Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: Honeypickle on February 16, 2013, 09:48:04 AM

Title: Home-schooling
Post by: Honeypickle on February 16, 2013, 09:48:04 AM
I am genuinely interested in why people choose to home school, would those who are doing so mind explaining why they have made this choice? I understand that sometimes it is a path chosen after bad experiences at school such as bullying, but for other parents who believe it is a better route for their child, why is this? Do you worry about the lack of socialisation with other children?
Also, is it legal to home-school in the UK?
I would be grateful to hear about anyone's experiences.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sharnita on February 16, 2013, 09:56:33 AM
I have a friend who homeschools because her kids have some special education needs that she feels home schooling can meet better,  They can adjust scheduling, environment, etc.  Other people can't afford private schooling and live in discticts where the public education  has limitations regarding safety and/or rigor. Some might want to include religious or other content that isn't offered in the public and private schools in their area.

As far as socialisation, a lot of these kids share instruction with other home schooled kids, participate in team sports, take dance /music/art classes, attend church, etc.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: DaisyG on February 16, 2013, 10:49:09 AM
A friend's much younger brother was homeschooled for the same reason - his special needs were not being catered to at school. This was in the UK so it is legal, but I think they had to have visits from the local authority for them to make sure he was being educated.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Elisabunny on February 16, 2013, 12:47:05 PM
I homeschooled specifically because of health issues, but we have a neighbor who homeschools her middle-schoolers because for various reasons the school system just wasn't working for them. 

Socialization really isn't a problem.  There are plenty of free or low-cost activities that kids can be involved in, plus most areas have at least on home-school group that sponsers get-togethers.


eta: I forgot to mention, I live in a state (Idaho) that allows dual enrollment.  Basically, that means that a homeschooled child can usually also take classes or participate in sports/activities offered by his/her school district.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: bloo on February 16, 2013, 01:00:48 PM
I homeschool for the reason other posters have mentioned.

My older child is LD and the local school did not know how to meet his needs and numerous meetings did not help the situation. They were well-intentioned but ill-equipped to help him. The local's strength was teaching gifted children not Special Education.

I really started to appreciate how flexible our schedule could be once they started homeschooling as well. While I'm a proponent of a homeschooling family having some schedule, if I decided to take off with the kids somewhere, it was without difficulties or notes to teachers or asking permission. Now that so many are doing it, there has been an explosion of virtual public schools to help parents and kids segue into homeschooling; providing computers, online classrooms, individual teachers for every subject, school supplies, field trips and whatnot.

Not only are there field trips organized with other homeschoolers, but we're very active in our religion so our kids are heavily socialized with other kids (some who homeschool and some that don't) as well people of all ages. That last is important. One of the elderly ladies at my place of worship recently told me that she just loves my son and appreciates how he always takes the time to talk to her and the older ones because the other young ones usually ignore the older ones (she didn't say that about my daughter, so I guess I got some work to do!).

I also really appreciate being able to spend time with my kids, being the one able to mold them while at the same time trying to teach them critical thinking skills that will help them later.

As far as legalities you could do a Google search on that. I'm in the US.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Onyx_TKD on February 16, 2013, 01:28:59 PM
My parents pulled my older brother out of school because he wasn't being challenged enough. He had at least one great teacher who found extra projects for the students who had mastered the current material, and that year was great. However, his last year in school, not only would the teacher not find anything to challenge students who had already grasped the material, she actually suggested he be held back a year when he acted out due to boredom. My parents decided that was enough, and they would handle it themselves. They also decided to homeschool me at the same time. We both thrived. My mother worked fairly closely with the local school district: they lent her some of the same textbooks they used, and we went to the school to take the same standardized tests every year to demonstrate that we were academically on track, etc. When we started studying topics our parents couldn't teach (foreign language, lab sciences, calculus, etc.), we were able to enroll early at the local community college. (I'm currently in grad school and my brother has a PhD, so we definitely didn't suffer academically, nor were we unable to integrate into formal schooling later.  ;))

As far as socialization goes, we were part of youth groups at our church, frequented a public library with youth events, did art camps and sometimes other summer camps, attended a home-school group that met once a week, had friends on our street, etc. I've never been a social butterfly, but it wasn't because I lacked the opportunity to hang out with other kids.

Other benefits mentioned by PPs are spot on: If there was something fun and educational going on, we could take off without worrying about the schedule. If one of us got interested in a particular subject, Mom could let us go to town at the library and turn it into a project. We ended up socializing with a lot of wonderful people from other generations, not just kids our age. I also had a lot more free time than my peers in school, because once I completed my schoolwork for the day, I was done.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: gramma dishes on February 16, 2013, 01:29:46 PM
Many decades ago I had the BEST student teacher ever.  She truly was wonderful in every way.  I knew they were opening a new classroom at my grade level in our building and highly recommended that she be hired to fill that position and she was hired.  She did a fantastic job (as I knew she would) and was loved by her students, the other teaching staff and the parents of her kids.

Imagine my shock and surprise when she told me a few years later that she had removed her child from the public school system and would be home schooling all of them.  She never told me exactly why they made that decision.  All she would say was that they had observed some things at their (oldest) daughter's school (in first grade!!) that they had found "disturbing".  (Her word.)

Eventually they had five children, home schooled all of them, and they all went on to go to college and become extremely productive members of society.   

I still really don't know why they made that choice, but it obviously turned out well for them. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: emwithme on February 16, 2013, 01:33:16 PM
Yes, it is legal to home-school in the UK.  (See this (https://www.gov.uk/home-education) from the .gov.uk website)

I know of a few people who have home-schooled their primary age children due to failing schools - or the school "not being right" for the child, but all of these people have sent their children to secondary schools. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: otterwoman on February 16, 2013, 02:00:00 PM
My SIL and BIL decided to homeschool while their first was in first grade. He picked up every bug the other kids had, and ended up with Strep throat three different times that first year. He missed so much school that the school threatened to hold him back. So, SIL and BIL pulled him out of school. They homeschooled all three kids for a couple of years, but the middle kid didn't take to it well. He wouldn't listen to his mother, and would distrupt schooling for the other two. This year, they sent all three kids to a charter school. While the oldest and youngest miss homeschooling, the middle child is thriving. He just needed someone other than his mom to be his teacher.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: White Dragon on February 16, 2013, 02:03:14 PM
We homeschooled for a variety of religious and academic reasons.
The flexibility was fantastic and when life involved several unexpected moves, homeschooling let us transition more easily.
For many years we were involved in local groups and clubs and I was involved in local boards and advocacy groups.

Eventually, we made the decision to go back to conventional schooling. The educational and social dynamics had changed and we felt it was the right decision for us.

Ironically, the flexible curriculum and small group social dynamics ended up masking the fact that one of our children has ADHD/Aspergers. She had done well academically in the flexible (but tested) hs environment, and her social quirks didn't stand out in the diverse-and-accepting hs settings.

Regular school came as a huge change, and I freely admit we all struggled. The kids all had some challenges in adapting, and in hindsight, I would have done that part very differently.

Our daughter didn't get a formal diagnosis until age 20, after flunking a year in college. She managed in hs because the Special-Ed teacher supported her even without the diagnosis and arranged some accommodations.

Do I feel that homeschooling did our DD a disservice by not getting her help sooner?
Sometimes, I do wonder "What if?"
At other times, I remind myself that she grew up in an academically and socially supportive environment and did well there. With all the moving we did, having to constantly adjust schooling, social situations and support services might not have been good for her.

She is now in her second year of college and passing all her courses. She has tutor and academic support if she needs it. She has become an assistant youth instructor at the church and recently attended her first youth group social and dance.
There is still a long way to go, but she is maturing and developing her social self-awareness. I am optimistic.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: half_dollars on February 16, 2013, 02:39:59 PM
We started homeschooling due to DS's severe food allergies.  We reevaluate every year to see if its the best decision for the kiddos.

My older two are involved in sports, went to gym classes at the local YMCA, and attend local art/pottery classes, and once we find a house (we recently relocated), we will find a church for some additional activities.  Homeschooling was a huge blessing this year, since we moved during the school year and the district we moved temporarily to is one of the lowest in the state.

Ironically, while we are religious, we do not use our religion as our reason for homeschooling.  My grandmother is very supportive of our decisions, but neither my parents nor my IL's do, as they were/are public school teachers.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Library Dragon on February 16, 2013, 02:55:21 PM
As others have mentioned learning disabilities is a big reason many homeschool.  Approximately 20% of the US population as dyslexia.  50% of dyslexic elementary students will be homeschooled for some period of time.  Lack of services is horrifying. 

My youngest has minor dyslexia and more severe dyscalculia.  After continually fighting with math teachers who didn't understand or care we enrolled our youngest DS in an accredited, online high school in his sophomore year.  It was great for him.  He began taking dual enrollment college courses in history.  You want an impromptu lecture on the Punic Wars, he's your guy.  Math he could work through at his own pace, actually getting the concepts. 

Socialization wasn't an issue for us.  I've met homeschooled students you fall into all ranges of the social spectrum.  Most of the more awkward ones come from the goofy families and has little to do with homeschooling.  Many of our library's summer teen volunteers are homeschooled and are great.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Snooks on February 16, 2013, 02:58:49 PM
I knew a family who home-schooled their five children up to A-levels when they switched to the local very good state sixth form college.  The girl who was my age said it was great because she was able to decide which GCSE syllabus she wanted to follow for each subject, I've got a feeling they did some of their GCSEs early too.

There was an interesting case in the UK where a family home-schooled but focussed more on practical skills than academic, so their kids could build a car from scratch.  When the local authority questioned what they were learning they pointed out how these practical skills linked into lots of "academic" subjects, such as Physics with the engine of the car.  It's just a different way of teaching and they were allowed to carry on.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Deetee on February 16, 2013, 03:21:26 PM
I was home schooled for one year. I had a fairly poor teacher and really hated school and so I spent grade 5 being home schooled.  However, I didn't have the self discipline for it and my mom was not wanting to make me do it. (I had begged for home schooling and she had made it clear it was on me to complete my work if I got pulled, so that was reasonable). However, a fairly disorganised grade 5 kid is not really set-up to home school themselves and my course work dribbled into the summer and that sucked. So I went back to normal school for grade 6.

I guess my experience was different in that, as far as I remember, I was essentially self taught for that year. I found the acedemics of school really easy, so "teaching"myself was not a problem. It was the not goofing that was a problem.

I have no plans to home school my child(ren). There are simply excellent public schools and magnet school and french immersion and private schools around so I would be happy with those. Maybe if I ended up abroad or travelling, I might do home schooling.


Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 16, 2013, 04:00:05 PM
DH and I haven't got kids, though we're planning on them. We've both had bad experiences with schooling with bullying and bad teachers. We wouldn't home school by choice, but I have part of a teaching degree and I'd pull them out if there were problems, but only temporarily.

I have come across homeschooled kids in my training, but what I've seen hasn't impressed me. One girl argued with me all day and wouldn't stop talking. The girls at her desk wanted her to be quiet! Another girl was...uneven. She was a brilliant artist but behind in maths and wrote like a child two years below her.

So yeah, my feelings are mixed about homeschooling.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 16, 2013, 04:51:39 PM
We homeschool for a number of reasons.  One is worldview.  We don't like that a lot of public schools teach a lot more than math, reading, and writing, things that parents should be able to teach their kids, especially in those early formative years when kids aren't yet secure enough to ask questions or debate back.  Another is educational quality.  Most of the schools that we're familiar with or that are in our area spend so much time teaching those non-academic things and teaching to the lowest common denominator that the education is really lacking.  We're also military and move a lot, so teaching our kids ourselves will make sure that their education is more consistent and that they don't miss anything major or study the same thing twice in a row because of switching school districts.

As for socialization, maybe I'm weird in this way, but personally, I don't *want* my kids socialized by twenty other kids their age who are just learning manners and politeness and how to treat other people and aren't that experienced in it themselves.  I would much rather my kids experience the majority of their socialization from their parents, grandparents,and  other trusted adults and cousins/older friends, who have enough life experience to provide good examples of behavior.  They'll have plenty of chances to practice their budding social skills on other kids during church, activities, homeschool groups, and the like, but I don't want the majority of their lives to be spent with twenty other kids exactly their age.

We plan to homeschool our kids the whole way through, but we're open to looking at alternatives if it turns out that some of our kids need a different experience.  In that case, though, we'll probably go with a private or charter school rather than a government school.  We'd also like our kids to take some community college classes when they're high school age, so they can get some practical classroom experience, working to deadlines set by other people, and being responsible for their own class, to help prepare them for the real world or college.

As for homeschooling being legal, as others have said, it's legal in the UK, but there are some countries where it isn't legal at all (I believe the Netherlands and Germany are two examples, although I'm not absolutely certain about those).
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sophia on February 16, 2013, 05:01:53 PM
There is a person here that told me about a home-school curriculum company, Sonlight.   They resonated with me because their motto is why we will/are home-schooling.  "The way you wish you were taught." 

I was bored in school.  My husband was bored in school.  Our daughter is showing signs of being smarter than either of us. I remember loving having chicken pox and pink-eye because I wasn't allowed to go to school  I could do a week's work of work in about 5 hours, then I had all that free time to read and do crafts.  The schools want a one-size-fits-all model.  If you learn faster or slower, well, too bad.  The only reason my husband survived without being mind-numbed was a third-grade teacher that kept throwing math books at him to keep him from acting up.  He was teaching himself Differential Equations in his last year of high school.  I was allowed in read in class because otherwise I would talk to my neighbors, but most of school was a waste. 

I read every book on home-schooling that my well-stocked public library has.  I remember reading three that were about home-schooling in England.  When listing Philosophies of Home-schooling, "Charlotte Mason" is always included.  She was a late 19th century educator in England and proponent of "Living Books", i.e. not textbooks. 

I briefly taught high school Physics, and I was shocked at how it is even worse than when I was in school.  We live in an area that is considered highly desirable because of the schools.  But, it is just the best of the worst. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Bethalize on February 16, 2013, 05:45:55 PM
I am genuinely interested in why people choose to home school, would those who are doing so mind explaining why they have made this choice? I understand that sometimes it is a path chosen after bad experiences at school such as bullying, but for other parents who believe it is a better route for their child, why is this? Do you worry about the lack of socialisation with other children?
Also, is it legal to home-school in the UK?
I would be grateful to hear about anyone's experiences.

My friend is home schooling in the UK. Here's her blog: http://helenshomeschool.wordpress.com I don't think her children have any lack of "socialisation". It might be more quality that the quantity jammed up against kids you just happened to be the same age as that I got. My friend is a primary school teacher so it just didn't make sense to work in one of the most stressful environments and pay lots for child care so that someone else could teach her children.

Yes, home schooling is legal in the UK.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 16, 2013, 07:50:53 PM
I homeschool my children for medical reasons.  In the last 7 months two of my children have been in the operating room 5 times (combined). The little one had his hip rebuilt and work done on his knee (combined procedure) and had the first of several procedures to attempt to give him mobility in his right (dominant) wrist.  The oldest had his left ankle worked on and two separate procedures on his left (dominant) hand and in one of those he also had his left upper arm worked on.  Upcoming surgeries include a cardio-thoracic procedure (oldest), right hip (youngest) right knee (youngest), possibly going in again on the left hip (youngest) and two more procedures on the right wrist (youngest). There are other areas of concern in each child, though we're not at the point of surgery yet.  Oldest has issues with temporary paralysis in is left (dominant) arm, but the tumor causing the problem is very close to several major nerves and an artery, so we don't know if we want to remove it. Youngest has some tumors in his spine, but we're doing additional studies before we decide if the risk is worth the benefit of removing them.  Middle son is a type I diabetic.

With all of that going on, and being a single mom, it's impossible for me to maintain a normal school schedule with the boys.

I also have major issues with the state of education in this country.  I don't want to write a novel, so I'll just leave it at that.  It's also one of the reasons I left teaching after 10 years in the public schools.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: snowdragon on February 16, 2013, 09:38:26 PM
My nephew was home schooled because his parents felt the school was being too "harsh" with the boy. He could be an ehell serial all on his own. He was undisciplined, unable to follow simple directions and unwilling to shut up for any length of time.  They called it ADHD but never in his life got him tested. His socials skills consisted of talking over people when he had something to say, and anything he wanted to do was, in his view, ever so much more important than anyone else.  He was so unconcerned about others that when a friend of them family took him and his mother to a concert, when the child was 14 - the kid sat there and sang "The Sun Will Come Out  Tomorrow" - trying to compete for attention with the band. ( when the friend, who was sitting right next to him, told him to stop his mother, told her that he could sing, friend told her that the rest of the audience wanted to hear the band not the kid and mom told her how "sad" all those people were)
  The kid is 20 now, has never been taught the social graces, and most people in the family dread seeing the kid.  He has never fisnished high school and is only working at subway because  another friend of the family hired him.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: gramma dishes on February 16, 2013, 09:55:18 PM
That's actually quite sad.  Neglecting the entire social awareness aspect of his education is really just a convoluted form of child abuse.

