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AddlepatedMonkeyMama
01-05-2015, 09:21 AM
Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/education/home-schooling-more-pupils-less-regulation.html?hpw&rref=us&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0)

Hoo boy. Not very positive. First anecdote is about a 10-year-old boy who did a few pages in a workbook that his mom "bought the day before at a Sam's Club store" before running off to play Minecraft. I'm afraid to read the comments.

What are your thoughts? Do regulations and reporting give home schoolers cred? Will taking standardized tests "prove" that we are educating our kids? It seems like non-homeschoolers and educators won't believe it otherwise. Ugh.

dbmamaz
01-05-2015, 10:48 AM
I havent read it but it was posted on one of my state groups and labeled as 'balanced'. They said it mentions the softening of the PA laws.

anyways, my state (VA) already requires some proof of progress every year (a test or an evaluation). Most people dont find it at all intrusive - the tests arent as bad as the state standards tests, you can use older, shorter tests.

The post on fb also quoted someone as saying its a way to identify the very small percent of kids who are not being well served

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
01-05-2015, 11:25 AM
I'm not opposed to regulations. As you say, they can catch those few kids whose parents are making no effort to educate them. It's just frustrating how many people deny that parents who aren't licensed teachers are capable of educating their kids. I'd rather have some solid research showing that homeschooling works so we can shut up the critics and not be threatened with more regulations or forced to use public school materials and methods.

ejsmom
01-05-2015, 12:15 PM
I live in PA, and the regulations are not difficult to work with. They do mean that I have to show progress in certain subjects that if I unschooled in the younger years, I'm not sure I would have had some kind of work to show. So in K-4 I purchased curriculum for art and music so I had something to put in DS's portfolio other than "we talked about instruments and listened to music and painted and made crafts". TBH, the music curriculum enabled me to teach my child so much more about music than I ever learned in school, that when he started lessons to play an instrument this year he could read music with ease and jump right in. But the requirements didn't do that - what I teach in each subject is my choice.

Also, the stricter requirements we've had for years do NOT protect children from abuse. There was a 9 year old boy with severe autism who was kept in a locked 3rd floor bedroom, with no toilet, who died a few months ago. He weighed 17 lbs. when he died. The mother hadn't seen him in over a year, I believe, and the Dad wasn't feeding him. He was not enrolled in school, and I don't think they "homeschooled" him in the legal sense that they registered as homeschoolers. And this family WAS "in the system". CPS was involved with the family prior to this, and a social worker was at the home a few days prior to the child's death. That has nothing to do with homeschooling and everything to do with the state dropping the ball.

I do know many homeschoolers in my area who homeschool strictly to "protect" their kids from the big bad world and/or restrict their interaction with ungodly heathens. And yes, their educations do tend to be lacking, and their social skills almost non-existent. Yet they are following the letter of the law. Guess what? Those same parents could send those kids to one of the small private Christian Schools around here and the kids would be the same - lackluster academics and only interacting with a handful of those who think like they do.

I do not think the regulations catch homeschooling kids who fall through the cracks, being abused, or have poor social interaction. In many areas the public schools don't catch those kids either! And THAT is why many people homeschool.

alexsmom
01-05-2015, 01:00 PM
I have mixed feelings about oversight and testing.
On one hand, I see that there is a social responsibility to try to prevent kids from *falling through the cracks*. I always thought that Id have no problem with my son getting tested to make sure hes on track education and grade-wise.
BUT now that we are approaching the first time for actually getting tested, Im worried. Hes in *third grade* and has never seen or been given a test. So being measured against kids that supposedly spend 20% of their time training for these tests? My kid can run around perfectly well, but I would hate to put him in a formal race against a running team. Im not worried about my sons competence in the subjects - just his competence with taking these tests.
So do regulations and the testing actually show anything productive? Im doubtful. And we all seem aware that kids fall through the cracks, regardless of what *safeguards* are in place.
We meet with a monthly advisor, and provide work samples every other month, so I guess we are under more scrutiny than many other homeschoolers. Every difficulty or interference real life has thrown at us has been met with sympathy and assurances that everything is fine (birth of another kid, grandpa passing away, fighting with kid about doing schoolwork). We get an official public school report card twice a year. We pick what we want to study, and its pretty much paid for. But they do want us to do this state testing stuff.

Marmalade
01-05-2015, 01:12 PM
BUT now that we are approaching the first time for actually getting tested, Im worried. Hes in *third grade* and has never seen or been given a test. So being measured against kids that supposedly spend 20% of their time training for these tests? My kid can run around perfectly well, but I would hate to put him in a formal race against a running team. Im not worried about my sons competence in the subjects - just his competence with taking these tests.
.

This! My sons have never seen a test. My oldest son is a whizz at mental math and my younger one has a killer vocabulary and can spell words that I didn't know he even knew...but I know that if they were to sit down and take one of the standardized tests that PS children have to take they would be stumped. Part of the reason we pulled our daughters out of school was because of "teaching to the test".

(Full disclosure-I haven't read the article. Opinion pieces on homeschool often make me angry and since I learned that lesson years ago I avoid them)

amradiofairyland
01-05-2015, 01:12 PM
Here in Oregon, we're required to submit to testing in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade for elementary homeschoolers. However, we have some interaction with our neighborhood public school (my daughter has been on an IEP for ASD and gets speech services through the school, and also joins a class for twice-a-week music class), and our liaison for services has actually been very helpful in finding us a way to take a pass on the standardized tests and instead put together an alternative assessment. In our case, if we get this granted (we should find out in a month or so), we'll be able to submit a narrative of her doings and progress--a portfolio, essentially--to substitute.

Generally, while I understand the impulse to test families public and homeschool settings to ensure they're actually being taught something, I think of all of these things as back-end "solutions" to both real and imagined problems. Wouldn't it be better if we actually funded both schools and communities to provide educational resources to both public and homeschoolers--to support those efforts--so that, for example, whatever homeschooling parents who would otherwise be just making do (not sure if these actually exist, just channeling the stereotype here) would be drawn to participating in classes, co-ops, etc., and connect with others and find new ideas by tapping resources made available in the community?

I fear I'm not describing this very well. I guess I just mean that generally, approaching the challenge of educating "the next generation" from the front end--mindfully created learning environments; teacher, parent, and community supports; a culture in which we have an eye to nurturing citizens rather than consumers--rather than gatekeeping from the back end, seems like a more productive way to go.

Of course, I know that's all pie in the sky. :)

MNDad
01-05-2015, 01:13 PM
I'm not opposed to regulations per se either, but this gets to the core of why many of us homeschool. Some of us have deep philosophical disagreements with the reality of public school as a training ground for future corporate automatons. Even those of us who aren't political partisans of one sort or another cringe at the idea of the State giving its imprimatur on our work. Furthermore, the inherent bias here is that State's oversight of public education including all of its ramifications (social interactions among students, acculturation of students, etc.) is a satisfactory standard.

Proof of progress, I suppose, is the least intrusive way of ensuring that some kids aren't "falling through the cracks." But even that puts external pressure on how we weight different subjects, even subjects (like music) that the State regards as fluff.

I would be more bothered by regulations that deal with process - my qualifications, my curriculum choices, how we divide up our days and year, etc.

I agree that a rigorous study of HS vs. public school would be interesting; but it would be nearly impossible to carry out given the number of confounders that you would have to control for.

Later: I made the mistake of reading the comments. My BP is now through the roof.

BatDad
01-05-2015, 02:18 PM
I broke the first rule of the internet; I read the comments. As with most comments on articles found on the internet, they seemed like a large group of people who wanted to take a few moments to seem intelligent, though they have never had experiences in the field for which they are speaking, nor do they have opinions that do not come directly from programming. The whole "homeschool kids miss out on social interaction and are a bunch of religious fanatics" has gotten old.

While I realize this will not happen, I would hope that state governments clean their own streets first. Homeschoolers are a tiny minority compared to the millions of people who pass through government schools with very, very limited abilities. I saw comments such as "how are homeschoolers prepared for college?" Well, firstly, only a minority of our general population even finish college. Secondly, if government schools do a better job at this, then why are there increases in college remedial courses? I could go on, but most of us here know these things. I just feel that attacks on homeschooling simply come from a position where if one group can't solve its own problems, it just turns its head to attack another group. While the head is turned, the personal problems can be ignored. These are the same reasons people engage in gossip.

