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Post by RuthieG » July 21st, 2010, 6:17 am

Lucy. Yes, it was long. Yes, it was bitter. And rightly so. It says all that I think about the British state education system. Well done to you for toughing it out and achieving what you wanted in the end. Well done for not allowing it to ruin your life.
I should also add that I do consider talking to people on the internet to be a form of socialisation.
Hear, hear! But try and persuade yer average person that this is true. Someone not a million miles from here thinks that I have no friends because I do not wish to spend hours in the pub talking to very boring people who probably haven't read a book in years. My life is apparently "that screen". ;)

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Post by neckertb » July 21st, 2010, 7:36 am

RuthieG wrote:
Hear, hear! But try and persuade yer average person that this is true. Someone not a million miles from here thinks that I have no friends because I do not wish to spend hours in the pub talking to very boring people who probably haven't read a book in years. My life is apparently "that screen". ;)

Ha! I know exactly what you mean, try going through life without drinking... (whether in a pub or at home).

And Lucy, yes, a forum is also a form of socialisation, and like I said, I don't mean to say that homeschooling leads to asocial people but that I would be worried I was protecting my kid too much... And i am absolutely not saying that there was a better way for you. I guess I am hoping that I will never need to consider it for my kids.
But actually, I don't even know if homeschooling is allowed here... Probably not unless you have kids with special needs would be my guess.

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Post by Availle » July 21st, 2010, 8:03 am

Hi there, sorry for the late reply - tough and long day... I aint running away... (yet).

Lucy, I sympathise with you. I have been the total outsider all through my school years, and I have no friends from that time. I don't mind bumping into some of them on the street (not that that would happen), but all my friends are from university. I can still remember the advice from one of my high school teachers who told me not to do anything stupid right now (I was 16), but to sit it out until university - 'there will be people who think like you'. It was a revelation, I can tell you...

To everyone who gave a thumbs up for homeschooling: You betcha I would have loved to be (home) schooled in that ideal model you describe! In fact, I know one homeschooled person in real life. His father is an artist, couldn't be bothered to settle down for long enough to get the boy into school, so it was DIY. The boy, well... with all that extra curriculum activities... went on to become professor of computer science at MIT when he was 23. 'nuff said about your ideal model. :wink:

However, I think for this model to work, there must be a good match in both the teacher and the pupil. I think the best teacher cannot convey anything to a pupil who is unwilling to learn, and the worst teachers won't stifle the interested one (Lucy's a wonderful example for the last).

I am quite positive that my family was not interested in the least in my education, as long as I'd get good grades (to be boasted with). The choice of schools for me was based on 'she'll go get a job afterwards'. Hence, we had primary school - middle school (not gymnasium) - high school focused on economy (not gymnasium, it would still have been possible), and I had to promise to get a job right after university :D I wonder if things would have run differently if I hadn't been so immensly bored at school (despite teachers who would do their best, like giving me an undergrad math book to read in high school)...

In the end, I have the same opinion as Nadine: I think going to school is important, as it will teach you so many things that you might acquire much later when being homeschooled. Socializing with others has been mentioned, but also independence comes to mind here as mummy is not always there... As much as I hated (high) school, without it I think I would be even more isolated (my family was not very social either..).

Do I think education is important and do I want the best for my kids: You betcha!
Even so much as to invest extra time and money in it: YES.
Do I think that I would be able to provide the best education for my children, if I had to do it by myself? Given all the aspects of it, NO.

Besides, I think you can only change a system you're involved in. And taking all the top players out of the team is not going to improve the ball game. If you don't like what's happening - complain/fight/do anything to change it. But you have to be right in the middle of it to do that...

methinks... :D

Thanks for having me socialize with you.. :9:


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Post by Chrisczech » July 21st, 2010, 8:46 am

At school I was, and I think even today I still am, everyone's "invisible friend".

We homeschooled three of our four school-age children. The fourth child was very happy at school whereas the other three were deeply unhappy. A lot of time was spent undoing the emotional damage that school had done.

We spent a lot of time outside of a 'classroom setting', visiting interesting places and events and broadening the knowledge and experience of the children, and also had class sessions individually with each child.
This also impacted on the fourth child and augmented the school education he was receiving (a different school to the one the others had attended).

