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I've astonished Regenitude, that made my day :)

 

Hmmm... Maybe I'm hearing really broad statements and reacting too broadly to make sense? I mean there are homeschoolers who don't do much and there are homeschoolers who outsource everything, but there is so much ground in between. And if you outsource, there are of course lame teachers and apparently a few really great teachers, but most are somewhere in between.

 

My concern on threads like these is that homeschoolers in between the two extremes will choose to send their kids back to group schools, to teachers in between the extremes, because they are hearing that they're incapable of teaching quality high school, and don't have the time or resources to run each kid around to the best of the best for each little thing.

 

Yes, I think you are listening and responding too broadly. What I hear people saying is not that home schoolers CAN'T do a better job than most public schools, but that the mere act of homeschooling is not going to get you there. It requires hard work, it requires quality books and materials, and it requires a certain amount of time. What I, personally, am arguing against is the many hs families who take off way too much time on a regular basis, or who use simplistic or inaccurate materials, and then shrug and say, "Oh, well, whatever we do is better than public school."

 

If the local public schools are truly that worthless, then one is setting the bar a mite low, yes? When you consider college prep in particular, I have never seen a public school that offered so little that anything was an improvement. A stack of hastily completed workbooks is not preparing a student for university work, period.

 

I haven't heard anyone (in these recent threads) saying that home schooling high school can't be done, just that it takes far more than "whatever."

 

Edited to add that I forgot to note that I snipped the quoted post.

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If the local public schools are truly that worthless, then one is setting the bar a mite low, yes?

 

That's what I've always thought! If the school is so awful that you can't even send your kid there, then there is absolutely no glory in saying, "Well, it's no worse than ps."

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Sebastian, in my high school one signed up for courses by interviewing the teachers and then signing up on Course Selection morning. We walked out with our schedules done; independent study was an option. My kids' high school wouldn't dare expose the poor performers this way.

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In my opinion there is much that goes into making a home education environment work, particularly past the elementary grades and I don't believe there is anything innately superior about a parent-teacher. I do believe that many children would benefit from having the consistent education, the individualized attention, an individualized program of study, and freedom from the mundane and senseless aspects of a brick and mortar school (however inherent and unavoidable) that are often part of a homeschool experience.

 

I do believe that parents need to strive to be excellent and knowledgeable teachers. That goal would manifest itself in a variety of ways at different stages of a child's education and would look different with every teacher-parent as they each have different strengths and weaknesses.

 

I know the days when life forces the kids to go it alone for hours or for a day are worse than the days I am fully engaged in their learning. With multiple children and other obligations it can be difficult. It requires reducing and scheduling outside commitments and less "me" time. Sometimes it requires a full family commitment. It requires me to accept (and to realize that not everyone else will understand) that I am not like other stay-at-home-moms. I don't have the same child free hours to devote to leisure, errands, projects at home, volunteer opportunities, part time employment and such. My life is going to be different. I know that as my kids are approaching high school that much their studies are about to become our studies as I read and learn alongside them as part of ensuring the quality and success of their education. I need to be honest with myself and realize there are some subjects I am not able to teach successfully and I will outsource these to a qualified substitute. I also realize that outsourcing doesn't completely relieve me of all my responsibilities in that area.

 

In the meantime we work on learning to meet deadlines, learning skills required of students in non-home learning environments (ie note-taking and testing), creating good lifetime habits, learning what it is like to be part of a larger academic community (or to not be the only fish in the bowl), planning more and further into the future rather than taking it one step at a time, increasing a love of learning and an ownership of the experience rather than being passively led. The parent-teacher is working on needed changes in personal habits, planning, researching, creating reading lists, helping find new opportunities, and letting go of worry about what others think and doing what is best for the kids. I can educate myself, plan, prepare, facilitate, organize, and help. I can prepare transcripts, help find sports clubs/lessons, locate tutors and courses, and spend lots of hours in discussion, debate and reviewing lessons with them. I am here to help these older students learn to weigh choices and help them mature as students and individuals. And while I continue to teach them I can't learn for them. All I can do is try to seek excellence in myself as I expect it from them.

 

:iagree::iagree: Very well said.

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They are conscientious, passionate about their subjects, and get great exam results from their students. Whilst there are many aspects of home education that I prefer to school, I could not offer the experience he has with them. The other teachers are just fine.

 

Do three brilliant teachers make school preferable to home? That's for each parent to decide.

 

Laura

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I have modified the process by applying the method to myself. I spend summers gathering materials. I spend days upon days sitting on the floor surrounded by books and poring over them. I select and discard what I think will work w/my individual students. I form a general plan of the path I want to pursue during the school yr. Then I spend 1 full week generally every 6-7 weeks writing plans focusing strictly on that time span. During my planning week, I delve more deeply into the subject matter and prepare myself for what we will be encountering.

 

...For astronomy, I researched the astronomy depts of several top unis and selected their textbooks they use at their introductory astronomy levels. I pay for online access to the supplemental materials (most textbooks these days have online supplemental materials that are definitely worth the expenditure)

 

This practical info. is really helpful - thank you for spelling that out.

 

...And when I arrive at the point at which I can no longer do so ... I identify other resources -- online courses, dual enrollment opportunities, private tutors, community mentors, etc.

 

...And then each of them determined that they needed more information, better guidance. In my son's case, that meant seminars at the Adler and, later, courses through dual enrollment. For my daughters, it meant "shadowing" in-residence artists, taking classes, and working with a retired art school admissions director to determine what might be required for a portfolio. In some cases, they identified the next resource; in some, I helped them do so.

 

...two ornithologists on staff at the Field Museum, an astronomer / educator at the Adler, a priest whose first language is Polish (when my son wanted to learn Polish), an artist-in-residence, professors and adjunct faculty at the local college, a retired director of admissions, assorted tutors, and all of their music teachers (even the first piano teacher (*wry grin*)).

 

...I would only add that there is no way I could have replicated Father W.'s instruction in Polish here at home. What Drs. X, Y, and Z gave my students when they worked with them in astronomy, ornithology, and art, I am incapable of providing.

 

I'm with MFS, even though I find it really hard to locate these amazing teachers.

 

I've pared down Mmv's posts to reflect the various types of teachers she has found throughout the years. Mmv (and others), could you share in a bit more detail just HOW you find these people? I have started to wrack my brain as to how I'm going to find people like this throughout high school for my kids, but I feel so limited in my thinking. Expand my horizons. Tell me your stories.

 

15yo ds, on the other hand, is a whiz at finding out what adults can teach him. Everywhere we take him, we find him talking with adults in charge and soaking up everything. He often gets invitations to job shadow, chat, or try his hand at whatever the topic is. He's been doing that since he was about 9 years old, so he's met lots of experts. It all started one day at the Children's Museum when he met an electrical engineer and had one of the most important conversations of his life. He learned that all his home-acquired education gave him the tools to ask great questions. He also learned that LOTS of adults are thrilled to meet curious and capable kids, and will make time for him.

 

That, and the rest of your post, is a great story.

 

Thinking....

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Okay, let's take music and foreign language. I don't think many folks quit homeschooling over those, but they are good extremes. Here are my experiences with those:

 

I have to agree with you that most language classes below college level are very poor BUT that doesn't mean a parent can magically teach them, if they don't ow another language. The same holds for other classes, for that matter, but I do think the pedagogy of most language classes is terribly strange. No one seems able to read, write, or speak after taking them.

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I have to agree with you that most language classes below college level are very poor BUT that doesn't mean a parent can magically teach them, if they don't ow another language. The same holds for other classes, for that matter, but I do think the pedagogy of most language classes is terribly strange. No one seems able to read, write, or speak after taking them.

