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Mostly a vent/lament, but homeschoolers who just don't


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We spent time with extended family yesterday, and once again I'm sad. I'm not going to give lots of details out of respect for privacy and just generally respect for them, but they aren't really teaching their kids the things that will help them have a strong chance of future financial stability. They are raising four beautiful girls who are kind, helpful, physically active and enthusiastic about their faith, and that's wonderful and no small accomplishment. Academically, however, the mom quickly admits she's not good at consistency and school doesn't happen more often than it happens, especially with the two that resist and have basically done nothing for months, if not years.  There's some dyslexia absolutely in the mix with those kids and perhaps other things, I don't know. The mom knows there's a big problem and asks for help/advice but things get overwhelming and so there's not much follow through. The eldest is going to private school this coming year and it's going to be tough, but probably an overall good experience.  The next oldest isn't currently close to on track to bring able to attend that school with age peers and the mom wonders what to do. It's a tough situation. They live out in the sticks, where there are just few resources. We live too far to be able to offer to tutor. Also, there's a dynamic where the parents feel judged (not specifically by us, but in general) for not completing high school and not being academically oriented while we went to college and like to talk about "smart people stuff," so I have to be careful to not trigger that. Their homeschool will never look like ours, and that's great. I am friends with a lot of homeschoolers, and we all do it differently. I want to be able to encourage the mom to view herself as a life-long learner. She doesn't like to learn about the same things as me and she lacks the background knowledge to quickly realize when her research has lead her astray, but she truly likes to learn, and if she can pass that to her children it will be wonderful. I want to help her be consistent. It's hard for me sometimes to wake up and make the kids do math or spelling or whatever, but I almost always do it, and she can, too. Unfortunately, our different backgrounds and the comparisons other extended family members make about the kids in our respective families means there's a bit of a wedge between us.

Slightly joking, but not completely, of anyone knows of a Christian Charismatic homeschooling mom who blogs or does podcasts about their homeschooling life and values the education aspect, please let me know so I can send it along. 

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I have a friend that is very hands off as a homeschooler. But she also spends a LOT of time helping her kids figure out what kind of career they want. She has a lot of kids so here is the list so far: hair dresser, make-up artist, phlebotomist, builder, librarian, and chiropractor (she has 4 more kids to go).  Once a kid knows what they want to do, then she can help them target their education to that specific career goal.  The hair dresser needed buisness maths but the chiropractor needs all the way to 12th grade statistics.  The librarian and chiropractor need university degrees, the other 4 need polytech degrees.  The builder needs an apprentship. Etc.  Once the kids know what they want to do, then they own their education much more tightly. She helps them to do basically just the minimum to get into whatever program they need to get the qualifications they need.  She has some very accomplished young people who have financially independent lives in the early 20s even though they basically didn't do any school work. Could you discuss an idea like this with your friend?

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3 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I have a friend that is very hands off as a homeschooler. But she also spends a LOT of time helping her kids figure out what kind of career they want. She has a lot of kids so here is the list so far: hair dresser, make-up artist, phlebotomist, builder, librarian, and chiropractor (she has 4 more kids to go).  Once a kid knows what they want to do, then she can help them target their education to that specific career goal.  The hair dresser needed buisness maths but the chiropractor needs all the way to 12th grade statistics.  The librarian and chiropractor need university degrees, the other 4 need polytech degrees.  The builder needs an apprentship. Etc.  Once the kids know what they want to do, then they own their education much more tightly. She helps them to do basically just the minimum to get into whatever program they need to get the qualifications they need.  She has some very accomplished young people who have financially independent lives in the early 20s even though they basically didn't do any school work. Could you discuss an idea like this with your friend?

This sounds like an interesting set-up! Question: how does this work before the kids are really competent to decide what they want? Like, I don't think my 8-year-old knows what she wants to do in a reasonable way yet, and she's already learned a lot of stuff... 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

This sounds like an interesting set-up! Question: how does this work before the kids are really competent to decide what they want? Like, I don't think my 8-year-old knows what she wants to do in a reasonable way yet, and she's already learned a lot of stuff... 

She starts early to get them excited about their future.  The boy who wants to be a library, started at the age of 9 wanting to be a butcher. So they studied all sorts of stuff on animals, meat packing, etc and visited butchers and talked to them. He was keen for about 3 years. Then at age 12, he switched to wanting to be a cook, so they did they same sort of study, visits, discussions. Then by 13 he had narrowed it down to confectionary, specifically chocolate making. But then at the age of 16, there was a switch to wanting to be a librarian which now 1.5 years later he is still keen on.  However, the program of study has now switched from preparing for polytech entrance, to needing a university degree.  So the plan is to get the equivalent of a GED and go to university at 20 rather than at 18 as he won't be ready (basically here in NZ if you are 20, you can go to university without a high school degree but he still needs to be prepared). He will continue to have a 20 hour/week job while working on high school skills until he goes at 20.  Her approach has produced very focused and keen children, who have a drive to follow their passions. She does not do any school work besides the basic three Rs. Very unschooly. 

Edited by lewelma
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The child who wants to be a chiropractor is the only one so far that will need serious science study in high school, so she is now looking to outsource that as she doesn't have the capability. The other kids don't do much science besides just reading some books here and there. Basically, she does not do a 'liberal arts' high school degree, rather she tailors the education to the child and ditches anything that is not directly relevant to their future careers. This has meant that her kids have launched into successful careers at very young ages - 20ish. 

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I hang on some FB groups for education and a teacher was just saying that a homeschooled rising high schooler was coming in with a scenario like this (a girl with SLDs, quite a bit behind). What was surprising was to realize the teacher she was being handed to (and many of the teachers replying) didn't really know what to do either. They had a whole scad of great ideas, but by the time a person has fallen through the cracks long enough it's hard to get them lined up with serious, systematic intervention. 

4 hours ago, Xahm said:

especially with the two that resist

Don't you think that's kind of ironic given the whole we're christian so that's why we live this way facade?? Seems like a whole lot is getting left out by them. 

 

4 hours ago, Xahm said:

The eldest is going to private school this coming year and it's going to be tough, but probably an overall good experience. 

Good, sounds like they're finally asking for help. 

