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My advanced, motivated 8th grader easily spends 5 hours a day and we don't even get to everything we want to do. From what I've seen with both virtual public school students and new crisis homeschoolers, there's not going to be much education happening this year.

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On 9/10/2020 at 2:36 PM, Carol in Cal. said:

My recollection is that deschooling started to be suggested when a child was leaving school in the middle of the year, usually in a traumatic situation of some sort.  And the assumption was that years of homeschooling would ensue, and that it was better to start it right than to turn it into a big fat opportunity for PTSD only at home and in the family, which would be bad.

It’s not for every situation.  It’s not even GOOD for every situation.

I think it is useful in a lot of cases - particularly where the parent has to make a major change.  I did with ds11 when he was 8 because he was traumatised and so was I.  When I took ds13 out for the last half year before high school I didn't because he wasn't coming from a bad situation and I had routines in place.  Since in NZ we are 3/4 of the way through the year I would advise people to use the rest of the year to deschool or find their groove but to try and get some English and at least maths review established sooner.

I would not recommend that in the first 1/4 of the year like the US or if the kid was going back to school in a year.  I might say mostly focus on Literacy and maths though.

I am sick of the people who are asking questions which show they haven't even done a Google search and read the regulations.

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6 hours ago, square_25 said:

Lots of our local unschoolers do a bunch of random homeschool classes and spend very little time on academics or on skills other than Minecraft. They don't read much if at all. They aren't learning much of anything. 

We also have some local unschoolers who are doing a fantastic job. But they are in the minority. 

I think being an excellent unschooler is as hard if not harder and as good as being an excellent schooler.  Bit if like most people you are not excellent then average schooling beats average unschooling.

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6 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

My advanced, motivated 8th grader easily spends 5 hours a day and we don't even get to everything we want to do. From what I've seen with both virtual public school students and new crisis homeschoolers, there's not going to be much education happening this year.

 

I have one child in virtual public high school (would be in person if not for covid) and they have a regular full school day from 9-4, plus homework. It seems to be the norm for most districts in this area. I don't know much about how it's working with the younger grades, except that they aren't online the whole day.

But yeah, I can barely handle reading the advice in online hs groups right now. Mostly I just mind my own business as usual. I've had one friend in the neighborhood contact me with curriculum questions.

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Locally (well, local FB group-wise) I’ve started to see virtual/cyber schoolers beginning to answer questions with virtual/cyber responses. Not a whole lot (as of yet), but it TOTALLY irked me more than I should let it. Our area has a group that’s called ____ Homeschoolers and a group called _____ Homeschool/Cyber School (or close to that.) I could see this happening in the latter group, as people do tend to knee jerk respond from their personal perspective. And I know there are virtual/cyber families in the former, but we have two groups FOR A REASON.

Telling a parent who is looking to pull out of virtual and register to homeschool about how your recent cyber registration went is not homeschool advice.

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And I’m going to take this opportunity to complain about my own laziness once again.  I REALLY wanted to write a book talking about the differences, pros/cons, and various responsibilities of all the school-from-home options quite a while back, and I dragged my feet because I figured it was way too much work for a very small audience. Now I’m kicking myself over how many people I could have helped to educate and the potential money I could have made even with a dirt cheap digital book. 😛 

I excel at missing windows of opportunity.

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3 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

And I’m going to take this opportunity to complain about my own laziness once again.  I REALLY wanted to write a book talking about the differences, pros/cons, and various responsibilities of all the school-from-home options quite a while back, and I dragged my feet because I figured it was way too much work for a very small audience. Now I’m kicking myself over how many people I could have helped to educate and the potential money I could have made even with a dirt cheap digital book. 😛 

I excel at missing windows of opportunity.

Does that crowd read books before deciding? Honest question, no snark.

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2 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Does that crowd read books before deciding? Honest question, no snark.

That was the main question I asked myself for a couple of years, and my answer was “probably mostly not”, so I didn’t move beyond a rough mental outline.
Today... I guess I would still say not a LOT, but absolutely more. And all the frustrated and annoyed veterans could push it, lol.  If it were written as clearly and succinctly as possible, I think there would have been a decent number of parents willing to read this past summer and this first quarter of the school year.
I’m hearing some freaked out people begging for way more information than busy homeschool parents can offer in a FB comment.

