Homeschooling experience/tips etc

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Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#1  Postby Millefleur » Mar 30, 2010 1:54 pm

From 12th June (when the eldest turns 5) I'll be partially homeschooling our two daughters (the youngest will be 3). They'll both attend their Montessori school in the mornings but come home for lunch and a couple of hours of learning with me. The fees for full time schooling (a requirement after 5) are pretty high but the school after talks with a few parents has agreed to accept pupils for half the day for half the fees, meaning the parents can still send our children to this fantastic school but save money and as a bonus have more influence over what our children learn and can simply enjoy teaching them, while the children are never out of the loop and can still experience a larger school community. I think 8 parents are interested and likely to do it, so 8 children with I believe 3 younger siblings to join in the future.

The teachers and head are all being fantastic and are arranging more parent-teacher meetings to discuss the details, sharing lesson plans and keeping us up to date on where our individual children are up to on the curriculum, communicating regularly, occasionally sending work home (they don't do homework unless the children beg for it, which they do!), to keep the home and school learning linked. We are going to discuss how to set up a parent (& teacher) network to share information, ideas, arrange group outings etc, I'm going to ask about doing it as a private forum with membership limited to the homeschooling parents and the teachers. There is also a local (non religious) homeschooling network that we hope to link into.

So, feeling very excited and a little nervous. Anyone care to share their experiences or have any tips or advice? Any non-religious books or just books/items you found really useful? We have a lot of local resources beyond the school, local museums, a large library, the beach and rock pools, farms etc plus I should be driving by the end of the summer opening up a much larger world.

And anyone wasn't paying attention, non-religious. No crap about shielding my children from the truth, scrambling their brains with woo etc, thats the opposite of the plan ;)
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#2  Postby Nautilidae » Mar 30, 2010 8:37 pm

Millefleur wrote:From 12th June (when the eldest turns 5) I'll be partially homeschooling our two daughters (the youngest will be 3). They'll both attend their Montessori school in the mornings but come home for lunch and a couple of hours of learning with me. The fees for full time schooling (a requirement after 5) are pretty high but the school after talks with a few parents has agreed to accept pupils for half the day for half the fees, meaning the parents can still send our children to this fantastic school but save money and as a bonus have more influence over what our children learn and can simply enjoy teaching them, while the children are never out of the loop and can still experience a larger school community. I think 8 parents are interested and likely to do it, so 8 children with I believe 3 younger siblings to join in the future.

The teachers and head are all being fantastic and are arranging more parent-teacher meetings to discuss the details, sharing lesson plans and keeping us up to date on where our individual children are up to on the curriculum, communicating regularly, occasionally sending work home (they don't do homework unless the children beg for it, which they do!), to keep the home and school learning linked. We are going to discuss how to set up a parent (& teacher) network to share information, ideas, arrange group outings etc, I'm going to ask about doing it as a private forum with membership limited to the homeschooling parents and the teachers. There is also a local (non religious) homeschooling network that we hope to link into.

So, feeling very excited and a little nervous. Anyone care to share their experiences or have any tips or advice? Any non-religious books or just books/items you found really useful? We have a lot of local resources beyond the school, local museums, a large library, the beach and rock pools, farms etc plus I should be driving by the end of the summer opening up a much larger world.

And anyone wasn't paying attention, non-religious. No crap about shielding my children from the truth, scrambling their brains with woo etc, thats the opposite of the plan ;)


If you are indeed going to homeschool your children, make sure that you have a proper schedule. Without a schedule, things may become very stressful due to a lack of organization. For example:

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Mathematics

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Language Arts

2:00 PM - 3:00: Science

It may seem very simple, but if one does not follow through on a schedule, it may become difficult for the children to do their work. It will be much easier if you use a schedule and follow through on it.

I also suggest purchasing textbooks from Amazon.com. They have very low prices on textbooks, especially when one purchases a used copy. Which subjects will they be learning?
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#3  Postby melchior » Mar 31, 2010 9:11 am

If you are indeed going to homeschool your children, make sure that you have a proper schedule. Without a schedule, things may become very stressful due to a lack of organization. For example:

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Mathematics

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Language Arts

2:00 PM - 3:00: Science

It may seem very simple, but if one does not follow through on a schedule, it may become difficult for the children to do their work. It will be much easier if you use a schedule and follow through on it.

