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Harvard Magazine Article: "The Risks of Homeschooling"


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I didn’t read the article you linked because I know it would make my blood boil, but I have listened to several podcasts and read several articles about this conference.  The long and short is that it’s a handful of people who seem to misunderstand the whole concept of parental rights.  They are less opposed to homeschooling than they are to the “evils” of evangelical Christian homeschooling.  The group doesn’t even pretend to be fair in their presentation of the issue if you look at the list of speakers.

I’m trying to get comfortable with the fact that people will always disapprove of something I’m doing.  Always.  I’m good with that, as long as their opinion remains just that, and doesn’t try to shape the law.

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17 minutes ago, cintinative said:

https://harvardmagazine.com/2020/05/right-now-risks-homeschooling?fbclid=IwAR2ciu3mRrix1jEaXw531xZZk0kW72xqp_7VqcmmTurioxItmXUN07DWrlI

I will fully admit to not being in the know about the latest happenings at Ivy schools lately, but this article is so poorly supported I am shocked they published it. 

I saw that, it's a head scratcher for sure. Why publish it now, when all the public and private kids are suddenly stuck at home? Where does the author pull their statistics from--90% of homeschoolers are motivated by religion? A memoir by someone who had an extreme childhood with a mentally ill, paranoid father and a mother suffering from traumatic brain injury is held up as an example of why nobody should be allowed to homeschool?

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Wow, no evidence, just a single outrageous anecdote from a woman who has a profit motive for sensationalizing her experience? The argument is so poorly supported that if my high school or middle school student turned it in I'd make them rewrite it. 

She basically says that the purpose of schooling is to indoctrinate kids in the nation's cultural values, to prevent their parents' ideas from warping them. At least she's open about her reasons? 

What's funny is none of the people I know homeschooling to promote fundamental Christianity. They do, however, want to raise their kids outside the dominate culture - but it is the culture of consumerism, of keeping up with the Jonses, of every man for himself, that they are against. So yeah, I guess that would be dangerous in her view. 

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The insane thing is that one could take terrible examples from public school to make the exact opposite argument. It’s completely nonsensical and irresponsible.

And I say that as someone with direct experience with teachers being children’s saviors. I don’t underestimate the role they, unfortunately, play in the lives of at-risk children. But the uninspired, uninformed, and unhelpful “something should be done” is not banning homeschooling.

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Oh my. Surely it's been two decades since I was last able to play a proper round of Homeschool Trope Bingo?

Why, after all this time, does this particular zombie shamble out, blinking and coughing, into the sun? My guess is that one Harvard faculty member too many noticed the awfulness of the materials his child's school was sending home and thought he could probably do better himself. Just, you know, for the duration.

Can't have that kind of thinking catching on. It could spread like a virus. 

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I skimmed the article. For the record, I am a public school parent contemplating and most probably will homeschool later this year in all probability. Though I am deeply involved as a part in my kids education,  I am not fully responsible yet. But I will homeschool them rather than send them out to school with an infectious, contagious disease with no cure or vaccine in the neighborhood. I have two science degrees, so does my husband. Between us we can homeschool well, though the arts would probably suffer. We don't need public school to expose our kids "democratic values, ideas about non-discrimination and tolerance of other's viewpoints". 😖. Our lifestyle will teach them that. 

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9 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

That article is absolutely silly. Laughable. Didn’t even make me mad it was so badly done. Wow. 

I personally held it in until the very end, when the ritual intoning of "... Something Ought To Be Done" was too much for me. Sure and we'll get on that right away! Just as soon as fifty million American households are all done with their mandatory homeschooling.

The illustration is fantastic. I think I last saw one like that in an old copy of The Teaching Home

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I think that the author would have done better to simply focus on the academic risks of homeschooling.  Frankly, I think that educational neglect in the homeschooling community is pervasive, especially the older kids get, and it should fall on the parents to prove their ability to homeschool properly.

This website is worth a gander for anyone who is interested in this issue.

Edited by EKS
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Okay.  I broke down and read it. That’s five minutes of my life I’ll never get back.  I especially liked the idea of this swath of Homeschoolers out in the world who can’t read or write.  Laughable.

