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Children's role in their education

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 

A high school teacher sent me an email containing the the following sentence: "After working as a teacher for 8 years, I have come to the conclusion that in the learning process, 95 percent depends on the teacher, and 5 percent is everything else."

 

This made me think. I am taking a child-led approach in homeschooling. My DD is only K age, but I can say that in the learning process, close to 100 percent depends on her. Most of what she learned so far was initiated by her, mastered all by herself, and I'm there to answer her questions. Oh, and to buy her books about stuff she wants to learn about!

 

That does not mean that teachers do not have an important role to play in that process, but unless the child is interested and developmentally able to learn a certain thing, no real learning will occur. Give them something they find totally uninteresting, and they might remember it for long enough to answer test questions, but then wipe it from their brains. For one, I no longer remember all the US state capitals (I haven't lived in the US for about 15 years now, so it's just not relevant).

 

My role, I think, is to facilitate DD's natural learning at this point. If she wants to learn something, I teach it. If I initiate something she was not already interested in, it's possible but only if she is ready and wants to learn. I don't think I am there to pour information into her; the passive recipient. It's a two-way process, in which she plays the dominant role. I am there to offer guidance, and find fun ways of teaching her things she might not otherwise want to learn about.

 

So, I sent the teacher the following reply: "So according to you the child, their interests, wishes, and abilities, falls into that 5 percent? That is exactly why I am homeschooling."

 

Then I get back: "Where teachers had their own children in their class, it did not work out beautifully at all. An adult instructor who is not also the parent means a lot, because children learn about other versions of life, besides the one the parent is inadvertently pushing. The key is that the teacher is interested, able to recognize the child's abilities, and teaches in accordance."

 

Only, that does not happen in public school - the teacher might recognize the kid's needs if the kid is lucky, but in the majority of cases, will have to teach in accordance with the official curriculum and not in accordance with the child's needs. I don't push my version of life - I encourage my kids to explore and reach their own conclusions in cases where opinion matters (religion, politics come to mind).

 

I thought the concept of the teacher being responsible for teaching, and the child being a passive recipient, was interesting. What do you folks think about it? We are not unschooling, but so far DD is doing a better job at deciding what she wants to learn and when then I ever could. And... where does the idea that homeschoolers are only subjected to their parents' "version of life" come in? We actually have the freedom to show our kids a lot more than kids who are in a classroom all day long, and meeting a lot more adults of various persuasions because of it.

 

Sorry for the novel. Care to have a discussion about these points? :)

post #2 of 76

That teacher is nuts.  I don't even think most teachers believe that!  -- about the 95% thing.  Many do believe the "can't teach your own" thing.

 

All parents 'inadvertently push' an agenda on their kids.  It's the family's paradigm, belief system, perspective on the world.  That's actually supposed to happen even when kids are in school.  You know, all that discussion about various topics that shouldn't be taught in schools but should be left to the family?  Or the studies about how the parents and the family life are more important to a child's academic success and view of the world than the school?  We just don't pretend otherwise.  

 

For some of us, that "hidden agenda" is for the kids to be as open-minded as possible.  Funny that. 

 

And the teacher in the school system has exactly the same issue to criticize... the "one way" that the parent is pushing?  How about the "one way" that the government/school board is pushing?  The teacher is almost completely handcuffed in WHAT they can teach as well as HOW they can teach it.  

 

The frequent argument about "different ways of life" more generally applies to the other KIDS your child is exposed to in a school... kids with various disabilities, from various ethnic backgrounds, etc etc.  #1) that has NOTHING to do with the teacher, and #2) it implies that homeschoolers live under rocks and only associate with their own kind.  If I'm living in the same community as the school, then my kids will interact with the same kids -- just in other venues.

 

Unless of course, those school kids are so burnt out from school all day and homework all night that they're not involved in any extracurricular activities.  But that's not the fault of the homeschooler, so...

 

The issue of 'teaching your own' does tend to be a more complex one.  I'm a professional piano teacher, and I know that MOST music teachers send their own children to another teacher, for that very reason.  I am actually teaching my own son right now, but it's far from a 'traditional' lesson, and he's mostly just learning on his own while I keep an eye on things in the background and come in when necessary to guide/correct/etc.  My daughter, who is only 4, seems very amenable to a 'traditional' teaching style even from me.

