Are HS kids missing the "Other" perspective? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am curious about homeschooling but there are a couple of things that sort of bother me, and probably because I do not know enough about it. One is, do you miss the value of having other adults teaching your child and giving a more varied perspective? In my imagination of HS, I would think my child would miss out on a broader view of the world if it were only me teaching him. I know that when my twins were young, I was a single mom, and when they had a good teacher in school, especially if it was a male teacher, they grew by leaps and bounds socially and academically. I doubt I could have given them everything they needed as far as motivation, inspiration, confidence, and just a different outlook on the world, even in the early grades. I was always in "teaching mode" when they were at home, and they excelled in school, but I don't think they would have had enough exposure if I had HS'd them. I keep thinking of the tendency for young people to listen more carefully to non-family members for guidance and praise. (Maybe this is only my own experience Perhaps the Co-Op teaching option helps in this concern if it is in a group setting.

The reason I am raising this concern is because I have long hoped to homeschool at some point, but now that my husband is encouraging me to consider it and plan for it with our youngest, I am trying to think it through carefully and look at pros and cons.

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#2 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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For us, homeschooling means the bulk of their education falls on us, and they don't attend public school. However, DD does do some cooperative classes with other parents taking turns teaching, gymnastics, karate, art, and piano (not all at once).
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#3 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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Our experience with HS has not been that we are holed up in our own little world.

We are our children's *primary* educators, but far and away not the only ones.
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#4 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 07:13 PM
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This probably depends on the family. For us, I think they get more perspectives at home. See, they were at public school and the teachers seemed to spout pre approved points of view. Now, at home I make an effort to have my children speak to lots of people about lots of things. I encourage them to volunteer, see life all around, not just our neighborhood. Sure, I teach them math, reading, etc. And, they are taught other things by other people too. But, I think in terms of perspective--having a full and varied life (regardless of where you learn math) is most important.

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#5 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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I think that other perspectives are very important after a certain age. I'm not sure what that age is, probably 9th or 10th grade.

I'm very knowledgeable about a select few subjects, and know enough (or can learn enough relatively quickly) to keep a good conversation going about many other subjects with a child or young teen. But after a certain point, I have no doubt that my kids will outgrow my knowledge and quick-learning in a few fields. It's entirely possible that their sole interest in life will be that same subject that I majored in college in and wrote some papers about... but the world is full of areas of knowledge and it's far more likely that they'll be really into astronomy or music composition or Latin or something that I just won't be able to challenge them on after a certain point. And that point is when I think that it's important for them to have a teacher who is more knowledgeable on the subject than I am, who can challenge them. And a classroom full of students who are about at their level to discuss things with and learn things from.

Luckily, between community colleges, and the occasional 4 year college that allows a high school student to enroll, and online learning courses, and if you're really lucky a homeschool co-op class that covers that subject, I'm not worried about meeting this need.

I don't think that this need exists at younger levels, unless there is a real personality conflict between the parent and the child. And that happens: if you read enough posts on here or on any homeschooling forum you'll come across a family where the child and parent are just always at odds and the child did much better in public school learning from another teacher. Some people just have strong personalities, and don't mesh well with other people in certain situations... even if that other person is their parent or their child. Not that they don't love eachother or get along in general, but it can be too intense to do that much one on one learning in these situations.

I do think, though, that kids should have the opportunity to have a life outside of their family group. But I think this is possible by taking advantage of homeschool co-ops, neighborhood kids, community involvement (such as a church or community center that the whole family utilizes and supports), and extracurriculars. There is an amazing array of extracurricular activities that kids would have a blast at and grow in. Art classes, music classes, dance classes, swim classes, drama groups, nature classes, chess classes, foreign language classes. Scouting, 4-H, academic challenge teams. There are about a zillion sports from archery to fencing to football to skating.

These sorts of opportunities allow children to broaden their horizons, make new friends, interact with adults other than their parents while their parents aren't there (you'd be amazed at what comes out of some kids' mouths as soon as their parents leave!). I do think that those things are important. I just don't think that they need to be met by public schools.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#6 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 08:36 PM
 
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Each family will be different in how they approach this. It was a concern of mine when we first discovered homeschooling. My dks are 7 and 4 and they have many teachers that are not me. Piano lessons, art classes, gymnastics, homeschool gym classes, chess club, and many more I just can't think of off the top of my head. This year we also pooled together with two other families and hired a French teacher who works with our 5 kids once a week.

So, between the activities they participate in, the friends and family that watch over them from time to time and all the adults we are around in our neighbourhood and out in the community, I think they actually get exposure to a myriad of teachers.

