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Home Learning for Kids





poppat
Does anyone have any opinions on home scooling your children?

My son is intelligent but is not being taught very well at his current primary school in England. He will be moving up to a secondary school in September. It's a worrying time. The problem he is good at maths but slightly slow at reading and understanding. He is also distracted easily. Unfortunately at the moment we cannot home school him yet, until I have sorted out my employment.

Any ideas.

poppat
Bikerman
Yes, I have an opinion. Speaking as an ex-teacher/lecturer I would say:

1) Home schooling is very expensive, unless you think you can deliver a full curriculum yourself.
2) Socialisation is an important part of school. Home-schooled kids tend to be badly socialised.
3) From my experience, most parents have unrealistic views of their child's academic prowess.
4) If you think your child is having problems in some areas then I would advise home tutoring in those areas rather than home schooling.
missdixy
Bikerman wrote:
2) Socialisation is an important part of school. Home-schooled kids tend to be badly socialised.


I think this is a common and terrible misconception. It is totally possible to be home-schooled and still develop socially. It's all a matter of making the effort. I know a lot of people who have been home-schooled, and their parents always made sure they were involved in their church, in sports, in several volunteer programs, in girl scouts/boys scouts, and on and on. In fact, I think that being home-schooled gives most kids a social advantage because then they (and their parents) seek out many more ways to socialize other than school. I know a lot of kids who go to school, have a small group of friends and that's it. They do not lead a socially-active life in their community or whatnot.

It all just depends. Home-schooled kids are only "badly socialized" in some situations, definitely not most, at least from the many home-schooled children I've met during my life (not only in my own social circle, but through my aunt who used to homeschool and was involved in helping other parents organize/set up homeschooling for their children.
Bikerman
Well, I also speak from experience.
As a lecturer I taught many young adults who had been partially or totally home schooled. In my experience they tended to be socially clumsy, very weak in some curriculum areas, and sexually naive. Obviously that does not apply to all home-schooled children - it will, of course, depend on the level of socialisation outside the home environment (as well as interaction with siblings) - but I have no doubt that the home schooled youths in my own experience were, on average, less well socialised than their peers.
Indi
i'm going to weigh in here, not as an expert in educational technology, but as a different perspective. Both Anna and i were not educated in schools (before the tertiary level) - she was self-taught and i was "home-schooled".

i was pulled out of the schools where i grew up because they were wildly ineffectual and downright dangerous. The teachers were ignorant, unprofessional and actively racist. Some examples: i was a fully French/English bilingual kid - one of the very few on the island - but for "some bizarre reason" i was failing basic French (the bizarre reason being the teacher would not accept my assignments because i was the wrong race, and just gave me zeros, or deducted random amounts of marks from my tests because i had "an advantage" as a native Francophone); one of my teachers was a plainly visible drunk who would almost always "teach" by showing up, naming a page, then passing out on the desk in a drunken stupor; 2/3 of the teaching day was taken up with religious instruction (literally, and i am not exaggerating); my sister actually failed a social studies course even though she got 96% (or 98%, as i will explain in a second) on the final exam because she disputed the mark the teacher gave her - the question was what was the capital of Canada, she wrote Ottawa, the teacher wanted Toronto, so she gave her 96% instead of 98% - and when she challenged the teacher (and proved her wrong), the teacher failed her from the whole course. During my time in the public school (and my sister was in a private school in the same country), i got beaten by teachers for no other reason than "attitude", singled out for various humiliations like being called up and partially stripped, and psychologically abused by being told i should just quit or kill myself (again, often in front of the class).

Now, i tell you all of this in order to make clear that i am talking about an extreme situation here. People talk about bad experiences in school in North America, or bad teachers... i wanted to make clear that i am on an entirely different scale here. These schools were really bad - and several of my friends did commit suicide at various points, some explicitly naming the school system as the cause. Those of you in developed, Western countries understand: this was seriously bad, not just "i don't like it" bad, it was criminally bad, and there is no chance this situation could exist in most developed countries (and if it did, you have systems in place to correct it).