In my state of FL, the level of monitoring is just fine. Yes, there are homeschool kids who will fall through the cracks when an education consists of Xbox. However, that is obviously the case with PS kids as well. I would question a state that wants to hound me to make sure my boys are being educated, when half our state's public school kids can not even pass the tests they utilize.

ElizabethK
01-05-2015, 02:42 PM
That's such an awful example that they chose for the main profile. The second family - the one that did activities and read Robert Frost - received such a small mention. But unfortunately I know families like that first one mentioned.

I live in a state that is pretty much unregulated. When we started homeschooling, my husband was shocked that we would have absolutely no accountability. He wasn't concerned about us, but about how families could abuse that. I would imagine most don't (and the majority of the families that I know provide a very rigorous education for their homeschooled kids), but occasionally a horror story makes it into the news and those are the stories people remember as they make generalizations about homeschooling.

I really appreciate not having to be accountable, it makes record keeping simple. But if I had to do it in order to increase everyone's accountability, I would do it.

MNDad
01-05-2015, 03:09 PM
I broke the first rule of the internet; I read the comments.

Same here. I even wrote a few!

I've begun to wonder whether the deep suspicion and disdain in which we HS are held reflects something other than the "but think of the children" argument. There are an unusually large number of people from the political right and left who seem insanely concerned about the well-being of my children. This is all the more puzzling when you look at the history of American individualism. We celebrate the independent, DIYer, individualist above any other archetype. So why so much hatred of the ultimate DIYer's - homeschoolers?

I don't think it has to do with concern for children at all. I think it reflects a certain guilt about their own attitudes toward child-rearing. By and large most adults don't enjoy the day-to-day work of raising children (see "All Joy and No Fun" by Jennifer Senior for more on that point.) For these adults, HS'ers present a cognitive dissonance. Not only do we (mostly) enjoy raising kids, we like it so much we choose to take primary responsibility for their development by homeschooling them. The only way to resolve their cognitive dissonance is to disparage HS parents as weird, marginal and unqualified and their children as weird, introverted, selfish, etc.

Oh, well.

Avalon
01-05-2015, 03:25 PM
I actually like the system we have in Alberta. Students must be registered with a school board. Parents have to fill out an education plan for the year, and students must meet with a teacher twice a year and "demonstrate progress." Progress can be as simple as showing writing samples from last year and this year, or math workbooks that get progressively harder, or reading lists showing that the child is reading at grade level.

The "homeschool boards" are specifically in the business of overseeing homeschoolers. Most of them hire teachers who are homeschooling parents themselves, so they understand what it's like. Parents aren't dealing with schools or teachers who have no clue.

It's not perfect, but it strikes a nice balance. You can put anything into your educational plan that you want. There are no rules about what has to be in it, although the teacher/facilitators will ask about how you plan to cover math or science. You can also switch facilitators or school boards if you're not satisfied.

I also find it's great for dealing with suspicious relatives. I used to drop little comments like, "Oh, we have our meeting with the teacher next week." It made them feel like we had requirements.

In general, I'm opposed to testing homeschoolers, unless they are very general "basic skills" tests. We have provincial standardized testing in Grades 3, 6, and 9, but I've always opted out. I wasn't teaching the provincial curriculum, so it didn't make sense to have my kids take the test. On the other hand, when DD wanted to attend public school, they asked if she could write the Canadian Test of Basic Skills, just to see where she was. It seemed like a reasonable request to me.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
01-05-2015, 03:35 PM
Also, the stricter requirements we've had for years do NOT protect children from abuse.

No regulations will catch 100% of cases of abuse and neglect. There will always be (a tiny number) of parents who dodge the requirements by not registering at all, submitting "fake" progress reports, or taking their kids' standardized tests for them. But that doesn't mean it's not worth having some kind of oversight to ensure that parents are at least trying to educate their kids. It's like drunk driving laws--they won't stop someone who is determined to do it (we've all seen those horror stories of people on their umpteenth OUI arrest, lost their license, but still do it again). But I don't think there's any doubt that the laws and their enforcement reduce the incidence of drunk driving.


Generally, while I understand the impulse to test families public and homeschool settings to ensure they're actually being taught something, I think of all of these things as back-end "solutions" to both real and imagined problems. Wouldn't it be better if we actually funded both schools and communities to provide educational resources to both public and homeschoolers--to support those efforts--so that, for example, whatever homeschooling parents who would otherwise be just making do (not sure if these actually exist, just channeling the stereotype here) would be drawn to participating in classes, co-ops, etc., and connect with others and find new ideas by tapping resources made available in the community?

I think that's a great idea. Home school organizations can provide peer support and advice, but there's not much institutional support unless you're part of a charter school partnership (which we don't have in my state, to my knowledge).


I would be more bothered by regulations that deal with process - my qualifications, my curriculum choices, how we divide up our days and year, etc.

Of all kinds of silly things we have to include in our letters of intent in Massachusetts, my favorite is that we have "good morals." Way to go, MA. You've just weeded out all the morally bankrupt would-be homeschooling parents.

I agree that regulations shouldn't micromanage us. All the wonderful variety and creativity in each family would be snuffed out if we all had to use specific curricula and teach 5.75 hours per day.


I broke the first rule of the internet; I read the comments.

The comments are beyond ignorant and infuriating. Meaningless anecdotes and ridiculous stereotypes. One of the more illuminating comments I saw pointed out that you could replace the words "home school" with "public school" in the article's sentences about the quality of instruction and the outcomes for the students and it would still make sense. :p


That's such an awful example that they chose for the main profile. The second family - the one that did activities and read Robert Frost - received such a small mention. But unfortunately I know families like that first one mentioned.

Putting anecdotes in stories about homeschooling is pretty much useless. You can find a million anecdotes to support or reject homeschooling. Some kind of rigorous research using a large number of homeschooling kids, who use a wide variety of educational methods, and who are not self-selecting, seems to be the only thing that will settle this question. As MNDad said, it would be difficult to do.

Accidental Homeschooler
01-05-2015, 05:55 PM
I think it is interesting that hsers are becoming less regulated while public schools are facing increasing regulation.

alexsmom
01-05-2015, 05:56 PM
Go BatDad go!!!

I think anti-homeschoolers dwell on the socialization stereotype because what other *faults* are they going to find? There are no headlines about homeschool shootings, tragic homeschool bullying, drug crackdowns at a homeschool, hate crimes perpetuated at a homeschool, rising teen pregnancy rates at the local homeschool, gang activity at a homeschool....
Clearly HS fault must be in lack of having a bunch of stifled kids subjugated to bizarre pedagogical theories (which are constantly being complained about as ineffective) and not allowed to do *kid* things.
Because no matter how bad what youre doing is, other people must be doing things worse!

And not to say that the first example was a stellar or typical example of what a homeschooler day is, but spending 10 minutes on a few worksheet pages then having a break *could* be perfectly reasonable..... maybe immediately before this 10 minutes he watched a video or did internet research on birds. The article conveniently neglects to give the situation in context. The mom exclaims that this is why she loves homeschool - so she can deal with her sons short attention span.
*shrug* Im not judging. But I know if I have company over, I will try getting DS To finish his work then he runs off while he has the opportunity. Would I resent the implication that I let my son scamper off to minecraft after he does a couple worksheet pages? Hellyah! Its a little different than tossing a Walmart general workbook and telling him that his school consists of doing 5 pages a day, which is what the article implied.

BatDad
01-05-2015, 06:16 PM
I think MNDad hit many nails on many heads. During my teaching career, I ran into so many parents that did not work with their children because it was "my job." There are parents that go as far as leaving shoe tying to the schools. You know, in six years, there were dozens of parents that I never even got to meet. Parents were so hands-off, that they never even took the time to answer the phone or pay a visit.

