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Nan in Mass

Just curious - Are homeschool curriculums dumbing down like ps ones?...

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Not, not NE. It is a nautical term. I can't remember what the old term for one is. Our modern one is called a knot log. Ours is a little spinny thing on the bottom of the boat and some electronics that does some calculations and an LED screen that shows how fast the boat is going. A knot is a unit of speed - one nautical mile per hour. The old version (we were on an old schooner on a field trip when I heard the teacher mangling the explanation) consisted of a bit of wood on a long string with knots tied in it at intervals. You drop the wood overboard and pay the string out, counting the number of knots that run through your fingers in yae many seconds. You can use rate x time = distance and come up with how far you have come. Your compass tells you your direction. If you put the two together, you can, in theory, tell where you are using dead reckoning. Of course, this doesn't take into account currents and drift and some other things. And now you know more about how ships calculated their speed than you ever wanted to know GRIN.

-Nan

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Maybe that is where I am getting hung up ...

 

What I have tried to do is decide what I think we need to work on for each child at a particular grade and then decide what I can use to do that. But as my oldest is getting older, I start worrying that I am missing something, you know?

 

I guess I am just wondering about those of you who do feel strongly that things have been dumbed down. What is a good example of that? What is a good example of some things that aren't? And what are your guidelines for telling the difference? How are you coming up with the standards for it?

 

I think I am talking in circles, but I have been thinking (ok, overthinking) some of these things this year as I try to line up high school so I can make sure 7th and 8th grade prepare us for it. Maybe it is just last chance jitters, but all my friends are enrolled in a program, and the fact that I am uncomfortable enrolling makes me feel a little like I need to justify what I am doing IRL to my IRL friends. So all this makes me think I need something concrete to help me figure that out.

 

I agree with Angela; I have no desire to discuss particular products. My concern is more about what is appropriate high school work and how do parents achieve appropriate goals independently (as in not feeling obligated to use a co-op but feeling affirmed in teaching themselves.)

 

Instead of laundry listing all of the problems and "fear-mongering" (which I agree with many of the posts I skimmed is counter-productive), why don't we address the bolded part of your post.

 

First, why is a co-op or program better equipped to teach high school than you are? (those are arguments straight out of the NEA handbook and which homeschoolers have disproved.) There are probably some wonderful co-ops out there, but 90% of the ones I have seen use homeschool marketed materials that are designed to be easy to teach and use at home. (Apologia, IEW, MUS, Saxon, etc.......unless the teacher is altering the program significantly, then the program is accessible to the student/teacher at home b/c they are designed or packaged in a way that they are meant to be used by a non-specialized teacher.)

 

Second, why is enrolling in a program a more valid or appropriate choice? I disagree that it is on fundamental homeschooling philosophy. But......I also disagree b/c personal experience has proven it to me on another level. My rising 12th grader did almost all online classes in 9th grade. You know what? It was the WORST academic yr she ever had. Why? I relied far too much on those courses and expected those teachers to teach everything she needed to know and for her to be on autopilot with them. I was distracted by the rest of our lives and I dropped the ball on my responsibilities.

 

Third, why are the opinions of friends valid? I love my homeschooling friends, but I learned many yrs ago to never discuss homeschooling with them. We have completely opposing views on what is appropriate educationally. I didn't/don't give them my opinion on what they should be doing in their homes and I ignored them when they try to tell me what I should be doing. Isn't the entire premise behind homeschooling HOME? Isn't it about teaching our kids individually and meeting those unique needs? Or is it simply to not send them to ps? :confused:

 

I have found the classes that my children have the greatest success in are the ones where I put the most effort into planning/creating. I have written about it before, but the Jesuit idea of prelection has been upheld as valid in our homeschool. Prelection: Understanding had to precede learning, and, according to the Jesuits, the teacher's first task was careful preparation of the material to be taught (the prelection). I do not have to be an expert in what I am teaching, but I do have to reviewed the materials and have clear objectives of what I want them to learn. When I am engaged, they blossom. I don't have to learn it as well as I expect them to, nor do I need to read every book they read. But some active pre-engagement with the material on my part vs. simply handing them a pre-fab course or relying completely on some other "teacher" is at the heart of when my kids are successful. (The exception to this in our house has been with math and private tutors or AoPS online. I only get in the way of my ds's learning if I attempt to take a "teaching" role. But, he is an exception himself, so I guess that is why it is what it is. ;) )

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Not, not NE. It is a nautical term. I can't remember what the old term for one is. Our modern one is called a knot log. Ours is a little spinny thing on the bottom of the boat and some electronics that does some calculations and an LED screen that shows how fast the boat is going. A knot is a unit of speed - one nautical mile per hour. The old version (we were on an old schooner on a field trip when I heard the teacher mangling the explanation) consisted of a bit of wood on a long string with knots tied in it at intervals. You drop the wood overboard and pay the string out, counting the number of knots that run through your fingers in yae many seconds. You can use rate x time = distance and come up with how far you have come. Your compass tells you your direction. If you put the two together, you can, in theory, tell where you are using dead reckoning. Of course, this doesn't take into account currents and drift and some other things. And now you know more about how ships calculated their speed than you ever wanted to know GRIN.

-Nan

 

Oh, knots as in sailing! I know nothing about sailing. There's a quote from a movie I really like - "My uncle hated boats. He said it was like being in prison with a chance of drowning" - and that pretty much sums up my attitude. Thanks!

 

(Good thing I wasn't on that field trip...not sure I could explain why boats don't sink either... :auto:)

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I understand not wanting to name names. I knew it was a longshot when I asked. But I do think it is hard to think about these things and have a discussion like this without common reference points. How can I know what these things look like without an example? But I do think I am starting to see the bigger picture.

 

I agree that co-op, friends, and even message boards really can't take the place of personal interaction. But at the same time, I wonder, and I see a lot of other moms who haven't graduated anyone yet wonder, how we can make these determinations and be secure on our path when it really does often look very different than what we grew up with and what our IRL peers are doing.

 

It is also hard to evaluate how rigorous something is OR how rigorous a subject really needs to be on this side of the wall peering over. I tend to stumble in and figure it out somewhere past my first child and in the middle of the second. Lucky child number three won't have such a trial and error mess to wade through, I guess. I still have two years to go, so I will go back to lurking on this board and hopefully come up with the missing piece before I need it.

 

Anyhow, this is a fascinating conversation.

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It is also hard to evaluate how rigorous something is OR how rigorous a subject really needs to be on this side of the wall peering over. I tend to stumble in and figure it out somewhere past my first child and in the middle of the second. Lucky child number three won't have such a trial and error mess to wade through, I guess. I still have two years to go, so I will go back to lurking on this board and hopefully come up with the missing piece before I need it.

 

 

Probably your third child will be completely different and necessitate totally rethinking everything! :D Ask me how I know. My three oldest children are as completely different from one another as it is possible to be, in learning styles, interests, and potential careers.

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Guest Dulcimeramy
Probably your third child will be completely different and necessitate totally rethinking everything! :D Ask me how I know. My three oldest children are as completely different from one another as it is possible to be, in learning styles, interests, and potential careers.

 

So true! And that is such a kick in the head. So sure we know what we're doing, proved wrong yet again...

 

Asenik :grouphug:

 

I answered your pm. I'm sorry I made the same decision as the others to not really focus on particular curriculum. I hope what I said was helpful, anyway. What I would really like to do is invite you and your kids over for the afternoon and talk about these things as we look over my stacks of books and teacher's manuals.