:iagree:

This is our experience watching our friends kids go through local schools. My kids are just in elementary and I can tell you they have 2 hours of Spanish every week. They will graduate from elementary school without knowing how to read or conjugate a single verb. I know this because my friend's kid is in the 5th grade. They will start middle school foreign language class from the beginning (so what was the point of 6 years of Spanish in elementary school? :confused: ) and will go through the entire high school without reading a single work of literature in the foreign language of their choosing. It's really puzzling. You would think 6 years in elementary school (yes they had Spanish in K) would be enough to teach them how to read, basic grammar and basic vocab. I honestly can't figure out why they run the things that way. In contrast, a private college prep high school in town has kids read literature in Latin in about 4 years after beginning the language. Go figure.

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I'm not sure "all ya'll" are really in that much opposition. Teacher can encompass such a wide spectrum, from someone at the front of a class to a one on one tutor to the lecturer on a video to the author of a textbook or website.

 

This is what I'm thinking too as I catch up. ;)

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This practical info. is really helpful - thank you for spelling that out.

.

 

I was trying to answer the OP's question about how to go about achieving individual academic excellence in our homeschools vs whether or not we are actually able to (which I don't see as even an issue. Yes, we are able. Whether or not individual homeschools achieve that goal is an entirely different topic.....which apparently has generated another s/o)

 

 

I am very much enjoying the experiential and philosophical discussion on the current state of education in the other thread.

 

I would love to start this new thread to discuss practical application.

Please share strategies and/or examples of how you support and require excellence in your homeschool.

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1. Oldest son's public school German teacher had no control over the class and quit afterwards (as was the rumor with my own Spanish teacher). He finished with another teacher who took tight control. But now at age 27, I gave him a Dr. Seuss book in German for Christmas and he loved it but can't read a single word.

 

2. Middle dd took French I at public school and passed even though she didn't turn in a single assignment all year (to any class, which is why I homeschool now), and had her headphones stollen I think twice so she couldnt do the listening work in class sometimes. She then did French II at home with a mishmash of things and I hired a French teacher to meet weekly for several weeks and talk/evaluate -- she was deemed a fine candidate to reenter the ps French III class. I know no French, but did use various materials (as does any French teacher). She still speaks/understands a little French.

 

3. We had a French exchange student one year who spoke excellent English, but none of her classmates seemed capable of communicating at all. I asked Marine about this, and she said they had all had English for some 8 years, but she could speak English because she had a passion for American movies :)

 

Oh, this is getting too long, but I have similar experiences with music. And math. Etc.

 

OTOH, I became fluent in Russian and English because of the teaching I received in public school. That's where I learned enough English to be able to move to an English speaking country and hold a teaching position.

 

I am astonished that you mention music, because my experience has been exactly the opposite: every good classical musician I know has been taught by a professional teacher. Sometimes the teacher is a parent who also happens to be a musician. But a self taught classical singer of violinist? Nope, never heard of one. I am a singer, have sung in choirs for several decades, study at home. A few years ago I was able to take a few months of lessons from a professional singer. It is impossible to overstate the improvement this short time span of lessons made, compared to my many years of dabbling and self teaching . Like night and day.

 

I am not saying that every person who possesses subject expertise is automatically a good teacher. Far from it. But I consider the subject expertise necessary to be a good teacher. Without it, I can be a good parent, a good motivator, a good facilitator. But I can not teach what I do not know.

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Mmv (and others), could you share in a bit more detail just HOW you find these people? I have started to wrack my brain as to how I'm going to find people like this throughout high school for my kids, but I feel so limited in my thinking. Expand my horizons. Tell me your stories.

 

For the first seven years of our homeschooling adventure, Chicago’s many museums, libraries, and theaters were as much our classroom as our flat was. It’s inevitable: If you visit the Art Institute or the Field or the Adler or the now-defunct Terra Museum of American Art and so on several times a month, if you regularly participate in the seminars, classes, and programs of those institutions, you begin to network in much the same way you do in your career. So it was that museum educators, researchers, and docents began to show a special interest in my children.

 

The class my son took at the Adler when he was ten, for example, was actually a continuing education course intended for adults. He was mildly annoyed when he saw the age restriction but grew excited when he saw the name of the instructor, someone with whom he had already had several informal chats at the planetarium. A short letter from my son to the instructor and a follow-up phone call from the museum to me (ensuring that I would register, too, since he was so young) later, and he was in the course.

 

He took Spanish I and II through the city college system when he was twelve and thirteen, a satisfactory experience that alerted me to the possibility of using the local college for dual enrollment when we moved away from Chicago. When I was looking over that program, I stumbled onto the art classes that the Misses have taken. In one of those classes, a much older student (a working artist) took a real interest in the Misses. She is the one who brought them the paperwork to register for their first art show back in 2010. (They have work in this year’s show, too.) She also attended the show and encouraged her art-y friends to do so. She shared with the Misses the compliments and the criticism.

 

She qualifies as a community mentor, no? Here is an example of another:

 

Regular participation in the classes and camps offered by [XYZ] Nature Center put my son in regular contact not only with the staff who operated the facility and preserve area but also with the many volunteers and educators who made the programs possible. When we moved, we found a similar network of both staff and volunteer “experts” in such fields as ornithology, prairie restoration, and nature photography. Two volunteers, in particular – retirees with time, interest, experience, and expertise to share – come to mind when I think about the teachers my students have met and learned from over the last fifteen years. (My son would probably add the gal who runs the seed collection program, as she and her three-person staff helped him meet a field biology requirement during his final semester at the local college.)

 

Some opportunities can only be attributed to luck:

 

:: For several years, I worked for a large Catholic parish in Chicago, which is how my family met Father W., whose first language is Polish.

 

:: The Misses had officially outgrown their piano teacher when we saw an advertisement for piano lessons near home. My husband made the screening call. The following weekend, the incomparable Mrs. R. gave the Misses a complimentary, two-hour lesson. What a treasure! She was – is – nothing short of amazing.

 

:: The luthier who restored and appraised my grandfather’s – now my daughter’s – violin recommended three local teachers, one of whom now instructs Miss M-mv(i).

 

Really? There is nothing special about what we’ve done. I have just (cliché alert!) kept my eyes open for learning opportunities and encouraged my students to do the same. In fact, I just realized something. As a young parent, I was one of those who zealously perused newspapers, library and museum newsletters, parenting publications, college continuing education catalogues, etc. for what can only be described as “cool things to do.”

 

Well, I never lost it – that compulsive need to see what’s out there, what’s available – and clearly, I passed it on to my students.

 

Finally, we just... we just (again, cliché alert!) remain open to possibilities. For example, it didn't take long for the Misses to realize that the family they regularly chatted with at the library could -- would happily -- correct their attempts to speak Spanish. Now, the youngest child in the family has great fun "fixing" them (gently and with humor). Here, I may be stretching the definition of community mentor, but, wow. I deeply admire their... social guts.

 

So, does anything here help you? I hope so because I spent my entire weekly online "allowance" on this durned thread. Heh, heh, heh.

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The problem with discussions like this is that we have so vastly different experiences, both with our own educations in public / private schools (I think only few people on these boards were homeschooled themselves?), and with outsourcing our children's educations.

 

I sometimes say (and only half-jokingly) that if I were to homeschool my children all the way through the graduation, ultimately I would end up teaching them exactly one subject - our language and letters. In most every other area, with these particular children and their particular drive and capacities, sooner or later I would hit a wall... and some walls I have already hit. My children can still self-educate and learn via other materials, but we have reached the point at which my own education is too lacking to truly be on top of them and, consequently, to be able to evaluate what they learn while being intellectually honest. I cannot grade what I cannot teach. And what I cannot teach, where I cannot be on top of them, where *I* am not of the resources - we are truly equals in those areas, and they need somebody else's input and evaluation, especially on a high school level.

 

It can sometimes be hard on my ego, you know. :D I am told to be one of those confident people, whose confidence even borders slight arrogance at times. So, what do you mean, that I am not capable of educating my own children? :svengo:

 

But ultimately, this is not about my ego and this is not about my petty little satisfaction that, seeeeee, I managed to do it aaaall on my own, as if it were my own little project in which I am to "prove" things to myself.

This is not about me nor about proving myself to anyone. This is about those poor kids' educations.

