Author Topic: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.  (Read 71195 times)

runbikerun

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #650 on: May 25, 2018, 03:06:07 AM »
Sorry, but laws requiring that all home schooled children report to government officials every six months, or even once a year, are not reasonable, IMHO. It's amazing to me that any Americans would actually willingly tolerate something like that. This isn't Europe.

What's with the use of Europe as a pejorative?

Didn't you know that Europe is full of commies who want to steal your guns, your identity and your thoughts? It's used that way all over the forum and is extremely tedious for those of us who actually live there, especially when used in the same post as complaints about your shitty healthcare system.

It's a strange one to see, although it's consistent with a tendency to decry the slightest move away from the status quo as being nanny-state communism. An annual interview with homeschooled kids isn't even vaguely European, because in a sizeable chunk of Europe homeschooling is simply illegal.

Oddly enough, when I was a competitive debater back in college, there was a particular motion that popped up, which started as a "here's a mad idea to discuss" kind of case and fell out of favour within less than two years because it was close to impossible to convincingly oppose. If you were drawn on the prop side, a decent job would give you a win, while being on the opp almost guaranteed you were losing. The motion was "that this house would require future parents to pass a state-run parenting exam before being allowed custody of their children".

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #651 on: May 25, 2018, 03:43:41 AM »
Sorry, but laws requiring that all home schooled children report to government officials every six months, or even once a year, are not reasonable, IMHO. It's amazing to me that any Americans would actually willingly tolerate something like that. This isn't Europe.

What's with the use of Europe as a pejorative?

Didn't you know that Europe is full of commies who want to steal your guns, your identity and your thoughts? It's used that way all over the forum and is extremely tedious for those of us who actually live there, especially when used in the same post as complaints about your shitty healthcare system.

It's a strange one to see, although it's consistent with a tendency to decry the slightest move away from the status quo as being nanny-state communism. An annual interview with homeschooled kids isn't even vaguely European, because in a sizeable chunk of Europe homeschooling is simply illegal.

Oddly enough, when I was a competitive debater back in college, there was a particular motion that popped up, which started as a "here's a mad idea to discuss" kind of case and fell out of favour within less than two years because it was close to impossible to convincingly oppose. If you were drawn on the prop side, a decent job would give you a win, while being on the opp almost guaranteed you were losing. The motion was "that this house would require future parents to pass a state-run parenting exam before being allowed custody of their children".

The tedium is largely because of the tendency to see "Europe" in the same way that many people erroneously see "Africa" - as a single homogeneous entity. Whereas most of the time if you picked two random countries they would be enraged/confused/amused to be considered the same. Greece and Norway, for example. And also a failure to understand that while Europeam countries tend to have higher taxes and more regulation than the USA, we get things in exchange. It's not a money-grab by government: we get free-at-point-of-use healthcare! And the NHS computer databases mean that your care is more streamlined and consistent, even if you move or are referred to another doctor. Yes, you can debate pros and cons but the "European commies!" brigade usually fails to acknowledge that there might be any pros on our side of the ocean.

goatmom

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #652 on: May 25, 2018, 04:45:35 AM »
And if we are really concerned about the safety of our most vulnerable citizens - why do we leave parents alone with infants and toddlers with no supervision at all?  Why are there seniors with dementia living in private homes? Mentally challenged adults in the custody of their parents?  Religious schools with no outside government supervision? 

GuitarStv

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #653 on: May 25, 2018, 07:37:54 AM »
And if we are really concerned about the safety of our most vulnerable citizens - why do we leave parents alone with infants and toddlers with no supervision at all?  Why are there seniors with dementia living in private homes? Mentally challenged adults in the custody of their parents?  Religious schools with no outside government supervision?

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sol

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #654 on: May 25, 2018, 08:44:43 AM »
Sorry, but laws requiring that all home schooled children report to government officials every six months,

I'm not suggesting we haul them in for questioning under bright lights, just that they not be allowed to be totally isolated.  Doctor visits should count.  Also youth sports coaches.  Probably librarians and other parents should count.  I'm just trying to find a way to catch those families that deliberately use homeschool isolation as a cover for child abuse, without imposing any significant additional burden on parents who are doing things the right way.

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This isn't Europe.

You're right, it's not.  Our incidence of child abuse is much higher.  In fact, we have some of the highest rates of child abuse in the entire world, and one possible explanation is the pervasiveness of opinions like Shane's.

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Thankfully, in most parts of the US, parents still have the right to decide how their children are educated, not the state.

You technically have no such right.  At least it's not written down anywhere.  You do have that option, in practice, though, because the government allows you to have that option.

And more importantly, I'm not suggesting you should lose the option to control your kid's education.  We're not talking about banning homeschooling, despite your immediate jump to the extreme cases in defense of your imagined rights.  We're talking about giving kids (all kids) safe places to report abuse.  You can still homeschool your kids.  If you really care about their well-being, shouldn't you also want them (all of them) to have the option to tell someone if they are being abused?

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It makes no sense to take away the rights and invade the privacy of millions of innocent homeschooling families

It is not an invasion privacy to ask that your kids interact with the outside world.  It is an invasion of their human rights if you keep them in a cage in the basement and only feed them table scraps.  That's what I'm trying to avoid by requiring interaction with the outside world.

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bad parents with evil intentions who want to isolate their kids and abuse them will just ignore such laws anyway.

Aaahhh, that old chestnut?  Are you maybe a member of the NRA?  They love that specious argument too, often interjecting it into gun control debates with the pithy line "then only criminals will have guns."

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If there's credible evidence of abuse, CPS should investigate

Wait, what?  You just told us that parents should be allowed to keep kids isolated in the basement and never let them see the outside world, but now you think CPS should bust down your front door?  By your rules, isn't that a much bigger invasion of privacy?

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parents who choose to educate their children outside of the conventional public school system should be presumed innocent.

I think you can still be presumed innocent when your kid goes in for annual checkup at the doctor's office, or meets with a guidance counselor, or signs up for soccer.  None of those things seem to presume you are guilty of child abuse.  But they can be backstops against hidden abuse, for families that are trying to keep their kids isolated while they torture them with crossbows and boiling water (as we've recently seen in California) and who use homeschooling as a means of concealment.

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The vast majority of homeschoolers are good people who shouldn't have to constantly worry that their kids might be taken away from them by some petty bureaucrats.

Why not?  I think you absolutely SHOULD be worried that your kids will be taken away from you if you are abusing them.  You think you have the right to torture a child just because it's yours?

