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    #247052 - 04/18/20 08:13 PM Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224

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    #247053 - 04/18/20 09:29 PM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: indigo]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1612
    Loc: Australia
    We aren't in the USA, so this is not directly relevant to us. We are homeschooling one of our children, and we are in an country where we must register to homeschool and be approved. In order to register and get approved we are required to provide plans for how we will meet our national curriculum, and then agree to annual reviews documenting our process/outcomes. Some states are more rigorous than others, where we lived when we started homeschool required all families to have a home visit first, our current state I think they choose people at random. The first state had more detailed questions about home environment etc.

    I have found that both states have provided a fairly "friendly" interface to dealing with them, and guidance about meeting the legal requirements for homeschooling. Overall they have been easy to deal with.

    I have to say that I think there are significant risks to unregulated homeschooling and I am very glad that we do have some checks and measures in place. I would hate to see it banned, but I do have concerns that there are homeschool children considerably at risk and am quite comfortable with the level of regulation we had in the more rigorous state.

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    #247054 - 04/18/20 11:15 PM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: MumOfThree]
    pinewood1 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/25/19
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: MumOfThree
    I have to say that I think there are significant risks to unregulated homeschooling and I am very glad that we do have some checks and measures in place. I would hate to see it banned, but I do have concerns that there are homeschool children considerably at risk and am quite comfortable with the level of regulation we had in the more rigorous state.


    I agree.

    Reading those links, it looks like there is one person who is advocating for a ban, and the rest are advocating for better oversight. Which I am 100% in favor of.

    I was homeschooled and have known a lot of other people who were homeschooled, and the best situation I personally witnessed in a homeschooling family was that all of the daughters were flagrantly educationally neglected, and all the children were given work from a very low quality fundamentalist curriculum. Many parents (including mine and my partner's) used homeschooling as a way to cover up abuse, because homeschooled children don't come into contact with many mandated reporters. (My parents would have told you that they were homeschooling me because I was PG and the schools wouldn't have given me a suitable education; in fact, they were sexually abusing me, and I would have received a much more thorough education in a public school. I had to teach myself to write and to reason about abstract ideas, behind their backs.)

    This site has a lot of stories from abused and neglected homeschooled children. I don't think what I've witnessed is out of the ordinary in any way.

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    #247061 - 04/21/20 07:22 AM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: indigo]
    Kai Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 599
    I have homeschooled in a fairly low regulation state for many years. I absolutely think that homeschoolers should have more oversight than they do here.

    At minimum, there should be requirements for the following:

    An annual (or better, quarterly) portfolio review that would consist of a report on activities, work samples, and a conversation with parent and student--I envision this as being a non-confrontational meeting and if there are problems that families are given support rather than judgment.

    An annual standardized test where scores are evaluated for growth rather than a particular cut score. Students new to homeschooling would take an additional test in the fall (or whenever they start homeschooling). Lack of growth in a particular area would prompt the need for a plan that may involve increased oversight such as meeting monthly rather than quarterly.

    An annual physical exam (including updated immunization record)

    Parents should have to prove that they are capable of homeschooling at their child's level (or that they have specific plans to outsource and the means to do so). To support this, public schools should be required to allow homeschoolers to enroll in any class they offer.

    Parents of high school students should also be required to submit transcripts and course descriptions each year, and these records should be accessible to the student in the same way that the records of traditionally schooled students are.

    There should be funding from the state to support these activities.

    There should also be the option of using private services to achieve the same ends--equivalent to enrolling the child in a private school.

    I realize that these measures won't necessarily capture the kids who are being abused or those families who manage to homeschool under the radar, but it's a start, and certainly more comprehensive than what's going on in many states now.

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    #247063 - 04/21/20 01:51 PM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: indigo]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3613
    As most of you know, I am both a homeschooler and a public school educator.

