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Æthelthryth the Texan

The evolution of homeschooling and its consequence(s)

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9 minutes ago, alewife said:

What does this college consider "mommy grades"?  For example, would the college accept a grade given by PA Homeschoolers or WTMA, or would those grades be considered a "mommy grade"?

My understanding from talking with the university rep that came to visit our area is that yes, those would be considered "mommy grades".  I need to confirm this with the admissions office (whom the rep told me to call as this is a new policy and they are still working it all out). My understanding is that on the application we are to now check the box that states that I homeschooled my child and I affirm that I have educated my child according to my state's educational standards for homeschoolers.  I am to turn in no transcript. Admissions are going to be weighted on standardized testing scores, essay, and lists of outside activities. 

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On 10/24/2018 at 2:43 PM, Plum Crazy said:

 

Articles like this don’t help.  Resource centers are not places that I think of when I think of unschooling. I’m sure most unschoolers are yelling at their screen “That’s not unschooling!”

“Unschooling programs can reduce isolation and plug educational gaps for home-schoolers. The programs can also help students meet certain home-school requirements, which vary by school district in Massachusetts, such as regular evaluations, testing, or portfolios of work.”

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2018/10/02/home-schoolers-turn-boston-area-new-unschooling-centers/j4TB7K54hm7V7ri0yDPTlM/story.html

Trying to wrap my head around the phrase "unschooling programs," LOL. I'm browsing incognito, so I can't read the article.

23 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

One of the FB groups here that represents a homeschool association is run by a very active evangelical lady.  She quite regularly posts things about how homeschooling is easy and anyone can do it.  I'm not sure how she thinks that - she has grown kids in university, she must know there is a lot of work to it.  But I think it can give people the wrong impression.

I think the goal is not to scare young parents, which I get, but surely it's possible to be realistic as well?  

For some people, homeschooling is reasonably easy. Just like for some people, keeping a clean house is easy, or learning to drive, or picking up a foreign language, or playing tennis, or figuring out how to play guitar or fix engines. That may be her reality. I would *love* to outsource the housekeeping--it's hard for me!
My DS is not achieving at the level I'd like in every subject, but I still don't consider homeschooling hard compared to my previous job. Parenting is harder for me (because of who I am and who my child is), but I understand it's not really hard for many people, just like some people learned to drive much more easily than I did.

 

2 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

 My only worry is that so much of what is online is low quality and I wonder if parents think they are getting top notch quality. There are also gems to be found for sure, but they are fewer in my opinion. 

I worry about this with B&M schools as well. Despite the state and federal emphasis on evaluating schools via test scores, the families I know are satisfied if kids are making good grades, even at an objectively weak school (one of the ones that I'm judging, I attended myself, and it has certainly not improved) where they are not personally being challenged at all--neither parents nor teens think they need to do anything further, like make regular trips to the library. It's like once you are shown the hoop and step through, you don't wonder if it should be any higher or smaller.

 

I'm outsourcing Spanish because we all agree it's the best language for DS to learn, and I never studied it formally. (I'm still keeping ahead of him easily, making that learn-alongside thing very plausible to me for certain subjects.) DH, who aced it in high school, definitely never got to fluency, so a school setting would not necessarily be the best option. I'm considering a co-op gardening class for spring, but a half-hour drive each way may be too much with a schedule that already includes scouts, piano, a sport and two churches, plus, you know, sitting around with books. ETA: and that co-op's community service club, which goes to do service projects once or twice a month and is one of my favorite things! I have not seen any co-ops around here I'd entrust with a major subject for DS, so it's a wonder to me that everybody assumes we want to be in one--but yes, that's a thing here as well.

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9 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

I'm a little unsure of how people draw this line around there being no advantage to having an expert teacher at a high school level, over a parent learning together.

At what point, then, is there any advantage to an expert teacher?  Do those who believe that also see obtaining an undergrad degree or other post-secondary qualification as essentially ticking a box that could be better done alone?  

I think there's both practical issues and philosophical issues at play in where the line gets drawn (and as I write this, I think the practical and philosophical issues are blended together in most points).

Practically, I think there's a line between what is "common knowledge" that everyone learns and knows, and what is specialized knowledge that not everyone knows (but philosophy comes into the actual placement of the line).  If it's common knowledge, known by all, then it can be taught by all.  If it's specialized knowledge, that not all know, then it cannot be taught by all, but only by those who know it (aka those who are "experts").  Elementary education has generally been common, foundational knowledge that all need to know.  Secondary education used to be more specialized, in that it wasn't expected or required for all, but now it *is* expected for all, although imperfectly learned for some, and so there's kind of a mish-mash of expectations.  Post-secondary education has almost always been optional, pursued by a minority, and thus it's pretty much always been considered specialized knowledge that is taught by experts.  (The common outsourcing of the arts even for the young, even by those who don't outsource core subjects, I think reflects a common classification of musical knowledge as specialized knowledge.)

There's a practical/philosophical question about how much knowledge a teacher needs to have of a subject, beyond the student, to effectively teach.  I do tend to hold that just-in-time learning on the part of the teacher isn't nearly as good as a teacher with a deep knowledge of their subject.  (My dad always says that he needs to know three levels deeper than he is teaching in order to be effective, and I tend to agree with that as a rule of thumb.)  Arguably, on common knowledge subjects, that are learned by all because they are used by all adults in the course of their daily life, any adult that is competently living in their society would have fairly deep knowledge on those common subjects, because they have so much experience using them. 

There's a related practical/philosophical question about the merits of a live, in-person teacher versus learning from books/resources written by an expert teacher.  I think this relates to the question of the merits of parent-as-facilitator versus an outsourced teacher. 

And related to that, the more specialized the knowledge (or the more the student/parent-facilitator lack needed foundational knowledge), the more difficult it is to DIY it, and so the interest level (and DIY abilities) of the student or parent-facilitator is going to make-or-break things more than if there was an expert teacher.  Take piano, with my oldest and middle.  Both enjoy learning piano, and do well under a good teacher.  But when we've been between teachers, my oldest keep pushing and learning, while my middle pretty much falls off the piano train.  My oldest pushes herself, while my middle really needs the personal interaction with a teacher to encourage her to push and grow.  I'm musical, but have no experience with piano, and I have not yet figured out how (or if) I could facilitate my middle's piano learning - it would really take me actively learning alongside her, which is a significant time investment, plus good resources targeted to self-learners.

And I think there's a practical as well as philosophical question about the merits of the actually available-to-you "expert" teachers.  A live, in-person expert, effective, caring teacher is probably the most effective way to learn a given subject.  But when you don't have access to all of those things, then you do the best you can.  And so the perception of how actually good the available "expert" teachers are will affect how you rate them (and how much you are willing to sacrifice to get them) versus how you rate what you can do on your own.  And I think the more specialized the knowledge, the more the choice feels like it's between whatever expert's available, and nothing; instead of between whatever expert's available and what you can do on your own.

 

(And fwiw, I am growing increasingly skeptical of the merits of the "available experts" when it comes to undergrad education.  Live, in-person teaching from caring subject matter experts *should* be far more effective than DIY learning.  But I'm rapidly losing confidence that most colleges provide that in most classes and majors.  And with the increasing expense of college coupled with (what feels to me) like the decreasing worth of college - well, I *do* think self-learning by an interested person is of greater relative value than college in a lot of areas, and maybe even can have better absolute results in terms of pure learning attained for some people.  Plus, with the absolute cost of college so high, even where college *is* worth its high price tag, that doesn't mean that I can afford said price tag.  My self-learning, though not as good as a good college, is still far more in reach for me than a good college.  Some learning that's attainable is worth more *to me* than the greatest education that's not attainable, kwim?)

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1 minute ago, prairiewindmomma said:

My understanding from talking with the university rep that came to visit our area is that yes, those would be considered "mommy grades".  I need to confirm this with the admissions office (whom the rep told me to call as this is a new policy and they are still working it all out). My understanding is that on the application we are to now check the box that states that I homeschooled my child and I affirm that I have educated my child according to my state's educational standards for homeschoolers.  I am to turn in no transcript. Admissions are going to be weighted on standardized testing scores, essay, and lists of outside activities. 