The rest of us live with the constant knowledge that if we abuse our kids, the government will step in to stop that abuse.  They may be relocated to another part of the family, or placed into foster care, and I could go to jail.  I LIKE this system.  I believe child abusers should be caught and prosecuted.  If this thought gives you "constant worry" then I'm a little concerned about what goes on in your house.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #655 on: May 25, 2018, 09:53:13 AM »
I don't want to get massively drawn into this, and I know it's kind of a detail, but I'm troubled by some of the suggestions of people that might be suitable for these hypothetical checks. Teachers and youth sports coaches are signing up to work with children and deal with the safeguarding requirements that entails. Clergy and librarians should NOT have that kind of thing in their job description. It's way too much to ask them to do such checks (beyond the normal duty of every adult who actually suspects something is wrong to report it).

robartsd

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #656 on: May 25, 2018, 10:10:37 AM »
Sorry, but laws requiring that all home schooled children report to government officials every six months,

I'm not suggesting we haul them in for questioning under bright lights, just that they not be allowed to be totally isolated.  Doctor visits should count.  Also youth sports coaches.  Probably librarians and other parents should count.  I'm just trying to find a way to catch those families that deliberately use homeschool isolation as a cover for child abuse, without imposing any significant additional burden on parents who are doing things the right way.
This list is broader than the list of those who currently have mandatory reporting requirements. I could see it reasonable to have "Child Wellness Reports" that are filed regularly by someone upon the request of the parent. In addition to accepting those filled out by anyone who already has mandatory reporting requirements, perhaps any unrelated adult citizen who has had some basic training in looking for signs of abuse could register as reporters. I imagine most who are active in a church would find it easy to get a member of their clergy to do this. Most volunteers in youth organizations (sports, scouting, etc.) would also likely be happy to do this. I'm sure homeschooling groups that get together for group classes would also have plenty of parents willing to participate in a 1-2 hour training (probably conducted as an online video) to register as child wellness reporters. CPS or another agency could accept these reports and send a social worker out to meet with children who have gone too long without a "Child Wellness Report".

Thankfully, in most parts of the US, parents still have the right to decide how their children are educated, not the state.

You technically have no such right.  At least it's not written down anywhere.  You do have that option, in practice, though, because the government allows you to have that option.
OK, it isn't an enumerated right, so a state could take away the right simply by passing a law. There are plenty of rights that have not been enumerated nevertheless the are accepted as rights.


sol

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #657 on: May 25, 2018, 10:31:55 AM »
I'm troubled by some of the suggestions of people that might be suitable for these hypothetical checks.

This list is broader than the list of those who currently have mandatory reporting requirements.

I'm not sure the size or makeup of "the list" is important to this discussion.  Can we at least agree that parents should not be permitted to isolate their children from everyone, and that some kind of interaction with adults responsible for monitoring for signs of abuse should be mandatory?  Who those adults should be can be debated, if we can first agree that total isolation from all nonfamilial adults is unacceptable.

No more children kept in cages, please.

ysette9

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #658 on: May 25, 2018, 11:44:14 AM »
Quote

Didn't you know that Europe is full of commies who want to steal your guns, your identity and your thoughts? It's used that way all over the forum and is extremely tedious for those of us who actually live there, especially when used in the same post as complaints about your shitty healthcare system.

Thank you, yes. I never understood why we have such narrow-minded debates about taxes in the US. It is fairly simple in my mind: there is menu with prices attached. Order off the menu and then pay the total bill at the end. You want roads, bridges, firefighters, and schools? That will cost something. You want to make sure your old people don’t die on the streets from lack of food or healthcare? That will cost more. You want tax cuts for the rich or the poor or the investors or the benevolent? That will cost something. You want your citizens to have basic healthcare and not go bankrupt and die? That will cost a bit more. You want to know what it would be like to pay more and get more in return? Just have a look around the world and see if there is anything you like.

We always have these discussions in a vacuum as though no one ever in the world has faced the same questions and figured stuff out. We can certainly debate on what level we collectively want, and that is fine. It is this attitude that it is impossible to imagine anything different, and the failure to look up from our navel to notice that people around us do things differently, thankyouverymuch, and may even have some good ideas we could emulate.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #659 on: May 25, 2018, 01:43:36 PM »
Sorry, but laws requiring that all home schooled children report to government officials every six months, or even once a year, are not reasonable, IMHO. It's amazing to me that any Americans would actually willingly tolerate something like that. This isn't Europe.

What's with the use of Europe as a pejorative?

Sorry if anyone was offended by my use of Europe as an example. In my experience living and working in public schools in Europe for several years, Europeans generally seem to be more tolerant of higher levels of government intrusion into their personal lives than I, personally, am comfortable with. Japan is another country I'm familiar with where parents seem much more willing than I am to let government bureaucrats tell them what they can and cannot do with their own children, even outside of school. My family and I like Europe and Japan a lot. As a matter of fact, we are in Europe, right now, visiting my brother who works as a public school teacher in Norway. We love traveling in Europe, but we are grateful to not have to worry, at all, about conforming to the strict laws in many European countries that pretty much forbid parents from educating their own children as they see fit.

A German man I met a couple of weeks ago was fascinated by the fact that, as Americans, we are free to pull our kids out of school whenever and for as long as we like to go traveling. He told me that when his son was our daughter's age he had asked his son's teacher and, after the teacher refused his request, the school principal if it would be alright, pretty please with sugar on it, for him to take his son out of school *one day* before the official summer vacation began, so that they could all go on a family holiday together. Both the boy's teacher and the school principal gave the same answer, "Das ist unmöglich!" "Impossible!" Friends in the Netherlands have reported very similar levels of inflexibility at their children's schools there. We also recently read about a family in Denmark whose children were, literally, physically taken away from them just because they were trying to homeschool them - no allegations of abuse, just attempting to teach their own kids at home instead of sending them to a public school. WTF?

So...yeah, for me, Europe is a good example of a place where people are, generally, less free to educate their children as they like. Not saying, at all, that I think kids in Europe don't get a good education at public schools. In my experience, the quality of public education in Europe is excellent, much better than average public schools in the US. If it were easier to do so, we would love to enroll our daughter in a public school in Europe for a year or three. Since it's easier for us to go to the US and put our daughter in school there, that's what we're planning on doing for the 2018-2019 school year. We like the fact, though, that if we decide we want to, it'll be easy for us to pull our daughter out of school and go traveling again after school lets out in spring, 2019. We won't have to ask the permission of any bureaucrats. That's why they call them "public servants." They work for us. We don't have to ask their permission for anything.

Many Americans don't seem to realize how lucky they are to be free to choose to educate their children outside of a formal school system. Some of the "reasonable" checks and balances that are being proposed in this thread to, supposedly, prevent abuse, are a slippery slope, IMHO.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #660 on: May 25, 2018, 02:10:10 PM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #661 on: May 25, 2018, 02:12:53 PM »
I'm troubled by some of the suggestions of people that might be suitable for these hypothetical checks.

This list is broader than the list of those who currently have mandatory reporting requirements.

I'm not sure the size or makeup of "the list" is important to this discussion.  Can we at least agree that parents should not be permitted to isolate their children from everyone, and that some kind of interaction with adults responsible for monitoring for signs of abuse should be mandatory?  Who those adults should be can be debated, if we can first agree that total isolation from all nonfamilial adults is unacceptable.

No more children kept in cages, please.

Sure, the specifics aren't, but I think it would make a difference to the cries of FREEEEEDOOOOOM whether it was a formal interview with a doctor, police officer or social worker, or whether any adult could just give the nod and say "Yep, not kept in a cage in their own faces because I saw them in the supermarket one time."

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #662 on: May 25, 2018, 03:20:42 PM »
Sorry, but laws requiring that all home schooled children report to government officials every six months,

I'm not suggesting we haul them in for questioning under bright lights, just that they not be allowed to be totally isolated.  Doctor visits should count.  Also youth sports coaches.  Probably librarians and other parents should count.  I'm just trying to find a way to catch those families that deliberately use homeschool isolation as a cover for child abuse, without imposing any significant additional burden on parents who are doing things the right way.

Quote
This isn't Europe.

You're right, it's not.  Our incidence of child abuse is much higher.  In fact, we have some of the highest rates of child abuse in the entire world, and one possible explanation is the pervasiveness of opinions like Shane's.

Quote
Thankfully, in most parts of the US, parents still have the right to decide how their children are educated, not the state.