4 hours ago, Xahm said:

Also, there's a dynamic where the parents feel judged (not specifically by us, but in general) for not completing high school and not being academically oriented

I used to evaluate transcripts at a university, and I evaluated the transcripts for some applicants whose mother had never graduated from high school. This woman KICKED BUTT and learned everything ahead of her kids. I think you're right that there's more going on, much more. The christian culture right now in some churches says that a psych eval or using DSM terminology will SEND YOUR KIDS TO HELL. In quotes. Of a certainty. So how is this family supposed to reach out and ask for a diagnosis for SLDs, ADHD, or ASD? For real, there is even a "christian" book out there telling unwitting families that they are sinning if they seek a psych diagnosis for their dc with autism, that you should only ask a "medical" doctor like a neurologist, not one of those dreadful psychologists. How is that family supposed to get help when they're being told they MUST NOT use the terminology and must not ask the people from whom the help comes??? 

That's my background btw, the strain I was raised in, and I rail and rail against it because it's SO harmful. 

But you know, it's not our problem. I'm trying to figure out what you want here. You want absolution? You want it off your conscience that you can't help them? 

4 hours ago, Xahm said:

We live too far to be able to offer to tutor.

They probably need more than this anyway. More is going on if happy girls in a "christian" home are RESISTING their school work that completely.

4 hours ago, Xahm said:

I want to be able to encourage the mom to view herself as a life-long learner. She doesn't like to learn about the same things as me and she lacks the background knowledge to quickly realize when her research has lead her astray, but she truly likes to learn, and if she can pass that to her children it will be wonderful.

Really? I have the acumen to research my ds' disabilities and I enjoy doing it. I regularly read and use professional materials and most of my FB feeds (aside from cruising, haha) are professional/disability topics. I have NEVER met someone as into those particular language and disability based topics. Even on here I'm a complete oddity and I never meet anyone in real life this into it. That's why professionals have masters and phd and get paid $60-125 an hour to do their thing, kwim? 

Maybe consider that all you really want is for her to be successful searching for help for her kids. Doesn't matter where it comes from or who does it. And if what you're asking is how you have a relationship and a conversation, I think just support her. Ask how her choices are going, say you hope they go well. Don't offer advice, don't give tips, don't tell her where to research. I find the people who aren't into it and aren't able just AREN'T. That's why there are others who can. Is this woman good at anything else you can relate to? You might talk about that and totally drop education unless she brings it up. It's clearly not a strong point for her. Maybe she has cookie recipes she can share or something.

 

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1 hour ago, lewelma said:

She starts early to get them excited about their future.  The boy who wants to be a library, started at the age of 9 wanting to be a butcher. So they studied all sorts of stuff on animals, meat packing, etc and visited butchers and talked to them. He was keen for about 3 years. Then at age 12, he switched to wanting to be a cook, so they did they same sort of study, visits, discussions. Then by 13 he had narrowed it down to confectionary, specifically chocolate making. But then at the age of 16, there was a switch to wanting to be a librarian which now 1.5 years later he is still keen on.  However, the program of study has now switched from preparing for polytech entrance, to needing a university degree.  So the plan is to get the equivalent of a GED and go to university at 20 rather than at 18 as he won't be ready (basically here in NZ if you are 20, you can go to university without a high school degree but he still needs to be prepared). He will continue to have a 20 hour/week job while working on high school skills until he goes at 20.  Her approach has produced very focused and keen children, who have a drive to follow their passions. She does not do any school work besides the basic three Rs. Very unschooly. 

Interesting. I don't think I'd be comfortable with that approach, since I don't think I trust my kids on what they want to do before the teenage years. Like, DD8 has mostly said she wants to be a gymnast. Watching what she does on her own time, it's pretty clear she's not going to want to be a gymnast. She IS in fact a very active kiddo, so I understand why she says it, but it's also clearly not the life path that will come most natural when she's older. But she isn't old enough to see it yet... plus, kids have a really hard time modeling an adult life. 

I can see how that gets kids to practice thinking about what they want, though, which seems cool.  

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6 hours ago, Xahm said:

We spent time with extended family yesterday, and once again I'm sad. I'm not going to give lots of details out of respect for privacy and just generally respect for them, but they aren't really teaching their kids the things that will help them have a strong chance of future financial stability. They are raising four beautiful girls who are kind, helpful, physically active and enthusiastic about their faith, and that's wonderful and no small accomplishment. Academically, however, the mom quickly admits she's not good at consistency and school doesn't happen more often than it happens, especially with the two that resist and have basically done nothing for months, if not years.  There's some dyslexia absolutely in the mix with those kids and perhaps other things, I don't know. The mom knows there's a big problem and asks for help/advice but things get overwhelming and so there's not much follow through. The eldest is going to private school this coming year and it's going to be tough, but probably an overall good experience.  The next oldest isn't currently close to on track to bring able to attend that school with age peers and the mom wonders what to do. It's a tough situation. They live out in the sticks, where there are just few resources. We live too far to be able to offer to tutor. Also, there's a dynamic where the parents feel judged (not specifically by us, but in general) for not completing high school and not being academically oriented while we went to college and like to talk about "smart people stuff," so I have to be careful to not trigger that. Their homeschool will never look like ours, and that's great. I am friends with a lot of homeschoolers, and we all do it differently. I want to be able to encourage the mom to view herself as a life-long learner. She doesn't like to learn about the same things as me and she lacks the background knowledge to quickly realize when her research has lead her astray, but she truly likes to learn, and if she can pass that to her children it will be wonderful. I want to help her be consistent. It's hard for me sometimes to wake up and make the kids do math or spelling or whatever, but I almost always do it, and she can, too. Unfortunately, our different backgrounds and the comparisons other extended family members make about the kids in our respective families means there's a bit of a wedge between us.

Slightly joking, but not completely, of anyone knows of a Christian Charismatic homeschooling mom who blogs or does podcasts about their homeschooling life and values the education aspect, please let me know so I can send it along. 

What I don't understand is why public school (or at least private Christian school) isn't an option in families like these? It really makes me angry to see how homeschooling is portrayed as obligatory in certain Christian circles. 

Honestly - the reason public schools exist is because the children of uneducated people needed an education. I understand that public schools are not ideal for many children but they offer at least some structure and attempt to teach. 

