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What are some curriculum trends you’ve noticed over the years?


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1 minute ago, Plum said:

My middle is slow going with math. If he were in ps he would have been pushed along and not had a firm grasp on the foundational basics. We may be "behind" but I am making sure fully understands it so that when he graduates he can continue on if he so chooses without backtracking. 

That's certainly what I do with kids I work with -- we go at their pace. (For my kids, that's faster than the standard pace, but for some other kids I work with, it's slower.) I do think that's a real advantage of homeschooling... which is actually exactly why I've been kind of bummed to see what people do with their kids in math when homeschooling. I was totally SURE that the homeschooling math education would be way better than the public school math education, since the lessons were individualized. And I've been disappointed to discover that's not generally the case. 

 

1 minute ago, Plum said:

I think kids being pulled from public school is about equal in sample as the kids that were homeschooled and then put into public school because it wasn't going so great. 😉

Yeah, agreed. Terrible sample! Only a tiny bit better than it could be because SOME kids were pulled due to vaccine issues and not academics. But overall... yes, terrible. 

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9 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

What is the averaged homeschooling family like? I'm going off the families I know and what I see in FB homeschooling groups. It appears to me that the average family is doing some kind of online program. I know some people would argue that these aren't real homeschoolers at all. FB is more "here comes everyone" than this forum. I've also read many accounts from homeschooled adults who grew up in fundamentalist families. 

What I've observed in my circles are claims that homeschooling is how you can get your children to heaven. You see, "this is why I homeschool" in response to something about transgendered children or drag storytime hour. There's a lot of romanticization about homeschooling in these circles. There's very little acknowledgement of its difficulties and the need to actually know the content that you're going to teach to your children. I've had mothers admit to me that they never actually get around to the curriculum because they have a lot of kids and there's always a baby or a toddler in the house. What those mothers need to hear is that school is okay and it won't mean that they are out of the clique at church and they're damning their kids to hell. But that's not what they get because homeschooling is about ideology instead of education. 

Yes, but NONE of the families I know are using an online program. None are from fundamentalist families, maybe two families would count sheltering their children from values they don't like as benefits to homeschooling. The most children any of them have is 4. 

And I absolutely know families who are not educating their children or are undereducating their children, and I have talked about it on here, because I think SOME small form of oversight would not be a bad thing. But they are a minority. Most parents I know are educating their children as well as or better than their public school peers. 

This just goes to show why we can not self-select our samples. You are obviously witnessing a totally different world of homeschooling than I am. And I completely believe you, but I do not believe it's a representative sample. Just like mine also is not because the demographics around me are different than the overall homeschooling makeup.

But I 100% agree with you that the villainization of public school or the notion that the "worst homeschool is better than the best public school" is toxic and harmful.

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I think the Amish are a really interesting case, because they really ARE bringing up their kids for a different world. It's true that they are limiting their kids to their own community, but it's not like their kids will be locked out of the life they expect. (Orthodox Jews do something pretty similar.) I have mixed feelings about this, but it's pretty different than failing to prepare a kid for the world that actually awaits you. 

One disagreement here. Is it is that they are locked out of the life that the child expects or the life that the community expects for the child? 

Aren't more and more Orthodox Jewish kids and Amish kids opting out of their communities? And how do you do that without a standard education? What does an ultra-orthodox Jewish kid do if he/she leaves the community without an education? But then on the other hand, why does the community need to prepare their children to leave their community? 

There are no easy answers. 

I realize that I've been harsh here and I'm re-thinking what I wrote. I'm mourning the end of our homeschooling journey which is surely coloring my opinions. 

I'm genuinely conflicted because I have a major issue with families guilted into homeschooling for religious reasons. But it's not like the alternative is perfect either. 

 

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1 minute ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

One disagreement here. Is it is that they are locked out of the life that the child expects or the life that the community expects for the child? 

Aren't more and more Orthodox Jewish kids and Amish kids opting out of their communities? And how do you do that without a standard education? What does an ultra-orthodox Jewish kid do if he/she leaves the community without an education? But then on the other hand, why does the community need to prepare their children to leave their community? 

 

 

This has been an issue of late. That the education the Amish provide their children was enough, for hundreds of years, that if they left the community they could still find a decent place in the world. But with technology being woven into the fabric of everyday life, as well as the minimum education required to get most jobs that will support you, some Amish youth are finding they can't leave even if they want to. Or if they do, it is a terrible uphill battle.

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I'm not sure that homeschooling parents should have to "justify" their choice to homeschool. I don't think we should elevate any educational choice to the default, and then require people to justify not using it.