You technically have no such right.  At least it's not written down anywhere.  You do have that option, in practice, though, because the government allows you to have that option.

And more importantly, I'm not suggesting you should lose the option to control your kid's education.  We're not talking about banning homeschooling, despite your immediate jump to the extreme cases in defense of your imagined rights.  We're talking about giving kids (all kids) safe places to report abuse.  You can still homeschool your kids.  If you really care about their well-being, shouldn't you also want them (all of them) to have the option to tell someone if they are being abused?

Quote
It makes no sense to take away the rights and invade the privacy of millions of innocent homeschooling families

It is not an invasion privacy to ask that your kids interact with the outside world.  It is an invasion of their human rights if you keep them in a cage in the basement and only feed them table scraps.  That's what I'm trying to avoid by requiring interaction with the outside world.

Quote
bad parents with evil intentions who want to isolate their kids and abuse them will just ignore such laws anyway.

Aaahhh, that old chestnut?  Are you maybe a member of the NRA?  They love that specious argument too, often interjecting it into gun control debates with the pithy line "then only criminals will have guns."

Quote
If there's credible evidence of abuse, CPS should investigate

Wait, what?  You just told us that parents should be allowed to keep kids isolated in the basement and never let them see the outside world, but now you think CPS should bust down your front door?  By your rules, isn't that a much bigger invasion of privacy?

Quote
parents who choose to educate their children outside of the conventional public school system should be presumed innocent.

I think you can still be presumed innocent when your kid goes in for annual checkup at the doctor's office, or meets with a guidance counselor, or signs up for soccer.  None of those things seem to presume you are guilty of child abuse.  But they can be backstops against hidden abuse, for families that are trying to keep their kids isolated while they torture them with crossbows and boiling water (as we've recently seen in California) and who use homeschooling as a means of concealment.

Quote
The vast majority of homeschoolers are good people who shouldn't have to constantly worry that their kids might be taken away from them by some petty bureaucrats.

Why not?  I think you absolutely SHOULD be worried that your kids will be taken away from you if you are abusing them.  You think you have the right to torture a child just because it's yours?

The rest of us live with the constant knowledge that if we abuse our kids, the government will step in to stop that abuse.  They may be relocated to another part of the family, or placed into foster care, and I could go to jail.  I LIKE this system.  I believe child abusers should be caught and prosecuted.  If this thought gives you "constant worry" then I'm a little concerned about what goes on in your house.

Uh, okay, Sol. Since I disagree with your completely unsupported claim that more stringent reporting requirements for homeschool families will necessarily do anything to make children in the US safer, that means I believe "parents should be allowed to keep kids isolated in the basement and never let them see the outside world...while they torture them with crossbows and boiling water...and...use homeschooling as a means of concealment." WTF? Really? :)

In one post you say all you're asking for is that kids go to the doctor for a check up once a year, and then in another comment you say, "all kids should be required by law to interact with at least ten unrelated adults every day." So, which one is it? It's hard to know what we're arguing against, since you're constantly moving the goal posts.

If a policeman pulled you over for driving with a burnt out tail light and asked for your consent to search your vehicle, what would you say? Many people seem to believe something along the lines of, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you shouldn't be worried about letting the cops search your car." Maybe you're one of those people who see the exercise of constitutional rights as a sure sign of guilt? I would always refuse to consent to a search by the police. No matter what. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches. If the police believe they have reasonable cause to suspect someone of a crime, they need to present it to a judge and get him to issue them a search warrant. The same privacy protections should apply to homeschooling families. If CPS has reasonable cause to believe a homeschooling family is abusing their children, they have a right to investigate. If the family refuses to cooperate, CPS can get a warrant from a judge that allows CPS and the police to force their way into the people's home and find out what's going on with the kids. Homeschooling families should all be presumed innocent unless the government has reasonable cause to believe they are doing something wrong. Americans are lucky to have the protections the Bill of Rights offers us. Many people around the world aren't so lucky. IMHO, Americans should never willingly give up our rights. If we do, eventually we won't have them any more.

If my daughter had to go in to talk with some government approved counselors once a year, they'd for sure take her away from us, because she'd tell them the truth about how we abuse her. She'd tell them how we don't let her watch YouTube on her iPad for 12 hours every day. She'd tell them how while we were traveling in SE Asia last year we sometimes *gasp* rode in overloaded vehicles without wearing seat belts! and rode on motorbikes without helmets! She'd tell them about how she and I rode bicycles all over Vietnam with (call CPS!) no helmets! She'd tell them how one year, a long time ago, when she was little, at a St. Patrick's Day party, I drank so many shots of Jameson's that I tried to plug my iPhone in upside down! Our daughter would tell the government minders about that time in Cambodia when we rode in a small boat on the Me Kong with *gasp* no life preservers! She'd definitely also tell them about how, just last week, we let her go out on the ocean in a tiny boat in the far, far northern part of Norway, where literally there are still chunks of ice floating around, to help pull up traps loaded full of king crabs, again, with NO LIFE PRESERVERS on board! She'd tell the government counselors about how when we were living in Vietnam she used to walk back and forth to school every day with her friend! And some days, all alone! With no adult supervision! In a foreign country! Everybody knows how dangerous they are. There's no way they'd let us keep her if they found out about that one.

IMHO, interviewing all homeschooled kids every year would probably catch a whole bunch of parents who are technically guilty of relatively minor infractions like occasionally leaving their kids alone in the car for a few minutes while they run into 7-11 to grab a jug of milk or allowing their teenagers to *gasp* have an occasional glass of wine with dinner, but it would be extremely unlikely to catch people who are sick enough to lock their children in cages in the basement and torture them with crossbows and boiling water. You're welcome to believe otherwise, though. That's just my opinion.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #663 on: May 25, 2018, 03:35:35 PM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

shenlong55

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #664 on: May 25, 2018, 03:47:39 PM »


In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

Does it really matter if you're okay with it though?  It's a slippery slope remember.  If you allow homeschooling then it's just a matter of time before your allowing parents to torture their children.  Or am I misunderstanding how slippery slopes work?

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sol

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #665 on: May 25, 2018, 04:21:59 PM »
you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Um, I think that's the final destination, not the first step, on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.  A parent deliberately pulling a kid out of school to go do something else is the very definition of parent-sanctioned truancy.

GuitarStv

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #666 on: May 25, 2018, 06:30:08 PM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

Sure.  All of those extra-curricular activities have potential to kinda maybe have amorphous learning value.  Using some vacation time or time on the weekend to do them is a great idea.  Your example was a German man who was taking his kid out of school to go on vacation though, not for a special learning experience.

In my home, the idea of skipping school for a vacation would have never come up . . . learning is important.  Fucking around with some sort of edutainment, vacationing, going to a sporting event, etc. is fine, but never, ever supersedes education.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #667 on: May 26, 2018, 03:14:56 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

Sure.  All of those extra-curricular activities have potential to kinda maybe have amorphous learning value.  Using some vacation time or time on the weekend to do them is a great idea.  Your example was a German man who was taking his kid out of school to go on vacation though, not for a special learning experience.

In my home, the idea of skipping school for a vacation would have never come up . . . learning is important.  Fucking around with some sort of edutainment, vacationing, going to a sporting event, etc. is fine, but never, ever supersedes education.

