Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

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JAG's picture
JAG
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Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking for advise from anyone home schooling their kids. I must admit that given the choice, I would choose traditional schooling for my child over home schooling because I believe that kids learn so much more than academics in the traditional school experience. But I'm aware that the day may soon arrive that, for a variety of reasons, I will need to home school my daughter.

Can anyone recommend a particular curriculum or materials?

I have been accumulating textbooks in PDF and e-book format that I hope to use with the Apple iPad, but most of these are college-level material. I need material and a "plan of attack" for K-12.

Thanks for your help...Jeff

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Jeff,

See www.k12.com

It's the best online program I've seen and I've been looking at them for years.  Our brick & mortar school adopted it last year to expand offerings and the kids and parents love it.  I've also visited their corporate HQ in Herndon, VA and can tell you it's a top-notch operation and group of people who are serious about eductaion.

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Our three boys will definitely be home schooled. The oldest is now five and we just started a home school program. Way better than Government schools. I've got a lot to say on this, but unfortunately no time now. Gotta go earn a few FRN's to buy some beans for the gang.

Later.

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG,

Yes, K12 is excellent. My daughter used it for grades 4 thru 8. She consistently scored in the upper 90's on the standardized state exam (homeschooled students have to prove they are learning!). We have put her in public high school now and she has 8 courses (three of which are honors courses) and her last report card was 7 A+'s and one A.

But, as is the definition of life, you get out of it what you put into it.

The adventure continues...

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG,

We are homeschooling our 2 boys this year for the first time. I can share with you what we are doing, but it is still clearly a work in process and I am not an authority on the subject. I can say we are very happy with our decision, and regret we did not start sooner.

FWIW - I was resistant for the same reasons you mention - that they learn more and different things in PS. I have come to realize just how much PS is BS, and I was very wrong in my ignorance. You may find the same thing once you dive in and really learn what and how your child is learning at PS.

Not much time now- I'll backchannel you tonight with some detail.

R

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

If you are interested in a classical education for your children I would recommend , "The Well Trained Mind"  by Susan Bauer

"If, on the other hand, you are contemplating teaching your children at home because public (and even private) traditional schools have watered down the content of your children's academic learning, and you truly want to give your child a world-class education at home in the classical tradition, you need look no further than this remarkable resource.

The authors have compiled a complete list of what to teach, where to find the resources with which to teach it, and, if you need it, some suggestions for working out a schedule that will accomplish it all (The authors acknowledge that the schedules in the book won't work for all families, but are merely meant to be examples)."

http://www.amazon.com/Well-Trained-Mind-Classical-Education-Editition/dp...

I also like the Lisa VanDamme method of teaching,

http://pc.blogspot.com/2006/08/good-news-for-parents-in-search-of.html

Her home page

http://www.vandammeacademy.com/index.html

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

My girlfriend is a public school teacher (kindergarten) so I get a first hand account of the current state of disrepair of the public school system. Essentially public school has devolved into government subsidized baby-sitting.  

However, I think anyone who home schools MUST make sure that they get their kids involved in activities that allow them to develop socially (e.g. sports, clubs, scouts, etc.). 

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Thanks everyone for the replies.

How do you provide socialization skills/experience for your kids?

I often see groups of home-schooled kids at parks and playgrounds, is this the extent of the socializing for home schoolers?

Thanks in advanced...Jeff

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Ready
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG wrote:

How do you provide socialization skills/experience for your kids?

I often see groups of home-schooled kids at parks and playgrounds, is this the extent of the socializing for home schoolers?

We just give 'em nintendo and they don't seem to need other kids.

Seriously, we are a part of a group of fellow homeschoolers we call the homey's that do group activities, they are in a bowling league, sports teams, play with neighbors, yada yada yada. They also stay in touch with friends they made at PS too. Socialization is not a problem in the slightest, which was one of my major concerns to start with. That's just the devil talking, Jeff.

PS - you would be surprised just how many like minded folks there are out there homeschooling. I was amazed at the quantity and quality of kids and parents doing this.

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

i wish I had home schooled my kids totally. I did quite a bit at home to fill in the many gaps left by the PS.

Many of my friends home schooled their kids and I would say they are better educated and much better behaved than kids I have been around from the PS system.