I also suggest purchasing textbooks from Amazon.com. They have very low prices on textbooks, especially when one purchases a used copy. Which subjects will they be learning?


The OP's kids are only little, so a formal schedule isn't a key need here.

I've never 'home schooled' but my youngest son has been through the jazzed up EYFS curriculum recently, which I am impressed with. Lots of learning through play and being outdoors a lot.

I don't know what stage your kids are at but developing 'pre-writing' skills can be loads of fun. Big, huge sheets of paper on a wall in the garden, big paint brushes and pots of paint. Chunky chalks for drawing/making marks on the ground etc..

If I were doing it I'd have a seasonal theme and 'develop' stuff from that.

I think at that age they learn so much just by playing.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#4  Postby Millefleur » Mar 31, 2010 1:44 pm

The Montessori system doesn't work to a schedule Nautilidae, its child led learning with the children doing what they want in class and the teachers overseeing and guiding them if need be. All the class equipment has its own space in the classroom and the child selects the work they want, does as much as they want and then puts it back for the next child and moves on to whatever has caught their eye. Its very effective actually, leave a child to do want they want (with the equipment/materials available) and there is very little time wasted or messing around.

I expect the day will probably go more like:

12.15 collect from school

12.30 Lunch at another homeschoolers/picnic at the park/lunch at home, til 1/1.30 depending on whether we cook together.

1/1.30 til 3/3.30 Whatever they're interested in, perhaps following on from something interesting they did at school that morning, maybe visiting the aquarium and choosing a particular creature of interest to research further and draw/write about.

The intention is to be very flexible and not stick to conventional lesson plans. Baking a cake for example encompasses mathematics and chemistry at their level, plus weights and measurements, and its just enjoyable. An hour in the garden poking sticks in the pond finds frogs and frogspawn and leads to the lifecycle of a frog. Then theres the spontaneous questions 'where does rain come from' or 'what do worms eat' that can be followed up there and then.

There may occasionally be some lessons organised in advance, say they're currently learning about ancient Egypt as a main project at school the homeschool parents and teachers could collaborate to arrange a museum trip for the whole class, or two homeschooled children with similar interests could visit another attraction and collaborate on a project.

Melchoir, the paint and giant sheets of paper in the garden I like :cheers: They already draw on the paving with chalks but painting on a large scale is a good idea, now just got to wait for the sunshine to appear..
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#5  Postby cathyincali » Apr 01, 2010 6:11 am

Millefleur -- Sounds fantastic, like you and your kids are going to have the "best of both worlds." I am in the U.S. and homeschooled all three of my daughters from K to college, and it was really fun and very successful. (If you count as success great adult "kids" who are passionate about learning and did very well at college. So far, mid-twenties, none of them are earning incredibly high wages).

Anyway, enough about me. Just wanted to wish you well and tell you that there is a homeschooling-for-atheists/freethinkers/secular types at: http://www.hsfreethinkers.com/ . The fellow who started it is Canadian, but people from all over have been checking it out. The forums aren't terribly busy, but there are a lot of resources available at the "Links" and "Books" and "Curricula" tabs.

Have fun!
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#6  Postby Dudely » Apr 01, 2010 2:33 pm

I was homeschooled. Thank you, you are doing your kids a wonderful service. I cringe when I hear the words "I'd homeschool, but I'm too busy/we both work". Then why the hell did you have children?

Anyway, it sounds like you have the best attitude for it, judging by the way you handled the scheduling suggestion.

The most important thing to remember is that every child is different. It could be that one child down the line really does want a schedule, or eschews mathematics (pretty much required for functioning in the world). In those cases you need to modify the "do what you want" mentality, but only very slightly, and never to a "sit down and do your work" kind of situation.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#7  Postby Teshi » Apr 06, 2010 3:27 am

<--- teacher.

Millefleur, I'm a beginning teacher but I previously worked as a supply teacher at a Montessori school. I like the program, but I think spending only a half day there is a good idea. I found it bland and the older, more intelligent children were getting bored with the Casa program.

I love your ideas. The best thing for a child at that age is exactly what you describe: cooking, reading, gardening, playing with other children, visiting interesting places, painting, gluing, cutting, learning to write and enjoy stories; visiting the library. The key thing is your guidance in how they interact. A lot of people seem to take their kids to a museum and not really know what htey are supposed to do.