For the most part, public schools in poor and rural neighborhoods are rated as "bad" by everyone. For the most part, public schools in wealthier neighborhoods have a primary focus of competitive-level college prep. To hold these institutions out at the default might be something we might want to reconsider. What if parents of public school children had to "justify" their use of those schools? What would that look like?

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Back to the thread topic of curriculum trends, what about family style curricula? I think the number of family style vs graded curricula has stayed steady over the years.

I have been playing around with some Layers of Learning pdfs on my e-ink tablet. I am able to write on the pdf, which is interesting.

So far the only e-ink tablets in color are the smaller ones. When large screen color e-ink devices come down in price, I wonder what trends that will start, and what curricula that has been around in pdf for a while will become popular just as it is.

 

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What about all the FREE curriculum? It wasn't until I discovered this board that I even knew about these COMPLETE and FREE reading, math, and spelling curriculum. Don Potter has some good stuff, absolutely on par with the paid stuff just with less bells and whistles. Lack of pictures, no pre-made box and flash cards, but with solid information and scope.  

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Posted (edited)

There are certainly some solid free materials out there & I’m always happy to take a look at them. MEP (Mathematics Enhancement Programme) comes to mind as one that’s complete, well-organized, & solid. Many free curricula are religious, which does not suit us but works for many. There’s also a LOT of junk to sift through. 

For me personally, it’s often a matter of financial cost vs time cost. I’m fine with printing things off, but if I have to search all over to piece together a multitude of resources, or if the information within the resource itself is presented in a way that is disorganized or hard to follow, I’m not interested. I tend to use freebies to supplement, but for core curricula would rather pay more to get something well-organized & already put together. I realize I’m speaking from a place of privilege in this regard, though - that is not an option for everyone. 

That’s not to say I choose to purchase a bunch of shiny pre-packaged materials & don’t do any legwork. There are absolutely resources I prefer to recreate or package myself to save money, or that I find beautiful but would never spend as much as they’re asking for! It’s all a balance. 

Edited by Shoes+Ships+SealingWax
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On 5/21/2021 at 6:46 AM, stripe said:

 As I read this, I became curious to know what she recommended for “porous garments.” In this section of her work she mentions wool a total of 14 times as the best material for children in all types of weather.
 

ACK!    I'm one of those people that can not stand to exist in wool for more than a few minutes.   Clearly CM had not come across any of those children.  

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Posted (edited)
On 5/23/2021 at 9:04 AM, stripe said:

I got tired of the old books. I read the aforementioned Swallows and Amazons once, grimacing through the grunting "natives" stuff. I didn't make it through a second time. I've been shocked at the reach of colonialist attitudes into children's books, from the descriptions of India in The Secret Garden, to the wonders inside the original, pre-censored edition of Dr. Dolittle that I got at the library book sale

On 5/23/2021 at 10:04 AM, Not_a_Number said:

I think a lot of the time, kids just skip over that stuff as uninteresting until there's a conversation about it. You could argue that if that was all they saw, they'd get indoctrinated, but I'd guess that their real-life environment is much more indoctrinating than a book. 

The Secret Garden and the Little Princess were two of my favorite books as a child, though I took a while to warm up to Secret Garden due to the main character.    I always took her racist descriptions of India as just part of her bad character in general...it made perfect sense that someone who seemed to be so full of herself and horrible to everyone would have horrible ideas about people of other races too. 

Sarah Crew, however, I saw as a real role model.   She seemed, in my memory, to be someone who truely aimed to love everyone, and she was a befriender of people other considered outcasts (those not as smart, or those who were poor, ect).   And in memory that included people of other races.   I distinctly remember that "Becky" though that the new neighbor must be a "heathen" and had wrong, negative ideas about what that was, but that Sarah hoped that he was, because she had lived with Indians and missed them, and didn't think that they were bad  because they were foreign or not Christian.   (And I thought at the time that while Becky was using "heathan" as an insult, it wasn't meant in the same demeaning way by Sarah).    

What I didn't remember, even though I read and reread that book countless times as a child and even as a teen, was this passage that followed in the next chapter, when she first meets Ram Dass, the Indian man that was a servant to the neighbor from the chapter before....

"When he had gone Sara stood in the middle of her attic and thought of many things his face and his manner had brought back to her. The sight of his native costume and the profound reverence of his manner stirred all her past memories. It seemed a strange thing to remember that she—the drudge whom the cook had said insulting things to an hour ago—had only a few years ago been surrounded by people who all treated her as Ram Dass had treated her; who salaamed when she went by, whose foreheads almost touched the ground when she spoke to them, who were her servants and her slaves."