Wow.  They don't even want to evaluate a student's transcript?  They would rather go strictly by ACT/SAT scores?  That seems extremely short-sighted and stupid of them.  

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If I had math/science background, I would absolutely teach myself, but once we got to the point that questions were being asked and I simply couldn’t answer and had to routinely call my friends’ with expertise in the field, I drew a line. Now some things I can facilitate better than others, but if I can’t even read along the textbook and understand it, I outsource (calculus based physics anyone?). 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

If I had math/science background, I would absolutely teach myself, but once we got to the point that questions were being asked and I simply couldn’t answer and had to routinely call my friends’ with expertise in the field, I drew a line. Now some things I can facilitate better than others, but if I can’t even read along the textbook and understand it, I outsource (calculus based physics anyone?). 

 

 

I think there's a set of skills involved in DIY learning, and some people come by them more naturally than others.  I mean, observationally, some people don't need a lot of subject matter background to nevertheless somehow search for answers in the right direction (instead of flailing around in the wrong directions), and to recognize good answers when they see them (instead of not being able to judge the merits of the answers they find).  Somehow, they just are able to find what they need, while others flounder.  Not quite the same thing, but my sister is awesome to brainstorm with, no matter what the topic, while my dh is not.  She just has the knack of asking the right questions and making the right inferences and generally just racking her brain to good purpose - she uncovers weak points and notices missing pieces and just generally gets the ball rolling in the right direction, even if she had no real subject matter knowledge.

I read "The Art of Learning", by Joshua Waitzkin, and it talks about some of that - about what skills go into being good at self-directed learning.

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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Is there? I have never seen these beyond anecdotal evidence. How is that measured? Seeing that the numbers are small and that homeschoolers are not a very well documented group, I am wondering what the data actually measure.

I know that the homeschooled students I have in my classes at the university tend to do well. I also know that the majority of the highschool graduates from our local area homeschool group are not ready to attend a four year college without additional years of remediation. And  I know that significant segments of the homeschooling population completely dismiss college for their daughters and do not educate them with this as a goal. 

There is some data out there- The Journal of College Admissions has had a few journal articles here and there with numbers that bode well for homeschooling success in college and then NIHERI.org has reported  on the success of homeschoolers versus public schoolers when it comes to standardized scores as well as college completion rates (higher for homeschoolers) within 4 years and some other factors. There aren’t many studies though. It’s pretty sparse, at least in the journal searches I have available. There are also those studies  that point out when you control for having two parents living at home with the children, especially one of whom is at home FT, it erases the advantage between homeschooling and parenting. So is it the parenting or the schooling?   

There are just so many variables.....

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1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

One university my ds will be applying at has changed their admissions procedures for homeschoolers beginning this year.

They no longer want any "mommy grades" (my term, not theirs). They also no longer accept for credit any college classes taken before the date in which their age peers would've graduated high school. It's all logged under "dual enrollment" and those hours are not counted towards their university graduation.

I'm not sure what to think of that, but it's a change...one that is solidifying a decision to keep ds at home (and not at cc) this year and to really further pushing his ACT and SAT scores up as high as they can go because that's becoming the key piece for admission purposes. During his senior year we'll probably dual enroll for other reasons.

 

1 hour ago, alewife said:

What does this college consider "mommy grades"?  For example, would the college accept a grade given by PA Homeschoolers or WTMA, or would those grades be considered a "mommy grade"?

 

47 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

My understanding from talking with the university rep that came to visit our area is that yes, those would be considered "mommy grades".  I need to confirm this with the admissions office (whom the rep told me to call as this is a new policy and they are still working it all out). My understanding is that on the application we are to now check the box that states that I homeschooled my child and I affirm that I have educated my child according to my state's educational standards for homeschoolers.  I am to turn in no transcript. Admissions are going to be weighted on standardized testing scores, essay, and lists of outside activities. 

 

42 minutes ago, alewife said:

Wow.  They don't even want to evaluate a student's transcript?  They would rather go strictly by ACT/SAT scores?  That seems extremely short-sighted and stupid of them.  

I wonder if this is more about standardizing acceptance and less about homeschooling. As the definition of homeschooling blurs, this could be one of the only ways compare apples to apples. It might not have anything to do with quality of homeschoolers they are receiving. As many of us here have heard, there's a lot of admissions offices that have no sense of what homeschooling is and isn't and it's such a small percentage of the student population that it doesn't make sense to train an admissions officer to figure out what is and isn't "good" homeschooling. 

If college is a service and students are customers, then......what? I'm trying to finish that sentence. 

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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Is there? I have never seen these beyond anecdotal evidence. How is that measured? Seeing that the numbers are small and that homeschoolers are not a very well documented group, I am wondering what the data actually measure.

I know that the homeschooled students I have in my classes at the university tend to do well. I also know that the majority of the highschool graduates from our local area homeschool group are not ready to attend a four year college without additional years of remediation. And  I know that significant segments of the homeschooling population completely dismiss college for their daughters and do not educate them with this as a goal. 

From Peter Gray's unschooling study. Some of those numbers are interesting; especially considering the stats on those who were entirely unschooled. There have been articles from Harvard and Stanford about the qualities they see in homeschooling students. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201406/survey-grown-unschoolers-i-overview-findings

"The participants reported remarkably little difficulty academically in college.  Students who had never previously been in a classroom or read a textbook found themselves getting straight A’s and earning honors, both in community college courses and in bachelor’s programs.  Apparently, the lack of an imposed curriculum had not deprived them of information or skills needed for college success.  Most reported themselves to be at an academic advantage compared with their classmates, because they were not burned out by previous schooling, had learned as unschoolers to be self-directed and self-responsible, perceived it as their own choice to go to college, and were intent on making the most of what the college had to offer.  A number of them reported disappointment with the college social scene.  They had gone to college hoping to be immersed in an intellectually stimulating environment and, instead, found their fellow students to be more interested in frat parties and drinking.  I will describe all this more fully in the next article in this series."

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4 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

One university my ds will be applying at has changed their admissions procedures for homeschoolers beginning this year.

They no longer want any "mommy grades" (my term, not theirs). They also no longer accept for credit any college classes taken before the date in which their age peers would've graduated high school. It's all logged under "dual enrollment" and those hours are not counted towards their university graduation.

I'm not sure what to think of that, but it's a change...one that is solidifying a decision to keep ds at home (and not at cc) this year and to really further pushing his ACT and SAT scores up as high as they can go because that's becoming the key piece for admission purposes. During his senior year we'll probably dual enroll for other reasons.

What are you seeing by way of AP exams and CLEP? Does that still hold weight for homeschoolers to prove themselves?

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5 hours ago, regentrude said:

Is there? I have never seen these beyond anecdotal evidence. How is that measured? Seeing that the numbers are small and that homeschoolers are not a very well documented group, I am wondering what the data actually measure.

I know that the homeschooled students I have in my classes at the university tend to do well. I also know that the majority of the highschool graduates from our local area homeschool group are not ready to attend a four year college without additional years of remediation. And  I know that significant segments of the homeschooling population completely dismiss college for their daughters and do not educate them with this as a goal. 

There has actually been a number of smaller studies that all look positive as well as some papers that look cumulatively at some of these studies. There was though a longitudinal study done, if I remember correctly out of Vanderbilt, that looked at socializing, college attendance, success in college and so forth. There was no difference in social skills or college attendance with public school and private school counterparts. He also found similar success if not slightly better if I can remember correctly. I would have to go back and look at how they are measuring and gathering data and so forth. 

Although what you say is true. I know homeschooling is diverse in approach and ability. It isn't perfect by any means. 

Edited by nixpix5

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3 hours ago, Plum Crazy said:

 

 

 

I wonder if this is more about standardizing acceptance and less about homeschooling. As the definition of homeschooling blurs, this could be one of the only ways compare apples to apples. It might not have anything to do with quality of homeschoolers they are receiving. As many of us here have heard, there's a lot of admissions offices that have no sense of what homeschooling is and isn't and it's such a small percentage of the student population that it doesn't make sense to train an admissions officer to figure out what is and isn't "good" homeschooling. 

