Don't recall a thread on homeschooling...

As I said above, I homeschool. I find the amount of regulation my state imposes on homeschoolers to be embarrassing. Basically, I have to send a note to the district once a year and I have to put him through one standardized test a year - I do not have to report the results of the test. Other than that, I determine curriculum, what it takes to pass, give grades. If I wanted to let him play Call of Duty all day and give him As in English and Geography and Math, I could. Then, at the end of twelve years, I can cut him a high school diploma. Being a responsible parent who’d like to see my son back in public school if that turns out to be the right choice, I’m working with my high school counselors to make sure we are covering the material we need to cover for him to be successful if he returns. When I had my appointment with his counselor, she was amazed and astounded, she said most kids they get that transition in (to HIGH SCHOOL - elementary or middle school is a different ball game) have issues simply because they haven’t done the material they need to graduate (they don’t have a ninth grade health credit or a trimester of conceptual physics in 9th grade, they are missing two trimesters of fine arts or phy ed…, whatever it is) and they have to go back and make up classes). She implied pretty heavily that what they do is coach the parent into just “making shit up” on the transfer paperwork to get them the credits they need. Then they try and cope the best they can.

By high school this sort of thing can be challenging - if you don’t know that they’ve learned to write the research paper in 9th grade and don’t teach it, they go into tenth grade not knowing how to write the research paper everyone else knows how to write. (For us, writing is tenth grade English - ninth grade - this year - is literature). It is not, however, significantly different that kids that transfer from school to school because their parents move who sometimes have credits that don’t fit.

The problem Ohio is trying to solve has to do with people hiding abuse via homeschooling. It happens. When you have a kid in public school, teachers can often tell that a child is being abused. If the child doesn’t see mandated reporters, abuse may never be discovered. Its a different issue - but related - there is very little oversight in most states.

Because homeschoolers tend to be of a libertarian bent (keep your government away from my children) any attempt at oversight is seen as jackbooted government thugs coming in with guns and dogs to remove your right to raise your children.

This guy is basically the basic posterchild of why I don’t trust homeschool groups. Any sort of idea of oversight or guidance is taken as an insult, as if their divinely granted perfection isn’t good enough, no matter how they abuse their children.

Looking at the rest of the website, it appears to be the bigoted, right wing conspiracy theorist sort. Can’t say I’m surprised.

I home schooled my son for one year, when he was in 5th grade. I did it because I was fed up with the school teaching for the test, he was bored out of his mind and had lost his joy of learning.
It was a fantastic year, we had a great time learning together. At first I tried to stick with the school curriculum but then we went with the unschooling version. He still had to learn in all 7 subjects (math, English, history, science, art, music and phys ed) but I let him pick what he wanted to learn in each subject.
There lots of resources online, some a free, others require a small fee to get their teaching aids. I don’t remember the company but I ordered lots of science kits, they were very inexpensive. One even came with a cheap pair of binoculars for bird watching, so every time we went out we’d look for different birds to add to his journal. Then we’d come home and look them up online. Every morning we’d watch Carol Duvall together and get an idea for an art project to do that week. Watching cartoons led to an interest in the Greek and Roman pantheons, which led to learning Roman Numerals and how the planets were named and astronomy. Learning fractions led to cooking, which leads to farming, which leads to eco-systems as well as health and nutrition.
Home schooling isn’t about sitting at the table with books and paper and pencils. It’s taught in the car and the kitchen, in a park or crawling around the back yard looking for bugs.

I had to meet with a review board twice a year to show that he was learning, I’d have stacks of papers showing his work.
After the year he wanted to go back to school, but he got his curiosity, enthusiasm, and love for learning back. Before I home schooled him he was barely passing, afterwards he started making the honor role.
A lot of people swore I was ruining his life. I think it was one of the best things I ever did.

I met a homeschooled kid in my sophomore year of college. He was a freshman. Played a mean fiddle and was a genuinely nice person. Smart enough, I think he got Bs in most everything. On the other hand, he was weirdly religious because his mom was weirdly religious. He came from a rural area, and his social skills were horribly stunted. The only kids he saw on a regular basis were his 5 siblings (also homeschooled). He spent a lot of time terribly homesick because he was from a small home in a small town and transitioning to a big school in a relatively-large city was hard for him. I don’t know if he ever graduated, we lost touch.

