Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

jld

Low expectations?

Recommended Posts

I've been kind of surprised by some of the posts over the last couple of weeks, but have hesitated to post on this, because it seems like it could be a real firestarter. But I'm feeling brave . . .

 

You know, I think of myself as having rather low expectations of my kids compared to a lot of people on these boards, as I don't expect much in the early years, and am a pretty flexible parent over all. But then I read some posts and I think, wow, maybe I actually have pretty high expectations compared to some other parents. And I kind of wonder why people don't expect more of their kids.

 

I certainly believe parents have the final say over how they bring up and educate their children. There is a real beauty to just letting people be themselves, and I'm all for that. At the same time, once again, I do find myself surprised at what can sometimes seem like a low bar in some areas.

 

Have you noticed this, too? Why do you think this is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO there's way too low of a bar expected from students, not just academically, but also in their working life. And I'm not just talking about homeschoolers. I see more ps kids than homeschooled kids.

 

I think it comes from parents wanting to provide an "easy" life for their kids - full of toys and no "troubles." As a rich society, we don't need our youngsters working and "just want to let them be kids." Many parents are also working full time and don't want to take the time they have with their families teaching junior how to work (esp since junior slows them down in the beginning and can't do things "properly.")

 

I don't think we're doing any favors to them. My kids have always pulled their share of the weight in my household and now we're on the cusp of seeing my oldest do well as an adult. My other two will follow - I've little doubt. It doesn't require high academics (by my standards, perhaps by others). It just requires a "can do it" attitude and practice throughout life in different situations. I think it creates happier, better self-esteem/adjusted/whatever kids/adults too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And I kind of wonder why people don't expect more of their kids.

 

I have noticed this in our local homeschool group: we are the only family there who homeschool for academic reasons and not because we dislike the institution school or are unschoolers or have children with behavioral issues and learning disabilities who are not doing well in a traditional school setting. We homeschool because our kids did not learn enough in public school, period.

 

I see several factors contributing to why parents do not expect a lot of their students.

The first factor is cultural. If I look at traditional curricula in the US schools, I find them not academically rigorous at all compared to what I am used to from my home country and my own education. So if homeschool curricula are modeled after similar content, and if parents have their own school experience as a yard stick, they won't even notice that this is an education of low expectation - because it is the education they themselves received and what everybody around them is using.

(For example: if nobody in your surroundings had rigorous training in a foreign language, if you never reached fluency and if you are in a whole country which does not value language instruction, you may find it perfectly normal to give your kids two years of language in highschool and feel good about it. Whereas, if you come from a country where the educational goal for students is to be proficient in two foreign languages, you will expect your children to do that.)

 

The second factor I see has to do with parental education level and abilities. It is very difficult to give a child an education in a subject that I am not competent. Of course there are resources for outsourcing, curricula, online classes etc - but it takes effort and a minimum of insight to select the appropriate resources if you have no knowledge in the area. Unless a rigorous academic education is important to the parent, it is much easier to choose a mediocre resource which is popular and which you know about instead for researching how to provide a truly excellent education.

 

Closely related to this are parent's plans for their kids' future. If you have no college education and are surrounded by people with no college education, college may not be on the radar for your kids (you may even be intimidated by the thought of sending your kid to university). I contrast, a family where all family members have a graduate degree will view college as the normal education path and not even entertain the thought that their kids might not go to college - and consequently structure the education to prepare them for something they consider essential.

 

And lastly, enforcing high expectations usually involves more work than letting a child get by with what is "just good enough". The sample of parents who write on these boards are a selection of very dedicated homeschoolers who do not shrink this work - but there are probably parents out there who do not have the discipline themselves to insist on academic excellence.

 

I'm sure there are more facets to this issue; I have to run to work...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll burn a bit with you...

 

Well, academically speaking, I have never known any homeschoolers in my real life to give as rigorous an education as my dd is getting in a public charter this year. Not Classical Conversations, not any of the Abeka/BJU/MFW/Sonlight/insert-curric-provider-here peeps we've known, etc.

 

Seriously, not.even.close. And really, this school could do a lot more...

 

I think a lot of homeschool materials are dumbed down. A lot of people do not homeschool for academic reasons and focus more on other things. LD's are tough to remediate at home or otherwise. (This is me with my youngest) Some people just hand the kid workbooks. Many people do not slog through the hard stuff and do not finish things. Probably the number one thing I have seen over the years is plain and simple not being consistent. (This was me with my oldest.:glare:)

 

However, I've seen plenty of people on HERE that seem to do way,way more. ;)

 

But, on the other hand it is absolutely none of my business. :001_smile: Most homeschoolers we know seem happy and do ok in life.

 

 

AND of the kids my dd goes to school with, only TWO out of her homeroom class of 20 or so give a carp. The PS parents expect no more from their kids. Less behavior wise, imho.

 

It just makes co-ops pointless, since no one else ever does the work or cares. :glare:

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you talking about academic expectations? If so, I can think of many reasons.

 

I think some families are more academically oriented than others. Some people are aiming their children at a life-style in which academics aren't considered terribly important. For example, you can still be a good person and not be able to read GRIN. Some of the most morally good people I know are very under-educated in the field of academics. Their goodness has taken years of intense effort to develop, and they consider spending time on academics rather a waste of time. Another example is a friend of my son whose father has a construction business. He was the first of his family to graduate from high school, and his family was very proud of him, but nobody wanted the academics to go further than that GRIN. His father needed him. He doesn't need academics beyond what he learned in high school to make a very nice living, and although he is smarter than my children in many ways, not only does he does he hate academics but he can't do them past a certain point. He is inventive and knowledgable about more concrete things. Another example is the children who are driven and talented in one area, an area that requires tons of training, like music or dance. Their families may well be skimping on the academics in order to find the time to become good in the talented area. Dance and sports are particularly like this. Those people need to do their activity while their bodies are young. They will have time when their bodies wear out to do academics.

