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jld

Low expectations?

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And the argument about whether it is better to help children new to the US to become literate in their old language or whether it is better to get them asimilated as quickly as possible so they don't become second class citizens. The answer is probably to do some of both, but there isn't time to do both.

 

Why should there not be time to do both???

If you talk to families of immigrants, they very often manage to have their children literate in their native language and familiar with cultural traditions of the parent's country of origin- and at the same time become proficient in English and well versed in the American culture. It just takes a bit of an effort (but considered how much time there is in a day, not a whole lot).

My kids, who were born in Germany and lived there for the first few years of their lives, would pass for Americans and are well assimilated here. OTOH, when we are in Germany, people do not notice that they had spent the majority of their lives in the US.

This is the experience we share with our foreign colleagues from a variety of countries who manage the balancing act of having their kids straddle two (sometimes even three) home countries. None feels like a second class citizen.

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Yes! I guess that's what I'm trying to fumble around and say in my poor way. "Work" is going to look very different for each individual and it's not necessarily going to come out of a book of any type, either. But it is going to involve a concerted effort and time on the part of the student over a period of generally months or years (as with life guard cert, learning to read blue prints, etc.).

 

So rigor in a program cannot necessarily be measured by a hard and fast rule of what texts or courses one is completing. The work may take the form of various volunteer or paid work experiences, taking part in various sorts of certification programs, working on major arts projects of various sorts (being involved with a dance company or theatre company, etc.) or in many other ways that involve real life learning. Any of these things may still involve rigor....

 

:iagree: I agree with many of your posts here.

 

I think it's good to have accountability for your dc and for yourself; we need it! To me, the issue is, are they truly putting effort in, or are they giving up right at the start because something is "too hard"? My dd would tend to do that. Anything that doesn't come easy to her-immediately-she wants to quit. I'm learning to deal with that, in a way that doesn't allow her to give up, but also that doesn't cram it (whatever it is) down her throat and make her despise it. She puts the effort in, and eventually "gets there". But one of the problems I let myself get caught up in when I first started hsing, was that I was always comparing where my dc were at to ______. Okay, so my dd wasn't reading a chapter book a day like her friend, or we weren't at the same level in math. But, she was reading daily, she was actively doing math. And she also spent hours observing animals, and drawing them, and making up stories about them. She knows more about nature at 8 years old than I know at 43!

 

I agree with different things that many of you have posted, and I'm glad that we all are so passionate about this. It's great to have a place where we can come and share our opinions in a respectful way.:001_smile:

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Wow, is that ever helpful.

 

Maybe it's not helpful to you ... but I also agree with Ester. And I think it is helpful for both Ester and others who are increasingly uncomfortable here because of how Ester is taken and treated by some here to hear that there are others who also agree.

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I'm not looking for anything to be helpful to me. I'm looking for open discussion and shared thoughts about how to make others unafraid or hesitant to post.

 

That's why I think that simply declaring yourself in alignment with one party or another is not helpful at this point.

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I'm not looking for anything to be helpful to me. I'm looking for open discussion and shared thoughts about how to make others unafraid or hesitant to post.

 

That's why I think that simply declaring yourself in alignment with one party or another is not helpful at this point.

 

But this is a message board. People join in order to post. There are such diverse viewpoints on here - it's one of the things I really, really like about it. I honestly just do not understand this "being afraid to post" thing. It's not like we're going to hunt you down and camp on your doorstep! We don't know anything about you except what you choose to share. If you've got something to say, say it. How else can we have a discussion?

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I don't think it's helpful -- or kind -- to tell them to get over their feelings of intimidation, or blame them for somehow being partially at fault in their feelings, as some responses have done.

 

So if you don't mind coming to help me cook up this bean dip, would you mind passing the time by explaining how "it's none of your fault you feel intimidated and absolutely all the posters faults" sounds helpful and kind? To me it sounds like "You are too weak and powerless" and I don't get how that will inspire a woman to push aside some of her feelings and venture out. And if a woman has trouble doing that on an anonymous forum where she can think "jerks!" and take a board break, I am a bit concerned about how she deals with people in the rest of her life when they are less avoidable. I would be thinking she ought to get in here and practice those skills somewhere that is actually pretty safe. Unless their relatives also post here, there's no important relationships to be disrupted. I really do think people are a bit tougher than they think they are, and that society often trains women to feel otherwise about themselves and that is far worse than anything badly taken "rah-rah" comment I can make. But on the other hand, perhaps people built like glass houses shouldn't play with people who talk like stones, and they are mistaking wisdom for intimidation.

 

Disclaimer: This is supposed to be humorous. If it isn't, you are welcome to think Capricorns/ Australians/just me, have a stupid sense of humour.

 

And yeah, in case anyone thinks this is off topic, it isn't. KarenAnne and I have different emotional expectations. I'm a bit concerned she's setting the bar too low. :tongue_smilie:

 

As for non-Americans coming to an American message board and telling Americans they are doing it wrong:

 

1. An American majority doesn't make it an American board. This is an international board sponsored by Americans with an American majority. They aren't quite the same thing.

 

2. The point of a discussion, as far as I can see, is to toss in our own very sensible ideas and chew over other people's completely mad ideas to see if they might not be sensible in some way, shape or form. To MY pov, the correct (another disclaimer, this is MY pov and I'm only suggesting it as useful not mandating it) response to Ester Maria is "Woah, that's heavy and definitely not what we do here. Would our situation be improved if we took some of that on board and actually implemented some of that?" Maybe the answer is yes, maybe it is no. If the answer is no, one can think to oneself, "She's mad. I'm glad I don't live at her house," and no one will be any the worse for wear. After all, what are we all here for? To swipe everyone else's good ideas and share our own, yes?

 

Rosie- not a post-modernist American

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ThelmaLou - thank you so much for that Cosby link! I can't count how many times I heard my mom say, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it." :lol:

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I'm not looking for anything to be helpful to me. I'm looking for open discussion and shared thoughts about how to make others unafraid or hesitant to post.