All the time, we were 'badgered' by the local authority who demanded to see our 'qualifications', our 'classroom' (so they could declare it a fit place for children! - this was our home for goodness' sake), and our 'equipment' - they wanted to prevent us from schooling at home because we did not possess a salmon poacher!

I finally wrote to the Secretary of State for Education and demonstrated that the local authority demands were actually illegal, and then awaited his response. I refused to have any dealings with the local authority until the Secretary of State had ruled on what I had submitted to him. That was 20 years ago - I'm still waiting!
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Post by Rat King » July 21st, 2010, 9:07 am

Speaking as a well-bullied person with a Schizoid* personality who graduated from public school and College both...

Home Schooling is a great way to augment a kid's learning when done correctly. They can have such a wider array of things to be learnt, even if it might not be as deep in the by-rote stuff of schools... but it is too easy to abuse.

There is a reason Evolution is part of Science class and the other 'concepts' are not. Evidence is a frightening thing, but there it is - evidence; the theory is a proven one and has been demonstrated hundreds of time now, in lab conditions and out. Trying to shelter a child from something one doesn't agree with is only going to create a gigantic mess of emotions and yelling when they venture forth from under the protective wing and discover the knowledge on their own.

Withholding one branch of knowledge in favour of another, based solely upon personal beliefs shows a supreme lack of faith in the kid's ability. Teach them both and let them decided, lest one suffer the ignominy of having the child discover the knowledge on their own and come to hate their parents for misleading them.

I lack a barge-pole and don't quite grasp the idea of staying off sensitive topics.

*An interesting mental defect that leaves one emotionally detached, lacking in ambition and almost totally anti-social. Not co be confused with Schizophrenia, which is a whole other basket of ferrets.
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Post by neckertb » July 21st, 2010, 9:09 am

Ah finally, Ava :wink: (I had already noticed similar opinions between us).

To everyone: do keep in mind that in the countries where we (I speak for Ava and me, since I happen to know the German system a bit too) went to school, there is basically no materials for homeschooling, at least I've never seen any.

Chris, I admire you for taking up the fight! Shame you're still waiting (you should read "Madame Bâ" one day, it has a similar story).

I feel I know much more about homeschooling now, interesting discussion on this thread...

But like Ava, I would say:
Do I think education is important and do I want the best for my kids: You betcha!
Even so much as to invest extra time and money in it: YES.
Do I think that I would be able to provide the best education for my children, if I had to do it by myself? Given all the aspects of it, NO.


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Post by kayray » July 21st, 2010, 10:01 am

neckertb wrote:I don't know anyone who has been homeschooled. :|
Yes, you do :) *waves*

I was homeschooled after 4th grade, in the 70s when it was NOT common here in the states to be homeschooled. We were constantly being asked, "But how to you LEARN anything?" Lol!!!

I am just delighted that homeschooling has become so much more common and accepted here that my 14-yr-old, who has been homeschooled all his life, never gets a raised eyebrow or funny look. There are so many wonderful options for homeschoolers nowadays. Now that he's highschool age, Henry attends a homeschool-based charter school two days a week where there are small classes (maybe 10-15 highschool-age kids) and enthusiastic teachers. He takes interesting subjects such as Biology, World Humanties, and Writing, and then does some work at home on the other days, but he still has plenty of free time to just be a kid. It's a great fit for us. :)
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Post by Hazel Pethig » July 21st, 2010, 3:30 pm

RuthieG says
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
I live in Canada, BC specifically. I don't know how kids are treated in other districts, but here, if they are smart they are completely ignored. More than ignored. My son is being actively held back because of his intelligence. My son is smart, more than smart, but the high school wants nothing to do with him. He has been a year ahead in math for the last 5 years, and at the top of all his classes. Always. Next year, grade 12, he wants to do two AP courses (Advanced Placement, basically first year university courses). He will do them with a provincially sanctioned online school, and his school would not need to do anything. The counsellors don't want him to. All he needs is regular access to a computer for one block each semester. The school doesn't want to give him that. The principle told me it's not good for the kids to work too far ahead. I can't tell you how frustrated all this has made me. But the school will never win. We have a new principle this year, whom I know quite well, and I will never give up!
This all relates to home schooling, because while I think the schools can do a good job if the administrators and budget cutters would back away, a parent still needs to be involved. I had planned to home-school, but things changed in my personal situation. So the next best thing was public school, but being very involved. While my children were attending elementary school, I was volunteering there every day. I have seen studies that show that children of parents who volunteer do better in school. Not just grade wise, and you don't have to volunteer directly in your child's classroom. Just being in the school has a positive influence on your child.
I admire people who home school specifically for the better learning it provides, and yes there are many groups out there that meet up just for the socialization aspect.

