a box.
Whoa. Hold up. A box?
As a human being, I’m pretty tough to label. I am just as comfortable writing in a coffee shop as I am hunting in a deer stand as I am speaking at a conference as I am reading the Bible as I am learning to milk a goat or tear down a gun. My musical playlists flip from Mercy Me to Punch Brothers to Rhianna to Mozart. How do you label that?
My guess is you’re the same way. Maybe not with the same specific items, but I bet you can list just as many things that are different about you. Things that don’t quite fit…but perfectly fit together to make you who You are – even without an all-encompassing category to name it.
That’s what home education is for us. And I’m guessing that might be what learning is for a whole bunch of home educators. The way we do things doesn’t quite fit into a nice clean definition, but it all fits perfectly together to make the world of learning that works for us.
Which makes me wonder – if we can’t easily slap a label on who we are, how in the world do we slap a label on our way of educating? And, more importantly, if our kids don’t care what kind of homeschoolers we are, why do we as parents?
Maybe instead of concentrating so hard on what kind of homeschoolers we are, we could all just be homeschoolers. 🙂