Don't disagree that education is important. Also, getting used to showing up on time every day, ready to learn, is good practice for when kids start working. We never take our daughter out of school unless there a good reason. My use of the anecdote about the German guy was just to illustrate a difference in philosophy. Some people seem to allow teachers and school administrators to have veto power over their lives. If my wife and I decided there was a good enough reason to take our daughter out of school a day before summer break began, as a courtesy, we would let her teacher know about our plans, but we wouldn't ask *permission*. In reality, not much actual learning happens on the last day of school anyway. :)

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #668 on: May 26, 2018, 04:10:22 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

Well yeah, I'm fine with the state having so much control over children's lives that they require them to commit to actually attending school when they're supposed to. You don't like it, you homeschool your child. But you can't have people just popping in and out whenever they fancy it. That would be profoundly disruptive to both the child in question and the class in general. Holidays and weekends are plenty long enough to go scuba diving or whatever.

Obviously rare exceptions can be made. I was taken out of school once for one day to go to an international family wedding. I would have done my class work on the plane if it hadn't turned out to be the school's annual fundraising day. Likewise, missing one day for a funeral would be totally acceptable. But "Oh yeah, we fancied going hiking today and figured we'd learn more anyway" is not a valid reason for your child to miss school. Go in the already-existing holidays.

Also, you can't have one rule for some children and one rule for others. So you want to take your children to Italy and take them round the Roman ruins and the museums and everything. What about the family who wants to take their children to Italy and lie on the beach all day? How are you going to ask the school to arbitrate that? Unless they can check up on what you're doing on holiday. But that IS kind creepy and controlling. So the rule is just that you're in school during term time and that's that.

you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Um, I think that's the final destination, not the first step, on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.  A parent deliberately pulling a kid out of school to go do something else is the very definition of parent-sanctioned truancy.

Is there a word to distinguish between long-term truancy vs single-event truancy? Dropping out, maybe. Because that's what I meant.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #669 on: May 26, 2018, 04:49:54 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

Well yeah, I'm fine with the state having so much control over children's lives that they require them to commit to actually attending school when they're supposed to. You don't like it, you homeschool your child. But you can't have people just popping in and out whenever they fancy it. That would be profoundly disruptive to both the child in question and the class in general. Holidays and weekends are plenty long enough to go scuba diving or whatever.

Obviously rare exceptions can be made. I was taken out of school once for one day to go to an international family wedding. I would have done my class work on the plane if it hadn't turned out to be the school's annual fundraising day. Likewise, missing one day for a funeral would be totally acceptable. But "Oh yeah, we fancied going hiking today and figured we'd learn more anyway" is not a valid reason for your child to miss school. Go in the already-existing holidays.

Also, you can't have one rule for some children and one rule for others. So you want to take your children to Italy and take them round the Roman ruins and the museums and everything. What about the family who wants to take their children to Italy and lie on the beach all day? How are you going to ask the school to arbitrate that? Unless they can check up on what you're doing on holiday. But that IS kind creepy and controlling. So the rule is just that you're in school during term time and that's that.

Whether or not it's wise for parents to take their child out of school to go on family trips, once in a while, depends a lot on how good of a student the child is. Or do you believe there is some inherent value in sitting in a classroom, even if a student already knows everything that's being taught? My brother is a public school teacher in Norway. Not surprisingly, he believes strongly in the value of education and attending school regularly. Yesterday, he told me about one of his students who was so far advanced, above and beyond the academic level of any of his classmates, that my brother said he felt bad that, even though he tried, he was unable to really challenge him academically, because the level of the other students in the class was so much lower. My brother even strongly recommended to the boy's parents that they take their son out of high school and enroll him directly in university where he could possibly be more challenged. My brother said, although he is usually really strict with his students about not playing on their phones or doing other, possibly distracting, outside activities during class, with this particular student, he said he didn't mind, at all, that the boy often read completely unrelated books during class. My brother said his advanced student would occasionally look up from his book, raise his hand, answer a question appropriately, and then go right back to reading his book again. My brother said it was obvious to him that his student had done all of the readings he'd assigned and understood everything, but that the pace of the classroom discussion was just so painfully slow for him that he was able to read a book and follow what was going on in the classroom at the same time. For super smart kids like that, it doesn't seem to me that it would make very much difference if they missed school once in a while, even if all they were doing was something recreational like hiking up a mountain or going SCUBA diving. Whereas, it would seem a lot less wise to me for parents of students who are struggling academically to allow their children to miss school unnecessarily.

gaja

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #670 on: May 26, 2018, 05:40:31 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

And what do you think? Do you agree with allowing the State to have that much control over you and your kids and how you choose to educate them? Do you believe that the *only* way children learn is in a classroom from a text book, or do you think kids can also learn valuable things from experiences like taking a trip to London or Paris or NYC, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or going SCUBA diving, or learning to juggle or ride a unicycle?

Well yeah, I'm fine with the state having so much control over children's lives that they require them to commit to actually attending school when they're supposed to. You don't like it, you homeschool your child. But you can't have people just popping in and out whenever they fancy it. That would be profoundly disruptive to both the child in question and the class in general. Holidays and weekends are plenty long enough to go scuba diving or whatever.

Obviously rare exceptions can be made. I was taken out of school once for one day to go to an international family wedding. I would have done my class work on the plane if it hadn't turned out to be the school's annual fundraising day. Likewise, missing one day for a funeral would be totally acceptable. But "Oh yeah, we fancied going hiking today and figured we'd learn more anyway" is not a valid reason for your child to miss school. Go in the already-existing holidays.

Also, you can't have one rule for some children and one rule for others. So you want to take your children to Italy and take them round the Roman ruins and the museums and everything. What about the family who wants to take their children to Italy and lie on the beach all day? How are you going to ask the school to arbitrate that? Unless they can check up on what you're doing on holiday. But that IS kind creepy and controlling. So the rule is just that you're in school during term time and that's that.

Whether or not it's wise for parents to take their child out of school to go on family trips, once in a while, depends a lot on how good of a student the child is. Or do you believe there is some inherent value in sitting in a classroom, even if a student already knows everything that's being taught? My brother is a public school teacher in Norway. Not surprisingly, he believes strongly in the value of education and attending school regularly. Yesterday, he told me about one of his students who was so far advanced, above and beyond the academic level of any of his classmates, that my brother said he felt bad that, even though he tried, he was unable to really challenge him academically, because the level of the other students in the class was so much lower. My brother even strongly recommended to the boy's parents that they take their son out of high school and enroll him directly in university where he could possibly be more challenged. My brother said, although he is usually really strict with his students about not playing on their phones or doing other, possibly distracting, outside activities during class, with this particular student, he said he didn't mind, at all, that the boy often read completely unrelated books during class. My brother said his advanced student would occasionally look up from his book, raise his hand, answer a question appropriately, and then go right back to reading his book again. My brother said it was obvious to him that his student had done all of the readings he'd assigned and understood everything, but that the pace of the classroom discussion was just so painfully slow for him that he was able to read a book and follow what was going on in the classroom at the same time. For super smart kids like that, it doesn't seem to me that it would make very much difference if they missed school once in a while, even if all they were doing was something recreational like hiking up a mountain or going SCUBA diving. Whereas, it would seem a lot less wise to me for parents of students who are struggling academically to allow their children to miss school unnecessarily.

I have been a public school teacher in Norway, and I have kids in public school here.

