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How much longer will our current style of homeschooling be possible or desirable, even for us? Have you noticed any straws in the wind?

 

I've said before that I don't think we've got more than five to ten years of hs'ing as we know it. I think more people will be interested in hs'ing -- remember we've been hearing that prediction that our numbers will increase from 3% to 7% in  the very near future -- but I tend to think it might not happen that neatly. I think the dissatisfaction with ps will grow to that percentage but I can't envision so many families being willing and able to homeschool just because ps has become untenable. I think we'll see more UMS and private schools, and I am sure the charter debate will continue to rage on.

 

I think that as more options become available and mainstream, even many of our own ranks will abandon single family homeschooling to join and support those methods. Especially at the high school level, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would actually prefer a solid classical or UMS school to hs'ing.

 

And of course, part of my dire predictions have to do with political trends. That's a bipartisan statement - almost everybody but real outliers seem to believe that oversight and accountability will solve all the unsolveables in education and in the rest of society. As regulation increases, in attempts to protect and provide for all who currently fall through the cracks, freewheeling homeschooling will not enjoy even tacit societal approval for long.

 

That's the Tibbie report. I'll be watching to see if I'm anywhere near the mark.

 

What do you think? Even with our giant conventions and massive forums and endless piles of curriculum available in our over-saturated market, might we be the final wave of a very short phase of history? 1980s to 2020? Or will our grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy homeschooling freedom? Or will it be a moot question as their parents' generations forge new paths in education that make hs'ing unnecessary or undesirable according to the world they live in?

 

 

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Standardized testing is the water we now swim in.  Even if we swim against the stream, this is the water.   Science (and every wise person who has spent time working with children) tells us a great

My guesses: 1. Homeschooling will become more prevalent because of several factors: a) declining public school quality b) more homeschoolers = more visibility= more people who know somebody who doe

I do not think "the government" is responsible for the quality of the schools. Society as a whole has apparently decided that "fairness" is the top priority, and that differentiation is unfair, can le

I think there will be an increase in a la carte homeschooling, by which I mean sending your kid to PS, but homeschooling or outsourcing certain individual subjects. Like AOPS for math. There are lots of families in my area where both parents are professionals, and full time homeschooling is off the table. We can homeschool single subjects in our state. I'm already hearing about families doing this on local blogs, I think it will become more widespread.

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So many thoughts. Agreed with a lot of what Tibbie said.

 

I think homeschooling is headed toward being much more secular. I think it's also getting more squishy as other models come into play, like you said. Who's a "homeschooler" seems harder to define now and I think it will be much harder in the future.

 

I wonder about the oversight piece. I don't feel like I have a clear prediction for where that's going. A couple of years ago, I saw an academic article saying the shift was back toward more regulation of homeschooling, but one of the main examples was here in DC and that seemed like nonsense to me. Yes, they made a homeschool law after not having one. But they didn't not have one because of anything purposeful like Texas or something. They didn't have one because the city is only just now getting on its feet post corruption and so forth. And the law looks harsh, but it's actually just notification only.

 

I don't feel like I understand where oversight is going. One of the things leading the homeschooling trend right now is people running from too much testing like with Common Core. So it doesn't seem like that population is going to be keen on oversight. On the other hand, the whole assessment and standards movement generally feels like it's not over to me. It feels like it's going to keep pushing forward and that means it may eventually push more into homeschooling - especially as the options for what "homeschooling" is broaden.

 

One other thing I have mixed feelings about that I see talked about on this board a lot is how hands off so many homeschoolers are now - either by relying on online teaching or co-ops or what. I like that in some ways - those options exist, which means better teaching for a lot of kids. But it does seem to be destroying a can do sort of spirit that the pioneers had. A spirit that seems to me like it has a huge amount of value. Will it just be totally gone a decade from now? Or maybe it will be there still be just one model among sooooo many.

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I hold a less dire view of the future of homeschooling, but part of that is due to personality.  I stick my head in the sand.  :)  Also, I homeschool in Texas.  Those are two points for me feeling positively about the situation.

 

I think that the greatest threat facing homeschooling is the decline of one income families.  It is really difficult (if not impossible) to homeschool with two parents working.  I think many more people would homeschool if it were financially feasible to have a one income family.  (Yes, I know it's possible to homeschool with two parents working or for a single parent to homeschool.  I did it for a time.)

 

I am actually with you, Tibbie, in wishing for a solid, affordable option for high school in terms of UMS.  We have solid but not affordable here - not for us, anyway.

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I think there's also a Wild Card element that may be enough to lose the game, as so much is settled in the social media-driven court of public opinion these days, and that is:

 

Failing Homeschoolers.

 

Face it, when people claiming to be hs'ers get arrested for abuse or neglect, or when they go on cable TV reality shows and prove that they are ignoramuses who have no interest in actually educating their children, it hurts us.

 

I used to think we could weather that sort of nonsense but even I, a person who doesn't own cable television, am feeling that we're nearing saturation level in some of those areas.

 

We could counteract it by submitting to more testing, as some states have required for hs'ers since hs'ing freedoms were won in the first place, but those of us in reg-free states know that our local hs'ers will never agree to any measure of accountability. That's a hot button issue, definitely. But if we thought we'd actually be protected through providing evidence....to me, this is something we must consider if hs'ing as we know it is to remain viable.

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I wonder about the oversight piece. I don't feel like I have a clear prediction for where that's going. A couple of years ago, I saw an academic article saying the shift was back toward more regulation of homeschooling, but one of the main examples was here in DC and that seemed like nonsense to me. Yes, they made a homeschool law after not having one. But they didn't not have one because of anything purposeful like Texas or something. They didn't have one because the city is only just now getting on its feet post corruption and so forth. And the law looks harsh, but it's actually just notification only.

 

I'm not sure I am reading your statement correctly, Farrar, but Texas actually does have laws on the books regarding homeschooling. They are nonspecific and lenient, but they exist.  Excuse me if I misunderstood you.