 

That's why I think that simply declaring yourself in alignment with one party or another is not helpful at this point.

 

The point I was trying (badly, it seems) to make is that I find your efforts to make unnamed others more comfortable are making the board uncomfortable for persons who are already here and already have relationships with people on the boards... specifically, you seem to find the existence (or at least elucidation on the board) of a particular camp to be hostile to some unnamed others.

 

I tend to agree with Cathmom and Rosie that there is no real reason to be afraid to talk to strangers on a message board. One does not have to lurk here terribly long to see that there are many camps, and for all the recurring discussions about expectations and rigor, one will not be alone in one's views here short of radical unschooling. Although perhaps there are some radical homeschoolers here as well whose posts I have just missed. :001_smile:

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I have explicitly included myself in everything I have said about trying to be less confrontational and personally reactive, less divisive, less about setting up opposing camps.

 

Many of the responses I have gotten just dig more into that attitude of combatativeness and opposition I was trying to work out of. It's getting pretty predictable at this point.

 

You know, I had have discussions at several points with people about the ignore button. I have felt strongly in the past that this is another form of censorship and I don't want to cut off dialogue just because someone disagrees with me. I feel strongly about not silencing anyone, even with the ignore button.

 

But I have to say, I think you guys have overcome all my reservations.

 

Wishing you joy in one another.

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To heck with it: I agree with Ester.

 

I have not posted on this thread because my kids are younger so I can't speak yet speak from experience about expectations in high school. However I do think I agree with Ester, but the following are my thoughts only and I don't know if she will agree with me. :tongue_smilie:

 

In American culture, we like to think that anyone can do anything, with enough hard work and perseverence. So anyone, with enough hard work, can complete the college prep courses in high school if they wanted to.

 

On the other hand, for some people it would take an insane amount of work. Some may study and study and work and just not reach that goal. So then some people may say, that is not a realistic goal, I don't think that much work is what I want for my kid, so there is something wrong with that goal. No one should have to reach it. Or alternatively, I will not force my kid to try for that goal, but if he/she decides on his own he will be able to reach it on his/her own later as an adult and it will be more valuable because it was something they wanted and worked for. This is similar to what I said before, the idea that anyone with enough hard work can do it, with the further idea that it is best if that is what they want to do and they decide to do it themselves.

 

Then a lot of us value individuality and want to forge a completely new path that is unique to them and their child or family. So their own projects are the most important thing to focus on, and picking and choosing or focusing on certain books or subjects that are different from what The Establishment has chosen is highly valued. Everyone should follow their own path and there is no point or value in doing things like anyone else.

 

Here I have to say I have sympathy with all these views and see them as valid. I am enough of an individualist that I say, if that works for you go for it.

 

But I think there is value in rigorous study of the traditional academic subjects. I want my kids to have four years of math, science, foreign languages, history, english, literature. And I don't think that goal - for my family - is incongruous with letting them follow some of their own interests, read widely about women's history or cultures in non-Western countries or projects in anthropology or writing their own novels or whatever else they want to do. But the main studies are most important. I think kids should work hard.

 

Unfortunately, this rigorous study is not accessible to all. Some would not be able to complete it. Some may not benefit from it and would be better served with vocational practical training. But does that mean no one should have it as a goal? That it is a waste of time? It is too hard for some, so no one should do it? Isn't it worth it to try, instead of assuming it is impossible and never starting?

 

And should those attempting this not talk about it because others might feel bad?

 

I would love to see more support, on this board and elsewhere, for high expectations for rigorous academic work. Whenever there is a thread about it there are other threads with people saying they feel bad because they don't do X. I might not reach all the lofty goals I aspire to but I will never regret trying.

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I am an engineer, with a PhD. I can design an airplane wing and tell you what material you should use to make said wing. However, I have also read Tartuffe, The Stranger, Jean d'Arc, and Madame Bovary (among others) in French. I am also widely read in English. I don't know Latin. I guess that makes me ignorant in Latin. I have studied Latin roots, though. I hate when people say engineers are not well-educated. A lot of us are well-educated, at least the ones I deal with. I think people should want to be well-rounded, but I also understand time limitations.

 

What I took offense at in this thread was the statement that Americans are not intellectuals. Maybe I just run in different circles. (We discussed The Scarlet Letter at a holiday party last night.)

 

My kids attend public school. My oldest just finished reading some of the Canterbury Tales in English, and is working his way through Don Q in Spanish. While our country does not have a national curriculum, I do think that we do produce well-educated people. Not all of our country is well-educated, but I don't think we are intellectual-free, either.

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Unfortunately, this rigorous study is not accessible to all. Some would not be able to complete it. Some may not benefit from it and would be better served with vocational practical training. But does that mean no one should have it as a goal? That it is a waste of time? It is too hard for some, so no one should do it? Isn't it worth it to try, instead of assuming it is impossible and never starting?

 

And should those attempting this not talk about it because others might feel bad?

:banghead: This is the kind of thing that makes me bang my head against the wall. Who here has ever suggested that no one should have a rigorous education as a goal, or that it's a waste of time, or that if it's too hard for some, no one should try??? Or that talking about what one does in one's own school is not acceptable because it will make others feel bad? Seriously — who has EVER suggested any of those things??? :confused:

 

The problem is not that people describe what they do in their own school, the problem arises when someone prescribes how everyone else should be doing it.

 

When you and Asta and others say "I agree with Ester," do you mean "I agree that children should get a deep, rigorous, cultural meaningful education?" Because if that's what you mean, then KarenAnne and I and probably every member of this board would also agree.

 

If what you mean is "I agree that a rigorous education must include 4 years of math (including calculus), 4 years of science, 4 yrs of English (including reading a specific booklist), 4 yrs of history, 4 yrs of foreign language (including reading literature in that language), 4 years of Latin and/or Greek, or else the child will be an intellectually-inferior Fachidiot" then we do not agree.

