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Lisa R.
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Question: Is there a way homeschoolers can find to regulate themselves and provide some accountability?

 

News articles and some personal interactions have shown some astonishing bad examples of homeschooling. Oftentimes I wonder if we are just one or two horrific news stories away from someone using this to enact legislation to provide some sort of home schooling standard or oversight. Is there a way homeschoolers can be proactive here and find a way to do it ourselves?

 

When I'm talking about bad examples of home schooling, I'm referring to people having truant children and calling it homeschooling so charges aren't filed, abusive home situations that go unnoticed because the family has isolated itself, untreated mental illness where the parents can hardly care for children much less educate them, etc.

 

I'm all for independence and honoring parents rights. Is there a sensible way to provide accountability and a standard? I realize that if it isn't mandated that the worst offenders won't change. However, would it protect the sensible ones or the ones that are legitimately trying to educate their children?

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In a perfect world, possibly, but I don't think this is realistic. Who decides what is a "good" education. Let's say I didn't like Susan Wise Bauer and I thought her curriculum was horrid. ( WHICH I DON'T AND THAT IS WHY I AM ON THIS WEBSITE) If I was on the committee that helped to decide what curriculum HAD to be used, I would try to sway the group away from her writings.

 

I believe that if SpyCar was in charge of Math, no child would ever be left behind to be taught with Saxon. Which for some strange reason my son excels with. The thing that makes homeschooling so amazing for us, is that I can use different curriculum for different kids. I can adjust the speed of what is taught so that each child can be constantly challenged but not overwhelmed to the point of tears.

 

And honestly, the academia world wouldn't even consider allowing us "uneducated" parents to decide what is best for our kids.

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I'm not sure what you mean. In many states, homeschoolers are regulated.

 

How would we regulate ourselves? Are you proposing an organized, regulating body consisting of some sort of elected board of homeschoolers who could, in essence, tell the rest of us what to do? :confused:

 

As far as I'm concerned, that's the last thing we need. I know that your intentions are good, but i think it is a dreadful idea.

 

Most of us homeschool because we want to do what's best for our own, individual children. Having some sort of "self-regulation" would completely negate that, because at that point, we would be obeying a different set of rules, established by people who don't know our children. And how would those regulations apply to children with special needs? What about gifted kids? What about kids with medical issues that impact their schooling?

 

Maybe I'm misreading your post, but it appears that what you're suggesting would require lots of rules and regulations, which would defeat the purpose of why many of us homeschool in the first place. From what I have seen, the news stories about the crazy homeschoolers aren't usually about real homeschoolers, anyway. They are about truant children with negligent parents, but the media classifies them as homeschooled because the kids don't attend school. My feeling is that, no matter how many rules are in place, people who are bad/negligent/crazy/evil parents will find ways to circumvent them, so there's really no way that we can protect all the children, all the time. If the powers-that-be can't manage to keep track of the kids who attend public school, how could a self-regulating group of homeschoolers ever even hope to keep an eye on all of the children who don't attend school? It sounds like an impossible task to me.

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My of my clients report doing or having done "the homeschool program". The problem there is that these are criminal justice clients who "caught a case" in public school, got sent to an alternative school and that failed.

 

These are not "homeschoolers" in the sense I understand the word.

 

I have worked for the last 3 years in a homeschool enrichment turned private school. We have a lot of formerly homeschoold students. I have been aghast at some of the academic realities. This has challenged and changed my perception of the REAL results of homeschoolers. I used to report and opine stuff about the superior scores of homeschoolers. I no longer do that; I think homeschoolers have done poorly in a percentage they don't want to admit or see.

 

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Well my opinion is when the established methods that already exist actually pulls off the goal you are seeking, then we can discuss ways todo this for homeschoolers. But from where I stand, all the regulations and cohesiveness of k-12 have not managed to prevent abuses and horrible issues among themselves or produce outstanding educated individuals either. " a child called it", "rabbit howls" are just two books that spring to mind regarding horrifically abused and battered children that the sytstm either caught late in the game or didn't catch at all. 4 kids died in foster care last year in my area from abusive foster parents. If foster care can't keep kids alive and well and not abused and public school can't keep coaches and teachers from abusing students and the police can't keep whackos from holding people locked away in their homes or in underground bunkers, then I am not sure how we can develop rules and laws to prevent it from happening in such a diverse and loosely organized group of homeschoolers.

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There is only one [former] homeschooling parent whom I know pretty well IRL. She has all sorts of problems from low IQ to drugs to frequently-changing living arrangements (including the resident "father figure.") But she didn't want her kid going to school with the "trash" in the school district (??) so she signed him up for K-12 online. He was mostly on his own at the computer (age 8). According to him, he failed writing, so he had to go back to brick-and-mortar the next year. My thought on that is, because there is some meaningful accountability in our state (or so it appears), this family was prevented from doing unlimited damage. I'm sure there are people who would be happier with less structure, but there really are kids at risk out there. Better to have to test / report / whatever than to have homeschooling outlawed to prevent rare but outrageous results.

