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Author Topic: Homeschooling & Patrick Henry College
Cytania
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Just seen the documentary on Patrick Henry College 'God's Next Army'. I was amazed that all their intake was homeschooled.

Anyone else disturbed to think of so many interns having such a narrow experience of life? OK so homeschooling doesn't mean these kids were kept away from the world, but even with summer camps and such they won't have met the broad range of other kids in the loose way you do at regular school.

PHC appears to have a great debating team and certainly instils confidence in public speaking. But do these proto-politicos have a feel for main street USA? How can they know the pulse of America when they shun smoking and drinking?

Despite the modern suits I was reminded of a Catholic seminary not the freedom of campus. What I find disturbing is that this these kids are being groomed to be covert agents, outwardly a worldly politician but inside an elite religious cabal.

[ June 06, 2006, 08:14 AM: Message edited by: Cytania ]

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The Drake
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I'm offended by your characterizations, and I'm an atheist. Seriously, cabal?
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WarrsawPact
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I don't smoke or drink either, and frankly, given what I know about legislators and booze, I'd prefer they not drink too. They can pick up the pulse of the nation in some other, less debilitating way.
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Cytania
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Cabal: "A cabal is a number of persons united in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests in a church, state, or other community by intrigue."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabal

Now obviously PHC isn't secret, but then neither is Opus Dei. Personally it's the limited scope these kids have that makes me sad...

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Mormegil
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quote:
How can they know the pulse of America when they shun smoking and drinking?
Funny you mention pulse. My doctor takes my pulse while standing outside of me, not being a part of me. And if he says not to do drugs, I don't insist he have tried them first. I figure he knows by study and observation what they do. If he says not to eat a dozen doughnuts per day because it's unhealthy, I don't ask how many doughnuts he eats.

There are other ways to know things than by direct personal experience.

Granted, someone with direct personal experience may understand some things *better* than one with book knowledge, but that's not the same as book knowledge being inadequate.

And that direct personal knowledge can have a heavy price, one that more than outweighs the benefits.

My dad's an alcoholic, and I don't drink. I drank a tiny bit when I was about 8-10, but not since then, and have never been drunk. I don't *need* to get drunk to know it's not something I want to do. I can see the effects in others.

There are people who think I should get drunk myself once for the experience. Frankly, I find that attitude ridiculous. The benefit of increased understanding of what it's like wouldn't outweigh the costs, in my opinion.

And yeah, I'd rather the legislators not be boozehounds either.

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Haggis
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quote:
Anyone else disturbed to think of so many interns having such a narrow experience of life?
I'm not. It's a byproduct of living in a free society with the right of free association. I'm sure there are many things that I do that disturbs them. I'm not going to criticize the Amish because their ideas about how to live their lives are not in line with mine, and I'm not going to criticize homeschoolers, either. I certainly would not want to go to PHC, but I also would not want to prevent someone from going there, if that was their choice.

More power to them if that's what they want to do.

[ June 06, 2006, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: Haggis ]

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Dave at Work
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I am a bit taken aback by you assumption that home schooled students have a narrower perspective on American life than students who attended public school. I am a product of public school, while my sisters were primarily products of private schools. Their perspectives on American life appeared to be much broader than mine. I didn't know anyone who was home schooled back then so I can't make a direct comparison to my personal experiences. However, my coworkers have children ranging from public schooled through private schools and on to home schooled. My observation of this group of children is that the private schooled and home schooled have a broader range of experiences to draw from than the public shool kids. That is of course a completely subjective observation on my part, but it matches up with what my sister has learned while researching her choices for how to educate her own children.

Edited to add:

Public schooling is a relatively recent phenomenon, not even as old as our country. It has the advantage of being capeable of providing a basic level of education to everyone who is enrolled, therefore increasing literacy in the general populace. It also has the capeability of mass indoctrination of ideas to that same populace. Many parents today feel that public schools don't do a good enough job of passing on that basic level of education while doing to good of a job of indoctrinating our children while not teaching them how to critically evaluate what they are being taught.

