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I know that this is a very common topic of complaint, but I can't DEAL with some of the advice people give on Facebook. I just wound up quitting an "academic" Facebook group in which people were seriously suggesting that you can do an hour of work a day with a 13 year old...

We're already somewhat unschooly (I expect no output but discussion for everything but math right now), so I'm not even advocating a ton of written work every day. But why is the advice to EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM always "You need to do less school"?? Like, deschooling is not the solution to all of life's issues. And sometimes, you actually need to work hard to achieve things. Yeesh. 

OK, rant over. Anyone else want to complain with me? I'm just annoyed, because I would like to have conversations about how to actually teach kids well, and it's very hard to find people to have them with except on here ❤️.

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Agreeing with everyone.  The thing that bugs me most is when people say you can do high school before lunch each day.  No.  High school is more like 5-6 hours, some days more.  And sometimes you can’t

I feel so bad for those getting that advice!  I'm all for learning through play, but video games all day are not what that means!  I have noticed those same parents don't want to discipline their kids

I know that this is a very common topic of complaint, but I can't DEAL with some of the advice people give on Facebook. I just wound up quitting an "academic" Facebook group in which people were serio

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Just now, RootAnn said:

And it is harder on here than it used to be.

That, too. I don't know where to find good conversations anymore 😞 . I was hoping Facebook would be decent, but while there ARE academic people on Facebook, it's completely drowned out by people who are convinced that the solution is always "less school." Like, those are the top suggestions and they get the most likes. It's completely overwhelming. Struggling with math? Do less school, learn everything via games! Struggling with attitude issues? Do less school, kids learn through play anyway! 

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I feel so bad for those getting that advice!  I'm all for learning through play, but video games all day are not what that means!  I have noticed those same parents don't want to discipline their kids either- they just want them to magically be respectful,  kind, functional adults without putting in any harsh words, routines, or hard work.  

Another thing I often see- parents with a elementary kids giving advice on middle or high school.  If you aren't currently or have not previously homeschooled high school, you don't get an opinion!  

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I hear you. I’m older, and it wasn’t quite this bad in my time. Ds worked hard, but we had a good balance. He did great and neither of us have regrets. It’s what he needed. It’s what he wanted. I hear about so much of this talk of less school and free and easy. Math is harder for some than others, but I believe it’s good to find a balance.... working to their ability...and maybe just a bit harder for extra challenge. Then time and room for fun.

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1 minute ago, BusyMom5 said:

I feel so bad for those getting that advice!  I'm all for learning through play, but video games all day are not what that means!  I have noticed those same parents don't want to discipline their kids either- they just want them to magically be respectful,  kind, functional adults without putting in any harsh words, routines, or hard work.  

I mean, I would LOVE it if the answer to everything was "kids will bring up themselves," but I do kind of believe that parents are supposed to socialize their kids 😉 . I love my kids, and they are good kids, but they do NOT naturally see things from other people's perspectives, or want to work hard on the basics, or always want to give up their turn, or... (the list goes on.) 

And I have sweet, compliant, academic children, lol. 

1 minute ago, BusyMom5 said:

Another thing I often see- parents with a elementary kids giving advice on middle or high school.  If you aren't currently or have not previously homeschooled high school, you don't get an opinion!  

Yeah, I see a LOT of that. I'll admit to sometimes giving high school advice without having homeschooled high school, though 😉 . Mostly because I've taught my sister and I've taught college kids, though. (I can't give nitty-gritty advice, either. Just what I've seen go wrong at the end of the education journey from the perspective of a college instructor.) 

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I think with math -- when it's hard, it can take more time/effort to go back and make sure things are solid.  If there is not time spent and the answer is "do less," I think that can make things harder.  

It depends on the situation -- but I think this can be the case for sure!  

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Just now, Lecka said:

I think with math -- when it's hard, it can take more time/effort to go back and make sure things are solid.  If there is not time spent and the answer is "do less," I think that can make things harder.  

I think there's a lot of "magical thinking" about it. Like, you'll back off, and things will magically click! 

I think this is the kind of teaching that gives "discovery method" a bad name, lol. Just throw manipulatives at kids, and they'll figure it out themselves. Maybe some kids will, but most won't. 

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My current college girl told me last year that I should have pushed her harder (while acknowledging she would not have done the extra work) and repeatedly says I'm being too easy on my younger kids. 

