Author Topic: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.  (Read 70135 times)

arebelspy

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #150 on: December 24, 2017, 11:22:40 AM »
I would also disagree that teachers in general are academic experts. Surely an expert is someone like a university researcher, not a physics teacher. But I would argue that secondary school teachers are academic specialists. I am certainly capable of teaching all-round primary education, but at some point into secondary school I just wouldn't be able to deal with all the material for all the subjects by myself.

I'm not understanding your "expert" vs "specialist" distinction.

They should all have training not only in their content area and be certified "highly qualified" in that subject matter, but also have training in the teaching of it, and teaching pedagogy in general. And they do ongoing classes and learning to renew their teaching certificate.

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I could absolutely teach higher level French or philosophy, but wouldn't be able to help my child at all with A Level maths or economics.

And that's why different experts are used once that level is reached, and they have 4-6 teachers/day at that point.


Teachers are experts, in general.

Homeschooling has a huge advantage in the difference in attention 1-3 children can get versus 30 children. Some parents, if they have the option should home school, due to that focused attention. Many should not, due to the content subject matter (many people struggle with basic math, even long division, or conceptualizing different addition and subtraction strategies, or lack of knowledge of reading strategies, techniques, etc. to help teach comprehension, analysis, etc.).

A reasonably intelligent person willing to research teaching methods and techniques can probably do better than an expert with 30 kids, at the low level content areas. I would not count most people in this category (reasonably intelligent, willing to seek help and able to do so, etc.) though.


Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.
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sol

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #151 on: December 24, 2017, 11:29:38 AM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #152 on: December 24, 2017, 11:59:06 AM »
I would also disagree that teachers in general are academic experts. Surely an expert is someone like a university researcher, not a physics teacher. But I would argue that secondary school teachers are academic specialists. I am certainly capable of teaching all-round primary education, but at some point into secondary school I just wouldn't be able to deal with all the material for all the subjects by myself.

I'm not understanding your "expert" vs "specialist" distinction.

They should all have training not only in their content area and be certified "highly qualified" in that subject matter, but also have training in the teaching of it, and teaching pedagogy in general. And they do ongoing classes and learning to renew their teaching certificate.

To my mind, an expert is someone who has really gone above and beyond and is at the top level in their subject area. A specialist is a rung down from that - someone who has done further study in their subject area but is at a level that any intelligent person could expect to achieve. For example, I don't regard myself as an expert in anything, but I do think I could reasonably call myself a specialist - for example, an art specialist (I work as a freelance arty type). Sure, a physics teacher has done an undergraduate degree in physics and a diploma in teaching. (That's how it works in England, anyway.) That doesn't make them an expert in either physics or teaching - but it does make them a specialist, and a damn sight better trained to teach A Level physics than me.

I don't think it is just semantics. I think it's important for a reasonable discussion about whether homeschooling is better, worse or adequate academically - to recognise that teachers are trained in both their subject matter and their teaching in a way that parents are usually not, but also to recognise that they are not super academic wizards who far surpass anything your average bright person could expect to achieve if they tried. "Specialist" is a more moderate middle ground than "expert".

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I could absolutely teach higher level French or philosophy, but wouldn't be able to help my child at all with A Level maths or economics.

And that's why different experts are used once that level is reached, and they have 4-6 teachers/day at that point.
[/quote]

And that's why I said in my mega post upthread that I'd seriously consider homeschooling my children for primary school, but most likely not for secondary school.

me1

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #153 on: December 24, 2017, 12:21:19 PM »
My spouse and I both have phds in science/engineering. We are pretty nerdy with a wide variety of interests outside of science from music to history to art to literature to philosophy. Yet, I still find it takes huge amounts of hubris to think that we alone could give him a better education than an institution that's been designed for that purpose. I also want him to be exposed to as wide an array of opinions, life paths, etc.. as possible. I feel like home schoolers want the opposite for their kids. I find that opinion somewhat anti-social. How will we all as a society be more understanding of each other's life paths and struggles if we just pass on what WE think is important to our kids, and they don't get any other input....all the same problems in society will just be passed on. I want him to be a better person than I am and know more than me, and he can't do that if his only source is me.

Also, I do math with my son constantly, and because it's fun for me, it's fun for him. But we also read books together, talk about all kinds of stuff at the dinner table and while going to bed and do a lot of educational activities/games. Just because he goes to school during the day doesn't mean we don't interact with him and try to challenge him when he is at school.

calimom

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #154 on: December 24, 2017, 12:22:27 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

And don't forget "make kids stand in lines" There seems to be an obsession with lines and minutiae by many home schoolers. Because young people should be protected from such unpleasantries?

I feel I am reasonably well educated, but in no way would I feel qualified to home school my children. DIY is great for a lot of things, but some areas are best left to the experts, i.e., trained teachers. There is an interesting story of a California ranch family who home schooled the 4 children in their multicultural family, primarily due to living so remotely. 3 of their sons graduated from Harvard and all are high achievers. The Colfax parents were highly educated, the father had a Phd and the mother I believe a Masters in education.. While an Ivy League college is maybe not the end goal for many, this family was a home school success largely due to the parents' education. It's hard to think that many home schoolers, no matter how well intentioned, would have the skills needed to teach every subject.

GoConfidently

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #155 on: December 24, 2017, 12:38:44 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

And many homeschool families think primary education especially is “easy” to teach. That’s the foundation of learning, and if done poorly can have impacts well into adulthood. Look at the math debates sparked by common core. Parents who don’t understand new pedagogy think math strategies that are not based on memorization or the way they were taught decades ago are wrong or weird. Those strategies actually set up students for more complex math concepts later. Good elementary education is priceless, and that’s for typical children. Throw in some mild dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other learning disability and it could be a very very bad situation.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 12:42:14 PM by GoConfidently »

FINate

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #156 on: December 24, 2017, 12:50:20 PM »
My spouse and I both have phds in science/engineering. We are pretty nerdy with a wide variety of interests outside of science from music to history to art to literature to philosophy. Yet, I still find it takes huge amounts of hubris to think that we alone could give him a better education than an institution that's been designed for that purpose. I also want him to be exposed to as wide an array of opinions, life paths, etc.. as possible. I feel like home schoolers want the opposite for their kids. I find that opinion somewhat anti-social. How will we all as a society be more understanding of each other's life paths and struggles if we just pass on what WE think is important to our kids, and they don't get any other input....all the same problems in society will just be passed on. I want him to be a better person than I am and know more than me, and he can't do that if his only source is me.

It really depends on the specific institution. Not as simple as "good" vs. "bad" schools, e.g. test scores. A lot depends on the culture of the institution which is a function of administrators, teachers, students, and parents. The public schools in our area are high functioning. Totally different story in the next county over where I grew up. Most of the time is spent dealing with behavior issues, chronic issues with lack of resources (yet they get grant money for stuff they don't really need), and high teacher turnover. I eventually bailed out to a private school because it was a toxic environment (middle schoolers coming to school drunk, drug dealing, gang fights, weapons). I was extremely fortunate that my parents could afford, just barely, private school. A reasonably educated and motivated parent will likely do a better job than a failing institution.

Also, I get the sense that people think homeschoolers totally go it alone. Not sure what the rest of the country does, but in my area we have a charter school for homeschoolers (http://www.ogcs.org/) which provides curriculum, assessment, support staff, community based instruction, training for parents, and so on.  The families I know of in this program are all thriving, the kids are well rounded and socialized.

Lichen

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #157 on: December 24, 2017, 01:01:26 PM »


What kind of exposure to radically different cultures, religions, and sexual orientation do you provide your children when home schooling them?

This stands out to me as a homeschooling parent, because I can't see it coming from any other perspective than that of all homeschoolers are straight, white, christians.

My wife and I are part of the LGBT community, as is one of our sons. So lots of exposure to others in this category. Our friends and their kids hail from all over the world. In a town such as ours, any outsiders in culture, race, or sexual orientation tend to find each other. As Atheists, the kids have probably been exposed to more religions than their peers in public school, simply because most people in our area tend toward the same flavors of religion and shun those that don't fit it or at least give it lip service. We've made the effort to expose the kids to culturally diverse ideas so that they don't fall into that same type of prejudice (which to be fair, many of those perpetuating it aren't even aware that they have this prejudice).

The fact is, homeschoolers have a variety of different backgrounds and styles. It's a completely different beast than public or even private schooling, so comparisons are very much apples to oranges. Some families do it well, just like some public schools do it well. Some families abuse it or fail at key aspects, like socialization, others never have these issues. I agree there needs to be some form of oversight, to catch the outliers that fail on some major level. BUT many states have this oversight, some don't. (Hint: The ones you hear about are doing it extremely well or doing it poorly. You don't hear about the average families that run the gamut in between.)

The awesome thing? Don't like homeschooling? Great, no one will make you do it!

arebelspy

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #158 on: December 24, 2017, 01:08:16 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

I don't have a large enough sample size on homeschooling parent's opinions on that to have an educated opinion myself on what they think.
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MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #159 on: December 24, 2017, 01:13:48 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

They have to devalue the education professions in order to justify their belief that they can do it as well as qualified practitioners.