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I really start twitching when threads move to amount of time spent = rigor/quality of education.  My college student graduated last year probably spent in the 4-6 hour range throughout high school, dual enrolled for 2 years (I had required stuff at home going on those years), we did use an outside co-op/tutorial at times, graduated with a 4.0 as a dual enrolled student with35 credits and had stats and extracurriculars to be a competitive applicant in any school of the country.   He's a dean's list student at a top 50 school doing a dual degree program and was admitted to a couple top 30 schools (we limited app options due to finances).  He did attend K & 1st public, hit the ceiling of a GT screener and we had a hard time finding a school fit and moved to homeschooling.

 Education and launching hopefully a self motivated, emotionally healthy, self assured young adult who is a life long learner is more than just butt in seat doing directed work.   I doubt an education that required the level of hoop jumping required at many college prep high schools would have inspired as much self motivation and direction in my own kids.  And to be fair, since I have been around the block a few times at this point and know MANY homeschool grads of all types over the years, some of those minecraft in pajamas all day kids did just fine going to college or launching along another path when they were ready to do so.  I really don't worry about kids in loving homes very much even if their choices are very different from my own.  I felt my own B&M education was damaging to my mental health.   Sometimes parents are just making least bad choices with their own band width and the kid in front of them at the moment.  Each of my kids had a year or so during puberty that was just rough in general and it was nice to have the space not to sweat it too much or to pigeon hole them.

I think this year in particular is a lot about making least bad choices and I still feel that way even as a homeschooler of many, many  years.  I read an interview with a child psychologist not long ago who said all our goals with children this year should be about minimizing trauma  and creating security.  I really think most neurotypical to GT kids with engaged loving parents would come out just fine during a less intense educational year.   Some families might even find their kids read more, create more, etc.   I am worried about neuro-atypical children and those that have trauma in the home for whatever reason and I hope services are prioritized on those populations.

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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19 hours ago, MissLemon said:

We spend about 3 hours on focused, butt-in-seat work for my brand-new 6th grader.  Kiddo reads independently every day for 2+ hours, and frequently chooses things like biology or history books to read.   

This illustrates why numbers are so meaningless. One parent would have your schedule and say they only do 3 hrs of school. For me, I calculate all related hours and would say they are doing 5 hours. I block 6 hours in our schedule which includes things like studying and reading. Most days they don't need all 6 hours, but we need the time blocked in case they do need it and I try to protect that time from disruptions.

 

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2 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

  I really don't worry about kids in loving homes very much even if their choices are very different from my own. 

This is very wise advice. It's hard for me not to look down my nose in some situations, because I'm human and we all like to judge, but I really do believe this is true.

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5 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Does that crowd read books before deciding? Honest question, no snark.


Am I weird for having never read and never felt the need to read a book about homeschooling? I might pick one up if we ever have issues I need to figure out, but things are going swimmingly. 

I was however on this forum from the time I got pregnant (I think even a little before, so...)

 

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1 hour ago, Paige said:

This illustrates why numbers are so meaningless. One parent would have your schedule and say they only do 3 hrs of school. For me, I calculate all related hours and would say they are doing 5 hours. I block 6 hours in our schedule which includes things like studying and reading. Most days they don't need all 6 hours, but we need the time blocked in case they do need it and I try to protect that time from disruptions.

 

Agreed. I know some people think the way we do things is nutty, but this works for us and I am comfortable with what and how kiddo is learning. 

I had started to type out a long post, but decided against it. I always feel a little uncomfortable when the subject of "hours spent on school" comes up, and feel the need to defend and explain what we're doing.  Compared to a lot of homeschoolers I know, I'm a tiger mom that forces him into academics. Compared to others here, I'm a slacker mom. 🤷‍♀️  

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

I don't think amount of time spent is a perfect measure of quality of education by any means, but it's a proxy. 

I raised a LOT of eyebrows locally when I said we weren't signing up for classes in the morning because I wanted to spend that time teaching my own kid. Prioritizing academics you do at home and picking the time of day it works best just seemed weird to people. So... I'm sure some of those kids will be fine and will manage, but I do think there can be costs to this kind of approach. I think that's pretty different from figuring out the number of academic hours that optimizes a child's learning and then doing it, however long it takes. 

I don't know. We were definitely car schoolers, fitting in the academics between a gazillion activities. There were downsides to that lifestyle for sure (seen in retrospect), but quality academics wasn't one of them. The beauty of homeschooling is about being able to choose a schedule that fits.

My Princeton electrical engineering grad was up into the wee hours working on grad school apps, and is out on a 20-ish mile mountain ridge hike at the moment. It's a continuation of that childhood lifestyle that works for her. 🙂 Some kids do need more quiet and a regimented schedule and that's fine too.