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6 hours ago, Xahm said:

Slightly joking, but not completely, of anyone knows of a Christian Charismatic homeschooling mom who blogs or does podcasts about their homeschooling life and values the education aspect, please let me know so I can send it along. 

Honestly I don't know if you'll be able to find anything that will actually be helpful given the dire circumstances, however you may do a search on Charlotte Mason homeschooling. A lot of Christian moms bloggers use this method so maybe you could find inspiration there for her. 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Interesting. I don't think I'd be comfortable with that approach, since I don't think I trust my kids on what they want to do before the teenage years. Like, DD8 has mostly said she wants to be a gymnast. Watching what she does on her own time, it's pretty clear she's not going to want to be a gymnast. She IS in fact a very active kiddo, so I understand why she says it, but it's also clearly not the life path that will come most natural when she's older. But she isn't old enough to see it yet... plus, kids have a really hard time modeling an adult life. 

I can see how that gets kids to practice thinking about what they want, though, which seems cool.  

My friend does not expect a 9 year old's ideas about a career to stick. But by taking them seriously and exploring the career possibilities, her kids gain a deeper appreciation for what they might be interested in. They learn what questions to ask, and what they like and dislike about potential employment options. Basically, her educational philosophy focuses on employment rather than education for education's sake. Clearly, I don't have the same philosophy, but I've been very impressed with her approach.  It seems like it might work for the OP's friend. 

Edited by lewelma
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Posted (edited)

I will also add, that the careers that her kids have come up with are quite diverse, and she has helped to guide them.  The girl who wants to be a phlebotomist was born at 24 weeks, so has struggled with many health issues. She wants to be involved in the health field and help others like nurses/doctors have helped her.  But she also has intellectual difficulties, so her mom did a lot of research about what health fields she could actually get qualified for with her intellectual struggles, which is how they came up with phlebotomist. It is not a career a 13 year old would come up with on her own!

Edited by lewelma
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51 minutes ago, lewelma said:

But she also has intellectual difficulties, so her mom did a lot of research about what health fields she could actually get qualified for with her intellectual struggles, which is how they came up with phlebotomist. It is not a career a 13 year old would come up with on her own!

My oldest daughter wanted to be a phlebotomist from the age of about 6 or 7 lol. Her sister was born just a little early but needed lots of blood drawn for issues with jaundice. Oldest dd was absolutely fascinated with the whole process. When she graduated high school, she actually applied for a radiologist program but wasn't chosen. She works as a preschool teacher for now (working with young kids in some way was her second choice career as a kid) but I hope she tries again because she has wanted to work in the medical field since she was very young.

While it is not the focus of our homeschool, I do encourage and facilitate career research from the time they are old enough to say "I want to be a ... when I grow up." 

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Oh, that's really tough 😞 . 

Are you actually willing to tutor? Could you maybe help out by Zoom? I know I'd have a hard time watching this situation from afar... 

I'm going to try to offer to Zoom tutor (kids sometimes listen better to noon-mom) as well as suggest some exchange of recipes between my older kids and hers since she's hoping to have one practicing reading, writing and fractions by baking this summer. That's a good idea, but I know that things get busy, and there's more follow through when we don't want to let someone down. Plus I want to teach some cooking this summer, so it fits nicely.

2 hours ago, lewelma said:

I have a friend that is very hands off as a homeschooler. But she also spends a LOT of time helping her kids figure out what kind of career they want. She has a lot of kids so here is the list so far: hair dresser, make-up artist, phlebotomist, builder, librarian, and chiropractor (she has 4 more kids to go).  Once a kid knows what they want to do, then she can help them target their education to that specific career goal.  The hair dresser needed buisness maths but the chiropractor needs all the way to 12th grade statistics.  The librarian and chiropractor need university degrees, the other 4 need polytech degrees.  The builder needs an apprentship. Etc.  Once the kids know what they want to do, then they own their education much more tightly. She helps them to do basically just the minimum to get into whatever program they need to get the qualifications they need.  She has some very accomplished young people who have financially independent lives in the early 20s even though they basically didn't do any school work. Could you discuss an idea like this with your friend?

She's mentioned before that one wants to be a hairdresser, so that's kind of on her mind. Thanks for the reminder because that would be a good topic for discussion. I know she knows more people who have followed that route than I have, so she'd probably be able to come up with great ideas. If she did this with the one kid who has a clear idea, the others would likely want to take part.

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

 you know, it's not our problem. I'm trying to figure out what you want here. 

Maybe consider that all you really want is for her to be successful searching for help for her kids. Doesn't matter where it comes from or who does it. And if what you're asking is how you have a relationship and a conversation, I think just support her. Ask how her choices are going, say you hope they go well. Don't offer advice, don't give tips, don't tell her where to research. I find the people who aren't into it and aren't able just AREN'T. That's why there are others who can. Is this woman good at anything else you can relate to? You might talk about that and totally drop education unless she brings it up. It's clearly not a strong point for her. Maybe she has cookie recipes she can share or something.

 

Really what I'm doing with this thread is thinking aloud, bouncing ideas off others so that I don't become unnecessarily fatalistic (oh no, nothing I can do, I'll just make matters worse, better to cut ties) or come up with "helping" plans that would be a ridiculous overstepping of my place. When I'm just in my head, I can easily go to far either of those directions 

I do want her to view herself more positively, and I think that will help her kids both by example and by making her a better teacher-mother who can ask for help without feeling bad. She and her husband were failed by public schools, slipping through the cracks more than anything else. She's done a lot to improve herself and her life, and I need to focus my mind on that while speaking with her, confident she can continue to do improve things for herself and her children.

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It's not nice to watch, but I really don't think you should do anything at all. You mentioned this is a family member and there's already tension there. Well... She already knows how you feel, probably. She knows and doesn't want your help. I have struggled with this in my family and said to myself many times before "If they want your opinion, they will ask for it" and they never do (but my opinion is so good! Lol) so I end up approaching things obliquely to try to offer "help" and it inevitably goes terribly. They resent it all the way. Even people whose kids can't sleep on their own without massive interventions totally do not want anyone's help even when they are complaining on FB about it (that one always kills me).