If college is a service and students are customers, then......what? I'm trying to finish that sentence. 

I can understand the need for colleges to attempt to  standardized the process.  This is where outside validation comes into play for all students, not just homeschoolers.  However, I can't understand why an admissions office would not feel it necessary to even look at the transcript.  The ACT and SAT do not test advanced concepts.  ACT/SAT scores cannot differentiate between Student A, who has studied math beyond the AP Calculus BC level along with all of the Science APs, for example, and Student B, who only studied math up through pre-calc and never took an advanced science course.  Since science knowledge is not tested on either the ACT or SAT and the math tested is mostly no higher than Algebra II, it is possible that Student B could score higher on these standardized tests even though his education was not as rigorous as Student A's.  

I just can't wrap my head around a college not wanting to see a transcript.  I can understand why an admissions officer might discount the "mommy grades", but I can't understand why they wouldn't want to see the subjects a student studied.  Also, the colleges that my boys attend required me to submit an official transcript upon graduation.  I thought this was common.  Maybe I was mistaken and that request is not the norm?  

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6 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

LOL.....my dd who is a college sophomore often complains she could learn the material in some of her classes at a higher and deeper level if she could just homeschool the subject.  She gets frustrated by the pace and poor teacher explanations.  What it really boils down to is is a classroom with an expert teacher automatically better?  Not from my perspective. 

That's because 90% of classroom teachers aren't "experts."  Seriously.  There are ones who are are worth their weight in gold (and then some), but most are average or worse, and that translates into mostly wasted time for students.

Edited by EKS
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8 hours ago, regentrude said:

Using a textbook is not outsourcing. 

It is the worst kind of outsourcing if you hand the kid the textbook and hope for the best.

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24 minutes ago, EKS said:

It is the worst kind of outsourcing if you hand the kid the textbook and hope for the best.

Yes. This blog got a lot of play after a prominent blogger/podcaster featured it and it still chaps me to this day. 

https://www.annieandeverything.com/homeschool-high-school-not-hard/

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7 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

I'm a little unsure of how people draw this line around there being no advantage to having an expert teacher at a high school level, over a parent learning together.

At what point, then, is there any advantage to an expert teacher?  Do those who believe that also see obtaining an undergrad degree or other post-secondary qualification as essentially ticking a box that could be better done alone?  

 

While I think there is often an advantage to having an expert teach something, I think that an expert teacher doesn't necessarily guarantee an expert outcome for the student. In a class situation, a teacher can only do so much.  The class has to move on.  If the student can't keep up, the teacher can help, but there is only so much he or she can do.  In a home environment, the parent/teacher can slow down as much as necessary to ensure that the student grasps the concept.   I think that is an advantage for the homeschooled student with a diligent parent, even if the parent is not an expert. 

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47 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

Yes. This blog got a lot of play after a prominent blogger/podcaster featured it and it still chaps me to this day. 

https://www.annieandeverything.com/homeschool-high-school-not-hard/

I find it fascinating that people who think that they could never under any circumstances learn chemistry or calculus or whatever think nothing at all of expecting their child to learn it without the benefit of anything except a textbook.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

It is the worst kind of outsourcing if you hand the kid the textbook and hope for the best.

 

I have heard many homeschoolers say that it's up to their kids to learn something, by going to Kahn Academy or researching on the internet.  It is almost said in a boastful way, like "Why are you helping your student?  They should be learning this on their own."  I think it's another way of shaming.   I have never felt it's up to my student to learn something on their own.  Although I do expect my high schoolers to start identifying where they need help, and then ask for that help.  I told my younger high school student today, that if he doesn't understand a math problem, and he can't figure it out from the video or textbook, he needs to ask his dad or me, and that we'd help him figure out a way to learn it.  I still grade his work, too, so that I can see trends in the types of problems that he is missing.  I think it can be easy for a student to blow off a problem and think they understand it, but a parent/teacher who grades the work can see if there is a pattern.  Again, it's not infrequently that I hear homeschool parents boasting that they never grade their students work -- that their students do it all on the their own. It has often made me feel inadequate in the past, like if my kids are not doing this, they are somehow substandard.

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On 10/25/2018 at 6:56 AM, OKBud said:

 

We could all put this in our pipes and smoke it!! 

Recently a friend posted a quick little meme about how some homeschool days are going to be really difficult, but that's OK. It was a uplifting sort of thing. But someone she knows went on a tangent about how homeschool is VERY! EASY! ALL! THE! TIME! because it's easier than putting a kid on the bus, or checking homework. ... Now, I have no desire to do all the public school things. I love homeschool from stem to stern. However, it's definitely more difficult, that is to say it is more work, than putting a kid on a bus and just doing whatever all day long! The mindset of that woman's post was just absolutely baffling to me. But people absolutely eat it up online. 

I wouldn't say it is easy but for many of us who have been forced into homeschooling not having to deal with the school any more makes it seem easier than school.  I really wasn't aware how stressed we both were until there was no more school.  It is going to get harder as he gets older but our house is a lot happier.

I read a couple of ebooks saying how easy it was and that "most homeschooled kids have an online teacher" both of which confused me as I had been hanging round here for years.

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2 hours ago, Serenade said:

 

I have heard many homeschoolers say that it's up to their kids to learn something, by going to Kahn Academy or researching on the internet.  It is almost said in a boastful way, like "Why are you helping your student?  They should be learning this on their own."  I think it's another way of shaming.   I have never felt it's up to my student to learn something on their own.  Although I do expect my high schoolers to start identifying where they need help, and then ask for that help.  I told my younger high school student today, that if he doesn't understand a math problem, and he can't figure it out from the video or textbook, he needs to ask his dad or me, and that we'd help him figure out a way to learn it.  I still grade his work, too, so that I can see trends in the types of problems that he is missing.  I think it can be easy for a student to blow off a problem and think they understand it, but a parent/teacher who grades the work can see if there is a pattern.  Again, it's not infrequently that I hear homeschool parents boasting that they never grade their students work -- that their students do it all on the their own. It has often made me feel inadequate in the past, like if my kids are not doing this, they are somehow substandard.

I had school teachers state this in an equal boastful way.  I think they are paid to teach but apparently not.

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3 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

Yes. This blog got a lot of play after a prominent blogger/podcaster featured it and it still chaps me to this day. 

https://www.annieandeverything.com/homeschool-high-school-not-hard/

 

The blogger has an out though through outsourcing. 

“Of course, if something is just plain too much for your student to figure out, you might need to seek out someone who knows more about the subject than you do. That’s really not much different than finding a doctor when your child is sick or a piano teacher when they want to learn how to play music. There’s probably someone in your church, or on your street, or at your hubby’s work, who would be willing to answer a question or two over the phone every now and again.  And you’d be surprised how many questions can be answered just by Googling them.  More on that in #3.

...

3) There are more resources now for making a success of homeschooling high school than ever before.  Especially because of the internet. There are online courses, online tutors (I’ve got a list of online high school resources here) — and you can almost always find the answers that you just can’t seem to locate in the textbook by doing a search.”

2 hours ago, Serenade said:

I have heard many homeschoolers say that it's up to their kids to learn something, by going to Khan Academy or researching on the internet.  It is almost said in a boastful way, like "Why are you helping your student?  They should be learning this on their own."  I think it's another way of shaming.  

...  Again, it's not infrequently that I hear homeschool parents boasting that they never grade their students work -- that their students do it all on the their own. It has often made me feel inadequate in the past, like if my kids are not doing this, they are somehow substandard.

 

Like my school teachers from 1st to 12th grade would say, besides the outliers, those who go for after school and/or lunch hour help are those who do very well. 

My DS13 thought that he was supposed to do it on his own because my husband would tell him “try to do it yourself”. I told him I paid for his outsourced classes so that he won’t feel bad asking his teachers questions. Just treat it as a prepaid service. He asked and sometimes he interprets a question differently and sometimes the answer is wrong. I want my kids to have the courage to ask if there is something confounding them.

