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cintinative

s/o Esther Maria "rigor thread" --finding a hs community that supports your "rigor"

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From the old thread, page 2 by Esther Maria: "If I am reading you correctly, though, I know exactly what is the type of person you have in mind, I know them IRL. Run away from those in big leaps. Talk about these issues with people who will lift you higher rather than drag you down. Keep your children, in their formative years, as away from those attitudes as you would keep them away from morally very questionable choices. Surround them with people and ideas who will lift them higher, to the maximum extent of your possibility. Do not cultivate mediocrity. It will grow all around you, but you do not have to cultivate it in your little corner of the world where you live with your family."

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One of the things that is troubling me at our co-op is this idea that we are a sort of lone wolf. There are really no other families homeschooling Classically (neoclassical or otherwise).  We do a lot at home. More than a lot of people. I do get the questions and the weird looks when people ask why we do what we do. We're just different. As we are starting high school classes, this seems to be more of an issue. 

Teaching a high school class at co-op has been eye-opening for me. The neurotypical kids, some of them, just don't really put an effort in.  So part of me is wondering--is EM right? Do we jump ship because my kids need to be around kids who will challenge them? How do you find community that challenges your kid? I don't want to do Classical Conversations for multiple reasons. My youngest wants to stay at co-op because his friends are there, but is it truly bad to keep your kids in an environment where perhaps they won't be "challenged" by those in the class?  

 

 

 

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I think her definition of rigor was also different than what we see on this board. Here it seems to me we moved from discussions about educational subject and how/what to teach and how to achieve depths to “oh, my 6th grader took AP Physics” type of rigor. It’s now all about shoving younger and younger kids into college level classes and that has become the accepted definition of rigor. EM’s rigor has to do what what she was to teaching and how. I don’t know if I am making sense.  

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I don't think this is locatable for most people, and no, there's nothing wrong with taking some bludge classes. Having a laugh is an important part of life too.

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1 hour ago, cintinative said:

From the old thread, page 2 by Esther Maria: "If I am reading you correctly, though, I know exactly what is the type of person you have in mind, I know them IRL. Run away from those in big leaps. Talk about these issues with people who will lift you higher rather than drag you down. Keep your children, in their formative years, as away from those attitudes as you would keep them away from morally very questionable choices. Surround them with people and ideas who will lift them higher, to the maximum extent of your possibility. Do not cultivate mediocrity. It will grow all around you, but you do not have to cultivate it in your little corner of the world where you live with your family."

-----

One of the things that is troubling me at our co-op is this idea that we are a sort of lone wolf. There are really no other families homeschooling Classically (neoclassical or otherwise).  We do a lot at home. More than a lot of people. I do get the questions and the weird looks when people ask why we do what we do. We're just different. As we are starting high school classes, this seems to be more of an issue. 

Teaching a high school class at co-op has been eye-opening for me. The neurotypical kids, some of them, just don't really put an effort in.  So part of me is wondering--is EM right? Do we jump ship because my kids need to be around kids who will challenge them? How do you find community that challenges your kid? I don't want to do Classical Conversations for multiple reasons. My youngest wants to stay at co-op because his friends are there, but is it truly bad to keep your kids in an environment where perhaps they won't be "challenged" by those in the class?  

 

 

 

I don't know if challenge is the right word, but to find a high school group we fit into at all we essentially had to go online. That provided academic community within reason, and challenge to the level I wanted as far as education was concerned. I also think that right now, without opening up a whole other can of worms in your thread, I'll just say that educational rigor of other teens is the least of my worries when dealing with influences of other teenagers at the moment. I think when EM was posting which was almost a decade ago, a lot of mental health challenges and other things like social media that have since permeated the teenage culture in general, weren't quite the issue as they are in the here and now. I'm not saying that teens haven't always had their own unique challenges through the times, but I personally feel like things have escalated a  bit in the last 5 years or so. 

So for us, there is the academic community, and there is the personal community- the influences you can encourage and influence (as much as you can with an older teen) IRL and if the two have some overlap, great, but I'll take the good moral/healthy of mind influence over the academic influence when it comes to peers any day of the week. 

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10 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

I don't think this is locatable for most people, and no, there's nothing wrong with taking some bludge classes. Having a laugh is an important part of life too.

 

Thank you. Do you mind defining "bludge"? It seems to be Australian slang and I don't trust what Google is telling me. 😃

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I have never found a group of homeschoolers that have the same academic goals we have.  I have found individuals (like Kathy in Richmond) who have 

10 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Surround them with people and ideas who will lift them higher, to the maximum extent of your possibility.

but for the most part, I view what most of the homeschoolers I know do as "cultivating mediocrity." 

For our family, non-academic social situations has fit our kids' needs.  My 2 current teens attend a coop that meets from 915-1230 27 Fridays of the yr.  They have done things design board games.  They have made friends and enjoy the social aspect, but there is no way that I could see our family fitting in academically with these families.  (Most are Seton or MODG users and that is extremely far removed from academic goals.)

