Homeschooling site

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BellonaTimes
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Post by BellonaTimes » July 20th, 2010, 9:52 pm

I was researching for a friend and came across this site: http://oldfashionededucation.com/index.html
which links a lot to Project Gutenberg's many school-friendly books.

My question is (and not to start a ruckus): how do you teach something like Creationism to senior high school students without linking to Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, if only as a reference point? The site does have two other books by Darwin -- his autobiography and a book about bugs (or insectivores), but not his most famous work. I also find it odd that her 11th grade literature collection is almost all devoted to supernatural villains like Dracula and Frankenstein. Also that there is a pretty extensive women's studies selection.
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Post by Rat King » July 20th, 2010, 9:57 pm

Why not allow them to read into both subjects?
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Post by Availle » July 20th, 2010, 10:58 pm

:lol: I think this should go straight into the controversial topics - you got me started...

First of all, let me state that I never quite understood the idea of homeschooling in general. I mean, as the average person, I don't think I could do better in educating my children than any teacher that actually invested time in studying the subject. And with 'the subject' I don't only mean literature/math/biology/whatever, but also the psychological side of learning and teaching. I recently read a very interesting book on developmental psychology, and it basically says that kids are not just small adults. There are things an 8 year old just cannot learn because his brain is not yet functioning on this level. It's a bit like you wouldn't give a baby a whole ox to eat right after mother's milk... Very interesting!

Second, (on topic now), it seems that for many homeschooling parents (who often come from a highly religious background) it's not so much the education of their children that is their primary motive, but rather the fact that they want to 'protect' their kids from all that 'modern filth' they might be subjected to in a normal school (e.g. television, internet, Harry Potter, liberalism, evolution, other religions, sex education, younameit...)

If it is really about education, then you do throw those 200 $ per modern textbook at the thing, for starters. And you won't try teach science, languages, history... from books that are 100 years old.

The answer to your and Rat King's question is: you simply don't teach them about Darwin. If your curriculum says 'Creationism', then the old beardy guy is wrong anyway, so no need for the kids to go in there. They might be shocked, right... :evil:

Sorry for the rant. I followed the link :roll: and could not restrain myself, but I tried to make this as civil as possible.
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Post by annise » July 20th, 2010, 11:41 pm

Can we keep this even more civil - - there are a large number of parents who home school their children that are part of our community.
The books suggested are in no way an "official" home schooling site - just things that she has found useful and available.
I'm sure parents who go to the trouble of teaching their kids at home make their own decisions about what is suitable for them

Off my soapbox and back to releasing all works into the Public Domain :D

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Post by neckertb » July 21st, 2010, 12:43 am

Hehe, I have to say I quite understand Ava's comments...
I think it is a cultural thing. We Europeans don't get that homeschooling thing. But we don't have the same distances that there are in the states...
As for BT's comments, I did read an article once saying that many schools in the States do not ever mention dinosaurs because it goes against the picture of man being the perfect being created by God (does not really make sense to me, which is why I have a hard time rendering the exact argumentation here), and I guess they do not talk about Darwin either...
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Post by Lucy_k_p » July 21st, 2010, 1:21 am

Availle:
I don't think I could do better in educating my children than any teacher that actually invested time in studying the subject.
Unfortunately not all teachers are equal. I am a fairly driven individual, with supportive parents, who genuinely enjoys learning. Most of the people I went to secondary school with did not have any of those things. And without them, their ability to succeed was fairly limited.

There were some teachers who were real gems, who were doing their best to give us an education. There were some who tried their hardest but just couldn't get the classes attention (I had a lovely science teacher, but an hour long lesson typically had 20 minutes of content, sandwiched between 20 minutes of trying to get people to shut up at the start and 20 minutes trying to stop people packing up and leaving early at the end.). And there were some teachers who had just given up, who didn't bother trying to control the class, and either carried on with their lesson despite the disruption, even though this meant that those wanting to pay attention couldn't hear, or actively 'made friends' and chatted casually with the bad kids in the hopes that being their 'mates' would mean they behaved. It didn't.