Private schooling gives more choice to the parent about what their children are taught and home schooling gives them an even greater choice. Personally, If I ever get married and have children, I will be inclined to either home school them or carefully choose a private school. I would have to carefully evaluate my ability to educate them before going the home school route though. Not everyone agrees with that choice. I know many people that feel that public schools do a fine job of teaching their children and are not concerned with how their children are being indoctrinated. That is their opinion and their choice.

[ June 06, 2006, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Dave at Work ]

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pickled shuttlecock
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Homeschooling dad, here, with a short comment.

My daughter is just barely six and reads at at least a fourth-grade level. She does simple arithmetic and can reason accurately about quantities.

This means she can understand an idea or a thing much more deeply than her peers can, and is more capable of learning on her own. Further, this situation is likely to persist for a long time.

Morgemil talked about costs and benefits associated with drinking. Here's one that lends itself to more concrete analysis: gambling. If we continue our current curriculum, my daughter will be able to calculate the expected cost or benefit of a stochastic economic activity by the time she's twelve. That alone will keep her from gambling.

Most people will likely never run the numbers.

Anyway, I find it disturbing that people would find it disturbing that a group of kids aren't drinking and smoking. What is this, projection?

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Jesse
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I'm not disturbed that these kids aren't drinking, smoking, snorting coke, or having dorm room orgies (ok, assumption on my part). I'm disturbed that they are isolated from the fact that a great many of their peers do these things. I'm disturbed that they probably don't have much interaction with kids who have pulled themselves out of the Projects, with kids who have been tormented for being openly Gay, with the vast array of life experiences and challenges that most people face.

How can someone sheltered from temptation respect the will it takes to resist it, or feel compassion for those who fail to do so?

I'm not anti-homeschool, but I think it's kind of like vegitarianism. (Yeah, wierd analogies and all). A vegitarian has to make extra efforts to educate themselves about nutrition and go out of their way to get adequate ammounts of complete protiens and trace elements that an omnivore gets without thinking about it.

A homeschooled child can be encouraged to meet other children through sports, or scouting, or rec center activities, or tutoring at the Boys and Girls club ect. ect. With a little extra effort they can be exposed to the world around them in a safe way.

I don't mind the Amish living their lives as they wish, but then the Amish aren't grooming their kids to work in goverment and try to ban zippers.


Would anyone here really want their child to attend a University that only admited homeschooled children?

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WarrsawPact
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quote:
Would anyone here really want their child to attend a University that only admited homeschooled children?
If the school produced capable adults for life and work, yeah. I would.
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Jesse
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I guess that depends on the metric you use to define capable.
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Cytania
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Hi Haggis, thanks for mentioning the Amish, I really respect the way they allow their kids Rumspringa. When Amish kids get the opportunity to go wild they really do party!

Thanks Jesse for echoing my basic point. I'm not just concerned with the formal curriculum that kids get at school/university but with the informal one. What's said in the washroom and under the bleachers. I don't actually think everyone should try drugs, hey I've only ever had one cigarette (it was horrible) but I feel there is a need for kids to see the wrong side of the tracks for themselves just a tiny bit rather than just considering it as an intellectual concept.

I guess I want PHC students have a Rumspringa...

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Kit
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
I'm not disturbed that these kids aren't drinking, smoking, snorting coke, or having dorm room orgies (ok, assumption on my part). I'm disturbed that they are isolated from the fact that a great many of their peers do these things.

What makes you think they aren't aware of what their peers are doing. Just because they don't participate or even associate with the people doing things they disapprove of or disagree with does not mean they are unaware of it happening.
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Larfoutloud
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I was home-schooled from 1st-6th grade. By the time I entered the public 'system', I had sophomore level reading/math skills under my belt (7th grade), but little interaction with kids outside my church. Church is a good place for kids to interact, but not having the bullies in church, took its toll on my immediate happiness in a new area.

Nothing wrong with home-schooling your children. My parents were pretty unhappy when I came home singing Sir-Mix-A-Lot's 'Baby Got Back', but they knew that this was the price that they had to pay for my happiness and their time off from schooling 4 other kids.

If you want your children to be 100% sheltered life, then by all means home-school them and disallow them any interaction with children who are have more broad 'experiences' in life.

