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What Is Homeschooling?

What Is Homeschooling?

Well, that should be easy enough to answer, right? We thought so, too.

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines homeschooling as “teaching school subjects to one’s children at home.” This is probably what most people who don’t homeschool think of when they hear the word “homeschooling.” And it’s not inaccurate for most homeschoolers. But it’s not the whole story. What homeschooling looks like changes as delivery methods (i.e., technologies) change. In many ways it’s as individual as the families who embrace it. Still, we can try to identify the common features in the many faces of homeschooling. Here’s a working definition of homeschooling:

interaction…
based in the home…
of parents and children…
with a core of knowledge…
using a medium of their choosing…
consistent with their philosophy of education…
in lieu of an institution.

For most of you, “homeschooling” means that you, the parent, have decided that you, rather than a school, will direct your children’s education. You have your own ideas about the purpose of education, the form it will take, its content, the materials you will use, and how to integrate this with your family’s everyday life.

It’s not a legal definition. It probably doesn’t capture all the possibilities. But it’s basic enough and a good starting point.

Lucy Watson

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