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Why do homeschool parents who publish books do this?


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And you'll notice that nowhere did I bring up cheating.

 

I'm tempted to say something about the sky being blue to see if you'll argue about that, too. I'm not sure what you get out of disagreeing with every single thing I say in every post on this forum, but it isn't very productive for either of us.

 

 

What is it when Person A rewrites something for Person B and Person B turns it in to a class for a grade as her own (Person B's) work?

 

We're on an education forum. Cheating, plagarism, and academic integrity (or lack thereof) and accusing people of it is pretty serious.

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This is exactly one of the reasons I admire SWB for her composure and humility in sustaining these boards where people criticize the very work that pays for them. I don’t have this grace.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I might get too much enjoyment out of writing negative reviews for terrible books. But if I spend however many hours reading your book and it's horrendously writt

Whoa. That's nuts.   I thought this thread was going to literally be about "why do hsing parents write books about hsing." LOL All my friends who have graduated hsers are exactly like me - astounded

I find their conclusion completely ironic given that they would NOT allow any of their kids to pursue anything other than a STEM degree. (And it seems that at least one of the kids, mentioned in a quote above, had a verbal aptitude which was stronger than mathematical aptitude, based on GRE scores.)

I was kind of hoping one of the kids would be a rebel and insist on being the artist, actor, wood carver, Instagram star, etc. Maybe we will have to wait a few years to see if they all stay STEM.

 

My mother was not opposed to STEM but leaned more toward studying art and music. I can still remember vividly my mother saying to me, “ You know what? I think you should be...a puppeteer.†LOL.

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I was kind of hoping one of the kids would be a rebel and insist on being the artist, actor, wood carver, Instagram star, etc. Maybe we will have to wait a few years to see if they all stay STEM.

 

My mother was not opposed to STEM but leaned more toward studying art and music. I can still remember vividly my mother saying to me, “ You know what? I think you should be...a puppeteer.†LOL.

So how’s the puppeteer thing working out for you? :D

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I was kind of hoping one of the kids would be a rebel and insist on being the artist, actor, wood carver, Instagram star, etc. Maybe we will have to wait a few years to see if they all stay STEM.

 

My mother was not opposed to STEM but leaned more toward studying art and music. I can still remember vividly my mother saying to me, “ You know what? I think you should be...a puppeteer.†LOL.

 

You coulda had a career on the Muppet Show or.......ummmm.......

 

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I believe I was the first poster to use the word "cheating" and what I said was they are dancing right up to the line. I stand by that. We don't have enough information to know what side of the line they land on -- whether the parents' editing is more along the lines of "you need more facts to support this statement" or "say 'xyz' here."

 

Initially I agreed with other posters that a student who needs individual tutoring isn't ready for the class. But with the further information I think that the students aren't truly taking the class. The parents are teaching writing using the CC class as their material. Which, if I were the teacher and knew what was going on, I would find irritating. They are ensuring that the teacher cannot effectively teach their kids, because the teacher has no idea what those students need to work on if she never sees their raw work. But they don't need the teacher to be able to effectively teach, because they are doing the teaching.

But the kids still needed to attend class and take the tests, right? The teachers saw their raw, unedited work on quizzes and exams, so if the kids’ work in class was dramatically worse than it was on the papers they wrote at home, wouldn’t the teachers smell a rat?

 

If the kids showed up for class and scored well on the tests, I’m not sure it matters if the parents helped them at home. As long as the parents didn’t actually do the assignments for the kids, what’s the difference between a hired tutor and a parent if they’re essentially doing the same thing? People often hire tutors for their college students or the kids go to a tutoring center and people seem to believe that’s perfectly fine. Why wouldn’t it be fine for the parents to assume that same role?

 

And we’re also assuming that the kids had good teachers for their college classes. That’s not always the case. Maybe the parents stepped in to help because they felt the teachers weren’t up to par.

 

I am having a hard time judging the parents too harshly on this issue, mainly because it seems like whatever they did must have been pretty effective, since the kids all ended up with excellent educations.

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I believe I was the first poster to use the word "cheating" and what I said was they are dancing right up to the line. I stand by that. We don't have enough information to know what side of the line they land on -- whether the parents' editing is more along the lines of "you need more facts to support this statement" or "say 'xyz' here."

 

Initially I agreed with other posters that a student who needs individual tutoring isn't ready for the class. But with the further information I think that the students aren't truly taking the class. The parents are teaching writing using the CC class as their material. Which, if I were the teacher and knew what was going on, I would find irritating. They are ensuring that the teacher cannot effectively teach their kids, because the teacher has no idea what those students need to work on if she never sees their raw work. But they don't need the teacher to be able to effectively teach, because they are doing the teaching.

About your first paragraph: If you based that conclusion on the quote from the book, fair enough. I can understand how you can interpret what quote said that way (I interpret it differently).

 

But in terms of the quote from the review:

 

"Keep in mind that the parents are trying to sell you a peek at their homeschooling methods, yet their kids were such poor writers that mom and dad had to rewrite their Comp 101 papers for them line by line to get them a passing grade."