I suspect he and his mother were not often invited to attend concerts or anything else.  At least not more than once.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sharnita on February 16, 2013, 10:13:41 PM
That's actually quite sad.  Neglecting the entire social awareness aspect of his education is really just a convoluted form of child abuse.

I suspect he and his mother were not often invited to attend concerts or anything else.  At least not more than once.
[/quote

It sounds like there would have been issues if he were in "regular" school, too.  I can just imagine how much fun parent/teacher conferences would have been.  (Actually, i don't have to imagine, I think I have met with parents who had approaches very close to this)
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 16, 2013, 10:24:25 PM
Those are the stories that make me so mad and that cause so much trouble for those of us who try to homeschool "right".  I work my butt off in really difficult circumstances to make sure my kids get a kick-butt education *and* social graces. Grrrrrr.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Rohanna on February 16, 2013, 10:53:25 PM
The thing with homeschooling is- it can be really great or really terrible. So can public schooling. However, just like marriage- you can have a *great* relationship with or without a marriage- but you're trading the rights that society gives you if you have that piece of paper.

I was part home-schooled, mainly catholic schooled. No one ever cared when applying to University that I'd had all these fantastic travels, they wanted to see my "papers". So as long as you make sure to home-school your children so that you aren't locking them out of the ability to pass a GED and further their education (or in many cases, obtain any main-stream, non-minimum wage/self employment) then go to it! However, my personal experiences home-schooling seemed to be that many parents deliberately or accidentally fell into the trap of A-playing only to the child's strengths and interests, and B- avoiding the parent's weaknesses. I missed crucial years of math instruction because my primary-instructing parent was weak at it- so we did very little of it- and to this day I struggle with "theoretical" math.

I think that you can supplement a public school education quite effectively (we do this with our son, and will with his younger brother). If you do choose to home-school- make sure to do so with the aim that whatever "extra" you learn, you follow the state/province guidelines so that your child won't struggle re-integrating into the mainstream if it becomes necessary or they chose to enter post-secondary education. As well, make sure that you are disciplined enough to follow a reasonable routine- again, my experience in the workplace with home-schooled individuals is that they frequently struggle to do things the "don't like" (parents didn't enforce learning/doing disliked homework/tasks) or follow time-keeping (unused to 10-15 minutes "mattering"- used to re-arranging schedules to suit themselves/family on short/no notice).
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Promise on February 16, 2013, 10:58:48 PM
Home schooling offers many benefits. First, I don't want children socialized in public school. What's so great about learning about how to be bullied, learning that people are cliquish, tease others, etc. or are biased against other groups of people because of how they dress, skin color, religion, etc. I don't want them to learn the values of their peers - primarily that texting is life, that parents are dumb and clueless, and that tv shows portray the real world. Instead I think home schooling offers children curriculum designed specifically for their needs and interests. If they need to take longer on learning to read, they can. If math is easy, they move on. We can take field trips whenever we want to investigate whatever we want. There are home school groups that meet, plus we are involved in our church. Our neighborhood has families we know and children can come over. I think it's in the best interest of children to be home schooled if they have a parent or caring adult who is willing to facilitate that learning. You don't have to have an education degree, but you do have to have some skills. It's cheaper than private school and you know exactly what your children are learning. All of the children I know whose families home-school graduate and get into great colleges. They are nicer people and are more mature and responsible teenagers. There are always a few who don't do it well. I have a SIL who said she was home-schooling her kids. She didn't. They basically quit school and messed a bit with a curriculum but never graduated. Since the parents didn't care, the kids didn't care. Honestly, I doubt they would have graduated from HS either because they just didn't put the effort in to showing up. It's not a argument against Home-schooling, but an argument that parents need to be involved in their child's life.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Library Dragon on February 16, 2013, 11:23:10 PM
My nephew was home schooled because his parents felt the school was being too "harsh" with the boy.

Oh, I know those families.  I was a Catholic school librarian & asst. principal for 10 years.  We had kindergarten and first grade SS students switch to homeschooling for this reason. 

I remember I shared with a kgrtn mother that our greatest challenge was teaching children that they weren't the center of the universe.  She replied that she had no problem with them thinking that.  'We cannot have 20 centers of the universe in a classroom.' "Oh, I'd never thought of that." Her SS wouldn't stop throwing rocks at other students. 

There was the SS who tried to cut off another student's ear.  He wasn't allowed to go on the pumpkin patch field trip.  His grandparents took him that afternoon so he wouldn't feel bad. 

Don't get me started on the parent of the that wanted me fired.  Why?  I dared to give her SS middle school student Saturday detention for using racial slurs. 

IMHO These families don't have a positive motivation for homeschooling. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Honeypickle on February 17, 2013, 05:01:49 AM
Thank you everyone for putting such thought and effort into your replies, very interesting reading. I do find it a fascinating subject and am in awe of the parents who home-school ( and do it so well). I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old in the UK and although I do not intend to home school at the moment, it is certainly something I would consider in the future if it became apparent it was in their best interests. I like the poster (half_dollar I think) who said they re-evaluate every year whether it is still in their children's best interests, that seems a very good idea. Again, thanks to all who responded.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Pen^2 on February 17, 2013, 05:46:34 AM
Just by the way, it is always good to look up studies and papers about homeschooling. The 'socialisation' thing is one of the biggest questions people have, but it is absolutely a non-issue. It does, of course, vary family to family, but in general they have better socialisation skills than school-taught children by a number of studies (e.g. http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html (http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html)). I would not be worried too much. I had another good list of studies, which I cannot find just now, about socialisation and other things... It pointed out that, in the USA at least, something like 2% of people are homeschooled, that homeschooled students are more likely to donate money, earn higher wages, go to college, etc. and that the 'religious' stereotype is actually a minority within homeschooling (I recall people homeschooling for religious reasons being something like only 30% of families). I'll post it if I find it.

As with anything, it varies family to family. If you want to homeschool predominantly to save money or to keep your children away from the nasty harsh world out there, then rethinking things is a good idea. If you are ready and willing to work hard to do what you believe is best for your children, then you will likely be another favourable statistic.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 17, 2013, 06:04:06 AM
The one thing I have against homeschooling, sort of referenced in my above post, is that children are not above manipulating their parents into doing what they want in terms of schooling. I often wondered that with the former home schooled girl who would never shut up and was always arguing with me with whether or not she should do her class work.

I'm willing to be quite a sum that she does this with her parents, who give in to her, which is why she is used to being this way with adults. Teachers, on the other hand, have seen it all and they are not there to be liked by their students. They're no afraid of saying "No", unlike some parents these days.

If she'd been in a regular school from day one, she'd know by the time you got to year six that the teacher telling you to sit down, be quiet and do your work means exactly that. Even the unruly boys understood that.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Oh Joy on February 17, 2013, 07:06:40 AM
We're planning to homeschool our peanuts (now 2 years and 4 months) for several reasons, but many of them fall under the topic of efficiency.  There are certain languages, physical activities, musical skills, and areas of study we expect our children to learn.  The actual number of hours spent on core curriculum material at public schools each year is actually quite low after subtracting for life skills and social lessons, administrative and transition times, classroom distractions, and the like.  It just doesn't make sense to us to have our kids spend that much time in a school building, then try to fit in our own material nights, weekends, and summers.

To answer part of the socialization and authority question, we do plan to have the kids in plenty of structured activities led by adult role models, where they listen to others, follow group rules, practice independence, and the like along with the core purpose of the activity.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: perpetua on February 17, 2013, 07:16:38 AM
I don't have kids, but there's something I don't understand about homeschooling, namely how parents who presumably have no training in either teaching or the subjects they are teaching explain complex subject-related concepts.

For example: how would a parent who had no scientific training explain a physics concept or the principle behind a mathematical equation if they didn't first understand it and have extensive knowledge of it themselves?

We had separate teachers for each subject at school and they were all well versed in their particular subject so if there was something you didn't understand, the teacher could explain it in a different way using their subject-related training.

I can't help but think that these children are missing out on learning from the experts.

How does that work?
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Oh Joy on February 17, 2013, 07:27:20 AM
I don't have kids, but there's something I don't understand about homeschooling, namely how parents who presumably have no training in either teaching or the subjects they are teaching explain complex subject-related concepts.

For example: how would a parent who had no scientific training explain a physics concept or the principle behind a mathematical equation if they didn't first understand it and have extensive knowledge of it themselves?

We had separate teachers for each subject at school and they were all well versed in their particular subject so if there was something you didn't understand, the teacher could explain it in a different way using their subject-related training.

I can't help but think that these children are missing out on learning from the experts.

How does that work?

That's a good question.  I think that there is a range of expectations for the roles of the parents in homeschooling.  On one end you have the 'I'll teach the kids what I know' mentality.  On the other end is the 'I'll be the curator of knowledge for the kids, matching them with the best appropriate resources' mentality.  I think the internet is making it easier to take the curator approach, between the advancement of quality online education programs and the ease of finding individual classes and workshops.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 17, 2013, 08:12:27 AM
Most teachers don't have that kind of knowledge, either.  Most of their education is in teaching itself, not in the subjects they teach.  Most homeschoolers use curriculum that is designed by experts, just like teachers do.  And they learn along with their kids.  Just about anybody has the basic knowledge needed to help their child through elementary and probably most middle school educational material, maybe looking things up here and there.  They might not remember all the *facts* but generally they get the ideas.  As kids get older, the more they are ready to learn on their own with their teacher as their advisor, tutor, and task-setter.  Some parents *are* capable of teaching their kids all the way through; I've always been very well-rounded, so I can definitely teach my kids English, science, and math.  If our kids are particularly talented at math, my husband is capable at teaching them through the level of differential equations at least.  And if they do get to the point where they're beyond our ability to teach, they can take outside classes for that subject.  I think this can vary, though.  I do cringe sometimes when I read somebody's post on a homeschool forum and they can't spell or string two sentences together.  I don't think that they *can't* homeschool, but I think they'll have trouble correcting their child's writing.  However, I'd have no objection if they used a program for that subject that would basically do the teaching for them... the way most people use Math-U-See videos to teach their kids directly.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sharnita on February 17, 2013, 09:08:07 AM
I can't say I agree with that.  I have had many classes in undergrad and grad that are all content specific.  I have been to additional trainings, lectures, etc, that are about content.  Therecertainly are a lot that are also dedicated to education but my degrees are in the subject.  Perhaps you are thinking more of elementary teachers.

As far as how parents teah various subjects, another option is to team up and share responsibility for what their specialty might be.  For example a parent who is an engineer might help put together a physics unit and look over the work.  A mom who has an English degree will teach that.  Famillies can pair or team up to share expertise. You hire somebody to give them voice lessons.  Dance class and soccer might help meet gym requirements.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 17, 2013, 09:18:46 AM
When I got back here I immediately re-joined an extremely large homeschool group that I'd been part of before I moved away.  The parents in this group are happy to trade kids for subjects that other parents are  more expert in.  My BS and MS are in Math/Statistics.  My undergrad minors are Biology, Chemistry and English Lit. I've always been happy to teach the kids who got to calculus or beyond when their own parents are unable to.  I'm okay through basic HS science, math and English/Literature and music, and through elementary art, but I need help when it comes to foreign languages or any specialized Social Studies (basic stuff I'm fine, but nowhere near the expert I am with math). Good thing for me is that through this group, I'm sure to find a parent who's every bit as expert in those subjects as I am with math, and if one of my kids turns into a super talented chemist or physicist, there's a parent there for that too.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Cami on February 17, 2013, 10:06:41 AM
My dd was involved in a local youth activity that was quite popular with homeschoolers. My opinion is based only upon that sample.

Some of the kids were well-educated and well-rounded. Some were not as it appeared that the parents did not take their job as teacher seriously. Very few of the homeschoolers were well-socialized and struggled mightily with social norms and cues. A lot of time was spent during the activity dealing with their socialization needs, which was frustrating to the others.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Thipu1 on February 17, 2013, 10:26:11 AM
We have no children but a relative home schools her two children aged 9 and 7.  She uses a rather controversial variety known here as 'Un-Schooling'.  In this method, the curriculum is based on what the child wants to learn.

  It's worked fine with the 7 year-old girl.  It's not working out well with the 9 year-old boy.  The only things that seem to interest him are World of Warcraft and light saber fighting.  He can't read, write or do simple sums. He still has trouble telling the difference between the numeral 2 and the numeral 5.

However, the boy has started agitating to be sent to a 'real school'. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 17, 2013, 10:28:36 AM
See, my experience is the exact opposite.  I taught middle school for nearly 10 years and was close to overwhelmed every year with students who could not behave in a public setting without intense intervention, to the point where I had days and weeks where I felt I was spending more time running a "finishing school", than teaching mathematics.

I find that there are fewer of those behavior problems in the large homeschool group we are a part of, and not a single issue in the nature classes that they take at one of the county parks around here. The kids in the homeschool group are far from under-socialized, and, in fact, are more in tune to social cues as a group than my former public school students.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 17, 2013, 10:36:12 AM
Babybartfast will be going to kindergarten this fall, and we are considering homeschooling.  Here are our reasons:

1) The school we're zoned for is . . . not good.  It was built five years ago and is zoned to cover a large section of sparsely-populated outer areas of our city - there was lots of new home construction going on, so the school was intended to provide for all those new families.  Then the economy fell through and much of the building stalled, so the school got built but there weren't enough kids to go in it.  The district bussed in some kids from the projects (government housing downtown), and predictably the combination of new teachers and students who were used to a horrible school meant the school we're zoned for got some pretty awful test scores.  We bought this house anyway, reasoning that it was just a first-year anomaly, but the scores haven't increased (and the kids are still being bussed in).  I've heard everywhere from "it's just racist to not want your kids to go there" to "seriously, they do have a problem with people bringing guns to school" so I'll have to do some more research before making a decision.

2) We applied for Babybartfast to go to our city's magnet elementary school, but haven't heard back yet.  We applied last January and we should be getting a call this March (so over a year later) for an interview . . . maybe.  If they get to our application.  I don't know whether they go through applications chronologically (we got it in about three weeks after they opened up applications, and I don't know how many people beat us to the punch) or whether there are other criteria.  I also don't know exactly what they're looking for in the interview - I've heard they take into account race, neighborhood, gender, and scholastic ability, so it's possible Babybartfast wouldn't get in even if we do get the interview just because we don't fit the right demographics.

3) Babybartfast goes to a private school right now, for preschool, but it's already expensive for three mornings a week.  We don't have the extra $8K a year for her to do kindergarten (and it goes up from there).

So yeah, if she doesn't get into the magnet school and the public school turns out (upon closer inspection) to be actually physically unsafe, I'll homeschool.  I was an excellent student and so was DH, so I'm not worried about that aspect - and honestly, Babybartfast is far ahead of her peers when it comes to math and reading anyway, so homeschooling would probably help in that aspect.  It just means I'd never get this darn book written  :-\
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 17, 2013, 10:37:55 AM
We have no children but a relative home schools her two children aged 9 and 7.  She uses a rather controversial variety known here as 'Un-Schooling'.  In this method, the curriculum is based on what the child wants to learn.

  It's worked fine with the 7 year-old girl.  It's not working out well with the 9 year-old boy.  The only things that seem to interest him are World of Warcraft and light saber fighting.  He can't read, write or do simple sums. He still has trouble telling the difference between the numeral 2 and the numeral 5.

However, the boy has started agitating to be sent to a 'real school'. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out.

See, the "right" way to do unschooling is to take what the child is interested in and sneak all the rest of the stuff in around it.  So this kid loves World of Warcraft.  I'd have him read the gaming books, write fan-fic and build a WoW "set". The reading and writing have obvious objectives.  The set building would encompass scale drawing, measurement, simple tools. He could also write a screen play for a light saber skit, research the physics of light to determine if such a thing could ever exist and study the history of wartime weaponry throughout the ages (and get an awful of of more traditional history along the way). He could also plan a pretend performance of the skit and figure out how much he could earn if he sold tickets.  Throw in the cost of production and venue rental and he's got basic math and business.  It's a lot of work for the parent, but it's astounding just how much you can build off a child's interest to be able to sneak in "real" academics.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sophia on February 17, 2013, 01:28:35 PM
I don't have kids, but there's something I don't understand about homeschooling, namely how parents who presumably have no training in either teaching or the subjects they are teaching explain complex subject-related concepts.

