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Thread: Homeschooling

  1. #51
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    It's very interesting to see the only homeschool advocates on this thread-- both children currently being homeschooled, as well as adults who experienced it and/or will choose it for their kids-- repeatedly insist that it works because the child has access to multiple teachers, sits in a classroom with other people besides their siblings, and participates in a 'homeschool collective' with music & sports.

    This strikes me as a completely philosophically inconsistent position. What it sounds like, instead, is a desire to band together and make one's own *independent* ('private') school, with like-minded families. If you admit that higher-level homeschool only works academically and socially if the parents aren't the only teachers, if the children have access to experts and resources the parents can't provide, and if the children attend educational/atheltic/musical/social activities in a group outside the home... well, where exactly is the 'homeschool' in that?

    I also have noticed three distinct camps in the homeschool community. [Those forced into it out of necessity, like jazzyfish in her remote South African bush town, excepted]. The first is the liberal camp, who I believe suffer from 'special snowflake syndrome.' Those parents will talk a lot about creativity and structure and how their child needs to learn at their own pace, how they were suffocated and stifled in the straightjacketed public school system, how they need to express themselves and practice self-directed learning. A lot of this is borrowed from the 'unschooling' philosophy favored amongst more extreme attachment parents.

    The second-- and by far more dominant-- is the conservative Christian camp. These parents, imo, seem to be motivated mainly by fear and control-- fear of corrupting their children, fear of exposing them to ideas/beliefs which the parents themselves don't hold. They talk a lot about 'protection,' 'purity,' being a 'city on a hill,' and the like. I have never understood why they fear so greatly that their children are so weak as to be unable to hold fast to their beliefs and principles when confronted by people that don't agree. Often, even available Protestant, overtly Christian schools are viewed as being insufficiently safe, less they mix with the wrong sort of people. On the surface, they are usually quite successful at isolating them-- they usually belong to independent non-denominational churches, they socialize only with families with near-identical beliefs, and when they graduate they attend small, conservative Christian colleges of the same denomination, where they marry someone from the same background and start the cycle anew with their own children. But "contact" with the outside world does come, at some point; whether through work colleagues, college friends who came from more mainstream backgrounds, or out-and-out rebellion. Many of the people I knew from this background (at my private school, homeschoolers were allowed to pay to take music, so I interacted with them; they had absolutely no friends, were frankly terrified of everyone, and were so antiquated in their manners, way of speaking, and dress that they were fairly ruthlessly mocked) were unable to handle the extreme cognitive dissonance that came from having their ideas first challenged when they were 18+, and the utterly and entirely rebelled against absolutely*everything* they had been taught. Anecdotes but still relevant, I hope.

    The last camp is the one homeschool advocates rarely like to acknowledge, but which are numerically almost as big as the conservative Christian homeschool movement. This comprises the 'problem children,' who for academic and/or behavioral reasons are threatened with explusion or failure from public schools. Their parents, taking advantage of the loopholes in state law, pull them out of public school with promises to homeschool, but frankly put little effort or have little conviction to do it. The children essentially run wild-- like the kids roseymaam described at her library-- and spend essentially no time learning anything remotely similar to a grade-appropriate curriculum. It basically permits children to drop out of school before the legal age of 16. Again, they're unacknowledged but very numerous.
    Blade, MD

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  2. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by blade View Post
    This strikes me as a completely philosophically inconsistent position. What it sounds like, instead, is a desire to band together and make one's own *independent* ('private') school, with like-minded families. If you admit that higher-level homeschool only works academically and socially if the parents aren't the only teachers, if the children have access to experts and resources the parents can't provide, and if the children attend educational/atheltic/musical/social activities in a group outside the home... well, where exactly is the 'homeschool' in that?
    The difference is that in a homeschooling program ultimately I would get to call the shots. As we've been saying, teachers and tutors are available and valuable to homeschooled students, but it is up to the parent to decide which programs to use. I do not want my child sitting for 6+ hours a day under the teaching of someone whose views and material I disagree with. Of course children should be exposed to other views, but I don't believe elementary school to be the time or the place for that. High school, perhaps. I'm unsure of where I stand on homeschooling high school students. But I want to be able to control what my elementary-school-aged child is learning. I don't want to make this a debate about religion, but I do hold convictions and beliefs that are not taught in a public school setting. I want my children taught what I believe to be true, and why. When they are teenagers, I want them exposed to opposing ideas and will encourage their own searching and the use of their own judgment. But I do want to teach my children right from wrong (that is, absolute morality) and other ideas not promoted in a secular school setting.

    Also, you argue that a homeschooler who socializes with peers might as well be in a regular school setting, but I disagree. Parents of homeschoolers are able to be much more aware of exactly who their children are hanging around. It is quite different from sending your child to a school of hundreds of other students for 6+ hours a day. I understand that there is a fine line between keeping one's children safe versus keeping them overly sheltered, and I'm not quite sure where I stand on that line; perhaps private school is the way to go, and it will certainly be something we consider seriously. But particularly for younger children, I do want to know what types of children are influencing my own. For teenagers too, actually. Yes, children need to be exposed to peers of all kinds, but I personally would prefer to expose them in other ways than through a public school system.
    Last edited by alzora; January 23rd, 2013 at 08:18 PM.

