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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mailvox: open homeschool thread

HHS asks for curriculum advice:
Would you mind putting up a homeschool open thread? My wee one is finally getting to that age, and while she's learning to read now, we're looking for our first well-rounded curriculum.
Have at it.  SB uses Saxon math, Trivium Pursuit, and the Well-Trained Mind, which has met with some very good results.  I don't have much to offer in this regard, as my only responsibilities in this regard fall in the very important areas of Video Game History and Philosophy of Gaming.

That being said, I generally prefer starting a child off on Spacewar rather than Pong.  And one can only truly appreciate the Intellivision if one has first been thoroughly exposed to the Atari 2600.

But I congratulate HHS and his wife on their decision.  After all, America's best educated kids don't go to school.

Labels:

129 Comments:

Anonymous Lulabelle July 23, 2013 9:04 AM  

Good for you for choosing homeschooling, HHS. It is absolutely the best way to go.

Anonymous rubbermallet July 23, 2013 9:11 AM  

my wife has used about 3 different curriculum and has settled one that has worked well for our girls. I will see what it is she uses. We also do Classical Conversations which is a 1 day a week homeschool....well school. We really love that.

what is nice is that over the course of the 4 years she's been doing it, the reactions have totally started changing when people find out you are. Initially it was met with reservation and as kind of an oddity. But in just 4 short years, the reactions are much different, more inquisitive about whether or not something like this would work for them. Times are a changing.

Anonymous wEz July 23, 2013 9:12 AM  

Ah intellivision. Me now wants to play some utopia, nightstalker, or some B-17 bomber. Classics.

Anonymous paradox July 23, 2013 9:15 AM  

Ron Paul has a curriculum starting this fall.

Anonymous jay c July 23, 2013 9:16 AM  

I'll second Saxon Math. I don't have any specific recommendations for other subjects. I wrote some of my son's curriculum and cherry picked from a lot of sources.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben July 23, 2013 9:18 AM  

Still remember the Atari and one of the best games ever made: Pitfall

Vox, did you ever play Turbo Graphics 16?

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 9:19 AM  

We used Saxon math when I was homeschooled.

Blogger Gilbert Ratchet July 23, 2013 9:19 AM  

"Saxon Math"? Doesn't that sound kind of... racist? Is that the system in which 2+2=4 and nothing else, and doesn't recognize its own privilege and social construction?

Anonymous Mr. B.A.D. July 23, 2013 9:20 AM  

the very first home gaming console was PONG. But if your child is young you should start them with something more entertaining like Pac Man or Donkey Kong. go back to PONG in VG history

Blogger Guitar Man July 23, 2013 9:21 AM  

My wife uses Singapore Math. She's been HS'ing for a few years now. Good decision!

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 9:24 AM  

REG

The Libertarian Homeschooler on Facebook has a forum with resources and reviews from homeschoolers that helps network. I think it should be helpful.

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 9:26 AM  

Mars Hill has a good elementary Latin and logic curricula.

Anonymous Vidad July 23, 2013 9:26 AM  

Veritas Press is what my wife is using. They include Saxon math.

I've been very impressed with how much of Western Civilization the kids are picking up. Instead of Veggie Tales, my kids are soaking in Gilgamesh, Amenhotep, Moses and plenty of Latin.

I was homeschooled and beat the living daylights out of my peers (intellectually, not literally). Still do. You're making the best choice possible - good work.

Anonymous Ann Morgan July 23, 2013 9:27 AM  

When the time comes to start learning the formulae for circles, consider teaching your child some simple chainmail weaves. There is actually a lot of math involved in making chainmail. Google 'Aspect Ratio', a lot of weaves can either only be made if the rings have mathematical proportions in a certain narrow range, or look a lot better within that range. Actually using the formula and having a peice of jewelry they can wear at the end of it will fix the math in their heads a lot better than just doing abstract equations on paper.

Anonymous Jemison Thorsby July 23, 2013 9:31 AM  

First I'll say thanks to Vox and the Ilk for responding to a similar question from me seven years ago when my wife and I made the same decision! (http://voxday.blogspot.com/2006/01/mailvox-suggestions-welcomed.html) It seems the many useful comments that were made there aren't showing up at present (maybe casualties of the battles with the commenting systems??).

HHS: math curriculum was the hardest for us to find something that clicked with our three boys. We ended up using the Teaching Textbooks, which has a lecture and practice problem CD with the books. (They start w/ 3rd grade math and go up to pre-Cal: http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/) Our youngest used Bob Jones until getting to teaching textbooks in 3rd grade -- it wasn't exciting for him, but my wife recommends it as 'solid.'

Where needed on specific concepts, we've been supplementing using videos from the Khan Academy (which has a well-developed 'decision tree' on concepts to ensure you have foundation before moving on to other items). Don't underestimate the value of developing "customized" word problems that involve things your kids like (Legos feature prominently in our fraction/ratio/proportion problems...), instead of abstract situations.

There are some links in this earlier post -- hope you find them useful, including the discussion group.

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2009/04/mailvox-taking-homeschool-plunge.html

That's really a key thing -- getting into a community of homeschoolers. There's a wealth of "been there, tried that" advice and suggestions available once you've connected. Early on I told my wife it felt like we'd discovered an entire underground society (which I guess isn't too far from the truth) -- wouldn't trade it for anything!

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 9:33 AM  

Veritas Press is what my wife is using. 

Veritas Press kicks ass.

Blogger GAHCindy July 23, 2013 9:33 AM  

So much depends on what your family is like that I'd hesitate to say what to do. Here's what we're doing right now (if it's ok for me to drop a link):
http://getalonghome.com/2013/07/homeschool-curriculum-choices-2013/

Saxon math is very good. I used it for a couple of years. I suggest you get a copy of Debra Bell's Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling. Or save your money and just read everything you can find on the internet about homeschooling styles before you start sinking money into curricula. Pretty much nobody ends up with the kind of homeschool they thought they'd have. ;-)

Anonymous Jake July 23, 2013 9:39 AM  

Utopia is probably still one of my favorite games of all time, and it was ancient before I was even old enough to understand what I was doing. I Remember, very clearly, the first time I got lucky with a helpful storm at the right time to start racking up perfect scores ever turn and beat my Dad for once. I've also always thought it was a uniquely cynical game, you as the government/dictator of this island achieve success by killing off all the "undesirable" people.

I realize most of Vox's writing tends more towards FPS, but is there an earlier example of a real-time strategy game than Utopia?

Blogger Giraffe July 23, 2013 9:40 AM  

Bookmarking this post. My oldest starts this fall.

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 9:42 AM  

Saxon math is good, Prima Latina is good for Latin, for languages (Greek in our case) our kids use Rosetta Stone which is awesome, but a bit expensive. We use McGuffey readers (my wife procured an entire set from her parents) with the kids too. These are old school, but IMO, great as they introduce words and ideas that are not available today.

My role in homeschooling is outdoors education (guns/rifles, botany, hunting, fishing), wood working and theology. Great decision to home school! Prepare to deal with the naysayers. Those opposing home schooling can be family, friends (especially those associated with a school system) or random strangers.

I have coached my wife on this. In the past it really bothered her when her friends/family droned on about how home schooling doesn't a) support the community, b) ostracizes children from culture, and c) doesn't properly teach them socialization. Practice smiling, and simply stating - "we have decided home schooling is best for our family," and end the conversation there. You don't need to justify your decision to anybody...congrats - best decision you have ever made.