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Dave at Work
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quote:
If you want your children to be 100% sheltered life, then by all means home-school them and disallow them any interaction with children who are have more broad 'experiences' in life.
See, this assumption concerning home schooled children is what pisses me off about people that dismiss home schooling. Home schooling does not imply disallowing interaction with children with different or more experiences in life. Can you proide any kind of study that proves this relationship? The only places I hear this claim are from those individuals and groups that oppose home schooling, yet I have never heard a single reference to a study supporting the position. It's as if someone made this claim and because it sounds obvious on its face it was accepted and repeated until it took on a life of its own.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I have coworkers that homeschool their children and I have met those children and they appear to have had more diverse interactions and experiences than most public school students that I have met past and present.

[ June 07, 2006, 01:36 PM: Message edited by: Dave at Work ]

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Mormegil
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I too am tired of the homeschooling=sheltering rhetoric.

If I have kids, they'll be homeschooled. I am not the least bit worried about them being sheltered.

The homeschooled kids I know are all perfectly well-adjusted. I went to public school, and it sucked, and it sucks worse now than it did then.

The objectionable stuff is so pervasive I couldn't keep it all away from my kids no matter how hard I tried. They'll know about it. They'll just also know the whole truth, and know why choosing to keep away from it is a good idea.

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Larfoutloud
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My post came off wrong. I didn't mean to say what I said in the last paragraph how I it came out. I am 100% for homeschooling. Remember, I was homeschooled for 6 years, and I don't regret one bit of it. The only thing I wish I could have added to my HS experience was a little more social interaction with kids that weren't from my church. Of course, this goes back to my ****ty upbringing...that's another story.

I just re-read my post; I gave the perfect example of being self-contradictory.

[ June 07, 2006, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: Larfoutloud ]

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Chael
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Just a nitpicky comment. This is from the PHC admissions page:

"The majority of our students have been educated at home for all or part of their schooling, and most of our faculty and administrators homeschool their own children."

As such, it seems that something less than the entirety of their intake is from the homeschooled, and that their doors are not barred to those who aren't homeschooled. Perhaps a few non-homeschooled wrong-side-of-the-tracks kids do get in there. [Wink]

By the way, I was homeschooled until I entered college. Perhaps because I'm in Texas, which is relatively friendly to homeschoolers, I didn't find the application process terribly onerous. However, I know that some universities do scrutinize homeschooled applicants to a larger degree--their right, I suppose--and thus there is a part of me that is cheering at the existence of a homeschooling-friendly university. Both ends of the spectrum, right? [Smile] Ultimately, it's one university amongst quite a large number. I don't understand why its existence is quite so disturbing--perhaps because I did not see the documentary?

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Adam Lassek
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I was homeschooled all the way through high school, and entered college at 16. My parents decided to do this because I was reading at a 3rd grade level when I was four, and going to public school would have seriously stunted my growth.

I find this attitude:
quote:
I'm disturbed that they are isolated from the fact that a great many of their peers do these things. I'm disturbed that they probably don't have much interaction with kids who have pulled themselves out of the Projects, with kids who have been tormented for being openly Gay, with the vast array of life experiences and challenges that most people face.
as offensive as it is wrong. First, you are making the (unsupported) assumption that homeschooled kids don't experience these things. And you are also assuming it means they're cut off from other children. Wrong on both counts, trust me.

I have known lots of homeschooled people while growing up, and they're perfectly well-adjusted people. My roommate was, like me, homeschooled until college. He's now married, just bought a house, and making more money in his job than anyone else in his family at 25 years old.

Some extremely religious do use homeschooling as a way to isolate their children, it's true. But it doesn't work, and you can't apply that to the entire lot of us. The only generalization I can make is that homeschooled children are significantly more autodidactive than normal kids. It make you much more active in the learning process, which is an invaluable trait to have when you grow up.