 

So I wonder if the the problem with 'teaching your own' is more a result of 'nurture' than 'nature'.... that when a child is raised with a clear and distinct dichotomy of family vs school... that adults in their lives come in 2 discrete types: teachers, and parents/grandparents/etc, and never the twain shall meet...  Then when they do encounter their own parent in a classroom, they don't know how to deal with it.

 

But in a homeschool, it's different.  Education is a PART of family life, not a separate compartment of the child's life.  When parents do have difficulty getting their child to 'accept' them as a teacher, it's usually when it's a child being withdrawn from school, not one who was hs'ed from the start.  And even then they usually come around to getting used to it.  :)

 

Besides, aren't we our child's first teacher?  If we're to accept it as a given that kids really can't learn anything from their parents, then we might as well ship them off to Infant Learning Academies from the moment they're born -- bringing them home just for feeding, sleeping, and homework -- so they can learn to walk, talk, feed themselves, go to the toilet, dress themselves, etc etc.  No parent has ever had their child learn any letters, numbers, colours, shapes, or any practical skills before they go off to school anyway, so let's borrow from Fahrenheit 411 and just dispense with all this nonsense of parents trying to teach ANYTHING in the first place.  And forget about morality, religion, etc... parents can't and shouldn't pass on their family traditions to their kids because they won't learn it anyway.  Even family holiday traditions!  No point.  I give... we should just accept it and admit that "the family" as a societal structure has only the purpose of producing biological offspring.  The raising of that offspring is up to "teachers."

 

;)

 

(To make it clear, I DO appreciate the role of teachers.  It IS important for kids to have other adult influences.  My son's gym coach has been extremely important in his life.   His former karate sensei (before we moved) was a magnificent man who I learned a lot from, too.  My daughter adores her dance teachers and does pretend play at home where she is the patient, pleasant teacher guiding her wayward dance class.  But that does not mean they can or should ONLY learn from other adults, or that other adults should take precedence over parents!)

post #3 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post

A high school teacher sent me an email containing the the following sentence: "After working as a teacher for 8 years, I have come to the conclusion that in the learning process, 95 percent depends on the teacher, and 5 percent is everything else."

 

Then I get back: "Where teachers had their own children in their class, it did not work out beautifully at all. An adult instructor who is not also the parent means a lot, because children learn about other versions of life, besides the one the parent is inadvertently pushing. The key is that the teacher is interested, able to recognize the child's abilities, and teaches in accordance."

 

Only, that does not happen in public school - the teacher might recognize the kid's needs if the kid is lucky, but in the majority of cases, will have to teach in accordance with the official curriculum and not in accordance with the child's needs. I don't push my version of life - I encourage my kids to explore and reach their own conclusions in cases where opinion matters (religion, politics come to mind).

 


I think good teachers are a good thing!  They can spark interests, foster connections, be a resource, teach how to use resources, foster good work habits, etc, etc.  I do not doubt hard to reach kids have been reached by good teachers.  I would say that a teacher is at least 50% responsible for the achievements in her classroom.  

 

I do not, however, think teachers are 50% responsible for the learning process (see bolded above).  Obviously, we learn all the time - so to say 95% just does not add up.  Moreover, learning really is very much about the learner.  In school, I took 1 hour of French from K-11.  I did not graduate high school anywhere close to bilingual.  For my own reasons, I was pretty much determined I was not going to learn French - and I didn't.  I am sure some of my teachers in 12 years were decent, lol.  Children are not empty vessels awaiting information to be poured in.   They come with their own issues, agendas, abilities to synthesize information, interests, etc. 

 

I suspect it is true that teaching a class with your own child in it is tricky.  I do not think this applies to HSing very much.  HSing and classrooms are very different places.  Borderline apples and oranges.  I do think, even within the HSing environment, some kids do not want to take instructions from their parent.  There are often ways to work around this - including cyber school, child led learning, community based learning, etc

 

Italics mine from above:  this statement does not really hold up to scrutiny.  My HS son (age 15) worldview is shaped by numerous things - tv, movies, books, conversations with drama and archery teachers, conversation with friends, extended family, in the community.....Most HSed children do not live in isolation - of course they are going to hear about other worldviews, you do not need a teacher for that.