I had remembered that she had servants in her old life, before her father dies, but never that her family had slaves.   It was one line, sure, and maybe even one my mother had deleted when she read it to me,  but I read this books dozens of times myself after I got better at reading and had no recollection of that. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by goldenecho
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4 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

There is such fundamental kindness in that thread.

Heavens, that brings back some memories. That is a fun, but also sad walk down memory lane of what used to be. I miss so many of those voices. Thank you for linking that Zoo Keeper. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/23/2021 at 1:30 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

I paid more attention to these lists when DD was younger and I knew less than I do now. I realized that DD was incredibly sensitive to violence towards animals. It made me recognize how much casualty cruelty towards animals and children is contained in some of these classic children's books. Why is that? Is it necessary? If you followed these lists slavishly and followed the advice about ignoring modern books, your children will be exposed to a lot of cruelty towards weaker beings. 

When I was in school, between 5th and 9th grade, I had to read three books where killing your pet was portrayed as a "coming of age" moment.  THREE!   (Where the Red Fern Grows, The Yearling, and a Day No Pigs Would Die).

I will never do that to my children.  I'm sure those books each have merit (and I do remember liking "Red Fern"), but it was just overkill...literally.   I can see where in a farming culture that would be a "coming of age" moment for a lot of kids, or even for anyone who has pets and one day has to put them to sleep for merciful reasons.  But still, one book like that is plenty.

 

Edited by goldenecho
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3 hours ago, goldenecho said:

I'm sure those books each have merit (and I do remember liking "Red Fern"), but it was just overkill...literally.   I can see where in a farming culture that would be a "coming of age" moment for a lot of kids, or even for anyone who has pets and one day has to put them to sleep for merciful reasons.  But still, one book like that is plenty.

Maybe it would be helpful to show other types of "coming of age" stories. The "coming of age" story that resonated with me was "Memoirs of a Geisha". That book was not the story of my life, but realizing those realities of the world was when I "came of age".  However, I could see why our public school wouldn't put that in their curriculum.

There are still other books where having a close relative/friend die, doing a particular job, war, financial ruin, moving, etc. were the "coming of age" moments.  

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2021 at 9:43 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

 Based on what I've seen, I think the (mythical) average homeschooled child would do better in school than at home. School math can be bad but at least it's something which is better than nothing. I'll never be convinced that some effort (even if poor) is worse than nothing. And nothing is what is happening in too many homeschools.

 

I have come across a few unschooling homeschoolers that may not be doing much math, but nearly all the homeschoolers I know are at very least getting reading and math done.   And yeah, if you're just not teaching, that is certainly worse than the education you'll get in school. 

I taught in school (secondary), and I've substituted in schools (elementary through secondary), and I'm convinced that in general, on average, for the average student, a parent  with a good curriculum and at least a little consistency can do about as well with their kids as schools do on average. 

And this is not an attack on teachers.   Those teachers do great work considering their constraints.  Teaching in a class of 25-40 kids is way harder and takes a lot more skill than teaching one (I can vouch).   I respect teachers a lot for that (and I couldn't keep doing that...I crashed and burned on my first full time gig).   But one-on-one just has a lot of advantages.  

There's not a lot of articles that reasonably compare homeschool kids and public school kids, but this article has some good stats.   It's from a site critical to homeschooling (though not anti-homeschooling altogether), but because of that I find it reasonable that it is not cherry picking to make homeschoolers look good.    I like the Alaska stats especially because these homeschoolers are largely homeschooling out of necessity (a lot of them live too far to travel to a school).  In Alaska, the average homeschoolers are doing a little worse than their public school peers in math, but a little bit better in reading.   In Alabama, the article doesn't compare the homeschoolers to the public schoolers directly (and I couldn't find those stats on the state site to compare), but the homeschoolers again scored a little better in reading and little worse in math (and in Alabama in the public schools, they say it's the reverse). 

These stats don't show that homeschooling is, in general, amazingly better than public school...but they don't show that it's amazingly worse either.   It's about the same, on average, academically. 

  
I follow education news, and what is coming out recently about how  reading is taught in a lot of public schools is not good.   There are some very ineffective teaching ideas regarding reading that got really popular in schools of education, which means its now pretty popular in a lot of elementary schools now too (a method which doesn't work for 60% of kids). 


And sure, homeschoolers teach by bad reading methods too, sometimes.   But they are also more likely to be sitting next to their child during the whole time they are learning to read, and are catching mistakes and pointing things out, and if their child struggles and doesn't learn to read eventually most homeschoolers will change their course and methods and usually seek out a curriculum if their child doesn't "just pick it up."   But when you are teaching in the classroom and if the curriculum that you've been given by your school is the problem, your hands may be tied, or you may just trust that it's not the fault of the curriculum because "it's working for some students."   And when an individual student is struggling, until that child gets an IEP and gets individualized help (which is actually harder to get if you're in a school full of other students struggling too), there's a lot that you may not catch about why they are struggling because you just have limited one on one time with them every day. 