My current high school senior would tell you that she should do less. (I'm slowly ramping her up to be able to handle 12 credit hours next fall.)

Each kid is different & there is a balance. Knowing those two things is key to giving advice. I'm still trying to figure out both.

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Agreeing with everyone.  The thing that bugs me most is when people say you can do high school before lunch each day.  No.  High school is more like 5-6 hours, some days more.  And sometimes you can’t make school fun.  Sometimes your kids needs to suck it up and do the subjects they hate.  

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I was homeschooled; graduated in 2000.  My mom was all about rigor. But there were plenty of my hOmeschooled friends who truly did only spend an hour or two at most a day doing academics.  If that. There wasn’t unschooling component either.  
20 years later, frankly, you can see the difference. But at the time I complained to my mom a lot that nobody else had to do work. 
It’s always been a problem. FB just makes it more vocal.

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Just now, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I was homeschooled; graduated in 2000.  My mom was all about rigor. But there were plenty of my hOmeschooled friends who truly did only spend an hour or two at most a day doing academics.  If that. There wasn’t unschooling component either.  
20 years later, frankly, you can see the difference. But at the time I complained to my mom a lot that nobody else had to do work. 
It’s always been a problem. FB just makes it more vocal.

I can see the difference in the kids myself 😕 . There's responsible unschooling (get the basics down, then follow lots of rabbit trails), and then there are the parents in my homeschool math classes that don't do math every day and don't have a math program and don't ever work on handwriting or writing and don't encourage their kids to spend time with books... and it does show. The best outcome is the kids that are bright but just untrained -- that's not so bad. But then there are the kids who actually have attention issues, or they have trouble intuiting phonics, or things don't come easy to them, and then they really just don't move forward at all 😕 . It's hard to imagine that serving them well in life. 

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7 minutes ago, athena1277 said:

Agreeing with everyone.  The thing that bugs me most is when people say you can do high school before lunch each day.  No.  High school is more like 5-6 hours, some days more.  And sometimes you can’t make school fun.  Sometimes your kids needs to suck it up and do the subjects they hate.  

And sometimes INSISTING that the only worthwhile learning is fun learning also just... cheats your kids. Sometimes you have to grind things out for some days/hours/months before something becomes fun. The first tune you manage to pick out on the piano is probably not fun, because it doesn't sound good. The first recipe you cook is likely not going to be delicious. The first hat you make will be a lot of work and will be lopsided.  Things get MORE fun after you automate them. But kids who only ever get to pick the fun activities don't necessarily learn that. 

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Here's an old (2008!) blog post about this very issue.

https://starryskyranch.typepad.com/starry_sky_ranch/2008/03/perseverance-or.html

When I first read it (about two years after it was written), this statement resonated: 

"Having both babies and adult children has afforded me perspective about this that I could not have imagined when we began this journey. No longer is educational theory simply an abstract, intellectual pasttime. It is a reality. One that has consequences in young people's lives."

 

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We’ve all complained about this. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. FB is talk radio while forums are long form podcasts. It’s impossible to have in depth educational discussions on FB. The format makes it too cumbersome. I can’t even figure out how to separate paragraphs in a comment on my computer. 
 

Everyone is equal in the comments section. You don’t know how long they’ve been homeschooling, what grades their kids are, what state they are in or what their standards are. Most advice is newbies advising newbies because veterans are so freaking tired of answering the same questions when FB has a decent search function. 
 

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I try to give thoughtful advice on Facebook sometimes. I try to limit myself by asking the question "do I think this answer will affect anyone's thinking?" and only post is yes. Sometimes I get good response, generally I feel it's wasted time because people are going to listen to the answer that makes them feel good.

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14 minutes ago, Plum said:

We’ve all complained about this. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. FB is talk radio while forums are long form podcasts. It’s impossible to have in depth educational discussions on FB. The format makes it too cumbersome. I can’t even figure out how to separate paragraphs in a comment on my computer. 

 

Ctrl-Enter 

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1 hour ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I was homeschooled; graduated in 2000.  My mom was all about rigor. But there were plenty of my hOmeschooled friends who truly did only spend an hour or two at most a day doing academics.  If that. There wasn’t unschooling component either.  
20 years later, frankly, you can see the difference. But at the time I complained to my mom a lot that nobody else had to do work. 
It’s always been a problem. FB just makes it more vocal.