I actually do not grade my kids work because they don’t want me to be the grader. They are graded by their outsourced teachers but they show me their work because I am their personal secretary aka filing clerk. They also ask me if they are stuck or unsure about something. So it’s not hands off even though it’s outsourced.

I am totally hands off on their hobbies though other than rendering help when asked. That’s where I let my kids fail or rather progress at turtle speed. Both my kids have abandoned projects and I think that is also a learning process. 

4 minutes ago, kiwik said:

I had school teachers state this in an equal boastful way.  I think they are paid to teach but apparently not.

 

One of my husband’s complain about his public school education was that he was spoon fed contents that are in the exam syllabus and he wasn’t taught how to learn or that there was a world outside of exam syllabus. My dad was a teacher for chinese for decades in elementary school. He taught the students how to use a dictionary well so that they can pick up new vocabulary from newspapers in their free time.

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7 hours ago, kiwik said:

I wouldn't say it is easy but for many of us who have been forced into homeschooling not having to deal with the school any more makes it seem easier than school.  I really wasn't aware how stressed we both were until there was no more school.  It is going to get harder as he gets older but our house is a lot happier.

This is what we found too. I wasn't "forced" by a bad situation to homeschool, I just got fed up with the school calendar/rules/schedule/expectations etc. taking over our lives and never having any time with my kids. I found that hs'ing itself wasn't necessarily easy, but it was a natural extension of parenting and regular life and was much less stressful than dealing with the school, so our lives as a whole felt "easier".

While I get that online most people are trying to be supportive and encouraging when they things like "Hs'ing is so easy!" I do think it's misleading and not giving the whole picture. Just because some thing is less stressful than school doesn't mean it requires no thought or preparation, and I think that's what most people interpret "easy" to mean.

Edited by Momto5inIN
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9 hours ago, Serenade said:

I have heard many homeschoolers say that it's up to their kids to learn something, by going to Kahn Academy or researching on the internet.  It is almost said in a boastful way, like "Why are you helping your student?  They should be learning this on their own."  I think it's another way of shaming.   I have never felt it's up to my student to learn something on their own.  Although I do expect my high schoolers to start identifying where they need help, and then ask for that help. 

That is ridiculous and shows that they don't understand that learning a skill is not the same as looking up a tidbit of information on the internet. They would not expect their kids to pick up a violin and self teach from internet videos. 

I find that one of the most important aspects of teaching is the human connection between teacher and student which serves as a great motivation and encouragement. While well prepared, highly motivated, older students may do fine with videos and textbooks alone, most students benefit from the presence of a human being who is excited about the material, available for questions, and who lets them feel that she cares about their learning. 

ETA: The independent learning works often fine for subject of high interest to the student. My kids have learned all kinds of things from the internet - things they were passionate about. Part of (home or any) education (unless one subscribes to unschooling philosophies), however, is also learning something one is not, at that moment (or ever), passionate about. I see helping my kids and students learn those things as an important task.

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Interesting research about ps and how they are serving the needs to students.  I was reading it on my iPad and it was horrid to navigate, so I don't know how it reads on other devices.  There are tabs across the top that will take you to different sections. It discusses lack of preparedness for college even though students are on the college prep path, about inappropriate assignments, etc.  

https://opportunitymyth.tntp.org/the-weight-of-wasted-time Here is a quote about one school.  The discussion in this section is about below-avg expectations.

Quote

In the four core subjects—ELA, math, science, and social studies—an average student spent almost three-quarters of their time on assignments that were not grade-appropriate (Figure 5).In a single school year, that’s the equivalent of more than six months of learning time.

ETA: A couple more quotes

Quote

In the nearly 1,000 lessons we observed, students were working on activities related to class 88 percent of the time. They met the demands of their assignments 71 percent of the time, and more than half brought home As and Bs. Yet students only demonstrated mastery of grade-level standards on their assignments—a benchmark for being on track for the lives most of them want as adults—17 percent of the time. That gap exists because so few assignments actually gave students a chance to demonstrate grade-level mastery.

Quote

Students spent more than 500 hours per school year on assignments that weren’t appropriate for their grade and with instruction that didn’t ask enough of them—the equivalent of six months of wasted class time in each core subject. And students reported that their school experiences were engaging just 55 percent of the time overall (among high schoolers, only 42 percent of the time).

 

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1 hour ago, Momto5inIN said:

This is what we found too. I wasn't "forced" by a bad situation to homeschool, I just got fed up with the school calendar/rules/schedule/expectations etc. taking over our lives and never having any time with my kids. I found that hs'ing itself wasn't necessarily easy, but it was a natural extension of parenting and regular life and was much less stressful than dealing with the school, so our lives as a whole felt "easier".

While I get that online most people are trying to be supportive and encouraging when they things like "Hs'ing is so easy!" I do think it's misleading and not giving the whole picture. Just because some thing is less stressful than school doesn't mean it requires no thought or preparation, and I think that's what most people interpret "easy" to mean.

I can see that. Homeschooling was much much easier in comparison to online charter school. I disliked the busy work, the required live lectures that rarely lined up with the chapter ds was on, and the 9-month schedule and I had a kid that did just fine with that format. I can’t imagine what it would be like for those families where online schooling is a terrible fit but they suffering through until they’ve had enough or figure something else out.  

Homeschooling is also harder, just in different ways. I would really love to focus on one grade or subject for more than one year like ps teachers do.  The constantly moving target of meeting their needs and providing just enough challenge gets a little draining. I’m always thinking about the long term plan, next year, next month and where they are now.  Making it up as I go and following their interests is hard. Gaps are a worry. While I would hate a boxed curriculum, I sometimes think it would be nice to have a standard scope and sequence to follow and I wouldn’t have to worry about any of that. Then I come to my senses because cobbling together a solid plan is what keeps it interesting for me. Easy would be boring. 

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19 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

How do you define an expert teacher?  Is it just someone who has mastered their subject?  There are lots of people with subject mastery who cannot teach to save their lives.  Is it someone who has mastered the art of "teaching"?  And how do you define that?  The art of lecturing?  The art of bringing something to life?  (A much more narrow pool of teachers, believe me.)  The art of responding to the students in front of him/her? 

Lots of parents can be expert teachers of their children for at least part of the K-12 journey because they know how to respond to the student in front of them.  It does take a desire to connect, though, and not just hand them a book and then do nothing.  And lots of professional teachers have no idea how to respond to students even if they had the class ratio small enough to be able to do so anyway.

Does it require some content knowledge?  Yes, I think so.  My state requires at least one homeschool parent to have a college degree (or to take a homeschooling course).  I think that my underlying good educational foundation in K - 12 and later in university and graduate school has been very helpful.  Does everyone need my exact educational background?  No, but as you get into the upper grades, I think that knowing how to think critically, how to think mathematically and scientifically and philosophically and logically and (you get the idea) is invaluable.  Even if I don't know all the pieces of a content area, I know how to interact with the material (in a text or online etc.) quickly and efficiently so that often I can explain it right then and there.  Is there a point where I run out of the ability to do that in some subjects?  Yes.  That's why I too outsourced some subjects. 

But back to the "expert teacher" thing.  Just because someone has a teaching degree, it doesn't make them an expert either on the subject or on the art of teaching or on the student in question. 

 

I would think of it as having a deep level of knowledge about the subject, in a way that a "regular" person doesn't.  I could probably take a beginner through a beginner piano instruction, but even at that level, I just won't have the skill or muscle knowledge or scaffolding ahead to do as well as someone who can play well.  I certainly couldn't do it for a student who was further along.  I know my cousin, a welder, would be able to teach me a heck of a lot more about welding than my husband, who just welds a little, occasionally.  Similarly, if I consider someone teaching literature or history or philosophy, I think it would be rare that someone who is self-taught only would be able to teach in the same way as someone who has a background in those subjects.  Yes, there are people who have qualifications who are just idiots, and occasionally people with none who are astonishing and original thinkers.  Even in more casual conversations around literature, it's often evident who has the ability to think about the text in a more integrated way.