Zikoris

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #160 on: December 24, 2017, 01:19:42 PM »
We did not have a lot of exposure to different races/cultures during the elementary homeschool years, but that was more a factor of where we lived - there was no diversity at the local schools either. When I did homeschool again, it was living in the far north on an Indian reserve, so I got to be a minority for a few years.

I'm not sure if there's really some inherent need for a diverse environment for children, to be honest, as long as parents don't instill fear or hatred of other groups. My parents has always just taken the approach of "People do different things for their own reasons, it doesn't affect you so who gives a shit, just don't be a dick". I read a little bit about different religions and cultures out of interest in my own time, but until I actually moved to a major city, I really hadn't really encountered a lot of diversity. You just generally don't in rural places, at least in Canada. I think if parents generally teach their kids to be polite and respectful, and treat people equally, that's good enough.

arebelspy

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #161 on: December 24, 2017, 01:20:39 PM »
Speaking about groups monolithically does everyone a disservice.
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FINate

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #162 on: December 24, 2017, 01:24:53 PM »
Speaking about groups monolithically does everyone a disservice.

+1

Zikoris

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #163 on: December 24, 2017, 01:27:57 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

For what it's worth, both of my parents are teachers (very good ones, in my opinion!), and they were still fine with the idea of homeschooling. They definitely would not advocate it for every family, but in our case, they saw that the stuff we were doing in class was way below our ability levels, saw that we weren't crazy about the whole thing and found it somewhat pointless, and gave us the option of doing something different, which we both decided to do.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #164 on: December 24, 2017, 01:32:04 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

For what it's worth, both of my parents are teachers (very good ones, in my opinion!), and they were still fine with the idea of homeschooling. They definitely would not advocate it for every family, but in our case, they saw that the stuff we were doing in class was way below our ability levels, saw that we weren't crazy about the whole thing and found it somewhat pointless, and gave us the option of doing something different, which we both decided to do.

Homeschooling by qualified practitioners is different than untrained amateurs.

Zikoris

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #165 on: December 24, 2017, 01:38:06 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

For what it's worth, both of my parents are teachers (very good ones, in my opinion!), and they were still fine with the idea of homeschooling. They definitely would not advocate it for every family, but in our case, they saw that the stuff we were doing in class was way below our ability levels, saw that we weren't crazy about the whole thing and found it somewhat pointless, and gave us the option of doing something different, which we both decided to do.

Homeschooling by qualified practitioners is different than untrained amateurs.

They actually didn't do much - they gave us the curriculums to work through on our own, though they were there when we had problems. That was pre-internet though - I think in this day and age, it would be a lot easier to find things like videos or tutorials in a parent didn't have the answer to a question. I do think parents who homeschool should probably be fairly educated themselves, but I don't think they need to necessarily be trained teachers.

Lichen

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #166 on: December 24, 2017, 02:57:07 PM »
I think there are some major misunderstandings about what it takes to be a teacher in a public school on both sides. The bare minimum in my state for the elementary level is a bachelor in any subject (including underwater basket weaving) and a teacher preparation course. There are various courses of different depths, but the class listing I am looking at for the most popular one at the local state university that is aimed at elementary teachers primarily focuses on classroom/behavior management and learning differentiation across a class of 20+ students. This is combined with practical classroom hours. It is only a year long program. There are similar one and two year programs for secondary classrooms that have more subject focus. Judging from the verbiage used on the program website, these vary by state so some states may have more in depth programs. For all I know my state is lax with teacher accreditation :)

So anyone with a college education is likely qualified to teach a couple of kids until at least 6th grade, since ideally they don't have 20 kids of varying abilities and backgrounds to manage. After 6th, most homeschool families begin outsourcing a lot of subjects anyway to outside classes or online classes, so subject matter experts tend to teach the trickier subjects regardless.

So yes, a certified teacher is an expert. What they are an expert in that a standard degree holder is not is classroom management, which is necessary in a traditional classroom. I am not discounting any of the hard work or the education levels of teachers, I am thankful for teachers and vote with my tax dollars to support schools. It's just important to realize comparisons between classroom and homeschool environments aren't apples to apples.

MrsPete

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #167 on: December 24, 2017, 03:50:57 PM »
Any parent who cares can do a much better job teaching than a teacher that doesn't care who is dealing with 30 kids.
Are these the only two options? 
- A parent who cares
- A teacher who doesn't care and is dealing with 30 kids

I don't think so.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.
Yeah, I have two degrees plus a teaching certificate, and I learned a good bit in earning them.  I am not "a random adult" or a warm body willing to stand in front of the class.  Whether you want to call me a specialist or an expert in my field, I still know my subject better than the average homeschooling parent.  I know, I know, someone will say that the point of homeschooling is to have the student direct his or her own learning, but having a strong sense of where you're going is a positive. 

Makes me think about a scene from The Cosby Show back in the 80s: one of the younger kids said she intended to drop out of school.  When asked what kind of job she expected to get with only a 4th grade education, she answered with all the optimism of a child, "I'll teach 3rd grade!" 

I think there are some major misunderstandings about what it takes to be a teacher in a public school on both sides. The bare minimum in my state for the elementary level is a bachelor in any subject (including underwater basket weaving) and a teacher preparation course.
In my state, this would allow you to be a substitute teacher ... but not a regular classroom teacher.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 04:04:23 PM by MrsPete »

mm1970

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #168 on: December 24, 2017, 04:07:01 PM »
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A lot of people on this forum are obviously more liberal/progressive than I am and the general consensus seems to be that children should be allowed to discover their own value system. I heartily disagree. I see it as one of my fundamental duties as a parent to teach my children what is right and what is wrong. I reject moral relativism, the idea that everyone can decide on their own version of right and wrong. There are moral absolutes. Murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, lying is wrong, etc.

I cannot speak for the other progressives on here, only my own.

It's not necessarily that I think my kids should develop their own value system.  It's my job to do that.

But I was raised Catholic, and in a word, it's bullshit.  Yes, I'm raising my children to be Atheist, I don't understand the belief in false things.  My children are being raised to know that stealing, lying, and murder are wrong, as well as racism, homophobia, and pedophilia.

I pretty much had it figured out at age 11 "wow, anyone who is not Catholic is going to hell, hm, do people really believe all this??"

mm1970

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #169 on: December 24, 2017, 04:09:12 PM »
ooeei, but if you are going to argue that we are smarter, you shouldn't need to compare to the people that dropped out. And, while I can understand giving someone what would be considered common knowledge back then (like the size of a cord of wood), if you have passed high school, done grammar and history, etc all the way through, you should be able to pass the test without any additional studying.

I'm in agreement with Michael in ABQ about what I expose my children to and how/what I teach them. And we could throw the question back at you: how much do you expose your children to things you don't agree with? If you say your child gets that exposure at a public school, sorry teaching about God hasn't been allowed in a public school. Do you take your children to churches where you don't agree with the teaching? Do your children or you have Christian friends? If you aren't doing this, you have no business criticizing us if we don't.
I do teach them topics we don't agree with as they need to know it to live in the world when they graduate. Most, if not all, homeschoolers do. But we do it in an age appropriate way, in a compare/contrast beliefs way so they can look at the reasoning behind the ideas and learn where the wrong and right reasonings are.
And, socially, I doubt you could pick my children out of a crowd. Some are more social than others as you will see with any group of children but they all function well social as evidenced by jobs, college, making friends in all sorts of situations.
God is everywhere, even in public school. Good luck avoiding the after school teacher who shows Christian videos, talks about church and God.  And my kid, who is on the student council, as part of his job gets to say the Pledge Allegiance over the loudspeaker...and what's in there?  Under God.

It's pretty easy to keep  your kid away from the idea of atheism in the US.  Not so much Christianity.

mm1970

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #170 on: December 24, 2017, 04:23:47 PM »
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Do home schoolers really think that kids in public school are held back by slower kids?  Like I wasn't allowed to read more books in high school than were required by the curriculum?  That my science education only included what my high school science teachers taught? 

Because that's entirely counter to the very spirit of education, IMO.  The whole point of my high school education, in science or english or anything else, was not to impart a specific body of facts but to inculcate a lifelong love of personal learning and growth, on my own time, outside of the classroom.  High school physics can never possibly teach you quantum mechanics, but it can teach you that quantum mechanics exists and is fascinating and hey there are books you can read about it at your local library! 

Right?  I mean, I was that weird kid who just did extra math homework.  And made up my own problems to do when I finished those.  And read the Encyclopedia when I was bored.  And taught myself to program on the TRS-80 (too bad that skill didn't stick, lol!)

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*My husband JUST found out he was super gifted as a child.  His father recently confessed that he always scored a minimum of 2 years above grade level.  His dad was the school psychologist, and was the one administering the tests!  His folks never told him, because there was no point.  They were very rural, and there were no other options for education.

This is fascinating because I was the same way.  Gifted, always well above grade level (same as my 11 yo), high IQ, but I was just fine.  Maybe I just challenged myself, maybe my teachers were able to adjust (except that 4th-5th grade math teacher who shall not be named).  I'm also from a really small town, rural school - all of about 100 kids in my HS class (then my parents divorced and I moved to the next school over, also 100 kids).  It was about the same. 