For example: how would a parent who had no scientific training explain a physics concept or the principle behind a mathematical equation if they didn't first understand it and have extensive knowledge of it themselves?

We had separate teachers for each subject at school and they were all well versed in their particular subject so if there was something you didn't understand, the teacher could explain it in a different way using their subject-related training.

I can't help but think that these children are missing out on learning from the experts.

How does that work?

I have three answers for this:

1)  The public school teachers aren't really that knowledgeable about their subjects.  The theory is that if you are a good teacher, you can teach anything.  Even then, most of the training of teachers is on "classroom management."  Math in particular is taught by teachers who only know their subject from years of teaching the same class.  I was a Physics teacher, who also taught Psych.  I blanched when told I'd be teaching Psych., and stated that I'd only had one class on it in college.  The answer was "Do your best". 

2)  I plan on learning at the same time.  I was born in 1970.  Grammar was out-of-fashion in the 70's, and I was not taught it beyond nouns, verbs, adjectives in maybe second grade.  I plan on buying the best curriculum possible for grammar and learning along. 

3)  We live near several major Universities, and respectable Community Colleges.  During the high school years, daughter can do Dual-Enrollment classes.  This will also serve as "pieces of paper" and outside proof that she can handle college classes.  It isn't unusual in this area for home-schooled kids to get their A.A. degree at the same time as their high school diploma. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Kimblee on February 17, 2013, 01:32:57 PM
I would like to home school because my public school experiences were dismal and I doubt the local schools are much better than the ones that I went to, judging from my little brother's experience.

Besides, I really feel that modern schooling focuses too heavily on standard testing and has cut out some things that I consider very important.

A friend of mine is home schooling her daughter because the school threatened to put her in Special Ed only classes unless friends agreed to have her medicated for her "ADHD" (She does NOT had ADHD, she doesn't even have hyperactivity. She reads and moves her lips along with the words. Her teacher hated it and complained about the "unmedicated mentally ill" girl.)
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: RegionMom on February 17, 2013, 02:47:44 PM
Homeschooling and private schools are huge around here.

One family moved to a big city for the dad's job, and with all other struggles (mom had surgery, other stuff) they decided to place their always homeschooled 15 year old in a very good private school because they did not have time to "plug into" all the homeschool offerings.(see below)  She tested well, has friends galore, is in the school play and active in church, and the hardest part has been following a regular schedule.
One teacher, upon meeting her, said, "oh, you have always been homeschooled, I see.  I do not expect you to do very well in my class."  Well, she exempted her final and he basically has since apologized for his incorrect assumption.  She received academic honors first semester!

As for what to do if parents are bad at math, setting up labs, running phys ed, etc...

there are SO many places that cater to homeschoolers that you'd be amazed!  Academies that run one or two days a week, entire sports teams at gymnastics centers and swim centers, churches that host open classrooms, field trip days at local historical and fun places, open houses for book and curriculum sales, support groups, even legal defense for tricky states!  On-line courses, tutoring, skype lessons, study groups, etc...

in fact, some colleges recruit homeschoolers because they know they will not have to necessarily train them how to study and set aside time to study.

yes, there are always a few bad apples (a HS girl in her 3rd year of basic algebra) but you have bad apples anywhere you go, public, private, homeschool, boarding school, etc...

A big part of it is motivation.  that "unschooled" boy is unmotivated because he gets what he wants--free play time!  The poster above who explained how it should be done was spot on. 

That comes down to a parenting issue. 

We all have our own opinions.  if we all thought the same, we would only have one clothing store, one church, one restaurant, one type of car, etc...there is no "one size fits all."  But we can all mostly recognize a good thing done well.

And there are many good homeschooled kids.

:)

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Elisabunny on February 17, 2013, 05:07:02 PM
The previous posters that said they homeschooled because of social issues reminded me of one family I know.  They send their kids to conventional school for elementary and high school, but homeschool for middle/junior high.  They feel that the negative social aspects of school at that age far outweigh any possible academic benefits.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 17, 2013, 05:07:51 PM
Sometimes you need to go through tough things to develop resilience.there are limits, though.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 17, 2013, 08:53:49 PM
I homeschool my youngest.  My older two went to public school though I wish I could go back in time and homeschool them.

We started homeschooling about 4 years ago due to health reasons.  The heath issue was resolved but we continued to h'school.  We enjoyed it so much and it gave my son the confidence that private school didn't give him.  (he went to a private school for pre-K). 

First day of Kindergarten, he tells me "mom, I'm not that smart."  (said with the biggest eyes ever!)  Broke my heart. Imagine a child saying that to you!  By the end of that year, he was telling his brothers what a genius he was! :D

It was an easy decision to make, homeschooling just works better for him. 

And don't let the name "home"school fool you, we are hardly ever home!  The age-old socialization question needs to die!!!  It's so outdated and foolish to think that h'schoolers don't socialize.  My son is involved in 2 co-ops where he takes great classes and has a number of really good friends.  He's not the type of kid to have tons of acquaintances (many are, but he isn't) but the friends he does have are true! 

My son also has time to take private piano lessons, join sports and has time to be creative. He has time to follow his interests and we take several field trips. (Wed. we have tickets to a play about the Civil War)  DC is a great place to h'school but many cities have wonderful museums and classes available outside the home.

And for the record, I do have a degree in teaching but anyone can teach. No really, I mean that.  Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.  Want to know why?  Because a parent not only adores and loves that child unconditionally but a parent will feel the enormous weight of responsibility that not all teachers feel for every student. (many do, but many don't)  As a homeschooling parent, I am aware, each and every day that I CAN'T.SCREW.THIS.UP.  And I take my 'job' very seriously.   
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sharnita on February 17, 2013, 08:59:30 PM
But sadly not every parent feels that, though of course they should and not every parent knows how to translate those desire into the correct action.  There certainly are a lot of parents who do a great job but there are parents like the one who indulge their child thinking they are doing what is best.  Just like any other type of schooling, the quality of home schooling instructor can vary widely. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 17, 2013, 09:29:24 PM
DH and I haven't got kids, though we're planning on them. We've both had bad experiences with schooling with bullying and bad teachers. We wouldn't home school by choice, but I have part of a teaching degree and I'd pull them out if there were problems, but only temporarily.

I have come across homeschooled kids in my training, but what I've seen hasn't impressed me. One girl argued with me all day and wouldn't stop talking. The girls at her desk wanted her to be quiet! Another girl was...uneven. She was a brilliant artist but behind in maths and wrote like a child two years below her.

So yeah, my feelings are mixed about homeschooling.

That's like saying "I once met a public school child and she was horrible!  She wouldn't quiet down and she wouldn't stop talking.  All public school children are loud talkers!"

Just like public school children, homeschooled children vary.  :) 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 17, 2013, 09:34:09 PM
But sadly not every parent feels that, though of course they should and not every parent knows how to translate those desire into the correct action.  There certainly are a lot of parents who do a great job but there are parents like the one who indulge their child thinking they are doing what is best.  Just like any other type of schooling, the quality of home schooling instructor can vary widely.

Honestly, I've never met a homeschooling parent who doesn't feel that way.  (I've h'schooled in two states)  And I've never met another homeschooling parent who isn't capable. 

I'm sure they exist but, in my experience, they aren't the norm.  Most feel that "I can't screw this up" sense of responsibility.

Most homeschooling parents I've met don't indulge their children.  As a matter of fact, most of the  parents I've met, who indulge their children, are public school families.  As h'schooling parents, if we indulge our children, we would be doing a great disservice to them, plus it would make our job much harder than it has to be so, again IMO, that hasn't been the case.

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Aluminum on February 17, 2013, 11:06:09 PM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: kareng57 on February 17, 2013, 11:21:19 PM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote


I would have to agree.  I tried to teach music-lessons to my own son - it only took a few weeks to realize that it just would not work.  It was not that I didn't have the knowledge - but I wasn't a teacher.  Most of my "lessons" ended up with at least one of us in tears.

A short time later, we registered him with a student teacher.  Parents are not always great teachers.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: afbluebelle on February 17, 2013, 11:51:44 PM
I'll be the first to say that I would probably be a horrible teacher. That's why I didn't try to become one. Unless it was autoshop... I'd be an awesome auto shop teacher!
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mbbored on February 18, 2013, 01:33:22 AM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote


I would have to agree.  I tried to teach music-lessons to my own son - it only took a few weeks to realize that it just would not work.  It was not that I didn't have the knowledge - but I wasn't a teacher.  Most of my "lessons" ended up with at least one of us in tears.

A short time later, we registered him with a student teacher.  Parents are not always great teachers.

I imagine homeschooling versus traditional schooling is like most things in life: it depends on the student and it depends the learning environment.

I have friends who were home schooled and are now brilliant, well rounded and interesting adults who never suffered socially and I know many people who were really successful academically and socially in traditional schools. Frequently I think of a few friends I grew up with who would have really benefited from a more individualized approach outside of the pressure cooker school cliques.

I also have a set of cousins who were home schooled for religious reasons. Most of them did just fine. One totally rebelled against the more limited environment, was thrown out of the house and has really struggled to find his way in the world. His youngest sister suffers from an undiagnosed learning disability since her mother was not up to the task of adapting to her daughter's needs. She's now a high school drop out and I wonder if she had been enrolled in a more mainstream school somebody would have been able to identify her learning disability and she could have graduated with her peers.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 18, 2013, 01:58:50 AM
Local homeschooling resources vary widely, too.  Some places have a strong homeschool community, so businesses like the YMCA offer specific homeschool gym classes and the like.  Other places have almost no support for homeschooling families, so the parents have to come up with everything on their own.  In some areas, the homeschooling resources are overwhelmingly aimed for one demographic (usually white and strongly Christian), but in other areas there may be a wider variety of ideologies available.  Where I live it's split - you can find homeschooling groups which are completely non-religious, but you can also find groups of frighteningly zealous parents who homeschool to shield their children from the evils of {atheists, boys, Santa, mini-skirts, fluorinated drinking water, or insert your own potential evil influence here}.  There are definitely some places in the US where if you want to homeschool, the only resources available will be ones that don't fit with your parenting worldview.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 18, 2013, 04:35:35 AM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote

I'm a trained teacher and have many teacher friends.  I support teachers 100%.  I didn't mean to disrespect teachers but more to give confidence to parents.  Parents are their children's first teachers.  And yes, I do think parents are the best teachers for their children.  As such, parents can also recognize when they need to go outside the home for instruction.  (ie: piano lessons for my son) 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 18, 2013, 04:36:45 AM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote


I would have to agree.  I tried to teach music-lessons to my own son - it only took a few weeks to realize that it just would not work.  It was not that I didn't have the knowledge - but I wasn't a teacher.  Most of my "lessons" ended up with at least one of us in tears.

A short time later, we registered him with a student teacher.  Parents are not always great teachers.

No, but you recognized the fact that you needed assistance and went in search of how to better serve your child.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Carotte on February 18, 2013, 05:55:36 AM
I've seen plenty of teacher that have no pedagogy what so ever, to the point of being detrimental to their students, and I remember ending up crying after my dad tried to 'explain' something to me in math when I was 12; it was really easy I just needed to grasp the concept but he has no pedagogy either.
I think that some parents would do just fine until some form  of frustration comes up; usually the kid doesn't understand something that you believe is dead simple. If they don't have the resources or tools to approach it with a different angle then it won't work. After years of teaching hundred of kids the teachers will be most likely to have those tools, but they don't always have the time or want to.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 18, 2013, 06:33:28 AM
After years of teaching hundred of kids the teachers will be most likely to have those tools, but they don't always have the time or want to.

I agree and this is why I think parents make the best teachers for their children. (whether h'schooling plays into it or not is besides the point) 

Thank you Carotte for saying it so much better than I could.  :) 

(note: Just so I am not misunderstood, I'm not saying *all* teachers.  I have worked in schools before and I've seen it much too often, a teacher withered down by years of struggle that he/she no longer has much energy for the student who truly needs help.) 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Jones on February 18, 2013, 09:00:07 AM
My feelings on homeschooling are incredibly mixed, mainly because of my own experiences. This is long; skip to the end if you want.

I attended public elementary school from K-4th grade. Then my parents had a falling out with the school board and various schools in the district and decided to pull my sibs and me from the system to be homeschooled. That was also the year a homeschool-assisting “private school” came to town (they met 9 hours a week and basically assigned homework for kids to do with their parents). It was religious based, which I have no problem with, but looking back now the science curriculum really was a joke. Plus, my parents and the teacher couldn’t answer a lot of my science-related questions, though they were all great at English and history. I also passed my parents and my teacher in math by the time I hit 14-ish years old.

As for socializing? It was a tiny group and I was the only person my age. I was the youngest of the “senior” group (teens) and too smart for the “junior” group (elementary). As such I was resented by the olders and ignored by the youngers. Homeschool related gatherings outside that particular group, involving a number of kids in a multi-county area, were “my kid is smarter in X than yours” competitions. There was one girl my age at church, and once I figured out she was a big liar who got her kicks from embarrassing me I cut a lot of my church activities. We didn’t have money for sports; the money went to the homeschooling program, so I wasn’t in any. My social life outside my family was nil.

It was determined by age 15 that I could go to high school. That first year I had college-level biology and chemistry, per my parents' request; I was amazed at both, the teachers had ANSWERS. Sometimes I didn’t understand the technicalities but I was relieved that they knew what they were talking about. I tested into a high-level algebra/pre-trig class, where I actually did cry one day because I could understand the new concepts the teacher put forth.

I informed my parents that I wanted to finish high school and get a real diploma instead of a GED. They weren’t sure, and I spent a lot of my high school time “hanging on a thread” as they threatened to pull me out over and over again. I didn’t drink, I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t skip class or set fire to anything; I got all A’s and B’s. I had a very hard time seeing things from their angle and greatly resented their repeated assurances that my high school experience was a mistake.

As for socializing? When I wasn’t brown-nosing the teachers I was making a lot of embarrassing mistakes with my peers. Yes, I know that we all do, but I hadn’t had a real sex talk (I knew basic biomechanics and that was really it), and I hadn’t been around other just-hitting-puberty kids when I was going through that. Basically I was a kid in a candy store: Lots of good looking, grownup looking guys in that school, and I was a very naive Sue Heck from The Middle. I will not go into some of the more embarrassing mistakes of my teenage-hood; suffice to say that I still have bad dreams about some of them (my high school 10 year reunion is this summer) and I do feel that quite a few could have been diverted with a REAL sex-ed talk and class. Other mistakes, I think, would have been avoided if I could have been around a group of girls during my coming of age process. Things my mom took for granted would have been desperately good to know a bit earlier in life.

Conclusion: I am the most book-smart of my sibs, but several of them did well homeschooling. All of us who are of the right age either have a HS diploma or a GED, those of us who are older have some sort of college/technical schooling (except one brother whom I’ve mentioned in the Scammers thread).

TL;DR:  I can see how some people need home-based, one-on-one schooling, but it will take a lot of dead ends at school before I pull my kids out of the system and try to teach them myself.

ETA: Since this is an etiquette forum, I'd like to point out that not only did we have minimal manners training but at the  local homeschooling activities I went to, there was a big lack of manners-everyone talking over each other, interrupting recitalists, generally rude comments. Not just kids but their parents. Prossibly just the area I grew up in, but it was a trend that was flourishing last time I attended, slightly over 10 years ago.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Thipu1 on February 18, 2013, 09:34:02 AM
This is a very interesting thread.  It's given me some home schooling of my own.  :)

If you stop to think of it, involved parents of students in traditional schools do quite a bit of home schooling.  They buy books for enrichment or borrow them from the public library.  They take their children to cultural events and discuss news stories at home.

Just like home schoolers, they take education seriously.

 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on February 18, 2013, 10:23:19 AM
I started and finished in home school. Elementary school was private, late middle and early high school was public, so I've done all of the big three. Home school worked the best for me.