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Texasmama, I agree, affordability is a huge factor. I know that I and dozens of hs'ing friends have been on the brink for years, stubbornly trying to hang on without that second income. I know it's not possible at all for the majority of families. That's not just materialistic rhetoric; the facts are in.

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I think there's also a Wild Card element that may be enough to lose the game, as so much is settled in the social media-driven court of public opinion these days, and that is:

 

Failing Homeschoolers.

 

Face it, when people claiming to be hs'ers get arrested for abuse or neglect, or when they go on cable TV reality shows and prove that they are ignoramuses who have no interest in actually educating their children, it hurts us.

 

I used to think we could weather that sort of nonsense but even I, a person who doesn't own cable television, am feeling that we're nearing saturation level in some of those areas.

 

We could counteract it by submitting to more testing, as some states have required for hs'ers since hs'ing freedoms were won in the first place, but those of us in reg-free states know that our local hs'ers will never agree to any measure of accountability. That's a hot button issue, definitely. But if we thought we'd actually be protected through providing evidence....to me, this is something we must consider if hs'ing as we know it is to remain viable.

I completely agree and would submit to testing to retain freedom.  I speak only for myself.  I have no idea what the majority of homeschooling Texans would choose.

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What cable TV show?

 

 

I think the definition of homeschoolers will be more bendable. Technology will allow for even greater flexibility, and parents' desire to customize education and escape bad school districts will push those boundaries further. I could see lot more parents braving into homeschooling now that so many online options are available. I am not faint hearted, but knowing I can outsource high school English and history to TWTM Academy and math to AoPS gives me considerably more confidence that I can pull off homeschooling high school if needed. I think more parents will feel that way. I see a bright future for homeschoolers, although it might look different from the pioneers.

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I think the biggest difference will be in the stratification of homeschoolers.  I think those who are rejecting ps more bc of policy issues with gov't education vs. methodology/content/not meeting individual children's needs will cause things like CC, university model schools, charters, etc to expand.  I think that those who reject ps on educational issues will continue to evolve more like things are going now....a combo of at home and outsourced classes.  I think that online learning will expand b/c of it.

 

FWIW, I am less doom and gloom about the legal side.  Our state just recently added a law making homeschooling easier, not more complicated.  The law also states that no instate public college/university can discriminate against homeschoolers for lack of a diploma.  That is a huge protection from my perspective.  (I haven't had that for any of my kids since we started homeschooling.)

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Standardized testing is the water we now swim in.  Even if we swim against the stream, this is the water.

 

Science (and every wise person who has spent time working with children) tells us a great deal about child development and that wisdom is ignored when our gov't writes the Almighty Standards. It's as if they want children to fail.  Maybe if they create a problem, the populace will be naive enough to beg the gov't to fix the problem. (Throwing more $ at schools won't make American children develop faster.) 

 

 

I've seen some straws in the wind. Yes. Parents are desperate to yank their kids from a failing system, but don't even know what a successful system looks like....out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Curric providers (whom shall remain nameless for now) are slick salesmen who come in and offer "better" for the low price of $3000 per kid...nevermind that we are plugging kids into video screens...this pays the $$$ - oops!, I mean this promises an "excellent" education, high SAT scores, college admittance, and no bullying.  (Private schools popping up that are a shadow of an existence, let alone an education!) What is the point?  Really?  

 

We have used up our educational capital so many young parents simply don't read well enough to research how to homeschool.  Desperation.  

 

We swim in this standardized water, so parents who can read are not even asking the right questions.  It's not about teaching kids to read, think, write, and grow into capable adults anymore.  It's about looking good and winning the prize, to heck with if the child can actually really read or articulate their thoughts...or if the child even knows how to come into their own thoughts rather than parroting the prettiest face.  I could rant on...but what's the point?  It sounds like crazy talk to those who most need to hear it.

 

 

I am seriously contemplating my role as a hs mom. I think I need to do an excellent job in my own home and then do more than encourage the next generation.  Some of us, our generation of hs moms, are going to have to teach what an education *IS* or we won't even know what we are missing.  Honestly, in some areas of the country, we are already past that point. 

 

And, we need to be very careful when we use the term academics.  That means different things to different people.  To some it means book-learning.  To others it means test-prep.  I had a funny experience of a HS mom explaining that she's not that into academics (jaw drop) and then her kids are evidently learning Latin.  OK - so she's not into test-prep.  Another mom says she's big on academics, but her kids essentially memorize, plug, and chug.  Words have become fuzzy...like math...lol

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Never really gave it much thought and homeschoolers vary so wildly in their viewpoints and approach that I can't say any one thing about them as a group. 

 

Coming from a high reg state, I can't envision more regulation. 

 

I don't feel any sort of threat or doom though.  Not at all. 

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My guesses:

1. Homeschooling will become more prevalent because of several factors:

a) declining public school quality

b) more homeschoolers = more visibility= more people who know somebody who does this= more likely to see as a viable alternative

c) Internet makes access to resources, curriculum, and information easier

 

2. Homeschooling will remain extremely diverse, and become more diversified

a) Traditional homeschoolers , SAHM + traditional curriculum

b) More working parents realize that homeschooling is possible, but need to be creative to work around work schedule

(ETA: which, with current technology, is much easier than before)

c) More out-of-box homescholing, because people hear from others, see reports in media, recognize it's no longer "fringe"

 

3. More electronic resources will be used because technology and access improve. Tablets make it much easier to communicate electronically in subjects that involve lots of equations and drawings. Broadband internet improvements make streaming video more accessible. I expect

a) increased outsourcing to online class providers.

b) increased use of independent online resources.