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5 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

Thank you. Do you mind defining "bludge"? It seems to be Australian slang and I don't trust what Google is telling me. 😃

 

Not working hard, if at all.
I am bludging, in that I am lying in my bed, in my nightie, under the air con, even though it is heading towards 11am. (It's hot even with the air con on. ) 
A bludge class would be a class one deliberately takes for the wonderful lack of essays to be written. 

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Not working hard, if at all.
I am bludging, in that I am lying in my bed, in my nightie, under the air con, even though it is heading towards 11am. (It's hot even with the air con on. ) 
A bludge class would be a class one deliberately takes for the wonderful lack of essays to be written. 

 

Got it! 😃

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For us, the homeschooling community is so thin in general for high school- perhaps because TX is a very "all or nothing" state for high school- we would be isolationists if we only hung out with people who matched us identically on any front tbh- not just educational. 

Idk- I think there is a lot to rigor, but on the other hand, I think it gives kids a false impression of themselves if we took the attitude of "these people don't school like we do and therefore aren't worth our time." On the one hand, it's important for us as parent/teachers to have the iron sharpening iron aspect, but I don't know if that's as important for teens as having a relatable/dependable relationship when it comes to peers?

Personally I think I *need* the supportive homeschooling/academic-similar community much more than my high schooler does. She's pretty independent and introverted- I am too, but we've got our own individual pressures when it comes to parent/teacher vs student. She can hang out with her PS friends and although they don't relate to everything the same as far as experiences, they do have some in common, whereas I feel like I have very little in common with the typical local PS parent, so I am definitely "needier" on that front, if that makes sense? 

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14 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

 

Idk- I think there is a lot to rigor, but on the other hand, I think it gives kids a false impression of themselves if we took the attitude of "these people don't school like we do and therefore aren't worth our time." On the one hand, it's important for us as parent/teachers to have the iron sharpening iron aspect, but I don't know if that's as important for teens as having a relatable/dependable relationship when it comes to peers?

 

 

I struggle with this idea too. It's not that we are "better" than others, but some of our pursuits at home are/will be very different (formal logic and Latin, for example).

I am not sure what to think on the relatable/dependable category. I have been in classes (high school) where there are a couple of students who clearly just don't care that much, but the majority are trying. My class this year has been the opposite. The ones who care are in the minority, and as a teacher, I find that discouraging.  I don't know what the student's perception of it is except that I did have a request for re-grouping (for a group project) by a student after the first group presentation went awry. I ended up dropping all the group projects altogether because I couldn't figure out how to make it fair. Maybe it's just the class I am teaching this year? 

Edited by cintinative
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31 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

For us, the homeschooling community is so thin in general for high school- perhaps because TX is a very "all or nothing" state for high school- we would be isolationists if we only hung out with people who matched us identically on any front tbh- not just educational. 

Idk- I think there is a lot to rigor, but on the other hand, I think it gives kids a false impression of themselves if we took the attitude of "these people don't school like we do and therefore aren't worth our time." On the one hand, it's important for us as parent/teachers to have the iron sharpening iron aspect, but I don't know if that's as important for teens as having a relatable/dependable relationship when it comes to peers?

Personally I think I *need* the supportive homeschooling/academic-similar community much more than my high schooler does. She's pretty independent and introverted- I am too, but we've got our own individual pressures when it comes to parent/teacher vs student. She can hang out with her PS friends and although they don't relate to everything the same as far as experiences, they do have some in common, whereas I feel like I have very little in common with the typical local PS parent, so I am definitely "needier" on that front, if that makes sense? 

The bolded comment really boils down to why different families homeschool.  My perspective is absolutely not that these people aren't worth our time.  They are lovely families whom we enjoy as friends. They are definitely worth our time!  But, academically, no, their approach is not one that is worth reducing our academic time at home to embrace for the sake of socializing.  For example, Seton and MODG are traditional school/do this-do that approaches.  That is equally absolutely not why we homeschool.  If I wanted my kids to have traditional school courses, I would not put them in a co-op (and, yes, I classify the vast majority of co-ops as subpar 😉 )  for the experience; I would enroll them in a school. 

I don't worry about "socializing" in academics.  I want my kids to have friends and socialize with groups of peers.  But, no, I don't see any need for academics to be the place for that to occur.  Choir, orchestra, youth group, and the non-academic coop are all sources of  orgranized social time.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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20 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

I struggle with this idea too. It's not that we are "better" than others, but some of our pursuits at home are/will be very different (formal logic and Latin, for example).

I am not sure what to think on the relatable/dependable category. I have been in classes (high school) where there are a couple of students who clearly just don't care that much, but the majority are trying. My class this year has been the opposite. The ones who care are in the minority, and as a teacher, I find that discouraging.  I don't know what the student's perception of it is except that I did have a request for re-grouping (for a group project) by a student after the first group presentation went awry. I ended up dropping all the group projects altogether because I couldn't figure out how to make it fair. Maybe it's just the class I am teaching this year? 

I think this scenario is fed by coops.  Schools have accountability built in bc they issue grades/transcripts.  Co-ops don't have any authority and without authority (or parental support enforcing their authority) students without self-motivation have little incentive. 

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]

14 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

I struggle with this idea too. It's not that we are "better" than others, but some of our pursuits at home are/will be very different (formal logic and Latin, for example).