In a two-on-one situation, you are doing what a teacher dreams of: having the time and the energy and the ability to point things out to your children, talk about stories in detail as friends, talk through making cupcakes and measuring material so they're getting adding and fractions and measuring. I wasn't homeschooled, but my mother put in the time to do all these things and make it explicit what she was doing. It really works! You have a solid concrete idea base to build theoreticals on. A lot of children lack that.

The only thing I caution about homeschooling is it can come back to haunt you. Too many homeschooled children have a dificult transition into regular school: they are used to a very free, adult world. Half-day in a full school class should avoid this though; best of both worlds, perhaps!
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#8  Postby Teshi » Apr 06, 2010 3:43 am

More thoughts:

In my experience with the Casa program (ages 3-6) they won't be doing projects at all like Egypt until they're into the elementary years. My experience with the Montessori program is that the program focuses on more everyday skills like sorting, chopping carrots, arranging things, simple concrete math activities, basic writing skills. I admit I found it somewhat boring-- I WANT that more advanced learning for the 5 and 6 year olds! I think you'll be fine with just hte morning, though, and you have girls who are generally better at being self-engaged. It was the boys who I observed 'topping out' of the activities.

Make sure you are aware of what your child is actually accomplishing in class though. SOME children jump from activity to activity without really ever doing anything. That's not what you want. The program doesn't work for everyone: some children need more structure.

I would go for it anyway, though. Although you won't be doing anything more complicated than going to the museum and looking at things, and then MAYBE drawing a picture and writing a sentence for the five year old. You can go to the library and get out books about the subject, though.

One last thing: Don't neglect their music! Perhaps you can form a music group with some other children and parents. You don't need much ability to be able to run one that would otherwise cost you a lot of money-- and do the same thign. If you or another parent can sing in tune*, you're pretty much set. Do some dancing (to fast and slow music), some singing (parents will have to lead the way), some instrument making (rice in little plastic bottles works, get some stickers and you're done!), some activity songs (Hokey Pokey/Cokey), some rhymes (We're Going on a Bear Hunt). If you need more ideas, I can help. I ran a music camp for quite a few years that worked at the small group, fun, beginning music level.

*This is important. Your children will not learn to sing in tune unless they practice singing on pitch. They can only practice if they have a model to practice with. Recorded music works if it helps you as a group keep the pitch, but you can't always have a tape because you don't want to always go at the speed of the recorded music.

Music itself is invaluable. If you can afford it, get piano lessons for them when they're six or seven and don't give up when they inevitably go through a somewhat hating it phrase (although obviously ensure that it's just a pain and not they're having a miserable time; some piano teachers are mean!). It's a real shame you don't have Music for Young Children in the UK. But perhaps they have some online stuff to give you ideas.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#9  Postby Dudely » Apr 06, 2010 4:05 pm

Teshi wrote:
The only thing I caution about homeschooling is it can come back to haunt you. Too many homeschooled children have a dificult transition into regular school.


Why would a homeschooled child go into school? That would seem to defeat the purpose. In my opinion they should have a difficult transition, in a way, as there is just too much wrong with the system. If they don't then you're not honeschooling, you're simply doing school at home- which is different.

Reasonably well homeschooled children are more prepared for the adult world, especially post-secondary education. And isn't that the point of school in the first place?
(Of course, this is based on personal experiences, anecdotes, and the like, but I suppose having a college admissions person tell you that they like homeschoolers "because they don't drop out" is about as good evidence as you're going to get. There aren't many reliable studies on the topic)
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#10  Postby MoonLit » Apr 06, 2010 9:17 pm

Millefleur wrote:-snip-


Will you be sharing how your experience goes with us? :cheers:
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#11  Postby The_Metatron » Apr 06, 2010 9:21 pm

We had planned to homeschool our two boys, but have been overcome by events. Things change. But, I still have the domain, and our blog is still up on the topic at www.secularhomeschool.eu.

Shameless pitch, but we don't need the domain any more. Just saying...
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#12  Postby Teshi » Apr 06, 2010 9:41 pm

Why would a homeschooled child go into school? That would seem to defeat the purpose. In my opinion they should have a difficult transition, in a way, as there is just too much wrong with the system. If they don't then you're not homeschooling, you're simply doing school at home- which is different.