Villanelle

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #171 on: December 24, 2017, 06:57:20 PM »
Still reading through the replies but wanted to chime in.

Homeschooling for religious reasons was very common 20 years ago but I doubt if it’s even the majority of homeschooling families these days. We pulled our kids from school because my oldest really struggles in a traditional classroom but thrives in one on one instruction because of some mild language disabilities she has. My younger two could be fine either way but I love designing our own curriculum - they’ve learned more about space, world history, mythology, and a host of other topics at ages 11, 10, and 8 than most high school graduates.

FWIW my wife is a practicing Catholic, and our kids to receive basic religious education and attend church. I’m the primary teacher, however, and I’m a bisexual agnostic. I know many, many non religious homeschooling families, and even the religious ones I know do not fit the stereotype of sheltering kids from learning about science/evolution/whatever.

At the same time, we’re probably a bit behind in some things because I try to work with their natural progression rather than obsess over artificial grade level competency. We as society accept that toddlers start talking and walking at very different ages but demand that several years later their intellectual progress is in lock step? That’s an odd disconnect in my book and does not fit with what we know about brain development.

The socialization claim is a bunch of shit and I’m so tired of it. The most concise counter argument is that socialization in school is an artificial environment defined by age, not personality or interests. My kids get lots of interaction with other kids but more importantly, they’re constantly around adult conversations as well.

On taxes, I do NOT want any government funding. Almost no homeschool advocacy groups wants it either, the biggest group in this regard being HSLDA. The last thing we want is government intrusion, because then we will lose the ability to design our own curriculum, which is the whole reason many chose to homeschool in the first place. Many families do essentially “school at home” with very structured education, but many more are like me that do things a lot differently than conventional education. The last thing I want is to be regulated as, essentially, a very small private school.

I think you are a bit biased, and probably somewhat defensive, which makes sense.  But from someone who no real dog in this fight and who, as I said, isn't anti-homeschooling, honestly, it is a problem.  Maybe it isn't in your family, and that's wonderful.  But honestly, you really seem to be in the minority.  Just because *you* do it well doesn't mean that all or even most do, and doesn't negate the entire concept.  I don't think anyone would argue there are no exceptions.  I'm glad your family is one, but plenty aren't. 

And in a way, that highlights one problem with homeschooling.  The lack of oversight means  there is such a wide variety of experiences and approaches.  If everyone did it well--if the system even attempted to ensure that--I'd have no reservations (though I'd still be against tax policy that supports or rewards it).  But there's no underlying policy that makes sure everyone does it like it sounds like you do.

So no, the argument isn't shit.  I understand your defense of those who operate under the same banner as you, but perhaps that defensiveness blinds you to the reality of others who are doing things different than you are.

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #172 on: December 25, 2017, 12:30:20 AM »
Still reading through the replies but wanted to chime in.

Homeschooling for religious reasons was very common 20 years ago but I doubt if it’s even the majority of homeschooling families these days. We pulled our kids from school because my oldest really struggles in a traditional classroom but thrives in one on one instruction because of some mild language disabilities she has. My younger two could be fine either way but I love designing our own curriculum - they’ve learned more about space, world history, mythology, and a host of other topics at ages 11, 10, and 8 than most high school graduates.

FWIW my wife is a practicing Catholic, and our kids to receive basic religious education and attend church. I’m the primary teacher, however, and I’m a bisexual agnostic. I know many, many non religious homeschooling families, and even the religious ones I know do not fit the stereotype of sheltering kids from learning about science/evolution/whatever.

At the same time, we’re probably a bit behind in some things because I try to work with their natural progression rather than obsess over artificial grade level competency. We as society accept that toddlers start talking and walking at very different ages but demand that several years later their intellectual progress is in lock step? That’s an odd disconnect in my book and does not fit with what we know about brain development.

The socialization claim is a bunch of shit and I’m so tired of it. The most concise counter argument is that socialization in school is an artificial environment defined by age, not personality or interests. My kids get lots of interaction with other kids but more importantly, they’re constantly around adult conversations as well.

On taxes, I do NOT want any government funding. Almost no homeschool advocacy groups wants it either, the biggest group in this regard being HSLDA. The last thing we want is government intrusion, because then we will lose the ability to design our own curriculum, which is the whole reason many chose to homeschool in the first place. Many families do essentially “school at home” with very structured education, but many more are like me that do things a lot differently than conventional education. The last thing I want is to be regulated as, essentially, a very small private school.

I think you are a bit biased, and probably somewhat defensive, which makes sense.  But from someone who no real dog in this fight and who, as I said, isn't anti-homeschooling, honestly, it is a problem.  Maybe it isn't in your family, and that's wonderful.  But honestly, you really seem to be in the minority.  Just because *you* do it well doesn't mean that all or even most do, and doesn't negate the entire concept.  I don't think anyone would argue there are no exceptions.  I'm glad your family is one, but plenty aren't. 

And in a way, that highlights one problem with homeschooling.  The lack of oversight means  there is such a wide variety of experiences and approaches.  If everyone did it well--if the system even attempted to ensure that--I'd have no reservations (though I'd still be against tax policy that supports or rewards it).  But there's no underlying policy that makes sure everyone does it like it sounds like you do.

So no, the argument isn't shit.  I understand your defense of those who operate under the same banner as you, but perhaps that defensiveness blinds you to the reality of others who are doing things different than you are.

We don't homeschool, don't have a horse in this race, but I think the socialization argument IS shit. A one size fits all approach of traditional school is traumatic for some kids, especially for those who think differently or at a different pace. I would argue that this can set them back socially. Schools with rampant behavior problems are also problematic. I was an outgoing happy-go-lucky kid until attending a completely toxic public school. In hindsight, I didn't just need to change schools, I almost certainly needed therapy as well but didn't have the perspective as a kid to know this. It was horrible, took many years to recover.

Two biases we should consider:
1) Selection Bias: Kids who are naturally a bit off/odd/different are more likely to end up being homeschooled.
2) Confirmation Bias: That socially awkward kid, you guess they may be homeschooled, and find out from the parents that you are right. Wow, homeschooled kids must be socially awkward! However, you don't think to inquire about kids who are otherwise normal (why would you), and it's well known that people usually forget/discount information contradicting their assumptions (awkward kid goes to public school..."must be an outlier").

Shane

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #173 on: December 25, 2017, 03:57:33 AM »
Thanks to everyone who has posted thoughtful comments to this interesting thread.

In answer to the OP's questions: my family and I definitely aren't looking for any tax cuts from the government to support our homeschooling. And, just like it's never alright to make broad brush negative statements about Muslims or blacks or Jews, I can't think of any good reasons to justify why it would be okay to hold on to negative stereotypes of *all* homeschoolers, as clearly each family is different.

While I can understand that from a societal perspective some people might think it would be desirable to have more safeguards and regulations in place to monitor homeschoolers, we are personally very grateful that our state has not made any efforts whatsoever to check up on us since we pulled our daughter out of public school a little over a year ago. A few days before we left the US in 2016, I went into my daughter's elementary school and told one of the ladies in the office that we were planning to travel to Japan over winter break and weren't sure if/when we would return. A little bit surprisingly to me, that didn't seem to faze the office lady, at all. She just asked me to sign my daughter out of school and told me that as soon as we knew the address of our daughter's new school to let them know and they would forward her records. That was the last we heard from the public school system in the US, and, TBH, we're quite happy with that arrangement.

Since December, 2016, my wife, (now) nine year old daughter and I have been traveling slowly around the world, usually staying a month, or so, in each city/country we visit. So far, we've tried various strategies to educate our daughter as we travel. Early on, we enrolled her in a public school in Japan for a month. Then we tried some homeschooling, both with and without a curriculum, for a couple of months. Next, we enrolled our daughter in a private English language international school in Vietnam for 2.5 months, so she could spend some time around other kids her own age.

For the past six months we've mostly been Worldschooling our daughter, i.e., not explicitly teaching her any particular school subjects, but helping her to learn from the experiences we've been having as we travel. In the past year, both my wife and I have read dozens of books together with our daughter, and our daughter has read dozens of shorter, easier books herself. She's an excellent reader, far above grade level, and her comprehension of the books we read seems good, as well. Right now, my daughter and I are reading Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. My wife and daughter have read the entire Harry Potter series. My daughter and I recently finished reading the Hobbit. Before that we read Animal Farm. And she just recently turned 9 years old.

In addition to reading lots of books, we watch movies together as a family, sometimes on Netflix and sometimes in a theater, and we talk about the movies with her afterwards. We're constantly talking with our daughter, and she's constantly listening to my wife and me talking to each other and to people we meet during our travels. Our daughter hears us talking about racism, sexism, #metoo, Nazis, white supremacists and Antifa. She hears us talking with national park rangers about invasive species eradication plans, plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. She hears us talking with people we meet on the road, explaining to them that, "No, we did not vote for Donald Trump. No Americans aren't all racists. And, no we're not all fat." Using the Google Earth app on my phone, our daughter can easily point out all of the places we've visited in the past year. Ask her to find Kuala Lumpur, and she can easily spin the globe around and zoom right in to the correct spot on the west coast of Malaysia. Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, China, Cambodia. Ask our daughter where they are, and she can find them all on Google Earth and tell you a little bit about her experiences in each country.