 

And I'm kinda surprised that anyone would agree that there is only one "best" model of education, because it seems to me that the most frequently agreed upon sentiment on this board is that each parent knows what's best for their own children, and that the "best" education is the one which works best for the child.

 

Jackie

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This also reminds me of the argument about unschooling versus more formally taught academics. Again, there are advantages to both. I think often times, the argument isn't about which should be done, because there are obvious advantages to both, but which should be done first.

But this is not a dichotomy! I don't understand why so many people think that providing a rigorous education and tailoring a child's education to their passions and interests are somehow mutually exclusive. It's actually possible to provide an interest-led education that is just as "rigorous" as someone who does the standard 4X5 program with half a dozen APs.

 

My DS is totally immersed in Greek history right now — and has been for about 6 months. We may still be doing Greek history 6 months from now, because it's one of his prime interests. He's particularly interested in the history of weapons and warfare, so that is the "lens" he's using to focus his studies. He has a huge stack of books and stack of Teaching Co courses, some of which we do together, with lots of discussion, and some of which he does on his own. He's reading Thucydides and Herodotus and big thick books on classical warfare, and he finds it fascinating. We don't use a textbook, we don't do worksheets, we have LOTS of discussions, and he can do projects instead of papers if he wants. We covered Egypt at a similar level of depth, but we skimmed through Mesopotamia, because he wasn't particularly interested in it. (Note: We didn't skip it, we just skimmed it.) Now that he knows more about Greek city states, he's interested in going back and learning more about Mesopotamian city states, so we'll do that.

 

That, to me, is "interest-led history." It is not, by any stretch, shallow, unintellectual, or unrigorous, just because it is not formally taught, traditional academics.

 

Jackie

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And I'm kinda surprised that anyone would agree that there is only one "best" model of education' date=' because it seems to me that the most frequently agreed upon sentiment on this board is that each parent knows what's best for their own children, and that the "best" education is the one which works best for the child.[/b']Jackie

 

Yes, I think almost everyone would agree with this. The OP's original point was that many homeschoolers have such low expectations that it is potentially damaging to their children and to homeschooling in the general sense and what "we", or should "we", do about this? So, it that vein, I think the question is: is there and should there be a standard and when is it "our" business when others fail to educate their homeschooled children? My response is - NO there shouldn't be a "standard", and unless the family is engaging in neglect or abuse, how they educate their children is their own business. Now, what constitues "neglect" could be hotly debated. In fact, I think this is pretty much the only acceptable response. Any homeschooler that thinks standards need to be set and maintained for other homeschoolers doesn't understand the purpose of homeschooling for many.

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1. An American majority doesn't make it an American board. This is an international board sponsored by Americans with an American majority. They aren't quite the same thing.

Yes, I know that. I also notice that none of our other international members feel the need to constantly tout the superiority of their own educational system (or at least a specific type of elite private school in their own country).

 

2. The point of a discussion, as far as I can see, is to toss in our own very sensible ideas and chew over other people's completely mad ideas to see if they might not be sensible in some way, shape or form...After all, what are we all here for? To swipe everyone else's good ideas and share our own, yes?

Yes. And thankfully most people seem able to share their ideas without insulting other people with different ideas.

 

Jackie

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I mean really...they are who they are and that is that. My musical kid is not all that interested in things I had hoped he'd find interesting, but that is my problem, not his. :tongue_smilie:

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And I'm kinda surprised that anyone would agree that there is only one "best" model of education, because it seems to me that the most frequently agreed upon sentiment on this board is that each parent knows what's best for their own children, and that the "best" education is the one which works best for the child.

 

Jackie

 

 

Praise the lord, and get Santa to pass out the gluten-free communion.:iagree:

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Well...I think as long as www.peopleofwalmart.com exisits, it's hard to imagine that one can be intelligent and wear spandex at the same time. But yet, it is possible, espcially when people value all kinds of variations on the theme.

 

I had a bunch of public school kids talking about Sirens the other day at our place. Imagine that...imaaaagine that. Imagine *that*.

 

I am an engineer, with a PhD. I can design an airplane wing and tell you what material you should use to make said wing. However, I have also read Tartuffe, The Stranger, Jean d'Arc, and Madame Bovary (among others) in French. I am also widely read in English. I don't know Latin. I guess that makes me ignorant in Latin. I have studied Latin roots, though. I hate when people say engineers are not well-educated. A lot of us are well-educated, at least the ones I deal with. I think people should want to be well-rounded, but I also understand time limitations.

 

What I took offense at in this thread was the statement that Americans are not intellectuals. Maybe I just run in different circles. (We discussed The Scarlet Letter at a holiday party last night.)

 

My kids attend public school. My oldest just finished reading some of the Canterbury Tales in English, and is working his way through Don Q in Spanish. While our country does not have a national curriculum, I do think that we do produce well-educated people. Not all of our country is well-educated, but I don't think we are intellectual-free, either.

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While our country does not have a national curriculum, I do think that we do produce well-educated people. Not all of our country is well-educated, but I don't think we are intellectual-free, either.

:iagree:

And, ironically, I think the freedom from a rigid, one-size-fits-everyone national curriculum is actually the greatest strength of the US system, not it's greatest weakness. In many European and Asian countries, if you don't do well in specific subjects, taught in a specific way, then you are not deemed smart enough for university, and are streamed off into vocational education. When you define a "rigorous education" in a very narrow way — which is almost always to the detriment of visual/spatial kids — then you can end up excluding an entire segment of the population from higher learning.

 

The other issue with the whole idea of a "national curriculum," is that it opens a HUGE can of worms, politically. Who would determine the curriculum? Politicians, of course. And the curriculum would be chosen, not for it's intellectual value, but for it's political value. One need only look at the incredibly acrimonious debate in Texas over the new content standards for school textbooks, and imagine what it would look like if we were trying to do that on a national level. It's just not possible. And I, for one, am glad it isn't.