My observation after years of homeschooling is that the people on either end of the spectrum (very regimented or very unschool) tended to jump off the homeschooling ship the soonest (also people that relied heavily on co-operative learning, because those situations often flame out.)

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1 hour ago, Sk8ermaiden said:


Am I weird for having never read and never felt the need to read a book about homeschooling? I might pick one up if we ever have issues I need to figure out, but things are going swimmingly. 

I was however on this forum from the time I got pregnant (I think even a little before, so...)

 

Maybe it's your generation.  Some of us started homeschooling before the internet. Back then homeschooling wasn't as widespread as it is now.  If you wanted to get more info about homeschooling you either tracked down a real life homeschooler, and asked them questions, attended a convention that wasn't necessarily near you, or you tracked down books and had a bookstore order them for you because odds were, your local library didn't have much on the topic.

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I am usually in the camp of "if you are only doing 2-3 hours of school per day in high school you're failing your kid". But ... my SIL has her high schoolers do school in the morning and go to a job in the afternoon. In her denomination no one goes to college (male or female). My nieces and nephews who have graduated are all living successful happy blue collar lives. So I don't just know. I'm sure she thinks I'm crazy too sometimes.

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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:

I guess at some point it becomes about values for me. You can obviously lead a happy life with less education, but I personally care about education...

I do too. And I don't want to close any doors for my kids. That's what I value. But do I really have the right to say her values are wrong? I don't think so.

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Maybe it's your generation.  Some of us started homeschooling before the internet. Back then homeschooling wasn't as widespread as it is now.  If you wanted to get more info about homeschooling you either tracked down a real life homeschooler, and asked them questions, attended a convention that wasn't necessarily near you, or you tracked down books and had a bookstore order them for you because odds were, your local library didn't have much on the topic.

That is very true. Without the internet. Hooboy. Yes, I can see why books would have been valuable.

 


We are starting to find it harder to fit in all the school as she gets older, especially since her sport takes up a tremendous amount of her time. This has resulted in doing the remaining odds and ends on the weekend more and more often and I am so happy that I made that a thing that happened sometimes, from the beginning. She doesn't like having to sit down and plow through a ton of school. She's much happier with more, shorter stretches.

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23 hours ago, square_25 said:

Lots of our local unschoolers do a bunch of random homeschool classes and spend very little time on academics or on skills other than Minecraft. They don't read much if at all. They aren't learning much of anything. 

We also have some local unschoolers who are doing a fantastic job. But they are in the minority. 

I read one book by Rebecca Rupp on how she did unschooling and decided it would be too much for me! She did huge amounts of research and worksheets designed to help her kids collate information on the topics they had chosen. But reading her at least helped me give my kids some grace for Friday parkdays and reading-only weeks or stretching math out so we finished it in July. And yes, there were days when we counted cyberchase and a history documentary as "school" -- but not too many! -- and Saturday field trips also counted as school days.

As someone else said above, there was always a year or so of the teen years (different for each kid) that was really rough. In two of those cases, I decided to let go...so one kid went straight to CC/commuted early with Dad/rode the bus home, and one kid was in a charter where she met weekly with the teacher and got all her assignments from her, and we didn't pursue a college prep path for her. The other two girls mostly worked through their tough year with a little extra patience and a lot of kleenex (for both of us). Right now the youngest is dual enrollment online for all her school this year, so I can go back to freelance writing online. She has "class" 3 hours/week carrying 10 units, but is working on assignments pretty much 10-5 M-Th and checking back for things she missed on Saturday. Number of hours of "school" -- depends on how you count it.

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9 minutes ago, Laurel-in-CA said:

I read one book by Rebecca Rupp on how she did unschooling and decided it would be too much for me! She did huge amounts of research and worksheets designed to help her kids collate information on the topics they had chosen. But reading her at least helped me give my kids some grace for Friday parkdays and reading-only weeks or stretching math out so we finished it in July. And yes, there were days when we counted cyberchase and a history documentary as "school" -- but not too many! -- and Saturday field trips also counted as school days.

I haven't read her book, but that doesn't sound anything like unschooling. o_0

I'm glad you got something good out of it, though.

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Talk of hours is probably not usually super helpful in general.  The only time I jump in is when people are asking if they are doing to much and it's like 4-6hrs for their 1sy grader.  Or when some poor souls gets on and asks what they are doy wrong when their highschoolers take all day.  

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13 minutes ago, calbear said:

A couple actually did say they found unicorns.

I expected so. There are always a few (or more).