Reading some of the comments above in this thread started to make me worry a little bit that maybe we were doing a disservice to our daughter, because neither my wife nor I are certified, professional school teachers with years of experience at modern pedagogical methods and techniques, but the more I thought about it, the less I was worried. Pretty sure, our daughter is going to be just fine. If and when she goes back to a regular public school somewhere in the US, someday, if there are any gaps in her knowledge, my wife and I can easily help her to get back up to speed in whatever areas she may be lacking. Probably, though, our daughter will be ahead of many of her classmates in some areas, as well, so hopefully her weaknesses and strengths will even out and she won't have to struggle too much.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 11:47:20 AM by Shane »

Trifele

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #174 on: December 25, 2017, 05:52:41 AM »
Great post, Shane!  We too homeschool partly for travel freedom reasons. We are hitting the road for a long trip soon to do some worldschooling too. 

I feel like I unintentionally lit the match on some negativity above by sharing the experience we had a few years ago in public school.  That's all it was -- our experience, my opinions, that particular school district.  When I described how we had encountered some bad teachers, I was not saying that all public school teachers are bad.  I think there are lots of great public school teachers out there.  We just did not have access to them.  Which led us to homeschool out of total desperation, only to discover it was great for us.   

I firmly believe that any caring parent has the ability to adequately homeschool a child academically all the way through high school if they want to.  When you hit a subject you feel you can't teach, you find someone who can and/or use the amazing online resources that are available to all of us.  Or --use the public school curriculum, which is made available to all homeschoolers in the states I've lived in.  I agree with the poster above that many folks on this thread who don't homeschool seem to not understand what it is, or can be.  None of the homeschool families I know go it alone, sitting at a table with their kid all day, shutting themselves off from society.

Full disclosure -- we both have graduate degrees.  DH is a hard science PhD who taught for 25 years before he started homeschooling our kids. He will easily be able to teach any math or science our kids would study through high school level.  He also volunteer teaches many other homeschool kids in our town.  Another cool thing about homeschoolers is that they make connections like that between families, freely sharing knowledge.  Do I think we are the 'norm' for homeschoolers?  No, but we're not unique either.  Broad generalizations are tough.  I really have no idea what the 'norm' is.

The elementary/high school 'break' that many people described is common.  I have met many families that homeschool through the elementary years, then the kids go to public/private high school.  We may do that.  One of our kids says she wants to homeschool all the way through high school, but the other says he wants to return to high school for the upper grades.   

The lack of regulation seems to make many uncomfortable.  Our particular state is one of the fairly heavily regulated ones.  There are minimum education levels for both teaching and administering standardized tests.  We are inspected and meet with a state official at least once every two years. Prior to this we lived in an unregulated state, where all you had to was notify the state that you were homeschooling.

My opinion -- this lack of regulation will result in wide variation in the quality of home school education, but how is that much different than the huge quality variation we see in the public schools?

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #175 on: December 25, 2017, 11:10:59 AM »
ooeei, but if you are going to argue that we are smarter, you shouldn't need to compare to the people that dropped out. And, while I can understand giving someone what would be considered common knowledge back then (like the size of a cord of wood), if you have passed high school, done grammar and history, etc all the way through, you should be able to pass the test without any additional studying.


BAM, have you ever taken a HS or college level test 17 years after you graduated from college.  I did in the past 2-3 years.  I was attempting to go to college part time to get a geology degree mostly for fun.  Because I had been out of school for so long I was required to "test into" chemistry and math.  I "failed" both.  I did end up passing the chemistry test the 2nd time around by cramming for it using "Chemistry for dummies."  Instead of being allowed to take calculus, I was "told" I'd need to start taking Algebra II/Trigonometry (mind you I passed Calc 2 in 1998).  Yes I'd need to study for the 8th grade test, mainly because I'd need to relearn things I've completely forgotten. 

Lichen

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #176 on: December 25, 2017, 11:51:32 AM »
ooeei, but if you are going to argue that we are smarter, you shouldn't need to compare to the people that dropped out. And, while I can understand giving someone what would be considered common knowledge back then (like the size of a cord of wood), if you have passed high school, done grammar and history, etc all the way through, you should be able to pass the test without any additional studying.


BAM, have you ever taken a HS or college level test 17 years after you graduated from college.  I did in the past 2-3 years.  I was attempting to go to college part time to get a geology degree mostly for fun.  Because I had been out of school for so long I was required to "test into" chemistry and math.  I "failed" both.  I did end up passing the chemistry test the 2nd time around by cramming for it using "Chemistry for dummies."  Instead of being allowed to take calculus, I was "told" I'd need to start taking Algebra II/Trigonometry (mind you I passed Calc 2 in 1998).  Yes I'd need to study for the 8th grade test, mainly because I'd need to relearn things I've completely forgotten.

I'll match your anecdotal evidence with my own ;)

I'm currently in college working towards an advanced science degree. I had to take the entrance exams for some subjects (math and writing). The difference between our two experiences is probably because I prepared and didn't take the test cold. I didn't study for writing because I have been working as a professional in the subject for over a decade, so passed it with no issue.

I passed math up to the level I had previously studied 20 years ago. This is because I spent two weeks on Kahn Academy preparing myself ahead of time. This was little more than review, but necessary. Simple stuff like clearing the fractions first likely would have thrown me otherwise, simply because I hadn't thought of it in 20 years. This is no different than what I would do teaching one of my kids or any other student for that matter (I have tutored in the past and I currently run a club for gifted science kids). I prepare before I present new subject matter. Homeschooling is no different. We don't go in cold to teach a subject, we prepare just as we would for any test.

If after preparation I do not feel confident enough to teach the subject matter, I outsource it. This is why my eldest took some advanced mathematics at the local high school. I wasn't the right teacher and wasn't confident in my methods of ensuring he fully understood the material. My youngest is a math whiz. My job with him is only as a guide to make sure he doesn't have any holes in his knowledge or develop any bad mathematical habits as he works through things at his own, but very fast, pace.

Homeschooling, like any type of education, doesn't occur in a vacuum. (There are outliers of course, and most of the negative examples in this thread are of the outliers.)

CindyBS

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #177 on: December 25, 2017, 12:30:07 PM »

Two biases we should consider:
1) Selection Bias: Kids who are naturally a bit off/odd/different are more likely to end up being homeschooled.
2) Confirmation Bias: That socially awkward kid, you guess they may be homeschooled, and find out from the parents that you are right. Wow, homeschooled kids must be socially awkward! However, you don't think to inquire about kids who are otherwise normal (why would you), and it's well known that people usually forget/discount information contradicting their assumptions (awkward kid goes to public school..."must be an outlier").

Two additional biases we should consider:

1) Unless research into the social skills of homeschoolers vs public school kids corrects for parental involvement and SES, it is not really a valid study since that compares apples and oranges.
2) Most studies that access social skills involve questionnaires filled out by both parents and teachers.  With homeschooling, the parent and teacher are the same person, and the parent is pro-homeschooling, and the parent loves the child and is very emotionally involved (a good thing) - but that leads to a lack objectivity.    Can you imagine a reputable scientist citing a study of children in a public school setting where only the parents were consulted on the child's skills? 


My experience with homeschooling is limited, but I have worked with a few children in public schools as a teacher's aide that were former homeschool students.  The one boy I am thinking of had severe autism and was about age 7.  Mom had 4 other children under 5, which is a adult to student ratio that was multiple times higher than the classroom he came from.  His previous class had 8 students with 1 teacher and 2 aides.  The mom had pulled him out of school 18 month earlier.  When he was assessed upon return to school, he was further behind in all subjects areas than he had been before he left.  He also had a huge patch of hair missing from rubbing his head on the carpet - presumably from stress/anxiety.  It was unknown what sort of sensory friendly or "take a break" areas the mom had in the house (multiple ones were available at school), but I do know she lived in a duplex (probably 3 bedrooms) with 4 little kids.  The whole situation was very sad. 

I don't mind comparing homeschooling and public schools and for some people, homeschooling is a good choice.  But when the boy I mentioned above was assessed by the public school, his test results reflected on the school and not the homeschooling failure that caused a lot of the lack of progress.  Home/private/charter school failures virtually always end up in public school, and then when these kids failures show up in testing (which in our state is not required in these alternate schools) - these same institutions use these test results to say why public schools are bad.  It was a long time ago, but when I was growing up, every kid that came from the one Catholic school that went to the public high school immediately got put into remedial math because their math skills were so far behind.  Today that would reflect poorly on the public school, despite the fact that the majority of these kids were in a different school for most of their schooling career.

Any honest comparison of anything homeschool vs. public school needs to correct for the following: parent bias, SES, parent involvement, English proficiency and all public school students who are homeschool drop outs. 

SwordGuy

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #178 on: December 25, 2017, 12:39:04 PM »
Is it really true that our public education system does a truly poor job of teaching American students?

Or is it really true that our American students do a truly outstanding job of avoiding learning what they are being taught?
And that our American parents do a truly outstanding job of empowering the kids to do just that?