Frustrated with the horrible situation, my mother pulled me out of school and got her garage accredited as a legitimate school - seriously, she actually studied, applied and passed the standards to become a real school. She was literally the honest-to-god headmistress of a government-recognized primary school with one student (technically, 5, because later four of my friends joined me, 2 of whom were in my year). And she taught me at home.

Bikerman is right - the home-schooling did not do me any good socially. i was (and still am) quite backwards in that respect. And while it did do me a lot of good academically, that was more due to the fact that the regular schools did such a piss-poor job of it - how could they compete when they were wasting 2/3 of the day with various religious functions (or simply passing out drunk instead of teaching anything)?

But despite the fact that i am home-schooled and it (apparently) didn't do me too badly, i don't recommend home-schooling. Why? i have several reasons:
  1. Most home-schooling teachers have absolutely no training or accreditation (my mother, for example, was a nurse who had no clue how to teach). While such ignorance is celebrated in some circles as "homey" or "down-to-earth", or "not being tainted by the system"... it's really just ignorance, and it is dangerous. We have stringent requirements before you are allowed to drive a car in public, and as dangerous misguiding a car is... misguiding a student is far more dangerous.

  2. Teachers that home-school are free from peer observation. People make mistakes, and it is entirely possible that a well-meaning teacher might simply be mistaken about a part of the curriculum, or simply teach it wrong. If a teacher at a school is failing at their job, their failure can be caught by their peers before too much damage is done. With a home-school teacher, they will not be caught until it is too late.

  3. The vast majority of home-school teachers do home-schooling because they have various agendas. Some of those agendas are good (such as wanting to do better than the public schools), some are bad (such as wanting to teach warped curriculums that match certain religious and political agendas). In any case, if their agenda was really to be a good teacher - and this was an agenda they pursued diligently over a long period, not just one they happened to pick up when the wind blew a certain way - they very would probably be a legitimate teacher in a legitimate school anyway.

The upshot is that if you are really concerned about the quality of education your child is receiving, and you are not dealing with extreme circumstances, the proper thing to do is supplement an established, professionally delivered curriculum - by getting tutors for after school or weekends - not throw it all out the window and replace it with something as nebulous as home-schooling.
imera
I don't mean to say anything bad about your son, he is probably very intelligent, but it sounds like my younger sister who is great in math but can't focus and doesn't like reading and writing. She is intelligent but only math won't help her in the long run.
But home schooled only because the school might not provide the best isn't the greatest reason, everyone wants their children to be great ins school but the reality is that many will only be mediocre anyway. And at that young age knowledge is not high on the list, fun, free time, friends and so on is topping it.

I know tons of kids that could do so much better if they tried to study more, but the most important is that they have a great childhood.

If you decide on homeschooling try your best to give right information, teachers has done it year after year and should know the answer (points to Indi's post, sad story), but when the kids are at home they might tend to goof off more often if you're not so strict with him.
Bikerman
I have to say that Indi offers some powerful testimony. I shudder (quite literally, I assure you) at the description of the school and the teachers. If I knew of schools like that in the UK then I would be picketing their entrance (and I mean that).
My own schooling was not a happy time. I was educated by Salesian Monks and the emphasis on religion (and corporal punishment) put me right off school at an early period. We had a biology teacher who took every occasion to point out that evolution was speculative, to the point of impossibility.
We had a ferocious disciplinary code which meant that as a sixth former (aged 18 ) I was given 6 strokes of the thaws across the backside for taking a day off to watch the Queen open a new library in my home town. (Now, OK, I actually didn't watch the Queen - I went to the pub. But the school didn't know that).
Quite simply I found my secondary school brutal, oppressive and a generally horrible experience. Yet, after all that, I am still against home-schooling.
a) I don't believe schools today are either that brutal or that 'amateur' - standards have improved. I know that because I have taught and worked in several.
b) The sort of religious bigotry I was exposed to in school is far more likely to be found in home schooling nowadays. The advent of the National Curriculum means that even the most loopy religious nutcase schools have to teach basic science and cannot get away with pure religious indoctrination. That is under threat in the UK (which is something I campaign against at the moment) but at the moment the National Curriculum is still madatory.
c) Even in the worst school there are teachers who inspire. With homeschooling you have one (or maybe 2 or 3) teachers. If you don't like the teacher then......major problem.
d) Parents I believe are the worst people to teach their own children. They are naturally biased. They also have sufficient contact with their children out of school. To subject them to 24 hour contact means that the child never truly sees independant and conflicting views. Most teachers I know, who have their children at the school in which they teach, prefer not to teach them and will normally try to make sure that their children are in sets or groups which they do not teach. I think this is extremely sensible.
Afaceinthematrix
Bikerman wrote:

d) Parents I believe are the worst people to teach their own children. They are naturally biased. They also have sufficient contact with their children out of school. To subject them to 24 hour contact means that the child never truly sees independant and conflicting views. Most teachers I know, who have their children at the school in which they teach, prefer not to teach them and will normally try to make sure that their children are in sets or groups which they do not teach. I think this is extremely sensible.


Oh yeah I really agree. I think being with your parents 24 hours a day isn't a good idea. I loved school growing up because it got me out of the house. Besides, I don't think many people would learn well from their parents. Having many teachers (like at school) is better anyways - you get more perspectives on things.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
I have to say that Indi offers some powerful testimony. I shudder (quite literally, I assure you) at the description of the school and the teachers.

Yeah, i have left out some of the worst stuff, too. i'm sorry, but i don't really have any interest in sharing all of the gory details, or even recalling them.

The point i wanted to make, and i want to repeat because this is so important, is that that was an extreme situation. There is simply no way such a situation could exist in any first-world nation - these teachers would have been arrested - and even now, in that third-world nation, there have been remarkable improvements in the last decade or so, so these situations don't even apply there anymore. i don't care how bad you think your school is - unless children are dying (and they literally were there), it's not as bad a situation as the one i am describing.

And yes, my mother did believe the school was failing me and thus opted for home-schooling... but again, this was an extreme situation. When i was in Canada, i had to be taken out of a regular school and transferred to a school for gifted kids... and then i advanced a year in that school... and then moved to this country and within two years (and not a year ahead, they dropped me back to my proper year, which my parents did not object to because they assumed i would show in short order i deserved to be put ahead), i was about to fail and be left back a year. Which means all told i fell back two years in just two years time there. That's a little suspicious - and i think in that case, going from being a year ahead at a school for gifted kids to falling a year behind at a regular school... you have just cause to say that you believe your child is under performing.

And, frankly, my mother was not prepared to be a teacher, and it was only due a very close relationship with the Canadian High Commission in that country that she succeeded. They were disgusted with the education system (which was the way it was because of political reasons) but powerless to do anything... until someone (my mother) asked them to step in and help. They provided her with books, counselling - they even flew down real teachers to give her rapid, on-the-job training!

And i don't want to sound arrogant, but part of the success was due to the fact that i was such a bright kid. Technically speaking, she didn't even need to teach me - i taught myself faster than she could (she had to learn the curriculum to teach it, after all). But in her "school", there were three kids in my year... and both of the others had learning disabilities (which is why they were failing so spectacularly in regular schools - those teachers didn't even know what dyslexia was, let alone how to help a child with it). So what ended up happening was she would focus on one, and i would act as surrogate teacher and help the other.