The most important part of home schooling is having parents who are involved. When my parents started us in home school, we had a certain amount of time set aside for study, a home school co-op, a church group, and our parents gave us a choice of any one activity we wanted to sign up for (I chose dance, my sister chose soccer). We had a baby sitter who ran a charm school for her day job, so we got a charm school crash course on Saturdays. We also would visit our elderly aunt once a week, and be taken to a local place of historical interest at least once a month. Because our parents were so involved, we got a lot of compliments. Our socialization was much broader than the average kindergartner/preschooler, as we were interacting with people who were a variety of ages, rather than spending all our time with just people who were within a year of our own age. Our education was also on the fast track, because between our parents there were one PhD and three Masters degrees.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mbbored on February 18, 2013, 10:48:01 AM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote

I'm a trained teacher and have many teacher friends.  I support teachers 100%.  I didn't mean to disrespect teachers but more to give confidence to parents.  Parents are their children's first teachers.  And yes, I do think parents are the best teachers for their children.  As such, parents can also recognize when they need to go outside the home for instruction.  (ie: piano lessons for my son)

I would agree that parents are in the best position to be teachers for their children and most are the best teacher they come across, but not all parents can recognize their own limitations. My cousin at 20 can barely read a menu because her parents failed to recognize their inability to teach her.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: CakeBeret on February 18, 2013, 11:40:13 AM
I know a family who homeschools for religious reasons. Their son used to attend a religious school, but there were some religious and political issues and they decided to homeschool instead. I was highly skeptical--this is a high-energy, very social boy, and I was afraid that he would not do well in relative isolation--seeing other kids once or twice a week versus nearly every day. To my surprise, he is fairly thriving. His family owns some land, and he raises chickens, helps with livestock, and learns about sustainable gardening in addition to traditional subjects. He is involved with extracurriculars, and his parents guide what subjects and philosophies he learns.

Many children struggle in school because they are expected to sit still, be quiet, and work for several hours of the day, then come home to sit still, be quiet, and work some more. Even in elementary school, kids are at school for 7-8 hours a day and may come home with another 2-3 hours of work. Additionally, some kids just need a different pace, teaching style, or educational philosophy.

I think that a homeschooling environment can be either highly enriching, or truly poor, depending on how it is structured and administered. I think that, when used properly, it is a tool that can enhance your child's learning experience and put them on the pathway to success.

I personally would probably never homeschool my child. I have neither the patience nor the temperament for it. However, I will seek a school for my son that has small classes (5-10 students) and uses focused learning in smaller doses interspersed with physical exercise, reading time, free play, and so on. As the child progresses, their focused learning blocks gradually increase, but they still get time for reading and exercise. I think that kids need plenty of physical activity and that a lot of misbehavior results from too much pent-up energy with no outlet.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 18, 2013, 12:02:55 PM
I wasn't home schooled at all but when it came to having to study and do homework in subjects I struggled in, it was a nightmare. My hardest subjects were my father's best (science and math) and because he was so good at them he decided that I didn't need any tutors in that area. 

Problem was he was one of those people who is very bright but because he gets it and it's so easy to him, it should be easy for everyone else and he constantly accused me of being lazy or stubbornly not trying to understand it.  And he got greatly offended when anyone suggested me seeing a tutor because dang it, he was enough to teach me and if he couldn't get me to understand it, no one could!!  ::)

I think it's for that very reason I just have no desire to take on the task of home schooling. I know my limits and honestly feel my children would learn some subjects better from someone else than from me.  Even the subjects I am good at, I'm not terribly good at explaining things to others so I think someone trained to teach children certain concepts are better equipped to 'splain it to them than I am.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 18, 2013, 12:10:26 PM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote

I'm a trained teacher and have many teacher friends.  I support teachers 100%.  I didn't mean to disrespect teachers but more to give confidence to parents.  Parents are their children's first teachers.  And yes, I do think parents are the best teachers for their children.  As such, parents can also recognize when they need to go outside the home for instruction.  (ie: piano lessons for my son)

I would agree that parents are in the best position to be teachers for their children and most are the best teacher they come across, but not all parents can recognize their own limitations. My cousin at 20 can barely read a menu because her parents failed to recognize their inability to teach her.

Yes, I suppose there are parents like that out there.  So instead of saying all parents are the best teachers, I'll say 'most' parents are the best teachers for their children.  :D

I've never met a lazy, uneducated homeschooling parent but I'm sure they do exist.  It's been my experience that those types of parents aren't the norm.  (not by a long shot!) 

Plus, on the other side of the coin, my DH is a very brillant individual but he has a brother and sister who can barely read and they all attended the same schools.  Go figure. 

I think it's a parental judgement call.  Plus, I have one child in homeschool and another one in public school so I see both sides of the issue. (my middleson truly enjoys his school and I know he's getting a first rate education)  I also know that a public school environment would not be the best place for my youngest. 

As far as knowing your limits, that's very important. 

I have a great support system of other moms in the area and it really helps discussing certain issues with them.  I know myself enough to realize that once my kiddo gets to a certain point in math, I will need to bring in a tutor.  It's not about the concepts, it's about trying to explain those concepts.  Knowing something is quite different than teaching the subject. 

Plus, if a parent is struggling day in and day out, they will look for other avenues to "fix" the issue and usually that involves tutoring.  Homeschooling parents are the most resourceful parents I've ever met.

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 18, 2013, 12:12:01 PM
I wasn't home schooled at all but when it came to having to study and do homework in subjects I struggled in, it was a nightmare. My hardest subjects were my father's best (science and math) and because he was so good at them he decided that I didn't need any tutors in that area. 

Problem was he was one of those people who is very bright but because he gets it and it's so easy to him, it should be easy for everyone else and he constantly accused me of being lazy or stubbornly not trying to understand it.  And he got greatly offended when anyone suggested me seeing a tutor because dang it, he was enough to teach me and if he couldn't get me to understand it, no one could!!  ::)

I think it's for that very reason I just have no desire to take on the task of home schooling. I know my limits and honestly feel my children would learn some subjects better from someone else than from me.  Even the subjects I am good at, I'm not terribly good at explaining things to others so I think someone trained to teach children certain concepts are better equipped to 'splain it to them than I am.

I think that's so sad.  My father is sort of like your father, except that he recognizes that he's not a very good teacher for students who struggle.  Give him a student who's talented in his areas of expertise, and he's a great teacher, but give him a student who struggles and he knows he can't handle it, so he doesn't.  I can't tell you how many hours we spent on the phone when I lived in ND and he needed help working with my little brother and sister, who both struggle with math.

On the other hand (and pardon my bragging), I'm a dingdangity good teacher.  I taught in an inner city school for 10 years and had an amount of success that none of my colleagues could even touch.  I have a gift for breaking down math (and many science) topics in a way that just make sense.  I'm reasonable with English and History, but I lose my patience quickly when students start having trouble.  I know that it's not an insult to me for me to give those students to somebody else.  My father showed me, through his own actions, that it's okay to not be perfect at everything, or even most things, and to get help when it's needed.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 18, 2013, 12:15:20 PM
I wasn't home schooled at all but when it came to having to study and do homework in subjects I struggled in, it was a nightmare. My hardest subjects were my father's best (science and math) and because he was so good at them he decided that I didn't need any tutors in that area. 

Problem was he was one of those people who is very bright but because he gets it and it's so easy to him, it should be easy for everyone else and he constantly accused me of being lazy or stubbornly not trying to understand it.  And he got greatly offended when anyone suggested me seeing a tutor because dang it, he was enough to teach me and if he couldn't get me to understand it, no one could!!  ::)

I think it's for that very reason I just have no desire to take on the task of home schooling. I know my limits and honestly feel my children would learn some subjects better from someone else than from me.  Even the subjects I am good at, I'm not terribly good at explaining things to others so I think someone trained to teach children certain concepts are better equipped to 'splain it to them than I am.

It's too bad you got such a horrible image of h'schooling based on your experience.  However, I doubt that most h'schooling parents would never act the way you describe your dad.  (btw, my dad was very similar!)  That's not to say that homeschooling parents don't get upset or yell.

If anything, hschooling parents realize that yelling and being impatient isn't going to get you anywhere and if that's the way you run a h'school, your kiddo will beg for regular school every day!  I know I would.  :)
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 18, 2013, 12:27:14 PM
I wasn't home schooled, that was just my experiences with homework and studying after school, and I'm not knocking homeschooling, I'm just saying I don't think it would be a good fit for our family is all.   There have been times I considered it, but decided they'd be better off in a school setting. 

As it is, when it comes to homework, I help them as much as I can with it and where math and science is concerned, if I'm stumped on a concept or can't remember how it worked, I tell them to ask their father when he gets home.  DH is one who is good at both those subjects but he's also patient and good at explaining tough concepts. 

I think the crucial part is if the parent, whether they're homeschooling or sending their child to school, is able to put their own ego aside and get help for their child from an outside source.  Ie getting a tutor for the child because sometimes a fresh approach or different teaching method might make it "click".  Or for a homeschooling parent, asking a friend or relative who is proficient at a subject teach it when they have the time. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 18, 2013, 12:37:23 PM
One of the things that was also important to me, as a homeschool teacher, was that we could do year-round school.  I've read a number of things about how much kids lose from taking summers off, and I didn't want that for my kids.  I don't know of any year-round schools, though.  We do miss school here and there and take days off when we need to get the house clean, or when we move and need to pack/unpack.  But those tend to be for short periods, and we often do *partial* schooling during that time (we might get some math, handwriting, reading, science, and geography done, but skip Chinese, spelling, and our extra math).  And since we don't usually take off for holidays like President's Day, we end up getting a lot more days in the school year, which I think helps the kids with consistency.  They don't forget as much, and they also maintain good habits about being able to sit and get work done when they need to, even work they don't like (my oldest is not a math fan, but as long as she's doing math every day without fail, she mostly accepts it without whining too much--which is good, because math is our top priority now that she's a solid reader).

I can't even imagine how bored my oldest, particularly, would be at school.  She'd be in the second half of kindergarten and learning the basics of reading those basic little first reader books.  It turns out that reading is her greatest strength, and she's reading on a solid third grade level.  She finished the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the other day.  And yet she needs a bit of extra help working through math problems and understanding the reasoning behind them.  I don't think she's exactly behind in math, but I could easily see her falling behind if she was being taught along with 20 other kids.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 18, 2013, 12:44:00 PM
I also do what we call "all day school".  If a teachable moment happens, I don't pass up on it just because it's 8pm, or a Saturday or some other non-traditional school time.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: LilacGirl1983 on February 18, 2013, 12:54:30 PM
I think home schooling is one of those things that works for some not for others...Some parents would do great at it some not so much..Its a parenting decision. I personally would not homeschool. I know I don't have the patience..and you can give a lot of info to the kids and have them learn a lot afters school with things that tie in what they learn so if they need more challenge you can work on what the school is teaching and giv them harder stuff...and a lot of schools now a days have gifted or advance classes for those who need the challenge. A lot of schools also let students go to college early and help pay for it! For more challenge...as for the sitting aspect if you look at a lot of jobs you are required to sit still for long periods of time..and at home you can let your chld go outside and play for 1/2 hour before doing homework or doing it after supper..so they can get their wiggles out
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 18, 2013, 01:39:55 PM
Fascinating thread. I know two girls about my age who were homeschooled (I went to traditional public school; many of my relatives are teachers). One, it was done for religious reasons. The other, her mom was not religious but thought the public school wasn't good enough for her children. It wasn't unsafe or anything, but it was a small school in a small town, no AP classes or anything like that. Both girls ended up attending the mainstream high school because their parents couldn't teach them properly at that level--I specifically remember something about not being able to fulfill the science lab requirements at home (this was 15 years ago or so, there are probably a lot more resources available now).

For both of them it was a difficult transition to high school. I don't think either one had been socialized well, especially not with kids who were different than they were. The secular one in particular was quite bright and consequently was sent to high school early and was several years younger than her classmates, which didn't help. We became good friends and she told me that her mother never kept her and her younger sister on a schedule, they just did whatever they wanted all day long, so she had to teach herself study habits, discipline, etc..

I haven't heard from the religious one in a while. I know she had a lot of trouble in college and went to at least three different universities, trying to find a place where she fit in. She ended up living in a state hundreds of miles away from her parents and rarely contacted them; she even got married secretly and didn't tell them for a while. The secular one and I were roommates in college and once she got adjusted to school you wouldn't have known she started out differently, except for being quite a bit younger than her peers. But she had a rough adjustment.

The other homeschooling family I know of is my cousin, who has chosen to homeschool her two elementary-age kids. I'm not really sure why; they are religious but they were attending a religious private school for a while, where their mother also worked as a teacher. At any rate, I have confidence in them because their mother has experience teaching, and they go on all kinds of field trips, get together with other kids for baking and crafts, etc.. They are probably the most well-mannered children I know.

My mother was a social worker for 30+ years and has a dislike of homeschooling because it was used as an isolation technique by many of the abusive parents she encountered. Obviously she was getting a biased sample there!

I have always been fascinated by schooling and curriculums and "playing school" and so forth, which is probably why I'm interested in homeschooling approaches and resources. I doubt I'd have the patience and discipline to teach a child myself, though. I think my parents did a good job of encouraging me to learn and excel, and I feel I've done well despite coming from a small school with few resources. So I think it really depends on the child's personality and needs, and whether the parent is willing to put the right kind of work and attitude into it.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: hobish on February 18, 2013, 03:21:21 PM

To partially quoe myself...

My sister was in home school for a while. It was so awful she went behind my parents back and took her GED at 16, then enrolled right in college. The program was terrible. There was so much misinformation it was near unbelievable. Her science book may as well have been one sentence, "...because God made it that way." History was a complete rewrite.

I wish i knew what the program was. It was a situation where once or twice a month they would meet up with other kids in the area for field trips or fun activities. I met a bunch of them and it was like something from South Park. Not only were they ill-educated they really had no idea how to behave -- more than one of them had no problem telling you that you would be going to hell if you didn't strictly follow/believe the way they did  - and their parents were fine with that. I never met a bunch of creepier kids.

I know this is going to be an unpopular sentiment; but it is my personal experience. I am sure there are normal homeschooled kids out there who grow up to be perfectly capable well rounded adults, there has to be; i just haven't met any of them.

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Jones on February 18, 2013, 03:28:43 PM
Hobish , I have to hope that your sister and I were in the same area . I met a group like that and hate to think there might be more than one.
ETA  I'm not talking about my "home" group from previous posts but a very zealous group located about 3 hours away that I dealt with a few times in an attempt to expand my horizons.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: heronlady on February 18, 2013, 03:33:00 PM
For my schooling, I did a combination of homeschooling, unschooling, and public schooling during Kindergarten-12th grade.

Kindergarten - Homeschooled (taught to read and do basic mathematics)
1st-4th - Public schooling (3 different schools, we moved around a lot due to divorce and my mom not getting any support from my father).
5th grade - Unschooled/home schooled - My mom had set goals we needed to accomplish but it was up to us on how to get there. There were some required reading and math things but I learned most of my vocabulary and reading skills from books and video games.
6th grade - Half public school, pulled out due to bullying and finished the rest doing a combination of home schooling and unschooling.
7th grade - Unschooled, with set goals again. Certain math learning requirements, and I was reading at a college level at this point so all of my reading/writing requirements were dropped. Learned most of vocabulary and social interaction skills from online video games.
8th grade - public schooled for half, got pulled out due to depression hitting an all time low, finished through a school-appointed tutor. At this point I was attending a youth group and volunteering with kindergarten students so I suppose that's where I learned more social interaction skills. Still played online video games.
9th grade - Unschooled for half, second half I was public schooled, depression became an issue again and I missed maybe 1/2 of my classes. Aced all my final exams that year, online video games provided a lot of my physics and math and logic education.
10th grade - Public schooling, but missed 3/4 of classes due to depression issues. They made a deal with me that if I passed all my exams for that year I'd be exempt for the rest of my classes. I aced them all, except for the environmental science portion of my biology class, so I finished that up with a small essay.
1 month of 11th grade - Public school, same as 10th grade, got pulled out real quickly.
11th-12th grade - charter school. At this point I had almost all the required classes I needed to graduate, I just had to fill in credit requirements so I took some economics and history classes and language classes. I had math and science completed in 11th grade, 12th grade I failed because I didn't do any of the work because it was boring. I retook and passed.

I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level. My social interaction levels are also above average. My school is a pass/fail system with emphasis on learning and core abilities - there are 4 levels and you need to pass them twice in order to graduate (along with passing all of your required courses for your major) and I have half of them done already, so I would say that homeschooling and unschooling have had no negative effect on my education.

I didn't actually learn all that much in public high school, I didn't go more than half of the time and I passed the final tests with As easily (I never studied. Such a good, disciplined student :P ). I think maybe I am abnormal, though.

I always learned better through self-learning and exploration. I refused to learn the times table in 4th grade because I thought it was dumb (stubbornness runs in the family!).

I think it helped that my mom actively engaged us (I have siblings, though not all of them followed the same path as I did) in our learnings and welcomed deep, philosophical conversations all throughout my education. She also taught all of us to read before 1st grade and I picked up on the basic mathematics really easily in kindergarten.

