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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » I am vindicated! (Homeschooling is legal in CA) (Page 6)

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Author Topic: I am vindicated! (Homeschooling is legal in CA)
katharina
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Virginia Requirements for Home Schooling:
quote:
Compulsory attendance - From 6 to 18 years of age on or before September 30.

Parent Qualifications: File annual Notice of Intent (using a form or letter) and meet one of the following:

* Have a college degree and submit a description of a program of study;
* Use a curriculum from the list of programs pre-approved by the state;
* Describe a curriculum or program of study that includes the state's Standards of Learning for mathematics and language arts and show evidence that the parent is able to provide an adequate education for the child;
* File a religious exemption (once obtained, no further notice required);
* Be a state certified teacher and homeschool under the Tutor statute.

Testing: Choose one of the following:

* Submit results of standardized achievement test by August 1. Parent may choose test, administrator, location and date, subject to approval of local superintendant. (Stanford 9 is the only test they *must* accept.) Child must score above the 4th stanine (23rd percentile).
* Portfolio review by local superintendent's office or reviewer (superintendent has some say in who may qualify to review). Usually, reviewers look for evidence of having met the Standards of Learning set by the state.
* Independent assessment by certified teacher, who sends a letter stating that s/he believes the child has achieved an adequate level of educational growth and progress.


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Jhai
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Rabbit, I was out of town this weekend, but I just want to say that your bulleted list is extremely good. I agree with every single point. I want to note, like others, that I think that all of these points should apply to ALL types of education systems, not just homeschooling.

For those of you who have been arguing against homeschooling oversight so far, I'd be extremely interested in hearing which point, exactly, from Rabbit's list you disagree with, and why. I think that'd help move the discussion along.

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Belle
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It's not interference unless there proves to be a problem. It's oversight - and we allow governmental oversight in many different places in our society, education being one of them.

Wage and hour laws and workplace safety are some other examples where there is governmental oversight, and the government has the power to step in IF they suspect a problem.

If a homeschool child passes the same test that every public student has to take, then that homeschool parent need never hear from someone in the government. End of story - the child is performing at the benchmark and that's all that needs to be said about it.

I said before that I wanted to know if people had another method for reviewing progress. I've seen portfolio review thrown out - I have the same problems with it Rabbit does. I said the method of evaluation needed to be objective, easily administered and economical to administer to large populations. Portfolio review fails three out of three. There is no way for it to be truly objective because you never know if the child did the work or not or how much help was given by the parent, and the person grading the portfolio has to use some subjective measurement at some point.

It also does a poor job of measuring reading comprehension, which we've all been talking about as an important skill that needs to be obtained by all students.

It's not at all economical or easy to administer because portfolio review takes a very long time and must be done by a professional who is well trained in alternative assessment. It can be done, but it's going to be costly and time consumin because to do it well, that person who is doing the review must have a limited number of cases they oversee.

What would be ideal would be a case manager, who is a professional educator, that oversees homeschooled students. That case manager could receive the attendance reports and audit them, review lesson plans and curriculum used by the homeschooler, and review work. KQ objects to the case manager coming to her home - how about then if the case manager met with the family and observed the student at a public site, like a public library?

If there were sufficient oversight by a trained educator, then I'd be comfortable foregoing testing, but I am not at all comfortable without having any oversight at all.

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katharina
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Virginia does allow portfolio review. The review can be done basically by anyone with either a teaching degree or else a Master's degree in any subject.

The major requirement is that it needs to be done by an outside reviewer, and the school district has the discretion to not accept the review and ask for another form of proof of progress.

That seems fair. There are a number of ways of providing proof of progress, including just a letter of evaluation from a qualified source saying that progress is happening and the kid is on track.

quote:
What would be ideal would be a case manager, who is a professional educator, that oversees homeschooled students. That case manager could receive the attendance reports and audit them, review lesson plans and curriculum used by the homeschooler, and review work.
It seems that this is exactly what happens in Virginia.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:

No one said they were. The Rabbit said she had never heard of a teacher who wasn't encouraging when approached by a child for whom the class was going too slowly. Now she has.[/quote]

I stand corrected.

quote:
I am finding it interesting that, given the level of support for parental autonomy that was shown on this forum during the crisis with the FLDS children, that there is so much support for govenrment intereference in this area. I don't know if it is just different people having the conversation or what. I am not sure what to make of it, but I do find it interesting, including my own reactions.
I don't remember all the people involved in that discussion but I think if you went back and looked through it, you'd find people were largely falling on the same side of the issue both there and here although many of the most adamant supporters of the FLDS rights have not participated in this thread.