 

There was this moment in my life, right before we started 8th grade with my oldest, when an older hs'ing mom had me over and gave me the chance to just...soak up her calm demeanor. It was priceless. I got to watch her interact with her teens with humor and love. I got to observe how she manipulated hs materials as useful for educational purposes but even more useful as tools for relationship-building with her kids...I saw the way she watched their faces to see if their eyes were alight with interest and understanding. I got a new vision of homeschooling teens.

 

It is so hard to be on either end of that kind of mentoring online. These WTM boards are the best that most of us are going to get, and I am so thankful to Janice, Stacy, Nan, Carol, cathmom, Angela, 8FilltheHeart, Faith, and many others for talking about hs'ing through high school here. They aren't hoarding their wisdom and experience. They are sharing it freely, and it makes a difference.

 

:) :) :)

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Groan - my third is different and I had to reevaluate everything. I understand your frustration. My experience here has been a little different, I think. I have made friends, people who have stepped in and said to me, "Wait, I don't think that would suit your family." I have been grateful whenever it has happened. I have also had people take my worry seriously, listen carefully, and work with me to work out a solution. All online. I've watched the board fairly consistently over a number of years and tend to know which people I have something in common with, and I have been fairly open about our family and our problems so people have come to know me well enough to feel confident offering help. It is a scary business offering advice, especially about something as potentially damaging as homeschooling. The older my children get, the more I realize that and cringe at the thought of all the bad advice I have probably given. I spelled out how *I* tell if something is right for my family here: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2825910#poststop. I understand why it might be frustrating to those of you with younger children, but the older one's children get, the more they diverge and the more one realizes that no two paths are alike and that that illusive thing called rigour looks very different from family to family and from child to child and that it isn't as simple as picking this curriculum over that curriculum but instead, something more complicated from the very beginning. TWTM describes that complicatedness fairly well (although you might want to look at different options for high school science) and for my family, at least, describes how to steer a comfortable path between rigorous in an overly strict way and so relaxed that it impairs one's chances of continuing one's academic education as an adult. I've been grateful that this conversation hasn't deteriorated into specifics, because once it does, it is bound to get acrimonious.

 

-Nan

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P.S. Another great tangent: Crazy U by Ferguson. If you haven't read it, I would strongly recommend it. He shines the truth-flashlight on so many houses-of-cards that I took SUCH great comfort in when I was navigating the college-selection process with my oldest. He shows them for what they are: industries that have grown out of the parents' need for advice and comfort during an intensely difficult transition. We all want to know that we are giving our kids the best (which is ironically a statistical impossibility). The industry finds a way to make us feel better about our choices. And the irony is that since the money follows our demand around, the capitalistic process actually erodes the final value of our choices. The influx of capital actually weakens the options. A great read!

 

:iagree: Having gone through the college application process, I really enjoyed reading this book. Highly recommended for parents of high schoolers!

 

Brenda

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and that that illusive thing called rigour looks very different from family to family and from child to child and that it isn't as simple as picking this curriculum over that curriculum but instead, something more complicated from the very beginning. TWTM describes that complicatedness fairly well (although you might want to look at different options for high school science) and for my family, at least, describes how to steer a comfortable path between rigorous in an overly strict way and so relaxed that it impairs one's chances of continuing one's academic education as an adult. I've been grateful that this conversation hasn't deteriorated into specifics, because once it does, it is bound to get acrimonious.

 

-Nan

 

Well said! Isn't this the high stakes "game" we play, the tightrope we walk? Balancing that need for an education that makes gives our kids a leg up in a now very competitive world, but also lets them be, well, them...plugging up gaps and yet knowing that gaps happen and we can't teach everything - they can't learn everything - so what gaps do we allow, what do we let go? :scared:

 

I've always said that homeschooling isn't for cowards! :D

 

Faith

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I understand not wanting to name names. I knew it was a longshot when I asked. But I do think it is hard to think about these things and have a discussion like this without common reference points. How can I know what these things look like without an example? But I do think I am starting to see the bigger picture.

 

 

 

Here is my problem with naming names. I rejected certain curricula after a cursory look at a curriculum fair or from reading online table of contents/sample pages. Most of my rejects were not tested on my child. So when someone asks what the hive thinks about Curriculum A and I say "I was not impressed", I am immediately told by a believer that this is because I did not use it or implement it correctly.

 

Take Algebra I. Everyone is usually pleased as punch with the text selection until they reach a certain point in the program--often factoring. With great regularity, we see posts asking for help with curriculum swapping. I am not sure this is always the answer. Often, I believe that the parent needs to become more engaged or a tutor needs to be hired. It is the rare student who can process math on his own or with a prerecorded lecture. Sometimes, that second choice (Curriculum B) will work. The student understands the second time around. Does that make Curriculum B superior to A? Not necessarily. Repetition may have helped, the student may be more mature. Hopefully there was more parental engagement.

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Take Algebra I. Everyone is usually pleased as punch with the text selection until they reach a certain point in the program--often factoring. With great regularity, we see posts asking for help with curriculum swapping. I am not sure this is always the answer. Often, I believe that the parent needs to become more engaged or a tutor needs to be hired. It is the rare student who can process math on his own or with a prerecorded lecture. Sometimes, that second choice (Curriculum B) will work. The student understands the second time around. Does that make Curriculum B superior to A? Not necessarily. Repetition may have helped, the student may be more mature. Hopefully there was more parental engagement.

 

This is just so true. We use Lial's Introductory Algebra here and ds struggled right from the beginning. I just wasn't certain how to handle it and dh felt it was a matter of maturity in thinking not gaps in his pre-algebra skills. He convinced me to give ds something else while delaying algebra 1 for a few months. I bought Life of Fred Pre-algebra for some review and lighthearted math while continuing to supplement from other sources. This is what he did from November - April. Instead of then purchasing something besides Lial's, I brought the textbook out again and we began. It was like I had a new student. Something had snapped to attention in his brain, his emotional maturity, etc. He's off and running and the portion he was stumped in...well, that's become a no-brainer.

 

I will say that something which might have helped ds in this regard is that dh also began teaching him Visual Basic 6 programming and gave him a computer programming algorhythms book as a resource. Since there is a lot of applied algebra in this type of program work, I think that it helped ds as he was so enthusiastic about learning it. We'll see if his M.I.T. opencourseware Introduction to Java programming helps his logical thinking skills as immensely as VB has.

 

So, I agree completely with Jane that just because a switch to one curriculum over another works, it does not necessarily correlate to the new curriculum being superior to the former.

 

Faith

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So is that part of the real issue? The use of grammar stage materials in high school level programs? I think I need some concrete advice on how not to do this and what I am really looking for as I plan our high school journey. How do I know the materials I am choosing are really in line with what they need to be, especially if I am choosing something not in WTM?

 

 

By knowing your child, I think. And I guess I'll also say by knowing yourself.

 

 

It's hard to point out any particular program as one to stay away from or one to get. Again, I don't think curriculum has that kind of power. Even WTM recommends math programs like Teaching Textbooks and Math U See. For some children those may not be enough, but for some kids Math U See or TT might be completely appropriate. I've read on some homeschool boards about parents who are engineers who feel that all a kid needs is something like TT or Math U See. And maybe they're right. They know their kids. I only know mine. Same with hard sciences. Maybe your child can handle AP Chem. And maybe not. So, there are lots of options out there. Choose something that will work for your child, the child that you know. Maybe a future lit major doesn't really need to pursue an AP science. WTM also talks about specializing at the high school level, so a child needs time to do that, which to me seems to indicate that not all subjects will be handled as in depth as others.

