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Undergrad student interested in learning about homeschooling parents' concerns


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Hello educators,

I am a tutor and an undergrad student who is interested in learning more about the concerns and pain points of homeschooling parents, both before and during the pandemic.

I am interested in knowing:

-What your teaching situation looks like: your geographic location, grade level, day-to-day activities, homeschooling program, etc.

-What significant issues have you experienced/are you experiencing with homeschooling right now?

Thanks!

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Since you are undergrad, could you share WHY you are interested? If this is not for a project for college, what is it for? Is this purely out of curiosity?
You are going to find a wide range of responses to all of your questions, and it would be helpful for us to know why you want to know this. 

Be aware that the people that run this site, Well Trained Mind Press, have a very helpful text called The Well Trained Mind, that walks the homeschooler/potential homeschooler through each of the aspects you asked about.

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I'm asking because I want to start a project with other undergrad students to create edtech/additional resources to help support teachers, and I want to see what pain points we should focus on developing resources to help address. 

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So you are looking for what teaching issues we may be having, as in what is lacking in the homeschool programs we use vs what issues we may be facing because of the current pandemic? 

As far as problems with materials, I put together my own program from homeschool publishers, library resources, homeschool curriculum websites, and books from my own collection.  I don't really have any big issues or gaping holes or trouble finding materials to meet the needs of my kids.   I think there is a lot out there, almost too much to sort through, lol.  

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any specific issues.  But when I have them I resort to my well worn Well Trained Mind or to these or other boards and look for a starting point.  I think homeschooling's roots come from homegrown sources, and others have already dealt with any issue that I may have, and so all I have to do is ask who else has dealt with this. 

If you are wondering what issues we face because of COVID, as a long term homeschooler I probably have more resources than people who started just because of the pandemic as far as an established network of homeschool associations. Newbies need help getting connected with local resources like their state organizations and support groups more than anything.  And a lot of homeschool things got put on hold because of the same reasons everthing else in the world did, making it harder to find the groups that are usually there.   As we get back to somewhat normal, people will need to know how to network together for activities, classes, renting spaces for groups, how to access testing and whatnot in their areas. 

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Yeah, I've got concerns. One of my top concerns in homeschooling right now is the role of edtech in the homeschool world - the ways that it's detrimental to homeschooled students and undermines the quality of their education. One of my main concerns is the way opportunistic "entrepreneurs" who know nothing about education swoop in to try and make a profit off families by telling them they need online education with slick sales sites that have great SEO so they capture all the people trying to connect with home education. And then the quality of the kids' education suffers. Because again, these are folks who did "market research" but know nothing about what makes quality education. Quality education is slow. And it doesn't happen your websites.

So basically, shoo. Go away. Stop trying to ruin children's lives to make a buck.

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Not directly related to homeschooling, but if you are looking at Ed tech, there is one big problem that has come up during this time of forced remote learning. Many, many of the educational websites that are being relied on are not accessible to students who are visually impaired especially those students who are Braille readers and rely on screen readers to access computers and online information. It is very difficult when a classroom teacher or school has chooses a particular program that leaves the visually impaired child with no way to access. The student then ends up having completely different assignment than their peers, or the student sits next to a sighted individual and “participates” without actually being able to do anything.

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Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it. I promise I’m not trying to “ruin children’s lives.” So it looks like additional resources designed to teach content are not needed, and it would be better for trained educators to work on them anyway instead of inexperienced undergrad students. For new homeschoolers who need assistance with networking I can imagine we could volunteer our time compiling lists of locations and resources but that would probably be better done by experienced homeschoolers who are familiar with the available resources already.

@City Mouse, I imagine one thing we could do would be to advocate for changes on educational websites to be more accessible, e.g. point out where a video or an image should have supplementary text to help describe what is going on for the screen reader to process. It probably wouldn’t be that difficult to research this and just reach out to the webmasters to voice concerns if other people are too busy to contact them. We could possibly even volunteer to write transcripts/descriptions, I think that could be time-consuming for the website managers to create but something we would be capable of doing even though we're just students.

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On 2/24/2021 at 10:57 AM, Gavin Orok said:

Hello educators,

I am a tutor and an undergrad student who is interested in learning more about the concerns and pain points of homeschooling parents, both before and during the pandemic.

