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s/o 20/20 episode: regulations and educational neglect


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This was an interesting thread about a 20/20 episode about the FLDS and it showed an illiterate 18-year-old. The op of the thread asked, "It seems fairly clear that these kids are neglected educationally, but I find it frustrating that such a small group could end up affecting all of us. I don't want my state "demanding" to see the curriculum I use, but perhaps there needs to be more regulation? What would reasonable regulation look like?"

 

In the (controversial) thread, several people pointed out reasons why this example shouldn't be cause for more regulation. (Short version: apparently Utah already has some homeschool laws, child-labor laws were being broken anyway, and some FLDS kids are actually in a private school and not homeschooled.) I agree that the FLDS is a weird (and deeply disturbing) case, and that we don't know the whole story behind this illiterate young man anyway, so I really do NOT want to keep talking about this particular example. BUT I thought the original question was really interesting.

 

In real life, I don't know any homeschoolers who are neglecting their kids by failing to provide a good education. However, I don't think I know a representative cross-section of homeschoolers and most of my friends are moms of little kids. (Actually, I tend to be around moms who are on the other end of the spectrum e.g. worrying about their two-year-old not knowing very many letters yet.)

 

So, here's my question:

If you know IN REAL LIFE of homeschoolers who are educationally neglecting their kids, would having regulation in place (or more regulation or different regulation or actually enforced regulation) have helped those kids?? Or not??

 

ETA: If you have REAL LIFE experience in both a high-regulation and low-regulation state, do you see regulation preventing educational neglect or raising the academic standard?

 

Please don't talk about parents' rights (which I believe in!) or cases of public schools educationally neglecting kids (which I'm sure we could all give examples of!) or any other side-topic, pretty please?

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I think it would probably depend on why the children's education was being neglected. Was it because the parents are too lazy to get around to actually schooling them? Is it because the parents are in some way unfit (substance abuse or something)? Is it because they believe they are unschooling, but in fact nonschooling?

 

I think in some cases, more oversight could help. In some cases, it probably wouldn't matter.

 

How's that for helpful? :tongue_smilie:

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Yes. In fact it was my own mother with my younger brother. He should be in 9th grade and this year I personalized a curriculum for er that she could realistically get done. She completed 2 school days last year. That's it :(. I was so mad at her. He placed in 4-5th grade materials.

 

I know someone still finishing last year because they were just so busy. I do not agree with that.

 

I also know a few high school students pulled out to homeschool that were just pulled out. No school happening.

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Just curious, what do these folks do with their kids all day, what do the kids do, instead of school. Honest question, no snark, I am curious.

They play video games, hang out with others in their situation, possibly work at McD's.

And that could be either the parents or the kids. Take your pick.

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I know radical unschoolers who let the kids do whatever they want, including sleeping all day and gaming all night, learning to read whenever they teach themselves. they do spend a lot of time on extracurriculars and social events and arts and crafts - because they like those things and think that really we need social skills in life more than we need academic skills. they have even occasionally admitted in writing that, for the end of year proof of progress, they buy the standardized test most of us use and kinda do it together as a family, sometimes using the test as a sort of worksheet, showing the kids how to do the problems and explaining why the answers are what they are. It makes me very uncomfortable, but they really believe this is best for their kids.

 

i actually dont mind regulation, but my homeschool group is actually trying to minimize how much oversight the gov't has . . . a lot of people have kids who are dyslexic or have other issues and really need to learn in a different way, a different timeline, a different order . . . i have very mixed feelings.

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We have some extended family members who are illiterate. Let's hold the public/private schools accountable also.

 

If you must have govt. oversight, then everyone should get regulated. Then regulation eats into the freedom of parents to educate their children. So how do you balance it?

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I don't know any home schoolers who are neglectful. I know a few whose kids are behind, but it isn't neglectful- my own younger son fits this, he is dyslexic. More regulation would frustrate him even more than it currently does- we lived in a state with mandatory standardized testing and it's crushing to see him test. Or was, he has made great strides while we lived in a no testing state (and I did not test!) so I think this year will go ok. We've been to school and not gotten help- more regulation sending us back there would do...what, exactly? I can push, pull, research and devote myself to him- the schools cannot.

 

Most of our friends are ps, and while I know you didn't ask, we know a kid who is failing many high school subjects, as he did middle school. Parents don't much care- is that educational neglect by parents then, or by the school? When does this 15 year old kid become responsible for failing, himself? How would more regulation help in any of these situations- my son or the ps child we know failing? Those are honest questions- I truly can't think of how to regulate this sort of thing. There are no resources for my son, who has always squeaked by, barely grade level, not rocking any boats and falling further behind. There are plenty of resources for the child we know- tutoring, organizational help- but he won't go and his parents dont or can't make him. So...? Whats the answer? These things will always happen, statistically. You can't regulate dyslexia and apathy out of society (if you could I'd get on board!). So the benefit of more regulation would be...? What?

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I knew personally one lax homeschooling mother. Her dh insisted that the children be put back in school. In NJ, as part of our law (yes, NJ has homeschooling laws, just not a lot of regulations), the district tests on the way back in and places the children according to demonstrated ability, not age. Well, her youngest placed a year+ behind her age peers. So the older children went back to school, and the youngest stayed home for another year. In that year, the mother did the necessary work to catch up her youngest. She tested back in at the expected grade level.