I am not opposed to parental autonomy, I simply hold that it exists within proscribed limits. In the FLDS situation, I argued that while parents have the right to teach their children their religion, that right does not include forcing the right to marry under-age girls to older men. Here I'm arguing that while people have the right to teach their children their values, that right does not include deny their child the right to be taught basic skills like reading.

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Jhai
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Jhai,

Nope, I didn't. Not yet, anyway. I'll read it, probably today or this weekend; I resent and reject the implication that I can't have an intelligent discussion-and however much you try to deny it, that was what you were saying-with you on this subject unless I study your coursework.

Case in point:
quote:
But I have no interest in getting into a philosophical discussion about rights with someone who doesn't understand any of the basic terms and concepts required to have a clear and mutually beneficial discussion.
So, I'll read your article, but you don't have to be such an ass about it.
I never said that you can't have an intelligent discussion on this subject - just that we can't have a A)clear and B)mutually beneficial philosophical discussion on this subject. Like I said, I've studied the topic of child rights from a philosophical perspective in-depth. I once gave a 15 minute presentation on the subject to professional philosophers at an applied ethics conference. For a non-professional philosopher, I know a lot about this stuff.

So, while we could probably have an intelligent discussion without you reading anything, unless you know at least some of the basic concepts and prior literature on the subject, I'm not going to get anything out of the conversation. I'd need to spend significant time clarifying terms (a major issue in philosophy), and I'd likely hear arguments from you that have already been debated in the literature.

Frankly, I just don't have the time for such a conversation, and no interest in it either. I stay out of a fair number of other philosophical-oriented threads here on Hatrack & elsewhere for the same reason - I'll only write something if I see a quick post I can make that will clarify an issue (or point others toward a good resource), or if the thread is taking a turn into areas I haven't already studied deeply.

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The Rabbit
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I'm with you Jhai. I know from experience how really pointless it can be when you have expertise in an area to have a discussion about it with some one who neither recognizes your expertise nor has the inclination to learn what others have already said on the subject.

I don't know how many times I've directed people to objective scientifically sound references on climate change. Its really frustrating when they keep coming back with the same widely refuted arguments and won't bother to actually do any research on the subject.

Philosophy will always be a much more subjective field than mine, but I still recognize the that my ideas on most philosophical subjects are usually not original and that it is worthwhile to study what people who have thought a great deal about those subjects have to say.

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kmbboots
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The Rabbit, I don't necessarily think that anyone is being inconsistent. I am interested in where we draw lines for government intervention and what we think is a serious enough disservice to children to merit such intervention. Reading is the delight of my life and I can't imagine life without it. I have taught adults to read and been the "Book Aunt" for my nieces and nephews. I have been a school librarian in an inner city school. Yet, I find myself torn trying to decide if it is worse for a girl to be raised unable to read or to believe that her function in life is to bear children to a man twice her age. I was in favour of rescuing children from the FLDS compound, but could only justify it when there was actual statutory rape occurring to likely to occur.
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Jhai
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Well, first it's not an either/or situation, as I'm sure you realize.

In my mind, being able to read means that a girl who believes that her function in life is to bear children to a man twice her age will at least have a better chance of being exposed to different ways of life through novels and textbooks. And if she decides that the FLDS way of life is not for her, she'll have some basic skills to survive life outside the compound.

Personally, I think that literacy shouldn't be the bare minimum required OR tested for homeschoolers - that girl's parents should be required to expose her to novels & textbooks (which will probably illustrate those different ways of life) - but I'm not going to make that argument until the minimalistic 3Rs one is settled.

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kmbboots
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I don't think it is either/or. I am just thinking about the various reactions (including my own) to two different scenarios.
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maui babe
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quote:
Originally posted by quidscribis:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I've never known of a student who approached a teacher saying that the class was moving too slow for them who wasn't encouraged and assisted with moving ahead on their own.

You have now. Me.
Me too, and some of my children. In fact, instead of being encouraged to move ahead on my own, I was usually paired up with a slower moving student and expected to help him/her catch up. I quickly learned to do my own thing rather than complain to the teacher about the slow pace.

ETA: Now that I've finished reading the rest of the thread, I see that my comment isn't extremely timely. Darn time zones and all. Move along. Nothing here to see.

[ August 18, 2008, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: maui babe ]

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The Rabbit
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I guess the reason I consider literacy to be worth intervention is because of all the studies which show that people who don't learn to read in childhood, will very likely never master reading.

If a child learns to read well, when they turn 18 they will have the option of reading novels and textbooks and every imaginable thing even if their parents exclude those things from their education.

Children who are raised in religious households, even extreme sects like the FLDS, can and often do choose to abandon those beliefs in adulthood. There are women who were raised in the FLDS church to believe that were raised to believe that polygamy and child baring were required of them by god, who have left and found new belief systems. Being indoctrinated with religion as a child, does not cut off a persons options in life as evidenced by the many people who abandon the religion of their youth.

