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Homeschholing/ Unschooling

 
 
DrMom
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 12:20 am
I am blessed with two children. 4yo girl and 8yo boy. They are doing good in school. (My son scored above 90th National percentile FCAT) They are in a Montessori School.
The more I read and talk to people about homeschooling the more it sparks my interest. I just learned that the IVY league Schools are now preferring Homeschoolers. Also John Holt's writings are very convincing.
I want to do it with atleast one of them starting this year.
Any comments, criticism, observations, experiences will be much appreciated.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,144 • Replies: 34
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Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 04:34 am
Just my feeling here as someone who raised two boys on his own:

I think homeschooling is a bad idea. I would never limit my children to the thoughts of one teacher, even if that teacher was me.

I think adding to children's education by reading together, by going to interesting places and by finding other ways to feed the kiddo's curiosities about life is a better idea.

Joe(Are you already reading to your children at night, right?)Nation
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 04:54 am
I think so much depends on the individual child- as well as your (if you were going to be the teacher) relationship with that child.

For my son - it never even entered my thoughts. He was a very mainstream kind of kid who thrived in any school environment he encountered and he took full advantage of the sports teams and extra-curricular activities, etc. School as it's traditionally formatted worked for him. And taking him out of that situation academically and socially would have been more of a punishment than anything positive.
Besides the fact that he and I are temperamentally pretty much clones of each other and me trying to teach him ANYTHING is a joke - it just can't happen. He doesn't have the patience to listen to me and I don't have the patience to try to make him.
So we were lucky it was never a real issue-he's got a pretty good head on his shoulders.

My daughter is a different story. For various reasons - school as it is typically formatted has been very difficult for her. Not because she's not bright - she is. She doesn't seem to need as much social interaction with her peers and she and I can work together really, really well.
But I still never did it - mainly because as Joe said, I thought the better solution was for me to supplement whatever areas I found wanting in her schooling outside the home.
We're making it through that way okay- which is good, because I like to work outside the home.
I find that I need the stimulation of other people and activities everyday.
That might be something you want to think about - how suited are you to spending every single minute of every single day with your kids.
Will the teaching take away from your ability to enjoy being their mother?
I know it would have for me.

But if you do want to homeschool, but also provide interaction and socialization with other students for your child - and even other teachers- there are homeshcooling collectives- families who pool resources and talents and create sort of a homeschooling classroom. That way your children still gets the variety of having different people and perspectives around, but the more closely monitored and individualized education you might find appealing or necessary for them to have.
And there might be people who can fill in on subject areas you feel weak in.
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DrMom
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 12:36 am
Joe Nation wrote:

I think homeschooling is a bad idea. I would never limit my children to the thoughts of one teacher, even if that teacher was me.
Quote:


My thoughts exactly, Joe. But I don't want them to limit to my thoughts. They have their own . I am learning to give up all parental control as I grow as a parent. I think the way school system is designed it curbs individuality and dows not produce free and critical thinkers. I don't remeber anything memorable about school and their is very little that I use in what I do today. (I am a physician)

I think adding to children's education by reading together, by going to interesting places and by finding other ways to feed the kiddo's curiosities about life is a better idea
Quote:


That is exactly what I will be able to do when I do homeschooling.

Joe(Are you already reading to your children at night, right?)Nation


My 8yo tested at a ninth grader reading level so he reads independently. I do read to the 4yo.
Thanks Joenation.



[
Quote:
For my son - it never even entered my thoughts. He was a very mainstream kind of kid who thrived in any school environment he encountered and he took full advantage of the sports teams and extra-curricular activities, etc.


So is mine and I always chersihed that until I read some new books talking about how in the current age kids are being raised by their peers instead of parents. By putting both parents in the work force this system has taken away the luxury to raise our kids the way we want to. Somehow when I see mainstream I do not want him mainstream.

Quote:
School as it's traditionally formatted worked for him. And taking him out of that situation academically and socially would have been more of a punishment than anything positive.


I have asked him multiple times that I plan to start with his sister and he consistently replies that he wants me to teach him , which amazed me because this kid never missed a day of school and loved the socialization. But according to the my new philosophy it is not that good when they go to school for socialization and learning becomes secondary.