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Cytania
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Well I have to admit this thread as changed my mind on homeschooling. Clearly homeschoolees don't see themselves any differently and few share my reservations about them making decisions on the behalf of others. I guess I'll have to wait for a PHC politico to actually expose themselves as a preppy dweeb in front of news cameras...
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
I was home-schooled from 1st-6th grade. By the time I entered the public 'system', I had sophomore level reading/math skills under my belt (7th grade), but little interaction with kids outside my church. Church is a good place for kids to interact, but not having the bullies in church, took its toll on my immediate happiness in a new area.
Just so you know, I think it's nearly universal in America for 6-8 graders to start experiencing bullying and general meanness from their peers.

Also, in my experience, public high school does not promote the opportunity to get to know others you wouldn't normally get to know. Except in gym, art, and health, I pretty much only saw the "smart kids" in my classes. High school was so full of cliques that most people really didn't get to know many outside their cliques even in the halls or at parties.

At my high school, the whole atmosphere taught me divisions. People at THAT lunch table were inherently different and most people didn't get to know the "others". The home schooled people I knew had a curiosity about others. Not that others were inherently different but that they recognized others were going to have vastly different experiences and wanted to learn about it.

So if I were to place bets on whether the preppy high schooler or the preppy home schooler would make efforts to get to know the jocks or goths or addicts, I'd go for the home schooler easy.

Maybe it goes back to middle school where the bullies all teach you to stay away from other kinds of people who don't understand your interests but public schoolers as a whole seem to avoid getting to know other "kinds" of people. Sure, they see them around. They come up with labels for them all. But do they really get to know them? Not most. Maybe if people could be home schooled just for the middle school years, we'd all be better off.

[ June 08, 2006, 10:12 AM: Message edited by: LoverOfJoy ]

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Larfoutloud
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quote:
Just so you know, I think it's nearly universal in America for 6-8 graders to start experiencing bullying and general meanness from their peers.

Heh, of course they do - but being the "new kid" who came from homeschooling didn't help the "adjusting" period, I assure you. People were curious about how I was HS'ed - what I did, how I did it - but I still think that it was a tad bit more difficult than being just the "new kid" from another school district.

quote:
Maybe if people could be home schooled just for the middle school years, we'd all be better off.
QFT. I plan on HS'ing, or my wife, my children from Kinder through at least through JH - but maybe not high school. I know the benefits of doing so, and I want to give my children every opportunity to succeed in life - something that i wasn't given.
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Larfoutloud
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quote:
Also, in my experience, public high school does not promote the opportunity to get to know others you wouldn't normally get to know. Except in gym, art, and health, I pretty much only saw the "smart kids" in my classes. High school was so full of cliques that most people really didn't get to know many outside their cliques even in the halls or at parties.

I think, back in the days of high school, that I got the most interaction with other kids not in the social classes, but at lunch and between classes.
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cperry
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As a public school educator, I'm an anomaly in my appreciate for the possible benefits of home-schooling. Present company excluded, however, some children who leave home schooling to enter public school around 7th or 8th grade are often behind their public schooled counterparts OR have gross gaps in knowledge.

Of course, that's not a given or an average, just an anecdote.

Done right, homeschooled kids can go FAR beyond their public school counterparts.

Most homeschoolers fit in one of these 3 categories: religious homeschooling (in other words, I don't want my kid around those kids, at least for a little while, and I want their schooling to have a strong religious -- usually Christian -- theme); unschooling (in other words, public school is based on a factory model developed when we were an agrarian society, and hardly any of it fits any more, and I can do much better for my kid; this tends to look a lot like a Montessori school); and practical homeschooling (usually because the schools are bad or perceived as bad, perhaps because of increasing diversity; or the kid is ill; or the kid lives way far from school; this often looks like school on a micro-scale).

Any of these can be isolationist. They don't have to be, and they can actually be much less isolationist than public schools are, where kids basically see teachers and no other types of professional or working adults. I find it funny that people don't rail against the very unnatural grade-level settings we force kids into in the public schools. That's a kind of isolation, too.

Any of these can be poor academic prep. They don't have to be. A lot depends on why the parent is homeschooling and how far the parent is willing to go for help.