I am not sure what to think on the relatable/dependable category. I have been in classes (high school) where there are a couple of students who clearly just don't care that much, but the majority are trying. My class this year has been the opposite. The ones who care are in the minority, and as a teacher, I find that discouraging.  I don't know what the student's perception of it is except that I did have a request for re-grouping (for a group project) by a student after the first group presentation went awry. I ended up dropping all the group projects altogether because I couldn't figure out how to make it fair. Maybe it's just the class I am teaching this year? 

I think had we been in a co-op situation I'd have had a much bigger issue with it. We have always done paid classes- hired teachers. There wasn't an available co-op locally that didn't dictate the entire curriculum, so we had one-off classes. I think if I was the one prepping and teaching in a co-op situation it's different- the community aspect is different and I will fully admit that.  It would have made it a lot worse to stomach.

Our HS homeschooling pop is so thin tbh, it's very much "beggars cannot be choosers" when it came to classes. We finally gave up and went all online to get her the homeschool community because it simply doesn't exist here IRL. We are an anomaly. I've met several like minded HS'ers IRL since with kids the same age as my youngers, but I'm not holding my breath if they'll still be homeschooling by the time we hit high school. It will be great if we all do, but I've just been around long enough to see how sharp the drop off is to get my hopes up too much. I just have to hope these boards will still be here or at least archived. 

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1 hour ago, cintinative said:

 

I struggle with this idea too. It's not that we are "better" than others, but some of our pursuits at home are/will be very different (formal logic and Latin, for example).

I am not sure what to think on the relatable/dependable category. I have been in classes (high school) where there are a couple of students who clearly just don't care that much, but the majority are trying. My class this year has been the opposite. The ones who care are in the minority, and as a teacher, I find that discouraging.  I don't know what the student's perception of it is except that I did have a request for re-grouping (for a group project) by a student after the first group presentation went awry. I ended up dropping all the group projects altogether because I couldn't figure out how to make it fair. Maybe it's just the class I am teaching this year? 

I am having the same issue with a class I’m teaching. Half the students don’t participate. I was going to have the students do presentations but had to drop that when it was clear it will be a failure. I support and teach the best I can but most of the students don’t do the weekly readings before the class so class time had to be restructured differently than I planned. 

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Just now, Lilaclady said:

I am having the same issue with a class I’m teaching. Half the students don’t participate. I was going to have the students do presentations but had to drop that when it was clear it will be a failure. I support and teach the best I can but most of the students don’t do the weekly readings before the class so class time had to be restructured differently than I planned. 

 

Ugh. I am so sorry. Is yours at a co-op also? 

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One of the things I had been mindful of was what 8 talked about earlier. My kids had social outlets where most of their homeschool friends are. They are not generally doing any rigorous academics and most of them tend to veer towards music education. My older kids want to balance the fine arts with rigorous STEM so we have different paths towards our end goals.  

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3 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

Ugh. I am so sorry. Is yours at a co-op also? 

Not it’s A lone class. It would have been part of other classes to make a half day coop but  that didn’t make. 

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I feel like there are a lot of issues on the table here. And they don't all have to go together or have the same solutions.

First, co-ops and classes and friends and so forth... And snobbery about learning styles too... All that is one piece. You find the friends you find. If they're through a co-op or what have you, that's great. If they're through sports or scouts or church or whatever, also great. I think the idea that someone would not do a co-op (assuming it's once a week or a couple afternoons a week or something) because it's not fulfilling a student's academic goals but is fulfilling social or emotional goals is sad to me. I do feel like I see this sometimes where a family has a teen who is unhappy socially and they refuse to join the thing because of an objection to some other aspect of it - a personality conflict among the adults, a minor religious or philosophical difference, a complaint about the academic quality, etc. Just do it if it'll make your teen happier with homeschooling and it doesn't eat up your lives. Their emotional and social needs are pretty key.

Then there's the issue of whether co-ops are ever any good. We've had experiences that have really ranged. I'm teaching in one right now - teaching GPS Core One about Asian and African history and literature. And it's a mix for sure, but mostly kids do the work and have been really good in discussions. But I've certainly had really negative experiences and we've left co-op/class situations over quality. I think it's tough... but having taught in classrooms and in this sort of situation, I really notice that in the classroom, kids are better about getting the work done but worse about being engaged with it. My students now aren't all on the same level as each other. They're a bit all over the place with getting written work done. But... they really care about the discussion and the books and the issues and they all are really engaged when I sit and work with them. So... it's not perfect, but it's something.

Next, there's this issue that it's hard for kids to swim upstream with other kids. If you're the only kid you know aiming for college, then that's rough just because you don't have a sense of what's even normal. That's a real issue.

Finally, along with that... being able to engage academically with peers  is really invaluable for a lot of kids. Some students can sit at home and learn solo with just parents or occasionally online or tutor feedback, but that's not ideal for a ton of students, who will thrive a lot more if they're able to discuss on their level and engage. And that... that's a great thing to find. And it would be great if we could all find that in a co-op. And I get wanting that. I want more of that for my own kids, who I worry don't get enough of it. But... it's also the case that it doesn't have to go hand in hand with the co-op, which can also do something else entirely.

