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How Common is Educational Neglect Among Homeschoolers?


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:confused: Um...90%??? What area are you in???

 

I'm in Texas...been homeschooling for about 9-10 years...have been around hundreds of homeschooled kids...I'm going to say I've met 3 families where I don't think the mom is/was working with the kids, because she was overwhelmed and they just kinda let it go- year after year. One of the families put their kids back in public school and I suspect the second family will do that also. The third family ended up using an online high school (I think it was Penn Foster - not something I would do with my kids, but oh well), so I guess, ultimately, it was fine.

 

Most of the homeschooling families I've met are strict, school-at-home homeschoolers (that seems to be the common variety here in TX). They are constantly fretting that they aren't doing enough and it's almost like a rat race. They are very insecure. A big chunk of the homeschoolers I've met here use either Sonlight or MFW. Those seem to be huge here

.

 

Most people here are extremely relaxed. School at home is looked down on and openly criticized.

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To me it’s the homeschool regulation that lets people pull their kids out on a whim. If the homeschool regulation required them to have a plan or to follow through with online school (as opposed to set up online school but not follow through with it the way it is meant to be followed through with), it wouldn’t be something people did on a whim.

 

Maybe.

 

That’s a way I think it does relate to homeschooling.

 

Even though it doesn’t have to do with actual homeschooling.

Ours does. You have to have a plan. You have to describe a project. You have to talk about assessmuent and list resources. You don't have to follow the plan but to write it you have to do some research and thinking.

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Why do so many people believe that higher maths of this type are fundamental to an ethically-acceptable educational opportunities, but not, for example, master chef classes? Or  advanced ballet? Or certificate-level electrician training? Or conversational Mandarin?

 

This is kind of an aside, but can someone please explain to me why every single child in America ought to be able to take Calculus+ in high school if they choose to, but not something else?

 

**I make no comment about Calculus+ for high school, personally, but I definitely don't understand how that one particular piece of education--upper level maths-- has become sacrosanct beyond anything--literally anything-- else. And, Tsuga I see your cc qualifier and agree completely. I really do want to know why our country is obsessed with upper level maths to the exclusion of everything else. 

 

Exactly. Very few jobs, even those requiring a bachelor's degree, actually require calculus or beyond. One recent survey found it was only 5%.

 

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I think that there have always been some people who get into homeschooling with unrealistic expectations. And most go back to the public schools fairly soon. At least I hope that they do. When those people then badmouth homeschooling I want to smack them (metaphorically) because they are making an assessment based on what was doomed to fail in the first place. And what has nothing to do with homeschooling being good or bad itself.

 

The proliferation of online public schools and the tendency of people calling that homeschooling concerns me. No, I am not a snob. But to be successful you have to work within the confines of the online public school system. I think that the school itself has some culpability there to thoroughly explain parental involvement but I recognize that some just won’t listen.

 

 

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I read a how to honeschool book that stated "most children will have a online teacher" and made other statements that made me think to them homeschooling = online public school. Even here people assume you are going to use NZ correspondence school and are very startled when you inform them that it is hideously expensive unless you meet strict criteria or are over 16 so few people do.

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I agree with your definition of educational neglect, and with everything else.

 

With respect to unschooling, where I think it's more dangerous is *not realizing* that your kid hasn't learned things, and I'm referring to core things like the three R's. If you're working in a book that's grade levels behind or you're working in a book that's grade appropriate but they're unable to get it, it's much more obvious.

 

I will share, personally, that I had an unschooled relative who was horrified when taking the CC math placement test to find his estimated grade level was 3-4. 

 

He was highly intelligent and articulate, and with a couple of weeks of concentrated work (and Life of Fred -- one of the places where I think it REALLY can work well is with someone who's older, untaught, and very articulate) was able to pass the placement test into Algebra. He flew through beginning algebra, but struggled in intermediate and college algebra. Basically, because he had learned it so fast, he hadn't really internalized it, and so while he could solve the problems and understand them, it wasn't automatic. After college algebra, it actually got better because his arithmetic/basic algebra skills had become automatic. He is doing fine now but quite negative about the mathematics aspect of his education, and it did close off STEM pathways (except life sciences) as potential majors for him unless he wanted to spend 6 years at college. 

 

Should he have had CPS involved? No. But more and more, I am liking the idea of an evaluation (standardized test or teacher, your choice, state pays) for information only. I honestly think that it would be an alert for many of the parents with the "I meant to educate them but things have gotten away from me" problem going on. 

 

The problem with this is that most "unschoolers" are anti-standardized testing. Even if faced with the fact that a teenager hasn't mastered elementary school math, they are more likely to dismiss the test and cling to the belief that the child will magically one day wake up and decide that he/she wants to learn math and master it quickly (which a bright child without any LD's probably can but a LOT of kids cannot).

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As a teacher, I saw educational neglect. Parents who never came to a single conference or made a single effort to be involved in their children’s education would pull their children and “homeschool†them when they got mad at the school. It was like they thought they were punishing the school. They’d do nothing with their kids except maybe bring a workbook and bring the child to their work. When they got tired of that they’d put them back in school. LOTS of this observed as a teacher

 

As a homeschool mom, I haven’t witnessed this. All the homeschoolers I’ve met and gotten to know make a real

Effort to give their children the best education they can.

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The problem with this is that most "unschoolers" are anti-standardized testing. Even if faced with the fact that a teenager hasn't mastered elementary school math, they are more likely to dismiss the test and cling to the belief that the child will magically one day wake up and decide that he/she wants to learn math and master it quickly (which a bright child without any LD's probably can but a LOT of kids cannot).

 

I agree with you about the ones who've committed to it for ideological reasons. I don't think there is a way to help those kids without far more intrusion than I would be okay with. 

 

A net that's fine enough to not let ANYONE slip through the cracks is no longer a net, but a straightjacket. 

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.

Most people here are extremely relaxed. School at home is looked down on and openly criticized.