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cperry
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By the way, I live about 1.5 miles from Patrick Henry College. I can't imagine another college I'd rather live near. Say what you want about their designs, the kids are quiet and polite.
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Mormegil
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cperry, don't forget that someone could homeschool kids for all three of your reasons. I know I'd homeschool for 1 and 3, I don't know as much about 2 yet, since I don't have any kids yet, so I haven't really studied the logistics.
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pickled shuttlecock
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We're doing it for a combination, weighted heavily on 3. When your kids start reading at 3 and 4 with almost no previous instruction, you start to wonder about the wisdom of sticking them in kindergarten...
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Jesse
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"I'm not anti-homeschool, but I think it's kind of like vegitarianism. (Yeah, wierd analogies and all). A vegitarian has to make extra efforts to educate themselves about nutrition and go out of their way to get adequate ammounts of complete protiens and trace elements that an omnivore gets without thinking about it.

A homeschooled child can be encouraged to meet other children through sports, or scouting, or rec center activities, or tutoring at the Boys and Girls club ect. ect. With a little extra effort they can be exposed to the world around them in a safe way."


That's offensive Adam?

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Adam Lassek
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@Jessie

No, thats not offensive, which is why I didn't include it in my quote. Also, I wasn't attacking you specifically so much as using your paragraph as an example of an attitude I have run into with many different people.

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Everard
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Except, when you combine what you quoted with what jesse just quoted, its true... kids who are homeschooled do not get the same interaction level with other kids their age as kids who go to public school, all else being equal.

I'm not going to comment on what I think about homeschooling, because all I can really add is anecdotal data, and we'd fight about by anecdotal data.

[ June 08, 2006, 11:31 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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Jesse
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Adam, I think most parents who homeschool make the effort to ensure that their children have the chance to socialize with their peers, but I have known two people who were homeschooled (one raised in a commune, the other the child of radical the end is near fundementalists) who really were isolated from society and had a very hard time adjusting as adults.

There can be a downside. I don't intend to say that either of those situations was typical.

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philnotfil
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I find it amusing that the one thing the public schools can make a realistic claim to being able to do better than homeschools is one of the things that they don't actively teach, and even make an effort to curb.
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cperry
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quote:
Originally posted by Mormegil:
cperry, don't forget that someone could homeschool kids for all three of your reasons. I know I'd homeschool for 1 and 3, I don't know as much about 2 yet, since I don't have any kids yet, so I haven't really studied the logistics.

True, true....
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Jesse
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Depends on the public school phil, and it depends on the parents.
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Dagonee
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quote:
kids who are homeschooled do not get the same interaction level with other kids their age as kids who go to public school, all else being equal.
I'm not at all convinced that having most of a given child's interaction be with with family members or kids the same age is the best way to achieve socialization. The practice of homeschooling allows (but does not guarantee) greater interaction with more than just age- or education- peers.

[ June 10, 2006, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]

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philnotfil
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There are public schools that explicitly teach socialization?
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Funean
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Kids who go to very small schools tend to get more interaction across age lines. My son, for example, just finished his first grade in a first/second grade classroom. Next year he'll have the same two teachers, and this year's kindergartners will move up. There are 100 kids in this Pre-K to 6th elementary and they all know each other. My boy is also reading at a 4th grade level and doing 3rd grade level math (multiplication).

I agree that the rigid models most public schools have to follow are not necessarily qualititatively better than the looser structures possible with homeschooling, but I think that a decent education can be achieved with any model, with smarts, good teachers and involved parents.

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Redskullvw
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Well I will say that my second cousins were homeschooled until late middle school, and then went to public high school. Well adapted and brilliant, they had no trouble joining the public filth we call government schools. They only got in to trouble with the fact that they were already operating at college levels in all subjects when they entered public highschool. Since they hadn't been in public school they were placed into the remedial or slow classes. They were so bored they pretty much coasted. In essence public school acted as a speed-break on their academic development.

My middle brother went to private school for the first five years. He isn't the brightest person, but when he entered public middle school, he was really far ahead of the rest of the students. Since he had come from a traditional style private school, he was placed into the mainstream classes. He did fine. Graduated and went on to college.

