Homeschooling

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Re: Homeschooling

#21  Postby Bolero » Mar 15, 2010 4:08 am

Yeah, I'd have to agree that there is great appeal in the idea of private secular schools. Usually in Oz they take the form of Montessori schools, or Independent schools which have a "hippie" image people aren't that keen on. Either of those would be a good option, though, if you could afford it.

However, I'm generally an advocate of decent state-funded secular education. It's our right as citizens - we pay our taxes, we should get the benefits.
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Re: Homeschooling

#22  Postby nosuperstitionhere » Mar 15, 2010 4:21 am

Bolero wrote:Yeah, I'd have to agree that there is great appeal in the idea of private secular schools. Usually in Oz they take the form of Montessori schools, or Independent schools which have a "hippie" image people aren't that keen on. Either of those would be a good option, though, if you could afford it.

However, I'm generally an advocate of decent state-funded secular education. It's our right as citizens - we pay our taxes, we should get the benefits.


I'm glad that such options exist, but the fact that they are expensive is troubling. Sorry to sound like a broken record about this. Of course, if there was a greater supply of them, the cost would go down. Perhaps the various Humanist associations would be willing to fund some of them.

But, in the meantime, decent public schools are a worthy goal. It's only fair, what with us all being taxpayers.
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Re: Homeschooling

#23  Postby Mantisdreamz » Mar 15, 2010 4:38 am

Bolero wrote:Yeah, I'd have to agree that there is great appeal in the idea of private secular schools. Usually in Oz they take the form of Montessori schools, or Independent schools which have a "hippie" image people aren't that keen on. Either of those would be a good option, though, if you could afford it.

However, I'm generally an advocate of decent state-funded secular education. It's our right as citizens - we pay our taxes, we should get the benefits.


The thing about private schools with possible 'hippie' images is that you don't want your kid to come out stuck up. If a child is only confronted with a certain type of people, couldn't they harbour a personality that thinks their 'type' of people are best?

And with home schooling, I like the idea of giving the child a one on one situation that allows them to pay more attention to specific talents, but I think that being able to interact with other children and the dynamics of it all, is almost a better learning opportunity and something that home schooling cannot offer. After all, the child has to be raised to cope in the world we live in, which includes so many different interactions & dynamics with different types of people.
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Re: Homeschooling

#24  Postby Vikki » Mar 15, 2010 9:38 am

Sometimes home schooling is just about the only option available to people. If you're living in isolation (ie, a cattle station hundreds of kilometers from anywhere), homeschooling (in conjuction with School of the Air) may be the only option.

And there are some cases where a school environment is just not suitable for a certain kind of child. I have a cousin who... let's just say he's a bit of a personality. He's a real individual, and has been having some problems with the local school. Now, he's polite. He's smart. He wasn't an angel, but he's not a little shit, either. But he's the sort of kid who would be constantly picked upon for wearing the wrong socks or whatever (and singled out for it, in a sea of students bending the uniform rules). He has messy hair, likes skateboarding, refused to eat meat, etc. He really is his own kind of person, and he has been put off from school forever because the teachers and the school administration team couldn't see the forest for the trees. They would butt heads with him over unimportant stuff, rather than confront the real issues of bullying, drugs, etc at the school. I think Jake would have been a good candidate for homeschooling, there being no alternative school in the area, but his (single) mother unfortunately had to work. He is a smart, secure, and aware kid, but he asked too many questions and at the wrong school/people.

I admit, I do most often associate homeschooling as being imposed by parents who don't want their kids to be in contact with, I dunno. The Wrong Kind of People. They see homeschooling as a way to instill in their kids the 'right' information, and as away of limiting exposure from whatever they think is undesirable. Maybe kids these days have no manners, no morals, they wear the wrong clothes and say the wrong things, whatever. But I fear that raising their kids in such an incubated environment will render them sheltered and thus ill-equipped to handle living in a world with people whose views and lifestyle may not gel with what they've been taught.

We had neighbours who homeschooled their kids. They were Seventh Day Adventists. Their girls were all very nice and sweet kids but extremely naive and really, they stuck out like sore thumbs. None of us kids knew how to relate to them. Another family I knew home-schooled their kids and pumped them full of anti-gay, anti-liberal, anti-Other crap. They racist, ultra conservative, and quick to judge other people not living the same cookie-cutter lives. Their kids predictably grew up to be entitled smarmy little shits.