 


Edited by purslaine - 4/29/11 at 2:46pm
post #4 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post

A high school teacher sent me an email containing the the following sentence: "After working as a teacher for 8 years, I have come to the conclusion that in the learning process, 95 percent depends on the teacher, and 5 percent is everything else."



So, with no teacher and only 5% "everything else", my child has learned how to walk, talk, read, calculate, and a whole host of other things?  Oh, and scored average or above average on everything on his state required standardized test?  Not bad... you'd think he would have scored 5%... lol.gif

post #5 of 76

I think that learning in a classroom is much different from learning at home.  In a school, the teacher has to make a curriculum (likely determined by somebody else) relevant and interesting to the kids.  At home, it's easier to run with the interests of a child (or two or three or four).   I think it's hard to compare the two.  I do think that the adults in both cases are critical.  Although my dd learns based on her interests, I need to make sure that she has access to the materials and information to nurture those interests.

 

 

post #6 of 76

I think when you are a school teacher, it's hard to imagine any scenario other than an adult formally passing their knowledge onto another person.  So of course, when they think of homeschooling, they think of the parent teaching their child in the same way that a teacher would teach kids in a classroom.  It's inconceivable to think that a child could be their own teacher, or that they could learn in a more informal context. 

 

My goal with my dcs is to have them eventually assume full responsibility for their own education.  I will guide, facilitate and connect them with needed resources (which would certainly include outside teachers as needed) but I do not want to be their academic teacher.  I want them to be interested and motivated to do their own work!  Their sense of achievement should come from having actually learned something, not from the fact that they got an A or pleased their teacher. 

post #7 of 76

I think sometimes it depends on the child's personality too. Your child is oviously self motivated to learn and explore-great! But there are children out there who aren't, or perhaps the authority of their parent grates against their style and they really do learn better from others with a different 'authority', or maybe they are a different 'kind' of learner (physical, visual, audio, etc) and the parent isn't familiar/understand that. My sister tried to work on abc's and things with her lil guy when he was almost/around 3 and he was totally not interested in what she had for him. Started him in 2 half days of preschool that fall, and he comes home spouting nearly everything! He's the kind of kid that sees mommies are for mommy things, coaches are for sports things, etc

post #8 of 76

Well, if I made my living as a schoolteacher, spending my days putting up with disinterested kids, deadbeat parents, and an oppressive bureaucracy I'd probably want to believe I was that crucial too. Really, I would just chuckle and cut the poor teacher some slack due to her career and perspective and not bother ante'ing up for a debate. 

 

Studies show that receiving the best quality teaching has little bearing on student achievement -- it's more about who the children are in terms of their family background: how much their parents value education, their socio-economic status and so on. Freakonomics has a lot to say about this.

 

Miranda

post #9 of 76

I come from a family of public schoolteachers and had both my mom and grandmother as teachers on occasion (as a substitute or for short-term electives, never for a full year - they do try to avoid that). I feel pretty confident in saying that the primary issues when a parent is a teacher of their child in a classroom are specific to that environment and not relevant to homeschooling. There are social issues with the other students (assumptions of favoritism, dealing with complaints about the teaching parent, or being treated as an extension of the teacher rather than another student), and between the parent/teacher and child (being treated as a beloved child at home, and with the same boundaries as any other student in the classroom - not difficult for an older kid, but possibly tough for a younger one, the possibility of actual favoritism, or conversely, being held to a higher behavioral/academic standard than the other students).

 

All of that is totally irrelevant at home, where all the other students are your siblings.

 

I do think that there are definitely times when my kids would likely respond better to someone unrelated. I definitely think there is great value, especially for older kids, in having an unrelated mentor, and I think there are public schoolteachers who are totally awesome who I'd love for them to have a chance to work with.