I think MNDad hit it when he mentioned the guilt. People have kids for different reasons, but like that puppy on Christmas day, they soon realize they would like to pass off the responsibility. Then they want the puppy back in time to take pictures to send out on the next Christmas card.

murphs_mom
01-05-2015, 08:26 PM
I haven't read through the replies, so please forgive if it's been addressed, but WTH is so horribly wrong with the Sam's Club workbook? (About Carson-Dellosa Publishing | Carson-Dellosa Publishing (http://www.carsondellosa.com/about-us)) We've used them since DD started (pre-K) the HSing thing. She's completed the entire 300-400pg (depends on grade level) book each grade level and she completes the one Barnes & Noble carries. During the course of a year, she'll do the better part of 800-1000 pages for LA & math. And, yes, sometimes she's able to zoom through a page in 10min. Especially during the pre-K and K years. Even the 1st and 2nd grade years were pretty quick for her. It's how we ended up doing 2 of each book. More than anything, she does the books 97% on her own. She reads the intro, does the practices, and then completes the assignments. We review things when she's done. If she's got questions, she comes to us and asks. Instead of us droning on from a hardbound text book and then giving her assignments, she's teaching herself...figuring it all out on her own most of the time. It's how she learns best. What's so awful about that?? She's doing far more work here than she did the one day we took a test spin in a private school and I know she's doing more than they'd ask of her in the local public school. Additionally, we've taken these completed workbooks into her portfolio reviews with the Board of Ed (twice a year) and they've NEVER had an issue with the content. If anything, they've been really impressed with them and have commented on how well organized they are.

WHY should we spend $1K on a packaged curriculum when she can learn the same (or more) by using a $20 workbook? GAH!

FWIW, a fellow HSer who started her journey (at roughly the same time DD began hers) spent months doing research, compiled all kinds of information on the different textbooks and such that were available to teach her K & 2nd grade students (she had 2 girls), and she settled on using Saxon for the math and I can't remember what for LA. Both were pretty tedious and dry IMO, but they were what she felt would work best for her girls. Things started off okay for them, but within a month both girls were balking at doing their studies. DD, OTOH, was blowing through her workbook and wanting more. I didn't say a word. Long story short, the mom dropped her high-priced packaged curricula and switched the girls over to the same workbooks we were using. She said she'd finally seen the light. The workbooks from Sam's and B&N were far more user-friendly than the materials they'd been using. Just because it comes from Sam's or B&N, it doesn't mean that it's bad, folks. You don't have to spend a ton of money to get decent learning materials. Are the books thin on certain concepts? Sometimes. When I think that DD needs more work in a certain area (I wasn't thrilled with how little time was spent on multiplication basics, for example), I either make worksheets myself, find something online, or get a supplemental workbook for that subject. No biggie.

So tired of educational snobs. And tired of clueless, defensive idjits who insist that you can only get a decent education inside of a B&M school. I don't even bother reading articles about it anymore. Eff it. I've seen what comes out of the local public schools. We'll take our chances with a book from Sam's or B&N. (For the curious, this is DD's current workbook: http://carsondellosa.secure.miisolutions.net/media/iwb/IHDPPlayerContent/704109/index.html#?page=40)

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
01-05-2015, 08:52 PM
I know nothing about the kinds of workbooks sold at Sam's Club and I have used workbooks from B&N. The wording of the article made it sound like the mom was like, "Oops, that New York Times reporter is coming over tomorrow. Better pick up some educational materials at the store today!" That poor lady probably thought she was doing a good thing by letting herself be interviewed. Instead, she was portrayed as uneducated and incompetent. Who knows what other educational materials she uses or if her son was having a tough day or was unnerved by having a reporter watch him. I feel bad for her.

Mariam
01-05-2015, 08:58 PM
Carolyn,

I haven't read everyone's responses, but the NYT reporter mentioning Sam's Club creates a class issue for the readers. It seems that the reporter had her own bias. I think the bigger issue is that the mom purchased it the day before. The article implied that the mom knew that the reporter was coming and needed get something for her son to do. Which demonstrates a haphazardness to HSing. Honestly the whole article was typical of what is seen in the media. It would be nice if they talked about how the non-religious folks were HSing.

My head hurts from reading the debate. I started writing a letter to the writer, but I just don't know if I want to get into it.

ejsmom
01-05-2015, 10:36 PM
Carolyn, that workbook looks just fine to me.

Solong
01-06-2015, 10:28 AM
We've had this debate a few times before. I think reporting and oversight are needed. A child's UN Charter Rights to an education should be given priority over the parent's 'rights'. Of course, the US still hasn't signed on to those...

I have to say that most of the 'homeschool' group classes that are available to us in our area are scary stupid. The 'science' and 'history' lessons in particular make me weep.

There are a few educational elements at play, like instructor ability and breadth of subject material. Far more pressing is the religion issue. My feeling has always been that children's bodies and minds should be protected from religious violations. The fundies here (they are the homeschool majority, by far) DO use homeschooling as a way to isolate their children from larger society. I am more than happy to submit to oversight, if it helps those children gain access to actual science and history.

How to monitor homeschooling? That's a tough one, as most educators aren't really equipped to deal with portfolios, anecdotal reports and the like. Unfortunately, testing is probably the least expensive and least invasive option. I don't love it, but until we revamp the education of educators - I can't think of a better way.

Riceball_Mommy
01-06-2015, 11:22 AM
The problem with regulation also becomes what kind of standards do you set? Some kids fall behind and that's why we homeschool them to slow down and take the time to work on their level. They might not be ready for the age based grade level work but they are still learning. So if you do testing, then every kid has to be at certain level at a certain time. I don't mind Maryland's regulations. I wouldn't mind a regulation that said that I needed to show improvement. I can show where she's improved but I can't demonstrate that she's on grade level in a few areas.

The responsibility for reporting can't be fully on the schools though. We only hear about neighbors reporting on each other when they are just out to cause a problem. Maybe family, friends and neighbors should be encouraged to report when they have legitimate concerns.

fastweedpuller
01-06-2015, 11:36 AM
It's the New York Times, for crying out loud. They have a formula. Pick the low-hanging fruit (single overweight not-middle-class mom with a 10 year old with attention issues) and "balance" it with a middle-class professional job-quitting mom of twins, but focus on how THAT mom has the kids do religious-y things. They are NOT looking to show a representative or even sympathetic sample. The only "appealing" person, in the NYTimes sense, is the doctoral student whose mom whiffed her daughter's requirement for academic rigor.

I am all for rigor. It's why I am homeschooling.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
01-06-2015, 01:33 PM
I have to say that most of the 'homeschool' group classes that are available to us in our area are scary stupid. The 'science' and 'history' lessons in particular make me weep.

I'm sure this group of homeschoolers is exponentially larger than the ones neglecting or abusing their kids. As someone said, we don't really want our curriculum choices micromanaged by our states/provinces; but on the other hand, that opens the door to religious families who want to use incomplete and inaccurate (to put it nicely) science and history materials. It allows parents to provide their daughters a poor education because they don't want them to go to college or work in the Big Bad Secular World.


How to monitor homeschooling? That's a tough one, as most educators aren't really equipped to deal with portfolios, anecdotal reports and the like. Unfortunately, testing is probably the least expensive and least invasive option. I don't love it, but until we revamp the education of educators - I can't think of a better way.

I think most states who monitor homeschoolers have done a pretty good job creating systems that are not too onerous or intrusive. In Massachusetts, parents are given the choice to either submit test scores, progress reports/work samples, or evaluation by a qualified third party. The portfolio reviews done by experienced homeschoolers sounds like a nice option, too.


The responsibility for reporting can't be fully on the schools though. We only hear about neighbors reporting on each other when they are just out to cause a problem. Maybe family, friends and neighbors should be encouraged to report when they have legitimate concerns.

I don't think I'd want to be the Homeschool Police. If I had concerns about serious neglect, I would do something about it, but not if I disagreed with their homeschooling methods or thought their kids weren't getting a good education.

If you have a few hours of free time (ha ha), there are a few interesting threads about reporting "educational neglect" on The Other Forum. Most recently, there was a mom who managed to persuade a friend to put her kids in private school after the friend admitted that she wasn't doing anything, not even unschooling.

Riceball_Mommy
01-06-2015, 01:57 PM
I don't think I'd want to be the Homeschool Police. If I had concerns about serious neglect, I would do something about it, but not if I disagreed with their homeschooling methods or thought their kids weren't getting a good education.