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My of my clients report doing or having done "the homeschool program". The problem there is that these are criminal justice clients who "caught a case" in public school, got sent to an alternative school and that failed.

 

These are not "homeschoolers" in the sense I understand the word.

 

I have worked for the last 3 years in a homeschool enrichment turned private school. We have a lot of formerly homeschoold students. I have been aghast at some of the academic realities. This has challenged and changed my perception of the REAL results of homeschoolers. I used to report and opine stuff about the superior scores of homeschoolers. I no longer do that; I think homeschoolers have done poorly in a percentage they don't want to admit or see.

 

I agree with you on the real results of homeschoolers. Most of the homeschoolers I run into IRL are so far behind in educating their children it is unreal. And I am not talking about the early years or those with issues. I'm talking highschoolers whose parents feel that children who are still struggling to read standard material for high school as "okay" and are taking 2 or 3 years to finish Algebra is fine. I understand delayed or late bloomers. I have one of those myself. But at some point, they need to catch up and begin to master and surpass the material. If your normal kid is going to have to take remedial classes at the local tech school before they can attempt a tech class, something has gone awry.

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Question: Is there a way homeschoolers can find to regulate themselves and provide some accountability?

 

If what we are talking about is accountability to educational standards àla no child left behind or common core standards, no, we cannot. Even the public schools cannot manage to hold themselves to this standard on a student by student basis.

 

If what we are talking about is preventing abuse and neglect, yes, we already have the means to be as effective as the public school system. We have to decide, each of us, that we will not tolerate abuse and/or neglect of children in the name of minding our own business or out of fear of CPS over reaching.

Every time we see educational neglect, (and I am not talking unschooling but no schooling), we need to speak up. If the parents will not teach, then CPS needs to be involved and the kids returned to school.

Every time we see abuse (and I am not talking traditional spanking) we need to speak up. We need to contact the proper agencies.

 

I do not see that as a homeschooling issue but an issue of basic human decency.

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Question: Is there a way homeschoolers can find to regulate themselves and provide some accountability?

 

News articles and some personal interactions have shown some astonishing bad examples of homeschooling. Oftentimes I wonder if we are just one or two horrific news stories away from someone using this to enact legislation to provide some sort of home schooling standard or oversight. Is there a way homeschoolers can be proactive here and find a way to do it ourselves?

 

When I'm talking about bad examples of home schooling, I'm referring to people having truant children and calling it homeschooling so charges aren't filed, abusive home situations that go unnoticed because the family has isolated itself, untreated mental illness where the parents can hardly care for children much less educate them, etc.

 

I'm all for independence and honoring parents rights. Is there a sensible way to provide accountability and a standard? I realize that if it isn't mandated that the worst offenders won't change. However, would it protect the sensible ones or the ones that are legitimately trying to educate their children?

 

Do you mean some sort of governing body made up of homeschoolers, which has the authority to devise and enforce "accountability"? No, absolutely not. It's a bad idea, and there is no way it could happen.

 

I refuse to give in to any sort of thinking that says that homeschoolers need to be regulated and accountable for the sake of preventing abuse of any kind, educational, physical, or anything else one could lump into the category of "abuse," just because they are homeschoolers.

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That sounds like a well-meaning but bad idea.

 

I have seen terrible students and teachers in public schools, private schools, and homeschools.

My belief is that your kids and you are going to turn out like whatever they would turn out like

regardless of what educational philosophy you follow,

and also regardless of how much accountability,

rules, policies, oversight, or regulation.

 

Whether you supervise or not, the kids of involved caring parents will usually

have decent academic

outcomes.

 

The supervision would really change the whole point of homeschooling for me. I like living

in a state where I can get a far superior education that in the public or the best private schools,

with absolute academic freedom. I wouldn't want anyone looking over my shoulder supervising--which is why I could never live in a state that asks for exams or an educator supervising me.

 

I remember when we were in Boy Scouts. DS wanted to do 12 Merit Badges. His Scoutmaster

said that was too ambitious and he should just pick 5. DS went ahead and did 5 with that troop,

joined another troop, whose Scoutmaster said he could do as many as he wanted and be in two

troops. DS finished 12 that summer and had a wonderful time.

 

If we had supervision like that

in our homeschool, there might

be regulation and people might want to tell us where to be more moderate, or more balanced, and

for us that would change our whole education philosophy. DS might not be able to spend

8+ hours a day on mathematics when he feels like it, and happily neglect grammar busywork.

(BTW DS has excellent grammar.)

 

Anyway, I am sorry to ramble, and I don't mean to be snarky at all. I just really dislike the

idea of someone regulating my homeschool to "protect" all kids.

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I refuse to give in to any sort of thinking that says that homeschoolers need to be regulated and accountable for the sake of preventing abuse of any kind, educational, physical, or anything else one could lump into the category of "abuse," just because they are homeschoolers.