Quote:
He doesn't have the patience to listen to me and I don't have the patience to try to make him.


Mine does listen to me although he is also a clone of me so at times it is challenging because I know when he is trying to outsmart me.
.

Quote:
My daughter is a different story. For various reasons - school as it is typically formatted has been very difficult for her. Not because she's not bright - she is. She doesn't seem to need as much social interaction with her peers and she and I can work together really, really well.
But I still never did it - mainly because as Joe said, I thought the better solution was for me to supplement whatever areas I found wanting in her schooling outside the home.


My daughter too is a different story, bright and very independent. But I see that even though it is a montessori school just being a school it is curbing her independence and forcing her into conformity. I do not want that for her.

Quote:
We're making it through that way okay- which is good, because I like to work outside the home.


I like working outside as well as inside but working outside has a potential of effecting my kids and I will not let that happen.

Quote:
I find that I need the stimulation of other people and activities everyday.


Me too, but somehow the most interesting people I have ever met happen to be my children.


Quote:
That might be something you want to think about - how suited are you to spending every single minute of every single day with your kids.
Will the teaching take away from your ability to enjoy being their mother?


I do not know. I have the reassurance that it can always be reversed if it does not work out.

Quote:
But if you do want to homeschool, but also provide interaction and socialization with other students for your child - and even other teachers- there are homeshcooling collectives- families who pool resources and talents and create sort of a homeschooling classroom. That way your children still gets the variety of having different people and perspectives around, but the more closely monitored and individualized education you might find appealing or necessary for them to have.


Yes, Thanks for a very thoughtful response. So far I have not met anyone who is doing it and regrettigng it. I am going to a home schooling convention in July. Will keep you posted.
0 Replies
 
Bohne
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 02:40 am
I am totally against homeschooling.
And it's not possible in Germany anyway.

Some of my best childhood memories are from school and my friends there.
I do not want to deprive my son of these experiences, he would be missing out on so much.

Also I have experienced, that teaching people you know well is more difficult than teaching strangers.
There is always a different type or respect towards strange people.

And of course, sending my son to school, I will have the liberty to (mainly) do fun stuff with him, which is not always possible if you have to stick to a curriculum.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 02:48 am
Drmom wrote:
Quote:
Me too, but somehow the most interesting people I have ever met happen to be my children.


That's a sweet thing to say, but if it's really true, you need to get out more.

You may be learning to give up parental controls about ten to twelve years too early.

DrMom wrote:
Quote:
I don't remeber anything memorable about school and their is very little that I use in what I do today. (I am a physician


What kind of a physician doesn't use math or reading comprehension? Oh, and it's THERE is very little... not THEIR.

Joe(I think you are working on convincing yourself, and that's okay.)Nation
0 Replies
 
lab rat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 06:17 am
I think there is a home-schooling "subculture" that idealizes this philosophy. Home-schooling certainly works for some kids, but, as has already been stated, it short-changes others. One argument I have against it is this: at higher grade levels, mainstream students are (hopefully) taught math by someone who studied math, English by someone who studied English, etc. By homeschooling, you take away this degree of specialization and give them just one teacher who in some subject areas may be just a chapter or two ahead of the students themselves.
My wife and I are both highly educated; she is even certified to teach high school chemistry. Yet, in spite of concerns we may have with current culture and some teaching philosophies, we have no intention of home-schooling our son. We believe the exposure to different worldviews and social environments in the mainstream is an important part of his education.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 06:35 am
Ivy Leagues do not give special preference to homeschooled students. They do offer some flexibility in the admission requirements, but only because homeschooled students do not always have the extensive standard test grades that are now the vogue.