And if what *I* can give them is not good enough overall, or only in some areas... if they get better opportunities elsewhere and with other people... and if they are driven to succeed past the bare minimum and willing to embrace the mentorship of other people, I am never going to let my ego interfere and handicap my children.

 

Of course, there are other kinds of limitations too: there are geographical or financial limitations which may constrain somebody to a situation of having less choice and realizing that in some aspects, even if their own preparation is deficient, it is still the least of all evils offered. I have no moral problems with that. :) And most people have to do that with at least some areas. I only object to an a priori stance that whatever done at home is magically superior to it being done elsewhere, or to this conclusion reached with too little evidence for both sides.

 

FWIW, my eldest child is in a school (which she finds pale in comparison with what she did at home) and my middle daughter has been basically privately tutored for many areas, whether IRL or online, and today she got up early to get into her potential tutor's studio with a huge map of drawings to see if he would agree to work with her. For some things I can be at the top of her, but for some things, I cannot be anymore. As she grows, she expands past my personal limitations and grows into her own person, which needs the WORLD, the big wide world out there, and not having that world reduced to her mother. And it is good and normal, because only a bad student does not ultimately end up breaching away from their teacher. ;)

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As someone just at the beginning of the homeschooling journey I have little to add to this conversation. Except to say, that I am be odd but these kind of threads are ultimately inspiring and encouraging to me. I think it's because even amongst the disagreement, it's great to hear from so many who have been-there, done-that in a multitude of different ways. And it's great to hear the voices of people who are really thoughtful and passionate about education. I have a few of those people in real life, but not as many as I'd like. So thanks, to you all for a great discussion.

 

And now, I'll go back to lurking.

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She will be too modest to say so, and her low post count doesn't reflect it, but M-mv has been around these boards providing inspiration and participating in thought-provoking conversations since the very early days. She is most definitely a homeschooler. :D

 

I was just thinking the same thing. I miss the early days.

 

Didn't see these posts until now! *waving at Angela and Julie* As for missing the old boards? So do I. And it has been years. I suppose it's a bit like saying to a friend, "I miss the way your living room used to be decorated. Where is that nice painting? And that comfy leather couch?" But I can't seem to help myself. Heh, heh, heh.

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As someone just at the beginning of the homeschooling journey I have little to add to this conversation. Except to say, that I am be odd but these kind of threads are ultimately inspiring and encouraging to me. I think it's because even amongst the disagreement, it's great to hear from so many who have been-there, done-that in a multitude of different ways. And it's great to hear the voices of people who are really thoughtful and passionate about education. I have a few of those people in real life, but not as many as I'd like. So thanks, to you all for a great discussion.

 

And now, I'll go back to lurking.

 

That is the spirit, Alice! Homeschooling by its nature should encompass flexibility so that we can adapt to our circumstances, our geography, our children and--dare I say--our finances. There is no one path despite those who argue to the contrary.

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The problem with discussions like this is that we have so vastly different experiences, both with our own educations in public / private schools (I think only few people on these boards were homeschooled themselves?), and with outsourcing our children's educations.

 

I sometimes say (and only half-jokingly) that if I were to homeschool my children all the way through the graduation, ultimately I would end up teaching them exactly one subject - our language and letters. In most every other area, with these particular children and their particular drive and capacities, sooner or later I would hit a wall... and some walls I have already hit. My children can still self-educate and learn via other materials, but we have reached the point at which my own education is too lacking to truly be on top of them and, consequently, to be able to evaluate what they learn while being intellectually honest. I cannot grade what I cannot teach. And what I cannot teach, where I cannot be on top of them, where *I* am not of the resources - we are truly equals in those areas, and they need somebody else's input and evaluation, especially on a high school level.

 

It can sometimes be hard on my ego, you know. :D I am told to be one of those confident people, whose confidence even borders slight arrogance at times. So, what do you mean, that I am not capable of educating my own children? :svengo:

 

But ultimately, this is not about my ego and this is not about my petty little satisfaction that, seeeeee, I managed to do it aaaall on my own, as if it were my own little project in which I am to "prove" things to myself.

This is not about me nor about proving myself to anyone. This is about those poor kids' educations.

And if what *I* can give them is not good enough overall, or only in some areas... if they get better opportunities elsewhere and with other people... and if they are driven to succeed past the bare minimum and willing to embrace the mentorship of other people, I am never going to let my ego interfere and handicap my children.

 

Of course, there are other kinds of limitations too: there are geographical or financial limitations which may constrain somebody to a situation of having less choice and realizing that in some aspects, even if their own preparation is deficient, it is still the least of all evils offered. I have no moral problems with that. :) And most people have to do that with at least some areas. I only object to an a priori stance that whatever done at home is magically superior to it being done elsewhere, or to this conclusion reached with too little evidence for both sides.

 

FWIW, my eldest child is in a school (which she finds pale in comparison with what she did at home) and my middle daughter has been basically privately tutored for many areas, whether IRL or online, and today she got up early to get into her potential tutor's studio with a huge map of drawings to see if he would agree to work with her. For some things I can be at the top of her, but for some things, I cannot be anymore. As she grows, she expands past my personal limitations and grows into her own person, which needs the WORLD, the big wide world out there, and not having that world reduced to her mother. And it is good and normal, because only a bad student does not ultimately end up breaching away from their teacher. ;)

 

You know, EM, when I read posts like this, I wonder just how many hours you have spent researching teaching resources, supplemental sources, available lectures/ocw sources, etc? Or how many hours you have spent in self-educating yourself on topics? How many detailed lesson plans you have written delving into the researched topics? Have you spent weeks/months researching the subjects you wanted to teach your kids? Have you actually followed through with teaching the coursework and continued learning the subject alongside your child? Have you done all the above before declaring it inferior or impossible?

 

Or have you declared homeschooling inferior or impossible based on your perception of what you currently know/what you think is available for what you want them to achieve?

 

B/c if it is the former, you are correct, homeschooling probably isn't a good realistic option.....for you and your children.

 

However, if it is based on the latter, then I would suggest that perhaps you do not actually have the correct experience to make an accurate judgment.

 

Multiple women on this forum w/exceedingly gifted children have managed to teach their children subject matter that is completely out of their area of expertise. (Kathy in Richmond comes to mind. Yes, she has a phD in math, but I think she has posted that her kids have taken something like 14 APs taught or almost taught entirely at home w/o outsourcing. She is not an "expert" in all those areas. Her kids are certainly above avg, and yet, she has managed to prepare them well enough for success at Stanford and MIT. Experiences like hers are definitely counter to arguments to the contrary.)

 

I do not believe ego in thinking one can do it by herself is even relevant to the discussion unless someone is completely nuts......no one who was sane would exert the amt of time and energy it takes to homeschool successfully (and it actually comes across as rather condescending by the unstated implication that those of us that do believe we can do it are somehow lacking in either humility or intelligence or conversely, don't care if we educationally damage our kids). (stated in a very gentle tone) ;)

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FWIW, my eldest child is in a school (which she finds pale in comparison with what she did at home) and my middle daughter has been basically privately tutored for many areas, whether IRL or online, and today she got up early to get into her potential tutor's studio with a huge map of drawings to see if he would agree to work with her. For some things I can be at the top of her, but for some things, I cannot be anymore. As she grows, she expands past my personal limitations and grows into her own person, which needs the WORLD, the big wide world out there, and not having that world reduced to her mother. And it is good and normal, because only a bad student does not ultimately end up breaching away from their teacher. ;)

 

Mine are rapidly pulling away from me, and I'm thankful that we have the resources and time to find the mentors they need.

 

Related to this, I would say that a certain level of disatisfaction isn't bad as long as you act upon it. I want to do things better and better, which includes delegating to others that have been thoughtfully chosen. Being able to admit that I can't do it all was a big step. So was admitting that certain choices didn't go as well as I had hoped. If you change too much of course that causes problems as well, but some level of change is necessary at times. And that is hard for some.