I think teachers need to be accountable, and that includes teachers of homeschooled kids. I do understand there is a lot of debate over what "accountability" looks like, but it's not fair to kids to allow them to be denied access to basic education.

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There is only one [former] homeschooling parent whom I know pretty well IRL. She has all sorts of problems from low IQ to drugs to frequently-changing living arrangements (including the resident "father figure.") But she didn't want her kid going to school with the "trash" in the school district (??) so she signed him up for K-12 online. He was mostly on his own at the computer (age 8). According to him, he failed writing, so he had to go back to brick-and-mortar the next year. My thought on that is, because there is some meaningful accountability in our state (or so it appears), this family was prevented from doing unlimited damage. I'm sure there are people who would be happier with less structure, but there really are kids at risk out there. Better to have to test / report / whatever than to have homeschooling outlawed to prevent rare but outrageous results.

 

But in my particular state, that child would not have been a homeschooler. Here she would have most likely signed up for the online k-12 run by the public school which is free. So the child would have still been a public school kid, just one doing school at home. Unless she wanted to pay k-12's tuition so she could be counted as a homeschooler. Most take the free option and that makes them public school. So any bad outcomes from that in my state falls on the public school. Not sure how to limit the damage the beyond the rules already in place. And the natural consequences of failing to educate your child means your child and most likely your money has to go toward remedial classes and such until the child is up to par.

 

I think in the end parents who don't want to educate or parent their child, don't. And that drives those of us -public, private and homeschooled- that do crazy. We can't fix lazy or stupid or don't wanna or downright mean, selfish, unstable, crazy. Until we find a way to fix that, we are always going to have abuse, neglect,and those under the radar making the rest of us look bad. Parents that don't parent, don't educate, and don't care about their kids make us all look bad. we are only going to be able to speak out when we see it happening and peer pressure them into doing better. Laws and regulations can only go so far.

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I think teachers need to be accountable, and that includes teachers of homeschooled kids. I do understand there is a lot of debate over what "accountability" looks like, but it's not fair to kids to allow them to be denied access to basic education.

 

 

We are not "teachers." We are parents. A "teacher" implies someone to whom the parents have given permission to teach. Children who are being taught by their parents at home are not being "denied access to basic education." That some parents are negligent is irrelevant; there are already laws in place to address that, whether the government is actually doing a good job or not.

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But in my particular state, that child would not have been a homeschooler. Here she would have most likely signed up for the online k-12 run by the public school which is free. So the child would have still been a public school kid, just one doing school at home. Unless she wanted to pay k-12's tuition so she could be counted as a homeschooler. Most take the free option and that makes them public school. So any bad outcomes from that in my state falls on the public school. Not sure how to limit the damage the beyond the rules already in place. And the natural consequences of failing to educate your child means your child and most likely your money has to go toward remedial classes and such until the child is up to par.

 

:iagree:

 

And this is what so many people don't understand: the legal, technical difference between "homeschooling" (or private schooling, as it is in states like California, Texas, and Illinois) and public-school-at-home. Failure to understand the difference and continuing to insist that children enrolled in public school programs *are homeschooled children* will come back to bite homeschoolers.

 

I think in the end parents who don't want to educate or parent their child, don't. And that drives those of us -public, private and homeschooled- that do crazy. We can't fix lazy or stupid or don't wanna or downright mean, selfish, unstable, crazy. Until we find a way to fix that, we are always going to have abuse, neglect,and those under the radar making the rest of us look bad. Parents that don't parent, don't educate, and don't care about their kids make us all look bad. we are only going to be able to speak out when we see it happening and peer pressure them into doing better. Laws and regulations can only go so far.

 

 

:iagree:

 

Edited to correct my stupid blunder. There were sentences going through my head, and parts of both ended up in the same sentence, DOH!!! Children enrolled in public school programs are legally and technically public school students, regardless of where their education takes place or who their primary teachers are.

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I don't live in the states, so maybe the way things are done here in the part of Canada I am in might be sort of what you are looking for.

 

There are many ways for children to be educated.

 

The ministry of education gives a certain amount of money per child to public schools.

 

Private schools get 1/2 that amount, if they agree to following the provinical learning outcomes and some oversight (checking up that they do it). Most private schools choose this, because it just means you teach basic addition to 20 in K and stuff like that. It doesn't tell you what perspective you have to have, or how to do it. Private schools are generally not particularly expensive here, because they are supplementally funded by the government.