    As a homeschooler in a relatively low-regulation state, I've appreciated the freedom to submit a minimum of paperwork annually--especially in contrast to the extremely paperwork-intense public school environment in which I work. But I also recognize that my children are in the segment of the school-age population who would likely have had generally good outcomes regardless of schooling format (not that there would not have been different costs to different forms, but that most of the long-term costs would probably have been in my personal distribution of time and effort devoted to creating collaborative solutions with those settings).

    We also live in a community that has provided a very high level of access to public school services for homeschoolers, including many of the items (other than funding, of course!) proposed by Kai. The district offers a couple of informational and support meetings a year, and will provide resources for curriculum, networking with other homeschoolers, and access to public school courses (short of all core subjects) and extracurriculars, including sports. I haven't interacted with this aspect of my district of residence, but I do know that districts in which I've been employed have provided special education services to homeschoolers, including OG reading, speech and language, and OT.

    The annual progress report can include a combination of standardized testing and portfolio/work samples. The adminstrative designee actually reads both the proposals and the progress reports. (The first year we submitted a proposal, I received a prompt email respectfully requesting further information about reading instruction. My reply included documentation of reading mastery, to which they offered a cordial response, and clarified with more student-appropriate ways of documenting reading development.) Not surprisingly, I do tend to overdocument, but have learned to pare down to the information most valuable to them.

    IOW, I'm in the population of homeschoolers that would find additional documentation and monitoring requirements redundant, and possibly experience them a little bit as overreach. But then, my children are not in the at-risk population that is the concern of the persons in the originally-referenced symposia.

    As a public school educator, my experience with homeschooled children includes the concerns about at-risk and abused/neglected children, but with some additional nuance. First, there are absolutely families that use nominal homeschooling as a cover for abuse/neglect--but many of the ones I've seen who do so continue to interact with the public school system. (Granted, selection bias has to be in play here, since obviously, the ones who never interact with the public schools would be very unlikely to pass through my professional orbit.) The effectiveness of the public schools to screen for that particular kind of at-risk child is often limited by transience; these parents may pull their children out of schools as soon as questions start being asked--and then enroll them elsewhere, not necessarily to "homeschooling". These are also the same families that don't submit annual physicals and immunizations to public schools even when they are enrolled there. In short, the families we aren't seeing now would likely remain invisible even with greater homeschooling documentation and supervisory requirements, and the ones who would be highlighted often are already visible to the system. This doesn't mean there is no value in discussing thoughtful changes in oversight, of course, just that one should be aware that, like many other regulatory and legislative reactions, there would be a risk that it would adversely affect many law-abiding citizens, and only a few perpetrators.

    On the much less severe score of inadequate education, I would agree that the average homeschooler is much more effective at teaching reading and writing than at mathematics and science. I should note, though, that this is also true of the public school system. (Leaving out history/social studies, as this is not assessed in most high-stakes testing, and can't easily be compared across populations anyway, due to differences in state content requirements.)

    Compulsory education laws don't begin until at least age 7 in 15 states (with two at age 8), and end at age 16 in 14 states. Believe me, enrollment in public school by no means prevents parents from legally signing their children out prior to high school completion.

    So I'm not really trying to make any particular point here about specific actions, just to reflect that abuse/neglect among homeschooling families is only one of the many manifestations of abuse/neglect of children, and, while some regulatory response to it is likely reasonable, it would be wise to include that as only one component of a broader and more thoughtfully-conceived rethinking of our entire societal approach to the prevention of abuse and neglect. Reactionary, expose-driven legislation is likely to disproportionately affect the innocent, without necessarily having the desired effect on the guilty--who, in reality, are often less monstrous (though their actions may be), and more misguided, ill, or in need themselves.

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    #247064 - 04/21/20 08:33 PM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: aeh]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    When the goal of homeschooling is meet the needs of gifted kids, it's probably easy to forget that 2/3 of homeschooled kids are there for religious reasons (see this article, for example). This means that those kids probably won't get exposure to ideas their parents don't like. I've known people in this group, and they can be hostile to ideas about evolution, vaccines, and sex ed. I tend to see the last topic as a civil right (a right to know how your body works).