In earlier years, parents often are experts with mastery in many of the things they are teaching children, and have enough of the big picture to teach them well in terms of the child's mental capacity to absorb that.  That changes a little in middle school,  perhaps particularly with certain skill areas - kids can start to outstrip a parent in skills that are more difficult for the parent.  But I think it's at high school age where that really starts to change in terms of more conceptual questions, students are ready to absorb ideas that are simply outside of the knowledge of the parent to even look for, and there is also a capacity to learn in skill and conceptual areas where the parent simply may not be able to keep up.  

ETA: Generally speaking I don't think teaching degrees are worth much.  When I say an expert teacher, I am thinking mainly of content knowledge.  Just as an example - lots of people teach their kids history and do a perfectly good job through hs.  And yet there are elements of the study of history that many people just aren't really very comfortable with or even know about - like how to judge historical evidence.  This is something that starts to become more important in the years at the end f schooling and is something that someone with more background knowledge can offer.

Edited by Bluegoat
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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Interesting research about ps and how they are serving the needs to students.  I was reading it on my iPad and it was horrid to navigate, so I don't know how it reads on other devices.  There are tabs across the top that will take you to different sections. It discusses lack of preparedness for college even though students are on the college prep path, about inappropriate assignments, etc.  

https://opportunitymyth.tntp.org/the-weight-of-wasted-time Here is a quote about one school.  The discussion in this section is about below-avg expectations.

ETA: A couple more quotes

 

The inappropriate assignments my friends with kids in preschool and early elementary tell me about are always stunning to me. The amount of writing and what they are expected to write is nuts. That change came after dd went through, or at least our school avoided it. I’d like to say I’d have been livid if she’d been assigned it, but I honestly don’t know if I was educated enough on things back then to know. Even odds I’d have hired a tutor or badgered her into doing it because I didn’t know any differently. 

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19 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

LOL.....my dd who is a college sophomore often complains she could learn the material in some of her classes at a higher and deeper level if she could just homeschool the subject.  She gets frustrated by the pace and poor teacher explanations.  What it really boils down to is is a classroom with an expert teacher automatically better?  Not from my perspective. 

Sometimes expert teachers are definitely worth their weight in gold.  Mrs. Denne is one of those gems.  But, I have equally paid for an outsourced courses (some of our DE courses at the CC level come to mind) where even though I am far from expert, we could have done a better job at home and since then have gone on to do exactly that. 

FWIW, you know that discovery method that people seem to think is so wonderful about AoPS because of the depth of understanding that emerges?  Spending time wrestling with concepts in other subjects, researching them, and wrestling with them some more until the light bulb goes off and all of the connections are made leads to mastery level understanding.  That is a completely different beast than not getting and moving on and skipping what you don't know/don't understand.  It is also different from sitting there waiting to be told what you need to learn.  It is a different approach. And contrary to what some on this thread believe, it works and it work exceedingly well in preparing students to handle college level subjects where they have poor teachers or have to struggle with a subject for mastery.

 

Well, look, unfortunately some university teachers and some universities are kind of shitty. They are essentially a box ticking extension of what came before, many are not more than technical education, which is fine in itself but not really higher level learning.

But I don't think a student alone, or for that matter, an academic alone, can learn at that level without teachers and mentors and a community.  This is why there is an academic community.  Even in areas like mathematics, people don't work alone, and don't "discover" things alone. People who do some work alone are still involved with others in certain settings or through reading.  

There are a few exceptions to this, and they are notable in part because they are so unusual. 

There is a huge difference between saying, some teachers aren't great, as opposed a parent can always give as much to their child as an outside teacher when you get to higher levels of learning, or that self-directed learning will offer as much.  

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23 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

I would think of it as having a deep level of knowledge about the subject, in a way that a "regular" person doesn't.  I could probably take a beginner through a beginner piano instruction, but even at that level, I just won't have the skill or muscle knowledge or scaffolding ahead to do as well as someone who can play well.  I certainly couldn't do it for a student who was further along.  I know my cousin, a welder, would be able to teach me a heck of a lot more about welding than my husband, who just welds a little, occasionally.  Similarly, if I consider someone teaching literature or history or philosophy, I think it would be rare that someone who is self-taught only would be able to teach in the same way as someone who has a background in those subjects.  Yes, there are people who have qualifications who are just idiots, and occasionally people with none who are astonishing and original thinkers.  Even in more casual conversations around literature, it's often evident who has the ability to think about the text in a more integrated way.

In earlier years, parents often are experts with mastery in many of the things they are teaching children, and have enough of the big picture to teach them well in terms of the child's mental capacity to absorb that.  That changes a little in middle school,  perhaps particularly with certain skill areas - kids can start to outstrip a parent in skills that are more difficult for the parent.  But I think it's at high school age where that really starts to change in terms of more conceptual questions, students are ready to absorb ideas that are simply outside of the knowledge of the parent to even look for, and there is also a capacity to learn in skill and conceptual areas where the parent simply may not be able to keep up.  

 

It was your post yesterday that made link the article a few posts above this one. Professional teacher and better education are not necessarily interchangeable. Also, when you are discussing a skill vs. knowledge (playing an instrument vs understanding how to solve a math problem), I am not sure they are direct comparisons. I could not teach my Dd violin, but I have managed to graduate a chemE and physics/math major, and French fluency without a strong background in any of them.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart

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3 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Well, look, unfortunately some university teachers and some universities are kind of shitty. They are essentially a box ticking extension of what came before, many are not more than technical education, which is fine in itself but not really higher level learning.

But I don't think a student alone, or for that matter, an academic alone, can learn at that level without teachers and mentors and a community.  This is why there is an academic community.  Even in areas like mathematics, people don't work alone, and don't "discover" things alone. People who do some work alone are still involved with others in certain settings or through reading.  

There are a few exceptions to this, and they are notable in part because they are so unusual. 

There is a huge difference between saying, some teachers aren't great, as opposed a parent can always give as much to their child as an outside teacher when you get to higher levels of learning, or that self-directed learning will offer as much.  

Except we are discussing high school, not college or academics.

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19 hours ago, forty-two said:

I think there's both practical issues and philosophical issues at play in where the line gets drawn (and as I write this, I think the practical and philosophical issues are blended together in most points).

Practically, I think there's a line between what is "common knowledge" that everyone learns and knows, and what is specialized knowledge that not everyone knows (but philosophy comes into the actual placement of the line).  If it's common knowledge, known by all, then it can be taught by all.  If it's specialized knowledge, that not all know, then it cannot be taught by all, but only by those who know it (aka those who are "experts").  Elementary education has generally been common, foundational knowledge that all need to know.  Secondary education used to be more specialized, in that it wasn't expected or required for all, but now it *is* expected for all, although imperfectly learned for some, and so there's kind of a mish-mash of expectations.  Post-secondary education has almost always been optional, pursued by a minority, and thus it's pretty much always been considered specialized knowledge that is taught by experts.  (The common outsourcing of the arts even for the young, even by those who don't outsource core subjects, I think reflects a common classification of musical knowledge as specialized knowledge.)

There's a practical/philosophical question about how much knowledge a teacher needs to have of a subject, beyond the student, to effectively teach.  I do tend to hold that just-in-time learning on the part of the teacher isn't nearly as good as a teacher with a deep knowledge of their subject.  (My dad always says that he needs to know three levels deeper than he is teaching in order to be effective, and I tend to agree with that as a rule of thumb.)  Arguably, on common knowledge subjects, that are learned by all because they are used by all adults in the course of their daily life, any adult that is competently living in their society would have fairly deep knowledge on those common subjects, because they have so much experience using them. 

There's a related practical/philosophical question about the merits of a live, in-person teacher versus learning from books/resources written by an expert teacher.  I think this relates to the question of the merits of parent-as-facilitator versus an outsourced teacher. 