My original concern was whether or not they would be able to learn from others - be able to handle a variety of teaching styles and personalities. I can safely say this has become a non-issue and I would hazard a guess that my dks are more flexible with other people's styles than most of the schooled kids we know. My dks respect the teachers in their lives. We do an activity for a specific purpose and have sought out people with a certain skill set and respect that they are giving us their time to us. They don't take anything for granted. From the chess master to the lady who runs our favourite bakery and talks to us about baking- everyone has something to offer to us and we willingly accept.

The added bonus is that I have been able to hand pick the teachers for my family. I choose individuals that complement my children's abilities and temperaments. This doesn't mean that conflicts don't come up but we work through them together. I think that any concern can be addressed and handled as long as the family is willing to make it work.
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#7 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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Homeschooling doesn't have to be just you teaching your children. In fact, I can't think of any homeschoolers I know who work that way.

DD (5) had 12 formal teachers in the "school year" that just ended, aside from myself, dh, family, friends, and community members who happened to share various learning experiences with her. That doesn't count one-time workshops she signed up for. She took four classes during the fall semester at a homeschool co-op in which we participate, four during the winter semester (one carried over from the previous semester), three the spring semester, plus piano and drama. All at her request. (We fall closer to the unschooling end of the spectrum.)

That's pretty normal for her. We learn through community and we don't homeschool out of fear of exposure to the world, which is the only situation in which I can see any homeschooler restricting their child to having only themselves as a possible teacher.
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#8 of 23 Old 05-22-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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Our days are filled with opportunities for kids to learn SO many things from a variety of people. Anyone from Grandparents sharing a favourite hobby with a child to other homeschooling parents just discussing interesting facts about the subject they are covering with their kids. Add to that museum days, science centre programs, art class, music teachers, coaches, and so much more. There are very few days that dh and I are the only ones to interact with our children. We certainly aren't the only ones to teach them things! Even older siblings teach younger ones, most of the coolest things they know have come from people other than me


 

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#9 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 07:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by WhiteHorse View Post
I keep thinking of the tendency for young people to listen more carefully to non-family members for guidance and praise. .
I am wondering WHY people listen better/more to non-family members.

I have noticed comments like...your child acts different(maybe better) when in certain settings. This type of behavior,seperation,and *looking up too* people in a teaching position seems to be encouraged.

I don't mind others teaching my kids,but I keep in mind that what those people teach is limited to what material they have and what *they* are thinking.....they are no different than me.Even WITH teachers I find myself teaching the kids,and sometimes I might even disagree with what they were told/taught at school.

If someone has something useful to share with the kids I let them.They don't have to be a certified teacher to be a good *teacher* for me.
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#10 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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I am curious about homeschooling but there are a couple of things that sort of bother me, and probably because I do not know enough about it. One is, do you miss the value of having other adults teaching your child and giving a more varied perspective? In my imagination of HS, I would think my child would miss out on a broader view of the world if it were only me teaching him. I know that when my twins were young, I was a single mom, and when they had a good teacher in school, especially if it was a male teacher, they grew by leaps and bounds socially and academically. I doubt I could have given them everything they needed as far as motivation, inspiration, confidence, and just a different outlook on the world, even in the early grades. I was always in "teaching mode" when they were at home, and they excelled in school, but I don't think they would have had enough exposure if I had HS'd them. I keep thinking of the tendency for young people to listen more carefully to non-family members for guidance and praise. (Maybe this is only my own experience Perhaps the Co-Op teaching option helps in this concern if it is in a group setting.

The reason I am raising this concern is because I have long hoped to homeschool at some point, but now that my husband is encouraging me to consider it and plan for it with our youngest, I am trying to think it through carefully and look at pros and cons.
My son (9) has 2 hours a day of academics with me. I don't think I'm ever in "teacher mode". We learn and we have fun. He is taught by others at Cub Scouts, CCD (kinda like Sunday school), Theater class, (soon basketball and football and weekly chess club), and at the various homeschool group classes and workshops we attend. We are out a LOT. This is just one of those stereotypes about homeschooling that for most of us, isn't true. Homeschooling is what you make it to be.

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#11 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 11:31 AM
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One of the reasons I want to HS is to be able to present different points of view on issues often studied in school. Now, some of that means presenting our family's values and perspectives as the norm, but it also means exposing our daughter to lots of different people and their views. But things like history text books are SO biased and leave out so much that we think is important, we want to be able to share so many other POV with DD.
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#12 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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I don't think homeschooling necessarily excludes other points of view. I homeschool dd1, but she also takes violin lessons, is in 4H, we participate in a co-op during the school year, and she had other extracurriculars throughout the year (she'll be going to a week long summer camp again this summer, for example). OTOH, part of the reason I hs her is precisely because I don't want her exposed to some POV at such a young age.