1. There are several ways your brother can (and should) provide challenges for that kid without taking him out of class. He can attend classes at a higher level, either at same school or at the local university, through video or in person. If he is at high school level, he can take more classes at the same school. If he wants the extra exams, he might have to pay a couple of hundred bucks. But just attending class is free. According to the law of adapted education (tilrettelagt opplæring), your brother is obligated to find these solutions for the kid.

2. These kids usually have something they need to learn at their age approriate level, and thanks to their intelligence you can usually discuss that with them. It might be social skills, it might be languages or math, etc. My sister went through school at a faster speed, and was not entirely positive about it. She has not chosen the same option for her kids, even though they are just as smart. My oldest daughter is part of a "masterclass in mathematics", and is placed in a higher level class (with kids 2-3 years older) now and then. Those challenges are good for her.

3. If the parents of these smart kids write a simple application (often an online form where you fill out the dates and write a sentence about why), they will be granted leave. At the lower levels it has no consequence, at the higher levels they might not get grades in some topics if they miss too much school. Then the solution is taking the written/oral exam instead. But, as I mentioned above, we have statistics of everything. And the statistics clearly show that on a national level there is a strong correlation between how important parents think it is that the kids attend school, and how good grades the kids get. So the laws of "forced" attendance are there to make sure the school can protect the kids who are struggling, from parents who don't care about their education. So if you apply to take the kid out of class for 3 months to travel to your home county and visit the grandparents, and the school knows that this student is struggling already, they will be denied leave.

I have applied for leave for my kids a few time, and never had any problems getting it. Even when it has been stupid reasons such as "we would like to start our christmas holiday a bit earlier".

sherr

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #671 on: May 26, 2018, 07:09:05 AM »
Some of the "reasonable" checks and balances that are being proposed in this thread to, supposedly, prevent abuse, are a slippery slope, IMHO.

In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope...

Slippery slope arguments are always (In My Humble Opinion) bad arguments at best. The reality of most situations is that both extremes are undesirable and there's a happy medium in between that we should aim for. Disagreement over where the happy medium is is fine. Disagreement over how best to get to the happy medium is fine. Disagreement over whether we are currently to the left or right of the happy medium is fine. But "we can't move in X direction at all because if we moved ALL THE WAY TO THE EXTREME X it would be bad" is not fine.

If anyone holds any opinions just because of slippery-slop arguments, you should take a few minutes to think about where you think the ideal is, which direction it lies, how we should get there, and then actually make arguments that reflect that reasoning. Not just slippery-slop nonsense; anything to the side of the happy medium is always a "slippery slope" to the undesirable extreme, so saying as much is meaningless.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #672 on: May 26, 2018, 08:02:06 AM »
Slippery slope arguments are always (In My Humble Opinion) bad arguments at best. The reality of most situations is that both extremes are undesirable and there's a happy medium in between that we should aim for. Disagreement over where the happy medium is is fine. Disagreement over how best to get to the happy medium is fine. Disagreement over whether we are currently to the left or right of the happy medium is fine. But "we can't move in X direction at all because if we moved ALL THE WAY TO THE EXTREME X it would be bad" is not fine.
Slippery slope arguments are indeed *usually* a bad argument, but not always.  When those on the opposite side of the issue have openly stated that the slippery slope is their goal, then a slippery slope argument is quite valid (see: gun control, and to a lesser extent, abortion).  I don't think that's the case here, however.

you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Um, I think that's the final destination, not the first step, on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.  A parent deliberately pulling a kid out of school to go do something else is the very definition of parent-sanctioned truancy.
Ahahahaha!  Ok, let me tell you a story, then.  Our kids are 3/4 time homeschooled (core subjects at home, some electives/specials at the public school).  We've taken our kids out of school for family vacations for at least a week every year.  Some of those vacations were even to *gasp* DisneyWorld!  Why?  Because the weather's nicer, the crowds are smaller, and accommodations are cheaper in February.

You know what happened, academically?  Nothing bad.  In fact, our truant, deliquent, absentee kids are doing great.  Every one of our kids is at least a year ahead in both math and reading.  In fact, our oldest son's reading skills have gone from being two years behind to two years ahead.  And he's autistic.

You're still speculating about how much benefit we might expect to gain from additional government regulation of homeschooling.  And we still haven't addressed the up-front cost of implementing it, and the potential negative side effects from it.


Uh, okay, Sol. Since I disagree with your completely unsupported claim that more stringent reporting requirements for homeschool families will necessarily do anything to make children in the US safer, that means I believe "parents should be allowed to keep kids isolated in the basement and never let them see the outside world...while they torture them with crossbows and boiling water...and...use homeschooling as a means of concealment." WTF? Really? :)

...

If my daughter had to go in to talk with some government approved counselors once a year, they'd for sure take her away from us, because she'd tell them the truth about how we abuse her.

...

IMHO, interviewing all homeschooled kids every year would probably catch a whole bunch of parents who are technically guilty of relatively minor infractions like occasionally leaving their kids alone in the car for a few minutes while they run into 7-11 to grab a jug of milk or allowing their teenagers to *gasp* have an occasional glass of wine with dinner, but it would be extremely unlikely to catch people who are sick enough to lock their children in cages in the basement and torture them with crossbows and boiling water. You're welcome to believe otherwise, though. That's just my opinion.
Hehe.  You're exactly right.  The existence of "free range parenting" laws should be a pretty big clue here.

Poundwise

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #673 on: May 27, 2018, 04:23:43 PM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

A German man I met a couple of weeks ago was fascinated by the fact that, as Americans, we are free to pull our kids out of school whenever and for as long as we like to go traveling. He told me that when his son was our daughter's age he had asked his son's teacher and, after the teacher refused his request, the school principal if it would be alright, pretty please with sugar on it, for him to take his son out of school *one day* before the official summer vacation began, so that they could all go on a family holiday together. Both the boy's teacher and the school principal gave the same answer, "Das ist unmöglich!" "Impossible!" Friends in the Netherlands have reported very similar levels of inflexibility at their children's schools there. We also recently read about a family in Denmark whose children were, literally, physically taken away from them just because they were trying to homeschool them - no allegations of abuse, just attempting to teach their own kids at home instead of sending them to a public school. WTF?

This is interesting to me.  So what happens in the UK or other European countries if you would like to pull your kids out of school even temporarily?

At my kids' public school (NYS, US)  if your child is going to be absent for more than 1-2 consecutive days, you need to inform the school.  Once you have done so, the absence will be considered either excused or unexcused.

Examples of an excused absence might include: sickness with doctor's note, sickness or death in family, severe weather conditions, religious observances, or court appearance.  Excused absences do not include: taking advantage of a great vacation fare or a unique learning opportunity or whatever.  If a student exceeds 20 full day absences during the school year, a conference is held with the principal to discuss promotion to the next grade.

Realistically speaking, this is what happens (describing many real life examples in my kids' schools).  Parents have a timeshare that never falls on a school vacation. They tell the school their kid'll be out of school for 10 school days (2 weeks).  School says these don't count as excused, and therefore he will have only 10 unexcused absences left for the year.  They ask the teacher if she will give him his assignments early.  She won't because it's not school policy, since it would be a pain in the neck for teachers to be doing this for every other kid in the school.  So he goes on vacation, returns tanned, gets zeros on any tests and quizzes missed, and asks friends for copies of any assignments that he can still turn in.  His grades may not end up as good as the grades of the kids who stayed, but the parents don't care-- they're probably FI through trust fund anyway.

