What is “Real School”?

Marcus and Mom

Marcus and I have just begun our tenth year homeschooling together. 🙂 This week he started a driver’s ed. night course through the public high school. He’s been carpooling with three other teens from our neighborhood. He is the only homeschooler in the group, and maybe the only homeschooler in the driver’s ed. class. One teen in the carpool made it a point to tell Marcus that he does not go to “real school” and that prompted my son to write an informal essay which I’d like to share here-

Something I hear all the time, and something every homeschooler will hear, is that we don’t go to “real school.” This is always annoying to hear so I decided to really figure out what “real school” truly means, and if anyone is actually using this phrase correctly. I have gathered some resources to break down the phrase “real school.”

Let’s define what real means. I am going to use Dictionary.com for these definitions. Under the word real it lists the word genuine. Upon going to the word genuine we find definitions and synonyms such as “origin; not counterfeit; authentic.” Upon delving deeper into the word origin one of the definitions is “something from which anything arises or is derived; source; fountainhead.” In other words something which is real could be anything coming from an original source.

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Cell cake

Let’s define what school means: “A session of such a course” or “the activity or process of learning under instruction” or “a building housing a school.” Sounds like normal public school, right? It’s interesting to think about how parents do teach their children many basics, and that home can be a building, but we will explore this later.

Let’s combine the words real and school together: The origin of process of learning under instruction. And for a bit of a history lesson: Everyone should know that learning has always begun in the home. Since the creation of Adam and Eve, and before public and private schools existed, everything was taught within the family and community. Before private schools, a scholar or teacher was hired to teach a very small group of children.

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Elephant toothpaste experiment

In Thomas S. Monson’s talk Teach the Children, from the October 1997 General Conference, he talks about “parents and grandparents fill(ing) the role of teacher.” Although Monson is talking more about the gospel in the home, this principle of parents teaching in the home can be applied in any and every way.

As for the definition of school as a school house, a home is and has always been a place of learning, and a home can be housed in a building. Home is always where family is and in an article called Home: the Heart of Learning, from an October 2014 Liahona magazine, it says, “All of the Church’s ‘teaching, programs, and activities’ [are] home centered and Church supported. That means our church meetings are meant to support individual and family learning.” Most things in the Church are meant to support learning in the home and not replace it. Of course, home is not the only place we can learn. We can learn anywhere, even outside. I’m not saying public and private schools are bad or wrong, but I do believe there is a better way to do them. I would like to see schools follow the example of the Church and be more home centered.

When someone tells homeschoolers that they do not go to “real school” it implies that homeschooling is fake. But upon looking at the definitions applied here it could actually imply that public school as the “real school” is actually derived from and in fact a counterfeit version of homeschool.

I just finished reading the book Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. As I was pondering “real school” something he said stood out to me: “What’s gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is one right way to proceed with growing up.” Homeschoolers like us know better and we are proving it first hand. ♥

19 thoughts on “What is “Real School”?

  1. America became because too many suffered from complete tyranny, too many lived lives of quiet and unquiet desperation, and over hundreds of years, their search became our lives. We now live in a country of freedom, mostly, which many are attempting to subvert, but it is still a country in which we can make our own decisions, decisions for our families, and also deal with the consequences of those decisions. The danger lies in living our own lives, then when those decisions do not work out, looking to an over-riding authority to solve our problems, even giving them the authority to do so, rather than live by sink, swim, get going again. But we must do the best we can, for though we live for each other (Love thy neighbor.), are responsible for what we see needs our attention, we also are individuals (with consciences) and live and breathe by what we understand and experience. If parents send their children to public schools, to private schools, or keep them home, they are the ones (and their children) who must live with the results. I personally went through public school, but I certainly saw how things could have been better. Homeschooling would only be as good as what would have been provided by my parents. Private? No experience, but I would have liked the opportunity. But for parents who have the time and love to raise their children and provide an excellent education, I say, go for it. For what made this county great is freedom and a land of individuals all believing in the dream, the Constitution, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love that book! It took me 3 yrs. to read but was so worth the time, and so worth the not giving up! It was so loaded with treasures of knowledge! I sort of agree with you. I do not call what I do “real school.” I call it academics and I call it homeschooling. I call it teaching and I call what my kids do, learning. I do not like calling it school. “School” to me means too many negative things, having read the book you mentioned here. School to me means bells ringing to program the kids to get up and move to the next station. School to me means having to raise a hand for permission to use the restroom. School to me means there is a janitor in charge of cleaning up after everyone. School to me means the teacher does not know or love the students the way I love my kids. School to me means bullying and social hierarchy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Camie Madsen

      I agree, Lisa. I’ve come to dislike the word school for the same associations. Marcus was just using it to prove the point that homeschooling is just as real as public school (if not more so). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marcus is a brilliant young man! Seems to me that he takes after his amazing mother! The book “Dumbing Us Down” sound incredible and honestly the title alone hold so much truth! Thank yu for sharing Cammie! I hope you are having a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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