Agreeing. Always been a problem. I have watched several young people make the effort to get into college. It is not easy when there are no high school records. I was very proud of one young friend studying and receiving her GED. Another studied what she needed to study in her late teens to be able to make up an acceptable transcript. Then she ambushed her mom in a group setting to get her to sign it. Very proud of those kids!

But others, very intelligent young people that I taught in co-op, are left drifting in retail jobs.

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31 minutes ago, DoraBora said:

Here's an old (2008!) blog post about this very issue.

https://starryskyranch.typepad.com/starry_sky_ranch/2008/03/perseverance-or.html

When I first read it (about two years after it was written), this statement resonated: 

"Having both babies and adult children has afforded me perspective about this that I could not have imagined when we began this journey. No longer is educational theory simply an abstract, intellectual pasttime. It is a reality. One that has consequences in young people's lives."

 

That's a good post! 

From the post: 

 

"Early on, my foremost goal was delight. I envisioned a family united in a common endeavor. In all the literature I came across it seemed to be assumed that the one way to ensure that cooperative spirit was to follow the children's lead at all times and to avoid coercion like the plague. My military officer husband was always more than a bit skeptical. He had experienced tremendous success with a completely contrary method and remained unconvinced that left to one's one devices the formation of that level of discipline was likely. He had a different understanding of what constituted true satisfaction and happiness. It wasn't ease." 

 

That's a key point here -- it is NOT ease that constitutes satisfaction. Yes, it's best to respect your kids' preferences as much as is reasonable -- if they aren't a creative writer, you shouldn't force them to write a novel. But even for things that they love, children often need guidance and encouragement to work enough and practice enough.

And frankly, not only does hard work breed success, but success breeds hard work. Kids absorb the fact that having worked hard at something, they've attained mastery. They then feel empowered to repeat this feat about other interests, especially as they get older and more self-motivated. 

DD8 is actually aware that scheduling things is good for her, interestingly enough 🙂 . She's aware she won't make the time herself, but she has absolutely asked me to make time in the schedule for things she wants to learn. 

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Yep, I've been homeschooling 20 years now and it's always been around, but I think it's getting to be more common. I believe that losing what I call "the filter" of homeschooling being far less socially acceptable like it was 25 years ago when I started looking into it, has resulted in a larger number of a certain kind of person homeschooling now that would've then. The same with so many developed, open and go type, outsourced curricula and more narrowly focused groups that have made room for "softer" homeschooling moms. To be brutally honest, I'm glad I've only got another couple of years in the homeschooling community because I don't like most people in it anymore.  My youngest is 9 and 7 years younger than my older two, so many of the veteran moms I knew and loved are empty nesters now.

It's also why I support mandatory annual standardized testing now.  I didn't when I started because I was surrounded by serious homeschoolers. The unschoolers I knew were amazing and their kids were doing incredibly worthwhile things all day and they transitioned to adult education well.  They're thriving.  Then I met some not so serious ones. My changing view solidified when my daughters went to community college instead of high school along with many other homeschoolers. My kids thought cc was less demanding than my husband and me.  Some of their homeschooler friends were completely overwhelmed and struggling to keep up, shocked to discover how far behind they were.

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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

And sometimes INSISTING that the only worthwhile learning is fun learning also just... cheats your kids. Sometimes you have to grind things out for some days/hours/months before something becomes fun. The first tune you manage to pick out on the piano is probably not fun, because it doesn't sound good. The first recipe you cook is likely not going to be delicious. The first hat you make will be a lot of work and will be lopsided.  Things get MORE fun after you automate them. But kids who only ever get to pick the fun activities don't necessarily learn that. 

Oh my gosh yes.  Over and over.  I have heard so many times that only kids that *want* to practice should learn an instrument 🙄. I give some version of your explanation every single time. I have a music major, full ride scholarship, very talented.  Guess who was the driving force behind him learning to read music and practice at age 8,9,10,11,12?!?? It wasn't him. Me.  All me.  He is dyslexic too so learning to read music was an entire other difficulty just like learning to read. Each took 5 years but they overlapped, 5-10 for reading and 8-13 for reading music.  At 13 once he *could* read music and play etc it became fun and he became the driving force.  

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3 hours ago, athena1277 said:

Agreeing with everyone.  The thing that bugs me most is when people say you can do high school before lunch each day.  No.  High school is more like 5-6 hours, some days more.  And sometimes you can’t make school fun.  Sometimes your kids needs to suck it up and do the subjects they hate.  