Are you telling me that this would not happen in European schools? And what is the penalty? It's not "allowed" in our American school system, but the punishment is merely poor grades which does not seem much of a deterrent.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2018, 04:26:03 PM by Poundwise »

GuitarStv

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #674 on: May 27, 2018, 06:02:31 PM »
you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Um, I think that's the final destination, not the first step, on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.  A parent deliberately pulling a kid out of school to go do something else is the very definition of parent-sanctioned truancy.
Ahahahaha!  Ok, let me tell you a story, then.  Our kids are 3/4 time homeschooled (core subjects at home, some electives/specials at the public school).  We've taken our kids out of school for family vacations for at least a week every year.  Some of those vacations were even to *gasp* DisneyWorld!  Why?  Because the weather's nicer, the crowds are smaller, and accommodations are cheaper in February.

You know what happened, academically?  Nothing bad.  In fact, our truant, deliquent, absentee kids are doing great.  Every one of our kids is at least a year ahead in both math and reading.  In fact, our oldest son's reading skills have gone from being two years behind to two years ahead.  And he's autistic.

Just to confirm here . . . your argument is that truancy for Disneyland trips has no negative impact on children, and should in fact be used to help autistic children read better?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #675 on: May 27, 2018, 10:07:02 PM »
Are you telling me that this would not happen in European schools? And what is the penalty? It's not "allowed" in our American school system, but the punishment is merely poor grades which does not seem much of a deterrent.
In some states (like, surprisingly, Texas), if your kid misses too many days, the school district will actually levy a fine on the parents if the kid has more than X unexcused absences.  Any sickness, in order to be excused, has to be accompanied by a doctor's note.  Which is kind of silly, because if you're an experienced parent, and your kid has the cold or the flu, you already know how to handle it, and you don't need to take Bobby to the doctor just so you can get a note.

Just to confirm here . . . your argument is that truancy for Disneyland trips has no negative impact on children, and should in fact be used to help autistic children read better?
Heh, no. :)  I'm simply providing another example in support of shelivesthedream's point, of a situation where a homeschooling family violates a rule/policy/expectation (specifically "thou shalt not take thy kids out of school unless we say it's ok") and yet the kids appear to suffer no ill effect.

My point is that a lot of the paradigms that govern and inform public education policy have far less relevance when you attempt to apply them to a homeschool setting.  As another example, some states require a certain number of hours of instruction per day, and a certain number of instructional days per year (typically 4-6 hours per day and 180 days/year).  What we've found, however, is that if our kids are well-motivated on a particular day, they can plow through all their core subjects (reading, math, writing, spelling, science or history, Spanish, typing, and I may be missing a few more) in two.  Due to the individualized nature of homeschooling, and the built-in rewards ("If I work faster, I get more time to play!"), the learning process is far more efficient than in a classroom with 25 other students who all learn at a different rates and in different ways.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #676 on: May 28, 2018, 02:40:49 AM »
@Poundwise: if it's for illness, a parent has to ring in on the day and send a note confirming on the first day back. For something like a funeral, the parent would have to ring in to ask permission but it would only not be granted in truly exceptional circumstances (presumably if the Head had proof they were lying or something). Religious holidays the same.

For a holiday, permission would not be granted and the parents would (I believe) be fined or even at risk of a prison sentence if it were repeated. The law decrees that parents are responsible for getting their children to attend school (if enrolled) so a term time holiday is treated the same as a child bunking off. The law does suck for parents in that they can walk their child into the classroom but if the child then legs it, the parent is still punished, but it means that if a child is enrolled in a school, it is on the parent to see that they stick to the school rules. And look, if you don't like it you can homeschool or go private. No one's forcing you to send your child to a state school, but if you do then they've got to damn well go. You've got the choice between state school or organising your own education - is that not enough FREEEDOOOOM?

Disclaimer: I went to private school, so the punishment would be being expelled because they can do that much more easily. I'm therefore not 100% on what state schools would do.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #677 on: May 28, 2018, 03:56:43 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Just to underline shelives' point that "Europe" is not a single entity and, in fact, contains many diverse cultures - here in Italy, taking kids out of school during term time is totally fine.  In fact, I took my kids out of school for 2 weeks last December to visit family.  There is a boy in my older daughter's class who just got back from 2 months in the Philippines visiting family.  This fits in with Italian culture where rules are to be broken/bended, family is foremost and things are always flexible.  Completely different from other European cultures yet still Europe.  Just compare the driving here to the driving in Switzerland and you'll get my point (or obeying the tax code!)

Shane - just because you've been to Norway and Germany, doesn't mean you can make generalizations about the entire continent of Europe.  I'd recommend saying "In Norway..." rather than "In Europe..."

Here in Italy, home schooling is allowed so long as you pass all the required exams. And I'm sure you could figure out a way to get around this rule you wanted to as, as I mentioned above, rules are to be broken here. I don't know anyone who does home schooling though.

gaja

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #678 on: May 28, 2018, 10:31:30 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Just to underline shelives' point that "Europe" is not a single entity and, in fact, contains many diverse cultures - here in Italy, taking kids out of school during term time is totally fine.  In fact, I took my kids out of school for 2 weeks last December to visit family.  There is a boy in my older daughter's class who just got back from 2 months in the Philippines visiting family.  This fits in with Italian culture where rules are to be broken/bended, family is foremost and things are always flexible.  Completely different from other European cultures yet still Europe.  Just compare the driving here to the driving in Switzerland and you'll get my point (or obeying the tax code!)

Shane - just because you've been to Norway and Germany, doesn't mean you can make generalizations about the entire continent of Europe.  I'd recommend saying "In Norway..." rather than "In Europe..."

Here in Italy, home schooling is allowed so long as you pass all the required exams. And I'm sure you could figure out a way to get around this rule you wanted to as, as I mentioned above, rules are to be broken here. I don't know anyone who does home schooling though.

Since what Shane knows about the Norwegian school system is based on rumors, I do not recommend that he spends much time explaining how our school system is, either.

The short version in Norway: the Norwegian mentality is that we start out trusting people to follow the intentions of the laws. But if you step outside the norm, we will check. If you lied or cheated, that trust is gone forever.

The parents are responsible for their children’s education. You are welcome to homeschool, if you can prove that you are able to teach them everything in the standard curriculum. Every municipality has a appointed teacher who has meetings with those  who homeschool 1-2 times a year (in a public location of your choice, often  the school, city hall, or library. You can also take kids out for holidays or other stuff, but you will be responsible for keeping them up to date. If they are gone more than two weeks, they are not guaranteed a place in the same class or school (mainly an issue in the larger cities).

Homeschooling is very rare in Norway, and those who do it without “valid reason” (living in remote areas, long term diseases, etc) will get funny looks. If the kids don’t learn everything they should, our version of CPS will get involved.

Poundwise

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #679 on: May 28, 2018, 02:18:28 PM »
Every municipality has a appointed teacher who has meetings with those  who homeschool 1-2 times a year (in a public location of your choice, often  the school, city hall, or library.

But we were having so much fun developing this amazing new invention... I think we'll call it the WHEEL!

Zikoris

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #680 on: May 28, 2018, 02:25:35 PM »
Since what Shane knows about the Norwegian school system is based on rumors, I do not recommend that he spends much time explaining how our school system is, either.

The short version in Norway: the Norwegian mentality is that we start out trusting people to follow the intentions of the laws. But if you step outside the norm, we will check. If you lied or cheated, that trust is gone forever.

