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Cafdog
10-28-2011, 11:24 AM
If you haven't had a chance to peek at Shannon Hagen Dooley's blog post about Homeschool Achievement http://www.secularhomeschool.com/entries/1142-Numbers-Behind-Homeschooling - take a peek! She refers to a recent study of test scores of homeschooled children vs. public school students. Unsurprisingly, the homeschooled students had far higher test scores. Worth a look.

What I found particularly interesting was the lack of correlation between high achievement and household income and parental education level. I remember that was a "given" in PS test data that more $$ and more degrees = higher test scores. Not so for homeschoolers, it seems!

My hubby and I both have graduate degrees (not in educational fields), and I have to admit my many years of higher education have not really done much to help me as I homeschool a fifth grader. I spend more time trying to remember those long-ago basic facts that I have forgotten, or never really learned in the first place.

Have you found your own educational degrees/lack of degrees helpful in your role as parent/teacher? Not so helpful?

dbmamaz
10-28-2011, 11:57 AM
The studies that show this are flawed. Read this analysis (http://gaither.wordpress.com/tag/brian-d-ray/2010/05/03/new-ray-study-of-homeschooler-demographics-and-achievement/#entry). I can't quote directly from wordpress on my iPad, but the demographics of people who volunteered for this study is the same demographic who do above average on this tests in public school.

One of e problems with these studies is the selection process. He has to get volunteers, and of course only families who ate fairly confident about their kids testing will volunteer. And un schoolers are unlikely to be represented.

I saw a better study in Canada recently, probably fro this same blog. Their results were that the home schooled students scored about the same as public schooled students, but home schoolers with an organized program scored better and homeschoolers without an organized program (unschoolers) did worse. Which if course doesn't bother unschoolers, who generally feel that these tests are of little value. It also makes me wonder if the kinds of kids who have trouble academically in school, are more likely to end up as unschoolers

I saw another link once claiming to prove that homeschoolers scored better on the SAT. Bit a small amount of research on my part showed that those stats were totally false. The SAT scores are published with scores broken down for public, christain private, unaffiliated private schools, and other. The person who created this post had taken the 'unaffiliated' numbers and labeled them as homeschoolers. But homeschoolers would actually be I the other category. The unaffiliated scores were the highest, and 'other' scores were average.

You have to look carefully at sources. I find anything associated w HSLDA to be especially suspect, as they are in the politics business. But I believe that SAT analysis was not fro them

Shoe
10-28-2011, 12:07 PM
What I found particularly interesting was the lack of correlation between high achievement and household income and parental education level. I remember that was a "given" in PS test data that more $$ and more degrees = higher test scores. Not so for homeschoolers, it seems!

My hubby and I both have graduate degrees (not in educational fields), and I have to admit my many years of higher education have not really done much to help me as I homeschool a fifth grader. I spend more time trying to remember those long-ago basic facts that I have forgotten, or never really learned in the first place.

Have you found your own educational degrees/lack of degrees helpful in your role as parent/teacher? Not so helpful?I don't find it terribly surprising. Most of what I learned in my bachelor's and further education has very little relevance to the material taught me in school. If I had taken an education degree, perhaps it would be helpful, I don't know. I seem to be re-learning things alongside of my kids, but the biggest advantage I see is that I have more time to individually tutor my kids than would the teachers in public school.

Amanadoo
10-28-2011, 12:16 PM
Well I don't have any comment on the studies, but anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that higher level college degrees (that is to say, college degrees at all) are not the least bit necessary for effective, competent homeschooling. Some of the dumbest people I have ever met have masters degrees and then some. Of course, some of the other dumbest people I've ever met have been loser drop-outs. Intelligence aside, career academia also doesn't necessarily lend itself to stellar communication skills, which is needed in interactions between teacher and student at least.

I take everything, from everybody, with a grain of salt, is what I'm saying. Some people aren't nearly as smart as they think they are. Some people aren't as dumb as they think they are. In my experience, degrees rarely make the difference between the two.

Cafdog
10-28-2011, 12:19 PM
I don't find it terribly surprising. Most of what I learned in my bachelor's and further education has very little relevance to the material taught me in school. If I had taken an education degree, perhaps it would be helpful, I don't know. I seem to be re-learning things alongside of my kids, but the biggest advantage I see is that I have more time to individually tutor my kids than would the teachers in public school.