 

Is that not the definition of cheating: *turning in work that someone else did for you for a grade*?

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But the kids still needed to attend class and take the tests, right? The teachers saw their raw, unedited work on quizzes and exams, so if the kids’ work in class was dramatically worse than it was on the papers they wrote at home, wouldn’t the teachers smell a rat?

 

 

 

I don't recall any exams, quizzes, or in class work in my college writing classes. 

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I don't recall any exams, quizzes, or in class work in my college writing classes. 

I don't remember quizzes but we did do in class writing.  Not sure if that is the norm or not but we did writing in class and writing outside of class.  And I seem to vaguely recall some sort of exam in a writing class but I don't remember what class or what the exam was over.  I just remember being irritated because I can't write quickly and we had to write a lot.  I don't think exams were the norm, though, in my college writing classes.

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But the kids still needed to attend class and take the tests, right? The teachers saw their raw, unedited work on quizzes and exams, so if the kids’ work in class was dramatically worse than it was on the papers they wrote at home, wouldn’t the teachers smell a rat?

 

If the kids showed up for class and scored well on the tests, I’m not sure it matters if the parents helped them at home. As long as the parents didn’t actually do the assignments for the kids, what’s the difference between a hired tutor and a parent if they’re essentially doing the same thing? People often hire tutors for their college students or the kids go to a tutoring center and people seem to believe that’s perfectly fine. Why wouldn’t it be fine for the parents to assume that same role?

 

And we’re also assuming that the kids had good teachers for their college classes. That’s not always the case. Maybe the parents stepped in to help because they felt the teachers weren’t up to par.

 

I am having a hard time judging the parents too harshly on this issue, mainly because it seems like whatever they did must have been pretty effective, since the kids all ended up with excellent educations.

 

My ENG 101 and 102 classes were graded entirely on the papers, with a small part of the grade coming from class participation.  There was definitely no final exam or quizzes.  

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Another anecdote from one of the kids, on taking the GRE to apply for graduate programs in engineering:

 

"Though not very difficult, the math on the GRE was tricky and aggravating, involving geometry and counting tricks either long since forgotten or simply never learned. I worked through problems until I felt that I was ready for the math portion, but I hardly practiced a lick of verbal or writing, save for a cursory investigation of the sections’ formats. Imagine my surprise when my test results popped up on the screen: Verbal: 167 / 170 Math: 161 / 170 How awkward and distressing. As an engineer, my verbal score is certainly not supposed to be better than my math score. So, I took the test again: Verbal: 170 / 170 Math: 160 / 170"

 

 

She was accepted into an electrical engineering program at MIT.

 

What is awkward and distressing about that?  I was a math major whose verbal scores outpaced my math scores.  My verbal SAT, for example, was just about perfect.  My math scores were 100 points off that.  My son intends to be an engineer (and has only ever wanted to be an engineer) and again for standardized and college entrance exams, while his math scores are high, his verbal scores are as high as they get.  Maybe that is unusual for many engineering students but it's not a problem, assuming the math abilities are there. 

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I don't recall any exams, quizzes, or in class work in my college writing classes.

This is definitely going to vary from school to school. My daughter’s CC had in-class exams as well as papers written outside of class. I know because I had to buy her blue books (super annoying that they didn’t just tack on a supply fee up front)

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I'm not sure why it would be awkward and distressing to be an engineer with superior verbal skills; her math score was close enough to perfect to make this sound a bit like a humblebrag. 

 

 

To be honest, I was a little concerned when I got a 720 on the SAT verbal and a 720 on the SAT math. On the couple of practice tests I took, I got 670-680 or so on verbal, and 800 on math, so, on the real test I'd botched the math, and done better than expected on verbal. As a female applying to an electrical engineering program (undergrad, obviously), I was concerned that it'd look like I was too language-y, and not math-y enough (I'd only been in the US for about 1 month when I took the SAT; English was not my first language, and that was clear from the rest of my application, so, that would've made my verbal score seem especially high in comparison). Basically, as a female, I had the feeling you like kind of have to overcompensate in math etc to be seen as a serious candidate for engineering, and my SAT scores were not helping in that... that verbal score made it seem (to me) that "hey, this is a smart person, but really, they're not as good at math, so why on earth they're applying for engineering, who knows??".

 

Now, realistically, my thinking might not have made much sense... I don't know. But that's how it felt at the time at least. Of course, I also grew up with my mom telling people I was good at language and my brother was good at math, even though my math scores were usually about 1 percentile point higher than my language scores (like, 99th vs 98th... so, not a meaningful difference... my brother otoh managed to score something like 75th percentile on math and less than 10th percentile on language on the end-of-elementary-school test, so, yeah... he was definitely better at math than at language, but just... it's harder to get recognition for being good at math, being female, or at least that's how it felt to me).

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I find their conclusion completely ironic given that they would NOT allow any of their kids to pursue anything other than a STEM degree. (And it seems that at least one of the kids, mentioned in a quote above, had a verbal aptitude which was stronger than mathematical aptitude, based on GRE scores.)

