Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Importance of Labels

Dan Edelen bemoans our obsession with labels. And wails that we are being mean when we call him on his "misuse" of the homeschooling label.

"No," came the righteous response from a couple people, "you are most definitely NOT homeschooling your son. You're doing a public e-school at home, but that's not the same as homeschooling.".

He insist that labels are just around so you can say this (label) is good and this (label ) is bad. He seems to miss the point that labels are used to differentiate between two different things, and both may be good. Apples and oranges are different but they are both good.

What's the big deal you ask? Labels allow us to communicate with others, without being misunderstood. When the recent e. coli outbreak in spinach occurred, since we all agree on what spinach is, we knew what to avoid eating. But what IF a segment of our population insisted on labeling any green vegetable spinach - broccoli, asparagus, lettuce - if it's green it's spinach. What if these people were the ones who were in charge of getting the word out about e. coli out breaks. So they issue a bulletin about e. coli being found in spinach, but the e. coli was really found in broccoli. Because they insisted on mislabeling green vegetables their bulletin would be misunderstood. The vast majority of us who label vegetables properly would avoid spinach but not broccoli (which is not spinach).

While mislabeling public school at home, homeschooling is not life threatening it is troubling. The general public will ask why they are paying for homeschoolers to educate their children when they don't pay for the education of children who attend private schools? Dan himself bragged that he was homeschooling his child with tax money (Apparently trying to explain to Dan as well as the general public that he isn't homeschooling, he is doing PUBLIC school at home is going to be an ongoing battle. Especially as long as the Dan's of this world insist on mislabeling themselves). Then they will ask why homeschooling Dan's child has to take test while the "real" homeschoolers don't? (Again you will have to explain that Dan is doing PUBLIC school at home. He isn't really HOMESCHOOLING. That public school at home has different requirements then homeschooling).

All this confusion could be avoided if Public School at Home Dan and the other public school at home participates would label themselves correctly.

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