The same can't be said of reading, writing and basic math. The same can also be said for music and foreign languages but in our society, being able to speak chinese without a foreign accent and having pitch memory are not as essential to thrive as the 3 Rs.

I guess I justify intervening when young girls are pressured into marriages with older men for some of the same reasons. A girl who is married and has children by the age of 16, has had most of her options as an adult taken from her. Choosing to leave the religious cult will be far more difficult since she would also then have to leave her child or find a way to take care of the child in a world where she has no marketable skills.

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Scott R
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quote:
I think if you went back and looked through it, you'd find people were largely falling on the same side of the issue both there and here although many of the most adamant supporters of civil rights have not participated in this thread.
Fixed that for you.

Here's the link to the thread in question.

FLDS discussion

I agree mostly with Rabbit's nine points.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
We could have a similar law for education, if at anytime anyone called and reported anonymously that your child's education was being neglected, the state would come into your home and test your child. But to me, that seems likely to be far more invasive and far more likely to be abused than an organized oversight program. I can easily imagine a manipulative aunt or neighbor calling the state regularly to report everyone she knows who is homeschooling. I don't think anyone would find such a system acceptable.

This already happens. Well, they don't have the right to come in your house without "due cause", but they will tell you they do and/or force their way in, sometimes. When the cops show up at your door very few people have the knowledge or guts to say the caseworker can't come in without a warrant unless they've considered the situation ahead of time and researched their rights. And if you do say that they will make your life heck for weeks trying to force their way in and never close the case.

Well, except in Oklahoma, I guess, where parents have a constitutional right to homeschool their children (it's in the state constitution.)

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
GATE here is crap.

That's a bit excessive.

Getting GATE testing is a major PITA; meeting the yearly application deadline for specific GATE programs is even more of one (and there appear to be absolutely no late applications accepted, period). But there are definitely programs for "doubly-special" (GATE-qualifying kids with LDs), some of which opened relatively recently. And many GATE schools are excellent.

LAUSD is huge, and while services are supposed to be equally available throughout, they aren't always. I'm not sure what "here" meant in this specific case.

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ketchupqueen
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rivka, I was referring specifically to our local elementary schools, that my children would have access to.
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rivka
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Ok. [Smile] In that case, I haven't the least notion.
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ketchupqueen
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My aunt is friends with a principal of a local elementary school, and the GATE coordinator at another. They both bemoan the scanty resources they're given with a local population with a high proportion of gifted kids (remember, we have lots of folks up here who work at JPL, etc.) And the process for getting any accomodations for Emma's SPD is frankly daunting, adding in GATE would be way too much. Even if I was willing to let her attend the local schools, which I'm not for safety reasons.
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AvidReader
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quote:
AvidReader, At some point you have to take responsibility for your own education. By the time you reach college, if you are still blaming your choice on the system, you've got a lot of growing up to do.
And when exactly would I have learned this in a system that treated me like an imbecile until the day I graduated? At least in my public schools, there was no empowerment. There was no decision-making. There was just doing what you're told.

These are also people who would lie about requirements for graduation and cover when they broke the law. My sister hit a wall in Geometry and barely passed. She thought she had her three math credits only to find out that the algebra she took in middle school only counted for high school credit after she took three credits in high school - none of which was disclosed when she took the class. Then they tried to bully her into taking Pre-Cal. Only my father going down there repeatedly to fight with them got her into Liberal Arts math so she could graduate.

I had a guidance counselor once announce my ACT score to an entire English class. When I commented to the teacher that I wasn't ok with that, she said it was no big deal because I had a good score. I had people I'd never seen before coming up to me for weeks commenting on it. (I had the highest score in the testing group, hence the announcement in a class I wasn't even in.) It was only after high school that I discovered that it was illegal for him to have done that.

So where exactly was I supposed to take responsibility? I didn't know the rules, and no one who did would point them out. They were so busy covering for each other that I was just left on the side with a pat on the head and a reminder to be a good girl.

Believe it or not, one year doesn't fix that. (Not that college admissions troglodytes are much different from the rest of the bureaucrats.) I was so exhausted from dealing with 13 years of school and so directionless after all the non-advice I got with all my college preperation that time off was really my only option.

And it has been good for me. I've learned more about myself by having a job than I ever did in school. I went back and took a few classes because I wanted to, and while they still moved along at someone else's pace, my working full time took care of that. I'm pretty happy with how my life has turned out to date, but it's inspite of my education experience.

It's a free county, you can believe anything you want about me. But that means I get to believe what I want about public school in return. I don't need your permission to hate it.