 

That does not equal educational neglect. It is just a different educational approach.  I am extremely relaxed.  I will not do school at home in any way shape or form.  However, I also have very high academic standards.  I just have a different view of how those goals should be achieved.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I agree with you about the ones who've committed to it for ideological reasons. I don't think there is a way to help those kids without far more intrusion than I would be okay with. 

 

A net that's fine enough to not let ANYONE slip through the cracks is no longer a net, but a straightjacket. 

Holy. That was profound.

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That does not equal educational neglect. It is just a different educational approach.  I am extremely relaxed.  I will not do school at home in any way shape or form.  However, I also have very high academic standards.  I just have a different view of how those goals should be achieved.  

 

I did not ever say that being relaxed was neglect. 

 

And I'm extremely well informed about relaxed homeschooling.  I've been surrounded by it and hearing about it for 11 years.  Relaxed homeschooling can be excellent, as long as it's a fit for the family, and homeschooling is made enough of a priority that reasonable progress is being made, according to the child's abilities.  Relaxed is not a fit for our family, but it's perfect for other families.  

Edited by laundrycrisis
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Can you explain this more, please? There are a few things I do not understand. 

 

As an assessor, you were an agent of the system, yes? So what do you mean that these parents, compiling these portfolios for you to review, don't want the system involved? The only reason you'd be around them is because they are interacting legally  within that system, right? Or did you have some sort of duties that involved seeking out parents that were not participating in portfolio reviews? I ask bc I really don't know-- I'd rather give a test than compile a portfolio, any day of the week!

 

You were turning a blind eye to behavior patterns that constituted educational neglect in your eyes? Why?

 

What was the process for handling portfolios that didn't show progress? Or, was "showing progress" the goal of the portfolios? I am intensely curious about this!

 

What made the forms stupid? Do you mean that the whole process of portfolio review itself was not adequate for assessing educational progress and/or the existence of neglect? 

 

So these parents were coming in with diagnosed learning disabilities but refused, after receiving the diagnosis from another agent of the system--either a teacher or some kind of doctor-- they refused help? Or just refused to talk about it with you? Or were you ""diagnosing"" these learning disabilities on the fly? 

 

Let me try to explain.  I lived in a state with evaluations, and the evaluators are almost always homeschool moms themselves that used to be teachers.  If they get enough students to evaluate, keeping up with their certification is worth it, as they can easily make about 2500.00 during evaluation season (March through June ish)  OUr county had more than 1000 homeschooled kids, half of which chose evaluators instead of testing, and only about 10 known evaluators on the list.

 

So, let's remember, all these people are connected.  They're all friends of friends. ALL of them.  You get your kids by word of mouth, and this 3000.00 accounts for a family vacation and all of your curriculum for your own 2 or 3 homeschooled kids.  It's not a huge income but it's enough that your family is counting on it.

 

So you start out with 95% of familes when the kids are young.  Like me, most of your families are referred by existing customers because they are FRIENDS...

 

Half of your evaluations are awesome.  The moms have portfolios that show work "commensurate with ability and increasing in progress" and there are samples for each subject from beginning, middle and end of the year.  They've finished almost every book, and have adorable lapbooks from Five in a Row, as well as home made knitting projects, pictures of Science projects, AWANA books all filled out and even kept a reading log of every book read as well as their physical activity, which in our case was a half day homeschool sports program.  They don't play an instrument but they do computer programming and they messed around a little with the recorder.

 

You get to the next person's house and it's a different story.  There are 5 kids, and the portfolios are very obviously pieced together.  THe math program was a thick FlashKids workbook, and they completed most of the math and English but not much else.  It's looking pretty sparse, and you think hey the kids are so little and there are so many, and I Do, after all, support the natural learning approach.  So, you decide your method with these kids will be, to ask them to show you their stuff.  Ask them to grab a book and read it aloud to you.  Ask them if they have any art.  Ask them to show you any pictures of educational field trips (and yes they went on plenty of those)...and they are, you know, doing stuff....and they did after all know more math and spelling now, than they did last September. 

 

You sign the form.

 

What happens in 8 years is the problem.  The second group of homeschoolers does one of two things...they either put the kids in school or they get further and further behind.  You strongly encourage the mom to pick to a math curriculum and for God's sake, just do the math.  If nothing else gets done, take the math on all the family vacations, and do the math..

 

You come back, the kids are now in 8, 7, 5, and 3rd and 1st grades and lo and behold they've done the math this year!  You feel so good about that, you hardly care about anything else.  After all they're smart, bright kids, and they can read fine.

 

YOu come back.  THe kids are now in 9, 8, 6 and 4th and 2nd grades and hardly made any progress in the math.  The dad got uninvolved, an elderly parent is struggling with health issues, the church is struggling and the whole town knows about it...the dog died this year, and a few new cats showed up.  ....you ask the kids to show you WHAT they've been doing and as it turns out they have read a lot of books, and there is SOME math done, after all they're further along than they were in September....

 

You sign the form...

 

This goes on.  They never really recover.  Generally speaking the kids never really do any math beyond ALgebra 1 some of them not beyond 7th grade math, all through high school.  The oldest ones got a much better education than the youngest ones...

 

you try to avoid and reschedule the visits hoping they'll call another evaluator, but they call, desperately begging you to come...

 

and you sign the form...you really almost don't have a choice.  The yearly testing period is over, and you don't want the truancy officer at their door. You've seen these kids grow up, watched this family grow and struggle....

 

and finally you quit being an evaluator because you really can't NOT sign the form...you can certainly warn them and admonish them and give them lots of good ideas, and explain to the mom how to teach and how to parent and how to be consistent...your kids are grown and you don't need the money as much but all this worry over 50% of your families just not really doing their job is for the birds.

 

The End.