I am interested in knowing:

-What your teaching situation looks like: your geographic location, grade level, day-to-day activities, homeschooling program, etc.

-What significant issues have you experienced/are you experiencing with homeschooling right now?

Thanks!

Hello,

Just like parents of children in the public school sector, parents of homeschool kids have the usual concern of is my child/ren get educated enough.  We are all humans and worry about our children. 

We homeschool for many different reasons, so you will get different insights.

As far as I am concern, the homeschool world is prevalent in every state and even in other parts of the world.  One can homeschool their children from K to college.  It just depends on the need and one's situation. 

There are lots of different homeschool programs out there for all kinds of learners.  Check out Cathy Duffy's website for some of the programs we use. 

There are different teaching methods as well.  Charlotte Mason, Classical, Waldorf, Montessori, etc.

The state I live in has a homeschool hotline that one can call for more information. 

Many people have a misconception that homeschoolers don't socialize.  In my experience, homeschoolers have formed local homeschool groups and  can form friendships there.  My kids socialize now more during this pandemic than before, via zoom or facetime. 

If one has multiple kids, we try to teach them all at once in certain subjects to save time.  This is usually done with history and science.  One just needs to add more work for the older student.  Write a paragraph on this historical figure, or use a primary source on this topic and summarize it, etc. 

During a pandemic, PE is a challenge for my household.  Before the pandemic, my children were involved in the same extracurriular activities as public school kids have.  With the exception of the lesser popular sports, for example hockey.  However, swimming, volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis and baseball are all available to homeschool kids.  Either through an organization or the rec.

For me, my children are pretty close in age, and I teach them most subjects simultaneously.  They do math at the same time, but in different levels and programs.  I just go from one child to another.  If my older one needs more of an explanation than my brain can handle at the moment, I just look at the problem later and teach it to him later. 

Some new to homeschooling because of this pandemic may have concerns if their child is in high school.  Some believe that their child has to be taught by an accredited teacher or institution.  My guess is that is not true, at least where I live. It may just depend on the state's homeschooling laws.

A lot of new homeschooling parents (because of this pandemic) may also be concerned with socialization.  I am not concerned.

Friends can also form co-ops which can meet once or twice a week.  or how many times is agreed upon.  Here, generally each parent teaches a subject.  Or they hire a teacher for a certain specialized skill. 

This forum is a great help to homeschooling parents.  Here is where we can ask a question and it is usually answered.  😄

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PE and sports is another idea you could research. (Although I am not sure what you are doing? Trying to make money or doing an assignment?) The laws are different in each state about how much or if at all that kids can compete in sports in public schools or in any extra curriculars.  In my state, it is all or nothing.  If you homeschool there is no access to any services in the public schools.  Our state organization's stance on that is that is ok.  We do what we do.  You do what you do.  We don't want services because they usually come with strings, and we like our independence.  

But that does mean that there have to be private schools that will accept homeschoolers in some team sports or opportunities for student athletes in other leagues.  So that may be something for you to look into.  How to help pool information for that. 

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I’m always short of time and energy. While you may not be able to assist with energy, you might be able to develop some things to help with the time aspect ....

(1) educational online games for the kids.  Sometimes I use these games as a review or for practice when I need to be teaching another child.  I noticed that one of our favorite websites for online games, Sheppard Software, is basically obsolete due to the end of Flash.  If you could create your own website of games or help revive old sites, that would be helpful to the education community. 
 

(2) apps/websites to help kids learn to manage their own time/assignments. Productivity timers, calendars/planners that are kid-friendly, or just blurbs that kids can read and learn about study skills and productivity.   If kids can effectively manage their own time and assignments, it takes a huge burden off the parent. 
 

 

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I think one of the major issues I have with educators suddenly trying to help homeschool parents educate their children is a fundamental misunderstanding of what homeschooling does or can look like. So many trained educators think that homeschooling is "school at home." They think of a classroom situation and assume that homeschooling parents want to mimic that; or worse, think of that as the best or even only approach to education.

