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Nan in Mass

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

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The BJU books are not dumbed down I don't think.

 

The Abeka Physics and Chemistry book are not either. (You have

to use the supplement for AP Chem.)

 

We use Spielvogel also for History--it doesn't seem dumbed down, but that

is not a Homeschool book. I don't know if it

is dumbed down from what it might have been before.

 

Life of Fred are not dumbed down. But they might not

be specifically for homeschoolers.

 

I haven't experienced any yet that seem dumbed down. But I have

limited experiences.

 

I guess I don't know what they were like before but the above all seem

very complete.

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This is a major hot button for me.

Yes, in answer to the Op. Curriculum has become dumbed down.

Is it no wonder the huge gap in scores between homeschool students and their public school peers is getting more narrow each year.

 

The gap is changing in general, but it's not just the plethora of dumbed down curricula, it's also the change in who homeschools as it's become more popular. Not everyone is homeschooling to get a better/deeper/more challenging education anymore. If they were, the easier curricula wouldn't last. I think some of it can be amazing for certain dc who have learning challenges, but that's usually material that's been well though through.

 

As for me, I'm happy with more choices as my son is going to specialize in high school. As a result, I'm compromising my personal standards in history so he can spend more time in music and still get great choices in math, science, English, etc. Since he's also pushing to graduate from ps, I'm also calling our classes by the ps names so that he can switch in late high school if that's what we decide. We live in a school district where kids can transfer partway though high school, but they are only set up to give credit for classes they teach, which is due in part to their computer system which handles that.

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I always find it fascinating how so often many on these threads end up in a cannibalistic mode over differences in method, approach and curricula. How I wish we could stop trying to prove that one perspective is somehow better than another. It's so sad to think we can't share openly and honestly among what may be our only peer group and not risk feeling judged. It often keeps me from posting, as I know we will be deemed to be not rigorous enough, not pushing hard enough, not using the right materials, etc. The job of homeschooling is hard enough for our family, and for myself, I don't need to intentionally walk into a firestorm of accusations and judgment.

 

Are materials being dumbed down versus what they were 25 or 30 years ago? I am sure that might be true. But is academic rigor the only reason we home educate? I do realize that on this list, that IS the reason a large number of folks homeschool,and I applaud those who are doing it for that reason. However, as homeschooling becomes more mainstream, I think more and more families like ours are happily leaving public school so that our kids can survive and graduate with a decent education rather than fall through the cracks as we found our kids doing. As the homeschooling umbrella widens, so too will the materials available. And maybe "decent education" varies from parent to parent, but what constitutes a "decent education" also varies from child to child.

 

I guess what I am saying is that for so many families, we absolutely MUST have materials to use that some would consider "dumbed down", but for others it is a lifesaver as it allows their child to actually learn. High interest/low level readers, and lower level, non-college bound high school texts that don't cram so much information down a young person's throat that they feel hopeless trying to learn anything are critical to the success of a struggling learner.

 

I often am so discouraged reading this list, and yet it is the single best resource available to me. The knowledge base here is enormous, and I have found answers to all kinds of questions...but I feel very alone in our homeschool journey, and I wish it weren't that way. I was just up at 2:00 am, writing a long blog post about some of our challenges. We have an atypical situation, and I think we need to be less critical about what everyone thinks high school should look like...because even in a public school setting, odds alone dictate that there are going to be a wide variety of levels of learners. Why should homeschooling be any different? And why should a family who is doing their best...even if the "rigor" so many expect isn't there...be made to feel as if they have somehow failed to provide a good education for their child? Maybe for their particular learners, they DID provide what amounted to a good education for their child because they were able to stave off a possible high school drop out situation or actually got their child reading and writing reasonably well when in a school setting that never would have happened.

 

Rigor for each child is different...what is rigorous for my child may be way too easy for yours, or vice versa. Rigor also changes subject by subject depending upon strengths and weaknesses, along with future plans. Rigor for the sake of rigor, could be construed as thoughtless as well, if it is forced "because" or "all kids ought to know" but that rigor causes a child to miss out on more appropriate studying in an area likely to lead to future career choices.

 

As homeschoolers, we have access to all the high or low level teaching materials we want! That is where the true gift of it comes into play! You can select a college level text for one subject, and a middle school text for another if that is where your child is at. If the materials are indeed being dumbed down (and they very well could be, for all I know, but much of it still seems quite high level versus the more traditional public school text publishers...or perhaps more clearly and concisely taught), then move up to the next level or grab a college text book. The only thing limiting our ability to teach the appropriate level for our kids is not the materials...it is our choices for them. There is always, always something out there of a higher level. If a particular publisher seems to have dropped it down too low, in your estimation, the beauty is that we have the freedom to change what we use.

