What comes to mind when you see the word homeschool?
How about home school?
Believe it or not, there’s confusion over the spelling.
Homeschooling isn’t new, but it’s taking time to receive mainstream acceptance. Even now that millions are homeschooled, the spelling lacks universal standardization.
Truth is, many homeschoolers don’t even get it right. No judgement, but it’s time everybody starts to get things right.
The Industry Standard
The industry standard is homeschool — one word, no spaces, no hyphens. Start to notice as you move about the internet and conduct your business online. See who spells it how.
Homeschoolers are more likely to use the word homeschool. As well they should. Those outside the industry aren’t always sure. It shows. I notice.
Does it Matter?
Spelling any other way than one word — homeschool – way may conjure up different mental images. Think about this as you scan the different options I listed earlier.
In my mind, home school implies traditional school, only duplicated in a home setting. The home-school version is easily mistaken for a traditionally schooled child receiving work at home (e.g., due to extended illness or disciplinary action) or enrollment in an online public school. Since none of those things are what homeschooling is about, spelling it wrong is an inaccurate portrayal.
Words are Powerful
Is this really a big deal? Words are powerful; thus, spelling makes all the difference between fiction and reality, acceptance or dismissal, and insignificance versus receiving major national attention. It wasn’t long ago that a bear might terrorize a neighborhood. Today, the word terrorism has a whole new meaning. A dramatic example, but a poignant one nonetheless.
In a recent HEM Magazine article, Contributors Larry and Susan Kaseman urge homeschoolers to use the one-word format. Spelling the word correctly and encouraging others to follow suit, they say, helps to distinguish real homeschooling from schooling at home in other ways.
While homeschooling affords many freedoms, it does not come without a price tag. It remains incumbent upon homeschoolers to uphold and protect the foundations of homeschooling and release accurate information into the stratosphere. Doing any less chips away at homeschooling over time by distorting public perception, which could eventually result in changes in practice, leading to unwelcome changes in reporting or legislation.
Homeschooling by any other name is not the same. Help keep homeschooling intact by keeping the word intact. Homeschool, not home school. A small effort that can make a big difference.
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschool pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed for illustrating how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.