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scholarette
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Taking responsibility means that if you don't know the rules and no one points them out, you go research them and find out. You keep pushing forward until you get answers- preferably in writing so that later if anyone disputes you, you have proof. Just waiting around for someone to volunteer info to you is not responsible.
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Flaming Toad on a Stick
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
And don't forget that even with sympathetic teachers, other kids can make it torture to be "different". And I went to very good public schools.

I want to hug you right now. That's my experience in a nutshell.
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AvidReader
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quote:
Taking responsibility means that if you don't know the rules and no one points them out, you go research them and find out.
Really. At 16 you'd have done this? You don't even know that there's a rule to cover this sort of thing, but you'd go out and research it anyway? Google didn't even exist until the year after this happened. Where would I even have gone to find the rules that applied to the teachers and wouldn't be in the student handbook or a book in the library?

Let's be honest, you can't be mature until you're given permission to do so. If questioning authority is talking back and gets you in trouble, you learn not to ask questions. If you're told it's no big deal for the guidance counselor to say what he likes, why would you assume it's actually illegal? If you're told there's nothing harder for the teacher to give you, you don't ask for harder work. When no one tells you the rules have changed since you were five, why would it occur to you that they've done so?

Children are trained by the system to obey the system. Until you're outside, you can't really see anything but the system. And the system doesn't allow waves. That's why I feel it's so dangerous. Children need an advocate to stand up for them against this kind of self-contained juggernaut because until they have one, they don't know there are other options than the handful they're given.

Did you see Pleasantville? It's like asking what's outside and getting a blank stare. Until you know there's an outside, you don't know to ask how to get there.

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quidscribis
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Uh huh. What AvidReader said. [Smile]
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Belle
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quote:
If questioning authority is talking back and gets you in trouble, you learn not to ask questions.
Funny. I never did. I asked questions that got me in trouble all through school - my mother was called to the school more than once to address my talking out in class because I said things that were disruptive, and I continued to do it. Maybe because my parents gave me support? Regardless, not everybody reacts the way you did.

quote:
If you're told it's no big deal for the guidance counselor to say what he likes, why would you assume it's actually illegal?
The guidance counselor was clearly wrong. People in authority do things that are wrong. No one is arguing otherwise. All we're saying is that you also have to take some responsibility for what happens in your own life and your own education.

You said you knew what he did was wrong - you questioned it when it happened and told a teacher you weren't happy about it. You could have, at that time, taken it further - talking to the principal, investigating the privacy rules, etc. Point is, you DID know something there was wrong, or you wouldn't have reacted the way you did. So despite the fact that according to you, no one told you the rules, you were still able to figure out that revealing your score was wrong. You just didn't act on it beyond telling a teacher. There ARE other recourses to something - you don't have to accept the first answer you're given. That's another part of maturing - learning when not to take the first answer you get.

quote:
If you're told there's nothing harder for the teacher to give you, you don't ask for harder work.
And yet, when I was told there was nothing harder for me to do, I began bringing books to school and furthering my own education by reading. When my gifted daughter complains that she is bored in class, I suggest the same thing. If a teacher didn't want me reading in class, I set my mind to making up stories and poems in my head. There is always something you can do besides just sitting idly and blaming the system for your own lack of satisfaction with it. Your education is your responsibility, no matter what stage you're in. My eight year olds education is primarily their responsibility. I can force them to go to school, I can stand over them and force them to do work or to study, but I can't MAKE them learn anything. They have to take responsibility for their own learning. Everyone does.

quote:
When no one tells you the rules have changed since you were five, why would it occur to you that they've done so?

Because by the time you've reached 18 you can look around you and be mature enough to see the rule changes? Because part of growing up is learning to find out the rules on your own? Or maybe, maturity means learning that there are some rules you don't have to abide by anymore (and some that you do).

Now, am I saying schools are perfect? Or they don't ever fail gifted children? Of course not. However, a victimized mentality never helps. Especially in someone college age - at 18+ you are in many cases an adult and you should be able to make your own decisions and take responsibility for yourself. Sitting around blaming others accomplishes nothing. Lots of people had rough gos in childhood and in K-12 school. Lots of them. Mature, responsible people rise above it and do what is necessary to make themselves successful, they don't sit around and blame the system for messing up their chances for success.

quote:
Children need an advocate to stand up for them against this kind of self-contained juggernaut because until they have one, they don't know there are other options than the handful they're given.

Parents are the first and best advocates of children, in regards to education and to everything else. And, in many cases, teachers are advocates for children. Many times in poor, urban communities it is hard-working, dedicated teachers who show kids there are other ways than crime and the streets, and other options besides prison or menial labor jobs.