 

 

I think you know your materials are in line with what they need to be if you are interacting with your student and working with them. Doesn't the rhetoric stage emphasize expression and abstract thinking? As SWB states about the rhetoric stage, "a student expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language." So, I would say, if you're looking for particulars, giving a high school kid a history text book and having them *only* fill in the blanks at the end of the chapter and do true/false questions, that probably isn't going to encourage rhetoric level thinking. But if you have a kid with some developmental delays or LDs, maybe that's completely fine.

 

 

If a high school age child is reading, writing, and discussing their readings with a parent or someone else and forming opinions and learning to put those opinions on the page and logically support them, isn't that rhetoric stage work? Do all books read have to be super challenging? Not in my opinion. Do you need a specific curriculum to do that? I don't think so. Ideally, it's more about what you're doing with your child and how well you know your child. You should be doing this stuff with your child. That's the ideal IMO. And when you step away from that and rely on a curriculum to do the interacting, there's something lost. Not saying it can't be done, not saying it can't be sufficient and maybe even better what they'd get elsewhere, but I am saying that a curriculum writer doesn't know your child, only you do, and I do think something is lost along the way.

 

 

Also, as to the importance of knowing yourself, know your limitations. If you are interacting with your child and trying to guide them, and, for example, you don't have a good understanding of grammar or know how to construct essays, etc. then I guess that makes it hard to guide your child. Can kids learn some things on their own? Sure. Do I think it's ideal? Not really. I know I need some kind of help teaching my child Latin. The best I could do is find someone else to teach her. Am I thrilled with online class format? Well, every format has its ups and downs, but I think too much in online format is just not the best approach, at least not in our house for my kids. But do I rule it out completely? No. I am trying to do the best I can with what I have available to me. I would rather my child learn Latin than take it off her schedule because of my limits. But me not knowing it definitely makes it harder. As a homeschooler, I have placed my trust in another teacher, and when a teacher is only getting to know my child via a computer, that's hard. But I think in some cases, it can work. Math? Well, after a certain point, I need help there, too. Do I think a program like TT can work? Possibly. Again, even WTM lists it as an option. In some cases, it might be the best possible option for a family for upper level math. Or maybe AoPS is the best possible option for a particular child and family.

 

 

It can be hard to know what's appropriate for the rhetoric stage if you as the parent don't have a foundation yourself in the subject areas to guide your children through high school and you as the parent don't have the time/inclination to do what it takes to become proficient in those areas. But I also don't think a parent of a high school homeschooler has to master all things to homeschool high school or that it's a reasonable approach that a parent must master all things at that level. That's why--IMO--we should not be discouraging people from using community college at some point or tutors or even some online classes and saying those people are not really homeschooling. When we get to a stage of learning with our children where they are specializing and learning things we don't have a foundation in and possibly can't get a foundation in, I think it would honestly be a disservice to a child to limit them to learning at home with a parent and a curriculum and saying that is in some way superior to sending them to a cc class or a tutor.

 

 

And many thanks to SWB for putting out her book to guide us through the homeschool years.

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I have found the classes that my children have the greatest success in are the ones where I put the most effort into planning/creating. I have written about it before, but the Jesuit idea of prelection has been upheld as valid in our homeschool. Prelection: Understanding had to precede learning, and, according to the Jesuits, the teacher's first task was careful preparation of the material to be taught (the prelection). I do not have to be an expert in what I am teaching, but I do have to reviewed the materials and have clear objectives of what I want them to learn. When I am engaged, they blossom. I don't have to learn it as well as I expect them to, nor do I need to read every book they read. But some active pre-engagement with the material on my part vs. simply handing them a pre-fab course or relying completely on some other "teacher" is at the heart of when my kids are successful. (The exception to this in our house has been with math and private tutors or AoPS online. I only get in the way of my ds's learning if I attempt to take a "teaching" role. But, he is an exception himself, so I guess that is why it is what it is. ;) )

 

I agree wholeheartedly. We afterschool, and I have found 8FillTheHeart's advice to be true while teaching my son certain subjects.

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Interesting.

 

We sacrificed a lot of that good stuff when I decided I wanted strong, coordinated self-disciplined sons and that the way to achieve that was through gymnastics. It was a huge sacrifice. Many years I was not a praticularly happy mummy as I hastily tossed hard boiled eggs and little carrots into the back seat along with my children and set off to spend the evening away from my husband in a dank smelly waiting room. The whole thing paid for itself many time over when my oldest fell off a second story roof. Throughout it all, people kept asking us if we were doing it for college scholarships. Sometimes there is more to those activities than college admissions. We didn't do piano lessons for college admissions, either. (They were not always joyful.) We did piano lessons so our children would be able to play guitar with their friends when they were our age GRIN. I think it would have been hard for me to put that much time and effort into something just so my child would go to college A rather than college B. Not that I don't think college is important, and not that I don't think college A has major advantages over college B, lifelong major advantages. I'm just not sure how good I would be at promising those advantages to my children. In order to make that sort of sacrifice, you have to ensure the cooperation of your children either by giving them something they want now or by making promises about the future. If it is something difficult, something that requires daily practice, and you have an ordinary sort of child, you probably are going to have to make some promises, at least occasionally. And I'm not sure I could in good conscious make that sort of promise. Too much is out of my control. It is those promises that have always worried me the most when I read about mothers like this. Anyway, just musing here... Thanks for the link.

-Nan

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I agree with Angela; I have no desire to discuss particular products. My concern is more about what is appropriate high school work and how do parents achieve appropriate goals independently (as in not feeling obligated to use a co-op but feeling affirmed in teaching themselves.)

 

Instead of laundry listing all of the problems and "fear-mongering" (which I agree with many of the posts I skimmed is counter-productive), why don't we address the bolded part of your post.

 

First, why is a co-op or program better equipped to teach high school than you are? (those are arguments straight out of the NEA handbook and which homeschoolers have disproved.) There are probably some wonderful co-ops out there, but 90% of the ones I have seen use homeschool marketed materials that are designed to be easy to teach and use at home. (Apologia, IEW, MUS, Saxon, etc.......unless the teacher is altering the program significantly, then the program is accessible to the student/teacher at home b/c they are designed or packaged in a way that they are meant to be used by a non-specialized teacher.)

 

Second, why is enrolling in a program a more valid or appropriate choice? I disagree that it is on fundamental homeschooling philosophy. But......I also disagree b/c personal experience has proven it to me on another level. My rising 12th grader did almost all online classes in 9th grade. You know what? It was the WORST academic yr she ever had. Why? I relied far too much on those courses and expected those teachers to teach everything she needed to know and for her to be on autopilot with them. I was distracted by the rest of our lives and I dropped the ball on my responsibilities.

 

Third, why are the opinions of friends valid? I love my homeschooling friends, but I learned many yrs ago to never discuss homeschooling with them. We have completely opposing views on what is appropriate educationally. I didn't/don't give them my opinion on what they should be doing in their homes and I ignored them when they try to tell me what I should be doing. Isn't the entire premise behind homeschooling HOME? Isn't it about teaching our kids individually and meeting those unique needs? Or is it simply to not send them to ps? :confused:

 

I have found the classes that my children have the greatest success in are the ones where I put the most effort into planning/creating. I have written about it before, but the Jesuit idea of prelection has been upheld as valid in our homeschool. Prelection: Understanding had to precede learning, and, according to the Jesuits, the teacher's first task was careful preparation of the material to be taught (the prelection). I do not have to be an expert in what I am teaching, but I do have to reviewed the materials and have clear objectives of what I want them to learn. When I am engaged, they blossom. I don't have to learn it as well as I expect them to, nor do I need to read every book they read. But some active pre-engagement with the material on my part vs. simply handing them a pre-fab course or relying completely on some other "teacher" is at the heart of when my kids are successful. (The exception to this in our house has been with math and private tutors or AoPS online. I only get in the way of my ds's learning if I attempt to take a "teaching" role. But, he is an exception himself, so I guess that is why it is what it is. ;) )

 

I agree with you to a point and this is where I have just come to the conclusion that I cannot give a rigorous education in every subject. Period. Sorry. I cannot. I cannot be that engaged with every subject with EVERY kid. Just cannot. I see that you have lots of kids, so perhaps you have been more successful and you can teach me. I have fallen down in handwriting and art. Probably because to me, they aren't that important and I hate both of those subjects as I failed them both in elementary. But here is next year's schedule and I am farming out more than ever before so I CAN be rigorous:

 

11th grader: AP Chemistry with pA homeschoolers. I hate science. I had horrible teachers and yes I would have to learn it with him...don't have time so they will do it. I had a horrible Chemistry teacher in high school. Never had to take science in college.

