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Source: (consider it) Thread: Home Schooling
Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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In the state of Victoria where I live in Australia, there are projected moves to further regulate home schooling, which is alarming some Christian parents.

Actually, home schooling is by no means restricted to evangelicals.

I have a cousin who is an atheist whose kids were home schooled by his wife, and it appears to be increasingly popular with self-styled countercultural types.

Personally, I have had no direct contact with it, and would be interested to hear from Shipmates who were home schooled themselves, or who have home schooled their own kids.

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Kaplan Corday
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Bugger!

I accidentally posted Home Schooling to Heaven instead of Purgatory.

Kind Hostly assistance please.....

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Lamb Chopped
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I thought of doing this, not for ideological reasons but because I remember how intensely bored I was with the pace in school. However, my own kid turned out to be Mr. Social Guy and there was no way I could supply the intensity of what he wanted and needed at home. (Sometimes I think he and his father would live perfectly well in the corridor of a shopping mall.)

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Leorning Cniht
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We homeschool our children - not for ideological reasons, but because we tried public school and it wasn't working out, and we can't afford to try private schooling. So I know quite a few homeschooling families. Some are religious, some are not. Some of the children are gifted and precocious; others are not. Some are social and outgoing; others are shy and introverted. Some homeschool all the way through; others homeschool for a few years, then send their kids to public high schools. Some do high school part time (perhaps they just take science and languages in the public school.)

Homeschooling laws vary a lot from state to state. In some states, you are required to have your curriculum approved by your local school district or board of education, and are subject to inspections. In some states, you are required to submit an annual portfolio of work for assessment, and to test your children with standardized tests. In other states, none of that is required.

Last time we had a homeschool discussion, there were a number of posters arguing that there was a moral, democratic duty to educate your child in the public schools with everyone else, and that if the school wasn't doing a good job, then you as an engaged parent should support and improve the school.

Needless to say, I don't subscribe to this point of view.

Did you have any specific questions?

About the only thing I think all the homeschool kids have in common is a complete lack of interest in exactly how old their friends are, or what "grade" they are in. They are often asked what grade they are in (people tend to ask that, rather than "how old are you") and a lot of the kids have to stop and work out the answer - it's just not a relevant concept.

[ 03. March 2017, 04:38: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Enoch
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May be it's just the circles I move in, and that there are lots of people out there doing it whom I never meet, but I get the impression it's pretty rare → unknown since 1939 in the UK.

I've known people who were what was then I suppose the equivalent of homeschooled before the 1stWW right through, and at primary level between the wars. In all three cases, this was for practical reasons not ideological. It didn't seem to have done them any harm.

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mr cheesy
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I know well at least one family who is homeschooling and probably others in the extended network. I think it probably happens a lot more than we might imagine in the UK.

According to this, there are upwards of 30,000 being taught at home in England, which doesn't seem like an insignificant number.

However one does wonder how many of those are actually in some kind of "illegal" religious school of this kind.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
... However one does wonder how many of those are actually in some kind of "illegal" religious school of this kind.

Mr Cheesy, you may need to point out to non-UK domiciled shipmates who will associate home-schooling with evangelical fundamentalism that in that article, they won't pick up that 'illegal religious school' is code for 'back street Sharia Moslem school'.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Mr Cheesy, you may need to point out to non-UK domiciled shipmates who will associate home-schooling with evangelical fundamentalism that in that article, they won't pick up that 'illegal religious school' is code for 'back street Sharia Moslem school'.

Actually it seems to largely be about both Islamic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools.

I don't think it is "code" really. Islamic Madrasas are by necessity places where the kids are taught together. I assume it is similar with ultra-Orthodox schools.

Christian homeschoolers are usually actually taught at home by their parents, I assume because the British education system has historically had more tolerance for ultra-conservative Christian schools at the edges.

Christian parents who ideologically want to educate at home are making a choice outwith of their flexibility to have their own schools more-or-less inside the system. Stricter Muslims and Jews apparently are not able to satisfy the law and so set up underground schools under the auspices of homeschooling.

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my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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Tubbs

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Mr Cheesy, you may need to point out to non-UK domiciled shipmates who will associate home-schooling with evangelical fundamentalism that in that article, they won't pick up that 'illegal religious school' is code for 'back street Sharia Moslem school'.

Actually it seems to largely be about both Islamic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools.

I don't think it is "code" really. Islamic Madrasas are by necessity places where the kids are taught together. I assume it is similar with ultra-Orthodox schools.

