Archives for posts with tag: home school

I’m not sure the large graphic will work. Oh well. Go here: http://www.topmastersineducation.com/homeschooled/

Good stuff.

homeschool

We need programs for gifted children at least as much as we need programs for the challenged. We need specialized accommodation for all with specialized needs outside the first standard deviation.

If we, as a society, owe something specialized to those below average, we owe just as much to those above average.

We need to start by acknowledging that gifted does not mean special, and we need to make sure we don’t use “special” with a special meaning.

We must keep in mind that gifted is only a reasonable label. It helps us identify a group with exceptional characteristics. Further, exceptional does not necessarily mean above average. It can sometimes mean weird, or perhaps simply unusual, out of the ordinary.

The Calgary Herald carried an article written by Marcello Di Cintio about gifted children and some programs and teachers.

http://calgaryherald.com/life/swerve/gifted-children-are-frequently-misunderstood

They need teachers and programs that focus not on the magnificence of their brains, but on the fragility of their hearts. “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” Aldred says. She quotes from Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow,” a poem she teaches her literature students:

…sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

“I can’t teach them anything,” Aldred says. “But I can reteach them their loveliness.”

My eldest teaches third-grade. She pointed me to this article. I always remind her the most important thing she can do is to love the children in her class. She knows. She does. It is frustrating because she isn’t rated on her love. She is rated on tests, and checklists, and various quantifications that may or may not apply to anything except some reformer’s criteria for something measurable, even if it measures nothing relevant to the real world. In public education, children are just numbers, just test results; their teachers are variously derived subsets of the aggregated numbers. Shameful.

The article is about the gifted. My daughter told me about it for that reason, and she expressed thanks for ensuring she had what she needed as gifted.

I’m tying this to everyone.

Everyone needs the same thing. We all need to be recognized as unique and individual. Not one of us actually fits into groups and categories. Sure, we have and need our tribes, our like minds and kindred spirits. We need them desperately. But, at the individual level, we are all exactly that–individual.

Gifted kids, unique kids, need unique things, extra things, and specialized understanding.

We can blame our schools, but I don’t.

I hold myself responsible. Two of my five gifted children were well suited to public school (our local system). The first, only barely. She thanks me, but we could have done better. We should have had her at home. We first noticed when it was almost too late for another. We started homeschooling. It has made a tremendous difference. I cannot say I have regrets, but it would have been better for all had we homeschooled from the start with the eldest. The one who thrived in school would likely still have been even better off had we homeschooled her.

I really want every child homeschooled. It is best. Mother knows best, even if she isn’t technically qualified. We need institutions to help parents educate their own children.

Having said it, reality steps in, and reality generally bites.

We must have alternatives for families that simply cannot homeschool. We need schools. We also need the Federal Government entirely out of it. The Fed should have no say, no funds, not departments, no standards, no goals, no say at all. The standard we hold for state and religion should be exactly the same for state and education.

We also need freedom for every individual. No compulsion. No coercion. No truancy laws.

Children are citizens, not property of the state. Not property at all. Children are to be protected by the law, not used or coerced by the body politic.

While Di Cintio writes well and describes well, it is impractical to explain giftedness and the needs of the gifted. In short, it takes one to know one. (Of course, nearly everyone can tell when he is being taken. While the truly gifted, with exceptional IQ, are difficult to understand, there is no justification for granting them extraordinary rights or power. Plato was wrong if he thought the philosopher-kings could be lifted above corruption by training. Power corrupts. It is an absolute.)

We really owe it to ourselves to figure it out. The story of young-Albert the misfit is widely know. Where would humanity be with Einstein? Some of our greatest minds were problem children.

We need our problem children. Many of them are the great minds that we need to help us move forward and better ourselves. All of them are worthwhile, with their own unique loveliness. All of them.

Our potentially great minds often have particularly fragile hearts.

We need to mind these hearts, but the statement, “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” is a statement true in all circumstances. It is also true that there are some other deeper needs that must be met before learning can happen, like sated hunger and basic security at home.

Schools deal with hunger, but inadequately. School is a poor and inadequate means for addressing hunger. Even more so, schools simply cannot address the needs of the home. There is no hope for improved test-performance in grade schools were most children are from broken homes. And, there is no easy answer to this problem. It must start small, and it will be long, very long relative to the needs of a child today. There is no simple nor grand solution. It is a battle that must be won with love, one heart at a time. I’ll add that I think it is mostly a problem we must address with men, and a boy is the only thing from which God can make a man. One at a time.