 

Like this, for example. So what if someone has a higher verbal score? But, some people will question whether someone should be in engineering; whether their real calling shouldn't be something in the humanities or w/e. (btw, I don't think this is what you meant, Kinsa... just saying that scoring higher in verbal can feel awkward because of stuff like this) 

 

But the kids still needed to attend class and take the tests, right? The teachers saw their raw, unedited work on quizzes and exams, so if the kids’ work in class was dramatically worse than it was on the papers they wrote at home, wouldn’t the teachers smell a rat?

 

If the kids showed up for class and scored well on the tests, I’m not sure it matters if the parents helped them at home. 

 

 

Add me to the list of people who did not have exams in English 1302 (I tested out of 1301 because of my SAT verbal score). I took that one online at the CC, and my parents could've done the entire class for me without anybody being any the wiser (of course, in reality I'm not even sure my parents knew I was taking that class at the time, and they certainly had no clue about the required essays etc, did not edit or proofread a thing, nor did anybody else). 

 

I think some of the hangup is that they wrote that if necessary they edited the essays line by line, as opposed to saying that if necessary, they helped edit the essays. Adding that "line by line" part seems unnecessary, unless you want to stress that the help is more intensive than normal editing/proofreading. Btw, I do see y'all's point, and it's possible that they're just being perfectionistic, and the kids would've gotten good grades without any parental proofreading/editing/etc.

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I think the skills/qualities that make someone a superstar in the humanities are much harder to evaluate on a standardized test. So someone who is reasonably bright all-around and spectacular on math is much more likely to ace the verbal section than someone who is reasonable bright all-around and spectacular in the humanities is to ace the math section.

 

 

Right, I wasn't saying that standardized tests are a great measure... just trying to explain that it's not necessarily just a humblebrag one of the kids did. 

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Rundown of the kids' scholastic achievements below, for those who haven't read the book (elipses represent omitted bits, for the sake of brevity).

 

We can sit and critique the parents and their book, but the children's achievements are nothing to sneer at and certainly not evidence of a mediocre education or lack of college readiness.

 

 

"Alex, graduated from ASU in May 2004 with a four-year degree in bioengineering at the age of eighteen...He went on to medical school at Midwestern University and is now in his fourth year of an obstetrics-gynecology residency...

 

Ben, graduated from ASU in May 2005 with a four-year degree in bioengineering at the age of seventeen...He completed a master’s degree in bioengineering at Johns Hopkins University in May 2007 at age nineteen and one-half. He is now in his fifth year of a PhD program in applied mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

 

Melina, graduated from ASU in December 2008 with a four-year degree in biochemistry at the age of eighteen...she went on to medical school at Western University and is now in her second year of an emergency medicine residency...

 

Oliver, graduated from ASU in 2011 with a four-year degree in bioengineering at the age of eighteen. He started medical school in August 2014 at Ohio State University.

 

Our fifth child, Lydia, graduated from ASU with a four-year degree in electrical engineering in May 2014 at the age of nineteen... She is now in her first year of a PhD program in electrical engineering at MIT.

 

Our sixth child, Portia, turned seventeen in August 2014. She is studying chemical engineering at ASU and should graduate before she turns nineteen years old. She plans to study medicine."

 

Now a couple of paragraphs down the author has a very self congratulatory bit:

 

"One comment we hear a lot when people learn about our children’s educational attainments is that they must be geniuses. We feel our children are accomplished not because they are geniuses but because their environment prepared them to learn and to do well and because we provided the opportunities for them to maximize their potential. Tanya and I are both amazed that all of our children have done well in their education. We have seen so many families that have had uneven results with their children. Our children’s consistency in attaining high goals confirms our belief that their educational environment made all the difference."

 

With which I disagree profoundly. These kids were clearly well above average in aptitude, and while of course educational environment makes a difference it never makes "all the difference".

 

For that and other reasons I'm lukewarm about the book overall, but I really don't get the harsh condemnation of parents who very successfully raised and launched six kids.

 

That's just not a thing to view with contempt, no matter which bits of their parenting you disagree with.

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On 3/5/2018 at 12:34 AM, LucyStoner said:

Remember when the Sonlight dude came here to defend Sonlight?   :lol:

 

Maybe there's something to your theory about homeschoolers being control freaks.  

Oh, boy, do I remember that one. Especially when a historian on the boards said the problems with the history curriculum.

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On 3/6/2018 at 12:19 AM, LucyStoner said:

 

Everyone draws the line between honest critiques and meanness differently though.  Personally, I don't see anything especially mean about Mergath's review.  And the truth is, even if you get a very negative review or comment, mean or otherwise, it's just wiser to not engage.  I am much less likely to buy books or eat at a restaurant where the author or owner replies to their negative reviews defensively or makes a habit of replying to all their reviews.  

 

All of my friends who are writers (and I have a number of friends who are published authors with big publishers or editors of household name news organizations) seem to never reply to negative reviews and it's pretty common for news writers to not read the comments.  

Thank you!  Mergath's review was tame compared to the one above hers.  

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