 

I don't think this was educational neglect, as much as believing the b.s. going around that any homeschooling is going to be better than schooling. So, would a standardized test every couple years be a wake up call to those who don't know how they are actually doing against the average? Yes! But, would it motivate the neglectful? I doubt it.

 

But is this even a homeschooling issue? I don't know that it is. Shouldn't this be broadened? Shouldn't all parents (or those in loco parentis) of all kids also testing far below peers be accountable therefore? I'll stop there because you might view the broadening of the overall question as a side-discussion

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I think regulations will simply make it harder for people who already follow them. The people who are already ignoring them won't be suddenly inspired to follow them. The problem isn't a lack of regulation, it's a messed up set of priorities that do not place a very high value on education. In some extremely conservative communities or families, there is a suspicion toward educating your children well, as if it will make them more "worldy". Parents want to limit their children's options and keep them dependent on the parents or the community, which is what you are seeing in the FLDS community.

 

I think that the main thing strict regulations do is make non-homeschoolers feel better about homeschooling. They feel that the state is overseeing it, so it must be legitimate. I'm not sure I care how comfortable non-homeschoolers are with homeschooling and I certainly don't feel that the state defines or even has any idea of what constitutes a good education. :p

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Interesting thought.

 

OK, I'll write it out. So, if regs are written that if my kids score more than 1 year behind, they can put my kids in school...would the regs be the inverse for kids scoring more than 1 year behind in public school? You know, be taken out and put in my homeschool? :laugh:

 

(With apologies to the OP. Just. Couldn't. Resist.)

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I have personally known one family that did not homeschool when they were claiming to do so. In that case, the mother was victim to a medical condition that impaired her cognitive ability. Until her condition was diagnosed, her issues with schooling were attributed to being tired from pregnancy or other normal life stressors. Once her condition was treated the father and some friends stepped in to homeschool, though still only achieving about half of what would be normal or "grade level." (I hate that term, but it does provide a point of comparison.) Finally, when it was apparent that the mother's medical condition was ongoing, the kids were placed in public school one year behind their age peers, and they have done really well in the years since. Standardized testing might have exposed some of the gaps, but I seriously doubt it. I don't think regulation would have helped this family.

 

Other than them, I have encountered homeschoolers that I thought could be or should be doing more, or differently. HOWEVER, I have also had personal experience with negative public school outcomes as well. I see more educational neglect in the public school system by FAR than I do with the homeschoolers I have known over my 10+ years homeschooling. Even those that I think are "slacking" are still people who are doing some level of work. As such, and as people who care about their children, it's fair to say that when there is a gap that hinders progress, they will have to figure out a way to address that need. Government bureaucracy will be much less efficient in identifying or addressing gaps than will a parent.

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OK, I'll write it out. So, if regs are written that if my kids score more than 1 year behind, they can put my kids in school...would the regs be the inverse for kids scoring more than 1 year behind in public school? You know, be taken out and put in my homeschool? :laugh:

 

(With apologies to the OP. Just. Couldn't. Resist.)

 

This made me laugh. Really, the state doesn't have any right to impose educational standards they themselves can't meet with a large portion of their students. :)

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I know several families that are lax about schooling their kids but none to the point of illiteracy. More regulation would not have helped any of them, they would have just gone underground.

 

I don't think more rules are going to help this problem. I think it is cultural and until there is societal pressure and a culture of excellence in education and a desire and need to be well educated, not just given job and good citizen training, nothing much will change. I also think it is easy to get on the "any homeschool is better than public school" bandwagon when the public schools are generally failing the U.S.

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I don't know of anyone educationally neglecting their children in real life. However, I reside in a highly regulated state in the US, one that has quite a reputation for its HSing regulations. For what it is worth, I think it would still be very easy to educationally neglect a child and still meet the stringent requirements (testing in certain grades, port review each year with evaluator of choice, port and letter then go to the local school district). IMO, it really amounts to a whole lot of useless hoop jumping. I could easily have my children produce enough samples of work for a port in a few days if I needed to. There are evaluators comfortable with unschooling, few samples, etc. I just don't think it proves much at all. In our case, it amounts to a lot of hoop jumping that proves almost nothing. If I was going to neglect my kids' education, I could certainly do it and still meet the letter of the law. I don't think anyone wants even more stringent requirements than what my state already has in place, and truthfully, I don't think even tighter regulations would guarantee much anyway.

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I don't know any, but when my ex was teaching, he met a boy who'd been court ordered to school. Our state requires that you send in paperwork promising to give regular and efficient instruction in the eight key learning areas and that you don't get caught by CPS for not-schooling. From what I can tell from reading an Aussie forum, people homeschooling in the other states don't think their tighter regulations (having a moderator visit) produces better results than my state.

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I know a family where I feel there is educational neglect. They are a large family, run a farm, and the kids spend way more time on farm (or house, for the girls) chores than they do on school. I don't know if more regulations would help -- I think this family is "under the radar" (ie, not registered, the school district doesn't know about them), so I doubt they'd even be aware of more regulations. None of their kids will leave home illiterate, but they are not being prepared for many careers besides farming and home-making. It worries me.