AP Government- again with PA homeschoolers I could actually learn and teach this one, but once again, don't have time. I may learn along with them

AP Literature- I'm teaching him this one

Spanish I - at the local CC.. I took Latin in high school, nothing in college... absolutely no way I could teach this

Racquetball- at the CC

Chalkdust PreCalculus- took this as a junior in high school, don't remember anything...College Algebra fufilled my requirement for math as a music major and it was EASY. I would have to relearn...don't have time

Total Health- I'll be grading this and may be adding in my own stuff

 

9th grader

TT Geometry- I will be relearning and teaching this to my son. Oldest did Chalkdust Geometry all by himself with no problems

AP Government through PA Homeschoolers- once again don't have time to learn

Apologia Biology- dh can help some here, doing labs at the co-op the rest of the work here, if he doesn't understand I'm refering him to doctor hubby

AP Literature- teaching this one wholeheartedly

Spanish I and Racquetball with oldest at CC

Health- same as above, some involvement with me

 

4th grade girl

INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING.

I'm teaching her a Texas history curriculum that I wrote myself. We will be really concentating on math and writing a good paragraph this year. Those are my top goals.

 

So as a mom I must prepare: English for my oldest two: this will require much teaching, reading grading, etc; keep up with grading Precalculus, Biology, and Health; relearning and helping with Geometry and teaching absolutely everything required for a rigorous 4th grader.... That is enough to make my head spin. There is no way I could involve myself fully in every single subject..no way. I am only human.

 

Christine

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Then how do you choose what is rigorous, what qualifies as enough for credits, or fills the need for muscle building?

 

This is especially difficult when you have a special needs learner, like I do, who cannot handle the more rigorous curriculum out there. Also when you need secular because your LD child gets distracted by the religious teaching or stories mentioned and wants to discuss them instead of the subject he is supposed to be learning.

 

It all feels so confusing. This is why my dh wants to find a 'school' instead of piece mealing.

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I came to that conclusion a long time ago. There are ones that *I* can't even colearn at a rigorous level. There is also the time problem. If I teach everything in a rigorous way, it takes a long time (because I am not an efficient, experienced teacher) and that would mean that my children spent all their time working on the things that *I* have chosen for them to learn, in a way specified by *me*. I would rather they had some time to learn some things they want to learn, in their own way. I try to make sure we are working on learning to think in at least one subject, that we are more or less on track for college admissions, that they are reading and writing better and better in most subjects, and that we don't waste time doing things that aren't leading to learning. Other than that, I have sort of given up on the whole rigorous thing. Sigh.

-Nan

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Nan,

 

You know what. I've read a lot of your posts and I'm pretty certain that despite your misgivings, the standards were there even if you have doubts. It just seems that your children are well prepared for life, college, career, and continued character development.

 

But, I can completely relate to the fear that I let her down in some area because when we DD hit her senior year, despite the fact she was getting into every college she applied to, and getting merit scholarships, and wowing them at college interviews, and rave reviews from her volunteer work, and..... you get the picture...my doubts ran rampant around my head; there were a lot of sleepless nights. I let the "What did I do wrong? What did I let drop? How will this affect her? Have I squashed her dream of____?" play a concert in my head.

 

I'm pretty certain that your kids are very well educated. :D

 

Faith

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I agree with you to a point and this is where I have just come to the conclusion that I cannot give a rigorous education in every subject. Period. Sorry. I cannot. I cannot be that engaged with every subject with EVERY kid. Just cannot. I see that you have lots of kids, so perhaps you have been more successful and you can teach me. I have fallen down in handwriting and art. Probably because to me, they aren't that important and I hate both of those subjects as I failed them both in elementary. But here is next year's schedule and I am farming out more than ever before so I CAN be rigorous:

 

11th grader: AP Chemistry with pA homeschoolers. I hate science. I had horrible teachers and yes I would have to learn it with him...don't have time so they will do it. I had a horrible Chemistry teacher in high school. Never had to take science in college.

AP Government- again with PA homeschoolers I could actually learn and teach this one, but once again, don't have time. I may learn along with them

AP Literature- I'm teaching him this one

Spanish I - at the local CC.. I took Latin in high school, nothing in college... absolutely no way I could teach this

Racquetball- at the CC

Chalkdust PreCalculus- took this as a junior in high school, don't remember anything...College Algebra fufilled my requirement for math as a music major and it was EASY. I would have to relearn...don't have time

Total Health- I'll be grading this and may be adding in my own stuff

 

9th grader

TT Geometry- I will be relearning and teaching this to my son. Oldest did Chalkdust Geometry all by himself with no problems

AP Government through PA Homeschoolers- once again don't have time to learn

Apologia Biology- dh can help some here, doing labs at the co-op the rest of the work here, if he doesn't understand I'm refering him to doctor hubby

AP Literature- teaching this one wholeheartedly

Spanish I and Racquetball with oldest at CC

Health- same as above, some involvement with me

 

4th grade girl

INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING.

I'm teaching her a Texas history curriculum that I wrote myself. We will be really concentating on math and writing a good paragraph this year. Those are my top goals.

 

So as a mom I must prepare: English for my oldest two: this will require much teaching, reading grading, etc; keep up with grading Precalculus, Biology, and Health; relearning and helping with Geometry and teaching absolutely everything required for a rigorous 4th grader.... That is enough to make my head spin. There is no way I could involve myself fully in every single subject..no way. I am only human.

 

Christine

 

I certainly hope I didn't give the impression that I am opposed to utilizing outside support for some subjects. I don't teach every subject and I have kids that take AP courses through PAH. That was not my point.

 

I will not pretend in any way that I am not 100% biased against co-ops, b/c I am. This post in one of the other s/o threads pretty much is in line w/ my experience with co-op-ees. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2833861#poststop I actually started a local support group for homeschoolers that were NOT using co-ops!!

 

I do teach most of my kids subjects though. It takes me all summer to prepare for the following yr. These 2 posts reflect the generalities of how I prepare: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2694236&highlight=prelection#post2694236

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2714463#poststop

 

I don't watch all of their lectures with them. I don't read all of their texts/books. I do look through the TC books that accompany the lectures; I do research novels online for key pts; I do purchase pre-fab programs and work through large portions during the summer, etc. However, I do employ private tutors or dual enrollment when I need to. I do not want all my kids to take classes at CCs. It just really boils down to how every grade level is tailored for every child.

 

My main pt is that I am actively involved in their education. Sometimes, not as much as I should.

 

Oh, and one other thought about these few threads in general, I think a course description of what is *rigorous* is arbitrary. What is rigorous for my dd would be way too easy for my ds. The beauty of being the actual teacher vs. using a co-op is that it doesn't have to be pre-defined. It is defined by the needs of the student.