Good point. I think the one constant between high achieving kids (homeschooled or not) is involved parents. Parents of PS kids who check homework, read to their preschoolers, etc, etc. have children who are more successful academically. I guess homeschooling is taking that involvement even further???

I too, find that I am learning (or re-learning) so much during this homeschool process. I have always been a proponent of life-long learning - and now I'm having to put up or shut up! :o

LovingMyChildren
10-28-2011, 12:20 PM
Funny, I have a masters in educational psychology and a PhD in counseling psychology. Despite this, I've been trying to figure out how to apply "education theory" to my own child and it just doesn't seem too be as clear cut as they teach (right!!). My PhD has come in handy though, but only because I've worked with diverse people from inmates to NGRI committed folks to veterans to special forces and I know how to be patient, very patient. My daughter, at times, acts like the worst of all of them but with a cuter smile :)

dbmamaz
10-28-2011, 12:37 PM
Yeah, sorry I didnt actually answer the question. I am a college drop out . . .from like 3 colleges. I dont think it has much impact, but i think sometimes its a shortcut to how much parents VALUE eduction - which obviously most homeschoolers do.

I also (and i've stated this before) wish we could see studies which correlate homeschooling to LIFE success, rather than TEST success. How much do they earn and what are their levels of satisfaction with their lives. I guess it'll be a while before we see that study . . . probably part of some homeschooler's sociology PhD

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-28-2011, 01:33 PM
I can't say that my college degree helps me in terms of specific knowledge because of my terrible long-term memory. Forget about what I learned in high school... It's long gone. I'm relearning (or even learning for the first time) things like history, some science (I managed to avoid ever taking physics somehow), and much of my high school French.

As far as something helpful to homeschooling, college did instill in me a love of learning and an appreciation of the humanities. I was in a wonderful two-year core curriculum program where I was exposed to wonderful works of literature and philosophy, Far Eastern religions, and music that I never studied in high school. It was taught by enthusiastic professors who loved to interact with their students. That experience made me feel how shallow and apathetic my high school education was and I relish the opportunity to do better by my own kids.

Jilly
10-28-2011, 02:20 PM
As far as something helpful to homeschooling, college did instill in me a love of learning and an appreciation of the humanities. I was in a wonderful two-year core curriculum program where I was exposed to wonderful works of literature and philosophy, Far Eastern religions, and music that I never studied in high school. It was taught by enthusiastic professors who loved to interact with their students. That experience made me feel how shallow and apathetic my high school education was and I relish the opportunity to do better by my own kids.

I could say the same thing. It is not that I use what I learned at university on a day-to-day basis, but my experience has shaped me and influenced what I want to teach my kids. I also contrast my college experience with my public school experience, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to further my studies with students and professors who cared. It made me see how wonderful learning could be, and I try to pass that on to my children.

As far as the study linked, I agree with Cara that anything associated with HSDLA is suspect.

Cafdog
10-28-2011, 03:23 PM
I also (and i've stated this before) wish we could see studies which correlate homeschooling to LIFE success, rather than TEST success. How much do they earn and what are their levels of satisfaction with their lives. I guess it'll be a while before we see that study . . . probably part of some homeschooler's sociology PhD

As difficult as it is to quantify "success", I'm with you! Now this is a study I would love to read. :)

dragonfly
10-28-2011, 05:45 PM
I think what's more important than what level of education the parent educator has achieved is that they know their own limitations.

E.g., I know that I'm pretty good at math, but dh is better, so I'll go to him if I get stuck on something. I'll also defer to him when it comes to critiquing/grading compositions, because that's something that doesn't come easily to me. I'm excellent at spelling, but I'll still consult a dictionary if an unusual word pops up. If we have an issue that is outside our area of expertise, I'll do my best to consult someone who knows better.

Oh, and I've had some college, dh has an AS degree, and was within a few credits of his bachelor's when he dropped out. I think that the most valuable things I learned from school were not the facts I learned in class. Rather, thanks to a few great teachers, it was enjoying the process of learning, and being able to figure things out on my own when necessary. That, and learning how to type. I am thankful for my high school typing class every day.