 

Jackie

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Of course you can have both. I think that in my version of an ideal world, this is exactly what would happen. That wasn't the dichotomy that I was talking about. I was talking about what happens when you have a child who is not interested in rigorous anything but playing starcraft"and you believe so strongly in child-led education to the point where your hands are tied and you can't say, "Ok, but you still need to learn this-and-such." I happen to believe that most children, left to their own devices in a supportive environment, will teach themselves or request to be taught something in a rigorous way. And I think that lots of parents are capable of presenting the basics to their children in such a way that their children more or less willing decide to learn them, at least enough of them to get by, and that once they've learned basic academic skills, they will take off and hone those skills as they investigate something or things in a rigorous manner. Of course that happens. I just know that there exist extremes of unschooling parents who insist on leaving their children to teach themselves without showing them the wonderful possiblilities out there, and there are rigorous schools that are piling on academic pressure. Those two extremes are fairly far apart. (I think there are also many parents who are unschooling for reasons that have nothing to do with education and who are unable to provide the support that good unschooling requires.)

 

Anyway, that is the dichotomy that I meant. Of course there is a middle ground between all these things, a best-of-both-worlds place. Most of us are trying to reside there GRIN.

-Nan

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There is, if the parents aren't exhausted with working two low-paying jobs each just to try to feed their families and have a bit of money to send their parents in the old country. Ideally, this is just how it would be done. Not everyone has the resources or energy to do it, though.

 

I'm just trying to say that this discussion about whether there should be a basic body of literature and history and science that is taught in all US schools sounds like these other discussions. Ideally, one would be taught the basics of everything in enough depth to get a sense of how everything is connected, learn to analyze in depth, not have any of one's enthusiasm for learning damped, learn enough skills to be able to continue teaching oneself as an adult, and have plenty of time to study one's own interests, learn to hold down a job, contribute to one's community, contribute to one's family, and learn to swim, navigate, be a safe driver, cook, and all the other household skills. This requires major amounts of compromise if we are going to declare our children adult sometime before they are 100. I think, anyway. I am finding time a major impediment to education.

 

I also think that unless you have a Christian male child whose heritage runs back to Mesopotamia and Gilgamesh, then you need to give some thought to what sort of message you are giving them if you feed them the most common classics in chronological order with a long cycle.

 

I'm not saying that there is no middle ground between all these extremes. I do think that perhaps the most comfortable middle ground is a pretty individual thing, making it difficult to have a national curriculum. We are lucky as homeschoolers...

 

I also am beginning to see why everyone gets frustrated with conversations like this. We are all busy and this format encourages one to be short and not explain fully. It feels like we are talking to like-minded people, and yet there is still enough of a difference between us all geographically and culturally that we get a false sense of security and try to use shorthand. It leads to a lot of good-grief-I-didn't-mean-that-ing and after a bit of that, it is hard not to feel a wee bit defensive.

 

-Nan

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I shall say that my Public School DS (17) is currently working on a muscial program based on Homer's Odyssey

 

I am enormously intrigued by this -- could you tell us more?

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I KNOW I'm bad at expressing myself, and here's why: I see my thoughts as little "threads" which are very intertwined. It's not a mess, they're intertwined in a very logical order, but it means that it's extremely difficult to deal with ONE thread without dealing with many other threads, and to overall represent in a linear fashion that which is meant, maybe, more in 3D with all sorts of connections. I'm also used to writing really lengthy elaborations of what I mean, and here I find myself in a situation that brevity is essential, and that I have to somehow squeeze into the format of the forum the thought which originally isn't in that format. So I get frustrated a lot, as you can imagine, or skip things which are obvious to me but might not be obvious to somebody who reads it, and so forth; but on the other hand, it can be a fun challenge. I really try to write clearly even if it ends up a whole disorganized mishmash of several things.

 

Ester Maria, this helps me to understand your other posts on this thread and on other threads. I just want to say that I really appreciate your Italian/European perspective - it was very interesting for me to hear about how education is perceived/conducted in Italy, and why. It adds to my continual mental challenge about how to keep on conducting my children's educations. And I appreciate this little peek into how your mind works when writing.

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And please, I'm not offended or upset personally by any of this. I posted because I was truly saddened that anyone should feel shut out of a discussion and I want that not to be the case. Like Corraleno, I am aware that many people on the boards are overwhelmed, struggling, confused, unsure, looking for suggestions or ways to think out of the corner they feel they're in, and I'm sometimes in that place myself. I don't think it's helpful -- or kind -- to tell them to get over their feelings of intimidation, or blame them for somehow being partially at fault in their feelings, as some responses have done.

 

I think it may help some people to know--and-- I may be completely wrong here, but if I remember correctly, SWB herself wrote that the schedule of TWTM wasn't something that she even wanted in the book-that was the publisher. And, I believe she acknowledges that doing it all may not be possible for some.

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Yes, I think almost everyone would agree with this. The OP's original point was that many homeschoolers have such low expectations that it is potentially damaging to their children and to homeschooling in the general sense and what "we", or should "we", do about this? So, it that vein, I think the question is: is there and should there be a standard and when is it "our" business when others fail to educate their homeschooled children? My response is - NO there shouldn't be a "standard", and unless the family is engaging in neglect or abuse, how they educate their children is their own business. Now, what constitues "neglect" could be hotly debated. In fact, I think this is pretty much the only acceptable response. Any homeschooler that thinks standards need to be set and maintained for other homeschoolers doesn't understand the purpose of homeschooling for many.

 

 

No, no, no. The OP was not suggesting "we" do anything about anything. The OP (me) was challenging parents to look into their hearts and ask themselves if what they were doing was really a service to their children. I was pretty clear I am against more regulation, licensing of homeschoolers, or anything in general that tries to decide which homeschoolers are "good enough".

 

And this discussion has gotten pretty far afield of anything I was originally thinking. It has been a stimulating conversation, and has my wheels turning in a different direction. I want to support anything that makes education more open, more accessible, and more supportive to the average citizen. I think what KA and Jackie are arguing for does that, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to see this sooner. I thank them, again, for their efforts.