Anonymous dh July 23, 2013 9:42 AM  

I started my kids on The Great Courses for longer-format, once a week supplements. I got some sideways glances because they are younger, but I've found they like to re-listen to some of them.

Right now, they are working through "The Greatest Controversies
of Early Christian History", which is new and very interesting. We may be atheist but I don't think it's a bad thing to understand the powerful forces of history - past and present.

Anonymous ben July 23, 2013 9:42 AM  

We've been using the Robinson Curriculum for our 12 year old boy with great success. Robinson uses Saxon Math and an excellent assortment of classical reading. It's a self taught curriculum with minimal parent involvement besides monitoring progress.

The boy crushed the standardized tests after his first year, so far so good. And the liberals have gotten their knickers in a twist over the old racis books included, so that's a plus.

Anonymous Lulabelle July 23, 2013 9:42 AM  

"Pretty much nobody ends up with the kind of homeschool they thought they'd have. ;-) "

I've noticed this too. The important thing to remember is that whether someone uses a full curriculum or cherry picks from various publishers, their kids will be light years ahead of public school kids.

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 9:42 AM  

I think we put to much importance on curriculum. Homeschooling is much simpler than it seems and kids have a natural desire to learn. We were able to let the kids design their own education and their learning just happened naturally. We covered fractions while cooking and measuring ingredients, geometry while building the deck. Our son played a lot of video games, but it wasn't time wasted because he read the narratives and instructions and went on line and read the cheats. Eventually he began reading and researching history, weaponry, game design, programming.

Usually in the back of a parent's mind is this fear that kids may not be meeting a standard, may not be up to grade level. You have to stomp those fears down and trust yourself and your kids. There were times when our kids learned more lounging around watching a baseball game with their dad than they would have spending six months in a classroom.

So, a curriculum is for fun and some kids like the structure and the game of it all, but don't rely on a curriculum because you doubt your own abilities.

Anonymous Stickwick July 23, 2013 9:44 AM  

Regarding Saxon math, I've heard it's changing to align with Common Core. Does anyone know if that's true and if it's going to be problematic?

We're a few years away from starting school, but for now I'm considering the Robinson Curriculum.

Anonymous LES July 23, 2013 9:46 AM  

We used Saxon math and Abeka for the rest.

Blogger Rhology July 23, 2013 9:53 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous Ten41 July 23, 2013 9:55 AM  

We also use Saxon math. The only one that I would be hesitant to recommend is "A Beka", which is homeschooling by DVD's. I have never seen so many stressed out moms in my life. When they ask my wife why she is not stressed out about home schooling, she can only say "I don't use A Beka."

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 9:56 AM  

Regarding Saxon math, I've heard it's changing to align with Common Core. Does anyone know if that's true and if it's going to be problematic?

I heard that they are going to have two curricula going forward, one that complies with common core and one that does not.

I think they were absolutely deluged by calls from homeschoolers about this.

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 9:57 AM  

I started my kids on The Great Courses for longer-format, once a week supplements. I got some sideways glances because they are younger, but I've found they like to re-listen to some of them.

Do you homeschool your kids?

Anonymous Stingray July 23, 2013 10:00 AM  

I can't say enough good things about The Well Trained Mind. Susan Wise Bauer goes through each grade and each subject and explains why to teach it at that age and then gives several suggestions for curriculum on each subject. It all revolves around a Classical education and is very well done.

Stickwick, I called Saxon math a couple of months ago to ask about that. The lady i spoke with said they currently do not have any plans on changing their homeschool curriculum at all. How long that lasts is anyone's guess.

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 10:09 AM  

http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html

The lost tools of learning by Dorothy Sayers.

An excellent introduction to classical education.

Anonymous dh July 23, 2013 10:15 AM  

Do you homeschool your kids?

Yes. Although one has foreign language and music and phy. ed at the local public school.

Anonymous The other skeptic July 23, 2013 10:18 AM  

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy they now associate Mussolini with the Confederacy.

They probably reserve Hitler for home-schoolers, because it is harder to indoctrinate kids who are home schooled.

Anonymous BlackJack July 23, 2013 10:22 AM  

Does anyone use Khanacademy.com?

Anonymous Hong Hu Shi July 23, 2013 10:28 AM  

Thanks to VD for the thread and to everyone for the recommendations.

To clarify our situation, our daughter will be four in November. She's the only child at the moment; she was born with a big heart defect, but she had her final operation last year, and just now we're thinking about expanding the family.

The girl is very good with puzzles. On her third birthday, she put together a puzzle for ages 6+ with only a tiny bit of assistance. She's learning phonics now through "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". We know she's not ready for a full program per se, but we would like to start adding subjects.

Complicating matters is that we are rather migratory with my work. We currently live in Switzerland and have done so for the past few years, but we're moving out in December for Panama. As such, we don't have much of a community.

Thank you again for your recommendations.

Blogger MacLaren July 23, 2013 10:28 AM  

ten41: "We also use Saxon math. The only one that I would be hesitant to recommend is "A Beka", which is homeschooling by DVD's. I have never seen so many stressed out moms in my life. When they ask my wife why she is not stressed out about home schooling, she can only say "I don't use A Beka.""

My mother used that on my less intelligent younger sisters. Anything that requires you to sit in front of a screen for umpteen hours... not my cup of tea. The quality was high, but it was still like sitting in a classroom (though, unlike actually being in the Beka classroom, you couldn't hit on the pretty gals in long, conservative dresses) rather than directing your own learning via... THE GREAT BOOKS FOR MEN. Heh.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 23, 2013 10:29 AM  

Motivate them to learn to read and they can't help but educate themselves. Kids who see their parents enjoying reading and learning will follow their example.

My kid wanted to know what all that stuff on cereal boxes and video game manuals said. (he was already playing them).

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 10:34 AM  

Yes

Curiouser and curiouser.

You continue to be the strangest damn liberal I've ever run across.

Anonymous dh July 23, 2013 10:36 AM  

You continue to be the strangest damn liberal I've ever run across.

It is not ideological, we all have a genetic immune disease that makes prolonged exposure to hostiles unhealthy.

Anonymous VectorSpace July 23, 2013 10:41 AM  

I homeschooled my son to great success. I wrote ninety percent of his curriculum in most subjects. The rest was supplemented by the state online virtual school.

I have a wealth of materials I created and collected through the years and am perfectly willing to share those resources if they are requested.

Anonymous Zorrita July 23, 2013 10:54 AM  

I homeschool my five children using this curriculum:

http://www.amblesideonline.org/

You should familiarize yourself with Charlotte Mason and her methods before starting with your daughter, but you have lots of time to do this.

For math we use Saxon, and A-Beka for the little ones up to third grade.

Congratulations and enjoy!

Blogger loverofamerica33 July 23, 2013 10:57 AM  

We've home schooled our 3 boys, now 17, 15 and 11. Our advice; don't get too hung up on curriculum. There are many good ones out there, but here's the catch. The determination of "good" will come from these considerations:

a) Does it fit your personality/style
b) Are you seeing results
c) Is it challenging your child

We've tried recommended curriculum. Sometimes we were happy and sometimes not. So, choose one, or more than one and give it a try.

Early on we put too much "worry" about not using the right curriculum and that it would negatively impact our kids. Rather than curriculum, it is consistency that is most important. The big battle common among our home school friends is the battle to stay on schedule.

The only curriculum that we "warn" against are those that don't have the child do any work / tests. After years of using A Beka, our boys significantly out perform most students in anything to do with English whenever they attend various outsourced classes.