 

What it comes down to for me... if 95% of it is the teacher and 5% is the student - imagine the impact of a bad (or simply incompatible) public school teacher! At the very least, I love my children and have their best interests at heart. The same is quite definitely NOT true of all public schoolteachers. I don't think I agree with those percentages, but I've definitely seen, in my own life, major differences in my academic performance and self-confidence between different teachers of the same subject. 

post #10 of 76
Thread Starter 

So many interesting perspectives here! I agree that good teachers have reached out to children facing certain obstacles, and that they can indeed play an important part in the in-school learning process. I also agree that a bad teacher can ruin a student's love for a particular subject, for learning in general, or simply be responsible for bad achievements while they are the teacher. At the same time, all that goes wrong in the teaching process in schools (or at home) is not necessarily a teacher's fault. Teachers in public schools have limitations imposed by the system. By definition, public school means no individual(ized) education, and not having all one's educational needs met, if a child deviates at all from the average or even perceived average the program was designed for. Which is, I think, something that applies to the majority of children - it's the very nature of how averages work.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocelotmom View Post

I come from a family of public schoolteachers and had both my mom and grandmother as teachers on occasion (as a substitute or for short-term electives, never for a full year - they do try to avoid that). I feel pretty confident in saying that the primary issues when a parent is a teacher of their child in a classroom are specific to that environment and not relevant to homeschooling. There are social issues with the other students (assumptions of favoritism, dealing with complaints about the teaching parent, or being treated as an extension of the teacher rather than another student), and between the parent/teacher and child (being treated as a beloved child at home, and with the same boundaries as any other student in the classroom - not difficult for an older kid, but possibly tough for a younger one, the possibility of actual favoritism, or conversely, being held to a higher behavioral/academic standard than the other students).

 

All of that is totally irrelevant at home, where all the other students are your siblings.

 

I do think that there are definitely times when my kids would likely respond better to someone unrelated. I definitely think there is great value, especially for older kids, in having an unrelated mentor, and I think there are public schoolteachers who are totally awesome who I'd love for them to have a chance to work with.

 

What it comes down to for me... if 95% of it is the teacher and 5% is the student - imagine the impact of a bad (or simply incompatible) public school teacher! At the very least, I love my children and have their best interests at heart. The same is quite definitely NOT true of all public schoolteachers. I don't think I agree with those percentages, but I've definitely seen, in my own life, major differences in my academic performance and self-confidence between different teachers of the same subject. 



That is really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

post #11 of 76

I think that it is unfortunate that you choose to post this debate in the Learning at Home and Beyond forum because you are obviously not going to get much perspective from public school advocates here.  So not much of a debate really.  That being said...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post

A high school teacher sent me an email containing the the following sentence: "After working as a teacher for 8 years, I have come to the conclusion that in the learning process, 95 percent depends on the teacher, and 5 percent is everything else."

 

That is pretty egocentric.  It is also crazytalk!

 

This made me think. I am taking a child-led approach in homeschooling. My DD is only K age, but I can say that in the learning process, close to 100 percent depends on her. Most of what she learned so far was initiated by her, mastered all by herself, and I'm there to answer her questions. Oh, and to buy her books about stuff she wants to learn about!

 

That does not mean that teachers do not have an important role to play in that process, but unless the child is interested and developmentally able to learn a certain thing, no real learning will occur. Give them something they find totally uninteresting, and they might remember it for long enough to answer test questions, but then wipe it from their brains. For one, I no longer remember all the US state capitals (I haven't lived in the US for about 15 years now, so it's just not relevant).

 

My role, I think, is to facilitate DD's natural learning at this point. If she wants to learn something, I teach it. If I initiate something she was not already interested in, it's possible but only if she is ready and wants to learn. I don't think I am there to pour information into her; the passive recipient. It's a two-way process, in which she plays the dominant role. I am there to offer guidance, and find fun ways of teaching her things she might not otherwise want to learn about.

 

So, I sent the teacher the following reply: "So according to you the child, their interests, wishes, and abilities, falls into that 5 percent? That is exactly why I am homeschooling."

 

Then I get back: "Where teachers had their own children in their class, it did not work out beautifully at all. An adult instructor who is not also the parent means a lot, because children learn about other versions of life, besides the one the parent is inadvertently pushing. The key is that the teacher is interested, able to recognize the child's abilities, and teaches in accordance."