Circumstances change. Many parents are not equipped to teach their children beyond a certain level in a certain subject, whether it's science, math or language. Others have to go to work for one reason or another.

My personal belief is that although public school is not ideal, a good public school can be a good and positive, even necessary, experience for a child. We learn a lot from being put into a class with people who are not as intelligent or as lucky as us-- people who spend time at daycare because both parents work, people who cannot afford to be homeschooled, people who cannot read. We learn about diversity, about waiting our turn in a large group, about not being first, about the kind of stuff our peers like (even if it's crappy). Real life is made up of non-home schooled people and we all have to be prepared for that.

I hear things about home schooled kids doing well at college, but there's life after college, and it's full of public school kids who braved the arguments and the fighting and the less-than-ideal learning/working conditions, as well as lots of rejection and struggle. Public schools can be fun! They provide a shared experience for the students: "remember when..." the feeling of recess, the feeling of belonging and association. Multiple teaching styles and experiences. My mother is a great teacher, but I was inspired by the numerous teachers I had during my public school-- they were an alternative option. I am not my parents, however great they are. Public school provides casual connections with other adults with alternative ideas to the familial unit. That is important!
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#13  Postby hotshoe » Apr 06, 2010 10:29 pm

Dudely wrote:
Teshi wrote:
The only thing I caution about homeschooling is it can come back to haunt you. Too many homeschooled children have a dificult transition into regular school.


Why would a homeschooled child go into school?


Oh dear.

We have one child whom we homeschooled until a combination of personal, economic, and educational issues made it clear to our family that - whether or not public school "works" - continued homeschooling was absolutely not a possible solution.

And no, it wasn't difficult to get back into public school, not any more difficult than anything/everything for this particular child of our particular family usually is.

He doesn't exactly fit in with the crowd at school now, but he certainly didn't fit in with the "homeschooling" crowd, either, so that's no loss.

I don't agree with the suggestion of a family making their homeschooling decision - either for, or against - on the basis that children might have "a difficult transition to regular school" in some hypothetical future.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#14  Postby Teshi » Apr 06, 2010 11:12 pm

Yeah. Too clarify, that's something to take into account, not a cut and dried argument against home schooling. I have already said homeschooling is a marvelous effective intellectual educational technique.

And some children do have a difficult time, depending on their personalities and their homeschooling experience.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#15  Postby Millefleur » Apr 06, 2010 11:39 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone, all very positive and much appreciated :cheers:

We are partially homeschooling due to the fees, we love the school but in the upper years it'll cost £2200 per child per term, so once both reach that class it'll set us back a whopping £4400 per term minus the 10% sibling discount for the second daughter. Both are doing so well and the teaching techniques fit them perfectly so we're very reluctant to withdraw them for moneys sake unless we absolutely have to, particularly when we look at the stress their friends at other schools are going through. This development has been a very pleasant surprise as we were considering approaching the school and then lo and behold its brought up at the parents evening because other parents had broached the subject :cheers:

Regarding secondary schools we do intend to put them into a state school at 11, so they'll be joining at the same time as the rest of the year group and can all be rabbits in the headlights together :grin: A couple of reasons why, firstly we are surrounded by fantastic secondary schools, in the 'Golden Triangle' of campuses, which consistently get outstanding Ofsted reports, including my school that I left just 8 years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed. All are good all round schools but also have their own specialities, one each for Art, Sports and Music. Which leads me to the second reason

Many parents are not equipped to teach their children beyond a certain level in a certain subject, whether it's science, math or language.