Her required reading and mathematics competency were higher than what was required of people in my same age group, so I feel like that is why I was so bored in high school. The online games I played really helped too. I learned most of what I know about economics, advanced mathematics, logic, physics, reading and writing, etc. from online video games (Everquest and World of Warcraft) and I also had a lot of social interaction on those games, from people of all age groups and all over the world. Some of my best friends today are people I've met online, and I've visited one of them (I was 18, I don't think my mom would've let me go if I wasn't already an adult).

I don't think I would recommend this for anyone, but it really worked for me. I really appreciate my mom's flexibility in allowing me to learn the way I learn best but she also imposed some requirements (like reading the Federalist Papers, and doing religious education, and math ability requirements, and science reasoning and logic).

The only thing I regret is spending so much time in public school in high school, because it really damaged me emotionally at the time. At the same time, I liked being in public school for the foreign language learning aspect. It's difficult to self-study. The charter school in 11th-12th grade allowed me to do 3rd year French, 2 years of Japanese, and 2 years of German, though, so that was nice.

Conversely, my brother (who has Asperger's) benefitted from public high school in many ways and in many ways it was more damaging to him than it was to me. The bullying was worse for him (I wasn't bullied past 6th grade, really) but he was able to be part of the football team which gave him a sense of camaraderie and belonging, and he worked with a speech therapist that helped him with social interaction (not speech, he was fine with that) who ended up being a huge advocate for him in school when the higher ups tried to get around the accommodations required in the IEP.

My sister would have benefitted from more homeschooling/unschooling - she was bullied heavily throughout school. She is an amazing and productive woman today, but that is mostly due to therapy, my mom's opennness, and attending the university I am attending (small, welcoming, accommodating, friendly. It's a call-professors-by-their-first-name type of atmosphere).

Um, so, I guess the point of this is that public school is perfect for some kids, but detrimental to others, and it's a shame that there aren't more options out there because kids really do all learn differently and need different things from their education. The charter school I went to in 11th-12th grade nearly lost funding because of some teacher's union thing. The atmosphere was definitely unfriendly in regards to homeschooling and charter schools.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sophie Jenkins on February 18, 2013, 03:46:48 PM
My family was closer to the "unschooling" side of the spectrum. My parents decided to homeschool for the first few years because my dad was dealing with a lot of kids from the local grade school who couldn't read. They wanted to make sure we had the basics down. After a couple years, they realized they enjoyed our company, we were learning a lot (and my mom was thrilled to find that our curiosity was driving her to learn more, as well!), and that the ability to have a schedule of our own was a huge benefit in our family life. My dad is a pastor, and almost all his evenings were spent in meetings. Being home during the day meant that he could stop at the house for lunch between sermon-writing and in-home visits. If we'd been in a conventional school we would have rarely seen my dad.

Out of six of us, one has a degree in Asian Studies, another sibling has a degree in sciences, a third just graduated with a communications degree, and one is in nursing school. I decided to forgo college because I could support myself with the job I had and loved, and my youngest sister has a condition that many doctors and specialists said would lead to her never being able to read and comprehend what she read- and though she has a lot of learning disabilities, she's reading like a champ and is leaps and bounds ahead of where she was predicted to be.

The thing is, it's not for everyone. In my family, we were all very self-motivated learners with so much curiosity you could drown in it. Some people need more structure (my husband, for example, loves the traditional classroom setting. it's what's best for him). Education is such a personal thing, and no one way is ever going to be right for all families.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: kareng57 on February 18, 2013, 10:17:37 PM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote


I would have to agree.  I tried to teach music-lessons to my own son - it only took a few weeks to realize that it just would not work.  It was not that I didn't have the knowledge - but I wasn't a teacher.  Most of my "lessons" ended up with at least one of us in tears.

A short time later, we registered him with a student teacher.  Parents are not always great teachers.

No, but you recognized the fact that you needed assistance and went in search of how to better serve your child.


But, that's not what you said in your "any parent"...post.

I would also not have been a good teacher for reading, math, etc. even though technically I would have been able to teach these concepts at least through middle school.  I have a great respect for public school teachers, and figure that they went through a university curriculum for a good reason.  Knowledge does not equate how-to-teach.

You seem to be implying that any parents who do have the knowledge to teach their children, but choose to send them to either public or private schools, are simply being lazy.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 19, 2013, 05:37:42 AM
Any parent can teach their child better than a school teacher.
I find this statement to be shockingly condescending and very offensive to those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching.  One wouldn't say this about their children's paediatrician or spiritual leader in such a blanket, flat-out statement of fact; why do teachers earn this disrespect?

edited to fix quote


I would have to agree.  I tried to teach music-lessons to my own son - it only took a few weeks to realize that it just would not work.  It was not that I didn't have the knowledge - but I wasn't a teacher.  Most of my "lessons" ended up with at least one of us in tears.

A short time later, we registered him with a student teacher.  Parents are not always great teachers.

No, but you recognized the fact that you needed assistance and went in search of how to better serve your child.


But, that's not what you said in your "any parent"...post.

I would also not have been a good teacher for reading, math, etc. even though technically I would have been able to teach these concepts at least through middle school.  I have a great respect for public school teachers, and figure that they went through a university curriculum for a good reason.  Knowledge does not equate how-to-teach.

You seem to be implying that any parents who do have the knowledge to teach their children, but choose to send them to either public or private schools, are simply being lazy.

Lazy? I have a son in public school and I homeschool one child so that's definitely not what I said.  If that's what you took from my words, well, so be it.  I'm not going to defend myself or my views, they are what they are.  You don't have to agree with me. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Kimblee on February 19, 2013, 03:09:06 PM
One of the things that was also important to me, as a homeschool teacher, was that we could do year-round school.  I've read a number of things about how much kids lose from taking summers off, and I didn't want that for my kids.  I don't know of any year-round schools, though.  We do miss school here and there and take days off when we need to get the house clean, or when we move and need to pack/unpack.  But those tend to be for short periods, and we often do *partial* schooling during that time (we might get some math, handwriting, reading, science, and geography done, but skip Chinese, spelling, and our extra math).  And since we don't usually take off for holidays like President's Day, we end up getting a lot more days in the school year, which I think helps the kids with consistency.  They don't forget as much, and they also maintain good habits about being able to sit and get work done when they need to, even work they don't like (my oldest is not a math fan, but as long as she's doing math every day without fail, she mostly accepts it without whining too much--which is good, because math is our top priority now that she's a solid reader).

I can't even imagine how bored my oldest, particularly, would be at school.  She'd be in the second half of kindergarten and learning the basics of reading those basic little first reader books.  It turns out that reading is her greatest strength, and she's reading on a solid third grade level.  She finished the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the other day.  And yet she needs a bit of extra help working through math problems and understanding the reasoning behind them.  I don't think she's exactly behind in math, but I could easily see her falling behind if she was being taught along with 20 other kids.

I'm weirdly happy to hear you consider handwriting to be important. In school here in Texas apparently handwriting is less important than learning to take bubble sheet tests because we stopped working on it in 2nd grade. And in our school it REALLY showed.

A friend of mine is home schooling her kid, and had a composition book that they have kept for about a year and a half, and its fun to look at page one, then flip through to the last page, because you can watch her shaky "kid" handwriting turn beautiful.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on February 19, 2013, 03:27:04 PM
I can say as an aspiring teacher that a parent is the best teacher a child can have. Not necessarily of algebra and physics and French, but of learning. Teaching in public schools makes me shake my heads at how many parents do not view themselves as any part of their child's educational team. They do not read to their kids, try to help them with their homework, or really take any interest in their schoolwork at all, and it shows. The parents who care about teaching their kids have kids that shine. Even the kids who are not academically inclined take their work more seriously, don't goof off or act up as much, and are prouder of their work. A teacher, even the best teacher in the world, can't have the same level of influence that a parent can have, and a parent as a teacher is vital. Parents have a responsibility to their children to help them learn the best they can, to teach them as much as they can, and to take an active interest in their knowledge base.

So even if a parent doesn't know when the Battle of Agincourt was fought, they can still do a lot more than tell the kid to just go look it up alone. They can actively engage in their child's learning life, and look it up with the child, or even just talk a little bit about what history they remember. Anything that shows that their parents value learning. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 19, 2013, 03:41:29 PM
I can say as an aspiring teacher that a parent is the best teacher a child can have. Not necessarily of algebra and physics and French, but of learning. Teaching in public schools makes me shake my heads at how many parents do not view themselves as any part of their child's educational team. They do not read to their kids, try to help them with their homework, or really take any interest in their schoolwork at all, and it shows. The parents who care about teaching their kids have kids that shine. Even the kids who are not academically inclined take their work more seriously, don't goof off or act up as much, and are prouder of their work. A teacher, even the best teacher in the world, can't have the same level of influence that a parent can have, and a parent as a teacher is vital. Parents have a responsibility to their children to help them learn the best they can, to teach them as much as they can, and to take an active interest in their knowledge base.

So even if a parent doesn't know when the Battle of Agincourt was fought, they can still do a lot more than tell the kid to just go look it up alone. They can actively engage in their child's learning life, and look it up with the child, or even just talk a little bit about what history they remember. Anything that shows that their parents value learning.

Well said.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 19, 2013, 03:44:39 PM
I can say as an aspiring teacher that a parent is the best teacher a child can have. Not necessarily of algebra and physics and French, but of learning. Teaching in public schools makes me shake my heads at how many parents do not view themselves as any part of their child's educational team. They do not read to their kids, try to help them with their homework, or really take any interest in their schoolwork at all, and it shows. The parents who care about teaching their kids have kids that shine. Even the kids who are not academically inclined take their work more seriously, don't goof off or act up as much, and are prouder of their work. A teacher, even the best teacher in the world, can't have the same level of influence that a parent can have, and a parent as a teacher is vital. Parents have a responsibility to their children to help them learn the best they can, to teach them as much as they can, and to take an active interest in their knowledge base.

So even if a parent doesn't know when the Battle of Agincourt was fought, they can still do a lot more than tell the kid to just go look it up alone. They can actively engage in their child's learning life, and look it up with the child, or even just talk a little bit about what history they remember. Anything that shows that their parents value learning.

Well said.

Kendo, perfectly stated. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 19, 2013, 04:14:57 PM
I live in an area where a lot of kids seem to not have much educational support at home and it seems rather sad.   Some parents don't even make sure their kids get off to school on time or even attend.   I swear one day there was just enough snow on the grass to be a dusting but there was nothing on the ground, and a mother was OUTRAGED there was school and wouldn't take her kids in.

Mind you it would require her walking them to school, as there's no bus and she didn't have a car. So I think it was more "I'm too lazy to walk my kids to school but I'm not about to admit it so I'm going to pretend like they shouldn't be expected to go!"  ::) Often I see two other boys who are brothers leaving for school (they walk past our house) at 10pm or later (school starts at 9).  One of the crossing guards (who was quite a bit of a gossip) told me that it's been reported to the proper services that the boys are repeatedly truant or very late.   
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MrsJWine on February 19, 2013, 04:20:46 PM
I grew up with a family of homeschoolers. I've met others since, but they and some of their friends from their local group are what I think of when I hear "homeschool." To the best of my knowledge, I don't know any kids who fit the stereotype: weird, socially awkward, women in prairie dresses, etc. They are smart, funny, and socially capable. I don't know much about them academically, but the one who was closest to my age went to grad school for the classics in a very rigorous program. I used to be kind of jealous of them. They did so many fun things, and they were so self-driven, something I've always lacked. Their parents were really great people, and the whole family seemed really tightly-knit. They definitely did not suffer as a result of homeschooling. Because of that family, I was actually set on homeschooling my own children.

And then I had some actual children.

I could see homeschooling my younger one, but my older one and I are so much alike in all the wrong ways. Even when she was a young child, trying to gently get her to recognize letters, I was met with this wall of resistance (I don't mean that I sat her down and tried to MAKE HER LEARN; I just mean that I would point to a letter once in the course of an entire book, and she did not like that). Her preschool teacher tells me she's very inquisitive and will often choose sitting down to learn over going to play. But our personalities do not mesh. I think I would be terrible for her, at least at this age.

So my opinion on homeschooling has changed over the years. I used to think that if you could do it (and do it well), it was usually the best way to educate your children. Now I am sure that it's one of those things that depends almost completely on the personalities involved.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sharnita on February 19, 2013, 04:29:17 PM
Yeah, there are a huge variety of parents and kids out there.  Most parents I've known personally and professionally have been great, whether their kids are in home, private or public schools.  That being said, there are also parents who teach their kids racial slurs, who teach their kids to slur, who insist their kids respond to any sort of challenge or insult with physical violence.  There are a few parents who turn to home schooling to avoid truancy issues, to hide child abuse issues, to provide child care for other children, etc. While these certainly aren't most parents, their existence is enough to disprove the argument that parents are always the best teachers or even that they always want the best for their kids.  There are some parents out there who are really mistaken about what the best is and there are some parents who are really self-serving. I am glad Roe has never had to encounter them but they exist.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: twiggy on February 19, 2013, 05:01:18 PM
I have been interested in homeschooling. DS is in a Pre-K program offered by the public school district. I loved last semester, and he had a great time. Then, this semester he ended up getting a new teacher. He is faking stomach aches to stay home, and he's being sent home with homework packets every week. He's 4 and is already starting to hate school. Niece is in the same program, but at a different school. She is on teacher #6. I have concerns about DS being faced with a future of revolving faces, and basically trusting his education to the luck of the draw.

OTOH I don't know if I can be the best teacher for my kids. I have time management issues, and I don't know if I'm organized enough to make it work long term. I do think that I will keep DD and the Baby home until Kindergarten though.

My goal is to let my kids' teachers do what they can, and supplement where I can. Right now the kids are 4yo, 2yo and 7mo. We go to the zoo and learn about animals, where they live, what they eat, when they sleep, etc. We have a garden that the kids help me plant, tend and harvest. That leads to very basic discussions about plants' needs (sun, water, good soil) and where food comes from. I bring the kids into the kitchen for whatever they can handle, and we read every day. I try to explain anything that DS asks me about, and when I don't know the answer, I admit it and we look it up.

My point is that I don't think that I can successfully teach my son everything he needs to know and give him a well rounded education. However, it's still primarily MY responsibility to make sure that he is educated.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 19, 2013, 05:30:52 PM
I have been interested in homeschooling. DS is in a Pre-K program offered by the public school district. I loved last semester, and he had a great time. Then, this semester he ended up getting a new teacher. He is faking stomach aches to stay home, and he's being sent home with homework packets every week. He's 4 and is already starting to hate school. Niece is in the same program, but at a different school. She is on teacher #6. I have concerns about DS being faced with a future of revolving faces, and basically trusting his education to the luck of the draw.

That sort of thing (the homework packets) was one reason I considered home schooling before we moved here.  In the previous school district, they were rather competitive and my oldest would fake stomachaches to stay or come home, and they would both come home with enough worksheets to amount to at least a half hour of homework and that's not factoring in the time it took to try and make them do it.   I even pulled them out of a daycare because the eldest's kindergarten teacher was concerned because he'd melt down and didn't want to do anymore work.   (he was in afternoon K)

Turns out the daycare teacher was giving him more work to do that was more like first grade level math because she thought he should be able to handle it.  After a switch of daycare centers (because the director of the first supported this teacher) my eldest did just fine in kindergarten and didn't melt down anymore.  Then when he was in 2nd grade his teacher basically told me, when I mentioned he'd struggled with a book report, that I could have just done it for him, that's what the other parents did.  ??? ::)

We moved here and suddenly the boys liked going to school and didn't want to miss a day.  It's the same state so the requirements are the same but all the teachers seem to be better at making learning fun instead of a chore.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Elisabunny on February 19, 2013, 07:40:56 PM
I have been interested in homeschooling. DS is in a Pre-K program offered by the public school district. I loved last semester, and he had a great time. Then, this semester he ended up getting a new teacher. He is faking stomach aches to stay home, and he's being sent home with homework packets every week. He's 4 and is already starting to hate school. Niece is in the same program, but at a different school. She is on teacher #6. I have concerns about DS being faced with a future of revolving faces, and basically trusting his education to the luck of the draw.

OTOH I don't know if I can be the best teacher for my kids. I have time management issues, and I don't know if I'm organized enough to make it work long term. I do think that I will keep DD and the Baby home until Kindergarten though.