The truth is that public school is not that great in many areas. If they are in a rural area with few opportunities, it's not clear that they would obviously be Rhodes scholars in the public school. But even if they were in a good school district, the public school culture is so awful to kids today. I'm NOT saying "better out of school no matter what" but I see so many young people with such bizarre jaded, cynical mindsets and so many psychological issues, and maybe this mom can give them a better childhood and adolescence and equip them for life in a way that their better educated peers will not be. It's something to hope at least. But I see my family members doing what I think is the wrong thing with their kids and the answer is TS, if you get my meaning. We can't fix others' lives for them. Sorry if that sounds harsh but I really have made a hash of things in my family with my "tactful" attempts.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Emily ZL said:

It's not nice to watch, but I really don't think you should do anything at all. You mentioned this is a family member and there's already tension there. .....so I end up approaching things obliquely to try to offer "help" and it inevitably goes terribly. They resent it all the way. 

The truth is that public school is not that great in many areas....

We can't fix others' lives for them. Sorry if that sounds harsh but I really have made a hash of things in my family with my "tactful" attempts.

AGREE  1000%. Definitely would back away and not get involved. I have a relative who is a horrible homeschooling teacher. Her 4 adult kids resent the heck out of her for their educations. But, reality is they lived in the sticks; the ps's stank; 2 actually attended private hs and 2 DEed/ attended early college. Their options were limited and all were subpar.

I tried to offer suggestions over the yrs and she resented me for them. She didnt want to change things bc improving quality wasn't her priority. She is the sort who thinks all math programs are equal and TT is exactly equal to AoPS. Any suggestion otherwise is met with eye rolls. She also made comments that her kids have weaknesses that meant learning doesnt matter. (4 are now adults. I starting high school next yr.)

I felt sorry for her kids, but as adults they all graduated from college, 2 with master's degrees. So kids can survive subpar educations and still succeed long term.

 

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Similar to @8filltheheart, while I'm no fan of how education happens in the US, one advantage this country has is the opportunity for second chances.  It sucks to remediate and it's exceedingly difficult...but not impossible.  

42 minutes ago, Emily ZL said:

I have struggled with this in my family and said to myself many times before "If they want your opinion, they will ask for it" and they never do (but my opinion is so good! Lol) so I end up approaching things obliquely to try to offer "help" and it inevitably goes terribly. They resent it all the way.

Sometimes even if they ask for help, they still won't follow it.    

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On 5/23/2021 at 9:55 AM, Xahm said:

We spent time with extended family yesterday, and once again I'm sad. I'm not going to give lots of details out of respect for privacy and just generally respect for them, but they aren't really teaching their kids the things that will help them have a strong chance of future financial stability. They are raising four beautiful girls who are kind, helpful, physically active and enthusiastic about their faith, and that's wonderful and no small accomplishment. Academically, however, the mom quickly admits she's not good at consistency and school doesn't happen more often than it happens, especially with the two that resist and have basically done nothing for months, if not years.  There's some dyslexia absolutely in the mix with those kids and perhaps other things, I don't know. The mom knows there's a big problem and asks for help/advice but things get overwhelming and so there's not much follow through. The eldest is going to private school this coming year and it's going to be tough, but probably an overall good experience.  The next oldest isn't currently close to on track to bring able to attend that school with age peers and the mom wonders what to do. It's a tough situation. They live out in the sticks, where there are just few resources. We live too far to be able to offer to tutor. Also, there's a dynamic where the parents feel judged (not specifically by us, but in general) for not completing high school and not being academically oriented while we went to college and like to talk about "smart people stuff," so I have to be careful to not trigger that. Their homeschool will never look like ours, and that's great. I am friends with a lot of homeschoolers, and we all do it differently. I want to be able to encourage the mom to view herself as a life-long learner. She doesn't like to learn about the same things as me and she lacks the background knowledge to quickly realize when her research has lead her astray, but she truly likes to learn, and if she can pass that to her children it will be wonderful. I want to help her be consistent. It's hard for me sometimes to wake up and make the kids do math or spelling or whatever, but I almost always do it, and she can, too. Unfortunately, our different backgrounds and the comparisons other extended family members make about the kids in our respective families means there's a bit of a wedge between us.

Slightly joking, but not completely, of anyone knows of a Christian Charismatic homeschooling mom who blogs or does podcasts about their homeschooling life and values the education aspect, please let me know so I can send it along. 

I can't help but wonder when I read the bolded part of your post if the mama is dealing with her own executive functioning issues. I wonder if she would do well finding step-by-step, very incremental homeschooling materials. I don't know how you could suggest this, or if it's even appropriate, but it's a lot for people with EF issues to put together and stick with open ended schooling. Maybe if she had workbooks and daily schedules, like a complete curriculum with a schedule, she would be able to stick with it? 

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1 minute ago, seemesew said:

Alongb with that maybe she needs meds because she's ADD and it's bad enough it's affecting her life.

Again not sure how you would bring this up to her but I think so many adults struggle with this and don't go the meds route when in reality it would help. I'm not a med promoterbut I have seen where it's changed lives so i never rule them out. 

And ditto for getting kids help, which is often very difficult, expensive, and time consuming.

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If homeschooling came up in regular conversation, I would naturally talk about curriculum or programs. In this particular situation, I would plant some seeds related to online programs. Easy Peasy or Time 4 Learning is better than nothing. 

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I would offer a word of caution about not educating a hairstylist/cosmetologist fully.  A decent chunk of people (including a relative) discover a few months into cosmetology school that their hands can't handle being in water all day and that they have reactions to the constant exposure of chemicals.  They (about 20% of her class) end up having to drop out after working with a dermatologist for a few months and discovering that they really aren't suited for the line of work.  This happened to several in relative's cohort as well.  Relative then had to spend several years getting adequate maths to attend college to pursue other studies. (Most of her cosmetology cohort did not make it the college route and have gone into poverty---either had children out of wedlock, or are trying to make it as a store clerk's salary, which is nearly impossible here.)  

Likewise, tendonitis is a common complication (different relative in cosmetology who had to buy a business and then offer chair rental to other cosmetologists stay afloat as working hours were limited in managing the chronic condition).