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We had this issue with our last pediatrician. She was disdainful and hostile when she found out we were homeschooling, and we'd gone to her for a couple of years at that point. She knew we weren't irresponsible wingnuts and all sorts of personal information and she still came across like there was no option but for it to all turn out as a total disaster because all homeschoolers were kooks. I cannot imagine what she would have done if she'd have had the power in her hands over our decision. I pushed back against her on early speech therapy for my son (with my ENT's support) and between that and the homeschooling, I was already worried she'd report me to CPS, much less if she had the power over a yearly report to the state. We switched pedi's after that and have, by total chance, ended up with a homeschooling, part-time pediatrician who is wonderful and supportive. But that was a fluke. 

 

It made me very skeptical of putting that sort of power in doctor's hands. 

 

I support your decision, but just so you know, speech therapy nowadays is a very fun, positive experience for kids.  They use all kinds of colorful games, board game, flash card games, group games and the therapists are trained to do the one on one time in a fun way including gum, a mirror, food, and always leave smiling with a sticker. 

 

So, if your ds still needs it and your insurance or the school system will allow it, I would encourage you to consider it :)  

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I still don’t really understand...were you given no criteria for evaluating them other than that they “made progress� Because you do describe them making progress, just not up to what you personally think they should. Or was the bar actually higher but you lied and signed the forms even though they didn’t meet the criteria because you wanted the money and you don’t like offending people?

Yes. This is why I asked about the criteria. (And got no answer. ). If they meet the criteria, even if it is a minimum, then they have met the criteria. And if they haven’t and you sign a paper that they haven’t then you are a fraud and quite frankly should be fired. I see no place for handwringing and saying that you had no choice.

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As far as years when no progress is made: that can happen for many reasons in many settings. Dd missed about 3 months of school last year (9th grade) while we tried to figure out her health situation (final diagnosis: Celiac). She would have missed even more in brick and mortar school.

 

 

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As far as years when no progress is made: that can happen for many reasons in many settings. Dd missed about 3 months of school last year (9th grade) while we tried to figure out her health situation (final diagnosis: Celiac). She would have missed even more in brick and mortar school.

 

 

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:iagree:   Dd10 missed almost an entire year of school for a brain injury last year (it would've been her 3rd grade year).  I was the most grateful homeschooler ever.  Thank God she was able to just rest and heal and we didn't have anything hanging over our heads, school-related. 

 

Even missing a year of formal schoolwork, she still learned a lot and grew developmentally to the point where I don't think anyone outside our family would've noticed that she missed an entire school year.

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Yes. This is why I asked about the criteria. (And got no answer. ). If they meet the criteria, even if it is a minimum, then they have met the criteria. And if they haven’t and you sign a paper that they haven’t then you are a fraud and quite frankly should be fired. I see no place for handwringing and saying that you had no choice.

I think the people employing the assessor are the ones being assessed.

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I still don’t really understand...were you given no criteria for evaluating them other than that they “made progress� Because you do describe them making progress, just not up to what you personally think they should. Or was the bar actually higher but you lied and signed the forms even though they didn’t meet the criteria because you wanted the money and you don’t like offending people?

Florida law is progress commensurate with ability.  That's it.

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Yes. This is why I asked about the criteria. (And got no answer. ). If they meet the criteria, even if it is a minimum, then they have met the criteria. And if they haven’t and you sign a paper that they haven’t then you are a fraud and quite frankly should be fired. I see no place for handwringing and saying that you had no choice.

 

It's not fraud..you're being asked to give a SUBJECTIVE evaluation on the words "made progress commensurate with ability"  

 

If you don't sign their paper, you risk losing not only that client, but your entire clientele ....people will talk and the story will grow and grow.

 

And quite frankly, you really are following the letter of the law, which is very gentle, in Florida.  How is that a fraud?  

 

The evaluator is put in tough situations year after year, asked to make SUBJECTIVE decisions, and often at the very end of the evaluation season, a week or two before they evaluations are due, with people they've known for years.  

 

My story is all true, and it's not fraud.  It's a difficult job and I can see why, after years of doing that people are sick of the whole thing.  They don't LIKE it that some students are barely learning, and they don't LIKE signing the form because they have their own personal ideas and standards.  But truth be told, according to the law, singing the form, for the most part, was morally upright, not fraud.

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It's not just unschoolers.   If you have a child who's dealt with an extreme fear of failure, test taking anxiety, or anything like that...then you might be just as anti-standardized testing as a lot of unschoolers. 

 

I'm not against assessments though, as long as I'm given a choice of HOW my child is assessed.   Portfolio/work samples, or having a meeting with a certified teacher who would assess my child by talking with him and watching him work....even if it was on multiple occasions, I'd prefer to having him sit through the 1-4 hour tests my kids in public school had to take.  (They ace them...but still hate the experience...and my younger kiddo has issues they don't).  

 

Eventually I'm going to ease my kids into testing so they'll be prepared for things like SATs, but wholly molly if the requirement was suddenly thrust upon us?  It could even undermine a lot of the hard work I've done to work through some of those issues with my kiddo.

 

The problem with this is that most "unschoolers" are anti-standardized testing. Even if faced with the fact that a teenager hasn't mastered elementary school math, they are more likely to dismiss the test and cling to the belief that the child will magically one day wake up and decide that he/she wants to learn math and master it quickly (which a bright child without any LD's probably can but a LOT of kids cannot).

 

Edited by goldenecho
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Oh this was when he was 2, so years ago. He didn't talk until he was past 3. But he was physically super advanced and the ENT said she thought he just needed time and that kids don't mature evenly, but his hearing was fine and he had no signs of being anything but NT. I talked to the local speech therapists and they wanted $400 in eval, plus $85 a session, three times a week. For a two year old. Our insurance only covered it if there was a physical defect, and that wasn't the case. I also knew that my two-year-old son wasn't going to sit for anything, so it was pissing money down the drain. I said no and worked with him at home. He started talking at three and hasn't shut up since, so it worked out. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from seeking it if they had concerns, but my intuition told me the ENT was right, and she was.