I think an important part of life and learning is to be exposed to The World At Large. Kids need to come into contact of people with different cultural backgrounds. Kids need to meet and learn to get along with (or tolerate) people with different personalities. It's a concern that homeschooling would deprive kids of these chances to get some life skills.

In a perfect world, government public schools would be the place for kids to do this, but unfortunately you will come across with schools/teachers/communities that just have the wrong priorities, or are just plainly not a good fit for a certain kind of kid.

If I have kids, and I hope I do, I want them to attend to a school like Candlebark* or Fitzroy Community School where there is an emphasis on a more rounded schooling, and in a more relaxed environment.

Candlebark:

What is the philosophy of the school?

That’s very hard to answer! We try not to shout at the children! We encourage students to be adventurous without being stupid. “Take care, take risks” could be seen as the school motto. We are keen on the highest possible academic standards, good manners, and a friendly, comfortable, affectionate atmosphere. We see learning as an energised affair, where students engage with the world in ways that are active, stimulating and motivating.

In what ways is your school different to others?

There is no school uniform, and everyone is on a first name basis. Classes are small, this year ranging from five to 14. We are out and about much more than most other schools. We have lots of sleepovers, camps, excursions and activities. We are quite a musical school - everyone has two periods of music a week, and one period of dance. As well, there is one period a week where everyone plays chess. There is plenty of free time — for example, every Wednesday afternoon, from lunchtime onwards. The students bring no food to school, as everything is supplied. We have a wonderful chef and the meals offer wonderful variety, but as well, students are welcome to raid the kitchen for a snack as they go past to their next class. At the end of each day the students and teachers clean the whole school, as we believe that people should be responsible for cleaning up after them in life, in both a literal and an abstract sense.

Our teachers are quite extraordinary, chosen for their unusual skills and interesting backgrounds. Our art teacher is a well-known and successful artist, and a published poet. One of our music teachers has had works commissioned by Opera Australia and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. One of our English teachers has written 30+ published books, including Letters from the Inside, and Tomorrow, When the War Began. Two other teachers have published works of fiction.

We don’t seem to need to punish students, as generally everyone gets along very well, but more importantly, we see punishment as being counter-productive. We all have a vested interest in making this a positive and successful community.


These ethos and philosophy of these two schools are what I'd hope for government run public schools to aspire to. Start funding for more schools like these, please Mr. Rudd, instead of promising a laptop for every child and other such nice-but-maybe-not-necessary promises.

*Actually Candlebark school is probably a 20-30min odd drive from where I live in Kilmore, so I'm quite happy to establish myself around here--in either Kilmore, Lancefield, or Romsey--, as it really does tick the 'right' boxes - a close community, close to good schools, decent variety of shops, plenty of 'activities', country area, but not so isolated from a major city centre, ie Melbourne.
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Re: Homeschooling

#25  Postby DavidNewman » Mar 15, 2010 2:20 pm

Something to think on:
If your child is one of 30 in a class, and you have one teacher teaching you over, say, 5 hours. (It's actually less time than this including breaks etc)

Then using simple maths, 300 / 30 (Total time / (# kids / teachers)), we conclude they get an average of 10 minutes of 1-1 time with a teacher a day.

In my day, I see myself being able to put aside a bit more than 10 minutes, and buying a couple of textbooks to take up the others.
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Re: Homeschooling

#26  Postby cathyincali » Mar 15, 2010 3:00 pm

The Candlebark school sounds great! If public schools around here (South. California) were like that, I would've enrolled my kids in them instead of homeschooling them. If a private school exactly like that had been available, I would've WANTED to enroll my kids...but probably not been able to afford it.

A lot of people here seem to think that homeschooling that includes one parent not working is more expensive than private schooling, but there are some expenses involved with working (gas, wear-and-tear on car, and more expensive auto insurance due to the daily commute are some; work wardrobe is another), and we found way back when our kids were infants that my contribution to our family income was pretty minimal when you took out the expenses that working caused AND the expense of day care or babysitting. Before I had kids I was gone from home 12 hours a day, 4 days a week, and since I wanted to nurse our babies and even just SEE our kids, I decided to stay home with them from the get-go. (I did work part time from home, however, at every stage of our kids lives and am now finally back to work outside our home, since our youngest turned 16.)