Christian homeschoolers are usually actually taught at home by their parents, I assume because the British education system has historically had more tolerance for ultra-conservative Christian schools at the edges.

Christian parents who ideologically want to educate at home are making a choice outwith of their flexibility to have their own schools more-or-less inside the system. Stricter Muslims and Jews apparently are not able to satisfy the law and so set up underground schools under the auspices of homeschooling.

If we're looking for examples of more mainstream home schooling in the UK, Inside Martyn's Thoughts has a load of material. Martyn goes though a typical day, lessons, why they decided to home school etc.

It's a really interesting blog and I've nothing but respect for him. I couldn't home school the Tubblet!

Tubbs

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Ethne Alba
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Here in the UK there have been heaps of homeschooled young people. Historically whilst the young people are schooled at home, more and more now-a-days there is both a desire and a need to group together with others for many activities. Especially as exam time approaches
+ Lots of homeschoolers here in the city are not aligned to any religious belief at all. Just people who fancy living differently.

Certainly here in my own northern city, we have community garden centres, museums and art galleries offering to host home schooled activities. With more being planned.

Maybe the ( Good) homeschoolers just don't shout about it a lot?

However this state of being is most certainly being threatened by some of the recent so-called schools ...of various hues and shades...religions and denominations.....that are setting themselves up, of late.
And also by some of the recent so-called home schoolers who are nothing of the kind and merely haven't yet found an independent school that suits their religious bent.

[ 03. March 2017, 13:06: Message edited by: Ethne Alba ]

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HCH
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I visited the state of Montana and learned that many families there home-school their children. One reason is that they may live in very small communities and the nearest school is a long way off. Some of them probably also have reasons involving conservative Christian beliefs.

I do not usually hear of anyone engaged in home-schooling who teaches more than what is taught in schools; rather, I hear of parents who want their children to be ignorant of various topics.

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Brenda Clough
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I live in a district with excellent public schools -- I pay heavily for this privilege, in real estate taxes and income taxes. I never for an instant considered home-schooling my children. For the same reason that I don't do my own dental work, or insist on re-roofing my own house -- I want the job done properly by experts who have been trained to do it. My daughter is more intelligent that her parents and would not tolerate it, anyway.

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Twilight

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Hear, hear, Brenda! The last thing my son needed was my version of chemistry.

I was lucky enough to have teachers who really loved their subjects, but they were specialized. My wonderful art teacher taught me so much I can still usually run that category on Jeopardy, but I doubt if she would have been as brilliant as our higher math teacher was in her subject.
quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
I do not usually hear of anyone engaged in home-schooling who teaches more than what is taught in schools; rather, I hear of parents who want their children to be ignorant of various topics.

That's been my experience with a few fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers who want to make sure their children don't hear anything about evolution or Harry Potter.

On the other hand, I know a woman who took her daughter out of high school because she had been cruelly bullied about her looks for some time. I would have done the same.

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
...and would be interested to hear from Shipmates who were home schooled themselves, or who have home schooled their own kids.

Well, seeing as no-one else has put their hand up so far, I will. I'll also note that there have been threads on this before, to which I have contributed, as have not a few of the others who've answered here.

I went to primary (elementary) school for a while, and was then removed and educated at home using some fundamentalist Christian material for I think about three years, until the end of primary school. I then did my college (high school) education, at home, but using state-supplied materials (this was free once I reached that stage, because although there was a primary school relatively near us, the nearest college was some distance away. Other kids in the district either went to boarding school or spent a lot of their time commuting).

I can only say that I did not find it a positive experience. In fact, I was deeply angry about it for many, many, years. With the passing of time, and with children of my own, I guess I realise that a parent can never be sure if what they're doing is the right thing, and to some extent they just have to muddle along and hope for the best.

However, with that as a caveat, there is no doubt in my mind that my parents removed myself and my sister from school because they thought it was dangerous for us to be under the daily influence of evil unbelievers, and wanted to be able to control what we were exposed to. As a result, I lived in a dreadfully, dreadfully, narrow, constricted world for several years, during a part of my life where I was old enough to be fully aware that my world was narrow and constricted. We didn't really do any sporting or cultural activities, other than church. There weren't any other children living within walking distance. My sister and I, thrown together as we were, both leaned on one another very deeply, and hated each other's guts - kind of at the same time.

Obviously I know this is not the only type of homeschooling, the only reason for homeschooling, or the only experience of homeschooling. But to any parent out there considering 'protecting' their children in this way, I would say, just be aware, your tenure is always limited. In my parents' case it was a totally wasted effort. My sister and I have grown up to be, at first glance anyway, largely normal adult human beings - but we're both card-carrying heathens.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
My daughter is more intelligent that her parents and would not tolerate it, anyway.