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I'm not homeschooling a high-schooler, so I don't really belong on this board, but I've worried about this a lot. If we put DD back in school for middle school or high school, it would be for the community. I was assuming there'd be lots of academic homeschoolers in NYC... and so far, that hasn't been my experience. We like the classes we take, I like the classes I've been teaching, but very few people seem to be doing this for academic reasons or to be taking academics particularly seriously. It's fine when DD is 7, but is it going to be fine when she's 13? I have no idea :-/. 

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11 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

]

I think had we been in a co-op situation I'd have had a much bigger issue with it. We have always done paid classes- hired teachers. There wasn't an available co-op locally that didn't dictate the entire curriculum, so we had one-off classes. I think if I was the one prepping and teaching in a co-op situation it's different- the community aspect is different and I will fully admit that.  It would have made it a lot worse to stomach.

Our HS homeschooling pop is so thin tbh, it's very much "beggars cannot be choosers" when it came to classes. We finally gave up and went all online to get her the homeschool community because it simply doesn't exist here IRL. We are an anomaly. I've met several like minded HS'ers IRL since with kids the same age as my youngers, but I'm not holding my breath if they'll still be homeschooling by the time we hit high school. It will be great if we all do, but I've just been around long enough to see how sharp the drop off is to get my hopes up too much. I just have to hope these boards will still be here or at least archived. 

Here in southeast Michigan (not the west Michigan homeschool hub) most of the homeschool classes are not co-ops, but paid classes with paid teachers.  However, we found that there was still this same lack of kids trying or parents doing much about it.  Most of them are also partnerships with a couple of local school districts that will pay if you enroll part-time.  Since the parents weren’t there and the kids were coming and going it wasn’t much of a community either.  We dropped it and added online classes for the older kids.  We find our community in homeschool choir and trail life/AHG and some people at our very small parish, but it doesn’t center around academics.  I find that it isn’t necessary that my kids’ friends are striving for top notch academics as much as that they are striving for something and the parents are involved that makes the community successful.

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15 hours ago, cintinative said:

From the old thread, page 2 by Esther Maria: "If I am reading you correctly, though, I know exactly what is the type of person you have in mind, I know them IRL. Run away from those in big leaps. Talk about these issues with people who will lift you higher rather than drag you down. Keep your children, in their formative years, as away from those attitudes as you would keep them away from morally very questionable choices. Surround them with people and ideas who will lift them higher, to the maximum extent of your possibility. Do not cultivate mediocrity. It will grow all around you, but you do not have to cultivate it in your little corner of the world where you live with your family."

-----

One of the things that is troubling me at our co-op is this idea that we are a sort of lone wolf. There are really no other families homeschooling Classically (neoclassical or otherwise).  We do a lot at home. More than a lot of people. I do get the questions and the weird looks when people ask why we do what we do. We're just different. As we are starting high school classes, this seems to be more of an issue. 

Teaching a high school class at co-op has been eye-opening for me. The neurotypical kids, some of them, just don't really put an effort in.  So part of me is wondering--is EM right? Do we jump ship because my kids need to be around kids who will challenge them? How do you find community that challenges your kid? I don't want to do Classical Conversations for multiple reasons. My youngest wants to stay at co-op because his friends are there, but is it truly bad to keep your kids in an environment where perhaps they won't be "challenged" by those in the class?  

 

 

 

We eventually found community and academic challenge for dd at the CC 's Honors College. Of course that only works now that dd is 16, so it doesn't solve the whole problem.

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On 12/29/2019 at 2:05 PM, cintinative said:

From the old thread, page 2 by Esther Maria: "If I am reading you correctly, though, I know exactly what is the type of person you have in mind, I know them IRL. Run away from those in big leaps. 

 

I tried to find it, but I couldn't figure out what type of person she is referring to?  

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On 12/29/2019 at 2:05 PM, cintinative said:

 My youngest wants to stay at co-op because his friends are there, but is it truly bad to keep your kids in an environment where perhaps they won't be "challenged" by those in the class?  

 

Academically challenged is a nice to have but what was more important for my kids was being surrounded by people who would do the work and put in the effort even if it’s not their favorite subject and they are there because parents say so or because of high school credit. My kids not for credit German Saturday class has many who are respectful students, most are “average” but none are disruptive and all are putting at least minimum effort. My kids learned grit from their classmates, more important than being challenged by their classmates. 

My kids have the most luck with kids in private after school classes and summer classes. Those kids are there to do well and the private schools would call their parents if any kid’s attitude is bad. My kids know that I would hear about it from the admin if they slack or misbehave. 

On 12/30/2019 at 4:25 AM, Mom2mthj said:

Here in southeast Michigan (not the west Michigan homeschool hub) most of the homeschool classes are not co-ops, but paid classes with paid teachers.  However, we found that there was still this same lack of kids trying or parents doing much about it.  Most of them are also partnerships with a couple of local school districts that will pay if you enroll part-time.  

 

We had similar issues here where some parents treat those classes as free drop off babysitting and getting credit for math/science class as the course fees are paid by the public charter under the independent study program. My kids complained about classmates not doing their homework and prep work. Some disturbed the class but those were told to leave after a warning or two were sent to the public charter about the students’ unruly/disruptive behavior. We stopped attending those a few years ago.