The current market has a ton of free online resources for college level classwork; much of this can, and will, be adapted to use with students middle school age and up.

c) I can envision homeschool "coop" classes moving online, especially in rural areas where live participation is hard because of travel

 

 

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I don't know that I'll have anything worthwhile to add to the conversation...but as quick as people want to hold homeschoolers accountable for educational neglect, I can't help but wonder when we (as a nation) will start holding our government accountable for the educational neglect that it is (and has for years) committed against our children. We...no, THEY, as leaders of the free world, cannot figure out what it takes to properly educate children? I don't believe that for a second. I can't help but wonder if there is something more going on than just ignorance. We have the scientific data, the private schools, OTHER countries to look to for how to do better, and yet we continue to foolishly & stubbornly continue down this path that is leading to illiteracy and ignorance. Why?!

 

I do think (and maybe this is simply because I've seen such diversity here at..in? the hive) that people are going to start seeing homeschooling as a more viable option. I think (I hope) we're going to continue to see a more diversified group of homeschoolers in the coming years.

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A friend with a 5th grader in a neighboring school district was just chatting about homeschooling. Her friends are keeping their kids home for middle school and back to public school for high school.

 

Middle school here tends to be when parents would either pay for private, switch to a K12 charter, switch to a B&M charter or switch to independent study charter (the ones that pay for classes).

 

For the homeschool math and science enrichment classes that my kids attend, majority are using charter funds to pay (as in their charter pays the provider direct).

 

Charter school (B&M/stipend/online) options here has definately make parents looking for secular options willing to pull kids out of their assigned public school.

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I think there's also a Wild Card element that may be enough to lose the game, as so much is settled in the social media-driven court of public opinion these days, and that is:

 

Failing Homeschoolers.

 

Face it, when people claiming to be hs'ers get arrested for abuse or neglect, or when they go on cable TV reality shows and prove that they are ignoramuses who have no interest in actually educating their children, it hurts us.

 

I used to think we could weather that sort of nonsense but even I, a person who doesn't own cable television, am feeling that we're nearing saturation level in some of those areas.

 

We could counteract it by submitting to more testing, as some states have required for hs'ers since hs'ing freedoms were won in the first place, but those of us in reg-free states know that our local hs'ers will never agree to any measure of accountability. That's a hot button issue, definitely. But if we thought we'd actually be protected through providing evidence....to me, this is something we must consider if hs'ing as we know it is to remain viable.

I worry about this a lot.  Maybe it's my area alone, but we are flushed with homeschoolers that are doing so purely out of fear of Common Core and the govt.  I'm talking a good 25% increase in the last 4 or 5 years.  It's insane.  The biggest thing I hear in local homeschool company is the old, "whatever you do at home it is better than CC!".  But it's really, really not.  Many of their children are working several grades below, or they pick up their curricula at the dollar store/walmart- "complete 3rd grade workbook" type of stuff, or they are radically unschooling and not working on much at all.  They are overwhelmed, they don't know what to do, and they are truly SCARED of public school.  It's concerning.   

 

​It's one reason why I really love the classical conversations blow-up also going on in my area, even though I'm personally not that into classical conversations.  1 group in the area two years ago grew to 3 last year and now they are opening up 3 more for next year!  I think CC has the ability to help some of these new homeschoolers get their wings, so to speak. 

 

And then of course, at the same time as this increase we've had charter schools, montessori schools, and lots of other "alternative" public school options open up in the last few years, and the veteran homeschoolers FLOCKED to them, dropping our legitimate homeschooler numbers.  :( 

 

I'm brand-new at the homeschooling game, but I agree that we are at some sort of crossroad.  Major things are happening.  I'm not sure where they will lead.  

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I don't think I could have predicted the changes that have taken place since 1994 or even 2003. I did sign the "We Stand for Homeschooling" petition but have not seen the dire legal consequences we expected come to pass--I fill out the exact same form for my digital native that I did for my millenials except that I use a web browser instead of a pen, paper, and stamps.

 

I call myself an "independent" and assume that the nice stranger at the park who calls herself a "homeschooler" has her children enrolled in a homestudy program with one of our local public charter schools unless I see evidence to the contrary and that somebody who calls herself an "unschooler" is not going to be my future best friend, but a man named Billy once said something about "a rose by any other name" that kind of applies.

 

I miss the old days just like everybody else my age of every generation. I wax poetic about Park Day the same way my grandmother waxed poetic about the Model Ts of her childhood, but our nostalgia does not deny the fact that they broke down--the Park Days had "mean girls", both parents and kids, and the Model Ts got stuck in the mud and had to be pulled out by teams of horses.

 

 

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What surprised me was what I found when I went looking for on-line high school options.  There are quite a few.  And many offer an accredited diploma.  I suppose this would be viewed more like private schooling by some, but in my state I'd still have to deal with the regs so as far as I'm concerned it's still homeschooling.  And the programs are almost all self paced so there is still a lot of flexibility.

 

 

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I don't think I could have predicted the changes that have taken place since 1994 or even 2003......but have not seen the dire legal consequences

 

I agree.  If anything I feel more legally secure in my right to homeschool than I have in the past.

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Social values on families and parenting are changing, in my opinion.   

 

As marriage becomes less utilized as a way to build families, my opinion is that the resulting families in general (not talking your specific unmarried family!) may become less stable, less able for there to be a SAHparent to homeschool.  While working and homeschooling is possible, I seem to hear a lot of people here on the forum say that is pretty difficult.  Don't know how many folks could sustain single-parenting, working and homeschooling over a course of many years.  

 

Also, there seems to me to be changing values about parental rights.  If a concerned neighbor feels the righteous and just thing to do is to call the cops/CPS when they see a child playing alone at the park, then the values are shifting in favor of state-government oversight, rather than parental discretion.  If the values of society place less importance on parental discretion, than it will follow that government should have a greater role in deciding what parents can teach in a homeschool.  

 

There seems to also be a trend to assume that greater government regulation also is an effective problem solving tool.  Problems with homeschoolers?  Regulation MUST be the answer.  

