In defense of homeschooling

David Black recently sent me some interesting points on my welcome page in opposition to (unschooling?) homeschooling. I thought I would make my response into this post since other homeschoolers or potential homeschoolers may have to answer similar questions. It’s obvious he has serious objections to homeschooling and feels state public schooling should be the only option. Here’s what I have to say. My responses are indented.

I’m curious to know how many DIY schoolers here have earned their state certifications to instruct students?

Great question! Unfortunately, I don’t know. State requirements for certification vary. My certification is from a private school, not the state. I haven’t checked to see what needs to be done to have it recognized by the state yet.

I’m of the theory that most, if not all, so-called “unschoolers” aren’t simply malcontents who feel their destinies are out of their control, so by taking advantage of a few laws, they seize the control they think they have lost to traditional k-12 institutions.

A few different points here. First, Unschooling is just one form of homeschooling. It’s where the child’s interests rather than a preset curriculum guide what the child is to learn. I think you are trying to lump all different forms of homeschooling as unstructured radical unschooling which may be part of your confusion. I have a few similar concerns about families who do radical unschooling. However, that is only one form of homeschooling. Most families who homeschool have some sort of structure and routine (myself included).

What sort of experience and interaction have you had with unschoolers or homeschoolers? Are you making this broad judgment by observations of only a few families? Just as it is wrong to assume all public schools are failures based upon a few high profile problems, it is equally unfair to judge thousands of individual families based upon a few isolated cases. This is what happened in California. That was wrong and the court has reversed it’s decision and recognized this mistake. Both need to be judged on a case by case individual basis.

While many people do start homeschooling because of discontent with the public schools, that is not our primary reason. See my page on homeschooling for my many detailed reasons we chose to homeschool.

One other thing to consider. What about high school students who voluntarily leave school to homeschool? I don’t mean dropout of school exactly. Just quit traditional public school to homeschool because they don’t feel they are getting a good education? They feel they are better off teaching themselves (either directly or through supervised independent learning courses) then staying public high school.

I am of the opinion that if you aren’t certified, then you have no ethical business trying to teach your child the school or district mandated curriculum at home.

Being certified or not does not automatically guarantee success as a teacher. Certification just means you have been instructed in teaching method theory and have a basic knowledge of the material to be taught. There are many excellent private school teachers that aren’t state certified and many public school teachers which are certified that really shouldn’t be teaching. No, certification doesn’t necessarily mean competency in teaching.

I don’t want to be limited to teaching the local district curriculum. I teach a curriculum tailored to my kids interests and learning styles that meets my district’s (which isn’t the local district) performance levels for each subject. I have a district representative who agrees to my decisions and monitors our progress.

It’s ironic that my representative for the district is the same woman who was my supervisor when I interned at public school. She left classroom teaching to advise homeschoolers and now also homeschools her kids. Our kids will have to pass the same state high school exit exam as their public school peers in order to be given a diploma.

Disagreement over district curriculum (for whatever reason) is one of the more popular reasons people start to homeschool. One of the great things about homeschooling is curriculum customization. If part of the curriculum you originally chose just isn’t working, then you are free to switch. You can’t do that in public schools. Public schools teach to the median children. If your kids need more time (either because they are really interested or having difficulty) in public schools, that’s too bad. The teacher can make recommendations for tutors or assign extra work but the class must move on. In homeschool, you can take as little or as much time as needed.

What if I read a few medical textbooks and declare myself a medical doctor? Should that be permitted to treat my own children?

YES, if you can prove you’re competent. Homeschoolers pass SAT and ACT exams with equal or higher scores than their public school peers. Homeschooling success depends more upon the learning materials and opportunities they are given than who instructs them. I’m not trying to underplay the importance of the teacher, but if quality curriculum is used, then almost anyone who has enough patience and cares about the success of the kids can teach.

Another thing to think about. If you’ve ever had to explain how to do a homework problem, then you’ve taught a student. Should you have to call a certified teacher in order to do this?

An autodidactic’s folly is to presume their expert status without formal training and certification. They are assuaging unchecked egos that believe they can do better than someone else. meanwhile, their kids suffer from lack of real structure, order, and discipline, all of which will be expected of them when they grow up and leave the nest.

I’ll admit, I had to look up “autodidactic” in the dictionary. For everyone else unsure or clueless about the meaning, it’s a self-taught person.

