Showing posts with label Homeschool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeschool. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It Takes More Than Love to Homeschool

Joanne Jacobs quotes Paula Bolyard in How Badly Can we Mess up Kindergarten:
“Parents, who love and understand their children better than anyone else in the world, are well-qualified to educate their children at home and should seriously consider taking on the challenge,” concludes Bolyard.

Well, actually, that's a very simplistic statement lacking in any knowledge of the realities of education, akin to saying that owning a box of tools is enough to fix the brakes on your car or that attending high school school in the 1970s is sufficient to call yourself an education expert.

Homeschooling is much more than just love and understanding. Anyone who goes into it feeling they "can't possibly mess up Kindergarten" and "screw it, that wasn't so bad, we'll just keep on going" is a fool.

Despite their stupidity, I would never argue that they be forced to give it up. They have just as much right to screw up their children's lives as anyone. Religion is the usual reason for homeschooling and seems to be a major reason here. Religious parents often wish to raise their children with more spiritual classes and teachings, which is fine. Some wish to avoid contact with children who don't share their beliefs, which is silly, but it's still the parents' choice.
But then I have a picture in my mind of my precious boys snuggled up with me on the couch as I’m reading Johnny Tremain to them. . . . The American Revolution is jumping off the pages and coming to life for them as Johnny helps Paul Revere warn that the British are coming! We have already read a couple chapters from the Bible that day, a chapter from a missionary biography, and have worked on memorizing Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If.”
I just hope that everyone understands that Johnny Tremain is fiction, not history, and that she can find someone to tutor math and science.

UPDATE (after PeggyU's comment):
"I struggled with discipline and consistency in my personal life; and of course, that spilled into our homeschooling world."
This is the first sign that this education is going to be less than ideal. Homeschooling isn't just a matter of eliminating the schedule and bustle of public school; it needs it's own structure. The children will take their cues from the parent, as they always do, but there won't be a counterweight.
"I struggled with frequent migraine headaches, so we planned a 4-day school schedule in order to allow an extra day for my health issues."
The number of days isn't the issue here, but the reasons are. This woman isn't prepared for this task and, subconsciously at least, seems to know it.
"We worked through learning disabilities and speech therapy and the year we all now laugh about and refer to as 'Algebra with Anger.'"
As a high school math teacher, I cringed at this line. The biggest problem I have is the residue of math fear left by previous teachers. It takes weeks, sometimes months, for me to break through that and get the reluctant to try, to realize that they DO know some math and that they CAN learn it.
"It wasn’t pretty and we’re not proud of it, but I remind myself that lots of kids in public schools went through much worse things in 9th grade than a grumpy dad with a whiteboard who worked an 8-hour day and, after an hour commute, tried to teach algebra to an uncooperative student. (I don’t recommend it.)"
Yeah, and some kids had lost their fathers in Afghanistan while some are orphans, and others got beat up on the school bus. This is rationalization, self-delusion and denial, and total bs. Instead of admitting they had reached a limit, they forged on regardless.
... we had both completed first grade in school, so we surely possessed at least a rudimentary grasp of the course work, right?
... we used the curriculum because we didn’t know any better ...
... other parts of the curriculum were too structured for our more laid-back family style ...
... you can find a curriculum that fits your individual family and your kids’ learning styles ...
There are too many misguided educational tropes here leading to one more kid, screwed over by his parents.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful, rewarding experience for a family and, I believe, the best educational choice for many — if not most — families. 
Except if you want the kids to get a decent education. Unqualified and unknowledgeable parents do not make good teachers. A rare few percent of homeschool kids can succeed on their own, but they're the exceptions to the rule.
Parents, who love and understand their children better than anyone else in the world, are well-qualified to educate their children at home and should seriously consider taking on the challenge.

Oh, well. As I've often said, the public school system is provided by the community for any of its residents who choose to make use of it. It's too bad this family chose the way they did but I guess they're satisfied.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Types of Homeschoolers

This rant was sparked by the comment described below about World of Warcraft.  Ignore it if you choose to, but I felt like a little rant was in order.

I figure that you can raise your kids in whatever fashion you feel appropriate within the limits set forth by the Division of Youth Services and the standards of human decency.  As long as you don't slip over into abuse or negligence, it's probably none of my business to tell you how to raise your kids.  And no, spanking isn't abuse. Schooling is one of those parental choices.

