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  1. #21
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurie View Post
    I taught a kid Sunday school who hadn't learned to read because her mom "didn't have time" to teach her. They were second graders

    I Seriously considered it but decided to just move into a good school system.
    I know that part of the dispute fuelling the privatisation of schools in England (seriously this place is a radical libertarian capitalist's dream at the moment) is between teachers and parents about how much responsiblity for core skills, such as reading, either has.

  2. #22
    As Long As It Takes.... Redbone's Avatar
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    I do it. It's going to be a very different thing for each family and even each child. Here's how things have been for me (long post ahead).

    Challenges:
    1. Time. I take an eclectic approach to education. It's great except I have to spend a good bit of time reviewing material. This means watching videos, looking over samples from different curriculum or programs, and trying to match information with their learning objectives.

    2. Cost. Purchasing material has been an issue for me in the past since I had to buy quite a few specialized, expensive reading programs and software. It's not the problem it used to be since we are over some major humps. We also take advantage of the many free resources available now.

    3. Lack of support. My ex and my family thought I was totally crazy and irresponsible for not sending the kids to a proper school. It was upsetting because they were only looking at 'what kids are supposed to do' and they bitched about the so-called lack of socialization. I was looking at our situation as a whole and doing what worked.

    4. Learning disabilities. It has been serious struggle to work with learning disabilities. Learning about it, getting the kids to a educational psychologist, having to fight with insurance to have them tested, having auditory testing done...crazy stuff. My oldest has dyslexia and my second has auditory processing disorder. They've both done very well because of the intervention programs at a private school and at home but...well, it's been rough for everyone.

    My situation is very different from your average homeschooler, though. I've had some unusual circumstances and this choice was best for us. I've heard people that have bad and good experiences with it. The teaching part isn't so bad. There are several states that offer a public school online choice, complete with field trips, social activities, etc. I'm pretty sure that FLVS offers schooling even if you're not a resident of Florida. I've used some of their classes and it's very good. There are so many resources online, it can be a bit of an information overload. My suggestion is to approach it already knowing what you want out of it. Take a look at the different approaches to homeschooling and why people use them. Some people hate research, planning learning objectives, etc., so a packaged or public/charter school online might be best. Some people don't use anything at all and take an unschooling approach. Some will use different things for different kids (my older kids are 'unschooled' and the younger ones will be going to FLVS). In the end, it's worked out very well for us.

    A word about socialization. I will admit this is a serious pet-peeve of mine. I don't know where people get this idea that if a child is homeschooled, they are going to become some socially inept adult. Socialization doesn't equal being placed in a classroom setting with same age kids. It means getting kids out, letting them live in the real world, interacting with many types of people. Homeschooling doesn't just take place 'at home'. It's also going to depend on the child. Plenty of people attend public and private schools and still turn out to be a socially awkward adult. I think this kind of thing is inborn. When people are socially awkward, it doesn't matter how they were schooled. It means that the parents didn't recognize it and didn't do enough to help them out with it. Some people need this directly taught as a skill set.

    If you have more questions, ask away!

  3. #23
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I was homeschooled for three years, at a time when very few people were being homeschooled. My parents were advocates of all kinds of options, and so started a private school, my dad was on the public schoolboard for years, my mother had been a public school teacher, my siblings did provincial correspondance courses for Grade 9 and my mother sat on boards establishing guidelines in our province for both home-based education and independent schools. Since then I have seen two more generations of homeschoolers.

    In my own case, it was a very positive experience. I was not experiencing any particular problems, but homeschooling allowed me to fit in time for several different musical disciplines and for languages, travel, field trips and spending time with family. During Grade 7, we spent a month with my aunt and uncle in Germany and saw the Berlin Wall the year before it came down. I went back into the public system with no problems and went on to other higher education after that.

    With my siblings, my mother basically replicated school at home with correspondance courses which were quite intensive. By the time I came along, she used various different curriculums to best serve our needs. I did my math by provincial correspondance as well as French and German. She had a rich background in literature and history and I was exposed to excellent books at a young age.

    In a social sense, it was positive, as I had frequent interactions with people my age through music and church events, but also had a lot of extended family, and intergenerational interaction, which people often don't get in a conventional school setting.

    However, I have seen many people homeschool since who do not have the adequate amount of time to devote to it, either due to large families or to running a business. I have seen people who use homeschooling in a reactionary sense, without planning or spending time with their children. In some cases it is used when schools put pressure on parents for their child's poor behaviour. In others, I see parents isolating their children, or expecting very little of them, or hoping that they somehow will school themselves through online courses. Sometimes very negative attitudes towards public schools or people unlike them are propigated, which give homeschooling a bad name. I have often seen people at homeschooling conferences without an educational philosophy of their own. They are looking for the perfect curriculum which will serve all their needs or trying to use the same formula as some other family, whose needs may be quite different. A perfect curriculum simply doesn't exist. Homeschooling requires a willingness to work even harder than the child in question, and to ultimately be responsible for how the child fares educationally. Parents must establish the kind of relationship where their child is willing to listen to them and will work for them. They also need to spend time ensuring that the child relates in an appropriate way to others outside their family, and so must include other people in the child's support system and expose their child to instruction from various people. However, I would say this is true for people using the public school system as well!