When dinosaurs roamed the earth, I taught junior English.  Texas policy at the time was that a child must not be given (note the use of the verb ‘given’) a grade lower than 50.  I had a student in my class who REFUSED to even write his name on top of a paper, much less do any work the entire semester.  It was his third time through eleventh grade English (semester system).  I was called into the principal’s office where I was more or less begged to give this child credit for my class so that he could graduate.  He had been in the school system for eleven years, just sitting in his desk this way for years! I dare anyone who has taught in a public school to tell me that it has the ability to educate every child.  I saw things such as this way  too often.

I at least appreciate the fact that the author of the article is clear that indoctrination is her desired aim of education.  I appreciate her honesty.

 

I cannot get my phone to not capitalize Homeschoolers!!! Ugh!

Edited by Hadley
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2 minutes ago, Hadley said:

Texas policy at the time was that a child must not be given (note the use of the verb ‘given’) a grade lower than 50.

This is because everything is done using percentages, but only certain sorts of assessments should be graded in terms of a percent.  Far better would be to adjust what is meant by A, B, C, etc.

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90% motivated mostly by conservative Christianity? These days? I don't buy it in the least. Like, "some think" that? What kind of guesswork crap is that? In fact, the surveys I've seen most recently had things other than religion as the first motive for homeschooling.

Of course, it's complete guesswork as we don't have many scientific studies of homeschooling.

It's definitely the case that homeschooling can be used to mask abuse. In a small subset of the homeschool community, there is more abuse than in the community at large. But we don't know how much. Our evidence is primarily anecdotal. 

I'm actually sympathetic to the idea that there might be ways that regulation could mitigate abuse. For example, I think CRHE's suggestion that all homeschooled children must have a well visit with their pediatrician every year is worth exploring. I think that while it's not particularly enforceable, giving homeschooled alums the basic right to records of their schooling is a good thing to put into legal homeschool guidelines (I've seen too many stories of families who withhold home based transcripts and other documents for young adult children who are making choices they don't like as a method of control). But this piece is so vague beyond instilling community values that it's just useless.

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. Homeschoolers need a national pro-homeschooling advocacy group that is not the fear-mongering, right-wing, homophobic HSLDA to be a reasonable voice in conversations like that Harvard summit, like when there are articles, like when issues and legislation arise. Some states have statewide groups that do that (though more have state level HSLDA aligned groups). But we need better spokespeople.

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Agree we need better spokespeople.  The system could be better at identifying abuse in many arenas.  It's not like teachers can't and don't abuse children.  Our state has kind of a middle ground of homeschool hoop jumping/oversight and I am absolutely fine with it.   Our state also has a nice secular inclusive organization and I'm surprised there isn't anything quite like it at the national level.  

I am absolutely amazed Harvard magazine would publish such unsupported drivel.  Pick a group of people you have strong opinions about and try to enforce policy based on absolutely no data/science.  It's an op ed piece.  Most op ed pieces don't get their own "conferences".  Don't bother posting comments, they won't get through.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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58 minutes ago, EKS said:

This is because everything is done using percentages, but only certain sorts of assessments should be graded in terms of a percent.  Far better would be to adjust what is meant by A, B, C, etc.

I hear you, but you can’t get blood from a turnip!  This kid had actually done 0% of his work.  I didn’t have magic numbers to make 50%.  Anyways, that was years and several states ago for me.  I’m obviously still just dumbfounded 🤨.

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13 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

On the other hand, a lot of them could stand to have more structure and challenge than they have. (I see a lot of people relying on coop classes or online education.) 

 

Why are co-op classes or online classes an issue?  Both my high schoolers used these prior to dual enrolling.  My oldest is at a top 15 public university and has a 4.0.  The homeschool thing that says you have to do it all under your own power under your own roof is another form of judgment.  You do you.  

I actually think if there were actual data from a broad based study saying the average homeschooler is less well educated than the average public school graduate, oversight may get more support from all corners.  Again, I have absolutely NO issue with our state's requirements (which include annual normed testing).  And we are not remotely religious.  My oldest did go to a PS for 2 years and it was failing him.