Yes, it’s presumptuous to assume you know everything. That is true of anyone. However, it is also folly, to assume just because someone doesn’t have a formal title or degree they are untrained or unqualified. It doesn’t matter so much how you know something as what you know. My husband is often consulted as an expert in coal boilers yet he has no formal training in boilers. It is all self-taught. Even qualified experts call him for help because he has the most hands-on experience with these systems.

This sounds like a twist on the old homeschoolers aren’t socialized argument. Homeschoolers in general that I’ve observed are better socially mannered than their public school peers. They are less given to peer pressure and more likely to make responsible decisions. I’m always getting compliments on how nice manners my kids have. Sure, kids learn to play in public schools, just not playing nicely.

Tell me what profession will allow its employees to work at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Many jobs give employees a goal or project and a completion date then the employee is left alone to complete the work. This is similar to how many homeschools are run. The student is given a task and instruction then given time to complete it. They aren’t totally unstructured. Students learn time management and goal setting in this manner. It’s not the quantity of time that matters when learning new material, but rather the quality of time. What difference does it make if he needs 2o minutes or 2 hours to learn column addition? Everyone learns at their own pace, which is how homeschools

Part of formal education is to prep you for real life. Staying at home with mom or dad playing make believe is not prepping a child for real life. It’s setting them up for real failure.

My husband was homeschooled then went on to earn 2 university degrees: geology and biology.

And having only same age peers to interact with all day like in a typical classroom setting isn’t natural. Where else in life are you restricted to being only with other people who are exactly the same age as you? Homeschoolers interact with people of various ages.

What a pity more of you don’t see that. You read some research that tells you exactly what you want to hear that you conclude that all education is rotten.

Not true. It would appear you have the same but opposite bias. I’m not trying to point fingers but want to take a moment to point out that there isn’t any one approach or method that works for everyone because everyone has their own learning style and unique needs. Homeschooled education is only one of many options for education. Families should look at all options based upon their individual situation and location then decide which would be best for their kids. There are successes and failures in each one. Homeschooling just fits my family situation best. It’s not for everyone. Again, see my page about why we homeschool for more details.

You’ve failed to learn that a modern education must be a partnership between a school and its parents.

That is a myth. That is only one interpretation of what schooling is. And how much more of a partnership can there be between school and parents if the parents are the school? Yes, in a utopia public school there would be a perfect cooperation between home and school, but that just isn’t reality for many schools or families. Tragically it is the kids who loose because of it. Our nation’s high drop out rate and poor performance record or many graduates is a testament to how many schools have failed our nation’s kids.

Clearly, the fact that you bailed proves that you did not fulfill your part of the commitment. You expected your school to do everything for your child.

Interesting. The ironic thing is that most homeschoolers still pay school tax but recieve no benefits from their money. In addition, they spend their own money to buy educational curriculum and materials that best suit their kids. They don’t expect anything from their district.

As for me, I’m homeschooling in cooperation with a school district which became in 2001 the only district in the nation to ever win the Baldridge Award for Excellence. To quote from the district website:

“It has received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement. With 30 faculty and staff, Chugach School District (CSD) is the smallest organization to win this award. In addition, it is one of the first-ever winners in the education category. Chugach’s 214 students are scattered throughout 22,000 square miles of mostly isolated and remote areas of South Central Alaska accessible only by air and water. Half of the students are Native Alaskans.”

How many traditional public schools can say that? I’m proud to be part of this innovative school district’s home extension service. You can find out more about the district on their website http://www.chugachschools.com/index.html

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51 Responses

  1. An excellent debunking and apologia for homeschooling here! At Christian Teacher Forum, my own blog site, it is my goal to really provide support for Christian teachers, whether it be in homeschooling, public or private arenas. I really liked what you had to say here, especially the way you detected the fallacies and generalizations in some of these statements. May I include a link to this post on my blog? I think other homeschooling parents could benefit from the clarity of your responses here.

  2. I’m sorry I didn’t see this when I posted my responses.

    How does the Chugach School District work? It is a public school? Does it have a traditional campus?

    I have had friends who lived in Alaska and Wyoming that homeschooled because there really wasn’t a school close enough to them. How common is that?

    Homeschooled education is only one of many options for education. Families should look at all options based upon their individual situation and location then decide which would be best for their kids. There are successes and failures in each one. Homeschooling just fits my family situation best.

    Your statement sums up my views about educational choices for families.

  3. Dee,

    You were too quick. I hadn’t finished it yet 😉 I’ve moved your and David’s latest responses over to this post. It changes the name to me but this is the proper place for this discussion.