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On 12/29/2019 at 6:25 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I don't know if challenge is the right word, but to find a high school group we fit into at all we essentially had to go online.

This was our situation, too.  My son who has always loved to write and discuss literature found his tribe in the younger years via Online g3 and CTY.  During the high school years, he loved his rhetoric sequence with Thomas Hummel at WTM Academy.  My other two enjoyed AoPS forums.  We didn't connect with any of the homeschoolers in our IRL community as all of the programs around us required me to sign a statement of faith, which I would not do.  

My kids' social circles were formed via their extracurricular activities.  Social and academic pursuits were always separate, not by choice, but out of necessity.  Thankfully, they all have found both academic challenge and  great social fits at their respective colleges.

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On 12/30/2019 at 1:17 AM, square_25 said:

I'm not homeschooling a high-schooler, so I don't really belong on this board, but I've worried about this a lot. If we put DD back in school for middle school or high school, it would be for the community. I was assuming there'd be lots of academic homeschoolers in NYC... and so far, that hasn't been my experience. We like the classes we take, I like the classes I've been teaching, but very few people seem to be doing this for academic reasons or to be taking academics particularly seriously. It's fine when DD is 7, but is it going to be fine when she's 13? I have no idea :-/. 

 

Try not to fret.  Your daughter will not be the same person at 13 that she is at 7.  She'll have new interests that may or may not have anything to do with academics, and she will find friends there.  I think it is very common for people to not emphasize academics for early elementary, (and there is a lot of research that says for many kids, it's better to wait).  

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

 

I tried to find it, but I couldn't figure out what type of person she is referring to?  

 

I really couldn't necessarily pin point it either, but I wasn't around when this was written, so maybe someone who is more familiar with her can speak to that. 

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On 12/30/2019 at 8:17 PM, square_25 said:

I'm not homeschooling a high-schooler, so I don't really belong on this board, but I've worried about this a lot. If we put DD back in school for middle school or high school, it would be for the community. I was assuming there'd be lots of academic homeschoolers in NYC... and so far, that hasn't been my experience. We like the classes we take, I like the classes I've been teaching, but very few people seem to be doing this for academic reasons or to be taking academics particularly seriously. It's fine when DD is 7, but is it going to be fine when she's 13? I have no idea :-/. 

My older boy never found an academic community in high school. He actually wrote about this for one of his admissions essays. I'm copying it here because it shows so clearly how a non-academic community made a massive difference in his life and goals. 

deleted

 

Edited by lewelma
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I was unable to find a homeschool community that was a fit for our academic standards. They have not found academic peers until starting college classes. Which, for DD, was age 14, and her best friends at that age were college seniors.

They still had friends and community - just not in any academic connection, and school was best not discussed. It was very lonely IRL for me as a homeschooling parent; I found community here on the forum. I have lovely friends who homeschool, but their academic expectations are completely different and we could never talk about schooling.

Edited by regentrude

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On 12/30/2019 at 1:17 AM, square_25 said:

I'm not homeschooling a high-schooler, so I don't really belong on this board, but I've worried about this a lot. If we put DD back in school for middle school or high school, it would be for the community. I was assuming there'd be lots of academic homeschoolers in NYC... and so far, that hasn't been my experience. We like the classes we take, I like the classes I've been teaching, but very few people seem to be doing this for academic reasons or to be taking academics particularly seriously. It's fine when DD is 7, but is it going to be fine when she's 13? I have no idea :-/. 

My DD started college classes at 14. That is where she found academic community. Otherwise, my kids found friends at choir, barn,. sports, and the homeschool group.

The "community" my DD experienced in the middle school (before we pulled her out) was horrific bullying; the girls were like wild animals, and the teachers did not intervene. If I could change ONE thing about my parenting past, it would be to never subject her to that school.

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We never really found our "tribe" in HSing. We participated in a co-op when DD was around 6yo--primarily for social activities/enrichment classes. I didn't want to hand over the academics to another person as I wanted the freedom. We stopped co-op after 3 yrs bc it didn't fit our needs plus DD became highly involved in a demanding activity/passion (which gave her a non-academic community). The (Christian) co-op also began to have some problems I did not want to deal with--bullying, goofing off, disrespect, and gossiping among the moms. So we HSd independently which enabled us to tailor everything to DDs strengths. It would have been nice to have another student supporting and encouraging her, but that wasn't going to happen so it was up to DH and me. We HSd like this all the way through high school and DD did great. I found a lot of helpful guidance from The HomeScholar (Lee Binz), HSLDA, online and books. It was a lot of hard work, but I'm grateful that DH and I followed God's plan and followed a course that was right for our DD.

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We had academic peers when we lived in a larger city but when we moved five years ago that dried up. The community where we live now just does not have families with the same academic goals. Ds started the homeschool co-op here in 7th grade and met kids he enjoyed. Over the next couple years he continued to interact with the kids but as he entered high school the differences just kept increasing. He really just felt like he was outgrowing the peer group because along with limited goal setting and limited aspirations for the future just came a limited view of the world and  dominant interests that my ds began to find immature. He tried to continue the co-op for social reasons but the kids started to drive him crazy with their lack of attention to school. He quit the co-op for 11th grade. He has remained good friends with one boy and they have a nice friendship. This boy is a hard worker and cares about school but is not at the same academic level as ds. Yet, this boy respects ds and doesn't disparage the time he spends working, etc. So a friend doesn't need to be working at the same level to be a good friend, but the friend does need to respect what you are doing and not mock the student for needing to spend time studying.