 

There is another kind of private school (a distance learning school) that also can receive 1/2 funding for its students. These schools are generally free, and they either supply the curriculum to the parents, or they provide a curriculum budget for the parents (the schools generally allow for $1k a kid in elementary school). The parents report to a learning assistant who is a certified teacher. We are a part of this. We have 3 meetings/portfolio type reviews a year, and we submit a short report of what we have covered every week or two. Since I choose to use curriculum, I easily report we did lessons 145-155 of Phonics Museum (or the like) and am done. Some parents get caught up in trying to meet the specified learning outcomes for each year - I find that a bit like teaching to the test. We cover the outcomes, but that is not the focus of our learning.Since there are so many distance learning schools, many of which are extremely flexible, most people choose this option. I've heard stats that 90% or more of homeschoolers do it this way now in our province. When I go to a homeschooling mom meeting, one of the first questions is "which school are you with" - which I find hilariously ironic. :)

 

 

People are also allowed to purely register their children. In that case, the registering school will consult them once or so a year if they want about ways to help them in their learning, but there is no school or government oversight. They get $150 or so for registering. People who choose this option are afraid the option may go away because so few choose it. I personally *think* I am glad they have the right to choose it, but the few I have met who go this way have been giving their children short shrift on education (they are the ones to say - well, my kid can always learn stuff on their own later and they're behind but oh well...).

 

Personally, I find the model brilliant. It offers choice and support, but the curriculum budget offers enough incentive for the HSers to meet the provincially expected outcomes. And the province gets its kids educated more cheaply than they otherwise would, with more personal attention.

 

ETA: I forgot another option - a number of private schools/DLs are working their way into a half-week sort of model. The kids go to a school for 2-3 days a week, the teacher covers 75% or so of the expected learning outcomes, the parents cover the other 25% or so. Parents don't have to report much at all, because the teachers see the kids enough to assess for themselves. It's a new-ish private school model for people who want more time with their kids and more flexibility, but who don't want to be responsible for educating the kids themselves.

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As a member of a couple of professions that do some rather elaborate "self-regulating" for similar reasons - to ensure the integrity and credibility of the practice from the perspective of everyone affected thereby - I can understand the motivation to want to "self-regulate" as a group. But I am not sure how it gets done logistically. I mean, do homeschoolers even view themselves as a group that should be evaluated together and held to similar standards? People do it in so many ways and for so many reasons. If I homeschooled my Miss A, I'd have completely different internal criteria than if I homeschooled my Miss E. So, good luck figuring out how to internally police the whole homeschooling community.

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I think it exists already. I know in my state, there is a very limited form of accountability. You can do a portfolio review with the county OR you can do your review with an 'umbrella' group. If you choose the umbrella option, you ARE reporting to other homeschoolers. Some umbrellas are less rigid than the county, and some may require MORE documentation from parents.

 

I'd like to think that county reviewers or homeschool reviewers would be able to flag a family that is not actually educating their children. I believe we have the right to homeschool as we see fit, but I'm not sure that extends to the right to just hang out at home and make zero educational effort.

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:iagree:

 

And this is what so many people don't understand: the legal, technical difference between "homeschooling" (or private schooling, as it is in states like California, Texas, and Illinois) and public-school-at-home. Failure to understand the difference and continuing to insist that children enrolled in public school programs *are public schooled children* will come back to bite homeschoolers.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

 

 

I'm going for a long shot here and ask if you meant to type ....children enrolled in public school programs *are homeschooled children* will come back to bite homeschoolers

 

Cause in my state, they are considered public school kids. No insisting needed. The law clearly states that our charter school choice program now consists of an online public school option paid for by the tax payer and under the entire scope and sequence and laws of the State department of Ed and it's policies and procedures and everything. The only difference is the ability to stay home while going to school. Hoping that was a typo because I don't get how insisting people follow the law will bite us.

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I'm going for a long shot here and ask if you meant to type ....children enrolled in public school programs *are homeschooled children* will come back to bite homeschoolers

 

Cause in my state, they are considered public school kids. No insisting needed. The law clearly states that our charter school choice program now consists of an online public school option paid for by the tax payer and under the entire scope and sequence and laws of the State department of Ed and its policies and procedures and everything. The only difference is the ability to stay home while going to school. Hoping that was a typo because I don't get how insisting people follow the law will bite us.

 

 

::face palm::

 

Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Going to change it now. Sheesh.

 

But yes, it is necessary to insist to other homeschoolers that students enrolled in public school programs are public school students, not homeschooled children. It is evidently difficult to differentiate between the two, even though the "campus" for both is the same place.

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I think it exists already. I know in my state, there is a very limited form of accountability. You can do a portfolio review with the county OR you can do your review with an 'umbrella' group. If you choose the umbrella option, you ARE reporting to other homeschoolers. Some umbrellas are less rigid than the county, and some may require MORE documentation from parents.

 

I'd like to think that county reviewers or homeschool reviewers would be able to flag a family that is not actually educating their children. I believe we have the right to homeschool as we see fit, but I'm not sure that extends to the right to just hang out at home and make zero educational effort.

 

 

And is this effective? Is there educational neglect around where you are with these requirements?

 

I live in a state with no oversight. No registering, no reviews, no umbrella school. People around here justify all sorts of nonsense as school.

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Do you mean some sort of governing body made up of homeschoolers, which has the authority to devise and enforce "accountability"? No, absolutely not. It's a bad idea, and there is no way it could happen.

 

 

 

No, I am not saying this. I am genuinely wanting to brainstorm to see if there is a way to raise the standards and reputation of homeschooling. It loses credibility when extreme slackers and non-homeschoolers call what they are doing homeschooling.