    Chugach is a public school district based in Anchorage with school buildings in the small villages of Tatilik, Chenega Bay, Whittier and homeschool extension offices in Valdez, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

    It is very common in rural Alaska. That is why my husband homeschooled. You need 10 students in a village to have a state school. If there are less, the only option is some form of homeschooling. Before homeschools, the state had forced boarding schools.

  4. Submitted on 2008/12/30 at 9:03pm by TheDeeZone
    http://thedeezone.wordpress.com

    [originally posted on Welcome page. I moved it here. It changed it to my header but this is from Dee.]

    Since you don’t admit to being certified, I have to assume you aren’t. But it begs the question: what kind of state allows public school teachers to teach without being certified? I didn’t realize my credentials were being questioned. I didn’t see a need to mention my 7 teaching certifications and 2 college degrees. Try being less arrogant please.
    They operate under the fallacious idea that they are purchasing a service not unlike having their car washed and waxed. Some do but most do not.
    No one else has been able to answer if they write proper lesson plans for each lesson they teach. Oh, and you always do? Of course you may have taught so long that you just recycle the same old lesson plans. I seriously doubt if any uncertified homeschool teachers would even know what goes into writing one. Yes and many certified teachers don’t either. I served on the district leadership team and have observed many other teachers and schools.
    instead of tearing down traditional education, why aren’t you working to make it better for ALL students instead of slinking away and only thinking of your own kids? What about those kids who have no alternatives? Why let them remain behind while you conduct your more leisurely and relatively unstructured “classes” in the comfort of your home? How many of those kids being left behind have parents that can live on one income while the other stays at home and plays make-believe all day? For starters the arrogant and presumptuous attitude that you display is the reason many are opposed to a system that is broken. Public school failed me and same system is even worse today. I learned because of my mom who retaught at night what the teachers failed to teach. Yes, my mom has over 10 teaching certifications and taught in public and private schools for over 40 yrs. As for a band of malcontents, you my friend sound like one yourself.

  5. Submitted on 2008/12/30 at 8:28pm by David Black
    http://meetdavidblack.blogspot.com

    [originally on Welcome page. This is a better place for this discussion]

    “I prefer non-public school not because of research but because of what I have seen first hand.”

    Unless you’ve observed around the entire country among all SES levels, then your sampling is likely limited.

  6. Submitted on 2008/12/30 at 8:27pm by David Black
    http://meetdavidblack.blogspot.com

    [originally posted to Welcome page]

    “Unfortunately, I piece of paper doesn’t insure that all certified teachers can teach.”

    In the state where I live, a pre-service teacher has to jump some major hoops to be certified. No less than 5 Praxis exams must be taken for a K-6 Elementary cert, for example. Every five years, certifications have to be renewed and teachers are required to take more classes and attend workshops for credit. If these requirements aren’t met, the teacher loses their certification and public school job.

    ” I have over 10 yrs experience teaching in public and private schools.”

    Well, I have more years on you.

    Since you don’t admit to being certified, I have to assume you aren’t. But it begs the question: what kind of state allows public school teachers to teach without being certified?

    “From my experience parents selecting non-public school options are more involved in the process.”

    Naturally, because most parents of this type have the attitude “I am paying X amount of money to send little Johnny to this school, so I expect you to do this for him and us ….” They operate under the fallacious idea that they are purchasing a service not unlike having their car washed and waxed.

    Homeschooling can never be a proper option without a state certified teacher being in charge. Sorry, but that’s the only rational and pragmatic way to look at this

    You, as well as others, have yet to comment on my observation, which employs the faulty homeschooler’s logic:

    “What if I read a few medical textbooks and declare myself a medical doctor? Should that be permitted to treat my own children?”

    No one else has been able to answer if they write proper lesson plans for each lesson they teach.

    I seriously doubt if any uncertified homeschool teachers would even know what goes into writing one.

    Face it, there are poor examples in EVERY profession, but that doesn’t mean we can presume to be able to improve over those who are at the top of their profession.

    instead of tearing down traditional education, why aren’t you working to make it better for ALL students instead of slinking away and only thinking of your own kids? What about those kids who have no alternatives? Why let them remain behind while you conduct your more leisurely and relatively unstructured “classes” in the comfort of your home? How many of those kids being left behind have parents that can live on one income while the other stays at home and plays make-believe all day?

    Presumably, the best teachers care about ALL children, not just their own.