 

I think many people here have children who are wired a bit differently. Low expectations for one person may be high expectations for another.

 

We often don't see the whole picture, and many homeschoolers are homeschooling because they are lopsided - they are very good at one thing and very bad at another. When the parent posts about the bad thing, we only see that and assume all subjects are being done at a similar level.

 

Some people homeschool because they want to be able to cut the required academics to an absolute minimum so that their children have time to pursue their own interests. Since the children are in charge of the rest of their lives, we don't hear about the more ambitious things they are doing. We just hear about the minimal academics. Perhaps they are building a particle accelerator with the rest of their time and that is why their mother is asking for a quick and easy government program.

 

I think homeschoolers in general are just as likely to be homeschooling so that they can do less of something academic as they are so that they can do more.

 

-Nan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there are many factors at play when one discusses expectations, such as the student's abilities, disabilities, interests and proclivities. There are also parental abilities, financial considerations, time constraints, and relationship factors. As well, some parents/kids don't think the world needs to revolve around academics, but that doesn't mean they're not excelling in what they are learning or that it isn't enough.

 

I personally think what many people consider imperative is carp. Those people will say I have low expectations. To each his/her own.

 

ETA: Nan and I were posting at the same time. Our point is the same, though as usual she is much more eloquent than I. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And lastly, enforcing high expectations usually involves more work than letting a child get by with what is "just good enough". The sample of parents who write on these boards are a selection of very dedicated homeschoolers who do not shrink this work - but there are probably parents out there who do not have the discipline themselves to insist on academic excellence.

 

This is the biggest reason I find in families who seem to have lower expectations. I hear a lot of parents say that they only want the student to be able to go to the local community college. If the student wants more than that (scholarships, etc.) he will need to manage that himself. The mothers are usually overwhelmed by the high school years and just don't seem to have the dedication to "do school" anymore.

 

I was involved in a co-op (I helped establish) which we billed as "college prep". By the time we left, it was so watered down that junior high curriculum was being used in the high school level. But when compared overall to what the local public school was putting out, these co-op kids were doing well. I wanted more than that. During the years I was there it was a constant struggle to make these moms accountable! By the end, I could hardly get anyone to sign up for my classes (Great Books, Worldviews). They would sign up for the sciences because they needed someone to teach it, but after my last experience, I vowed to never teach another science there. I truly believe they had NO idea what "college prep" meant. Most had not attended college. Most did not get out of bed before 10 a.m. (therefore their kids did not either).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been kind of surprised by some of the posts over the last couple of weeks, but have hesitated to post on this, because it seems like it could be a real firestarter. But I'm feeling brave . . .

 

You know, I think of myself as having rather low expectations of my kids compared to a lot of people on these boards, as I don't expect much in the early years, and am a pretty flexible parent over all. But then I read some posts and I think, wow, maybe I actually have pretty high expectations compared to some other parents. And I kind of wonder why people don't expect more of their kids.

 

I certainly believe parents have the final say over how they bring up and educate their children. There is a real beauty to just letting people be themselves, and I'm all for that. At the same time, once again, I do find myself surprised at what can sometimes seem like a low bar in some areas.

 

Have you noticed this, too? Why do you think this is?

 

I'll burn with you, since I notice everyone else is studiously moving the topic to homeschoolers they know in real life not recent posts on the board. :tongue_smilie:

 

I have noticed. I find it dismaying because I think of these boards as the last internet stand for high academic standards in the homeschool community.

 

I think it's because these are very active boards which attract homeschoolers of all kinds and we are seeing lower and lower proportions of classical homeschoolers here over time. Previous posters have given reasons for low standards in the general homeschool community already, so I won't repeat them here.

 

That said, the recent trends in which people not only display low standards for themselves and enable them in others, but also jump all over parents with high standards as expecting too much have me worried for the future of a community of academically minded homeschoolers anywhere on the internet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And I kind of wonder why people don't expect more of their kids.

 

I'll speak for myself, as that's about all I want to do on this thread. :tongue_smilie:

 

It takes a huge investment of time and energy for me to stay on top of, ahead of, or alongside my dc for school. Not just the content, but the researching, planning, organizing and grading. To that add the outside experiences that enable each child to really pursue his/her talents and God-given bent and whew! It's full time plus. I rarely feel completely on top of it.

 

And, I also have to remind myself at times that my kids are indeed capable of more. I often recite the book title "Do [the] Hard Things" to myself as I slog through requiring the edits and type-free final draft. :tongue_smilie:

 

Must be a tongue smilie kinda day for me!

Lisa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By the end, I could hardly get anyone to sign up for my classes (Great Books, Worldviews). They would sign up for the sciences because they needed someone to teach it, but after my last experience, I vowed to never teach another science there. I truly believe they had NO idea what "college prep" meant.

 

I would LOVE to send some kids to your classes Cynthia! I always enjoy reading what you are doing with your boys.