We walk mostly in secular circles and have for going on 13 years and I've seen even very relaxed families have kids successful post graduation including at a range of colleges.  Not every kid can or should be college bound.  I also see that more out of the box kids may have homeschooled and those kids wouldn't have been your award winning ivy bound kids in any school setting.  Some kids that may have struggled with mental illness in a school setting have more space and time to mature.  Anyway - I strongly support the public school system but I would support a lot of educational reforms.  But parenting and education is far from one size fits all.  There are plenty of kids that can't read and write or communicate well that come out of the average public school system.  

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2 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

The illustration is fantastic. I think I last saw one like that in an old copy of The Teaching Home

Anybody notice the misspelled word in the illustration?

This article, like the conference that inspired it, is a joke. If this is what passes for research at the Ivies these days, we'll pass.

I agree that the homeschool community could use a national advocate that isn't HSLDA. And I say that as a conservative, religious person (who does not homeschool primarily for religious or political reasons). I wish some of our very astute, informed, and capable boardies would head that up. I'd be happy to join in!

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

(I see a lot of people relying on coop classes or online education.) 

I'm sure you didn't mean online classes when you said this since you teach some. :) Perhaps you meant, "sitting young children in front of a screen all day long without interacting with them and expecting the computer to educate them"? Or the parents who want a free, no-work-for-them, online, school-at-home program?

50 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Anybody notice the misspelled word in the illustration?

The illustrator is Robert Neubecker. I couldn't find where he went to school before attending the Parsons School of Design. He writes childrens' books. Perhaps the author used it as an example of those parents who can't teach their own children because they are themselves under or un-educated?

I know there are "bad" homeschooling parents out there just like there are "bad" parents and "bad" teachers. I'm not sure more legislation is the answer. (Aren't teachers pretty roped in with rules? Do more laws help kids not slip through the cracks?)

This might be one of those fundamental differences of opinions. Bad apples will find a way to do their evil no matter the rules. (Criminals & mentally ill bring guns into gun-free zones, for example.) More rules might cut down on some issues but the egregious offenders will still do their thing. 

As far as the article, I think this quote is absolutely true, just not in the way the speaker meant it. Government-run schools would be "powerful people," IMO, and I don't want my kids' education or lives to be ruined by them.

Bartholet says, “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”

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I read it to my husband and he replied with "seig heil" which I think is pretty on point. Parents should not be trusted with 24/7 access to their own children? And how can I take you seriously with the slew of factual errors? This woman is an idiot.

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4 hours ago, Hadley said:

Okay.  I broke down and read it. That’s five minutes of my life I’ll never get back.  I especially liked the idea of this swath of Homeschoolers out in the world who can’t read or write.  Laughable.

When dinosaurs roamed the earth, I taught junior English.  Texas policy at the time was that a child must not be given (note the use of the verb ‘given’) a grade lower than 50.  I had a student in my class who REFUSED to even write his name on top of a paper, much less do any work the entire semester.  It was his third time through eleventh grade English (semester system).  I was called into the principal’s office where I was more or less begged to give this child credit for my class so that he could graduate.  He had been in the school system for eleven years, just sitting in his desk this way for years! I dare anyone who has taught in a public school to tell me that it has the ability to educate every child.  I saw things such as this way  too often.

I at least appreciate the fact that the author of the article is clear that indoctrination is her desired aim of education.  I appreciate her honesty.

 

I cannot get my phone to not capitalize Homeschoolers!!! Ugh!

And who taught those illiterate people? Probably public schools!

The whole thing is ridiculous. 

Also, I'm not against some regulation. I think my state has a good balance. You can do standardized and proctored testing, OR a portfolio of work reviewed by a certified teacher, of your choosing. Either involves your child being seen and talked to by someone other than you, but you have control over who that is, not some government disgruntled employee with a bone to pick. Either shows you are doing SOMETHING, but you don't have to do any one thing in particular. Just show the child is "making progress commensurate with ability" but nothing says what areas the progress has to be in. They just have to be learning. 