Finally, one of the greatest joys you'll have is teaching your child to read. As they "get it" and you watch them awaken to the world of words, it will fill you with joy.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 23, 2013 10:58 AM  

From the linked article:

"In families where neither parent was a college graduate, home schoolers scored in the 83rd percentile. If one parent had a college degree, the 86th percentile. If both, the 90th percentile."

Finally! Justification for sending everyone to college, after all....

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 10:59 AM  

"..My wee one is finally getting to that age,."

I hope HHS means two, or three.
"Educational" tools?
Skyrim
Fallout
Assassin's Creed

CaptDMO

Anonymous VectorSpace July 23, 2013 11:02 AM  

Khan Academy is pretty good, BlackJack.

For older or more precocious home school students, also see Coursera .





Blogger Nate July 23, 2013 11:03 AM  

My advice:

Homeschooling isn't like school as you know it. You're not gonna sit your kid at a desk for 8 hours a day. If you do... you're doing it wrong. At that rate your kid will finish high school when she's about 9. There is just not that much information to pass on. She's a girl... so hand writing and such will come fast and easy. Don't fight her on things. There are things she is going to be interested in. Focus on those things. She will be way ahead in some subjects and maybe way behind in others. don't worry. When she gets around to those, she will make up all that and then some. I know a kid that "hated" to read. He was 7 years old and while he could read... he would fight it. He would only be tested like a first grader or so. Then one day... a light came on and ***poof*** he was reading at a high school level. Literally... the change took like 3 days. I've seen it with math... and if you notice... it even happens with kids learning to talk. Some kids just put it off and are way behind... but then they catch up almost instantly.

It just happens.

Don't panic.

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 23, 2013 11:09 AM  

You mean "B-17 Baaaaaaaaamer."

Anonymous Daniel July 23, 2013 11:09 AM  

It is not ideological, we all have a genetic immune disease that makes prolonged exposure to hostiles unhealthy.

Being a liberal made physically ill by the public school system does not make you any less strange, dh.

Anonymous Noah B. July 23, 2013 11:14 AM  

Question for parents doing homeschooling -- what kinds of lab science activities do your curricula provide? For example, I would expect that it would be problematic for the typical homeschooling parent to provide an adequate chem lab experience for a student interested in science. Has anyone found a good solution for this?

Blogger jamsco July 23, 2013 11:14 AM  

Nate, do you still homeschool?

Just curious,

Anonymous Glacierman July 23, 2013 11:18 AM  

This is one of the best books out there for teaching your children to read (http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985)..all three of ours were at a Grade 2-3 reading level by the time they were 5. They are voracious readers, the 20 year old is already well on the way to being a Copy Editor...

Anonymous Jake July 23, 2013 11:21 AM  

I know a kid that "hated" to read. He was 7 years old and while he could read... he would fight it. He would only be tested like a first grader or so. Then one day... a light came on and ***poof*** he was reading at a high school level.

I don't know if it was here or not, but somewhere I know it was discussed that for some children the ability to see and process complex visual information (like letters and words) may not develop until about that age, making reading earlier very difficult and frustrating. A great argument for homeschooling, given that such a child, even if extremely intelligent, would have been pigeon-holed as below average and destined to a childhood of remedial education and being told "your not smart enough" at many schools for not reading with any aptitude by the 2nd grade.

The myth that the average of a million children describes how any one child "should" develop is pervasive, and wrong.

Anonymous j July 23, 2013 11:23 AM  

Confessions of a cynical homeschool mom who hates teaching, but who has been doing this for about 13 yrs: buy any kind of official curriculum work, sit child in front of it, tell child to do the work, check the work, and you're done!! Of course, that only works if your child can read. For reading basics, I'd go with Abeka. They have a classic, time-tested reading/phonics curriculum. You'll have to teach math from time to time, too. For that, I'd suggest taking lots of university math, such that you find yourself discussing parametric representations when all she wanted to know was--does this cylinder hold two quarts or three? Then your child will decide to either figure it out herself or go ask her engineering grandpa who will suddenly start discussing music theory mid-sentence, leaving child to puzzle out how music is related to liquid capacity. p.s. Saxon and Abeka both have workable math, though Abeka is very basic. More progressive math programs suck, in my opinion. Oh, also, forget buying Kindergarten curriculum because it's a waste of time. Start with first grade at whatever age your child is ready. Eh, what else? I've tended to go with classic curriculum. I'd rather poke myself in the eyes with hot needles than do the unit studies style of homeschooling. In fact, every mom I've known who has done that style has put her kids in school within 5 yrs. So, to wrap it up, book work is awesome. Children can blow through all their books in about three hours and then do whatever the hell they want, such as build robots or fashion elaborate doll costumes, which is all my children care about anyway.

Blogger Jill July 23, 2013 11:25 AM  

oops, I don't know why I left my name as J. Oh, well.

Blogger IM2L844 July 23, 2013 11:25 AM  

It just happens.

Don't panic.


This.

The foundational advantage to homeschooling is that children instinctually want to please their parents and make them proud. Positive reinforcement from parents is more powerful, by many orders of magnitude, than from any other source.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2013 11:28 AM  

We used Sonlight, along with what people have already mentioned.

At 4 yo., do not rush or force anything. Pay attention to inclinations and find books, magazines, anything in print, some in video, in those areas. When out and about, look at groups of things, say, 5 stars on a door, and have them count them. Put your hand over two and ask how many stars remain. What if we add the stars back (unhide stars)? With letters, point them out and have the child make the sounds. Integrate what is happening around, it will help develop, also, a sense of what is around. Do stuff like that, nothing forced. That will happen soon enough.

Read "alouds." When traveling, listen to audio books, like Hank The Cowdog. Focus On The Family has some great "audio theater" on CD. I still remember how we remained in stunned silence for a while after listening to Billy Bud.

Do not fret or stress, yet. You will get plenty of that once the teens are reached. No, all will not be perfect, no matter what it seems with other home schoolers.

Do not get the child used to all the fast moving "wow" graphics, like Sesame Street does. Later, when they realize that letters and stuff do not jump out of blackboards the child will not get bored or disappointed.

And, very important, at some point completing tasks within a time frame must be included as part of the curriculum. Always achieving mastery, as if time is of no concern, is not real world. This is an area we failed our two oldest sons and became a real large struggle when in a formal setting, like college.

Anonymous Jake July 23, 2013 11:30 AM  

"For example, I would expect that it would be problematic for the typical homeschooling parent to provide an adequate chem lab experience for a student interested in science. Has anyone found a good solution for this?"

I can't give suggestions, but for a little perspective I graduated HS in 2001. I think you greatly overestimate the amount of "chem lab experience" you'll need to equal or surpass a typical high school. I had a great chem teacher, even so, we did maybe 4-5 lab activities for the year. and only one or two would require anything you don't have in your home right now, and they wouldn't be hard. Keep in mind that at a school every student (with wildly varying levels of maturity, interest, distraction etc.) has to do the experiment. You'll easily be able to do things with a few genuinely interested children who respect and listen to you that any HS teacher would never dare attempt either because of the complexity or danger or just time required.

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 11:30 AM  

Has anyone found a good solution for this?

Some community colleges allow high school kids to dual enroll, you could do this for labs.

I've also seen homeschooling families coop and use existing school labs once a week.

Blogger DmL July 23, 2013 11:35 AM  

Seconding Nate.

As for curriculum... all the suggestions are fine, but consider getting your children a library card and then asking them questions.