One thing we have in our neck of the woods which I think is a brilliant idea is  Community run school for home schooled kids. Once you get into home schooling you will find many others doing the same thing. If you can get a group together and find a location and a willing "teacher" then you can have a "school" where the children get socialization and are encouraged to learn. I have worked with the local community school and it is a blast. You can bring in all kinds of folks to share their particular area of expertise. The kids can go any amount of time they wish. Their is no grading and the emphasis is on learning and exploring. The parents pay for the support of the facility and the stipend for the "teacher"  The teacher is the key. Finding a retired teacher who is interested is a good place to start. We had one who would occasionally bring fresh roadkill in so the kids could dissect it ( then have it for lunch......just joking.) A local hunter would sometimes come in and show the kids how to dress game and handle skins. I live in a rural area but the same thing could be adapted to various locales. We had local musicians come and perform as well as dancers. Local artists would also come by from time to time. People who make things come and show the kids how things are made. We have an Apple seeds program where the kids learn about food. Everything from growing it to cooking it and its nutritional value.

The flexibility is amazing. You dont have to spend one hour doing math. You can spend half a day exploring math with a mathematician from a local college. 

JAG your kids will learn more in a home schooled environment and be better socialized. It comes down to what you put into it and if you can find a community of support.

V

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Hi Jeff,

My 3 boys have never been in school. The eldest just turned 18 and entered our local community college last fall. Having never taken a standardized test he scored a 32 on the ACT (top score is 36, most of his public schooled friends were in the mid to top 20's ... he needed to take it to get a good student discount on car insurance.) I also have an almost 15yo and almost 7yo (everyone has birthdays this month.)

My first recommendation is to read The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher by John Taylor Gatto. He was New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991 and his acceptance speech was a scathing commentary on what actually happens in the classroom. Here are links to both the essay and the speech:

http://www.cantrip.org/gatto.html

http://www.home-ed.vic.edu.au/2002/02/26/john-gatto-teacher-of-the-year-...

That's just so you don't view homeschooling as second best because if Bernanke does manage to save us all <cough. cough> you might want to still consider it.

As for curriculum, I can't help you there as I didn't use any. Read really good books, find lists of the classics and give them to her as she grows. Actually read them yourself and leave them around for her to pick up. Look up John Holt, Charlotte Mason and A Thomas Jefferson Education (the latter by Oliver DeMille.) Google Unschooling if you feel daring. Trust that the same impetus that made your daughter want to walk and talk like those around her will make her want to learn and that when she learns of her own volition, it sticks much better than when it is pounded into her.

I won't pretend it's all perfect and easy (hint: keep them off the computer as long as possible as it becomes a huge distraction,) but it is fun, freeing, promotes a closeness in families you probably wouldn't otherwise have and you don't have the frustration of sitting in PTA meetings trying to get things changed ... for that you just snuggle up to your wife and say, how 'bout we try this ;-)

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG wrote:

Thanks everyone for the replies.

How do you provide socialization skills/experience for your kids?

I often see groups of home-schooled kids at parks and playgrounds, is this the extent of the socializing for home schoolers?

Thanks in advanced...Jeff

Even if it was, its more "socialization" than what they would get in public schools. Although in classrooms they sit next to each other, and during the breaks between classes they have 3 minutes in the hallways, and some school still have recess (although many have faded that out), the opportunities for the kind of socialization that is needed to properly develop social skills does not occur in the public school environment (and perhaps thats not where its supposed to occur, anyway - academics is a fine focus for public school).

Children need uninterrupted extended play with other children to learn how to work together, get into arguments and resolve them, determine a common goal then work towards that goal. That is much more likely to be found playing for a hours at the park.

My daughter is five. We attend a homeschool co-op when we feel like it (about 2-3 times a week). It consists of maybe 5 other children and their parents. Last week we went to the river bed to study the water table. After talking about it a bit and observing the how the water flows, the children were given a 4 by 8 piece of plywood, several bags of clay, water pitchers, and asked to build a mountain system, rivers, and water collection system. They found rocks, sticks, leaves and such to use. The adults stepped back, and the five children worked together independently in a way you never see in the public school to share ideas and create their landscape. They independently remained focused for an hour and a half on the activity, which is something you also don't usually see happen in public school unless the teachers are commanding their attention.

Today we are going to the Maritime Park in our town to study native plants along the river bed, see the salmon breeding grounds, then do some native planting of our own.

Homeschooling is all about figuring out your child's needs then meeting those needs, including socialization. The plan is adapted to meet the needs of the child. Some children need more socialization than others.  Public school is all about making the child fit into the system, with little wriggle room for modifying the curriculum to meet the needs of any particular child.