I think homeschooling is a hit and miss proposition - it depends on the parents and their willingness to devote themselves to the process. I agree with others who mention the importance of diversity and exposure to ideas that come with a traditional school environment. Since your children are doing well in Montessori, you might want to consider sending them to a Waldorf school for elementary. It's not a public school style education and parents are expected to be very involved. Good luck.
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 07:03 am
Green Witch wrote:


I think homeschooling is a hit and miss proposition - it depends on the parents and their willingness to devote themselves to the process. I agree with others who mention the importance of diversity and exposure to ideas that come with a traditional school environment. Since your children are doing well in Montessori, you might want to consider sending them to a Waldorf school for elementary. It's not a public school style education and parents are expected to be very involved. Good luck.


agreed Green Witch -

There are many co-ops and umbrella's that homeschooling has these days. It helps with socialization and with making sure the kids are getting the education they need. But it is certainly up to the parents to make sure their children are getting what they need. It is a hard job and those that do it well are to be commended. I hesitate to reccomend it because it is so very hard. But there are some children who thrive in that situation. And sometimes when a school system is just bad it is a great option as long as the parents are willing to commit to the work and prep that is required to do it right. There are many reasons people prefer to homeschool. Thankfully we do have an option.

Umbrella Schools
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DrMom
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 03:13 pm
Quote:
What kind of a physician doesn't use math or reading comprehension? Oh, and it's THERE is very little... not THEIR.


Now you see what traditional school did to me !! LOL. I think I use reading comprehension but school had very little to do with it. Thanks to medical calculators I have nothing to do with Math and I don't have much skills in that area anyways.

Traditional thinking is changing fast. If I can look up a fact I don't have to commit it to memory. Most important function of education should be to develope critical thinking and love of learning.

Quote:
Joe(I think you are working on convincing yourself, and that's okay.)Nation


You are exactly right and if was already convinced I would not be here !!


Quote:
There are many co-ops and umbrella's that homeschooling has these days.


Thanks Misimi, in Florida we have virtual schools, some friends are doing it. For my 8 yo I would probably start with that. That is a way for public schools to reduce the number of children in classes. They previde you with a computer, Curriculum and classes are held online. They are taught and graded by certified teachers. It is just that they are home. They have to do all activities like music, sports and field trips.

If you guys could read or review ( amazon has great reviews) " Learning all the time"by John Holt , and "Raising out kids, raising ourselves " by Naomi Aldort, I would greatly appreciate it. Dr.Aldort has unschooled all of her children. I do not have that much courage. I do want to follow some curriculum. Hoping that Home schooling convention would give me more insight.

Some how when all of a sudden my 4yo starting talking about Hannah Montana I did not get it because I did not know who she was. I do not want to control her so it becomes more important to provide her with a nurturing and stimulating environment where she is free to explore.
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 05:53 pm
A few of my friends have been home-schooled and they've turned out to be exceptionally sharp, but other friends of mine were schooled the "traditional" way and they're exceptionally smart too. I have friends in both groups who went on to Ivy League schools. It would be silly to think that either of these results is traceable merely to the type of schooling they received; it goes without saying that the results came from the quality of the schooling, home- or otherwise.

In other words, whatever you wind up choosing, you'll want to make sure to evaluate the merits of schooling by its results rather than its reputation. Even if a hundred experts endorse home-schooling, the mere fact that parents are home-schooling their child doesn't mean anything if they aren't home-schooling their child well. My math is horrendous, and all the expert-endorsement in the world won't change the fact that I'd be doing my kids a terrible disservice by trying to teach them math in turn.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 06:19 pm
Homeschool is frowned upon almost universally by those with a liberal bent. I am a socialist and when I homeschooled for 6 years I was very much out of step with the homeschool subculture and the families that we met at homeschool events. The moral resistance to the concept that you will find from the majority of a2kers I think has no bearing upon the value of homeshooling should you decide to go that way.

My impressions: a good 20-30% of home school parents are too lazy to have any business trying to home school. Their kids would be far better off in a public school, almost any public school. The brightest kids who have parents who have the time and the will to provide a good schooling experience are far better off home schooled than they would be in a public school, even the best with all of the AP classes and what not. The rest are a mixed bag, the results are near par with public schools, some parents are worn out by trying to do it others invigorated, it drives some parents and kids closer and some further apart.

