I clicked on an entry inÂ a Google alert for “Home schooling” andÂ skimmed the linked article, but none of the ‘usual suspect’ words caught my eye.Â To find the specific citation, I used Ctrl+F to search for “homeschooling,” “home schooling,” or “home-schooling.”Â All I got wasÂ [insert musical tone] *BING*Â “Finished searching document.”Â
I was mildly perplexed, so I went back to the Google alert to look at the blurb to see what the alert service had quoted.Â Aha, it’s in the title.Â “Home schooling.”Â But what was the connection in the article?Â Nothing.Â Someone had just made up a clever headline.
- Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, 21 March 2006, Home Schooling
In fact, all one needs is time and the appropriate technology. That might mean a computer with Internet access or a DVD player and a television. In some cases, appropriate technology is as minimal as a couch and adequate reading light to skim through a book, magazine or newspaper.”Any outlet people use to inform themselves and to make themselves more knowledgeable is a good thing,” Durango Mountain Resort communications manager Loryn Kasten said.
This is the same kind of genericideÂ that affected aspirin, linoleum, escalators, and mimeographs, and is something that the owners of the Kleenex and Xerox brands try to stave off.Â Articles about proper trademark use regularly appear in magazines for writers.
The complication for homeschooling is that, the term was never trademarked.Â It was just something thatÂ families did, as separate from mass-schooling in either public or private schools.Â Homeschooling was even done before ‘homeschooling’ (or home schooling, or home-schooling) developed as a trend; it was distance learning, or using a correspondence school, or tutoring, or having a governess.Â But all of those term have implications other than those implied in “homeschooling.”
Distance learning is often conducted by an institution, and the delivery of the learning (now) may be through a number of means.Â I remember the School of the Air in Australia that I read about in the grade school Weekly Readers in the 1950s.Â Another is the BBC’s Open University.Â I found out about the Open University while reading the Rumpole books.
Correspondence schools have a venerable lineage as well.Â Calvert school was established in 1897 and offered correspondence courses in 1906.Â Even as late as the 1990s, the courses were called a “home study plan,” or “home instruction course,” not “homeschooling.”Â Correspondence courses for adults have been used for a long time, too.Â I remember my dad completing courses from the U.S. Armed Forces Institute,Â USAFI,Â using the special forms sent by the admin section of the institute.
Tutoring is a form of non-classroom instruction.Â It may be ‘institutional’ if the tutor is provided by a local school and that tutor used school materials, or the tutoring may be ad hoc and provided by someone who has expertise in a field.Â Also, a tutor may be engaged by a parent to provide instruction to a child.Â In English mysteries from the Golden Age of Mysteries, these tutors were often the French governesses, or in more recent memory, someone lessÂ magically talented than Nanny McPhee, or perhaps Mary Poppins.
But homeschooling is apart from these, although these methods may be incorporated into homeschooling.Â Homeschooling implies families taking charge of the education of their children, and being primarily responsible for that education.Â Even co-ops-verging-on-schools developed by homeschooling families stray from the core meaning of homeschooling and take on more of a school-meaning.
Of course, all this is like trying to hold water in your hands.Â Independent enterprises meld and morph with each practitioner.
Still, using “home schooling” to describe instructions-for-an-activity given via other-than-in-personÂ is inaccurate.Â Businesses don’t provide “home schooling,” families do that.