 

When I see the words spoken against Indiana, Arkansas, and cakebakers and store owners with once (as in like 5 minutes ago in the course of relative history) standard religious views getting skewered, then I don't foresee it taking just a real long time for homeschoolers to get their teachings regulated.  I would have answered this OP question differently a year or 18 months ago.  But not anymore.  

 

Many people in our country have asked for a more government regulated, less religious belief tolerant, less pro-parent society and that is what we are going to have.  

 

So, if someone wants to homeschool according to what the state wants you to teach, I don't think that person will have a problem.  Everyone else is going to get squeezed.  

But that's my OPINION. 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know that I'll have anything worthwhile to add to the conversation...but as quick as people want to hold homeschoolers accountable for educational neglect, I can't help but wonder when we (as a nation) will start holding our government accountable for the educational neglect that it is (and has for years) committed against our children. We...no, THEY, as leaders of the free world, cannot figure out what it takes to properly educate children? I don't believe that for a second. I can't help but wonder if there is something more going on than just ignorance. We have the scientific data, the private schools, OTHER countries to look to for how to do better, and yet we continue to foolishly & stubbornly continue down this path that is leading to illiteracy and ignorance. Why?!

I do not think "the government" is responsible for the quality of the schools. Society as a whole has apparently decided that "fairness" is the top priority, and that differentiation is unfair, can lead to - gasp - elites, and should be avoided at all cost.

Our school district just had a ballot measure to offer pre-K instruction for children from at risk families. The outcry that "this is not fair" was big. Never mind that any dollar spent on these kids will have a great ROI. The sentiment that "it's not fair" if at risk kids or gifted kids or kids with learning disabilities get anything that is not offered to the average student makes education mediocre. This is not the government's fault - it is the general sentiment of the society that nobody should be allowed to get ahead or get an extra hand.

 

It is this culture of mediocrity that is to blame. And this drive for mediocrity is not government mandated - it is regular citizens, and often parents, who push this agenda. They don't want their tax dollars to go to anything that is not used by their own children.

 

Another factor is a culture of not taking responsibility. Schools are expected to take over parenting duties and cope with the threat of liability law suits (i.e. remove playgrounds because there are enough idiot parents who might sued schools over accidents). It's a general CYA attitude. Teachers in some districts are not allowed to give homework (because parents complain and don't hold their kids accountable).

You can't compare it with private schools. A private school can tell the parent that, if they don't make sure their kid is on time, prepared, with homework done, the kid will be kicked out. Private schools also are not required to spend funds on education children with learning disabilities. Private schools get to cherry pick the students AND the parents. It's easy to teach those kids.

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Speaking of holding leaders accountable for the state of education in this country, there is a section in the Q & A portion of our homeschool regs that asks if one can blame or hold accountable the school if their homeschooled kid doesn't have good results in the end.  Of course the answer is no.  Since when do we get to blame them otherwise?  I'd like to go back and blame some people for my lousy education.

 

 

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Only if you choose the traditional model of one stay at home parent.

Most of the homeschooling moms I know IRL work.

 

I don't know of any except on-line. 

 

I wouldn't know what kind of job I could get that would be flexible enough and have it be worth the money because I'd still need child care.

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I do not think "the government" is responsible for the quality of the schools. Society as a whole has apparently decided that "fairness" is the top priority, and that differentiation is unfair, can lead to - gasp - elites, and should be avoided at all cost.

Our school district just had a ballot measure to offer pre-K instruction for children from at risk families. The outcry that "this is not fair" was big. Never mind that any dollar spent on these kids will have a great ROI. The sentiment that "it's not fair" if at risk kids or gifted kids or kids with learning disabilities get anything that is not offered to the average student makes education mediocre. This is not the government's fault - it is the general sentiment of the society that nobody should be allowed to get ahead or get an extra hand.

 

It is this culture of mediocrity that is to blame. And this drive for mediocrity is not government mandated - it is regular citizens, and often parents, who push this agenda. They don't want their tax dollars to go to anything that is not used by their own children.

 

Another factor is a culture of not taking responsibility. Schools are expected to take over parenting duties and cope with the threat of liability law suits (i.e. remove playgrounds because there are enough idiot parents who might sued schools over accidents). It's a general CYA attitude. Teachers in some districts are not allowed to give homework (because parents complain and don't hold their kids accountable).

You can't compare it with private schools. A private school can tell the parent that, if they don't make sure their kid is on time, prepared, with homework done, the kid will be kicked out. Private schools also are not required to spend funds on education children with learning disabilities. Private schools get to cherry pick the students AND the parents. It's easy to teach those kids.

 

Well said! I completely agree. When you say it like that, the problem is bigger than the government. I think a fair amount of parents send their kids to school for free childcare more than a good education.

 

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I don't know of any except on-line. 

 

I wouldn't know what kind of job I could get that would be flexible enough and have it be worth the money because I'd still need child care.

 

Let me see... among the moms in our local homeschool group, we have the following:

adjunct college instructor who teaches night and online classes

chiropractor (practice in the house; has babysitter)

pet sitter (travels to clients' homes)

ps substitute teacher/adult ed classes

artisans/ teach art workshops

potter

home based business (big, several employees)

doula/birth ed classes

house cleaner

and several college professors with regular day teaching jobs who bring their kids to work if needed and can work part of their time from home (all of them homeschool because they are not satisfied with the academics in ps)

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Let me see... among the moms in our local homeschool group, we have the following:

adjunct college instructor who teaches night and online classes

chiropractor (practice in the house; has babysitter)

pet sitter (travels to clients' homes)

ps substitute teacher/adult ed classes

artisans/ teach art workshops

potter

home based business (big, several employees)

doula/birth ed classes

house cleaner

and several college professors with regular day teaching jobs who bring their kids to work if needed and can work part of their time from home (all of them homeschool because they are not satisfied with the academics in ps)

 

 

Most of those are pretty specific though.  I didn't start off thinking I'd homeschool and focus on a job I could do part time that earned plenty of money to offset the cost of childcare. 