10000% this. You CANNOT homeschool high school like it’s elementary school!  
 

I’ve largely stopped participating in my local HS FB group because of this mindset. Everyone wants an easy solution,  and they aren’t even willing to do so much as a basic Google search before they show up on our group saying “How do I homeschool in <state>?”  And they all want free curriculum, “but nothing common core!” 
 

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6 minutes ago, busymama7 said:

Oh my gosh yes.  Over and over.  I have heard so many times that only kids that *want* to practice should learn an instrument 🙄. I give some version of your explanation every single time. I have a music major, full ride scholarship, very talented.  Guess who was the driving force behind him learning to read music and practice at age 8,9,10,11,12?!?? It wasn't him. Me.  All me.  He is dyslexic too so learning to read music was an entire other difficulty just like learning to read. Each took 5 years but they overlapped, 5-10 for reading and 8-13 for reading music.  At 13 once he *could* read music and play etc it became fun and he became the driving force.  

I think there's also a key distinction between wanting something globally and locally. 

Globally, DD8 is a very driven and motivated child. She asked to start learning piano. She has never asked to give it up -- she sees herself getting really, really good, so that she can play any piece she wants when she's older. She works hard at it. She loves playing pieces she's learned by heart. 

However, locally, she never wants to practice, in the sense that we do have to force her to sit at the piano, and she'll whine about things going over time. She's delighted when she gets a break during the holidays. She doesn't ask to practice and doesn't practice herself. 

So... does she want to learn to play piano? 😉 I think that the answer is emphatically yes. But it really depends on your perspective! 

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Oh early music lessons were like therapy for my oldest in particular but for my younger too.  

I do think different educational paths can work for different families.  Most kids that go to school are still deeply influenced by their parent's educational values.   Not everyone is the same or needs to be college bound.  I also agree 100% those boards are primarily newbies helping newbies.  I really do think it's not worth worrying about.  We've been homeschooling 13 years and the vast majority of people will find their path.  For some of them that means back to school.   There was a local kid that caused me to lose sleep a few years ago.  He was in his basement 2 years doing nothing with severe anxiety and he transitioned to college last year and is doing well.  Maybe he needed a break in his educational path to sort some things out?  I am much less judgy than I used to be.  I've seen plenty of kids do fine as young adults out of situations I found dicey when they were younger. Most people pulling out of school are in a crises situation and sometimes it just takes awhile to figure it out.   And I say this in lots of threads, but we were much less structured during our under age 12 years than many people here.  I do think nt to gt kids with smart, engaged parents in book and resource rich environments are likely to do ok.  I worry more about LD kids that need intensive work to do basics.  Heck, the my 3 year old NEEDS curriculum posts are irritating to me as well.  And I had a kid at 3 who demanded workbooks and did all sorts of writing for fun at that age.  

My best homeschool FB groups were very small and curated.  So if you have like minded homeschoolers in mind, you can create your own. Otherwise, highly recommend just unfollowing any groups that aren't working for you.  Many of them blind leading the blind.  Nothing I love more than someone's whose oldest child is in elementary writing a dissertation on how to parent and homeschool.  🙄It's liberating.  I also unfollow/unfriend anyone who doesn't spark joy on my regular feed too.  

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

And frankly, not only does hard work breed success, but success breeds hard work. Kids absorb the fact that having worked hard at something, they've attained mastery. They then feel empowered to repeat this feat about other interests, especially as they get older and more self-motivated.

They also learn about what makes their own learning successful or makes it crash and burn. They learn how to get enough information to ask good questions. They learn how to estimate how long something will take or how to break a task into pieces.

We can cheat them out of a lot of self-knowledge and executive functioning if we aren't careful. And I absolutely believe that kids can (and need to) develop this through life skills and hobbies too.

I also think that people underestimate how important it is to know if their child has a learning issue of some sort and to find out relatively early. I do hear some success stories of people who waited until their kid wanted to know what was up, but early intervention is almost always better, and some kids don't have the self-reflection or metacognition to realize they should want to know. I can't imagine how much differently both my kids' schooling would've been if we'd been able to get the right testing to pinpoint my older DS's language issue. My lack of success at certain things with my older son undermined my confidence in teaching tasks that those language skills depended on, and it's also taken the wind out of my sails for doing things with my younger son--instead of having experience under my belt, I have failure (except that it wasn't truly a "fault" of mine); moving forward is a lot harder when I know this kid has learning issues too, but different ones. Thankfully, I have resources to help at the moment and even some co-op or schooling options if I feel I can't iron it out. 