And related to that, the more specialized the knowledge (or the more the student/parent-facilitator lack needed foundational knowledge), the more difficult it is to DIY it, and so the interest level (and DIY abilities) of the student or parent-facilitator is going to make-or-break things more than if there was an expert teacher.  Take piano, with my oldest and middle.  Both enjoy learning piano, and do well under a good teacher.  But when we've been between teachers, my oldest keep pushing and learning, while my middle pretty much falls off the piano train.  My oldest pushes herself, while my middle really needs the personal interaction with a teacher to encourage her to push and grow.  I'm musical, but have no experience with piano, and I have not yet figured out how (or if) I could facilitate my middle's piano learning - it would really take me actively learning alongside her, which is a significant time investment, plus good resources targeted to self-learners.

And I think there's a practical as well as philosophical question about the merits of the actually available-to-you "expert" teachers.  A live, in-person expert, effective, caring teacher is probably the most effective way to learn a given subject.  But when you don't have access to all of those things, then you do the best you can.  And so the perception of how actually good the available "expert" teachers are will affect how you rate them (and how much you are willing to sacrifice to get them) versus how you rate what you can do on your own.  And I think the more specialized the knowledge, the more the choice feels like it's between whatever expert's available, and nothing; instead of between whatever expert's available and what you can do on your own.

 

(And fwiw, I am growing increasingly skeptical of the merits of the "available experts" when it comes to undergrad education.  Live, in-person teaching from caring subject matter experts *should* be far more effective than DIY learning.  But I'm rapidly losing confidence that most colleges provide that in most classes and majors.  And with the increasing expense of college coupled with (what feels to me) like the decreasing worth of college - well, I *do* think self-learning by an interested person is of greater relative value than college in a lot of areas, and maybe even can have better absolute results in terms of pure learning attained for some people.  Plus, with the absolute cost of college so high, even where college *is* worth its high price tag, that doesn't mean that I can afford said price tag.  My self-learning, though not as good as a good college, is still far more in reach for me than a good college.  Some learning that's attainable is worth more *to me* than the greatest education that's not attainable, kwim?)

 

I think I agree with everything you've said here.  I really can't argue with any of it.  The one thing I'd add is that in that area where students really start to be able to benefit from "expert" teachers, it's often also the case that they can benefit from interacting with other students.  

I think self-learning can create a very well-educated person without ever setting foot in a university.  I think this used to be quite commonly recognized actually, and it even used to be more common to get people who had this kind of background.  Usually too they had some kind of other substantial skill set related to their work which interacted in some way with their self-education.  Somehow as university education has deteriorated but also become more common, I think good self-education has also become rarer - I'm not sure why that is.  

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19 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Except we are discussing high school, not college or academics.

The difference between "high school" and "college" is a fairly arbitrary one. In some majors/at some institutions, some of what they are required to do as "college" courses is what I consider appropriate for 9th graders. "College algebra" is a repeat of high school math. "College physics" is no different from algebra based high school physics. What difference is there between High school French and College French?

Edited by regentrude
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20 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

It was your post yesterday that made link the article a few posts above this one. Professional teacher and better education are not necessarily interchangeable. Also, when you are discussing knowledge vs skill (playing an instrument vs understanding how to solve a math problem), I am not sure they are direct comparisons. I could not teach my Dd violin, but I have managed to graduate a chemE and physics/math major, and French fluency without a strong background in any of them.

but you didn't send them to the internet or hand them a book to "go learn by themselves". You were involved in their learning.

Edited by regentrude

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18 hours ago, kiwik said:

I had school teachers state this in an equal boastful way.  I think they are paid to teach but apparently not.

My son's ps honors precalculus and BC calculus teacher (same guy for both) was like this.  His attitude was that kids who were bright enough to be in those classes shouldn't need instruction.  So guess who ended up teaching him?  

Edited by EKS

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58 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

It was your post yesterday that made link the article a few posts above this one. Professional teacher and better education are not necessarily interchangeable. Also, when you are discussing a skill vs. knowledge (playing an instrument vs understanding how to solve a math problem), I am not sure they are direct comparisons. I could not teach my Dd violin, but I have managed to graduate a chemE and physics/math major, and French fluency without a strong background in any of them.

I'm quoting myself bc I just realized the above is not really accurate. I know absolutely nothing about playing the violin, but my Dd is taking Suzuki lessons. Bc she started in Feb, I didn't get subjected to having to learn to play myself the way our instructor normally requires. (Thank goodness!) But, I am doing a heck of a lot of violin teaching 6 days a week based on what we learn together during her private lesson and what I discern during her group lesson. And she is progressing rapidly bc I am making sure she is mastering what he taught.

In essence it is no different than how we homeschool. We use some sort of resource to inform us of what we need to learn and then we "practice" until mastery.   We use resources to help us understand and then we do what we need to do.

There are kids that were in her group lesson last yr who started in Aug and didn't make much progress while Dd has progressed to a higher group. Part is natural ability. Part is hard work and practice. I think homeschool outcomes are probably similar. If you put effort into learning what you don't know, you can help your kids master it.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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37 minutes ago, regentrude said:

The difference between "high school" and "college" is a fairly arbitrary one. In some majors/at some institutions, some of what they are required to do as "college" courses is what I consider appropriate for 9th graders. "College algebra" is a repeat of high school math. "College physics" is no different from algebra based high school physics. What difference is there between High school French and College French?

I agree that all of those are accessible at home. I think the idea that mathematicians and academics don't work alone is unrelated to homeschooling at the high school level and starts to move into a completely different conversation.

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3 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Interesting research about ps and how they are serving the needs to students.  I was reading it on my iPad and it was horrid to navigate, so I don't know how it reads on other devices.  There are tabs across the top that will take you to different sections. It discusses lack of preparedness for college even though students are on the college prep path, about inappropriate assignments, etc.  

https://opportunitymyth.tntp.org/the-weight-of-wasted-time Here is a quote about one school.  The discussion in this section is about below-avg expectations.

ETA: A couple more quotes

 

 

1 hour ago, texasmom33 said:

The inappropriate assignments my friends with kids in preschool and early elementary tell me about are always stunning to me. The amount of writing and what they are expected to write is nuts. That change came after dd went through, or at least our school avoided it. I’d like to say I’d have been livid if she’d been assigned it, but I honestly don’t know if I was educated enough on things back then to know. Even odds I’d have hired a tutor or badgered her into doing it because I didn’t know any differently. 

 

Weirdly it seems to go from asking too much of certain kinds of work in lower elementary, to asking too little in middle school.  That largely seems to go through high school too.  I get the distinct impression they think the kids are stupid, or are afraid to challenge them in any way.  It's very weird.  I can't figure out what changes.

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7 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

Weirdly it seems to go from asking too much of certain kinds of work in lower elementary, to asking too little in middle school.  That largely seems to go through high school too.  I get the distinct impression they think the kids are stupid, or are afraid to challenge them in any way.  It's very weird.  I can't figure out what changes.

That was my impression in ps. Huge pressure in the early grades, then a holding pattern in grades 5-7 with zero progress in math, because of the prevailing educational psychology that the kids go through puberty and cannot learn anything. It was pure warehousing. 

Back home, elementary is gentle, only half days, then expectations increase starting in 5th grade. The US has it completely backwards. With no results to show for.

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

It was your post yesterday that made link the article a few posts above this one. Professional teacher and better education are not necessarily interchangeable. Also, when you are discussing knowledge vs skill (playing an instrument vs understanding how to solve a math problem), I am not sure they are direct comparisons. I could not teach my Dd violin, but I have managed to graduate a chemE and physics/math major, and French fluency without a strong background in any of them.

 

1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Except we are discussing high school, not college or academics.

 

But this is exactly what I asked - where are people drawing the line between how a high school kid will learn and a university student, or an elementary school student?  I would say a high school student will have a lot more in common with the needs of an undergraduate student than the needs of an elementary school kid, both in terms of their mental capacities and the level of knowledge required to teach the subject.  It's not a 100% thing, certainly, high school kid's needs are going to be more varied, but many of them, with good teaching, are now at a point where they should be beginning their post-secondary journey, whether they are learning violin or welding, chemistry, or classics.  