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I am not a perfect homeschool teacher and I wasn't a perfect professional teacher either. I do think that most of the time I am a good teacher in the homeschool and professionally (though I'm not working professionally at the moment). I think that standards don't have to be "perfection" in order to be good enough. There is some leeway between being a slacker homeschool teacher and being the perfect one.

 

There are some subject areas that I totally outsource at this point. I don't think I would outsource them if I were at a college grad level in the subjects. I don't mean a master's level but just a plain college grad. There are many other subjects which with a little bit of brushing up while looking at sources, I am still at a college grad level. That doesn't mean that I can remember every detail anymore but given the material I understand it and can explain it. I do not outsource those subjects.

 

I do work hard to find good texts and supplementary materials. I don't always do the best in scheduling and sometimes my approach the first time is not the best for my particular student. But I don't need to be perfect the first time. We have time to tackle it again from another angle. And actually, having the time and dedication to do that has been good for my children. They see me persevering toward the goal and they are right there beside me.

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Homeschooling -- when parents take on the task of DIRECTING their children's education.

 

I have loved homeschooling over the years, but I have outsourced numerous high school classes for numerous reasons.

 

1) I am a mother of four, a wife, a homemaker, and a member of the community. I don't have time to do everything well, so I need to prioritize how I spend my time.

 

2) Sometimes teens (especially boys) need to be responsible to someone outside the house instead of mom.

 

3) Even in areas where I have a good background, I may not carry the excitement and the drive into my homeschool.

 

Homeschooling for excellence sometimes require that we moms acknowledge our limitations -- lack of time, lack of expertise, lack of desire to teach a certain subject.

 

As long as we manage to locate other great teachers to hand our teaching baton to in those subjects, the wisest thing to do is sometimes to outsource.

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Have you done all the above before declaring it inferior or impossible?

Yes, I have repeatedly put myself into a position of a "discomfort" of various degrees of intensity, having to research my options well and having to go out of my way to find bridges from my level of knowledge to the level of knowledge I desired in some area, both for the sake of my self-education and as a part of the homeschooling journey with my children. Even more so, I consider a certain level of "discomfort" to be a normal and desirable part of any serious intellectual effort, because nothing is worse on the soul and mind than being lulled into complacency.

 

That being said, I cannot reasonably deny an enormous difference in the quality of instruction - both "as a journey" and "as a final product" - between the areas in which I *knew* what I was doing due to being significantly ahead of my children and being able to see a much more complex big picture than they did, and the areas in which my level of "discomfort" was such that I was having a hard time keeping tabs on what was going on. This is if we are talking about instruction where interaction with me, "supervision" by me, and the ultimate evaluation by me are integral parts of the process.

 

If we are talking about facilitating, things change. But facilitating is already a form of outsourcing, is it not? True, it need not necessarily involve another person in the process, but I am talking about the dynamic that you stepped out of and let the reins to somebody / something else. My children have proven *very* capable of learning things in this mode.

 

But I do not consider it a failure as a homeschooler to admit to my limitations and say that there were areas in which I could not reasonably... you know, it is not even about being on top of them anymore. It is about being able to even follow them now, for some things. As in, yes, I can be there as the dear mother concerned about the studies of her children, but I cannot even be a reasonable interlocutor for them about some things or a reasonable discussion partner. And I consider *that* - the fact that our children do leave us behind at some point - also a normal part of growing up and not a tragedy nor something to be ashamed of. It is an emancipation... just like our children stop needing us on a primary level of taking care of their physical needs, just like they will emancipate economically at some point, so they, little by little, emancipate intellectually. I do not even see it as a worthwhile goal to be on top of them and guide the process all the time. That is where my comment about the ego fits in (by the way, I am quite surprised with how you took it :001_huh:, since you are one of the last people on here from whom I would expect reading "implications" in my posts or feeling called out by them... I was talking about *myself*, *I* being the prideful idiot who had a hard time letting go of some things and some ideals of homeschooling without outsourcing, wanting to keep it all under my control beyond my reasonable skill - I have no idea why you even read that as a general comment about anything other than my own reality - let alone as an insult in disguise :001_huh:).

 

It is wonderful if Kathy (or anyone else) had the energy, competence and determination to follow through, on her own, her children's educations to very high levels, even in areas of greater (initial) personal discomfort.

But I am Ester, not Kathy. :) I know what I can and what I cannot do; I know what I could do, but at a cost (in energy, time, nerves, wherever) that I am not willing to pay; and I know when to back off for *my* well being (as selfish as it sounds) and, as I like to think, for the greater quality of my children's education, if I recognize they can get that greater quality elsewhere.

 

If this sounds disjointed, it is because it is late here and I am insomniac, but it makes sense in my head.

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As someone just at the beginning of the homeschooling journey I have little to add to this conversation. Except to say, that I am be odd but these kind of threads are ultimately inspiring and encouraging to me. I think it's because even amongst the disagreement, it's great to hear from so many who have been-there, done-that in a multitude of different ways. And it's great to hear the voices of people who are really thoughtful and passionate about education. I have a few of those people in real life, but not as many as I'd like. So thanks, to you all for a great discussion.

 

And now, I'll go back to lurking.

 

(whispering back from the lurking corner) I am also enlightened and frightened by these threads. I used to visit other forums for homeschoolers. I noticed the trend of agreement and pats of the backs when anyone asked a question of how they were doing, or if their plans were fine for a certain grade level. When I got to the point I needed real help all I got were encouraging comments of just keep doing what you're doing. In my heart I knew that wasn't true. Then I found this forum. People weren't posting just encouragement, but guidance and correction as well. I started to see that my "good enough" was almost sub-par and would not help ds reach the goals I wanted.

 

Many of the people in this thread were the ones that initially challenged my thinking. They still do. Over the last few days I've had to do some real self-analysis. These recent threads have again stretched my thinking. I've had to retreat after a few posts, kick myself, lick my wounds, and log back on.

 

I appreciate the viewpoints, even the ones that sting. It's not about me, it's about my son's education.

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Edited. I decided I'd said too much. I'll just say this: Homeschooling is so personal. I think we fall into danger when we venture out into the tall weeds of everybody else's philosophy. We're in danger of doubting the things we're doing right, we're in danger of missing the big picture, and we're in danger of setting up academic success as the most important thing in life. When those doubts come, we each have to step back and remember why we're homeschooling our particular child. Are we being true to ourselves and our goals? Are we doing the best we can for our own children? It's just all so, so personal that I hate to see us become discouraged because of what we think we're lacking. Before we get swallowed up by it, stop and think what our families are gaining through homeschooling.

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Really? There is nothing special about what we’ve done. I have just (cliché alert!) kept my eyes open for learning opportunities and encouraged my students to do the same. In fact, I just realized something. As a young parent, I was one of those who zealously perused newspapers, library and museum newsletters, parenting publications, college continuing education catalogues, etc. for what can only be described as “cool things to do.”

 

Well, I never lost it – that compulsive need to see what’s out there, what’s available – and clearly, I passed it on to my students.

 

Finally, we just... we just (again, cliché alert!) remain open to possibilities. ...

 

So, does anything here help you?

 

Yes. Thank you for taking the time to tell me about how you came across opportunities (anyone else have stories, too?). When I started homeschooling, I was always looking for opportunities, like you mentioned, but we lived in an area where it was easier for me to get around to these things. I have a different situation (living area, financially, vehicle-wise) now, so it's harder for me to recognize what is actually around me. But I am trying to see the opportunities I *can* do now, because Jane in NC reiterates every so often here on the boards the same thing you just said - remain open to the possibilities around *you.* We've had a couple of great opportunities pop up recently with math and science workshops, put on by local university students, geared towards teens; so we will take advantage of those free opportunities.

 

...so that we can adapt to our circumstances, our geography, our children and--dare I say--our finances. There is no one path ....

 

And there is Jane, saying it again. Thank you.