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

We've homeschooled our kids from the get-go. We actually unschool, which, judging by your feelings about what they might be missing in public school, is not something that's you'd likely be interested in right now, but I mention it because down the road, you may find yourself questioning more deeply  the way public schools "teach" and how humans learn.

http://www.unschooling.com/library/faq/definitions.shtml

As for socializing, this is one of the most ludicrous of all concerns I hear about homeschooling. Having an elementary school playground over our back fence and having watched myriad homeschool playgroups in action, I can state with utter confidence that homeschooled kids interact *so much better* with each other than schooled kids -- there is no artificial division according to age or gender, kids move fluidly between different aged playmates, they're generally inclusive and gentle with younger playmates. There's never the teasing or bullying that can go on in school. And generally, the kids are less stressed out, less coerced and nicer to each other.

So, we've never used a curriculum, we strew activities and ideas and read read read to our kids whenever and whatever they want to listen to, we listen to and answer their questions about everything, no matter how busy or tired we might be. They play computer games, a lot, and they learn an incredible amount from them, as they are motivated to figure out costs of buying items in their games for their characters, or to communicate with the other players. My son has learned to read and spell well above what would be his grade level (he's 8) because he likes to play interactive online games (Roblox in particular) in which you can only communicate with other players by typing.

And my daughter, who has just turned 11, wrote this last night and posted it to facebook. Aside from asking her father a few spelling questions and how to make a plural possessive of wolf (though she didn't know that particular grammatical term when she asked), this is entirely her work:

Aurora

He crouched low to the ground as the trees cast long shadows against the snow. His fur shimmered silver in the moonlight, blending into the shadows. He looked at the moon -- a huge white orb in the sky -- and trotted off north-west. His tail swished across the ground, the snow swirling up in small circles, his ears pricked, padded feet making almost no noise. Flickering shadows danced upon his thick coat and he knew he was nearly there. He sniffed the air around him, but sensed no danger, and so, trotted on. His golden eyes glinted in the moonlight and frost formed on his whiskers, his breath coming out in big, white clouds.

Then suddenly he was out of the forest, and on the horizon he could see the forms of other wolves. He was just in time, too -- as the other wolves started to gather in a circle, with one wolf in the middle, and the moon right above them. A wolf started singing then, a long, clear note, and then another wolf joined in, and another. The stars seemed to twinkle brighter as they sang, dancing through the air as the wolves howled. And then a beautiful green light sprang across the sky, a ribbon of shining emerald, with streaks of red and blue. And the wolves’ singing increased from a light, mournful melody, to a frolicking, exited, upbeat song. And as the lead wolf howled the final note, the rest began to bark and frolic excitedly.

Then all was merriment and chaos as the wolves began to roll and romp and play fight. The beautiful streaks of light across the sky faded eventually. And the wolves began to walk down the hill, shaking the snow from their shaggy heads. Their singing was over, and the lights had faded. The wolves now went their separate ways, to hunt, or sleep, or sing.

I post this not only to brag (though I can't resist feeling proud of what she has learned) but to offer up what a mind, allowed to pursue its own interests and allowed to keep its inherent drive to learn intact by not making learning a forced and often ill-timed experience, can do.

Whatever homeschooling path you choose, I applaud your choice. If you're still feeling conflicted about what your kids might lose out on in public schooling, you might explore some of the writings of  John Taylor Gatto, who's won New York state teacher of the year and multiple NYC teacher of the year awards,  and has such damning  things to say about the public education system.

FWIW,

Warmly,

Sue

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

(This is my first post. I actually came upon this site because the Crash Course looked like an interesting course supplement for my current high school student.)

I have been home schooling for the past ten years. It wasn't something I particularly wanted to do in the beginning, but it has definitely enriched our family in ways I would never have imagined when I began. My younger child has always been taught at home. He socializes with other children at church activities, sports activities at the local YMCA, musical events arranged by his violin teacher, and activities arranged by our very active local home school support group. He also takes some online courses which have allowed him to discuss literature, for example, with other bright students from all over the country (and world in a few cases.)

If you are interested, the first thing you should do is think carefully about what sort of education you want to convey to your child. What do you think are the most important things she needs to learn? I actually started out using The Well Trained Mind as a guide because the authors' vision of a good education made sense to me, and I needed some kind of blueprint to start out. What I do now doesn't look like that because I've learned quite a bit in the past ten years, and so I have refined my own vision and adapted it to the needs and abilities of my children. Go to the library and read several books about teaching your children at home. There are also many online support groups where veteran homeschoolers are happy to offer advice to those just beginning.

I'd also find out if there is a local homeschool support group near you. These have become quite large and elaborate in many places, offering interesting activities, clubs, and sometimes even coop classes at very low cost to members.

http://www.amblesideonline.org/index2.shtml 

Ambleside Online is a very good curriculum using classic books which are often freely available online. If this philosophy of teaching makes sense, it would be possible to teach using this on a strict budget. I'd look for used math texts and other materials at used book sales which are often hosted by local support groups. I made my own handwriting exercises with Start Write software using text from books my kids were reading.