While I'm confident I can teach my children important life skills and basic mathematics etc I don't feel that I have the ability to teach Maths or Chemistry at a level any higher then primary school, they were real burdens for me at secondary school and I just couldn't get enthusiastic about them. Same for music, while I enjoy music I don't play anything bar House of the Rising Sun on the guitar, so my children wouldn't have the opportunities of others to, for example, pick up a flute and have on site lessons or join the school band. I wouldn't want to stunt my childrens interests (and education) because I can't answer all their chemistry queries.
Lastly, I want them to have the opportunity to experience a far wider social group before they are unleashed upon the world. I think its really important to instil that love of learning at an early age and set them up with life and social skills but I think the larger communities and better opportunities offered are too good to miss out on.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#16  Postby Teshi » Apr 06, 2010 11:43 pm

fantastic secondary schools, in the 'Golden Triangle' of campuses,


I'm hoping to teach in the UK next year. Would you be able to tell me where you are, roughly? I doubt I would end up at such a school because I suspect that those schools aren't hiring overseas teachers, but it might help.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#17  Postby Dudely » Apr 07, 2010 2:39 pm

Teshi wrote:
Why would a homeschooled child go into school? That would seem to defeat the purpose. In my opinion they should have a difficult transition, in a way, as there is just too much wrong with the system. If they don't then you're not homeschooling, you're simply doing school at home- which is different.


Circumstances change.


Of course, but it appeared that you were presenting it as an argument against homeschooling, as though it was inevitable, and not just a possibility.

Teshi wrote:
Many parents are not equipped to teach their children beyond a certain level in a certain subject, whether it's science, math or language.


I think that's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what homeschooling is a lot of the time. If you think homeschooling basically means that your mom is your teacher (or your dad) and you've a nice little stack of school books that you work through then I'm afraid you've largely missed the point of (secular) homeschooling. Homeschooling is not school at home. It's a different system altogether- that's the point. You don't learn things- you learn how to teach yourself. This is the whole point of education and it's been completely lost in the public school settings.

My mother knows almost nothing about trigonometry, physics, biology, chemistry, calculus, or history, yet I know a great deal. She didn't teach me a single thing about any of those subjects- I taught myself. Sure she would suggest books to me and ask me what I learned but it was very informal. And indeed, that's the point of Montessori schools as well, is it not? The idea that you can't homeschool because you're not good at math is, to me, completely insane (if only because I lived it for 10 years). Newton had no one to teach him how to do calculus. The difference between teaching yourself from a textbook and having someone else teach you from a textbook is negligible when you actually know how to learn.

Teshi wrote:
My personal belief is that although public school is not ideal, a good public school can be a good and positive, even necessary, experience for a child. We learn a lot from being put into a class with people who are not as intelligent or as lucky as us-- people who spend time at daycare because both parents work, people who cannot afford to be homeschooled, people who cannot read. We learn about diversity, about waiting our turn in a large group, about not being first, about the kind of stuff our peers like (even if it's crappy). Real life is made up of non-home schooled people and we all have to be prepared for that.


To be honest I've heard these exact arguments dozen upon dozens of times.
This argument presupposes that a homeschooled child does not get to learn about diversity and group dynamics. I went to school for a few years and learned nothing useful, other than adults were a bit stupider than I thought. Th group dynamics that you can only learn in a public school setting are totally useless for life in the real world. The real world doesn't have cliques (well, for the most part). The real world doesn't have someone who will punch you in the face if you don't give him money- in the real world those people go to jail. I had lots of friends as a kid. We played in fairly large groups. I had birthday parties, I was in scouts and youth groups and sports teams. I currently have an office job with 30 other people, all of whom are much older than I am and I've always gotten along fine. Homeschooling does not create social outcasts- being a social outcast does, and unfortunately many homeschooling parents are.

Teshi wrote:
I hear things about home schooled kids doing well at college, but there's life after college, and it's full of public school kids who braved the arguments and the fighting and the less-than-ideal learning/working conditions, as well as lots of rejection and struggle. Public schools can be fun! They provide a shared experience for the students: "remember when..." the feeling of recess, the feeling of belonging and association. Multiple teaching styles and experiences. My mother is a great teacher, but I was inspired by the numerous teachers I had during my public school-- they were an alternative option. I am not my parents, however great they are.


What? Public school is good because everyone gets to go through a shitty system? I'm not sure I see that as a good thing. That would be like saying it's a good thing all those choir boys in the catholic church all went through with it because now they can all talk about how much FUN they had. Right. And I'm sure me and my childhood friends have no shared experiences, what with all the time we spent together. Also, who says homeschoolers don't argue and fight with people?

Teshi wrote:
Public school provides casual connections with other adults with alternative ideas to the familial unit. That is important!