    Homeschooling belies any pretense of caring for others.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… this isn’t about making the American educational system better for ALL kids, it’s about a band of malcontents working an elitist agenda that in the long run can only prevent a kid from experiencing a well-rounded educational and social experience by the age of 18.
    “Unfortunately, I piece of paper doesn’t insure that all certified teachers can teach.” In the state where I live, a pre-service teacher has to jump some major hoops to be certified. No less than 5 Praxis exams must be taken for a K-6 Elementary cert, for example. Every five years, certifications have to be renewed and teachers are required to take more classes and attend workshops for credit. If these requirements aren’t met, the teacher loses their certification and public school job. ” I have over 10 yrs experience teaching in public and private schools.” Well, I have more years on you. Since you don’t admit to being certified, I have to assume you aren’t. But it begs the question: what kind of state allows public school teachers to teach without being certified? “From my experience parents selecting non-public school options are more involved in the process.” Naturally, because most parents of this type have the attitude “I am paying X amount of money to send little Johnny to this school, so I expect you to do this for him and us ….” They operate under the fallacious idea that they are purchasing a service not unlike having their car washed and waxed. Homeschooling can never be a proper option without a state certified teacher being in charge. Sorry, but that’s the only rational and pragmatic way to look at this You, as well as others, have yet to comment on my observation, which employs the faulty homeschooler’s logic: “What if I read a few medical textbooks and declare myself a medical doctor? Should that be permitted to treat my own children?” No one else has been able to answer if they write proper lesson plans for each lesson they teach. I seriously doubt if any uncertified homeschool teachers would even know what goes into writing one. Face it, there are poor examples in EVERY profession, but that doesn’t mean we can presume to be able to improve over those who are at the top of their profession. instead of tearing down traditional education, why aren’t you working to make it better for ALL students instead of slinking away and only thinking of your own kids? What about those kids who have no alternatives? Why let them remain behind while you conduct your more leisurely and relatively unstructured “classes” in the comfort of your home? How many of those kids being left behind have parents that can live on one income while the other stays at home and plays make-believe all day? Presumably, the best teachers care about ALL children, not just their own. Homeschooling belies any pretense of caring for others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… this isn’t about making the American educational system better for ALL kids, it’s about a band of malcontents working an elitist agenda that in the long run can only prevent a kid from experiencing a well-rounded educational and social experience by the age of 18.

  7. Anna,

    Thanks for the encouragement. Feel free to use this if it will help others understand homeschooling. Just give me credit.

  8. Where did David get the idea you are an unschooler?

  9. You can change the name in the comments by clicking edit comment.

  10. Dee,

    Got it, thanks! I’m not sure where the idea came from. I gave some advice to an unschooling family a couple weeks ago on their website. I don’t think anything I’m going to say is going to change this guys mind that homeschools are all a bad idea.

  11. David,

    How to be polite here. Your attitude seems rather arrogant and closed minded, I’m sorry. Do you have the same objections to non-certified private school teachers? You never answered me. What are you basing your assumptions about homeschooling families on?

    Why does the method, curriculum, or teacher qualification matter as long as the end result (a well educated young adult) is the same? I agree that we need to hold homeschool parents accountable, however I don’t think certifying is the answer. The kids should be given periodic standardized tests (same as public school students) to monitor their progress and a learning plan should be made for any deficiencies just as with public schools.

    I have passed the praxis 3 times and found it a rather easy test. It just tests your understanding of the material to be taught, NOT your competency for teaching. I DID answer your “doctor” question. Perhaps you posted your second (or is it third now?) comment before I had finished posting my response here.

    Throwing money at the problem of education has not been proven to be effective. There are many single income families (and even single parent families) who homeschool. If a family really wants to homeschool, it can be done in just about any situation. We’re by no means rich just because we’re self employed. In fact making minimum wage would actually be a significant raise!

  12. One clarification on standardized tests. The competencies test that states use now are less reliable than the Standford and other Achievement tests given by many private schools and homeschoolers. Simply because schools teach to the tests. I practice that I believe is unethical and skews the tests. One of the major reasons I left public schools.

  13. OK, I’ve read enough of these hairbrained rationalizations that confirm my suspicion that a decision to homeschool/unschool is motivated by any or all of the following: emotions, insecurity, ignorance, ego, or servitude to a Christian fundamentalist agenda.

    It’s never based on reason, rationality, or common sense, apparently.

    You want to talk about arrogance? How about the arrogance that goes into the assumption that the common citizen can do a better job than a trained, certified, or licensed professional.

    Ironic that you’ll question everything about the secularized public educational system but will you ever question any religious doctrine as it applies to the hard sciences taught to young people?