I hope that helps a little.

Julee

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What I See Lacking In Homeschooling

Wow! I'm so glad I created this thread, as its great to see the "other side" of the homeschooling debate.

My only experience with homeschooling comes from the experiences of a friend at work and my mother-in-law, and I have to say that their "homeschooling" is a big joke. Their kids are undisciplined and spoiled, and are very far behind the curve in their academics. I have absolutely no confidence that these specific kids will be able to adjust to the real world of adulthood anytime soon. 

My mother-in-law just celebrated completing 100 days of school with her youngest (adopted) child. It took nearly 3 years to complete 100 days of homeschooling! That's pathetic. I understand that homeschooling is a herculean task for the parent, but if you don't deliver, your kids will suffer directly.

I totally agree that public school is lacking in many ways, but when I compare my public school  experience with my wife's private school experience I see some dramatic differences. Academically we achieved very similar results, but socially she missed out on a great deal of "growing up" experiences. I think these experiences are critical to becoming a functional adult. If a private school can't deliver these experiences then how could homeschooling? 

My public education experience taught me a two important things about adulthood that were not in the curriculum:

  • How to deal with people (socialization skills).
  • Discipline: Dealing with the fact that I have to something that I don't want to do.

The home-schooled kids that I know personally, can't deal with social situations and will not do anything that they don't want to do. 

From your replies, can I conclude that this is not the case in your situations?

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG,

My wife and I settled on "child lead learning" for our kids a year and a half ago just before I watched the CC because our research showed that this was the best environment for the kids to learn.  I think I read John Taylor Gatto's book "Dumbing Us Down" (which I recommend to anyone -- kids or not) and Alison McKee's "Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves" and I was convinced.  I've also read "Unschooling Unmanual" by Nanda Van Gestel, Jan Hunt, Daniel Quinn, and Rue Kream. This is my wife's area of domain so she has her own resources including books by John Holt but she recommends "So Why Do You Homeschool?: Answering Questions People Ask About Home Education" by Mimi Davis. 

Our kids' socialize in a homeschooling network and we have a smaller circle of unschoolers and we get them into social activities. 

While secondary there is also the fact that through life's up and downs there is always someone close by that can give them support when they need it.  I shudder to think about the kids that suffer through situations and break into tears when they get home having borne the emotional pain all day.  Or perhaps they learn to suppress the emotional pain but know that they will have to return the following day.  Rather than worry about socialization at home I would turn this around and wonder what emotional damage comes from socialization at school?

One of the things I've learned recently is to be in favor of things - as opposed to be against something (a different thought process even though it might not seem different).

So I'm also in favor of reworking all educational institutions.  The single best thing that could be done would be to stop teaching. 

What?!

Well, sure.  Wouldn't you learn better because you were studying something because you were interested in it?  And if you were passionate about something but found out you needed to learn something else (say, math) in order to advance in your subject of interest - wouldn't you then be passionate to learn about math? 

Oh, and what about the depth that you might want to take your passion - what if it exceeded the knowledge that the teacher had?

What if your teacher didn't agree with a particular perspective and thus filtered it out before presenting the information to the kids?

Consider my post here listing some solutions I've been working through since I watched the CC:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/67223#comment-67223

How many of these are our kids learning about these in school?  And if not, should you be concerned?

We need evolutionary jumps in our thinking - child lead learning is one of these. 

Cheers,

James

P.S.  Gatto's latest book "Weapons of Mass Instruction" has been sitting on my shelf unread for months so I cracked the spine and found this smoking gun on pp. xvii - xix:

"Harvard President James Bryant Conant wrote a book-length essay in 1959 called "The Child, The Parent, and the State", and was more than a little intrigued to see him mention in passing that the modern schools we attend were the result of a "revolution" engineered between 1905 and 1930." Gatto says that Conant directs the interested person to Alexander Inglis' 1918 book "Principles of Secondary Education" that breaks down the actual purpose of modern schooling, in Gatto's words, is:

"Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority"

"make children as alike as possible"

"determine each student's proper social role"

"children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step farther"

"tag the unfit...their peers will accept them as inferior"

"a small fraction will be quietly taught to manage this continuing project"

Working through the CC and the solutions is a deeply emotional experience.  As painful as it is deepening our understanding is the only way to begin the healing process.

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Re: What I See Lacking In Homeschooling

JAG,

Functioning adult?

Look around at the economic situation, health of the environment, crime, disillusionment, poverty, crumbling infrastructure, lack of vision, and on and on.

Should we have these problems if we were functioning adults?