Ds has also met friends through 4-H that do not live locally but do take their academics seriously. They talk and support each other even though they can't see each other all the time. Ds also keeps in touch with other students he met through online classes at WTMA.

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5 hours ago, cintinative said:

 

I really couldn't necessarily pin point it either, but I wasn't around when this was written, so maybe someone who is more familiar with her can speak to that. 


She did kind of describes the people to avoid in her reply in the link you shared in your first post https://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/343938-rigor-threads/?do=findComment&comment=3567769

 

“It honestly completely blows my mind that not everyone thinks like that. It is one of those great mysteries of the universe that I cannot seem to even remotely grasp. I cannot grasp a mentality in which you do not want more, better, better in every generation, and in which you do not particularly care, and I cannot grasp not having a culture you wish to transmit, letting your child's education be decided on by the trivialities of case and what happens to be the pedagogical fad of the moment. 

Rigor and excellence not look the same in all places, but it is always about high standards in relation to what/who is being discussed. If people do not practice it, that is fine and that is their right, but the level of anti-intellectualism and lobbying for intellectual mediocrity that I can often read (thankfully, much less so on sites like this than in the general media) is stunning. I know from the experience of previous generations that the educated were always a minority, but it seems to me that the scorntowards learning as we know it today is a relatively new phenomenon and seems to have crept into many people who are just on the verge - enough to have scratched some surfaces, but way too little to have understood much. So they scorn. Because they cannot understand. And because they do not want anyone else to be excellent if they themselves are not. I have found it extremely difficult and overwhelming to attempt to discuss education with this type of person, so I do the bean dip thing. Thankfully, these boards are pretty sane.”

I do agree with her on this portion in the same post.

“Education is all they will ever truly have. Screw inherited wealth, historically it takes very little for some regime to rise to mess you up even if you believed you were "totally safe". Screw beauty and investing into body, I am not raising children with a "we will marry them off well" mentality which I positively loathe, and these things are a subject to much quicker disintegration and ruin than mind. A mind is its own category, the only thing truly worth investing into. Nobody can take your knowledge and your culture away from you. If we have children strong in these two areas, we have accomplished our goal, because those are the qualities they need to create, to get by, to succeed, to restart their lives from zero if necessary. ”

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My dd found her academic peers at PAH and SOHS.  She organized in person meetups with other local PAH students, and attended Susan Richman's end of year parties on her Pennsylvania farm.  There are lots of SOHS students locally, and we host some who fly in for local events.  

Prior to that, academics were done at home and we only socialized with other homeschoolers and it was great, particularly since many of our local homeschoolers follow a Waldorf-inspired approach.  While our family doesn't follow Waldorf, we were low-media and all about preserving childhood, so the social fit was perfect for us.  

"In all honesty, I do not understand the whole "I care not what others are doing" mentality."

I'm not sure why she's so upset about this.  Like I said, some of our dearest homeschooling friends were Waldorf-types, and we are not.  Who am I to judge another family's homeschooling style?  If it suits them, that's fine with me.  We chose to hang with them even though we weren't Waldorf types because we had commonality on parenting styles, which is rare enough.  

 

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Hey, hi, I'm just stopping in since I started it eight years ago.

The experience I had was criticism and being told that I was making a "beginner mistake" by caring about our kids being able to do at least grade-level work typical for their ages.  It was rare for me to meet other homeschoolers who shared this standard.  I was seen as uptight and unevolved, or not trusting the process of natural learning, or whatever. 🙄

Eventually I found a small group of moms who also had this view, that academic progress matters.   Interesting - down the road, all of us ended up having some but not all of our kids in public school later on, either full time or part time.   Our family's current configuration is one in full time middle school, who will attend high school full time as well, and the other doing correspondence high school with me as the tutor, and taking one class at the local high school.   These other families have similar arrangements. 

I'm not involved in the homeschooling community at all anymore, but I still have the connections with that small group of moms.  My years in were a bit lonely.  The combination of caring about academics while dealing with specific learning disabilities that slowed things down meant that I rarely found anyone IRL who could really understand.  But this small group of moms was helpful - they had their own challenges with their own kids, and they knew my kids, and in some cases, taught them at the co-op.  So it was a support for me.  It wasn't ever a tight social group for the kids, although they do know each other and are friendly when we see each other.   Mine ended up finding their social groups at school.  

I was never able to relate to the people who just left academic progress to happen on its own.  It is something I don't understand or agree with.  I chose to avoid discussions of homeschooling with them - just changed the subject and talked about something else.  I wish them well but we'll never be tuned into the same station. 

