I’ve always found it a curiosity that the term “veteran home schooler” has become a title signifying required respect. “So and So, a veteran home schooler, is giving a lecture on how to teach Klingon to fulfill high school language requirements,” or, “so and so, a veteran home schooler talks about how to make algebra your child’s newest hobby.” The term “veteran homeschooler” alone is supposed to denote authority, competence and success, and cause you to buy their seminar/product/philosophy/tutorial.
To my twisted mind it always brings up an image of a 37 year old woman wearing a denim jumper and flak jacket. In my imagination the "veteran" is talking into a microphone to a bevy female spectators as she shoots a barrage of flashcards out of a cannon into an opposing ditch filled with her offspring. The offspring are warding off the flashcards with an assortment of shields made of pots, pans, Harry Potter hardbacks and Bionicle warriors. The bevy of spectators file up to buy the flashcard system as soon as the children are led off for a snack.
Am I perhaps a tad cynical? Am I experiencing a wee bit of home schooling burn out? Perhaps. However, ponder a moment. How does one cross the line from home schooler to “veteran” home schooler? What are the requirements?
Is veteran status earned merely after a certain set number of years in the trenches? If so when do you start counting? At birth, at age 5? Are years home schooling with greater challenges weighted like A.P. classes are? For instance, every year you home school while pregnant or nursing could count as 2 regular years. Every year spent teaching beginning reading counts as 2 1/2 years, etc.
Does veteran status require a certain number of children in your home school? If so, are you disqualified from ever achieving veteran status if not all of your children are home schooled or if you only have 1? Are you given faster promotion to veteran if your children are unusually close in age. What about extra credit for an especially aggravating child?
Does graduating your oldest from high school instantly qualify you as a veteran? Does it count if you didn’t home school the entire 12 years? Relatedly, does veteran status require having your child/children accepted to college? Or does it require having children accepted to Ivy League Universities? What if they drop-out of college to move to a remote missionary post? Can your veteran status be revoked?
Who is the accrediting body anyway?
I prefer another term, "Mother." Hopefully "Mother" connotes love rather than war, as well as implying warmth and dedication. I want to be a mother, a good mother. One that just happens to also organize my children's education at home. One that doesn’t claim to know everything but is willing and ready to learn with my kids. One that doesn’t’ have to run in circles following the latest guru; one that can fall down and get back up.
However, if I ever have twins that are still nursing while I'm concurrently teaching reading and high school chemistry all while traveling in an R.V. on a history tour of America- I want the appellation of "veteran" instantly granted.