    We have spend considerable time over the last several years trying to fill in the gaps for my brother's kids and my aunt's child who were homeschooled by people who had insufficient time to do a good job of it.

    If parents are sensitive to their own workload, their child's personality, the need for a balanced life, and have educational goals in mind, I think homeschooling can be a wonderful vehicle for a very full and rich education. If that is not the case, I think it can be very destructive.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    To be honest my concerns about homeschooling revolve around two things, it could be used to cover up neglect or that it could be use for brainwashing.

    I've encountered people on forums online who were homeschooled who are seriously versed in the King James Bible and some pretty hardline capitalist libertarina gurus, they can quote them chapter and verse and treat them as solid objective inviolable science, there is very little in the way of capacity for critical thinking or dealing with disagreement or anything which deviates from their knowledge base.

    I dont consider that a success but for many in very wealthy circles whose family is all about defending their wealth and going to the right party with 20 million minimums it is.

  5. #25
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    What is the program called that your children use? Maybe I can find a similar one in the Houston area.. Homeschooling was just brought up as a possibility, we're trying to brainstorm all of the options out there.

    Private school is out of the question--I don't see how people afford it. $20,000 a year? @_@ It's insane. And thats base price!!
    It's just a local school which uses the Calvert curriculum. Look for schools in the area named virtual or digital academy. They're often publicly funded. Yeah, I can't see paying that much for something which is free.

  6. #26
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Kyuuei, what are the primary objections with the kids' current educational setting? That may give us a better idea of some options that you may wish to explore? What things matter especially to the parents? What is their own work/time/educational situation like?

    One thing that I've really tried to emphasize to all of my public school parents is that no matter what system of education you use, parents ultimately need to be their child's "program directors". While it seems like a nice idea to be able to send a child somewhere to be educated (and this is what many parents would prefer!), there are a wide variety of administrations, schools, teachers, classroom dynamics, educational trends, curricula and individual children's personalities that go into the mix. If a parent wants their child to end up with a good education, they need to be actively involved and filling in gaps, supplementing information and offering practice and reinforcement at home for the ideas the child is exposed to at school whether they are using public, private or home-based educational programs!

  7. #27
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    I think the biggest problem with homeschooling isn't lack of socialization (although this can definitely be an issue), but lack of exposure to thinking that is fundamentally different from the parents'. Sure you can give your child a well rounded education and make sure they socialize with children from other families, but if this does nothing to expand that child's worldview to include people with different religious or political beliefs, or people from somewhere else on the socioeconomic spectrum, or people from vastly different cultures, then you are still doing that child a disservice.

  8. #28
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    I was homeschooled for a year during my sophomore year in High School. Additionally, I attended Sylvan Learning Center and a Japanese founded learning center called Kumon. Most of the skills I still retain were instilled through the latter programs, and my homeschooling is still something I vividly carry in my memory. On the other hand, my recollection of public school classes is stronger for the classes I devoted myself to mentally attend. I have to argue that the general emphasis of education in the culture of the U.S. rests on the basis of economic and financial success. This connotation undermines the essential purpose of education by implying that success, as defined by the academic infrastructure, is not exclusive to the academic infrastructure. The state's stance against truancy is probably the driving force behind what deficits the public school systems are responsible for; still, the distribution of textbooks ultimately leaves the ball in the students' hands regardless of the quality of any given class setting.

    My impression of the typical homeschooled student is one that differs from the typical student because the homeschooled apprehends the gist of education from the personal expectations of the parent/teacher. While we tend to praise the value of an even student - teacher ratio, a bond between the learned and the learning atmosphere is what needs to be explicitly vouched for by any means possible. The strength in homeschooling is that the student is not nudged to see him/herself as a special snowflake who circumvents a convention; the protocol is universal in that the student doesn't have to relearn how to learn from teacher to teacher and from setting to setting. Perhaps this is what leads us to believe homeschooled children are maladjusted, but I'm coming to the conclusion that the attitude shaped during one's upbringing is what will carry them through thick and thin, even if they abandon it somewhere along the line.

  9. #29
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I'm sure there are exceptions but I think it is a pretty bad idea for several reasons. Most parents are not qualified. They're not teachers. They don't have training or experience and there is a risk that the education could be inadequate or uneven. School provides a structured environment that allows for focus. When a kid is home, there are a lot of distractions. The parent is distracted with all of the other errands they have to do and the child is more likely to be distracted with all of the other things they can be doing at home - playing with the dog, videogames, etc. Also, you miss out on the opportunity to develop your social skills and facility with meeting new people and interacting with them. I could complain about all of the schools I went to and how they could be better. An INTJ is a rare duck in grade school and the SJ teachers are instructing for the average. Still, it's better than staying at home.