I can't comment on the empirical evidence you have - every person and every situation is unique.  However if your mother-in-law is celebrating - let her have her joy.  More joy in this world would be a good thing.

Cheers,

James

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V
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Hi James

Alexander Inglis' book happened t come out hte same year as the Russian Revolution what a coincidence. When I was in school way back when I did a paper comparing Soviet education to U.S. education. It was very "educational " LOL

V

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Jag, you wrote:

My public education experience taught me a two important things about adulthood that were not in the curriculum:

  • How to deal with people (socialization skills).
  • Discipline: Dealing with the fact that I have to something that I don't want to do.

The home-schooled kids that I know personally, can't deal with social situations and will not do anything that they don't want to do. 

From your replies, can I conclude that this is not the case in your situations?

How to deal with people is rather vague -- if you mean being able to talk to adults as well as other children, to negotiate successfully amongst friends or family members, communicate oneself clearly and listen well, then yes, my kids know how to deal with people.

My son, the more outgoing, jumps into play with new playmates very quickly and engages quite animatedly (and perhaps sometimes a bit overwhelmingly) with conversations with adults.

My daughter tends to observe new people or playmates for a while before engaging.  She will often sit with me and the other parents because she likes to listen to our conversation and will ask me questions about it later; she's always been more interested in what the adults are doing/saying/thinking. She knows the sort of personal energy she wants to engage with and what is offputting to her and feels no compunction to engage with adults or kids who are patronizing, intrusive or otherwise unpleasant or unsettling to her. (She is however unfailingly kind and polite with younger kids who engage her in good-natured ways.) Would I like my daughter to answer promptly to every inquiry, no matter how perfunctory or intrusive, from every stranger she encounters? No, actually. Do I think that could come across to somone unfamiliar with homeschooling as not well socialized? I can see how it could.

As for your second observation, there is self-discipline and there is externally imposed discipline -- following rules, guidelines and instructions for the sake of falling in line. "Doing something that I don't want to do." One of the biggest revelations for me and one of the most important benefits I've gotten out of unschooling my children is to realize how much I coerce myself, and how little of it I actually need to do. And I find the less that I make myself do things that I do not want to do, the more I want to do those things that truly need to be done, but that I might have resisted before.

As James W.  quoted Gatto, a major aim of schools is to create a populace that accepts what authority figures say and follows their instructions. Your sig says it all. How do we get to be a nation of sheeple? We train our children to follow instructions, sit in their seats, listen to the teacher, repeat after me, read this now, answer these questions here, regardless of whether you are interested in it, whether you can see the value in it to you, or are ready to take it in. We set them up to respond to and eventually crave the outside approval, the grades, the pat on the head for being a good student. It's very easy to control people when they need the approval of others to feel good about themselves.

So, no, my children do not do things that they do not want to do, unless I negotiate with them successfully. Sometimes they will do something they're not interested in if they understand that it's very important to me, or if I find a way to make it important or enjoyable for them as well.  I actually worry that my son is too easily talked into doing things  he doesn't want to do, even within our family. When I hear him give a frustrated yes to my requests, I stop and tell him that he doesn't have to say yes if he doesn't want to, and I stop pushing it, because I think it's more important that he grow up knowing what he wants out of life rather than being so attuned to what the people around him want him to do that he unhappily says yes when he wants to say no. That said, sometimes the kids say no, we negotiate, they grudgingly go along and find out they have a great time, and I point out that they enjoyed themselves after all and might remember that they can have fun even if they weren't initially interested in the activity. I want my kids to stay connected to their inner voice and to learn how to negotiate satisfying solutions with others, but that's my own framework for parenting and I recognize others may not share it.

My children do have quite a bit of self-discipline, especially for their age. When they are interested in an activity or a project, they will pursue it with a much longer attention span that one might expect. They're self-directed, creative, enthuisastic learners, all of which I consider to be part of a self-disciplined personality.

Again, for what it's worth,

Sue

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Wish Marsh would go for it.

We have several clients who do this. I've made a lot of observations while over their homes - their kids are smart, relaxed, can figure stuff out on their own. They are well rested, don't have to get up early and waste time commuting. They finish their day in about 4-5 hours and at their own pace. They are self starters. Their home becomes the center of their universe.

Once a week they go to a co-op where they take advanced classes and interact with other kids. They also can learn via Skype and other programs / courses online. Some are on all sorts of sports teams.

Our school puts kids on the road on a day there are 60 accidents and the police close the interstate. They are not even bright enough to know when to cancel school. I'm depending on "that" to make my kid smart? Maybe the teachers are good, so far my daughter only had one inept moron. But with management like that overseeing good teachers I know the outcome.

