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Ordinary Shoes

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Posts posted by Ordinary Shoes

  1. Thanks for linking. I had not seen this. 

    I agree with SWB that all history is biased so a search for "unbiased" history or "just the facts" history is a waste of time. It's always good advice to avoid sources that reinforce our own biases. 

    We're using Our Island Story this year and I did not see it as whiggish. That's probably a good illustration of the difficulty in identifying our own biases. Whiggish history is surely the bias that I was exposed to as a child learning history. I like OIS because it's engaging and well-written. 

    We used some of SOTW over the last few years and I don't remember it as what SWB calls the "greek approach." IDK, maybe I'm forgetting it. 

    It's easy to overthink history when choosing homeschool curriculum. WRT my daughter, it's amazing to me what she recalls from our history studies and also what she forgets. She'll remember something very obscure and then forget something significant. 


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  2. I've never seen any book like this. We studied Native American history last year and I did a lot of research to find books and I never came across a compilation of famous Native Americans. Further, there aren't a series of books about famous Native Americans. You'll easily find books about Pocahontas, Sacagawea, and Sequoyah but I think you'll struggle to find biographies of other famous Native Americans. I know there are biographies about Maria Tallchief (famous NA ballerina) but that's probably not what you're going for. Maybe Sitting Bull too? 

  3. I'm also an older mom. While I find that I am usually the oldest mom, there isn't that much of a difference in age. It's not like the other moms are all in their young 20's. Generally speaking, I'm usually about 10 years older than most of the other moms and that's not that much of a difference to me. 

    And speaking as the mother of an only child, you should try to address anxiety that stands in the way of your child's social life, especially if she is so unhappy. There are plenty of times that I don't want to put myself out there but I try to make myself because it's for my kid. I don't mean to make light of it because it's hard. Based on how you are reacting, maybe you should speak to a counselor or your physician about some medication. 

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  4. 2 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

    However if we are envisioning a total social restructure this may not always stay true.  Many of my friends kids go to school because they don’t like the idea of homeschooling and assume it’s weird but many more go for purely financial reasons. Cost to the government per child in primary school is $14,000 or higher per year.  If that money or even half that money Was available to homeschooling families many more would be able to afford to homeschool I think.  In my house with three kids that’s $42,000.   Obviously some costs are for having a classroom set up and teachers which is still required even with less kids but if significant enough numbers homeschooled then less classrooms and less teachers required.  

    all that to say schools cost money to run and I think it’s fair for society to be making sure that money is actually providing reasonable value to society.

    That's the average cost. There are children whose education would cost considerably more than the average. So I don't think providing every family with the average amount per child would always be sufficient. 

    The most significant cost of homeschooling is the opportunity cost of a non-working spouse. I work full time and homeschool but I have an only child. I have no idea how I could do what we do if we had more children. 

  5. 4 hours ago, square_25 said:

    I saw a local mom try to homeschool her (very difficult) kid in NYC. She was pulled out of school for mental health and violence issues. She was a sweet kid, actually, but with serious impulse control problems. 

    Anyway, her schooling seemed to largely be a) non-academic classes at our local homeschooling center, b) care by a nanny since her mom worked and c) random worksheets her mom printed off that the kid did on the subway. 

    I don't blame the mom, who had to work (may have been a single mom), and I don't even blame her for pulling her kid from school, since I'm sure they weren't doing a good job with her mental health. But realistically, this is what crisis schooling in an overwhelmed family CAN look like. If you take a kid like this, who's basically learned zilch in a year, and put them back in the school system, what's supposed to be happen?

    And the public school has to accept the child. 

    People constantly gripe about public school spending but there are expenses associated with meeting all of the legally mandated requirements for public schools, including accepting every student. 

    Take the example of the Kiryas Joel community. They created a public school system for disabled children but the rest of the children attend the community's private schools. The private schools can't afford to provide the services that can be provided in a public school. 


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  6. 5 hours ago, Plum said:

    From what I've seen, most are pulling their kid out because they believe they can do a better job in half the time, their kid will be better off mentally, and their kid isn't learning anything because they are spending most of their day waiting on the other kids. All things homeschoolers have talked a lot about. 

    Say you pull your kid out because they are so bored, they hate virtual school, and they are so far ahead they could literally take a year off and still be fine. You homeschool them through the year anyway because you care about your child's education. And when you go to enroll your child in school the next year, they just assume you let them sit in front of the tv the entire time and hold them back a grade? How bored will the kid be then? What function does this serve? If the parent feels like they did a better job than the school and the school is not willing to budge, that parent will be pulling their kid back out. The school is supposed to serve the community, not the other way around. Parents are supposed to feel like their school is doing a great job educating their child. If they don't believe that is the case, then it is up to the parent to decide what the next step is. SWB wrote a whole book about how to work with schools so the child can have their needs met. Why was that book necessary if schools are doing their job? Ultimately, homeschooling is the answer when schools fail to meet the needs of the students. As it should be. Parents are beginning to realize this now that it's been shoved in their face. 