Blogger RobertT July 23, 2013 11:43 AM  

A Beka ... my very rebellious home schooled grand daughter who transferred to public school for high school just DROPPED OUT, yet continues to outperform nearly her entire peer group, particularly in reading. We just put her to work in our firm and this 16 year old girl is excelling beyond college graduates. What can I say? The proof's in the pudding.

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 11:44 AM  

any good apologetics stuff for younguns (6-10)? I'm not too fond of showing them books that have knights in armor fighting velociraptors?

I know stickwick was working on something in this regards.

Anonymous Curlytop July 23, 2013 11:48 AM  

What Nate says! :-)

His post highlights why we chose to educate classically. A second reason was that the thought of ME having to spend 4-6 hrs a day to teach subjects the way I was taught in the institutional setting of public school depressed ME! I couldn't imagine inflicting that kind of pain onto our children.

Some subjects just aren't going to be quick and "fun" so don't bog your kids down w tedious worksheets for every darn subject! And guess what: math is going to take longer than 30minutes at some point. In the area we moved to, the women are waaaay too obsessed with things being quick and fun— not to mention being obsessed with curriculum as though the more textbooks you have will translate in your child being more educated. Teach them HOW to learn.

Love seeing fellow Classical learners in the bunch! Along with Well Trained Mind, love Veritas and Memoria Press. Memoria Press's quarterly catalogue contains informative articles on Classical methodology and how to incorporate it.

Think about educating them in SKILL SETS not how many subjects. Keep it simple in those primary years of K-2 grade. Reading, Writing, &Arithmetic. We used Classical Conversations as their spine in those early years. Leigh Bortins created a fantastic step by step curriculum that demonstrates the classical method.They explored each cycle based on their interests but learned how to memorize and retain information—skill set. As DmL stated above....a Library card is a treasure for a young learner.

Having boys, the writing wasn't exactly a walk in the park. So when it came time for them to write papers, the second one dictated his papers to me for the first 2 yrs. I used an online typing game to get him to type and last year, he typed all his papers.

Blogger DmL July 23, 2013 11:48 AM  

@Anonymous - read Narnia with them, talk through the allusions and such you notice. Then move onto Lewis's other stuff.

Anonymous Noah B. July 23, 2013 11:49 AM  

The science and language departments in my school district were very good, but the math department was horrible. It's been awhile -- I graduated in 1996 -- but I would estimate that we did 25-30 lab activities in Chemistry I and slightly more than that in Chemistry II. It certainly could have been better, but keeping in mind budget constraints, it was pretty good overall.

Quite a contrast with precalculus, in which the coach (I use the term loosely) had absolutely no clue about the subject, there wer no lesson plans, there were no textbooks, and the only thing he had were worksheets and answer keys that he didn't even begin to understand. After about 10 minutes of trying to figure out what to do on the first day, he quit trying to teach and just sat there working crossword puzzles for the rest of the semester. Toward the end of the first week, a friend of mine and I decided to teach the class for the people who were interested. The only thing the teacher did do was sign off on the grades that we self-reported.

Anonymous Frank Furdek July 23, 2013 11:49 AM  

These common factors lead BOTH public school children and home schooled children to fare well on standardized tests: two educated parents who instill discipline, provide a stable home life, and offer opportunities for their kids to explore their own interests in academic pursuits.


"They probably reserve Hitler for home-schoolers, because it is harder to indoctrinate kids who are home schooled."

Right, genius, because parents who homeschool their children are more likely to enable their children to make up their own minds whether God exists, whether to adhere to Marxian or Austrian economic theory, or whether to have a sexual relationship with a member of their own sex.

Anonymous Jill July 23, 2013 11:56 AM  

I have found that the kitchen can be a chem lab if you want it to be. Mine has been a really disgusting one at times. Otherwise, there's the local college.

Anonymous Susan July 23, 2013 11:57 AM  

From what I have been reading on other sites, Common Core is beginning to infect most of the school books sold now. Both public and homeschooling. It has been said that Obama is using this as a subtle way to start attacking Home schoolers. If Homeschoolers can't pass the necessary testing of the CC curricula, they can be forced back into the public school system. Homeschooling will have been dealt a deadly blow.

I am not advocating the CC curricula of course. Far from it. I am just saying that Obama has started the first assault on your rights to homeschool your kids with this garbage he has created. All you parents will have to really pay attention to what exactly this CC garbage is so you can avoid it if all possible.

Vox, doesn't SB either have, or know of, a homeschoolers support type website that she is involved with? That might be very helpful to the new readers and beginning homeschoolers.

Anonymous Curlytop July 23, 2013 11:57 AM  

@Stickwick and Stingray

As long as they offer the original Saxon portion of their curriculum, you should be fine. Just keep your eyes and ears peeled for any changes. The Saxon site has the three options listed. Most people I know obtain the curriculum from discount sites such as this www.childsbooks.com

And I do know a few families who are either investigating Robinson or have begun using it. No word yet on their impressions.

Anonymous Daniel July 23, 2013 12:01 PM  

I'm not too fond of showing them books that have knights in armor fighting velociraptors?

Yeah, that's idiotic. Everyone knows that Grendel was a Tyranosaurus Rex and the ligdraca a pteranodon. Viking children could have wiped out velociraptors like they were chickens - certainly not the subject of epic legends.

Anonymous hausfrau July 23, 2013 12:02 PM  

I'm enrolling my boy in a co-op called classical christian conversations this september. I've heard very good things about it from other libertarian christians I chat with. Thye meet weekly and do science experiments, trade advice, field trips, etc. It's also a ntion wide network. So chances are its also in your state.

Anonymous Lana July 23, 2013 12:03 PM  

Has anyone found a good solution for this?

My oldest 3 kids didn't go to school until college. I would second what Josh said. We had a twice a week home school class for science starting in junior high using Bob Jones. The lady that taught it borrowed all her equipment from the local college her older kids were attending. I taught all the kids history in exchange. This is really helpful as most of us have strengths and weaknesses.

All the kids began dual enrollment at the junior college starting their junior year, but they were only allowed to take 3 classes. As an aside, my kids taught a good many of the college kids how to use the lab equipment, so I wouldn't be too worried about them being behind the public school in anything.

Anonymous dh July 23, 2013 12:05 PM  

It has been said that Obama is using this as a subtle way to start attacking Home schoolers. If Homeschoolers can't pass the necessary testing of the CC curricula, they can be forced back into the public school system. Homeschooling will have been dealt a deadly blow.

I have done a lot of research on CC, and if you sort out the ideological stuff, I think you will find that it is driven more locally than by Washington. The DOE has been doing grants to push CC conversions, but it appears to be all implemented on the state level.

Anonymous Lana July 23, 2013 12:15 PM  

As for elementary school, I am not interested nor capable of using a classic curriculum, but even so, everyone should at least read The Well Trained Mind.

My approach was very simple because there wasn't nearly as much available, but I don't think I'd do much different. The kids used Rod & Staff readers for spelling, phonics, handwriting, and bible study. It took about 30-45 minutes and then Bob Jones math until they were ready for Saxon 5/4. Until they got to 5th grade, the only other thing we did was go to the library once a week, check out anything that interested them, and have them read for 30 minutes a day. However, they were learning all day long.

Anonymous SugarPi July 23, 2013 12:20 PM  

I have years of experience with Charlotte Mason and Classical Conversations, both excellent programs in their approach to classical learning.
A word of caution here: CC has had a changing of the guard, with Lee Bortins handing the reigns to others. The network marketing business model IMO has had detrimental results. Some CC groups are not even using the classical model of teaching and management doesn't care as long as the warm bodies are there. Think accommodating the dumbed down masses with funsy games and watered down instruction (like public school).
So buyer beware of programs and curricula. As Susan posted, Common Core is bastardizing every faction of education.