In my experience, homeschoolers' reasons fall into three basic categories.
  1. Those who feel they can do a better job.  This parent is usually well educated and has the ability to spend the time necessary to do the job right.  Sometimes, this is a work-from-home parent who can work from some really neat places, so they travel a lot and take their kids on a grand tour of the world. Perhaps the child is truly superior and the parents are nurturing that ability and don't want their child to slow down in any way. These people I have no problems with ... take your kid out of school ... he'll be fine and go to a decent college (or not) and live a good life.
  2. Then there are the religious reasons. These range from "the public school is too permissive and my kids are going to learn about all those horrible things and start doing drugs and forget about God" to a simple desire to have theology classes and a more spiritual approach to life.  This group, I have no problems with ... raising your kids in a closed environment probably isn't the best idea for psychological development, but it should be a choice that parents can make for their kids. Living a more religious life among the Heathens is a choice.
  3. Then there are the assholes, the parents who "homeschool" for asinine reasons. These are the ones who take their kid out of school so he can play Guitar Hero "professionally" or who sign the papers and let the kid sit at home all day long or make him go to work for the family business because they don't want to pay a real worker. I'll include here the racist clowns who "homeschool" because they don't want their kids in a building with "spics and niggers." (A friend of mine was visiting his nephew and noticed them playing World of Warcraft early around noon.  He asked who everyone was and was told that they were all Texas kids whose parents didn't want them in public school for that reason ... although on WoW, they can't use that language, so they have to say 'S&Ns")
Of course, none of these reasons justifies the "voucher" idea. If your town opens a public school for all of those who wish to take advantage of it, it shouldn't have to pay to send your kid somewhere else.  If you want to buck the group and get something special, I think the town/state should allow you to do so and not make a fuss beyond asking for a description of the curriculum/syllabus, but you need to provide that something special at your own cost.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Online Courses Leave much to be Desired

Just a quick one for now. I ran into a student who is homeschooled and is taking online courses.

"I finished my English class today."

"Oh, that's nice. How did you think the course went? Easy, hard, fun, what?"

"Pretty easy. I started this morning at about nine or so and finished it around noon and went for a walk."

"Finished the first section?"

"Nope. Finished the whole course."

I assume someone can tell me why this strikes me as odd? Is it just me? Or are the online courses rather simplistic and easy to get credit in?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homeschooling without all the effort

Florida has upped the ante on stupidity. They've started on-line courses that will essentially relieve the State of costs, teachers, students, need for school buildings and other apparently unnecessary things.

If you don't like the other children at school or disapprove of the minorities who might contaminate your little precious but are unsure of how you could teach her? Plop her down on the living room floor and a Florida-certified teacher will teach her online.
"A teacher working out of her home at an undisclosed Florida location supervises instruction for Taylor and dozens of other elementary students across the state. She monitors their work, talks with students individually online and holds virtual class meetings to discuss particular topics."
Instead of holding actual class meetings, she supervises education and monitors their work? Instead of 18 kids in a room where a physical teacher can see that Johnny is bored or misunderstanding and do something about it, we now have dozens of kids in their own homes possibly supervised by their parents. This is an improvement?
"What's missing is 18 kids competing for one teacher's attention, boring downtime in the classroom, distracting discipline incidents and playground bullying."
Now your little darling can be homeschooled and you don't have to do anything or know anything except be a presence in the building. The elementary school teacher now has dozens of students instead of 18. Little kids with no self-control and little motivation are treated just like highly motivated ones. There is no teacher, no one to explain or instruct or motivate, only
"boxes of textbooks, work sheets, study materials and other classroom supplies, right down to a compass, magnifying glass and other nifty items for basic science experiments. Older kids even get microscopes."
That'll help the little darlings. Unsure of something? Ask your computer screen and when the online teacher gets around to it, she might explain it. An adult is required in the home to help with instruction - yeah right, that'll work. The whole point of this program is to provide homeschooling for parents too lazy, too stupid or too unmotivated to provide it.
Back in the kitchen, Joni Fussell keeps Taylor on task, although there is flexibility for running errands or doing chores, as long as Taylor spends about five hours a day doing schoolwork. The program requires an adult at home to aid with instruction.
I love the "flexibility for running errands" thing. Like anyone will check if the only adult is gone for 4 hours. Like the adult is truly expected to do anything or is responsible for anything. At least true homeschool parents make a commitment to teaching and guiding their children. Essentially, the state is pawning off it's responsibilities onto parents in guise of giving them choices.

But wait, there's more. You can't do a partial program. No clubs, sports, computer classes, proms, languages. No attending school for part of the day to take a gifted and talented program. The teacher is not negotiable.

The final oxymoronic part of this new wave of homeschooling? People who have been homeschooling already are not welcome in this program. I guess that "once jilted, forever angry" is the stance Florida is taking.

Here's the link.