You seem to be buying into the stereotypical religious recluse style of homeschooling. Again.
By stating the above you are presupposing that homeschooling does NOT let you connect with other adults, or makes it considerably more difficult. I have many more adult friends now than any of my public school friends, and I most certainly did when I was a kid too.

Consider the attitude of kids when it comes to their teachers. If they see them at the grocery store it freaks them out because many of them don't really consider them as human beings with a life- only as teachers. I don't think that provides a very useful connection, at least not compared with the natural, friendly connection I had with scout leaders, neighbours, and extended family members. These were useful relationships, in which I actually learned things about the adult world.


To summarize:

Most of the arguments assume that public schools provide you with experiences and homeschooling takes these away from you. This is built off of a stereotype which is bolstered by the confirmation bias of older and adult homeschoolers- those who are normal never have need to mention that they were/are homeschooled, whereas those who really are socially stunted are picked out of the crowd and stand out in people's mind as an archetype. That being said, yes, it's easier to go to school. It's easier to socialize with adults and kids if you go to a building full of them every day for eight hours. But that doesn't mean you're missing out if you don't, you just need to make more of an effort.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#18  Postby Teshi » Apr 07, 2010 8:22 pm

Well, I'm a public school teacher, so I'm biased. I said right at the beginning that I support homeschooling, where possible, despite my job. I'm now tempering my initial comment because for me nothing is even black and white and I like to articulate what I think.

Many homeschooled kids have a wonderful experience. Many do not. School is not uniformly awful and it can be fun, rewarding and valuable for the reasons I listed above. If you don't agree, then you don't agree. But I went through a normal classroom experience and so did 98% of the people I know-- we all survived and went on to be just as successful as our homeschooled peers.

What? Public school is good because everyone gets to go through a shitty system? I'm not sure I see that as a good thing. That would be like saying it's a good thing all those choir boys in the catholic church all went through with it because now they can all talk about how much FUN they had.


I think you're being slightly dramatic. School is nothing like abuse and you're trivializing the ghastly experience of children who have undergone such an thing by saying that the valuable every day experience of students in a public school compares. Public school is good because the trials and tribulations that are encountered there help us deal with the trials and tribulations of real life-- neither of which we choose.

Homeschooling kids of the type you are discussing frequently come from a background of higher education. Not everyone in the world does. I think it's valuable that children spend time with people whose life experiences may not be ones of porridge for breakfast and a balanced meal for lunch.

But, as I said right off the topic, I think homeschooling is wonderful and ideal-- but utterly different from the public school transition. Therefore, it can be hard if the child is not prepared.
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#19  Postby melchior » Apr 07, 2010 9:48 pm

Dudely wrote:
Teshi wrote:
Why would a homeschooled child go into school? That would seem to defeat the purpose. In my opinion they should have a difficult transition, in a way, as there is just too much wrong with the system. If they don't then you're not homeschooling, you're simply doing school at home- which is different.


Circumstances change.


Of course, but it appeared that you were presenting it as an argument against homeschooling, as though it was inevitable, and not just a possibility.

Teshi wrote:
Many parents are not equipped to teach their children beyond a certain level in a certain subject, whether it's science, math or language.


I think that's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what homeschooling is a lot of the time. If you think homeschooling basically means that your mom is your teacher (or your dad) and you've a nice little stack of school books that you work through then I'm afraid you've largely missed the point of (secular) homeschooling. Homeschooling is not school at home. It's a different system altogether- that's the point. You don't learn things- you learn how to teach yourself. This is the whole point of education and it's been completely lost in the public school settings.

My mother knows almost nothing about trigonometry, physics, biology, chemistry, calculus, or history, yet I know a great deal. She didn't teach me a single thing about any of those subjects- I taught myself. Sure she would suggest books to me and ask me what I learned but it was very informal. And indeed, that's the point of Montessori schools as well, is it not? The idea that you can't homeschool because you're not good at math is, to me, completely insane (if only because I lived it for 10 years). Newton had no one to teach him how to do calculus. The difference between teaching yourself from a textbook and having someone else teach you from a textbook is negligible when you actually know how to learn.

Teshi wrote:
My personal belief is that although public school is not ideal, a good public school can be a good and positive, even necessary, experience for a child. We learn a lot from being put into a class with people who are not as intelligent or as lucky as us-- people who spend time at daycare because both parents work, people who cannot afford to be homeschooled, people who cannot read. We learn about diversity, about waiting our turn in a large group, about not being first, about the kind of stuff our peers like (even if it's crappy). Real life is made up of non-home schooled people and we all have to be prepared for that.