    Something tells me that’s not happening. If you are teaching your kids not to question everything then I have to call into question your qualifications. You are no better than the public school teachers you disapprove of.

    As for answering your questions: I don’t approve of private schools hiring uncertificed teachers, either. It says to me that they don’t raise their bar high enough.

    Please let me know if a more reliable standardized method of assessing teacher competence exists.

    I note that you or the other person fail to mention why you were not committed to improving the public school district where you already pay taxes. It sounds like you turned an ran away from the problem, instead of trying to help ALL children.

    Where’s all this Christian based altruism that’s supposed to imbue your lives?

  14. Dee: You sound as if you failed to adapt to the every changing educational climate. I know lots of teachers like you. You balked at having to change how you teach after becoming comfortable after so many years on the job.

    Did you continue to take grad courses? Did you regularly attend workshops and in-service sessions to keep your certification?

    Did you do anything to improve or modify how you taught a generation raised on computers and with a greater tendency toward learning disabilities?

    Do you have any special education background that would allow you to spot a potential learning disability?

    “That “teaching to the test” axiom is an oversimplified complaint perpetuated by NEA useful idiots and ignores the glaring fact that it’s the older tenured teachers who are too lazy to retool their teaching methods.

    I know of teachers today who still have no idea what “differentiated instruction” really means. The zenith of their differentiation is using an overhead transparency, the same one they’ve used since 1980. They can’t even figure out how to bring up a browser on a laptop and use websites as part of their instruction. God forbid you ask them to create a simple PowerPoint file or to use a smartboard.

  15. David,

    I balked at being forced to teach to tests and not really being allowed to teach.

    I have a masters degree and took countless hours of training. Even have a life-time certification. Something it sounds like you aren’t qualified for.

    As for technology, of course I kept up the it. I teach computer and have developed computer curriculum. Taught other teachers how to use it. I can swap out a HD and still teach without missing a beat.

    4 of my certifications in special education. I’ve written quite a bit about it on my blogs. My ability to spot learning disabilities was very well respected because I’m usally correct.

    Teaching to the tests is not made up. It is mandated by administrations. It really happens.

    Your assumptions about me are way off. Based upon your judgmental and presumptuous attitude my guess you are really afraid to admit that you might not have all if many answers. You are afraid to admit that you are a part of a system that is broken and needs to be fixes. You are most likely part of the problem.

  16. David,

    Yes, I am biased for my kids over someone else. Every parent should be. It is the very fact of being able to go at our own pace that makes homeschooling work. If we want to spend more or less time on a subject for whatever reason we can. You can never get that kind of personal, individual full time attention in a school setting. It’s just not structured that way. Everyone’s situation is unique which is why what works for one may be totally the wrong approach for another. You can’t get a customized, personal education in a classroom. Kids study what they are told, how they are told, and when they are told to. They have no personal interest or real involvement in their learning other than following directions and learning conformity. They aren’t taught to question motives of books or possible bias of the teacher. My son asks these kind of questions all the time to me.

    I do question my beliefs when I find something isn’t working.

    Some final comments. Am I supposed to take a certified teacher sailing across the oceans with us? How better to learn about world cultures and historical places than first hand experience. This is what homeschooling is giving my kids. We are currently planning a trip to the Marquesas. We’ve been across the Pacific to Hawii where we spent 6 weeks meeting people and exploring (not staying in hotels/resorts!). Then we got permission to stop on Midway Atol. How many classroom students can study about WW2 while actually traveling to places like that? Books, films, and guest lectures (while important) just can’t compare to standing on the sea plane runway and looking down at the bullet holes still there. Or learning about fragile ecology while petting a wild albatross and seeing first hand the trash polluting our oceans washing up on this isolated island so important to sea birds and endangered seals. Being personally invited by the scientist to view the telescopes on top of Hawaii while studying astronomy? This is just a few examples of the wonderful flexability of homeschooling we’ve had which just isn’t possible in a classroom.

    What can be learned only in a classroom that can’t be learned homeschooling? Homeschooling isn’t strictly “home” schooling either. We have learning opportunities that are only limited by budget and creativity. When all other things are stripped away, isn’t teaching about helping the kids learn. It’s not about tests, qualifications, socialization. It’s not even about methods, equipment, or curriculum choice. Ultimately, it is about kids learning. A teacher’s job (whether homeschool or classroom) is to facilitate kids learning.