But talk to people specializing in urban education and they will tell you that the people who succeed and get somewhere from incredibly difficult backgrounds are those that take responsibility and become self-advocates. Nobody will ever be as invested in your education as much as you are. No teacher, no parents, no community, has as much to lose or to gain by an individual's education than that individual does. That's why it's so important that people take responsibility for themselves.

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katharina
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Avid Reader did nothing wrong. There is a reason that those wild success stories are passed around - they are incredibly unusual. It isn't fair to blame him for not being an outlier.

What he said makes perfect sense - when you're not in power, have had your attempts to questioned thrust aside, and there is nothing tangible to gain and piles of tangible things to lose (the people he was questioning did have considerably influence over his life), AND there is an end in sight, you can't blame him for hunkering down and waiting for it to be over.

Mature enough to see that the rules have changed? What? If everything changes and you don't see either the decision or any effects from the changing rules, then "maturity" is hardly the problem if you don't know.

There are ways to advocate responsibility without browbeating and insulting a fellow poster.

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Scott R
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I don't think Belle was browbeating or insulting. There's a lot of truth in what she says-- generally.
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Belle
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quote:
Mature enough to see that the rules have changed?
Yes. People do it all the time. When you're five, bedtime is eight o'clock. When you're ten, you look around and say "Hey, not everybody in this house goes to bed at eight, how come I have to?" And the parent says "Because you're 10, but when you're 15 like your brother you'll be able to stay up to 9."

Simplistic example, but a true one - I have four kids and I see everyday that they mature and learn that rules change and begin to assert themselves and want to test the boundaries of the rules. Heck, I would argue learning to negotiate the rules and the boundaries of your life is a major part of maturing.

quote:
There is a reason that those wild success stories are passed around - they are incredibly unusual. It isn't fair to blame him for not being an outlier.

I wasn't using success stories to say that AvidReader should have been one - I was using the example to show that when people are successful, it's because they take responsbility for themselves. I've had some training in educating children of generational poverty and one of the biggest things we're taught is to never believe that we have the power to make people succeed. We can offer the tools for success, we can bend over backward to provide people from poverty the opportunities to succeed (and we should) but people have to step up and be responsible for their own education. You cannot force people to learn things. By the way, I'm not trying to say Avid Reader is from generational poverty, just that kids raised in that environment are the ones most likely to "not know the rules" and even in those cases, the child's sense of personal responbility is the biggest factor in his/her success in school. That's even with educators trained to go out of their way to help them overcome obstacles.

Is it AvidReader's fault he had bad teachers? Of course not.

But blaming school and its "mindless bureaucracy" for his dropping out of college in his junior year is not at all helpful and I don't think fair to the schools. A college junior should be mature enough to take responsibility for his own education. Playing the victim will rarely help you get anywhere.

Now, I won't be around to answer posts for a while - because I've got to go to school. [Smile] Today is the first day of classes. If I don't respond today, it's not because I'm ignoring anyone or don't want to talk about it.

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katharina
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Oh, I didn't see that he'd blamed dropping out of college on public school.

I think expecting fifteen year olds to defy the system, challenge the adults, and go against the grain when they are treated poorly is too much to ask. It looked to me like that was what you were saying, and I was objecting to labeling that as immature. It isn't - acting like that as a 15-year-old is absolutely what is normal for a 15-year-old. It would be immature if they were an adult, but 15 year olds are not adults, and it isn't fair to label them as immature for not being so. It's like being mad at baby because they can't walk. Not only is it cruel, it does not accurately describe the situation.

For college, though, AvidReader, you're on your own. Dropping out then is your own decision. There are other people on this board and in this thread that also dropped out of college, and there were lots of reasons for it, I'm sure. Maybe those stories would be helpful.

The glorious and terrifying part of being an adult is that people don't really care anymore. You can succeed or fail and no one gives a crap for more than five minutes at a time. What happens next is all up to you.

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kmbboots
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I just had to smile at my eldest niece's Facebook page. It is hard to imagine anyone less "socially backward".
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King of Men
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quote:
Let's be honest, you can't be mature until you're given permission to do so.
I think it is more accurate to say that if you sit about waiting for permission to be mature, then you will never have the permission you need. Maturity is not in anyone's gift.
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Sachiko
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I'm curious--if whether or not people learn is up to them, how is homeschooling NOT a good way for children to achieve an education? Why not applaud parents and children who take the initiative?

The impression I got from the public school advocates here is that homeschooling must be assumed to be inadequate for education children, unless regularly proven otherwise to a public school overseer.

And that the public schools are the ones who can define what is a good education, which is why THEY are the self-appointed overseers over even non-public schooling.

So, do public schools have the authority to tell my kids how to learn (and me how to teach), or don't they?

What I'm hearing is "if you have a problem with public schools, then it's your fault if you don't defy your public school, except you need to get permission from your school to defy them."

Huh?