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I know a family where I feel there is educational neglect. They are a large family, run a farm, and the kids spend way more time on farm (or house, for the girls) chores than they do on school. I don't know if more regulations would help -- I think this family is "under the radar" (ie, not registered, the school district doesn't know about them), so I doubt they'd even be aware of more regulations. None of their kids will leave home illiterate, but they are not being prepared for many careers besides farming and home-making. It worries me.

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Yes. In fact it was my own mother with my younger brother. He should be in 9th grade and this year I personalized a curriculum for er that she could realistically get done. She completed 2 school days last year. That's it :(. I was so mad at her. He placed in 4-5th grade materials.

 

 

I'm so sorry! You must be so upset!! :grouphug:

 

If you don't mind me asking, does your mom have any regulations in her state? Is she being held accountable?

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I know a family where I feel there is educational neglect. They are a large family, run a farm, and the kids spend way more time on farm (or house, for the girls) chores than they do on school. I don't know if more regulations would help -- I think this family is "under the radar" (ie, not registered, the school district doesn't know about them), so I doubt they'd even be aware of more regulations. None of their kids will leave home illiterate, but they are not being prepared for many careers besides farming and home-making. It worries me.

 

 

Here's my issue with expecting that HSers prepare their DDs for careers and so forth...what about private schools that cater to certain religious groups? For example, my state has a large Amish population. I am fairly certain their DDs are not being prepared for professional careers outside of the home. If private schools can do that, why should HSers not have that option? (for better or for worse...I certainly believe in educating DDs for professional careers, have a masters degree, and plan to prepare my daughter for a career outside of the home)

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I have only known one family that is in my mind guilty of educational neglect. In that case the mother is working, and the father is at home and he does nothing. She attempts to educate the children on weekends and evening, but they are seriously behind. This is the only family I have ever met that I have advised to put their children into the PS system, or dad needs to step up to the plate. Something is better than almost nothing. This is not unschooling, this is an exhausted public school teacher trying to do everything and it's just not working out.

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I know radical unschoolers who let the kids do whatever they want ... they have even occasionally admitted in writing that, for the end of year proof of progress, they buy the standardized test most of us use and kinda do it together as a family, sometimes using the test as a sort of worksheet, showing the kids how to do the problems and explaining why the answers are what they are. It makes me very uncomfortable, but they really believe this is best for their kids.

 

 

Hmmm, methinks this is an example of regulations not helping. I assumed that testing was given by someone neutral; I'm having a hard time seeing these parents as ethical people!

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Yes. I know one family that "unschools". For them that consists of lots of Netflix and outside events/activities. The kids all have speech problems to such a severity that no one outside the family understands them. Here in Minnesota we use to have more regulation that this family fell under, but it did nothing to address the problems. Many of those laws have been repealed, but it makes no difference.

 

However, I have a friend in Pennsylvania who unschooled her son. She killed the TV and all electronic anything. Her son ended up being profoundly gifted. She covered basic subjects with him like the three r's, and read to him high quality books. The rest was interest based. He was done with high school work by the time he was eleven and is now in a public school. He's not there for the education, but to make friends. The majority of his education was done before the PA laws would have been applicable to him.

 

These two cases are basically the same. Really, the only difference is the electronics issue. You could figure in major city vs rural area and economics but to me the biggest difference was attitude. The first family has a very laissez faire attitude towards education. Anything will do, quality doesn't matter. The second family weeded out between "good" and "great". The mother saw it as her job to educate her son and worked at it.

 

Regulations wouldn't have changed either outcome IMO.

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I am in favor of mandatory testing with certain parameters considered (like LDs, etc.). However, I think it will only help the group that is under-educating by accident and not on purpose. Some parents I have seen who get "busy" and "behind" a little too often suddenly start to buckle down more when they are reminded about upcoming testing.

 

Those who are under-educating on purpose, for whatever reason, philisophical or otherwise, will just devise a way to circumvent the system.

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Here's my issue with expecting that HSers prepare their DDs for careers and so forth...what about private schools that cater to certain religious groups? For example, my state has a large Amish population. I am fairly certain their DDs are not being prepared for professional careers outside of the home. If private schools can do that, why should HSers not have that option? (for better or for worse...I certainly believe in educating DDs for professional careers, have a masters degree, and plan to prepare my daughter for a career outside of the home)

 

 

The Amish and Mennonite communities don't generally go beyond an eighth grade education for religious reasons. This applies to all genders.

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The Amish and Mennonite communities don't generally go beyond an eighth grade education for religious reasons. This applies to all genders.

 

Right, but I guess my issue is that if we tell HSers who have the religious view that their DDs should prepare to be keepers of the home (exclusively) that they can't HS in a way consistent with their religious beliefs, they can easily move to a private school that does support that religious POV. (edited to add: or the kids are encouraged/expected to drop out by 8th grade anyway).

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In terms of testing, again, I live in a highly regulated state where we don't have to test annually, but every few years we do submit scores. Even then, the standard we are measured against even with all of our regulation is "sustained progress in the overall program." So test results in and of themselves are usually not enough to force a family to stop HSing if the port and other documentation shows sustained progress in the overall program.