Sorry to teachers; but schools remind me of prisons. All I hear are gripes from teachers about now they spend more time teaching to pass SOL's for funding and regrets they aren't teaching. More and more schools are loosing funding and going to be consolidating (read: Trailer-park classrooms coming soon).

Like everything else our government has the best intentions but massive leadership deficits. SOLs case in point.

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Thanks.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to address some of my concerns. You all have turned me on to some really fascinating ideas. I look forward to learning more about them.

Thanks again. Best....Jeff

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG wrote:

The home-schooled kids that I know personally, can't deal with social situations and will not do anything that they don't want to do.

There's two different things you mentioned here ... one could be shyness or inexperience, one is just plain bratty. 

For the latter, well, you still need to parent. I'm probably going to get boo'd at but I also know homeschooled kids who take advantage of the freedoms they are given and homeschooling parents who indulgently pass off every whim of their child as they're just expressing themselves and are hesitant to lay down rules for fear of squashing creativity. In throwing out "compulsory education" there is no need to throw out compulsory basic manners. I can tell you from experience that one can *require* manners (and chores) and still have kids who are independent, think for themselves, and are assertive enough to push their own agenda when it's important. 

On the other hand, you also have the same distribution of shy kids or ones who'd be socially awkward in school as well, but when one is homeschooled, suddenly every "problem" is viewed through that lens. In reality, these kids have a much better chance of growing out of problems in the friendliness of most homeschool groups where you have mixed ages working and playing together, than on the school playground where if you aren't just like everyone else you are considered fair game.

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Amanda Witman
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Jeff, think about what skills and experiences you want your kids to have to prepare for what the world will be facing in the future.

Think about where academics fit into that list of priorities.  Think about what skills, social and otherwise, you feel will best benefit your kids.  Think about what your family's values are and what your idea of a healthy life is - physically, psychologically, emotionally health.

Think about how well public school, and, indeed, the entire institution of school, meets (or does not meet) those needs and prepares (or does not prepare) kids for the future we are anticipating.

Think about ways you can do better than that at home.

As far as academics go, my feeling is that it's mostly not about what curriculum you pick.  My goal for my kids is for them to learn how to learn, so that they know how to find and use suitable resources as needed.  I also want them to be significantly self-aware and able to assess and honor their own personal needs. Yes, there are some basics that are important.  And there are many other things that are not covered in school that I find even more essential than many things that are. 

As far as socialization goes, I think that is a word that many people use as a dummy focus for their anxiety about challenges to the schooling status quo.  Personally, I do not think it is effective for kids to be "socialized" in a large group of same-age peers, where the class sizes are getting larger, teachers are getting more stressed and more overworked, and staff attention does not stretch far enough to extend to supporting each individual child's social needs.  I see the results of that kind of "socialization" and I am not impressed.  I think it is much more effective for my children to learn to communicate with and work alongside community members of varied ages in support of common interests and causes.

The next 20 years are going to be significantly unlike the last 20 years.  I do not believe that public school is an effective model for preparing kids to meet this very different future.  For this reason, I am not trying to emulate public school in our homeschooling experience.  To go a step further, I do not believe college prep (or even college) will necessarily serve their generation well.

My kids, who are between the ages of 5 and 11, are well-adjusted, considerate, confident, self-motivated, respectful, resourceful, thoughtful...  I recommend that you connect with some local homeschooling families and see what they seem like.  There is quite a variety among homeschoolers, but even before we had kids, I found that homeschooled kids were generally impressive on many levels.  As the parent, I am the one who chooses how things will be done in my family, and I can deliberately shape the experience in a way that fits me and my children.

I will echo those who have mentioned unschooling.  What our family does falls under this definition.  I highly recommend the book "Teach Your Own" by John Holt and Patrick Ferenga. 

Think about what is ahead of us and how best we can prepare our children to meet those challenges positively and confidently.  I do not think public school, or the public school academic model, align well with this prospect.

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Full Moon
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Jag ,  

There are extraordinary benefits of homeschooling, the list is endless.

Homeschooling is not for everyone, it is a commitment , it is a conviction .it is a sacrifice  of selfishness on our own part .But  the children are our responsibility  not the Government .  If you do not feel committed you will not succeed .    Many of us are not comfortable with the fact that someone else has the power to mold our children's minds and values  for 8 hours a day . We want to protect our children from the "vain philosophies" taught in public schools.

  Homeschooling has proven to be more individualized education . You can choose to home educate full time. You can choose classes that you would like them to take in the school coop or at the public school .  Every home school is as individual as the family itself . It  does however reflect deep love  and concern by the parents to be involved in the education of their children .