    “OK, I’ve read enough of these hairbrained rationalizations that confirm my suspicion that a decision to…”

    First: You started this discussion.

    Second: This is MY site and I never claim to have all the answers or speak for all homeschoolers. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on our personal educational philosopy and leave it at that. End of discussion. Sorry. I’m not going to tolerate any more arguments or disrespect against me or my other readers/commentors.

  17. Dee,

    He’s just got his idea of a perfect state education and we’re outside the box. Sorry you are the brunt of his attack.

    Homeschooling has wonderful teacher/student ratio with the personal attention you could NEVER get in a school no matter how qualified the teacher. Who better than the parent knows the interests, needs of their child?

  18. Homeschooling is wonderful, I will vouch for that. As a matter a fact, I am currently being unschooled due to the fact that textbooks just weren’t working for us.

    We now unschool, and that is working beautifully for our family. My brother & I used to dread every morning because we had to do our schoolwork instead of being outside (where we normally were) or doing something useful around the house. Now we are free to do that — no workbooks! I’m not saying that the way we do unschooling would work for everyone, but workbooks do get tiring day after day. 😉

    We feel it is more important to hid the Word of God in our hearts, and study the Scriptures and learn them, rather than sitting around doing review for diagramming sentences, learning formulas that you may possibly never need to use again. Or learning useful skills that you would use around the house, taking care of animals, etc.

    ~ Lacy

  19. AKhomeschoolfun: Hands on experience is fine for science, but if there isn’t an effective assessment at the conclusion of the unit then it was all for naught.

    What instrument was used to assess their knowledge at the end of the trip?

    Please tell me what meaningful job in the future is ever going to mollycoddle your kids like you are at home?

    Corporate America doesn’t tolerate sissies, for example.

    “Kids study what they are told, how they are told, and when they are told to.”

    Hey! Welcome to the REAL WORLD! What a shame you have to shelter your children from the grim realities of life.

    Life isn’t about doing what YOU want when YOU want it. Hippie freaks from the Sixties thought that way and look what happened to them.

    As for you, Dee, my state did away with permanent certs a long time ago. A teacher is required to renew it every five years. I did state that in an earlier post.

    Lifetime certs are for the lazy and unspired teachers. Anyone who lives in a state that doesn’t require cert renewal isn’t being the best they can be.

  20. Lacy:

    I’m sorry, but it sounds like you aren’t possessed by a very strong work ethic.

    There used to be a time in America when hard work and self-discipline were what were most valued. Now it’s playtime and self-esteem because kids aren’t expected to meet adult expectations. This is why so many children have become whining little twerps overcome with their newly realized “special” status courtesy of the silly purple dinosaur.

  21. David,

    Hey, we finally agree on something! My kids have never watched the “silly purple dinosaur”. I don’t like that show or it’s approach to childhood. I totally agree with your comment about that.

    However, this is where the agreement and this discussion must end. I won’t tolerate insults on this site. Enough.

  22. David,

    Your comments and insults sadden me. Perhaps that’s your world but mine is more free to creative thinking. I care more about how the knowledge can be applied to other situations than how well they can recite facts, dates or figures. I don’t want a walking encyclopedia. I want kids who are critical thinkers not automatons. Besides, not everyone wants to work for corporate America, just look at the mess it’s in now.

  23. Hi Lacy,

    Thanks for your comments. The more perspectives in a discussion the better. I’m glad you know your purpose for learning and are learning how to be useful.

    It’s amazing how many public school graduates aren’t prepared for living on their own. I’ve seen this first hand as a landlord. Most of the people we’ve had to evict in the last few years have been young, recent high school graduates on their own for the first time. They’re totally clueless about budgeting, time management, prioritizing commitments, and other basic life skills. What good are quadratic equations if you can’t balance a check book or simple bank account?

  24. I’m not insulting anyone, I’m just asking the tough questions that need to be asked. When I sense obfuscation, I keep hammering away until I receive a suitable answer.

    Clearly, you misunderstand the purpose of assessments.

    You automatically thought than an “assessment” was to be of the lower order paper/pencil variety.

    I think you need to study the topic of “authentic assessments.”

    Without some type of assessment, the lesson is a waste of time. Any properly trained teacher will tell you that.

    The same could be said for a lesson without a lesson plan.

    Not grasping that is what should be making you sad, not my honesty and frankness.

    Stop living in a bubble. I represent the norm in education, you and your pals on the fringe here do not, so stop impugning what I have to say on the subject.