 

Multiple women on this forum w/exceedingly gifted children have managed to teach their children subject matter that is completely out of their area of expertise. (Kathy in Richmond comes to mind. Yes, she has a phD in math, but I think she has posted that her kids have taken something like 14 APs taught or almost taught entirely at home w/o outsourcing. She is not an "expert" in all those areas. Her kids are certainly above avg, and yet, she has managed to prepare them well enough for success at Stanford and MIT. Experiences like hers are definitely counter to arguments to the contrary.)

 

Time for me to read some archives again.

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Yes, I have repeatedly put myself into a position of a "discomfort" of various degrees of intensity, having to research my options well and having to go out of my way to find bridges from my level of knowledge to the level of knowledge I desired in some area, both for the sake of my self-education and as a part of the homeschooling journey with my children. Even more so, I consider a certain level of "discomfort" to be a normal and desirable part of any serious intellectual effort, because nothing is worse on the soul and mind than being lulled into complacency.

 

That being said, I cannot reasonably deny an enormous difference in the quality of instruction - both "as a journey" and "as a final product" - between the areas in which I *knew* what I was doing due to being significantly ahead of my children and being able to see a much more complex big picture than they did, and the areas in which my level of "discomfort" was such that I was having a hard time keeping tabs on what was going on. This is if we are talking about instruction where interaction with me, "supervision" by me, and the ultimate evaluation by me are integral parts of the process.

 

If we are talking about facilitating, things change. But facilitating is already a form of outsourcing, is it not? True, it need not necessarily involve another person in the process, but I am talking about the dynamic that you stepped out of and let the reins to somebody / something else. My children have proven *very* capable of learning things in this mode.

 

But I do not consider it a failure as a homeschooler to admit to my limitations and say that there were areas in which I could not reasonably... you know, it is not even about being on top of them anymore. It is about being able to even follow them now, for some things. As in, yes, I can be there as the dear mother concerned about the studies of her children, but I cannot even be a reasonable interlocutor for them about some things or a reasonable discussion partner. And I consider *that* - the fact that our children do leave us behind at some point - also a normal part of growing up and not a tragedy nor something to be ashamed of. It is an emancipation... just like our children stop needing us on a primary level of taking care of their physical needs, just like they will emancipate economically at some point, so they, little by little, emancipate intellectually. I do not even see it as a worthwhile goal to be on top of them and guide the process all the time. That is where my comment about the ego fits in (by the way, I am quite surprised with how you took it :001_huh:, since you are one of the last people on here from whom I would expect reading "implications" in my posts or feeling called out by them... I was talking about *myself*, *I* being the prideful idiot who had a hard time letting go of some things and some ideals of homeschooling without outsourcing, wanting to keep it all under my control beyond my reasonable skill - I have no idea why you even read that as a general comment about anything other than my own reality - let alone as an insult in disguise :001_huh:).

 

It is wonderful if Kathy (or anyone else) had the energy, competence and determination to follow through, on her own, her children's educations to very high levels, even in areas of greater (initial) personal discomfort.

But I am Ester, not Kathy. :) I know what I can and what I cannot do; I know what I could do, but at a cost (in energy, time, nerves, wherever) that I am not willing to pay; and I know when to back off for *my* well being (as selfish as it sounds) and, as I like to think, for the greater quality of my children's education, if I recognize they can get that greater quality elsewhere.

 

If this sounds disjointed, it is because it is late here and I am insomniac, but it makes sense in my head.

 

To get directly to the point, EM, unless I have completely misunderstood your posts over the last few months, the issue is that your view doesn't extend to the odd high school subject you feel uncomfortable w/teaching. Most homeschoolers, myself included, do feel the need (or at minimum wish) to find alternative resources for certain subjects. That is a different perspective than not planning on homeschooling for high school at all b/c you don't feel capable of teaching high school level material.

 

The OP asked Please share strategies and/or examples of how you support and require excellence in your homeschool. Am I confused? :confused: B/c my impression is that you do not plan on homeschooling high school.

 

And honestly, no, I don't buy into the facilitating/teaching distinction and I most definitely do not agree w/ equating a so-called "facilitated" class being the equivalent to outsourcing. There are some subjects my kids complete at a level that I do not understand (astronomy for ds) However, I carefully investigate materials and still generate lessons plans from online supplements. And no.....it is not outsourcing. It is closer to "self-study" (though I don't believe his current class meets that criteria either since he didn't design it, I did. But, next yr he is designing his own dark matter study and that will be completely classified as "independent study.") However, one thing the course most definitely is not..........a class taught at a high school. It is a 2nd level Berkeley astronomy majors' text and no high school in our reality (don't know about yours) would even offer such a course.

 

There are many pros to homeschooling. The ability to captivate our students interests w/subjects and materials that simply do not exist in schools is only one. Being able to meet our students directly at their skill level is huge.

 

Like Jane stated, the paths are many. Homeschooling isn't right for everyone. But, equally true is that is a great option for many regardless of their "pedigree." :tongue_smilie::lol:

 

And as for misunderstanding your other post, I apologize if I read more into it than you intended. My Aspie has been in rare form today and my nerves are beyond frayed.

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Edited. I decided I'd said too much. I'll just say this: Homeschooling is so personal. I think we fall into danger when we venture out into the tall weeds of everybody else's philosophy. We're in danger of doubting the things we're doing right, we're in danger of missing the big picture, and we're in danger of setting up academic success as the most important thing in life. When those doubts come, we each have to step back and remember why we're homeschooling our particular child. Are we being true to ourselves and our goals? Are we doing the best we can for our own children? It's just all so, so personal that I hate to see us become discouraged because of what we think we're lacking. Before we get swallowed up by it, stop and think what our families are gaining through homeschooling.

 

I agree in general and think that's a warning homeschoolers should consider but I feel like we keep losing sight of the purpose of this specific thread which itseemed was about sharing how some here pursue excellence (with academic excellence and rigour being implied). I'm not the rigorous homeschooler (yet?) many of the women in this thread are but I really appreciate hearing their views and getting their advice. Yes, doubt is a worry but there are some instances where I don't mind struggling it because of the possible rewards.

 

Some homeschoolers may get discouraged reading some of the posts in this thread but shucks, couldn't they simply choose ignore this thread? Some of us are looking for the information, experiece, and advice MMV and others are sharing and this is pretty much the only homeschooling forum where we can find it.

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Some homeschoolers may get discouraged reading some of the posts in this thread but shucks, couldn't they simply choose ignore this thread? Some of us are looking for the information, experiece, and advice MMV and others are sharing and this is pretty much the only homeschooling forum where we can find it.

Keep it coming, ladies. I am not in the "anything is better than public school" view. There are very good schools in the world. I need a kick in the pants.

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Relevant to this discussion is the Dunning–Kruger effect, a cognitive bias in which the unskilled suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. It states that people tend to overestimate their own skill, fail to recognize genuine skill in others, and tend to grossly underestimate the extremity of their inadequacy. The effect can be overcome, but it's been demonstrated to have fairly wide applicability in western society.

 

I've seen teachers at schools who obviously were suffering from this effect.

 

And, I've seen homeschool parents who obviously were suffering from this too.

 

If the standard you're seeking is "excellence" (and whether or not that's the standard you should be seeking is another topic entirely) then I don't see how you avoid a discussion of this. Whenever I hear anyone - be they school teacher or parent - blithely explain to me how they're a totally awesome teacher even though they don't really understand the topic they're teaching, alarm klaxons ring in my head and I hear a calm female voice saying "Dunning-Kruger effect detected. Prepare for emergency evacuation from infuriating conversation."

 

If you don't understand the topic you are teaching, then you should not be teaching it. Period. To not seek alternatives in that situation is a gross insult and is extremely disrespectful of your student. Even if that student happens to be your kid.

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I agree in general and think that's a warning homeschoolers should consider but I feel like we keep losing sight of the purpose of this specific thread which itseemed was about sharing how some here pursue excellence (with academic excellence and rigour being implied). I'm not the rigorous homeschooler (yet?) many of the women in this thread are but I really appreciate hearing their views and getting their advice. Yes, doubt is a worry but there are some instances where I don't mind struggling it because of the possible rewards.