And certainly many, if not most, Covid-schooling parents are, to some extent, driving that idea. They want to mimic school-at-home so that when their children return to a post-pandemic classroom, they will be at the same"level" as their peers who remained in the classroom. (I also acknowledge that there may be "regular" homeschooling parents who would like to mimic a classroom education) .

The problem is that this approach completely undervalues and even undermines the true value of a homeschool education that does not mimic the public school model. I am continually surprised at educators who think they can help me educate my fourteen year old daughter and never once consider studying what I did to successfully graduate my four older children from homeschool into university. The fact that educators do not even consider studying homeschool to see what might be successfully transported from our approach into the classroom has always been a source of frustration for me. There are thousands of parents successfully educating their children on what is sometimes severely limited budgets (and certainly much, much less than my own provincial government school's $14000/student/year budget) and no one is asking how we are doing it? In fact they keep coming into our spaces and asking how they can assist us to do a better job?

I am not saying that your assistance is not welcomed or even that it is unneeded. In fact I am a supporter of more resources to help more parents make this job easier. I am just bothered that those wanting to help do not have any involvement with the community.  I think that someone who wanted to understand the pain points should find local families to spend time with (difficult during covid, I know) and see what homeschooling actually looks like. 

On a more practically note my personal pain points include:
Since learning is predicated on healthy attachment, how do I maintain healthy attachment with my grumpy teen so that we can get some learning done?
Since we are legally allowed to unschool in my province, how to I write my reports to reflect learning that has nothing to do with the current curriculum, when the government administrators don't really understanding unschooling and keep trying to remind me to follow a curriculum I don't have to follow.
Since true learning happens through the "great conversation" how do I get into my daughter's online world so we can have those conversations? How do I ensure that any online learning she is participating in is offering that "great conversation" or is allowing me to enter into it with her? (Especially since most edtech/online formats just vomit information at participants and forums don't' really allow for true discussion.)

How do I stop creepers from blowing up my bed on my daughter's Minecraft server?

 

 

Edited by ColourfulThreads
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Thank you for your comments. Certainly reading up on homeschooling methods and trying to understand the differences with a classroom environment will be important, I think I’ll start with the book The Well-Trained Mind and the Cathy Duffy website mentioned previously. I definitely couldn’t run PE programs but I could do some of the behind-the-scenes work to help reach out to private schools/little leagues to advocate for these programs to be set up/collect information for parents. I guess educational apps/games could be a possibility if there is enough need for them, if we emphasize they are just a supplement to other in-depth activities and we have homeschool educators review them for educational value. I’m not really sure what we could do about parents having trouble connecting with teens and ensuring there is “great conversation” in their learning, and don’t have any experience with unschooling but I will do some research to try to understand the problems.

To answer your question @2_girls_mommy (thank you for not jumping to conclusions haha), I am trying to start a project where we would acquire some initial funding and we would provide some kind of assistance to educators in our free time for a reasonable number of hours each week outside of full-time school. It could be a volunteer commitment but it should involve some kind of significant skill development. I’m a math and statistics student/amateur digital artist working with a graphic design student and a CS student/amateur digital artist. It would be great if we could do something artistic or where we apply skills from our majors in some way but my priority would be trying to help address a relevant problem.
 

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On 2/25/2021 at 5:53 PM, Gavin Orok said:

Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it. I promise I’m not trying to “ruin children’s lives.” So it looks like additional resources designed to teach content are not needed, and it would be better for trained educators to work on them anyway instead of inexperienced undergrad students. For new homeschoolers who need assistance with networking I can imagine we could volunteer our time compiling lists of locations and resources but that would probably be better done by experienced homeschoolers who are familiar with the available resources already.

@City Mouse, I imagine one thing we could do would be to advocate for changes on educational websites to be more accessible, e.g. point out where a video or an image should have supplementary text to help describe what is going on for the screen reader to process. It probably wouldn’t be that difficult to research this and just reach out to the webmasters to voice concerns if other people are too busy to contact them. We could possibly even volunteer to write transcripts/descriptions, I think that could be time-consuming for the website managers to create but something we would be capable of doing even though we're just students.

The only thing that is a bit weak is non religious science.

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Another idea ...