 

Only, that does not happen in public school - the teacher might recognize the kid's needs if the kid is lucky, but in the majority of cases, will have to teach in accordance with the official curriculum and not in accordance with the child's needs. I don't push my version of life - I encourage my kids to explore and reach their own conclusions in cases where opinion matters (religion, politics come to mind).

 

Here is where you and I part philiosophies because I totally disagree that student-led learning does not happen in public schools.  I also totally disagree that public school teachers are somehow locked to a narrow curriculum and that all their efforts are to make kids memorize "facts" that they can then urp up onto a test page.  First of all the "official curriculum" is usually a pretty open ended list of goals to be accomplished by the end of the year (it varies by state) so a teacher has huge leeway as to how to accomplish these things.   In a student led classroom the abilities and interests of the student determine how they reach these goals by providing the students with a goal and letting the kid figure out how they are going to get there and by what path.  Then the teacher acts as a guide rather than "I Am Teacher, Knower of Factoids".  These classrooms are out there mama, and they are getting more and more popular.  The most disturbing thing I find about this board (I lurk here a lot) is the view of Public School as some kind of monolith.

 

As another poster stated you do push your views even if you try not to.  Everyone does.  I do think it is important for a kid to be exposed to different ways of processing life, both by kids and by other adults.  Yeah, this can be accomplished both in a homeschool setting and a public school setting, but ymmv in both.

 

I thought the concept of the teacher being responsible for teaching, and the child being a passive recipient, was interesting. What do you folks think about it? We are not unschooling, but so far DD is doing a better job at deciding what she wants to learn and when then I ever could. And... where does the idea that homeschoolers are only subjected to their parents' "version of life" come in? We actually have the freedom to show our kids a lot more than kids who are in a classroom all day long, and meeting a lot more adults of various persuasions because of it.

 

The model of students as little passive receptacles of learning is dated and, frankly, disturbing.  I have never known a teacher that believes this (at least not since I have reached adulthood).  I think that home schooled students may (because again ymmv) have experience with a more insular group of people because they tend to be a group that is hand picked by the parents.  On the other hand I think students sent to private schools also tend to run into this issue..in both cases one's peers are going to more likely be people of the same socioeconomic group for example.

 

Sorry for the novel. Care to have a discussion about these points? :)



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post

That teacher is nuts.  I don't even think most teachers believe that!  -- about the 95% thing.  Many do believe the "can't teach your own" thing.

 

All parents 'inadvertently push' an agenda on their kids.  It's the family's paradigm, belief system, perspective on the world.  That's actually supposed to happen even when kids are in school.  You know, all that discussion about various topics that shouldn't be taught in schools but should be left to the family?  Or the studies about how the parents and the family life are more important to a child's academic success and view of the world than the school?  We just don't pretend otherwise.  

 

For some of us, that "hidden agenda" is for the kids to be as open-minded as possible.  Funny that. 

 

That may be true but unless your kid has free reign of the internet and an interest in finding out opposing points of view (or unless this is something you are teaching) they are not going to be exposed to it.  And I would argue that being forced to interact at length with folks who have a hugely different worldview than your own is a great learning experience, and I think it is more likely to happen in a public school setting. 

 

And the teacher in the school system has exactly the same issue to criticize... the "one way" that the parent is pushing?  How about the "one way" that the government/school board is pushing?  The teacher is almost completely handcuffed in WHAT they can teach as well as HOW they can teach it.  

 

I don't even know what you mean by the government and school board pushing "one way".  Yes, there are standards to be covered but unless you live in places like Texas and Tennessee and happen to teach Biology they are pretty open ended.  Again educational philisophy is not monolithic and an individual classroom is not under the controlling thumb of some controlling Government.

 

The frequent argument about "different ways of life" more generally applies to the other KIDS your child is exposed to in a school... kids with various disabilities, from various ethnic backgrounds, etc etc.  #1) that has NOTHING to do with the teacher, and #2) it implies that homeschoolers live under rocks and only associate with their own kind.  If I'm living in the same community as the school, then my kids will interact with the same kids -- just in other venues.

 

...