I wasn't clear sorry. I'm not talking about strictly homeschooling. I hear to far too much from extended family about situations they should be reporting on but don't want to get involved. I also had family not wanting to upset my parents growing up and not reporting things they should. I'm also talking only in cases of serious neglect or abuse too.

fastweedpuller
01-06-2015, 01:59 PM
I don't think I'd want to be the Homeschool Police. If I had concerns about serious neglect, I would do something about it, but not if I disagreed with their homeschooling methods or thought their kids weren't getting a good education.

If you have a few hours of free time (ha ha), there are a few interesting threads about reporting "educational neglect" on The Other Forum. Most recently, there was a mom who managed to persuade a friend to put her kids in private school after the friend admitted that she wasn't doing anything, not even unschooling.

That's really the rub, isn't it? And I think this is where this whole issue chaps (me) the most: I have SEEN educational neglect first-hand in homeschool settings. Someone could of course counter me by saying kids get neglected a lot in public/private school too (e.g. BatDad's mention of never seeing parents when he was an educator) but, well...we'd all think that if we're bothering to homeschool we have at least made an effort to change our lives with the focus being our child's education.

But I know an 11 year old girl who cannot read, whose mom leaves her home alone all day 3 days/week. I am not worried about her chances of getting in to college. I worry about her burning the house down. Where do we go with this scenario? In MI social services won't be called to the house because 10 and under are the targets for home-aloneness.

Riceball_Mommy
01-06-2015, 02:25 PM
That's really the rub, isn't it? And I think this is where this whole issue chaps (me) the most: I have SEEN educational neglect first-hand in homeschool settings. Someone could of course counter me by saying kids get neglected a lot in public/private school too (e.g. BatDad's mention of never seeing parents when he was an educator) but, well...we'd all think that if we're bothering to homeschool we have at least made an effort to change our lives with the focus being our child's education.

But I know an 11 year old girl who cannot read, whose mom leaves her home alone all day 3 days/week. I am not worried about her chances of getting in to college. I worry about her burning the house down. Where do we go with this scenario? In MI social services won't be called to the house because 10 and under are the targets for home-aloneness.

That is the other issue too, we get people that seriously do want to help and report something but there don't seem to be any obvious resources. We get people that try to report only to be told it won't get followed up on for one reason or another. We have a flawed system overall.

IEF
01-06-2015, 04:36 PM
I
I don't think I'd want to be the Homeschool Police. If I had concerns about serious neglect, I would do something about it, but not if I disagreed with their homeschooling methods or thought their kids weren't getting a good education.



Yea, that.

I had major culture shock when I saw that thread because my Park Day homies weren't like that AT ALL in the '90s. I'm a newbie with a first grader now, so I kept my antiquated opinions to myself and didn't get banned. ;)

For statistical purposes, I live in a state where there aren't any homeschoolers, just public schoolers (Charter/Cyberschool families) and private schoolers (whose families administrate very small schools from their homes) and I have always been the Headmistress of Mygrandmother'sname Academy. dd wanted Mygrandmother'sname Academy for Young Ladies but her little brother always ruins everything. :P

Elly
01-06-2015, 04:39 PM
I also noticed that the wording was a bit sneaky about the workbook. The implication was that she went out and bought it the day before to have something to show, although it could have been just that it was a new workbook. Goes alongside implied snobbishness about workbooks from Sam's Club, and the class issue in terms of the framing of the story.

Elly

IEF
01-06-2015, 04:41 PM
I have SEEN educational neglect first-hand in homeschool settings.

I haven't. My oldest is 25, homeschooled all the way, and we have always lived in the low-reg state i described in my previous post. I'm unschool-friendly, classical-friendly, and a lot more Christian-friendly in real life than I need to be on the Secular Homeschool Forum, lol, so I've met a lot of different families with a lot of different educational philosophies.

Rainefox
01-06-2015, 06:10 PM
I'm in PA, which is a regulated state for homeschooling. We have no trouble meeting the requirements. What irritates me the most is that there are virtually no requirements at all for private religious schools. No standardized testing requirement, which I have as a homeschooler. No required list of subjects to be taught, which I have to abide by as a homeschooler. No list of learning objectives, which I have to put together but which admittedly is probably never actually read by anyone. WTF? If folks are so concerned about whether or not kids are actually learning anything, why are they only concerned with MY kids? The Fundie Baptist school in the church basement down the road doesn't teach math above basic arithmetic and doesn't teach science at all, and there are no op-ed articles being written about that.

Mariam
01-06-2015, 07:50 PM
Rainefox - I think that you have a good point. Private schools, secular or religious, have no minimum standards to follow. There is no testing, no standard curriculum. So on that note, it is no different than homeschooling.

crunchynerd
01-07-2015, 03:53 PM
There seems to be a lot of push lately toward more school and school younger, and more horror stories about homeschooling (or at least, smear campaigns meant to raise public ire and garnish support for more far-reaching regulations), and I see this as yet another little piece of the same machinery.

Large and powerful interests stand to gain much by the increasing conglomeration of schools and big data, and the very large and growing leak of people taking their kids out of schools altogether represents a trend they would like to see reversed, or at least not encouraged. Failing that, they would like to see homeschoolers caught in the same datamining dragnet as everyone else.

That's my takeaway from it. Kind of like publicizing the dangers of something you want to see eventually banned, first calling for ever-greater restrictions and regulations, keeping the public fed a steady stream of spin in the direction you want their opinions to go, and then when the time comes, it will be easy enough, to lay legislation in place to support the goal because by then, most people will be on board.

Sneaky but effective.
*vomit*

SoybeanQueen
01-17-2015, 06:24 AM
I, too, have used the Carson-Dellosa workbooks, and Spectrum/Harcourt or whatever is available at Barnes & Noble. Strange that people would find fault with a grade-level book that could clearly demonstrate a child's skills in the major subjects.

Testing - I don't have a problem with some forms of testing as long as we get the same benefit of the doubt that public schools get. My son was in public school before homeschool, and he did not fare well on standardized tests. He was failing because the school could not (despite very good effort by his teachers) meet his needs. Yet he still passed from grade to grade. What would it look like if the same happened here at home? Would they say that I am not doing enough because my son can't pass a test? I'm guessing so, even though the government would have had zero problem allowing him to continue failing for the long haul in public school.

As for kids falling through the cracks, I hardly trust the state to create rules for the small portion of educationally neglected homeschool kids when they still can't adequately address the number of children who are seriously abused and neglected in general. Some of my kids came to us through foster care, so I've seen how it works up close. There are lots of wonderful people working in the system to try to help children, but it is still a broken system. I wouldn't wish that on the homeschool community.

MNDad
01-17-2015, 12:40 PM
By the way, as a postscript to what I wrote previously, I emailed the author at the NYT.

In short, I wrote that many in the HS community saw this as biased because its lead example was a family she portrayed as neglectful. I also wrote that the HS is far more diverse than the article would suggest, including a vibrant secular community (go us!)

She took the time to write back. She acknowledged that the HS community is not monolithic but defended the article's presentation which was, after all, focused on regulation, not on the diversity of the community. I disagree, of course, because the vignette featured in the article may have been at one end of the spectrum (though hard to say because we don't know the whole story.) The author did address the comments, and said, well, ignore the comments.

murphs_mom
01-17-2015, 03:00 PM
Ignore the comments? Really?? Isn't that their litmus of readership numbers?? The number that fuels their advertising efforts? Sometimes I think they just write incendiary caca in order to draw suckers into the conversation so that it will falsely inflate their reader numbers. Then they can sell more ad space to zulily, Verizon, or whatever other over-used sidebar ad is populating the net at the moment. Bah. Bugger it all.

Nice try on having a rational discussion with the author of an iffy NYT article, however. Fist bump.

CrazyMom
01-17-2015, 11:11 PM
Here's the problem.

The world is chock full of shitty parents.

Shitty parents who send their kids to school And shitty parents who homeschool.

There will always be an endless supply of shitty parents to prove your point...whether you're pro-homeschool or anti-homeschool.

Have I met HORRIBLE parents who homeschool their kids? Yep, I have. There's even a "Home School Survivor" support group out there for young adults who feel they were terribly wronged by society failing to rescue them from a bad home school situations.