I don’t think that homeschooling is bad overall. But I think there are enough bad apples out there to justify ruining it for everybody. Either it should be eradicated, or we NEED to enact some kind of statewide standard exam (including a character examination) by an impartial body. Too many parents use homeschooling as a way to prevent their children from being exposed to wider political and religious views. And that is wrong.

My kids went to a private school for about half their school years, then I lost my job. The public schools around our home were not an option and neither my wife nor I had the time or inclination to be “teacher” so we looked for alternatives. We found a quasi home school set up that worked great for us. The kids physically went to school twice each week. They were taught and given their assignments for the next week, which they brought home and completed at their own pace. This covered most of the core curriculum and some electives (art, music, drama). We purchased on-line courses for subjects that the school did not cover.

It worked out great. My middle daughter decided she wanted to get on with college and finished high school a year early. She’ll have her B.S. in early childhood development next year before she turns 21. The other 2 decided that 4 years of high school suited them fine and graduated on time. They all learned how to budget their time really well. Don’t want to do school work today? Fine, you’ll have to double up tomorrow. Don’t want to do school work on your birthday? Cool, get it done beforehand.

What if you live in that remote rural area, and the only wider political and religious views your kids get at school are “non-[our particular Church] go to hell” and “Of course this is a Christian nation” or “God hates faggots, obviously”.

I am really conflicted about things like deliberately denying girls much education beyond what they need to be a good “helpmeet”, which more or less makes it impossible for them to leave their communities. But I also can see a scenario where someone wanted to pull their kid out of public school because of bullying or abuse and were prevented by authority figures who kinda thought beating the gay out of a kid was the sort of vital socialization that homeschooling would deny the kid.

And, to be brutally honest, part of the appeal of homeschooling is to keep my kid a little out of sync with popular culture. Popular culture is so intrusive and age-segregated these days that kids seem to know only what is being target-marketed to them. I *want *my kid to seem a little weird when he’s 8-18 because I really hope he has managed to avoid being entirely absorbed by his own thin sliver of the zeitgeist. As a teacher, my absolute best students are the ones who managed to do that, the ones who were not entirely submerged in the popular culture. They know things beyond the moment, they have context and flexibility in their thinking, they are true critical thinkers, not merely cynical. And those traits are awkward and off-kilter in a teen. They are awesome and powerful in an adult.

Note the parts I have emphasized in each of these quotes.

Disclaiimer: As I said, I LOVED school and had a great time all the way through graduate school (finished in 1977) and recent graphic design and music courses I’ve taken at the local community college. I am blessed with insatiable curiosity that I’ve always been driven by, in school and out of school. I always felt like the “whole wide world” was mine to learn from, and I still do. That is one of the best gifts you can give a child, whether taught at home or at a school.

I never felt that the school hours restricted me or kept me from learning when I was away from school. I didn’t put my curiosity in a box with the lid on when I walked out of the school each day. Did many of you non-homeschooled people feel that you somehow were kept from pursuing subjects that interested you when you were not physically at school?

My parents took me to the library every week and I came home with stacks of books on the subjects that interested me. I was never much of a hobbyist, but my peers collected stamps, bugs, coins, built bombs and rockets, went to museums, read books about cowboys and war and ancient Rome. We did science experiments at home and practiced geometry when making cookies just like homeschooled kids. School was a pretty rich experience. I learned to read music in public school and learned about perspective/vanishing points in a public school art class. In one school everyone (girls, too, and this was 1957) built small trucks from scratch–sawed the wood, drilled holes, assembled them, put on wheels, painted them. Mine was a green flatbed. We studied the Hopi Indians and made masa on a metate from blue corn. This was in a regular public school.

Maybe it’s not the same today… maybe elementary school and high school are just very very different from the 50s and 60s. I know that funding seems to get cut more radically every year.

This is an interesting thread. And it’s clear that you can’t generalize about people’s experiences and reasons for homeschooling.

Exposure to pop culture and critical thinking are not mutually exclusive. I’m not a teacher, but IMO a child is done a **great **disservice when an adult intentionally isolates him from his peers.

Frankly, your train of thought disgusts me on several levels.