 

Lisa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go ahead and be the lone dissenter and say that this conversation kind of falls into the 'One Size Fits All' blanket of public or private schools, which is one reason a lot of us homeschool in the first place. ;) Not all students are capable of the highest standards, no matter how hard we push. Not all of us are interested in homeschooling simply to create a master race of little geniuses (although I wouldn't complain IF my kids fell into that category :tongue_smilie:). No---most parents are not as 'qualified' as a Certified Teacher to teach all subjects to the depth that a good school could, but hasn't it been proven that even those of us without a college degree CAN produce quality students in any subject? I know Classical is a more rigorous academic path than let's say workbook, but 'your' Classical homeschool might be more rigorous than 'my' Classical homeschool according to 'your' standards. But I am running 'my' school my way, so why should someone else's assessment that because I am planning on CC for my dd automatically equate to lowered expectations? Perhaps, as in my case, some of us do have very high expectations, but we don't have students that can accommodate our original lofty goals? Maybe just the simple joy of learning with my kids is trumping the push to achieve more, harder and faster? And lowered expectations compared to what? If 'our' expectations in general today are compared to those of the original homeschool pioneers, how would they compare? I have a feeling we are expecting a whole LOT more than those of the early days---simply because if you take a look at the literal explosion of how-to books, programs, curriculums etc. and add to that the competing marketplace of "This Curriculum leaves no gaps", "This programs teaches conceptually" etc. For example, Saxon was THE math program used by homeschoolers in the early days. The best----but reading here at WTM you would think it was the worst, least effective program to keep a mile wide berth of!

 

I guess I will just leave with my thoughts that I am noticing that in general, too MUCH is expected of students these days, and some of it too early. And that push, push attitude seems to be creeping into the homeschool world in such a massive way, that I am also noticing many parents leaving 'true' homeschooling for charters, umbrellas etc. because they now don't feel capable of doing the job. There will always be the highly advanced students that mom really does need to outsource for and find more rigorous materials, send to college early, etc. One Size really does not fit All.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would LOVE to send some kids to your classes Cynthia! I always enjoy reading what you are doing with your boys.

 

Lisa

 

Thanks for those kind words! I would love to have some of the kids from this forum in my classes as well. By the time we decided to leave co-op, my reputation for making the students actually read the books and actually write an MLA styled paper or two (and turn them in on time) caused fear and trembling amongst the other families :glare: It was time to go.:auto:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll go ahead and be the lone dissenter... One Size really does not fit All.

 

Don't feel too lonely. I agree with you. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll go ahead and be the lone dissenter and say that this conversation kind of falls into the 'One Size Fits All' blanket of public or private schools, which is one reason a lot of us homeschool in the first place. ;) Not all students are capable of the highest standards, no matter how hard we push.

 

I get what you mean, especially as a mother with a child with severe LD's. My expectations for her are just that - for her. They would not be rigorous for some other kids. I will be darn lucky to get her through 3 high school maths!

 

But I don't think that this is really what people are addressing. What I see is more NOT trying to help a child fulfill his or her potential at all. This would include academics and other stuff. It is simply easier not too. (I will say that this is much more prevalent here in the South than it was in the North. But I see it creeping in on this board too...)

 

I see fewer high school homeschoolers each year (I tutor) with passions, with drive, and heck with the basic skills to propel themselves forward to what they want. I always feel like there is more support here and in real life for relaxing than for digging in. But maybe it's just me. :001_smile:

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you give examples of what you think equals "low expectations?"

:bigear:

 

I'm too afraid to, Halcyon. :D

 

But I will say that I've seen some posts that I, honestly, would have expected more from kids than from parents.

 

I haven't lived in America for several years, and when we were living there I had all little kids. I don't have the live experience with other homeschoolers that many others do, and so I think I just haven't understood what some people have posted about here. But I'm starting to get more of a picture now.

 

I'm not interested in more regulation of homeschooling, and I'm not interested in telling another homeschooler what to do.:) But I have to be honest and say I am surprised -- that is truly the word -- by some of what I've read.

 

I think Regentrude hit on something when she mentioned that parents might not even realize what more there is out there, or what expectations kids might face in college. And Nan makes a good point that not all kids go to college. And, once again, I'm not interested in dictates to our community. Parents have the right to choose an education in accord with their principles and beliefs, at least in my state. But it is interesting to see how other people manage things.

 

Creekland, I think you are right, too, in that these expectations might be low in the greater society, too. Once again, I don't live in America anymore, and so my frame of reference just isn't up to date.

 

And, of course, we all define "low" differently.

 

And it does seem like this is probably not a topic we can discuss.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you give examples of what you think equals "low expectations?"

:bigear:

No need to link actual posts, but if you (or anyone else) could provide "hypothetical" examples of what you're talking about, that would be helpful.

 

Perhaps they are building a particle accelerator with the rest of their time and that is why their mother is asking for a quick and easy government program.

 

I think homeschoolers in general are just as likely to be homeschooling so that they can do less of something academic as they are so that they can do more.

:iagree:

If I posted that DS12 does 4-5 hours of school per day, that might look really light compared to those who do 7-8 hrs/day at that age. But that doesn't count the fact that we watch TC lectures in the evening instead of TV, or that DS's typical bedtime reading is adult books on classical warfare, or that he spends 2 weeks/yr working with grad students on paleo digs. It doesn't count the time he spends studying insects, or drawing, or playing chess, or reading on his own.

 

We don't do Latin because DS is severely dyslexic and DH (also dyslexic) was forced to study Latin for years and hated every minute of it, so he vetoed Latin. If I can get DS to pass 4th semester Spanish (pass/fail) at the CC before he graduates HS, I will consider that a huge success. For DS that is a high expectation. His own expectations include a double science major followed by a PhD and an academic career, and that is what I'm preparing him for. For some families, the "high expectations" are long term goals, and a snapshot of their schedule at any given time during that journey may not provide a very accurate picture of that.