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So, no one is willing to name any specific curriculum that are MORE or LESS rigorous. It seems that the issue of 'dumbing down' is more an issue of how the PARENT approaches homeschooling? Am I getting this right?

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So, no one is willing to name any specific curriculum that are MORE or LESS rigorous. It seems that the issue of 'dumbing down' is more an issue of how the PARENT approaches homeschooling? Am I getting this right?

 

No. There are homeschooling curricula that I wouldn't use if given to me for free. The problem is that when you discuss specific products it turns into a cafeteria food fight.

 

My general rule of thumb is that if it is a math or science product marketed strictly to homeschoolers, I run the other way. I have a few homeschool lit products that I like. There are homeschool providers that use standard texts and provide support like plans, exams, complete solutions manuals, etc that I also like (but still end up tweaking.) I avoid homeschool oriented history b/c the history is typically slanted.

 

All in all, I am very picky.:tongue_smilie:

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So, no one is willing to name any specific curriculum that are MORE or LESS rigorous. It seems that the issue of 'dumbing down' is more an issue of how the PARENT approaches homeschooling? Am I getting this right?

Nomina sunt odiosa. :tongue_smilie:

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Well, I think parents use things all different ways, for all different purposes. It was more wondering if the curriculum writers were producing things that would dumbed down if they were used the way their writers meant them to be used. If that makes any sense. I think homeschoolers, at least the orginial ones, have already proved that they use things creatively just by abandonning the school system. I think we all use things much more creatively than their non-homeschooling-mother writers ever imagined we would. Perhaps we just aren't very good at following directions GRIN. Maybe there are some places where homeschooling is more the norm where this might not be as true, but that certainly isn't true of my particular town.

 

-Nan

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No. There are homeschooling curricula that I wouldn't use if given to me for free. The problem is that when you discuss specific products it turns into a cafeteria food fight.

 

My general rule of thumb is that if it is a math or science product marketed strictly to homeschoolers, I run the other way. I have a few homeschool lit products that I like. There are homeschool providers that use standard texts and provide support like plans, exams, complete solutions manuals, etc that I also like (but still end up tweaking.) I avoid homeschool oriented history b/c the history is typically slanted.

 

All in all, I am very picky.:tongue_smilie:

 

Thank you...I see your points and they make perfect sense to me.

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Nomina sunt odiosa. :tongue_smilie:

 

Should I be embarrassed that I had to google this to get the exact meaning? :lol:

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No. There are homeschooling curricula that I wouldn't use if given to me for free. The problem is that when you discuss specific products it turns into a cafeteria food fight.

:tongue_smilie:

 

This! Stick neck out, question someone's favorite curriculum, get head cut-off, end up with moderators deleting thread when it gets really ugly!

 

So, yeah, many of the seasoned posters aren't going to be willing to talk in specifics.

 

But, Nan also brought up the valid point that much is dependent upon how the parent uses the product. We are a creative bunch. :D

 

Faith

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This! Stick neck out, question someone's favorite curriculum, get head cut-off, end up with moderators deleting thread when it gets really ugly!

 

Yes. There will always be a few people who can't just see it as someone else's opionion, but as a personal attack of the highest order on their own homeschool. Instead of just giving their (opposite) opinion, they need to refute and argue with yours. :glare: Been there, done that, many of us won't. go. there. again. *(Have you all seen Kung Fu Panda 2? Cue the scene with Schifu - sp? - shivering about the thought of his early days with Po, which everyone at my house now mimics daily :D) If we could ban them from the thread and make some ground rules, it would be fine, but otherwise? No way!

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There are things that I wouldn't use even if free, either. I would never have guessed how much variety is out there GRIN. I bought several things that were subsequently discovered to be unusable. Totally, totally unusable, even with lots of tweaking and explaining. There have been things that I used only in my lap, without letting my boys see the text. And yet others here love these things. Let us be tactful. : )

-Nan

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(I hope I don't kill this thread :blushing:)

 

I just want to say that I really appreciate it when those of you with a lot of experience talk about 'the old days' and about doing it yourself, on this thread and on the other one right now.

 

I often feel that the situation of homeschoolers in the Netherlands is comparable with those 'old days'. Noone has heard about homeschooling, it is barely legal and often homeschoolers have to go to court, there are no Dutch homeschool materials, oftentimes educational publishers won't even sell to us etc.

 

Of course we do have the internet and can learn from you all, but reading

these forums also gives the impression that you really *need* al those big history/literature/etc programs (not to mention coops and online classes). It is really inspiring to see that it can be done different. (Now, we only have to find a way to get into universities/vocational schools without having to do those #%|*^ state exams. Thinking of those I get really nervous.)

 

Anyway, I just wanted to say THANKS! You are AMAZING!

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Just posting so you aren't the last. : )

I am grateful to all the people who made homeschooling legal here in the US. Very, very grateful.

-Nan

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(Now, we only have to find a way to get into universities/vocational schools without having to do those #%|*^ state exams. Thinking of those I get really nervous.)

Why not just do them?

 

See (I hope you do not take this personally, you know I :001_wub: you, right?), this is what slightly infuriates ME (and I homeschool) - I think there is a certain amount of "entitlement to a different treatment" in the air when I discuss this with (European) homschoolers. If you actually school rather than joke around all day, why would you be afraid of exit state exams, why would you request a special treatment to get differently into universities if there is a common ground of acceptance, like in many European countries?

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The attempt to sever the homeschooling teacher completely befuddles me.

 

I'm a little late to the conversation & haven't read all of the posts yet, but here's my take on this.

 

In my area, we are often told that homeschooling fosters independent learning and that by the time a student is in the high school years (rhetoric) they will be working independently. Unfortunately, this broad statement doesn't take into account whether or not a student has a background that has trained their research, study and critical thinking skills that go into the development of an independent learner. I think many people get to this age with their students, find they aren't the independent learners that they thought they would be and conclude that the problem isn't the lack of background preparation, but the the materials they have been using that are the problem. Thus, they begin the search for materials that are touted as being independent, student directed, easy to plan, etc. The ease of use of the materials is what gets them the independent learner, not the actual development and interests of the student.

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Why not just do them?

 

See (I hope you do not take this personally, you know I :001_wub: you, right?), this is what slightly infuriates ME (and I homeschool) - I think there is a certain amount of "entitlement to a different treatment" in the air when I discuss this with (European) homschoolers. If you actually school rather than joke around all day, why would you be afraid of exit state exams, why would you request a special treatment to get differently into universities if there is a common ground of acceptance, like in many European countries?

 

Hi Ester! Again you raise a valid point. Thanks. :001_smile:

 

I can't speak to the European homeschool situation, but I can speak to the American point of view. In America, most of the exams, aside from the ACT and SAT, are very, very poorly designed and control over the content of these exams, such as the MEAP in Michigan, lies with the publishing company who claims they hire ex-educators, but in reality people who have never been in education are writing the questions and deciding, especially in the written portions, what constitutes an acceptable answer.

 

The problem we've seen is something like this writing portion of the 2004 MEAP for 3rd graders. The bulk of 3rd graders are 9 years old at the time this exam is administered, but there may also be some 8 year olds as well. Now here is the writing prompt from that test: Write two paragraphs comparing and contrasting the Greek and Roman empires including references to art, music, and architecture.