 


 

Edited by goldenecho
Grammatical mistakes...oh, the reasons I probably should not write things late, late at night.
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4 hours ago, goldenecho said:

There's not a lot of articles that reasonably compare homeschool kids and public school kids, but this article has some good stats.   It's from site critical to homeschooling (at least in current form...it's not anti-homeschooling altogether), but because of that I find it reasonable that it is not cherry picking to make homeschoolers look good.    I like the Alaska stats especially because these homeschoolers are largely homeschooling out of necessity (a lot of them live too far to travel to a school).  In Alaska, the average homeschoolers are doing a little worse than their public school peers in math, but a little bit better in reading.   In Alabama, they don't compare the homeschoolers to the public schoolers directly (and I couldn't find those stats on the state site to compare), but the homeschoolers again scored a little better in reading and little worse in math (and in Alabama in the public schools, they say it's the reverse). 

Yes, I think those are the best stats we have. They aren’t at all dire but they do make me feel like my hunch that math is an issue for many homeschoolers is right.

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On 5/31/2021 at 11:42 AM, Emily ZL said:

...and their socialization is better too, even when the study is paid for by people antagonistic to HSing.

Do you happen to have a link to that study?   Thanks a bunch!

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I'm always kind of dismayed at the actual data I've found... because I actually think teaching one-on-one is SO MUCH EASIER. I've always been a far better teacher in office hours than in classrooms, and I would have SWORN before starting out that this would automatically mean homeschoolers should do better than other people at things. I really, honestly, thoroughly believed that this would happen. 

I love homeschooling and I love our community, but I've discovered that I was naive. Teaching at home one-on-one isn't better as much as it is higher variance: if you strike out on your own, you can do great things or you can do terrible things. (You can remove the variance by using a pre-written curriculum and sticking to it closely, but then you remove the potential to do something awesome as well.) 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2021 at 12:27 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

What is the averaged homeschooling family like? I'm going off the families I know and what I see in FB homeschooling groups. It appears to me that the average family is doing some kind of online program.

 

Getting back to trends...this has not been my experience pre-covid, and I'm in a ton of online homeschooling groups, and have homeschooled in two states.  There were some but the majority were using some sort of book based curriculum (or sometimes something that had videos and offline work). But since Covid...oh man, every other question on homeschooling groups is about "what's an online program that my (insert elementary grade here) child can do by herself without much supervision."  And I am a little worried about how these parents will do.   Hopefully this was just temporary for them, or they realize there are better ways, but for a whole bunch of people this is what "homeschooling" is now.   Not that online can't work for some (though I doubt it works for many kindergarteners...at least not as more than a supplement to offline work).

Before Covid I had met just one elementary school parent who had been doing online homeschooling primarily for several years (and her kiddo was upper elementary...4th or 5th I think).  I met a lot of parents who had tried K-12 in elementary and hated it (and a handful who were using it or other online programs for their middle school or high school aged kids...and liking it). 

But I'd say I met more homeschoolers who banned screens completely in their home than ones that primarily homeschooled online (pre-covid that is). 

Edited by goldenecho
I meant to say "online homeschooling groups"
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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, goldenecho said:

Getting back to trends...this has not been my experience pre-covid, and I'm in a ton of offline homeschooling groups, and have homeschooled in two states.  There were some but the majority were using some sort of book based curriculum (or sometimes something that had videos and offline work). But since Covid...oh man, every other question on homeschooling groups is about "what's an online program that my (insert elementary grade here) child can do by herself without much supervision."  And I am a little worried about how these parents will do.   Hopefully this was just temporary for them, or they realize there are better ways, but for a whole bunch of people this is what "homeschooling" is now.   Not that online can't work for some (though I doubt it works for many kindergarteners...at least not as more than a supplement to offline work).

Before Covid I had met just one elementary school parent who had been doing online homeschooling primarily for several years (and her kiddo was upper elementary...4th or 5th I think).  I met a lot of parents who had tried K-12 in elementary and hated it (and a handful who were using it or other online programs for their middle school or high school aged kids...and liking it). 

But I'd say I met more homeschoolers who banned screens completely in their home than ones that primarily homeschooled online (pre-covid that is). 

I think there's a real problem with generalizing about homeschoolers. People's motivation for homeschooling really affects what kind of job they are going to do and what they are going to focus on. Like, my area has a lot of homeschoolers that basically homeschool for vaccine reasons, and there's really zero reason to assume that they would be particularly focused on academics -- that's not why they pulled their kid out of school, and that's not what they are going to focus on. 