The fact that high schools are not offering kids a high enough level of work doesn't do much to convince me that those kids don't need teachers with more in depth knowledge of the subjects.  And I don't think it follows that because crappy schools mean self/parental teaching is often a better choice than high school in many cases, therefore we can say as a matter of principle that self-taught is as good as teaching by people with subject knowledge and within a community of people with similar interests.

I really wouldn't expect someone who believed the former to have any real truck with the idea of a university or post-secondary training at all, not with regards to the principle.

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42 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I'm quoting myself bc I just realized the above is not really accurate. I know absolutely nothing about playing the violin, but my Dd is taking Suzuki lessons. Bc she started in Feb, I didn't get subjected to having to learn to play myself the way our instructor normally requires. (Thank goodness!) But, I am doing a heck of a lot of violin teaching 6 days a week based on what we learn together during her private lesson and what I discern during her group lesson. And she is progressing rapidly bc I am making sure she is mastering what he taught.

In essence it is no different than how we homeschool. We use some sort of resource to inform us of what we need to learn and then we "practice" until mastery.   We use resources to help us understand and then we do what we need to do.

There are kids that were in her group lesson last yr who started in Aug and didn't make much progress while Dd has progressed to a higher group. Part is natural ability. Part is hard work and practice. I think homeschool outcomes are probably similar. If you put effort into learning what you don't know, you can help your kids master it.

 

But Suzuki lessons are for young children specifically because their learning needs are different.  That's why the parental involvement and the intuitive approach.  It's analogous to early childhood education and the earliest years of elementary, not high school or even middle school.

Edited by Bluegoat

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13 hours ago, Serenade said:

 

I have heard many homeschoolers say that it's up to their kids to learn something, by going to Kahn Academy or researching on the internet.  It is almost said in a boastful way, like "Why are you helping your student?  They should be learning this on their own."  

This sounds like my high school algebra 2 teacher. The class started with a full roster of 28ish students and by Christmas had about 12. At that point the administration refused to transfer out any more students. Why was he still teaching? His sports teams won state championships. 

11 hours ago, kiwik said:

I wouldn't say it is easy but for many of us who have been forced into homeschooling not having to deal with the school any more makes it seem easier than school.  I really wasn't aware how stressed we both were until there was no more school.  It is going to get harder as he gets older but our house is a lot happier.

I read a couple of ebooks saying how easy it was and that "most homeschooled kids have an online teacher" both of which confused me as I had been hanging round here for years.

I wasn't forced into homeschooling, but after watching what my friend has gone through trying to get appropriate education for her son who has many of the same difficulties as my eldest, I can't believe that public school would be any easier. Definitely a choose your hard situation. 

4 hours ago, regentrude said:

That is ridiculous and shows that they don't understand that learning a skill is not the same as looking up a tidbit of information on the internet. They would not expect their kids to pick up a violin and self teach from internet videos. 

 

I can't believe how many requests I see on fb hs groups for just this type of program. 

 

Edited by mellifera33
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22 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

Weirdly it seems to go from asking too much of certain kinds of work in lower elementary, to asking too little in middle school.  That largely seems to go through high school too.  I get the distinct impression they think the kids are stupid, or are afraid to challenge them in any way.  It's very weird.  I can't figure out what changes.

It is what they are saying.  Personally, I have seen 2 extremes in ps, both lacking. One extreme is complete video based learning (no textbooks, no IRL lectures, all online textbooks/videos/homework) and exactly the opposite with tons of busywork homework (staying up until 1 or 2 am almost every night doing the busy work).  I have not known kids in ps who are really receiving a great and appropriate education.

10 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

But this is exactly what I asked - where are people drawing the line between how a high school kid will learn and a university student, or an elementary school student?  I would say a high school student will have a lot more in common with the needs of an undergraduate student than the needs of an elementary school kid, both in terms of their mental capacities and the level of knowledge required to teach the subject.  It's not a 100% thing, certainly, high school kid's needs are going to be more varied, but many of them, with good teaching, are now at a point where they should be beginning their post-secondary journey, whether they are learning violin or welding, chemistry, or classics.  

The fact that high schools are not offering kids a high enough level of work doesn't do much to convince me that those kids don't need teachers with more in depth knowledge of the subjects.  And I don't think it follows that because crappy schools mean self/parental teaching is often a better choice than high school in many cases, therefore we can say as a matter of principle that self-taught is as good as teaching by people with subject knowledge and within a community of people with similar interests.

I really wouldn't expect someone who believed the former to have any real truck with the idea of a university or post-secondary training at all, not with regards to the principle.

In the areas where I have lived (during my kids' high school yrs we have moved 10 hrs in mutliple directions 3 times, so 4 very different communities), high schools are not educational centers of deep learning where I would entrust my kids to be exposed to what they need to learn.  No way.  They have English and math proficiency levels ranging from 11% to supposedly 89%.  But the 89% efficiency rated school only has a college readiness index of 19.1%.  In the article I linked, it discusses just how many students need remediation at the college level.  What high schools in the US are producing are not exemplary educations.  

So, yes, a dedicated parent focused on ensuring their student is mastering material and providing their student an appropriate level education is offering more than any high school we have been zoned for (and we are solidly middle class.  I can't imagine the dismal quality of poor school districts bc it is pretty dismal in ours.)

College is different bc students are not bound by strict course sequences and inability to progress. There is greater opportunity to expand and receive appropriate education based on ability and seeking additional opportunities.

7 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

But Suzuki lessons are for young children specifically because their learning needs are different.  That's why the parental involvement and the intuitive approach.  It's analogous to early childhood education and the earliest years of elementary, not high school or even middle school.

Not our Suzuki teachers.  They have students progressing toward book 10 and there are just as many older kids as younger kids.  Some of the older kids are phenomenal.  And.....parents have to be involved in every lesson regardless of age.

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I'm quoting myself bc I just realized the above is not really accurate. I know absolutely nothing about playing the violin, but my Dd is taking Suzuki lessons. Bc she started in Feb, I didn't get subjected to having to learn to play myself the way our instructor normally requires. (Thank goodness!) But, I am doing a heck of a lot of violin teaching 6 days a week based on what we learn together during her private lesson and what I discern during her group lesson. And she is progressing rapidly bc I am making sure she is mastering what he taught.

In essence it is no different than how we homeschool. We use some sort of resource to inform us of what we need to learn and then we "practice" until mastery.   We use resources to help us understand and then we do what we need to do.

There are kids that were in her group lesson last yr who started in Aug and didn't make much progress while Dd has progressed to a higher group. Part is natural ability. Part is hard work and practice. I think homeschool outcomes are probably similar. If you put effort into learning what you don't know, you can help your kids master it.

 

This is where I see myself more on the "homeschooling" side even though one of my kids is taking 4 online classes.  (the other is only taking one full course and one 10 week course that fits into her overall science year.) I am very actively involved in all his classes, I supplement with other materials if needed, I sit with him every day as a partner in theses classes, and I choose the classes from all different venues based on his interests and goals for the year.  I guess it's the "a la carte" approach that makes it feel like it's still home-guided and facilitated, rather than going with an online provider that decides everything.  I still want control over the choices, the style of learning, the amount of output required, etc. And I do a ton of research to find the best fit.  So there is a lot of gray area with the advent of online classes.  

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11 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

 

This is where I see myself more on the "homeschooling" side even though one of my kids is taking 4 online classes.  (the other is only taking one full course and one 10 week course that fits into her overall science year.) I am very actively involved in all his classes, I supplement with other materials if needed, I sit with him every day as a partner in theses classes, and I choose the classes from all different venues based on his interests and goals for the year.  I guess it's the "a la carte" approach that makes it feel like it's still home-guided and facilitated, rather than going with an online provider that decides everything.  I still want control over the choices, the style of learning, the amount of output required, etc. And I do a ton of research to find the best fit.  So there is a lot of gray area with the advent of online classes.  

I can see that.  That is still direct involvement in their education.  It is a completely different scenario than "what program do you recommend for teaching a Ker how to read independently?" Blech.