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Jhai
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Sachiko, no one here has said that homeschooling is inadequate education. Please try to read a little closer - your impression is completely inaccurate.

What people are saying is that, without some oversight, there are some parents who will homeschool and do an inadequate job at it. Thus, in order for the community at large to guarantee that children get the education that is their right, we, as a community must institute some oversight.

Check out Rabbit's list of points on page 4. Read it carefully. Then come back and tell me if you have any disagreements.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Sachiko:
The impression I got from the public school advocates here is that homeschooling must be assumed to be inadequate for education children, unless regularly proven otherwise to a public school overseer.

That's odd.
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Sachiko
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The GATE program at my CA schools--I went to three there--was terrible too. We stayed after school one day a week and were subjected to folk singers. With guitars.

I was often assigned to help the slowest kid in the class with their assignment--which is interesting; if only "experts" in education--those with degrees--can properly teach children, then why do we so often teach public school children via untrained volunteers or classroom peers?

I "took responsibility" for my education by stealing a library pass and playing hooky from my classes. I failed grades 4 - 6. I scooted by on test scores and my GATE program membership.

My father had a similar public school experience--from third grade on, the teachers gave him gradually harder and harder assignment, until by junior high he was following an independent study program and wasn't working on the same class material at all.

Of course, unlike my dad, I wasn't lucky enough to grow up in one town, with non-burned-out teachers. Most of my teachers resented the extra work I represented,(I don't blame them entirely, the resentment was mutual) and even the less hostile ones saw in me a way to make their jobs easier.

I object to changing the way I homeschool in order to be more economical for public school oversight. Part of the reason I homeschool is because this is a way I can offer a personalized, responsive education to my children, without the tuition expenses of a private/parochial school.

I often write lesson plans only 2 weeks to a month ahead of time, and we do fine and meet our goals. This would likely be considered unacceptable to an outside administrator.

I don't want to teach the public school way, and I should not have to, even if it would make it cheaper and easier for my local school to invite themselves into my family's life. Especially if it makes it easier for the government to intrude.

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Sachiko
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Okay, I read the points. And I do agree with them, but I disagree with how those goals should be reached.

Basically, if I am to be a good citizen and parent, I need to submit myself and my family to oversight--like people submitting themselves to airport security so that we can nab the terrorists, yes?

I have not met any of the abusive/reclusive homeschooling families that I think people are fearing when they talking about the need for oversight; however, I'm guessing they would be less compliant with oversight than on-the-radar homeschoolers like me.

Which means more comprehensive/intrusive (pick your adjective [Smile] ) programs would be ineffective to helping that minority of homeschooled students who really aren't being homeschooled at all, but neglected.

The public schools would probably not even be reaching the very people they're trying hardest to help.

Here's an idea--

since part of what we're quibbling about here is children achieving proficiency in the 3 R's, what would you think of really limited government oversight?

Like, quick check-ins while the kids are smaller, and then at any point the children can take a reading/writing/math proficiency test. And once they pass, they are considered as no longer in need of government oversight.

My children so far do just fine, and I'd be willing to have them take a one-time test if that exempted us from further interference.

And--nod to Katharina--this would save the schools time and money. Much as oversight galls me.

*edited for clarity. Which I distressingly lack.

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Jhai
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Actually, the standardized proficiency testing has already been suggested many times in this thread by those of us interested in limited oversight.

There's been a number of things proposed on this thread overall, but the main one is a simple standardized proficiency test around 8 to make sure a kid is on track for reading - due to the brain development that is taking place at that time. It's also been suggested that two more checks take place at 12 & 16 for progress in the 3 R's - better reading comprehension, increased understanding of the mechanics of composing prose, and higher math on the level of percentages, extremely basic statistics (mean, median, mode, etc), simple algebra, and so forth. And perhaps science/social science requirements that individual states might have. (These specifics are what I'd like to see - don't want to put words in anyone's mouth.)

I truly do not see how a standardized test that might take a morning or a day every four years is excessive interference. Unless a parent is unwilling to make sure their child learns such basic material - in which case I think we're back into the neglect of a child's right to education in order to ensure an open future as an adult.

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Sachiko
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Which I guess brings us back to how we would get people to take the tests, and what would happen if the child didn't pass.

I would be willing to submit my children to a one-time test at age 8, if this exempted me from any other oversight. One test would be far, far less intrusive than the homeschooling regulations I deal with now.

And, like other people have expressed, there is the concern that once the government has its foot in the door, what else will they add to that test? Would the test really be limited only to basic Reading/Writing/Math, or would the state add questions from its science curriculum, or from its sex ed program?

While I'd be willing to make this compromise--one test at age 8--I still disagree with the idea that the public schools are the ultimate arbiter of what is education.