Similarly, if people pulled their kid out of school for COVID reasons, there's really no reason to assume that they will put in a serious effort. Some will, I'm sure, because people are very heterogeneous. But when people are actually pulling their kid out of school for reasons of learning or academics, you expect a different focus than in this case... 

I've seen a lot of people on this forum generalize from themselves and other people like them. I think that's a bit of a mistake, because like attracts like, and people do wind up selecting people relatively like themselves. No, maybe they aren't as academic as we are, but they are still people with relatively similar values. But I don't think one can generally generalize from that (which is where social media evidence is actually kind of useful, being more varied.) 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 hours ago, goldenecho said:

But since Covid...oh man, every other question on homeschooling groups is about "what's an online program that my (insert elementary grade here) child can do by herself without much supervision." 

During COVID I also started seeing more "mom-bloggers" even "homeschool mom bloggers" talk about how to educate your children at home, while having a fulltime career, while keeping your  house clean, while enjoying life, etc. I think parents who decided to homeschool because of COVID bought into that possibility. 

 

3 hours ago, goldenecho said:

Not that online can't work for some (though I doubt it works for many kindergarteners...at least not as more than a supplement to offline work).

I have seen it work for some people, but usually the kids would do well academically pretty much no matter what they were given. Plus it wasn't 100% online only either, the kids would get tutoring if need be and access to in-person classes via community college or paid group classes depending on age. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm always kind of dismayed at the actual data I've found... because I actually think teaching one-on-one is SO MUCH EASIER. I've always been a far better teacher in office hours than in classrooms, and I would have SWORN before starting out that this would automatically mean homeschoolers should do better than other people at things. I really, honestly, thoroughly believed that this would happen. 

I love homeschooling and I love our community, but I've discovered that I was naive. Teaching at home one-on-one isn't better as much as it is higher variance: if you strike out on your own, you can do great things or you can do terrible things. (You can remove the variance by using a pre-written curriculum and sticking to it closely, but then you remove the potential to do something awesome as well.) 

I do wonder how much of the poor stats have to do with an over representation in homeschooling of kids that the public school was failing in some way, either because of bullying creating a crisis homeschooler or special needs being poorly met in public school.  Since we’re a smaller sample size those could skew the results and make us look worse, when really we just have an over representation of dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalcula and autism.  
 

That’s the full extent of analysis my 1 stats class and a lot of the 538 podcast can muster.  
 

I know some of the problem in math is that so many homeschool moms are terrified of it.  Of course most of the moms were once public school students who graduate unable to confidently teach first grade math, so I don’t think “we” should get all the blame for that.  I’ll split that blame halfsies with the public school system, 🤪.  

Edited by HeartString
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I'm curious about test prep effects. I'm in Alaska, so my kids are part of that data (if it's recent enough). And I have two kids, both of whom took that test in 4th grade. My older just went in and did it as his very first exposure to standardized tests. He did well overall, and topped it in math, but would likely have done better in the writing portion if he had any experience at all in those sorts of questions. My younger was homeschooled until midway through 4th grade, then decided to go to school, and took the test there. They spent weeks! practicing for the test, and even the regular weekly curriculum includes standardized test practice. 

Also, since Covid, it's become easier for homeschoolers skip that test in Alaska. I did it once with a good excuse (foreign travel), but this year they presented it as completely optional, and I let my 6th grader skip it (2020 it didn't happen at all). The 2021 AK data will be fairly suspect, and I'll see what happens in 2022. I did once write an article on Alaska homeschooling using some of that data years ago. I'm also curious how many of the new homeschoolers stay (homeschooling jumped from 10% to 27% during covid), and how that will affect the data.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, mckittre said:

I'm curious about test prep effects. I'm in Alaska, so my kids are part of that data (if it's recent enough). And I have two kids, both of whom took that test in 4th grade. My older just went in and did it as his very first exposure to standardized tests. He did well overall, and topped it in math, but would likely have done better in the writing portion if he had any experience at all in those sorts of questions. My younger was homeschooled until midway through 4th grade, then decided to go to school, and took the test there. They spent weeks! practicing for the test, and even the regular weekly curriculum includes standardized test practice. 

 

That’s a good point too.  When my kids were in school they spent weeks prepping for those tests.  At least one full week per grading period, plus intermittent stuff.  When my kid takes a standardized test I’m just like…”here, do this dumb thing, then we’ll get donuts”. 

