Bridging the Gap with Educationese: Part Two of Two

Bridging the Gap with Educationese: Part Two of Two
By Becky
In Part One I gave you a basic rundown of educationese and its value to a homeschooling family. Here in Part II we are looking at basic vocabulary and two methods of building up your educationese skills.
First, lets look at some everyday homeschool activities and their translation:
Chores. This could be life skills, high school home economics, job skills development or even hands on math for younger children if it involves things like figuring out how many places to set at the table based on who is home at the time.
Library trip. This would be research skills, library skills, silent reading.
Support group meetings. This falls under social skills development, low structure physical activity, professional development (for mom!).
Shopping. This one runs the gamut for math educationese. Consumer or applied mathematics, basic operations in a real world setting…. starting to get the idea?
Reading the paper. Here we have current events, social studies, journalism and depending on the section you could add economics (market report), character training (police blotter, letters to the editor) and community awareness.
As you can see, any activity that includes an instructional component has an educationese label. The goal here isn’t to find a new curriculum or requirements, but to look for terms that line up with what is already happening in your homeschool and life. Educationese was born because the public school system needed a uniform way to describe the real world purpose and application, the end product if you will, of a given class or course. By reversing the process, starting with the real world purpose and application and looking for the broken down term for it, you start instinctively translating.
At this point you have two main paths you can take, sleuth it out yourself or do what I do with stereo instructions, have someone else do the part they like and learn from them.
If your a do-it-yourself type, good sources of educationese terminology are: scope and sequences (lists of what is covered and in what order) start with any curriculum your currently using or look at World Book Encyclopedia’s “typical course of study” free on the web, websites of living book and unit study curriculums like Tapestry of Grace and Konos, homeschool guidlines of other states that have reporting requirements, IEP (individualized Education Plan) writing guides found free on the web, college course catalogs and the websites or print guidelines from local school districts. If you question whether a word or phrase applies to what your doing, look it up in a modern dictionary or on Wikipedia.
But, if you just want the facts,Ma’m, there are other options. While Rosetta Stone hasn’t come out with an Educationese version yet, I have run across a few products that you can purchase that do all the homework for you. Most are geared toward families with high school level students, but you certainly don’t have to wait, nor do I recommend waiting, until high school to get familiar with educationese. Two books I personally use are “Senior High: A Home Designed Form-U-La” by Barb Shelton and “Making the Grade” by Lesha Myers. Two I have never used, but look promising and comphrensive are put out by Lee Binz of The Home Scholar and Ron and Inge Cannon of Education PLUS, . The best and least expensive source I’ve found is other homeschool moms that have been doing this for awhile! Just ask one of them “What subject would you put…. in?”
However you go about doing it, enjoy yourself! This isn’t meant to be another requirement on an already full plate, but a tool for you to use to simplify your life and interactions with the community. The job of any language is to communicate, nothing more. If educationese doesn’t help you talk with that doubtful relative, write that amazing transcript that really reflects your unique and wonderful child or at least make you sound super smart then it didn’t do it’s job!


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