  3. #55
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    Again, most average intelligent kid can learn how to read and write and be reasonably cultured without a formal education. My brother and I learned to read at age 4 without much guidance, neither at kindergarten nor at home (our grandmothers are elementary school teachers). We picked up English, French and Spanish via movies and television. Most things I know about Literature, History, Geography, Philosophy, Art, Biology, and Computers I didn't learn in the classroom. But there are subjects when you need lots of practise and experimenting in order to learn. I am curious on how your parents can teach you heavily mathematical subjects like Calculus, Economics, Descriptive Geometry, or Chemistry, which rely on practise, repetition, and discipline and can't be thaught just by reading a textbook or watching online videos.

    And you will deal with bullies, unnecessary rules, screwed up systems all throught out your life. The sooner you learn to deal with it, the better.

    Frankly this type of education seems to fit someone who isn't necessarily interested in going to university, or if so will chose a field within the Humanities or Arts which rely more on culture and good writing (I'm in that area, so I'm not saying those are any easier or less valuable). I have great reservations in imagining a homeschooled kid - unless he has had extensive private tutoring, which I think goes against the "homeschool" concept anyway - studying Medicine, Physics, Economics, or Architecture at a serious level.
    Arabella, Thibault, Sophia, Alfred, Eleanor, Rémi, Charlotte, Achille, Olivia, Clement, Elizabeth, Frederick, Maud, Benedict, Adèle.

  4. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by blade View Post
    well, where exactly is the 'homeschool' in that?
    You don't have to be a hermit to be a homeschooler. Homeschooling doesn't mean never leaving the house. And what you said about Christian homeschoolers, I'm a Christian, but I'm not like that. Almost no one I know is.
    Madison, 14-year-old name nerd! My style is all over the place, my favorites change all the time.

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  5. #59
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    This is an interesting debate, which I hope we can continue. I'm quite interested in this issue and hope nothing I'm saying is being construed personally.

    Quote Originally Posted by alzora View Post
    The difference is that in a homeschooling program ultimately I would get to call the shots. As we've been saying, teachers and tutors are available and valuable to homeschooled students, but it is up to the parent to decide which programs to use. I do not want my child sitting for 6+ hours a day under the teaching of someone whose views and material I disagree with.
    Except, not really. Are you developing and approving these videos? Do you even understand their content, for more specialized coursework? How comfortable do you feel evaluating chemistry and physics coursework, with your BA in English? Can you control exactly what comes out of the 'specialist tutor's' mouth?

    Of course children should be exposed to other views, but I don't believe elementary school to be the time or the place for that. High school, perhaps. I'm unsure of where I stand on homeschooling high school students.
    It is extremely jarring to introduce cognitive dissonance at a particular age, but not admit to its existence before then. If you wish to do that, of course it's your prerogative, but it does lead to an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust. Personally I think a more responsible approach is to confront any differences between your beliefs and 'standard' or 'mainstream' ones head-on, and to give your child age-appropriate evidence backing up your version of things. In my experience this hyper-protectionism often results in the baby being thrown out with the bathwater once the child learns that his beliefs are outside the mainstream.

    But I want to be able to control what my elementary-school-aged child is learning. I don't want to make this a debate about religion, but I do hold convictions and beliefs that are not taught in a public school setting. I want my children taught what I believe to be true, and why. When they are teenagers, I want them exposed to opposing ideas and will encourage their own searching and the use of their own judgment. But I do want to teach my children right from wrong (that is, absolute morality) and other ideas not promoted in a secular school setting.

    Also, you argue that a homeschooler who socializes with peers might as well be in a regular school setting, but I disagree. Parents of homeschoolers are able to be much more aware of exactly who their children are hanging around. It is quite different from sending your child to a school of hundreds of other students for 6+ hours a day. I understand that there is a fine line between keeping one's children safe versus keeping them overly sheltered, and I'm not quite sure where I stand on that line; perhaps private school is the way to go, and it will certainly be something we consider seriously. But particularly for younger children, I do want to know what types of children are influencing my own. For teenagers too, actually. Yes, children need to be exposed to peers of all kinds, but I personally would prefer to expose them in other ways than through a public school system.
    Frankly, if you re-read what you wrote, you'll see you certainly wish to shelter your children. To me your rhetoric-- which is quite conventional of those who hold your views-- is basically screaming two words: 'fear' and 'control.' You fear the consequences of your children mixing with others-- even like-minded individuals at a Protestant private school. You fear that your child might not believe the same things as you. And you wish to control and limit their intellectual exposures.

    If you really believe, as you wrote, that children need to be exposed to "peers of all kinds," and that "children should be exposed to other views," then that is simply not consistent with controlling whom they interact with and how their textbooks spin US history (American exceptionalism, how the 'founding fathers' are viewed, the role of Christianity and the state, manifest destiny), literature (whitewashing and cherrypicking which books are allowed to be read), biology (attempting to reconcile modern biology with creationism), physics & geology (young earth creationism).

    Again, I understand and respect the starting position. I simply think it's much more courageous to teach your children to be apologists-- i.e., engage in debate and learn to justify any beliefs which lie outside the mainstream-- than it is to brainwash them and deny the existence of differing opinions.
    Blade, MD

    XY: Antoine Raphael
    XX: Cassia Viviane Noor

    Aquila * Chrysanthe * Emmanuelle * Endellion * Ione * Jacinda * Lysandra * Melisande * Mireia * Petra * Rosamond * Seraphine * Silvana * Theophane / Blaise * Cyprian * Darius * Evander * Giles * Laurence * Lionel * Malcolm * Marius * Peregrine * Rainier

    كنوز الصحراء الشرقية Hayat _ Qamar _ Sahar _ Amal _ Hanan / Altair _ Fahd _ Ilyas _ Sajjad _ Saqr _ Tariq

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