Fix those two issues and the rest of the problems in American public education become imminently solvable very quickly.

ysette9

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Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #179 on: December 25, 2017, 01:00:27 PM »
I’ve read that the problem with the US system is the gap between those who achieve and those who do not. Kids from affluent areas do test well as compared to their international peers, but the underprivileged do poorly enough to drag down the average. So really, we do a poor job of serving those who need the help the most. The lack of early childhood education and care as compared to other developed countries (The Economist has reported on this) sets schools up to fail as poor kids start school far behind their rich peers and then never catch up.
https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21701131-poor-children-fall-behind-early-life-better-pre-school-education-could-help
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/07/why-does-america-invest-so-little-in-its-children/490790/
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 01:08:19 PM by ysette9 »

ysette9

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Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #180 on: December 25, 2017, 01:04:07 PM »
Another interesting tidbit I read, also from The Economist. High school students were tested in math for whatever standardized test is given to show how we stack up against countries like China, which usually shows strong scores. The US students didn’t fare well. However when students were bribed with cash for good test performance, their scores rose and rivaled the Chinese scores. The article argued that it wasn’t an ability gap but rather one of motivation and willingness to work hard.

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21726745-when-greenbacks-are-offer-american-schoolchildren-seem-try-harder-effort-not

sol

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #181 on: December 25, 2017, 01:15:43 PM »
we do a poor job of serving those who need the help the most.

This neatly sums up America.

In education, there is an argument that having a population with widespread basic literacy and numeracy (the usual argument for public education) is less important than having a select minority of truly elite students get specialized training.  After all, what does it matter if your mechanic has read Shakespeare?  What matters is that we have the world's best engineers, to build laser defense missile systems and universal internet access.

The same argument is often used to support the great economic divide in our country.  What does it matter if everyone can afford a reliable car and cable TV?  What matter is that we have the world's wealthiest entrepreneurs, people willing to fund rocket programs and cure malaria. 

In both cases, America has apparently decided that we're fine with having homeless people freezing to death each winter, and high school graduates who can't read the newspaper, as long as we also have the best of the really exceptional people.

This is different from supporting trickle-down.  It's not an argument that allocating disproportionate resources to the privileged few is good, in the long run, for everyone.  It's an argument that most people genuinely don't matter, that progress is only made possible by the efforts of our best and brightest, and that we should voluntarily leave behind the unwashed masses in order to advance that minority of people who actually matter.

I could almost see supporting that argument, if America hadn't decided that it's definition of "best and brightest" was just "whoever has the most money" instead of being in any way tied to individual merit.

ysette9

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #182 on: December 25, 2017, 01:25:33 PM »
I took a philosophy class a million years ago in junior college and really enjoyed the mental workout it gave me. I remember the section about different bases of philosophical systems. The one that resonated with me was summed up as “what is right is that which brings the most good to the most people”. That system allows for sticky situations like lying to save someone’s life, or sacrificing few to save many, etc.

If we apply that idea to economic, health, and educational realms, the US system is not superior to more egalitarian societies. If we take Sol’s premise that we produce the best and brightest at <fill in the blank>, then those people aren’t great enough to make the sum total/average better or even as good as countries that allocate resources more equally. I realize that you aren’t actually making that argument like you believe it, but for someone who doesn’t actually care about homeless dying in the street if we make the best satellites, out average outcome across the whole country is still lousy as compared to others.

Anyway, I’m probably derailing this thread to some extent. I’m looking down at my sleeping baby in my arms, she who has every advantage in life by simply being born to me and my husband, and thinking how criminal it is that other babies will have such poorer outcomes statistically because they were born to people without advanced degrees or bucks in the bank. As adorable as my kid is, I can’t argue that she is better or more deserving of opportunities in life than any other 2-month old. However she is likely to thrive and be the beneficiary of inter-generational wealth transfer to boot. Yay unfettered capitalism?

ysette9

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #183 on: December 25, 2017, 01:28:26 PM »
It's an argument that most people genuinely don't matter, that progress is only made possible by the efforts of our best and brightest, and that we should voluntarily leave behind the unwashed masses in order to advance that minority of people who actually matter.

I could almost see supporting that argument, if America hadn't decided that it's definition of "best and brightest" was just "whoever has the most money" instead of being in any way tied to individual merit.
The part missing here though is that leaving behind the unwashed masses is a good recipe for political upheaval at some point.

MrsPete

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #184 on: December 25, 2017, 04:27:58 PM »
It's pretty easy to keep  your kid away from the idea of atheism in the US.  Not so much Christianity.
Disagree.  A few words in the Pledge /similar encounters are not really an encounter with Christianity.  It seems to me that most people today don't really know what Christianity is about -- but they sure THINK they do. 

Another interesting tidbit I read, also from The Economist. High school students were tested in math for whatever standardized test is given to show how we stack up against countries like China, which usually shows strong scores. The US students didn’t fare well. However when students were bribed with cash for good test performance, their scores rose and rivaled the Chinese scores. The article argued that it wasn’t an ability gap but rather one of motivation and willingness to work hard.

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21726745-when-greenbacks-are-offer-american-schoolchildren-seem-try-harder-effort-not
I don't have a study to prove it, but this goes along with what I've seen in my own classroom.  A couple examples:  We give the SAT during the school day to all juniors -- whether they want to take it or not.  It seems to me that about 1/3 of the juniors are VERY glad for this.  They're glad they're not paying, and they're glad not to give up a Saturday for the test.  They take the review books, presumably complete the practice tests, and show up ready for the test.  About 1/3 are totally NOT INTO THIS, and they let it be known -- they complain that they aren't going to college or aren't going to university, meaning they don't need this test.  They put their names on the papers, then put their heads down.  Of course our averages look bad -- when the kids know there's no accountability for the test, a very big slice of the group just won't try. 

This is different from supporting trickle-down.  It's not an argument that allocating disproportionate resources to the privileged few is good, in the long run, for everyone.  It's an argument that most people genuinely don't matter, that progress is only made possible by the efforts of our best and brightest, and that we should voluntarily leave behind the unwashed masses in order to advance that minority of people who actually matter.
When it comes to schools, it's not that the resources aren't available -- it's that a whole bunch of our students don't choose to take advantage of their opportunities (in part because their parents have taught them that those opportunities don't matter).  I was one of those kids from "the unwashed masses" (and the parental guidance I received was lackluster at best), and it was public school that gave me the tools to lift myself out of that situation. 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 04:33:04 PM by MrsPete »

Gin1984

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #185 on: December 25, 2017, 05:24:28 PM »
It's pretty easy to keep  your kid away from the idea of atheism in the US.  Not so much Christianity.
Disagree.  A few words in the Pledge /similar encounters are not really an encounter with Christianity.  It seems to me that most people today don't really know what Christianity is about -- but they sure THINK they do. 

Another interesting tidbit I read, also from The Economist. High school students were tested in math for whatever standardized test is given to show how we stack up against countries like China, which usually shows strong scores. The US students didn’t fare well. However when students were bribed with cash for good test performance, their scores rose and rivaled the Chinese scores. The article argued that it wasn’t an ability gap but rather one of motivation and willingness to work hard.

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21726745-when-greenbacks-are-offer-american-schoolchildren-seem-try-harder-effort-not
I don't have a study to prove it, but this goes along with what I've seen in my own classroom.  A couple examples:  We give the SAT during the school day to all juniors -- whether they want to take it or not.  It seems to me that about 1/3 of the juniors are VERY glad for this.  They're glad they're not paying, and they're glad not to give up a Saturday for the test.  They take the review books, presumably complete the practice tests, and show up ready for the test.  About 1/3 are totally NOT INTO THIS, and they let it be known -- they complain that they aren't going to college or aren't going to university, meaning they don't need this test.  They put their names on the papers, then put their heads down.  Of course our averages look bad -- when the kids know there's no accountability for the test, a very big slice of the group just won't try. 

This is different from supporting trickle-down.  It's not an argument that allocating disproportionate resources to the privileged few is good, in the long run, for everyone.  It's an argument that most people genuinely don't matter, that progress is only made possible by the efforts of our best and brightest, and that we should voluntarily leave behind the unwashed masses in order to advance that minority of people who actually matter.
When it comes to schools, it's not that the resources aren't available -- it's that a whole bunch of our students don't choose to take advantage of their opportunities (in part because their parents have taught them that those opportunities don't matter).  I was one of those kids from "the unwashed masses" (and the parental guidance I received was lackluster at best), and it was public school that gave me the tools to lift myself out of that situation.
I was raised Catholic and I very much disagree.  Many Christians seem unaware of how much Christianity is a part of our society.  As an example, aa so called secular daycare, my daughter was taught to pray before meals and yet the school was like, this is not religious, we are just saying thank you before meals. 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 07:11:15 PM by Gin1984 »

ysette9

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #186 on: December 25, 2017, 05:29:33 PM »
I completely agree with Gin1984. As someone raised religious who subsequently left all of that I am very aware of how Christianity is in the pores of so much of our regular lives, even living in a big coastal urban area. If I go to a southern state it is like being smacked up the face with it every where I turn. It really is inescapable.