 

 

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Our community isn’t rigorous. So we count co-op as a weekend day. It’s all fun classes. Even local community college I wouldn’t call rigorous. It’s hard for my son when he’s working (required at least 6 hr a day.) but his friends are done with work or have no work. It makes him have a bad attitude. I worry I wasn’t rigorous enough for university. I’m hoping he finds people at the university level that are dedicated to their path. 

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I don't join coops for this reason - what we do academically at home doesn't compare to what they do there, and I'm not even anywhere close to as rigorous as many on here are. So we hit the books hard 4 days a week and then the 5th day we do either speech and debate club or drama club. I've found that the kids who are involved in these ECs do put a significant amount of effort into them and their "EC level" for lack of a better word is more similar to my kids' than perhaps their academic studies are.

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We live where there are no coops, though a few within a 2 hour drive.  I've read about them over the years and visualize this whole alternate homeschool universe built in my mind - I imagine them as sort of like school, then imagine myself being socially awkward at them, trying to be a school mom, then leaving!  But I can relate to the question of how to find peers for my kids or myself who value rigor.  I've had a lot of well, your family is just crazy reactions over the years to our approach.  

My older three had zero academic peers until they went to college, other than through DE for the boys and very far away orchestras for dd.  My youngest did have a peer group of young homeschoolers with whom we shared a few parent-taught classes, but it was rough.  I guess you could call it coop, though we never defined it as that.  The other moms were so weirdly competitive and I'm not even sure over what, really.  It didn't help that I'm so much older than them.  Dd is my last, they were on their firsts.  It was me gritting my teeth and sticking with it, to try to give youngest dd a social life and be the kind of homeschool mom I'd read about. What a mistake.

This "coop"  did two bad things for her: gave her a strangely un-homeschool outlook on pecking order and girly gossip stuff, ugh, and somehow managed to convince her she could do just what the other parent/teacher asked and no more, no matter how interesting she found the subject or how many more levels of inquiry I suggested she incorporate.  And then argued with me over whether she should or not.  I very much regret sticking it out.  Now that the other kids involved have gone off to public high school and we're the only homeschoolers we know, again, I've found community here but she has no academic community.  In a way, I'm looking at this year as an opportunity for her to "unlearn" damaging ideas she adopted through this past group - which on my bad days I growl about along the lines of "this is why we homeschooled, why am I having to listen to this..."  I feel hopeful so far as she seems to be blossoming out of that earlier stage.  It hasn't been just me, my husband and older kids have been confused by it too.  It's been a family group effort to bring her around.

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There was a very short time in the early years (well, probably the first or second year) of homeschooling that I thought a co-op would be valuable. Realized fairly quickly that I did not care to tie our academics to someone else's wagon. Too many things can go wrong when you are relying on a group of varied people to contribute to your children'\s education. It was similar to the school-in-a-box that we rejected quickly too: some things may fit, but it's likely a lot of it won't. On occasion we took advantage of single classes that fit a hole we needed to fill, but it just didn't make sense for the most part.

I'm not sure I have ever met anyone who educated the way we did. High standards for materials, but not rigid at all. We were not creative at all either. 🙂 I liked things that were open and go, because I was a failure at class prep. We were definitely not "delight-driven", though I did try to fit the education to the kid to an extent.

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I honestly don't know how I feel about this. I fluctuate so much in how I feel depending on life at the moment. I know I had this Ester Maria quote written down in a notebook years ago "Do not cultivate mediocrity. It will grow all around you, but you do not have to cultivate it in your little corner of the world where you live with your family." It was interesting to read it again today. I know my ideals started out a lot higher when my oldest was young and I was younger, too. I got tired somewhere along the way, and not having other families doing similar things contributed to that. At the MNO curriculum night a few years ago, I shared some fun things - maybe some Ellen McHenry stuff and some Beast Academy? After I got done sharing, the moderator told the group that they shouldn't feel like they need to do that stuff. Anyhow, I got tired. My line in the sand is that my kids will get a better education than I got. The classes I design for them are better, I'm pretty sure, than what I got. They are not as rich as I dreamed about when they were younger. I can think of at least three reasons. First, I am tired. I got sick about 5 years ago and haven't gotten my mojo back. I often run out of time before I can do all the things with all the kids. And, I kind of feel like there is no making up our shortcomings now. That is absolutely the wrong attitude, but it is where I am at this year. Second, we don't have a peer group that encourages the kids (and me!) to do better. Dd is kind of treated like a freak for doing Latin and Calculus. The kids have finally met some friends that take school more seriously. Our goals are different enough that we won't fill the "iron sharpens iron" role for each other, but the kids were really happy to meet other older kids who had to do stuff. Third, I have heard so much about high school kids working until late at night on AP classes and stressing over making sure they can get into a competitive college. I was...nope. So we do enough to earn solid credit (except probably writing, which we don't really do enough of) and then I make sure the kids have down time before I add more depth. I guess I have chosen to cultivate mediocrity for now. I may eventually get my drive back.

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8 hours ago, Meriwether said:

 Third, I have heard so much about high school kids working until late at night on AP classes and stressing over making sure they can get into a competitive college. I was...nope. So we do enough to earn solid credit (except probably writing, which we don't really do enough of) and then I make sure the kids have down time before I add more depth. I guess I have chosen to cultivate mediocrity for now. I may eventually get my drive back.