I was just curious. I made that meme a few months ago and I'm always intrigued by the reaction it gets. 🙂

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On 9/11/2020 at 3:49 PM, KungFuPanda said:

 

Can we just agree to call this “none schooling?” Real unschooling done well is an inspiration. I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to work that hard! But skipping school every day and calling it unschooling? That’s icky. 

I witnessed that as far back as 15 years ago, and called it not-schooling. The real unschoolers I met over two decades of our parent directed education journey were probably the hardest working and most highly committed home educators I knew. Providing the environment and opportunities that spark a student's desire for self-driven education... that takes a massive effort running underground and ahead of the actual learning. The not-schoolers are an entirely different sort. 

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17 hours ago, calbear said:

I went and posted this on the group I moderate. It blew up from just under 2K to 4.6K since March.
 

My group is over 12,000 now. 😮

However, since we (the mod team) made it clear that our purpose was to help people have the best, most rewarding homeschooling experience possible, and that we couldn't help public-school-at-home people, many of those newbies don't comment any longer. We archived the page at the end of July and Labor Day Weekend to give us some time off, lol.

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Just now, Seasider too said:

I witnessed that as far back as 15 years ago, and called it not-schooling. The real unschoolers I met over two decades of our parent directed education journey were probably the hardest working and most highly committed home educators I knew. Providing the environment and opportunities that spark a student's desire for self-driven education... that takes a massive effort running underground and ahead of the actual learning. The not-schoolers are an entirely different sort. 

Oh, you might have though we were not-schooling. I didn't make a massive effort to run underground and ahead of the actual learning. Our home looked like a home, not a learning environment. We did things like Camp Fire and 4-H and Highland dance and counted them as part of the dc's education, but "massive effort"? No.

Dc still began taking classes at the community college when they were 14, even younger dd who wasn't reading at her age level until she was 9 1/2, so there's that.

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3 minutes ago, Ellie said:

Oh, you might have though we were not-schooling. I didn't make a massive effort to run underground and ahead of the actual learning. Our home looked like a home, not a learning environment. We did things like Camp Fire and 4-H and Highland dance and counted them as part of the dc's education, but "massive effort"? No.

Dc still began taking classes at the community college when they were 14, even younger dd who wasn't reading at her age level until she was 9 1/2, so there's that.

Well you probably also weren’t bragging about how you did nothing, either. The not-schoolers I encountered were not providing outside opportunities such as you mention and including it in school. Their children were pretty much left to flounder while the moms encouraged each other in their hands-off method.

Did you use any curriculum at all? How did you tackle the basics (3Rs)? (Asking in genuine curiosity.) I am a big fan of eclectic and relaxed methods and have seen much success in families I’ve met. But I’m betting you didn’t leave your kids with zero guidance and laugh about how you were stickin’ it to the state department of education. 

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9 minutes ago, Bagels McGruffikin said:

Like ten 🤣

In fairness, to a lot of people, the unicorn seems to be a symbol for "a curriculum that provides a solid education in the correct balance of financial investment and effort for our family." Which is great, even though it kind of misses the point of the meme.

Then there are the others...

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3 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Well you probably also weren’t bragging about how you did nothing, either. The not-schoolers I encountered were not providing outside opportunities such as you mention and including it in school. Their children were pretty much left to flounder while the moms encouraged each other in their hands-off method.

Did you use any curriculum at all? How did you tackle the basics (3Rs)? (Asking in genuine curiosity.) I am a big fan of eclectic and relaxed methods and have seen much success in families I’ve met. But I’m betting you didn’t leave your kids with zero guidance and laugh about how you were stickin’ it to the state department of education. 

Understand that "curriculum" means the subjects you're teaching, not the materials or methods you use to cover the curriculum. So yes, we had lots of curriculum; we had very few Official Textbooks. 🙂

I did Spalding with younger dd for a few weeks when she was five; then a few weeks when she was six; then a few weeks when she was 7...  I had taken older dd out of a Christian school during Easter break of first grade, so she already knew how to read. They never finished a math text. Younger dd completed Easy Grammar when she was 11. We did KONOS for two years, when they were 10 and 13, and 11 and 14 (although older dd began going to the .c.c. and so missed the rest of what we did). Older dd did Winston Grammar for about 10 lessons and couldn't take any more. Older dd did Latin with Mary Harrington the summer when she was 13 (Mary went on to write Latin in the Christian Trivium).

Some parents who unschool also un-parent.