My goal is to let my kids' teachers do what they can, and supplement where I can. Right now the kids are 4yo, 2yo and 7mo. We go to the zoo and learn about animals, where they live, what they eat, when they sleep, etc. We have a garden that the kids help me plant, tend and harvest. That leads to very basic discussions about plants' needs (sun, water, good soil) and where food comes from. I bring the kids into the kitchen for whatever they can handle, and we read every day. I try to explain anything that DS asks me about, and when I don't know the answer, I admit it and we look it up.

My point is that I don't think that I can successfully teach my son everything he needs to know and give him a well rounded education. However, it's still primarily MY responsibility to make sure that he is educated.

For pre-school, you might look into Joy School http://www.valuesparenting.com/joyschool/.  Some of my friends have done it, and really liked it.  It's basically a co-op preschool with 3-6 parents per group, who take turns teaching.   
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Deetee on February 20, 2013, 12:56:38 PM
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Onyx_TKD on February 20, 2013, 01:38:13 PM
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)

No, it's not. Heronlady's statement was imprecise, because she didn't specify the type of average or the population over which it was taken, but it is not false by definition.

First, "average (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average)" can mean different things. If "average" refers to the arithmetic mean, which is a common usage, it can be skewed by particularly high or low values. If the performance of a few top students was high enough above the rest, the majority of the class could be performing below the class average. It may be unlikely, but not impossible. OTOH, if "average" refers to the median, then by definition half of the population performs at or above the median and the other half at or below. However, that brings up the second point.

The average depends on the population over which it is computed. If the population is all students in the state, or in the country, or in the entire world, or even just all students in the school (including all years), then it is possible for all or most students in a subpopulation (like a year or class) to be below average. Again, it may be unlikely, but it's not impossible by definition.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: SiotehCat on February 20, 2013, 02:24:06 PM
My dad always helped me with my homework, but I think we would have had big problems if he had tried to home-school me.

I was convinced that I was so much smarter than my parents. I was sure that they were trying to kill my soul. So, my father would help me with my homework and I would immediately tune him out. Then he would whack me on the forehead with a pencil to bring me back. There is nothing that he could do to me that would hurt me. Time out? Okay. Ground me? Alright.

Teachers calling me out in class would completely embarrass me. Of course I needed to do well in school. I didn't want all of my friends thinking that I was stupid and laughing at me.

Many years later, I was taking a math class at the local community college and asked DH to help me. It was like I was right back at the kitchen table with my father, except DH couldn't whack me with the pencil.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: daen on February 20, 2013, 03:57:53 PM
I have neither home-schooled nor been home-schooled, but I have had some exposure to the homeschooling circles in my area. (I worked for a homeschool curricula & resources distributor, several families in my church homeschool, my sister has homeschooled, and I work in a library where I've assisted a variety of homeschool groups.) Reading this thread has generated a number of unconnected responses.

1. I've seen a lot of homeschooling parents who put in serious effort. They research curricula to find the best fit, or they build individualized curricula based on pre-existing guidelines. They place multiple inter-library loans to get age-appropriate enrichment materials. They hold their children to high standards, and put a lot of time into prep, teaching, and testing, as well as various enrichment activities. On the other I have also seen one homeschooling parent who did not know the difference between an encyclopedia and a dictionary, and was not interested in finding out.

2. My exposure has mostly been to those who homeschool for religious reasons, and the more conservative among them seem to gravitate to curricula with a limited worldview and in some cases limited critical thinking skills. There are a number of private schools in my area that mostly consist of kids sitting at desks using this conservative curriculum, with an adult (usually 18-25) who may or may not have completed high school acting  as teacher. This worries me.

3. There are a lot of excellent resources and curricula out there, though, and I wish that they had been available for my husband, who was exactly the wrong kind of temperament and skill sets for standard classroom education. I can't name names at this point, as it's been a few years since I worked at the distributors, but there were some great series on fostering critical thinking, grammar, foreign languages (including Latin, which intrigues me), and the like, in addition to the core maths, sciences, and English.

4. The library where I work hires high school students as assistants, and we do like hiring homeschoolers - the ones we've hired have been disciplined, well-read, polite, and their flexible schedules are a bonus.

5. Children will value what they see their parents value. One of the basic ideas of encouraging child literacy is to let your children see you reading - for yourself, not just to them. That conveys that reading is also an adult pursuit; it's not just picture books that you grow out of. In the same way, parents that value education by checking on what the kids are learning, keeping them accountable to finish their work, helping (or arranging help) where needed, will show the kids that this is important. While that might not pay off right away, long-term at least some of that attitude will stick.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: heronlady on February 20, 2013, 07:42:49 PM
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


I was using average as an adjective, which generally means normal, regular, typical, neither very good nor very bad, etc. So, in this case, most students are average. There are a few that perform at a higher level than that, and a few that perform at a lower level than that. Average refers to the range of typical ability among the students in my year, at my university.

Outside of mathematics, I have always used average to mean typical and regular, and that's how I've seen it used in most other places as well.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: JoW on February 20, 2013, 08:16:38 PM
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky. 

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Deetee on February 20, 2013, 08:20:31 PM
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


I was using average as an adjective, which generally means normal, regular, typical, neither very good nor very bad, etc. So, in this case, most students are average. There are a few that perform at a higher level than that, and a few that perform at a lower level than that. Average refers to the range of typical ability among the students in my year, at my university.

Outside of mathematics, I have always used average to mean typical and regular, and that's how I've seen it used in most other places as well.


For your statement to be correct in reasoning (which is why this sentence jumped out at me; it was discussing reasoning) the vast majority of the students would need to be average in order for you to be "pretty much one of the only ones" above average. Eg: 100 students with 90 average students, 5 above average and 5 below average would make someone "pretty much one of the only ones".

From my time both as a student and teaching at universities, I have yet to see a class grade distribution like that. Even with a rather broad "average", you'd end up with a third average, a third above and a third below (as a simplification and ignoring some weighting issues with students getting zero etc..)



Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Rohanna on February 20, 2013, 10:18:22 PM
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.

Never mind- there's also the issue of severely dyslexic, aspergers, low-IQ, illiterate, poor language skills due to immigration or other cultural issues, hearing or sight-impaired parents- to name a few issues. What happens if Mum has to work and Dad has an acquired brain injury? What about my husband- who's Dad is a first-generation immigrant with a Grade 2 education from another country and a severe learning disability and a speech impediment- he's functionally illiterate. I also see parents through my job who have barely-functional level IQs, but with monitoring and social assistance are able to parent.

This doesn't even touch the social issues like single parents, extreme low-income families where both parents (and often the older children) must work (not- "oh I stay home, it just means couponing and cutting out starbucks" budgeting- I mean "if we all don't go apple picking and scrounging cans, we don't eat" poor), neglectful families, special-needs children, and so on. My father would NOT be where he is today if he had not won a scholarship as a "charity" child to a good boarding school- his parents were barely literate, neglectful lower-working class folk. They would never have been able to teach him to level that he was able to attain via good teachers and access to resources.

There's a very "sheltered" attitude that comes from some home-schooling parents. An assumption that every parent has the knowledge of how to teach, what to teach, and why to teach it. The lack of understanding of how difficult it can be for some people to access resources, or afford them even if they could. Add to this the sheer *fear* some people have of things beyond their experience.

My FIL is scared of museums and anything of that ilk- he doesn't understand them, doesn't see the point of them, and is honestly afraid that he'll be mocked for going to one-- that things like that aren't for people like him. If it wasn't for the fact that he could sign his son up for school, and that school "took care of that kind of thing" my husband would have grown up with no exposure to art, or music beyond the country radio station, or reading beyond what could be sounded out of the newspaper headlines. Was his school experience perfect? No.... and certainly a well educated, dedicated parent could *probably* have done better. On the other hand, maybe not- because my husband was a pig-headed, stubborn child that would cut his own nose off rather than listen to his parents. 

So, if you have the time, the money, the resources, the energy- the ability- homeschool if you like. If you put the effort into doing it right, your kids will probably have just as much chance of turning out well as they would from the average school. Just don't assume that because you can do it, it's the right choice for everyone. Children in other countries risk life and limb for the chance to attend and learn at the institutions we have the priviledge of scorning here.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: heronlady on February 20, 2013, 10:48:52 PM
Quote
I am in my 2nd year of university now, and am pretty much one of the only ones in my year that is writing and reasoning at an above average level.

Actually, you aren't.

About half of your class is writing at an above average level and about half of your class is reasoning at an above average level. That's a requirement for defining "average".

(Unless, of course, your year consists of 2-5 students in total.)


I was using average as an adjective, which generally means normal, regular, typical, neither very good nor very bad, etc. So, in this case, most students are average. There are a few that perform at a higher level than that, and a few that perform at a lower level than that. Average refers to the range of typical ability among the students in my year, at my university.

Outside of mathematics, I have always used average to mean typical and regular, and that's how I've seen it used in most other places as well.


For your statement to be correct in reasoning (which is why this sentence jumped out at me; it was discussing reasoning) the vast majority of the students would need to be average in order for you to be "pretty much one of the only ones" above average. Eg: 100 students with 90 average students, 5 above average and 5 below average would make someone "pretty much one of the only ones".

From my time both as a student and teaching at universities, I have yet to see a class grade distribution like that. Even with a rather broad "average", you'd end up with a third average, a third above and a third below (as a simplification and ignoring some weighting issues with students getting zero etc..)

Perhaps we are speaking from different frameworks and that there might be a misunderstanding because I have not been very specific.

I think I understand what you are saying, though - if I score in the 95th percentile regularly in standardized tests, I am not "one of the only ones" who is above average because 50th percentile is average, and therefore everyone above that is above average, and everyone below that is below average. Am I correct?

My university operates on a pass/fail, ability-based learning system so I do not know much about weighting or averaging grades.

What I meant to say was that of the sophomore students, the vast majority write and reason at a sophomore level. A few perform at a lower level, and a few perform at a higher level. I am one of the students that perform at a higher level. I used average to mean the people who perform at grade level, and above average to refer to the few who perform at a higher level.

I have seen average used in that sense much more often than I have seen it used in the math/statistics sense, but I do not have much of a background in the latter so perhaps that's why I am misunderstanding.

Thank you for catching that, though. I will be more careful in how I use the word average from now on.

(In case tone is not clear here, I am sincere, not being snarky.)
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: kareng57 on February 20, 2013, 10:58:41 PM
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.


It was pretty much unheard-of when I was a kid, too.  However, I became acquainted with a woman who was diagnosed with severe heart disease as an infant.  Initially, her parents were told that she would likely not live for more than a few months.  Then, when she was about 3, they did some corrective surgery but again - her parents were told that she'd live maybe a couple of more years, no more.

She was stubborn and kept living. :)  So when she got to be about 5 years old, the doctors acknowledged that maybe she'd live for a few more years, but it would be too risky to send her to school - too much risk of infection.  This was about 1960.  The only option was to use correspondence-school - at that time, it was generally for kids who were in extremely remote areas.  Well - her mom did an awesome job (I knew her mom too).  She'd had no previous teaching experience herself, but in fact J's younger brother (he was a couple of years younger) ended up skipping a grade because he'd absorbed so much of J's lessons from her mother.  And of course this far from the era when home-schooling-lessons could be easily downloaded from the Net - J's mother had to rely on the mail.

And when J was about 11 or 12 - the doctors kind of figured that there was nothing to lose at that stage, so they gave the okay for her to enter regular school.  She did great and achieved a degree in Library Science eventually.  Did she have a long life? - no, she died at about age 48.  But she'd had a lot longer life than the previous prediction.

Overall - would every parent would have been able to do what J's mom did?  I don't think so, I probably could not have.  I would have probably have had to hire a tutor.  But sometimes if there's a clear necessity it can work out.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 21, 2013, 01:01:23 AM
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.

Never mind- there's also the issue of severely dyslexic, aspergers, low-IQ, illiterate, poor language skills due to immigration or other cultural issues, hearing or sight-impaired parents- to name a few issues. What happens if Mum has to work and Dad has an acquired brain injury? What about my husband- who's Dad is a first-generation immigrant with a Grade 2 education from another country and a severe learning disability and a speech impediment- he's functionally illiterate. I also see parents through my job who have barely-functional level IQs, but with monitoring and social assistance are able to parent.

This doesn't even touch the social issues like single parents, extreme low-income families where both parents (and often the older children) must work (not- "oh I stay home, it just means couponing and cutting out starbucks" budgeting- I mean "if we all don't go apple picking and scrounging cans, we don't eat" poor), neglectful families, special-needs children, and so on. My father would NOT be where he is today if he had not won a scholarship as a "charity" child to a good boarding school- his parents were barely literate, neglectful lower-working class folk. They would never have been able to teach him to level that he was able to attain via good teachers and access to resources.

There's a very "sheltered" attitude that comes from some home-schooling parents. An assumption that every parent has the knowledge of how to teach, what to teach, and why to teach it. The lack of understanding of how difficult it can be for some people to access resources, or afford them even if they could. Add to this the sheer *fear* some people have of things beyond their experience.

My FIL is scared of museums and anything of that ilk- he doesn't understand them, doesn't see the point of them, and is honestly afraid that he'll be mocked for going to one-- that things like that aren't for people like him. If it wasn't for the fact that he could sign his son up for school, and that school "took care of that kind of thing" my husband would have grown up with no exposure to art, or music beyond the country radio station, or reading beyond what could be sounded out of the newspaper headlines. Was his school experience perfect? No.... and certainly a well educated, dedicated parent could *probably* have done better. On the other hand, maybe not- because my husband was a pig-headed, stubborn child that would cut his own nose off rather than listen to his parents. 

So, if you have the time, the money, the resources, the energy- the ability- homeschool if you like. If you put the effort into doing it right, your kids will probably have just as much chance of turning out well as they would from the average school. Just don't assume that because you can do it, it's the right choice for everyone. Children in other countries risk life and limb for the chance to attend and learn at the institutions we have the priviledge of scorning here.

Wow.  There's an awful lot of interesting assumptions here.

I'm a dyslexic, dirt poor single mother unable to hold down a regular job due to the medical needs of my children. I have an income of $360/mo and I'd be homeless if I didn't move in with my parents. 

I also have a BS in Mathematics with minors in Biology, Chemistry and English Literature, an MS in Math with a statistics concentration and a year of Ph.D coursework in Biostatistics.  I also hold valid teaching licences in three states and have ten years of classroom teaching at the middle school and community college levels.

I homeschool my children.  They aren't sheltered.  Actually, they've dealt with a lot more in life than most adults.

Nobody has said that all parents make wonderful academic teachers.  One poster said something that got misinterpreted as such, and she came back to clarify what she meant.  Parents are always the child's first teachers.  That's how it should be.  Some parents might not be able to teach math and science, or teach a 5 year old to read, but they can teach children how to love and live.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Rohanna on February 21, 2013, 01:34:51 AM
Then you have the education and drive to overcome your obstacles (which many do not). You have parents to fall back on since your income disappeared (many do not). That still doesn't address people who have *no* education, *no* security net, and no knowledge of how to even start preparing a child for their future.

 I don't think I'm made a single "interesting assumption" so much as I've pointed out the many potential road-blocks that face parents when educating their children. Could someone overcome them? Sure. Can most people? I'd bet not. The worst part is, many are not even interested in doing so- if the government did not provide and mandate schooling- many of these children would simply never be given a chance. Look at any country where public education is *not* a right to see how well that plays out- and who it hits hardest (hint: it's not generally the boys or the wealthy).

How do you overcome a traumatic brain injury? How do you overcome a functional IQ of a 10-12 year old to teach your child advanced algebra at 15 or 16? How do you teach advanced subjects while also holding down one or two jobs and learning a new language yourself? It's not an "interesting assumption" to say that the many (and I'm not talking just this thread - when I say "homeschoolers" I mean the wider community) parents who insist that anyone who uses public education is not doing the best for their child are *not* thinking of the fact that for many children it is their best shot at a decent, well-rounded education due to the socio-economic, cultural and personal realities many families face.


 I am curious thought as to where you live that you receive so little to care for children to ill to attend school- that seems very wrong of your society to provide for a family in your situation so poorly and I'm sorry you've been put in that situation. Where I live there are minimum caps on social-welfare, and I believe severely disabled children can qualify for their own support payments as well. In fact, I know that school boards *have* to provide assistance in educating disabled children here- even if it means providing a home-teacher/tutor.

 You can be proud that you are able to provide for your children in spite of your hardships- but for the average child with parents less able than you, an education in "how to love and live" is probably not going to get them very far in today's world- assuming their parents are able and even interested in providing that much.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 21, 2013, 05:25:29 AM
Not one single assumption?  Rohanna, you've made too many 'interesting assumptions.' 