 

That standard is pretty vague. However, what is the alternative? Having a specific score cutoff children need to meet each year? If we do that, then I fear being forced to adopt PS standards and so forth. I'm of the mindset that one can be very rigorous without giving much of a hoot about the common core and all of that. You also then run into deciding whether testing should be such a high stakes venture. Or do we want it to be part of a bigger picture, and in and of itself not enough to determine whether the child should be put back into PS or private school? If we go that route, you are talking about regs like my state, where we have to test, but the standard is "sustained progress in the overall program." So I find it tough to figure out how we would use testing. Do we want a lot of focus on testing? Do we expect students to be above the 25th percentile or whatever even when a large number of PS students don't meet that standard? Do we want to use a hard and fast cutoff for scores? Do we want a broader definition of progress? But then we are back to hoop jumping, IMO, like my state (port, evaluator, SD reviews port and evaluator letter, testing every few years, but "sustained progress in the overall program" is the benchmark).

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Reading through all the posts, it looks as if the question of regulation to prevent/remediate educational neglect comes down to three points of analysis:

 

1. Given that there is a continuum of ways that parents can fail their children, from ways that unquestionably merit state intervention (abuse, physical neglect) to ways that, while horrible, don't (emotional unavailability, inculcating ugly ideologies) - and keeping in mind the costs to society both of leaving children untaught, and of expanding state intervention into non-physically-abusive parenting failure - on which end of that continuum does "educational neglect" fall?

 

2. If we conclude that educational neglect is more like (say) physical neglect than emotional neglect when it comes to state intervention, is it reasonable to expect that state intervention is likely to produce a different outcome? Related - given the mosaic of regulatory approaches to homeschooling, is there any empirical evidence to support a claim of better outcomes as a result of regulation?

 

3. Is there an important difference between reactive intervention (state has reason to suspect educational neglect and so acts) and proactive regulation?

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Okay, let me try to do this....

 

With my first kids, when they were fairly young, I was sure everyone homeschooled several hours per day and did as well or better than public school. Then they grew up and I met a wider group of homeschoolers, a more diverse group. I learned that most 9th grader homeschool kids were on a 5th grade level (at best). I learned that they weren't required to do any school work (or rarely do school work), even the work for outside classes. They probably learned SOMETHING just being at the outside classes. Educational neglect seemed the NORM. Severe neglect was obvious in several situations. Only a couple other families sat down daily and "did" school. But on top of not schooling high schoolers seemingly at all, I also met some more parents of younger children when homeschooling my friend's son. Seemed many of them weren't too concerned with academics either (however, there were others who were talking about some well-trained mind materials and such so it wasn't "everyone.").

 

(note: I am not counting purposeful unschoolers as neglect)

 

Now I have my littles and my big kids are graduated. I have no clue what the local homeschooler are or aren't doing anymore.

We have been extremely relaxed this year as 1) attachment is our main focus 2) my kids are advanced and 3) my kids are very young (4, 5, and 6).

Our "neglect" educationally speaking is more purposeful. And yet, we're doing more than I knew of people doing in the past....

And in January, we're gonna switch gears a bit.

 

OH, and would regulation help? I kinda think it would. Some people who are sitting around eating bon-bons and letting kids just play video games likely would either homeschool or put the kids in school. But some people probably would still not do much....

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<waves to other PA moms>

 

First, let me make it clear I'm not advocating one way or another here, just responding to some points brought up above.

 

--The regs in PA, while sounding absolutely horrid in theory, amount to little more than a day or two's routine hoop-jumping paperwork in reality. Sometimes to me the hoop jumping itself seems to serve as a screening tool. That is, it's not so much the specific items you must do, but the fact that you must do them that changes who chooses to homeschool in the first place. If in order to homeschool you had to fill out document A and mail it to person B, then write document C and bring it to person D, then make a list and fill in a chart and show them to person E, then send both to person F, it really doesn't matter what A-F actually are, there are some people for whom this process will be a barrier. That could be good if it screens out folks who really aren't up to educating their children, bad if it screens out people who are loving parents who could manage it over time and who have kids who could benefit in the long run, and possibly bad or at least ineffective (depending on how you look at it - that's a whole 'nother post) if it encourages people to ignore the process entirely and just go underground.

 

--While most folks have a pretty good idea how their kids will score, I have seen more than one mom be utterly surprised by her child's very low 3rd grade standardized test scores, and up their game accordingly, to the benefit of the kid. OTOH, there are many pros and cons to required testing, and I am not a fan of high-stakes testing for many reasons.

 

--I don't agree with laws that require kids to score at a certain level on standardized tests or face consequences. Some kids are homeschooled simply because they will never score anywhere near the 25th percentile, and that's OK. What's more important, IMHO, is the whole picture. In PA, if a kid scores low, it basically just means that more emphasis will be placed on the rest of the supporting documents to show the bigger picture (and conversely, if the kid scores high, the rest of the documents can usually be fairly minimal).