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As homeschoolers, we have access to all the high or low level teaching materials we want! That is where the true gift of it comes into play!

 

I took the liberty of bolding the above excerpt from Cyndi's response. I just really believe it gets to the heart of the issue.

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I always find it fascinating how so often many on these threads end up in a cannibalistic mode over differences in method, approach and curricula. How I wish we could stop trying to prove that one perspective is somehow better than another. It's so sad to think we can't share openly and honestly among what may be our only peer group and not risk feeling judged. It often keeps me from posting, as I know we will be deemed to be not rigorous enough, not pushing hard enough, not using the right materials, etc. The job of homeschooling is hard enough for our family, and for myself, I don't need to intentionally walk into a firestorm of accusations and judgment.

 

Are materials being dumbed down versus what they were 25 or 30 years ago? I am sure that might be true. But is academic rigor the only reason we home educate? I do realize that on this list, that IS the reason a large number of folks homeschool,and I applaud those who are doing it for that reason. However, as homeschooling becomes more mainstream, I think more and more families like ours are happily leaving public school so that our kids can survive and graduate with a decent education rather than fall through the cracks as we found our kids doing. As the homeschooling umbrella widens, so too will the materials available. And maybe "decent education" varies from parent to parent, but what constitutes a "decent education" also varies from child to child.

 

I guess what I am saying is that for so many families, we absolutely MUST have materials to use that some would consider "dumbed down", but for others it is a lifesaver as it allows their child to actually learn. High interest/low level readers, and lower level, non-college bound high school texts that don't cram so much information down a young person's throat that they feel hopeless trying to learn anything are critical to the success of a struggling learner.

 

I often am so discouraged reading this list, and yet it is the single best resource available to me. The knowledge base here is enormous, and I have found answers to all kinds of questions...but I feel very alone in our homeschool journey, and I wish it weren't that way. I was just up at 2:00 am, writing a long blog post about some of our challenges. We have an atypical situation, and I think we need to be less critical about what everyone thinks high school should look like...because even in a public school setting, odds alone dictate that there are going to be a wide variety of levels of learners. Why should homeschooling be any different? And why should a family who is doing their best...even if the "rigor" so many expect isn't there...be made to feel as if they have somehow failed to provide a good education for their child? Maybe for their particular learners, they DID provide what amounted to a good education for their child because they were able to stave off a possible high school drop out situation or actually got their child reading and writing reasonably well when in a school setting that never would have happened.

 

Rigor for each child is different...what is rigorous for my child may be way too easy for yours, or vice versa. Rigor also changes subject by subject depending upon strengths and weaknesses, along with future plans. Rigor for the sake of rigor, could be construed as thoughtless as well, if it is forced "because" or "all kids ought to know" but that rigor causes a child to miss out on more appropriate studying in an area likely to lead to future career choices.

 

As homeschoolers, we have access to all the high or low level teaching materials we want! That is where the true gift of it comes into play! You can select a college level text for one subject, and a middle school text for another if that is where your child is at. If the materials are indeed being dumbed down (and they very well could be, for all I know, but much of it still seems quite high level versus the more traditional public school text publishers...or perhaps more clearly and concisely taught), then move up to the next level or grab a college text book. The only thing limiting our ability to teach the appropriate level for our kids is not the materials...it is our choices for them. There is always, always something out there of a higher level. If a particular publisher seems to have dropped it down too low, in your estimation, the beauty is that we have the freedom to change what we use.

 

 

Cindy I understand what you are saying and I agree 100%. However I took the original OP as a curriculum company whose curriculum had certain standards many years ago has changed those standards and made them lower. And after 20yrs I have seen this with several curriculum companies whose "rigor" was set at a high level or even a medium level or any level you want to give it but 20yrs later the "rigor" has decreased, in some cases drastically so they do not even look like the same curriculum. Of the ones I knew 20 yrs ago only 2 I know of has remained the same. THIS is not the same as a curriculum company offering a less rigorous curriculum to those who need it. I believe it is great that in this day of homeschooling there is curriculum for all needs. There should be curriculum out there to meet all learning abilities of the student from highly gifted to ones with severe learning disorders. We are getting there and this is a plus to the homeschool movement. but to lower the rigor or the expectations in a curriculum so that a curriculum can conform to the lower core standards...this is not a move forward in my opinion but backward and overall will have a negative impact.