 

I don't have answers. :). That's why I thought I'd ask here and see what people thought.

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After what the pioneers of the modern homeschooling movement did to make homeschooling a legal option for today's parents, this suggestion is shocking. Frankly, it reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm - "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." Who am I, or any other homeschooling parent, to regulate what or in what manner another parent teaches his or her children? Most of us have some type of state regulation that we are complying with. That's enough! It is nobody's business, beyond the laws of my state (and some would argue that it's none of the state's business either) how I raise or teach my children. If there is abuse going on, that's a different issue - not a homeschooling issue. As for our part, we should do our very best to give our children the best education we see fit, and to encourage and help others to do the same, thus proving that homeschooling is an excellent educational choice. But to somehow start regulating other homeschoolers? No way!!

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As a member of a couple of professions that do some rather elaborate "self-regulating" for similar reasons - to ensure the integrity and credibility of the practice from the perspective of everyone affected thereby - I can understand the motivation to want to "self-regulate" as a group. But I am not sure how it gets done logistically. I mean, do homeschoolers even view themselves as a group that should be evaluated together and held to similar standards? People do it in so many ways and for so many reasons. If I homeschooled my Miss A, I'd have completely different internal criteria than if I homeschooled my Miss E. So, good luck figuring out how to internally police the whole homeschooling community.

 

 

Yes, this is why I called it a "possibly unanswerable question". I thought we could brainstorm to see if there was any type of a solution. Perhaps there isn't.

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FWIW, every single one of the homeschooling families I know are most definitely concerned, dedicated parents who are educating their children quite adequately.

 

I have not seen any of the deadbeat homeschoolers of which others have spoken.

 

 

 

 

I have worked for the last 3 years in a homeschool enrichment turned private school. We have a lot of formerly homeschoold students. I have been aghast at some of the academic realities. This has challenged and changed my perception of the REAL results of homeschoolers. I used to report and opine stuff about the superior scores of homeschoolers. I no longer do that; I think homeschoolers have done poorly in a percentage they don't want to admit or see.

 

 

I've lived in different parts of the country and have seen how homeschooling varies vastly by the area in which you reside. Some areas are rife with oddness and poor standards while others have shining examples of homeschooling done well with few exceptions. I've seen both. I believe homeschooling can be done well. I do think it's important to take an honest look at it, though. Defensiveness regarding discussing homeschooling's shortfalls--particularly when discussing this with like-minded people, doesn't do anyone any favors.

 

When you see a string of examples of what borders on educational neglect, it has an impact. Those of you who have seen it know what I'm talking about. It has made me question homeschooling as a general choice. I'm not saying this is the right way to feel, I'm just trying to be honest here. After going to a high school homeschool graduation a few years before second oldest graduated, almost made me enroll ds in a private school. I know it was an irrational response, but I honestly considered it. I wanted to weep for these two boys that were graduating. Now, a few years later, they are still struggling. They did not have a good education or a healthy environment. I don't believe it rose to the level of abuse at all, but it was wholly inadequate. These are the peers of my homeschooled children?

 

Perhaps there isn't an answer. I do know that one answer that is not sufficient: Public school fails kids all the time academically and socially, so don't blame homeschooling if this happens there too. Nope. That should not be a defense for low standards in our circles.

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And is this effective? Is there educational neglect around where you are with these requirements?

 

I live in a state with no oversight. No registering, no reviews, no umbrella school. People around here justify all sorts of nonsense as school.

 

Where I live the public schools justify all sorts of nonsense as "school". The public schools are highly regulated and it is in no way working for them.
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Where I live the public schools justify all sorts of nonsense as "school". The public schools are highly regulated and it is in no way working for them.

 

 

Again, saying "other people are doing it badly, too" is a very weak defense. I'd like to think we have higher standards than that.

 

Also, I'm not suggesting we regulate homeschooling the way public schools are regulated. I'd like to see if anyone has any suggestions on raising the reputation of homeschooling and providing some accountability.

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And is this effective? Is there educational neglect around where you are with these requirements?

I live in a state with no oversight. No registering, no reviews, no umbrella school. People around here justify all sorts of nonsense as school.

 

 

I think it can weed out gross incompetence. If a parent can't speak well, or spell, or do basic math, this will come through in a portfolio review. You will be asked to give more details or clarify some things during your review. There is a process in place to review again if they didn't show evidence of instruction in an area. I'm guessing there is a limited number of times you can fail before some sort of intervention takes place. However, if you are legitimately educating your child, it's easy to have a twenty minute conversation about what you do.

 

If someone is deceptive and fabricates evidence then it would be fairly difficult to catch them. I think that would be an odd person and a family in crisis anyway.

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I don't live in the states, so maybe the way things are done here in the part of Canada I am in might be sort of what you are looking for.

 

There are many ways for children to be educated.

 

The ministry of education gives a certain amount of money per child to public schools.