There is a world of difference between intentionally isolating a child from his peers and submerging him in an environment where he is only exposed to his age-group from the minute he wakes up until the minute his parent pulls his phone from his hands and sends him to bed. It’s not about eliminating exposure: it’s about making sure there is time for a variety of counter-narratives. Can you do that with a kid in public school? Sure. I love public school. I teach in a public school. Hell, I am sitting up here in an abandoned public school RIGHT NOW putting together lessons on critical thinking. But when I see my kids who have gone on to be most successful, most innovative, most secure in themselves, most self-reliant, they were kids with some sort of buffer between themselves and the world. They either had highly involved parents who talked to them, stayed in their lives constantly, or were from a very different culture and so lived in two worlds at once, or were of such extreme intelligence that the prepackaged “typical kid experience” didn’t apply to them, or they had some sort of over-riding passion that forced them to live a little apart, or they had hippy parents who didn’t let them watch TV. That little distance, that sense that it’s ok to be a little different, than core of independent sense of self is so vital to kids developing into the sort of adult I want my son to be.

This doesn’t mean a kid doesn’t have social skills, friends, the ability to get along. But it’s not all good to fit in too smoothly.

My experience is that so much of the time spent in school is wasted time. So a self motivated kid who is homeschooled just has more time. They aren’t restricted to the class schedule or the class agenda. So it isn’t that you are kept from pursuing what you want, its that a busy kid - particularly a middle school or high school kid, doesn’t have time to follow a topic down a rabbit hole. Class moves on, and you have a full load, and homework, and are probably doing a sport or other activity and have a social life - which can be frustrating when you are interested in a topic and are moving on from it, but half an hour that could have been spent on the topic you are interested in is spent in studying for the test, or disciplinary measures for three students, or administrative nonsense.

My son isn’t a motivated student. For him, homeschooling means a compressed time schedule - there is no hour and a half of bus time, there is no half an hour spent in hall passing, there is no five minutes at the beginning of a class getting settled down - he moves efficiently from one thing to the other - so school, which he doesn’t like - takes up less time. Also, since he isn’t motivated, he knows he has to get it right to move on (I’d never unschool him, that would be a disaster), so he works to understand math so he doesn’t need to do it twice. He is more careful because he knows we will spent two or three weeks getting a paper to a “B” paper if we need to - in school his teacher would accept it in whatever condition it was on the due date. Mom makes him redo it until she feels it is acceptable work for him.

About 10 years ago, I was at a community event and met a woman whose son attended a IIRC Baptist university, and she could pick the homeschooled students out of a crowd. They were exactly as you described. In many cases, they were HSed because their parents had issues with schools teaching about self-esteem, and they inadvertently created self-centered megalomaniacs.

I was homeschooled all my life until I left for college at 18. (I’m a senior there now.)

So was my older brother, who’s currently working on a PhD in computer science.

The experience has left us rather quirky and awkward, but I’m still glad it happened.

It was done for mostly secular reasons; I’m pretty sure I’m more religious than my parents.

Hi WW!

Heck, I’m quirky and awkward, and I went to regular schools. :rolleyes:

Tell me more. Why are you glad you were homeschooled? What was the best thing about it? Were there good things y’all felt you missed out on and bad things you escaped? Were there academic gaps when you got to college?

Well, I feel like the common criticism of homeschooling “indoctrinating” children is kinda backwards, since it seems to me that most people who go to regular schools get molded into very particular sets of beliefs and assumptions by their teachers and peers. I’m glad I was able to escape that; to develop my own bizarre mind as I saw fit.

I guess I sort of missed out on the whole having a social life thing, but from what I hear a lot of regular kids do too.

Academic gaps… I never got to be any good at math or science, but I don’t have to take any classes in those subjects at my lovely liberal arts college, so that’s not really affecting me.

Kids can go to school and still be isolated on purpose. There are families who don’t allow their kids to participate in outside activities or play with neighborhood kids, for any number of reasons.

I tested* a little girl, age nine, who had been home schooled until it was no longer allowed. After a few minutes I realised she couldn’t name any animals, and yet she didn’t seem to me to be developmentally disabled. We had to discontinue the test, and instead we chatted a bit.
In the break I went to ask the teacher what was going on with her. Short version: her parents locked her in her room and didn’t let her out. They had claimed to homeschool and obviously had been found out. Social workers were trying to make a case to prove how she was abused, but it was difficult because she was fed, watered, sheltered and not beaten. She was… very damaged. It was quite shocking.