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Oh boy do :iagree::iagree:! Same with CC courses. It's still not homeschooling. Same with dual enrollment at the local high school. It's still not homeschooling. If you really need to outsource, that is your decision, but please----quit calling it homeschooling! Sorry---did I just rant? :tongue_smilie:

 

 

I think if parents are truly just dropping their kids off at coop one day a week and never doing anything with them, then I would agree with you. On the other hand, for me, I am finding coop and online classes really don't lessen my load. They just help outline the material we will be covering.

 

Prior to this year, the only outside classes we've done were a coop in 1st grade, in which I was my son's teacher, and an IEW class. My son (7th grade) has an expressive language disorder and I've always needed help with teaching him to write, so it makes sense to me to pay a teacher with 20 years' experience rather than just muddle through it myself and hope I get it right. Today I spent 2 hours helping him with an outline for his current assignment. He's just begun TabletClass for summer math and I sit through every lecture with him, check all his work and go over anything he has trouble with, as well as come up with review problems to do each day.

 

My dd had never taken an outside class until this year (5th grade). I knew she would love the IEW class, and she has. It was a refreshing change of pace for her to have a classroom experience with such an engaging teacher. I still read her papers and make suggestions/corrections, though this is such an easy subject for her, it doesn't take a ton of my time.

 

She also took an online Spanish class because I have already done 3 years of elementary Spanish with her and could see at some point she was going to need a teacher who knew Spanish, since she is so passionate about it and my old brain doesn't work as well as it used to. I still go over the lesson with her and have her do all the homework before she even meets with the teacher so she gets as much time as possible just to practice speaking with the teacher. At some point I may not be able to do that, but I will continue for as long as I can understand the material. I spend time with her each day reading Magic Treehouse books in Spanish. I use an English version of the book as well as a translator on my iPad to help me do this.

 

She also began a Latin course this year. I took it with her and we are learning all the material together. Again, the quality of this class is far better than anything I could offer her at home and will take her much further than I ever could since I've never taken Latin before. We spend an hour a day doing our homework.

 

Next year, both my kids will be taking a literature class where they will be reading the heavy translations of The Illiad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and a few others. But, we will read the books aloud together, and I will be in the class with them. Again, this is with a teacher who has 20+ years of teaching literature. Up until now, we have used SL for history and literature, which I have loved, but I never had an interest in their high school cores, so now we are trying something new.

 

I actually never thought I would homeschool like this, but I do consider it homeschooling thinking of the number of hours I am involved in working with my kids. I am sure we will add more classes in the future, partly because I think it is good for my kids to have some classroom experience and these teachers are offering my kids an education I would not be able to otherwise. I am really impressed by those with 8+ kids who can do it all, but while learning used to be very easy for me, that has changed over the last number of years. The social angle is particularly important for my son and I think "cutting the apron strings" in high school isn't a bad idea either.

 

Anyway, I sure didn't mean for this to be so long, but I just wanted to share another side to taking outside classes with excellent teachers.

 

ETA: Well, after reading the first 4 pages of this thread, I realized it's old!

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I always find it fascinating how so often many on these threads end up in a cannibalistic mode over differences in method, approach and curricula. How I wish we could stop trying to prove that one perspective is somehow better than another. It's so sad to think we can't share openly and honestly among what may be our only peer group and not risk feeling judged. It often keeps me from posting, as I know we will be deemed to be not rigorous enough, not pushing hard enough, not using the right materials, etc. The job of homeschooling is hard enough for our family, and for myself, I don't need to intentionally walk into a firestorm of accusations and judgment.

 

Are materials being dumbed down versus what they were 25 or 30 years ago? I am sure that might be true. But is academic rigor the only reason we home educate? I do realize that on this list, that IS the reason a large number of folks homeschool,and I applaud those who are doing it for that reason. However, as homeschooling becomes more mainstream, I think more and more families like ours are happily leaving public school so that our kids can survive and graduate with a decent education rather than fall through the cracks as we found our kids doing. As the homeschooling umbrella widens, so too will the materials available. And maybe "decent education" varies from parent to parent, but what constitutes a "decent education" also varies from child to child.

 

I guess what I am saying is that for so many families, we absolutely MUST have materials to use that some would consider "dumbed down", but for others it is a lifesaver as it allows their child to actually learn. High interest/low level readers, and lower level, non-college bound high school texts that don't cram so much information down a young person's throat that they feel hopeless trying to learn anything are critical to the success of a struggling learner.