 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mere View Post

I think when you are a school teacher, it's hard to imagine any scenario other than an adult formally passing their knowledge onto another person.  So of course, when they think of homeschooling, they think of the parent teaching their child in the same way that a teacher would teach kids in a classroom.  It's inconceivable to think that a child could be their own teacher, or that they could learn in a more informal context. 

 

Ahhhhh!!!  Again this view of teachers as being someone straight from the 1940s.  No...the prevailing pedagogical philiosophy out there favors student-led learning.  The irony of course is that as students get older student-led learning becomes more difficult because it requires more resources (ie. technology) than traditional textbook-led "learning".  So many districts are in a huge fight (especially now) to get computers for their students for this very reason. 

 

My goal with my dcs is to have them eventually assume full responsibility for their own education.  I will guide, facilitate and connect them with needed resources (which would certainly include outside teachers as needed) but I do not want to be their academic teacher.  I want them to be interested and motivated to do their own work!  Their sense of achievement should come from having actually learned something, not from the fact that they got an A or pleased their teacher. 

 

:yeah.  That is exactly my goal in my classroom.  Imagine that.


 

 



Quote:
NM


Obviously my point of view is hugely informed by the fact that I am a public school teacher. But I just don't see all the boogymen referenced here.  I do think that your friend is way out of line.  If I really thought that I was responsible for 95% of my students success I would be terrified to go to school.

post #12 of 76


re: alternative viewpoints

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

That may be true but unless your kid has free reign of the internet and an interest in finding out opposing points of view (or unless this is something you are teaching) they are not going to be exposed to it.  And I would argue that being forced to interact at length with folks who have a hugely different worldview than your own is a great learning experience, and I think it is more likely to happen in a public school setting


I strongly disagree with what you are implying here. Except for the "being forced" part. wink1.gif Every homeschooling family I know falls within your "unless this is something you are teaching" proviso.

 

You are assuming that homeschooling children are sheltered within their families, bereft of interactions and influences outside the home. I don't know any homeschooling families like that. I don't know any homeschooling parents who do not believe very strongly in exposing their children to the richness the world has to offer. In fact, many are motivated by a desire to give their kids a wider world to grow and learn in than that contained within the walls of an institutional school.

 

We are homeschoolers who live in a fairly ordinary middle class home; dh and I are both physicians and we have basically mainstream middle-class lifestyle with a bit of an environmental/voluntary simplicity spin. My two unschooled teens are currently travelling in another province with a group of 60 mostly schooled teens and young adults, taking part in a large choral music festival with hundreds of adults and teens from myriad backgrounds, groups variously focused on religious music, jazz and world music. They're singing in Zulu, Afrikaans, Portuguese, French, Latin and other languages, about war, peace, unity, family and village life, relationships and reverence. My 12-year-old just returned from a sleepover at the home of a family who live off the grid, ascribe to pagan beliefs, are politically radically libertarian/anarchist, eat a paleo diet, poop in an outhouse and raise their own food. My 8-year-old spent part of last week listening to an amazing story-teller share aboriginal myths and tales. We've had long discussions about party politics in Canada, Quebec separatism, demographic differences in political beliefs, royalist sentiments in the UK, the British Commonwealth and beyond. We've watched TED talks together, had chats about local politics and business development with the French chef and owner of a new restaurant and with the local gold course greenskeeper. Honestly, this is just a random week in our lives ... and I think this is a richer and more varied set of ideas and beliefs and world experiences than most schoolchildren would experience. The homeschooling families I know are all similar.

 

Miranda

post #13 of 76
Thread Starter 

Chamomile Girl, I posted this here primarily because I wanted other homeschoolers' opinions when I wrote this. I should add the qualifier that we live in a developing and former communist country where the public school system, like most other government services, is straight out of the 1940s. I also, like most others, draw on my own public school experience (in Europe/US), which is quite a while back now. Thanks for sharing your perspective, it's great to hear that public schools where you live are not that way.