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My experience locally with homeschoolers is that they pursue the teaching of academics while it is "easy" for the parents to do so. Once it gets hard, then a million excuses get used for not getting school done. Therefore, it seems that from kindy - 5th or maybe 6th grade, school seems to be done on a fairly daily basis, kids learn basic reading skills, some curriculum gets covered, spelling, some very basic writing, arithmetic though rarely mathematics...I've personally had MANY moms tell me they skip the stuff in math that requires one to understand how and why an algorithym works. As a result, when I've been asked to tutor, the average 12 year old homeschooled student from the local group has NO idea why one uses a place holder (not that the PS students necessarily know it either because I've met more than one local elementary school teacher who didn't understand it either!!!!!!) when multiplying two digit or larger numbers to each other and their brains are completely distorted by the concept of moving decimal places in division. Those things just don't compute because way back in first, second, third grade when they should have been learning about such numerical relationships and the concept that 50 is not a 5 and a 0, using a number line, determining place values, etc. this was all skipped over. I don't know if this was because the homeschooling parent didn't understand the concept well enough to teach it, or didn't go far enough in mathematics themselves in school or what. At any rate, 6th grade seems to be the "hit the wall" moment for math, which means that science grinds to a halt because the pre-algebraic concepts and comfort with formulas necessary to accomplish physical science is unachievable as well as and pre-chemistry and many of the bio-chem topics. (Not my dear close friend IRL who is preparing one child for veterinary school at MSU and another high schooler to eventually attend cosmetology school and own her own hair salon with an organic, beauty products business...said child is already making amazing organic products from her own experimental formulas...I'm talking about OTHER people...T if you are here you know I am not referring to you!!!!!)

 

At that point, again from my personal experience with the eight families in the nearest homeschool social group, is that the next two years are spent on a wide sundry of math and science programs thinking that if they choose the right one, suddenly the problems will magically melt away - I take a LOT of phone calls about this and despite my assurances that there is no magic course that makes up for years of not understanding math, they still think some how this will just supernaturally happen. After all, junior is 12 and reads and shouldn't he/she not need direct instruction anymore? :glare: Five or six curriculums later, they are still spinning their wheels with junior failing an increasing number of assignments and pretty upset about the amount of money they've spent on programs that had no chance of ever working for their child because they refuse to embrace the concept that their child cannot work at grade level. At the age of 9th grade, having not made ANY progress and their frustration causing an ever increasing number of days to be "skipped" until many of the 8th graders are by parental admission only occasionally doing any work at all, they enroll them in PS for high school. Again, this is my local experience and I'm not drawing conclusions about the homeschool community as a national group.

 

Now, let me say this. Our local PS is a pit. 35% of every graduating class (sometimes even well more than that) will not read or do math past a 5th/ 6th grade level at graduation. Since they require all non-special ed students to take algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2 and such a large percentage of them cannot add 1/3 and 1/2 together much less multiply 37 x 91 without a calculator (they get those in 4th grade), half their grade is based on attendance and NOT FALLING ASLEEP IN CLASS!!!! The other half is turning in homework. The homework may be an utter and complete failure that makes an F look like a real achievement, but they get FULL marks for this. Tests only count for a small percentage of the final grade so that at least everyone gets a D and is funneled to the next class. I'm not making this up. I have a dear friend who teaches algebra 2 at this PS and he has a calendar on his desk where he marks off each day in his countdown to retirement. He has NO authority to change anything. This is all dictated to him by the superintendent, principal, and school board. As he puts it, "I'm just the puppet in the smoke and mirrors game they play." Additionally, a certain percentage of each class time must be devoted to memorizing formulas, calculator skills, and "guess the most plausible answer" test prep in order to cover up the fact that these kids cannot do math. So, in respect to mathematics, the homeschooled kids who enter high school are not worse off than many of their peers.

 

In terms of science, they aren't capable of entering any of the higher courses. Science is not so heavily regulated by the administration because the ACT is used as one of the primary evaluators of student achievement and the ACT science section does not actually test scientific knowledge...if one can read charts and graphs and draw some conclusions from them and do so in a respectable time frame, one can post an acceptable score in that section. Since the science teachers have much more leeway, then biology, chemistry, and physics classes have actual real content, some expectations to go with it, and no time devoted to test prep. The homeschooled kids who enter just aren't generally capable of this. So they go to remedial sciences - life science, "consumers' science" (don't ask about that....I could just rant all day about this class) and that's it. They take two sciences and they are done. The content is abysmal. My dear friend brought home some tests from these courses and asked his 4th grade son to take them. The child passed with near perfect grades and this was a homeschooled kid who had yet to have been instructed through a science curriculum and was still doing self-directed study according to the things that interested him...nothing systematic. That high school credit is given for this just boggles my mind.