 

I also think for most families there are at least one or two "check the box" subjects that neither parent nor child have any interest in and just need to get done; often these same kids are doing advanced work in other areas and that's why they need something quick/light/simple for the subjects they don't really care about. I haven't seen any posts here where a family was doing every subject at a really light, git-er-done level, but maybe I missed them. :confused:

 

Jackie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can, in a general way. You can ask specific people why their expectations aren't higher. People do this to me here fairly frequently and I find it very useful. If it weren't for this and the example of some people here, my expectations would be much lower because my own high school education (except in math) was very poor. (And math I find endlessly frustrating. Obviously, I am not a good teacher because my son struggles with things I found simple despite my knowing that we probably have the same aptitude and intelligence. Ug.) If you ask people, they will probably explain using one of the many reasons posted here. Or they will be helped by your question. Or they will tell you they have a million children and no money and are chronically ill and waiting out their fifth hurricane and can't send their children to school because students periodically shoot teachers there and they are doing the best they can, please go away and not talk to me GRIN. When people have asked me, they usually have asked about specific things and made specific suggestions. They might say, "Why aren't you doing this-and-such? I think it would be much more what you are looking for. The thing you are doing is too easy for someone your children's ages."

: )

-Nan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No need to link actual posts, but if you (or anyone else) could provide "hypothetical" examples of what you're talking about, that would be helpful.

 

 

 

:iagree: Would love to hear some hypotheticals. :D

 

One thing I try to keep in mind also is the location of many people. This board is spread out over the world. An opportunity that might seem commonplace where you live may not be available to the another person. So what you see as low expectations may simply be someone making the best of the opportunities they have. Again, I don't know, this may not even be what you are addressing.

 

My son is interested in Japanese. While I'd love to have him train with an experienced instructor or native speaker, my reality is that there probably isn't one in my area. I might be able to find something in the nearest big city, but that would require at least an hour of driving, so I have to prioritize. Even the nearest colleges don't offer Japanese as a foreign language.

 

We just moved and I am excited about having more cultural opportunities, more museums, more educational outlets. In our previous area the childrens' museum was the only real museum in town. Sad, but true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:iagree: Would love to hear some hypotheticals. :D

 

One thing I try to keep in mind also is the location of many people. This board is spread out over the world. An opportunity that might seem commonplace where you live may not be available to the another person. So what you see as low expectations may simply be someone making the best of the opportunities they have. Again, I don't know, this may not even be what you are addressing.

 

My son is interested in Japanese. While I'd love to have him train with an experienced instructor or native speaker, my reality is that there probably isn't one in my area. I might be able to find something in the nearest big city, but that would require at least an hour of driving, so I have to prioritize. Even the nearest colleges don't offer Japanese as a foreign language.

 

We just moved and I am excited about having more cultural opportunities, more museums, more educational outlets. In our previous area the childrens' museum was the only real museum in town. Sad, but true.

:iagree: Our remote location is a prime example of this. In fact, we are also planning on moving hopefully VERY soon in order to provide better and more enriching opportunities for our kids, even though dd is graduating in the spring! Pretty dismal here as far as anything out of our home even remotely enriching, unless you really, really enjoy studying Ghost Mining Towns of the West ad nauseum!!

 

I do see a lot of homeschoolers giving up at high school, but I am seeing it more as the pressure and underhanded idea by IDEA programs etc. that mom is not enough and plain homeschooling is not enough---and now even coming from the Old Trusted homeschool curriculum providers that now seem to be offering more online classes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for those kind words! I would love to have some of the kids from this forum in my classes as well. By the time we decided to leave co-op, my reputation for making the students actually read the books and actually write an MLA styled paper or two (and turn them in on time) caused fear and trembling amongst the other families :glare: It was time to go.:auto:

 

Wait, what?:glare: Are you kidding me? I would be upset if the teacher didn't do these things. I have actually made my dc "reread" books because they weren't able to answer questions/have an interchange about it, or provide a simple summary. You can imagine how much they love that. Ds began using MLA in fifth grade. He even emails papers to me. In doing this,he has learned to do basic computer things (export files, attache files, remember to save) and manage his time to meat deadlines.

 

I would like to add, that we are no where as rigorous as I would like. Some of it I can attribute to a learning curve (and I am working on it) and some to the fact that I didn't feel ds had learned enough/well enough in school and we went back in some areas. We have really begun to pick up the pace and I expect a lot more of him each month. I do not expect this problem with the younger dc.

 

I do not live in the US, so don't know many home schoolers. I can't say expectations in this country are too hight either. I guess you can say, I don't have much to compare to. I try to learn from everyone here on the board.:D

 

Danielle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you noticed this, too? Why do you think this is?

 

I think you have too much time on your hands to be reading so many posts! :D

 

I'm too am curious what prompted you to write this -- I'm feeling a teeny bit defensive! If anything I have always felt not good enough as measured against the general crowd here. I too am a relaxed, eclectic homeschooler, and know some regulars would shudder at my approach and our school days. But as an over-educated, certifiable nerdy intellectual, my lowest bar is fairly high -- just not quantifiable by hours spent, or rigorous name-brand curricula used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if it's something I've read here or somewhere else, but I've noticed a lot of people talking about their young (in my mind) students who "won't" need a certain level of a subject. An example would be someone in late middle school or early high school who "will never" be interested in high level math because they are artistic, or someone who "will never" want to read classic literature because they like to tinker with electronics.

 

I notice it in the real world too. A lot of people limit the potential of their children because they see a particular talent and work to develop it. In doing so, sometimes they limit other possibilities because "artsy kids don't like math" or something else silly like that. A child in middle school or early high school has their entire life ahead of them. To limit their exposure to math or science or languages or literature at that age doesn't strike me as a good idea, regardless of what other strengths they may possess. (Obvious exceptions for students with disabilities, parents who don't limit their children, your own particular child, etc, all apply.)