I am not anti-public school, but I don't think I should have to accept total authority by the public schools just to prove I'm a good citizen. So I don't.

Would parents have any input on this one-time test? Say, if there were some takes on social science I didn't agree with (I was taught politically loaded stuff in my elementary school social studies classes). How would I as a homeschooling parent address that?

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Jhai
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When has anyone said that it is the public schools that decide what the testing would be? I believe everyone has been very careful to use the term "community" in the discussion. Because, ultimately, it's our/the community's asses on the line if you fail to educate your child well enough to allow him or her to be a self-sufficient member of the community.

Edited for clairity and to note that this is a general "you", not anyone in the discussion specifically.

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Sachiko
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Oh, ok. Point taken.

Who would administer the tests, then?

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Jhai
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The way I would structure it would have the federal government tell the states they need to have minimum proficiency checks on the basic skills of the 3R's at ages 8, 12, and 16 - thus ensuring that there is some oversight for all children in the nation.

Then it's up to the state government to decide how they want to administer testing. Some states may dump the task to the state department of education, and some might create a committee of education experts, public school teachers, and homeschooling parents, while others might do something else entirely. Some might choose Test A for proficiency, others choose Test B. Some states may pass the testing decisions to the individual public school districts (along with appropriate funding), others may want to keep it centralized for the entire state.

If parents don't like the way their state chooses to structure things, they have the options we all have when we disagree with state laws: change states, or work within the community as a citizen for change. I know of several parents in my home state (California) who have ran successfully for elected office on a platform of educational change.

Take this all with a grain of salt, though: I'm not particularly well-versed in current educational policies within states, so there may be far more efficient or effective plans.

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Sachiko
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Okay.

My questions are, how does this system differ from what we already have?

(I think it sounds less intrusive if it's administered as you suggest)

And, how would The Community enforce the standards?

I'm wondering what would be a passing score--and what would happen to those who don't pass the tests? Would they retake the test, or would CPS get involved, or...?

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Jhai
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As Rabbit clearly said (and I later noted that I agreed with):

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
7. Testing should not be used to define what constitutes a good homeschool or bad homeschool but as an indicator that further investigation is necessary.

8. When ever possible, parents who homeschool should be given the support they need to be successful. Parents should not be forced to enroll their children in a public school or accredited private school until all other avenues for protecting the child's rights have been exaughsted.

Since I'm not a homeschooling parent - and don't plan to become one in the near future - I can't speak for how, exactly, homeschooling regulations differ from what I've proposed. Anyways, it's my understanding that the rules are state-by-state, and I have no intention of looking up 50 different laws to figure out any differences.

I imagine that communities would enforce the standards in different ways, in line with the different ways they might be administering the testing. I would want them to follow Rabbit's points above, for certain.

If a student doesn't pass a test, I think it's reasonable to bring in an educational/developmental expert to assess the child and see if there's any particular reason the child isn't learning the 3R's. If the child seems mentally capable of learning the material, a review of how the child is being exposed to the material could be done. From there, the parent could be offered particular curricula that seems suited to the child's learning style, the use of a community-funded tutor, or other options that the parent is comfortable with that can help the child learn. A review could be done after a suitable interval (1 month/3 month/whatever - I'm not an educational expert) to see if the child has made any progress. If there is little or no progress, then stronger measures, such as mandatory tutoring once a week, should take place. If that doesn't work, perhaps daily tutoring... Rinse & repeat.

As a former reading & math elementary tutor to underprivileged kids, I'm fairly confident that a child with the capacity to learn the 3R's should, with parental support, be able to learn such material with the help of individual, professional tutoring. If he can't, then there's almost certainly some learning disabilities at play - which the community should then help the homeschooling parent with.

I would only think to involve CPS in their traditional capacity as a last resort, when the parent is absolutely refusing to help the child learn what he needs to know, and there has been no progress according to the experts in education who have been involved in the case from the start (i.e. the test isn't the sole/main decider of progress not being made).

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romanylass
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Sachiko, from what I can see most people here are only advocating testing for math and reading literacy. I have no problem with that. I would object to someone telling me how I had to teach other subjects.
A homeschooled student should not be tested on things like "Where does your hand go when you say the Pledge of Allegience ?" (Yes, that was a question on a test my kids took). I don't know a single homeschool family where the kids were taught the pledge at home ( as opposed to learning it at Scouts, ect).
As far as "passing grade", in the charter school my kids are in now (WA state) they are required to test at 30% in math and reading. (this seems a little low to me).

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Sachiko
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Huh. I'm in WA state, too, and I thought my kids' test scores needed to be higher than that. I need to review the HS laws here.

Thanks, Jhai. I'm still thinking about how I'd feel about mandatory tutoring for my children, should they not pass a state-administered test.