The parents are responsible for their children’s education. You are welcome to homeschool, if you can prove that you are able to teach them everything in the standard curriculum. Every municipality has a appointed teacher who has meetings with those  who homeschool 1-2 times a year (in a public location of your choice, often  the school, city hall, or library. You can also take kids out for holidays or other stuff, but you will be responsible for keeping them up to date. If they are gone more than two weeks, they are not guaranteed a place in the same class or school (mainly an issue in the larger cities).

Homeschooling is very rare in Norway, and those who do it without “valid reason” (living in remote areas, long term diseases, etc) will get funny looks. If the kids don’t learn everything they should, our version of CPS will get involved.

Out of curiosity, how does the designated teacher assess whether they're being taught everything? It would seem like the only way to do that would be with pretty vigorous testing in all the major subjects, which would be quite the undertaking. I'm curious if they actually do that 1-2 times a year.

gaja

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #681 on: May 28, 2018, 02:51:35 PM »
Since what Shane knows about the Norwegian school system is based on rumors, I do not recommend that he spends much time explaining how our school system is, either.

The short version in Norway: the Norwegian mentality is that we start out trusting people to follow the intentions of the laws. But if you step outside the norm, we will check. If you lied or cheated, that trust is gone forever.

The parents are responsible for their children’s education. You are welcome to homeschool, if you can prove that you are able to teach them everything in the standard curriculum. Every municipality has a appointed teacher who has meetings with those  who homeschool 1-2 times a year (in a public location of your choice, often  the school, city hall, or library. You can also take kids out for holidays or other stuff, but you will be responsible for keeping them up to date. If they are gone more than two weeks, they are not guaranteed a place in the same class or school (mainly an issue in the larger cities).

Homeschooling is very rare in Norway, and those who do it without “valid reason” (living in remote areas, long term diseases, etc) will get funny looks. If the kids don’t learn everything they should, our version of CPS will get involved.

Out of curiosity, how does the designated teacher assess whether they're being taught everything? It would seem like the only way to do that would be with pretty vigorous testing in all the major subjects, which would be quite the undertaking. I'm curious if they actually do that 1-2 times a year.

[Points back to the “trust until proven otherwise”.] Of course you can train the kid to pass the annual checkups by cheating, but usually it would be easier to just teach the kid the curriculum, since you won’t know what they are going to be asked. The standardized curriculum has a lot of “being able to discuss [topic], «use different methods to achieve [result], and discuss pros and cons of each method”. Not so easy to fake, and very easy to uncover. Sure, you can’t check every detail, but usually the details are not as important as the overall understanding.

Here is from the Norwegian homeschool association about the check ups (google translate is your friend): http://nhuf.no/?q=nb/node/38

As far as I know, they will need to take exams in all topics in year 10.

Poundwise

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #682 on: May 28, 2018, 02:53:09 PM »
@Poundwise: if it's for illness, a parent has to ring in on the day and send a note confirming on the first day back. For something like a funeral, the parent would have to ring in to ask permission but it would only not be granted in truly exceptional circumstances (presumably if the Head had proof they were lying or something). Religious holidays the same.

For a holiday, permission would not be granted and the parents would (I believe) be fined or even at risk of a prison sentence if it were repeated. The law decrees that parents are responsible for getting their children to attend school (if enrolled) so a term time holiday is treated the same as a child bunking off. The law does suck for parents in that they can walk their child into the classroom but if the child then legs it, the parent is still punished, but it means that if a child is enrolled in a school, it is on the parent to see that they stick to the school rules. And look, if you don't like it you can homeschool or go private. No one's forcing you to send your child to a state school, but if you do then they've got to damn well go. You've got the choice between state school or organising your own education - is that not enough FREEEDOOOOM?

Disclaimer: I went to private school, so the punishment would be being expelled because they can do that much more easily. I'm therefore not 100% on what state schools would do.

Thanks, @shelivesthedream!  This is informative.  A fine seems unnecessarily harsh, but I imagine that the types who would go skiing for two weeks would not worry too much about paying the fine anyway, and have enough in the tank to tutor their kids out of any academic consequences, like they do here. 

It actually doesn't seem too different than the policy here (and zolotiyeruki even points out that TX fines for unexcused absences, which I did not know.)  I'm too lazy today to look up educational outcomes, rates of absenteeism, and rates of abuse among different countries/states which would be relevant to the discussion.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 04:52:16 PM by Poundwise »

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #683 on: May 30, 2018, 01:27:36 AM »
I have been a public school teacher in Norway, and I have kids in public school here.

1. There are several ways your brother can (and should) provide challenges for that kid without taking him out of class. He can attend classes at a higher level, either at same school or at the local university, through video or in person. If he is at high school level, he can take more classes at the same school. If he wants the extra exams, he might have to pay a couple of hundred bucks. But just attending class is free. According to the law of adapted education (tilrettelagt opplæring), your brother is obligated to find these solutions for the kid.

2. These kids usually have something they need to learn at their age approriate level, and thanks to their intelligence you can usually discuss that with them. It might be social skills, it might be languages or math, etc. My sister went through school at a faster speed, and was not entirely positive about it. She has not chosen the same option for her kids, even though they are just as smart. My oldest daughter is part of a "masterclass in mathematics", and is placed in a higher level class (with kids 2-3 years older) now and then. Those challenges are good for her.

3. If the parents of these smart kids write a simple application (often an online form where you fill out the dates and write a sentence about why), they will be granted leave. At the lower levels it has no consequence, at the higher levels they might not get grades in some topics if they miss too much school. Then the solution is taking the written/oral exam instead. But, as I mentioned above, we have statistics of everything. And the statistics clearly show that on a national level there is a strong correlation between how important parents think it is that the kids attend school, and how good grades the kids get. So the laws of "forced" attendance are there to make sure the school can protect the kids who are struggling, from parents who don't care about their education. So if you apply to take the kid out of class for 3 months to travel to your home county and visit the grandparents, and the school knows that this student is struggling already, they will be denied leave.

I have applied for leave for my kids a few time, and never had any problems getting it. Even when it has been stupid reasons such as "we would like to start our christmas holiday a bit earlier".

@gaja , thanks for the suggestions. In the case of the particular student mentioned above, the issue of what to do is now moot, as the boy graduated last week and will be moving on to university in a couple of months. My brother said he tried to do as much as he could for his student, including meeting with his supervisor and the student's other teachers to discuss options available to better challenge him. Perhaps if my brother were teaching at a bigger school in Trondheim or Oslo, there might have been more options, but possibly because my brother's school is relatively small and in a somewhat neglected rural area, it has fewer resources to be able to provide special services for exceptional students? Not sure, really.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #684 on: May 30, 2018, 01:45:43 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

A German man I met a couple of weeks ago was fascinated by the fact that, as Americans, we are free to pull our kids out of school whenever and for as long as we like to go traveling. He told me that when his son was our daughter's age he had asked his son's teacher and, after the teacher refused his request, the school principal if it would be alright, pretty please with sugar on it, for him to take his son out of school *one day* before the official summer vacation began, so that they could all go on a family holiday together. Both the boy's teacher and the school principal gave the same answer, "Das ist unmöglich!" "Impossible!" Friends in the Netherlands have reported very similar levels of inflexibility at their children's schools there. We also recently read about a family in Denmark whose children were, literally, physically taken away from them just because they were trying to homeschool them - no allegations of abuse, just attempting to teach their own kids at home instead of sending them to a public school. WTF?

This is interesting to me.  So what happens in the UK or other European countries if you would like to pull your kids out of school even temporarily?

