Thursday, November 13, 2008

Call It School

This is a phrase I hear all the time from homeschoolers- "We called it school." Here's an example:
Today, we had a lot of errands to run. I took the kids to the grocery store, the
drug store, and the health food store. They selected the best apples, found the
best deals, and made it all fit in the budget I gave them. We got home at 2:00.
We called it school.
What does that mean? I really don't get it. Do people say that because they're trying to meet a school quota for their state? Do they still have a school mindset that tells them they need to have academic meaning for everything they do? I honestly don't understand the point.

I homeschool year round. I don't take off three months in the summer. In fact, we work the hardest in the summer and winter and relax more in the spring and fall. We don't school with textbooks; we use living books. When we go to the zoo, which we do a lot in good weather, I don't have to keep track of what all my kids learned while there. We go to enjoy the animals and have fun. And yes, the kids learn a lot while we're at it. But I don't have to fit the public school mold. That's the freedom of homeschooling! The bottom line for me is achieving our goals each year. I don't care how long that takes. Right now, I want my kids to be good readers, improve on their penmanship, complete their math books, and their Ambleside reading list. No amount of calling something school is going to help me achieve those goals.

So you didn't school and instead ran all the errands necessary to feed your family. Great! Your kids are learning valuable information, but what's the point in "calling it school"?


~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

Well... what are you trying to do -- open a big ole can of worms? LOL I don't say that -- I would count that as robbing their kiddos of some quality school time.

I think there are some genuine SUPER SMART folks out there that can just learn by absorbing what goes on around them, but then I think -- just think how academically smart they would be if they would only be challenged a bit.

For those of us who are average -- and must really study hard to be anything above average... I don't think this method of schooling works, and I think it's robbery. You are robbing your kiddos of valuable schooling time and opportunity. While their minds are young and sponge like, you should be filling them up with fact and figures and knowledge and wisdom... stuffing their little brains FULL... so one day they can take their kiddos to the grocery store and do some on the job training.

If you just let it all trickle down hill and hope they catch something... it's not going to be a very SATISFACTORY job.

I think it's selfish, if you ask me. Lazy and selfish.

Now... aren't you glad you asked? LOL

I would pray they never do bible learning with this method. For even the bible says all things should be done decently and in order.

Heather said...

How interesting! I have never heard that particular expression. I have heard people explain away all the math they did in the grocery store. It never occurred to me to do schoolwork on errand day (Friday). That is the point of having a 4 days school week and year-round school! I do find professionals out in the work world from 8-3 wondering what my kids are doing to substantiate being at Walmart at noon. But, for example, the staff at the foster care clinic knows that my kids are articulate and smart and they stopped asking, "Did you have school today?" They ask them, "How many books have you read since last week?" or "How is Shakespeare?"

heartchild said...

That particular expression bothers me also. I feel like it is a justification for some to not really school or to take a day off without taking a day off.

On the other hand though, I have heard in some states that you have to count hours of instruction for the state for each subject. So then I could see using some of those experiences and "calling it school".

I have heard some say we played yahtzee. That was math. Now my kids have done their math and then we have played yahtzee. To me that was reinforcing skills, but not taking place of the learning.

MommaofMany said...

I usually only use that term as a joke. I'm with you on the relaxed method of combining school with real life. There are parts that are intense studying, there are fun, academic activities, there are fun family activities and boring but necessary errands.

Today we are doing boring errands and a short, but fun academic trip.

Julie said...

I say it sometimes as a joke.
When my mom found out we were going to start only doing two days of "book work" next year she almost had an coniption fit! Now my friends and I do wacky stuff all the time and then "call it school" just for fun. For example yesterday we went to a local pizza joint for a birthday party. The kids ran around and played with one another. We called it social studies and recess. :)

Julie said...

I want to clarify that we actually will be using the other three days of the week to learn just not the book work. :)

MamaMahnken said...

Ditto Mommaofmany - I am usually joking when I say we "counted it as school." Because, we learn all the time no matter what we are doing, and it doesn't really matter what you call it, the learning is still there. Plus, we do not live in a state where we have to count hours of instruction either. But if I did, I would definitely be counting errands as school! :D

Jeffrey said...

I say "We called it school." to emphasize the fact that we are always learning and school is not limited to the chair and table.

I would like Jennifer to present some evidence for her statement "
If you just let it all trickle down hill and hope they catch something... it's not going to be a very SATISFACTORY job." because Raymond and Dorothy Moore wrote many books which sited many studies that showed just the opposite.

I don't have to force feed my kids knowledge for them to be smart.


Jenna said...

I'm unschooled. I know you like me. :) Oh, and I'm training our dogs in English and German... I count that as school. :)


Ginger said...

You use Math U See, Jenna. That's not what I'd call unschooled.

Missy said...

Sadly, there is a tendency for us, as homeschoolers to feel like we need to justify every hour of every day to the world. I do feel like we are under a looking glass sometimes. I have used that phrase, too, but I very much get your point and agree with you.

Just like everything else, I think schooling needs balance. A fair amount of concentrated book time and then just learning through life. My kids spend so much time in the kitchen with me cooking and learning about nutrition and yes, we do call that school. My oldest is hschool age now and I have to start keeping track of credits. You bet that counts for home ec. and health.

Sarah is using a literature curriculum (i use that term loosely) that doesn't have her do any assignments or reports of any kind on the books she's reading. They want to foster a love for reading good literature and they don't feel you can do that if you have to write a report or answer questions on every book you read. I can see that the approach is working quite well.

Ginger said...


My point was not that I'm against unschooling, although I would never choose that route for my gang. I'm just saying: I don't get the point of the phrase, especially for those whose states don't require details. :)

Anonymous said...

*cough* Ask Jenna how many times she has cracked that math book in the last 12 months. Then ask her how much math she has learned living on a farm.


musicmommy3 said...

Do people say that because they're trying to meet a school quota for their state? -

I do. :) But I also say it as a joke. We do use real books, etc. But there are days that practical farm life skills also count as school. (yes we are required to document how many hours a day. 4 1/2 to be exact.) Honestly... My kids learn super fast and are finished with the formal stuff in 2 hours a day and are a grade ahead in their studies. They don't need more facts and figures shoved at them. They need to learn how Math works when you go to the store and spend money. How seasons work as we hike. That's what I call school- because we're always learning. :)

Some weeks we do lots of bookwork but there are times we take days to do more of a practical life approach. Then they are refreshed and ready to go back to the "facts and figures" stuff. :)

This last week we read chapters of Farmer Boy in the evenings together and spent the days outside getting our farm ready. :)

Angela said...

Just to can use a curriculum and be still unschooled. :)

It is about being learner led as opposed to teacher led.

God bless,

Ginger said...

I really can't stand the word "unschooled". It is so ambiguous. Learning through life is what I always assume it means. And I'd like to know how you learn poetry or art or good literature through just living. I don't get it.