Likewise, I've met HORRIBLE parents in the public schools. Yep. Parents who encourage their kids to be disrespectful to teachers, and who encourage their kids to bully others (or who refused to listen when their kid was bullied). I've met HORRIBLE teachers who created horrible abusive classroom environments. I've met parents who just don't seem to care that their kid is mentally ill and putting others at risk, and parents who are too mentally ill themselves to understand consequences. Parents who demand so much of their kids, they break down. Parents who treat their kids so disposably, they break down. And a million support groups for survivors of all these things, too.

I've met parents who feel it's all the teacher's fault. Teachers who feel it's all the parent's fault. And even a loony homeschool religious mom who blamed her child for not praying enough to learn to read! (which is why I prefer this secular homeschool board)

People love to pass the buck and judge each other. Stupid loves to incite stupid. And stupid sells newspapers and magazines.

At the end of the day....you've got a choice.

You do what works for your kid. Regardless of what that is. Regardless of what the law is. And you let all this other crap roll off....because arguing about it is largely pointless. People are people.

Best thing you can do...if you believe in the benefits of homeschool....is to provide hard fast evidence that commonly held stereotypes are pure rubbish.

Raise a happy, healthy kid.

At the time, I hated that Elle wanted to join public school. But now? I think to myself how awesome it is that she proved every single stereotype wrong. That she not only succeeded....she exceeded the educational goals and expectation held sacred by "educational experts".

She provided hard fast evidence....that you can unschool a kid...approach education in a completely unconventional creative way....with exceptional results. And I'm glad that the school saw that. I'm glad that she changed minds. I'm glad that her different ways of approaching problems, and our family's different way of doing things.... made traditional educators and parents THINK.

At the end of the day, I honestly believe kids are who they are. They're either academic...or they're not. They're artistic....or they're not. They're social....or they're not. Whether you send them to school or keep them home, in my mind, doesn't make enough difference to matter.

Their self esteem, their character, their sense of self-love, their generosity and joy, their curiosity and critical thinking.....these things matter. These things require parents who give a shit. Parents who have their eyes open. Parents who are supportive and who pay attention. Good parents make sure their kids are whole and getting what they need....whether they send their kids to school or educate them at home.

The whole education debate has very little to do with education, in my mind. To me? It's a whole bunch of people running in circles trying to blame each other for failures real and imagined...and impacts real and imagined...to feel better about what they have personally chosen to do.

There is never one right answer for everyone. And there are always shades of grey.

Would I do anything other than homeschool a young kid? Not a chance. Would I do it illegally if necessary? Yep, in a heartbeat. Would I give an older child a choice? Yep, I would.

That's what works for me. What works for you is great, too.

There will always be extraordinary parents. There will always be shitty parents.

The only person whose actions I can change are my own.




Edit: wanted to clarify that I had typical parenting challenges in mind when I wrote this rant. I in no way meant to imply that people who don't raise perfectly happy healthy kids are shitty parents. Some circumstances, particularly those dealing with mental health issues....present some pretty unique challenges. My apologies for any insensitivity to that.

BatDad
01-17-2015, 11:16 PM
Wow, that was good ^^^

CrazyMom
01-18-2015, 12:49 AM
Thanks BatDad, you had great comments, too:)

CrazyMom
01-18-2015, 03:47 AM
I think people who are concerned with losing homeschool regulation are failing to see the big picture.

They argue..."How can we protect kids from negligent parents who make terrible choices and teach them inadequately if we don't regulate homeschool, test kids and keep track of them?"

Here's my thought....

Public schoolers are tested, regulated and kept track of.

Have we prevented parental negligence in public schoolers? No.
Have we prevented terrible parental choices for public schoolers? No.
Have we guaranteed that public schoolers learn adequately? No.

Homeschool outcomes are the same regardless of whether there is strict regulation, or no regulation AT ALL.
Homeschool kids do as well or better on standardized testing as public school kids. They go to college at greater rates. They report being happier with their lives. They're more involved with their communities. (this is supported by several studies, in any case)

I understand worrying about kids who are homeschooled due to religious ideals....girls who are groomed only to be submissive wives and mothers, bad science being taught, differently slanted history, etc...

But how would regulation change any of this? Their right to teach their kids this....is constitutionally protected.

In my mind...it's sick as hell....but in America, we let people deny their kids lifesaving health care if their particular faith calls for it....so how the hell are we going to dictate their education? And even if we DID dictate what was to be taught....what would they still believe? If these same folks went to public school...what would they STILL believe?

Pro-regulation advocates are missing the forest for the trees.

Home school looks a hell of a lot better on paper....than public school.
Any problems home school has? Public school experiences exponentially worse.
Regulation or non-regulation has no effect on outcomes.

So, what's the point?

CrazyMom
01-18-2015, 12:55 PM
http://widenerlawreview.org/files/2011/02/02-GATES_final.pdf

Some good citation of positive homeschool studies, and evidence that regulation doesn't effect outcomes.

MNDad
01-19-2015, 09:24 AM
CrazyMom - bravo.

There's some kind of complexity bias going here. The pro-regulators believe that solid academic and social outcomes are hard to achieve and therefore should be in the hands of experts/the State, when in fact, a handful of basic parenting skills and a stable social environment probably explain much of the variation in outcomes. Hard to see until you're out of "the system."

Solong
01-19-2015, 12:54 PM
For me, I think there are two advantages to regulation.

First, concrete data. So far, all the studies done are built on the shaky foundation of selection bias. We need randomization, and to get randomization we need registration requirements as a minimum... and then we have to wait for those kids to age out of the system(s).

Second, transparency. Transparency is the perfect antidote to suspicion.

I like BC's system of testing in G4 and G7. It gives plenty of time for kids to develop and integrate skills. I like that the tests are skills based, not content based. Not following the provincial curriculum? No problem. Dd10 took the first exam last year. It was basic and fair. No drama, no trauma. Unfortunately, homeschool participation rates sit around 12%. I'm a homeschooler, and I find those rates suspicious. 88% of the homeschoolers in BC have test anxiety, extenuating circumstances or special needs (allowable exemption reasons)? Hmmm. No wonder the government is concerned about homeschoolers.

Concrete data and transparency would be fantastic for the homeschooling movement. I know they would, but I just can't prove it.

CrazyMom
01-19-2015, 01:45 PM
I think you make some fine points, AnonyMs.....concrete data and transparency could help with advocating homeschool.

But I still disagree with the premise of having to prove our methods of educating our kids with tests.... to the government....by law.....as a measure of how we're doing as educators. (and to prove we're not criminals)

Let me illustrate:

What if we prove that a homeschool kid is advanced on a test? Does that mean he's not being neglected? Does that mean he's in a healthy abuse-free rich learning environment? Nope. Just means the kid is smart and can write a test. His life might be a living hell of neglect and abuses, and educating himself is his singular refuge.

What if we prove that a homeschool kid is very behind on a test? Is that evidence that his education is being neglected? Is that evidence he's being abused and has a poor learning environment? Nope. Parents might be knocking themselves out providing awesome support he could never get at school....but the kid has a learning disability or is just....a less academic kid.

I get what you're saying....that testing and transparency could potentially benefit the cause of homeschooling. (See! We're not criminals! See? See?)

That said...it's also a privacy violation and state harassment...with absolutely no provable benefit.

What if ALL the homeschool scores, (with no exceptions) were gathered up and compared with ALL the public school scores? Would home schoolers do better or worse than public school kids?

Ultimately.....would it MATTER?

Either way.....If homeschoolers have better scores. If public schoolers have better scores. Either way it shook out.....would it MATTER?

No?

So, what's the point?

Solong
01-19-2015, 02:02 PM
Academic methods and social pathologies (like abuse) may not be linked in the homeschool community. They may be linked. It is unknown.

A basic study, that looked at post-secondary enrolment, post-secondary completion, accessing social benefits (disability, aid, counselling) before the age of 25, percentage that end up in the penal system before 25... these could then provide information as to whether academic methods and social pathologies are indeed linked.

We don't even have coarse data to interpret. Fine scale data, to look at how oversight should be economically and efficiently applied... is so far off. I think this is itself the cause of requiring too much regulation of homeschoolers. Fear and suspicion motivate a heavy hand.

A five minute annual registration (hi, we're homeschooling again this year), and two four-hour exams over the course of ten years hardly seems like a privacy violation or a state harassment. I honestly believe that the data would prove there is no need for oversight.