A resource for the student to make an electronic timeline. Historical timelines are a big deal In homeschool circles. But I personally hate all the paper and handwriting and finding images and glueing and cutting that involved with creating a physical timeline ... not to mention needing the space to store the timeline.  I’d much rather hit CNTRL-C and CNTRL-V to produce a timeline and store it as electrons. Last summer I could only find a couple of websites that allowed the user to create their own digital timelines, and one of those was completely in French!

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I've been homeschooling for 16 years (with two graduates!), so I pretty much have all of the materials I need for my kids.  While many schools have struggled through the pandemic, our school didn't change.  We just kept doing the same thing we've been doing.  

What would be most helpful to me would be a resource to help me prepare to teach.

For instance, I am using Duolingo to brush up my Spanish and French skills.  Something similar to help me refresh and improve in Algebra, Geometry, and Trig (and maybe learn some Calculus) would be something that I could use.

 

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7 hours ago, kiwik said:

The only thing that is a bit weak is non religious science.

There are so many secular options! BFSU is excellent, as is Ellen McHenry! Excellent book series include the Let’s Read and Find Out series, David Macaulay,  and Scientists in the Field, among others.  People speak highly of RSO, uzzingo, supercharged science, ....

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VERY longtime lurker, but this is only my second time posting, so grain of salt, etc

I'm motivated to post because I think you've done an admirable job of taking some pretty harsh (understandable) feedback and I'm getting the impression that you really do want to help in some way.  

My first question/ comment is, why homeschooling? What specifically makes you interested in developing a project to help homeschooling families as opposed to classrooms? You might get better responses if you helped people help you, so to speak. 

Without knowing more about your project and approach, I would also suggest that you consider beginning with a more exploratory attitude. Instead of asking what the "pain points" are--a question that almost seems designed to raise people's hackles, especially on a more liberal-arts-leaning board--why not ask homeschoolers simply to tell you about their days? Why do they homeschool? What works well for them? What are they proud of? Lots of us love to talk about our curricula, our philosophies, and our day-to-day schedules :)

Best of luck to you in your project!
   

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3 hours ago, JHLWTM said:

@Gavin Orok could you tell us why you’re undertaking this project? Is it a school assignment? A side passion for education or Ed tech? What motivates you? What problems have you personally faced or seen in education? 
 

I'm also curious. 

Also, while I know a lot of us get tired of the meddling, this poster is probably not that much older than your own teens... let's not pile on him as a representative of the hostile outside world 😉 . 

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Thanks for your suggestions. 

Thank you for asking questions instead of making assumptions about me, here are my answers:

I thought homeschoolers would be a good group to reach out to because I know a big wave of them just began homeschooling recently because of the pandemic and I thought the inexperienced teachers could potentially use some assistance. I don’t have any experience with homeschool education but I can draw/write some code/run some statistical tests/just do time-consuming tasks that require few skills. I also reached out to public school teachers. My idea was to reach out to both groups and compile feedback to see if anyone was receptive to receiving additional help from undergrads; if so, I would focus my efforts on the group who seemed most open to my idea.

I want to pursue a project like this because I have a side passion for education. I’m a certified tutor and want to eventually educate adults as part of my job. If I can lend the professional skills I’ve developed so far in some way to help with additional educational challenges introduced by the pandemic I think that is a good use of the time I would spend working in a part-time job under normal circumstances. I would get to contribute to a cause I care about and develop my professional skills in my spare time as a building block on my resume. Some of the problems I’ve personally experienced and seen as a tutor include: students’ difficulties with time management and organizational skills; dyscalculia; mature students not having attended school for decades and having knowledge gaps; low self-esteem; low motivation to learn; and depression and anxiety provoked by concern about marks, social difficulties, the transition to first-year university, etc.

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5 minutes ago, Gavin Orok said:

I thought homeschoolers would be a good group to reach out to because I know a big wave of them just began homeschooling recently because of the pandemic and I thought the inexperienced teachers could potentially use some assistance.

This forum doesn’t have too many crisis schoolers. Part of the reason I’m here is that it’s a serious academic forum for people who put a lot of thought into homeschooling. 

As a result, most people on here have a lot of experience with their own kids, and some (like me) have PhDs and experience teaching at a college level or another high level. 