Anonymous Drew July 23, 2013 12:25 PM  

I figured I'd chip in with my experience as it may be helpful. I was homeschooled from 3rd grade through 12th. My mom did most of the teaching, and used Abeka primarily. I can't really remember much about what my mom used for math, but I do remember doing the Abeka videos for Algebra I and II. In fact, I never took more than Algebra II while homeschooled, and definitely graduated a little behind in math. I started out after high-school in community college, and had to retake Algebra I and II, and did very well in both. Ultimately, I went on to take calculus and did well in that as well, although I still feel that math is my weakest area.

My reading comprehension and verbal ability however was highly developed as a homeschooled kid. And although I didn't get a lot of advanced math or science as a homeschooler, I did end up doing very well in college, and graduated from medical school 3 years ago. I think my background prepared me very well to read material and absorb it quickly with a high level of first-pass comprehension. I also became very good at multiple choice tests. I think the area in which I was least developed as a homeschooler was in academic self-discipline. I don't know if I am just lazy (probably part of the problem), or if my parents were a little too lax with making sure I was challenged in school. I remember my normal day as a teenager was me rushing through my school work in about 2-3 hours, and then playing basketball the rest of the day. I always did well in my school work, but never developed the habit/ability of making myself sit down and really slog through material (which ended up being a real problem in medical school.)

Anonymous Joseph July 23, 2013 12:45 PM  

I use BJU Press. Kindda expensive, but very convenient. They also let you make payment plans.

http://www.bjupress.com/page/Home

Anonymous Difster July 23, 2013 12:47 PM  

Saxon math? Dang! I've been using Zaxxon math. I knew there was something wrong.

Anonymous Idle Spectator July 23, 2013 12:51 PM  

//spits out beer

OH MY GOD THAT WAS THE FUNNIEST THING ON VOX POPOLI I HAVE EVER HEARD

Blogger Unknown July 23, 2013 12:52 PM  

I highly recommend you attend a Homeschool Convention where you can speak with vendors and view their materials.

Here are the items we really enjoyed, though most are for later years:

Math - We went through several math programs, and finally settled on Teaching Textbooks

Writing - Andrew Pudewa's Excelence in Writing

Science - Apologia Science

History - The Mystery of History

We also loved Richard Maybury's books - from a Libertarian perspective - especially: Whatever Happened to Justice, Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, World War I, and World War II

Anonymous Daniel July 23, 2013 12:55 PM  

Zaxxon math teaches you isometric projection and compensatory methods for stereoblindness. The sound effects make you deaf, though, so there are pros and cons to adding it to the curriculum.

Anonymous Idle Spectator July 23, 2013 1:00 PM  

Imagine an entire generation of students that never set foot in a public school or university.

An attraction that is coming soon.


Viva la Renaissance.

Blogger Nate July 23, 2013 1:15 PM  

"Nate, do you still homeschool?

Just curious,"

Of course I do. Dear God... how old do you think I am?

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 1:20 PM  

Of course I do. Dear God... how old do you think I am?

Based upon the simple subjective measurement of grumpiness...70?

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 1:23 PM  

how old do you think I am?

At least 70 on the inside

Anonymous Jill July 23, 2013 1:37 PM  

"Zaxxon math teaches you isometric projection and compensatory methods for stereoblindness. The sound effects make you deaf, though, so there are pros and cons to adding it to the curriculum."

heh, heh, heh

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2013 1:52 PM  

A bit early for a 4 yo.

"All the kids began dual enrollment at the junior college ..."

I was about to mention this. What is/will be allowed in the future will change, though. Junior Colleges are aware of the home schoolers as a market to yet fully exploit.

"... so I wouldn't be too worried about them being behind the public school in anything."

Chem. lab is a good place to contract out. Check out any local school, private or public, where this can be leveraged. Private school being preferred. I would not rely on a COOP on this one, unless it is a really good one. Cooking and simple experiments at home in the early years will help with preparation for the lab but they are not substitutes.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 23, 2013 1:53 PM  

"Of course I do. Dear God... how old do you think I am?

Based upon the simple subjective measurement of grumpiness...70?"


bwaaaa ha ha ha

Blogger Res Ipsa July 23, 2013 1:55 PM  

Vox,

Awhile back you were talking about putting together some form of economics program for home schoolers. How is that coming?

Anonymous Noah B. July 23, 2013 2:09 PM  

Thanks for the feedback on chem lab issues. A word of caution about buying chemicals: there are some very nasty people who look closely at this and will use any excuse they can think of to put together a raid. A friend of mine had a small teflon coating and metal plating business, and I'm not sure what set them off, but he eventually got raided by the DEA. He wasn't making or selling drugs, but they did find a small amount of marijuana and a shotgun in his shop. If I remember right he did a little over a year in federal prison.

Anonymous Noah B. July 23, 2013 2:10 PM  

Oh, and that was in 1997 or so. I can't imagine the situation has improved much.

Blogger IM2L844 July 23, 2013 2:11 PM  

any good apologetics stuff for younguns (6-10)?

Well, you certainly want to stay as far away as you can from the inaccurate biased drivel of Dr. Bart D. Ehrman that dh is feeding his children.

Anonymous Anonymous July 23, 2013 2:12 PM  

> Video Game History and Philosophy of Gaming.

Any books to recommend?

Anonymous BoysMom July 23, 2013 2:43 PM  

Saxon for math, starting with 5/4. Before that it's mostly hands-on math with cheerios, silverware, etc, no text books. Except my six year old loves a workbook, so he gets workbooks. (There has to be one weird one, right?) We get those at the dollar store, all we're looking for is printed addition and subtraction problems, and he'll do a hundred problems on his own daily.
For learning to read, we like the Bob Books. Your public library will have them. It takes about two minutes before the child is reading.
Story of the World is good for world history.
As far as science goes, the boys have almost free run of the adult nonfiction section at the public library, and tend to bring home books on genetic engineering and physics. In our state, a high schooler may take classes at the university, which we'll take advantage of as soon as we feel they're ready.
We use a lot of 4-H projects, readily available where we are, which offer a wide variety of activities and have the added benefit of rewarding the children with ribbons and premiums. 4-H offers cooking, model rocketry, geology, all sorts of animal projects, home ec projects, government projects, gardening, personal finances, really a wide range of things.

Anonymous RC July 23, 2013 2:49 PM  

Congratulations on homeschooling. It's America's last, best hope. It's astounding to compare the mind-set and values between a homeschool teen and his public-schooled counterpart. They live in different worlds.

Anonymous Daniel July 23, 2013 3:02 PM  

Any books to recommend?

Philosophy/History of Gaming since 1950 - Playing at the World, by Jon Peterson (About tabletop wargamming, but also instrumental to understanding the rise of video games).

Prior to 1913 - Little Wars, by HG Wells

WWII era - Modern War in Miniature - Statistical Analysis of 1939-45, Michael Korns

Phoenix - Fall and Rise of Video Games (Primarily Home Consoles, but with a decent index on computer games)

Arcade Mania - (Japanese Arcades)

Film - King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters

For computer games, though, you are going to do no better than Computer Gaming World's archive of magazines.

Anonymous Stickwick July 23, 2013 3:28 PM  

Josh, Stingray, CurlyTop: Thanks for the info on Saxon.

Noah B: Question for parents doing homeschooling -- what kinds of lab science activities do your curricula provide? For example, I would expect that it would be problematic for the typical homeschooling parent to provide an adequate chem lab experience for a student interested in science. Has anyone found a good solution for this?