Damn, though, I would love to be able to collect and analyse that data.

Solong
01-19-2015, 02:13 PM
Provable benefit... the point... I don't know yet, lol! Information, research, knowledge. I have to believe we would learn something of value from these very small measurements.

Plus, IT'S SUPER FUN :) Research is fun!

"Play is the highest form of research." - A. Einstein
"Research is the highest form of play." - Me, employing commutative property

MNDad
01-19-2015, 02:13 PM
AnonyMs: I have mixed opinions about regulation - not because of the principle of regulation per se; but because of how it's likely to be implemented in the US, at least. If it could be done fairly in a way that emphasizes skill and not content, and is infrequent - as the BC system sounds - then I would endorse it. I think if I lived in a state or province that required someone to endorse *how* I go about achieving our goals, I'd pack up and move on.

Regulation may help reduce some of the suspicions that the rest of the public has about us. Hard to say. It's possible that John Q. Public has an opinion about HS that's susceptible to data. When I read the comments on the referenced article, I wonder just how open-minded most anti-HS are. I imagine most would find some attribute not specifically addressed in the studies about which to complain.

I think we're going to be stuck with prospective non-randomized trials. Can you imagine: "I would like to inform you that you've been randomized to the public school arm of our trial...."? :confused:

Solong
01-19-2015, 02:30 PM
True, we can't randomize educational method selection. We could randomize method outcomes, though. If all homeschoolers were registered.

I hear you on not trusting the US government to conduct such a study. It would be a conflict of interest anyhoo, as they are desperate to exonerate themselves in regards to the public school system and it's outcomes.

CrazyMom
01-19-2015, 09:22 PM
I share your enthusiasm for this kind of research....but that doesn't necessarily JUSTIFY a mandate that puts conditions on a freedom.

"A five minute annual registration (hi, we're homeschooling again this year), and two four-hour exams over the course of ten years hardly seems like a privacy violation or a state harassment."

Yes, it is a privacy violation and state harassment.

One that you, personally... don't mind. But as you illustrated above...88% of other home schoolers in BC opt out.

People who choose to homeschool their kids are not doing anything wrong. Required testing is usually a socially acceptable standard when other people's rights are affected....for example: state boards for doctors, exams for driver's licenses, tests for contractor licenses....because these proficiencies potentially effect the safely of other people.

But aren't our kids "other people?"

Should parents have to take a basic competency test to legally care for an infant? Should they have to apply for a license to have more children? Should they be required to take a first aid course, a nutrition course, a developmental psychology test...to care for a child? Most people would staunchly reject these ideas.

"I honestly believe that the data would prove there is no need for oversight.".....I agree with you whole heartedly...and I'd be fascinated by this data, too, and think it would be interesting to examine in the areas you mention. But does this curiosity justify a mandate?

It would be interesting to see the social benefit of MANDATING child rearing courses for people who want to have children, too.....but is that justifiable?

There's a line.

Mariam
01-20-2015, 02:30 AM
Provable benefit... the point... I don't know yet, lol! Information, research, knowledge. I have to believe we would learn something of value from these very small measurements.

Plus, IT'S SUPER FUN :) Research is fun!

"Play is the highest form of research." - A. Einstein
"Research is the highest form of play." - Me, employing commutative property

I love research too. We do need more data on homeschooling. I would like to see some solid data on outcomes, but until there is something in place that tracks student learning in an effective and meaningful way, we are only going to be able to gather small pockets of data. Maybe from colleges who have students enrolled. While problematic, as it does not catch all of the students who homeschool. i am considering developing a research study on homeschooling and literacy development and how it impact kids post-school - but my data sample would be so small.

Riceball_Mommy
01-20-2015, 09:20 AM
The big problem I can see with mandated testing is so many people homeschool because the school wouldn't make accommodations for special needs/learning disabilities. So sure the school could make accommodations for learning differences but would they? Wouldn't they need have the IEP on the books to make those accommodations, because I'm sure they can't just give any student more time. They can't really take your word for it, what if you ask for extra time for your child but they won't take private testing as proof? What if they want to do their own? What if you haven't had testing done, because it's expensive, and just make accommodations because you see the difficulties and you can? Now it's just you saying, my child needs extra time, or some sort of special treatment, I doubt that will go over well. Some people already had the school test for learning difficulties then went for private testing because the school found nothing, what if the school only respects their diagnosis?
It seems like a lot of problems to solve, which would mean a lot of money. Also in no regulation states, that would mean extra staff would be needed to handle all of these people. We have one district in this state that some people feel act as difficult as possible so that people will either get an umbrella or give up homeschooling all together. What if we get people like that administering this mandated testing. In this state they are already overworked trying to just do reviews, I couldn't imagine they'd be thrilled with having a huge influx of kids for the big tests every year.

Solong
01-23-2015, 02:53 PM
Sorry, I only check in once or twice weekly - which makes for awkward discussion. "Here's my BIG opinion. Bye!" Lol.

I'm going to be a bit stubborn, CrazyMom. With freedom comes responsibility and accountability. I absolutely believe in a parent's freedom to homeschool (obviously). I will also continue to advocate for childrens' human rights to be universally recognized and enforced. My reductive opinion is that a child's right to an education is more important than a parent's freedom to homeschool. That being said...

We are fortunate to live in an area where the public system is both supportive of and cooperative with homeschoolers. The G4 and G7 exams require an invigilator, such as a librarian, but additional support (in the form of extra time, reader/scribe, etc) by the parent is permitted.

BC measurements are fair. You can unschool, tiger school, ping-pong school... As long as your child has basic literacy and numeracy skills by G4, they can pass the exams. No micromanagement, but as much support as you request. BC rocks.

We also don't have to deal with the money-hungry extortionists that are the textbook and testing corporations in the US. The government has once again served up the public on a silver platter at the Corporation Feast. This time, it served up children.

I absolutely understand that in other places things are different. Parents aren't always just exercising their freedom to homeschool. They may be homeschooling to protect their child's physical and mental health. They may be making religious or political statements. It may be equally about educational choice AND rejection of current education practices... I get it, I do. The realist in me gets it, but the idealist is stubborn.

CrazyMom
01-24-2015, 01:08 AM
AnonyMs....I disagree with you wholly.....but I absolutely think you're entitled to your opinion and it's every bit as valid as mine....just different.

With freedom comes responsibility and accountability. Accountability to whom? If you have to jump through a set of hoops, you're not free.

I absolutely believe in a parent's freedom to homeschool (obviously). Me too.

I will also continue to advocate for childrens' human rights to be universally recognized and enforced. Me too.

"My reductive opinion is that a child's right to an education is more important than a parent's freedom to homeschool." This is where we have a big divergence of opinion. Not because I don't think all kids deserve to be educated.......but because you then have to define what constitutes an *appropriate education* which becomes a bit of a trick.

In your mind, does that just mean passing a test? Again, what about learning disabled kids? What about neglected/abused kids who are just naturally very bright?

The bottom line is that you have to elect an ultimate authority for education.

I elect the parent.

You elect the state.


Let me ask you....do you also mandate the state being involved in measuring the competencies of parents who have pre-school aged children? Surely those HUGE developmental years from 0-5 are more impacting on future success than any other educational period in a child's life. Should the state monitor it? If you DON'T mandate monitoring parental competencies for toddlers....why don't you? If the state is the primary guardian of a child's education....it would stand to reason that you'd endorse this practice.

I understand the crux of what you're saying.....you're concerned about child welfare, about children being denied crucial education. Those are admirable things to be concerned about, and I worry about them, too. But you've taken the stance that the state knows best, and the state can better serve the child than the parents. And I just disagree with that. Even the most depraved, developmentally stunted parents....have a more significant interest in their children's success than the state.