 

I do know of one person locally who works.  She works late shifts full time.  She has mentioned it is nearly killing her though.  It's hard to work those kind of hours and homeschool a young kid. 

 

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Anyhow, I don't really want to work unless it was something I enjoyed doing and was stimulating in some way.  I'd work if I had to, but I'd rather go without the money than go without the time spent with my family. 

 

I'm not suggesting people can't make it work, but I really don't know how people make it work without going crazy.  It might just be me though who could not handle it.  I don't do well with too much stress. 

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DH and I discussed this a bit last night. His parents are in town (MIL homeschooled for 30 years) and she's watching me do school, looking at our currics, etc., and I know some of the currics she's used over the years and more recently.

 

We're in two completely different hsing worlds. DH said she's still hsing pretty much like she did I'm the 80s whereas I didn't start hsing until after the internet was a thing. We have very different reasons for hsing (her more religious based mine more academic) and I think the future will reflect this type of shift.

 

I also think a lot of my and oldest's peers will jump ship in 7th and 9th grades. I'm hoping to hang on since I have a grand master plan. Whether that can be implemented in a fashion superior to what a local classical school can do, remains to be seen. But I'm kind of sad just thinking about that shift.

 

I do think more people will spot homeschool here

And there because of ps until grades or openings are available in private or charter schools. I've seen that in my area recently.

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 I didn't start off thinking I'd homeschool and focus on a job I could do part time that earned plenty of money to offset the cost of childcare. 

 

I would guess almost none of us did. I certainly did not. Homeschooling never entered the consideration until school was no longer a viable option.

Also, kids are only little for a short time. It is much easier to homeschool while working when the child does not need constant supervision anymore. Many homeschoolers I know IRL are "accidental" homeschoolers like myself, who had never planned for this, it just turned out to be what our children needed. Thus, some of us did not school for K and early elementary, but started when the kids were a bit older, which changes the situation completely.

 

Anyhow, I don't really want to work unless it was something I enjoyed doing and was stimulating in some way.  I'd work if I had to, but I'd rather go without the money than go without the time spent with my family.

 

I'd go crazy if I could not work. Seriously - I need this for my sanity. I did not do well as a SAHM (tried for four years). That was the one condition I imposed on my kids: if you want to be homeschooled, you need to make it possible to work this around mom's work schedule. And they cooperated beautifully.

I'd like more stimulation and challenge, too... alas, that ship has sailed. Teaching physics is nice, but I am not working up to my potential or educational background. However, forgoing a career as a researcher in academia was a conscious choice I made when I had children. Can't have it all...

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There are mixed signals, imo.  Most of what I see is positive, some is not.  The number of homeschoolers doubled over the last year in my county.  Some of that is due to a lot of new people moving into the area.  But, most of it is due to people pulling their kids out of school or, in the case of kinders, choosing not to even start them.

 

CC and co-ops are growing quickly.  Packaged curriculum and virtual schools are also popular among the new folks.  Many of them are using a mix, such as A Becca and CC or FLVS and a co-op.

 

There are a few new homeschoolers who choose the pick each piece and teach it yourself style that most of us older homeschoolers are familiar with. They tend to choose Charlotte Mason style designs over unschooling or WTM/LC/Circe classical styles.  No one writes their own curriculum from scratch the way the first sets of homeschoolers did and still do.  By the way, I have never done this either -tweaked and modified, yes, but from scratch, no.  I've thought about it, but never done it. My hat is off to those that do.

 

There are so many choices available now that it is overwhelming.  I think the gravitation to programs designed and structured by someone else helps the new folks feel more secure.  We all know the fear that we are messing up our kids' lives. 

 

Many of the new people I've met have said they want to recreate school.  It still floors me to hear that as it seems to miss the point of homeschooling.  Not trying to judge, just not used to hearing that type of thinking about homeschooling until recently.

 

Also, I have been asked many, many times what the best this or that program is.  Usually this is in conjunction with comments about how homeschoolers do better academically than ps kids.  So, stronger academics is a priority.  That is a positive change from the traditional homeschooler in this area who pulled their kids out of school for religious reasons and downplayed academics.

 

One negative trend that I've seen is that the new homeschoolers focus too much on having the magazine picture ready house, yard, clothes and so forth.  Yes, I am judging here.  How do you teach your children and keep everything else so picture perfect?  When I began homeschooling moms had conversations sharing tips on how to keep up with meals, dishes and laundry. Maybe it's just me, but I don't have the time, energy or focus for more than that. 

 

There also seems to be an over abundance of adult socializing and not enough emphasis on the children.  It's a complete reversal of the mindset I am used to and I don't think it's for the better.

 

Finally, in many areas schools are overcrowded.  In my area, we've had 3 new elementary charter schools and 2 charter high schools open in the last 5 years and we still have overcrowding in most of the schools.  Due to this, the county is very supportive of homeschooling.  I live in a very overcrowded district. The county is only too happy to let me teach my kids at home and keep them out of the schools.  I see this as a trend toward less regulation since these counties/districts may want to encourage homeschooling. 

 

This is all just my corner of the world. It seems that other parts of the country are seeing different trends.  It will be interesting to read everyone else's experiences and thoughts. 

Denise

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As far as a ROI for early intervention programs the gains made fade (rather quickly) over time.

 

I work for an ed company and most of my students have both parents working-I personally know more and more homeschooler who are working or are going back to work.  I think this is a huge change in the homeschooling community, and as a result, I think the large family homeshcooler won't be as prevelant. I also think on-line programs (like the one I work for) will increase for accountability, help and hand-holding as people juggle so much on their plate. 

 

I don't think homeschooling is going to go away but I do think that options will continue to develop and the lines between public and homeschooling will get fuzzier. 