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Post by Hokuspokus » July 21st, 2010, 10:08 pm

Very interesting discussion.

In Germany home-schooling is not allowed. Every child must go to school. Schools here are not bad, but could be better in many ways. The whole system is not so much about education and knowledge but about marks. Pupils learn very early that the marks are all that count. Most parents think the same. Pupils learn for tests and forget things right afterwards. They are not interested in what they learn.

There are some programs to help children who can't learn well in this system or have problems like Dyscalculia or Dyslexia. This is good, but by far not enough. Most children with problems get sorted out. They end up in the Hauptschule (9 years of school in total), have to learn in classes where most children and the bigger part of the teachers have given up on learning. They have only a minimum chance to get a job afterwards. To prevent that or to get them out from there more than 50% of the children get private lessons in the afternoon, which is very expensive. It's a big market here in Germany.

There are some efforts for the extra smart as well, but again not enough.

I was one of the extra smart. Not quite smart enough for Mensa, but smart enough to have my share of the typical problems. I was really interested in what I could learn at school and had some extra interests. Most of the time lessons were to slow and to boring. My classmates didn't like that much. No friends at school? I know what you are talking about.
I got no extra support. Not from the teachers (who really didn't like that I was sometimes cleverer than they were) not from my parents who had no idea what to do or even realized that there was a problem. Everyone expected my to be quite, submit to the system and get acceptable marks.

Do I think that home-schooling would have been better for me?
In theory maybe. But in reality, with my parents? No. Please no.
I work with children who have Dyscalculia and I know that most parents are the least fit persons to help their children. (Though I think that the average Librivoxer is an exception to that rule.)

Everyone wants the best education for their child. That's only normal. In Germany much money is spent on that. School is good for the average child, that fits into the system. But there is much work to do on both ends of the scale. With all that money that is spent for private lessons, we could built a much better school then we have. For all children.

Unfortunately education is highly political here. Decisions are made for political reasons and for the wrong reasons most of the time.

I don't think that home-schooling would be a good alternative for most children here. There is a very strong interest to make children fit for the job. Education and knowledge only counts when it is good for that one aim. There is not enough time, not enough freedom and not enough fun in all the learning.
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Post by DebraLynn » July 22nd, 2010, 1:46 am

I'm not gonna express an opinion on home-schooling or Creationism. I just want to take this opportunity to rant about a trend that was taking place here in the States when my kids were in school and I think it probably still is. Namely, dumbing everybody down to the same level so that the underachievers don't feel bad.

When my kids were in elementary school and played sports like baseball or basketball, no one officially kept score (you can better believe the kids knew the score, though.) "We wouldn't want the members of the losing team to feel bad." "There are no losers here. Everybody is a winner" Also there was no reason for anyone to expend very much time or effort learning to play, since there was nothing to be gained by it. (Personal pride in unacknowledged accomplishment not being a big motivator among elementary age boys.)

Once, the local community college hosted a science fair for the area elementary schools. There were various events that the students could enter. My youngest son focused on the egg-drop and the paper airplane engineering. He and his buddy got together after school and on weekends for weeks to strategize and design and try things out. My eldest son didn't even want to go. On our way to the car on the day of the fair, #1 grabbed a random box and some kleenex or something so he could enter the egg-drop for something to do.

I was so annoyed when I learned that there weren't going to be any winners here either. Every person who entered a competition got his name entered in a drawing for a prize. The only recognition anyone got was if their name was randomly drawn out of a hat.

No, actually, annoyed doesn't come close to describing my feelings on this occasion. I saw one of my children bust his butt to try to have the best entry, and the other one just sat on his butt and did nothing. Yet, both of these kids had exactly the same chance of winning a prize in a particular competition because all you had to do was show up.