Edited by HeartString
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11 minutes ago, HeartString said:

That’s a good point too.  When my kids were in school they spent weeks prepping for those tests.  At least one full week per grading period, plus intermittent stuff.  When my kid takes a standardized test I’m just like…”here, do this dumb thing, then we’ll get donuts”. 

I would prep my kids somewhat, I’m sure. I’d rather they do well than not and it’s not much effort.

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3 hours ago, HeartString said:

I know some of the problem in math is that so many homeschool moms are terrified of it.  Of course most of the moms were once public school students who graduate unable to confidently teach first grade math, so I don’t think “we” should get all the blame for that.  I’ll split that blame halfsies with the public school system, 🤪.  

Personally, I think it would make a difference in the education system of the US if we didn't glorify "being terrified" of math. I hear people boast about their inability to do math all the time, and people who can't read well are shameful and hide this fact. Maybe as a people we should treat math and reading with the same respect. 

::Getting off soap box::

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Posted (edited)

@Clarita, I couldn’t agree more. 

Most math teachers are woefully unprepared. On the flip side, I have noticed an apparently large number of homeschooling moms who have academic backgrounds in math (or science). I realize this is totally anecdotal, but it’s much larger than what I’ve experienced in real life. But I’ve also seen people posting about how they’re so confused by early elementary math, so.... maybe it’s a land of extremes.

Edited by stripe
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9 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I would prep my kids somewhat, I’m sure. I’d rather they do well than not and it’s not much effort.

We will from now on, after one of my kids suddenly didn’t do well this year after doing just fine the 2 years prior.  😒 We prep for the SAT/ACT because it’s important but I haven’t been worried about the state tests.  

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1 hour ago, stripe said:

@Clarita, I couldn’t agree more. 

Most math teachers are woefully unprepared. On the flip side, I have noticed an apparently large number of homeschooling moms who have academic backgrounds in math (or science). I realize this is totally anecdotal, but it’s much larger than what I’ve experienced in real life. But I’ve also seen people posting about how they’re so confused by early elementary math, so.... maybe it’s a land of extremes.

Are you going off your data IRL or on here?

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26 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Are you going off your data IRL or on here?

Woefully unprepared math teachers: real life plus research

Mathy homeschooling moms: mostly online, but not just here. I’ve come across blogs in the past that make reference to the creator’s math/science background, for example. In real life, I have heard about maybe three other moms who seem to be very mathy and/or whose kids are very advanced, as friend-of-a-friend situations, and those moms seemed to have PhDs in math and most were immigrants. One family seemed to have very mathematically advanced children. I know a family that currently had HS aged kids where the dad who is a math instructor, but tbh they seem to unschool and spend most of their days on art activities. I once asked the mom for advice on educating multiple kids, and she said the kids work on most things by themselves. 

Non-mathy homeschooling moms: here, other online interactions, and somewhat in real life. I attended small group discussions this past year about elementary curricula, and virtually everyone used Teaching Textbooks with their kids and seemed uninterested in math, or possibly stressed by the idea of teaching it. When I was a kid, a relative tried homeschooling during middle school, and it was math that seemed to be the end of the situation.  Kids were eventually enrolled in private school, where they did fine but went on to non-scientific college degrees. 

Non-mathy moms generally: everywhere, in real life and online.

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On 6/5/2021 at 8:21 AM, Zoo Keeper said:

I was searching for something else and found this thread from 10 years ago...

Interesting reading.  🙂

Thanks for linking; I really enjoyed reading through this!

I love these forums. Here our structure of learning primarily at home, with a parent actively involved, using primarily physical materials is pretty standard. Locally, it’s less common (even before Covid). 

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Posted (edited)

@stripe Unfortunately, our experience with non-mathy homeschool moms in real life has been largely the same. I am in the largest inclusive HSing group in our metro area - over 150 families. I looked into putting together an elementary math circle / math club. Inquired about kids who enjoy math. Asked at park days, on field trips, via the message boards. Crickets. Not one reply. 

Outside of that, in a FB group covering an even larger area, I managed to find a whopping two people whose kids might be interested. 

Edited by Shoes+Ships+SealingWax
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2 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

@stripe Unfortunately, our experience with non-mathy homeschool moms in real life has been largely the same. I am in the largest inclusive HSing group in our metro area - over 150 families. I looked into putting together an elementary math circle / math club. Inquired about kids who enjoy math. Asked at park days, on field trips, via the message boards. Crickets. Not one reply. 

 

Same same.  Every year was a struggle to eke out 4 students for a MathCounts team or a MOEMS class.  I heavily subsidized everyone else's cost, so that wouldn't be a barrier, but still  I felt like I was competing for students' time with nature studies, art, and all kinds of "fun" stuff. 

