Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, No ..

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Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, No ..

#1  Postby DoctorE » Apr 19, 2010 6:45 pm



The Biegler children live as though school doesn't exist.
Hands-off approach to education allows kids to make their own decisions.

They're at home all day, but they're not being homeschooled. They're being "unschooled." There are no textbooks, no tests and no formal education at all in their world.

What's more, that hands-off approach extends to other areas of the children's lives: They make their own decisions, and don't have chores or rules.

Christine Yablonski and Phil Biegler of Westford, Mass., are self-described "radical unschoolers." They allow their teen daughter and son to decide what they want to learn, and when they want to learn it.

"They key there is that you've got to trust your kids to … find their own interests," Yablonski told "Good Morning America."
Yablonski described unschooling as "living your life as if the school system didn't exist."

When asked how their children learn things like math, she said, "If they need formal algebra understanding, then they will, they'll find that information."

Asked by "Good Morning America" about how they could parent without any rules, Phil Biegler said, "We find that we don't need a whole lot of rules."

"They might watch television," Yablonski said. "They might play games on the computers."

"They might read," her husband added

Continues: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/uns ... d=10410867
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#2  Postby campermon » Apr 19, 2010 6:52 pm

If you don't teach kids stuff, how do they find out what they want to learn about?

:lol:
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#3  Postby pcCoder » Apr 19, 2010 6:54 pm

I hope when they grow up and get out in the real world, they are not severely under prepared, but I think they will be. There is a reason why many things are taught the may seem like they are not needed, maths and sciences, etc. Just because it may not seem to a person in school they will ever use these things, unless they plan on bagging groceries or asking 'Would you like fries with that' for their entire lives, many fields need much more understanding of these things. I fear that these children will be at a severe disadvantage and will have fewer available opportunities than others. In today's world, these children could possibly be severely handicapped by this.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#4  Postby MoonLit » Apr 19, 2010 7:24 pm

"It's amazing when you broaden the scope of what you see as learning as opposed to worksheets," the mother said. "There is no hierarchy in our house, so there is no punishment, no judgment, no discipline. They get what they want for breakfast and eat whatever they want. It's all a matter of what feels right to them."


Lol wow, are they going to be in for a real surprise once they're no longer living with their parents and trying to find a job. :lol:

Neither child has any plans for college, according to their father. When asked if he felt it was his responsibility to teach his children to do things that they don't want to do, he said, "they will do what they need to do, whether or not they enjoy it, because they see the purpose in it."


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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#5  Postby DoctorE » Apr 19, 2010 8:53 pm

This is child abuse...unfit parents.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#6  Postby Tbickle » Apr 19, 2010 8:58 pm

Why was "Good Morning America" interviewing these people? Not only are they a waste of matter and unfit to parent their own children, is this particular situation newsworthy? I would rather have them focus on the massive problem of children with religious zealots as parents taking them out of school so they can further indoctrinate them. This is an isolated case, but well worth local agencies getting involved.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#7  Postby The_Metatron » Apr 19, 2010 9:03 pm

DoctorE wrote:This is child abuse...unfit parents.

Bloody well right.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#8  Postby Harmless Eccentric » Apr 19, 2010 9:45 pm

"Unschooling" can work well, with self-motivated kids and parents who are good at providing guidance. A person can get a good education by pursuing things he or she is curious about and/or motivated to learn, and letting one question lead to another in patterns that make sense in that context. Understanding that they'll be expected to pass the usual standardized tests at the end of the year, unschooling students will seek out knowledge in those areas, pursuing areas of interest as they present themselves. A trip to the zoo makes a child ask "why doesn't that fish have eyes," and before you know it, she's reading 'Origin of Species.' A kid goes to the art museum, loves a painting, and might learn color theory, the author's life, how to draw realistically- or she might get a book of mythology to learn more about the story in the painting, then read more of the myths, then start consulting books on the geography of Greece...

Key to making this work are (a) a smart, curious, self-motivated child, and (b) attentive, well-educated parents skilled at helping them discover and pursue threads of learning.

It doesn't sound like this family is a good example of successful unschooling, based on the article.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#9  Postby locutus7 » Apr 19, 2010 10:17 pm

Some republicans in the US are pushing for homeschooling to be the norm, and advocating the dismantling of the national education system, which they claim is poisoned by secularism. I guess they want to move america back to the 1800's.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#10  Postby Warren Dew » Apr 19, 2010 10:31 pm

campermon wrote:If you don't teach kids stuff, how do they find out what they want to learn about?

:lol:

They surf the internet, read the books the parents buy them, go on trips the parents take them on, etc.

Harmless Eccentric wrote:It doesn't sound like this family is a good example of successful unschooling, based on the article.