  25. [comment/insult deleted]

  26. David,

    You and I obviously won’t agree. Please stop. You are insulting by not respecting my and the other’s opinions. This is my site afterall! You seem to have a pre-conceived notion of what homeschooling is and nothing I or anyone else says is making a difference. You only hear what you want and are unwilling to consider alternatives (at least that’s how I interpret the phrase “until I receive a suitable answer”).

    I don’t mind polite conversation or even debate. However, your last comment confirmed you have a classic superiority complex and was insulting which is why I deleted it. I’ve answered you as best I can. Same with the other commentors. Yet, you’ve insulted just about each of them. Enough! I’m not going to allow any more comments from you.

    As far as assessments go, I would like to recommend 3 books:
    Student-Centered Classroom Assessment by Richard J. Stiggins
    Changing the View: Student-Led Parent Conferences by Terri Austin (my college prof for assessments)
    Handbook For Creative Teaching by David L. Martin (this is from a Christian school perspective but has many great ideas for any teacher)

  27. I completely understand why you won’t allow anymore comments from David. But, since he addressed me, I thought I’d reply..

    David, you said:
    “I’m sorry, but it sounds like you aren’t possessed by a very strong work ethic.”

    Is that just because I don’t use workbooks and am unschooled? Does that make me avoid hard work and self-discipline? We live on a farm, where hard work is part of everyday life. I assure you, sir, that I do hard work.
    Again, you think that just because I am unschooled and do not use workbooks that I play all the time? Ahem, wrong!

    Let me give you an example. I have a neighbor who attends a private (so-called) Christian school. He can whiz through math (and just about all his other subjects), yet when it comes to work, the very word ‘work’ gives him the shivers. He completely avoids work of any kind, has no self-discipline, doesn’t care about his animals, etc.

    Not only that, but he can’t carry on a decent conversation with someone who is not in his age group, yet, though my brother and I are homeschooled, we can carry on a conversation with an adult or child of any age group.

    Schools today do not produce self-disciplined, hard-working children.

  28. “Schools today do not produce self-disciplined, hard-working children.”

    That’s like saying Europeans don’t like to bathe. It’s an opinion based on a narrow sampling of observation.

    “AKhomeschooling” wants to talk about insulting? It’s insulting to the intellect to have to think that opinions constitutes a universal truth.

    As for Lacy, she’s giving a rather biased account of one person’s performance without offering the entire picture, as in whether or not his parents are being effective parents, what’s his home life like, whether or not he’s being challenged at school, etc.

    A teen not being comfortable talking to adults is just a normal part of social development

  29. Lacy: you are only 15 year’s old for flip’s sake!

    It sounds like you’ve been subjected to indoctrination, not education. You’ve been preprogrammed to think and believe a certain way. I only need to look at your website to deduce that.

  30. David,

    “AKhomeschooling” wants to talk about insulting? It’s insulting to the intellect to have to think that opinions constitutes a universal truth.

    That is exactly what you are doing. You are making comments based on limited experience but won’t allow others to do the same.

    David’s attitude is part of the reason I left public school. I chose to teach in a private Christian school for far less money. I wasn’t lazy. In private school I had to write my own curriculum because none existed for what I was teaching. As for continuing training, I prefer to take college courses and work on advanced degrees to taking workshops. I didn’t like the lack of discipline that was a big problem in public schools or the focus on teaching to the test. Assessment does not always have to be a formal test or even a traditional test. Anyone who has a had a beginning level assessment class knows that. If a student can actually install a new hard drive and it works then I know they learned what I was teaching.

    I enjoy teaching and seeing the look in a students face when they figure something out for the first time. A big part of what I taught was teaching students how to think and solve problems.

    AK & Lacy:

    I do have some questions/problems with unschooling. How do you track what is being taught and make sure that there are no holes. I admit having limited experience with unschoolers. Those I have had contact with seemed not to be teaching anything but rather letting their kids do whatever. The 9 year old could barely read and I was told they didn’t work on reading much because it didn’t interest him. So, I’m sure that isn’t a good example of unschooling.

  31. DeeZone: I’m sorry, Dee, no school district devotes their entire day to students doing NCLB related standardized test prep.

    A few hours a week, sure, but I see no problem with that, especially after lunch when major subjects have already been covered in the AM.

  32. David,

    Have you been to every district in the country? You must first do that to be able to make such a comment.

    Your close minded attitude exemplifies what is wrong with education. You are like many teachers old and set in your way. You have defined the world by your limited and narrow experiences. You are unwilling to admit that you really don’t know much and are afraid to try new things. You define education by what works for you.