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28 minutes ago, Ellie said:

Understand that "curriculum" means the subjects you're teaching, not the materials or methods you use to cover the curriculum. So yes, we had lots of curriculum; we had very few Official Textbooks. 🙂

I did Spalding with younger dd for a few weeks when she was five; then a few weeks when she was six; then a few weeks when she was 7...  I had taken older dd out of a Christian school during Easter break of first grade, so she already knew how to read. They never finished a math text. Younger dd completed Easy Grammar when she was 11. We did KONOS for two years, when they were 10 and 13, and 11 and 14 (although older dd began going to the .c.c. and so missed the rest of what we did). Older dd did Winston Grammar for about 10 lessons and couldn't take any more. Older dd did Latin with Mary Harrington the summer when she was 13 (Mary went on to write Latin in the Christian Trivium).

Some parents who unschool also un-parent.

Oh, fwiw, I would have considered your family relaxed homeschoolers, not unschoolers or not-schoolers.
 

(Not that what I would’ve deemed you matters, just saying I probably would not have thought you a not-schooler.)

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52 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Oh, fwiw, I would have considered your family relaxed homeschoolers, not unschoolers or not-schoolers.
 

(Not that what I would’ve deemed you matters, just saying I probably would not have thought you a not-schooler.)

I am completely comfortable with being an unschooler. 🙂 Mary Hood hadn't invented the term "relaxed homeschooler" when I started in 1982, but John Holt was doing his best to help people understand that learning happens all the time, even when it doesn't look like school. His newsletter Growing Without Schooling was full of letters people had written about their unschooling experiences, and they were so inspiring to me.

Where I did differ from Holt was that I believe children need to be parented. Many unschoolers also unparent; unschooling might be a way for them to justify their lack of parenting.

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2 hours ago, PeachyDoodle said:

🙂 But how many people claimed to have found the unicorn??

I think this graphic is ever so slightly off. I actually know a lot of very relaxed child led homeschoolers who would claim to have the unicorn. But if you changed "educationally enriching" to "providing an adequate and complete education that will provide the children with the baseline they need to be competent adults and doesn't close doors like college to them" those families would not have unicorns anymore. It's easy to be enriching, it's a lot harder to get everything covered that needs to be without decent curriculum. It's going to cost money or require prep. 

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Yep, that's prep. I don't know if you've spent much time of the groups being talked about here, but the parents being targeted with that want to put in literally zero work. They certainly aren't writing (or coming up with on the fly) programs for their kids. 

I do that with literature. It's my specialty. My kids will never do a formal reading or literature program, because I've got it covered and it requires almost no up front work from me. And I have no doubt that their reading and comprehension will be better than the average person's. But 1) It required me to have that knowledge and be that comfortable, and 2) I certainly have to facilitate or teach it. 

I actually use that old phrase, "your time, your talent, or your money." I have talent for lit, time for history, and money for math. 😆 But certainly am not going to get a quality education for miy kids without 1 or more of those things.

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33 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

I think this graphic is ever so slightly off. I actually know a lot of very relaxed child led homeschoolers who would claim to have the unicorn. But if you changed "educationally enriching" to "providing an adequate and complete education that will provide the children with the baseline they need to be competent adults and doesn't close doors like college to them" those families would not have unicorns anymore. It's easy to be enriching, it's a lot harder to get everything covered that needs to be without decent curriculum. It's going to cost money or require prep. 

Yep. Just would have been harder to fit all that on a meme. 😉

 

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I used to teach high school.  Yes, kids were in the school building for 6 hours...but let me see...

Six or seven 45-50-minute class periods. One of the class periods is as likely as not a study hall, another one is P.E.  Five or six 5-minute passing periods.  About 5-10 minutes to take attendance, collect homework, return graded work.  One 40-minute lunch break.  About triple the amount of time it takes to explain an assignment because there are a lot of questions because there are a lot of students who will ask a lot of questions (that a family has already answered by its practice).  Some of the class time is spent doing the assigned work (same as at home).

My point is that there is NOT "six hours of instruction" or "6 hours in a chair."  

When we started homeschooling, my dad was very concerned about how we would be sure to get in 180 days of instruction.  He meant well--but he was conflating union contract requirements with "education."  He got it right away when I explained it to him.  But that is essentially what is going on in the virtual schools--the meeting of union contract requirements.  I don't know how else they can do it--I'm not full of bright ideas here--but it does point out the real objectives of education.  Individual teachers -- most of them are fantastic.  At the individual level, a lot of good happens, but the institution is about meeting contractual terms.

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8 hours ago, square_25 said:

I'm also comfortable with you calling yourself an unschooler 😉 . I think the point is that you're now lumped in with people who do unparent, so people might classify you a bit differently. 

And I'm ok with that, too. 🙂

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