I will, however, admit that homeschooling isn't for everyone.  Not everyone can afford it (singe family income), not everyone wants to do it (regardless of capability), etc.   There are many who face severe road blocks and depending on the severity of those issues, they either don't homeschool or work around those issues.  Every family, every case, every child is different.  I'm sure a parent with a low IQ either wouldn't homeschool or would provide tutors or outside classes for their child.  Knowing your limits is all part of homeschooling. 

I've never heard anyone say people who "use public school education [aren't] doing the best for their children."  As a matter of fact, I have a son in public school and so do many of other homeschoolers I know. (have a child or two in public school and vice versa) Anyone who makes such a statement is making "interesting assumptions." 

Just because I choose to homeschool my youngest, that's not a statement on anyone else's life decisions. Homeschooling is a very personal choice.

Mmswm: Thanks for trying to clarify a bit more on what I said.   :)
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Rohanna on February 21, 2013, 07:53:40 AM
I don't think we are using assumption to mean the same thing, and it's not an assumption to refute points actually stated in this thread- never mind outside of it. There have been several posters who have made comments stating that "parents are the best teachers or that anyone can teach" and it's simply not true. The people who are making assumptions here are the ones who think that every parent thinks and has the resources like they and their self-selected, educated, and loving group of home-schooling friends do- and while I would love to live in a world where that was true- we don't.  Having a strong (and your list of degrees is impressive) educational background makes such a monumentally huge difference to the ability to teach that it's ridiculous to compare to someone in the exact same shoes as you, but with only a grade one or two education.

For instance MommyPenguins statement of "Most teachers don't have that kind of knowledge, either.  Most of their education is in teaching itself, not in the subjects they teach..... Just about anybody has the basic knowledge needed to help their child through elementary and probably most middle school educational material, maybe looking things up here and there. Just about anybody has the basic knowledge needed to help their child through elementary and probably most middle school educational material, maybe looking things up here and there." simply isn't true. There are many areas of N America where the average parent *doesn't* have the basic knowledge to help their child - in immigrant families ".... immigrants arriving as adults with relatively little education..... There are 10.4 million students from immigrant households in public schools, accounting for one in five public school students. Of these students, 78 percent speak a language other than English at home." (http://www.cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population_) - Do these parents have the ability to teach their children at a higher level than they've attained, in a language they may still be struggling with? What about the racial inequality of education in the US, where only 65% of Hispanic young adults had completed high school  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_achievement_gap_in_the_United_States) - these young adults will face extreme barriers in teaching their own children, if they have struggled in school themselves.

Those aren't assumptions, they are numbers- numbers of people who face educational barriers. People who's parents can't just dust off their rusty knowledge of high-school geography because they don't *have* the knowledge and never did. They can't "learn along with the kids" as someone suggested, because they can't read the material, and don't know to access it in the first place. If you, your parents, and your friends, and your friends parents never learned about a subject- and are unaware of it or it's importance- are you going to know to go find it and teach it?



Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 21, 2013, 08:17:39 AM
Rohanna, we can sit here and talk about "what if's" or numbers all day. 

Instead, I'll just sit here, by the fireplace on a very cold Thursday morning, and enjoy the sound of my son playing his piano. 

I know I'm doing the right thing for him.  That's all that matters to me.  Numbers don't mean much when I see the creativity, confidence and knowledge he gets from homeschooling. 

This morning, he hopped in bed with me and we got a few quiet moments to discuss our day before he decided to go work on the stop-motion animation project he's creating.  He attends classes twice a week so he's looking forward to his 3D Robotics and Spanish classes tomorrow. 

So if others were to ask my advice about homeschooling, I'd have only positive things to say.  Statistics don't matter much to the individual if your experience don't mesh with the numbers.  :) 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: LadyL on February 21, 2013, 08:20:04 AM
If I may interject in the current discussion - I think part of the problem in the statement that "almost every parent can be a teacher/homeschooler if they want to" is that for anyone who might like to homeschool but can't, it puts the burden and guilt on them for not making it work. It can also ignore real barriers to homeschooling (or just higher parental involvement in general). For example, if we had kids, LordL makes enough money that I could stay home and homeschool. However, we are both very career oriented in fast paced fields where neither of us can afford to take off 6 months, never mind several years. It would be career suicide - there are many dysfunctional views and policies about parental leave in both our fields. There are other people with similar barriers - posters here have mentioned personality types that are not compatible with that of their children in a teaching environment. I'm sure factors like parents who are on disability for health issues, or single parents lacking resources, or immigrants without a strong grasp of English, can also present barriers to homeschooling.

Acting like those barriers don't exist, or should be easily overcome by almost anyone, can be seen as saying "well, it's your fault you didn't work hard enough to make it happen." It's a similar attitude to "why don't you just get a job" in this economy - it's not that simple.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 21, 2013, 08:25:05 AM
LadyL, I realize I didn't state my opinion in a very clear manner. That was my fault and I hope I cleared it up.  If not, well, that's fine.  I still do believe parents make the best teachers for their children, even if those children are in public school. And I'm not necessarily talking math and writing.  But I'll stop before my words get me in trouble again. :)

For the OP, Honeypickle, thank you for such an intereseting discussion!!!  Truly, I mean that.  It's been awhile since I thought about homeschooling as something different and unique.  Trying to explain my decision isn't something I come across everyday. (lucky me, I know)  It's made me even more secure in the fact that our path is the right path, at least for my youngest. 

Oh and I also wanted to pass along this video.  Maybe this will answer some of your questions.  OP, if you truly want to homeschool, give it a try!  If it doesn't work out, well, at least you'll know.  Trust me, if I could go back in time, I would definitely homeschool all my children and not just my youngest. 

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Rohanna on February 21, 2013, 08:55:00 AM
So you really think that if public schooling suddenly ceased to exist, that the majority of parents would suddenly become wonderful teachers and that the majority of children would continue to be educated to the degree they are now? If home-schooling was outlawed, most home-schooling parents would continue to be supportive, pro-active and supplement and add to their children's education- I've seen that the reverse is not true.

In places like Northern Canada, where access to teachers and schools for Native children is abysmal and disgraceful I can tell you that the slack is *not* picked up by parents- the children are for the most part simply left uneducated. Reservations in Canada are a living and breathing example of the difference public schooling makes in most children's lives- the very reason governments get into the business of teaching children in the first place. If every parent could and would teach, these children would not be as woefully undereducated as they are.

In reality, in both Canada and the US many schools have to run breakfast programs because so many parents are too lazy, too poor, too busy, or too uneducated in the importance of breakfast to feed kids before school. And yet you think these parents are still somehow going to be the "best teachers" when they can barely manage the basics of "food, water, clothing, shelter"?  Enjoy your fire and your good decisions all you like, because I have never once said that you personally should not- but stop turning my points about the general population into personal attacks and then refuting them on that basis, cause they aren't and never were.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 21, 2013, 09:17:10 AM
My part of my town is one where there are free breakfasts provided for all children and I've been told 95% of the children attending the elementary school middle son attends are on the free lunch program.  He isn't, as we can afford to send him to lunch and we have breakfast food at home but he actually prefers to eat breakfast at school. 

Also, school supplies are provided for the kids at that school and a few others in our county so that the parents don't have to worry about it. My church, and a couple others, participate in a program called Micah's Backpack which is a tote bag of food for children to take home on the weekends so they have something to eat when they're not at school.  They also collect coats and clothes for kids at that school too. 

So I can see where Rohanna's coming from.  There's nothing wrong with homeschooling when the family is equipped to do it.  Not all parents really are in the best place to help their kids, whether it's to home school or support the public school education.  I think I mentioned earlier in the thread some parents around here just don't seem to care whether their kid is educated or not because they just can't be bothered to make sure the kids get to school on time or at all.  At the beginning of the year there is a paper sent home reminding parents that keeping a child home to babysit younger children does NOT count as an excused absence.

And last month we got a call from middle son's school saying they were going to start a new program to reward families for their child's good attendance (this school has a BIG problem with attendance) by making sure the parents benefit for their kids going to school, too.  It's sad, really.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Kendo_Bunny on February 21, 2013, 09:21:02 AM
I followed up with a post about parents being the best teachers. Kids learn more from their parents about life attitudes then they do from their teachers, except in rare cases. Rohanna, you are assuming that those of us who are pro-homeschool believe that every parent is wonderful and good. I don't believe we are.

I work in public school. I'm a substitute teacher, so I see a different class every day, different age group, different school. And I see the difference of kids whose parents are "teachers" and whose parents don't give a flying horse hockey puck about teaching their children. The kids whose parents teach them are the ones that are engaged. Their parents at least pay attention when their kids ask them homework questions. They listen to read-alouds in younger grades, talk about things of academic interest (news, family history, things they remember from school that aren't complaints about how much they hated it). If they can't volunteer with the school or know nothing about the subject at hand, it doesn't matter, because they are modelling for their child that they take an interest in that child's education. With the younger grades, you can tell that these kids are the ones that you're going to see in Advanced Classes later on for the most part. For the kids who have learning disabilities and engaged parents, you can still tell, because the kid is bright and happy and eager to come to school.

The kids whose parents are not engaged are sulky. They act up in class. They designate everything "stupid" or a "waste of time". I see a young man who works in Alt Ed, and he tells me almost none of the students he meets have anything academically wrong with them, they just don't care. They have decided that education is a waste, because they were taught by their parents that education is a waste. They don't read anything more challenging than Cosmo or Sports Illustrated, and then spend most of class watching Youtube. If you ask what they want to do, if they don't respond model or sports star, they will flat out tell you they're going to have a bunch of kids and get a big welfare check so they don't have to work "because work is for suckers". Why not? Parents are the first teachers you have, and that's what they've been taught. They will teach it to their own children and continue perpetuating the cycle of ignorance and poverty, except for the odd one who decides that ignorance and poverty is the sucker's game and makes something of themselves.

There is no denying that parents are the first teachers you have, unless you have some guardian other than your parents. You spend more time around your parents than your teachers, and even the best teacher can't know a child the same way their parents can. That's why every parent owes it to their child to be an amazing teacher and role model, even if they are not a good academic teacher or would be terrible at homeschooling. But it is not fair to public school teachers or children to send off a child and say "I made this child, now you raise it for me. You be the teacher and the parent."

That's all the pro-homeschoolers are trying to get across - parents are the best teachers of attitudes, behaviors, habits, prejudices, and opinions. Even if homeschool is a bad fit for your child, you are still going to teach your child before they ever set foot outside your house. You owe it to them to teach them good things, and it's a crying shame that some people do not, since their children are the ones that suffer for it.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 21, 2013, 09:25:03 AM
Rohanna, I'm very sad when I read your posts.  You seem very bitter.  And yes, you've made many interesting assumptions.

You've made assumptions that parents with learning disabilities can't educate their kids.

You've made assumptions about how much poor parents love and care for their kids.

You've made assumptions about poverty's impact on parents' ability to teach.

You've made the assumption that the only thing worthy of teaching is academic knowledge.

I brought up my own situation because your assumptions offend me.  Your assumptions about the reasons for the breakfast programs also offend me.  That 10 years I spent teaching was spent in one of the most violent, poverty stricken neighborhoods in the US.  Most of my parents were dirt poor.  A huge number of them were recent immigrants who didn't speak English.  Almost all of them worked several jobs to support their children. With few exception, my parents wanted nothing but the best for their children.   They allowed their children to participate in the breakfast programs because it freed up scarce resources for other things. They met me for conferences at midnight during their meal breaks at minimum wage job. Like your father-in-law, they taught their children to value education. Those parents taught their children in a way I could never replicate.  They taught their children the value of hard work and honesty.  They taught their children that they could be better than their parents and rise above the poverty that grew up in.

Were all of my parents like that?  Of course not, but the overwhelming majority of them were.  Poverty does not equal bad parents.  Poverty doesn't equal parents that don't care.  The poster who originally said that parents make the best teachers clarified herself.  Every other person who's posted on this thread has concurred with the thought that homeschooling isn't for everybody.

I think Kendo_Bunny has said this far better than I did.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: magicdomino on February 21, 2013, 09:27:14 AM
Some people can.not.teach.  My mother is one of those people.  I have 2 brothers.  All 3 of us have a college degree.  If we had been taught at home by mom we would know less than the average public-school 6th grader. 

Home schooling was unheard of when I was a kid.  I got lucky.

My mother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse long ago.  My siblings and I feel sorry for those kids.  We didn't even want Mother to help us with our homework, because we would end up even more confused than when we started.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Rohanna on February 21, 2013, 09:42:51 AM
It's not an assumption to state that poverty impacts education- as much as it might not be "politically correct" to say so. It doesn't mean that every poor parent "cares" less- because in fact many poor parents value and prize education highly as a potential "way out" for their children. I know, because my husband is the child of one such family, and while his parents were in *no* position to teach him, and had no knowledge of how to, they valued his schooling and pushed him to continue it.

You are making an assumption yourself that I am bitter, and I'm sorry that reality and harsh facts make you "sad".

If parents need breakfast programs to "free up resources" what would happen if the school was not there? Where would the breakfast AND the teaching supplies/extra-curricular and enrichement fees come from? You're contradicting your own point. My point was that if some parents are so "up against a wall" that they need to rely on public assistance for basic meals, you cannot expect them to shoulder even more.

You have not shown to me how an extremely learning disabled (I am not talking "sometimes I mix up my letters" or "I struggle with higher math" - I'm talking parents that I have seen at my clinic that require intensive monitoring and social assistance) would homeschool.

You have assumed I am making "love" judgements about poor parents when I am discussing work, resources and knowledge.

You have not shown me how poverty does NOT have an impact on the ability AND opportunity to teach for many people.

As for the only thing being worth teaching being academic? Well that *is* what I'm discussing. Academics- schooling- knowledge. The ability to apply that knowledge and learning into the ability to obtain a lifestyle, a job, a business, a career, or to perhaps be in charge or a household instead of an "out of the house" job. I doubt many future employers are going to take a signed not from Mum saying "This child was loved a lot" as credentials. If the goal is to provide a child with the tools to become self-sufficient and able to provide for themselves or a family in whatever fashion they decide upon, then there must and needs to be more than that.

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Roe on February 21, 2013, 09:43:50 AM
*standing ovation for Kendo Bunny and mmswm!!!* 

:)   

You ladies are awesome. 

Rohanna, a "letter from mum?"  That's a bit condescending. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Sophia on February 21, 2013, 09:49:34 AM
I am a book learner.  I honestly feel that starting around fourth grade I would have been better off teaching myself at home than going to public school.  I was a latchkey kid anyway (and did well as one)   It wasn't that my public school was particularly bad, it was one of the better ones.  But there are inherent problems with group education, and that many don't really don't want to be there. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 21, 2013, 09:50:19 AM
I followed up with a post about parents being the best teachers. Kids learn more from their parents about life attitudes then they do from their teachers, except in rare cases. Rohanna, you are assuming that those of us who are pro-homeschool believe that every parent is wonderful and good. I don't believe we are.

I work in public school. I'm a substitute teacher, so I see a different class every day, different age group, different school. And I see the difference of kids whose parents are "teachers" and whose parents don't give a flying horse hockey puck about teaching their children. The kids whose parents teach them are the ones that are engaged. Their parents at least pay attention when their kids ask them homework questions. They listen to read-alouds in younger grades, talk about things of academic interest (news, family history, things they remember from school that aren't complaints about how much they hated it). If they can't volunteer with the school or know nothing about the subject at hand, it doesn't matter, because they are modelling for their child that they take an interest in that child's education. With the younger grades, you can tell that these kids are the ones that you're going to see in Advanced Classes later on for the most part. For the kids who have learning disabilities and engaged parents, you can still tell, because the kid is bright and happy and eager to come to school.

The kids whose parents are not engaged are sulky. They act up in class. They designate everything "stupid" or a "waste of time". I see a young man who works in Alt Ed, and he tells me almost none of the students he meets have anything academically wrong with them, they just don't care. They have decided that education is a waste, because they were taught by their parents that education is a waste. They don't read anything more challenging than Cosmo or Sports Illustrated, and then spend most of class watching Youtube. If you ask what they want to do, if they don't respond model or sports star, they will flat out tell you they're going to have a bunch of kids and get a big welfare check so they don't have to work "because work is for suckers". Why not? Parents are the first teachers you have, and that's what they've been taught. They will teach it to their own children and continue perpetuating the cycle of ignorance and poverty, except for the odd one who decides that ignorance and poverty is the sucker's game and makes something of themselves.

There is no denying that parents are the first teachers you have, unless you have some guardian other than your parents. You spend more time around your parents than your teachers, and even the best teacher can't know a child the same way their parents can. That's why every parent owes it to their child to be an amazing teacher and role model, even if they are not a good academic teacher or would be terrible at homeschooling. But it is not fair to public school teachers or children to send off a child and say "I made this child, now you raise it for me. You be the teacher and the parent."