I was really badly bullied for many years and despite all the teachers knowing about it and being sympathetic, they were completely unable to do anything about it.

I remember being in assembly with my 200 strong year group and being asked who intended to go to university. I was the only person who put up my hand. (I don't think university is for everyone and I don't approve of the current strategy that aims to send everyone to university - it should be for those who genuinely want to learn in detail about a chosen subject, not a default path you take because for some reason a degree is necessary for every job, no matter how irrelevant.) But that is very telling. And I'm fairly sure, 6 years later, that even if some of the brighter students changed their minds, no more than 10 of us will have gone on to complete degrees.
Compare this with the +90% of students going on to university at my partner's expensive private school.

Added into this, my school offered the opportunity to do 9 GCSEs. The college I applied to was very confused because most people do 11 or 12. I was advanced enough to do my maths GCSE early, but they didn't have the staff. I was supposed to being doing a 'short-course' language, but they didn't have a teacher. I was supposed to be doing short-course art, but they lost all my work over the summer. I was supposed to be doing short-course food tech (cooking) but the single room with cooking equipment was being remodelled. They almost scuppered my chances of getting into a good college.

Some educations are clearly more equal than others.

So if my choice was between home-schooling my (potential, future) kids and sending them to that school (which is actually impossible, the school was so bad they closed it and knocked it down shortly after I left) yes I think I could give my kids a better education. Florian (obviously) speaks fluent German and can teach them anything necessary about computers. I know maths, I write excellent essays, I love reading and even if I haven't done it in years I still understand the science well enough when I see it that I can bring myself up to speed. I have friends who follow a wide variety of different religions, so I could give them a very interesting comparative example there. One of my friends is a Chemistry PHD, another has a Physics Masters. A third is desperately trying to get on a teacher training course herself because it is what she wants to do with her life. I have a whole network of resources available to me.

And there are also a few things I think it is worth teaching that schools don't teach. Money management, how loans/mortgages work, basic DIY, first aid, 'proper' cooking (not just cakes), gardening, basic car repair, how to mend your clothes, how to clean a house properly. Practical rather than academic stuff that falls by the wayside.

I wouldn't mind sending my children to a normal school, if I could be certain they would receive a high quality education. Since that's not a guarantee (unless you are able and willing to spend some quite exorbitant amounts of money) then home-schooling is going to remain an option.

EDIT: And I'm not touching the creationism with a barge-pole.
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Post by RuthieG » July 21st, 2010, 1:59 am

If I had my time again, I would definitely home-school.

Bright kids are left to themselves in our system and have been for many years - they can cope, apparently. All the time, effort and resources go into bringing up the slow kids to some kind of acceptable level, which, considering current illiteracy and innumeracy rates, doesn't appear to work. The only way to get additional funding is for kids with "special needs" and that most certainly does not include the brightest of the bright, even though they are the most special of the lot.

What happens? Bright kids switch off from education.

It still makes me very, very angry.

Creationism? Nope, I'm not touching it with a barge-pole either. :lol:

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Post by Jonathan Awesome » July 21st, 2010, 2:01 am

Availle wrote:I mean, as the average person, I don't think I could do better in educating my children than any teacher that actually invested time in studying the subject.
I left school to home school myself partly into high school. I learned more in the first year on my own than I did in all the years I spent in that prison for children. The educational methods that teachers have to acquire to become a teacher are far less than you might imagine. I know much more about the philosophy of education, which I learned on my own, than these people pick up in their handful of classes.

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Post by neckertb » July 21st, 2010, 2:59 am

Well, sorry, I don't buy it.

1. If you are at a bad school, you can go at another one in most of the cases.
2. If the teachers are not good, you can supplement at home.
3. I was a bit smarter than the rest apparently, and had several good teachers who suggested activities my parents could do with me outside school, and who lent me a great deal of books that the others were not interested in. I think most parents can do that, at least if thy are able to do homeschooling.