Getting buy in for studies is very different than actually preparing them for life.

 

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I hear you, OP.  After watching several of my friends have kids who fail to launch into a stable adult life, it's distressing to watch future cycles of that train wreck play out. 

One commonality I see play out is that the learning issues in the children are in the mom also. Mom does not have the bandwidth or executive functioning to school children well.  

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I'm not going to say any more involving this situation directly so that I don't accidently over-share about someone else, but it's a very fine line. It's hard because there are so many different kinds of homeschooling out there, and those of us who get enthusiastic about things need to be sure to listen way more than we talk or judge. Seeing how things work out in my kids, as well as other people's kids, has absolutely made me more learn to respect radically different ways of doing things. I love when people are willing to share what they do with me and even discuss options because I think we both learn from that. I'm fine when people have their own way of doing things and don't really want input because they are satisfied with what they've got. It's the people who ask for advice and then make plans but really struggle with follow through, and then cycle back to asking for more advice that are hard. Particularly when they are people you care about. Of course, that can happen in every area of life, not just homeschooling. I'm sure there's a relative somewhere who is dismayed that I make grand plans for getting the kids involved in house cleaning so that we can have something sustainable and then I just forget about it after a few days.

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I think sometimes when we ask for advice and make plans that we do not follow, it is because we have been shamed or coerced into believing that we "should" be doing something. Often it is not something that we truly value above what we are finishing. Other times, even if we value it, we do not have the resources to finish. Sometimes we are just overscheduled and have no idea what our priorities are and we just respond to the loudest voice of the day. Some people were reared in an environment that taught them that the only safe option is to defer to the experts or at least pretend to defer while in their presence. These people don't mean to waste a person's time; it is more of a default habit that helped them survive when they had less power.

Homeschooling is either HOMEschooling of HomeSCHOOLING. A lot of HomeSCHOOLERS are shocked by families that are HOMEschooling. The courts of the United States tend to rule that families have the right to rear their children in their culture and that family culture takes precedence over college prep. The Amish are not required to even provide a high school education. 

Many Christian homeschoolers are HOMEschoolers, for better and for worse. We cannot discard the better of that. And it is their right by law.

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12 hours ago, Hunter said:

I think sometimes when we ask for advice and make plans that we do not follow, it is because we have been shamed or coerced into believing that we "should" be doing something. Often it is not something that we truly value above what we are finishing. Other times, even if we value it, we do not have the resources to finish. Sometimes we are just overscheduled and have no idea what our priorities are and we just respond to the loudest voice of the day. Some people were reared in an environment that taught them that the only safe option is to defer to the experts or at least pretend to defer while in their presence. These people don't mean to waste a person's time; it is more of a default habit that helped them survive when they had less power.

Homeschooling is either HOMEschooling of HomeSCHOOLING. A lot of HomeSCHOOLERS are shocked by families that are HOMEschooling. The courts of the United States tend to rule that families have the right to rear their children in their culture and that family culture takes precedence over college prep. The Amish are not required to even provide a high school education. 

Many Christian homeschoolers are HOMEschoolers, for better and for worse. We cannot discard the better of that. And it is their right by law.

That's something I've been thinking about a lot lately-where do I want to focus? I'm reading on here a lot and really believe in the homeSCHOOLING. I also enjoy watching vlogs of large homesteading families and see the value in the HOMEschooling that they do. But, I don't have time to do everything. Where do I invest my time and theirs? Even at their young age I've already found that teaching life skills like tying shoes is something I have to plan for-some things just don't come naturally. Homeschooling is definitely full of tough decisions and there is always something valuable that I feel is being lost.

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11 minutes ago, LauraClark said:

That's something I've been thinking about a lot lately-where do I want to focus? I'm reading on here a lot and really believe in the homeSCHOOLING. I also enjoy watching vlogs of large homesteading families and see the value in the HOMEschooling that they do. But, I don't have time to do everything. Where do I invest my time and theirs? Even at their young age I've already found that teaching life skills like tying shoes is something I have to plan for-some things just don't come naturally. Homeschooling is definitely full of tough decisions and there is always something valuable that I feel is being lost.

I suppose I’ve always felt like I could more or less do both. Mostly because I find homeschooling efficient and because I am pretty content to unschool most content subjects. (Two differently-pronounced contents in one sentence, lol.)

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1 hour ago, LauraClark said:

That's something I've been thinking about a lot lately-where do I want to focus? I'm reading on here a lot and really believe in the homeSCHOOLING. I also enjoy watching vlogs of large homesteading families and see the value in the HOMEschooling that they do. But, I don't have time to do everything. Where do I invest my time and theirs? Even at their young age I've already found that teaching life skills like tying shoes is something I have to plan for-some things just don't come naturally. Homeschooling is definitely full of tough decisions and there is always something valuable that I feel is being lost.

In a way, for some people, HomeSCHOOLING is HOMEschooling, if new input is the oxygen that sustains them. Some of us have brains on fire. 

As a child, I gave my parents no problems. I cared for the younger children without being asked, took care of myself for the most part, and retreated into a corner and read until I was summoned or needed again. But when I ran out of books, and that often happened because ... well, my parents and step parents were doing the best they could, but they struggled with substance abuse issues. When I ran out of books, I would fall apart.

Despite being illiterate, my step-dad was a logical man. He forced my mom to keep me better supplied with reading material to keep me in a more functional state. I was the primary caretaker of his children when he had them on the weekends. LOL. 

Constant study is HOME for some of us.

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@Hunter  Good to see you!!! Hope you are well!

While it is their right to HOMEschool, it some ways it perpetuates the power structures that allow abusive patriarchy to continue.  When mom or teen children are not adequately educated, they are not prepared to be self-sufficient in the world around them.  I see this time and again where girls marry just out of high school, have several children in their teens and twenties, and stay in abusive situations because they have no ability to self-support. Eventually separation may happen, and then they struggle to get a GED or pay for remedial classes in order to place into entry level math at the community college.

How much better served would those women be if they had received a proper education? Even if their marriages are healthy, if they are continuing in the homeschooling world, they need to be able to support their own children in their educations.  I rather think we should change the laws so that the basics of homeSCHOOLING must occur, even if more time is spent HOMEschooling. 