At my kids' public school (NYS, US)  if your child is going to be absent for more than 1-2 consecutive days, you need to inform the school.  Once you have done so, the absence will be considered either excused or unexcused.

Examples of an excused absence might include: sickness with doctor's note, sickness or death in family, severe weather conditions, religious observances, or court appearance.  Excused absences do not include: taking advantage of a great vacation fare or a unique learning opportunity or whatever.  If a student exceeds 20 full day absences during the school year, a conference is held with the principal to discuss promotion to the next grade.

Realistically speaking, this is what happens (describing many real life examples in my kids' schools).  Parents have a timeshare that never falls on a school vacation. They tell the school their kid'll be out of school for 10 school days (2 weeks).  School says these don't count as excused, and therefore he will have only 10 unexcused absences left for the year.  They ask the teacher if she will give him his assignments early.  She won't because it's not school policy, since it would be a pain in the neck for teachers to be doing this for every other kid in the school.  So he goes on vacation, returns tanned, gets zeros on any tests and quizzes missed, and asks friends for copies of any assignments that he can still turn in.  His grades may not end up as good as the grades of the kids who stayed, but the parents don't care-- they're probably FI through trust fund anyway.

Are you telling me that this would not happen in European schools? And what is the penalty? It's not "allowed" in our American school system, but the punishment is merely poor grades which does not seem much of a deterrent.

In the case of the German man I mentioned above, he said he ignored his son's teacher and principal and took his son out of school a day early, anyway, and that *nothing* happened to them. Apparently, either the school couldn't do anything or just chose not to.

Can't remember where in Europe it was, but I recently read an anecdotal report of school officials actually going to a local airport to "catch" families attempting to leave a day or two early for their holidays. That just seems too bizarre to me. If our daughter weren't doing well in school, we would make sure she attended every. single. day, but it seems kind of silly to *force* families to conform to a rigid school calendar when their kids are already far exceeding expectations for their grade level.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #685 on: May 30, 2018, 01:59:02 AM »
In the UK, letting your children skip school to go on holiday is pretty much seen as a slippery slope to child abuse. Homeschooling is allowed, but you are not allowed to just bunk off during term time because you fancy it or the flights are cheaper. It's the first step on the road to parent-sanctioned truancy.

Just to underline shelives' point that "Europe" is not a single entity and, in fact, contains many diverse cultures - here in Italy, taking kids out of school during term time is totally fine.  In fact, I took my kids out of school for 2 weeks last December to visit family.  There is a boy in my older daughter's class who just got back from 2 months in the Philippines visiting family.  This fits in with Italian culture where rules are to be broken/bended, family is foremost and things are always flexible.  Completely different from other European cultures yet still Europe.  Just compare the driving here to the driving in Switzerland and you'll get my point (or obeying the tax code!)

Shane - just because you've been to Norway and Germany, doesn't mean you can make generalizations about the entire continent of Europe.  I'd recommend saying "In Norway..." rather than "In Europe..."

Here in Italy, home schooling is allowed so long as you pass all the required exams. And I'm sure you could figure out a way to get around this rule you wanted to as, as I mentioned above, rules are to be broken here. I don't know anyone who does home schooling though.

@Hula Hoop , Agreed that Europe is huge and very diverse. We're right across the Adriatic from you in Croatia now. First thing I did when we arrived two days ago was jump in and go for a swim. My statement about Europe above was meant to be taken, at least partially, as tongue in cheek. I realize laws regarding school attendance and homeschooling are different depending on which country you're talking about. Most of the cases of heavy-handed nanny-state overreach into the personal lives of citizens I've heard have been in northern Europe. As you said, in the south they may have rules, but they aren't necessarily enforced.

gaja

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #686 on: May 30, 2018, 06:44:18 AM »
Sorry for the detour into details, but if you want to use examples from other countries to show why the US system is better, I think you should understand how the other systems really work.

I have been a public school teacher in Norway, and I have kids in public school here.

1. There are several ways your brother can (and should) provide challenges for that kid without taking him out of class. He can attend classes at a higher level, either at same school or at the local university, through video or in person. If he is at high school level, he can take more classes at the same school. If he wants the extra exams, he might have to pay a couple of hundred bucks. But just attending class is free. According to the law of adapted education (tilrettelagt opplæring), your brother is obligated to find these solutions for the kid.

2. These kids usually have something they need to learn at their age approriate level, and thanks to their intelligence you can usually discuss that with them. It might be social skills, it might be languages or math, etc. My sister went through school at a faster speed, and was not entirely positive about it. She has not chosen the same option for her kids, even though they are just as smart. My oldest daughter is part of a "masterclass in mathematics", and is placed in a higher level class (with kids 2-3 years older) now and then. Those challenges are good for her.

3. If the parents of these smart kids write a simple application (often an online form where you fill out the dates and write a sentence about why), they will be granted leave. At the lower levels it has no consequence, at the higher levels they might not get grades in some topics if they miss too much school. Then the solution is taking the written/oral exam instead. But, as I mentioned above, we have statistics of everything. And the statistics clearly show that on a national level there is a strong correlation between how important parents think it is that the kids attend school, and how good grades the kids get. So the laws of "forced" attendance are there to make sure the school can protect the kids who are struggling, from parents who don't care about their education. So if you apply to take the kid out of class for 3 months to travel to your home county and visit the grandparents, and the school knows that this student is struggling already, they will be denied leave.

I have applied for leave for my kids a few time, and never had any problems getting it. Even when it has been stupid reasons such as "we would like to start our christmas holiday a bit earlier".

@gaja , thanks for the suggestions. In the case of the particular student mentioned above, the issue of what to do is now moot, as the boy graduated last week and will be moving on to university in a couple of months. My brother said he tried to do as much as he could for his student, including meeting with his supervisor and the student's other teachers to discuss options available to better challenge him. Perhaps if my brother were teaching at a bigger school in Trondheim or Oslo, there might have been more options, but possibly because my brother's school is relatively small and in a somewhat neglected rural area, it has fewer resources to be able to provide special services for exceptional students? Not sure, really.

Nope, that is not how it works in Norway. You have the same rights no matter where you live. Keeping thriving rural communities all over the country (and especially in the north) is one of our key political goals.

For next time, please give your brother this link: https://www.ntnu.no/studier/opptak/enkeltemner/ung
All the universities have these types of programs, and several classes can be taken online/remotely. If you want to follow a class that is not on the list, it is usually possible to come to an arrangement. The university in Oslo is not easy to negotiate with, but Bergen is very open for suggestions. I’ve taken exams in Bergen that were not set up as remote studies, but they were quite ok with me just showing up for the exam without attending classes. I also know people who were allowed to take university exams at their local high school, to avoid traveling at all.

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #687 on: June 01, 2018, 04:05:22 PM »
@gaja , thanks for the link. I'll share it with my brother. It wasn't just my brother's call on what to do with the student. All of the kid's teachers, the head teacher, the principal and the kid's parents sat down and agreed on a plan. Apparently, the plan focused heavily on helping the student to develop better social skills but, according to my brother, fell short of actually challenging him academically. It wasn't really my brother's call, though. He just did what he was told to do.

I was really impressed by what I saw of the Norwegian education system. It's not my opinion, at all, the the US education system is "better". I think it's generally worse. For me and my family, personally, the flexibility of the US system is nice, though. It's allowed us to travel for the past 17 months. In August, we'll go back home, and our daughter will be able to go right back in to fourth grade with her classmates.