 

As for English, some have done pretty well because their reading level improves as they are challenged if they do NOT take the fours years of remedial language arts that is offered for low functioning students. If they sign up for a "college prep" (dubious distinction by the way but a far cry better than remedial), their reading becomes more challenging, they encounter some writing...again not enough and not well instructed, but at least some efforts are made, etc. Most of them seem to breeze through the history courses although according to the local principal, he's never had a homeschooled through middle school student attempt an AP course...a moot point now since the school is eliminating all honors and AP classes in favor of devoting those teaching resources to more remedial course options. :smash:

 

Some do well if they are placed in PS because as 10th graders or whenever they pass driver's training and get licensed, they can if they have transportation, spend half of their days earning credit at a local vocational center. To be honest, I think this is the best option. It's one of the few things the state board of education does not control and the instructors have vocational licensing but not teaching certificates. They are generally business owners or former business owners that have a specific skill set they can instruct others in or nurses that come and teach the nurse's aid course or the "pre-nursing" courses. And by the way, after years of doing an awful lot of med-math in their heads, these nurses are FAR better math instructors for pre-algebraic concepts than many of the PS teachers. Having had to apply it to real life situations converting the approximate weight of a patient in lbs. to kilos and then doing doseages in their heads to make sure what was prescribed or sent down from the pharmacy is actually correct before they administer those meds, they are great teachers! Medics also teach EMT classes, contractors teach carpentry and basic business principles, mechanics teach auto repair, etc. To be honest, the kids seem to learn much, much more in those courses than they ever did in their high school classes prior to going Vo-tech. However, the sad reality is that the trades have taken a horrible, horrible hit in Michigan's economy and it's really very difficult for these students to find employment post-graduation. However, we've seen a few, a few very motivated ones, make the leap at graduation from the Vo-tech center, to a long commute to the only decent CC anywhere near here to get two year degrees. Those that manage that have been recently finding gainful employment. If they go to the local CC whose reputation is so poor it's laughable, they do not find employment nor can they transfer those credits...no decent, self-respecting uni wil accept them.

 

That's my experience. They aren't worse off then the bottom 35-45% of our local PS students, but parents who really pursue mastery of concepts, school regularly, and have reasonable expectations for their children's academic achievement in homeschooling aren't all that common in my local homeschooling community. I come here to this board to chat with like-minded parents who have really made their child's education a priority in their homes and seek ways to be successful at it. It saves my sanity! :) I care as a member of the community what happens to other kids. As a mom, my heart aches for kids that do not have an honest shot at successful adult living because they were neglected. As a homeschooler who works my tail off to see that my children master concepts and become well prepared for life "on the outside", I worry about how this negatively reflects on those of us who are doing our homeschooling job.

 

I do know of one case of absolutely horrid educational neglect. In this case there are five children and according to the mom, none of them have LD's she just doesn't want them to be worldly so she was against teaching them very much...she also didn't want to steel their childhood and figured that as long as they were working with her throughout the day, school didn't need to happen on any regular basis. The net result is that the 21 year old and the 19 year old read at about a 4th grade level, do arithmetic at about a 3rd grade level, and cannot write a coherent sentence. Seriously, their first and last names plus some three and four letter words are about all they can spell and most of what they attempt commit to paper reminds me of those "just write anything journals" that the local first graders keep as proof they are "writing". They have very few skills of any kind other than some gardening and hoursework. These young men are not employable. The dad, apparently clueless about his wife's educational philosophy through the years, is now a VERY angry man because he's going to end up supporting two young adults for a long time while they attend adult literacy classes and who knows when they'll get to a place they can hold down any kind of job. He forced the mom to enroll the other three children in PS and they were just so unbelievably behind their peers that though they have no LD's (yes, they were tested by the school because that was the first thought when confronted with teens who could hardly do more than right their own names or read a Magic Tree House type book and didn't know their multiplication tables yet), that they've been placed in some pretty restrictive special ed programs. Sigh.....

 

Would regulations have helped???? Possibly, but I doubt it. This mom was convinced she was right and that she was going to save her kids souls by keeping them away from this worldly thing called education. If she had been forced to produce a portfolio, I believe she would have done the work herself. If standardized testing was the option and if she could administer it herself, she would have taken the tests and sent them in under her kids' names. If she had to present curriculum, she would likely have purchased it, looked it through, made sure she was well enough acquainted with it, and then smoozed her way through "showing" what the kids had covered. With coaching, I'm sure she could have made the kids appear as though school was happening on some sort of regular schedule. Short of draconian laws that violate everyone's privacy in the home, I don't think regulations would have prevented this. From her own lips, she made it clear that she would suffer no government intervention and that included cheating if necessary.

 

On top of that, two of her best friends - also radical unschoolers with literally educationally feral children - live in Pennsylvania (a highly regulated state) and have flown under the radar for years. She personally told me her friends' children are no better educated than her own. So, despite regulations, they are managing to fly under the laws.

 

You can't legislate morality as much as we'd all like to and for those that are determined to hamper their children in this way, I don't see how making regulations that hassle the rest of the homeschool community will help. Laws have never made crappy parents choose not to be crappy - laws of these nature generally only exist for the punishment of the most extreme offenders if they are ever caught, but do not appreciable "control" the rest. While a few might consider putting their kids in PS if confronted, I think many would just find a way to "make it look good" and keep on, keeping on and in the case of our local PS, some might not be very well served to be removed from the home. The level of bullying and physical confrontation at this school is literally frightening and so that has to be a consideration and not only the academics.

 

Faith

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We have regulations in my state, but I don't think these regulations actually do anything to protect the kids who may be suffering from educational neglect. While standardized testing is one option that satisfies our homeschooling regulations, portfolio evaluations are also a valid option.