At TWO? No wonder you waited! Two year olds are so fidgety. :)

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It's not fraud..you're being asked to give a SUBJECTIVE evaluation on the words "made progress commensurate with ability"

 

If you don't sign their paper, you risk losing not only that client, but your entire clientele ....people will talk and the story will grow and grow.

 

And quite frankly, you really are following the letter of the law, which is very gentle, in Florida. How is that a fraud?

 

The evaluator is put in tough situations year after year, asked to make SUBJECTIVE decisions, and often at the very end of the evaluation season, a week or two before they evaluations are due, with people they've known for years.

 

My story is all true, and it's not fraud. It's a difficult job and I can see why, after years of doing that people are sick of the whole thing. They don't LIKE it that some students are barely learning, and they don't LIKE signing the form because they have their own personal ideas and standards. But truth be told, according to the law, singing the form, for the most part, was morally upright, not fraud.

Then, as I said in my post, you are following the law. Fraud only comes into play if you are not following the law. There are all sorts of jobs where the state standards are fairly low. But the state sets those standards, not homeschoolers. (Though I live in a state where we only have to show yearly progress and I am glad of it. It has allowed my late bloomer to bloom when she was ready instead of being forced into a box of someone else’s choosing. )

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Maybe 2 to 3%, and mostly "unschoolers". Are there many who could do better? Yep. I think I will always feel that way about myself because I'm a perfectionist, so I'm not sure about whether my standards are realistic. But educational neglect is a pretty high bar to meet.

I see a lot more issues with parents pushing their kids way too hard and creating anxiety, ulcers, and other issues. I'm in a metro area with a lot of homeschoolers, and many of them have schedules for their kids that boggle the mind. We do a play group, a teen group, choir, church group, and music lessons and it feels like a lot, but compared to many other families we are recluses. We're all introverts, though. The area is fairly liberal and we're fairly conservative, so they don't really have a ton of opportunities for truly like-minded friendships. I'd love to change that, but I can't change the wider culture and I don't want my kids changing just because they want to have more peers, so it is what it is at this point.

I'm far, far more concerned with the educational neglect that is pandemic in public educational institutions, frankly. It's really hard to look at a homeschool family I think could be doing better and tell them that public options would be better because in many cases that simply isn't true. I notice many that could be doing better struggle with planning and using time effectively, so when asked for advice that's the sort of tips I wind up handing out most along with how to juggle teaching multiple kids. 

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So, just curious here....if you don't "sign the form" then they can just take the form somewhere else until they get someone who will sign it? 

 

Man, don't envy your position, because emotionally I could see where it would be heart-wrenching to "not sign the form"  after years of working with a family.   But I can see where the system really is flawed.

 

 

You sign the form...

 

This goes on.  They never really recover.  Generally speaking the kids never really do any math beyond ALgebra 1 some of them not beyond 7th grade math, all through high school.  The oldest ones got a much better education than the youngest ones...

 

you try to avoid and reschedule the visits hoping they'll call another evaluator, but they call, desperately begging you to come...

 

and you sign the form...you really almost don't have a choice.  The yearly testing period is over, and you don't want the truancy officer at their door. You've seen these kids grow up, watched this family grow and struggle....

 

and finally you quit being an evaluator because you really can't NOT sign the form...you can certainly warn them and admonish them and give them lots of good ideas, and explain to the mom how to teach and how to parent and how to be consistent...your kids are grown and you don't need the money as much but all this worry over 50% of your families just not really doing their job is for the birds.

 

The End.

 

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I think that some on this thread want to emblazon other homeschoolers with a scarlet N for neglect. I will say what I have said on other threads - if you truly think that a family is breaking the law (because that is what true educational neglect is) then report them. There is a place for watching out for kids like the Turpin kids.

 

 

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That does put you in a very difficult position to have no objective criteria.

 

I wonder if it’s possible you got a reputation for being an easy evaluator and if you ended up with some of the worst homeschoolers as a result (I’m guessing subpar homeschoolers would probably prefer evaluations to tests, but I don’t know). Did you know lots of other evaluators? Did they all just sign?

Some do have a reputation as easier than others. I never once in my 7 years of homeschooling heard of anyone not signing. Ever.

 

But generally they’ll just say they’re too busy if it went so poorly last year that they don’t feel right about it .

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So, just curious here....if you don't "sign the form" then they can just take the form somewhere else until they get someone who will sign it?

 

Man, don't envy your position, because emotionally I could see where it would be heart-wrenching to "not sign the form" after years of working with a family. But I can see where the system really is flawed.

It wasn’t me... honestly I don’t have a teaching degree....it was a friend.

 

And exactly they could theoretically just hire another evaluator. Now, people do it online for ten dollars cheaper via Skype.

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Should he have had CPS involved? No. But more and more, I am liking the idea of an evaluation (standardized test or teacher, your choice, state pays) for information only. I honestly think that it would be an alert for many of the parents with the "I meant to educate them but things have gotten away from me" problem going on. 

 

I've come to believe that this is one of the best reasons to potentially require testing for homeschoolers. You could even maybe have some way for homeschoolers to continue to choose their own nationally normed tests (like they already do in a number of states) and have a receipt sent to the state without the scores. And then maybe the parent signs something affirming that they read the score report.

 

I know that people don't like the idea of regulation. And obviously no regulation is perfect - most of them are easy to get out of. But I don't think that doesn't mean we shouldn't try something.

 

Our state requires yearly standardizing testing starting in 1st grade. You don't have to get a minimum score. You don't have to show the scores to anyone. You choose the test from a long list of approved tests. You choose the tester. You even choose which grade level of test to give. If you have a college degree, you can even give the test yourself in your own home. When I was starting out as a homeschooler, I thought it was silly hoop jumping. But over the years, I've seen those tests be a wake-up call for well-intentioned parents who just needed a little more information to guide their choices.