Stella M
10-28-2011, 06:01 PM
Yes, going to university has helped me. Most especially the kind of mentoring I had from my teachers. They taught me to discuss, debate, edit, translate, work, take myself seriously/not so seriously, to value what I had to give, research, follow my bliss. All things I use to educate my children.

Ironically, the thing I have a degree in - writing - is what we don't teach in our house.

Lak001
10-28-2011, 08:10 PM
I have forgotten a lot of stuff too. I'm re-learning, and much more. In fact, I'm learning so much from my daughter. Especially about animals, animal habitats, geography, geology and so many other things. I did not know about many things that she talks about:eek:
And my college degree hasn't helped me a bit when it comes to homeschooling. AndI suspect it will ever, unless my child wants to pursue a similar degree in technology which I highly doubt. She's more artsy, and her interests keep changing. So, we'll see. But i'm pretty confident that with some brushing up I can homeschool her all the way through High school. We only need to think about labs for chemistry, physics and such. That is still a lot of time to go, and I don't plan anything that far ahead.

Christy
10-28-2011, 08:33 PM
I think my university degree helps me a great deal. Getting it taught me a lot about how to learn things, and about analyzing things. It exposed me to ideas and ways of looking at things I hadn't heard before (despite coming from a fairly well read family). So I think it helps me in my teaching.

I jokingly refer to my style of homeschooling as "academic immersion." I do use some basic math, and spelling activities, and I make my oldest do daily reading, but a lot of the learning comes because I am throwing myself into learning about all different topics.... I want to learn about something, and then the information and interest bubbles over. I always look at it that what I teach the kids should be just the tip of the iceberg. I should know so much more about the topic, so that I feel comfortable in it and can encourage the children to ask questions and not just memorize the five same facts I have. So I try to keep up with my own reading and I try to move around topics and such. I try to make questions of physics, chemistry, ethics, politics, economics... I try to make questions of these a part of every day life, and I know my education helps allow me to do this.

It doesn't mean I don't think those with less education can't homeschool or do a good job with it. But I couldn't... I don't know how to teach except by falling in love with the subjects myself and dragging my kids along into it, and I don't think I could do that if I hadn't pushed myself to learn how to read the difficult texts I pushed myself to read for university. Or if I hadn't learned how to pick out the questions, the issues which would make good essay thesis (and, now, good discussion topics with my children).

Elidani
10-28-2011, 11:32 PM
I would not say that having any training in college has helped me in my endeavors as a homeschooler. However, being a homeschooler did inspire me to go back to school myself and I am working on my degree in a different and more exciting field than I did the first time. If it is helping with my teaching at all it is only to inspire my children to excel at life, at least I'm hoping so anyway.

koalaborg
10-29-2011, 03:07 AM
my husband and I are both PhDs, and our desire for a rigorous academic program is one of the main reasons we decided I would stop working and homeschool. but teaching an almost-5 year old is A LOT different than a lab full of undergraduates as I am finding out! I would have to say that having degrees is helpful to me because I have "learned how to learn" and how to be (in theory) organized with my teaching since I have taught undergrads. My education may really help later on with middle or high school level math and science since that's my field. But right now I am teaching kindergarten, and the most important thing I am teaching my kiddo is to love learning new things (and reading and basic math...), and I don't think I need a degree for that.

JinxieFox
10-29-2011, 07:27 AM
No, I don't feel that my lack of a college degree has hindered me in homeschooling my son. Like Cara, I'm a college drop-out. I went and said, "Bah! This is boring. I just want to write."

I do think that graduating from highschool is important, but not necessary. Taking all of the high-level college prep and AP courses didn't equip me to homeschool my son. They just gave *me* an education. It takes more than an education to homeschool (or parent) in the first place. It takes common sense.

Here's an example: when a bunch of spouses in Korea got angry at me for referring to them as "sheeple", they went on and on about how they were college-educated and blah-di-blah-blah-blah. Pardon me, but education does not equal common sense.

In another instance, the spouses complained to my ex-husband's commander's wife that I use "too many big words" and that I "intimidate them by being too intelligent". You can't have it both ways! Either I use words that are too big and am too intelligent, or *you* have a college degree and somehow are better than me.

So, lack of a college degree has not been an issue for me (in fact, one adult friend with a learning disability found that her reading, comprehension and overall language abilities improved when she did some vocational testing after our first year of friendship).