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

 

I'm also very pro-regulation. I'd prefer ones that involve contact with a human being, though -- in NY, the paperwork makes it a "high regulation" state, but really no one reads the paperwork and you can submit formulaic one sentence reports without anyone stopping you (and I do that, frankly, because I have no desire to make more work for myself.) 

Anyway, I'm sure there's a range of approaches that work :-). Just reporting on my own experiences. 

Why should homeschoolers have more oversight than a school?  When someone sits down and analyzes each child for educational and socio-emotional fit every year, I'll be happy to sign up my homeschool kid for it.  Again, education isn't one size fits all.  My kid was failed educationally and socially by a public school and no one in the building seemed to care.  Again, I am not anti-regulation. But I certainly don't think I should have to jump through more hoops than my local public school.  If a family has reason to need more oversight, that is another situation that should be followed by social services.  

I just caught your oldest is 7. People choose to home educate for many reasons.  Just because someone doesn't do it your way or to your standard does not mean it is wrong.

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Out of curiosity, are there statistics anywhere about percentage of children from (known) abusive homes in homeschool vs public school, percentage of children who continue on to college/trade school in homeschool vs public school, percentage of children who eventually have a criminal record who were educated in homeschool vs public school, etc.?  

I see that the article's author is big on child advocacy.  (I researched some of her articles.)  I guess she's just extending that to homeschooling, but doesn't seem to have the concrete evidence to support her claims.

Edited by J-rap
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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

I'm also very pro-regulation. I'd prefer ones that involve contact with a human being, though

I agree with this. 

In our state, there are minimal regulations that aren't enforced--at least they aren't in our district.  You have to file an intent to homeschool form--which I know for a fact no one is checking up on though technically kids are considered truant it isn't done.  And you have to do either a portfolio or a standardized test each year--which the regulations actually say isn't enforced.  I think that school districts should get money for the homeschoolers they oversee so that they can actually hire people whose job it is to enforce the regulations.

I would be in favor of requiring a portfolio that is reviewed with an actual human being, a standardized test, a yearly physical, and proof of immunization.  I also think that for high school students, parents should be required to file a transcript and course descriptions each year as part of the annual review, and the student should be able to access those records directly.  And I think that all of this data should be tracked so that future tweaks to the system can be based on something other than feelings.

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

 

It depends on the quality of the coop classes. It's very high variance. Taking classes by totally unqualified teachers and doing Acellus for math isn't enough, in my opinion. But yes, I'm sure there's a responsible way to do it. 

I think it's very hard to get data on homeschoolers, which is part of the problem. We did public school for kindergarten and it absolutely didn't work for us, so I totally understand where you're coming from. 

I'm also very pro-regulation. I'd prefer ones that involve contact with a human being, though -- in NY, the paperwork makes it a "high regulation" state, but really no one reads the paperwork and you can submit formulaic one sentence reports without anyone stopping you (and I do that, frankly, because I have no desire to make more work for myself.) 

Anyway, I'm sure there's a range of approaches that work :-). Just reporting on my own experiences. 

 

My experience with regulation is that I managed to give my older kids a fantastic education in spite of the human beings assigned to regulate us 🙂 We participated in the public programs for homeschoolers in our state simply for access to the funding, and I graduated two high achievers. One of whom graduates from Princeton this year, having maintained a spot in the top quintile of her class all four years, despite her exceptionally challenging program of electrical engineering and Chinese. And, yes, she used co-op classes and online classes extensively in high school . Her physics and chemistry was the much maligned Apologia with co-op labs, and her biology and comp sci was PAH.

Sponsor teachers were decent people, for the most part, and meant well. But they weren't well-versed, generally, in how homeschooling for excellence works. They are trained in public education and classroom management. It's a different animal. They could be completely clueless at times.

I do know kids that skated through their homeschool programs (even with regulation, because most here participate in the government programs.) Some are doing fine in life, some are not. I think that would have been the case if they attended our local schools as well. My youngest has been in the public schools since 5th grade. It's an inferior education in the best of times. She's there because she wants to be, and life is full of compromises 🙂 I am not seeing kids coming out of that system with very different outcomes than those of the local homeschoolers.