 

Hmmmm....is this developmentally appropriate? That's one good question. Here is another, unless you have a degree in music and have studied, as part of your ancient music history content, the very, very few surviving scraps of modes from those empires and the miniscle references archaeologists have found concerning music, instruments, etc. how can you even begin to make a reference concerning music. Additionally, exactly what art should the students in this age range have studied? There are some surviving sculptures, frescoes, and pottery from the Greeks but one would have to be fairly mature and have studied art history on a high school level already in order to understand the subtle differences between Roman and Greek art since the Romans borrowed so much culture from the Greeks. Most parents and educators are pretty certain it is absurd to be asking 8 and 9 year olds to write two paragraphs about this.

 

Now that is an example from the younger years, but these kinds of crazy questions show up on graded exit exams for each age. On the 2006 Masschussets high school exit exam there were ten calculus questions. The kids and proctors complained loudly about the content of those calculus questions. So, eventually six M.I.T. engineering students and one professor asked to sit that portion of the exam. What they found was that nine out of ten of those questions had no right answer (and on this portion of the multiple choice exam there was not the option of "no right answer").

 

This is commonplace here. Just a couple of years ago Minnesota hired the college board to create and administer high school exit exams for their state. There was a major mess up in SAT's grading of those exams and 8000 students who had actually passed the exam were told they failed and were not allowed to graduate. By the time the error was caught and new scores posted, it was nearly time for college classes to begin. Many of these students lost thousands and thousands of dollars in merit scholarships because they were not issued diplomas until it was too late. One young man, whose father had trained him in a specialty niche welding skill, had been offered a job that paid $28.00 an hour plus full benefits (pretty nice for an 18 year old) and the only requirement because his trade skill was so valued, was that he have a high school diploma. His job was given to someone else while he waited for the mess to be sorted out. SAT was required to pay out $1500.00 per student and a few managed to drag $3000.00 out of the college board. The loss in income and scholarships was quite large by comparison to the pittance the students received for the error.

 

On the Lousiana achievement tests in 2005, part of the publishing companies directives to teachers was that in early testing of the exam on "guinea pig" students, it was determined that the test was so stressful that 1-2% of students could be expected to vomit and that was even at the high school level. Teachers were warned that if they allowed the sick student to leave the room or attempted to get help for that student, they would be fired immediately for "cheating". Even if the student continued to vomit, absolutely nothing should be done for that child until the testing time was complete. These instructions also included that the teacher should take the student's answer sheet and test booklet, shake as much body fluid off as possible, place into a gallon baggie, and send in with the other tests. :glare: I have to tell you that I would not want to be the person grading the writing portion of that exam.

 

I wish I could say these are isolated cases. However, this is rather epidemic across state lines. There have been two very well documented books written about the corruption within the testing industry in the states as well as "teaching to the test". The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools by Alfie Kohn and Lois Bridges and Standardized Minds: The High Price Of America's Testing Culture And What We Can Do To Change It by Peter Sacks. Another interesting read is "Whatever Happened to Recess". The list of atrocities is mind-boggling. This is why American homeschoolers object to all of their students' hardwork being measured by a single test or two.

 

All things being equal, if the exams were well written by seasoned educators and educational psychologists, and produced by those that do not have a financial incentive to make sure that a certain percentage of students fail so that tutoring services for students and teacher, plus prep material will be purchased from that same publisher, then most of us wouldn't have our tails in a twist. :D In our homeschool, haven't shied away from standardized testing despite the problems. We've just learned not put any stock in the results and to help our kids understand that it is a hoop that must be jumped even if it isn't an indicator of skill level achieved.

 

But, now that I've explained some of the American dilemna, I'd like to say that what little I've read about the European system, seems to imply a great deal of intellectual honesty within the testing community.

 

I hope this helps. I'm not certain if Tess is from the states or not. I just thought I could explain some of the problems we have here.

 

Faith

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No. There are homeschooling curricula that I wouldn't use if given to me for free. The problem is that when you discuss specific products it turns into a cafeteria food fight.

 

My general rule of thumb is that if it is a math or science product marketed strictly to homeschoolers, I run the other way. I have a few homeschool lit products that I like. There are homeschool providers that use standard texts and provide support like plans, exams, complete solutions manuals, etc that I also like (but still end up tweaking.) I avoid homeschool oriented history b/c the history is typically slanted.

 

All in all, I am very picky.:tongue_smilie:

 

:iagree::iagree:

 

This year I am using some homeschool specific curricula, becaue I am ill:)...and need to have plans in case I have my older kids sub in for me.(don't worry, I have 3 adult kids:001_smile:). They would need a trail, and I am not up to writing one . This year our history/science / art etc, may be dumbed down, but I figure that is better than nor happening at all. I am not kidding myself about the rigor involved either....lol. I am just hoping things run smooth so I can recuperate and heal, and they can get back into the habit of daily schoolwork.

 

I know my goals....:D

Faithe

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This! Stick neck out, question someone's favorite curriculum, get head cut-off, end up with moderators deleting thread when it gets really ugly!

LOL, well, yeah. But also why rain on someone else's parade? Why spoil their day? Why allow even a hint of superiority and inferiority?

 

I like Nan's word... tact. I think that's why some of us won't start listing off our "unusable" curriculums. With experience comes the wisdom that we don't always know everything about anything. I'm glad this high school board rarely has those threads starting with "Why do you hate X?"

 

In the end, folks throughout history have been very well educated with virtually nothing. Curriculum is a help, but it isn't what educates the child.

 

Julie

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No.

My general rule of thumb is that if it is a math or science product marketed strictly to homeschoolers, I run the other way.

:tongue_smilie:

 

:iagree:

 

And I'm not really sure why some of them are so incredibly, almost unbelievably popular.

 

Georgia

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I'm glad this high school board rarely has those threads starting with "Why do you hate X?"

 

 

Thing is, though, that those threads are often incredibly helpful when I'm trying to figure out if a curriculum will work for my kids. Usually people who *don't* like a curriculum have detailed reasons for disliking it and, if allowed to articulate those reasons, can paint a decent picture of the program. I've only noticed threads becoming heated when people who *do* like whatever program jump in to defend it against criticism. Of course, my kids are grammar/logic age so I probably shouldn't even be posting here. :D

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Thing is, though, that those threads are often incredibly helpful when I'm trying to figure out if a curriculum will work for my kids. Usually people who *don't* like a curriculum have detailed reasons for disliking it and, if allowed to articulate those reasons, can paint a decent picture of the program. I've only noticed threads becoming heated when people who *do* like whatever program jump in to defend it against criticism. Of course, my kids are grammar/logic age so I probably shouldn't even be posting here. :D

 

Yeah, I hope you see the light when you get to this age.

 

Sure, it's easy to say why I hate things. Sometimes I vent a lot to dh! But to vent publicly, I must consider the cost. Would it be at the expense of people who were happy with what they were using until I caused them worry? At the expense of my own intelligence since I don't know everything? At the expense of helping my children, since they are unlikely to all be the same and curriculum options could dry up?

 

There are tactful ways of doing things without causing insult to other homeschoolers. Everyone here is spending a good part of their life teaching their own precious children and of course they get "heated" about anything that implies their children are receiving an inferior education.

 

Again, quality education has happened with virtually no materials. And great folks like Washington, Lincoln, Edison, & Ford had no diploma at all. My oldest son went to a highly inferior high school, with very inferior materials, and yet he graduated with honors from a competitive college with a petroleum engineering degree and is successfully employed. The materials are not as important as the teacher and the student, so why insult them both by saying you hate what they are doing?

 

Parents come to homeschool boards for encouragement; I'm sure they can obtain criticism elsewhere. If I could find no other way to be really happy with the info I was getting on a particular curriculum than to start a thread about hating it, then I'd do what my mother taught me and say nothing at all. I think that's a valid option.