See... these were not normal circumstances - not by any measure. ^_^; It really, really was an extreme and peculiar situation. It worked out, sure, but it really wasn't an ideal or even a practical situation... and it certainly isn't repeatable. It was a freaky conglomeration of environment and personalities that just happened to succeed... but so tenuous that had any single factor been different it would almost certainly have failed.

i just felt that for the sake of honesty i had to admit that i was home-schooled - despite knocking it - and why, even though it worked for me, it really wasn't a "good thing". But i don't want people to use my example to justify "similar" actions. Yes, my mother thought i was a better student than how i appeared to be... but she really did have a valid reason for thinking that (i went from being called "genius" in one country to being told i might have to be failed out of school in a matter of two years). Yes, my mother was not a trained teacher and she did alright... but she did have the highest levels of expert help (the CHC was enthusiastic about helping - and actually wanted my mother to open the school out to the general public). Yes, i did alright scholastically (and both of the students with learning disabilities that no one thought could possibly succeed at all managed to get in the top schools in the island)... but i had been doing alright scholastically since i was a kid, so you can't really thank the home-schooling. It really was a freak situation. ^_^; So please don't use the fact that it succeeded to suggest that any part of doing this again would be a good idea.
Starrfoxx
My wife and I are homeschool our daughter. We are not impressed with the public school system and all the negative influences within it. Our daughter can get a good education while learning to think on her own, and as far as socializing she gets plenty of that in Church and outside activities. She does fine and in some cases she is better educated than other kids her age. Most importantly, she ENJOYS learning. Most kids in school HATE school. The only thing kids seem to learn in school these days is how to do homework. They could care less about what they learn.

I am referring to the American School System, by the way.
Bikerman
So you are giving your daughter a rounded education then? What about science? Are you interested and knowledgeable in physics, biology and chemistry? Have you and/or your wife got a knowledge of mathematics, history, geography, foreign languages etc? Do either of you possess skills and experience in education or are you simply 'winging it'?

I see from other postings that you are a Christian - does this mean that you believe in some sort of creationist view or are you a more 'relaxed' Christian who actually accepts evolution and basic cosmology?

I'd like to know where you get the authority to comment on what 'most kids' think about school and what they learn. Have you extensive experience in education?

There are a couple of red flags in your posting (and I'm not talking about the syntactic/grammatical errors). The first would be your contention that your daughter receives the socialising she requires from the Church and outside activities.....that sounds to me like someone with a deep religious conviction inflicting it on their child. Another would be your contention that your daughter is 'in some cases..better educated than other kids her age'. How do you know that? What benchmarks are you using?
Afaceinthematrix
Starrfoxx wrote:
My wife and I are homeschool our daughter. We are not impressed with the public school system and all the negative influences within it. Our daughter can get a good education while learning to think on her own, and as far as socializing she gets plenty of that in Church and outside activities. She does fine and in some cases she is better educated than other kids her age. Most importantly, she ENJOYS learning. Most kids in school HATE school. The only thing kids seem to learn in school these days is how to do homework. They could care less about what they learn.

I am referring to the American School System, by the way.


To me, it just seems more like you're trying to shelter your daughter. Based on what you said, you must be a Christian. So are you still teaching your daughter about other religions? Religious studies are an important part of any well-rounded education. Sure school may have some negative influences, but school is also one of the best places to get different views on ideas. So is your daughter only socializing with kids from church? Well I take it she probably doesn't have any Buddhist friends to associate with.

Most kids in school hate school? All school teaches is how to do homework? I take it you haven't actually spent any time in a school recently.

But then again, maybe you want to keep your daughter out of the American public school system. It can do horrible things for one's soul. If it wasn't for school, I'd probably still be going to church and I'd probably still be a Christian (I stopped believing in God sometime during high school).
Indi
Starrfoxx wrote:
My wife and I are homeschool our daughter. We are not impressed with the public school system and all the negative influences within it. Our daughter can get a good education while learning to think on her own, and as far as socializing she gets plenty of that in Church and outside activities. She does fine and in some cases she is better educated than other kids her age. Most importantly, she ENJOYS learning. Most kids in school HATE school. The only thing kids seem to learn in school these days is how to do homework. They could care less about what they learn.

