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 Review of 101 Reasons Why I'm a Homeschooler
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  14:49:54  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In my researching various approaches to homeschooling, I came upon this woman's blog, and ended up buying her self published book for $3. on Kindle. Would have been a total waste of my time and money, except I had fun writing this (IMO generous) review on my parenting blog.

Unsurprisingly, the unschooling movement has its share of nuts of the hippie liberal variety.


"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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podcat
Skeptic Friend

435 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  18:18:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send podcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good review, marf. I have to admit that, being a product of a good public school system and having public school teachers as parents, that I am biased toward a public school education. However, if the parent is sufficiently qualified and educated, children should be able to learn outside the classroom.

“In a modern...society, everybody has the absolute right to believe whatever they damn well please, but they don't have the same right to be taken seriously”.

-Barry Williams, co-founder, Australian Skeptics
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  18:50:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by podcat

...if the parent is sufficiently qualified and educated...
It was a little more than 10 years ago that Virginia passed a law saying that a homeschooling parent must have at least a bachelor's degree. Just a degree, not necessarily one in education or any other education-related subject. I wonder who does the follow-up checking for that.

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  19:44:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave, I'd like to know who is responsible for the fact that a lot of kids coming out of the Philadelphia public schools are graduating HS barely able to read. The quality of public schools varies tremendously based on the income level of the surrounding community.

I'm not concerned that homeschooling or unschooling is dangerous for the kids who are educated that way since there it has been around since the 60's and there is currently no evidence that people raised that way are harmed in any way by it. (At least none I've found yet, and I've been looking.)

There are many effective ways to provide a child with a sufficient education to function pretty well in modern society.

I've decided to homeschool (not unschool), but part of that decision has to do with the fact that I live in an area with truly shitty public schools and an incredibly rich community for homeschoolers. The K-8 public school my daughter would attend is 75% economically disadvantaged, ranks 4 out of 10 according to standardized test scores (well below state averages) and doesn't even have a playground. Yeah, fuck that.

While I suspect unschooling provides adequate education (in comparison to the average public school education), I want a superior education for my kids, and I believe that can only be obtained by challenging weaknesses and setting requirements in certain subjects from an early age - like math, foreign language, and ballet. I'm still looking into it, but from what I've read so far, that seems to be what is supported the most by the evidence. Laying the groundwork at an early age in key subjects clearly produces an intellectual advantage. I plan to start early with a broad curriculum that I decide on, and then give my kids more and more choices as they mature. If they want to be a tatoo artist or join the circus when they're grown, that's fine, so long as they know they could have been a doctor or lawyer if they really wanted to.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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Edited by - marfknox on 08/28/2011 19:47:06
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  19:48:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I find it of slight concern that among advocates of unschooling there are many fine artists and psychologists, many people with advanced degrees and good deal of career success, but few representatives from the hard sciences.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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podcat
Skeptic Friend

435 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  20:39:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send podcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can understand the advantages of homeschooling, which is why I don't dismiss all homeschooling. I just believe that teachers, whether they're public school teachers or parents who homeschool, should have the most resources possible to help children prepare for their world. Public schools have, or at least *should* have, mechanisms that insure religion isn't involved with academics. I'm not sure how that would happen in order for homeschooling to be an alternative.

“In a modern...society, everybody has the absolute right to believe whatever they damn well please, but they don't have the same right to be taken seriously”.

-Barry Williams, co-founder, Australian Skeptics
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Valiant Dancer
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USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  20:58:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by podcat

I can understand the advantages of homeschooling, which is why I don't dismiss all homeschooling. I just believe that teachers, whether they're public school teachers or parents who homeschool, should have the most resources possible to help children prepare for their world. Public schools have, or at least *should* have, mechanisms that insure religion isn't involved with academics. I'm not sure how that would happen in order for homeschooling to be an alternative.


Depends on the state.

Some actually have a pretty good grasp on the concept. They offer lesson plans and standardized tests that must be taken and passed. Only works when the parent is willing to do the work necessary.

There are concerns about socialization.