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I also think that unless you have a Christian male child whose heritage runs back to Mesopotamia and Gilgamesh, then you need to give some thought to what sort of message you are giving them if you feed them the most common classics in chronological order with a long cycle.

 

-Nan

 

Nan, this made me chuckle. We did the chronological history cycle, starting out as afterschoolers. Our first year of full-time homeschool (ds was 4th grade) we were reading about the transition to feudalism in Europe. My son asked me in a clearly apprehensive way if our ancestors were barbarians--just having finished reading about the Romans, his head was full of their ideas of virtue--and he was against the foul barbarians who sacked Rome. I'll never forget the shocked look on his face when I said that as far as I know they probably would have been considered barbarians by Romans and Greeks; I'd forgotten that calling someone a "yellow-toothed barbarian" was his idea at that time of a really devastating insult. I don't think his self esteem was permanently damaged, but I was careful after that to provide more context. This happened before SOTW was published, BTW.

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A national curriculum is not necessarily a good thing. NZ has a national curriculum & personally I thank the Lord that HSers are not required to cover the national curriculum. A few years ago NZ overhauled the school leaving requirements. It was a disaster. Students were able to gain credits for picking up litter in the school yard! The first few years students' records did not show failures, only what standards were passed & there was no note on the record of learning if the standard was just barely passed or passed exceptionally well. Students figured out real quick to just do enough work to pass as there was no benefit in doing exceptionally well. This year was the first time failures are noted & next year will note passes with merit & excellence. Because of the lack of confidence in the NCEA (national certificates of educational achievement), I made the decision to NOT have dd & ds#1 work towards NCEA, but instead have them begin tertiary study at 16yo & begin their paper trail through polytech. Now the gov't has introduced national standards for primary schools. The nation is up in arms. Schools, principals, school boards through out the country are boycoting the national standards. Add the secondary teachers in their 2nd year of rolling strikes & I shudder to think what ds#2 is getting himself into next year. A national curriculm would only work IMHO if you have a homogenous society. Here in NZ we have Maori immersion school, schools in areas where English is the second language for many students, as well as your average schools. The "top" schools lost faith in the National Curriculum a long time ago & follow the British Cambridge curriculum. There are even a few IB schools. Whether a foreign curriculum is beneficial for students is debatable IMHO. But creating a national curriculum in a multi-cultural society is no easy feat.

 

I do wonder why, though, in this discussion, that people seem to think that a vocational education is only for those "not smart enough" to tackle the more intellectual path. Personally I would want to think that the mechanic that fixed my car really knew his science & maths, that the carpenter that built my house had a good grounding in trigonometry, that the electrician who put in the wiring understood physics, etc. All those tradesmen need to have great business skills as well. DH was made redundent in August & when he applied for unemployment he could pick out the "well educated" unemployed people, they were working on their Apple laptops completely at ease. The tradesmen were the ones who looked embarrassed to be there as they had never had to apply for welfare. They just wanted a job to support their families.

 

JMHO,

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A

I do wonder why, though, in this discussion, that people seem to think that a vocational education is only for those "not smart enough" to tackle the more intellectual path. Personally I would want to think that the mechanic that fixed my car really knew his science & maths, that the carpenter that built my house had a good grounding in trigonometry, that the electrician who put in the wiring understood physics, etc. All those tradesmen need to have great business skills as well. DH was made redundent in August & when he applied for unemployment he could pick out the "well educated" unemployed people, they were working on their Apple laptops completely at ease. The tradesmen were the ones who looked embarrassed to be there as they had never had to apply for welfare. They just wanted a job to support their families.

 

JMHO,

 

And equally, an exclusively academic education without skills like basic plumbing, electricity, and house repair really are big "gaps" that affect some of us (i.e. me), when we end up paying out huge amounts of money to have things fixed that others can do by themselves.

 

I think I have mentioned elsewhere that I was intrigued by an alternative school I investigated at one point. The admission requirements for the University of California were dealt with in a pretty perfunctory way; but every kid was given individualized homework assignments according to his or her passion (learning Russian, getting a scuba diving license, going to playwriting groups), and every kid was urged strongly to acquire some practical skill or trade before graduation, be it electronics and sound mixing, plumbing background, beginning paramedic training.

 

This seems to me not only highly practical and desirable in terms of a person's long-term independence and economic security (insofar as one can achieve economic security in these times) but also, even more importantly to my mind, keeps academically-driven students from thinking that academics are the be-all and end-all, that people who work with their hands are, as Deb mentioned that people tend to assume, less intelligent or can't handle or keep up with academic rigor.

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And equally, an exclusively academic education without skills like basic plumbing, electricity, and house repair really are big "gaps" that affect some of us (i.e. me), when we end up paying out huge amounts of money to have things fixed that others can do by themselves.

 

I think I have mentioned elsewhere that I was intrigued by an alternative school I investigated at one point. The admission requirements for the University of California were dealt with in a pretty perfunctory way; but every kid was given individualized homework assignments according to his or her passion (learning Russian, getting a scuba diving license, going to playwriting groups), and every kid was urged strongly to acquire some practical skill or trade before graduation, be it electronics and sound mixing, plumbing background, beginning paramedic training.

 

This seems to me not only highly practical and desirable in terms of a person's long-term independence and economic security (insofar as one can achieve economic security in these times) but also, even more importantly to my mind, keeps academically-driven students from thinking that academics are the be-all and end-all, that people who work with their hands are, as Deb mentioned that people tend to assume, less intelligent or can't handle or keep up with academic rigor.

 

Very good advice. I'm pretty deficient in many skill areas. And I have no interest, which makes it even worse!

 

My dh is a mechanical engineer, and one thing I like about him is that even though he loves and plays music, and reads French lit (he's French, so it's normal, lol), and can teach the kids adv. math and sci., and all kinds of other intellectual things, he also has lots of practical skill knowledge. He grew up on a small farm, and worked on farms in his teen/tween years. He has hands that have worked, as well as a brain that works. I respect that.