 

I've seen many, many unschoolers and relaxed schoolers and "we meant to do more math but we got busy"-schoolers who realized things weren't going well when they got those test scores back. I've seen families make big changes to how they homeschool or adjust their curriculum (no, your first grader probably can't self-teach math) or even decide that they ought to put the kids back in school. I've heard unschoolers debating whether it's really reasonable to expect a 3rd grader to be able to do x skill or y skill after seeing the problems on their annual standardized test. Even if they didn't believe in standardized testing, it gave them a look at what is typically expected of kids their child's age. 

 

I do think it makes a difference. It won't catch the really extreme situations, but it is a huge help for the parents who want to do well and just need a little more information to get them on that path. And it isn't a huge hassle or an unreasonable intrusion for those of us who are doing a good job.

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Our state requires yearly standardizing testing starting in 1st grade. You don't have to get a minimum score. You don't have to show the scores to anyone. You choose the test from a long list of approved tests. You choose the tester. You even choose which grade level of test to give. If you have a college degree, you can even give the test yourself in your own home. When I was starting out as a homeschooler, I thought it was silly hoop jumping. But over the years, I've seen those tests be a wake-up call for well-intentioned parents who just needed a little more information to guide their choices.

 

I've seen many, many unschoolers and relaxed schoolers and "we meant to do more math but we got busy"-schoolers who realized things weren't going well when they got those test scores back. I've seen families make big changes to how they homeschool or adjust their curriculum (no, your first grader probably can't self-teach math) or even decide that they ought to put the kids back in school. I've heard unschoolers debating whether it's really reasonable to expect a 3rd grader to be able to do x skill or y skill after seeing the problems on their annual standardized test. Even if they didn't believe in standardized testing, it gave them a look at what is typically expected of kids their child's age.

 

I do think it makes a difference. It won't catch the really extreme situations, but it is a huge help for the parents who want to do well and just need a little more information to get them on that path. And it isn't a huge hassle or an unreasonable intrusion for those of us who are doing a good job.

So maybe it is worthwhile to require some kind of outside student evaluation for the parents' information only. I think in addition to standardized testing as an option there should be others, including an evaluation by a certified teacher or by a board of experienced homeschoolers; this would be not to "certify" that the child meets standards but to provide honest feedback and recommendations.

 

I don't like standardized testing as the only option but as one among several I'm ok with it.

Edited by maize
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So maybe it is worthwhile to require some kind of outside student evaluation for the parents' information only. I think in addition to standardized testing as an option there should be others, including an evaluation by a certified teacher or by a board of experienced homeschoolers; this would be not to "certify" that the child meets standards but to provide honest feedback and recommendations.

 

I don't like standardized testing as the only option but as one among several I'm ok with it.

 

Yes, because as I saw in FL, the yearly evaluations didn't really force anyone to do anything...and they didn't even assess where the kids really were.

 

However, the evaluators truly care about the students and often did actually have great ideas!!  Seeing 50 kids from 15 or 25 families every year, in addition to their own teaching degree, did actually give them great ideas. My evaluator was so encouraging to us and was just a big huge cheerleader.  She gave us some good ideas for fun or interesting things to add.  It was nice.

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I find homeschooling very easy. I have smart kids who largely don't have disabilities of any sort. My 7th grader does not require 2 hours a day of input from me; I doubt she requires more than half an hour of input from me. She herself does a lot more every day, of course, but it's not hard for me.

 

I spend a lot more time thinking of ways to disguise learning activities as voluntary fun things rather than schoolwork for my 9 year old than I spend actually directly teaching him. He can see right through direct teaching. He cannot see through "take these materials and this TOPScience experiment and let me know if you have problems," (and then, 30 minutes later, "how did that experiment go? oooh, how does that work? I wonder if it works with this other thing to, or if it has anything to do with that thing. Yeah, you should totally watch a video on it, I'll listen to it too while I work over here," etc.)

My estimates for older kids were for the total time the kid spends schooling; not the mother. A high schooler can get by with very little direct instruction from mom, but they should be putting in the time themselves. Everything they need to read takes time. Labs take time. They should be challenged in SOME areas where they’ll need their questions answered by someone who knows more than them.

 

You certainly can’t assume out of the gate that your kids will be self-starters and not expect to ever put the time in. You also can’t spend every day doing fun field trips and treat Math as an afterthought. Maybe I’m imposing my philosophy on others, but I believe we have an obligation to make our kids ready for and capable of handling college classes even if they go another way.

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". You’d have to live in a pretty lackluster school district to keep up with local standards this way. "

 

What I don't get is why people think public schools in random ghettos they settled in before having kids should be some kind of bar!

 

Like, I have lived in crappy poor areas, but we sacrifice a lot in terms of desired career and lifestyle to live in a place with a ton of opportunities. There are people who do public school well.

 

Whenever people are like "better than public school!" I cringe. It's like saying your home cooking is better than that of a restaurant. Might be true but I really need to know where you eat out to decide whether that is impressive or not.

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I literally have no idea what you meant there okbud can you rephrase

They meant, the regulation just creates more work for people who are already working, and does nothing to catch the edge cases of abuse and neglect.

 

Which I would agree with.

 

The problem is not lack of regulation in most areas but lack of ability to follow up and make sense of data patterns to identify high risks. There is no funding for that, no funding for a reasonable multi tiered catchment system for these kids.

 

That is the problem, to my mind.

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At a certain point, the child has to WANT to live up to his/her potential. I'm dealing with this now.

 

I've got a teen who has completed Algebra 2 and college-level statistics and is adamantly refusing to do any higher math. She has the brains to do calculus or beyond but lacks the motivation. She can graduate with a bachelor's in a non-STEM major from the UC or Cal State system with just the math she's completed and she's fine with that. I'm not going to make it a "hill to die on" because frankly, I haven't used anything beyond very basic algebra and statistics in my adult life. I took through multi-variable calculus but at this point couldn't solve a derivative or integral if my life depended on it.

 

My educational goal for her is to complete her bachelor's degree and if she can do that with only Algebra 2 and statistics, I don't think that makes me guilty of "educational neglect" just because she could theoretically pass calculus if she were interested and willing to do the work required.