 

Private schools get 1/2 that amount, if they agree to following the provinical learning outcomes and some oversight (checking up that they do it). Most private schools choose this, because it just means you teach basic addition to 20 in K and stuff like that. It doesn't tell you what perspective you have to have, or how to do it. Private schools are generally not particularly expensive here, because they are supplementally funded by the government.

 

There is another kind of private school (a distance learning school) that also can receive 1/2 funding for its students. These schools are generally free, and they either supply the curriculum to the parents, or they provide a curriculum budget for the parents (the schools generally allow for $1k a kid in elementary school). The parents report to a learning assistant who is a certified teacher. We are a part of this. We have 3 meetings/portfolio type reviews a year, and we submit a short report of what we have covered every week or two. Since I choose to use curriculum, I easily report we did lessons 145-155 of Phonics Museum (or the like) and am done. Some parents get caught up in trying to meet the specified learning outcomes for each year - I find that a bit like teaching to the test. We cover the outcomes, but that is not the focus of our learning.Since there are so many distance learning schools, many of which are extremely flexible, most people choose this option. I've heard stats that 90% or more of homeschoolers do it this way now in our province. When I go to a homeschooling mom meeting, one of the first questions is "which school are you with" - which I find hilariously ironic. :)

 

 

People are also allowed to purely register their children. In that case, the registering school will consult them once or so a year if they want about ways to help them in their learning, but there is no school or government oversight. They get $150 or so for registering. People who choose this option are afraid the option may go away because so few choose it. I personally *think* I am glad they have the right to choose it, but the few I have met who go this way have been giving their children short shrift on education (they are the ones to say - well, my kid can always learn stuff on their own later and they're behind but oh well...).

 

Personally, I find the model brilliant. It offers choice and support, but the curriculum budget offers enough incentive for the HSers to meet the provincially expected outcomes. And the province gets its kids educated more cheaply than they otherwise would, with more personal attention.

 

ETA: I forgot another option - a number of private schools/DLs are working their way into a half-week sort of model. The kids go to a school for 2-3 days a week, the teacher covers 75% or so of the expected learning outcomes, the parents cover the other 25% or so. Parents don't have to report much at all, because the teachers see the kids enough to assess for themselves. It's a new-ish private school model for people who want more time with their kids and more flexibility, but who don't want to be responsible for educating the kids themselves.

 

 

Very interesting. This would require the government's support since they are providing some of the funding here. It seems like people in the US are very wary of this as they feel that accepting any government money will create undue regulation and control. Perhaps this is an unfounded fear, but that is what I've heard.

 

Thanks for sharing this.

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No. There is no such way to accomplish this task. Honestly, I really feel it is best left alone. It is not a problem to the degree that anything should be done. I do not believe in sacrificing hundreds of children for the good of one. That is how I see homeschool regulation.

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There are abusive parents. Should parenting be regulated?

*shudder*

 

 

That's where CPS comes in. If you are abusing your kids, or not feeding them, or whatever, you lose the privilege of parenting them. If you're keeping your children away from school, but failing to teach them anything, I'm not sure you deserve the privilege of educating your kids.

 

Now, I don't mean YOU specifically, but I do think that as more and more cases of educational neglect come to light it's going to create trouble for everyone. I don't know what answer would be fair for everyone, but now that legal homeschooling is as easy as simply not going to school I DO wonder how it will play out. I know there are families whose older kids are too far behind to go to school without embarrassing themselves or their families simply because the temptation to take another day off is too great. I've seen mothers return to full-time work and not send their kids back to school. I've met people who believe that home is ALWAYS more educational than school no matter what you do. It's like some people don't get that you do need to consistently put in the time and effort for this to work.

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Again, saying "other people are doing it badly, too" is a very weak defense. I'd like to think we have higher standards than that.

 

Also, I'm not suggesting we regulate homeschooling the way public schools are regulated. I'd like to see if anyone has any suggestions on raising the reputation of homeschooling and providing some accountability.

 

A weaker defense is saying that even though other educational institutions have tried regulating and it has failed, homeschoolers should be more regulated. To me the homeschooling community as a whole is not broken, and does not need to be fixed.
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I've lived in different parts of the country and have seen how homeschooling varies vastly by the area in which you reside. Some areas are rife with oddness and poor standards while others have shining examples of homeschooling done well with few exceptions. I've seen both. I believe homeschooling can be done well. I do think it's important to take an honest look at it, though. Defensiveness regarding discussing homeschooling's shortfalls--particularly when discussing this with like-minded people, doesn't do anyone any favors.

 

When you see a string of examples of what borders on educational neglect, it has an impact. Those of you who have seen it know what I'm talking about. It has made me question homeschooling as a general choice. I'm not saying this is the right way to feel, I'm just trying to be honest here. After going to a high school homeschool graduation a few years before second oldest graduated, almost made me enroll ds in a private school. I know it was an irrational response, but I honestly considered it. I wanted to weep for these two boys that were graduating. Now, a few years later, they are still struggling. They did not have a good education or a healthy environment. I don't believe it rose to the level of abuse at all, but it was wholly inadequate. These are the peers of my homeschooled children?

