Open-Ended Homeschooling

So, what do you think about the term “Open-Ended homeschooling”? Kind of heavy, huh? But I like the implications of it.

I’m always looking for an alternative to “unschooling”, which 1) has a negative connotation, 2) has a bad rap, 3) is clichéd to mean something much different than what it’s about and 4) is too dogmatic for my tastes.

I really believe everything is fair game. Everything. In being open to anything, we have the best likelihood of finding what works. Also, when everything is fair game, when anything is possible, when the rules are defined in any way – and the entire goal is living a full, meaningful life – then it’s a lot harder to find reasons to argue with one another.

I’m going to think about this term. “We’re open-endeders.” Hmmm.. that doesn’t work. “We’re Op-Enders” oooh, I like that. “Op” can also be short for “opportunity” if we aren’t thinking too hard about it. I really like that.

Ok, so, what’s the down side? What am I missing?

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6 Responses to “Open-Ended Homeschooling”

  1. lori Says:

    Yes, anytime you put “un” in front of a word, you’re defining what you’re not, rather than defining what you are. In this case, “unschooling” becomes not-school, or anti-school — it’s context is that of a negative of something — rather than what it is, which seems to be a variety of things to a variety of people*.

    “Open-ended homeschooling” sounds good, but it also still includes the word “school” in there. Can you think of something without the word school in it?

    Maybe just open-ended learning?

    *I’m not a homeschooler or, therefore, an unschooler, but this is what I’ve taken away after reading a lot about it and talking to some homeschoolers and unschoolers over the past few years.

  2. beth Says:

    why not just leave it at “homeschoolers”?

  3. Miranda Says:

    I prefer Life Learners. Describes what we do, what we ARE, to a tee!

  4. Patti Says:

    We use the term ‘eclectic homeschoolers’ because it’s fits very nicely, whether the kids are doing most of their studies on their own, taking a few classes at a local college, or going through that two- day stage during which they want ‘real school, with a desk and books and everything!’

    It also discourages people from pigeonholing us!

    ‘Op-Enders’ has a nice ring, though!

  5. Scott Hughes Says:

    I don’t know why Unschooling doesn’t work. It’s actually kind of catchy.

  6. Stephanie Says:

    Okay, let me be the first to point out that Op-enders can sound a lot like Up-enders to the untutored ear. Actually I rather like the idea of upending things, but I’ve been told that I am decidedly odd on more than one occasion.

    I like unschooling both as a term and a philosophy, but it’s probably easier to explain it in person than it is to put it into print. Eclectic has most people scrambling to dust off their dictionaries, which pleases my inner anarchist to no end. “I use whatever works, whenever I can,” just doesn’t have that catchy ring to it. Educational Junkie and Learning Addict also have negative connotations, even if they do describe me perfectly. Sustainable Learning describes what I’m trying to do with my children, as I am still battling the after-effects of just two years of public school scorched-earth influence on my oldest child. SL would be best described as “Give them the love of learning, give them the tools of learning, and then get the heck out of the way!”

    My belief is that no matter what term you use to describe a method of learning, you are going to have to define it to those who have never heard of it before, or whose only exposure has likely been a misleading news article.


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