    How is a school supposed to function if kids are pulled out and put back in frequently? 

    Of course, it's not different from kids moving from school to school. There is no standard curriculum in the USA since Common Core failed. 

    In the USA, we ask our public schools to do the impossible. Yes, they should serve the community but how can a school function if kids come back and forth from homeschooling? 

    I'm not sure that parents are supposed to feel that the school is doing a great job. There's never been the promise of a "great" education, just an adequate one. 

    I disagree that homeschooling is the answer. Realistically how many families can homeschool? 

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  7. 2 hours ago, Laurel-in-CA said:


    States may not mandate education past 16, but that doesn't mean companies are willing to hire kids without a high school diploma! The system is not designed to encourage this. There are all kinds of consequences for early departure (without a diploma) or even choosing to get a GED. Yet even so, we still have a 20% or something drop out rate and, unfortunately, are graduating kids who do not have fluency in basic 3R's skills.

    Yes, but I was responding to the compulsory education laws in Finland. It is strange that many states do not require education before age 6 or after age 16 when you look at how school works. Say you keep your kid out of school until age 6, how many schools will allow you to enroll that child as a 2nd grader? In fact, I can't think of any child I've ever known who did not attend kindergarten unless they were homeschooled. 

    That raises an interesting question. If there was not compulsory education laws but school was still free, would most children still attend school? IDK. 

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  8. 3 hours ago, square_25 said:

    I think that totally goes with the theme of "What are unintentionally we teaching kids with the format we've chosen?" I also don't grade DD8's work, and I do sometimes wonder if that'll make things harder for her later on... sometimes, the lessons school teaches are, in fact, about how society works, for better and worse. 

    Another thing I worry that DD8 is learning through homeschooling is that her opinion is more important than everyone else's. One thing DH said he noticed in some homeschooled kids at college was that they were very much used to being the star of their own show... they weren't used to other peers taking up as much airspace. Now, I'm not arguing that this HAS to happen, but it was interesting to hear about. I can see how dealing with adults and not other kids, who are less likely to humor you, might make you more self-centered. 

    In theory, homeschooled kids should have more interactions with adults than kids in school. One of the artificial things about SCHOOLtm is how children are separated from adults. I remember in my first grownup *real* job post grad school how strange it was to work with people who were...<gasp>...the same age I am now. Up until that point, I interacted with adults as parents, teachers, and parents of friends. Now I was supposed to be friends with someone who was my mother's age? 

    More normal interactions with adults can help a child to know how to interact with adults and help avoid the "star of the show" problem. 

    My parents were pretty lenient with us when we were kids. My mother says that people used to tell her that we would not know "how the real world works" when she was not as strict as they were. But we've all turned out fine. I think adulthood and the "real world" are pretty good teachers by themselves. I think it can be a bit artificial to teach a child "how the real world works." You're not really going to turn your child out on the streets, KWIM? That first paycheck you receive as a grownup compared to your expenses is pretty illustrative of "how the real world works." 

    I'm a bit torn about this. On one hand, I think that a child raised in a stable and loving environment will be able to weather whatever comes in adulthood. But on the other hand, there are certain "games" that you won't understand without being in school. I think many times when we try to teach children "how the real world works," that we are actually being cruel and the real lesson our children are learning is that the one who is bigger and stronger gets to make the rules. 

    • Like 2
  9. 2 hours ago, LostCove said:

    A while back, I tried to get a better handle on literacy rates, but I still find those metrics confusing and not clearly standardized. My understanding is that by one measurement, the US also has a 99% literacy rate, for example. In any case, I didn't mean it would be impossible for a highly "literate" society to co-exist with compulsory education laws, but that compulsory attendance laws are not the instrument of education - you don't cause education with compulsory attendance. I doubt my local high school graduates would be technically illiterate by UNESCO's definition (being able to write and read a simple sentence about daily life), but they have certainly not been equipped with the skills we use to justify compulsory school attendance for twelve years.

    Part of the ideology of compulsory mass education is that successes get attributed to the system (eg, Finland shows compulsory education can work, despite the fact that they achieved universal literacy forty years before they enacted compulsory attendance laws), while failures are always attributed to something else (poverty, immigration, family dysfunction, etc, etc) This is even more interesting because the factors that are blamed for poor school performance are precisely the factors that we turn around and use to justify mass schooling! Of course, education is only one of several modern institutions the failure of which bizarrely leads to calls for its expansion.