I think we're talking about two different things. I think what you're really concerned about....is true abuse and neglect. Everyone is concerned about those things. But conceding to state authority in education....does NOT factor hugely into preventing or fighting those issues.

murphs_mom
01-24-2015, 12:31 PM
Quick question: Does state oversight necessarily have to involve formal testing, in your opinion? We have state oversight here (MD), but there's no mandatory testing. It's an option for those who want to participate. Our oversight is somewhat optional...you could opt to use an approved curriculum like Calvert ($$), you could use an umbrella group ($$ and most are religious around here), OR you can take in a portfolio of work samples to the BoE 2X a year (the approach we chose to do). It's pretty laid back for the most part. They look to see that work is getting done, we bring enough materials to support our claim that we're actually homeschooling. No muss, no fuss. There's oversight, but it's not rigid. Plenty of unschoolers are in the mix. I've only heard of 2 families who hit a wall with the process, and they were given a formal notice w/8 weeks to correct things before having a 2nd review. I like this system, frankly. It covers the concerns about child welfare (kids who are abused because they went off the PS grid) without forcing kids to still jump through PS hoops (like standardized testing).

Just sayin'... :)

CrazyMom
01-24-2015, 05:17 PM
I think ANY oversight of parental education is wrong. Studies prove it makes no difference what so ever to outcomes. (States with zero oversight...like where I live....have the same instances of success and same rates of abuse as strict oversight states)

I don't like the idea of just giving that right away to the state.

The idea of being ok with having to prove that "you're not doing anything wrong"...when you're doing what you know is in the best interest of your child......is abhorrent to me. What the hell gives the state the right to demand that? And to what end? We know it's not going to prevent neglect or abuse.

It makes no difference....so ultimately it's not only a waste of tax dollars, worse... it's also an exercise in comfortably handing over our personal liberties to the state.

Could Elle have gone in and passed the tests and impressed them as a wonderfully educated perfect example of a perfect homeschooled kid? Of course she could have....the kid is brilliant at taking standardized tests. She could throw together a portfolio of independent projects at any age that would have blown them out of their socks.

Being ABLE to comply isn't the issue. ALLOWING the authority of the state to make a determination is the issue.

How does a state reviewer who meets with your kid a few times a year for an hour.....or for a couple of tests....have ANY insight into who your kid is and if they are being "adequately educated" (whatever that means)? Aren't you, the parent, in a much better position to do that?

If we try to justify this with...."well, the state has to make sure the kids are safe and getting their right to a good education"....I think the state should clean it's own house, first. Hideous abuses happen in public schools. Hideous negligence. Kids graduating who are functionally illiterate. Horrible scores in language and math globally. Children so bullied that they kill themselves after months of parents begging for help.

In my speech class freshman year of highschool, I had an assigned seat next to a boy who raped a friend of mine and two other girls. He was also the son of the football coach and PE teacher. He was never brought to justice. My friend quit school, while he sat there smugly, inches from me....protected by a good-old-boy network of faculty. At the time....I couldn't leave public school to homeschool....because too many people had the SAME type of mindset. The government knows BEST about school. Parents who were not licensed teachers could not homeschool when I was a kid....because of that mindset. (Thank the Gods that people with my mindset fought hard and changed this)

If the state CAN'T prevent horrific abuse and neglect of kids it has custody of 40 hours a week....what makes you think it can prevent horrific abuses and neglect in kids it sees a few hours a year?

My whole point is that freedoms are precious. Our right to determine what is best for our kids is precious.

Why on Earth would anyone happily surrender that....just because social convention says so?

Had I lived in a high regulation state (I would have moved)....but if I had no other choice than to homeschool in a highly regulated state....yep, I'd have probably jumped through the hoops, too...if I was forced to, and thought it realistically could mean any legal issues for my family. But I would have RAGED against those requirements publicly and politically. I would have worked to change the laws. Because they are WRONG.

I don't need the state to *approve* that I provided the BEST education my particular kid could have had. I know I did. And that's good enough.


End of rant. I know there are those who disagree. To each their own. But I really needed to voice my perspective...freedom is a pretty big issue to me.

BatDad
01-24-2015, 05:35 PM
While I still do not mind the level of regulations here in FL, I would take issue if they attempted to increase regulations. Hell, since my certification is valid until June 2015, I have been filling out our own evaluation forms. After that, we will probably switch to an umbrella. It does not get easier than that.

While I am not necessarily anti-government, I do know that once you hand over liberty it will not come back without change to the entire system.

If we allow the government to monitor our kids to the point that "they" get to choose the education, I foresee the government taking following steps within other areas of our child's life. Not to mention, if we allow the government to go much further, we lose many of the advantages of homeschooling in the first place. We have to be the ones to keep our government in check, not the other way around. Yes, there will be parents who are evil. Yet there will also be government officials who are evil. Simply putting the government in charge does not necessarily solve the problem. I obviously have my own beliefs for how well the government handles education, since I both left my career and pulled my kids out.

CrazyMom
01-24-2015, 05:36 PM
Interesting fact... According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy, in April of 2013.....19% of high school graduates were functionally illiterate.

One out of five kids that the state had 40 hours a week for 13 years....can't read.

And I should defer to their authority in education?

Not. A. Chance.

BatDad
01-24-2015, 05:45 PM
Interesting fact... According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy, in April of 2013.....19% of high school graduates were functionally illiterate.

One out of five kids that the state had 40 hours a week for 13 years....can't read.

And I should defer to their authority in education?

Not. A. Chance.

That was one of the biggest shockers to me when we began homeschool. I thought my boy's preK teacher was totally awesome because my boy was reading and doing basic math. However, once we brought him home, he advanced quicker in less time, much of it independently with guidance. It really made me wonder what the hell our schools are doing 40+ hours a week for 13+ years when the kids still can't pass basic tests. I am certain that the biggest job of schools is to watch kids so that parents can work and pay taxes. Education is further down the list of priorities.

murphs_mom
01-24-2015, 06:44 PM
I have nothing to hide. The BoE is not requiring us to teach anything in particular nor are they requiring us to teach it in a particular way. All they're asking is that a HSer show evidence that HSing is happening. Pretty simple...if a parent has nothing to hide.

The only 2 families I know who've run in to trouble w/our state's approach got into that trouble because they were doing nothing. Nada. Zero, zip, zilch. They pulled their kids from the school system because they were constantly missing school, the kids weren't doing their homework, the kids were failing public school, and the parents were tired of the calls from the admins. Their solution was to pull the kids from school and then park them in front of the TV/Playstation. The kids weren't being abuse, but they weren't being educated either. And, no, they weren't unschoolers. They were just lazy individuals who didn't care.

If preventing this kind of stupidity (parents who pull kids just to avoid the school system) means I need to trot into the BoE 2x a year, I'm okay with that. OTOH, if the BoE wants to start instituting policies and procedures, then I'll battle them. Until then, I'm 'meh' about it all.

Solong
01-24-2015, 10:10 PM
I had to go back a bit in the thread to pick up the monitoring-education-to-pick-up-on-abuse thing. I hope I didn't indicate that I think THAT is a reasonable idea. I don't.

Abuse is an entirely different issue, beyond the scope of what I am discussing. Abuse may be linked to other educational methods... I would have to do a publication review to know more, but I already know that we can't determine that about homeschooling based on the research done so far.

I think registration is the first step - because we can then measure outcomes in adulthood: graduation, post-secondary enrolment/completion, access to social services and criminality. Personally, I predict that most homeschoolers will shine. I also predict that FLDS, Witness and other sects that practice arranged marriages, excommunication, etc, will turn out even worse than the PS literacy rate quoted above @ 81%. I could be wrong.

Second step would be screening for learning differences, as well as measuring literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills at a few developmental points. Not as a policing measure, but simply to help define (and support!) the learner's academic needs. How to do that? I wish I knew. Testing is a very economical way to do so. There are actually some really fantastic tests available - it doesn't have to be the bubble card advocated by the local BoE. I think portfolios are the most accurate representations of a student's ability, but they are less economical.

Solong
01-24-2015, 10:12 PM
By the way, I love having the discussion :) I don't mean to ruffle feathers or imply that I disapprove of anyone else's opinion. We just disagree - which is ok by me.

CrazyMom
01-24-2015, 11:31 PM
Agreed, AnonyMs. No feathers ruffled here, either. All opinions and perspectives are welcome in my book, too....I'm encouraged to see people talking about it.