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Yes, I know that. I also notice that none of our other international members feel the need to constantly tout the superiority of their own educational system (or at least a specific type of elite private school in their own country).

 

That's because we think our own educational system sux :p If we thought our system was awesome, we'd think it polite to mention it in case others could make use of the ideas. I only wish I could think of a school around here like KarenAnne described at a secondary level. (there are a few primary schools.) Or something more like Ester Maria's idea of schools being strictly for academics so students actually have time outside of schoolwork to get into their own projects. Both models would be great to have as options.

 

We're running into the same problems Deb described with the national curriculum. I keep thinking there must be some way to modify the idea so it keeps the strengths but greatly reduces the negatives. When I work it out, I'll have to consider running for government...

 

It's interesting, the talk about practical skills. I started off at a tech school which changed to a high school when I was in year 9. I've always regretted that. Strange pov from someone who did a humanities degree, huh? Lol.

 

Rosie

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That's because we think our own educational system sux :p If we thought our system was awesome, we'd think it polite to mention it in case others could make use of the ideas.

Interestingly, Canada, NZ, and Australia were ranked 6th, 7th, and 9th, overall, in the latest international test results (PISA). The US ranked 17th overall. Italy ranked 29th. Germany, France, and the UK were below the US but above Italy.

 

I know the PISA tests only represent a tiny snapshot of a country's educational system (a sample of 15 year olds, tested in math, science, and reading), but it does suggest that maybe the US educational system isn't that bad, compared to many European countries, especially given the incredible diversity of US schools. And I think Canadians, Kiwis and Aussies should be proud that their countries rank so highly — making the top 10, alongside the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Singaporeans, without the oppressive features of the Asian educational systems, is pretty impressive IMO.

 

If I were going to listen to anyone's ideas about how to improve US education, I'd be more inclined to listen to those whose educational systems outrank ours. ;)

 

Jackie

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Interestingly, Canada, NZ, and Australia were ranked 6th, 7th, and 9th, overall, in the latest international test results (PISA). The US ranked 17th overall. Italy ranked 29th. Germany, France, and the UK were below the US but above Italy.

 

If I were going to listen to anyone's ideas about how to improve US education, I'd be more inclined to listen to those whose educational systems outrank ours. ;)

 

 

Well I strongly recommmend you ignore me. Our system really does suck, whatever those test scores say. :tongue_smilie:

 

Rosie

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:banghead: This is the kind of thing that makes me bang my head against the wall. Who here has ever suggested that no one should have a rigorous education as a goal, or that it's a waste of time, or that if it's too hard for some, no one should try??? Or that talking about what one does in one's own school is not acceptable because it will make others feel bad? Seriously — who has EVER suggested any of those things??? :confused:

 

The problem is not that people describe what they do in their own school, the problem arises when someone prescribes how everyone else should be doing it.

 

When you and Asta and others say "I agree with Ester," do you mean "I agree that children should get a deep, rigorous, cultural meaningful education?" Because if that's what you mean, then KarenAnne and I and probably every member of this board would also agree.

 

If what you mean is "I agree that a rigorous education must include 4 years of math (including calculus), 4 years of science, 4 yrs of English (including reading a specific booklist), 4 yrs of history, 4 yrs of foreign language (including reading literature in that language), 4 years of Latin and/or Greek, or else the child will be an intellectually-inferior Fachidiot" then we do not agree.

 

And I'm kinda surprised that anyone would agree that there is only one "best" model of education, because it seems to me that the most frequently agreed upon sentiment on this board is that each parent knows what's best for their own children, and that the "best" education is the one which works best for the child.

 

Jackie

 

I really find it fascinating how many people appear to be stuck on this one comment. Especially since it was from EMs first? post on this thread. She wrote many subsequent posts elucidating her point - even explaining that perhaps her use of that phrase wasn't the best choice of words.

 

Apparently no one caught that post. Or maybe it was glossed over in rage. I don't know.

 

The other thing that stands out to me (that also appears to have been glossed over), is the main WORDS of EMs writing (which seem to have been lost in translation or something): she is talking about a culturally appropriate education. It is rigorous by default. But rigor isn't the point she is trying to get across. Culturally appropriate is. She isn't saying anyone else sucks. Or that what they are doing sucks. She is trying to tell you what is considered rigorous IN ITALY.

 

As in, her child is receiving an education that is culturally appropriate for an Italian child who wishes to go on to university (eg: a child who will be joining the European "intellectual class" vs the "worker class"; two very different, very separate things there).

 

Obviously, a culturally appropriate education for an American child would be completely different: an American child should have a solid (eg: extensive compared to that of a non-American) grounding in American history and government. There is no reason for an Italian child to have more than a passing familiarity with American history and government. They should, however, have a solid grounding in Italian history and government. Both children would be well served by a solid background in WORLD history, so that they can understand the place they, and their nation fits in the greater "puzzle".

 

History is just the example I am giving. As we all know from reading the WTM, history and literature are intertwined. Science and maths weave together, and then together again with history and literature. It is the story of mankind. Will children pluck pieces of what they learn and devise their own, particular goals and interests? Of course they will. European kids don't finish uni as strictly classicists; they finish as doctors and lawyers and economists and engineers and linguists and everything else that people all over the world finish uni as! The difference is, they all have a common base that is established at the lycee level. (I believe someone said Princeton does this? Although that is the uni level, not the lycee level.) eg: it doesn't matter if a kid wants to be a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, an artist - anything! They have the pre-requisites. They have the maths, the sciences, the art history. They can enter any program they want.

 

Again, trying to lay the American school model over someone else's model doesn't necessarily work. In Europe, "grade school" is only K-6. There *is* no "jr high" and "high school". In what would be "7th grade", kids who are on track to uni head over to lycee or gymnasium, where they stay until what would be "13th grade". If they are going to medical school (for example), they start in "14th grade" and just GO for 8-10 years. Everyone already has the same "base" (from gymnasium or lycee), so it doesn't have to be reiterated at uni.