Then there are the states who either give up on the homeschoolers or are actively trying to ban them.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  21:07:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
podcat:
I can understand the advantages of homeschooling, which is why I don't dismiss all homeschooling. I just believe that teachers, whether they're public school teachers or parents who homeschool, should have the most resources possible to help children prepare for their world. Public schools have, or at least *should* have, mechanisms that insure religion isn't involved with academics. I'm not sure how that would happen in order for homeschooling to be an alternative.
I don't understand this concern. Public school teachers (at least in the USA where we have church-state separation) should leave religion out because they are acting as public employees. But private schools can include religion in their curriculum without violating any laws, so why should it matter if parents include religion in their homeschooling curriculum. Religious parents are going to teach their kids religion no matter where the kids learn their other subjects. I don't much care if they learn the religion so long as they are getting everything else they need to function in society and move on to professional career and/or high education as adults if they so desire.

Val wrote:
There are concerns about socialization.
What are those concerns, and what are the based on? I hear this all the time, and nobody ever provides anything other than their armchair speculation that homeschooled kids will be socially deficient in some way.

Then there are the states who either give up on the homeschoolers or are actively trying to ban them.
What states are trying to ban homeschooling and why?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  21:36:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Regarding some states "banning" homeschooling, what I've been able to find is stuff from 2008 about California effectively banning most homeschooling by requiring that parents who teach their kids have teaching credentials.

Before I continue on CA's supposed "ban", an aside: Frankly, such a requirement is absurd. Almost any dipshit can obtain the required teaching credentials if they want them bad enough. And many excellent teachers from the past or from other states do not possess the required, specific credentials to teach in certain states. There is no evidence that higher degrees in education and tests for additional certifications for teachers improves student performance. (At least that's what I read in Nisbett's book "Intelligence and How To Get It". So many people think more degrees and certifications for teachers are a good thing because it sounds good, not because there is any damn evidence that it works! See, this is one reason why elementary and secondary education is America is so fucked up. To teach at many expensive private schools one does not need nearly as many credentials as to teach in the shittiest of public schools! What does that tell us? I'm an awesome art teacher with a Masters in my field (not in Education) and I've taught through many highly reputable art centers, nonprofits, and at a good private school. If I were willing to move anywhere in the country, I could contact an agency like Carney and Sandoe and probably get a job at a prep school for rich kids. But I can't even apply for a job at the crappiest charter or public school in Philly - not that I would want to - WTF? Anyone who thinks more credentials makes for a more effective teacher needs to show me some evidence. Otherwise I'll continue to call this sort of stuff bullshit.

So anyway, when I read that about California I'm thinking no way, I know there are major networks of homeschoolers and unschoolers based in California! Obviously homeschooling isn't effectively banned there. And I'm right: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/12/local/me-homeschool12

Laws that aren't enforced aren't really worth a damn. Technically it is illegal for a kid in Philly to miss more than 3 days of school. But the city has budget problems and won't prioritize truancy, so it doesn't intervene until a kid has missed over 20 days of school. That coupled with an incredibly high dropout rate and incredibly pathetic test scores cause me to, well, not give a flying fuck what the tiny minority of homeschoolers are doing. Because odds are, even the lamest homeschoolers are getting a better education than many poor black kids living in the ghetto.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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podcat
Skeptic Friend

435 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  22:52:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send podcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think my main concern is with parents who teach kids intelligent design as a viable alternative to evolution, for example.

You have a point about there being ways to get a degree without actually learning anything. There should be a measure of how much a teacher has learned.

“In a modern...society, everybody has the absolute right to believe whatever they damn well please, but they don't have the same right to be taken seriously”.

-Barry Williams, co-founder, Australian Skeptics
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  06:23:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

Dave, I'd like to know who is responsible for the fact that a lot of kids coming out of the Philadelphia public schools are graduating HS barely able to read.
marf, it was not my intention to say that Virginia's law is in any way effective in raising the quality of a homeschool education. That's obviously what the law was supposed to do, but it can't succeed since it's so untargeted.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  06:24:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
podcat wrote:
I think my main concern is with parents who teach kids intelligent design as a viable alternative to evolution, for example.
That isn't an issue with homeschooling so much as it is a regional problem. ID and other forms of creationism are taught not only as alternatives to evolution, but sometimes instead of evolution in public schools all over the United States. Rick Perry friggin' brags about it happening in Texas. Laws can't do much if they aren't supported and enforced by communities. Until those communities change, kids will continue to get piss poor science education. It's a shame, but I don't really see what we as outsiders can do about it.