I don't think we have enough data to know. It would be interesting to find out how they are doing on standardized tests compared to their peers.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#11  Postby pcCoder » Apr 19, 2010 10:51 pm

I think any home schooling program should have a minimum set of standards for certain core courses. Math, science, reading and writing, history should be some core requirements, and perhaps a critical thinking and analysis course should be a requirement early on. After that, choosing what to learn isn't much different from elective courses one takes in high school. In middle school elective classes aren't chosen (at least for me) but instead you take them in a rotating fashion to become familiar with the courses, which also isn't bad as it helps one develop some roundness to their knowledge and provides them with more options of what is out there.

As for the core courses, if you just let them pick what writing or math skills they want to learn (if any), how will they cope in the real world if they didn't learn enough and possibly end up far behind others? Furthermore, how are employers supposed to know who is an eligible candidate if they haven't meet some minimum requirement of learning? Should employers start giving everyone basic reading and writing tests, basic math tests if needed, basic science tests if needed, just because a potential candidate may have been taught using some method where their isn't any guarantee that they learned the material needed?
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#12  Postby melchior » Apr 22, 2010 5:51 pm

Surely to be a rounded individual there are all sorts of things that you need to learn - and some of that stuff you might not like.

And as with any 'skill' - be it maths, music, science, art, sport...at some point you need to be 'taught' by someone who knows more than you do about the subject.

I think it's a silly idea.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#13  Postby kiki5711 » Apr 22, 2010 6:12 pm

locutus7 wrote:Some republicans in the US are pushing for homeschooling to be the norm, and advocating the dismantling of the national education system, which they claim is poisoned by secularism. I guess they want to move america back to the 1800's.


That is stupid to make it the norm. I don't want my kids home all day! They aggravate me enough!!!!!
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#14  Postby MoonLit » Apr 22, 2010 7:48 pm

locutus7 wrote:Some republicans in the US are pushing for homeschooling to be the norm, and advocating the dismantling of the national education system, which they claim is poisoned by secularism. I guess they want to move america back to the 1800's.


No kidding.
Not every family cam afford to home school anyways. :|
I'd consider our public school system being "poisoned by secularism" to be a good thing. :lol:
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#15  Postby GreyICE » Apr 22, 2010 8:41 pm

pcCoder wrote:I think any home schooling program should have a minimum set of standards for certain core courses. Math, science, reading and writing, history should be some core requirements, and perhaps a critical thinking and analysis course should be a requirement early on. After that, choosing what to learn isn't much different from elective courses one takes in high school. In middle school elective classes aren't chosen (at least for me) but instead you take them in a rotating fashion to become familiar with the courses, which also isn't bad as it helps one develop some roundness to their knowledge and provides them with more options of what is out there.

As for the core courses, if you just let them pick what writing or math skills they want to learn (if any), how will they cope in the real world if they didn't learn enough and possibly end up far behind others? Furthermore, how are employers supposed to know who is an eligible candidate if they haven't meet some minimum requirement of learning? Should employers start giving everyone basic reading and writing tests, basic math tests if needed, basic science tests if needed, just because a potential candidate may have been taught using some method where their isn't any guarantee that they learned the material needed?
I would tend to agree homeschooling needs to be done with proper requirements. I frequently see the attitude that homeschooling can't work, which is nonsense, but like any education system homeschooling can fail.

I don't really have evidence enough to consider how it is working for these kids, because my experience is that television programs absolutely sensationalize stuff to the point of making things up. I'd love to see a less biased observer take a shot at it.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#16  Postby Warren Dew » Apr 22, 2010 9:35 pm

melchior wrote:And as with any 'skill' - be it maths, music, science, art, sport...at some point you need to be 'taught' by someone who knows more than you do about the subject.

No you don't. I learned plenty of math from textbooks without any instructor intervention.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#17  Postby tsninjapirate » Apr 22, 2010 9:44 pm

melchior wrote:
And as with any 'skill' - be it maths, music, science, art, sport...at some point you need to be 'taught' by someone who knows more than you do about the subject.


I agree entirely, child prodigies notwithstanding.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#18  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 22, 2010 9:47 pm

Warren Dew wrote:
campermon wrote:If you don't teach kids stuff, how do they find out what they want to learn about?

:lol:

They surf the internet, read the books the parents buy them, go on trips the parents take them on, etc.

Harmless Eccentric wrote:It doesn't sound like this family is a good example of successful unschooling, based on the article.

I don't think we have enough data to know. It would be interesting to find out how they are doing on standardized tests compared to their peers.



That's part of the problem: it clearly says "no tests".

The parents argument seems to be "it's working" but they've cut out the only means of truly assessing whether or not it is actually working.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#19  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Warren Dew wrote:
melchior wrote:And as with any 'skill' - be it maths, music, science, art, sport...at some point you need to be 'taught' by someone who knows more than you do about the subject.

No you don't. I learned plenty of math from textbooks without any instructor intervention.


There are numerous topics where an instructor is critical. A language is a good example as you need constant correction to fix the grammar and pronunciation - just reading a set of rules will never permit you to speak that language.
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Re: Extreme Homeschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Classes, N

#20  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 22, 2010 9:51 pm

"They might watch television," Yablonski said. "They might play games on the computers."

"They might read," her husband added


Sounds like a really solid education! :S
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