    Maybe you should get out of your own little world and see what is out there.

    Respond if you wish but I will not respond to you any longer. I’m evoking that old adage DON’T FEED THE TROLLS! You have become a troll.

    Good day & please crawl back in to your own little world.

    AK & Lacey,

    Read the Troll’s self-description:
    HE’S NEVER MET A SWEEPING GENERALIZATION HE DIDN’T LIKE. HE’S BEEN CALLED CANTANKEROUS, INTOLERANT, IRASCIBLE, WITTY, IGNORANT, INSIGHTFUL, AND DOGMATIC … ANY OF WHICH COULD BE TRUE AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT.

    Notice that he doesn’t understand basic netiquette by using all caps. He is obviously intolerant.

  33. [superiority complex comment deleted]

  34. Agreed! I will not feed the troll either. 🙂

    Dee,

    I’m sure there are those out there who do that type of unschooling by letting the child learn absolutely everything on his own, including reading. Those are the type that make most people wary of unschoolers, I think.

    If it be the Lord’s will that I marry and have children, I will teach them the basics of everything, as I was taught (perhaps excluding science.. I never saw much use for that). I would definitely want them to know how to read, write, do a bit of math, and know English well.
    After all, I did workbooks up until the past 2 years!

    I just don’t see how reading could not interest somebody! LOL. I read all the time! 😀

  35. Lacy,

    The reason for a core curriculum in college that includes subjects outside ones discipline is to help provide a broad base of knowledge.

    I never have been much of a fan of workbooks. Science is best learned by doing. I never liked science classes as a student but enjoyed reading and studying some disciplines like geology and Earth science.

  36. [comment deleted]

  37. Dee,

    I never was much a fan of workbooks either, and we tried Abeka, Rod & Staff, Paces, and some of CLE. I know there’s probably more different ones out there. I did kind of like Paces the best though.

    As for learning a lot from the troll, you, sir, do not have a Biblical perspective on things and there is nothing of any value I could learn from you.

  38. [comment deleted]

  39. Lacy,

    Actually it is possible to learn quite a bit from those without a Biblical perspective. Once you have reached a point where you are secure in your own beliefs and can discern truth.

  40. [comment deleted]

  41. David,

    Congratulations! I said I wasn’t going to accept any more comments from you. You’ve become the first person I’ve had to blacklist for continuing to persist after I asked you not to. I will not have my other commentors put up with your insults.

  42. Dee,

    “I’m evoking that old adage DON’T FEED THE TROLLS! You have become a troll.
    Good day & please crawl back in to your own little world. ”

    😆 Thanks, I was trying to be polite but he obviously didn’t get the hint. I read his self bio too. Ewww! No wonder. I could add a few more descriptions but will practice charity toward others and not throw oil on his fire. I would never want him as a teacher for my kids. I’d rather they not learn such attitudes and intolerance.

  43. [ENOUGH DAVID! RANT ON YOUR OWN SITE, NOT MINE ANYMORE]

  44. Dee & Lacy,

    My sincere apologies and thanks for putting up with that guy as long as you did.

  45. He has now decided to bother me. He seems to not understand manners. Of course he is from NYC and that explains a lot.

    AK,

    Did I read that you had taught in the past? What did you teach?

  46. I’m sorry. If I’d known what trouble he would be I never would have answered him the first time but he did initially bring up some good discussion points and I thought he could have a mature conversation.

    I did student teaching and intern for second and fifth grades. I didn’t like it. It was exactly like I said, they told me what to teach, when to teach and how long to teach subjects. I had almost no creative freedom. Plus the atmosphere was rather political. I just wanted to help the kids learn anyway I could. Discipline was a joke which didn’t help. My fifth grade class had 32 students and ran out of books yet the other fifth grade class had around 20 students but the teacher wouldn’t lend me her extra books. I’ve also been a day camp counselor.

  47. I hated all the poltics.

  48. Dee,

    It was very hard to limit myself to just the approved materials at times. I got in trouble for using an unapproved video. The kids loved it and understood the topic much better but it wasn’t on the list approved by the school board so I got in trouble.

  49. Yeah, I know. I was telling my husband, The Big Guy about your sailing stuff. Think he may check out your blog.

  50. Do you like to sail?

  51. Actually, I’ve never tried it. Grew up in a landlock area. Discovered I really enjoy the beach after moving to Florida.

    We enjoy going on adventures. When my husband & I were both teaching that is what we did in the summer.

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