I can understand having a door prize to encourage kids to at least enter, but I cannot understand the refusal to acknowledge actual achievement. It turns out that, from a kid point of view, my oldest son played it smarter. He got to have uninterrupted free time while his brother was working on his projects. He didn't have to strain his brain at all. The odds of winning were exactly the same, whichever way they went.

How is that teaching them anything other than that it's okay to be a slacker?
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Post by BellonaTimes » July 22nd, 2010, 4:44 am

Well this certainly snowballed in a direction I didn't expect! And a good thing too after all. :wink:

My friend's kids (boy & girl, both in their mid-teens) were home-schooled up until this year when their dad asked them what they want to do next. Both want to attend regular high school, to which dad is open; he is a widower who is Christian and moderately conservative. Like most guys in his world, he wanted to shield the kids from the usual things: dumbed-down curriculum and lack of conservative material in the schools. But as it's turned out, the boy is reckless and aimless, prone to racist and homophobic attitudes; I wouldn't say he's sexist yet as he's ascared of gurls. :lol: Most likely he'll join the Army -- with dad's consent -- before he graduates.

The girl is brighter and probably on the college track. She's definitely a daddy's girl but she's becoming more of a woman every day. Her adult female role models are pretty much limited to their pastor's wife and a writer of Christian romance novels, Terry McSomething. Like a lot of teenage girls, she wants to date boys and go to prom, but dad is very strict with her. The other night he caught her hiding a Jackie Collins "novel" in one of her schoolbooks, so it's pretty obvious that she's curious about man-woman relationships. I suggested that he buy her books by Edith Wharton, Mary Wilkins Freeman, and Olive Higgins Prouty; even if they are 80 or more years old, they have strong moral convictions and much better writing.
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Post by Miss Avarice » July 22nd, 2010, 12:48 pm

I will not be touching any of the controversial topics, with, as the Grinch said, a 10-foot pole. :) However, I can provide some notes on the American public schooling system as it stands.

I'm currently 14 and have never been homeschooled, although at some point I wished I was. I feel that the school system, at least in the Midwest (I have attended school in both Oklahoma and Nebraska), is populated with pretty good teachers. I have only had around 2 bad ones out of my entire school experience. When I was in elementary school, I read voraciously and started testing at very high levels in reading. I was eventually accelerated from second to fourth grade. This was actually a pretty good experience for me. Eventually I entered middle school. I, along with six other students, went to the high school for math in the eighth grade (Three of us, including myself, took Pre-Calculus, the rest took Algebra II). They bullied me quite a bit, but the teachers didn't seem to notice, and the counselor I talked to outright didn't even seem to care.

I don't really think it's a case of the bright kids being ignored this time, but more a case of children that develop asynchronously being expected to fend for themselves. I feel that the implicit attitude towards us was that we were smart, and therefore mature enough to refrain from bullying, etc. Unfortunately, this is not what happened.

Eventually my family switched states, and now in ninth grade I am in a school where kids who have 145+ IQs are labeled "highly gifted" and are given a "mentor" in a specific subject. Many people I know use this mentor for languages that are not offered (we have French, German, Chinese, and Spanish currently, I knew a guy who studied Japanese), or choose a mentor to do 2 years of a language in one year. I am doing this with German. Anyways, I feel that this is a much better solution for the problem of ignoring kids in gifted education -- rather than pulling them out of class entirely, they are given something extra. Many kids in elementary/middle school who were labeled as 'gifted' were pulled out of class and also ostracized. It may signal to a growing trend in American society as well - smart ≠ a good thing.

So yeah. There's my ramble. I wouldn't encourage homeschooling just for the sake of homeschooling, but if your child is experiencing problems in school that cannot be remedied with the intervention of a counselor, then yes, it would not at all be a bad thing to take them out of school, IMHO. Even just for a year/half a year. On the case of if your child is too smart for the curriculum, doing activities outside of school may be the best thing to do, or asking about the gifted opportunities in the community. If all else fails, you may have an autodidact on your hands, and that's a good thing. Shakespeare was one too, after all. ^^
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Post by catchpenny » July 22nd, 2010, 1:49 pm I think this is apropos of the subject at hand.
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