My writing here is about giftedness and the worth of every child, not daddies, or the lack of daddies, nor about radicalized feminism and the ill-advised war on masculinity that seems to pervade our society.

We fight for progress at the expense of tradition. That doesn’t work. Progressivism fails every time. Conservatism fails if taken to extreme. So, we must find balance. We must embrace the new while cherishing the old. We must build new institutions while respecting tradition. We must esteem heritage while learning our world as it is today. We must acknowledge that we are all different, and we all have different abilities and different needs. Of course, as I’ve tried to emphasize above, we all have the same basic needs. We are all the same before God. We must accept that one-size does not fit all. We actually need segregation (well, groupings) by innate, self-defining characteristics, such as ability, interest, and temperament. (We must never let ourselves regress to defining anything by externals.)

I know this, solutions do not lie in politics. The government cannot fix any of this. We must have more freedom, not more government. More autonomy, not more regulation. More local solutions, not more standardization.

Writing for the Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse,  writes an insightful article. 

The Fundamental Case for Parental Rights.

I invite you to read her article. I recommend it.

I agree with her without reservation until she gets to “The Role of the State in Educating Children.”

At that point, she simply doesn’t go far enough. She states that coercion by the state should be as limited as possible, but I assert that it is possible to entirely proscribe state interference and coercion. 100%, no coercion. All coercion is immoral. The state, all governments at all levels, must add to their charters, their constitutions, that they shall make no laws regarding establishment of education, and they shall not restrict the free exercise thereof. There should be an even wider separation between education and the state than there is between religion and the state.

Fundamentally, there are no public goods, no needs of society, no compelling state interests that override the sovereignty of the individual over himself. This goes for children just the same, and the parent has the fundamental right and full responsibility to raise the child personally, as partners in the family, free of compulsion and interference of the state.

The state’s obligation, the state’s compelling interest is in protecting the rights of the parent and the child, of the family, to act sovereign within their family to grow and become good people, productive members of society, competent citizens free from any outside coercion. The only true function of the state is to protect us from the outside, too protect us from infringement of our rights overtly. It is just a much the state’s obligation to protect our freedom to mess up.

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” and “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.” Ghandi

From an article in the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/03/old-earth-young-minds-evangelical-homeschoolers-embrace-evolution/273844/

But whatever their reason for homeschooling, evangelical families who embrace modern science are becoming more vocal about it — and are facing the inevitable criticism that comes with that choice. “We get a lot of flak from others for not using Christian textbooks,” Warton says.

Theologically conservative Christians were not always so polarized. “By the late 19th century,” says David R. Montgomery author of The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood, “evangelical theologians generally accepted the compelling geological evidence for the reality of an old earth.” However, Darwin’s idea of natural selection scared away many fundamentalists, who saw “survival of the fittest” as an atheistic concept. Over time, those who insisted on a literal interpretation of the Bible’s account of creation came to reject both geology and evolutionary biology.

The rising number of homeschool families striving to reconcile belief in God with today’s scientific consensus has attracted the attention of at least one publisher — Christian Schools International in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Most science textbooks that attempt to present the content from a Christian perspective also attempt to discredit the theory of evolution,” says Ken Bergwerff, a science curriculum specialist at Christian Schools International. “Some do it discreetly; others are quite blatant. The CSI science curriculum clearly presents science from a Christian perspective, but does not attempt to discredit the theory of evolution. The content presents God as the author of all of creation, no matter how he did it or when he did it.”

These are very important points. I agree with the article.

I intended to write about this back in March 2013 when it appeared, but I forgot about it.

My comment is that we struggle with this as a homeschool family. It is difficult to find material that honors God and presents sound science. Most of what one sees in homeschooling circles and conventions is entirely unacceptable to us. It is easy to get reasonable reviews about that material, and we can readily tell it is not acceptable. It is harder to find reviews of other curriculum material. Sound science is hard enough to find. Wanting sound theological content too requires research and piecing things together.

I found an article at American Thinker worth pointing out.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/on_running_from_reality.html

Quoting (Don Sucher):

“Young children often have an aversion to reality. Their ways of running from it are often amusing: the pretend friend, the one that takes their side when things are difficult, and the pretend enemy, the one who takes the blame for their errors and misdeeds.

“Parents traditionally have strived to help their children cope with reality through instruction, emotional support, and abundant love. But today it is increasingly common for parents instead to protect their children from reality as to teach them to effectively deal with it. And such parents typically have come to expect, and receive, support in these efforts from society’s institutions — especially the public schools.”