    Most American states don't require compulsory school attendance for 12 years even though most American students attend for 13 years. 

    You make a good point about the successes attributed to the system but not the failures. And of course it's ridiculous to compare Finland to the USA given the very significant differences in demographics between the two nations. 

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  10. 1 hour ago, Plum said:

    Doesn't that depend on what the nations want from their people? How they define the purpose of education? 

    The most successful or idealized education system in the world, the Finnish education system, is designed to be more holistic "cooperation, not competition." It requires less memorization, more personalization, less hours in the school day, less homework, looping teachers. They require only 9 years of compulsory school with everything past the ninth grade or at the age of 16 being optional. They have no standardized tests and all students are graded on an individualized basis and grading system set by their teacher. 

    Yes, it does depend on that. What is education? What is the purpose of education? Finland's system is very different from our own. They emphasize different things. But reading, writing, and arithmetic are required just as they are in the USA. By all measures, compulsory education laws have not "dumbed down" the Fins.  

    Many American states do not require education post age 16 so it's not that different from Finland in terms of compulsory education requirements. 

    Defenders of Gatto's theories have to grapple with the success of countries like Finland or Japan. Why would their success be exceptions? Perhaps the USA is the exception? 

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  11. 11 minutes ago, MissLemon said:


    Are you still banging on about this? What's your deal with me? You don't like hyperbole. We all get it. You've complained about it several times now.   

    Do I remind you of someone you don't like from your daily life? You're getting personal.   

    What outcome are you hoping for right now?   

    I'd like you to think about what Sneezyone wrote in a deeper way than finding some picture of Gatto from internet with a group of AA students. 

  12. The idea of conformity is fascinating. I wrote above how this thread is a textbook example of the phenomenon. It's also very relevant to any discussion about education. Conforming does not make someone mindless. Conformity is normal. There are certainly differences on the importance placed on conformity in different cultures. And personality type is important as well. 

    But the key thing to remember is the conformity is normal. Every group attempts to promote conformity and all of us attempt to conform in some way. 

    Cass Sunstein, well-regarded law professor, has written on this topic multiple times. Here's a link to one of his more well-known writings on this topic. Conformity and Dissent 

    • Like 1
  13. 17 hours ago, LMD said:


    I added the picture because JTG taught a range of kids in a range of schools, in response to the accusation that he didn't consider the 'black American experience' but no actual engagement with what he's done or written. Which was supposed to be the point of the thread. A thread half full of people who have never read more than a paragraph or two of his work. Why, what are you assuming about me?

    Oh, you are trying to help me are you? Do you have an approved reading list for me before I'm allowed to engage in discussion? Try reading what I actually wrote first (eg where did I say that I agreed with everything or found JTG comfortable reading?), step back and think about why you assume everyone is coming from a specific US centric political & cultural bias, then come back to patronize and lecture me about logic and unexamined biases 🙄

    Actually, don't come back to lecture me or take unsupported potshots at a straw-JTG. Come back and criticize his actual words and then we can engage in an actual discussion.

    Yes, actually I am trying to help you out. Dig a bit deeper. Challenge yourself. When you're feeling indignant (like you are now) is when you make the most logical fallacies. Engage with people with whom you disagree. That's when you grow. And before you get indignant about that - everyone needs to grow. 

    Here's the thing - when you write in a thread something that is patently ridiculous like only 1% of what is happening on the school Zoom calls is about content you should be expect to be called out for it. If there is any kind of free exchange of ideas here, someone will question that. That's a JAWM kind of a thing. And again, before you get indignant, I've certainly written dumb things like that too. 

    Posting that picture was very tone deaf. I think you found it online and thought, "gotcha!" and posted it. It wasn't an engagement with Sneezyone's post. 

  14. 17 hours ago, LostCove said:


    We do not do this now. 

    Show me an example of a community that has done this with compulsory education laws. In my high-poverty district, at graduation, 20% of 12th graders were "proficient" in math and 12% in English. And that doesn't even account for the 20% of students who don't make it to graduation. I don't have time to find the stats broken out by students with IEPs, but I'm pretty sure they aren't better.

    If you look outside of the United States you can find plenty of examples of countries with compulsory education laws (conflating community with country here) that come very close to educating nearly everyone. North Korea (granted, not the best example) supposedly has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 99%. Japan is another good example. Also, Canada and the EU countries. 

    If Gatto's criticisms of compulsory educations laws held water, the results would be seen across all nations with compulsory education laws but they're not. Of course there are many societal differences between countries with compulsory education laws which must significantly impact literacy rates. 

  15. 59 minutes ago, OKBud said:

    JTGs answer to the question in general- not the question of women specifically- is to maintain free movement between communities and **let people be wrong,** and communities will self-correct over time. 