This doesn't help you in the short term, but for those wondering about lab courses down the road, I'm working on two college-prep science curricula (astronomy and physics) that will include lab components. The experiments are designed to be done at/around home with equipment that's reasonably affordable. These should satisfy any university entrance requirements for science lab courses, and they will be available next year.

anon: any good apologetics stuff for younguns (6-10)? I'm not too fond of showing them books that have knights in armor fighting velociraptors?

The curriculum for younger children is still in the planning stages. After the high school curricula are rolled out, I'll see if it's feasible to do something for the 6-15 age range.

Blogger James Dixon July 23, 2013 3:46 PM  

> Based upon the simple subjective measurement of grumpiness...70?

Nah. 68 tops. :)

Anonymous Frank Furdek July 23, 2013 4:00 PM  

"Congratulations on homeschooling. It's America's last, best hope. It's astounding to compare the mind-set and values between a homeschool teen and his public-schooled counterpart. They live in different worlds."

Again, there is nothing substantially different between academic and social achievement of a homeschool teen and his public-school counterpart when the variables are similar--heavily involved parents, stable home environment, consistent discipline.

And I am sure that a homeschooled teenager, given the tools of independent, critical thought from a host of varying perspectives, is able to make up their own minds whether God exists, whether to adhere to Marxian or Austrian economic theory, or whether to have a sexual relationship with a member of their own sex.

Anonymous meg00k July 23, 2013 4:02 PM  

As an expat, I can tell you that picking a curriculum is difficult because you can't go to the bookstore or to the home school fairs and look at all the choices. Buying a book and having it shipped is an expensive proposition if it doesn't work out. For example, we hated Susan Wise Bauer's (two last names?) "History of the World" because it doesn't match up with the Bible (for instance starting with humans as nomad wanderers as opposed to city builders from the outset). But we loved "Mystery of History".

We would ask people what they did. And we got such different responses. Really, it's just something you have to figure out for yourself based on trial and error.

We use "Sing Spell Read and Write" to get the kids reading.
We use Rod and Staff for pretty much everything else. (And Saxon math).

But we also have a safety net. We use the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS). http://www.schomeschools.org/

You don't have to be from South Carolina. They provide curriculum guidance. You can do teleconference or skype with their staff. And your kid can get a transcript each year and a diploma much like any other student. It has been a really good thing for us.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope July 23, 2013 4:03 PM  

With our son, we've been sending him to our church's Japanese school for 6 hours per week. They have the full Japanese school system curricula in those 6 hours, plus 2 weeks of full school during the summer. Amazing how much can be taught in just 6 hours.

I'm responsible for music, outdoor recreation, animal husbandry, wood working, science, geography, Theology, history, and English. I taught him phonics and how to write the basic alphabet. I didn't want him to read English yet, and concentrate on Japanese first, BUT he's teaching himself to read English using street signs, and the Bible.

The main thing is to relax. Relax!!! Your girl is 4 years old. Is there some kind of race to get her to do calculus and start writing blog posts?

Spacebunny and others have recommended Teaching the Trivium, and I second that recommendation. I also recommend getting a copy of "Better Late than Early", and read it for a different perspective to resist pressure from many educators on pushing, pushing, pushing your child into more and more schoolwork at a young age.

Anonymous Curlytop July 23, 2013 4:22 PM  

"Spacebunny and others have recommended Teaching the Trivium, and I second that recommendation. I also recommend getting a copy of "Better Late than Early", and read it for a different perspective to resist pressure from many educators on pushing, pushing, pushing your child into more and more schoolwork at a young age." JCclimber

Excellent point! It was a veteran home educating mom who lent me that book at the very beginning of our journey. That was one of the key points I latched onto from it.

Anonymous DrTorch July 23, 2013 4:52 PM  

I agree wholeheartedly about using the Trivium as the strategy. As for tactics, we use Singapore Math and take a look at Spell by Color (there are actually rules to spelling for the English language...who knew?).

Everything else we use is "organic" just good books on history (Henty if you like historical fiction as an aid), and don't forget that medieval history board game.

Lots of hands on science experiments, including baking cookies.

Anonymous Josh July 23, 2013 5:04 PM  

If you are homeschooling boys, Henty is freaking awesome.

And you can download them from Gutenberg and put them on your ereader.

Blogger Nate July 23, 2013 5:24 PM  

Jeez people... I ain't even 40 yet...

but as I say... I was born old. Apparently it shows.


NOW GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN

Anonymous hausfrau July 23, 2013 5:48 PM  

didn't have time to read all the preceding comments but I was wondering how you all taugt rain. I'm trying to use Learn to Read in 100 Easy Lessons but my 4 year is bored to death with it and its very difficult to maintain his attention. I think maye it designed for slightly older kids.

Anonymous hausfrau July 23, 2013 9:02 PM  

oh dear. my key board is terrible. I meant I was wondering what other programs were out there for teaching a 4 year old to read. oops.

Blogger AMDG July 23, 2013 9:17 PM  

Kahn Academy
Regine Caeli Academy to supplement homeschool with classroom lecture
Abeka
Sound Beginnings

Anonymous Remnant July 23, 2013 9:37 PM  

"America's best educated kids don't go to school."

I suspect a good deal of this effect is the nature of the parents and students who choose to homeschool, and not the quality of the eduction itself. Most homeschoolers are white, consciencious, many I suspect of northern European extract, and a lot of Mormons too. If you compared homeschoolers to whites generally, or to Mormons, a lot of the difference probabaly disappears. This isn't to knock home-schooling, just to point out that it really says more about the demographics of the phenomenon that the effects of the education itself.

Anonymous Luke July 23, 2013 11:09 PM  








That's KHAN Academy, FYI.

News item from the "best to homeschool for now, then move entirely out of diverse U.S. states" department:

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/072213-664703-hud-maps-suburbs-in-new-diversity-project.htm

HUD Launches Scheme To Racially Diversify Suburbs
Posted 07/22/2013








Anonymous Luke July 23, 2013 11:27 PM  

Giraffe July 23, 2013 9:40 AM
"Bookmarking this post. My oldest starts this fall."

You'd do better IMO to copy the comments and paste them to a file on your computer. After a certain amount of time, comments on threads here become inaccessible.

Anonymous vikingkirken July 23, 2013 11:37 PM  

If, like me, you don't have a housekeeper or personal chef, definitely look into Charlotte Mason. Her philosophies work really well with real life, where you are not only doing school but also managing a household.

We use Explode the Code to teach phonics and reading. It can be repetitive at times, but that's good when a kiddo has trouble grasping a concept. If they pick it up quickly, we skip ahead to the next unit.

As husband mentioned waaay up there in the comments, we use Singapore Math and I LOVE it. My 7yo daughter (who never showed any particular bent towards math) continually surprises me with her grasp of mental math because of this curriculum.

Other than that, we pretty much follow Charlotte Mason methods... Bible copywork to teach handwriting, grammar, and spelling; verse memorization; journaling; nature walks; and lots of reading aloud and narrations. I haven't used Ambleside Online myself yet, but it's a great resource for tons of free CM-style materials.

We also go to the library and pick up tons of books about whatever subject we happen to be interested in (right now it's knights and castles). DK books are awesome, my 5yo who is just starting to read learns a ton just looking at all the pictures. I have a general idea of what I want to cover in science and social studies/history for the year, so I steer things as needed, but I don't adhere to a strict guideline for what to cover in every subject.