I know people whose kids didn't get evidence-based care that are doing okay in spite of it (but things were far harder than they needed to be) and people whose kids were identified who are not, but I am incredibly grateful I took the path of wanting to know what was going on even though that was hard work and the many helpful resources were time consuming and not always a perfect fit.

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17 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Most people pulling out of school are in a crises situation and sometimes it just takes awhile to figure it out. 

Yeah, that's fair if that's the situation. And there are certainly lots of situations in which homeschooling seems like a good option whether the academics are being perfectly done or not. 

I'm not really predicting doom and gloom for all the kids in this situation or anything 😉. I mean, heck, I spent my middle school years basically doing nothing but coasting and watching TV, and while I do kind of regret it, it was a hard time due to immigrating, and it was understandable. And obviously, I'm fine. 

It's more the preachiness that bothers me, and the idea that "stop doing school!" is the solution to all of life's problems. And also... maybe this is just my social group, but I know a fair number of kids who are not homeschooled for crisis reasons, and there, sometimes you do start to wonder if the kids would simply do better at school. 

 

21 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

And I say this in lots of threads, but we were much less structured during our under age 12 years than many people here. 

I've probably asked this before, but how structured WERE you? What were your days like?

I don't think I'm very structured for this forum. We don't have written output except in math, and we don't use curriculum almost at all. We do have a schedule because we all function better with one, though. 

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3 hours ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I was homeschooled; graduated in 2000.  My mom was all about rigor. But there were plenty of my hOmeschooled friends who truly did only spend an hour or two at most a day doing academics.  If that. There wasn’t unschooling component either.  
20 years later, frankly, you can see the difference. But at the time I complained to my mom a lot that nobody else had to do work. 
It’s always been a problem. FB just makes it more vocal.

What happened to your homeschooled friends who didn't do any academics? I'm curious. 

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13 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

What happened to your homeschooled friends who didn't do any academics? I'm curious. 

One went to community college but didn’t graduate.  She was so far behind needing remedial classes that she eventually gave up.  A couple got married quickly out of high school and never worked more than a minimum wage job.  Most I’ve lost touch with.  I’m in NY so they had to do minimal academics at least, but back then you could drop out at 16 and most parents stopped doing the quarterly reports at that point.   
They were generally doing minimal schooling, like maybe a page of Saxon math and reading a history chapter, but it was very minimal.  

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4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I think there's a lot of "magical thinking" about it. Like, you'll back off, and things will magically click! 

I think this is the kind of teaching that gives "discovery method" a bad name, lol. Just throw manipulatives at kids, and they'll figure it out themselves. Maybe some kids will, but most won't. 

I never would have figured out proofs!  😄  

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I know that this is a very common topic of complaint, but I can't DEAL with some of the advice people give on Facebook. I just wound up quitting an "academic" Facebook group in which people were seriously suggesting that you can do an hour of work a day with a 13 year old...

We're already somewhat unschooly (I expect no output but discussion for everything but math right now), so I'm not even advocating a ton of written work every day. But why is the advice to EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM always "You need to do less school"?? Like, deschooling is not the solution to all of life's issues. And sometimes, you actually need to work hard to achieve things. Yeesh. 

OK, rant over. Anyone else want to complain with me? I'm just annoyed, because I would like to have conversations about how to actually teach kids well, and it's very hard to find people to have them with except on here ❤️.

My eldest graduated high school in 2013, so that officially makes me a fuddy-duddy.  :-) 

I knew from early on that my kids would not be able to "teach themselves" the way I heard other parents commenting that they did.  I'm still skeptical. 

Two of my three students thanked me later for working hard at homeschooling with them:  specifically, one for math and one for writing.  And both of them have said they came into college knowing how to focus and work hard, and many of their peers did not.   

Eldest, on the other hand, is the sheer "smartest", but also underachieving at the moment.  So, some of it is up to our kids.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, that's fair if that's the situation. And there are certainly lots of situations in which homeschooling seems like a good option whether the academics are being perfectly done or not. 