4. The most important thing about school is in my opinion: to learn to function in society, in a big group of individuals, to relate to others, to see different kids from different backgrounds, to meet people with different opinions... Where is all that in homeschooling?
Jonathan Awesome wrote: I learned more in the first year on my own than I did in all the years I spent in that prison for children.
I learnt a lot outside school too, but still went to school.

Sorry if I stick to my European background (I should maybe say continental European...). I fully respect people who do it and don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but I absolutely don't think it is a healthy thing to do if you can avoid it. Which did not prevent me from starting a project recommended on a homeschooling site.

Should we start another topic on creationism then? Coming from a country where Church and school almost always have been separated (what is it again in English, secular?) I feel strongly on that topic... :wink:

ETA
Lucy_k_P wrote:And there are also a few things I think it is worth teaching that schools don't teach. Money management, how loans/mortgages work, basic DIY, first aid, 'proper' cooking (not just cakes), gardening, basic car repair, how to mend your clothes, how to clean a house properly. Practical rather than academic stuff that falls by the wayside.
I missed that before. This is taught in Danish schools, at least cooking, cleaning and mending your clothes...
Last edited by neckertb on July 21st, 2010, 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by annise » July 21st, 2010, 3:25 am

Maybe things are different there and maybe you will feel different when your children start school . I agree about the social aspects but there are ways round that - they can be involved in outside activities - and I would have to say that the home schooled young adults who are active around the forums seem well adjusted nice people.

Its interesting that we should feel that children should spend all day with a group of people and get on with them because they were born in a 12 month period and live in the school area, with no choice in the matter - I can't imagine being forced to spend all my days with people chosen only on that basis now :D

And don't get me started on automatic promotion - so they can't read , never mind their social development will be greatly improved by putting them up where they will understand even less and either learn nothing quietly or make sure no one else does either :D

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Post by neckertb » July 21st, 2010, 3:57 am

I have one kid at school.
Like I said, I think most of what we mean on that is really a question of culture. I don't know anyone who has been homeschooled. :|
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Post by Jonathan Awesome » July 21st, 2010, 4:03 am

neckertb wrote:Where is all that in homeschooling?
That depends on how you choose to home school. There are many groups which hold events for home school students. There is no reason why you can't form friendships and interact with people outside of a school. The events I attended myself had a much more benevolent atmospheres than anything I witnessed in school. I saw little more than cynicism and hostility in any of the schools I was ever enrolled in from both students and teachers.

But even apart from that I'd say that interacting with others is not as valuable as gaining knowledge. And the methods of education employed in my country are very poor. I would have been happy to have a few less short term friendships if the trade off was a proper education. I pursued knowledge in the little free time I had from school and my daily "home work" (which was nothing but hours worth of busywork) while in school because I desperately wanted to learn and was not learning from my classes.

It disturbs me deeply even now to think about all of my potential which was wasted while I was barred from actualizing it and the torturous ever present boredom I endured. These are years of my life I will never get back; many of my formative years, some of the most important in terms of education. All simply taken from me. And for what? So that I might have been "socialized" by being forced into a building packed full of children who were treated like animals and acted like them as a result. I'd gladly trade that for having known much more much sooner.

Many people never do attempt to fill in the gaps left or pursue any kind of additional education on their own having been turned off to it by the school system. Many even develop a distaste for reading and books after their experiences with it in the school systems here. Another benefit of being autodidactic is that having put myself in the habit of pursuing knowledge on my own I never lost the habit. In my years since having completed the mandatory years of education I have never stopped educating myself. That's why I'm here now.