I think this is a concern that's easily dealt with!
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#13 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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Reading John Gatto is what really cemented my questioning of the conventional wisdom that school is the place where children get exposed to The World and a variety of perspectives. In many ways, most schools present really an extremely insular experience.

Gatto says "Aristotle taught that without a fully active role in community life one could not hope to become a healthy human being" and connects this to Gatto's own idea that "School takes our children away from any possibility of an active role in community life." It was bigtime food for thought, to me.

Whether being home is less insular or not, and whether a homeschooling family wants it to be less insular at all, I agree is an individual thing.
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#14 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe I worded my post wrong. Thanks for the replies too! What I meant by other perspective isn't necessarily the subject matter, but the personalities and social styles of the people they are under the authority of in school. For instance, your very sweet timid child might be challenged by a dynamic teacher and become inspired to do something they might never do or even think of. Being in the classroom every day with that teacher for several months makes for some molding and "forces" the child to grow. Of course, this is NOT always a good thing. If you have a teacher where there is a big difference of opinion it can be a huge hurdle to overcome. My 3rd son was crushed by his experience with his 2nd grade teacher and took years to warm up to school again. This is one of the reasons we are considering HS. Thanks again for those who responded, you have been very helpful.

Christ Lovin' SAHM to JL 11/07, MP 5/95 and Empty Nester to BT and RM 7/89
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#15 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Homeschooled kids learn from other adults with many teaching styles. The adults my kids learn from (or with) have different religious and political views, personalities, world views etc. I think they have much more exposure to other perspectives than if they were in a classroom with one teacher all year.

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#16 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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As a home school parent I have much more control over providing my kids with learning relationships with adults that are going to be valuable to them. I can meet their teachers, watch a class, and you know if they turn out to be anti-intellectual, barely motivated or mentally ill we can go find a replacement.

I do not have to live through random years of tear-my-hair-out, my-child's-teacher-is-horrible.

Also assume having teach-for-hire adults in a child's life is good, you still always have to balance that with the inefficiency of the group learning environment and, in my beliefs, the problems with the implementation of that environment for many. Take boys. You know if reading was taught with Captain Underpants and Neverland Books, math was still taught in conjunction with things like woodshop, and PE not slashed to death, I doubt we would have the gaps in achievement that we do.
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#17 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WhiteHorse View Post
Maybe I worded my post wrong. Thanks for the replies too! What I meant by other perspective isn't necessarily the subject matter, but the personalities and social styles of the people they are under the authority of in school. For instance, your very sweet timid child might be challenged by a dynamic teacher and become inspired to do something they might never do or even think of. Being in the classroom every day with that teacher for several months makes for some molding and "forces" the child to grow.


I understand what you are asking, I just don't think it is an issue for our family. My kids see everyone as a teacher, anyone who can show them new things, teach them something interesting is a potential mentor. Personalities and social styles are what make up the people we know. How people behave is what makes them who they are.


And we know dynamic people who challenge the kids, but we don't know these people as 'teachers', but as neighbors, friends, artists, musicians, talented gardeners and craftsmen. My kids ask a lot of the people we know -- the kids like to be included, they like to be taught, they will stick their noses in your garage and see what you are building, fixing, doing, and I see these adults require a lot in return for their time and patience. They expect cooperation, listening, helping with the heavy lifting and tidying up when the project is done. They expect the kids to pay attention, to learn and appreciate their efforts. I wholeheartedly encourage this.

I just don't see my kids learning better or worse from teachers, family, friends, or me. I do see my kids being very active participants in their own learning. They do not wait for dynamic teachers to hand education to them. They learn and think differently, because the people we know all have different ways of thinking and interacting.

But then again, I love, love, love homeschooling and am totally biased.

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#18 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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I am curious about homeschooling but there are a couple of things that sort of bother me, and probably because I do not know enough about it. One is, do you miss the value of having other adults teaching your child and giving a more varied perspective? In my imagination of HS, I would think my child would miss out on a broader view of the world if it were only me teaching him. I know that when my twins were young, I was a single mom, and when they had a good teacher in school, especially if it was a male teacher, they grew by leaps and bounds socially and academically. I doubt I could have given them everything they needed as far as motivation, inspiration, confidence, and just a different outlook on the world, even in the early grades. I was always in "teaching mode" when they were at home, and they excelled in school, but I don't think they would have had enough exposure if I had HS'd them. I keep thinking of the tendency for young people to listen more carefully to non-family members for guidance and praise. (Maybe this is only my own experience Perhaps the Co-Op teaching option helps in this concern if it is in a group setting.