I have really changed my position on this over the last ten years. I am pro annual testing and pro more oversight for homeschoolers grades 1-12.

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@Hunter  BTW, did I tell you I got to implement my school in a box scenario this past fall for about a month? We had to evacuate due to wildfires for a bit, and I literally put my box into the back of my minivan along with precious things and drove cross-country to stay with family while the West was burning.  Thank you for starting those threads those many years ago.  It really helped me clear my head as to what I would need to keep going for a while and it all burnt down.

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2 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

@Hunter  BTW, did I tell you I got to implement my school in a box scenario this past fall for about a month? We had to evacuate due to wildfires for a bit, and I literally put my box into the back of my minivan along with precious things and drove cross-country to stay with family while the West was burning.  Thank you for starting those threads those many years ago.  It really helped me clear my head as to what I would need to keep going for a while and it all burnt down.

I am so glad that you are okay and were able to school smoothly!

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3 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

@Hunter  Good to see you!!! Hope you are well!

While it is their right to HOMEschool, it some ways it perpetuates the power structures that allow abusive patriarchy to continue.  When mom or teen children are not adequately educated, they are not prepared to be self-sufficient in the world around them.  I see this time and again where girls marry just out of high school, have several children in their teens and twenties, and stay in abusive situations because they have no ability to self-support. Eventually separation may happen, and then they struggle to get a GED or pay for remedial classes in order to place into entry level math at the community college.

How much better served would those women be if they had received a proper education? Even if their marriages are healthy, if they are continuing in the homeschooling world, they need to be able to support their own children in their educations.  I rather think we should change the laws so that the basics of homeSCHOOLING must occur, even if more time is spent HOMEschooling. 

I have really changed my position on this over the last ten years. I am pro annual testing and pro more oversight for homeschoolers grades 1-12.

Thanks for saying it. So many people here aren't willing to admit that even a crappy PS is better than crappy HS. 

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2 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

@Hunter  Good to see you!!! Hope you are well!

While it is their right to HOMEschool, it some ways it perpetuates the power structures that allow abusive patriarchy to continue.  When mom or teen children are not adequately educated, they are not prepared to be self-sufficient in the world around them.  I see this time and again where girls marry just out of high school, have several children in their teens and twenties, and stay in abusive situations because they have no ability to self-support. Eventually separation may happen, and then they struggle to get a GED or pay for remedial classes in order to place into entry level math at the community college.

How much better served would those women be if they had received a proper education? Even if their marriages are healthy, if they are continuing in the homeschooling world, they need to be able to support their own children in their educations.  I rather think we should change the laws so that the basics of homeSCHOOLING must occur, even if more time is spent HOMEschooling. 

I have really changed my position on this over the last ten years. I am pro annual testing and pro more oversight for homeschoolers grades 1-12.

I went to public school, but was reared in that culture and I am one of those moms. People expect me to think differently about what happened. Before my mom got religion, she was an addict. The cults she fell into helped her stay sober and provided some stability. I was unofficially engaged before my junior prom to a man 8 years older than me, so I had to skip it. I had a ring on my finger my entire senior year. I married 3 weeks after I graduated high school.

No legislation would have helped. Every time someone poked their nose in, they just destabilized things further and made my suffering worse. I had to learn how to hide things from the school, and the school preferred that I hide from them. From both sides I was given the message to be silent and hidden. For the most part, the education that I have now, I gave myself alongside my children; or is the result of just reading and reading and reading as a child.

Parents are just human, not superheroes. Laws don't turn messy broken humans into superheroes. Wouldn't it be nice if it did. Sigh!

Now that my boys are older than my parents were when they made some of their worst mistakes, I see things more clearly ever. My parents procreated, but that act didn't infuse them with any special powers. They were still who they were before his little squiggly things invaded the egg in her tubes.

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15 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I have really changed my position on this over the last ten years. I am pro annual testing and pro more oversight for homeschoolers grades 1-12.

I do feel like watching what actually happens in some homeschools makes me pro-some-oversight. The question would be how to make the oversight actually work, though. A lot of the laws are just pesky and not that helpful. 

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4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I do feel like watching what actually happens in some homeschools makes me pro-some-oversight. The question would be how to make the oversight actually work, though. A lot of the laws are just pesky and not that helpful. 

I know this is the perennial debate, but I just keep looking at the alternative:  there's no plan in the public school for how to fix kids with messed up home lives, and most people who wouldn't do a good job educating their children at home live in areas with low performing public schools. It's very few people who can afford to live in high quality school districts but who then don't send their kids to those schools and choose to subpar homeschool them.

I know there's no "magic bullet" to solving this problem... But it always annoys me when the following happens in the media/think pieces:

1. Story about homeschooling: highlights all the potential problems and abuses, interviews people who buy a dollar store workbook and call it good. Opinions about public school that are fairly glowing and show kids having a great time with caring adults. 

2. Story about racial divides in education: highlights the terrible performance and high rates of violence and  abuse at many or even most public schools in places that especially serve people of color. 10% abuse rate of all students nationally. Interviews with parents and kids who have been beaten daily or can't read at graduation but prosecuted for truancy if they stay home. Condemnation as unconstitutional but otherwise without solution, no homeschooling mentioned. 

The juxtaposition of these two things always makes me crazy.

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20 minutes ago, Emily ZL said:

I know this is the perennial debate, but I just keep looking at the alternative:  there's no plan in the public school for how to fix kids with messed up home lives, and most people who wouldn't do a good job educating their children at home live in areas with low performing public schools. It's very few people who can afford to live in high quality school districts but who then don't send their kids to those schools and choose to subpar homeschool them.

If it’s true that people in good districts don’t homeschool, then we don’t have a problem. I don’t think we have the data to conclude that, though.

People homeschool for all sorts of reasons. Only some of them are admirable and sympathetic. I think the mistake people on this forum make is the one of excessive generosity: they assume other people mean as well as they and their friends. I would guess that’s often but not always true.

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2 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

It's very few people who can afford to live in high quality school districts but who then don't send their kids to those schools and choose to subpar homeschool them.