Romanylass, I know most here are advocating for "just" math/reading testing. I'm with the other paranoid parents who think this would be a cover for more intrusion.

There are plenty of cases where CPS investigates a parent based on a call and even when the complaint proves unfounded, CPS doesn't leave the family alone. I know someone in Idaho who had CPS arrive at her door after a lady at church called and told them her preemie baby was "too small".

There was no basis for a continued investigation, but CPS still insisted on sending a nurse to visit once a week "just to be sure". They assured my friend that she should feel lucky to have free expert assistance right in her own home.

It sounds so nice, and "it's for the children" is a nice ideal, but in general, once the state enters a home, it doesn't want to leave.

Whether you think I'm paranoid about the possibility of a mandatory state-assigned tutor or not, many homeschooling parents would immediately reject the idea, based on previous bad experiences with CPS.

Again, the only plus I can see from this kind of testing is the opportunity to control the level of potential intrusion by taking a test. But if the test led to more state intrusion, then I don't imagine a lot of HS parents happy with the idea of taking it.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
The way I would structure it would have the federal government tell the states they need to have minimum proficiency checks on the basic skills of the 3R's at ages 8, 12, and 16 - thus ensuring that there is some oversight for all children in the nation.

I'm not sure but I think this might violate the Oklahoma state constitution. (I'd have to go back and re-read the relevant part.)
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Jhai
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Sachiko, I'm not advocating that your children get mandatory tutoring if they don't pass a state-administered test.

I'm advocating that they get mandatory tutoring if they don't pass a state-administered test AND educational/developmental experts can't find any learning disabilities which might slow down their learning progress AND educational experts' suggestions on curricula, educational approaches, and volunteer tutoring that suit you & the child don't help AND a suitable (months, at least) interval has passed during which you as a homeschooling parent have time & community assistance to get your child up to a minimum level of competency, but still are unable to do so.

KQ, if the Oklahoma State Constitution doesn't allow for a minimum level of oversight, I would be in favor of changing the constitution. All children have the right to minimum education, not just the ones who have great parents who care enough about their education to make sure they get one (like you and the other homeschooling parents here on Hatrack). A constitution that doesn't allow for the protection of the rights for those unable to protect it themselves should be changed.

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AvidReader
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quote:
But blaming school and its "mindless bureaucracy" for his dropping out of college in his junior year is not at all helpful and I don't think fair to the schools.
I think that depends on if you consider "blame" and "cause" to be synonymous. Personally, I don't.

My exhaustion with school and lack of direction were a large part of the cause of my dropping out. People seem to think I'm sitting around whining that my life would have been perfect if I'd just had a better school and graduated on time.

Instead, I'm quite content with how things turned out. I've had a couple lousy jobs and one pretty good one, been back to school, got my GPA back up to what I hope will be an acceptable level when I apply to FSU in a few years, and I think I know what I want to major in and do afterwards.

None of that changes how I feel about my school experience. It was awful, and there's no changing that. I also see no reason to do that to anyone else. When I have children, I won't. It's that simple.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
A constitution that doesn't allow for the protection of the rights for those unable to protect it themselves should be changed.
Okay, no offense intended here... But if you don't live in the state you don't really have much influence over their constitution, do you?

I will look up the wording and see if the way the exemption is worded would affect what you are suggesting.

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ketchupqueen
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It's not inherent in the wording, as I read it, but state court decisions have clarified that the Dept. of Education has no jurisdiction over homeschoolers in OK.

From HSLDA's site:
quote:
Home schools are not regulated, since the framers of the Oklahoma Constitution specifically intended “other means of education” to include home schooling and gave the state no authority to regulate that exemption from compulsory attendance. In Snyder v. Asbery (No. 78,045, Oklahoma Court of Appeals, Div. 2, May 18, 1993), the Oklahoma Court of Appeals returned two children to the custody of their home schooling father, reversing a lower court decision. On page 4 of the decision, the Court agreed with the home schooling father, stating “...the State Department of Education has no jurisdiction in home schooling. See 70 O.S.1991 § 3-104 … Okla. Const. art. 13, § 5….”

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Jhai
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
quote:
A constitution that doesn't allow for the protection of the rights for those unable to protect it themselves should be changed.
Okay, no offense intended here... But if you don't live in the state you don't really have much influence over their constitution, do you?
I never suggested I have much influence over the OK state constitution, just that I would be in favor of it being changed, and I think it ought to be changed. To take an extreme example, I'm also in favor of ending genocide in Darfur, and think genocide in Darfur ought to be ended, but I currently have about as much influence in that matter as I do with OK's constitution - which is to say that I can raise my voice in protest and volunteer with local causes that push for change but, short of radically changing my life, that's about it.
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