 

I consider how many adults I know who decided to go to school for something they never expected to, and I cringe when I see a parent say that their child will never be interested in a certain topic. But it's not my child.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you have too much time on your hands to be reading so many posts! :D

 

 

 

Thanks! Very helpful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'm pretty relaxed. Then I talk to someone else and think I'm pretty uptight. So I don't know. :001_smile: I kinda feel like Jen in SoCal. It's one of the reasons I don't post a curric in my siggy, or what each of my children are doing. I don't want people reading it and going, *sniff* Lazy. or Whoda thunk?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But as an over-educated, certifiable nerdy intellectual, my lowest bar is fairly high -- just not quantifiable by hours spent, or rigorous name-brand curricula used.

:iagree:

DH and I both have graduate degrees; between us we have something like 20 years of higher education, Research Fellowships, etc. We've both carried out and published original research. And both of us would say, absolutely unequivocably, that the things that were most useful to us in college, grad school, and our careers, had very little to do with what we were taught in middle or high school and everything to do with what we taught ourselves while following our own interests and passions. We are also both still avid readers and have continued to learn all our lives, so the idea that our kids need to cram in all of history and all of science and 100 great books and multiple languages before they're 18 doesn't make sense to me.

 

Our long-term expectations for our kids are very high, but the path we choose to get there may not look like everyone else's.

 

Jackie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:iagree:

DH and I both have graduate degrees; between us we have something like 20 years of higher education, Research Fellowships, etc. We've both carried out and published original research. And both of us would say, absolutely unequivocably, that the things that were most useful to us in college, grad school, and our careers, had very little to do with what we were taught in middle or high school and everything to do with what we taught ourselves while following our own interests and passions. We are also both still avid readers and have continued to learn all our lives, so the idea that our kids need to cram in all of history and all of science and 100 great books and multiple languages before they're 18 doesn't make sense to me.

 

Our long-term expectations for our kids are very high, but the path we choose to get there may not look like everyone else's.

 

Jackie

 

:iagree: Someone needs to tell Jackie that she is loved. I'll go first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All right. I'm going to try to say this in a way that doesn't "expose" anyone. And I'll say it knowing I could be absolutely wrong, and short-sighted, and uninformed, and whatever else is limiting my vision. And once again, I'm not arguing for regulations or trying to decide who is a good enough homeschooler, or any other stuff like that. It is just an observation.

 

I don't think it's a good idea to lower the bar too much, and then call something "bar level". I don't think it's a good idea to say you've done, say, a few chapters of a book, and then call that the first year of that subject. And I really don't think it's a good idea to then recommend doing that to someone else. And I think the biggest disservice of all is to your child.

 

I think it would be better to just be honest, and say you only did a few chapters of something, or just not put it on the transcript at all. And if you're doing this in math or science or English, the really core subjects, I think you should ask yourself if you are really, truly acting in your child's best interest.

 

Are we not all reading about how important technical skills are in today's world? Are we not all hearing about what a nosedive our economy is taking? How are we going to maintain our nation if we don't do the hard things?

 

You know, Jenn, maybe you are right. Maybe I am reading too much. I have certainly gotten overheated here. There are many, many ways of doing things in this world, most of which I've never experienced. These are just the thoughts of a mother whose oldest child is 15.

 

I'm sorry if this has been offensive. I hope it has brought something of value. Please just disregard it if it has not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a lot of homeschool materials are dumbed down.

 

I agree with this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know if it's something I've read here or somewhere else, but I've noticed a lot of people talking about their young (in my mind) students who "won't" need a certain level of a subject. An example would be someone in late middle school or early high school who "will never" be interested in high level math because they are artistic, or someone who "will never" want to read classic literature because they like to tinker with electronics.

 

I notice it in the real world too. A lot of people limit the potential of their children because they see a particular talent and work to develop it. In doing so, sometimes they limit other possibilities because "artsy kids don't like math" or something else silly like that. A child in middle school or early high school has their entire life ahead of them. To limit their exposure to math or science or languages or literature at that age doesn't strike me as a good idea, regardless of what other strengths they may possess. (Obvious exceptions for students with disabilities, parents who don't limit their children, your own particular child, etc, all apply.)

 

I consider how many adults I know who decided to go to school for something they never expected to, and I cringe when I see a parent say that their child will never be interested in a certain topic. But it's not my child.

 

Um...maybe it was someone like me who finally said "Well, my child is more artistic and so will never need math higher than Geometry" simply because 3 years later of trying in desperation just to COMPLETE Algebra 1---and then dismally at that---makes a parent finally throw up their arms in defeat that 'this' particular child really won't be able to get through Calclulus by 12th grade! :tongue_smilie: This is what I had planned anyways. But Real Life totally got in the way of my best laid plans, and I have had to accept that 'I' can only teach to a particular level, and if my dd needs further math or whatever, it will be up to her and her school to do it. This could be one reason why we see parents saying things like this. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not offensive at all. I appreciate the passion you bring to homeschooling, and the fact that you are wrestling with these issues shows how much you care about your child's education and the overall education.

 

Besides, I grew up with the initials JLD -- I'm automatically in your corner!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:iagree:

DH and I both have graduate degrees; between us we have something like 20 years of higher education, Research Fellowships, etc. We've both carried out and published original research. And both of us would say, absolutely unequivocably, that the things that were most useful to us in college, grad school, and our careers, had very little to do with what we were taught in middle or high school and everything to do with what we taught ourselves while following our own interests and passions. We are also both still avid readers and have continued to learn all our lives, so the idea that our kids need to cram in all of history and all of science and 100 great books and multiple languages before they're 18 doesn't make sense to me.