 

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

If it’s true that people in good districts don’t homeschool

She is saying it is rare for people in good districts to subpar homeschool. Surely we still don't have data though, because how much good data is there on homeschooling at all.  In fact, she is also saying that likely many homeschoolers come from medium to good districts because people in the worst districts are more likely to have lower income and thus are less likely to be able to afford to have someone stay home. It would be interesting to really know these suppositions though.

 

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19 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Thanks for saying it. So many people here aren't willing to admit that even a crappy PS is better than crappy HS. 

A meme went through our state fb page recently that said something like "Don't worry, ANYTHING you do in a homeschool is better than the public school.". Boy, did I have to bite my tongue not to reply!

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One thing that has to be remembered is that not all schools are fantastic or terrible. A lot are mediocre. I assume that describes a large percentage of them. Kids there learn to read, write, and do basic math fairly well. Many kids are pretty well set for college, though not for highly competitive ones. The top kids probably go to the better local public universities. If we believe homeschooling to be awesome, I think it reasonable to have mediocre schools rather than awful schools as what we compare the general homeschool population to. (Understanding, of course, that any individual family could have a valid reason for sacrificing educational quality for the sake of physical, mental, or emotional health.)

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FWIW, I think everyone should standardize test each year.  Those results need to be turned in and checked. If you are scoring below 40% you should be subject to additional oversight.  If you have a child who has learning differences, that might look like turning in a PDP (personal development plan), or it might look like having an IEP through the school district to make sure any necessary services are being accessed (like PT/OT/SLP).  It might look like having a certified teacher kinda look through what you're doing. I'm not sure, I'm not an expert.  I think a screening test like a standardized one is an easy enough bar to achieve--you don't have to submit plans or count hours if your methodology works.

I do realize that some public schools are churning out students under 40% proficiency. I think they should be subject to additional oversight also. 🙂

 

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18 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

FWIW, I think everyone should standardize test each year.  Those results need to be turned in and checked. If you are scoring below 40% you should be subject to additional oversight.  If you have a child who has learning differences, that might look like turning in a PDP (personal development plan), or it might look like having an IEP through the school district to make sure any necessary services are being accessed (like PT/OT/SLP).  It might look like having a certified teacher kinda look through what you're doing. I'm not sure, I'm not an expert.  I think a screening test like a standardized one is an easy enough bar to achieve--you don't have to submit plans or count hours if your methodology works.

I do realize that some public schools are churning out students under 40% proficiency. I think they should be subject to additional oversight also. 🙂

 

I actually agree.  I wouldn't have 20 years ago, but I do now.  We live in a state with a testing requirement and I've seen a mother whose dd did below 33% in math shocked into doing something about that.  I have a friend who moved from a no testing state who told us that she definitely saw a difference in the level of schooling here between here and where she used to live.  She feels that being held accountable does make a difference in how people approach their responsibility.  There should be an alternate mode of assessment though, because a very few kids have trouble with standardized test and I don't think that the testing should begin until 3rd grade or so.

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But again, this is where I get frustrated: if the subject is homeschooling oversight, then standardized testing looks smart to many people. But if the subject is standardized testing and the impact it has had on teaching, suddenly the opinions are way more negative -- teachers complain about having to teach to the test and not having time to spend on things that won't be tested but are valuable. Many of us got into HSing because we didn't want that. We want to, say, focus on poetry memorization and Latin grammar the way things used to be done. Or we want to teach our kids shop and mechanic skills and self-control and self-reliance, and those aren't on the test either. THAT is why we fight for autonomy and are willing to give people the benefit of the doubt - we don't want the public school's standards of what's valuable, and frankly, we don't think they have earned the right to tell us what should be learned when, because it doesn't seem clear that they know. Their desire is to send all (mostly unprepared kids) to college (of some kind). Many of us think this is outdated, and teaching plumbing skills and problem solving at home is MUCH better for many kids than (badly) cramming them with Shakespeare who (largely) don't care about it. That's not my homeschool, but I respect people who have homeschools like that. And until the schools can show a great track record of educating all their own students well, they don't get to measure the rest of us by their (awful and badly implemented) standards. /End Texas-y rant, lol.

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I have a kid going into the trades. The apprenticeship requires a C or above in algebra 1. Going into the trades does not excuse you from basic literacy and math. 
 

The STARR is its own brand of crazy. I am not advocating STARR for all. (As a former Texan, I know what you are alluding to.) 
 

The Iowa or Stanford 10 are both very basic and not very content specific. Being able to read and do the basic math to pass these does not preclude you from teaching Latin or loom weaving or herbology. 🙂 

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30 minutes ago, Emily ZL said:

But again, this is where I get frustrated: if the subject is homeschooling oversight, then standardized testing looks smart to many people. But if the subject is standardized testing and the impact it has had on teaching, suddenly the opinions are way more negative -- teachers complain about having to teach to the test and not having time to spend on things that won't be tested but are valuable. Many of us got into HSing because we didn't want that. We want to, say, focus on poetry memorization and Latin grammar the way things used to be done. Or we want to teach our kids shop and mechanic skills and self-control and self-reliance, and those aren't on the test either. THAT is why we fight for autonomy and are willing to give people the benefit of the doubt - we don't want the public school's standards of what's valuable, and frankly, we don't think they have earned the right to tell us what should be learned when, because it doesn't seem clear that they know. Their desire is to send all (mostly unprepared kids) to college (of some kind). Many of us think this is outdated, and teaching plumbing skills and problem solving at home is MUCH better for many kids than (badly) cramming them with Shakespeare who (largely) don't care about it. That's not my homeschool, but I respect people who have homeschools like that. And until the schools can show a great track record of educating all their own students well, they don't get to measure the rest of us by their (awful and badly implemented) standards. /End Texas-y rant, lol.

We have always done what we wanted to do and haven't "taught to the test."  We do tons of read alouds and poetry memorization and hands on learning.  Getting above a 33rd percentile overall is not a very high bar.  You can do it with regular reading instruction (reading is essential) and steady math progression (math is also important in life.)  Teachers teach to the test bc they need most kids to do really well.  I taught.  It's harder to get an entire class to a high standard bc you can't tailor the curriculum or be home with the kids.  The only subtest my kids have done near 33rd percentile in was spelling when they were young and you know what--they did/have needed serious intervention and focus to learn to spell.  But the standard shouldn't be just subtest related, it should be overall.  And I think even if you didn't have to hand in the tests it would have value for the parent/teacher to see. 