FINate

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #187 on: December 25, 2017, 08:48:17 PM »
Two additional biases we should consider:

1) Unless research into the social skills of homeschoolers vs public school kids corrects for parental involvement and SES, it is not really a valid study since that compares apples and oranges.
2) Most studies that access social skills involve questionnaires filled out by both parents and teachers.  With homeschooling, the parent and teacher are the same person, and the parent is pro-homeschooling, and the parent loves the child and is very emotionally involved (a good thing) - but that leads to a lack objectivity.    Can you imagine a reputable scientist citing a study of children in a public school setting where only the parents were consulted on the child's skills? 


My experience with homeschooling is limited, but I have worked with a few children in public schools as a teacher's aide that were former homeschool students.  The one boy I am thinking of had severe autism and was about age 7.  Mom had 4 other children under 5, which is a adult to student ratio that was multiple times higher than the classroom he came from.  His previous class had 8 students with 1 teacher and 2 aides.  The mom had pulled him out of school 18 month earlier.  When he was assessed upon return to school, he was further behind in all subjects areas than he had been before he left.  He also had a huge patch of hair missing from rubbing his head on the carpet - presumably from stress/anxiety.  It was unknown what sort of sensory friendly or "take a break" areas the mom had in the house (multiple ones were available at school), but I do know she lived in a duplex (probably 3 bedrooms) with 4 little kids.  The whole situation was very sad. 

I don't mind comparing homeschooling and public schools and for some people, homeschooling is a good choice.  But when the boy I mentioned above was assessed by the public school, his test results reflected on the school and not the homeschooling failure that caused a lot of the lack of progress.  Home/private/charter school failures virtually always end up in public school, and then when these kids failures show up in testing (which in our state is not required in these alternate schools) - these same institutions use these test results to say why public schools are bad.  It was a long time ago, but when I was growing up, every kid that came from the one Catholic school that went to the public high school immediately got put into remedial math because their math skills were so far behind.  Today that would reflect poorly on the public school, despite the fact that the majority of these kids were in a different school for most of their schooling career.

Any honest comparison of anything homeschool vs. public school needs to correct for the following: parent bias, SES, parent involvement, English proficiency and all public school students who are homeschool drop outs.

I agree that there are many factors/biases to consider. And they don't always go in a single direction. I know a kid who was having trouble fitting in at public school, was starting to get into trouble and was failing academically. The mom was tired of getting called into the school and fighting about not wanting to go to school. She ended up "homeschooling" for all the wrong reasons and, needless to say, there was nothing educational going on. In this case the assessments reflected poorly on the homeschool charter, though the kid was obviously already on a path to failing either way. I also know kids who were struggling in public schools and then thrived in homeschool, and vice versa.

I suppose what we're really arguing about in this thread is a spectrum of autonomy/independence vs. control/standardization. Every student is different, has different needs, so I tend to lean towards giving parents the freedom to choose what they think is best for their specific kid. Yes, parents will make mistakes, but I would rather they have the ability to make mistakes (can learn from, be corrected) than to be stuck in a one-size-fits-all situation without alternatives that's not working.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 08:50:28 PM by FINate »

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #188 on: December 26, 2017, 08:33:07 AM »
ooeei, but if you are going to argue that we are smarter, you shouldn't need to compare to the people that dropped out. And, while I can understand giving someone what would be considered common knowledge back then (like the size of a cord of wood), if you have passed high school, done grammar and history, etc all the way through, you should be able to pass the test without any additional studying.


BAM, have you ever taken a HS or college level test 17 years after you graduated from college.  I did in the past 2-3 years.  I was attempting to go to college part time to get a geology degree mostly for fun.  Because I had been out of school for so long I was required to "test into" chemistry and math.  I "failed" both.  I did end up passing the chemistry test the 2nd time around by cramming for it using "Chemistry for dummies."  Instead of being allowed to take calculus, I was "told" I'd need to start taking Algebra II/Trigonometry (mind you I passed Calc 2 in 1998).  Yes I'd need to study for the 8th grade test, mainly because I'd need to relearn things I've completely forgotten.

I'll match your anecdotal evidence with my own ;)

I'm currently in college working towards an advanced science degree. I had to take the entrance exams for some subjects (math and writing). The difference between our two experiences is probably because I prepared and didn't take the test cold. I didn't study for writing because I have been working as a professional in the subject for over a decade, so passed it with no issue.

I passed math up to the level I had previously studied 20 years ago. This is because I spent two weeks on Kahn Academy preparing myself ahead of time. This was little more than review, but necessary. Simple stuff like clearing the fractions first likely would have thrown me otherwise, simply because I hadn't thought of it in 20 years. This is no different than what I would do teaching one of my kids or any other student for that matter (I have tutored in the past and I currently run a club for gifted science kids). I prepare before I present new subject matter. Homeschooling is no different. We don't go in cold to teach a subject, we prepare just as we would for any test.

If after preparation I do not feel confident enough to teach the subject matter, I outsource it. This is why my eldest took some advanced mathematics at the local high school. I wasn't the right teacher and wasn't confident in my methods of ensuring he fully understood the material. My youngest is a math whiz. My job with him is only as a guide to make sure he doesn't have any holes in his knowledge or develop any bad mathematical habits as he works through things at his own, but very fast, pace.

Homeschooling, like any type of education, doesn't occur in a vacuum. (There are outliers of course, and most of the negative examples in this thread are of the outliers.)

So you had to study. In a way I did too, I took the Chemistry test 2x because I barely failed the first time.  I was able to identify what I needed to relearn which I did so in a weekend using Chemistry for Dummies.

I would have done the same with Math, also using Khan because the test helped me identify to what point I had forgotten.  I would likely have made sure I was good to calculus and chosen to re-take Calculus but I shortly after figured out that 1) I didn't need to study for a 2nd career and 2) my current career was not going to let me take science classes at this time.

Psychstache

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #189 on: December 26, 2017, 09:09:51 AM »
It's pretty easy to keep  your kid away from the idea of atheism in the US.  Not so much Christianity.
Disagree.  A few words in the Pledge /similar encounters are not really an encounter with Christianity.  It seems to me that most people today don't really know what Christianity is about -- but they sure THINK they do. 

I was raised Catholic and I very much disagree.  Many Christians seem unaware of how much Christianity is a part of our society.  As an example, aa so called secular daycare, my daughter was taught to pray before meals and yet the school was like, this is not religious, we are just saying thank you before meals.

+1

I was born and raised outside of Christianity in Texas, the buckle of the Bible Belt. The idea that the only exposure you will get is a couple of minor encounters with Christianity and that it is realistically possible to shelter your kids from it if you want to is laughable.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 02:33:36 PM by Psychstache »

CindyBS

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #190 on: December 26, 2017, 09:21:17 AM »
Two additional biases we should consider:

1) Unless research into the social skills of homeschoolers vs public school kids corrects for parental involvement and SES, it is not really a valid study since that compares apples and oranges.
2) Most studies that access social skills involve questionnaires filled out by both parents and teachers.  With homeschooling, the parent and teacher are the same person, and the parent is pro-homeschooling, and the parent loves the child and is very emotionally involved (a good thing) - but that leads to a lack objectivity.    Can you imagine a reputable scientist citing a study of children in a public school setting where only the parents were consulted on the child's skills? 


My experience with homeschooling is limited, but I have worked with a few children in public schools as a teacher's aide that were former homeschool students.  The one boy I am thinking of had severe autism and was about age 7.  Mom had 4 other children under 5, which is a adult to student ratio that was multiple times higher than the classroom he came from.  His previous class had 8 students with 1 teacher and 2 aides.  The mom had pulled him out of school 18 month earlier.  When he was assessed upon return to school, he was further behind in all subjects areas than he had been before he left.  He also had a huge patch of hair missing from rubbing his head on the carpet - presumably from stress/anxiety.  It was unknown what sort of sensory friendly or "take a break" areas the mom had in the house (multiple ones were available at school), but I do know she lived in a duplex (probably 3 bedrooms) with 4 little kids.  The whole situation was very sad. 

I don't mind comparing homeschooling and public schools and for some people, homeschooling is a good choice.  But when the boy I mentioned above was assessed by the public school, his test results reflected on the school and not the homeschooling failure that caused a lot of the lack of progress.  Home/private/charter school failures virtually always end up in public school, and then when these kids failures show up in testing (which in our state is not required in these alternate schools) - these same institutions use these test results to say why public schools are bad.  It was a long time ago, but when I was growing up, every kid that came from the one Catholic school that went to the public high school immediately got put into remedial math because their math skills were so far behind.  Today that would reflect poorly on the public school, despite the fact that the majority of these kids were in a different school for most of their schooling career.

Any honest comparison of anything homeschool vs. public school needs to correct for the following: parent bias, SES, parent involvement, English proficiency and all public school students who are homeschool drop outs.

I agree that there are many factors/biases to consider. And they don't always go in a single direction. I know a kid who was having trouble fitting in at public school, was starting to get into trouble and was failing academically. The mom was tired of getting called into the school and fighting about not wanting to go to school. She ended up "homeschooling" for all the wrong reasons and, needless to say, there was nothing educational going on. In this case the assessments reflected poorly on the homeschool charter, though the kid was obviously already on a path to failing either way. I also know kids who were struggling in public schools and then thrived in homeschool, and vice versa.