We considered and rejected the all AP path at our closest public school and the DE magnet school because of the ridiculous homework expectations. Looking back on it, this was the right choice. It never fails to boggle my mind that the DE high school snows their students under with hours of low level homework for the high school level classes they teach while the CC classes require fewer hours at much higher levels of thought and written output. There is a huge disconnect even in a program that should know exactly what they're aiming for. IMHO, rigor is not spending hours every night demonstrating that you have memorized the contents of the chapter assigned. It's being able to apply that knowledge to novel situations with a well thought out essay or the solution of problems that are not the same ones from the book with different numbers. 

I think there are two factors that make high school classes both time consuming and lacking in rigor at the same time. First, the teacher needs to fill up 5 class periods a week and that's a lot of time to fill with scintillating discussion, especially with uninterested teens who may not have done the reading and who definitely don't want to stand out from their peers even if they love the topic. It's much easier to lead a discussion that fills 3 class periods a week with students who are a wider age range and have different life experiences and don't have to worry about whether or not they'll be talked about at the lunch table. High schools also have to make their grades as non-subjective as possible because so much rides on them. In Texas, admission to state universities is guaranteed to the top students in the class. That causes a huge amount of competition and complaining if the work isn't standardized. It also encourages assigning points for every little thing and generating lots of assignments that will winnow down the field of students in the most objective way possible. Because admission to UT might hinge on decimals of a point of GPA over the course of three years, teachers don't want to be the person that can be blamed. I can understand that. I'm sure I'd do the same thing. But it leads to the homework avalanche and the constant quizzes to check memorization, not to true learning or even solid preparation for actual college classes instead of APs.

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9 hours ago, Meriwether said:

I honestly don't know how I feel about this. I fluctuate so much in how I feel depending on life at the moment. I know I had this Ester Maria quote written down in a notebook years ago "Do not cultivate mediocrity. It will grow all around you, but you do not have to cultivate it in your little corner of the world where you live with your family." It was interesting to read it again today. I know my ideals started out a lot higher when my oldest was young and I was younger, too. I got tired somewhere along the way, and not having other families doing similar things contributed to that. At the MNO curriculum night a few years ago, I shared some fun things - maybe some Ellen McHenry stuff and some Beast Academy? After I got done sharing, the moderator told the group that they shouldn't feel like they need to do that stuff. Anyhow, I got tired. My line in the sand is that my kids will get a better education than I got. The classes I design for them are better, I'm pretty sure, than what I got. They are not as rich as I dreamed about when they were younger. I can think of at least three reasons. First, I am tired. I got sick about 5 years ago and haven't gotten my mojo back. I often run out of time before I can do all the things with all the kids. And, I kind of feel like there is no making up our shortcomings now. That is absolutely the wrong attitude, but it is where I am at this year. Second, we don't have a peer group that encourages the kids (and me!) to do better. Dd is kind of treated like a freak for doing Latin and Calculus. The kids have finally met some friends that take school more seriously. Our goals are different enough that we won't fill the "iron sharpens iron" role for each other, but the kids were really happy to meet other older kids who had to do stuff. Third, I have heard so much about high school kids working until late at night on AP classes and stressing over making sure they can get into a competitive college. I was...nope. So we do enough to earn solid credit (except probably writing, which we don't really do enough of) and then I make sure the kids have down time before I add more depth. I guess I have chosen to cultivate mediocrity for now. I may eventually get my drive back.

 

From looking at your signature I would not describe you as "cultivating mediocrity"  😃. I can relate to some of what you are saying here, including the personal physical health piece.  I do think my goal is to give my kids a better education than I had.  I struggle with some subjects where I don't feel equipped/passionate enough but there is no "perfect" resource to fill that gap.  

I was in a meeting recently where someone used the expression "failing forward."  Sometimes I feel like that is what I am doing. Good intentions? Yes. Things planned out? Yes.  Perfect, achieving the ideals I set out for? No. 

For the community element, I agree that there is the peer element for us as moms and then there is the peer element for the kids. As my kids approach high school, these things seem bigger to me.

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47 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

 

 

47 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

From looking at your signature I would not describe you as "cultivating mediocrity"  😃.

I haven't looked at my signature lately. It is probably both old and...optimistic. LOL Somehow we never get done everything I hope we will at the beginning of the year.

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I don't know anyone IRL as focused on academics as we are, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Conversing about academics and goals in real life is tricky! This electronic space we have is so valuable because I get to talk to, question, and listen to (often asynchronously) people it might not work to spend time with in person - our dc are all different ages and we all have different ECs pulling us this way and that during our "discretionary" time. Most of all, though, we are all different academically, although here more than elsewhere we share similar goals. I can't keep up with a certain poster's writing goals and accomplishments or another's math progression. If I compare myself to that person's literature discussion abilities and that other one's foreign language accomplishments I am a failure. The beauty is that we all keep posting. So I can see what things are possible and what levels I can shoot for, even if I know I can't pull off that level of achievement with my dc. THIS is where I get glimpses of what to strive for.

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@Meriwether I just wanted to thank you for your post. I don’t have a high schooler yet so just lurking in this thread but I really identified with what you wrote.

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