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I’d guess there are quite a few crisis schoolers here who are a bit hesitant to speak up very often, because this attitude is quite prevalent here. Not all crisis homeschoolers just buy Costco workbooks. 🤪
 

To the OP, I think time management/organizational skills would be one area to consider. Study skills/how to prepare for an exam would be another.

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17 hours ago, JHLWTM said:

There are so many secular options! BFSU is excellent, as is Ellen McHenry! Excellent book series include the Let’s Read and Find Out series, David Macaulay,  and Scientists in the Field, among others.  People speak highly of RSO, uzzingo, supercharged science, ....

Ellen McHenry is good but not exactly secular.  The early stuff is neutral but the later units - not.  A lot of the other stuff is less readily available on this side of the world or simply not economic.  

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6 hours ago, cougarmom4 said:

I’d guess there are quite a few crisis schoolers here who are a bit hesitant to speak up very often, because this attitude is quite prevalent here. Not all crisis homeschoolers just buy Costco workbooks. 🤪

I know of at least a few crisis schoolers on here that do speak up, and my point wasn’t that crisis schooling is bad — it was that this is not the forum you should be using if that’s your audience. When I was on FB, half the groups were crisis schoolers. These forums have a very different vibe.

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5 hours ago, kiwik said:

Ellen McHenry is good but not exactly secular.  The early stuff is neutral but the later units - not.  A lot of the other stuff is less readily available on this side of the world or simply not economic.  

I didn't realize that! Good to know!

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10 hours ago, Gavin Orok said:

Thanks for your suggestions. 

Thank you for asking questions instead of making assumptions about me, here are my answers:

I thought homeschoolers would be a good group to reach out to because I know a big wave of them just began homeschooling recently because of the pandemic and I thought the inexperienced teachers could potentially use some assistance. I don’t have any experience with homeschool education but I can draw/write some code/run some statistical tests/just do time-consuming tasks that require few skills. I also reached out to public school teachers. My idea was to reach out to both groups and compile feedback to see if anyone was receptive to receiving additional help from undergrads; if so, I would focus my efforts on the group who seemed most open to my idea.

I want to pursue a project like this because I have a side passion for education. I’m a certified tutor and want to eventually educate adults as part of my job. If I can lend the professional skills I’ve developed so far in some way to help with additional educational challenges introduced by the pandemic I think that is a good use of the time I would spend working in a part-time job under normal circumstances. I would get to contribute to a cause I care about and develop my professional skills in my spare time as a building block on my resume. Some of the problems I’ve personally experienced and seen as a tutor include: students’ difficulties with time management and organizational skills; dyscalculia; mature students not having attended school for decades and having knowledge gaps; low self-esteem; low motivation to learn; and depression and anxiety provoked by concern about marks, social difficulties, the transition to first-year university, etc.

Edited. I reread my post and it felt paternalistic, when I didn’t intend it to 🙂 

 

Hi Gavin, You've made some great observations through your experience as a tutor, and I think it's great that you're exploring ways to help your community. My personal feeling is that the ed space would benefit from fewer packaged programs and more educators who really focus on investing in the individual child (or adult learner) in front of them. There are an abundance of resources out there now, almost too many to manage. After the shutdown, there was an *explosion* of new resources for online learning, hybrid learning, crisis homeschoolers, etc.  There seem to be tons of good hearted people hoping to spread their method or strategy to help others. But most of these programs end up feeling pretty impersonal (and to the eyes of experience homeschoolers, somewhat weak), and there is a time and opportunity and energy cost in trying each new program. Kids (or any learner) don't necessarily need programs, they need invested people, or an invested person, to walk beside them. As a tutor, that is what you are doing. Your observations about the challenges your learners face are spot on.  

You might want to read through @lewelma's posts. She is someone who has very thoughtfully considered many of the issues and challenges you identify, and works individually with students to help them navigate those learning challenges. We all learn a lot from her.

Some other resources that could be of help to you (given the specific problems you mentioned):

Smart but Scattered

Seth Perler (check out his Youtube channel)

How to ADHD (Youtube channel)

 

Glad you're looking for ways to help your community!