 

Our long-term expectations for our kids are very high, but the path we choose to get there may not look like everyone else's.

 

Jackie

 

:iagree: Because I have had to revise my plans to cram it all in by 18, especially after realizing it wasn't going to happen with the children I have :tongue_smilie:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How other people homeschool is other people's business.

 

That said, as a former research scientist and part-time professor, I know how high the bar should be to give my chidlren maximum flexibility after they graduate from home, and how the choices some homeschool families are making is going to impact the future of their children IN GENERAL TERMS. I've been around enough to know that not everyone needs to have the level of education I want for my children, and that some individuals are indeed able to pull themselves up despite deficiencies in their K-12 years.

 

None of us really knows exactly what their homeschool graduates will need or not need in the future, so my goal is to set the bar as high as is appropriate for each of my children individually in each subject. So much can change in college, and it is very common to completely change careers in adulthood. My job is to do all I can now and then be there when they are in college and adulthood to advise if necessary. My kids are in paid classes, but they know that I read every novel they read and that their work must meet my standard, which is sometimes higher than the paid teacher. I know for a fact that I'm the only parent who is so involved behind the scenes. I'm still in charge, but we continue the paid classes because of the structure and other benefits.

 

There are times that I intervene when someone talks about dropping Algebra because "no one uses Algebra" or when they want to enroll their immature 15 y.o. in the community college full-time because they "might as well." But I'm quiet a lot too...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I get what you mean, especially as a mother with a child with severe LD's. My expectations for her are just that - for her. They would not be rigorous for some other kids. I will be darn lucky to get her through 3 high school maths!

 

But I don't think that this is really what people are addressing. What I see is more NOT trying to help a child fulfill his or her potential at all. This would include academics and other stuff. It is simply easier not too. (I will say that this is much more prevalent here in the South than it was in the North. But I see it creeping in on this board too...)

 

 

 

I agree. The hardest thing about homeschooling isn't researching curriculum, making lesson plans, teaching the lessons, or grading the papers--it is constantly pushing for excellence and enforcing rigorous standards every single day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have very high expetations that I would like to meet. But I know what I am capable of doing and what I am not capable of doing, and believe it or not, I didn't figure that out until this year. I always thought I had to do better than my ps friends, be in the top of the class and things like that. But I know I can't do all of that, and I am doing very good for someone in my grade I think.:D

 

I want to get good SAT/ACT scores and get into a good college, but if that doesnt happen, then I will be okay with that. What I am trying to say is that all kids are different, some excel, and some don't. So don't try to worry about how much school your child has or how hard you can push them, just let them work at their own pace ( as long as they aren't being lazy, lol) and try not to worry so much about it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree. The hardest thing about homeschooling isn't researching curriculum, making lesson plans, teaching the lessons, or grading the papers--it is constantly pushing for excellence and enforcing rigorous standards every single day.

 

We will always fall to the lowest possible standard unless effort is made to prevent that.

 

I'm hard college professor too, but not out of spite. I know the state criteria that they are supposed to meet if they pass my class, and those are based on what employers and national programs expect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read all of the threads yet, but am always struggling with this. I do think low expectations means different things to different families. Our struggle is I have creative kids, and their brains are wired differently. They (one is graduated) love science, math, really love writing, history and literature. But, the math and science works through their brains much differently and at a much. more. slower. pace than math/science brains. So, we are rigorous for them. Probably too rigorous. I say that because there is no time for other important things in their lives. When a pet going to the vet, or a three day bout with the flu completely unravels everything, then something is not right. Adjustment time. Last night in the middle of the night, I finally allowed us the permission to slow down dd's chemistry. Funny thing, with the time pressure off today, she is being much more productive and is getting it better.

 

Any way you cut it, not doing school is not acceptable. Letting your kids take day after day to do unacademic things is not good either. The arguement that you are not going to use the education or don't need it doesn't work over here either, and neither of my kids would accept that line. They love learning. It is so hard when no one. else. you. know. that. homeschools. sees it the same. I always feel we could do more, but everyone I know (or it seems so) thinks we are killing our kids. We are not. We are teaching them to work hard, that they can learn things they didn't think they could. And in a supportive ADAPTABLE environment that meets their needs as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My expectations are high, so high that it makes us misfits with most people outside the extended family and causes us all, myself included, to frequently dislike ourselves and to crash and burn from time to time. Those expectations just have very little to do with most academic subjects.

-Nan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

A number of us clearly have very high expectations indeed for our children. The problems begin when people claim that their program/curriculum/method is the only valid way to be rigorous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How other people homeschool is other people's business.

 

 

 

This is my belief too. When I read different things on here I feel I've educated myself on the options, then pick what is best for our line of thinking and the paths for my boys (each an individual).

 

To me, "low expectations" means expecting less than a person is capable of doing and relates to more than school. It relates to life. In my high school classes I can have high academic ability or low. There are high achievers and low in each class (more low than high in each). I love to work with the high achievers even if "high" for them means grasping the basics of electricity. I dislike working with low achievers who shut the book and claim they are "done" with all the answers right, no work, and not willing to discuss a thing in person even if they were doing upper level heat exchange problems. Pending job, I will employ the first gladly. No matter what I will try to avoid employing the second.