You have a point about there being ways to get a degree without actually learning anything. There should be a measure of how much a teacher has learned.
The only proper measure is student achievement. I'm totally pro-unions, but two very bad thing the teachers unions have done is make it nearly impossible to get rid of bad teachers/reward good teachers, and they are largely responsible for this obsession with additional degrees and certifications. The result is a system full of mediocre teachers, many of them with unnecessary loads of student loan debt.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  06:33:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just to add a bit more on measuring what a teacher has learned: At one point I was considering getting a degree in education and certifications to teach in public schools. (I decided against it when I realized I'd be putting myself into a lot more student loan debt for the privilege of working in less desirable environments than I can work in now.) When I looked into it, I viewed a sample Praxis exam for art teachers to get certified. I was appalled. It asked all sorts of questions that one might learn in say an Art History 101 class in college. Lots of facts and figures that most people eventually forget even if they got an A in the class they learned it in. Because info you don't use, you lose. In my work as an art teacher, I've learned new things and re-learned old things I forgot when I needed them for lessons. Many of my college courses were good for making me [i]aware of[i/] certain information. So even when I forget the specific facts and figures, I vaguely remember general things about them, so they might pop into my head as really relevant to some concept I'm trying to teach my kids, and that's when I go to the library or go online and re-learn what I need to know to teach the kids. That's why IMO the best test of a teacher's qualifications is their students' achievement. And when I say that, the achievement has to be measured relative to other students in the same demographics.

Dave, point taken.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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Valiant Dancer
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USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  08:59:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

podcat:
I can understand the advantages of homeschooling, which is why I don't dismiss all homeschooling. I just believe that teachers, whether they're public school teachers or parents who homeschool, should have the most resources possible to help children prepare for their world. Public schools have, or at least *should* have, mechanisms that insure religion isn't involved with academics. I'm not sure how that would happen in order for homeschooling to be an alternative.
I don't understand this concern. Public school teachers (at least in the USA where we have church-state separation) should leave religion out because they are acting as public employees. But private schools can include religion in their curriculum without violating any laws, so why should it matter if parents include religion in their homeschooling curriculum. Religious parents are going to teach their kids religion no matter where the kids learn their other subjects. I don't much care if they learn the religion so long as they are getting everything else they need to function in society and move on to professional career and/or high education as adults if they so desire.

Val wrote:
There are concerns about socialization.
What are those concerns, and what are the based on? I hear this all the time, and nobody ever provides anything other than their armchair speculation that homeschooled kids will be socially deficient in some way.


These are they typical concerns raised. There are some parents who want to "shield their children from the corrupt world" and these children have some difficulty adjusting to socializing with others. This is not a major issue, but one that crops up often.


Then there are the states who either give up on the homeschoolers or are actively trying to ban them.
What states are trying to ban homeschooling and why?


Primarily they are states which put a lot of strictures on the homeschooling parents or burden them with extra expenses. California is a big one for that. It is postulated that the Teacher's Union does not want competition or that governments want more control over the lives of people's children.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  17:19:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Val wrote:
These are they typical concerns raised.
Them being typical concerns doesn't mean they are valid concerns. I'm asking for a reason why we should be more concerned about the socialization of unschooled kids than traditionally schooled kids.
There are some parents who want to "shield their children from the corrupt world" and these children have some difficulty adjusting to socializing with others.
If parents want to shelter their kids, they can do so while sending them to public schools. In her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" Amy Chua talks about how she never let her kids go on play dates or sleepovers, she forced them to study and practice piano and violin for hours apon hours a day (even on vacations) and even went so far as to pull them out of school for such tasks during recess and certain extra curricular classes which she deemed wasteful of their time. And then there are whole communities in sparsely populated, culturally homogenous rural areas where the kids are way more sheltered than any homeschooled kid in the city could be just by the very nature of their environment. It seems to me that people who raise concerns about socialization don't actually know anything about how homeschooling is practiced. These aren't kids sitting at home all day with their crazy parents. They are almost always part of elaborate community networks that provide the academic, social, and legal support necessary to homeschool. What about homeschooling or unschooling in how it is actually practiced is inherently more isolating than what parents can do to isolate kids who attend public schools? Where is the evidence that homeschooled kids are more likely than traditionally schooled kids to have social problems?

Primarily they are states which put a lot of strictures on the homeschooling parents or burden them with extra expenses. California is a big one for that. It is postulated that the Teacher's Union does not want competition or that governments want more control over the lives of people's children.
As I mentioned above, the restrictions in California aren't really enforced, and homeschooling/unschooling continues to be just as prevalant as it was before those restrictions were added. There are whole major conferences and networks of homeschooling based in California.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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