Edited by JHLWTM
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23 hours ago, JHLWTM said:

There are so many secular options! BFSU is excellent, as is Ellen McHenry! Excellent book series include the Let’s Read and Find Out series, David Macaulay,  and Scientists in the Field, among others.  People speak highly of RSO, uzzingo, supercharged science, ....

🤣🤣🤣  You must still have little kids.  Talk to me when they get to middle school and up.  I used almost all the resources you listed above over the course of my homeschooling, and very much had to resort to public school textbooks and outsourcing when we got to high school.

I did at those older ages also try some online resources meant for supplementary stuff for ps students (I think that was maybe supercharged science?).  Wasn't impressed.  Lots of cool graphics, but also lots of multiple choice - seemed very surface level.

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1 minute ago, Matryoshka said:

🤣🤣🤣  You must still have little kids.  Talk to me when they get to middle school and up.  I used almost all the resources you listed above over the course of my homeschooling, and very much had to resort to public school textbooks and outsourcing when we got to high school.

I did at those older ages also try some online resources meant for supplementary stuff for ps students.  Wasn't impressed.  Lots of cool graphics, but also lots of multiple choice - seemed very surface level.

I've been thinking about making a math app using what I've learned in my AoPS teaching time, and DH has been advocating that I start with a "Trig Trainer" app, since there are MANY resources for the lower levels and not nearly as many for the higher levels. 

I'm pretty enthused about doing both (I have big dreams!), but I think he has a point.

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1 minute ago, Matryoshka said:

🤣🤣🤣  You must still have little kids.  Talk to me when they get to middle school and up.  I used almost all the resources you listed above over the course of my homeschooling, and very much had to resort to public school textbooks and outsourcing when we got to high school.

I did at those older ages also try some online resources meant for supplementary stuff for ps students.  Wasn't impressed.  Lots of cool graphics, but also lots of multiple choice - seemed very surface level.

You're right!, my oldest is 12. I was pretty much assuming we'd transition to textbooks in high school. 

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5 minutes ago, JHLWTM said:

You're right!, my oldest is 12. I was pretty much assuming we'd transition to textbooks in high school. 

For middle school I ended up using a lot of CPO (public school texts) and for one kid a year of Mr. Q Advanced Chem with outsourced labs  (had done Ellen McH in late elementary).  For high school some ended up doing public school and some CC.  Online science didn't work for my kids (I know it does for many others).

Well, at least not for high school.  My now 22-yo is switching gears after a humanities undergrad and taking science prereqs for PT school - online and doing fine.  More maturity and experience, I think.

Edited by Matryoshka
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On 2/26/2021 at 8:40 AM, Junie said:

For instance, I am using Duolingo to brush up my Spanish and French skills.  Something similar to help me refresh and improve in Algebra, Geometry, and Trig (and maybe learn some Calculus) would be something that I could use.

Isn't this pretty much exactly what Khan Academy is?

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't know about you, but I don't love Khan Academy. I think there are definite improvements that can be made in that space. 

I won't disagree with you there.  My kids somehow never did well with Khan Academy as a refresher.  But I'd say the same for Duolingo for teaching foreign languages.  In some ways I think those platforms work even better for motivated adults than kids who may be just going through the motions.

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Just now, Matryoshka said:

I won't disagree with you there.  My kids somehow never did well with Khan Academy as a refresher.  But I'd say the same for Duolingo for teaching foreign languages.  In some ways I think those platforms work even better for motivated adults than kids who may be just going through the motions.

I can't speak to Duolingo before I've never tried it, but my experience is that all these math teaching things assume people learn things linearly, and they don't. 

Honestly, the language stuff might be the same. I'm doing Russian with DD8 and we're again not proceeding in linear fashion at all. I don't have the knowledge to figure out how to do it better in general, but I do know that whatever they had done in school to try to teach my languages was the wrong thing. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

I can't speak to Duolingo before I've never tried it, but my experience is that all these math teaching things assume people learn things linearly, and they don't. 

Honestly, the language stuff might be the same. I'm doing Russian with DD8 and we're again not proceeding in linear fashion at all. I don't have the knowledge to figure out how to do it better in general, but I do know that whatever they had done in school to try to teach my languages was the wrong thing. 