    Parents of all homeschooled kids should have to fill out registration paperwork and submit a 1-2 page syllabus for each class. A syllabus is a good thing to get parents to think ahead, and if the kids are enrolled in homeschool groups, the groups presumably make those documents anyway. My son and daughter did a few of these classes (locally run in person), and they all had syllabi. CTY certainly has them.

    The kids should also take annual bubble tests. They'd be easy for the gifties and would give wonderful credibility to the parents and homeschool groups. They'd also identify the students mentioned by pinewood1 who are being neglected or abused.

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    #247066 - 04/22/20 12:25 AM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: indigo]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2031
    If I Google how many adults in the US identify as Christian the answer is that in 2019 65% of those polled identified as Christian of fractional under 2/3. It seems reasonable then the 2/3 of homeschooling parents would identify that way. While the parents may state religion as one reason for homeschooling it does not follow that religion is the primary or deciding reason. I am on forums in the US and in a Christian homeschool group in the NZ and acquainted with a lot of non Christian homeschoolers. I haven't heard one give religion as the main motivation. I am sure in some places their are a lot of fundamentalist Christians homeschooling for reasons of religious conral but whatever Harvard claims it is not 90% and it is not 2/3 either.

    Kids here don't do annual testing or well checks if they are at school so it would be pretty unfair to make home schoolers do them. Not do we have charter schools or portfolios. What we do have to have is an exemption certificate for any child not attending school who is between 6 and 16. These aren't hard to get but a reasonable amount of effort and research is involved and the Ministry do have to be convinced your child will be taught as well and as regularly as at school. Other than that you have to sign and return a declaration twice a year.


    Edited by puffin (04/22/20 12:30 AM)

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    #247067 - 04/22/20 07:23 AM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: puffin]
    pinewood1 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/25/19
    Posts: 34
    Originally Posted By: puffin
    If I Google how many adults in the US identify as Christian the answer is that in 2019 65% of those polled identified as Christian of fractional under 2/3. It seems reasonable then the 2/3 of homeschooling parents would identify that way. While the parents may state religion as one reason for homeschooling it does not follow that religion is the primary or deciding reason.


    People who just identify as Christian (but who may not go to church much, or may attend a moderate church) are not the same as the extreme fundamentalists that are associated with homeschooling in the US. (When people found out that I'd been homeschooled when I was a young adult, they tended to assume I had this background.) If you haven't met these people, or heard the testimony of a survivor of this kind of homeschooling, you don't understand this issue.

    Originally Posted By: puffin
    I am on forums in the US and in a Christian homeschool group in the NZ and acquainted with a lot of non Christian homeschoolers. I haven't heard one give religion as the main motivation. I am sure in some places their are a lot of fundamentalist Christians homeschooling for reasons of religious conral but whatever Harvard claims it is not 90% and it is not 2/3 either.


    The population of people on homeschooling forums is not the same as the population of homeschooling parents. I don't think a lot of the kinds of people I'm talking about would be found (at least in more mixed spaces) on the internet.

    Growing up, I did not know a single homeschooling family other than my own that was not homeschooling because they were extreme fundamentalist Christians that wanted to shelter their children from secular influences. They used only fundamentalist textbooks in which "science" was mostly about teaching creationist debate points, "history" was about glorifying historical figures that advanced their ideology and vilifying historical figures that didn't, and "health" was about teaching falsehoods about sex and abortion.

    The kids I knew growing up weren't even the most sheltered. I had a coworker at a camp when I was in college who was a homeschooled 17-year-old, and what shocked me about him was not just his appalling ignorance about everything but the Bible, but that he'd never really interacted with a woman/girl other than his own mother. I don't think he'd ever used the internet.

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    #247068 - 04/22/20 11:02 AM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: indigo]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Personal bias attestation: We've previously homeschooled, and now my DC has returned to a flexible private school.