I'm planning to start the typical classical four-year science and history rotations in third grade, do them twice, and hopefully have the kids ready for GEDs by the end of 10th. That'll leave two years to either take advanced classes, get started on college, start a career, travel the world, whatever they want to do with their extra time.

Anonymous Tom B July 24, 2013 12:48 AM  

"And one can only truly appreciate the Intellivision if one has first been thoroughly exposed to the Atari 2600."

Word up.

Anonymous Tom B July 24, 2013 12:58 AM  

"any good apologetics stuff for younguns (6-10)? I'm not too fond of showing them books that have knights in armor fighting velociraptors? "

You might want to try some of the stuff over at Tekton Apologetics Ministries. (www.tektonics.org). Most of the stuff there is college level, but some would be appropriate for that age group.

Anonymous The CronoLink July 24, 2013 1:57 AM  

Bookmarked, thanks Vox. Gonna check out the Abeka ones as well (were used by my school and I really liked them)

Blogger SarahsDaughter July 24, 2013 7:18 AM  

There are so many great suggestions here that I'll be looking into. We are a Saxon math family too.

For grammar basics I have loved using Easy Grammar.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope July 24, 2013 12:48 PM  

@hausfrau."oh dear. my key board is terrible. I meant I was wondering what other programs were out there for teaching a 4 year old to read. oops."

Why? why do you need to teach a 4 yo to read? Is there a race with your neighbors or friends or relatives or people at church?

We homeschool in some part to keep our children from the pernicious influences of the school system and to help prevent their absorbing the toxic mindset of the modern American clueless idiot.

Please reconsider your own mindset. Your child is clearly signaling to you that they are not ready yet to read. Once a child is ready to learn something, you would have to work very hard to STOP them, by throughing roadblocks and discouraging them just like they do in the schools.

Discipline, teaching them good study habits and sticking to something even if it gets hard....Yes, vital skills no matter what subject we are discussing.

I will repeat something I said earlier. I spent at most 15 minutes a couple times per week with my son when he was 5 and 6 teaching him phonics and how to write the alphabet. Then completely dropped the formal aspect for a year. He is now teaching himself to read at age 7, with only a little coaching and correction on the phonics. Because he's ready and eager to learn it now.

Anonymous Frank Furdek July 24, 2013 7:55 PM  

"We homeschool in some part to keep our children from the pernicious influences of the school system and to help prevent their absorbing the toxic mindset of the modern American clueless idiot."

One more time. There is nothing substantially different between the academic and social achievement of a homeschool teen and their public-school counterpart when the variables are similar--heavily involved parents, stable home environment, consistent discipline.

And I am sure that a homeschooled teenager, given the tools of independent, critical thought from a host of varying perspectives, is able to make up their own minds whether God exists, whether to adhere to Marxian or Austrian economic theory, or whether to have a sexual relationship with a member of their own sex.

After all, we are opposed to the "evils" of indoctrination, correct?

Anonymous hausfrau July 25, 2013 12:25 AM  

JCclimber...you are likely right. I tend to get over eager and have dropped phonics several times now because he just wasn't that interested. I have to remind myself not to make learning tedious like the schools often do.

Anonymous Stickwick July 25, 2013 3:28 PM  

There is nothing substantially different between the academic and social achievement of a homeschool teen and their public-school counterpart when the variables are similar--heavily involved parents, stable home environment, consistent discipline.

Do you have any evidence to back up your assertions? Also, it's not clear what you mean by "social achievement." In any case, a homeschooled kid can get a self-directed education in 3-5 hours per day, working at his own pace, as opposed to a teacher-directed education in 7-8 hours plus homework, where the pace is generally slowed to accomodate the slower kids. It's far less frustrating to children, and it leaves more hours of the day for free-play and other beneficial activities.

And it's not just about academic achievement. My dad taught in public schools for over 30 years. By the end, he was thoroughly discouraged, because he'd observed that the hallways of public schools had become notihng more than an extension of the street. He saw every sort of vile behavior there is in those hallways, and a complete and total disregard for any kind of authority. Why subject your children to that environment if you don't have to?

After all, we are opposed to the "evils" of indoctrination, correct?

No. Why on earth would anyone here be opposed to indoctrination? How could you even raise a child without it, unless you think it's possible to engage in dialectic with a four-year-old as to the virtues of the culture and the rules of the house in which he's being raised? Indoctrination is not an evil in and of itself. The "evil" comes from indoctrination masquerading as an ideology-neutral teaching of skills and/or being foisted on children against the will of their parents.

Anonymous Frank Furdek July 25, 2013 4:24 PM  

As a caveat, I am NOT opposed to homeschooling.


"There is nothing substantially different between the academic and social achievement of a homeschool teen and their public-school counterpart when the variables are similar--heavily involved parents, stable home environment, consistent discipline."

Scientific studies are not needed here...common sense tells us everything. Parents, regardless of ethnicity or race, when committing themselves to make the necessary sacrifices to actively tutor their children, consistently hold them accountable for their actions, and pursue rigorous curriculum, put their children in a position to perform well in academics.


"The "evil" comes from indoctrination masquerading as an ideology-neutral teaching of skills and/or being foisted on children against the will of their parents."

Correct. And it is equally likely for a devout Muslim, Christian, or Jew who home-schools their children in such a manner that opposing viewpoints are considered "immoral" without careful consideration of its merits. Example--I teach my son that Christians hate Muslims. Utterly false. But impressionable minds can be shaped to a desired outcome. Likewise, it is conceivable for a public school teacher to promote homosexuality in their classroom. That is why it is vital for parents to offer contradictory evidence for their children to ponder. When they become adults, they can make up their own minds; at least they had both sides presented to them, rather than have something already "deposited".


"He saw every sort of vile behavior there is in those hallways, and a complete and total disregard for any kind of authority."

Generalization. Not all school environments are "extensions of the street". It is also a matter of degree.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope July 25, 2013 4:46 PM  

It's also a matter of time.
Time spent in public or private school, per day, is about 6-8 hours.
Then the child comes home. You somehow expect in 2 hours (for us, it would be 6 to bedtime) to completely reverse the toxic effects of his/her teacher's thorough indoctrination in atheism, feminism, relativism, humanism, and socialism?

Or do you intend the weekends to somehow root out all the progressivism, etc that they have been taught in words, actions, whispers, games, instruction, readings, and reports during the school day?

Truly clueless, you are.
Sure to fail, you will.

Besides, it is also teaching the child that a) you'd rather outsource their education to people who don't care about them very much, b) you don't value THEIR time very much (the school day is almost 85% wasted time), and c) you really can't be bothered to really sacrifice of your time and money to ensure that they have the best upbringing.

Yep, go on believing that "heavily involved parents" is all that is really needed to overcome the difference in parenting. Give that hamster another turbo injection, so it can rationalize the choice of greater convenience.

Anonymous Stickwick July 25, 2013 5:04 PM  

Scientific studies are not needed here...common sense tells us everything.

Ridiculous. Common sense once told us there was no such thing as germs, despite the fact that many people died from infections after medical procedures. Present some reliable evidence that public-schooled children with the same level of parental involvement as homeschooled students perform academically and socially (by some defined measure) as well as homeschooled children, or it's simply your groundless opinion.

Generalization. Not all school environments are "extensions of the street". It is also a matter of degree.

In other words, you have nothing substantial with which to contradict my father's claim. He taught at five different high schools in completely different areas, and they were all more or less the same in this regard. How long has it been since you've been immersed in the environment of an average public high school? How many hours have you spent in a public high school in the last year interacting with the students and the teachers, and asking them about the behavior problems they encounter?