To be honest I've heard these exact arguments dozen upon dozens of times.
This argument presupposes that a homeschooled child does not get to learn about diversity and group dynamics. I went to school for a few years and learned nothing useful, other than adults were a bit stupider than I thought. Th group dynamics that you can only learn in a public school setting are totally useless for life in the real world. The real world doesn't have cliques (well, for the most part). The real world doesn't have someone who will punch you in the face if you don't give him money- in the real world those people go to jail. I had lots of friends as a kid. We played in fairly large groups. I had birthday parties, I was in scouts and youth groups and sports teams. I currently have an office job with 30 other people, all of whom are much older than I am and I've always gotten along fine. Homeschooling does not create social outcasts- being a social outcast does, and unfortunately many homeschooling parents are.

Teshi wrote:
I hear things about home schooled kids doing well at college, but there's life after college, and it's full of public school kids who braved the arguments and the fighting and the less-than-ideal learning/working conditions, as well as lots of rejection and struggle. Public schools can be fun! They provide a shared experience for the students: "remember when..." the feeling of recess, the feeling of belonging and association. Multiple teaching styles and experiences. My mother is a great teacher, but I was inspired by the numerous teachers I had during my public school-- they were an alternative option. I am not my parents, however great they are.


What? Public school is good because everyone gets to go through a shitty system? I'm not sure I see that as a good thing. That would be like saying it's a good thing all those choir boys in the catholic church all went through with it because now they can all talk about how much FUN they had. Right. And I'm sure me and my childhood friends have no shared experiences, what with all the time we spent together. Also, who says homeschoolers don't argue and fight with people?

Teshi wrote:
Public school provides casual connections with other adults with alternative ideas to the familial unit. That is important!


You seem to be buying into the stereotypical religious recluse style of homeschooling. Again.
By stating the above you are presupposing that homeschooling does NOT let you connect with other adults, or makes it considerably more difficult. I have many more adult friends now than any of my public school friends, and I most certainly did when I was a kid too.

Consider the attitude of kids when it comes to their teachers. If they see them at the grocery store it freaks them out because many of them don't really consider them as human beings with a life- only as teachers. I don't think that provides a very useful connection, at least not compared with the natural, friendly connection I had with scout leaders, neighbours, and extended family members. These were useful relationships, in which I actually learned things about the adult world.


To summarize:

Most of the arguments assume that public schools provide you with experiences and homeschooling takes these away from you. This is built off of a stereotype which is bolstered by the confirmation bias of older and adult homeschoolers- those who are normal never have need to mention that they were/are homeschooled, whereas those who really are socially stunted are picked out of the crowd and stand out in people's mind as an archetype. That being said, yes, it's easier to go to school. It's easier to socialize with adults and kids if you go to a building full of them every day for eight hours. But that doesn't mean you're missing out if you don't, you just need to make more of an effort.



Hi, in the UK the experience you describe is known as 'unschooling' and the guiding principle is autonomous learning.

Many people do homeschool along more formal lines, and flexi-schooling ( a combination of home/school 'schooling') is increasingly popular.

Just because you had a fab experience of 'unschooling' doesn't mean that it is a gold standard or the best thing for everyone - I'm pleased that you had such a positive experience but that doesn't mean that conventional schooling is inferior.
Would you like a cup of tea with that?
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melchior
 
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Re: Homeschooling experience/tips etc

#20  Postby Dudely » Apr 08, 2010 2:29 am

melchior wrote:
Just because you had a fab experience of 'unschooling' doesn't mean that it is a gold standard or the best thing for everyone - I'm pleased that you had such a positive experience but that doesn't mean that conventional schooling is inferior.


I was responding to someone who suggested homeschooling was inferior (I know she was for it, but I saw her views on certain things as too stereotypical to be accurate). I was only putting forth that it's another sea of Grey, with many students having a good experience. I don't think anything is a gold standard for everyone.

I do think homeschooling is a wonderful experience for many people and does not have enough positive and accurate coverage in the social sphere, but I think that goes without saying :mrgreen: .
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