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Old 12-04-2010, 04:19 AM
vodkafan vodkafan is offline
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Default Not about poly: Homeschooling why?

There seems to me to be a kind of mania about homeschooling in America. I wondered why this is. This is only my own opinion but it occurs to me that different sections of the population are not integrated and don't want to be, they don't like their kids picking up "bad" ideas from mixing with other races/religions/ideologies ?
Homeschooling is very rare here in the UK. I know that we would have no life at all if we didn't pack the kids off to school each day. Those 6 and and half hours are precious and allow us the mental space to be ourselves.
And I think it is neccessary for kids to grow up around their peers and not be isolated.
So can somebody American explain it to me?
I thought the US education system was supposed to be pretty good? Am I wrong?
"The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times but to get up eight times"
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:37 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I don't think the US school system is that good, honestly, but I'm not a US resident or citizen so don't take my word for it.
I just want to comment that home schooled ids can still socialise with their peers. They can have lots of extra-curricular activities, such as a sport, or learning to play an instrument, or a game, etc. They can go to some regular activities in the community, as well. And they might play with the neighbours.
I'm sure some children who aren't home schooled are more isolated than some who are. School isn't the only way to meet other people and might not be the best context either.

I didn't grow up in a country where homeschooling was common either, and I do find it interesting. Mostly it raises questions for me: how do the ids get their credits, do they take final exams? Are there regulations on what you have to teach them or even what you're not supposed to?
I think teaching is best done in small groups, so from a purely theoretical point of view I would say the best would be for a block or neighbourhood to teach their kids together, each teaching what they're good at.
I think it would probably be difficult, once they reach high-school level, to teach them everything if you're just one person. On the other hand, that level of one-to-one teaching (or other small groups) allow for more individual classes, that match the actual level of each child and doesn't force them to follow the same rhythm as a whole class, which might be too fast or too slow for them depending on the subject.

I think if I was raising a kid, I'd want to home school them until they're 6 or so at least, give them a solid foundation.
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:14 AM
Raven Raven is offline
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Just MHO. I'm an American and I was home schooled from preschool through high school (I'm now a senior in college).

My parents did home school primarily because of religions reasons. However, another major reason was because some of the schools around here are dismal in quality. For instance, I know people here who passed through high school with a 3.5 GPA (A- / B+ grades) essentially without being able to read. I've met adults who don't know that we had the American Revolution. If the schools in your area aren't good, and you're willing to put the time and work into homeschooling (it is a full-time job), I think most people can teach their kids at home at least as well as the local public school. That said - it can have mixed results. Depending on what state you're in, the regulations on homeschooling can vary drastically. Growing up, I knew a family that played the dice game Yahtzee daily for math class (multiple kids in that family are now grown up and still have massive difficulties reading and writing). I also knew families where the kids read college-level material before they turned 10, started calculus in Junior High, and tested out of everything they could test out of when they went to college.

I think the main advantages to home schooling have to do with customization. Every kid learns at a different pace and is motivated by different things. In a large classroom, pace, motivation, and material has to be largely standardized; in homeschooling, it is rather easily adapted. For instance, I have some siblings that excel in some topics, and my mom can adapt the curriculum to let them get ahead and keep in a level that's challenging; for other subjects that they have more difficulties with, she can spend the time and tutor them so that they get the grounding they need before moving on. In high school, I was able to create a couple of my own courses based on my interests. I was basically doing projects similar to Freshman college assignments where I researched books, primary sources, interviewed people, etc on subjects that I was genuinely curious about. This gave me a big advantage in college because I was already used to pursuing projects on my own with little outside direction and because I knew a lot of background knowledge in the area that I want to go on to research.

Socialization is definitely something that needs to be addressed. I think this is something that I missed out on a bit - when I was little, we lived about 30 minutes from the nearest town. I saw people outside my family once or twice a week at church activities. When I was a teen, my mom made a big push that we move somewhere closer to town, and now she's driving my siblings to different events and activities multiple times a day. They're a lot better socialized than I was. I think it's definitely possible to get decent socialization with homeschooling, but just like the quality of the rest of the education, it takes work, it takes being proactive, and it doesn't happen with everyone who homeschools.