On the flip side, of the people who did join us, we made great connections and friendships.  As the years wore on, it was easy to recruit students who had previously participated in math activities when they were younger.    But I always scratch my head when students chose nature studies over MathCounts, lol.  

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18 hours ago, Clarita said:

I hear people boast about their inability to do math all the time, and people who can't read well are shameful and hide this fact. Maybe as a people we should treat math and reading with the same respect. 

If it makes you feel better, I'm terrible at reading.  I'll scan word by word, line by line, page after page, but my brain is somewhere else entirely and I'll have no idea what I've read.  I have no idea how I accomplish this.  

I'm trying to read Les Miserables (and failing miserably).  A podcaster just mentioned that in the section I just read  Fantine died.  Wait what?  I actually missed her death scene.  

I forget character's names, I gloss over descriptions of their appearance or some weird architectural detail I've never heard of, or some description of a nature scene.  If there isn't a movie version of a book, then I'm hopelessly lost after the 4th character has been introduced.  ("Wait, is that the same guy?  That's the same guy right?")

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11 minutes ago, daijobu said:

If it makes you feel better, I'm terrible at reading.  I'll scan word by word, line by line, page after page, but my brain is somewhere else entirely and I'll have no idea what I've read.  I have no idea how I accomplish this.  

This happens to me often. I would copy out documents/papers I read at work just so I make sure I read it. I don't say things like "Oh, I'm not a reading person, either. Don't worry it's fine." to kids learning to read.

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3 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

@stripe Unfortunately, our experience with non-mathy homeschool moms in real life has been largely the same. I am in the largest inclusive HSing group in our metro area - over 150 families. I looked into putting together an elementary math circle / math club. Inquired about kids who enjoy math. Asked at park days, on field trips, via the message boards. Crickets. Not one reply. 

Outside of that, in a FB group covering an even larger area, I managed to find a whopping two people whose kids might be interested. 

Oh, no 😞 . You didn't get anyone??? I remember you trying to put this together... 

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I could never drum up interest in a Math Club around here, either.  I asked a homeschool co-op math teacher, (who also taught at the community college), if they knew of a Math club/circle anywhere, and got "What's that?!" in response. I explained, and she expressed doubt that kids would want to do something like that.  Like it was this utterly weird thing I was looking for.    😞   

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, MissLemon said:

I could never drum up interest in a Math Club around here, either.  I asked a homeschool co-op math teacher, (who also taught at the community college), if they knew of a Math club/circle anywhere, and got "What's that?!" in response. I explained, and she expressed doubt that kids would want to do something like that.  Like it was this utterly weird thing I was looking for.    😞   

The sad thing is that totally normal kids CAN like math, lol. My math class isn't largely composed of super mathy kids -- there's actually a wide range. But when parents act like this, it really makes math seem joyless. 

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11 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

The sad thing is that totally normal kids CAN like math, lol. My math class isn't largely composed of super mathy kids -- there's actually a wide range. But when parents act like this, it really makes math seem joyless. 

I really don't understand why it's cool to be ignorant of math.  It's so disappointing. 😞 

 

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Oh, no 😞 . You didn't get anyone??? I remember you trying to put this together... 

Nope. For a couple thousand per class I could enroll him in the local AOPS Academy. He might meet a few mathy kids, & would certainly meet mathematically-inclined adults… but he’d have to drop soccer, tennis, swim, and Scouts to do it. That’s our entire annual extracurricular budget. It’s as much as (if not more than) we spend on an entire year of curricula, books, games, & supplies. 

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6 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

Nope. For a couple thousand per class I could enroll him in the local AOPS Academy. He might meet a few mathy kids, & would certainly meet mathematically-inclined adults… but he’d have to drop soccer, tennis, swim, and Scouts to do it. That’s our entire annual extracurricular budget. It’s as much as (if not more than) we spend on an entire year of curricula, books, games, & supplies. 

Oh, geez 😞 

Remind me where you’re located again?

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14 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

@stripe Unfortunately, our experience with non-mathy homeschool moms in real life has been largely the same. I am in the largest inclusive HSing group in our metro area - over 150 families. I looked into putting together an elementary math circle / math club. Inquired about kids who enjoy math. Asked at park days, on field trips, via the message boards. Crickets. Not one reply. 

Outside of that, in a FB group covering an even larger area, I managed to find a whopping two people whose kids might be interested. 