He goes on to talk about chemical means of avoiding reality, and of misuse of religion. He indicates that it all leads people to abdicate their own responsibility for their own lives. I makes many of us completely dependent upon the government, looking to politicians or other public figures as our “gods.” He says we need people to live up to their personal responsibilities in order to have a free society, and progressivism encourages the opposite of what we need for our free society. I’ll add that progressivism is simply against the human soul. Progressiveness is against all that is good, right, and noble in the individual, in the human soul. (I liken it to Borg. The collective is everything; the individual is nothing.)

It is a good article, but I’m most interested in the part about our societal institutions helping parents who want to shelter their children rather than help the children learn to deal responsibly with reality.

He says precious little. This quote is about all the more he says about the children:

“Too, we see the family structure — once the great bulwark of protection for society’s traditions, and the place where children were taught to face reality as free, independent, adults — under attack.”

It is the “free, independent adults” part that I’m considering. Read the rest of this entry »

During the summer, the Foundation for Economic Education (www.fee.org) presented and article by WENDY MCELROY.

I see this as further evidence that compulsory education laws are inherently bad and need repealed as much as I see it pointing out how good homeschooling is.

Here is the full article:

Homeschooling: The Public Schools’ Invasive Species

JULY 30, 2013 by WENDY MCELROY

 

To government, homeschooling resembles a weed that spreads and resists control. To homeschooling parents, it is the flowering of knowledge and values within children who have been abandoned or betrayed by public schools. A great tension exists between the two perspectives. Homeschooling’s continued growth has only heightened it.

The federal government has reacted by attempting to increase its control over homeschooling, for example, by pushing for increased regulation of homeschool curricula. But the federal government is hindered by certain factors. For one thing, education is generally the prerogative of individual states. Nevertheless, the federal government can often impose its will by threatening to withhold federal funds from states that do not comply with its measures.

But homeschooling parents cannot be threatened by a withdrawal of money they don’t receive. As it is, they are paying double. They pay taxes to support public schools from which they draw no benefit and they pay again in homeschooling money and in terms of lost opportunities such as the full-time employment of both parents. The “profit” they receive is a solid education for their children. What they want from the government is to be left alone.

The federal government is also hindered by not being able to play the “it’s for the children” card that justifies so many intrusive policies. Homeschooled children routinely display better development than public school students.

A 2012 article in Education News called the “consistently high placement of homeschooled kids on standardized assessment exams … one of the most celebrated benefits of homeschooling.” Education News compared the quality of homeschooling to that of public schooling. “Those who are independently educated typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on such exams, while those attending traditional schools average on the 50th percentile. Furthermore, the achievement gaps, long plaguing school systems … aren’t present in the homeschooling environment. There’s no difference in achievement between sexes, income levels, or race/ethnicity.” Studies also indicate that homeschooled children are better socialized with both peers and adults.

It appears the federal government has failed to yank the “weed” of homeschooling. Why does the Obama administration continue to try?

1. Homeschooling is an acute embarrassment to public schools, which do not educate and are rife with abuse. News stories abound of students who are illiterate and who are being abused by teachers or by the police who arrest them for trivial offenses such as burping in class. (See “A List of 19 Children Recently Arrested (July 2013) For Trivial Things.”)

2. Public schools are desperate for funding. The federal government especially wants to pay the expensive union salaries, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by teachers because unions are one of the administration’s political bases. Since tax dollars are allocated largely according to class attendance, the goal is to force as many children as possible into public schools.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of homeschooled children in 2007 “was about 1.5 million, an increase from 850,000 in 1999 and 1.1 million in 2003.” Homeschooling is currently growing by an estimated 7 percent a year. Each homeschooled child represents a loss of funds to public schools and a threat to teachers’ pensions.

3. The homeschooled child is also an embarrassment to the public schools in economic terms. As Education News explained, “The average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.” Of course, that doesn’t take into account the wages a parent most forego to homeschool a child, but at least that opportunity cost is borne only by the parent.

4. The federal government wants to weaken political critics. Parents who homeschool usually do so because of religious reasons (38.4 percent), because they can do a better overall job (48.9 percent), or due to objections to the content (21.1 percent) or to the academic quality (25.6 percent) of public schools. They are “dissatisfied customers” who weaken the government’s legitimacy and credibility. Those who choose homeschooling for religious or ideological reasons present an even larger problem because they are likely to dislike other government programs and positions. A clamp-down on homeschooling weakens the influence of critics, preventing them from producing future opponents.