I am 42. I was public schooler. I didn't take calculus my senior year (a 4th year wasn't required back then, and my parents encouraged me to not push myself too hard). I regret it now, but I also made it through a bachelor's and master's degree without it. And you know what? I am teaching it to myself as my 2018 goal.

 

There is only so much you can do with a non motivated high schooler.

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I think that some on this thread want to emblazon other homeschoolers with a scarlet N for neglect. I will say what I have said on other threads - if you truly think that a family is breaking the law (because that is what true educational neglect is) then report them. There is a place for watching out for kids like the Turpin kids.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

To which I would add that it is going to be difficult to ever demonstrate true educational neglect, so we'd be better off debating the kinds of neglect (and abuse) that truly destroy us when we hear these stories.

 

We have all kinds of judgments and opinions about people who don't share certain kinds of knowledge with their kids, but ultimately educational neglect is going to be very, very hard to pin down absent other forms of neglect. Or abuse. I want to use that term, too, because maybe the problem is that "neglect" sounds more benign, so we're more comfortable lobbing it at the unschoolers?

 

I also am a little surprised at some of the discussion of "truancy" on this thread. Schools are truly awful places for some kids. I haven't read my John Holt in a long time, but I know for me part of reforming schools-- REALLY making them better-- would involve changing our ideas about truancy. Just because a kid is showing up doesn't mean he's learning. As a homeschooler, I think we should be at least a little more willing to entertain the idea that there are (at least) two sides to the stories of kids getting pulled out of school on a whim, or just not showing up. (Some parents are negligent. Some are abusive. But let's not let the system off the hook.)

 

As for testing, I would merely note that when my third grader takes standardized tests, she makes it clear to me that it is not her testing. It is her robotic alter ego. The robot does swimmingly on the standardized tests, landing in the top percentiles, but those scores that I send into the school system in no way demonstrate the kind of flexible and creative thinking that I believe are really going to help my kids succeed in the future. Having administered these tests now, I really feel they are a horrible measure of learning. I'd rather see one math problem with its solution worked out explained to me well than a whole page of bubbles. I have not found the information provided to me, a homeschooler, the least bit valuable.

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I am 42. I was public schooler. I didn't take calculus my senior year (a 4th year wasn't required back then, and my parents encouraged me to not push myself too hard). I regret it now, but I also made it through a bachelor's and master's degree without it. And you know what? I am teaching it to myself as my 2018 goal.

 

There is only so much you can do with a non motivated high schooler.

 

Don't worry, you didn't miss out.  I took it and as soon as the class was over, I forgot it all.  Kids would be better taking a debate/logic course than calculus, IMO.

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I have joined the ranks of hs'ers who do not discuss hs'ing IRL.

 

We are in a low reg state. I have seen some horror stories, with what Kung Fu Panda and others were saying about parents getting offended by the school and pulling kids out on a whim. "Punishing the school" as opposed to "seeking the best learning environment for their child."

 

They don't stop working. (In every situation that I've known personally, they can't afford to.) They don't address their own literacy and social problems. They don't learn what the child needs to know, to progress academically. The child loses speech therapy AND breakfast and lunch that he got at school.

 

But here, you can't say, "Public schoolers problems," because they don't usually sign up for virtual ps. It's known to be a failure here. These are still the Walmart workbook type. When they do return to school, it's not next fall, it's more like three to four years later (according to friends who are ps teachers), and they've not progressed academically since they left.

 

I'm not going to put a number on this, but combined with the Gothardite types who have twelve untaught children, I see a significant problem with hsing in my state.

 

Now here's why I don't talk about hsing IRL: I know why people pull their kids out of schools here.

 

There is no way I can say to a functionally illiterate mom, "You can't teach him, and you aren't teaching him, and what are you going to do to afford the missed meals, you owe it to him to enroll," when I know she took him out because test anxiety and bullying and inappropriate curriculum were destroying him! At age eight!

 

And the same veteran teacher who decries the homeschool failure, tells me she is sick at heart over the testing culture, that she can only manage about 2.5 months of actual instruction because of it, and that the test anxiety and excessive homework are harming her third graders...and the only reason she's still teaching is that she's reluctant to turn the children over to young teachers who have only learned these non-nurturing and ineffective methods...

 

And nowadays, what if I, personally, tell an obviously unfit hsing mom that she owes it to her child to put him in school - and he gets shot? Or bullied until he kills himself?

 

No way. Not me. I've got my head down, finishing raising my boys, saving my books for the grandchildren.

 

Nutshell: I think hs neglect and failure are very real. But I see this situation as public school failure. If our schools were safe and effective, only a few outliers would homeschool. Probably that 3% that we maintained for so long; that's how many actually *want* to homeschool (and therefore do a pretty good job). Too many families are hsing because they just don't want to send their kid back. I want our nation to get the schools back on track, with all that's included in that sentiment.

 

Edit: I also went down the road of being in favor of increased hs regs, for several years, in response to what I've seen with Gothardite girls who are not given a basic education - not even third grade math - while being responsible for the care of younger siblings. But again, I have waved the white flag. Surrender. I don't want the school people telling me what to teach, and it doesn't even work when the father of those neglected girls used to pay "Christian" homeschool evaluators to lie on the reports.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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I have joined the ranks of hs'ers who do not discuss hs'ing IRL.

 

We are in a low reg state. I have seen some horror stories, with what Kung Fu Panda and others were saying about parents getting offended by the school and pulling kids out on a whim. "Punishing the school" as opposed to "seeking the best learning environment for their child."

 

They don't stop working. (In every situation that I've known personally, they can't afford to.) They don't address their own literacy and social problems. They don't learn what the child needs to know, to progress academically. The child loses speech therapy AND breakfast and lunch that he got at school.

 

But here, you can't say, "Public schoolers problems," because they don't usually sign up for virtual ps. It's known to be a failure here. These are still the Walmart workbook type. When they do return to school, it's not next fall, it's more like three to four years later (according to friends who are ps teachers), and they've not progressed academically since they left.