 

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I've been seeing a few things on the news that have caught my attention lately. I think they are going to affect homeschooling eventually, even if not right away, and sometimes I'm not even sure how.

 

Stories keep popping up about the growing problems of mental illness on college campuses and frequntly the primary reason being discussed is increased academic pressures during high school.

 

The political climate is rapidly shifting from Democratic to Republican. Gay marriage is spreading, but so is a backlash against it. We are seeing more and more laws repealed by the Supreme Court to protect the rights of the majority instead of the rights of the minority/maginalized. I'm seeing a lot of anger and polarization.

 

We are seeing more racial unrest and backlash against the police. And more religious intolerance.

 

Personally, I think we are going to see some shifting in WHO homeschools.

 

I think selective colleges are going to favor students from feeder schools, and I think wealthier families are going to be more likey to use them, instead of AP scores and PS or homeschooling.

 

I think some angry and afraid and desperate families are going to join the homeschool ranks, who do not have the academic and finacial resources that many current homeschooling families enjoy. I think more working poor will be homeschooling. I think more low-income families will drop to one income to homeschool, making them even poorer.

 

I think a STEM focus will both increase and decrease. I think like in the cold war era, children with talent will be more likely to be identified and given different instruction, and the masses will be relieved of some of the burden that some schools have been placing on them. I think this will spread to the homeschooling community and I think some new math curricula will enter the scene, with a less one-size-fits-all mentality.

 

Technology is exploding and I think some of us will better learn how and WHEN to use it. I think the potential for eBook curricula aimed at low-income families have not been fully realized.

 

Free community college is being discussed. That could change a LOT of things.

 

I think changes will happen in waves. I think the USA will change and the homeschooling community will adapt. The USA will change again, maybe even before homeschooling adapts to the first changes. I think there are going to be some rapid political changes. I don't think that civil war is impossible; I hope we are smarter and better than that, though. I'm just throwing this out there, but don't want to debate it.

 

I think we are going to lose more middle class. I think the myths of upward mobility are going to be less accepted as fact. I think we are going to be seeing new curricula with a primary goal of community college. I think lower-income homeschooling families are going to be relieved of the burden of expectations that their children directly enter a selective 4 year college.

 

I think there will be a countrywide push to back to basics academics.

 

This is getting long. And controversial. And I'm not in the mood to debate or defend what I think. So I'm going to stop. I do think we are going to see some changes, though. I feel change in the air.

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Many of the new people I've met have said they want to recreate school.  It still floors me to hear that as it seems to miss the point of homeschooling.  Not trying to judge, just not used to hearing that type of thinking about homeschooling until recently.

 

I was under the impression that many of the "traditional" curriculum are very much school-at-home.

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Standardized testing is the water we now swim in.  Even if we swim against the stream, this is the water.

 

Science (and every wise person who has spent time working with children) tells us a great deal about child development and that wisdom is ignored when our gov't writes the Almighty Standards. It's as if they want children to fail.  Maybe if they create a problem, the populace will be naive enough to beg the gov't to fix the problem. (Throwing more $ at schools won't make American children develop faster.) 

 

 

I've seen some straws in the wind. Yes. Parents are desperate to yank their kids from a failing system, but don't even know what a successful system looks like....out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Curric providers (whom shall remain nameless for now) are slick salesmen who come in and offer "better" for the low price of $3000 per kid...nevermind that we are plugging kids into video screens...this pays the $$$ - oops!, I mean this promises an "excellent" education, high SAT scores, college admittance, and no bullying.  (Private schools popping up that are a shadow of an existence, let alone an education!) What is the point?  Really?  

 

We have used up our educational capital so many young parents simply don't read well enough to research how to homeschool.  Desperation.  

Yes, I do see this.  I hear parents who desperately want stronger academics for their children but are at a loss of how to provide them.  These are the parents who want me to name the best math, lang. arts or so forth.  They don't understand that it is child dependent and look at me like I'm from Mars when I say that.  They also can't imagine why a parent would pick and choose their child's materials instead of going with something pre-packaged.  It's not that I think they should choose their own materials, it's that for them it is not even an option available to them.  Something seems to limit them and maybe it is this lack of skills to research? 

 

We swim in this standardized water, so parents who can read are not even asking the right questions.  It's not about teaching kids to read, think, write, and grow into capable adults anymore.  It's about looking good and winning the prize, to heck with if the child can actually really read or articulate their thoughts...or if the child even knows how to come into their own thoughts rather than parroting the prettiest face.  I could rant on...but what's the point?  It sounds like crazy talk to those who most need to hear it.

 

 

I am seriously contemplating my role as a hs mom. I think I need to do an excellent job in my own home and then do more than encourage the next generation.  Some of us, our generation of hs moms, are going to have to teach what an education *IS* or we won't even know what we are missing.  Honestly, in some areas of the country, we are already past that point. 

 

And, we need to be very careful when we use the term academics.  That means different things to different people.  To some it means book-learning.  To others it means test-prep.  I had a funny experience of a HS mom explaining that she's not that into academics (jaw drop) and then her kids are evidently learning Latin.  OK - so she's not into test-prep.  Another mom says she's big on academics, but her kids essentially memorize, plug, and chug.  Words have become fuzzy...like math...lol

 

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I would guess almost none of us did. I certainly did not. Homeschooling never entered the consideration until school was no longer a viable option.

Also, kids are only little for a short time. It is much easier to homeschool while working when the child does not need constant supervision anymore. Many homeschoolers I know IRL are "accidental" homeschoolers like myself, who had never planned for this, it just turned out to be what our children needed. Thus, some of us did not school for K and early elementary, but started when the kids were a bit older, which changes the situation completely.

 

 

I'd go crazy if I could not work. Seriously - I need this for my sanity. I did not do well as a SAHM (tried for four years). That was the one condition I imposed on my kids: if you want to be homeschooled, you need to make it possible to work this around mom's work schedule. And they cooperated beautifully.