Anonymous Frank Furdek July 25, 2013 5:49 PM  

"In other words, you have nothing substantial with which to contradict my father's claim."

Retired high school teacher (urban and rural) and college professor. A wealth of experience on this matter. You do realize that your father is offering a similar "groundless opinion" by your own standard, right? (The standard being your father's experience in five different high schools)


"it's simply your groundless opinion."

Years of parent teacher conferences told me everything I needed to know on this subject. Perhaps some egghead should apply for a federal grant that costs the taxpayers millions of dollars to conduct this study and report the same thing I witnessed for nearly four decades. Again, common sense--two intelligent, motivated, employed parents dedicated to their well-being of their children.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope July 25, 2013 6:14 PM  

Ah, I see where we have the disconnect in communication.

My homeschooling is the only option for us based on God's instructions that we parents are 100% responsible for training our children in the way they should go. God cares about our character, not our school performance.

You were caring about academic and social performance. Those don't matter much to me, not nearly as much as the development of character. I trust that guiding and working with God's help to develop excellent Godly character in our child will is first and foremost, and the academic and social performance will flow from that with His blessing.

But even if not, I will still obey His instructions. Because bragging rights about how well my child performs on standardized tests and which college he graduates from don't motivate me (and hopefully doesn't motivate most other homeschoolers).

Anonymous Stickwick July 26, 2013 10:00 AM  

Retired high school teacher (urban and rural) and college professor. A wealth of experience on this matter. You do realize that your father is offering a similar "groundless opinion" by your own standard, right? (The standard being your father's experience in five different high schools)

No, he's not, and that wasn't my standard. "Common sense tells us everything" is the argument you initially presented, and it's a groundless one. If you had said, "I believe this is true based on my wealth of professional experience in this regard," I would not have called your argument groundless. Personal experience counts as supporting evidence when making an argument. In your case, it serves as the basis for a faulty argument, but it's evidence nonetheless.

By the way, I'm not surprised you're a teacher, because, like most teachers, you make your case in an annoying and ineffective way. This is one reason I detested most of my public school experience.

Years of parent teacher conferences told me everything I needed to know on this subject.

Unless you're going to sandbag me again by claiming that you were the head of a large homeschool cooperative for forty years in addition to your experience as a teacher, presumably your experience is with public schools and not homeschooling. As a professional scientist (who, until recently, was also a college professor), I know all too well how easy it is to be deceived by "common sense" and limited experience. You must actually compare the statistics between public schooled students and homeschooled students to know whether your claim is true. The problem with your argument is, you're arriving at a conclusion on the basis of comparing two groups and extrapolating to a third. I'll grant you that two caring, involved, well-adjusted parents who provide a stable home life are going to, in the mean, produce children who perform much better in public schools than children who come from single-parent, neglectful, chaotic homes. But what you have assumed without any objective analysis is that they perform just as well as homsechooled children. How can you possibly know that without looking at objective measures? The answer is, you can't.

Now, I can present evidence to contradict your argument based on your years of parent-teacher conferences. My brother and his wife are both intelligent (Ph.D. and B.Sc., respectively), caring, and very involved with their children, but in spite of that their 12-year-old son was miserable and suffering in public school. At his request, they started homeschooling him last year, and he has blossomed under it. All of the emotional stress of public school is gone, and he's a much happier child. He's able to move at his own pace, which is considerably faster than it was in public school, and he's getting more done in three hours a day than he used to in seven hours at school. Even though he was already a very bright child, his academic performance has improved, and he absolutely crushed the last round of standardized exams. This is evidence enough to suggest that your assertion needs to be verified, and that it's worth comparing the statistics.

Anonymous Stickwick July 26, 2013 10:07 AM  

Perhaps some egghead should apply for a federal grant that costs the taxpayers millions of dollars to conduct this study and report the same thing I witnessed for nearly four decades.

The numbers are already there. The HSLDA, and I think at least one other organization, commissioned an extensive study on the topic of academic achievement and social adjustment. All a person would have to do is control for parental involvement to see whether or not your claim is supported.

Again, common sense--two intelligent, motivated, employed parents dedicated to their well-being of their children.

It's unclear why you changed this, but previously you cited "heavily involved parents, stable home environment, consistent discipline" as the decisive factors. Now it's "intelligent, motivated, employed parents dedicated to their well-being of their children." Intelligent parents, as well as stupid ones, can be horrible parents. And an argument can be made that both parents being employed is actually detrimental to children; it's better for children that one parent is at home, even after they start going to school.

Going back to something you said earlier, of course not every school is the way my father described. The problem is that most are, and it's often just the luck of the draw which one a student gets. Too many public schools are the way my father described, and they're very ineffective at dealing with behavioral problems, because they're too feminized.

Also, there's no one-size-fits-all for students. There's no doubt some do well in a regimented school environment, but the vast majority need something else. All you have to do is look at the achievement levels in American schools, which have dropped precipitously -- there is a huge dumbing down of American students. Public schools just aren't getting the job done, and they haven't demonstrated any ability, by and large, to improve themselves. One of the reasons homeschooling is so effective, compared with public schools, is that there is a one-to-one connection between the parent and the student, without the middlemen of teachers and administrators, who have their own concerns and agendas. A parent is much more likely to, and far more capable of, making changes to accommodate her student's needs. OTOH, my father's experience is that most teachers and administrators treat concerned parents as if they're intruders or enemies. Good partnerships between parents and teachers are the exception, not the rule, so having involved parents isn't the panacea you think it is. If it was, then concerned parents wouldn't be increasingly taking their children out of public schools, as my brother and his wife have done. It's analogous to white flight into the suburbs. Public schools are losing the best families -- the ones who are involved -- and things are going to continue to get worse.

Anonymous Anonymous July 26, 2013 12:20 PM  

Usually in the back of a parent's mind is this fear that kids may not be meeting a standard, may not be up to grade level. You have to stomp those fears down and trust yourself and your kids.

Yep. People worry way too much. It's the old "No one ever got fired for buying IBM" argument. If you push your kids onto the school bus that comes by every day, and never put any more into their schooling than that, no one will blame that choice if the kid fails college or winds up in prison. But if you homeschooled and your kid goes bad....

I tell people that most kids in school would be better off if their parents fenced in the back yard, pushed the kids out there, and threw out an armload of books every week. That's how bad standard schooling is, for a variety of reasons.

Homeschooling isn't like school as you know it. You're not gonna sit your kid at a desk for 8 hours a day. If you do... you're doing it wrong.

Many parents start out trying to replicate school at home, with desks and bells and everything, partly because of the fear I just mentioned. Most seem to get over that after a while and let the kids learn more naturally instead of forcing it.

By the way, there's a book that's targeted to teens who want to be homeschooled. I don't recall the name right now, but it suggests taking off as much as a year to "detox" from school and regain their natural curiosity and desire to learn. That's how bad school is.

I've been wondering what programming language to start them off with. My impulse is to fire up a C64 emulator and go with BASIC, because that was good enough for me, right? But maybe something simpler like Logo would be better, and then jump to something higher-level that's being used today?

Anonymous Shut Up, Cali August 01, 2013 4:34 PM  

"I tell people that most kids in school would be better off if their parents fenced in the back yard, pushed the kids out there, and threw out an armload of books every week. That's how bad standard schooling is, for a variety of reasons."

Right, because that is the current model in a number of American school districts. The natural curiosity and desire to learn stems in part from those professionals who nurture their students. That's how great school is today.

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