 

Some homeschoolers may get discouraged reading some of the posts in this thread but shucks, couldn't they simply choose ignore this thread? Some of us are looking for the information, experiece, and advice MMV and others are sharing and this is pretty much the only homeschooling forum where we can find it.

 

I specifically posted my "feelings" not advice, because I don't want others reading this to get discouraged. Choosing to ignore a thread like this, because it could be discouraging is what causes people to miss the nuggets of gold lying on the homeschool path. If I quit reading when poster A said X, but poster B wrote Y afterward and that's the advice that is most valuable to my situation, then *I* miss.

 

Maybe that is my advice, for we're only on the cusp of finding rigor in our schooling. Read threads like this. Find posters that resonate with you. Follow the tags on the bottom. Read their past posts. Ask questions, PM them if necessary. Much of what we're using for ninth grade was directly chosen because of conversations on this board.

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And honestly, no, I don't buy into the facilitating/teaching distinction and I most definitely do not agree w/ equating a so-called "facilitated" class being the equivalent to outsourcing. There are some subjects my kids complete at a level that I do not understand (astronomy for ds) However, I carefully investigate materials and still generate lessons plans from online supplements. And no.....it is not outsourcing. It is closer to "self-study" (though I don't believe his current class meets that criteria either since he didn't design it, I did. But, next yr he is designing his own dark matter study and that will be completely classified as "independent study.") However, one thing the course most definitely is not..........a class taught at a high school. It is a 2nd level Berkeley astronomy majors' text and no high school in our reality (don't know about yours) would even offer such a course.

 

.

 

But see this is my question...My oldest has basically been self-studying Chalkdust Precalculus. He is getting good grades. BUT I don't know if he truly understands the why's or if he is showing his work correctly or anything.. I only know the answers that are in the teacher's guide...

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Keep it coming, ladies. I am not in the "anything is better than public school" view. There are very good schools in the world. I need a kick in the pants.

 

We were in the p.s. for two years before we began homeschooling. Our p.s. is given the highest rating from our state, but I consider it very average. Therefore, I did not use our public schools as the benchmark that I wanted our homeschool to exceed. Rather, I searched the course offerings at our "elite" private schools and other well-known high schools across the country to help me learn what classes were offered to their student bodies.

 

I then researched what the top colleges were looking for in their pool of applicants. I figured that regardless of whether or not my kids ever ended up applying to those colleges, I wanted our homeschool to meet their requirements.

 

I spend a lot of time each summer researching the "best fit" curricula for each of my kids and developing our plans for the upcoming school year.

 

Beginning in 7th grade, I start to look ahead to the high school years and develop a rough idea of what each of those years will look like. Since some colleges require SAT II's of homeschoolers, I also begin thinking about which SAT II's my kids will take in high school and when that will occur.

 

Homeschooling is very rare in my area, and my academic goals for my kids are different than most of the other homeschooling moms that I know IRL. This can get lonely for me at times because some of the other homeschooling moms consider me "over the top" (those comments were said to me my another homeschooling mom regarding my kids taking SAT II). I feel at times the other homeschooling moms IRL are very judgmental. I have learned to ignore what other people think of me and do what I feel is best for my kids (although I still struggle with this at times.)

 

Also, once my kids reach high school age, I begin to search out individuals in our community that my kids can shadow. I have found the community to be very generous with our requests.

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If you don't understand the topic you are teaching, then you should not be teaching it. Period. To not seek alternatives in that situation is a gross insult and is extremely disrespectful of your student. Even if that student happens to be your kid.

 

While I sort of agree with this, I have points where I disagree. If the choice comes down to not covering something at all due to no alternatives (financial or otherwise), I'd prefer to see something covered for 'base' subjects and feel it is perfectly fine to learn together or one or two steps ahead of a student.

 

For subjects of which I knew little (but felt were important) like Art History, I bought what seemed to be a good book. Taking an Art History class around here is not possible and/or unaffordable - yet I want my youngsters to have a foundation of some sort in art. Had they gone to ps, they would have had nothing in the subject.

 

I see the high school years as those in which we lay the foundation for several subjects. Many people can do this with adequate resources or students who are motivated can pick up subjects on their own - again - once provided with resources. College is when I see the need for top experts in their respective fields.

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Relevant to this discussion is the Dunning–Kruger effect, a cognitive bias in which the unskilled suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. It states that people tend to overestimate their own skill, fail to recognize genuine skill in others, and tend to grossly underestimate the extremity of their inadequacy. The effect can be overcome, but it's been demonstrated to have fairly wide applicability in western society.

 

I've seen teachers at schools who obviously were suffering from this effect.

 

And, I've seen homeschool parents who obviously were suffering from this too.

 

If the standard you're seeking is "excellence" (and whether or not that's the standard you should be seeking is another topic entirely) then I don't see how you avoid a discussion of this. Whenever I hear anyone - be they school teacher or parent - blithely explain to me how they're a totally awesome teacher even though they don't really understand the topic they're teaching, alarm klaxons ring in my head and I hear a calm female voice saying "Dunning-Kruger effect detected. Prepare for emergency evacuation from infuriating conversation."

 

If you don't understand the topic you are teaching, then you should not be teaching it. Period. To not seek alternatives in that situation is a gross insult and is extremely disrespectful of your student. Even if that student happens to be your kid.

Interesting.

 

It is possible, though, to find teachers -- homeschoolers, public, private, etc. -- who meet and even exceed the general consensus of what it means to be knowledgeable about a subject and who can effectively convey that information to others (teach). For example, Zuming Feng and Titu Andreescu are two math teachers who've taught in public and private high schools. Although they don't know ALL math, they would fall under what I would consider knowledgeable, even expert. There are some parents here who I think have done a stellar job teaching their kids, too. I suppose to some extent, it's a matter of subjectivity.

 

I consider myself a mostly former afterschooler but come here to find good ideas for my son and others, including his school, ideas I pass on. In return I try to pass on ideas that might benefit homeschoolers (oddly, not sure if that's appreciated). Trying to improve individuals could possibly lead to a better society -- or so I hope -- but I may be too much of a Pollyanna in that respect.

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If you don't understand the topic you are teaching, then you should not be teaching it. Period. To not seek alternatives in that situation is a gross insult and is extremely disrespectful of your student. Even if that student happens to be your kid.

 

There have been subjects (or topics within a subject) with which I am unfamiliar or just can't clearly remember because my high school days were so long ago. We go through the material together and jointly gain understanding (or remember, which is usually the case). I don't think that's an insult to my student. On the contrary, he sees me taking an interest in his education and him...so much so that I am willing to DO the work alongside him to further my understanding so I can help him if necessary.

 

Also, most of us just don't "wing it". We use curriculum, texts, online resources...whatever...we aren't just blindly floundering through a subject.

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Keep it coming, ladies. I am not in the "anything is better than public school" view. There are very good schools in the world. I need a kick in the pants.

 

:iagree:

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There have been subjects (or topics within a subject) with which I am unfamiliar or just can't clearly remember because my high school days were so long ago. We go through the material together and jointly gain understanding (or remember, which is usually the case). I don't think that's an insult to my student. On the contrary, he sees me taking an interest in his education and him...so much so that I am willing to DO the work alongside him to further my understanding so I can help him if necessary.

 

Also, most of us just don't "wing it". We use curriculum, texts, online resources...whatever...we aren't just blindly floundering through a subject.

:iagree:

Many of us use materials that are written by experts - we are not writing our own math books, chemistry books, etc. The kids learn by reading what the expert has written in the textbook.

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I agree in general and think that's a warning homeschoolers should consider but I feel like we keep losing sight of the purpose of this specific thread which itseemed was about sharing how some here pursue excellence (with academic excellence and rigour being implied). I'm not the rigorous homeschooler (yet?) many of the women in this thread are but I really appreciate hearing their views and getting their advice. Yes, doubt is a worry but there are some instances where I don't mind struggling it because of the possible rewards.