I'm not really predicting doom and gloom for all the kids in this situation or anything 😉. I mean, heck, I spent my middle school years basically doing nothing but coasting and watching TV, and while I do kind of regret it, it was a hard time due to immigrating, and it was understandable. And obviously, I'm fine. 

It's more the preachiness that bothers me, and the idea that "stop doing school!" is the solution to all of life's problems. And also... maybe this is just my social group, but I know a fair number of kids who are not homeschooled for crisis reasons, and there, sometimes you do start to wonder if the kids would simply do better at school. 

 

I've probably asked this before, but how structured WERE you? What were your days like?

I don't think I'm very structured for this forum. We don't have written output except in math, and we don't use curriculum almost at all. We do have a schedule because we all function better with one, though. 

Our local homeschool community is secular, so the vast majority of people have tried PS.  Or they have kids with unique needs that would flounder in a typical B&M situation.  There are families that chose to homeschool out of the gate. But for a lot of them, it seems like intuitively they knew school wouldn't be a great fit for their child or family.  I have very little contact with religious homeschoolers in real life.  Majority of parents are definitely college educated.

I totally agree on preachiness, I don't have a lot of patience for people who talks definitively about child development or education who have maybe read a couple books and educated a kid up to age 9 (or whatever) .  I much prefer when people's tone is more like "hey that sounds a little like our situation, here is what worked for us for a period of time".  And better yet if that person can, "and that kid transitioned well to algebra, high school writing, etc etc".  I think it is hard on the newbies to figure out good info from bad.  I haven't visited the education boards here in years, I only occasionally dip into high school and college now.  I remember being in math threads where parents of young kids would definitively say "if you aren't doing curriculum X or Y with  your elementary kids, you're really doing them a disservice and they won't have conceptual blah blah blah".  I did love a good math discussion for a while, but that seriously burned me out.  I was never dogmatic about any one path or curriculum but hind sight it squicks me out even more and it makes me wonder how many newer homeschoolers walked away from discussions feeling bad.   Anyway, I think it leads more experienced homeschoolers from just backing away from those type of boards.  I've paid to listen to speakers at homeschool conferences who I've thought had no business touting themselves as experts.  That goes for some homeschooling related books too.  

MANY kids hit an educational lull during the middle school years.  I think it's a developmental thing having been through that with my own 2 kids and tutoring/teaching many kids through these years.  There is a lot of brain, social, and emotional development happening these years.  I would say your years of watching TV were a parenting failure and not a YOU failure.  Kids that age do not have good self regulation or make good, healthy decisions.  I guess if they did, they'd be adults.  I had tech limits for my own kids into the teen years, but that said, goal of self regulating by college age.   

I can't really say how our days looked easily because they varied year to year and sometimes even season to season.  I would set up reasonable length must get done blocks.  We used museum programs and tours and class offerings liberally.  We spent a lot of time outside.  My kids always had a choice in some things.  But they didn't have choice in other things.  Music lessons were a definite part of our school day and I thought my kids learned so many good skills about learning things incrementally, working with another teacher, etc.  When I'd hit  a bunch of resistance from the kids, I'd mix things up or step back.  Sometimes the best science we'd get for a year would be in 5 or 6 junior ranger programs at national parks while we would road trip.  Not that we weren't doing other science, I just found that stuff hit my kids much harder at those ages and would have us googling and exploring and checking out books to learn more.  We just didn't necessarily spend a lot of time at a table doing structured things. But I'd say our life was geared for natural educational curiosity. 

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, I see a LOT of that. I'll admit to sometimes giving high school advice without having homeschooled high school, though 😉 . Mostly because I've taught my sister and I've taught college kids, though. (I can't give nitty-gritty advice, either. Just what I've seen go wrong at the end of the education journey from the perspective of a college instructor.) 

But as you say, you've taught older kids, so you have some experience trying to cram ideas into their heads. 😉  That's different than the pre-K mom that suggested a sticker chart to motivate a sulky 14 year old. Like, clearly, this woman has does not yet have children over the age of 5. 

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I'm always so glad I found this forum. If I took only the homeschool advice I found on Facebook, I'd have seriously undereducated children. I'm all for using games, field trips, discussion, and fun projects, but I do it along with more academic work. Even so, I often worry that I haven't required enough or I've been too lenient in some areas and my children, who have high goals, are going to struggle. The parents of young children giving advice to parents of high schoolers is often just ridiculous.