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  10. #30
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I'm sure there are exceptions but I think it is a pretty bad idea for several reasons. Most parents are not qualified. They're not teachers. They don't have training or experience and there is a risk that the education could be inadequate or uneven. School provides a structured environment that allows for focus. When a kid is home, there are a lot of distractions. The parent is distracted with all of the other errands they have to do and the child is more likely to be distracted with all of the other things they can be doing at home - playing with the dog, videogames, etc. Also, you miss out on the opportunity to develop your social skills and facility with meeting new people and interacting with them. I could complain about all of the schools I went to and how they could be better. An INTJ is a rare duck in grade school and the SJ teachers are instructing for the average. Still, it's better than staying at home.
    I'm glad you've brought some of these issues up, highlander, as they are frequent arguments made against homeschooling and are worthy of being examined.

    Firstly, there is nothing magic about getting a degree in education. As with any other profession, there are great teachers and abyssmal ones, and generally it is a direct result of how passionate they are about what they do and what experiences shape them (and how they respond!). The world is changing enough these days, that even when people take training, in the course of a career, many people's jobs will morph into something almost unrecognizable from where they began. They are saying that today students must be prepared for an average of five different career changes.

    During the course of my five year double degree, I did not receive any classes dealing with the practical basics of teaching: integrating students with special needs, communicating with parents, proactive classroom management, looking at root causes for behavioural concerns, organizing a classroom, getting along with difficult co-workers, etc. Must like WestJet's policy of looking for the type of person they need and then training them in the specifics of their job, I believe that most good teachers are not a product of their training, but rather are the right sort of people for the profession. Many teachers coming into the profession now see it as a 9-3:30 job, a second income to help pay for student loans, but they are not passionate about what they do. There are an appalling amount of teachers in the profession, who neither read for pleasure (or professional development) nor do they have basic spelling and writing skills themselves!

    Therefore, you are correct that parents need to be the sort of people who have patience to deal with their children, are lifelong learners, and can take on an appropriate leadership role and that does not encompass everyone. I would argue though that the reason it doesn't encompass anyone has to do more with personal qualities and choices, and less with a piece of paper.

    Secondly, consider that parents have a lot more context than the average teacher for understanding their child. They have insight into their child's character, learning style and personality that a teacher isn't likely to gain until much later in the year. If they are doing what they ought to as a parent, there should already be a support system of people in place to provide a balance in perspective and access to additional knowledge and skills that the parent does not possess. They also will seek out advice and input of others who are involved in their child's life in a way that a teacher does not have the same access or motivation to do. On the other hand, you are quite right that someone who is parenting poorly at home will also make a poor teacher for the child.

    As far as there being too many distractions at home, that does not have to be the case. The home offers a wealth of natural learning opportunities in a context that is practical and easy to take advantage of without a lot of trouble. Of course, somebody who is parenting poorly outside of school will also teach poorly in school. The important issue is that you make a distinction between the two types of educators, rather than attributing all good or bad to a mere vehicle for education, which is in and of itself neutral. It is like arguing about whether an SUV or a compact car is best. Each have unique attributes and drawbacks that will suit certain purposes better than others. However, damage done by a particular vehicle has much more to do with the operator of it than with the vehicle itself.

    Finally, this issue of socialization seems to be a sticking point for many. It seems to me that in life, you end up socializing with a much broader range of people than those who are exactly your own age. Therefore, it stands to reason that when we are considering how children should be socialized, this is one of public school's great drawbacks! It isolates children so that they are only together with others of the same age at a variety of maturity levels and whose basic identity is not yet formed. Therefore, it is difficult for those who are emotionally immature to retain their sense of individual behaviour, attitudes and opinions when put into a group setting with others who are also emotionally immature. They become succeptible to wherever the group tide takes them, which is often negative (insecurity makes people particularly vicious and lack of experience and hindsight prevents people from understanding the impact of their actions at that stage).

    During this "wet cement" time of a child forming their sense of what they are good at, how to relate to people etc, it seems to me that it would make more sense to expose them to a cross-section of the population, which is more balanced and which will offer more appropriate guidance and direction at that stage. In many homes there is no longer time for parents to juggle two parents working, children's activities, schoolwork, and housework. Therefore, the only socialization the children receive is at school or online. There is not time to have company, to be part of family events together, to get together with extended family and so on. Homeschooling frees up time for some of these kinds of interactions, which I think can only contribute to a child's life and to their sense of how to successfully relate to the rest of the world around them.

    In addition, a homeschooling family who is involved in various activities is not going to completely isolate their child from others of the same age. They do however have more control over what kind of social group their child is spending their largest chunks of time with. Again though, this is dependent on the "operator" of the educational vehicle, rather on the vehicle itself.

    I am a public school teacher and have endeavoured to expose my kids to a variety of people from the school and the community and to teach social skills in an active way. However, I am not fooling myself that were I to be doing the same thing with one child and I had time and freedom to go on field trips with ease, the child would receive an even better social education.

    I would be the first to say that it really depends on the parent and the circumstances for this to be effective. Good points raised though!

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