I do think homeschooling isn't for everyone. Like vodkafan said, that 6 and 1/2 hours can be a lifesaver. I'm not sure if I will homeschool in the future when I have a kid / kids. I think I could put together at least a decent education, but I love my work, and I'm not sure I could stand being home with my child the great majority of every day. It will probably depend a lot on where my husband and I are at in our lives at that point, what kind of schools are in the area, how well my kid(s) do in those schools, etc. If there's a great school that my kid enjoys, that's definitely my first option; but if my kid was having trouble in school, homeschooling would be an option I would look in to.
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:44 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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I live in Canada, but there is some similarities. Really, the school system is old school here. The teachers try, but they are so behind the times. There is not enough room for modern technology and in an ever increasing technological world its important.

Other than that, in our city anyways, there have been several schools close due to cut backs and the kids are moved to other schools and into classrooms with up to 35 kids in them. Kindergarten is filled to the brim with kids and kids don't get the attention they rightly should have.

We send LB to a private school. It's a cheap school run by parents. Its a lot of work as we have to do a lot of work ourselves to keep it going, but the cost is cheap. He is in a class of 10 kids, 2-3 split. There are 30 kids in the school. It's a community really, a family.

There are many of these types of schools cropping up because of the failure of the school system. I think it is a good alternative to home schooling, which would make me want to fall on my knife really... my hat goes off to home schoolers. I would seriously kill someone or myself first if I had to stay home... just no cut out for it. Small independent schools offer the same effect, with more socialization and less of parental involvement, but more than public school.

Having gone to school here and in Britain (Cardiff, Wales) in the 80's, I can honestly say that back then and likely today, there is a huge difference in quality of education at the grade school and highschool level. I did my O levels and A levels over seas and failed several classes due to the lack of standard I was used to. It was there that it became evident that I have dyslexia... in highschool! Like what the fuck?! How did that not get recognized!?

Anyways, I think at university level there is some leveling out, but really, I don't know where it's at now as I have graded with a masters 10 plus years ago now.

I am pleased with how if goes for LB. He is happy, challenged and involved with every moment at school. There is no time for him to stray from what is going on. They have time and energy to talk to him and are genuinely interested in hi success. I love the school he is in! such a good choice. I hear of other kids his age getting into trouble through boredom. I hear of the mainstream agenda that they are subjected to and I know that that is not what we want for our child. I put a link on my fb about it... I will see if I can find it. Here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE6ZONL1guA
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Last edited by redpepper; 12-04-2010 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:05 AM
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ray ray is offline
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Homeschooling is an interesting topic for me. I can never decide whether it's wonderful or awful. Perhaps due to the lack of consistent standards. It can be a deep, personal, detailed, experiential education. Or it can be doing lots of workbooks. I've known a couple families that did a good job with it but a lot of people don't. I don't ever intend to have children, so I suppose I won't be making that decision. I think it would consider it for a young child, to start out with the basics and then send them off after a year or two. Peer interaction is valuable. As is learning from more than one teacher. The families that homeschooled successfully did things like hire tutors, join a homeschool coop, take lots of educational field trips. A full and even diverse (relative to other home schoolers) experience.
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:18 PM
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Breathesgirl Breathesgirl is offline
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We live in Canada as well & I would have gladly homeschooled if I had the patience and we had been able to afford it.

Our school system, while not the worst, could certainly use an over haul! (Maybe it's the government that needs the over haul?) Things I took for granted when I went to school here some 25 years ago are not even in the budget today!

Example: my sons are in grade ten. During parent night I asked about my son not bringing home a text book so he could study. They do NOT have individual texts any more! It isn't in the budget. They would rather photo copy the pertinent pages & have the students loose them!

The school system no longer supplies even the basics like tissue (it's winter here people! This means cold, snow & the flu! We need tissue!)

In grade school each family had to send two boxes of tissues to share among the class!

I would homeschool simply so my kids could have the one on one time they need in order to excel. As it is now they are just floating through, waiting to get their grade 12 diploma so they can get their full driver's license! (We're on graduated licencing & they can NOT get their full license until they get that diploma or reach a certain age.)

Sorry, I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:56 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Originally Posted by Raven View Post
Just MHO. I'm an American and I was home schooled from preschool through high school (I'm now a senior in college).
Raven, nice to hear from an obviously well-educated and articulate homeschooled "kid."

My ex and I homeschooled our 3 kids. I was the primary educational facilitator, and he had a good job which allowed me to stay home. Both of us are have bachelor's degrees but didn't feel challenged enough by our public school educations, so we made the joint decision to homeschool our kids.

We used the form called "unschooling," letting our children create their own curriculums according to their interests. I homeschooled them all the way thru, "preschool" to age 18. We were secular homeschoolers, not right wing Christian ones.