She's probably more intelligent than most or all of her schoolteachers were as well.

I have good public schools, too. I pay high property taxes to support them, and they routinely place highly in the state's rankings. But it wasn't working for my kid.

Frankly, I'd have preferred things to have been different. It would be much easier to send her to school. But it wasn't working out, so we tried homeschooling, which so far seems to be working better. We're starting to give serious thought to the high school years. There's plenty of time yet to make a decision, but there are also plenty of choices (and you need to keep one eye on college admissions...)

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Cathscats
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I am involved with a homeschooled family of 5 kids. A lovely family - when they are together. But it is noticeable that the kids do not know how to respond to a polite request or mild order (e.g."Please don't donthat,") if it comes from any other adult than their parents. Now they are getting older at least one of them is sometimes speaking inappropriately to adults at times. No socialisation, nowhere to work out how they are as they grow up. This need not always be the case, but this family is pretty isolationist apart from church.

Some locally are concerned about their education, so I looked up the Scottish regulations, and these say that they must be educated to live in the modern world. Now this family is explicitly not educating towards any kind of qualifications, and it seems to me this might be deemed to be Iin breach of that regulation. However, they are leaving the country soon, so I won't have to decide if I need to do anything about it. I have heard what is going on described (by a former social worker) as child abuse.

When my number 1 child started school, I sometimes wished I had time to home-school her, but even then I knew that this was because I resented our whole family life being restricted by school times and regulations, not because I really thought it would be better for her. Now the offspring are near the end of high school I am glad they have walked that road, tough for them and for us all as it has been at times.

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Nicolemr
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As a librarian I have contact with some home schooling parents who use the library for resources, and frankly their kids seem a little socially inept to me.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
I visited the state of Montana and learned that many families there home-school their children. One reason is that they may live in very small communities and the nearest school is a long way off. Some of them probably also have reasons involving conservative Christian beliefs.

Hence the Schools of he Air established here during the 50s and still providing education through about a dozen bases. Remember that the population densities of the states and teritories in which it operates are vastly lower than even Montana, and the consequent near impossibility of providing normal schooling at a reasonable cost. Of course, there is nowhere near the amount of social interaction there would be in a normal school, but I'd imagine that net technologies are goinf a long way to bridging the gap.

I have memories of being told that during the 50s, when electricity was very rare at remote locations, pupils (or more likely a parent) would pedal away on a variant of a pedal sewing machine to provide the necessary power. Perhaps I'm conflating schools with the Flying Doctor service.

The acount that Anoesis gives is chilling and shows the need for close supervision through a set curriculum and external testing to ensure that standards are being met.

[ 03. March 2017, 19:47: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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In general in western Canada, the home schooled children are from religious families. Often the issues of social roles of men and women, and anti-science/anti-evolution are the themes. There is a small group of children who are so behaviourally out of order that they are home schooled.

One of my siblings home schooled out of religious motivation. The children had to attend high school because the parents could not manage trigonometry, calculus and the English reading aspects. Which would have made post-secondary training impossible.

I do think that the social aspects, even if parents disapprove of some influences, quite important to expose children to, because this is the world in which they live and will eventually have to deal with.

With religious schooling, we have 2 school boards minimum here, Roman Catholic and everyone else. Both paid via taxes, you have to designate which board collects. We also have other affiliated schools, mostly for language immersion (French, Spanish, Cree, Ukrainian), and affiliated cultural schools, mostly First Nations (indigenous cultures).

I am aware that in Germany, home schooling is forbidden entirely. Probably it is in some other countries.

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Gamaliel
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Until very recently I thought it was the preserve of fundamentalists of various kinds, but I've come across eople in our small town who've done it for other reasons - and their kids seem to turn out ok. Some do it on a kind of collective basis and share resources.

I'm told there are currently somewhere between 6 and 10 households doing it out of a total of around 5,500 households in the town.

I not sure how typical that is. From what I can gather some are Jehovah's Witnesses, others some form of evangelical fundamentalist and the remainder seem quite lefty, Green and ecological and somewhat counter-cultural in the way Kaplan describes - a bit bohemian and right-on.

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Trudy Scrumptious

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Homeschooling is not uncommon among Seventh-day Adventists who live in an area where the church membership is too small to support an Adventist school (which basically has to be microscopic -- Adventists will start schools at the drop of a hat) so I know a few families who do homeschool mainly for religious reasons. As a result of knowing them I know a bit about the larger local homeschooling network of which they are part, mostly other conservative Christians who likewise don't want their kids in public school for one reason or another.

