Monday, August 10, 2009

Spelling lesson

We're getting ready to start our new school year. (The original plan was to keep doing school through the summer, but then ... well ... summer got in the way.) I've signed M. up for seminary, stocked up on notebooks at the back-to-school sales, and ordered a few new books and things for the coming year. (I love ordering new school things. I love it way too much.)

This is also the time of year when we'll likely see an article in the paper about those strange (but cool, oh so cool) people who educate their kids at home. So here is a spelling lesson for (1) my kids, (2) any other homeschoolers, (3) anyone who writes about homeschoolers.

Home school (noun). Use this when writing about the actual entity or location of home education. You wouldn't write "highschool" or "privateschool." My children attend home school. We are starting home school in two weeks.

Homeschool (verb). When it's a verb, the concept runs together. (It's not just "home schooling" -- that might be used when a child is ill and receives home study work from a public school. "Homeschooling" is a whole different thing.) I homeschool my children. We have homeschooled for ten years. Homeschooling is a valid educational option.

Homeschooler (noun). A person who is educated at home or educates at home. There's no good way to distinguish between the two -- really, are you going to say "homeschoolee"? Extra credit question: Why isn't it "home schooler"? Because it derives from the verb, not the noun. I met three other homeschoolers at the park. Homeschoolers see education from a different perspective.

Now, this is just according to me. Other linguists may have different opinions. But as I tell my kids, I have an English degree, which is really a certificate authorizing me to make up any words I want to, set any language rules I want to, and have the final say on any language discussion. And so far, the kids aren't completely sure whether I'm joking. Ah, the power!

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