No parent is perfect , no school is perfect

Home Education  is working -- it is here to stay .

  The future of liberty  and the survival of the family may depend on committed parents who are convicted to homeschool.

FM

PS..  Even if you do choose public education  you will be homeschooling after they get off the bus.Wink

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TD
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

When I think back on all the crap I learned in High School, it's a wonder I can think at all... Paul Simon.

The public school system was a twelve year prison sentance for me. I clearly remember keeping track of the years I had left to serve before I was freed. My wife had a similiar experience, and schools have greatly worsened since then. We committed to homeschooling before our children were born.

The questtion of sociialization for those who are homeschooled is tremendously overblown. It's rediculous... go talk to some kids that are homeschooled and compare that experience to those in the public system. There are countless activities, co-ops, and friends of all ages.

All three of my children entered the local community college system between the ages 14 and 16. All took honors classes there and made straight A's. The dean of the school told me that the school's best students were home schooled.

My oldest son graduated in the top of his class at UVA Law iand is currently serving as a Clerk for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. My daughter married an incredible young man who was also home schooled, they run their own business and are expecting their first child (who will be homeschooled), and my youngest son is an accomplished artist and a junior in a noted art school.

All this is not the result of a curriculum, or that my wife and I were great teachers. We were not. But we loved our children, we did our best, and we didn't turn them loose into the hands of people that we didn't know, to teach them who knows what. We wanted to share our lives with our children and to give them freedom to dream, to explore, to play and laugh.. and to learn.

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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

TD wrote:

When I think back on all the crap I learned in High School, it's a wonder I can think at all... Paul Simon.

The public school system was a twelve year prison sentance for me. I clearly remember keeping track of the years I had left to serve before I was freed. My wife had a similiar experience, and schools have greatly worsened since then. We committed to homeschooling before our children were born.

The questtion of sociialization for those who are homeschooled is tremendously overblown. It's rediculous... go talk to some kids that are homeschooled and compare that experience to those in the public system. There are countless activities, co-ops, and friends of all ages.

All three of my children entered the local community college system between the ages 14 and 16. All took honors classes there and made straight A's. The dean of the school told me that the school's best students were home schooled.

My oldest son graduated in the top of his class at UVA Law iand is currently serving as a Clerk for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. My daughter married an incredible young man who was also home schooled, they run their own business and are expecting their first child (who will be homeschooled), and my youngest son is an accomplished artist and a junior in a noted art school.

All this is not the result of a curriculum, or that my wife and I were great teachers. We were not. But we loved our children, we did our best, and we didn't turn them loose into the hands of people that we didn't know, to teach them who knows what. We wanted to share our lives with our children and to give them freedom to dream, to explore, to play and laugh.. and to learn.

Super read! One thing I noticed is that the homeschool kids socialized very well with their parents. In other words they weren't mouthing off to them and their siblings. Coincidence? 

As for the rest of your post, super read! Especially related to the prison part. Utter waste of time, learned nothing despised wasting my time memorizing the king's wive's names who were beheaded for birthing girls. Shocked to learn about little tidbits later on in life, including but not limited to: Giving Indians blankets with Small Pox on them, Vietnam was started on false intelligence, how we entered WWI and so on.

You did good, lucky kids!

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earthwise
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Jeff,

Once I was at the place you are at now in investigating and deciding about homeschooling. I could post endlessly on what I learned. I will only address the "socialization" issue because that objection is the biggest load of s*** I've ever heard. Those who critique homeschooling offer this up in hopes of conjuring up an image of socially retarded homeschool kids who can't function in society and who once are liberated from parental authority are susceptible to every vice they stumble upon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have often pointed out the negative effects of this so-called socialization recieved in Government schools. Let me demonstrate with an anecdote.

About ten years ago a buddy of mine related that his son was having trouble being bullied in school. His complaint was lack of adequate supervision by staff. This was not a new complaint, as this was the third school his son had attended, having had the same experience in the the prior schools. I suggested home schooling. He offered up the same "socialization"  BS. A few years later after attending school after school, some expensive private schools, he was still experiencing the same problem. I couldn't resist pointing out that that was socialization too!

On a similar note: On another occasion, a conversation with another buddy and his wife turned to the topic of home schooling and again the chronic rejoinder of socialization was thrown out there. A few years later and he and his wife were quite upset by the fact that their 12 year old daughter dressed like a hooker, and her (the daughter's) defense was "everybody dresses like this!"  Socialization.

Take a look at the adolescent age kids in public schools in your district. That's what socialization will turn your kids into.

Socialization. It's the #1 reason to home school.