 

Would this necessarily work in America? I doubt it. The American "experience" is completely different. By that I mean that America has been built on principles of rugged individualism that are the near antithesis of Europe (having been built primarily by people who didn't like the political, economic, and religious... stifling of Europe & Britain, afterall).

 

But does this make learning about this system worthless? I don't think so. Believe it or not, there are children who find comfort in a system such as this. Some children like the rigid, unbending nature of such a system. They like the idea of knowing not only what they will be learning 3 years ahead, but that everyone around them will be in the same boat. And it isn't a "oh, I want to be like everyone else" kind of thing; it is a "oh, I'll have something to talk about with anyone I meet" kind of thing. It is freeing for a shy person. It is liberating for kids who have to change schools.

 

Again, would this necessarily work in the US in general? Probably not. But are there kids (anywhere) for whom a system such as this would be a good fit? Absolutely. To make blanket statements that seemingly (note: I'm saying "seemingly"- I'm not pointing a finger at anyone) refer to posts describing a European system (in this case, the Italian one) as being "elitist" -- well, I find that to be "elitist".

 

 

a

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Interestingly, Canada, NZ, and Australia were ranked 6th, 7th, and 9th, overall, in the latest international test results (PISA). The US ranked 17th overall. Italy ranked 29th. Germany, France, and the UK were below the US but above Italy.

 

I know the PISA tests only represent a tiny snapshot of a country's educational system (a sample of 15 year olds, tested in math, science, and reading), but it does suggest that maybe the US educational system isn't that bad, compared to many European countries, especially given the incredible diversity of US schools. And I think Canadians, Kiwis and Aussies should be proud that their countries rank so highly — making the top 10, alongside the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Singaporeans, without the oppressive features of the Asian educational systems, is pretty impressive IMO.

 

If I were going to listen to anyone's ideas about how to improve US education, I'd be more inclined to listen to those whose educational systems outrank ours. ;)

 

Jackie

 

Oh, good lord.

 

No wonder I live here.

 

 

a

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LOL - Mine were so steeped in the Egyptian and Greek myths and Celtic music (our heritage) that they were rather anti-Roman when we finally got to them. They knew that our own history didn't show up in standard stories until the Mabinogian and King Arthur and Beowulf and all that. With mine, it was the American Revolution that was a surprise. One day when we were studying it, they said, "You know Mum, I bet we would have been Tories!" Actually, we weren't, at least the ancesters that were here at the time weren't. One hothead threw tea overboard. And the stories from my husband's side of the family make me think they wouldn't have been either. But being a Tory would be consistent with the more global, we're all in this together, there are better ways to solve problems than wars approach that we have so emphasized GRIN.

 

-Nan

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He grew up on a small farm, and worked on farms in his teen/tween years. He has hands that have worked, as well as a brain that works. I respect that.

 

My boys have learned so many useful skills on our farm. Hubby learned them growing up too. Every time he takes them out to fix fence, electric, plumbing, or equipment I keep telling him he's raising our boys to be GREAT husbands!

 

We were in a small (adult) social group once when one husband complained... saying, "Do you know what it's like being married to a woman whose father could fix ANYTHING?" It made me think we're on the right track being sure our boys learn everything and anything they can as life gives them opportunities.

 

My oldest is already in demand at college when it comes to fixing things...

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Ahem. I am a female and can fix many things. Completely self-taught, too. :)

 

Well... I grew up on a farm too and learned many things while there, but I still appreciate letting the guys do the majority of the fixing now. :tongue_smilie:

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Well... I grew up on a farm too and learned many things while there, but I still appreciate letting the guys do the majority of the fixing now. :tongue_smilie:

 

I suppose I shouldn't say this, but I think I do better work than most guys. :D

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On the idea of expectations, I think we are educating our dc with our different perspectives/experiences in place. My dh and I both feel strongly that we were short-changed in the education department. I wanted to try so many different careers. I ultimately wanted to be a doctor, but being a linguist or scientist was often considered too. My husband wanted to be a lawyer. We are not any of these. To be fair, I would have to say that family upbringing had some affect on this, but, for both of us, these doors were firmly shut. I started college pre-med, but knew within a semster of college that I would not succeed. My highschool experience and education before high school did not prepare me for this. I did well (well, average in math and sciences) but all the A's in biology, microbiology, anatamy & physiology meant little since the way I learned this material was often so pathetic. (And yes, I actually went to a decent public school and it was one of the best in my area). This is not to say that I didn't have some teachers that were better than others, but in the end it wasn't enough. And sure, you could get me on other factors (working to support myself left not enough time to study, my own lack of dedication sometimes, etc.), but in general it was my background, my high school education, that shut this door. My husband feels exactly the same. He can't even remember having to read but a handful of classics. Classics are not the end all-be all, but they, by their very nature, challenge and train the brain in ways that easier books cannot. My dh's reading skills have greatly improved, but the sheer lack of practice he has had with it makes reading any classic novel or poem so difficult that he certainly cannot enjoy it. He hands it back with a sheepish, embarassed grin. He want to know more, but as a father, husband and provider it is hard to find the time. Languages, math and science provide this same training. Yes, I agree there are many ways to accomplish this...I'm staying out of this aspect of this thread. I just wanted to add a small perspective as to why having higher expectations might be of value. I want to have high expectations of my dc because I believe that without them we will never know of their potential. I'm barely capable of teaching at this level and I know it. Knowledge is good in this case, since this will keep me on my toes and always working to provide new options for the girls. If I set the bar high enough, then I know that while we may not be able to achieve that bar, I will at least know that we did all that we could to get there. If I set the bar too low, then I never gave us (me and dc) a chance. I don't want the high school experience of my two girls to be one where doors are not open to them. Not every child figures out who or what they want to be at fourteen. If my older dd changes her mind as she matures and decides she might be interested in a math or science field after all, then I want her preparation to still be there. So, we will put four years (or more) into math and science because the experience is of value. My poor degree is in education (:tongue_smilie:) and being truly educated is a freedom and gift to every child. I wouldn't have been a very good teacher without that idea. I've always know that the more we ask of children (and yes provide the tools of good teaching, etc. as well) then the more they will gain.