I suppose what we're really arguing about in this thread is a spectrum of autonomy/independence vs. control/standardization. Every student is different, has different needs, so I tend to lean towards giving parents the freedom to choose what they think is best for their specific kid. Yes, parents will make mistakes, but I would rather they have the ability to make mistakes (can learn from, be corrected) than to be stuck in a one-size-fits-all situation without alternatives that's not working.

I agree and think homeschool is a good choice for some.

However, in my state there is such anti-public school bias by the legislature that while public schools are subject to rigorous and unreasonable tests, all alternative - private, charter, homeschool are exempt and just assumed to be better.  Even when charter schools are shown to be failures, the drumbeat is to still siphon more and more funding to them.

This trend will only continue as the Betsy Devos' of the world get more power in government.  We need accurate comparisons of schools and schooling options so parents can make informed decisions.   

sol

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #191 on: December 26, 2017, 09:44:56 AM »
I was born and raised outside of Christianity in Texas, the buckle of the Bible Belt. The idea that the only exposure you will get is a couple of minor encounters with Christianity and that it is realistically impossible to shelter your kids from it if you want to is laughable.

Anecdote time!

I am a scientist.  After finishing my PhD, I interviewed for faculty positions around the country, including at one of those famous Texas universities with a strong religious background.  During my interview (to teach a hard science to undergrads) I was told, quite literally and explicitly, that the university was not looking to hire a scientist who was also a christian.  "Whew!" I thought to myself, "maybe there is hope for the world after all..." except that was immediately followed up with "We're looking to hire a christian who is also a scientist."

Yea, that interview didn't last much longer. 

They're a private college.  They are legally allowed to discriminate against me in their hiring, regardless of my qualifications.  But the idea that Christianity does not weave its tendrils into every facet of modern life is laughable.  I had not sought out the judgmental derision of christians.  I was not able to avoid "exposure" to christian ideology while pursuing a wholly secular career in my professional life.  If my kids ever become scientists, they too will face the hostile work environment christianity creates for people like me.  I will not be able to shelter them from it.

My kids already understand that different people believe in different things, up to and including some patently ridiculous things.  We've had to offer some gentle course correction at times, like when they argued with some kids at school about whether animals in the bible could really talk.  How am I supposed to explain to a ten year old, who knows that animals don't really talk, that his principal apparently believes they do and he's supposed to defer to his principal's authority even when his principal is obviously wrong?  My kids recognize that magic exists in books and movies, not the real world, but christianity is such a vital part of modern American life that approximately half of all adults in the country don't agree.  There is no escaping the oppressive crushing force this problem applies to the free exercise of logic and reason in everything America does.


Undecided

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #192 on: December 26, 2017, 09:52:13 AM »
It's pretty easy to keep  your kid away from the idea of atheism in the US.  Not so much Christianity.
Disagree.  A few words in the Pledge /similar encounters are not really an encounter with Christianity.  It seems to me that most people today don't really know what Christianity is about -- but they sure THINK they do. 

The lack of awareness in posting that on Christmas—still pervasive and demanding of accommodation and deference—is astounding. Perhaps it was meant ironically, but the rest of the post makes me doubt it.

mm1970

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #193 on: December 26, 2017, 10:09:28 AM »
Quote
I don't mind comparing homeschooling and public schools and for some people, homeschooling is a good choice.  But when the boy I mentioned above was assessed by the public school, his test results reflected on the school and not the homeschooling failure that caused a lot of the lack of progress.  Home/private/charter school failures virtually always end up in public school, and then when these kids failures show up in testing (which in our state is not required in these alternate schools) - these same institutions use these test results to say why public schools are bad.  It was a long time ago, but when I was growing up, every kid that came from the one Catholic school that went to the public high school immediately got put into remedial math because their math skills were so far behind.  Today that would reflect poorly on the public school, despite the fact that the majority of these kids were in a different school for most of their schooling career.

This is a very very good point, and one that is often missed when parents are judging schools. 

We have open transfers in our state/ county/ public school system.  Meaning, there are 9 elementary schools, 1 public charter that has its own attendance area, plus 3 charter schools that don't have an attendance area (but you must live in the district).  Often I have parents with preschoolers asking me about our particular school (if they are in the district) or other schools, and "why is this school so bad?"

Background: California, rich town, but a wide variety of people because you know, poor people live here too.  Someone has to do the cooking, cleaning, and gardening, right?  So our district is a mix of rich and poor, English learners and English Origin.  And how "good" a school is (test scores) can be predicted by the % of students at the school who are poor or English learners.  I know, I've pulled the data and done the analysis.  This means there are 3 "excellent" schools that are predominantly in white areas.  One has the GATE magnet program (where they pull students from all schools), one is the charter school with their own attendance area.  They generally don't have room for everyone in their attendance area each year, and funny that often the EL's don't learn about the lottery until it's too late to get in.  This also means there are 4 "bad" schools with >90% kids on free lunch, a large number of EL kids.  Then there are a few middling schools with a mix.

Our school is a mix.  Why do we score poorly?  Well, we are about 45% EL, about 65% on free lunch.  AND we have the primary program for the developmentally disabled on our campus.  Which means we get a lot of transfers.  We have many staff members dedicated to this and programs that work for these kids.  Charter schools and private schools do not have to accept these students.  We do.  And they are tested.  These students, whether autistic or with even more serious disabilities, DESERVE an education.  A number of families look at the numbers and don't give the school a chance.  A number of families try to escape the brown kids.  A number of families just get unlucky and have kids in a small year.  (Because of open transfers, if a lot of families transfer without giving it a shot, it might not be the best experience for those who are left).

mm1970

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #194 on: December 26, 2017, 10:12:51 AM »
Another interesting tidbit I read, also from The Economist. High school students were tested in math for whatever standardized test is given to show how we stack up against countries like China, which usually shows strong scores. The US students didn’t fare well. However when students were bribed with cash for good test performance, their scores rose and rivaled the Chinese scores. The article argued that it wasn’t an ability gap but rather one of motivation and willingness to work hard.

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21726745-when-greenbacks-are-offer-american-schoolchildren-seem-try-harder-effort-not
That's interesting.  I was always self-motivated.  My kid?  Less so.  But still somewhat motivated.

In any event, when he was testing for GATE, he was in a group of about 6-10 kids in his grade.  He and one other kid were actually trying, the rest were mostly goofing off.  No surprise who passed the test.

One of his friends is smart but not particularly motivated.  Part of it is that her parents don't force her to do anything.  They believe that she needs to take responsibility for her own work, and her own homework.  Which, yeah I get.  Sort of.  But - she's 11.  And they have been doing this since she was 8.  Shouldn't you teach kids to work hard because...you should?  I mean, how many elementary school kids are internally motivated for school?

mm1970

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #195 on: December 26, 2017, 10:17:38 AM »
It's pretty easy to keep  your kid away from the idea of atheism in the US.  Not so much Christianity.
Disagree.  A few words in the Pledge /similar encounters are not really an encounter with Christianity.  It seems to me that most people today don't really know what Christianity is about -- but they sure THINK they do. 

Another interesting tidbit I read, also from The Economist. High school students were tested in math for whatever standardized test is given to show how we stack up against countries like China, which usually shows strong scores. The US students didn’t fare well. However when students were bribed with cash for good test performance, their scores rose and rivaled the Chinese scores. The article argued that it wasn’t an ability gap but rather one of motivation and willingness to work hard.

https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21726745-when-greenbacks-are-offer-american-schoolchildren-seem-try-harder-effort-not
I don't have a study to prove it, but this goes along with what I've seen in my own classroom.  A couple examples:  We give the SAT during the school day to all juniors -- whether they want to take it or not.  It seems to me that about 1/3 of the juniors are VERY glad for this.  They're glad they're not paying, and they're glad not to give up a Saturday for the test.  They take the review books, presumably complete the practice tests, and show up ready for the test.  About 1/3 are totally NOT INTO THIS, and they let it be known -- they complain that they aren't going to college or aren't going to university, meaning they don't need this test.  They put their names on the papers, then put their heads down.  Of course our averages look bad -- when the kids know there's no accountability for the test, a very big slice of the group just won't try. 

This is different from supporting trickle-down.  It's not an argument that allocating disproportionate resources to the privileged few is good, in the long run, for everyone.  It's an argument that most people genuinely don't matter, that progress is only made possible by the efforts of our best and brightest, and that we should voluntarily leave behind the unwashed masses in order to advance that minority of people who actually matter.
When it comes to schools, it's not that the resources aren't available -- it's that a whole bunch of our students don't choose to take advantage of their opportunities (in part because their parents have taught them that those opportunities don't matter).  I was one of those kids from "the unwashed masses" (and the parental guidance I received was lackluster at best), and it was public school that gave me the tools to lift myself out of that situation.
I was raised Catholic and I very much disagree.  Many Christians seem unaware of how much Christianity is a part of our society.  As an example, aa so called secular daycare, my daughter was taught to pray before meals and yet the school was like, this is not religious, we are just saying thank you before meals.
Right - I was also raised Catholic.  I wonder what the atheist stats are - most atheists I know were raised Catholic or Christian, so yeah - I do know Christianity.