Edited by GoodGrief
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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Oh, I'm not really singing the praises of public schools ;-). I think most of them result in a subpar education. It's just that when we started homeschooling, I was hoping there'd be more people homeschooling for reasons of academic excellence, and I'm not finding that, on average. Call me naive! 

My experience is that there are not a  high percentage of people in general concerned about top academics for their kids, public, private, or homeschool. The ones that do want that get a fair amount of attention though. Most people are middle of the road. And despite what we did with our kids, I'm not always sure that "academic excellence" is a worthy goal in raising human beings. I do know that it is probably not a good idea to have one random government employee's ideas about education foisted onto someone else. And I am speaking as someone who has been supported by government employment my entire life. You do become jaded.

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5 minutes ago, square_25 said:

It's just that when we started homeschooling, I was hoping there'd be more people homeschooling for reasons of academic excellence, and I'm not finding that, on average.

The overwhelming majority of the people in this country have no idea what academic excellence is--and this includes most people with college degrees.

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Homeschoolers do not need "more" regulation than public schools. That's silly. But saying that there should be some regulation is not the same as supporting more than schools. The amount of regulation and oversight in public schools is truly immense. Does it always prevent problems? Of course not! But it's also a much bigger system with completely different issues.

I think NY's regulation is absurd. I'm not sure who it's helping. Homeschool access to colleges is dramatically hurt by it, especially from out of state. I'm not impressed much by that.

I think MD's regulation is also way overboard just because they utilize so many people who have only the vaguest sense of the law and who constantly ask for things not in the law. So then it drives people to umbrellas. Which is fine, but the cost is high and I don't like that. One side effect I see reading statewide groups right now is that homeschoolers in MD are so much more likely than any other state level groups I look at to gravitate toward low end online options like T4L and Power Homeschool (gag) and I blame the regulations.

I think VA has the right idea overall. Super easy filing process. Super easy default option of testing and testing can include several options that are untimed and easier. But two alternative ways to get around that for students who can't test.

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Remember the day when our emojis went giant-sized? I’m kind of wishing I had a giant eye-roll emoji for that author right now. (And no, this has nothing- ok, very little - to do with the fact that as a Tribe mom, I am required to roll my eyes every time the H-school is mentioned. Some of you will understand this, I am sure.😉

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Thanks for the heads-up, ladies, and thanks for reading it so I don't have to.  I've been homeschooling for almost 30 years and I just want to make it through these last three years with the love, motivation, and devotion to excellence I have always tried to express in this, my chosen "career."   Please, Farrar, somebody, create that new advocacy group.  I will be your support staff.

Edited by Harpymom
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I've thought about really trying to start a better advocacy group. And talked to a few names bigger than mine in homeschooling who are maybe on board with it (like the SEA folks). I worry that I'm not the right person to do it, but this has bugged me for a solid  decade. There needs to be a not right wing or religious affiliated voice that speaks for mainstream homeschoolers. Because right now, when articles and so forth are written or issues are debated outside the homeschool community, there's really just HSLDA (who, I'm sorry, but they do not speak for me or any of the IRL homeschoolers I know), CRHE (which is a group I respect, but obviously are not aligned with our interests), and occasionally now the National Homeschool Research Institute, which from  what I can tell is run by religious-based homeschoolers and just feed right back into the HSLDA world (in fact, if anyone has a sense of their motivations, I'd love to know - like, the fact that all their "about" homeschooling links are TOS and HSLDA and CC and so forth does NOT inspire any confidence in them as spokespeople for folks like me).

From what I can see, a lot of the media has gotten sick of HSLDA and no longer even call on them for civil conversations around homeschooling. They're just there for the wild pull quote in articles. And that's not what we want. 