 

Perhaps there isn't an answer. I do know that one answer that is not sufficient: Public school fails kids all the time academically and socially, so don't blame homeschooling if this happens there too. Nope. That should not be a defense for low standards in our circles.

 

 

The problem with taking a closer look at homeschooling is that it takes too long. You can't look at us as a group, no matter how much HSLDA likes to claim that as a group we score higher on standardized tests. We're not a group. Each homeschool is very individual (to the point that in some states, like mine, a homeschool operates as its own private school). When you look at one homeschooling family, you are learning about that one family and nothing more.

 

As far as the loser hs'ers being your child's peers, why should they be? You don't define "peer" as "someone who also didn't do what you didn't do." In other words, they are not your child's peers just because none of them went to ps! Why did you endorse that graduation with your presence if you knew it was a farce? If you knew the children were in an unhealthy environment why did not you intervene through mechanisms that already exist?

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I haven't read every post but wanted to ask if the cases of gross negligence recently are largely from unregulated states? My state has zero reporting. In order to homeschool ds, I filled out a form and got it notarized. Period. Its possible I'll never have to talk to another person from the state about homeschooling ever. Convenient for me? Absolutely. But, it would be so easy for me to just not really school him at all.

 

I agree, we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we just ignore that neglect happens or brush it aside by saying, well at least it's not ps.

 

To answer the original question, I think having to submit a portfolio/samples of work to the state is a good answer. At the very least, it weeds out lazy parents and provides some accountability, while not infringing on a parents right to choose methods/styles, etc.

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I can't see how there would be. In order to self regulate, there would have to be some sort of across the board agreement as to what are appropriate standards and benchmarks. Homeschoolers are not a community in the same way that a public school is. It's just adults(and a diverse group) that have decided to educate their kids at home. Methods, standards, curricula, and implementing vary wildly from household to household.

 

You could, possibly, push for more standards and regulation within your state as all homeschoolers are legally bound by their state's definition and requirements. Some are stricter than others, but that's life in the US. :)

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One thing that has been on my mind in regards to this question is the fact that in many states, a child may not see anyone who is a mandated reporter at all, year after year. We take our children to the doctors and the dentist, and to other places where there are mandated reporters, but abusive parents may not. If those parents also homeschool, then there may be no one in their lives who is required to help them if they are being abused. Sure, friends and neighbors *might* (and hopefully will) report them, but maybe not. A child can be invisible as a homeschooler, in a way that a public or private schooled child cannot. So, while CPS does exist to help these children, if no one reports it they do not realize they need to help. CPS seems set up to work with and through a system that uses the public schools as a filter. I am not sure what the answer is, only that I see this as a problem, mainly because children might not get the help they need, but also because of how it can reflect on homeschoolers, the vast number of whom do not abuse their children.

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I'm reminded of the story of the exodus in the Bible in which the Israelites began longing for the leeks and melons they had back in Egypt. They were slaves, for crying out loud! Folks, do we really want to go back to the days of ridiculous govenment regulation? I realize that you're talking about some sort of homeschool self-regulatory system, but it's only a step from there back to the state. Many people fought long and hard for the freedom we have to educate our own children. I am afraid that many homeschoolers have forgotten that what we are doing was once illegal. (Or perhaps in the case of younger homeschoolers, they are unaware of that fact.)

 

As I said before, we need to prove the naysayers wrong by doing our very best to provide our own children with an excellent education and to help others to do the same. But it is not our place to be policing other homeschoolers.

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As far as the loser hs'ers being your child's peers, why should they be? You don't define "peer" as "someone who also didn't do what you didn't do." In other words, they are not your child's peers just because none of them went to ps! Why did you endorse that graduation with your presence if you knew it was a farce? If you knew the children were in an unhealthy environment why did not you intervene through mechanisms that already exist?

 

They called themselves homeschoolers. We called ourselves homeschoolers. We will be associated whether we like it or not.

 

I did not know the state of their education until I went to the graduation. Both of them attended an activity my son also attended, and he wanted to go to their graduation. That is when I saw and heard what they did (and did not) do in their homeschooling.

 

Also, there really aren't any mechanisms that exist to help homeschoolers here. I don't believe there was abuse here-- just extremely low standards.

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The problem with taking a closer look at homeschooling is that it takes too long. You can't look at us as a group, no matter how much HSLDA likes to claim that as a group we score higher on standardized tests. We're not a group. Each homeschool is very individual (to the point that in some states, like mine, a homeschool operates as its own private school). When you look at one homeschooling family, you are learning about that one family and nothing more.

 

 

You can't look at the homeschooling communities if you allow people to self select for studies. I have yet to see a study of homeschoolers that randomized the sample or looked at an entire area. And most homeschoolers would scream bloody murder if anyone suggested they all had to take the ITBS that year and submit the results to an organization for a real study.