I am referring to the American School System, by the way.

And this is an example of bad reasoning for home schooling.

To cover each point in detail:

We are not impressed with the public school system and all the negative influences within it.
  1. How in depth have you studied the public school system? Have you vetted the curriculum? Have you read the textbooks they use? Have you monitored the teachers in class? Do you even have a specific, clear list of reasons why you are not impressed, rather than just saying you're not impressed? ... i suspect the answer to all of these questions is "not at all", which means you don't really have a problem with the public school system at all. You can't... because you don't even understand it.
  2. What "negative influences"? The "influences" on the school system in America, as in most countries, are a combination of school boards and government oversight. The school boards are just a bunch of concerned parents like yourself (except, unlike you, parents that actually care about their child's education), so i wouldn't call them "negative". Although, sometimes they can be misguided, which is why the government maintains an eye on them to make sure they all meet certain minimum standards... but again, i don't see that as a negative influence.


... as far as socializing she gets plenty of that in Church and outside activities.
  1. There is no possible way she can get even a tiny percentage of the socialization in church that she will get in a public school. Sorry to burst your bubble on that, but it is seriously, plainly and obviously wrong. For starters, how much time does she seriously spend in church? And how much of that is alone with kids her own age? Compare that to school... and unless she goes to church five times a week for at least a half-dozen hours a day... sorry, not even close. In school, the kids have enough time to build complex social networks, each with ranks and pecking orders, and these get mirrored in the work world. There's just no time for that level of socialization in church, unless she goes every day, all day.
  2. Not to mention that in church, the breadth of socialization is very, very poor. You will meet a much wider range of people in school - from all different cultures - than you will in any church in America. Your daughter will not learn to deal with other cultures if she is not exposed to them.
  3. On top of that, it's not just the kids at her local school she forms social networks with - through inter-school competitions and other such activities they connect with kids from other schools. Does your church participate in state athletic meets? Spelling bees? Anything of the sort? Unlikely.


She does fine and in some cases she is better educated than other kids her age.
  1. Unless you have a B.Ed., you are not even remotely qualified to make that judgement.
  2. There is a reason parents do not assign their children's grades in regular schools. It would certainly be a lot easier on the teachers if they did, but they don't... because they always grade too high. Not to slight your daughter, but statistically speaking, the plain truth is she is probably not as smart as you think she is.


Most kids in school HATE school.
  1. Even if that were true... which i highly doubt, based on my own observations (the kids i know well all hate classes, but love school (and most are ambivalent toward learning))... it is a moot point. Virtually everyone has to do jobs that have at least a few parts they hate to do. If you are sheltering her from having to "suck it up, put up with the bad stuff to get the good stuff", you are not doing her any favours. You are, in fact, doing her a disservice.


The only thing kids seem to learn in school these days is how to do homework.
  1. It is certainly true that schools today give far too much homework - a side-effect of overworking teachers - but your statement is just ignorant. They learn far more than just how to do homework, and you know it.
  2. Even if it is true that they get too much homework... once again, part of the lesson that school teaches is how to survive in life in general. If she gets a good job in the future, the plain fact is there will be times where she has "too much work". She can either learn to deal with it now, or she can learn to deal with it then when it may cost her her rent money. You're not doing her any favours by shielding her from it.
  3. If you really cared about your daughter's education - and you weren't just using these half-assed excuses to justify a decision you made by other means - then you would do something about the homework problem. You would join the PTA, or the school board - or help her find ways to manage her time so she can handle the load better.