    Warning! Screed ahead!

    IMO, there are three key considerations associated with homeschooling and its oversight that become muddled:

    1 - Homeschooling is the right of the child, not of the parent. It is intended to exist as a means to optimize the educational opportunity and human potential of the student.

    2 - A quality education requires intentionality of design, expertise, and knowledge of the specific child.

    3 - Schools serve multiple functions for children, not simply academic education. They are a critical nexus for health, social, and educational services for at-risk children. For many, they provide necessities of life and are the only stable base the children know.


    As to point 1...
    Homeschooling doesn't exist to support parental rights to freedom of expression or freedom of religion, although many groups have interpreted homeschooling laws from this angle. These homeschoolers and taken increasingly anti-educational positions to further entrench a damaging, extreme form of libertarianism that only really forwards the agenda of the parent, at the expense of the child.

    For fundamentalist homeschoolers, it's not so much a view of "I'm for freedom of education" so much as "I'm against THAT value system and reject any association with it." The children become an objectified extension of the parent's identity, not individuals with their own inalienable rights who ought to be recipients of an individually-appropriate education.

    Point 2...

    As with any mix of educational strategies, the core of any educational plan needs to be advancing individual skill, be it academic, social, artistic, athletic.

    This requires a level of judgment, intelligence, humility, and specialization. Even as a parent with multiple graduate degrees, I am painfully aware that I will be insufficient to support my child's learning as he prepares for university. He is already outstripping me in computer science, and I can't speak every language he could ever want to learn. This is just the tip of the iceberg... In future, I can imagine being more akin to a capable peer than an instructor as he develops his own specialties.

    This is as it should be. If the goal of homeschooling parents is to educate the next generation, those parents do well to bring in specialists to advance the child's future beyond their own limitations. Our children ought to have the opportunity to surpass us, should they so choose.

    Having tested the waters in public, private, and homeschooling settings, I feel the optimal mix for most children is some blend of in-school instruction and socialization, complemented by individualized, at-home learning in areas of strength. Education, done correctly, ignites passion that can't be contained inside the walls of a school, or the pixels of a screen. This is the type of learning we should be aiming for - boundless, exhilarating, and intrinsically motivating.

    As we've all experienced, appropriate education for bright kids is a game of Newton's method, with constant pivoting to meet the child's needs. At what interval, and to what degree, can be up for debate, but appropriate fit for most studies needs to remain the core goal.

    Unfortunately, administrative red tape often restricts an option to partially enroll/partially home school, and limits students' access to services and relationships that would serve them well. This is a loss for everyone in the system.

    Point 3...

    Political and legal realities will vary by jurisdiction, so please bear with me.

    Where I live, there is a fragmented patchwork of resources between medical, educational, social, and community services for students. Often, these silos act in isolation, without a full view of the child's needs. Again, the child loses out.

    IMO - and this is opinion only - the pendulum has swung too far in favour of privacy, and too far from a view to protecting those students who are most at-risk. The UN declaration of rights of the child clearly establishes all of these services as essential to the child's development, yet in most western democracies, parents still retain a unique veto capacity over systemic oversight.

    These are just a few considerations...very happy to discuss solutions.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #247069 - 04/22/20 11:05 AM Re: Harvard hosting anti-homeschooling summit [Re: pinewood1]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Here's an article on homeschooling from a major newspaper:


    The Dark Side of Home Schooling: Creating Soldiers for the Culture War

    Quote:
    "I particularly remember my science curriculum," he says. "We used It Couldn't Just Happen, which wasn't really a science textbook. It was really just an apologetics textbook which taught students cliché refutations of evolutionism."


    This is why they need to take those same tests that the public school kids take every year: millions of kids take those tests, and they provide a solid benchmark for comparing knowledge. Obviously, parents have a right to raise their kids as they see fit, but raising them in ignorance just doesn't seem right.

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