That's all the pro-homeschoolers are trying to get across - parents are the best teachers of attitudes, behaviors, habits, prejudices, and opinions. Even if homeschool is a bad fit for your child, you are still going to teach your child before they ever set foot outside your house. You owe it to them to teach them good things, and it's a crying shame that some people do not, since their children are the ones that suffer for it.

What she said.  :)
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 21, 2013, 10:03:10 AM
How was it about "all" the other parents?  Rohanna has a point - there are a non-zero number of parents who are unable to teach their children academic subjects at home for various reasons (they lack the knowledge, ability, time, care, etc.).  There's no need to make a quantitative judgement about this - the number of parents who fall into this category is somewhere between "one" and "all," and it doesn't really matter where.  The point is, saying "the parent is ALWAYS the best teacher" is simply untrue.  It doesn't matter how many parents are fantastic homeschoolers - or how many overcome obstacles like dyslexia, poverty, lack of an education, etc. - the "always" part is still false.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: ScubaGirl on February 21, 2013, 10:04:21 AM
First, I don't believe Rohanna made any assumptions.  She was not making blanket statements.  She was offering scenarios, just like other posters.

Second, I offer the following as a statement.  It is not data.  Just because my DH experiences this does not mean that it is a universal truth.  My DH is a high school counselor.  As such, he has enrolled a number of charter and home schooled kids into 9th grade (the start of high school here).  With little exception, all the kids he enrolled (again, his personal experience, not a universal truth) were 1 to 2 years behind.  Recently there was a home schooled kid who came in with all A's - followed a curriculum and took all the tests.  At the end of the first marking period he had C's and D's.

Third, a woman we know home schools her kids.  In the fall she was telling us how on a beautiful fall afternoon she took her kids to a friend's farm and they rode horses.  She felt pity for all the kids who were stuck in a classroom while her kids got to do that.  Yes, it did sound wonderful but a small piece of me wondered how hard will it be for them to adjust to the "real" world where bosses won't be too happy with an employee who disappears on a beautiful fall afternoon.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 21, 2013, 10:30:46 AM
Rohanna, perhaps I overspoke when I said that "most" people have that basic knowledge or could look it up as needed, because I wasn't thinking of immigrant families.  Immigrants do, in many cases, need at least a generation in order to learn English and the culture well enough to learn about the sources available, etc.  I was speaking really of families who are American citizens and whose parents were born American citizens, and so have been around for long enough to have basic working knowledge and the ability to find other things they need.  I don't think that every parent is able/willing to homeschool their children, but I think that many adults who feel able and willing to try can manage it, especially in the early years, with perhaps doing something like Classical Conversations when their kids get older.

And maybe it is purely anecdotal, but I have two friends who are teachers, a MIL who has worked as a principal and a teacher, and all of them have most of their education in education itself, not in the subjects they teach.  My MIL is teaching math, but she called us and I helped her work through a math problem the other day so that she could teach it to her students. 

I'll admit that students whose parents don't care are a major impediment to education... it was constantly hammered into me, through my public school education, that school was not cool, it was lame to do well in school, it made you a dork, you were unpopular and even hated if you dared to do well in school, etc.  And perhaps their parents' attitudes helped encourage this.  But maybe also the parents' experience of going through a public school was part of what created this attitude.  Such an attitude spreads easily through a class of kids, and I think that peer pressure helps our kids internalize the attitude that school is not cool and wanting to do well will make you disliked by your peers, and I think that attitude travels through the generations.

With homeschooled kids doing other activities during the day and that being different from the working world... isn't much of what we do as a child different from the working world?  Having to work all summer was a huge adjustment to me when I started working.  Even in college when I had summer jobs, you did something *different* during the summer, and it had a different feel.  Having the summer not come with any major change was a huge adjustment.  Not being done at 3pm and getting to play outside, but having to work until 5:30... but then not having any homework to do?  That was also a big change.  I think that kids can gradually learn to adjust to the working world if they are taught the skills they need to do so.

I'd also set forth the possibility that in those cases of a homeschooled student who then went to public school and didn't do as well, may have been cases in which the homeschooling wasn't going so well, or the parent realized that the child wasn't getting enough challenge, and that was the reason *why* the child started school.  Also purely anecdotal, but all the kids I've run into who are homeschooled are generally reading well above grade level, often doing math above grade level, and they've often started a musical instrument years before first grade.  The two adults that I know who were homeschooled (my husband and my best friend) are both incredibly smart and well-adjusted, one as an engineer and one as a lawyer.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Thipu1 on February 21, 2013, 10:37:38 AM
As interesting as this thread is, I think it's in danger of being shut down.  Home schooling seems to be almost as divisive as breast feeding. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on February 21, 2013, 11:29:46 AM
I can completely understand where Roe and mmswm are coming from—parents should be children’s first teachers, and we, coming from a place of privilege, find it easy to make blanket statements that all parents could homeschool if they wanted to, as they have the ability to find the resources they need or have the knowledge already, etc.

But we are in a place of privilege. All of us here have the ability to use a computer, have access to an internet connection, and can get around online. We have the ability to communicate well enough in English to respond to others. We have the critical thinking skills to explain why we are or aren't homeschooling, or how homeschooling has impacted us and our children (or children we know).

And it is very, very easy to forget that there are others who are not in that place of privilege, who cannot be included in those blanket statements and I thank Rohanna for reminding us of that.

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: kareng57 on February 21, 2013, 09:23:52 PM
I can completely understand where Roe and mmswm are coming from—parents should be children’s first teachers, and we, coming from a place of privilege, find it easy to make blanket statements that all parents could homeschool if they wanted to, as they have the ability to find the resources they need or have the knowledge already, etc.

But we are in a place of privilege. All of us here have the ability to use a computer, have access to an internet connection, and can get around online. We have the ability to communicate well enough in English to respond to others. We have the critical thinking skills to explain why we are or aren't homeschooling, or how homeschooling has impacted us and our children (or children we know).

And it is very, very easy to forget that there are others who are not in that place of privilege, who cannot be included in those blanket statements and I thank Rohanna for reminding us of that.


I agree to an extent, but I think there are many who are in the "place of privilege" (college education, enough time during the day, have the computer/internet resources etc.) who still feel that they would not be good at teaching academics to their own kids.  Teaching manners, social responsibility,physical activity - of course - but academics are very different.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 22, 2013, 12:11:49 AM
First, I don't believe Rohanna made any assumptions.  She was not making blanket statements.  She was offering scenarios, just like other posters.

Second, I offer the following as a statement.  It is not data.  Just because my DH experiences this does not mean that it is a universal truth.  My DH is a high school counselor.  As such, he has enrolled a number of charter and home schooled kids into 9th grade (the start of high school here).  With little exception, all the kids he enrolled (again, his personal experience, not a universal truth) were 1 to 2 years behind.  Recently there was a home schooled kid who came in with all A's - followed a curriculum and took all the tests.  At the end of the first marking period he had C's and D's.

Third, a woman we know home schools her kids.  In the fall she was telling us how on a beautiful fall afternoon she took her kids to a friend's farm and they rode horses.  She felt pity for all the kids who were stuck in a classroom while her kids got to do that.  Yes, it did sound wonderful but a small piece of me wondered how hard will it be for them to adjust to the "real" world where bosses won't be too happy with an employee who disappears on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Bravo! That's the point I was trying to make with the homeschooled kids I have met who have somehow gotten to learn what they want rather than what they need to survive in the real world.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Slartibartfast on February 22, 2013, 01:07:59 AM
A question for those of you who are currently or have recently homeschooled early elementary-aged kids: how much time a day did you find you had to devote to it?  I've heard some people say that homeschooling only takes two or three hours to learn the same amount as traditional schools teach because you can work at your student's fastest pace, but I could also see how a high school student would require a lot less "sit with them and make them pay attention" time than a first-grader would.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: mmswm on February 22, 2013, 01:15:46 AM
It doesn't take as long as you think.  Some of the time-consumers of a traditional classroom:

-Waiting for 15+ kids to finish a task.  Some might be done in five minutes, some might take 15.
-Transitions:  getting all those kids to stop one activity and start another.  There might be a dozen or more transitions a day, each one taking several minutes.
-Classroom bathroom breaks:  Do you have any idea how long it takes 15 five year olds to go to the bathroom!
-Specials, lunch, and recess: It takes time to put stuff away, clean up, line up, get to those activities, clean up, line up again, get back to the classroom and settle back down.

All of those things are eliminated when you have just one or two kids.  Even if you break for a recess, it's just one kid, not 15 or more, so it takes vastly less time to move from one activity to another. 

In addition to that, you can tailor the instruction to the individual child.  A topic that one child might get in 2 minutes might take another child 2 days. A classroom teacher has to spend time with all of his or her students, meaning that there will occasionally be times when some children aren't really doing anything, or are doing extra activities to keep engaged.  Those times are eliminated when you're only teaching one child.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: CakeEater on February 22, 2013, 06:11:54 AM
I've been a classroom teacher for many years and I believe that for some kids and families, homeschooling would be a great option, and for others it would be a disaster. As others have stated so well, there are many factors involved in making a decision like that.

I would go completely insane teaching my own kids, and that would be good for no-one, even though I have teaching skills and good content knowledge, and I'm sure my kids would benefit from a more personalized learning program.

Even intelligent, well-educated, loving parents with the means to allow one parent who is a trained teacher to stay at home and homeschool (as is the case in our house), wouldn't always make the best academic educators for their own kids.

Of course, DH and I plan to teach our kids all sorts of things, but homeschooling isn't part of our plan.

Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: bloo on February 22, 2013, 08:45:13 AM
A question for those of you who are currently or have recently homeschooled early elementary-aged kids: how much time a day did you find you had to devote to it?  I've heard some people say that homeschooling only takes two or three hours to learn the same amount as traditional schools teach because you can work at your student's fastest pace, but I could also see how a high school student would require a lot less "sit with them and make them pay attention" time than a first-grader would.

My kids were in 4th and 5th grade when we started. It was difficult that first year but it was nice that schooling could generally be finished in 2-4 hours (as opposed to 6 hours of bricks-n-mortar school + 2-3 hours of homework). I had to be glued to them as we all adjusted to the program and tried to work out a schedule. By the 3rd year (7th & 8th grades respectively) we had everything fairly streamlined. Once the kids started 6th grade, the programs and their online teachers directed everything at THEM (whereas in elementary it was directed to the parents to oversee the kids work). Once my kids started a high school program I almost felt like a non-entity. Now I just help direct them to where to find information if they need it (rare). They deal with their teachers themselves through phone or email. Bookwork is probably the same (2-5 hours a day).
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MonteCristo on February 22, 2013, 09:26:19 AM
A question for those of you who are currently or have recently homeschooled early elementary-aged kids: how much time a day did you find you had to devote to it?  I've heard some people say that homeschooling only takes two or three hours to learn the same amount as traditional schools teach because you can work at your student's fastest pace, but I could also see how a high school student would require a lot less "sit with them and make them pay attention" time than a first-grader would.

It only takes 2-4 hours a day.  And even that time you don't really have to be standing over them teaching.  Most homeschool curriculum that I'm familiar with is essentially self-taught.  K-3rd may take more direct teacher supervision, but 4+ is mostly student driven. 
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: DynoMite on February 22, 2013, 09:32:05 AM
Ooh, I can talk about this topic! I was homeschooled all the way through til college. I'm the oldest of four, and I plan to start homeschooling by first grade and continue as long as it works for our family and individual children. In my growing up family, I was the only one that was just homeschooled. My three siblings all underwent different types of education at various start and stop times. I think the important thing is to just not let it be a "thing," you know? I think the people that will be most successful at it will be the ones who are not militant about whatever type of education they use. Do what you can for as long as you can, and when it's not working, it's time to look for a different avenue.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 22, 2013, 11:45:06 PM
A question for those of you who are currently or have recently homeschooled early elementary-aged kids: how much time a day did you find you had to devote to it?  I've heard some people say that homeschooling only takes two or three hours to learn the same amount as traditional schools teach because you can work at your student's fastest pace, but I could also see how a high school student would require a lot less "sit with them and make them pay attention" time than a first-grader would.

I think it can depend somewhat on the kids' personalities and what you are teaching them, and what program you use.  For instance, one math program basically has the kids watch a lesson on DVD and then do a worksheet.  So not a lot of parental involvement necessary.  Another program is entirely parent-driven and can take up to 45 minutes.  So what curriculum you choose makes a *huge* difference.  And also how many subjects you teach.  Some parents focus on reading, writing, math, and science for those first few years.  They don't really bother with handwriting, creative expression, art or music, a foreign language, typing, spelling, etc., until their kids are older, wanting to give their kids more time to explore and experiment by playing.  Some parents really want to cover a lot of ground even with young kids.

It can also vary day to day.  I'd say that for us, it takes about 2-4 hours a day, depending on exactly what we do.  My oldest spends some time doing seatwork that she's fairly independent at, although I do need to check it and go over it with her.  If she were my only child, I wouldn't need to do any schooling during that time.  However, my second daughter is now old enough to do school and needs considerable "working with Mommy" time because she's only 4, so I spend the time when the oldest is working independently to work with my second child.  I have several subjects that I really try to make sure we hit every day, and others that I get to if we can.  If we do a craft, science experiment, art lesson, music lesson, or anything of that sort, it definitely adds to the day.  I think one of the things that makes it difficult is defining exactly what counts as school--like crafts, educational DVDs, learning to type, etc.  She probably spends about half an hour working independently, half an hour working with me, half an hour being read to by me, half an hour reading, and sometimes some additional time doing a project.

My homeschool curriculum estimates 1-2 hours of parental involvement for K-2 grades (2-3  hours for the kid), 2-3 hours for 3-4 grades (3.5-5 for the kid), and 2-3.5 hours for 5-6 grades (4-6 hours for the kid).  That's for history/geography, Bible, literature, science, math, and language arts (which includes handwriting and spelling), so that's fairly complete unless you add in foreign language or art/music.

Oh, and I should mention, another thing that can make a difference is whether you can combine kids (teach multiple kids the same thing).  If you have more than one kid, it can make a big difference.  A lot of parents combine their kids in subjects that aren't so much skills-based as knowledge-based, like science, history, and geography.  An 8-year-old might remember a lot more about ancient Rome than a 6-year-old will, but you can read to them both from the same book, do the same projects, etc.  Many parents like to keep their kids together (sometimes, say, adding an extra reader about Rome to challenge the older child, or choosing an easier book to read to the younger) so that they can focus on one time period or country at a time and not get confused, and also to save time during the day.  Other parents would rather have each kid work on something separate, so that each kid can work at his ideal level, and if a kid is sick or misses a day because of an activity, the other kids can continue at their own pace.  Usually you need to teach language arts and math at the kids' level, though, so you can't combine everything.
Title: Re: Home-schooling
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 25, 2013, 04:01:30 PM
Really fascinating thread. Obviously our first knowledge comes from our own experiences, both as children and as adults (parents, teachers), and sometimes it can be difficult to adjust to another point of view. For example, my friend Amy generally thinks that kids should go to public school by default, and that homeschooling and even private schools are at best unnecessary. Of course, Amy grew up attending one of the Top 10 public school districts in the country, and both her parents were teachers in the same district who fostered a love of school and learning at home. She looks back at her school days and generally loved them, enthusiastically. My dad was a teacher and I have a lot of other teachers in my family, and my public school was fine, but small and without a lot of resources, and I spent a fair amount of time being bored and daydreaming; I didn't hate school but I didn't love it either, and would gladly have stayed home and read/done creative things instead.

I wouldn't wish that someone had a bad experience, but I think that sometimes having had the perfect experience for you, can make it hard to imagine that even that exact same situation is not perfect for everyone. I'm sure that's true of many things in life, and that I'm guilty of it myself in other areas.

I think the main thing is to look at your kids and what you think is best for them, as individuals, and then start looking around to see what kind of resources are available that match that, whether inside or outside the home. Maybe you can homeschool; maybe you can't--can't leave work, wouldn't be good as a primary teacher, would go crazy staying at home, etc.--but you can encourage your child's love of learning in other ways.

Of course that's what we hope parents will do, and the sad fact is that a certain number don't, and wouldn't even if they won the lottery or had some other positive change in their life circumstances. Maybe a "homeschool" type of environment with few students and individualized learning would be great for their particular kids, but those parents obviously aren't going to provide it, so thank goodness they usually have the public school to send them to instead, even though it has its flaws.