Lack of common sense and basic literacy skills would be a problem, though. ;)

Later in life, though (after high school, prior to having my son), I was put into many positions where I ended up being the leader. Apparently I am a natural-born leader and just never knew it until I was an adult. I think some ability to lead helps with homeschooling.

CatInTheSun
10-29-2011, 05:38 PM
my husband and I are both PhDs, and our desire for a rigorous academic program is one of the main reasons we decided I would stop working and homeschool. but teaching an almost-5 year old is A LOT different than a lab full of undergraduates as I am finding out! I would have to say that having degrees is helpful to me because I have "learned how to learn" and how to be (in theory) organized with my teaching since I have taught undergrads. My education may really help later on with middle or high school level math and science since that's my field. But right now I am teaching kindergarten, and the most important thing I am teaching my kiddo is to love learning new things (and reading and basic math...), and I don't think I need a degree for that.

Completely agree. Maybe it matters what the degree is in? It also seems to come in handy more and more as the kids get older.

When I was a PhD student in engineering I decided to take an intensive foreign language course. Mind you I SUCK at languages. As I sat there in that class I realized something: there were people in that class far more talented than I, more motivated (moving to that country), more dedicated (pouring in more hours) -- but learning the material, getting the high scores and racking up As was EASY for me. Why? Because I KNEW how to LEARN. I was a pro. I could take any info, convert it into my brain's native language, and suck it in thru a fire hose better than anyone else in that room. I could maintain my focus for HOURS if needed (I joked the PhD was about being able to sit thru 3hr technical meetings without running out screaming). All thru college I took lots of humanities courses that fascinated me, and I had access to some of the best profs and classes. I have a pretty solid understanding of french and russian literature, for example, especially for a scientist. :D

And YES, those skills are useful for homeschooling. I understand the math and sciences to a depth most high school math and science teachers don't even know exist (not a brag, but in my opinion condemnation of our school system), so yes, that means I can pull out multiple alternate explanations as needed. I can adroitly handle the "when will I ever use this?" question with solid examples because I've used in the real world or sat in countless seminars given by folks using it now.

I also apply that same trained observational and analytic skills on my kids -- I research how they think and learn with the same dedication I once researched photons. I'm ALWAYS reading books on developmental psychology or neurobiology and I'm always open to tweak my methods.

That said, my education doesn't guarantee me success nor would it's absence disable me. I think it is helpful, but not necessary. My dh does not have a college degree, but he is one of the smartest men I know, always learning, always reading about new things. I have to remind myself not to jump in with the answer too quickly, that learning may involve glue sticks and crayons and messes, and what look means "brain all full" in my kiddos. When a 4yo asks why the sky is blue, replying "Rayleigh scattering" isn't the best answer, "Why do YOU think?" is. My education gives me confidence in the technical side, so I can learn the touchy-feely side better. Someone without that education may struggle more on the technical, but may have an easier time with the later.

Ultimately, I think what matters most is the dedication to do your best educating your kids. That is necessary. Having a solid education myself, just makes the execution a bit easier.

Lak001
10-29-2011, 06:14 PM
Agree with CatInTheSun. I have a degree in Engineering, and I think that teaching math and science will be easier for me, but education isn't just math, science, literature, or any subject found in the standard curriculum. Education also involves a lot of life lessons which is where a public school doesn't do a good job, IMO. Kids are left to themselves to deal with their battles, ostracized for their failures, and punished for their shortcomings. This is where homeschoolers score, IMO. We are there to help our kids deal with their battles, support them through their failures, and accept them with or without their shortcomings, ideally speaking. That's what matters. Not a college degree.

onmom
10-29-2011, 10:11 PM
for the Shut up factor. Many people change their attitude when they hear you have a degree or two behind you.

Amanadoo
10-29-2011, 11:01 PM
for the Shut up factor. Many people change their attitude when they hear you have a degree or two behind you.

THAT is a great point

Lak001
10-30-2011, 11:34 AM
for the Shut up factor. Many people change their attitude when they hear you have a degree or two behind you.

Even though I agree with this, I think it's ridiculous that people give so much weightage to a degree. See, it may also be the case where someone is exceptionally brilliant, but did not have an opportunity to obtain a college degree. And the converse can also be true. Someone with a college degree may just be really dumb. I guess this debate is for another thread.