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1 hour ago, GoodGrief1 said:

My experience is that there are not a  high percentage of people in general concerned about top academics for their kids, public, private, or homeschool. The ones that do want that get a fair amount of attention though. Most people are middle of the road. And despite what we did with our kids, I'm not always sure that "academic excellence" is a worthy goal in raising human beings. I do know that it is probably not a good idea to have one random government employee's ideas about education foisted onto someone else. And I am speaking as someone who has been supported by government employment my entire life. You do become jaded.

I'm one who has, in trying to meet the needs of my actual children vs. any idealized imaginary child, mostly prioritized things other than academic excellence. 

My first priority has been mental health, with everything in the context of holistic human development. Academic learning is one factor, but is not more important overall than social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development and well-being.

Of my children who are old enough that I have some sense of what paths they may take in life, I have one who may excel academically--I suspect he might end up as an engineer or some such, he is my kid who is constantly wondering and thinking about and questioning the whys and hows of things. For most of my kids, I'm aiming for enough academics that they can go on to higher education and be productive adults but I'm much more concerned with helping them develop a solid social and emotional foundation to carry with them into adulthood. 

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

 

Well, I don't think it's the only possible goal, but I care about it :-). I mean something broad by it, though. The ability to learn? The ability to know what you know and what you don't know? A taste for what it feels like to be truly excellent at something? I don't know. But I agree with @EKS that very few people know what academic excellence is. 

I do also want my kids to be good people, though. Although in my head, the two are at least somewhat connected... 

 Often the educational accountability focuses, by necessity, on methods that are easy to document. And that is why I cringe when I hear people calling for more accountability and oversight. I think they mean well. Some competencies do not lend themselves to a portfolio, but are no less valuable/essential. I know plenty of kids whose education looked questionable, though I would say that in many ways they are more competent in areas than my Princeton kid. Society needs all the types and methods, and I am reluctant to let bureaucracy get in the way.

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1 minute ago, GoodGrief1 said:

 Often the educational accountability focuses, by necessity, on methods that are easy to document. And that is why I cringe when I hear people calling for more accountability and oversight. I think they mean well. Some competencies do not lend themselves to a portfolio, but are no less valuable/essential. I know plenty of kids whose education looked questionable, though I would say that in many ways they are more competent in areas than my Princeton kid. Society needs all the types and methods, and I am reluctant to let bureaucracy get in the way.

Yeah; I've cringed when reading about CRHE pushing for standardized testing starting in second grade as a requirement for homeschoolers. Administering standardized tests to seven year olds is highly questionable as a method of ensuring appropriate education.

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7 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

 Often the educational accountability focuses, by necessity, on methods that are easy to document. And that is why I cringe when I hear people calling for more accountability and oversight. I think they mean well. Some competencies do not lend themselves to a portfolio, but are no less valuable/essential. I know plenty of kids whose education looked questionable, though I would say that in many ways they are more competent in areas than my Princeton kid. Society needs all the types and methods, and I am reluctant to let bureaucracy get in the way.

I agree so much with this.  I have a very tightly wound high achiever.  It’s not all roses.  There is more to a life well lived than a test score.

One of his best friends is homeschooled in a manner that looks NOTHING like my homeschool.  On paper, he is not academically at the top of the pyramid.  In person, he is nothing short of amazing. This kid, too, will lead a successful life.  He has skills and talents that my child does not.  

The beauty of homeschool is that we get to educate people, not widgets.  When home education changes to the point that we can’t educate the whole child, it’s game over.

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2 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

 I’ve been pretty happy with Ohio too, now that I’m used to it. Filing with the district with a curriculum plan, testing or portfolio reviewed by a licensed teacher plus basic subjects covered and a minimum time requirement for school hours.  The latter most is the one I struggle with because it requires pretty extensive documentation for me, I’m not willing to just guesstimate.  But overall it’s easy enough and pretty flexible for different types of teaching and programs.

 

I have never tracked hours and I don't know anyone who does. Maybe that's wrong but I was always told it was not necessary.

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2 hours ago, maize said:

I'm one who has, in trying to meet the needs of my actual children vs. any idealized imaginary child, mostly prioritized things other than academic excellence. 