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I'm reminded of the story of the exodus in the Bible in which the Israelites began longing for the leeks and melons they had back in Egypt. They were slaves, for crying out loud! Folks, do we really want to go back to the days of ridiculous govenment regulation? I realize that you're talking about some sort of homeschool self-regulatory system, but it's only a step from there back to the state.

 

I absolutely do not want to go back to government regulation. That is why I'd like to see someone propose a solution that allows homeschoolers to self-regulate so we *don't* have the government step in.

 

I disagree that fixing the problems from within is one step away from the state stepping in.

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I haven't read every post but wanted to ask if the cases of gross negligence recently are largely from unregulated states? My state has zero reporting. In order to homeschool ds, I filled out a form and got it notarized. Period. Its possible I'll never have to talk to another person from the state about homeschooling ever. Convenient for me? Absolutely. But, it would be so easy for me to just not really school him at all.

 

I agree, we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we just ignore that neglect happens or brush it aside by saying, well at least it's not ps.

 

To answer the original question, I think having to submit a portfolio/samples of work to the state is a good answer. At the very least, it weeds out lazy parents and provides some accountability, while not infringing on a parents right to choose methods/styles, etc.

 

Good points.

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Who would determine what the standards are? I may believe that all kids should learn math through calculus, while someone else thinks that algebra 2 is enough. I may believe in evolution, while someone else believes in creation. I may believe that children learn best through unit studies, while another parent chooses text books.I may have a child who is a late bloomer, who doesn't read until he's 8 or 10 years old. Just because someone else's child is reading at age 4 doesn't mean every child will. Just because your family participates in co-ops and goes on field trips every week doesn't mean that every family will be able (or want) to do this. We are all different. We have different reasons for schooling our own children, and our children have different needs and different situations. Should all parents who homeschool be certified teachers? Should parents be required to be fingerprinted for background checks? Should every kid be required to take the ITBS or some other standardized test? These things have been tossed around for decades. I'm sorry, but no self-proclaimed expert homeschooler is going to tell me what I should do in my own home.

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And is this effective? Is there educational neglect around where you are with these requirements?

I live in a state with no oversight. No registering, no reviews, no umbrella school. People around here justify all sorts of nonsense as school.[\b]

 

 

But who are you to define what is and what is not "nonsense?"

 

 

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But who are you to define what is and what is not "nonsense?"

 

 

 

Who is anyone to say what is educational neglect/nonsense? People do it here on the boards all the time. This is nothing new around here.

 

You stated in a previous post that the homeschoolers you know are dedicated and doing a good job. This is not always the case in different parts of the country.

 

For those of us who have seen the darker side of homeschooling, it is sad to see. There are people that are pulling down the reputation of homeschoolers. It is also sad homeschooled kids that do not care to identify as homeschoolers as they don't want to be associated with some of the things they see around them.

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Who is anyone to say what is educational neglect/nonsense? People do it here on the boards all the time. This is nothing new around here.

 

You stated in a previous post that the homeschoolers you know are dedicated and doing a good job. This is not always the case in different parts of the country.

 

For those of us who have seen the darker side of homeschooling, it is sad to see. There are people that are pulling down the reputation of homeschoolers. It is also sad homeschooled kids that do not care to identify as homeschoolers as they don't want to be associated with some of the things they see around them.

 

My point was pretty much exactly what you just posted, which is, "who is anyone to suggest what is educational neglect/nonsense."

 

I don't know how you could ever establish some sort of regulating-body-of-homeschoolers without that small group of people somehow defining exactly what are and what are not acceptable forms of homeschooling, and quite frankly, that's not something I want to see happen -- and even if it did, it probably wouldn't change a single thing among families who don't value education. All it would do is serve to intimidate conscientious parents into worrying about whether or not they were going to get into trouble for not homeschooling their kids in accordance with some arbitrary rules set by other homeschooling parents they don't know, and who have never met their children.

 

It's a lovely idea to want to help the kids whose parents are selling them short, whether those kids are homeschooled, in public school, or just plain truant. I just don't think there is any workable way for homeschoolers to self-regulate other homeschoolers.

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No, I am not saying this. I am genuinely wanting to brainstorm to see if there is a way to raise the standards and reputation of homeschooling. It loses credibility when extreme slackers and non-homeschoolers call what they are doing homeschooling.

 

I don't have answers. :). That's why I thought I'd ask here and see what people thought.

 

That homeschooling lose credibility in the minds of some people based on the actions of some homeschoolers isn't a basis for trying to regulate--not even self-regulate--homeschooling in general. Also, it's, well, sort of offensive for you to suggest that the standards of homeschoolers in general need to be raised. I know you didn't mean to be offensive, but there it is. :-)

 

Those who are opposed to homeschooling on principle will look for any news tidbit as a way of "proving" that we need to be regulated or that our standards need to be raised or that homeschoolers as a whole have lost credibility. Don't be one of those people. Assume that the standards you have for your own homeschooling are at least as high as the standards of other homeschoolers, and that your homeschooling efforts are credible. :-)

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