 

The only thing that somewhat bugs me are when people consider all things - all curricula, all colleges, etc, equal in rigor. They aren't. They may all be the right path for an individual based on their ability and what they want to do, but they are not equal in content. Explaining pros and cons about each is fine (they all have pros and cons). Telling someone something less expensive is just as good as something else is not whether it's an Alg workbook from Walmart vs a decent math program or whether it's cc vs an upper level college for English 101.

 

Earlier today I was talking with a student whose sibling is surprised she can't find a job. She graduated from a lower tier college in a common major with mediocre grades, but hey, she has a degree (!!!). It's no great surprise that her "skills" aren't in demand for a major in which there is plentiful supply. If I were interviewing candidates she probably wouldn't make the first round. I spent a little bit of time talking with her brother today - trying not to be harsh, but explaining how real life works in a low economy (and no, I wasn't telling him to get into oodles of debt!). I merely pointed out there were better schools out there (pending major) and getting good grades + networking were a better lead into jobs with a degree. In this economy you can't just graduate with "a" degree and send your resume out for most jobs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pet peeve is this widespread utilitarian, not to say "economic-minded" approach in education... The idea that God forbid we require of a future engineer the study of literature in a foreign language or, equally God forbid, calculus for a future historian - because they won't need it, therefore, not only it's not a necessity, but it's not an "economic enough" approach to raise our children as intellectuals... as people whose horizons are maybe a bit broader than those of your average Fachidiot, who understands little and knows little of things unrelated to his particular Fach, if not on a level of a trivia accessory of an information or two pushed down his throat by "general education" requirements... as people for whom we wish they have a broad base in sciences as well as in humanities and arts and as well as in languages. If something irks me, it's the "we don't need no math past algebra 'cause she's an artist" way of thinking.

 

Another thing which irks me, though a bit less, is the tyranny of extreme educational relativism, the whole "it's all equal but different" political corretness which aims to subject you to itself, relativizing things until the absurd, in order for you to finally "admit" that all educational methods and philosophies are valid paths to the same (is it the same?) destination. While I'm not saying things are absolute and rigid and there is no place for some tailoring to an individual, I absolutely refuse to be one of those relativists to whom all will be good if done with a good parental intention and if the child enjoys it. Not on upper middle / high school level at least.

 

So, in terms of low expectations, I mostly consider these two things, as they tend to accompany them and/or be the root cause of them - scary amounts of utilitarianism and over-relativizing things. I've seen a bit of both on these boards (they often tend to be coupled too), but certainly far less so than in the "real life".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is very hard to even determine a level for a subject! For example, math. I gave one credit for one year of TT. Is a 92 in TT Geometry the same as a 92 in Jacobs or Chalkdust? Probably not...but my daughters did the work within a school year and how else can I determine a credit?

 

Or look at U.S. History. One of my girls used Notgrass plus the Teaching Company US History dvds. She wrote a weekly paper as assigned in Notgrass, took notes on the lectures and discussed what she was learning with me, and with the family. She wrote a term paper as well. I did not use the Notgrass Lit, but made up my own reading list/writing assignments for her, plus I added grammar and vocabulary review. I gave her a credit for History and a credit for English. I have a friend who also used Notgrass. She used it as written and her daughter received the same amount of credits - and the same grades! - on her transcript, but did much less work. And I am sure that many other students have done way more work than my daughter and also received the same amount of credits!

 

IOW, how can I tell if I am giving enough work? I use the WTM and my state requirements and my own high school experiences and what is commonly used around here and the BJU and ABeka programs (I ask around) andI do the best I can....but I worry that I am one of the ones with low expectations :001_huh: And then I tell myself to stop worrying. I am doing the best I can and my children are learning to think and read and write...and do enough math to get by :blushing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A number of us clearly have very high expectations indeed for our children. The problems begin when people claim that their program/curriculum/method is the only valid way to be rigorous.

 

I don't see that as much here as I see people trying to validate "every" curriculum as equal in rigor, which is really neither desirable nor needed. Mostly the only time I see the "only way" people is in the curric specific setting. Try going to a meeting of all Abeka or FIAR or (of all things) KONOS users and tell them your doing it differently. :lol: Btdt, over the years, lol. Things are more eclectic now, thank goodness.

 

I think it would be tougher to validate or invalidate a "path".

 

And gosh I would never think that anyone would not think you had very, very high expectations. I mean, in your case it may look more like you are busting your behind facilitating your dd's path to learning (the hardest part sometimes is getting out of the way!) and helping her reach her potential rather than "teaching", but by doing this you are avoiding the very issue I'm whining about, lol. I may be completely off base though, so ignore it if I am!

 

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree. The hardest thing about homeschooling isn't researching curriculum, making lesson plans, teaching the lessons, or grading the papers--it is constantly pushing for excellence and enforcing rigorous standards every single day.

 

:iagree: That and finding some way to organize all the paper. :D

Georgia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it comes from parents wanting to provide an "easy" life for their kids - full of toys and no "troubles." As a rich society, we don't need our youngsters working and "just want to let them be kids."

 

Oh yeah. My relatives are big on this "let kids be kids because there's plenty of time for the hard slog of adulthood." I try to keep my big mouth closed on this topic because it seems to me that adulthood is not such a huge slog if one is already accustomed to being generally responsible. With older kids, it's like everyone (except their teachers) is thinking "Quick! Bludge while you can!" as though you can store up feelings of bludging and relaxing to channel later on when you are stressed. "Oh, I'm stressed! Ah yes, channel that year 9 feeling, ooh yeah. Ok, I'm fine now!" Of course it doesn't work that way...