The three homeschooling families I know best from church are/were all quite proactive about having their kids involved in lots of activities -- church, sports, group activities with other homeschoolers -- that will give them lots of socialization skills and exposure to other kids and adults in many different settings. The kids all seem to be doing great in terms of social skills -- one was a good friend of my daughter, another of my son, during their teenage years, and I taught both kids in teen Sabbath School classes, so I knew them and their abilities pretty well.

In terms of the quality of education they're getting I think it varies widely based on the parent's own level of skill. Of the three families I know best, in two cases the moms were qualified teachers who had given up teaching to stay home with their kids, so they knew what they were doing. In the other case the parents are not as well-educated and I think are relying heavily on workbook-style Christian materials purchased from US homeschooling companies. In that family I know one of the children is quite intelligent but lags behind in reading skills, and I wonder if she'd be better served in public school. But in general the homeschoolers I know are doing the very best they can by their kids and I support their choice even though it wasn't mine.

I'm a big supporter of public education, but I'm also a teacher and I would have been willing to homeschool my kids if they had had really bad experiences in public school and were not getting the support I thought they needed there. As it turned out, though, they did fine.

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cattyish

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Friends of ours have six children. Their eldest three went through Scottish state schools. Their fourth child did not get on well at school so the mother of the family home schooled her through her teens using a Christian curriculum. They told me that they adapted it to allow for their own beliefs, so that their daughter did not get taught for a whole term that women should only be stay-at-home mothers. The family now live in Kenya where their youngest two are finishing school.

I get the impression that here in Scotland there is little supervision of home schooling, though a court can insist that if children are "unseen" then the parents must either send them to school or take them to clubs and activities.

Cattyish, outside observer.

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Arethosemyfeet
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We don't particularly have to deal with the fundamentalists here - the homeschoolers here are either hippy-dippy unschooling types or parents who can't be bothered with making their kids behave at school (or at home, but they don't get hassle about their kids running riot at home).
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Gee D
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Trudy Scrumptious, forgive me please, but I did a quick double take at Sabbath School. FWIW, there is a major centre of the SDA quite close to here: a large hospital with an excellent national reputation; church administrative functions; and a school. This used be primary only but with building work underway is now taking students for up to 2nd - could by now even be 3rd - year of secondary education. Quite a fair walk from the 2 nearest train lines, so dependent upon buses for those who do not live locally.

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Brenda Clough
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This IMO is the great danger of home schooling. If the parents (it's usually a mother) are lazy or ignorant or even ill-intentioned, the child's education is distorted or truncated. She can't get into a college and so her future earning power is drastically affected. (If the family is one of those cults where the only thing a female can do is marry then I guess this is less of an issue.) Since you do need a college degree, mostly, to get a job in the US, an entire tier of 'Christian' colleges with their own standards of admission have risen up. Some of these may be accredited, but all of them draw from home schools or small Christian high schools. We're creating a subclass of people shunted into educational dead ends.

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Soror Magna
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I was very fortunate to have excellent home school materials delivered by motivated parents with flexible schedules. We did lots of extra-curricular exploring as well, such as dissecting a cow heart, sheep eye and chicken foot; building electric lamps from parts; and exploring tide pools to stock our aquaria.

Parents who choose to home-school, for whatever reason, take responsibility for:
  • adequate educational achievement
  • socialization and extracurricular activities
  • balancing the roles of teacher and parent

The last is a biggie for me. I was convinced that if I didn't always get straight A's, my parents would ditch me at an orphanage. Between home-schooling and moving a lot, I missed out on socializing and sports, but made up some of that with music, theatre, and sci-fi geek friends.

On balance, I'm very satisfied with how my parents taught me, and they wanted me to excel academically. Mom left school at 15 to support her siblings and dad had a 2-year technical diploma, but little sister and I both have BSc's. I think it is unfortunate that there are parents who home-school because they want their kids to remain as ignorant and narrow-minded as they are, but if the kids turn out literate and numerate and law-abiding, there's no real reason for the government to stop them.