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ccpetersmd
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Jeff,

Thanks for starting this thread! I should have thought of doing the same, as we have been considering homeschooling our three sons. As we haven't yet started, I can't tell you what we're doing, but only some thoughts in our exploration thus far.

First, while I have concerns regarding the quality of the education received in the public schools (and, in Iowa, and in our district in particular, the public schools are exceptionally good), my main concerns are with the socialization experience. At least in America, I am less and less inclined to have my boys learn their social skills from their peers, rather than their parents. Second, echoing what Ready and others have mentioned, it has been amazing to see the quality of the parents and kids who are engaged in the homeschooling process. If I had it all to do over, I would have taught all of the boys at home from the beginning. As it is, we will likely be starting in grades 3, 6 and 7 next year.

I've been looking at the Thomas Jefferson Education program, among others. We're still in the process of vetting, so I'll be following this thread with interest regarding other suggestions that are offered.

Chris

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JAG
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

Earthwise,

First let me clarify something, my use of the term "socialization" is completely endogenous in nature; meaning I have "no dog in this fight" that you refer to in your post, and I'm not simply regurgitating something someone else said. I find it telling that I made this observation organically, and yet many of you have reacted so strongly to it. 

I will only address the "socialization" issue because that objection is the biggest load of s*** I've ever heard.

Please don't assume that I am in anyway criticizing how you raise your kids because I'm not. And it wasn't an "objection". I was just seeking information and some feedback on some of my concerns. But the fact that this is such an emotionally charged subject is a red flag for me. 

Sorry if my concerns offended you.

Best...Jeff

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earthwise
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

JAG,

OMG, Jeff I'm so sorry. After re-reading my post I can see where it would seem A) angry and B) directed at you neither of which are true. On the first part, I wasn't angry just trying to cram a little CM.com time in before rushing off to little league practice. Proof that I need to be more careful in my posts.  As for the second, my comment you quoted above wasn't referring to  your using the socialization term; I was thinking more of the knee-jerk reactionaries at large who know nothing more about homeschooling than to say "socialization'. That's what I was trying to convey when I continued on with this:

Those who critique homeschooling offer this up in hopes of conjuring up an image of socially retarded homeschool kids who can't function in society and who once are liberated from parental authority are susceptible to every vice they stumble upon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To the extent I had you in mind it was more to warn of the reaction that I've frequently encountered and maybe innoculate you to this scurrilous charge. I've seen enough of your posts to conclude you are a good natured soul. Actually, I appreciate your honest, unbiased query into the subject which is refreshing. Didn't mean for you to get caught in my crossfire.

On a positive note, homeschooling is fantastic. I see no downside other than the sacrifice of time. But then you're with your kids so it's not much of a sacrifice. We checked out dozens of programs and in hindsight I think that whichever program you choose is secondary. In reality, you are the program, so how can it be bad. If you're a good parent, you'll be a good teacher. Nobody knows your child better than you, so the natural outcome of homeschooling is a curriculum custom tailored just for him (her). And school hours can be structured however you see fit. A mom we know who homeschools six kids pointed out that sometimes the kids heads just aren't into it. On those occasions she's done things like pack 'em off to go to the beach. Being in control of the lesson plan and schedule allows that. Of course time needs to be made up somewhere along the line. But that's where homeschooling shines also: time can be used much more efficiently. The same mom points out that public school kids must be dressed with lunches packed in time to commute to school, whereas her kids are out of bed and dressed and in school before most kids even leave their house. With total flexibility, she can structure their days with little recess or long recess according to her judgement. She's done things like hold classes in the evenings after dinner. Her kids excel as do most homeschool families we know.

Another anecdote: A homeschool family we know was incorporating Latin into the curiculum for the older kids. Before long it was noticed that the pre-school age daughter was walking around repeating Latin verb conjugations! Younger kids just naturally pick up what's flying around, and if it's 'schooling', they get a head start. The youngsters wouldn't get that if their older siblings were shipped off to Government schools.

I could go on but I might become even more boring.

In short, homeschooling is a natural part of parenting. It's the only way to go IMHO.

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wsippel
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Re: Anybody Home Schooling Their Kids?

The A Beka curriculum was used in our kids private primary school.  So when we turned to home schooling for a few years, we continued using that.  I liked the fact that the course work in other subjects (History, Science) reinforced what was being learned in reading and math.

http://www.abeka.com/

When my daughter entered public high school, I could clearly tell the difference between her education and her peers.  She was head and shoulders above them academically.  Social interaction was a missed opportunity and something that we could have improved.  There are more athletic and social programs available for home schooled children that there were then.

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