I'd like more stimulation and challenge, too... alas, that ship has sailed. Teaching physics is nice, but I am not working up to my potential or educational background. However, forgoing a career as a researcher in academia was a conscious choice I made when I had children. Can't have it all...

 

Yep, can't have it all.  I don't mind staying home.  But I do know we'd have more money if I worked.  I'm not bitter about it, but for some people it's not even an option.  Even finding daytime childcare when you have a homeschooled kid is challenging.  It often means finding a home daycare provider who doesn't mind an older kid.  But then the older kid is still with a bunch of toddlers for several hours a day.  I guess I don't really see the point in that.  I'd just send my kid to school.  But I do realize people homeschool for variety of reasons.  My reasoning isn't good enough to put a kid in that situation. 

 

If one happens to have a job with flexibility or where they can take their kids with them, that's perfect. 

 

One company I worked for did start offering work from home positions, but they were strict about not having kids at home.  They'd even send out people to check up on it periodically.  And it really was not the sort of job that could be done with too much interruption. 

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I don't look to recreate school at home, but I imagine some people would think what I do looks something like it.  Thing is, I don't know anything else.  I take what I thought worked well and leave what I don't think worked for me and try to do better and try to imagine what would have worked better.  I get annoyed when people get their feathers rumpled because I want to use a book for math (or whatever).  I get, "Oh but you can teach math through cooking and going to the store."  Yes sure with a 5 year old.  Polynomial division doesn't tend to come up in cooking or produce shopping! 

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I've been seeing a few things on the news that have caught my attention lately. I think they are going to affect homeschooling eventually, even if not right away, and sometimes I'm not even sure how.

 

Stories keep popping up about the growing problems of mental illness on college campuses and frequntly the primary reason being discussed is increased academic pressures during high school.

 

The political climate is rapidly shifting from Democratic to Republican. Gay marriage is spreading, but so is a backlash against it. We are seeing more and more laws repealed by the Supreme Court to protect the rights of the majority instead of the rights of the minority/maginalized. I'm seeing a lot of anger and polarization.

 

We are seeing more racial unrest and backlash against the police. And more religious intolerance.

 

Personally, I think we are going to see some shifting in WHO homeschools.

 

I think selective colleges are going to favor students from feeder schools, and I think wealthier families are going to be more likey to use them, instead of AP scores and PS or homeschooling.

 

I think some angry and afraid and desperate families are going to join the homeschool ranks, who do not have the academic and finacial resources that many current homeschooling families enjoy. I think more working poor will be homeschooling. I think more low-income families will drop to one income to homeschool, making them even poorer.

 

I think a STEM focus will both increase and decrease. I think like in the cold war era, children with talent will be more likely to be identified and given different instruction, and the masses will be relieved of some of the burden that some schools have been placing on them. I think this will spread to the homeschooling community and I think some new math curricula will enter the scene, with a less one-size-fits-all mentality.

 

Technology is exploding and I think some of us will better learn how and WHEN to use it. I think the potential for eBook curricula aimed at low-income families have not been fully realized.

 

Free community college is being discussed. That could change a LOT of things.

 

I think changes will happen in waves. I think the USA will change and the homeschooling community will adapt. The USA will change again, maybe even before homeschooling adapts to the first changes. I think there are going to be some rapid political changes. I don't think that civil war is impossible; I hope we are smarter and better than that, though. I'm just throwing this out there, but don't want to debate it.

 

I think we are going to lose more middle class. I think the myths of upward mobility are going to be less accepted as fact. I think we are going to be seeing new curricula with a primary goal of community college. I think lower-income homeschooling families are going to be relieved of the burden of expectations that their children directly enter a selective 4 year college.

 

I think there will be a countrywide push to back to basics academics.

 

This is getting long. And controversial. And I'm not in the mood to debate or defend what I think. So I'm going to stop. I do think we are going to see some changes, though. I feel change in the air.

 

 

I'm going to be thinking about this post all afternoon. I already hear a lot of back-to-basics talk, and not just from you.   :laugh:

 

This doesn't change the way I'm schooling mine, but it does maybe change the way I talk to other HSers and others considering HS.

 

 

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I was under the impression that many of the "traditional" curriculum are very much school-at-home.

 

Yes, I should have stated this differently and left off the at home part.  When I say they want to recreate school it means take their kids to some building where groups of same age peers move from class-to-class each taught by someone else.  So, they really want ps school and to do very little, if any, at home.  If that's what they want to do, fine.  It is a trend I see that seems to be new. 

 

Even the traditional curriculum was done at home with just your own kids and you were the teacher.  And, yes, there was often a desk, a flag, recess and so on.  This newer version of recreate school seems to be a true copy of ps, just smaller and with the founding parent being the director.  That is a different environment from the past years of homeschooling, at least to me.

Denise

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Yes, I should have stated this differently and left off the at home part.  When I say they want to recreate school it means take their kids to some building where groups of same age peers move from class-to-class each taught by someone else.  So, they really want ps school and to do very little, if any, at home.  If that's what they want to do, fine.  It is a trend I see that seems to be new. 

 

Even the traditional curriculum was done at home with just your own kids and you were the teacher.  And, yes, there was often a desk, a flag, recess and so on.  This newer version of recreate school seems to be a true copy of ps, just smaller and with the founding parent being the director.  That is a different environment from the past years of homeschooling, at least to me.

Denise

 

Ohhh yes I have met some people like this.

 

A woman came along some years ago who wanted to join our very relaxed just hanging out and having fun homeschool group, but she wanted us to get organized so she could drop her kids off to our classes.  No joke.  This was her vision for us.  I wanted no part of that.  To each their own of course, but I was a bit baffled by her.