The money issue is, of course, a huge separate debate. Home schooling costs money if it's done right. All citizens have an obligation to fund public education for everybody's kids, so I don't buy the argument that home-schoolers are paying for a service they don't use. (I have no kids so I'm doing that too.) It would be wonderful if there really was such a thing as "school choice" for all kids that want or need different formats or styles of education and that all parents could make the best choice for their kids without worrying about money (or fees for uniforms and equipment, or transportation, or arranging after-school care.) Of course, we know that what really happens with "school choice" or voucher schemes is that ordinary taxpayers end up subsidizing private schools their own children could never go to. Just think of it: poor people pay taxes and send their kids to underfunded public schools so rich people can save money on private school fees for their kids.

People talk about the educational system being broken, or failing, and offer all sorts of solutions - FIRE BAD TEACHERS!! STANDARDIZED TESTING!!! VOUCHERS!!!! BAN UNIONS!!! - but in one sense it isn't. In fact, it works very well according to the principle that how much money you have determines how good an education your kids get. This is generally true of home schooling, public school, charters, magnets, vouchers, or whatever, and that's what's really broken about the system. (And our society.)

tl:dr Home schooling can be good, bad, or indifferent, and being rich helps.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Cod
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I've been acquainted with a few homeschooling families over the years, both in this country and the UK. Their reasons for homeschooling vary enormously, and so do the outcomes.

In the past, religious conservatism has been the most common reason given to me. However, I have noticed increasingly in recent years children being homeschooled by parents who don't have strong religious or philosophical views at all. Their reasons are that the local state schools have become too restricted to carry out their purpose properly, e.g. teachers are insufficiently resourced to deal with discipline issues, and simply haven't the time to give any of the children any sort of one-on-one attention, and therefore only the particularly able and self-motivated progress.

What these parents tell me is that although they don't question the teachers' expertise, they believe that they can provide a better standard of education at home than the school can provide in a big class.

I suspect they would send their children to private school if they could afford it.

Although I have no intention of homeschooling my own children I have a lot of sympathy with this view, currently having two children at primary level. I often genuinely wonder just what they're getting taught, apart from maths. The teachers have been increasingly burdened by administrative requirements set by the Ministry, and there is a quiet erosion or older and more able teachers from the profession. I particularly look in vain for any sort of general knowledge in my elder child who is now at UK secondary age.

My brother and his partner have decided to homeschool their children, and have never sent them to school. Their elder child has been homeschooled for a few years now, and both of them are part of a local support group with similar-minded parents who co-operate on various things. The worst I can say of her is that her achievement in a few areas is patchy. For the most part, however, she is much better-informed, better socialised and much better able to think critically than the average child of her age. She's certainly done much better than my children had done at her age, and I would be very proud if she were my daughter.

Yes, it's true that religious views are an important motive for homeschooling, but I am very interested in what I believe is an increase in the numbers of people homeschooling for the reasons I describe.

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"The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country."
Lord Denning

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Brenda Clough
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hmm. If the local public schools are deficient in some way, surely the sensible thing to do is to supplement what they offer. It would be cheaper to buy the child dance classes, or art instruction, or whatever, than to do the whole ball of wax yourself.

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Cod
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Many, many parents - round here at least - are doing precisely that. Sometimes it is things that a school wouldn't be expected to provide - martial arts for example. Increasingly it is something one would expect a school to provide - I knew someone who a few years ago ran a small business teaching art. She taught the things one would expect to happen in school - except they weren't - at least not beyond a rudimentary level. The same is happening even in core subjects - more parents are buying extra tuition in maths or literacy from providers like Kip McGrath.

All these things cost money though - and round here, even state schools cost money - uniform, "donations", fees for school trips - and if you have an underemployed parent I can well see how homeschooling becomes feasable. Ally that to a concern that teachers are being reduced to bureaucratic box-tickers rather than imparters of knowledge, and it starts to seem like responsible parenting.

I was at my parents' house recently and I found a catalogue of books put together by my class under the teacher's instructions when we were 8-9. I remember looking at the titles of the books reviewed and thinking how no one's children I know are encouraged by their teachers to read at that level now.

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"The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country."
Lord Denning

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Many, many parents - round here at least - are doing precisely that. Sometimes it is things that a school wouldn't be expected to provide - martial arts for example. Increasingly it is something one would expect a school to provide - I knew someone who a few years ago ran a small business teaching art. She taught the things one would expect to happen in school - except they weren't - at least not beyond a rudimentary level. The same is happening even in core subjects - more parents are buying extra tuition in maths or literacy from providers like Kip McGrath.

Coaching colleges - which provide additional teaching in key subjects - are a boom business here. What mark will my child need to get into X high school? Right, off to the Y college each afternoon after usual school hours, home to eat quickly, then the homework from school, then the homework from the college. Vey high pressure particularly in some sections of the community.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Cod
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Here too. It reflects a concern amongst parents about how hard it is becoming to get a decent job, ie, permanent, full time, suffient salary to support a family.