 

I often am so discouraged reading this list, and yet it is the single best resource available to me. The knowledge base here is enormous, and I have found answers to all kinds of questions...but I feel very alone in our homeschool journey, and I wish it weren't that way. I was just up at 2:00 am, writing a long blog post about some of our challenges. We have an atypical situation, and I think we need to be less critical about what everyone thinks high school should look like...because even in a public school setting, odds alone dictate that there are going to be a wide variety of levels of learners. Why should homeschooling be any different? And why should a family who is doing their best...even if the "rigor" so many expect isn't there...be made to feel as if they have somehow failed to provide a good education for their child? Maybe for their particular learners, they DID provide what amounted to a good education for their child because they were able to stave off a possible high school drop out situation or actually got their child reading and writing reasonably well when in a school setting that never would have happened.

 

Rigor for each child is different...what is rigorous for my child may be way too easy for yours, or vice versa. Rigor also changes subject by subject depending upon strengths and weaknesses, along with future plans. Rigor for the sake of rigor, could be construed as thoughtless as well, if it is forced "because" or "all kids ought to know" but that rigor causes a child to miss out on more appropriate studying in an area likely to lead to future career choices.

 

As homeschoolers, we have access to all the high or low level teaching materials we want! That is where the true gift of it comes into play! You can select a college level text for one subject, and a middle school text for another if that is where your child is at. If the materials are indeed being dumbed down (and they very well could be, for all I know, but much of it still seems quite high level versus the more traditional public school text publishers...or perhaps more clearly and concisely taught), then move up to the next level or grab a college text book. The only thing limiting our ability to teach the appropriate level for our kids is not the materials...it is our choices for them. There is always, always something out there of a higher level. If a particular publisher seems to have dropped it down too low, in your estimation, the beauty is that we have the freedom to change what we use.

 

You post really resonated with me. I have one child who is accelerated and another who faces some real obstacles and I have had to take totally different approaches with them. I'd love to see more acceptance of the various paths moms take in teaching their kids.

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Absolutely you can teach something you are not an expert in. Many teachers in many settings do exactly that. They develop knowledge in preparation, and add to that as they teach, but many, many, many teachers will tell you that even in upper level classes, they have to learn to teach something they aren't expert in. Certainly the same holds at the elementary level, especially in schools where the teachers are covering all subjects; those teachers aren't 'experts' in all of those fields. Additionally, being an expert does not always equate to being a good instructor. A diploma/degree/certificate and time spent on a subject/topic/course of study do NOT equate to an ability to communicate your knowledge to other people.

 

 

I'm not trying to say anyone can teach anything. But the 'expert' status is not a requirement for teaching. When it comes to teaching, a key component is modeling the basics, even modeling a global type of intelligence reflected in learning to find solutions to problems at hand. In some ways, it is beneficial to have a knowledge of a subject without a complete mastery of it, because it forces you to model learning, and to pay attention to what you are studying/teaching instead of droning on with a prepared lecture (Buehler, Buehler...).

 

 

I'll stop soapboxing now. :)

 

 

Shelly

 

 

 

 

Shelly

 

 

I think the difference with homeschooling though is that you have to be a "jack of all trades". I realized this year that I could learn Spanish, but NOT Spanish, and Latin and upper level mathematics and science.

 

Lisa

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We are getting there and this is a plus to the homeschool movement. but to lower the rigor or the expectations in a curriculum so that a curriculum can conform to the lower core standards...this is not a move forward in my opinion but backward and overall will have a negative impact.

 

I actually agree with this. I am sitting on the fence on core standards, and don't love the idea of the government establishing them because I think what is "core" to them is NOT "core" to me!

 

I also see what you are saying about curriculum actually being dumbed down that has changed over time. However, I still contend that any parent then can just go with a more rigorous curriculum from another publisher. Also, if this is happening with regularity with favorite curricula, the only thing to do is to have an insurrection of sorts and write to complain! If publishers see a drop in sales, that will hit them where it hurts, and they may reverse course...or better yet create levelled curricula and have more variety.

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There is such a rise in homeschooling that costumer loyalty is not a need. Companies do not truly care what their costumers think because so many new homeschoolers are waiting in the wings.New costumers do not see a problem because they did not use the older curriculum. They see X product with Y as a core, they do not know the Y was so much more 5, 10, 15 yrs ago. And yes, there is so much out there that you can find what you need so if a curriculum company that you used for many years change, no problem, go to another curriculum....and with this costumer loyalty is lost, a community is not created and the mindset of just jump around is now in place which in my opinion creates gaps and a uncohesivness in learning.