    I understand that many people will bristle at that. I do. But ultimately, people will do it anyway. They will be wrong by my assessment if they want to be for as long as they want to be, until they stop. 

    And more specifically in practice, women are part of the community in the US just as men are. So they're not going to vote themselves into forced illiteracy. 

    That's not a particularly good answer. Communities will self-correct but where does that leave the individual children who came before the self-correction? 

    Besides, like I already wrote society has decided that individual communities and/or families cannot opt out of education. You may not like it but it's a reality. So we're not willing to allow a community to decide to not educate their daughters or not educate the children of their lower classes or whatever. 

    57 minutes ago, WoolC said:

    But that is a value judgment in and of itself.  The idea that society gets to decide what is acceptable for individual families or communities has already bought into the idea that men shouldn’t be free to educate as they see fit.  

    And I agree with everything OKbud said above.

    Agreed but the dye is already cast. Our society makes all kinds of decisions about what is acceptable for individual families and communities. Is that good? Actually, I'm not sure. I haven't defended it, just acknowledged the reality of it. Why must we feed our kids? Why can't we beat them into submission? Because our society decided that we can't do those things. 

    Again - show me an example of the community that has provided education (taught to read and do basic math) to all of its members (male, female, rich, poor, disabled - everyone) without compulsory education laws. 

    • Like 1
  16. 47 minutes ago, WoolC said:




    I suppose you are right and I have completely missed your point.  If saying that public schools are a critical institution doesn't mean that they're necessary I'm not sure what it means.  If you would like to elaborate I'm trying to understand in good faith.



    And this is the point I was making, so possibly you are misunderstanding me.  It's coming across that it's ok for *some* people to educate their own, but other people (dangerously dumb people?) need a top down approach to ensure that they get it right.  Is a localized approach a guarantee that every person will get the best education?  Obviously not.  Trouble is, public schools don't guarantee that either.  And we can go around and around from here.  

    Maybe you don't want to buy into Gatto's terminology, but the idea of "those people" that can't govern and educate themselves is clearly at work in your argument.  


    You're reading that in to what I wrote I actually did not make any judgments about my hypotheticals. 

    Our society believes that women and men should have equal access to education so a community that does not believe that women should be educated should not be allowed to exclude women from education. 

    That's ultimately the problem with local and family control. We as a society have decided that there are some minimum standards. It's not a matter of judgment about "those people" being stupid or bad or whatever. 


    • Like 2
  17. 14 minutes ago, Spudater said:

    Well, we've only got about 4out of 5 American adults literate now. It was actually higher than that among New England whites during Revolutionary times. Have you read An Underground History of American Education? If you haven't maybe that would be a good JTG book for you, because he addresses this and several other positions you've taken. 

    4 out of 5 American adults <> New England whites during Revolutionary times. 

    What were the literacy rates for 4 out of 5 adults living in all 13 colonies during Revolutionary times? 

    I want to clarify something about my position. I asked about universal literacy. You could assume, even though I did NOT write this, that I believe that universal literacy is the ultimate goal of education. 

    We could have a different goal for the education of our children. 

    However, society's goal is literacy so that is why I asked specifically about literacy. 

    So I will ask again, what society has achieved universal literacy without public schools? 

  18. Let's say we leave education to the family and local community. What if the local community or family does not believe that women should be educated? Or believes that child should not learn about evolution? I could go on and on here. 

    Is there an example of any country where universal literacy has been obtained that allowed families and/or local communities to dictate what kind of education was required? 


  19. 11 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

    You keep bringing up conformity as a recurring theme across many of your posts, regardless of the thread. And then you project that because you either perceive you are being pressured to conform or you accuse us of conforming to something in your mind that we are subject to some group think only you see, and honestly, I just get lost in your posts anymore. You make generalization to the rest of us as women, and honestly it's super disconcerting and condescending. I don't know if you realize it, but it sounds bitter. Maybe I'm reading your tone wrong. Idk. But it often reads like you are at battle with yourself yet taking it out on us. Everything about your tone has changed significantly over the past year or two. 

    This thread is a perfect example of group conformity whether you see it or not. 

    Why do you perceive my disagreement as "taking it out on [you]"? Disagreements are not attacks. However, they are often perceived as attacks when group dynamics are at play. 

    Granted my response to the person who wrote about the 99% thing bordered on an attack. But that claim was over the top ridiculous. 

    And going back to a response from you from a few weeks ago because you're alluding to it here. You claimed that the only place women ever told you how to feel was on this forum. How are the women on this forum different from all of the other women in your life? We're not different. The dynamics we see on this forum are not unique. If you see something here you see it in your real life interactions. You tell me I sound bitter. Do you see what you're doing? Negative comments = bitter? That's a perfect example of policing emotions. 

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