The reason I am raising this concern is because I have long hoped to homeschool at some point, but now that my husband is encouraging me to consider it and plan for it with our youngest, I am trying to think it through carefully and look at pros and cons.
Well, let me put a twist on your inquiry....

What if your local school district and community was primarily one faith, one political perspective and for the most part...one "race"? What if through homeschooling, you were able to expose that child to different perspectives, different politics, different faiths, 'races', creeds, etc?
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#19 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I don't think I know any homeschooled children who haven't taken music, swimming, history, math, science, literature, sports, drama, book club, art lessons from others where they only had the "teacher" of whatever class, club, event they were at to listen to and to show them whatever it is they wanted to see/learn/do. We go on probably 20-40 field trips a year because we are very active in our homeschool group and during those, the children listen intently to the docents/field trip guides, and ask questions, follow instructions with regards to projects and crafts that go along with it, etc.

When younger, my children went to weekly story times with crafts at the library and kindermusik classes. Now they take violin and piano lessons, they choose a variety of sports teams and classes to attend and focus on, they regularly sign up for art classes, book clubs, homeschool science and history classes, special events at the library and local museums, go on extremely frequent field trips and are extremely confident asking questions of the adults they encounter on all of these outings, whether or not they have met them before.

I guess the misconception that homeschooled kids stay home and only interact with their parents in a "learning" way might stem from the fact that kids who are in brick-and-mortar schools rarely have time to do anything with their families, besides rush to eat, do homework, bathe and go to bed, except for weekends. In my experience, few parents make the effort to take their children to very many events outside of school where their children would be in a position to fully engage and interact with other adults. Thinking about it, it makes me feel a little sad for elementary students who mostly only learn from one teacher each day at school.....
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#20 of 23 Old 05-23-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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in addition to the extra-curricular sports, lesson, activities, etc...there are also co-ops and dual-credit classes. I just do not think the stereotypes apply anymore.

Whitehorse, I think you are wise to weigh the pros and cons. My only advice is to do the research and then trust your instincts and educational philosophy. They may change over time, too!
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#21 of 23 Old 05-24-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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The moms in our homeschool group take turns teaching for certain subjects or co-ops. Some of them were teachers prior to homeschool . We have art, music, science, geography, p.e all through the moms in our group.

Dh and I do a lot of activities with our kids. We put the extra effort to expose them to things since they are learning at home. We feel like the time we have to be their teachers is some what limited and that they will probably get to an age where they don't want to learn from mom and dad ..hopefully that is a long way off

My ds (10) will go to cub scouts and tell his friends about a lesson he learned that week. His favorite activities usually involve science..His cub master is a science teacher and loves to interact with ds because he is so passionate about his lessons. I don't see many of the boys raving about their lessons from school ..so something is right in my pov.
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#22 of 23 Old 05-24-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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What I meant by other perspective isn't necessarily the subject matter, but the personalities and social styles of the people they are under the authority of in school. For instance, your very sweet timid child might be challenged by a dynamic teacher and become inspired to do something they might never do or even think of.
I still don't see this as an issue. I can think of 1 high school art teacher that really inspired me and made me love his craft - not being an artist myself. I had many public school teachers that I liked and worked well with. I am sure they taught me things above and beyond the subjects we were learning at the time. The majority were not very memorable and a few were pretty rotten. Most of the people who really inspired me came along in my late teens and early 20s. I had some amazing university profs and I think it changed me to a certain degree.

Learning from other people is a life long skill that really isn't monopolized by schools. I am learning from the people all around me all the time. Your timid child example can just as well be inspired by an outgoing Scout leader or dance teacher.

Maybe it is a perspective thing? I have never had my dks in school and feel like one teacher per year would be a disservice to them. My ds has really bonded with his piano teacher, for example, and she is nothing like me. She is better at pushing him out of his comfort zone and getting things out of him that I can't. She is sugary sweet where I am no-nonsense, lol. There is a real bond and he has learned so much from her.

Plus, I suspect (if we go back to that timid child analogy) that said child is learning a lot more from the peers in the class than the teacher.

In all the parts of homeschooling where I worry about what my dks are missing out on, this has become one of the least problematic issues. In is intentional on our part but my dks have many teachers with many styles and personalities. They are learning to work with others and are growing nicely. This is really all I can ask for.
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#23 of 23 Old 05-26-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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My kids do have a lot of teachers, even though we're homeschoolers. Between sports, dance, music, co-op, scouts, and just living life and being a part of the community, they are exposed to various adults who have influence and positional authority.
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