My youngest brother spent his entire academic career in public schools. He is a really nice kid, but he is really not that smart. Still he did all the clubs and activities in highschool and wound up at my college as a legacy. He has done well so far after two years.

Me? I was all public school too. But I also had the advantage of being in the gifted classes. Classes that moved really fast, didn't do much rote learning, and expected term papers and test results and not piles of repetitive homework. And that was back when the Scan-Tron test was an extreme rarity. I pretty much coasted my entire educational career and still managed to wind up with two degrees and a handful of minors. Still I'd give my public school experience a low F-. I can count on one hand the truely excellent teachers I had between 1st grade and graduating from highschool. The rest were all pretty dismal.

As for my kid? Home schooling is out because neither of us want to become full time Algebra teachers. So it will be private schools and/or an academy.

I used to think it was possible for the majority of people to get a pretty decent or at least adequate education in most public school systems. Now I think it is an exceptional rarity for a student graduating from a public school system to get anything much beyond a minimal education. When I look at what my mother had to take, and the skill levels of the coursework she took in public school and compare it to what passes for education by today's standards I absolutely shudder. Her junior level literature class notebooks scared me even after I had had over a year of college level literature. Compared to what she was doing when she graduated as a senior, to what I was doing 18 years later as a senior is pretty embarrassing. That my youngest brother 18 years after me pretty much didn't even have literature at all provided for me the strongest argument against public schooling that I know of. And he graduated from a school that is consistently ranked as one of the best nationally by the Department of Education. When I see one of those pale blue signs proclaiming a school to be a National School of Merit, I pretty much dismiss the school as being any good.

I doubt we will put Alex in kindergarten. When you have kids age 4 or 5 in kindergarten these days, it is really just a state sponsored child care program. You drop your kid off at 7 a.m. and pick him up at 5 p.m.. Ten hours of being forced to not be a kid, but instead being forced to be a mini 1st grader can't possibly be good.

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Jesse
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I agree with you, Redskull, that most public schools don't work. That doesn't mean they can't work. The fundemental nature of the human brain hasn't massively altered since the days when we had an educational system to be proud of.

I was in "gifted" classes. For the most part, we did course work a grade or two beyond ours, and had far more repetative, mind numbing, homework. I really didn't need to solve the same word problems with "Jane and Bob" instead of "Tim and Sue" riding the train in order to get the concept. It was extremely frustrating and boring, while I was unable to get any help dealing with my dyslexia, and was often berated, belittled, and marked down because of poor hand writing that results from my small-motor dysfunction. A dysfunction that had been diagnosed, which my teachers were aware of, and yet didn't stop them from claiming I was "just lazy".

It wasn't in any way apparent to me that it was perferable to the mainstream classes I was in before my IQ was tested. That's just my experience, in one school district, and shouldn't be taken as commentary on all Gifted Education Programs.

Phil, some public schools do things other than socialization well. Some homeschool situations don't do a better job of basic education than some public schools.

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cperry
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
There are public schools that explicitly teach socialization?

VA Standards of Learning for kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 5:
K.3 The student will build oral communication skills.
a) Begin to follow implicit rules for conversation, including taking turns and staying on topic.
b) Express ideas and needs in complete sentences.
c) Begin to use voice level, phrasing, and intonation appropriate for language situation.
d) Listen and speak in informal conversations with peers and adults.
e) Begin to initiate conversations.
f) Participate in discussions about books and specific topics.

1.3 The student will adapt or change oral language to fit the situation.
a) Initiate conversation with peers and adults.
b) Follow rules for conversation.
c) Use appropriate voice level in small-group settings.
d) Ask and respond to questions in small-group settings.

5.2 The student will use effective nonverbal communication skills.
a) Maintain eye contact with listeners.
b) Use gestures to support, accentuate, and dramatize verbal message.
c) Use facial expressions to support and dramatize verbal message.
d) Use posture appropriate for communication setting.

There's more, but you get the picture. Is this all there is to socializing children? No. But it's definitely one component.

If you ask any elementary teacher, most will say they believe there's a real agenda to "socialize" kids in public school. Despite being a public school teacher, I'm also a parent, and that's just one of the things that worries me about public schools.

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