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6 hours ago, SusanC said:

She is saying it is rare for people in good districts to subpar homeschool. Surely we still don't have data though, because how much good data is there on homeschooling at all.  In fact, she is also saying that likely many homeschoolers come from medium to good districts because people in the worst districts are more likely to have lower income and thus are less likely to be able to afford to have someone stay home. It would be interesting to really know these suppositions though.

Yes, you're right. I misread -- thanks for the correction! 

Like you, I'd love to know if that's true or not. 

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7 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

FWIW, I think everyone should standardize test each year.  Those results need to be turned in and checked. If you are scoring below 40% you should be subject to additional oversight.  If you have a child who has learning differences, that might look like turning in a PDP (personal development plan), or it might look like having an IEP through the school district to make sure any necessary services are being accessed (like PT/OT/SLP).  It might look like having a certified teacher kinda look through what you're doing. I'm not sure, I'm not an expert.  I think a screening test like a standardized one is an easy enough bar to achieve--you don't have to submit plans or count hours if your methodology works.

I do realize that some public schools are churning out students under 40% proficiency. I think they should be subject to additional oversight also. 🙂

 

I agree in a lot of ways, but whatever legislation needs to bear in mind that some children are homeschooled because they were doing poorly and not being served well by IEPs in public schools. Students scoring in the 10th percentile in school probably aren't going to jump above the 40th at home. They might, but if they don't it's unlikely to be because they weren't being taught well at home. That's why I would want a portfolio option if they ever put into place such a law. Our state requires testing occasionally, though it's not turned in. I've heard of parents realizing they need to shift their priorities after seeing their score. I've also heard parents brag that they don't even open the test results, which seems like a weird choice personally. Then again, there are those parents, some of whom I've also met, who don't test either due to forgetfulness or stubbornness. As far as I know, the state doesn't have anyone hired to check up on homeschoolers, so nobody's getting caught.

One of my acquaintances who used to homeschool but now has her kids in school is currently big into encouraging parents to opt their kids out of the standardized testing in public schools.  I think this is more to make a statement rather than to save those children from tests, because the children are still stuck doing all the test prep and practice tests. If I could opt my kid out of test prep but opt in to standardized testing, I would. And I guess I have as a homeschool parent who tests more often than the required every 3 years.

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Huh, I also know a woman who homeschooled and now public schools and encouraged her kids to opt out of testing (and sex Ed). I also live in a state that requires testing, but there is no follow up. 
——

Right, the PDP/IEP provision would totally address the severe learning differences issues. You will have some parents homeschooling nonverbal kids with a functional age of <3. You will have other kids who will just always perform lower for whatever reason. Cool, just document why and have that reviewed as a screening against neglect and show that your kid is getting an education suited to their needs and abilities.

 

 

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13 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

FWIW, I think everyone should standardize test each year.  Those results need to be turned in and checked. If you are scoring below 40% you should be subject to additional oversight.  If you have a child who has learning differences, that might look like turning in a PDP (personal development plan), or it might look like having an IEP through the school district to make sure any necessary services are being accessed (like PT/OT/SLP).  It might look like having a certified teacher kinda look through what you're doing. I'm not sure, I'm not an expert.  I think a screening test like a standardized one is an easy enough bar to achieve--you don't have to submit plans or count hours if your methodology works.

I do realize that some public schools are churning out students under 40% proficiency. I think they should be subject to additional oversight also. 🙂

 

I very much disagree with all of this. I have young kids and I am required to test them yearly. Even though I do not have to turn in the results it is very stressful. I have to sit there and watch my smart kids answer so many questions wrong because they slightly misread something. They still score high (much to my surprise every year), but I can see how easy it would be for higher than average kids to score low. And the unnecessary stress it would cause the parents. I've met some parents that don't homeschool well, but it is a small small percentage of the whole.

As far as public school: DH teaches at a lower school. A couple of years ago his school scored low enough on the testing that the state sent in extra oversight. It was unhelpful and stressful on the already overworked teachers. Many of his students come from homes that do not value education. He, and the other teachers in his school, do their best to excite them about education and sometimes they reach kids. But they are fighting an uphill battle and giving them more weight to carry does not help. How about an extra teacher so they can have smaller classes? That would be helpful. Instead they give them more paperwork and a threat of being fired if their scores are too low (no matter how good a teacher they are). 

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1 hour ago, LauraClark said:

I very much disagree with all of this. I have young kids and I am required to test them yearly. Even though I do not have to turn in the results it is very stressful. I have to sit there and watch my smart kids answer so many questions wrong because they slightly misread something. They still score high (much to my surprise every year), but I can see how easy it would be for higher than average kids to score low. And the unnecessary stress it would cause the parents. I've met some parents that don't homeschool well, but it is a small small percentage of the whole.

As far as public school: DH teaches at a lower school. A couple of years ago his school scored low enough on the testing that the state sent in extra oversight. It was unhelpful and stressful on the already overworked teachers. Many of his students come from homes that do not value education. He, and the other teachers in his school, do their best to excite them about education and sometimes they reach kids. But they are fighting an uphill battle and giving them more weight to carry does not help. How about an extra teacher so they can have smaller classes? That would be helpful. Instead they give them more paperwork and a threat of being fired if their scores are too low (no matter how good a teacher they are). 

Yes, younger children should not have to test.  

I do sympathize with your dh having been a teacher. However, it’s not a comparable situation in homeschooling. It is much harder for a parent to have a handle on how well their child is doing—no comparison, no other teachers.  And if the “culture” around you is laid back and you have executive functioning issues, you may think things are fine when they aren’t. My state doesn’t require it yearly until high school ( and not at all until 5th grade). 

I have taught kids from the backgrounds you mention. That’s apples to oranges bc homeschooling families have different home environments (and if their home doesn’t value basic education, they shouldn’t be homeschooling).  The other kids who may do poorly are ones with unidentified LDs and there are many of those in the homeschool community. Those kids would absolutely benefit from intervention. I’m not talking about punitive intervention but even the facilitating of testing or access to special education resources. 

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