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Post by neckertb » July 21st, 2010, 4:32 am

Why, I don't know much about schools in other countries than France and Denmark, but it sounds awful.
So, talking from a French/danish point of view, I'd say, if I felt like homeschooling my kids, I think I would still prefer them to go to school (not preventing me from teaching them more if needed) because socialisation is important. Not to say that homeschooled people are not well adjusted, but it would worry me, that my child never meets criticism and cynicism. (of course, in reasonable doses). Unfortunately, that is what the real world is like. And those activities, did they ever imply group work (just curious here, absolutely not a critic hidden in the question since I have no idea)? It is important to learn to work with people you don't necessarily like. That is the case at my working place (since I am not the boss... I don't get to choose my colleagues).
Now, the reason I am here is because I had a teacher who lent me the Lord of the Rings and les Miserables when I was 8... My mum is a librarian, but she did not always know how to interest me to her books (she has never read the Lord of the Rings) and it was really nice to have someone outside who did open other genres of literature for me.
Not trying to excuse what I wrote before, I have no clue what I would do if I was in the US, although if the educative system was so bad, I might consider moving to another country...

I think interacting with others is an important part of life, if not for work, then to make friends (again, not saying that you cannot make friends if you have been homeschooled, just talking as what would worry me if someone told me to homeschool my kid).

Oh well, I guess the discussion is kind of pointless, being in a minority here, but maybe someone (homeschooled or not) should make a good change in the educative systems in some countries (we're pretty happy with the French one in Denmark, but that is only one school and has the huge drawback of being a tuition school. Still, seeing the lack of discipline in the Danish schools (where you apparently favor the social far too much over the knowledge), it is a good choice I think. Actually, I have been unable to teach my kid proper French, but the school managed... So definitely homeschooling not an option here :wink:)
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Post by Jonathan Awesome » July 21st, 2010, 4:56 am

neckertb wrote: And those activities, did they ever imply group work (just curious here, absolutely not a critic hidden in the question since I have no idea)? It is important to learn to work with people you don't necessarily like. That is the case at my working place (since I am not the boss... I don't get to choose my colleagues).
Yes. You can home school in anyway you like. This can and often does involve getting together for group projects.

neckertb wrote: Now, the reason I am here is because I had a teacher who lent me the Lord of the Rings and les Miserables when I was 8... My mum is a librarian, but she did not always know how to interest me to her books (she has never read the Lord of the Rings) and it was really nice to have someone outside who did open other genres of literature for me.
Not trying to excuse what I wrote before, I have no clue what I would do if I was in the US, although if the educative system was so bad, I might consider moving to another country...
Les Miserables is one of my favorites. I don't know that I would have read it had I remained in school though. It was the choice to study philosophy (which was never an option in school) which led me to a particular philosopher who led me to Victor Hugo.
neckertb wrote:. . . but maybe someone (homeschooled or not) should make a good change in the educative systems in some countries (we're pretty happy with the French one in Denmark, but that is only one school and has the huge drawback of being a tuition school. Still, seeing the lack of discipline in the Danish schools (where you apparently favor the social far too much over the knowledge), it is a good choice I think. Actually, I have been unable to teach my kid proper French, but the school managed... So definitely homeschooling not an option here :wink:)
Actually someone is. Lisa Van Damme began by teaching a few home school students and now runs the VanDamme Academy. I have read some of her essays and listened to some of her lecture material on the philosophy of education and her methods are revolutionary. Hopefully they will come to replace the current philosophy of education in America (John Dewy's "Progressive" Education) and eventually the world. The classical approach is better than the "progressive" but this has both beat. I'd advise anyone who is serious about ideas and education to look into her.

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Post by Lucy_k_p » July 21st, 2010, 5:31 am

It depends on what kind of socialisation you mean. I had literally no friends at school. I spent all my time in the library, until people started coming in, ripping the books out of my hand and asking 'Why are you reading? Why aren't you doing something fun.' Then I had to spend most of my break times standing, extremely bored, outside the staff room, so that people wouldn't bother me. When I walked down corridors people would flatten themselves against the walls to avoid touching me.
What this taught me was that A) Most people are stupid, rude, cruel and not worth my time and
B)I was so much better than all of them.
Because it was either that or conclude that they were right, I was disgusting and nobody in their right mind would care what happened to me.