Riceball_Mommy
01-25-2015, 10:43 AM
I don't mind the regulation in MD, but really I don't see where they are doing all that much for anyone. None of the reviewers have actually met my daughter. They hear me talk about her and they see some school work she's done that's it. Even then they just flip through the math book and quickly glance at the papers. They'll maybe take some time and comment on some artwork or her history notebook. Nothing real in depth. It's really just a hoop. I'm proving that I'm doing something, not that she's learning just that I'm teaching. I don't mind it, and I certainly wouldn't want to see more but if you look at it what are they really doing? They're just making sure those that are doing absolutely nothing aren't allowed to continue.
Also I wish the school was better equipped for testing learning differences. I'm told they have to make testing available in this state for free, but the only program they sometimes offer is speech. I've also been told if you do testing you probably won't get a diagnosis just a list of things they could do for your child if they were in classroom. Of course there are people that go through the school to get the testing done then still pay out of pocket for private testing because the school didn't find anything.

murphs_mom
01-25-2015, 01:32 PM
Riceball_Mommy: Nailed it.

CrazyMom
01-25-2015, 03:45 PM
"if you look at it what are they really doing? They're just making sure those that are doing absolutely nothing aren't allowed to continue."

In reality, they're just making sure that people who don't want to get into trouble...show up with some papers and books. (regardless of whether the children in question have ever seen the books or papers in hand, or spend half their day locked in a closet cutting cocaine for distribution...lol)

Maybe I'm cynical, but the staunch honesty of people who would blatantly neglect their kids...doesn't come immediately to mind as a rule of thumb.

We need to investigate evidence of abuse and neglect. For public school kids, for home school kids, for church kids. For all kids who have aroused concerns. Not always easy, but I absolutely agree we need to protect kids and bolster resources to do this.

But does simply being a homeschooler JUSTIFY immediate suspicion and state investigation of abuse/neglect?

If these meetings and reviews are nothing more than an abuse/neglect screening........isn't that the mindset we're allowing?

I understand feeling torn about this issue....because, like everyone else here...I know my kid could have easily jumped through the hoops and yep, I know abuse/neglect among the home school community exists. I want to do my part to fight possible abuse/neglect......but I also want to do my part to defend home schooling....and submitting myself and my child to what IS in essence...an arbitrary abuse/neglect screening based on my decision...doesn't feel like I'm doing a very good job defending my belief that parents have a right to make this perfectly valid choice.

I dunno.....just feels a bit like letting the SS "check my papers". Does it hurt me? No. But it IS a violation. It IS an arbitrary overreach by government to make me (someone who is doing nothing wrong)..... PROVE I'm not doing anything wrong.

I appreciate concerns on both sides of this issue.

But ultimately, I have to side with rejecting regulation and maintaining my implicit freedom to choose my kid's education. (Thank goodness law makers in my state and several others agree with me.)

Solong
01-25-2015, 04:07 PM
So... is that what is happening in the US? They have reporting in place only for the purpose of screening for abuse?? Honestly? Sounds like a scare-tactic - not a real attempt to support learners.

I think with learning differences, we start to get into that fuzzy area between education and medical care.

BC (and NL - the two provinces I can directly speak to) are great. Medical, dental, vision, pharm, and alternatives (chiro, acupuncture, massage) are all covered for minors. We put this system to the test last year, and didn't pay a loonie out of pocket. Dd10 went through a pre-school assessment at age five, which was incredibly thorough. She was flagged for a few minor vison and speech items, that were then rechecked after both first and second term of K - then, all clear. Homeschoolers have full access to this system, including necessary therapies. If you decline the school-based therapies, you can apply for direct reimbursement for your therapist of choice (they need to be licensed and in good standing), up to a certain amount.

It's fantastic, but not perfect. Dd has a visual-spatial processing issue that was missed during pre-school screening, as well as every annual vision test up to last year - when it was finally caught. Why? I don't know. I guess because it is relatively minor. I didn't suspect it at all, and I'm her mum AND homeschooling her.

We've loved every single one of dd's provincial advocates. We seriously hated one of the unschooling umbrella schools, because they made us meditate and do three page WEEKLY 'self-observations'... But, the BC teachers have been fabulous. They feel like advocates, not CPS informants.

murphs_mom
01-25-2015, 06:18 PM
It's interesting that someone would see a HS review as merely a checkpoint for potential child abuse. It's not. It's a check to see that schooling is happening. The perk is that it may also prevent some kids from just disappearing off the radar thus making it easier for someone to abuse (or worse) them. Having met some of the families in this area and spent a little time w/them and their kids, I think it's a really awesome idea to follow up 2X a year to make sure someone in the house is attempting to learn something. Like Riceball_Mommy, most of our reviews have consisted of someone flipping through books and papers. The key difference, however, is that DD has always been there too. She isn't required to be there. We asked her and she said she wanted to go.

If someone feels violated by this, then I don't know what to tell them. I'm far more disturbed/perturbed by other stuff the fed government has done. The new healthcare system springs to mind. My medical info in a centralized database quickly follows. The list of what bugs me more than the HS review could go on for days. Mandatory testing for HSers along with a mandate that they perform at a certain level would bug the piss out of me. That isn't happening here. Elsewhere? Perhaps. Maybe someone from one of those states should chime in?

alexsmom
01-26-2015, 09:46 AM
For me, the worry of *abuse* is the worry about kids kept in compounds or not allowed into society. Kids where there is no record of their existance, no interaction with the outside world. Registering all kids as homeschooled at least puts them on a roster somewhere.
In the US, Sharia law isnt accepted, neither is impregnating 14 year old girls. (Stereotyped extremes, I know.) We have freedom and independance.... to a point. I dont mind compulsory registration when it makes another radar blip for kids that are otherwise invisible.
Would the situation in Waco, TX have been handled differently if Child Services had gone in instead of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms? No idea, but the compoundists would have been under more scrutiny.
Remember the pictures of the Branch Davidian *wives* from the trial?

The comment that turned someone off Robinson Curriculum (maybe Batdad?) about not teaching the girls math because it would make them less compliant as wives?

Playing the public school systems over-testing scheme? Not a chance. But registering, and a couple of progress checks to see that a kid appears to be learning schooly stuff - doesnt seem so horrible to me.

We have pets... they live, they die. Nothing has to be reported about them. They can die at home, we bury them in a shoebox in the yard. Nobody is the wiser. Children shouldnt be the same way.

Accidental Homeschooler
01-26-2015, 09:48 AM
Our state just changed its rules. We have gone from having a choice between testing, portfolio review or joining a home school assistance program (HSAP) to basically nothing. It was part of a deal to get a budget approved with funding for the schools and gave the reps from the part of our state that is very fundie conservative some happy news to take home to their constituents. The old system was not, in my experience, onerous. I like having the HSAP, the option we have always done.

I think a system that requires registering and allows registered hsers to be cross referenced with a list of parents with founded abuse reports would solve a lot of the problems with abusive parents pulling their kids our of school for the purposes of hurting them as opposed to educating them. Most of the cases I have read about where abuse, rather than education, was the purpose of hsing were in families that had abused their kids in the past and often having had a long relationship with the local child protective services prior to hsing.

BatDad
01-26-2015, 03:46 PM
The comment that turned someone off Robinson Curriculum (maybe Batdad?) about not teaching the girls math because it would make them less compliant as wives?

Yep, that was me. I am glad I caught that, and found that I did not have to stress about making a curriculum work, when I could simply find better. I left that FB group the day after I saw that, since the comments had shown me enough (they agreed with the OP).

This is why I am fine with our state's current laws. I'm grateful we have choices, and I will fight to keep those choices if ever needed. There are countries out there where homeschooling is illegal, so we still have to monitor how things go here.

LadyXDM
01-26-2015, 04:28 PM
The reason we homeschool is to keep the govt out of our lives and our child rearing. It's more complicated than that, of course, but I'd say that's the nutshell. I couldn't believe that for myself and think any other family could require more oversight. Simply because some child somewhere might slip through the cracks does not mean I'm ready to give up MY freedoms.

And I have such a huge problem with testing. Looking at tests, they really just want memorization and regurgitation. My older girl spent hours playing with a microscope this week. She's 6 and that's a middle school 'thing' around here. So, she probably couldn't tell you much '1st grade science memorization stuff' but good lord is she learning?

I'll just be content to be left alone, thank you. And if I think a fellow homeschooler is abusive, I know how to find the number to CPS.

I don't know why this particular thing got a bee in my bonnet but every time standardized testing comes up I just want to barf. LOL