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8 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

But as you say, you've taught older kids, so you have some experience trying to cram ideas into their heads. 😉  That's different than the pre-K mom that suggested a sticker chart to motivate a sulky 14 year old. Like, clearly, this woman has does not yet have children over the age of 5. 

Please tell me this is an exaggeration and not something you've really heard someone suggest 😛 

 

19 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I can't really say how our days looked easily because they varied year to year and sometimes even season to season.

Our days do change a LOT. So far, we always do math and piano and some writing, although writing has become merged with math for the last while. And we've recently added Russian as a staple. Did you have basic focuses like that? 

 

20 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Our local homeschool community is secular, so the vast majority of people have tried PS.

Mine is secular, but... with ideological bents, I guess? So that's quite different. For instance, we have a LOT of anti-vaxxers who are doing it because they aren't allowed in schools, and a lot of theater-affiliated people for whom the school schedule is annoying. So it's not the same community, I think. 

 

21 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I would say your years of watching TV were a parenting failure and not a YOU failure. 

Can't argue with that, lol. My mom is not a stellar parent, period. I also managed to fail my middle school music class because I kept forgetting to sign out the clarinet to practice it 😛 . This was also something a parent should have dealt with -- I hated the stupid clarinet, because what I really wanted was to keep playing piano, not learn a new instrument for the required middle school band, and I made no effort. 

I actually made an explicit decision to stop watching TV in grade 9. No one ever did get me to snap me out of except myself. So I guess it did teach me something about self-regulation after 2 years of insane amounts of TV 😛 . 

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I don't think many people realize how much work it takes on the part of the parent to successfully homeschool older kids and teens. When kiddo was 6, homeschooling was easy. The focus of our time was mostly the social stuff, with an hour-ish of guided lessons. I think that is fine when the kids are wee ones, assuming you're also talking with your kids, reading them a bedtime story every day, giving them good quality games and shows to watch. 

I've heard homeschool parents of littles say "Life is learning!".  Yes, that's true, but the way the kids engage with learning needs to shift as they get older. Unschooling is lovely IF you have curious, motivated kids and IF the parents have enough resources to facilitate that type of education. It's easy to do when they are little. It's a lot harder when they are older. Unfortunately, I see a lot of people that claim to unschool while doing absolutely zero to help their kids learn anything. 

I was asked to help a family of 3 older "kids" that had received utterly no education beyond Kahn Academy in high school. Like, nothing. The kids are 20, 18, and 16. They "homeschooled" in a zero regulation state. Mom never wrote up a transcript, never documented anything they did. She told them to print out a diploma when they turned 18 and consider themselves graduates.  Like, how do you begin to fix this? The kids want to attend college and join the military, and there is no cheap, fast, and easy way forward with that, which seems to be what the family wants. 😞 

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5 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

I wonder if it's the same FB group I'm on because, yes, someone did suggest this week that a mom motivate her teen with a sticker chart.

I heard it over a year ago, so I am now doubly dismayed that the advice apparently took root!

Or maybe there's some new sticker MLM that this mom is indirectly trying to promote, lol. 

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1 minute ago, MissLemon said:

I heard it over a year ago, so I am now doubly dismayed that the advice apparently took root!

Or maybe there's some new sticker MLM that this mom is indirectly trying to promote, lol. 

To be fair, one mom said she sometimes put "Excellent" stickers on her older student's papers and they seemed pleased with the praise from mom. I think that may have been what motivated the mom of littles to suggest the sticker chart, but still...🙄

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As with so many things, there's a grain of truth that could apply sometimes, but it's not universal advice.  One of the hardest parts of homeschooling, and parenting, is knowing when to help a kid push through frustration and when to tell them to take a break and come back to it in an hour, day, or month.  We have done both in different situations.  With little kids, you can often wait a bit for them to mature and sometimes that helps.  Sometimes kids have a developmental block and just can't wrap their head around something that is simple to them a year later. 

But, sometimes they just need to do the work.  I remember teaching a class of high schoolers and a couple of kids said that they 'just couldn't understand' the chapter.  It was on the parts of the cell and was mostly a list of organelles and their jobs. There was nothing to understand - it just needed to be memorized, and I wasn't terribly sympathetic.  But, when we do genetics problems there are actually concepts to understand and some students get confused.  I'll suggest a 5 minute break and then try to explain a different way, and we'll continue with different methods or repetition of simple problems and breaks when they get frustrated.  It's obvious to me which type of problem I'm dealing with in class because I've taught this content for a long time, but it's not always obvious when you're in the trenches and your kid is at a new stage with new material. 