However, my impression of the homeschoolers I know is a bit different: it's not so much that they want their kids to get ahead: they want them to have an education that is academically adequate and life-enriching.

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"The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country."
Lord Denning

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
hmm. If the local public schools are deficient in some way, surely the sensible thing to do is to supplement what they offer. It would be cheaper to buy the child dance classes, or art instruction, or whatever, than to do the whole ball of wax yourself.

It depends what 'deficient' means. If you're generally happy with the education your kids are getting in school, but want them to take a language class that the school doesn't offer, for example, then supplementing would make a lot of sense.

If you're not generally happy with the school, it doesn't make so much sense.

Bottom line: your child is spending a significant fraction of her waking hours in school. Do you think that's generally a good use of her time? It's not reasonable to expect a child to do a normal school day, and then do a couple of hours or more extra every day in order to "supplement".

[ 05. March 2017, 05:14: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Here too. It reflects a concern amongst parents about how hard it is becoming to get a decent job, ie, permanent, full time, suffient salary to support a family.

However, my impression of the homeschoolers I know is a bit different: it's not so much that they want their kids to get ahead: they want them to have an education that is academically adequate and life-enriching.

This is the concern of parents since forever. It isn't worse today than in other difficult economic and social times to get ahead and get jobs. The 1mid-1980s recession with incredible cutbacks, very low employment, and interest rates for mortgages at 17% per year is one I recall well. It delayed marrying, getting stable work, having children, the whole shebang, which I am hearing Millenials and their parents worry about. I think It isn't different, it is hard, but it will reverse. Though a generation which comes through such things will be a decade behind the generations before and after them.

Home schooling isn't an answer to that any more than than it is to any other economic austerity impact on human development.

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We must learn to live in harmony with nature. If we don't cease believing we can master and dominate it, life on Earth may be crippled or destroyed.
(formerly known more succinctly as "no prophet"), either way not be taken seriously. \_(ツ)_/

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Arethosemyfeet
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Except that this has been an issue for over a decade and it's only getting worse - here the only stable, permanent full time work at the lower end is in the public sector, and most of that is being outsourced to private contractors and hence downgraded. Retail and warehouse work is all moving to part time or zero hours contracts, or outright moving to agency staff. The days when you could get a steady job working (say) in a shoe shop and, while it wouldn't bring in a lot of money, you could rely on it are long gone. As are the pensions that went with steady jobs. There has been a massive casualisation of the work force and this is permanent, not temporary, unless something is done to change it. Comparing it to past recessions that lasted a few years at most is silly.
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no prophet's flag is set so...

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That is probably variable place to place. We experienced a downturn in western Canada in about 2012. Things are picking up in other parts of the country. My children have done what Canadians do, one is 1500 miles away, the other 2400. We have to go where the work is. The other trend is small business and entrepreneurship.

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We must learn to live in harmony with nature. If we don't cease believing we can master and dominate it, life on Earth may be crippled or destroyed.
(formerly known more succinctly as "no prophet"), either way not be taken seriously. \_(ツ)_/

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leo
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I think home schooling should be illegal. Children do not 'belong' to their parents.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Curiosity killed ...

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I got involved in the home schooling communities when my daughter was too ill to attend school for 18 months. She was given home tuition by the local education authority for 2 hours a week. But I was aware of a number of other young people who were also trying to achieve GCSEs and/or other qualifications around long term illnesses.

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Cod
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I probably didn't put my last point particularly well.

I think there is now a cohort of parents who push their children much harder than parents used to. Some of these are immigrants from poorer countries who want their children to take full advantage of what this country offers. Some are locals, normally with high household income. They will either send their children to private school, or supplement their children's education with private tuition, even if that means stretching the family budget to its limit. They are quite competitive. I don't think these parents have anything to do with homeschooling.

Homeschooling parents, leastways in my experience, actually aren't like this at all. Of course they want their children to be well-educated, but they don't tend to see that as meaning that they ought to grow up to be in a well-paid job. In fact they feel the education system is already far too focused on producing cogs (well-paid or otherwise) to fit a system.

By the way, I do agree that parents have always been concerned about the level of their children's education. However, I do think that has increased a lot in the places where I've lived. The days of being able to arse around in school and then support a family by bashing metal have long gone. And their is a concern - correct or incorrect - that academic standards in school have declined.