In the last years only have universities been open to accepting home schooled kids, they resisted mightily, however the best of the home schooled kids are more advanced than the best of public school kids, they are on par with the best of the private school kids, so universities changed their tune. Plus many more kids are homeschooled than ever before, and for longer. It was 15 years a go almost impossible to find home schooled high school aged kids, they were always put into public school for HS so that they could enjoy the extracurriculars and also so that they could get into a collage. Once the brightest of these kids started staying in home school through HS universities had no choice but to change their practices.
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DrMom
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 08:04 pm
Thanks for a supportive post Hawkey.
I am very liberal, in the general sense of the word. I do not even want to impose my religion on my kids and that is why I do not want someone else doing it either.

I am getting all sorts of positive responses from everywhere else so a little bit of negativity and criticism would help me.

What curriculum did you use if any?
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 09:21 pm
DrMom wrote:
Thanks for a supportive post Hawkey.
I am very liberal, in the general sense of the word. I do not even want to impose my religion on my kids and that is why I do not want someone else doing it either.

I am getting all sorts of positive responses from everywhere else so a little bit of negativity and criticism would help me.

What curriculum did you use if any?


Abeka, which I mostly liked. My kids are catholic and what religion was in the program was fine (they were k-3). I used only parts though, and free-lanced the rest.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 09:31 pm
Ive taught at an elite and still maintain close connections as adjunct faculty. No preferences toward homeschooled, and, in my dept. Homeschoolers are often ...uh....agenda driven little products of their parents belief systems. Its hard being a field scientist with a secondary ed that is based upon a limited worldview.


AS far as the myth that the homeschooled are more advanced , weve been over that many times and its only a function of the statistical sampling. Not all HS kids take tests , and , in PA we wont require full testing until next year
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 09:41 pm
On home schooling, that wasn't common in my place and time, except for a girlfriend's boyfriend, about a decade and a half older than us, who was a major test pilot and whom I ran into some years later as a lecturer in a science building.

Me, I see most home schooling as agenda driven, but I might change my view in some circumstances.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 09:52 pm
farmerman wrote:
Ive taught at an elite and still maintain close connections as adjunct faculty. No preferences toward homeschooled, and, in my dept. Homeschoolers are often ...uh....agenda driven little products of their parents belief systems. Its hard being a field scientist with a secondary ed that is based upon a limited worldview.


AS far as the myth that the homeschooled are more advanced , weve been over that many times and its only a function of the statistical sampling. Not all HS kids take tests , and , in PA we wont require full testing until next year


on the other hand it is possible to teach the kids to take any position they want, but to demand that they support it, and accept defeat when they are beat. Not all homeschooling parents want drones, some of us teach how to learn, how to see, how to reason. Have you never heard of families where at the dinner table there are vigorous debates on the issues of the day, where the kids learn over time how to stand up for their beliefs, how to win debates? These kids almost always turn out to be the brightest kids around, and it is easy to transfer this long held tradition to home schooling. The drone makers don't do this, but so what?
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 10:06 pm
You are in danger of losing any objectivity because of POV issues. Im certain that there are very bright kids being homeschooled, but its almost always the parents choice.

We have "magnet schools" and specialty charter schools" in Pa, where kids of special abilities can be nurtured by specialists in those fields. Having kids doing graduate level research in junior high isnt an unusual thing in PA and MD and Del. The schools have faculty specialists and equipment to bring out latent talents. Debate is but one minor "skill", How about a museum magnet school in which kids recieve dvnced arts educations.

Success of homeschooling is a function of how well the PARENT absorbs the required material. Kids are sponges and can learn anything thrown at them, assuming its well understood by the teacher (parent).
In Pa, we have the charter school option that takes homschooling a few steps beyond.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 10:12 pm
I don't have enough knowledge about the homeschooling system to speak otherwise but for myself and my instincts: I would not want it for myself nor for my children. Education is great, but it is not everything. School has other things besides education to offer to a developing human being, I believe. My experience was certainly wonderful, which colors my opinion, no doubt.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jul, 2008 10:16 pm
I'll just say my biases clearly - I see homeschooled kids as moving from mildly weird to more so, re getting along in life. This isn't, for me, only about the homeschooled in granny dresses (whatever proportion that is, but the many children who don't ever deal with every day schoolyards.


For children who are exceptionally troubled, sure.. I get that. But otherwise I see it as another kind of elite flight that ends up in non protection of the children.
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