 

Some homeschoolers may get discouraged reading some of the posts in this thread but shucks, couldn't they simply choose ignore this thread? Some of us are looking for the information, experiece, and advice MMV and others are sharing and this is pretty much the only homeschooling forum where we can find it.

 

Dawn, I was just putting my oar in because the thread had long ago left the arena of how to homeschool rigorously and begun to devolve into all the ways that homeschooling through high school is inferior.

 

I was really interested in the original topic. I'm always interested in how to homeschool to the best of our ability. It just seems that every time we get started talking about that, along come the critics of homeschooling through high school pointing out all the impossibilities until the newbies are cringing and cowering with self-doubt.

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:iagree: I do enjoy reading the high school rigor threads and appreciate the buried nuggets, but some posts are not for the faint of heart.

 

Homeschooling high school has reminded me that I’m not going to get this 100% right or perfect, but I’m really focused on doing an excellent job overall.

 

 

Dawn, I was just putting my oar in because the thread had long ago left the arena of how to homeschool rigorously and begun to devolve into all the ways that homeschooling through high school is inferior.

 

I was really interested in the original topic. I'm always interested in how to homeschool to the best of our ability. It just seems that every time we get started talking about that, along come the critics of homeschooling through high school pointing out all the impossibilities until the newbies are cringing and cowering with self-doubt.

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To get directly to the point, EM, unless I have completely misunderstood your posts over the last few months, the issue is that your view doesn't extend to the odd high school subject you feel uncomfortable w/teaching. Most homeschoolers, myself included, do feel the need (or at minimum wish) to find alternative resources for certain subjects. That is a different perspective than not planning on homeschooling for high school at all b/c you don't feel capable of teaching high school level material.

I do feel capable of teaching high school level material. To various extents in various fields. That is the crux. :) When I reach a point at which I cannot teach it, or at which what I would have to do to teach it means paying a price I am not willing to pay, I outsource it. What is the problem with that view?

 

No, I do not feel capable of teaching design and technical drawing. The amount of skill *I* would have to acquire to even begin to appreciate the nuances that are at stake there, and to even begin to see things the way a trained eye sees them, is beyond what I think is reasonable to invest in time and effort. So, I can send the kid to a school which teaches that OR I can outsource it within the homeschooling framework by having somebody else oversee their progress and work with that. I can still do the art history part with the said child (primarily because I almost ended up in that field, and I have had several years of it myself in school and educated myself beyond that, so I feel comfortable that I can teach the basics well), but I cannot do the practical part.

 

I am also not capable of teaching music. I mean, my daughter was making mistakes which I did not even hear, because I do not have a trained musician's ear. What are huge differences for somebody who knows what to look for and who can hear the nuances, to me those things sound(ed) the same.

 

I also felt I could not teach English past a certain point, even though I *did* teach it when the girls were younger. But we hit a point at which I felt they would profit the most from their literature studies if guided by somebody else, for whom that language and literary tradition is the primary one. Sure, I could have continued it. And in many ways I did stay engaged, continuing to read some things with my daughters, so it is not like I completely vanished from the picture. But the excellence was continued largely by me backing off a little and recognizing what I cannot do, letting those parts be taught or overseen (if a self-study) by somebody who can do it.

 

 

On the other hand, I taught classical languages pretty much all the way through (although had my daughters developed an intense interest for Greek, I would have outsourced it rather soon), entirely high school level, even though age-wise my daughters were not yet in high school. Because I had the knowledge. Had I not been capable of doing it nor willing to pay the cost of getting to the point of being able to do it, I would have outsourced it and I would not have had the least problem with it.

The OP asked Please share strategies and/or examples of how you support and require excellence in your homeschool. Am I confused? :confused: B/c my impression is that you do not plan on homeschooling high school.

It may be less than obvious because my daughters are on the younger end of high school, age-wise, but due to their uneven development and uneven focus on things, I have had to deal with great oscillations between the levels they were working on, which means that they have been working on some things on high school level (and beyond, FWIW) for years now.

 

Homeschooling them through formal graduation is another story, and the reasons why we will most likely not go that route cannot be simplified to "I do not feel competent" because there are many other factors which affect that decision to keep in mind. I am satisfied that I have given to them, academically and culturally, most of what was truly important to me by this age, so that even should the decision be reached to take a different route (which seems to be happening, though it is not set in stone yet and the route can still be reversed back to some form of homeschooling), I am okay with that.

There are some subjects my kids complete at a level that I do not understand (astronomy for ds) However, I carefully investigate materials and still generate lessons plans from online supplements. And no.....it is not outsourcing.

I do not understand how you can reasonably investigate the materials about something you do not understand, on that level of education, or design a study of something you do not understand. (Independent study is something else and I agree about that.)

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Relevant to this discussion is the Dunning–Kruger effect, a cognitive bias in which the unskilled suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. It states that people tend to overestimate their own skill, fail to recognize genuine skill in others, and tend to grossly underestimate the extremity of their inadequacy. The effect can be overcome, but it's been demonstrated to have fairly wide applicability in western society.

 

I've seen teachers at schools who obviously were suffering from this effect.

 

And, I've seen homeschool parents who obviously were suffering from this too.

 

If the standard you're seeking is "excellence" (and whether or not that's the standard you should be seeking is another topic entirely) then I don't see how you avoid a discussion of this. Whenever I hear anyone - be they school teacher or parent - blithely explain to me how they're a totally awesome teacher even though they don't really understand the topic they're teaching, alarm klaxons ring in my head and I hear a calm female voice saying "Dunning-Kruger effect detected. Prepare for emergency evacuation from infuriating conversation."

 

If you don't understand the topic you are teaching, then you should not be teaching it. Period. To not seek alternatives in that situation is a gross insult and is extremely disrespectful of your student. Even if that student happens to be your kid.

:iagree:

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I read the high school forum specifically and become a yo-yo in my emotions. One minute I'm feeling pretty good about what we're doing and our rigor. The next minute I'm feeling pretty low because I'm not winning the Rigorous Tiger Mom Award. Then I spout off to RoughCollie and she reminds me that I'm not trying to get the Rigorous Tiger Mom Award. I'm trying to give my son a high school education.

 

I've chosen a guide with good standards to look at - TWTM. I do some testing but don't base everything on the results even though ds has always tested very very well. I remember back to my own rigorous college prep boarding school and we're meeting the standards I saw there with some variation for method. I've asked our tutor for his honest opinion of my son's level in math and science and his weaknesses and strengths because I don't have the knowledge to evaluate that. I've asked here when I'm planning our courses so that I can make sure we cover what is needed when it is needed. I look at what colleges want and require. We take advantage of some outside competitions and opportunities, though my chronic illness and lack of stamina makes this area a bit of a struggle for me.

 

More importantly for me personally, though, is that I have a son who tells me almost every day that he is happy. I have a son who makes the librarians deliriously happy because he is reading everything from Jules Verne to Camus on his own. I have a son who tells everyone he meets about how much he likes math and who sends me interesting math links. And yes, the last about my son is all subjective feeling stuff but along with the academic rigor goal I have another equally important one: raising thinkers who love to think and to explore the world of knowledge and who have the skills to do so.

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Jean, you are obviously suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect. I know, because I have it, too! Nothing you say from this point forward can be taken seriously once you have set off those alarm klaxons in the heads of the elite. Just enroll your kids in public school before you do any more harm. I know that's what I'll be doing. It's important to save my children from my delusions.

 

Taking a forum break.

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I do not understand how you can reasonably investigate the materials about something you do not understand, on that level of education, or design a study of something you do not understand. (Independent study is something else and I agree about that.)

 

This is what I am wondering also. Either a) I can't really do this or b) I am missing some strategy for doing this

 

:bigear:

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Many of us use materials that are written by experts - we are not writing our own math books, chemistry books, etc. The kids learn by reading what the expert has written in the textbook.