 

About pushing parental views, I'll have to agree with that. Not in the indoctrinating, negative way the teacher from the mail mentioned (mostly, anyway), but of course our views do impact our children's, even if they end up radically disagreeing. However, public school does not prevent this from happening, which is a good thing I think. This discussion should have no place in the decision to homeschool or participate in public school really, because this can be dealt with in various ways regardless of whether a child is in public school or is homeschooled. In most cases, it is probably safe to assume parents are a strong influence regardless of the mode of education.

post #14 of 76
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post


re: alternative viewpoints


I strongly disagree with what you are implying here. Except for the "being forced" part. wink1.gif Every homeschooling family I know falls within your "unless this is something you are teaching" proviso.

 

You are assuming that homeschooling children are sheltered within their families, bereft of interactions and influences outside the home. I don't know any homeschooling families like that. I don't know any homeschooling parents who do not believe very strongly in exposing their children to the richness the world has to offer. In fact, many are motivated by a desire to give their kids a wider world to grow and learn in than that contained within the walls of an institutional school.

 

We are homeschoolers who live in a fairly ordinary middle class home; dh and I are both physicians and we have basically mainstream middle-class lifestyle with a bit of an environmental/voluntary simplicity spin. My two unschooled teens are currently travelling in another province with a group of 60 mostly schooled teens and young adults, taking part in a large choral music festival with hundreds of adults and teens from myriad backgrounds, groups variously focused on religious music, jazz and world music. They're singing in Zulu, Afrikaans, Portuguese, French, Latin and other languages, about war, peace, unity, family and village life, relationships and reverence. My 12-year-old just returned from a sleepover at the home of a family who live off the grid, ascribe to pagan beliefs, are politically radically libertarian/anarchist, eat a paleo diet, poop in an outhouse and raise their own food. My 8-year-old spent part of last week listening to an amazing story-teller share aboriginal myths and tales. We've had long discussions about party politics in Canada, Quebec separatism, demographic differences in political beliefs, royalist sentiments in the UK, the British Commonwealth and beyond. We've watched TED talks together, had chats about local politics and business development with the French chef and owner of a new restaurant and with the local gold course greenskeeper. Honestly, this is just a random week in our lives ... and I think this is a richer and more varied set of ideas and beliefs and world experiences than most schoolchildren would experience. The homeschooling families I know are all similar.

 

Miranda



Maybe those are her assumptions, maybe not. I am sure there ARE homeschooling families who raise their kids in a sheltered, one-view environment too. I haven't met any of them either, I have to say.

post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post


re: alternative viewpoints


I strongly disagree with what you are implying here. Except for the "being forced" part. wink1.gif Every homeschooling family I know falls within your "unless this is something you are teaching" proviso.

 

You are assuming that homeschooling children are sheltered within their families, bereft of interactions and influences outside the home. I don't know any homeschooling families like that. I don't know any homeschooling parents who do not believe very strongly in exposing their children to the richness the world has to offer. In fact, many are motivated by a desire to give their kids a wider world to grow and learn in than that contained within the walls of an institutional school.

 

We are homeschoolers who live in a fairly ordinary middle class home; dh and I are both physicians and we have basically mainstream middle-class lifestyle with a bit of an environmental/voluntary simplicity spin. My two unschooled teens are currently travelling in another province with a group of 60 mostly schooled teens and young adults, taking part in a large choral music festival with hundreds of adults and teens from myriad backgrounds, groups variously focused on religious music, jazz and world music. They're singing in Zulu, Afrikaans, Portuguese, French, Latin and other languages, about war, peace, unity, family and village life, relationships and reverence. My 12-year-old just returned from a sleepover at the home of a family who live off the grid, ascribe to pagan beliefs, are politically radically libertarian/anarchist, eat a paleo diet, poop in an outhouse and raise their own food. My 8-year-old spent part of last week listening to an amazing story-teller share aboriginal myths and tales. We've had long discussions about party politics in Canada, Quebec separatism, demographic differences in political beliefs, royalist sentiments in the UK, the British Commonwealth and beyond. We've watched TED talks together, had chats about local politics and business development with the French chef and owner of a new restaurant and with the local gold course greenskeeper. Honestly, this is just a random week in our lives ... and I think this is a richer and more varied set of ideas and beliefs and world experiences than most schoolchildren would experience. The homeschooling families I know are all similar.