My point being: it needs some pretty strong checks and regulations. Normally kids come into school and teachers notice stuff. Like the girl, every Monday when they talked about what they had done over the weekend, would repeat the same rehearsed lines and couldn’t answer questions about the specifics. The teacher picked up on that, and realised something was amiss. (Her parents instructed her to say she had been colouring on Saturday, when she had been locked in her empty room all day.)

Another problem I have with homeschooling, in a very general sense, is that most people just aren’t intelligent enough and skilled enough to teach. The big problem being, the lower someone’s intelligence the less realistically they judge their own intelligence and competence. So while it might be a very good idea for specific cases, as a more general thing I don’t think it’s sustainable. We outsource education because other people study and train for it and so should reach a certain level of competence. Just like you wouldn’t have your car’s brakes fixed by me, but now the car is your child and you’re taking out her appendix yourself. Look at people’s ability to spell, in general. Would you let them teach your child? :eek: But they might themselves think they are capable. It just seems to me difficult to have a general rule when it can only apply in specific cases, and the exact line of when it can apply is somewhat problematic. So you might say “well, in practice people who wouldn’t be capable don’t tend to home school”, but how exactly do you regulate that? Once you find out that a person is incompetent the child has suffered some bad education.

And a final thought: taking children out of unsatisfactory schools doesn’t address the problem of inadequate schooling. I fully understand that you wouldn’t want your child to suffer the inadequate education purely for principle. But again, if this were a general rule then all the financially secure, intelligent, competent people would home school while the rest is left with inadequate schooling. Those people also sometimes coincide with those who are less capable of advocating for their rights, changing the status quo through political activism, utilising available channels to improve the situation etc. It has the potential to deepen the class divide and doesn’t improve public (state) schools.

For these reasons, I prefer as a general rule, a strong public (state) school system to home schooling. That doesn’t really address specific cases, but just the very general idea.

These issues might not be significant in the current situation, so I don’t see them as reason to oppose home schooling per se. Perhaps they are just issues to remain aware of?
*A research project into language acquisition.

FWIW, my daughter is in 4th grade, and she hasn’t had a teacher yet that could spell better than I can. You would not believe the crap that comes home.

Nevertheless, I think they have all been reasonably capable teachers, perhaps with the exception of the kindergarten teacher.

As much as I hated the act of “going” to school, I can’t imagine being homeschooled.

My favorite part of school was the social aspect of it all. It wasn’t always easy but I think that helps develop you.

I don’t know anyone personally that’s been homeschooled, so I can’t really judge it.

Well, your 3 sentences look pretty good to me! I’d maybe go for “who” instead of “that”, but that’s a murky rule and anyway, I didn’t even check what I wrote so I’ll certainly shut up now and state that you are cleared for teaching spelling in my book.

Oooh I believe it! I’ve worked in education and I BELIEVE you. The Brazilian teachers were the worst, with the prettiest handwriting. Such pretty swirls and random letters all over the place! :wink:

But still, compared to what I see some people write… At least they’ve had some training. And I’d absolutely support increased focus on teacher training, if that is apparently necessary. It did Finland no harm! But we can’t force home schooling parents to undergo better teacher training, and spelling lessons.

Oh, God yes. My husband takes out the red pen and corrects everything that comes from our school, puts it in an envelope with a grade on it and sends it back. They haven’t yet sent home A work.

Spelling is horrible. Punctuation is random. Grammar is misunderstood.

As for Math, we reteach my daughter her Algebra every night. Her teacher doesn’t explain it well.

Her Social Studies teacher and last years Science teacher both are AGW deniers. I think that is a GREAT thing for a Middle School Science teacher to tell students.

Her English class is comprised of the students logging their reading every day. They get to pick their own books and then as long as they spend the hour reading, they get an A! And this is advanced eighth grade English.

Her choir teacher does not bother to segregate (in eighth grade!) the kids by vocal range. They all sing the same part. Which means my alto daughter is endangering her voice because they all sing the same soprano part - without range training. (Not that it matters, she isn’t a great singer, but she is a decent signer who shouldn’t damage her voice in eighth grade).