It's the same with 'extras' like sports and music.  When we do our twice-yearly (at least) planning, I ask the kids what their goals are for their activities.  As youngers, we asked if they wanted to play high school sports - if so, they needed to practice.  Did they want to play an instrument?  Just for fun?  Well enough to play in church?  Do they like it enough to put in the effort to meet that goal?  What is the response to being reminded to practice?  A smile?  An 'Ugh' and then practice?  Rolling around in the floor screaming for an hour?  That's why it's hard to give one-size-fits-all advice.  A kid who whines and practices is different from a kid who disrupts family life daily.  In the first, I'd say 'keep encouraging' and in the second I might advise a break.  But, the local facebook group doesn't seem to have that level of nuance in questions or answers.  I use it mostly for practical stuff - deadlines, new activites, state policy changes, etc.  

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

The first hat you make will be a lot of work and will be lopsided.  

This strikes me as such an unusual example that I have to ask: do you make hats? 😄

 

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1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

Like, how do you begin to fix this? The kids want to attend college and join the military, and there is no cheap, fast, and easy way forward with that, which seems to be what the family wants. 😞 

This is a common misconception here, that printing out or paying for a formal diploma document means something. I hated explaining to a a young friend that her homeschool diploma that she received at her homeschool graduation was not going to get her into college. Ugh.

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Just now, Calm37 said:

This is a common misconception here, that printing out or paying for a formal diploma document means something. I hated explaining to a a young friend that her homeschool diploma that she received at her homeschool graduation was not going to get her into college. Ugh.

Yes, and this frustrates me so much! I went round and round with the family about this. Your diploma is a souvenir of your work. Your TRANSCRIPT and supporting documentation is what will get you into college or the military. 

And it went woosh! right over their head. They didn't seem to want to believe it. "So could we just make something up to put on a transcript, then?" NO! College admissions will see right through that! So will the military! There's no rubber stamp that will fix this! 

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34 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Yes, and this frustrates me so much! I went round and round with the family about this. Your diploma is a souvenir of your work. Your TRANSCRIPT and supporting documentation is what will get you into college or the military. 

And it went woosh! right over their head. They didn't seem to want to believe it. "So could we just make something up to put on a transcript, then?" NO! College admissions will see right through that! So will the military! There's no rubber stamp that will fix this! 

Do these kids... know stuff?

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Do these kids... know stuff?

Not really? They know that they are not in a great situation and reached out to a trusted adult for help. I started to tear up as I got more details because the only way the kids will be able to get out of this mess is with significant help from adults plus a bunch of cash. The kids just hang out and play video games at home. They don't have friends (the parents never bothered to take them to activities where they'd meet people). No jobs. No verifiable education. No money of their own. They finally got drivers licenses because the trusted adult stepped in and helped them do that, (against the parents wishes).

The kids asked "So, what's going to happen to us?" 😭 It's beyond heartbreaking.  They know something is very wrong but they have no idea how to fix it. 

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3 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Not really? They know that they are not in a great situation and reached out to a trusted adult for help. I started to tear up as I got more details because the only way the kids will be able to get out of this mess is with significant help from adults plus a bunch of cash. The kids just hang out and play video games at home. They don't have friends (the parents never bothered to take them to activities where they'd meet people). No jobs. No verifiable education. No money of their own. They finally got drivers licenses because the trusted adult stepped in and helped them do that, (against the parents wishes).

The kids asked "So, what's going to happen to us?" 😭 It's beyond heartbreaking.  They know something is very wrong but they have no idea how to fix it. 

Oh, goodness 😞 . So they now need to rapidly self-educate without any money or any helpful connections or anything? 😕 That's really tough. 

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@MissLemonis there a church or something that offers GED prep?  Right now ours is shut down, but normally there's a group that meets twice a week at our church.  I know at one point there was a homeschooled kid trying to finish, and I know it was weird for some of the church members who saw him and were naturally disinclined towards homeschoolers to reconcile what they saw there with my family.  My kids are sociable, do activities, and would work on advanced school work when I'd occasionally need to do some volunteer work at church during normal school hours.  Situations like what you describe, and also the kids who graduate from public schools with transcripts and diplomas but no skills and knowledge are so hard to deal with!   

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