 

I hope this helps explain another point of view on that.

Julie

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Thing is, though, that those threads are often incredibly helpful when I'm trying to figure out if a curriculum will work for my kids. Usually people who *don't* like a curriculum have detailed reasons for disliking it and, if allowed to articulate those reasons, can paint a decent picture of the program. I've only noticed threads becoming heated when people who *do* like whatever program jump in to defend it against criticism. Of course, my kids are grammar/logic age so I probably shouldn't even be posting here. :D

 

 

I disagree with your position that threads that ask why someone "hates X" program are beneficial. I find threads like that are more about venting instead of really articulating reason for the vent. It's just worded in a such a way that I dislike it. :lol:

 

When people who like a program have equally valid detailed reasons for liking "jump in", then, it paints a wider picture of the program. Maybe the "hater" just hit a road bump and needed help but didn't know to ask for help.

You know, just because someone else couldn't figure out how to successful use the product doesn't mean it will not work for you if you get information how to use it.

 

I don't think it is a valid position to assume that people who like a program do not have detailed reasons why they like it. Or that giving the Pro of a program is a wrong thing. you didn't intend to imply that, right? it's just too late at night on what I read?

 

maybe it is something about being at this stage of teaching that the "hate X" threads are nice to be missing over here. I think those titles are just asking for heat, and flames and not needed to understand pro/cons likes/dislikes, successes and failures.

 

but what do I know? I mostly avoided this topic for several days because of the title.

 

I should just go to sleep and not care...

 

(edit: since this thread was rehashed 2 years later..... I wanted to point out I think the difference is that in general when one posts a negative review on a product, it should be ok to have discussion from those who found the same negative and turned it into a working solution. I still don't like the idea of threads that are "just agree with me hta XYZ product is bad any more than I like "tell me only the good".) there is a big difference from discussion, vs. "non discussion reviews of products"

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I don't think it is a valid position to assume that people who like a program do not have detailed reasons why they like it. Or that giving the Pro of a program is a wrong thing. you didn't intend to imply that, right? it's just too late at night on what I read?

 

No, I didn't mean that at all, but on re-reading it does sound like that was what I was saying. I was just saying that ime, I've gotten detailed, helpful responses when I've asked for the opinions of people who've disliked a program. Guess I'm weird.

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No, I didn't mean that at all, but on re-reading it does sound like that was what I was saying. I was just saying that ime, I've gotten detailed, helpful responses when I've asked for the opinions of people who've disliked a program. Guess I'm weird.

 

 

nah.. not weird at all. both sides are important to help make decisions. -c

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There is a big difference between saying that a curriculum didn't work for you or for your kid(s), and why; versus the posts which trash a program or an approach, saying that it has nothing of value to offer anyone, it is badly put together, it is faulty pedagogy, no one can learn anything using it, you're doing your kids a disservice or doing something invalid if you use it, etc.

 

The first gives useful feedback; the second makes those who may find that curricula a wonderful thing for their kids defensive -- quite understandably -- and makes them feel they must justify their use of it, or makes them worried they shouldn't be doing what they're doing. It's not censorship to take time to phrase curricular reviews along the lines of why something hasn't worked for you rather than why you hate it or why it stinks; it's thoughtfulness and respect.

 

(Note: I'm late in posting this and am not responding to the last couple of people -- it's more a general comment about the "hate X" wording and other similar sweeping condemnations.)

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, now that I've explained some of the American dilemna, I'd like to say that what little I've read about the European system, seems to imply a great deal of intellectual honesty within the testing community.

That was an interesting post, Faith, I will have to look up the works you mentioned. :) I am in one of my insomniac phases in the last few days so I may not be expressing myself very clearly, though, so just to emphasize that I had in mind exclusively exit high school state exams which also serve as a prerequisite to enter universities. You know - Swiss matu, French Bac, Italian maturita', etc.

 

Ideally, I would prefer those things to remain on the level of the individual school (like the old Italian maturita'), not on the level of state, because of all the problems that arise with standardized testing (even if in Italy it is still fairly well done, you still have a graduation thesis + defense in front of the commission, oral exam, and written exams are still essay-style rather than bubble things, BUT, whenever you have a large system "standardized", the quality will go down). However, being that the situation is such and such, I simply find little point in attempting to "opt out" - if anything, it is a very clear message to the "system" that you are in fact NOT doing an equivalent or better, but worse. I think homeschoolers, in systems which state exit exams exist, should still adhere to those rather than seek alternate paths to acceptance.

There are tactful ways of doing things without causing insult to other homeschoolers. Everyone here is spending a good part of their life teaching their own precious children and of course they get "heated" about anything that implies their children are receiving an inferior education.

I believe it is possible to discuss, with as objective eye as one can (and teaching experience and knowledge of the subject surely allow to step back a little), the academic quality of various materials AND, in that sense, that it is possible to compare and contrast them and see which ones would be preferrable / are better fleshed out / contain more information / are written on a more challenging level / etc.

 

People who are looking into being offended will be offended no matter what because they will read all sorts of personal "implications" into what other people write when they criticize other materials. I honestly believe it is better for those people to avoid the discussions that make them anxious rather than 'forbid' (I am using this term very loosely, of course) people to discuss things lest somebody be offended or worried in the process. I still find that in the vast majority of cases - of course, it happens that people cross the line, so do I, but the majority of cases - offenses are a result of "reading into" other people's intentions more than anything else. Intentions of those of us who, for example, criticize RS, are not to make people who use RS feel bad about the fact they do so, even if our words may sometimes cause that (but is it on you, not on me, that you make an emotional distacco when you discuss things with a large variety of people who may be very different from you not only in opinions, but in style of communication, cultural expectations, etc.), but for the most part we are just being intellectually honest: nope, we do not consider it an appropriate high school program, it is not valid in our view for that particular purpose, at least if not supplemented, and here is why. I see no reason why that should be problematic, all the standard disclaimers (this is only my personal opinion, different situations might require different things, etc.) still go without saying, even if this 'dictatorship of niceness' that sometimes occurs in topics of that kind makes some of us state them explicitly while we are privately boiling about the fact we even should state those while discussing things with, as we see it, emotionally mature adults that ought to have developed mechanisms of personal disassociation and not interpret every thing "against" them, every methodological disagreement, every characterization of something as academically superior or inferior (terms which are not morally charged unless you make them in your mind be charged; and which are also to a point subjective, which is again one of those disclaimers that go without saying), automatically an attack and assault on their person, them as educator, them as parent, etc.

 

I understand what you are saying, but I sometimes wish people would understand the other, "unruly" side as well: we simply get tired of being forced into a kind of disourse as though we were talking to children themselves, rather than their parents (you know: taking into account their fragile emotional nature lest we hurt them, carefully dancing around the point before we approach it, etc.) and, even worse, have it assumed at all times than anything other than that is automatically "rude", "attacking", the lack of good intentions, etc. It is not. It is simply an unpadded, distanced approach and above all, behind those words there is also one opinion, and passion can go both ways: some people are so passionate about something that they really wish to actively warn against what they perceive is bad. Why would that be wrong? It may or may not be useful to you, but an absence of treading on eggshells does not automatically translate to an active treading with a tank. Or whatever is your idiomatic opposite of the former.