I wish you lived here. I know at least a few kids where math is their favorite subject.  LOL my own kid would rather do math than art - and his closest friends are the same way.  They are so desperate for a math or chess club that it may end up being something I do myself next year. (And I don't want to)

One of the big things I'm getting to now see on both sides is the lack of math preparation for teachers unless they specifically invest the time to seek it out.  The class I took for teaching elementary mathematics (a requirement for every education major) was woefully underdone.  There was a lot of going through the material, but not really understanding why it works that way.  I see the same thing in homeschool circles.  Some of the moms don't know how to teach it until they bring in an extra element: video like Demme or Nicole The Math Lady, or a private tutor, or a math group....somewhere they can see interaction beyond the page and understand what the cumulative effect is going to be when starting with, say, a small piece of the puzzle.  Of course this affects kids - if they don't have interaction that is looking at larger term goals/understanding it's going to affect the personal instruction they're getting in short bites.

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Posted (edited)

I think an element being left from the conversation of parents being uninterested in specialist math groups for their children is the larger perception of the types in and running math clubs. I do think there is a, not sure the term is “uncool,” but there is a perception perhaps that other types of groups would be better for one’s social life and image.
 

For some parents, sports will always be more prestigious than math, and not because they are too dense to value math, but because they are concerned of a child’s social image in addition to developing the child as a whole.

Point being, it may not be simple fear or ignorance about math. It may be something more along the perception of those in such clubs and preferment that the child be in something with a different image. There is a very stereotypical view of people involved in such activities in many circles, and that may play a larger role than some of you think, because you don’t see “coolness” or whatever the current term for that is in the same way as many adults who aren’t STEM in employment and interest. 

Edited by Holmesschooler
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1 hour ago, Holmesschooler said:

I think an element being left from the conversation of parents being uninterested in specialist math groups for their children is the larger perception of the types in and running math clubs. I do think there is a, not sure the term is “uncool,” but there is a perception perhaps that other types of groups would be better for one’s social life and image.
 

For some parents, sports will always be more prestigious than math, and not because they are too dense to value math, but because they are concerned of a child’s social image in addition to developing the child as a whole.

Point being, it may not be simple fear or ignorance about math. It may be something more along the perception of those in such clubs and preferment that the child be in something with a different image. There is a very stereotypical view of people involved in such activities in many circles, and that may play a larger role than some of you think, because you don’t see “coolness” or whatever the current term for that is in the same way as many adults who aren’t STEM in employment and interest. 

I agree.  The number of adults who are still concerned about being “cool” and not liking “nerdy” things makes me wonder why we bother with high school graduation, so many never seem to leave that world. 

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This has been interesting to read.  I'm seeing different programs just because my kids are getting older, but I do get to see what younger siblings are doing sometimes so I can compare it to what we did.  I see some CC but I also see Singapore Math and Saxon and common old-school things like Wordly Wise (which I remember doing in public school one year). I hear people discuss whether a specific math program is enough to prepare their high schooler for the next level.  I do sometimes hear about people doing a lot of Easy Peasy and Time4Learning, but it's not the majority of families that I encounter.  A couple of the families at karate are likely religious homeschoolers and I see the moms working with their littles using old books that they probably used with their nearly-graduates.  

I interact with different groups of homeschoolers at co-op, karate, and Science Olympiad although there is overlap.  It's been interesting to me that when I talk to parents of kids who are a few years older than mine and academically oriented, we have often wound up using a lot of the same materials.  I also see parents making different choices based on kid-specific academic goals.  For some kids, just graduating from high school with reasonable skills is the goal, while others are looking for competitive scholarships.  Some kids take most of their middle and high school classes at co-op, while some do a mix of at-home and co-op, and others add in other outsourced things like Thinkwell.  Some of the non-co-op families do everything at home.  We know people who homeschool for religious reasons, for academic reasons, for 'my kid is quirky' reasons, and for 'we want more time together as a family' reasons, but they mostly seem to be doing a reasonable job - they aren't all aiming for APs and calculus, but they aren't neglecting their kids' educations.  That being said, I have also been involved in conversations with people trying to discern whether they are seeing parents doing the best that they can with a struggling student or educational neglect.

I don't know any math circle kids, but Science Olympiad, robotics, Scholars Bowl, and Science Bowl are all enthusiastic groups - our grades 6-9 SO team picked up 4 2nd and 3rd place medals at nationals this year (sorry - mom brag - my kid was part of the pairs that won 3 of the medals!).  I think it might be a struggle to start a math group, but mostly it's because a lot of the nerdlings are already occupied with the other teams.  My older kid plays a sport and does 2 of the academic teams and is very protective of their time - they basically refuse to do any other competition, even if it's just a 1-day thing, and I forsee the same for younger.  But, even our academic competition groups are a bit..boisterous...so I could see a niche for a quieter academic group that is more stereotypically academic, although I'd imagine that sort of thing varies over time depending on the kids involved.  

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