 

I've been trying to avoid posting in these threads, but I do see a problem here. Without knowing a good bit more, how do you know that the text is a good one?

 

When I first taught calculus, I had taken it and courses far beyond it. In prepping my lecture notes, I use the textbook picked by the department but also used additional textbooks to triangulate and see if an explanation was better in one book than in another.

 

I've taught beginning and intermediate algebra from easily 10 different textbooks over the years. I've used at least 3 versions of Lial texts (to use an author often mentioned here). I'm teaching from a Lial text now and I hate it. There was one beginning algebra text with her as a lead author that I adored. So, absent prior knowledge in the subject, how do you judge the text?

 

There was a post recently (different thread) about science and questioning whether a child's answers were correct since they didn't match the text exactly. Many people said they accepted paraphrases. Again, absent an understanding at a greater level, how do you know the paraphrase is okay or not? As an example, if someone defined a "prime number" as "a number with two factors", I'd mark that wrong. It's crucial that a prime number has exactly two factors. Absent the "exactly", the definition is wrong. (And I can explain why.) To someone who doesn't know why that's essential, I can easily see them saying the definition I gave as "close enough".

 

For me, I know what I'm capable of in the subjects I do have some mastery with. I also know how many gaps I have in subjects I don't have the same level of mastery in. That's where I see the need for experts in those subjects. I know that some of the teachers I had were amazing. I can't replicate that for my son. So I see the disadvantages he'll get by homeschooling. I also see the advantages he gets in the areas I do have mastery.

 

So I do the best I can (as I think we all do) and make the best choices with the best information I can get. In order to make the best choices, I need a TON of information (because that's how I work). When we have threads where people post for rigor and others jump in getting defensive, it's annoying. I wish that wouldn't happen. I want to hear how others determine when a subject is too out of their reach for what they want for their kids. I want to hear what physics book regentrude recommends - because I don't have the qualifications to judge that. (And I'd still get another book to read as well.)

 

I get scared some at the idea of homeschooling high school, but I think I'll be doing it. I love looking ahead to see what's available and to have things I'm thinking of in my long term planning. I really appreciate the posts from those who are giving their kids the education I hope to give my son.

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This is what I am wondering also. Either a) I can't really do this or b) I am missing some strategy for doing this

 

:bigear:

Even if there is a strategy, though, I think it would imply a certain level of knowledge. Even if not of all the nuances - but one would need to have tangible skill and knowledge to be able to evaluate whether that knowledge is presented better in one text as opposed to the other one, right? So, that is the part I do not get.

 

I can filter reasonably well through materials where I am acquainted with the matter, but not through those where I am not. Just how does one do that?

 

Self-study is different, though, allows for that experimentation, but if I am choosing the materials for my children and if it is not a self-study, but a regular part of studies with me as an active participant and all, should I not be able familiar with the topic to even be able to choose materials - or require input by somebody else who is familiar with it?

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I've been trying to avoid posting in these threads, but I do see a problem here. Without knowing a good bit more, how do you know that the text is a good one?

 

When I first taught calculus, I had taken it and courses far beyond it. In prepping my lecture notes, I use the textbook picked by the department but also used additional textbooks to triangulate and see if an explanation was better in one book than in another.

 

I've taught beginning and intermediate algebra from easily 10 different textbooks over the years. I've used at least 3 versions of Lial texts (to use an author often mentioned here). I'm teaching from a Lial text now and I hate it. There was one beginning algebra text with her as a lead author that I adored. So, absent prior knowledge in the subject, how do you judge the text?

 

There was a post recently (different thread) about science and questioning whether a child's answers were correct since they didn't match the text exactly. Many people said they accepted paraphrases. Again, absent an understanding at a greater level, how do you know the paraphrase is okay or not? As an example, if someone defined a "prime number" as "a number with two factors", I'd mark that wrong. It's crucial that a prime number has exactly two factors. Absent the "exactly", the definition is wrong. (And I can explain why.) To someone who doesn't know why that's essential, I can easily see them saying the definition I gave as "close enough".

 

For me, I know what I'm capable of in the subjects I do have some mastery with. I also know how many gaps I have in subjects I don't have the same level of mastery in. That's where I see the need for experts in those subjects. I know that some of the teachers I had were amazing. I can't replicate that for my son. So I see the disadvantages he'll get by homeschooling. I also see the advantages he gets in the areas I do have mastery.

 

So I do the best I can (as I think we all do) and make the best choices with the best information I can get. In order to make the best choices, I need a TON of information (because that's how I work). When we have threads where people post for rigor and others jump in getting defensive, it's annoying. I wish that wouldn't happen. I want to hear how others determine when a subject is too out of their reach for what they want for their kids. I want to hear what physics book regentrude recommends - because I don't have the qualifications to judge that. (And I'd still get another book to read as well.)

 

I get scared some at the idea of homeschooling high school, but I think I'll be doing it. I love looking ahead to see what's available and to have things I'm thinking of in my long term planning. I really appreciate the posts from those who are giving their kids the education I hope to give my son.

Thank you for this post. I could have written it, only using examples from different fields which hit closer to home for me, but demonstrating the same problems in the principle.

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Without knowing a good bit more, how do you know that the text is a good one?

 

 

Because I ask certain people who do know what text is a good one. I respect the advice given in TWTM. SWB has done research and recommends certain texts and certain authors. I ask here. Jann in TX is one person that comes to mind who has helped many of us choose a good math text. Regentrude has given me good advice on literary texts. And there are many others too who have helped for specific subjects.

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Even if there is a strategy, though, I think it would imply a certain level of knowledge. Even if not of all the nuances - but one would need to have tangible skill and knowledge to be able to evaluate whether that knowledge is presented better in one text as opposed to the other one, right? So, that is the part I do not get.

 

I can filter reasonably well through materials where I am acquainted with the matter, but not through those where I am not. Just how does one do that?

 

Self-study is different, though, allows for that experimentation, but if I am choosing the materials for my children and if it is not a self-study, but a regular part of studies with me as an active participant and all, should I not be able familiar with the topic to even be able to choose materials - or require input by somebody else who is familiar with it?

 

I was agreeing with you on this topic. My oldest kids are 12 and I am already struggling in some subjects. Lately I have been asking (or having the kids ask) questions in science, for example, to experts we know (like the neighbor with the phd in physics, he loves to answer questions). But this is time consuming and can only take us so far, when we have to wait to talk to Mr. X or Mrs Y.

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Because I ask certain people who do know what text is a good one. I respect the advice given in TWTM. SWB has done research and recommends certain texts and certain authors. I ask here. Jann in TX is one person that comes to mind who has helped many of us choose a good math text. Regentrude has given me good advice on literary texts. And there are many others too who have helped for specific subjects.

 

And that's where you do the best you can. (rereading... and meaning "you" as "one" ;) ) I do the research I can and then pick something and say, "This is the best I can do at this point," accept it, and move forward.

 

And I think we can do a "good enough" job. Or at least that's what I tell myself because I see continuing to homeschool through high school.

 

But I also am using a text at the cc that the department selected - all math instructors who also teach from the text - that I still will tell students not to read one chapter of because of poor explanations and there's one point where I will say the text is wrong. It's that sort of thing that I see in my outside job that makes me more aware in my homeschooling of all that I don't know... if you see what I mean.

 

When my son starts writing essays, I'll be asking a friend who has taught English for years to look over some of them. I don't have the years of experience that she does to judge what an appropriate grade is.

 

In some ways it may be my personality type to constantly question and reassess what I'm doing (I do it with my cc classes regularly as well). I definitely see a number of posters doing some pretty amazing things with their kids and I want to learn from them. So I love these boards as a resource. I also know how much time it takes me to do a good job (or what I consider a good job) in my cc courses, and I know I can't do that in all the subjects for my son, especially as he gets older. I think that's where the people who talk about the need for expertise are coming from (at least it's where I am).

 

I don't see it as a reason to throw in the towel though... but I do appreciate those who discuss it. It helps put things on my radar that I might not have otherwise thought of.

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