Also the Internet has made homeschooling far more feasable. There are free resources, other resources that the Internet makes more easy to share, and it is also easier to meet other homechooling parents to co-operate with.

Circling the wagons to make sure your kids don't get infected by the wicked world outside doesn't play any part in this thinking.

Here is a long, but illuminating discussion about homeschooling on Mumsnet. Some are sympathetic, some hostile, some doing it. Their reasons? Concerns about schools having poor standards, being unable to teach special needs kids, faffing around and lack of crowd control, over-regulation of teachers, but again and again, a concern that the education philosophy in school is narrow, dogmatic and inflexible.

Scarely a mention of religion or other similar reasons at all.

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"The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country."
Lord Denning

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Cod
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think home schooling should be illegal. Children do not 'belong' to their parents.

Perhaps you would like to explain why?

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"The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country."
Lord Denning

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think home schooling should be illegal. Children do not 'belong' to their parents.

Neither do children "belong" to the state. Both can abuse, but by and large, I would err on the side of having parents make decisions. The state neither knows nor loves them.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:


Scarely a mention of religion or other similar reasons at all.

I would suggest that this is a reflection of the demographics of mumsnet (predominantly white, middle class, liberal-ish) rather than anything else.
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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think home schooling should be illegal. Children do not 'belong' to their parents.

The right of parents to choose their children's education is explicitly part of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Article 26.3.

As with many rights, the exercise of the right to withdraw one's children from state education may be problematic in a liberal democracy. It is quite another matter where the state has illiberal leanings.

I know one family whose child was unhappy in her last year of primary school. They home schooled her until she was ready for secondary school. That doesn't seem to me to imply that the parents thought their child belonged to them.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think home schooling should be illegal. Children do not 'belong' to their parents.

My children are not my property, but they are my responsibility. I have a duty to them that I will discharge to the best of my ability. If that's inconvenient for your politics, I don't really care.
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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I think home schooling should be illegal. Children do not 'belong' to their parents.

Neither do children "belong" to the state. Both can abuse, but by and large, I would err on the side of having parents make decisions. The state neither knows nor loves them.
This. And, frankly, in America, Leo's approach would freak people out, and result in a huge increase in home-schooling. Many home-schooling parents are specifically trying to get away from gov't influence on their kids--whether the parents are ultra-conservative Christians, hippies, or have had a lot of trouble with the school's treatment of their kids.

Plus some kids with health problems can't go out to school. And some families travel a lot, taking home-schooling materials with them.

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bib
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I have a 'hippie' niece who is home-schooling her 4 children. Despite the fact that she is quite capable of giving them good academic grounding, these children are feral and an embarrassment in public. They have no idea about turn taking or in the usual niceities of conversation and interaction. My niece attended a good academic school and university and was exposed to many different children and ideas, but her children are very isolated from the world. I fear that their education will be self limiting and lacking in breadth.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
I have a 'hippie' niece who is home-schooling her 4 children. Despite the fact that she is quite capable of giving them good academic grounding, these children are feral and an embarrassment in public. They have no idea about turn taking or in the usual niceities of conversation and interaction. My niece attended a good academic school and university and was exposed to many different children and ideas, but her children are very isolated from the world. I fear that their education will be self limiting and lacking in breadth.

My only experience of homeschoolers was at a small theatre. I had taken my class of thirty children along with two teaching assistants. They loved the play and behaved extremely well. In front of us were six homeschooled children with their parents (about the same age as my class, maybe older). They didn't watch the play, were uninterested, mauled around, talked and demanded drinks and food, which the adults fed to them.

It didn't sell homeschooling to me at all. I asked myself 'what did those children learn this morning?' Very little I suspect.

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Baptist Trainfan
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When we worked in West Africa, several of our colleagues perforce had to homeschool their children as it was the only way of ensuring a continuity of British education. Some of these families were fairly isolated from each other.

The courses they used stressed the idea of doing school "properly", with a designated timetable, a clear demarcation between "study" and "leisure" time and between parents acting as "mum" or "teacher" ... and so on. This worked well and equipped the children successfully for integration into "ordinary" schools when they returned home.

Of course this was a rather different situation to parents who choose to homeschool as a matter of principle.

[ 06. March 2017, 09:47: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Jane R
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leo:
quote:
Children do not 'belong' to their parents.
They don't belong to you either. Or the state. However imperfect parents may be, the care system is significantly more likely to screw up the important task of raising children to adulthood. There is plenty of evidence to support this, so let's just cite this story for now.