 

So, for example: no, I do not think RS on its own is a valid option in the context of high school foreign language learning. Now you do not jump on the word "valid" and do not take it as a personal insult, and especially do not extrapolate it to take a moral connotation: one can really, intellectually honestly, consider some approaches and materials less than fulfilling what they believe high school education of foreign languages should attain, ergo, not valid in their view. No need to interpret that as a personal attack. This is just a minor example, but it can be applied to pretty much anything, from RS to Cambridge Latin to Apologia to Sonlight and everything in-between: people jump at all sorts of things and criticism of all sorts of materials for nothing. Live with it, guys: some people will not approve of what you do, for whatever reasons, and they may wish to state those reasons in a discussion. That is okay. You are not automatically "entitled" to people's approval, NOR should you be "a slave" of their approval. Take it as seriously as you wish to take it and as your gut feelings tell you to take it - and let those people be with their own, different, opinions.

Parents come to homeschool boards for encouragement; I'm sure they can obtain criticism elsewhere.

I am not even sure people come specifically - or, better, exclusively - for encouragement in homeschooling. I think it is a mix of all: a need for emotional support, but also a need to really discuss some materials or general educational topics while more "distanced", entertaining some other idea or getting a better insight into why you think they way you do, then some general chit-chat, insomnia distraction, their self-education in broad sense, etc. I know that, at one point, I fit into each of those categories, and probably many more.

 

What I am trying to say, I guess, is that given all of that, I am not sure it is a good idea to pose a sort of "blanket standard" of how the discussions 'should' be here (e.g.: exclusively encouragement at all times, etc.). There are many different discussions here, and people really are free to ignore those where the 'tone' does not fit them, makes them anxious, etc. I am not sure somebody's "emotional fragility", in lack of a better expression, is a good reason to 'silence' people who really passionately dislike some method, approach or material and wish to share that. There is greater educational benefit, in the big picture, to that too. I agree that some people (cough) maybe should work on stating their views less flippantly and less fervently, but there is still a place for that in the big picture and, if we all just distance ourselves emotionally a little and (wo)man up, there might be learning potential to those disagreements too.

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People who are looking into being offended will be offended no matter what because they will read all sorts of personal "implications" into what other people write when they criticize other materials.

 

:lol:

 

 

So, for example: no, I do not think RS on its own is a valid option in the context of high school foreign language learning. Now you do not jump on the word "valid" and do not take it as a personal insult, and especially do not extrapolate it to take a moral connotation: one can really, intellectually honestly, consider some approaches and materials less than fulfilling what they believe high school education of foreign languages should attain, ergo, not valid in their view. No need to interpret that as a personal attack.

 

 

 

Cracks me up that you bring up RS, because of course that is what came to my mind too. It's kind of like we're the caped anti-RS crusaders!

 

However, I totally understand that some parents will choose RS, and that is their right. They know their own situation, they have evaluated their choices and gone with this for their own reasons. That's fine. What I have a problem with is RS being the "go-to" solution for high school foreign languages.

 

And, if you do decide to use it, well, if we have been allowed to articulate our reasons why we think it is weak, then you can take steps to combat that. We have in the past pointed out that it is totally lacking in cultural information that one would normally get in a language course. If you know that, you can supplement if you choose to. And so on.

 

In fact, I have just recently done the same thing. I want to get a history credit done with my older dd this summer. I have chosen to use Christ the King, Lord of History with her, even though many on here would not consider that a good choice. But I evaluated our situation and this fit the bill for these reasons:

 

- I needed something fast and I already own this

- I need her to be able to read it on her own and the reading level is not that high (she has dyslexia). While I own HOAW and HOMW, I don't think that she can read them herself in the next 2 months.

- I am aware of the extreme pro-Catholic bias and will discuss it with her. However, since many history texts are anti-Catholic, this balances out nicely. I had never read a Catholic version of history until I bought this book for myself ten years ago (You mean, all Catholics weren't evil????? :tongue_smilie:)

- she is intensely interested in history, so doing this quick overview of all of world history will allow us to focus on some areas through the rest of high school that she would like to learn more about.

- I can take my middle-schooler (a strong reader and also a history lover) along for the ride and then she will be prepared for a higher level text in high school.

- since I was already reading SWB's books, I can point out areas where Christ the King is just, well, weird. (like her conclusions about the Harappan society) We're not taking CtK as the final authority.

 

So, I personally agree with Ester Maria. Say what you don't like. Say why. Let me evaluate it for my own situation. That's what homeschooling is all about!

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Why not just do them?

 

See (I hope you do not take this personally, you know I :001_wub: you, right?), this is what slightly infuriates ME (and I homeschool) - I think there is a certain amount of "entitlement to a different treatment" in the air when I discuss this with (European) homschoolers. If you actually school rather than joke around all day, why would you be afraid of exit state exams, why would you request a special treatment to get differently into universities if there is a common ground of acceptance, like in many European countries?

 

I :001_wub: you, too. And I'm not easily offended. No worries.

 

It is not that I feel that I'm entitled to a different treatment, I fully plan on my children taking those exams. The problem is the nature of those exams. To be able to graduate at the highest level (VWO/Gymnasium) so that you can enter a university, children have to take 10 or 11 state exams. Most of those exams require learning lots of trivia, writing a large paper (wait a few years and they will change that to a power point presentation :tongue_smilie:), an oral exam and a written exam. Some even require a short 'internship' (for lack of a better word).

 

I have no doubt that if I can get my children to the level that they can read original Latin and Greek texts, that those Latin and Greek state exams will be a joke. If I can get my children to use several AoPS books, the math exam will be easy.

 

But for most exams, you need to use a (stack of) textbook(s) specifically written towards those exams, and using your own resources is almost guaranteed to get you to miss that trivial fact on page 46 or on page 113. If you give your child an excellent background in history, there is no way to have your child *show* that knowledge, the exam will quiz trivia and if you don't know those, you fail. For history there is no *fixed* exam, every few years the subject changes, for example last year and this year it could be 'the Vietnam war', the next few years it could be 'Napoleontic wars'.

 

How am I going to be able to give my children an education up to *my standards* (which are high) and still get them through all those books in order to be able to do well on the exams? There is not enough *time* in a day to do a full WTM/LCC load and a full Dutch high school load. Like with the history example, I probably have to drop my program the last few years in order to concentrate on the state exams.

 

I have been meaning for some time to ask you how you manage to get your children to do both 'your' program and the standard Italian program. Maybe I'm missing something, maybe when I do 'my' program and my children start to prepare for the state exams, it turns out okay. It feels however that in order to get through those exams, I will have to give up most (or all of) my plans. While if I could get the universities to accept a port folio, they would be more than impressed and have no doubt that my child will be able to study at that level.

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I hope this helps. I'm not certain if Tess is from the states or not. I just thought I could explain some of the problems we have here.

 

Hi Faith,

 

I'm not from the States, I'm Dutch and live in the Netherlands.

 

We do not have those excesses you wrote about, but I'm not at all pleased with our state exams. I would not have a problem with it if the state exams were testing broad knowledge, the ability to see connections etc. As I explained to Ester Maria, the thought of giving my children an excellent world history knowledge and then getting them to fail the test because they missed some trivia about the childhood of William the Silent, makes me :banghead:. And the students who take those test two or three years later, will not have to learn anything about William the Silent, they will learn trivia about Lenin and Stalin. Meaning I will have to use different books for each of my children...another :blink:.

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It is so hard to be on either end of that kind of mentoring online. These WTM boards are the best that most of us are going to get, and I am so thankful to Janice, Stacy, Nan, Carol, cathmom, Angela, 8FilltheHeart, Faith, and many others for talking about hs'ing through high school here. They aren't hoarding their wisdom and experience. They are sharing it freely, and it makes a difference.

 

:) :) :)

 

Oh yeah. Even if you guys feel as though you are running around like headless chooks a lot of the time, I feel comforted to know that I'll be just like you all when I've grown up a bit (a lot) further!

 

:cheers2:

Rosie

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