 

But I'll have what looks like low expectations to many of you when my kids are in high school because we live under a different system. Different rules require a different plan of action. I think Regentrude certainly has a point about academic worldview. My plans (for what they are worth, ha ha) have undergone a couple of major expansions as info, mostly from here, has expanded my imagination. I can't plan for us to achieve any higher or wider than I can imagine.

Rosie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. The single thing that I have seen most over the years that derails learning is that people let every.little.thing. that comes along every day get in the way of school. An interruption here and an interruption there and pretty soon the whole school year is gone.

 

I have felt at times that I've been swimming in quicksand or against a rip current in trying to keep on at a steady pace with school work each and every day. Sometimes I feel like I'm the most inflexible person in the world for doing it, too! And I'm certainly not raising any mental giants, National Merit scholars, or even major brainiacs here, either....

 

I'm just trying to insure that we get through what I think is a reasonable amount of work every school year. And I'm trying to make sure we do it in a meaningful way so hopefully at least some of it will stick from year to year.

 

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in my town doing such a thing (sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world doing it, LOL - which is why I run here to find others who do it so much better than me).

 

I started and restarted a coop with others here but after fighting to try to make sure that the time there wasn't a wasted day, finally gave up (there were also other reasons).

 

It does seem to me that people like to find groups of like-minded individuals who will pat them on the back and agree that they're all doing a great job. I'm not sure that sort of gauge would fly in any workplace on earth - at least not for long - 'cause if it wasn't a reality the place would go out of business before very long....

 

I am of two minds about what will result with regard to homeschooling, however. Children may grow up to find that they are ill-prepared for college, work, etc. And I guess this might hamper them in some ways. However, human beings are in general so resilient and so able at learning that I'm not sure they won't be able to pretty easily remedy this situation and get back onto any sort of track they'd like to put themselves upon.... So I don't know if I'm convinced that lax standards are going to do irreparable harm....

 

Many, many children who are in public/private schools that are not good really experience a lot of the same sort of things. It may hamper some of them from achieving their full potential. But I tend to think that a lot of others manage to sort themselves out and put themselves on a track for whatever they want to achieve....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I think everyone's path needs to look different. Even within the same family, each child's path is going to look at least somewhat different. Every individual has different strengths and weaknesses; different needs, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have felt at times that I've been swimming in quicksand or against a rip current in trying to keep on at a steady pace with school work each and every day. Sometimes I feel like I'm the most inflexible person in the world for doing it, too! And I'm certainly not raising any mental giants, National Merit scholars, or even major brainiacs here, either....

 

I'm just trying to insure that we get through what I think is a reasonable amount of work every school year. And I'm trying to make sure we do it in a meaningful way so hopefully at least some of it will stick from year to year.

 

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in my town doing such a thing (sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world doing it, LOL - which is why I run here to find others who do it so much better than me).

 

I started and restarted a coop with others here but after fighting to try to make sure that the time there wasn't a wasted day, finally gave up (there were also other reasons).

 

It does seem to me that people like to find groups of like-minded individuals who will pat them on the back and agree that they're all doing a great job. I'm not sure that sort of gauge would fly in any workplace on earth - at least not for long - 'cause if it wasn't a reality the place would go out of business before very long....

 

 

:iagree: And it's hard on my boys to know that they won't be doing all the fun things during the school day with their friends because we have a schedule to keep in order to show that we have accomplished something credit-able for the year. I simply cannot get the work done without keeping to a schedule. Maybe these other families are just more capable to getting a lot of information into their kiddos head in a shorter amount of time...

 

This is the job I've chosen. I feel morally obligated to do it to the best of my ability. This forum helps me to narrow down options to create a path to accomplish the job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is something far sadder than low expectations! Many homeschoolers set their sights higher than they are capable of achieving, with the resources/abilities available to THEM and then flounder, and don't FINISH anything MEASURABLE and feel like failures. Many of us have/had some amazing obstacles to overcome.

 

And then...many homeschoolers have DIFFERENT goals than those easily measured by SATs and APs.

 

Sometimes a coop really would serve its students best by FINISHING a course on scientific literacy, focusing on how to research and follow the scientific method and MASTERING a middle school level research paper, instead of wallowing around in a bunch of half understood and unfinished projects, that cannot be used as a stepping stone to the next level.

 

Proper goal setting is an important skill that has NOTHING to do with comparisons to what others are doing, or fear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Um...maybe it was someone like me who finally said "Well, my child is more artistic and so will never need math higher than Geometry" simply because 3 years later of trying in desperation just to COMPLETE Algebra 1---and then dismally at that---makes a parent finally throw up their arms in defeat that 'this' particular child really won't be able to get through Calclulus by 12th grade! :tongue_smilie: This is what I had planned anyways. But Real Life totally got in the way of my best laid plans, and I have had to accept that 'I' can only teach to a particular level, and if my dd needs further math or whatever, it will be up to her and her school to do it. This could be one reason why we see parents saying things like this. ;)

 

Having been this child--I agree. Though I don't have one myself, I can honestly say that I wish my time crying over Chemistry (and I had a teacher who called us stupid monkeys) and Algebra 2 been given to unlimited hours in the studio. Beating me every day with "poor at math" only solidified the idea that I could never learn it--instead of just waiting for me to mature to the point that I could. And I did. I won't do that to my kids.

 

 

I'm sorry if this has been offensive. I hope it has brought something of value. Please just disregard it if it has not.

 

 

pishaw, not offended at all.

 

Everyone does it differently and unless you HAVE the kid that needs to take the road less traveled, you think people 'just aren't rigorous'. Nope, not at all. You know, there ARE some that wake up and breathe and call it a day but I think most of those are far and few between.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...