5. Access to children allows the government to inculcate its values. Public schools teach politically correct attitudes; for example, the diversity of race must be embraced but a diversity of ideas should be rejected. Public schools have become venues for social experiments such as the so-called healthy lunch programs championed by Michele Obama even though children often throw them away, preferring to be hungry. Public schools are also experimenting with using students as advocates for government policies. For example, America’s second-largest school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), has accepted almost $1 million for a pilot program to train students how to convince their families to enroll in Obamacare.

Investor’s Business Daily reported an LAUSD spokeswoman proudly proclaiming that the “pilot program” would ascertain “how well teenagers serve as messengers of government-sponsored information.” Investor’s continued: “If they prove proficient at influencing their own families to believe material sent home from schools, she said, the teens will be used to deliver numerous other official messages to adults in their home and neighborhoods.”

 

Where the President Stands on Homeschooling

In 1999, Illinois Senator Obama voted against tax credits for parents with homeschooled children. President Obama has not taken a stand on homeschooling despite the dominant role educational policy has played in his agenda. He vocally supports “choice” in education, but the only choices his administration mentions are public and charter schools, both of which are government-approved and tax-funded.

Despite Obama’s silence, there are strong indications of where he stands.

In his 2012 State of the Union address, he called on “every state to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.” The U.S. Department of Education blog described his 2013 address as “Bold Education Proposals to Grow the Middle Class.” The proposals strengthened tax-funded schools and programs. One statement was especially intriguing. Obama declared, “Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job.”

The intriguing aspect is the favorable reference to Germany, which was later echoed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the DOJ may well be the most loyal voice within the administration, and it would not contradict Obama. The court case Romeike v. Holderinvolves a German homeschooling family who sought asylum in America because Germany threated to remove their younger children. The DOJ defended the German educational model. What is that model? In 1938, Adolf Hitler ordered all children to be educated either in state schools or in state-approved private ones; homeschooling was banned. This remains the basic educational law in Germany.

The DOJ brief stated, “The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society…. Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.” Translation: homeschooling interferes with the state’s definition of tolerance and good citizenship. The brief also concurred with a recent German court decision that found that “the general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.” (Translation: people whose beliefs conflict with the state’s definition of “the general good” should be integrated by proxy, i.e. by forcing their children into state schools where they are molded toward the state view.)

Obama’s stand is also evidenced by his close affiliation with the National Education Association (NEA). The NEA is a labor union “committed to advancing the cause of public education.” Year after year, the NEA has fully endorsed Obama’s presidency and his educational vision. In turn, Obama has repeatedly addressed NEA conferences and conventions.

The NEA takes an unambiguous position on homeschooling. In a 2011 resolution the NEA declared it “believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used…. home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools…. local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting.”

In short, the administration’s policy goal is very likely for homeschooling to be entirely under state control—at which point it ceases to be homeschooling in any meaningful sense.

 

Conclusion

Homeschooling captures the battle between individualism and authoritarianism. The rights of parents and children are pitted against the state’s demand to supersede both.

Homeschooling is an act of defiance that frightens the state. It not only challenges the state’s competence and monopoly, but homeschooling also constitutes an issue from which people will not back down. How can they? The well-being and future of their children is at stake. Unfortunately, the state is not likely to back down either. Its well-being and future are at stake as well.

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/homeschooling-the-public-schools-invasive-species#ixzz2kR7eGAqd

Here is a link to an informative set of data and survey responses.

http://www.topmastersineducation.com/homeschooled/

I have heard it said not everyone has the option to homeschool. I consider that the same statement as not every mother has the option to breastfeed. Sadly, there are circumstances where that is actually true, but such are quite rare.  Read the rest of this entry »

From AmericanThinker, another reason to homeschool:

Recently, there has been a disturbing nation-wide trend of parental rights being trampled upon by public school officials, from bag-lunch inspections to electronic bracelets being used to spy on overweight kids. This week brings another example of complete disregard for parental rights, this time from Grove High School in Delaware County, Oklahoma.

Grove High School transported 699 kids away from school property without first notifying parents…via Blog: 'Relocating' children.

We need, state by state, to repeal compulsory education laws. We also need to amend our Constitution to prohibit congress from making any law regarding education, just like religion in the First Amendment. I see no easy paths to the solutions, but I see no solutions possible until we accomplish this.

Be confident that you can homeschool your own children if you want to. You are capable. No one cares more about your children than you do. Think it through and make the best decision for your children in your circumstances. The public school should not be your default starting position.

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