School does play an important part in (a) socialization and (b) teaching children things that their parents don't know, but it has always been a hostile environment for many children. Read Vice Versa by F. Anstey for an unvarnished account of what boarding school is/was like, or ask any child of your acquaintance. My daughter tells me that the year 10s at her school are so stressed about their mock exams that one of them fainted in the school library last week. Depression and anxiety are endemic among young people, and part of the reason for this is the pressure they are put under at school to reach arbitrary and unrealistic government targets, such as the requirement for anyone who fails maths or English GCSE to keep resitting the exam/s until they pass. Now, I would be the last person to argue that adults don't need language and maths skills, but English and Maths GCSE don't just cover what you need to know to function as an adult in our society. That's not what they are for.

We're all still waiting for you to explain your wonderful alternative system to us. While we're waiting to be enlightened, we will get on with the job of raising our children to the best of our ability.

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Jemima the 9th
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I know about 10ish homeschooling mums. In one case the child was badly bullied, and school were failing in their SEN provision, so he was taken out and homeschooled until a new school was found - where he's now doing much better.

The others are online friends (a legacy of a mumsnet type group, but much smaller and more intimate, we've known each other for over a decade). Some Home Ed because their children have special needs which they don't feel would be well supported in school. Largely, though, it's because they don't think school is a Good Thing, and think kids are better educated at home. Reasons for this tend to be those mentioned above - that school is all about churning out little cogs for the machine (man) or that the classes are too big, that teachers do too much admin to be able to teach, that the curriculum is too enforced and should be more childled. They feel that Home Edding gives them the opportunity to let the child follow their interests. There are practical benefits too - if you do lots of museum trips, or even go on holiday, it's quieter and cheaper in termtime.

I've never met the children, so I've no idea how they're turning out. The parents are not monsters, and they're genuinely doing what they think is best. However they can at times be rather condescending towards schooling families - there's an assumption that schooling parents aren't interested, don't get involved with their children's education, and that the kids themselves will turn out to be little worker bees with no independent thought. And some of the language used is a bit unfortunate - they'll talke about "deschooling" in the period after a child is taken out of school, which makes me think of delousing, for eg. Or there'll be facebook photos of "Not back to school" picnic, which I don't get. If you're not Home Edding as a response to school, why post something which is clearly a response to what schooled families do?

Another thought about intelligence, teaching and whether parents can do a better job. I do know (or I did!) as much trigonometry as my 13 year old. So I could probably do the maths homework I was helping her with last night. But communicating that is a separate skill. I do a bit of group education of adults as part of my job, and I think I do a passable job of it. But I don't for a moment think that I could teach a group of children, and even supporting 1:1 is a particular skill that I don't naturally have.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
My only experience of homeschoolers was at a small theatre. I had taken my class of thirty children along with two teaching assistants. They loved the play and behaved extremely well. In front of us were six homeschooled children with their parents (about the same age as my class, maybe older). They didn't watch the play, were uninterested, mauled around, talked and demanded drinks and food, which the adults fed to them.

It didn't sell homeschooling to me at all. I asked myself 'what did those children learn this morning?' Very little I suspect.

I teach undergrads just out of high school here in the US. My classes are about an even mix of students who were homeschooled, went to public school, went to private (almost always religious) schools. I've tried in vain to find any sort of pattern. I have students in all three categories who are well-equipped for university work, excel, and thrive both socially and academically. And I have students in all three categories who haven't the foggiest of notions how to do academic work, manage their time or study skills. Most in this group will not survive more than a semester or two, meaning they have acquired $1000s of needless debt.

While I can't seem to draw any hard and fast conclusions about which system is best (at least in terms of college-prep), it does seem to underscore two things:

1. The rhetoric used both for & against any one of the systems is pure unsubstantiated hogwash. The system chosen is no guarantee of a successful education.

2. In this country anyway, there is a desperate need for real, viable educational standards-- but not of the current standardized testing variety. Something that gets more at the core life skills needed to do academic work-- things like how to do research, how to analyze data or language & arguments effectively, and how to manage time & organize long-term goals and projects. This simply is not happening across the board in any of the three major systems. It's not even all that tied to economics-- some students from very wealthy school districts are as incapable of these life skills as those from much poorer school districts. There is a haphazard system of access to proper teaching and college prep that seems to be based on "luck of the draw" more than just about anything else. That needs to be changed-- but more standardized testing is not going to do it.

3. Those educational standards need to apply and be monitored in all 3 of these systems.

My 2 cents.

[ 06. March 2017, 14:21: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10385 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged



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