On the other hand I had good friendships with the people who lived in the same street as me, close friendship groups in both the drama groups I attended and met some wonderful people at the gifted summer schools I went to.

It's only because of the second set of experiences that I am able to function in a casual social setting at all. And I know I would be much less damaged and far better able to cope if I'd had only them, and hadn't had to deal with the people that I went to school with.

I should also add that I do consider talking to people on the internet to be a form of socialisation. I know other people disagree, but are we not having a conversation? Am I not maturely discussing, debating and disagreeing with several people?
I know someone with very severe autism. He finds it hard to socialise with people face to face and other people find talking to him makes them uncomfortable because he has unusual body language. I've also spoken to him over messenger and you can't tell there's anything different about him.

For me changing schools wasn't an option. I applied to the two better schools in the area and wasn't in their catchment area (living close enough) so I was funnelled into the school that I was in the catchment area of (and that conveniently did not have an enormous number of applications). My SATs results, the only tests you do at that level, could not have been better without sitting special exams. There was nothing I could have done to get into a good school.

Ruth is also right that bright kids are essentially ignored. My school had a special class (Class X or Class Z) for people who were generally lazy, disruptive, really didn't care about their education and weren't expected to pass many exams. This did remove some of the more annoying elements from regular classes. But they also got more teachers, all the good teachers, leaving the poor ones for the rest of us and more time spent on them. When someone complained these students were being 'rewarded' for bad behaviour they were told they could join the class - as long as they were preapared to only do the reduced number of GCSEs the rest of the class was doing. It was an attempt to give the worst students enough qualifications so that their time at school wouldn't have been totally wasted. But it came at the expense of every single other student not getting as much support, and not achieving everything they could achieve.

I had to struggle and fight to learn anything. And as I said, my parents were interested in my education (my dad found school very boring at the time, but as an adult he started reading a lot and now knows a lot about science and literature. All of that knowledge is completely self taught. My dad comes from a very working class background, so this is highly unusual, something I only realised very recently). Other children who didn't have this kind of support at home had no one to turn to. And even if there were other good schools available they wouldn't have been able to get there (no money for transport, not walking distance) and their parents wouldn't have considered it anyway. (I am aware this is turning more into a rant about the school system in general, since such parents wouldn't be inclined to home school either.)

I remember one member of my class (He's probably in prison now, that was his ambition. Three meals a day and a roof over his head, more than he could expect anywhere else.) came into the English exam announcing 'I don't need to drink any more, I've discovered these fantastic pills.' He was 16. And more time had been spent trying to encourage him to buy into the system and work hard, than had been on getting me to do my absolute best. Because I was still doing better than average. So that's still good, right?

Also the school system is very much 'one size fits all.' Different people learn in different ways. Some people need to read about things, some people prefer to have someone explain it to them, others need to get some hands on experience. Schools don't really mix these very well. So otherwise bright, interested individuals get left behind.

Also some people are not particularly interested by academic subjects. And they should not be penalised for that. They may still be decent artists, or skilled tradesmen - electricians, plumbers, carpenters, builders, etc. These are not lesser jobs simply because they require physical labour. They are necessary, require skill, experience and hard work and are well paid. Children ought to be able to find out if they have an interest in these things, and be able to spend time learning about and doing them in school, rather than being told they are a failure at 'school' and being shunted into them as if they are second best.

And the thing about home-schooling is that if you think or notice that something isn't working, you can change it. Try different things and see what works. In a regular school even if you (and sometimes the teachers!) know that something isn't working, there is no choice but to carry on with it anyway. Either because it does work for a lot of children and they don't want to deprive them, because it is policy and they aren't allowed to do anything different, or because change is expensive, hard and time consuming to implement and if it turns out the new thing is worse, you'll have to change again.

EDIT: Wow, this is long. I didn't realise how bitter about the whole experience I still was. I do genuinely feel I got let down by the education system (At GCSE level. I managed to get into an absolutely fantastic college, so my A-levels were great.)
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