I believe the background to this report is that the families live on an island, and that there is little opportunity for family vacations in the summer because of the fishing season. Because of this, some families extend their “February vacation,” causing their publicly-schooled children to miss class time. The school understands the situation, and is guardedly in favor of the family time in February, but says that the parents must ‘homeschool’ their children during the break.
School officials concerned with test scores, 24 March, 2008, Block Island Times, Block Island, Rhode Island
To extend February vacation or not
Since the school instituted a policy requiring parents to home-school their children if they are out more than five school days, parents have the option of extending holidays, as long as they oversee the completion of their students curricular responsibilities.
Irving said that she looks at it strictly from the eyes of those students who cannot go off for vacations at all, and who would be stuck here for more than a week in February. It would be better for them academically (to keep the current one-week vacation). And philosophically we’re here to teach them. Home-schooling is not all that different, “be responsible for what your kids are missing.”
Objecting to this use of the word “home-schooling” makes me feel like a grumpy pedant, especially since unschooling co-opted a word already in use. Autodidacticism could have been used to describe unschooling, and I don’t know why it wasn’t. Perhaps my pedantry can be excused because substituting autodidacticism for unschooling does not result in a confusion that may reach to legal levels even if the substitution becomes chronic, whereas habitually substituting homeschooling for a school-required activity could have ripple effects. (the fly in the ointment is each state’s compulsory education law)
Identifying ‘extra homework’ or ‘makeup work’ as “home-schooling” is inaccurate because Rhode Island law provides for “at home instruction” which I assume is colloquially known as homeschooling. The concepts of ‘makeup work’ or ‘sending home textbooks’ are already known, and differ from homeschooling.
Of course, at this point it’s not a big deal. And that’s how we’d like to keep it.