 

I'm not going to put a number on this, but combined with the Gothardite types who have twelve untaught children, I see a significant problem with hsing in my state.

 

Now here's why I don't talk about hsing IRL: I know why people pull their kids out of schools here.

 

There is no way I can say to a functionally illiterate mom, "You can't teach him, and you aren't teaching him, and what are you going to do to afford the missed meals, you owe it to him to enroll," when I know she took him out because test anxiety and bullying and inappropriate curriculum were destroying him! At age eight!

 

And the same veteran teacher who decries the homeschool failure, tells me she is sick at heart over the testing culture, that she can only manage about 2.5 months of actual instruction because of it, and that the test anxiety and excessive homework are harming her third graders...and the only reason she's still teaching is that she's reluctant to turn the children over to young teachers who have only learned these non-nurturing and ineffective methods...

 

And nowadays, what if I, personally, tell an obviously unfit hsing mom that she owes it to her child to put him in school - and he gets shot? Or bullied until he kills himself?

 

No way. Not me. I've got my head down, finishing raising my boys, saving my books for the grandchildren.

 

Nutshell: I think hs neglect and failure are very real. But I see this situation as public school failure. If our schools were safe and effective, only a few outliers would homeschool. Probably that 3% that we maintained for so long; that's how many actually *want* to homeschool (and therefore do a pretty good job). Too many families are hsing because they just don't want to send their kid back. I want our nation to get the schools back on track, with all that's included in that sentiment.

 

Edit: I also went down the road of being in favor of increased hs regs, for several years, in response to what I've seen with Gothardite girls who are not given a basic education - not even third grade math - while being responsible for the care of younger siblings. But again, I have waved the white flag. Surrender. I don't want the school people telling me what to teach, and it doesn't even work when the father of those neglected girls used to pay "Christian" homeschool evaluators to lie on the reports.

Wow this post nearly made me cry

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It's not just unschoolers.   If you have a child who's dealt with an extreme fear of failure, test taking anxiety, or anything like that...then you might be just as anti-standardized testing as a lot of unschoolers. 

 

I'm not against assessments though, as long as I'm given a choice of HOW my child is assessed.   Portfolio/work samples, or having a meeting with a certified teacher who would assess my child by talking with him and watching him work....even if it was on multiple occasions, I'd prefer to having him sit through the 1-4 hour tests my kids in public school had to take.  (They ace them...but still hate the experience...and my younger kiddo has issues they don't).  

 

Eventually I'm going to ease my kids into testing so they'll be prepared for things like SATs, but wholly molly if the requirement was suddenly thrust upon us?  It could even undermine a lot of the hard work I've done to work through some of those issues with my kiddo.

 

I don't have a problem with this so long as the child is actually learning the material. You show me a kid who can play "Equate" (for those unfamiliar with the game, it's like Scrabble only with math equations rather than words) and the equations are correct, I'm cool with that.

 

What I'm NOT cool with are teens who cannot do elementary math because their "unschooling" parents have left the decision about whether to learn math up to the child and the child never decided to learn it on his/her own.

 

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The problem with these discussions is that there is such a range from optimal to true neglect. And there is no societal agreement on what is optimal. I used to work for a very well regarded private school for gifted. They were paid very big money to think outside the box. They had no testing (other than the testing to qualify). They no no strict grade levels. They had small class sizes. They let kids learn at their own pace. And they played. Even the tweens and teens. No drill and kill. No competition to beat others out with stories of their rigor. And these kids thrived. And honestly you would not have to be gifted to benefit from what we did there.

But these kids were not neglected. They had adults who were engaged while also letting them learn without someone managing it all for them.

The problem with defining neglect as “ anything that doesn’t meet my standards “ as some are defining it in this thread is that it cuts out some very good learning. I am sure that some would have looked down their noses at this school just as they look down their noses at “relaxed†homeschoolers.

Now true neglect is horrific. And heartbreaking. But don’t cast the net so wide that the term stops meaning anything.


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Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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I don't think this is so much about geographic region. We always think we know so many people, and I don't think we do. We know the people in our circles and the people a degree or two away from us. We don't know the people who choose not to join groups and purposefully avoid other homeschoolers. We have selection bias.

 

I think we owe it to our children to listen to the stories of homeschool alums who feel they were educationally or socially neglected. I feel sick every time I read homeschoolers trashing homeschool alums who feel their upbringing was neglectful or hurt their ability to function in the world. They own their lives and their stories and it's not up to you to define them.

 

I think when we have a kneejerk attitude that it never or almost never happens, that's a form of closing ranks and enabling abuse.

 

My number one definition of educational neglect is when kids ask to learn and aren't taught or ask for access to materials and aren't given them. The number of stories of this among homeschool alums is shocking to me. But also, I think not attempting to equip a child with the skills to get a job and lead a productive life is neglect. That includes when teens are content to ignore their own educations. I think purposefully not educating daughters as well as sons is educational neglect. I think expecting the primary task of older children to be taking care of younger ones or working around the home or business is educational neglect.

 

I don't think unschooling is more dangerous for educational neglect. All the unschoolers I've known encourage an atmosphere of learning in their lives, encourage access to books and information, and encourage their kids to think about their future lives and careers. I'm sure there are just as many self-identifying unschoolers who neglect though. I just don't know them. Same with homeschoolers. Because I have selection bias.

 

There is virtually zero reliable data about homeschoolers and outcomes. No matter what we look at, it's a shot in the dark. My gut feeling says that probably not more than 15% of homeschoolers educationally neglect kids and hopefully less. My gut says less. But who the heck knows? Anyone in this thread claiming to know is misleading us because there's simply no data that isn't completely anecdotal.

Very well put and completely agree.