 

A curriculum company needs to decide who their costumer base is going to be and stick with it. If they want to cater to different learning styles or levels then they need to create different curricula not change what is selling.Cchanging a selling curriculum to fit the new fad in education is not creating costumer loyalty because when the next fad comes along they will change forcing the old fad lovers to leave. However, changing a curriculum to improve what is there is wonderful...look at BJU, I used their old curriculum which was excellent and they have made several changes over the years but maintained their standards, only improved the delivery of it, but it is still the same curriculum no less but more, and the end product has not been "dumbed down" but within the lessons they address different learning styles to help the teacher teach with not a one way fits all method.

 

Homeschooling has become a major cash cow that most are not about creating curriculum to fit the need of homeschoolers like it was 20 yrs ago, but in how to get a piece of this growing economy. Government is giving grants to companies to create curriculum or rewrite their old curriculum to fit the new government fad in education to sell to us. It is about the money not the need as it was years ago.

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Homeschooling has become a major cash cow that most are not about creating curriculum to fit the need of homeschoolers like it was 20 yrs ago, but in how to get a piece of this growing economy.

 

Thankfully this is not the case for the TWTM!

 

SWB and her mother have really given their best.

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I always find it fascinating how so often many on these threads end up in a cannibalistic mode over differences in method, approach and curricula. How I wish we could stop trying to prove that one perspective is somehow better than another.

Rigor for each child is different...what is rigorous for my child may be way too easy for yours, or vice versa. Rigor also changes subject by subject depending upon strengths and weaknesses, along with future plans. Rigor for the sake of rigor, could be construed as thoughtless as well, if it is forced "because" or "all kids ought to know" but that rigor causes a child to miss out on more appropriate studying in an area likely to lead to future career choices.

 

As homeschoolers, we have access to all the high or low level teaching materials we want! That is where the true gift of it comes into play! You can select a college level text for one subject, and a middle school text for another if that is where your child is at. If the materials are indeed being dumbed down (and they very well could be, for all I know, but much of it still seems quite high level versus the more traditional public school text publishers...or perhaps more clearly and concisely taught), then move up to the next level or grab a college text book. The only thing limiting our ability to teach the appropriate level for our kids is not the materials...it is our choices for them. There is always, always something out there of a higher level. If a particular publisher seems to have dropped it down too low, in your estimation, the beauty is that we have the freedom to change what we use.

 

One of my favourite parts of these forums are reading the different opinions on various curricula and why. I want to know if different people find things too hard, too easy, poorly done, etc, and then I want to know why they think that. I can read those for and against and make a better decision than one where no one wants to critique a product, or people just say "it didn't work for us." Okay, that last phrase is correct at times, but then I want to know why. There are plenty of people who hate things I love, and vice versa, and there are some things that are well done that just don't work for everyone. The drawback is that none of is is perfect, including in how we come across in writing, so this doesn't always go smoothly :).

 

I didn't look at this thread just for rigour, but also for how well something is designed. I've used a mix of levels for different kids for different reasons. We do all have different reasons for homeschooling and there does need to be a variety of materials to suit different learning styles and different academic abilities. However, that doesn't mean there aren't poor quality curricula out there in that it's not well done or has flaws in it whether it's designed to be rigourous, middle, easy, to fit the core standards, to meet the needs of certain learning styles, etc. I think that we should be entitled to voice our opinions, politely of course, and to be able to critique things. I can think of several math curricula designed for kids who struggle with math that are not equally as well done, just as I can think of some rigourous programs I think could use improvement. In addition, I've tried some excellent things that just don't work for one, two or all three of my kids. Okay, I should correct myself on that, as I have one child who can learn from anything she likes well enough to do .

 

The sad fact is that homeschooling has become a cash cow and that there are some companies in it just to make money and who only care if people don't like it because it affects their gross revenue. One the one hand it's great that there are so many choices and options for different families, but on the other hand it can be confusing to newbies. Also, in a culture where many expect instant gratification, it can be easy to confuse something that's too easy with something that works because our dc get it right away. Sometimes it's the challenge of really working through something that helps dc learn, and one of the challenges of a homeschooling parent is to spot the difference between that and something that really isn't working.

 

As for core standards, it can be helpful to know them, whether or not you agree with them. It's also helpful to know if they've been lowered or raised.

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