LOL, I think Duolingo goes the other way and is quite non-linear.  As a motivated adult learner who is already multilingual, I find that useful.  There are also a lot of ways to 'cheat' if you're doing it because mom said so and not because you're intrinsically motivated.  I'm actually impressed by what I (and other motivated adult learners I've met) have been able to get out of it.  But I can't tell you how many homeschooling moms have come to me thinking their kids are ready for Spanish 2 because they had their kid play with Duolingo for a year.   They've all been lucky if they remember their colors and parts of the body.  

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Just now, Matryoshka said:

LOL, I think Duolingo goes the other way and is quite non-linear.  As a motivated adult learner who is already multilingual, I find that useful.  There are also a lot of ways to 'cheat' if you're doing it because mom said so and not because you're intrinsically motivated.  I'm actually impressed by what I (and other motivated adult learners I've met) have been able to get out of it.  But I can't tell you how many homeschooling moms have come to me thinking their kids are ready for Spanish 2 because they had their kid play with Duolingo for a year.   They've all been lucky if they remember their colors and parts of the body.  

Hah. See, this is the part where "I have never used Duolingo" is coming back to bite me 😉 . How does it work? Or is that too off-topic? Should I start a new thread? 

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hah. See, this is the part where "I have never used Duolingo" is coming back to bite me 😉 . How does it work? Or is that too off-topic? Should I start a new thread? 

You should come post on the "Learning Foreign Languages" for adults thread - it's a monthly thread on the Chat board.  Lots of Duolingo users there to ask how they use it and how they like it (so more opinions than just me!).  It's definitely not a standalone, one-stop-shopping way to learn a foreign language - by any stretch - but I've gone from being quite dismissive having seen what kids have gotten out of it (including my own; I tried it just as a supplement) and what I've seen motivated adults get from it.  I've been using it for Chinese recently and I've been very pleasantly surprised.

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25 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

Isn't this pretty much exactly what Khan Academy is?

I've looked at Khan Academy and it just seems so confusing.  I could never figure out where to start.

I need sets of lessons to work through online in small chunks of time.  I don't want to watch lectures/videos.  I just want practice problems in an online format that will progress through a certain level of difficulty.

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Just now, Junie said:

I've looked at Khan Academy and it just seems so confusing.  I could never figure out where to start.

I need sets of lessons to work through online in small chunks of time.  I don't want to watch lectures/videos.  I just want practice problems in an online format that will progress through a certain level of difficulty.

Could you just work through a standard program by yourself? 

I'm probably going to want to do this for higher level science at some point... I empathize.

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3 minutes ago, Junie said:

I've looked at Khan Academy and it just seems so confusing.  I could never figure out where to start.

I need sets of lessons to work through online in small chunks of time.  I don't want to watch lectures/videos.  I just want practice problems in an online format that will progress through a certain level of difficulty.

I think there's a program like that for college students to catch up that is also used in some for assessment - Alex? Aleks? It has some kind of algorithm that figures out what you already know and what you struggle with and lets you skip the former and gives you more of the latter.

Does Khan Academy now make you watch videos?  When my kid did it (it was really just my youngest who did it), she would skip them.  She also just wanted to do the problems.

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4 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Could you just work through a standard program by yourself? 

I'm probably going to want to do this for higher level science at some point... I empathize.

I really need it to be on the computer and I really need it to be kind of fun or I know I won't do it.

Right now dh is teaching high school math here, but there's a part of me that wants to be able to do it myself without "outsourcing".

Honestly, it's a pride thing more than a desire to learn math.

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Just now, Junie said:

I really need it to be on the computer and I really need it to be kind of fun or I know I won't do it.

Right now dh is teaching high school math here, but there's a part of me that wants to be able to do it myself without "outsourcing".

Honestly, it's a pride thing more than a desire to learn math.

In an addendum to my previous post - found it, it's Aleks.  But I don't think it's free...

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10 minutes ago, Junie said:

I really need it to be on the computer and I really need it to be kind of fun or I know I won't do it.

Right now dh is teaching high school math here, but there's a part of me that wants to be able to do it myself without "outsourcing".

Honestly, it's a pride thing more than a desire to learn math.

True confessions - I did reteach myself math through about Algebra 1.5 to be able to teach it.  Then I outsourced.   😂  I did not want to invest the time to reteach myself trig and calculus...