 

I am hitting submit with great fear....I have stayed out of this so far since I'm terrible at confrontation. Since I write and submit this without any confrontation in mind for anyone, I hope it reads this way.

 

I am grateful for all of these voices on this forum, in case, this helps too.

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And equally, an exclusively academic education without skills like basic plumbing, electricity, and house repair really are big "gaps" that affect some of us (i.e. me), when we end up paying out huge amounts of money to have things fixed that others can do by themselves.

 

My dh and his sister were given a much better grounding in this sort of thing than I was, b/c my in-laws were DIY-ers who never minded explaining what they were doing. They pay to have things done more now, but they're a good bit older, and both still working full time. In my family (parents/siblings), there seems to be a real bias against doing many things one's self...anything other than light gardening/simple cosmetic improvements. As we learn to do more things ourselves to cut expenses, it becomes more and more apparent.

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I really find it fascinating how many people appear to be stuck on this one comment. Especially since it was from EMs first? post on this thread.

The term Fachidiot has been used in many posts, not just this one, and always in the same context: that failure to follow a very specific type of syllabus will result in adults who are "subject idiots," and that America, because of it's inferior educational system, is full of these "subject idiots" and has produced very few true intellectuals.

 

It's not just one term used in one post. I am taking the term in context, and I'm taking that post in the context of many other posts.

 

To make blanket statements that seemingly (note: I'm saying "seemingly"- I'm not pointing a finger at anyone) refer to posts describing a European system (in this case, the Italian one) as being "elitist" -- well, I find that to be "elitist".

I don't think anyone has referred to the entire Italian educational system as "elitist;" clearly it's not. We're talking about the sort of education that the "creme de la creme" of society get.

 

Insisting that anyone who does not follow the same subjects and syllabus as the "creme de la creme" of society — whether that refers to the "creme de la creme" of Italian society or the "creme de la creme" of American society, is by definition elitist. It's saying that we must all model our children's education on whatever the elite in our society study. I made the point that the education received by the "elite" in our society (e.g. children who go to Philips Exeter and other very expensive top prep schools) may actually resemble the education I'm giving my kids more closely than it does a strictly classical education. They definitely allow, and even encourage, students to combine the courses they need (for college/career) with the courses they like, which according to EM results in utilitarian-hedonists, not intellectuals.

 

There's an inherent contradiction in saying that of course what constitutes the "best" education is culturally relative, and of course it should be modeled on what the elite in your country study. Unless of course what the elite in your country study doesn't match a European classical education, in which case you shouldn't model your child's education on an elite American education, you should model it on a European classical education.

 

Anyway, this thread has devolved into an extended exigesis of one person's posts, which is getting increasingly OT. My apologies to the OP.

 

Jackie

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Anyway, this thread has devolved into an extended exigesis of one person's posts, which is getting increasingly OT. My apologies to the OP.

 

Jackie

 

Thanks for the summary for those of us that fell behind and can't catch up. While not part of this thread, the summary has reinforced my plan that my boys will not even apply Ivy due to their perceived elitism. I hate elitism no matter which country it is in. Fortunately, middle son has come to a similar conclusion himself while thinking about schools otherwise I'd have to decide whether my concerns should outweigh his desires. We're now on the same wavelength for many of the same reasons.

 

But, my boys are getting a good education - just not the potential "elitist" mentality that can come with it.

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The term Fachidiot has been used in many posts, not just this one, and always in the same context: that failure to follow a very specific type of syllabus will result in adults who are "subject idiots," and that America, because of it's inferior educational system, is full of these "subject idiots" and has produced very few true intellectuals.

 

It's not just one term used in one post. I am taking the term in context, and I'm taking that post in the context of many other posts.

 

Oh. I must have missed the many other posts.

 

 

I don't think anyone has referred to the entire Italian educational system as "elitist;" clearly it's not. We're talking about the sort of education that the "creme de la creme" of society get.

 

Insisting that anyone who does not follow the same subjects and syllabus as the "creme de la creme" of society — whether that refers to the "creme de la creme" of Italian society or the "creme de la creme" of American society, is by definition elitist. It's saying that we must all model our children's education on whatever the elite in our society study. I made the point that the education received by the "elite" in our society (e.g. children who go to Philips Exeter and other very expensive top prep schools) may actually resemble the education I'm giving my kids more closely than it does a strictly classical education. They definitely allow, and even encourage, students to combine the courses they need (for college/career) with the courses they like, which according to EM results in utilitarian-hedonists, not intellectuals.

 

There's an inherent contradiction in saying that of course what constitutes the "best" education is culturally relative, and of course it should be modeled on what the elite in your country study. Unless of course what the elite in your country study doesn't match a European classical education, in which case you shouldn't model your child's education on an elite American education, you should model it on a European classical education.

 

Anyway, this thread has devolved into an extended exigesis of one person's posts, which is getting increasingly OT. My apologies to the OP.

 

Jackie

 

I now have no idea what you're talking about. It is probably best that you have decided that the thread is now over.

 

All the best,

 

 

asta

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Kfamily, I think most of us shape our children's educations at least in part due to what we perceive as problematic or lacking in our own. It's perfectly understandable to me how your experiences and regrets lead to what you're doing. I think Jackie's approach to her son's education was formed by precisely the same kind of thing: the frustrating and non-accommodating experience her dh had, and her own experiences being bored in school. I had a really really bad science education in public school; and though I don't wish that I'd gone into science professionally, I certainly wish I knew a whole lot about it than I do, and part of homeschooling's pleasures for me is the chance to educate myself in that field alongside my dd.

 

Glad you posted.

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I hate elitism no matter which country it is in.

 

 

:iagree: As well, intellectual/educational elitism is no different than cultural, racial or ethnic, or financial elitism; aamof, they're all rolled up in the same big, ugly ball of wax.

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