My kids have been exposed to church for funerals and when visiting family at Christmas.

My kids have been shown religious films at after school programs.

It's very very difficult to find a preschool here that is not run by a church, and thus has prayer as a part of the curriculum.

Christianity is literally everywhere.

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #196 on: December 26, 2017, 01:09:00 PM »
I am a scientist.  After finishing my PhD, I interviewed for faculty positions around the country, including at one of those famous Texas universities with a strong religious background.  During my interview (to teach a hard science to undergrads) I was told, quite literally and explicitly, that the university was not looking to hire a scientist who was also a christian.  "Whew!" I thought to myself, "maybe there is hope for the world after all..." except that was immediately followed up with "We're looking to hire a christian who is also a scientist."

Yea, that interview didn't last much longer. 

They're a private college.  They are legally allowed to discriminate against me in their hiring, regardless of my qualifications.  But the idea that Christianity does not weave its tendrils into every facet of modern life is laughable.  I had not sought out the judgmental derision of christians.  I was not able to avoid "exposure" to christian ideology while pursuing a wholly secular career in my professional life.  If my kids ever become scientists, they too will face the hostile work environment christianity creates for people like me.  I will not be able to shelter them from it.

My kids already understand that different people believe in different things, up to and including some patently ridiculous things.  We've had to offer some gentle course correction at times, like when they argued with some kids at school about whether animals in the bible could really talk.  How am I supposed to explain to a ten year old, who knows that animals don't really talk, that his principal apparently believes they do and he's supposed to defer to his principal's authority even when his principal is obviously wrong?  My kids recognize that magic exists in books and movies, not the real world, but christianity is such a vital part of modern American life that approximately half of all adults in the country don't agree.  There is no escaping the oppressive crushing force this problem applies to the free exercise of logic and reason in everything America does.
Yikes!  How pervasive is that "we want a Christian who is also a scientist" form of Christianity in the USA? 

Speaking as someone from the English region of the UK, it seems extreme.  Yes, I know, we have an official "established" form of Christianity in the Church of England.  What that means in practice, though, is two big advantages.  The first advantage is that because the Church of England has legal status in the constitution it does not need to define itself or its member by beliefs; it just "is", and all are welcome without being required to adhere to any particular ideology (priests need a basic level of belief but even then there is wide scope for variation).  The second advantage is that because the Church of England occupies the public space for religion there is little room for more extreme versions of Christianity to take over and become the mainstream.  So the paradox is that an established religion the constitutionally areligious USA has ended up, over time, as having a much more extreme religiosity than a country with an official State religion.

FINate

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #197 on: December 26, 2017, 02:17:00 PM »
My kids already understand that different people believe in different things, up to and including some patently ridiculous things.  We've had to offer some gentle course correction at times, like when they argued with some kids at school about whether animals in the bible could really talk.  How am I supposed to explain to a ten year old, who knows that animals don't really talk, that his principal apparently believes they do and he's supposed to defer to his principal's authority even when his principal is obviously wrong?  My kids recognize that magic exists in books and movies, not the real world, but christianity is such a vital part of modern American life that approximately half of all adults in the country don't agree. There is no escaping the oppressive crushing force this problem applies to the free exercise of logic and reason in everything America does.

Santa Cruz, California (where we live) is very post-Christian, almost no influence from the faith. For example, last year my kid's class started every day with a pledge of allegiance to Mother Earth (Gaia), and this year they are being taught Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation based on Eastern religious traditions. All fine with us. But even with little Christian influence this area has plenty of magical thinking in opposition to reason. The anti-vaxxer crowd here is mostly of the Mother Earth variety. Large segments of the population believe economic laws don't apply here, or that they apply inconsistently to match a preferred ideology. Taxes on tobacco, sugar, and carbon are regarded as effective for curbing demand, yet other taxes (income, sales, property) are believed to have zero unintended consequences. I'm not against taxes (they are necessary), but we need to honestly assess the full effects to make good policy. Supply and demand somehow does not apply to housing (https://techcrunch.com/2014/04/14/sf-housing/) - I'm not laissez faire, we need government oversight and support for the vulnerable, but that all needs to stand on an honest foundation of the economics. We have had devastating fires, in part due to climate change and urban sprawl, but also because of a belief that everything humans do is bad and everything 'natural' is good (nevermind that we're a part of, and have already altered, the ecosystem), so it's popular to let fuel loads build up to the point that we have huge crown fires obliterating entire forests. Our county is hell bent on building passenger rail in a low density suburban area (entire county is less than 270,000), which will require huge operating subsidies and their best estimates are it will be used by less than %1 of the population...mostly the wealthy folks living along the coast where the rail corridor is located, yet we're already having difficulty funding the bus network (critically important for the poor because it actually goes to where they live and work).

I don't know any Christians who go around believing in talking animals as a normal state of the world. For many the first chapters of Genesis are understood to be allegorical, so the only other instance of a talking animal in the Bible is a donkey that spoke in one brief instance (didn't go around carrying on conversations) - considered a miracle because it's not normal or expected, by its very nature is not something that can be analyzed or duplicated. Most Christians don't go around expecting a magic show, they believe miracles are possible but rare, even in scripture considering it was authored over a period of over 1500 years.

However, even if your school principal believes animals go around talking (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFXU7o0fYII http://www.koko.org/sign-language ?), at least that doesn't result in disease outbreaks (certain affluent counties in California are in danger of losing herd immunity), or devastating lives/the environment as people are priced out of housing and force to live in vehicles or add to urban sprawl.

[EDIT: Also, assuming the school in question is a public school, I don't think the principle should be talking about his faith with kids at school. If it's a Christian private school, well that's kinda expected.]
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 02:54:54 PM by FINate »

Goldielocks

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #198 on: December 26, 2017, 05:18:40 PM »
Disclaimer: My bias: I was a public school teacher for 7 years. I have a master's degree in elementary education. Then I was an instructional coach for teachers (as an "expert" regarding teaching itself), working with teachers to help improve their teaching, and leading professional development sessions for my last year before I FIRE'd. I very likely will homeschool my kids, when the time comes.

I get the impression that a lot of home schoolers feel like primary school and high school teachers are just random adults who like kids.  They don't recognize any value in getting a degree in education.  They have no exposure to pedagogy, or strategies for behavioral problems, or specialized support for kids with disabilities.  They think any moron can stand at a blackboard and say "reach chapter 3, test on Friday" and call themselves a teacher.

I don't disagree, for the most part, but I do need to point out that parents don't need to have strategies for kids with disabilities, if their kids have disabilities.   They only need to be experts in strategies for their own kids.

Many parents, regardless of schooling choice, that I have met, have done a LOT of work to become specialists in what their own kids need.  Autism, high achievers, anxiety, dyslexia,  when a need is identified, interested parents often become that kid's specialist.

Trifele

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Re: Prove to me why anti-homeschooling attitudes are OK.
« Reply #199 on: December 27, 2017, 03:57:26 AM »
I was born and raised outside of Christianity in Texas, the buckle of the Bible Belt. The idea that the only exposure you will get is a couple of minor encounters with Christianity and that it is realistically impossible to shelter your kids from it if you want to is laughable.

Anecdote time!

I am a scientist.  After finishing my PhD, I interviewed for faculty positions around the country, including at one of those famous Texas universities with a strong religious background.  During my interview (to teach a hard science to undergrads) I was told, quite literally and explicitly, that the university was not looking to hire a scientist who was also a christian.  "Whew!" I thought to myself, "maybe there is hope for the world after all..." except that was immediately followed up with "We're looking to hire a christian who is also a scientist."

Yea, that interview didn't last much longer. 

They're a private college.  They are legally allowed to discriminate against me in their hiring, regardless of my qualifications.  But the idea that Christianity does not weave its tendrils into every facet of modern life is laughable.  I had not sought out the judgmental derision of christians.  I was not able to avoid "exposure" to christian ideology while pursuing a wholly secular career in my professional life.  If my kids ever become scientists, they too will face the hostile work environment christianity creates for people like me.  I will not be able to shelter them from it.


I agree with every word of your post, Sol.

More anecdotes!   My DH (scientist) has multiple stories like yours.  When he interviewed for one of his jobs (public university!!) the chair of the department asked him -- during the interview -- what church DH belonged to, and said if DH got the job, maybe he'd like to come visit his church to check it out.

Another time DH volunteered to spend a Saturday in his lab with a local Boy Scout troop to help them with one of their merit badges.  The troop leader took him aside a few days ahead of time and asked him what his plans were for working God into the day.  DH told him flat out, "Look, you guys can pray beforehand, or afterwards, or whatever you want, but this is science class, not religion class. I don't do that."  Boy Scout leader was not happy.  The troop went ahead with it, though.  I guess they decided, on balance, the good outweighed the evil (?)

Christianity is everywhere in this country.  We're all soaking in it.

Edited to add:  This happened in a northern 'blue' state. Nowhere near the "Bible belt."
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 04:49:11 AM by Trifele »