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On 2/24/2021 at 1:11 PM, Gavin Orok said:

I'm asking because I want to start a project with other undergrad students to create edtech/additional resources to help support teachers, and I want to see what pain points we should focus on developing resources to help address.

I think that folks who are interested in homeschooling long term, rather than just weathering the current pandemic schooling crisis (which is decidedly NOT homeschooling), would be well advised to do two things, both ahead of homeschooling and as an ongoing and evolving endeavor.

First, successful homeschoolers tend to build relationships with their children that both augment the homeschooling experience and are augmented by it.  When you are with your children all day every day, you need to establish behavioral expectations that are more stringent than might be required when you have a reprieve from them for 8+ hours 5 days per week.  Fortunately, homeschooling gives you the time to be consistent, enforce expectations, etc.  The flip side of this is that the homeschooling parent needs to be ready to really dig down into why a certain behavior is occurring and change things if necessary.  I found that for our family, high expectations and consistent enforcement coupled with a willingness to really analyze the triggers for any recurring problems was the key to making our homeschool run (reasonably) smoothly.  I believe that the result of this sort of approach to parenting is one of the things I'm detecting when I am able to spot homeschooling families in the wild.

Second, successful homeschoolers will spend a lot (a lot!) of time educating themselves about homeschooling, education, and, importantly, what it is they're teaching.  I know that over my own tenure as a homeschooler, for the first, say, 3-4 years, I was obsessed with reading everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling.  Then that died down, and I became more interested in teaching and learning in general--everything from how to harness memory and deal with its limitations to the specifics of how to teach math.  Finally, as I moved into the middle/high school years with the older one, I spent the bulk of my time learning ahead of him, particularly in the areas I was weak in myself.  

I would argue that most homeschooling difficulties--"pain points" as you have called them here--cannot be solved by external resources.  Instead, they are best addressed by either working on the relationship between parent and child and/or by a commitment to continual learning on the parent's part.  I'm not saying that resources aren't important because they most certainly are, but resources on their own cannot replace how an effective relationship creates a space for learning and how knowledge on the parent/teacher's part can light the way.

ETA:  I realized that the above may make it sound like all you have to do is have a good relationship with your children and study a bit, and homeschooling will be smooth sailing.  This is absolutely NOT the case.  First, my experience has been that the relationship piece was by far the most difficult thing about homeschooling--that is, the emotional work required to homeschool well can be incredibly taxing.    And learning ahead of your children to the degree necessary to teach well is also extremely difficult.  It's no wonder that if folks don't drop out of homeschooling by middle school they will almost certainly do so by high school.  Not everyone, to be sure, but at least around here, it is very rare to find a homeschooled high school student.  And I suppose that I should also mention that there is a third thing that homeschooling parents should do in addition to relationship building and developing their own knowledge, and that is thinking seriously about what might tip the scales toward enrolling their children in school.  Because part of being a successful homeschooler is knowing when it's time to stop.

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19 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

True confessions - I did reteach myself math through about Algebra 1.5 to be able to teach it.  Then I outsourced.   😂  I did not want to invest the time to reteach myself trig and calculus...

Same. I redid much of Algebra I with an AoPS book for myself and then did a review of geometry and then realized I was really, really done. I had to find someone else to help a kid with some trig the other day.

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38 minutes ago, Junie said:

I need sets of lessons to work through online in small chunks of time.  I don't want to watch lectures/videos.  I just want practice problems in an online format that will progress through a certain level of difficulty.

ALEKS is perfect for this.  I used it to bolster my skills in Algebra I and geometry (along with other resources).  It took me 40 hours to get through the algebra course and 20 to get through the geometry course.  I did each in about 8 days, but you could certainly spread it out.  It works best for material that you learned reasonably well back in the day and just need a refresher on.  It does not teach concepts well, so those should probably come from elsewhere (I used Jacobs Algebra for this and was already solid on geometry concepts from high school).

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3 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Same. I redid much of Algebra I with an AoPS book for myself and then did a review of geometry and then realized I was really, really done. I had to find someone else to help a kid with some trig the other day.

Just in case you ever need trig help again... *waves*... always happy to help! 

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