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I don't look to recreate school at home, but I imagine some people would think what I do looks something like it.  Thing is, I don't know anything else.  I take what I thought worked well and leave what I don't think worked for me and try to do better and try to imagine what would have worked better.  I get annoyed when people get their feathers rumpled because I want to use a book for math (or whatever).  I get, "Oh but you can teach math through cooking and going to the store."  Yes sure with a 5 year old.  Polynomial division doesn't tend to come up in cooking or produce shopping! 

 

Yes, but you are the one teaching your kids and it's just you and your kids.  What I am seeing is people setting up their own ps and others attending in an almost exact copy of our local ps. I'm sure that is not what your school looks like at all. You are at home.  You are teaching. 

 

Fwiw, I am not criticizing traditional curriculum or the set up ps outside ps.  I apologize if that is how I sounded.  Each family makes their own decisions based on what they want and what works.  I fully support that.   I was just trying to describe a new trend I see.

Denise

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I think some angry and afraid and desperate families are going to join the homeschool ranks, who do not have the academic and finacial resources that many current homeschooling families enjoy. I think more working poor will be homeschooling. I think more low-income families will drop to one income to homeschool, making them even poorer.

 

If you haven't reread '70s GWS in awhile, you might enjoy doing so. John Holt would not argue with you about this at all, and actually has some good advice for such families that is every bit as applicable today as it was then.

 

< snip >

 

 I don't think that civil war is impossible; I hope we are smarter and better than that, though. I'm just throwing this out there, but don't want to debate it.

 

This statement is fairly tame compared to some of the things my history buff/National Guardsman/future homeschooling father ds has said. Although I do not consider it appropriate to discuss such matters on the internet, it is something we should all be aware of.

 

Rome didn't fall in a day.

 

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This is getting long. And controversial. And I'm not in the mood to debate or defend what I think. So I'm going to stop. I do think we are going to see some changes, though. I feel change in the air.

I didn't find it controversial at all. Just a statement of the things you see changing or predict to be changing. 

Since I'm not in the homeschooling trenches yet and haven't paid much attention to it until recently, I love insight/opinions like this. Gets me thinking.

Thanks! 

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Right now, I'm seeing 2 groups of folks taking kids out of schools:

 

*those disgruntled with the values/climate/methodology of schools in general and

*those who have a child with LDs and the school is not meeting the needs

 

And I'm seeing an uptick in:

 

*those going straight from brick and mortar school to an online, public FREE virtual school. 

*those going straight from brick and mortar school into a structured, paid-for program like CC or a university model school.

 

I have seen little investment or independent research from the above two groups into the methodologies and curricula available in homeschooling. It's a sign-me-up and what-should-I-buy approach. <----- This is a huge loss to the parents, IMO, because I'm not sure they have stepped outside the box far enough, read and researched enough, or explored enough to see all the options in the wide world of homeschooling. 

 

I think in any area, the trend (in America) follows the money.  So we might see more districts offering virtual schools to keep money in the home and we will definitely see more providers online or IRL offering paid classes to homeschoolers.

 

One trend I personally haven't seen: more dads involved in the day to day of homeschooling or in making the overall education decisions. Among my  neighbors, church, friends, acquaintances and homeschool groups, it still seems pretty mom driven.  Is that the case where y'all are? Even when the parent splits the day, mom is more likely to school in the morning and dad is more likely to take afternoon extracurricular shift. 

 

Lisa

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Lately I have been feeling so thankful to have only 2 years left of homeschooling - I think more regulations are coming as more people decide to homeschool.  Common core, outrageous testing schedules in the classroom, the economy, bullying, etc. are all leading more and more people to homeschool.  This will take money away from the public school system, and the government will want to regulate more in order to make it more difficult.  JMO.  

 

 

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One trend I personally haven't seen: more dads involved in the day to day of homeschooling or in making the overall education decisions. Among my  neighbors, church, friends, acquaintances and homeschool groups, it still seems pretty mom driven.  Is that the case where y'all are? Even when the parent splits the day, mom is more likely to school in the morning and dad is more likely to take afternoon extracurricular shift. 

 

Among my peer groups of homeschoolers, dads are the work out of home/bring the money part of the job, and the moms are the choose the curricula/implement the schooling part of the job.  I know many homeschooling moms who work a part-time job around homeschooling, but they are still mostly in charge of the schooling.  I worked full time for almost a year and part time for about four years while homeschooling, and I will 100% in charge of choosing curricula, making a plan, and assigning parts of the schooling to others.  I hired a college student two days a week, my kids went to my dad's house two days a week, and a friend took them to co op one day a week.  I worked with them in evenings, and dh, my dad, and the college student each were given tasks to do with the kids.  It was crazy, and it was not "the norm" among my peer group.  I was able to make this work because I had flexible hours, a dad willing to do some child care/schooling, a work at home dh, and the means to hire some competent help.  There were a lot of moving parts.

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Yes, I should have stated this differently and left off the at home part.  When I say they want to recreate school it means take their kids to some building where groups of same age peers move from class-to-class each taught by someone else.  So, they really want ps school and to do very little, if any, at home.  If that's what they want to do, fine.  It is a trend I see that seems to be new. 

 

Even the traditional curriculum was done at home with just your own kids and you were the teacher.  And, yes, there was often a desk, a flag, recess and so on.  This newer version of recreate school seems to be a true copy of ps, just smaller and with the founding parent being the director.  That is a different environment from the past years of homeschooling, at least to me.

Denise

 

But this I think is really just a reaction to the poor quality of schools (sometimes even the private school options). Many people never wanted to be teachers or homeschoolers, but they do want a great education for their kids. I can't say that I blame them for trying to think creatively outside the system and piecing it together if the classes are available.

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I really like the idea of all options on the table. Better for individual families, better for the image of hs'ing...

 

I'd like to see more opportunities for all gifted or advanced hs'ers through universities -- CC is cheap (not free) in my state but it's not the answer for talented kids. They can do limited DE at some universities, but at 100% university prices. I haven't been able to make it happen for my kids.

 

 

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