My first priority has been mental health, with everything in the context of holistic human development. Academic learning is one factor, but is not more important overall than social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development and well-being.

Of my children who are old enough that I have some sense of what paths they may take in life, I have one who may excel academically--I suspect he might end up as an engineer or some such, he is my kid who is constantly wondering and thinking about and questioning the whys and hows of things. For most of my kids, I'm aiming for enough academics that they can go on to higher education and be productive adults but I'm much more concerned with helping them develop a solid social and emotional foundation to carry with them into adulthood. 

Oh this 1000times. Parents who don’t have kids who struggle with mental illness often just. Don’t. Get. It. I have a college senior who is taking a semester off to figure out some mental health stuff. I’m at the point where if the best decision is for her to not go back and finish, so be it. Five years ago that view point would have horrified me but alive and functioning is way better than the alternative.

1 hour ago, Hadley said:

I agree so much with this.  I have a very tightly wound high achiever.  It’s not all roses.  There is more to a life well lived than a test score.

One of his best friends is homeschooled in a manner that looks NOTHING like my homeschool.  On paper, he is not academically at the top of the pyramid.  In person, he is nothing short of amazing. This kid, too, will lead a successful life.  He has skills and talents that my child does not.  

The beauty of homeschool is that we get to educate people, not widgets.  When home education changes to the point that we can’t educate the whole child, it’s game over.

Yep.

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11 hours ago, maize said:

I saw that, it's a head scratcher for sure. Why publish it now, when all the public and private kids are suddenly stuck at home? Where does the author pull their statistics from--90% of homeschoolers are motivated by religion? A memoir by someone who had an extreme childhood with a mentally ill, paranoid father and a mother suffering from traumatic brain injury is held up as an example of why nobody should be allowed to homeschool?

To prevent families from getting any crazy ideas while they're forced into home learning, of course.  🙂 

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Yes. I had to warn my friends about my white supremacist, female subservient, abusive teachings. I figured they had a right to know I'm an illiterate conservative Christian whose children will never contribute to a democratic society or have an independent thought. It seemed to be the right thing to do. 

 

🤣🤣🤣

Edited by Plum
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I'm all for portfolios and standardized testing, but I really don't see the point of tracking hours.  I mean, couldn't you easily fake that?  

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I had a lovely family member put this article on my FB page today.  My reply was “Oh no!  A homeschooled child could be abused!  Homeschooling should not be allowed.  It is a good thing abuse could never happen if all those homeschoolers enrolled in public school”

and then I added this link

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/media-and-unions-tamp-down-news-of-children-abused-by-teachers/

just for fun

not only is my “turn the other cheek” button broken, my “ignore the stupid” button seems to be malfunctioning as well.

Amber in SJ

 

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30 minutes ago, EKS said:

I'm all for portfolios and standardized testing, but I really don't see the point of tracking hours.  I mean, couldn't you easily fake that?  

I've been thinking about this on the other thread, the one about viral spread and the problem of giving awards for perfect attendance. Isn't the point to learn? If I can learn, why bother with the hours? I shouldn't get started on what we've seen in the public schools here... 

1 hour ago, StellaM said:

OK, I started reading it but then I had to scream, right about where some 'expert' says 'homeschool exposes children to child abuse' - like peer on peer abuse and abuse by adults doesn't happen in a school environment - and so I stopped for the sake of my sanity. 

 

I've heard adults at the two schools nearest my houses abusively yelling at the students (even 3-year-olds in preschool) in ways that have made it perfectly clear my kids will never go there. We've also been taking pictures of the notes our kid has been having slipped in his backpack at school, just in case the counselor decides to try to destroy the evidence.  (While he's still enrolled at school, we're keeping tabs on this situation.) The worst prepared students I had in my coop class last year (reading Plutarch's lives) were kids who had been in public school and pulled out. They were completely lost and had no idea how to ask questions beyond the most basic grammar level. I was frustrated with their low academic level, but it was coming from the "safe" public school.