 

Miranda

 

Well actually this is not at all what I am talking about although it sounds pretty awesome.  I am more speaking of kids who have very different political/world views being thrown together and being forced to work together.  I think this experience is much different than having family discussions about the "issues".  This is the same reason I am hugely opposed to tracking in classrooms, because academic achievement tends to break down on socioeconomic lines, and in areas of California that means racial lines.  And what favors are you doing to anyone by separating students into homogeneous classrooms?
 

 

post #16 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post


 



Maybe those are her assumptions, maybe not. I am sure there ARE homeschooling families who raise their kids in a sheltered, one-view environment too. I haven't met any of them either, I have to say.



Sadly, I have.  And it was a big cultural shock to those kids when they ended up in public school.

post #17 of 76
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post



 

Well actually this is not at all what I am talking about although it sounds pretty awesome.  I am more speaking of kids who have very different political/world views being thrown together and being forced to work together.  I think this experience is much different than having family discussions about the "issues".  This is the same reason I am hugely opposed to tracking in classrooms, because academic achievement tends to break down on socioeconomic lines, and in areas of California that means racial lines.  And what favors are you doing to anyone by separating students into homogeneous classrooms?
 

 


Some random thoughts.

 

A couple of days, we ran into some political-party canvassers, from a party I didn't particularly like. They had a stand set up and were running a petition. K-aged DD went up to them and had a long discussion with them about the point of petitions in general, and about their views. I was amazed to see that the canvasser was totally fine discussing everything with DD and basically answered her questions like she was an adult. That's rare in our country, so it was a great opportunity. She had more questions about the party the poor guy could not answer, so he gave her a copy of the latest party magazine and told her she could call the party office for further info. It was a great experience. In our homeschooling adventures, I hope experiences like these will keep on coming. I refrained from telling her why I did not agree with that particular party and encouraged her to find out more.

 

Having said that, the things you mention are in fact a part of the reasons I decided to homeschool my children. Racism is common here, and as foreigners and a minority, I do have the wish to avoid my kids being subjected to that at a young age. Maybe their presence would help other children be more open-minded, but I do not feel it is my duty to put them forward to be the token "I have minority friends" person in school. Does that make me a shelterer? Yeah, quite possibly so. Racism is not really nice, though, and I think wanting to shelter kids from it is not a horrible goal. They will encounter it, just not on a daily basis, in a situation that they can't leave... yet. They do encounter it on the street sometimes, and with neighbors. That's enough!

 

post #18 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post





Sadly, I have.  And it was a big cultural shock to those kids when they ended up in public school.



Care to share more? We might learn something from it!

post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

Well actually this is not at all what I am talking about although it sounds pretty awesome.  I am more speaking of kids who have very different political/world views being thrown together and being forced to work together. 


You don't think that spending a day and a night living with a large family off the grid, with all their unusual beliefs and practices and living arrangements (three to a bed, an outhouse, pagan blessings), constitutes putting my kid together with "kids who have very different political/world views being thrown together and forced to work together"? Okay, I admit there's no forcing. But I can guarantee that the whole experience was outside my dd's comfort zone, even though she was keen to go for it. And my 14-year-old ds rooming for the week with a bunch of schooled teens he hardly knows, working for hours on refining choral music skills in a group environment, meeting kids from different parts of the country, members of religious choirs, jazz choirs, adults from very different vocal traditions ... there's no element of what you describe there? If not, we're talking very different languages.

 

Miranda

 

post #20 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post

A high school teacher sent me an email containing the the following sentence: "After working as a teacher for 8 years, I have come to the conclusion that in the learning process, 95 percent depends on the teacher, and 5 percent is everything else."

 

<snip>

 

Sorry for the novel. Care to have a discussion about these points? :)



The first thing that pops into my mind is that I would expect this teacher to have extremely consistent levels of achievement in her/his classroom. If 95%  depends on the teacher, then any given teacher should be getting pretty much the same results from every student that enters their classroom. IME, this isn't the case. I think there are amazing teachers, and good teachers and mediocre teachers and out-and-out bad teachers, and I definitely think that the teacher makes a difference in the classroom learning process. But, 95? That's just crazy, imo.

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