 

Porfolio evaluations must be performed by a certified teacher, but the homeschooling family pays the evaluation fee (I was paying about $100 per year under this option). I believe this is a huge conflict of interest. If an evaluator refused to grant approval, she would be blacklisted in the homeschooling community, and the family would simply find another evaluator that was more than happy to take the fee and grant approval.

 

I believe that these regulations are ineffective and a waste of my time and money. My husband disagrees and says that not everyone has the same educational standards as I do and that these regulations are written to protect those kids that are not receiving an appropriate education.

 

Does anyone have any first-hand experience of where the homeschooling regulations actually achieved its mission and found kids that were suffering from educational neglect?

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I know a couple of real-life families I've met at homeschooling events who educationally neglect their children. More regulations won't help because they'll ignore them, not register, or find some way to get around them anyway. Families like this and like this one: http://gulfnews.com/life-style/people/i-let-my-children-do-whatever-they-want-1.1108729 scare me because even though we know policy and regulations aren't going to change anything, policy makers are going to look at families like these as a representation of all homeschoolers, impose stricter regulations, and the majority of us will be left jumping through more hoops while these people continue to fart around, watch TV, and pick wildflowers all day, or whatever the heck they do when they're neglecting the education of their children.

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I have a dear friend who teaches algebra 2 at this PS and he has a calendar on his desk where he marks off each day in his countdown to retirement. He has NO authority to change anything. This is all dictated to him by the superintendent, principal, and school board. As he puts it, "I'm just the puppet in the smoke and mirrors game they play." Additionally, a certain percentage of each class time must be devoted to memorizing formulas, calculator skills, and "guess the most plausible answer" test prep in order to cover up the fact that these kids cannot do math.

Many of my friends who are teachers feel the same way. The administrations have taken over the classrooms.

 

Science is not so heavily regulated by the administration because the ACT is used as one of the primary evaluators of student achievement and the ACT science section does not actually test scientific knowledge...if one can read charts and graphs and draw some conclusions from them and do so in a respectable time frame, one can post an acceptable score in that section. Since the science teachers have much more leeway, then biology, chemistry, and physics classes have actual real content, some expectations to go with it, and no time devoted to test prep.

Does anyone else find it ironic that the "unregulated" science classes are the demanding classes with "real content" with teachers that are given leeway to actually do their jobs?

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I'm in a state where a majority of homeschoolers register with Umbrella schools-so parents pick and choose their regulations. I have to say that pretty much every parent I feel skirts the edge of non-schooling registers with one specific school that tends to actively encourage this. I've known great unschooling families, but I've noticed that they tend to be those who register with programs that at minimum want a parent to put into words HOW a subject will be taught, even thought they'll accept "Nature walks and library books" as a plan for elementary science.

 

So I do think having to put what you're doing into words for someone can help keep parents on track towards doing SOMETHING. I also agree that I think parents tend to try to opt out when it gets hard, and if parents don't outsource, often the kids get left behind unless they're far more self-motivated than the average kid.

 

One thing I've noticed-there is no middle in our PS here. Either kids are taking loads of AP and dual enrollment credits as Freshmen, (often after NOT being substantially acclelerated before that point unless a parent after schools or pays for tutoring. I've never understood how everyone can be in the same classes K-8,but in 9th, somehow these kids are supposed to be able to do college level work) or they're barely passing the minimum exit exam to get a diploma at all. My gut feeling is that a lot of HSed kids are finding a middle ground that maybe they couldn't get in PS here.

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I'm in a state where a majority of homeschoolers register with Umbrella schools-so parents pick and choose their regulations. I have to say that pretty much every parent I feel skirts the edge of non-schooling registers with one specific school that tends to actively encourage this. I've known great unschooling families, but I've noticed that they tend to be those who register with programs that at minimum want a parent to put into words HOW a subject will be taught, even thought they'll accept "Nature walks and library books" as a plan for elementary science.

 

So I do think having to put what you're doing into words for someone can help keep parents on track towards doing SOMETHING. I also agree that I think parents tend to try to opt out when it gets hard, and if parents don't outsource, often the kids get left behind unless they're far more self-motivated than the average kid.

 

One thing I've noticed-there is no middle in our PS here. Either kids are taking loads of AP and dual enrollment credits as Freshmen, (often after NOT being substantially acclelerated before that point unless a parent after schools or pays for tutoring. I've never understood how everyone can be in the same classes K-8,but in 9th, somehow these kids are supposed to be able to do college level work) or they're barely passing the minimum exit exam to get a diploma at all. My gut feeling is that a lot of HSed kids are finding a middle ground that maybe they couldn't get in PS here.

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Does anyone have any first-hand experience of where the homeschooling regulations actually achieved its mission and found kids that were suffering from educational neglect?

 

That's an excellent question. I'm not certain there has been enough study of this issue in states that regulate. It would require the following of outcomes as well in order to show whether or not the regs were effective for identifying "at risk" families, what level of intervention was applied, and how that worked out in the long run - plus determining an accepted definition of educational neglect and at risk, a loaded political problem for the powers-that-be. Frankly, that alone would cost some serious money and it would need to be a fairly long term study so nothing would be applicable in the short term. My guess is all we will likely ever know is anecdotal.