OTOH, I hate HSLDA's push for zero regulation. Seriously, as a Christian, I believe in a sin nature. Does the sin nature suddenly disappear because we're homeschooling? Ideally, we should keep one-another accountable, yet in every discussion about keeping others accountable, we're told to assume the best and not do anything. My line is sustained lack of math in a homeschool and I've talked with two families about that over the last 18 months. One made a major life change because me talking with them was a wake-up call. Not sure about the other as we only see each other every summer. Maybe I'll learn what happened if COVID lifts.

Emily

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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

Ds' 'school' is lyrics of the 1990's right now, and punk fashion.

 I have a kid who has a hobby of exploring 70-90s music. Though her fashion scene can be described most as "flannel."

I am completely against mandated standardized testing. Especially annual testing.

I give my kids a standardized test in 4th, 6th, & 8th grade. (After that, we switch to ACT/SAT college tests but my current high school junior hasn't taken an official one of those yet.) Before and even at the 4th grade level, my kids' results don't reflect their later abilities because I have late bloomers. They are generally late to read, bad at math, and spend more time thinking about other topics than the tests in front of them. By high school, they are at least better at concentrating on what is important (which may or may not be the test in front of them).

The test results help me to see if I'm missing something -- if they are struggling in an area that I didn't know about. But mandate them? That would increase anxiety, possibly encourage cheating, and mean some would spend time teaching to the test. No, thank you!

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I read part of the law school professor's article mentioned in the article at the beginning of this thread; it is no better. One of her footnotes supporting her claim that a majority of homeschoolers are religious fundamentalists is a quote from someone else claiming that two-thirds of homeschoolers are Christian. A quick Google turns up the not at all surprising fact that approximately two-thirds of Americans identify as Christians. How very shocking that this demographic percentage would be reflected among homeschoolers.

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34 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

I am relaxed about maths. 

I had a kid who struggled with maths for year and years and years - we allowed her to drop it in Yrs 11 and 12, because it would have dragged her uni entrance score down. I don't think I was the best maths teachers she could have had either - I barely tolerated teaching maths to her. 

Last two years she's had to study subjects using maths at uni - she worked hard, and she's done fine, getting good grades.

So idk.

I mean, sure, you need them to be numerate to at least a reasonable level, but I'm not sure (in our system, at least) that it's a huge barrier to have a less-than-elite math education.

I think the idea of a friend being unwilling or unable to say, "Hey, you told me your kid (8 / 14 in my cases) hasn't been doing math for 6+ months this school year. Do you have a plan to ramp that up again?" is a problem. Schools in the USA don't require 4 years of high school math (I only did 3, but that's another story), but neither of these cases were like this. I do think there has to be a realization of "this is what I see as educational neglect" that people will decide differently about. I tend to avoid conflict, so, for me to ever say anything, I need to draw a clear line. Others may be more flexible in their thinking.

ETA: This is a typical response I've seen on the forum: always assume there is a good reason behind anything wonky you see. Often there is a good reason. Sometimes there isn't. And sometimes, bringing up a problem can lead to it being solved. 

Emily

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More evidence that the law professor quoted is sloppy at best with research, quoted from her paper:

"Tara Westover describes growing up with her siblings in a home where the parents provided nothing resembling an education, but instead provided a good deal of terrifying physical and emotional abuse. She managed to escape to claw her way into college and then up the educational ladder, eventually earning degrees from Cambridge and Harvard Universities.But most of her siblings remained imprisoned in the life of their childhood"

At least two of Tara's brothers have graduate degrees--in engineering and chemistry--and three other siblings have at least some tertiary education; only one of the seven siblings never attended college--well above national averages. I've read comments and discussion beyond the book, by Tara and several siblings, and it certainly doesn't sound like most of them are in any way trapped; they're out in society living productive lives; those who wanted advanced education have been able to access it. The family are certainly not poster models for homeschooling or childrearing but I'd expect a Harvard law professor to do a little research beyond a published memoir if she is going to use them as an illustrative example in what is meant to be a serious paper.

There are legitimate issues to be considered with regards to homeschool regulation and especially that small minority who claim to homeschool so as not to be held accountable for abuse. Most of what this professor has written however is heavily biased nonsense.

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