We weren't home much. We spent lots of time on "field trips" and out in the community, nature, libraries, museums, and doing projects with other homeschoolers.

My kids did sports, art and science classes, scouts, Unitarian Universalist youth groups and community service, etc.

When the 2 oldest got to college, they tested differently for placement. One girl was able to skip Basic English. Both had to take remedial math, where they learned 6 yrs of middle and high school maths in 2 semesters. They'd never do formal math with me. But they were ready for it when they hit college age.

As far as socialization goes, true, they didnt have a huge class of kids their age to be with as kids in a large high school would. But they were often complimented on their good manners, self-motivation, compassion, and ability to see the big picture, in scouts and other social situations. I've met lots of schooled kids and adults who have more social anxiety than them... just because you are thrown together with hundreds of kids each day doesn't automatically mean you will be healthily socialized (quite the contrary, in many cases).
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:29 PM
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TL4everu2 TL4everu2 is offline
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My wife and I have homeschooled both of our children.

Why? Because...initially, it was because the public school system touts "no religion" all over the place. They say "separate church and state"....The reality, is that they want to keep christianity out. Other religions are readily taught. When my daughter came home from school complaining about how she had to memorize a passage from the quran....I was livid! I told her that when they started teaching about islam or other religions in school, she had my permission to ask to be excused from class. I told her to do it politely. She took it upon herself to actually turn it into a protest, and turned her desk around during those teachings. When the principal called and told me what was going on, I asked why my daughter now knows more about islam, than she knew about christianity. They said they had to teach all religions equally. I asked when they would be touching on the bible and what verses. They said they wouldn't be as it wasn't legal to do so. So....I told them that until they started obeying the laws and keeping religion...ALL of it, out of schools, I would be keeping my children out of public schools.

Fast forward to more recent times...about 5 years ago, we actually didn't have the time to teach my son, and he wanted to go to public school so bad. So...we allowed it. And when he came home with C and D grades...and his teacher was writing in his agenda book, that he was "stupid".....We went to the principal. We wanted to know how this teacher still had a job. The principal defended her teachers actions, and actually called the police and had us both banned from the school property. So....We were FORCED to homeschool.

Our son now gets B and C grades.

We have no faith in the American public school system.

There ARE laws in certain states regarding homeschooling. Some are more relaxed than others. Here, the child can move at their own pace. It is easiest if you utilize the state approved program online. It is void of any religious class content, and is fairly easy to use. We have used this system for 4 years now.

The cool/downfall part, is that here, even though it is a state run program, there is no actual highschool diploma given by the state. However, WE are allowed to award the child one, and assuming the states requirements are met, it can be signed by US! AND....it is perfectly legal and accepted by MOST colleges and trade schools. Our daughter is enrolled at a local massage therapy school, and will be starting classes there on January 10th....alongside my wife.

So, for us...we think it's pretty cool, that our daughter was awarded her HS diploma by US, signed by US, and is also enrolled in higher education alongside my wife.
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Old 12-04-2010, 06:03 PM
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LT4everu2 LT4everu2 is offline
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Wow T and i was going to comment on this but you did a great job on why we homeschool. Our kids are WELL rounded and strong individuals and have alot of friends. Our friends always love having them around as they are alot more mature for there ages.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:59 AM
Livingmybestlife Livingmybestlife is offline
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I homeschool for a year and a half. My child was ill and just not up to going to school. Instead of having teachers traipsing in at night, I decided to go this route. Socialization wasn't a huge dilemna, I hooked up with a non religious group in my state. We went to our first event which was a not back to school beach day the day school started. Met more then 80 people. Got play dates, and got information on other social, study groups and other things.

She had an awesome time. She was shy at first but hooked up right away.

We also did some radical unschooling, part of the health issues she had were caused by chronic illness worsened by bullying at school. The bullies had no ramifications even when she had a black eye. So we found subjects she loved and went deep in. We did a polar bear project that involved reading, science and study of enviromental groups.

We also got into reading about pyramids and studying the egyptians. Tons of stuff. For Math we did go a more traditional route, but used an online game.

Wasn't easy for me. However, it did allow her body and spirit to heal. We did go to this really cool radical homeschooler event in the middle of the winter. We found lots of people their with alternative lifestyles including poly.

While I enjoyed our homeschool, I enjoy my time alone. I just had it out with the school over some issues we were having about her health. I told them if they didn't get on the stick, we would be going to homeschool again. They freaked and fixed things.
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