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No, meant that when homeschoolers are following the regulations in their state and having their stuff evaluated by someone who is paid to do it but ONLY signs off on them no matter how obvious it is that they need help, the greater homeschooling "community," such as it is does not need to take that as a "hit" against "our" reputation.

 

Lots of quotes because we are so diverse and not more beholden to one another any more than we are beholden to any other of our fellow man.

 

 

Well that's massively unrealistic. People are going to generalize. End of story. Just because a lot of black people are poor and many young men commit crimes of idiocy doesn't mean every young black man is a danger (the majority are not) but guess what people say?

 

You are beholden because society is going to have to take care of the kids left behind.

 

And frankly as someone who has kids in great public schools that I would say do more than most homeschooler's in terms of educational rigor and choice, I will keep speaking up for public schools but I don't expect there to be no regulation because "not all schools are failing."

 

Maybe you are talking about something else but homeschooles IMO are not specially exempt from anything. Everyone has the right to pursue excellence but the rules and regulations on not screwing up your kid and society judging you for your choices apply to us all equally.

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I have joined the ranks of hs'ers who do not discuss hs'ing IRL.

 

We are in a low reg state. I have seen some horror stories, with what Kung Fu Panda and others were saying about parents getting offended by the school and pulling kids out on a whim. "Punishing the school" as opposed to "seeking the best learning environment for their child."

 

They don't stop working. (In every situation that I've known personally, they can't afford to.) They don't address their own literacy and social problems. They don't learn what the child needs to know, to progress academically. The child loses speech therapy AND breakfast and lunch that he got at school.

 

But here, you can't say, "Public schoolers problems," because they don't usually sign up for virtual ps. It's known to be a failure here. These are still the Walmart workbook type. When they do return to school, it's not next fall, it's more like three to four years later (according to friends who are ps teachers), and they've not progressed academically since they left.

 

I'm not going to put a number on this, but combined with the Gothardite types who have twelve untaught children, I see a significant problem with hsing in my state.

 

Now here's why I don't talk about hsing IRL: I know why people pull their kids out of schools here.

 

There is no way I can say to a functionally illiterate mom, "You can't teach him, and you aren't teaching him, and what are you going to do to afford the missed meals, you owe it to him to enroll," when I know she took him out because test anxiety and bullying and inappropriate curriculum were destroying him! At age eight!

 

And the same veteran teacher who decries the homeschool failure, tells me she is sick at heart over the testing culture, that she can only manage about 2.5 months of actual instruction because of it, and that the test anxiety and excessive homework are harming her third graders...and the only reason she's still teaching is that she's reluctant to turn the children over to young teachers who have only learned these non-nurturing and ineffective methods...

 

And nowadays, what if I, personally, tell an obviously unfit hsing mom that she owes it to her child to put him in school - and he gets shot? Or bullied until he kills himself?

 

No way. Not me. I've got my head down, finishing raising my boys, saving my books for the grandchildren.

 

Nutshell: I think hs neglect and failure are very real. But I see this situation as public school failure. If our schools were safe and effective, only a few outliers would homeschool. Probably that 3% that we maintained for so long; that's how many actually *want* to homeschool (and therefore do a pretty good job). Too many families are hsing because they just don't want to send their kid back. I want our nation to get the schools back on track, with all that's included in that sentiment.

 

Edit: I also went down the road of being in favor of increased hs regs, for several years, in response to what I've seen with Gothardite girls who are not given a basic education - not even third grade math - while being responsible for the care of younger siblings. But again, I have waved the white flag. Surrender. I don't want the school people telling me what to teach, and it doesn't even work when the father of those neglected girls used to pay "Christian" homeschool evaluators to lie on the reports.

This made me tear up :(

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Also, I think it is bizarre to accuse PS of neglect. The fact that public schools are capable of neglect has nothing to do with whether neglect is acceptable or what defines neglect.

 

Define a standard and if it applies to public schools so be it, but this whole debate about "oh yeah well it is not perfect", "oh yeah but it's not just homeschoolers", "oh yeah well I don't deserve to be judged by the actions of others...", "Well once I saw regulations on neglect implemented poorly..."

 

If this were eighth grade debate we'd be laughed off the stage.

 

Does society have a moral obligation to protect children from educational neglect or not?

 

What constitutes neglect?

 

Not, what doesn't constitute neglect. What does?

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I don't have a problem with this so long as the child is actually learning the material. You show me a kid who can play "Equate" (for those unfamiliar with the game, it's like Scrabble only with math equations rather than words) and the equations are correct, I'm cool with that.

 

What I'm NOT cool with are teens who cannot do elementary math because their "unschooling" parents have left the decision about whether to learn math up to the child and the child never decided to learn it on his/her own.

 

 

Yeah.   Someone suggested unschooled to me for my youngest...but he would not be motivated enough to do this without me requiring it.   I mean, I give him a lot of flexibility.  He can choose to do a worksheet or write out problems on a dry erase board or play a math game with me or do math drills while jumping on the bed, and he can choose what order to do school work, and sometimes we do take rabbit trails if he shows interest in something that wasn't on the schedule for the day.   But if I just said "You can do whatever you want...whenever you're ready to do math and reading we'll do it"...he would never do it.

 

My oldest, if he had homeschooled...he would have learned to read without me pushing.  I mean, he sort of did.   Before he went to school he was interested in letters and wanted to play games with them, and when I knew he could sound out words all I had to do was buy him a book that he wanted but tell him he that I would help him read it, but wouldn't read it to him....and he was reading.  It took so much more to get my youngest reading, even at a very basic level.  So, I don't doubt SOME kids can unschool completely and will learn as much as they need.   But not all kids.

 

I lot of the people I know who "unschool" though only unschool in part (i.e., the basics are required but everything else is interest led). 

 

Edited by goldenecho
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I don’t understand the utter disdain for dollar store workbooks. Esp for k - 3. There really is no difference between figuring out two plus two on cheap newsprint vs figuring it out on slick paper with color illustrations. Is that a rich vibrant way to teach? No. But they do cover the basic skills.

 

 

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