They could care less about what they learn.
  1. You speak with such authority on what kids think... without any justification. Besides, the point of school is to prepare them for the future. In the earliest years, they don't have the understanding to grasp the options open to them, or why they need to know some of the things they are taught. They're kids, man! But they need to get a good foundation to build on for two reasons. First, so they can learn the skills they do care about (later on, when they decide what they want to do in life). And second, so they can find out what they need to know, and what they like. If you're only teaching your daughter things she cares about learning, you are very likely harming her by not teaching her what she needs to know to make informed decisions about career choices later, and disadvantaging her behind other students who will have learned these things... whether they cared about them at the time or not.
  2. Again, you don't really care about your daughter or her education. If you did, you would be trying to show her why she should care... not just bowing to whatever uninformed, childish whim she may have.


In summary, you are not doing what is best for your daughter, and this isn't even a case of wanting to do what's best for your daughter but being misguided. Your decision, from what you have shared, is not based on what is best for your daughter. It is either based on other agendas you have neglected to mention (but which you have certainly given clues about)... or on sheer, irrational ignorance.
deanhills
Home schooling is quite active in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, inspired in a great way by Canadians (French and Anglo), but used by a variety of cultures. Below is a shortcut to a Yahoo E-Mail Group for Home Schooling in Abu Dhabi. At the bottom of the page are some common questions that are commented on and touch on the issues that have been discussed in this thread:

http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/International_Students_Homeschooling_in_AbuDhabi_Emirate/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=1
Afaceinthematrix
One more thing that I decided to add:

School is an amazing experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Many people will look back at those years in reflection and talk about it with friends years later.

I think I would resent my parents for depriving me of that experience, unless they had an extremely good reason (like in Indi's situation).
shindig
Starrfoxx wrote:
The only thing kids seem to learn in school these days is how to do homework. They could care less about what they learn.

I am referring to the American School System, by the way.


I would argue that learning to do homework is one of the most important things I got out of school. It's about self discipline and work ethic, completing the task set to you even where it may not appeal, and developing many other core skills employers look for (ie initiative, investigative skills, etc).
I'm going to have to do it in the real world... and even before then the discipline is going to help with getting though Uni.


And most kids I know LOVE school. Sure there were times I felt like dieing rather than going through an exam, but man was it worth it.
andysart380
i dropped out of school around 15-16 years old but went back and got a GED, huge mistake to ever leave in the first place. If i had another chance i would take it, and focus only on my school work, getting high didn't teach me anything but how to roll a blunt, and maybe discovered a few good recipies
ParsaAkbari
poppat wrote:
Does anyone have any opinions on home scooling your children?

My son is intelligent but is not being taught very well at his current primary school in England. He will be moving up to a secondary school in September. It's a worrying time. The problem he is good at maths but slightly slow at reading and understanding. He is also distracted easily. Unfortunately at the moment we cannot home school him yet, until I have sorted out my employment.

Any ideas.

poppat


Teach him youself, and i dont want to offend you, but if your child is nearly moving to high school and is "intellegent" he should be studying himself, if not i think you should "educate" him about "education" and why he needs to get good grades ect.

If he doesnt have the free will to learn you really cannot force him.
mejo1900
I know a few people have mention something like that, but maybe it would be helpful to have an out of school toutoring program to help with his reading.

i know people are arguing over whether home-schooling will lead to social awkwardness. Honesty, I really think it depends on how much effort you and your child are willing to put into to keep him conected to other children. Also, keep in mind that if you only have him socialize in one or two groups, he will not get to meat all types of people (for example if he only hangs out with kids from church youth group...he may not be prepared when he is confronted with non-religious people in University).

What does your child want? Does he want to be homeschooled? Don't forget to take that into consideration.
natilovesmike
I think school is very important for socialization and making friends. Specially at that age. Even if he is a little behind in some of the subjects, I would have him have extra work at home on those, maybe with a tutor, but don't take him out of school because of that. He is going to miss so much. School is not only about learning how to read, but also how to make friends and solve social conflicts.
faultless
what can you teach me.. Smile about the learning... hmmm
slive
i want to learn PHP.
Do you know where can i start online courses?


sorry for my english
bsbteng
Interesting is most important. If the kids are interested in some courses, they learn it quickly.
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