 

As for my previous post, I would again like to reiterate that I live in an anti-education, anti-intellectual community and so the homeschooling community here is probably very, very different from what many of you encounter. Certainly, it can't be pandemic in Michigan because both U of M, MSU, and MTU (tier one, well-regarded uni's) as well as Kalamazoo College and Hope College (Tippy top LAC's) readily accept homeschooled high schoolers and indicate they've had very pleasant successes with homeschooled students. Somebody has to be supplying these students and it isn't just my family! :biggrinjester:

 

Michigan is a totally unregulated state so clearly some homeschoolers don't need the hoops to jump in order to do the job right. However, again these kinds of anecdotal data cannot be considered reliable. I would imagine that not many uneducated, homeschool students are applying to U of M or Hope! Additionally, there aren't any statistics available on vocational licensing programs. Frankly, the electrical journeyman's path here in Mich where the building codes are wicked, is not for the feignt hearted learner! Some of the mechanical licensing is very difficult, and only 35% of all students who begin the course of study in paramedic school will survive the coursework, internship, and externship much less pass clinicals and state boards. So, a lot of data needs to be collected for a good, long term study of post-homeschool educational/job training success compared with private and public schools.

 

I suspect that the overall trend would be that as a state, homeschoolers would average on par or better than the PS. Demographically, broken down by region, I think that you'd find that homeschoolers in say the German settlements like Frankenmuth or the Danish area of Greenville (communities that have always valued education to a high degree of mastery), plus educationally affluent areas such as Traverse/Petoskey/Charlevoix, West Bloomfield, Rochester Hills, Grosspointe, certain areas surrounding Ann Arbor, etc. would have very impressive statistics. In my area, in all likelihood the averages would be at or below the PS.

 

My area is just plain anti-knowledge. Yesterday I took a tongue lashing from an area pastor (NOT MINE!!!!!) when it was mentioned in passing that we are taking the kids to see Romeo and Juliet at the Midland Center for the Arts in February. I was told that studying literature was a waste of time and we are elitest snobs for spending the money on the tickets! This is VERY representative of the attitude around here. If had spent twice that much to take them to see a Detroit Piston's game, I would be lauded as a responsible parent. I'm not making any judgments about paying for sporting events...just relaying the general culture of my area.

 

Faith

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My area is just plain anti-knowledge. Yesterday I took a tongue lashing from an area pastor (NOT MINE!!!!!) when it was mentioned in passing that we are taking the kids to see Romeo and Juliet at the Midland Center for the Arts in February. I was told that studying literature was a waste of time and we are elitest snobs for spending the money on the tickets! This is VERY representative of the attitude around here. If had spent twice that much to take them to see a Detroit Piston's game, I would be lauded as a responsible parent. I'm not making any judgments about paying for sporting events...just relaying the general culture of my area.

 

Faith

 

This really goes to show just how home schooling varies simply by region. There are vast differences in home school communities. It's just so hard to stereotype home schoolers.

 

To answer the OP's question, I'm not directly acquainted with anyone guilty of home school neglect. I live in an area where most families have at least one parent with a bachelor's degree. I've definitely been acquainted with people who have not tapped into their child's potential and given them an adequate education but not an excellent one. For instance, what I see the most around here are parents not finding ways for their student to pursue higher level math courses in high school. I sometimes even see people spending two years for their high school student to finish algebra. For a child with normal intelligence and no learning issues this is not neglect, but it is not setting them up to finish the high school math courses one would need for a science/math/engineering major. People say, "Well, my child isn't going into those degrees." I think to myself, "Well, you're closing the door for them, so it will be more difficult should they decide to in the future."

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Both local schools and the homeschooling community vary by region and neighborhood.

 

In my remedial teaching, the only students who I have taught who have been more than a few grades below grade level without an underlying speech or vision problem have come out of public schools. I have had a few homeschooling children a few grade levels behind for various reasons, but my students who were basically illiterate have all come out of public schools. My most recent homeschool co-op classes had one child pulled from public school to work on problems caused because of sight word teaching, this student went from not reading at the 1st grade level to reading at the 4th grade level after taking my 10 lesson co-op class.

 

However, with the proliferation of sight words starting to invade the programs homeschoolers use, I am seeing more problems in the homeschooling community with reading than when I first started, although not to the degree I have found coming out of the local schools.

 

Among homeschoolers I have encountered, a poor math foundation is more likely than a poor reading foundation, although that varies by region and neighborhood as well. Math education is also hit and miss in the local schools where we have lived, depending on the district and the teacher.

 

In states we have lived where a periodic test was not required, I have found a few homeschooling parents whose children were further behind than they realized. However, I am not a fan of mandatory standardized testing below 3rd grade level--most of the tests for reading at the lower grade levels are based on sight words, not phonics, so a student like my son who is being taught well but learns phonics slowly would appear behind when in fact they are on schedule for phonics, just not for sight words. (My daughter learned phonics fast enough that she had learned all the patterns and rules to sound out anything quite early on.)

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