Just to play devil's advocate, I still truly believe that that approach misses out on some of the biggest benefits of homeschooling---letting them soar based on interests and ability vs. being controlled by class pace and sequencing.  It is the individualized education that pulls me to spend yr after yr homeschooling.  I know what my kids have been able to accomplish that would NEVER have happened in a high school classroom environment (outsourced or building) if everything in their high school yrs had been dictated by those course sequences.  I am glad my kids haven't had to experience those limitations.  Equally, if I could not do what we do, your approach would be my best choice alternative.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Finances are a big part of why I am considering DE during high school. While I would really enjoy discussing things like great works of literature and political philosophy with my kids, and agree that I have sufficient background to create high-level homebrewed classes in most humanities subjects, it is hard to turn down the free (or cheap) college courses offered through DE in my state (one can even get cheap classes at the UC schools by cross-enrolling with CCs). Because our in-state universities are so expensive, being able to knock out a good portion of my kids' undergraduate level education on the cheap via DE is super appealing. Now, obviously, that doesn't explain why I have been outsourcing classes while my kid is elementary (I have done so, in part, so that my oldest could learn in an accelerated environment with other gifted students), but the financial benefits of outsourcing through DE are a real consideration for us.

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2 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

2 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

I would think of it as having a deep level of knowledge about the subject, in a way that a "regular" person doesn't.  I could probably take a beginner through a beginner piano instruction, but even at that level, I just won't have the skill or muscle knowledge or scaffolding ahead to do as well as someone who can play well.  I certainly couldn't do it for a student who was further along.  I know my cousin, a welder, would be able to teach me a heck of a lot more about welding than my husband, who just welds a little, occasionally.  Similarly, if I consider someone teaching literature or history or philosophy, I think it would be rare that someone who is self-taught only would be able to teach in the same way as someone who has a background in those subjects.  Yes, there are people who have qualifications who are just idiots, and occasionally people with none who are astonishing and original thinkers.  Even in more casual conversations around literature, it's often evident who has the ability to think about the text in a more integrated way.

In earlier years, parents often are experts with mastery in many of the things they are teaching children, and have enough of the big picture to teach them well in terms of the child's mental capacity to absorb that.  That changes a little in middle school,  perhaps particularly with certain skill areas - kids can start to outstrip a parent in skills that are more difficult for the parent.  But I think it's at high school age where that really starts to change in terms of more conceptual questions, students are ready to absorb ideas that are simply outside of the knowledge of the parent to even look for, and there is also a capacity to learn in skill and conceptual areas where the parent simply may not be able to keep up.  

ETA: Generally speaking I don't think teaching degrees are worth much.  When I say an expert teacher, I am thinking mainly of content knowledge.  Just as an example - lots of people teach their kids history and do a perfectly good job through hs.  And yet there are elements of the study of history that many people just aren't really very comfortable with or even know about - like how to judge historical evidence.  This is something that starts to become more important in the years at the end f schooling and is something that someone with more background knowledge can offer.

 

I disagree that it is only about content knowledge. Teaching is a profession that relies heavily on communication skills. A person can be tops in their field, content wise, and be totally unable to explain it in a way for multiple students to be able to understand the content for themselves. I have had monotone teachers. And impatient teachers (as a general thing not just occasional). I have had teachers who spent all their time on rabbit trails and next to none on the actual content that they knew well. 

I know very few expert level teachers in my years of teaching. I know a lot who openly admit that they “phone it in” on a regular basis. They don’t care about lighting that spark of learning. I know others who care a lot about the kids but are hampered by bad curriculum (Everyday Math, anyone?) which often changes every few years just when the teachers have managed to master the curriculum and have made their own materials to fill in the holes.  I know others who try so hard but are beaten down by classrooms full of kids with such diverse and often difficult backgrounds that they can’t regularly teach content because they are trying to maintain classroom control (yes, even at the high school level). And I do know some who through a happy combination of their own good education, a school district that actually chooses good curriculum and a classroom of kids that are receptive, are able to do wonders. 

You can pick and choose alacarte expert teachers if you are outside an actual school but you can’t consistently in any brick and mortar school that I know of. Even in college there are constraints due to class size or schedule which might force you into taking physics with the “bad prof” and making the best of it. 

I am pro teacher. I wouldn’t have given my life to teaching, otherwise. But I homeschooled for academic reasons because I have taught in three different public school districts as well private schools and I know what is out there. 

For the record, I am against homeschool teachers (because I consider us teachers) who just “phone it in” or pick poor curriculum or don’t maintain order or consistency.  But I know many dedicated homeschool teachers who do a bang up job communicating ideas and teaching skills. Most of these excellent homeschool teachers do not have a teaching degree and some don’t have any college degree.  Many out source certain subjects and some decide that they can only go up to a certain level. I don’t have a problem with that at all. 

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34 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

It is what they are saying.  Personally, I have seen 2 extremes in ps, both lacking. One extreme is complete video based learning (no textbooks, no IRL lectures, all online textbooks/videos/homework) and exactly the opposite with tons of busywork homework (staying up until 1 or 2 am almost every night doing the busy work).  I have not known kids in ps who are really receiving a great and appropriate education.

In the areas where I have lived (during my kids' high school yrs we have moved 10 hrs in mutliple directions 3 times, so 4 very different communities), high schools are not educational centers of deep learning where I would entrust my kids to be exposed to what they need to learn.  No way.  They have English and math proficiency levels ranging from 11% to supposedly 89%.  But the 89% efficiency rated school only has a college readiness index of 19.1%.  In the article I linked, it discusses just how many students need remediation at the college level.  What high schools in the US are producing are not exemplary educations.  

So, yes, a dedicated parent focused on ensuring their student is mastering material and providing their student an appropriate level education is offering more than any high school we have been zoned for (and we are solidly middle class.  I can't imagine the dismal quality of poor school districts bc it is pretty dismal in ours.)

College is different bc students are not bound by strict course sequences and inability to progress. There is greater opportunity to expand and receive appropriate education based on ability and seeking additional opportunities.

Not our Suzuki teachers.  They have students progressing toward book 10 and there are just as many older kids as younger kids.  Some of the older kids are phenomenal.  And.....parents have to be involved in every lesson regardless of age.

 

My understanding was that the methods of Suzuki change over time as the kids get older.  I can't quite picture every parent of a 16 year old leaning to play the violin to the same level as their child.

I'm not sure I see how the lack of good schools in the US is really the question.  It's a practical point for parents choosing what to do.  But there are actually good schools in the world, there have been good schools.  Whether or not a person with a real grounding in the subject matter can generally be a better teacher than a parent who doesn't, or can offer more, isn't determined by the fact that the public education system is crappy.  I think liberal democracy is a generally positive system, but you wouldn't know it by looking at every country that claimed to have it.

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1 minute ago, Bluegoat said:

 

My understanding was that the methods of Suzuki change over time as the kids get older.  I can't quite picture every parent of a 16 year old leaning to play the violin to the same level as their child.

I'm not sure I see how the lack of good schools in the US is really the question.  It's a practical point for parents choosing what to do.  But there are actually good schools in the world, there have been good schools.  Whether or not a person with a real grounding in the subject matter can generally be a better teacher than a parent who doesn't, or can offer more, isn't determined by the fact that the public education system is crappy.  I think liberal democracy is a generally positive system, but you wouldn't know it by looking at every country that claimed to have it.

I don't understand your post.  Educationally......bc we live in the real world where the options are real, not hypothetical.  If I lived near an excellent school full of amazing teachers who taught via Socratic dialogue and kids simply flowed through rooms as they advanced instead of sitting in a room with a crappy curriculum dictating hours upon hours of their day controlled by a calendar, then I wouldn't homeschool.  That just isn't a reality anywhere we have lived.

Not that it is really relevant to the conversation, but I can't play one note on my dd's violin.  I don't touch it except to tune it.  That does not mean I cannot point out the mistakes I both see and hear her making and correct the mistakes b/c I know what she needs to master.  I don't have to be able to do it myself.

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