Another poster brought up John Holt. I loved his books, and he had a lot of influence on my thinking. If we could somehow get public schools to be more like Candlebark school, IMO, our entire society would benefit. (Public schools around here are really, really, really, really far from it, though.)
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Re: Homeschooling

#27  Postby Bolero » Mar 16, 2010 4:04 am

cathyincali wrote:

A lot of people here seem to think that homeschooling that includes one parent not working is more expensive than private schooling, but there are some expenses involved with working (gas, wear-and-tear on car, and more expensive auto insurance due to the daily commute are some; work wardrobe is another), and we found way back when our kids were infants that my contribution to our family income was pretty minimal when you took out the expenses that working caused AND the expense of day care or babysitting.



I get this. If you really have a strong desire to be at home with the kids, and if your work situation is not cost-effective, etc, I can really see the value for both you and the kids in the homeschooling equation.

My biggest problem with it, to be honest, is that I really love my job - it's fulfilling, intellectually satisfying, and I work with superb colleagues - and the idea of not working really doesn't appeal to me. The idea of staying at home - even with the noble goal of educating the kids I love - fills me with a claustrophobic dread. I find my role as parent/educator in their non-school times far more rewarding.
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Re: Homeschooling

#28  Postby Vikki » Mar 16, 2010 11:11 pm

cathyincali wrote: (Public schools around here are really, really, really, really far from it, though.)


Tell me about it. I used to go to Jefferson Middle School and Oceanside High School. While my English/Literature/Science classes were generally very good, the maths teachers were usually quite shit. Especially at Jefferson. My maths class consisted of one harried teacher (who had no idea how to deal with rowdy teenagers, and quite frankly, had given up) leave a stack of papers at the front of the class room. On it, there were 20-odd math problems. We were supposed to answer the questions on this sheet and give it to her at the end of the class. The teacher would spend the period trying to control the class. I was the only one who ever did the sheet.

The trouble is you'll get good teachers and bad teachers in the same school and it's the bad teachers and the area/community problems/student population that will drag the work of the good teachers down. Jefferson had an exceptional English teacher/librarian. He stopped being librarian when Bush cut funding for libraries in public schools. I still keep in contact with him, easily the best teacher I ever had. Learned more from him than any other teacher, and Jefferson was easily the 'worst' school I ever went to.
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Re: Homeschooling

#29  Postby pcCoder » Mar 16, 2010 11:32 pm

A major con is that it can be used by anyone to isolate their children from learning things that the parents do not wish them to learn. To effectively do so may also carefully isolating them from other people as well and would likely cause social problems later. The pros are a more one-on-one learning environment. With a motivated parent who is also willing to learn him or her self, a child could likely excel even faster and farther than a public school, with one teacher to 20+ students, ever could make possible.

I don't have a problem with homeschooling, as long social balance is maintained and it isn't used as a way to control and limit what you child learns. Sadly, I imagine it is mostly used by parents for the latter.
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Re: Homeschooling

#30  Postby MattHunX » Mar 18, 2010 12:29 pm

It might be my own bias, but I think most of the people who are home-schooling their kids are doing it so they can include their religion in it. Whereas, in school their child probably wouldn't learn about their (dis)respective religion, and "God Forbid" they would, instead, learn about evolution and other "lies" and "theories" only.

However, going off from my high-school experiences, and now, the ones from college (3 more months and it's bye bye), education/the education system is awful. They don't necessarily teach what is essential for life. Even if they do, it is uninspiring, boring. They don't know how to get students interested in subjects.

One of my relatives is now a diplomat, speaks 6 different languages, and was a straight-A student in schools with "big names". I heard about him saying, that anything they've taught him in school was completely useless.

Home-schooling, for this very reason, can be a great thing, if not for religious purposes. Children can learn what they want and what they are interested in. No pressure from being told they're going to have a major test next week and if they don't prepare they'll fail...etc. No more boring classes about stuff that is utterly useless, unless one wants to become rocket-scientists, and if they do, then they can learn at their own pace and aren't held back because of others, because of potentially ignorant, biased, lazy teachers who don't do their jobs properly. I know, I know...the latest saying is: don't blame the teacher , blame the parents! Well, quite often, it is the teacher who is to blame.

E.g: if little Mattie wants to learn about animals, then move onto more complicated stuff like, evolution for kids and then onto genetics, through the years...then he can...the children will make their own curriculum and they will complete all of it on their own when they do...nothing will be left out, skipped due to schedule, breaks, strikes, teacher's absence, lack of equipment...etc.
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