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Old 7th May 2012, 08:43 AM   #41
marplots
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Wasn't there a time before public education was available? Aren't there countries where it still isn't? That's one big pool of homeschooling there. How's that working out?
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Old 7th May 2012, 09:13 AM   #42
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Old 7th May 2012, 09:47 AM   #43
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I did a homeschool co-op for two years which meant my child went to an actual classroom three days a week and I taught at home two days. My child received an excellent education plus the socialisation and structure of a school setting. Even though I am highly-educated, my expertise is not in education and I wouldn't have felt comfortable going full time home-schooling through high school. Not to mention the socialisation, sports and other school-related activities they would miss out on.

Home schooling has gotten a bad reputation due to the fundies and "radical unschoolers". But I believe it can be beneficial depending upon one's approach and capabilities. To do it correctly is not easy at all and the only reason I did it was because I lived in a sub par school system at the time. I now live in an excellent school district and my children are in public school.

Este
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:51 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Estellea View Post
Home schooling has gotten a bad reputation due to the fundies and "radical unschoolers".
Yeah I won't deny that while I have no issue with home schooling in theory, the fact that it seems its so often done with ulterior Woo based motives has left a bad taste in my mouth about it.

But like with all groups maybe just the crazies are the ones that make the news and create the most noise.
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Old 8th May 2012, 04:58 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
But like with all groups maybe just the crazies are the ones that make the news and create the most noise.
I was homeschooled for non-religious reasons. As a homeschooler, the vast majority of other homeschoolers I knew were in it for religious reasons.

Also that "just teach to read and write thing" isn't entirely awful. In my family the catastrophic failure rate of that method was only 1 in 3.
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Old 8th May 2012, 05:34 PM   #46
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We homeschooled our three daughters. It was for reasons other than religion, and I think it worked well for them. One of our daughters had some mild learning difficulties, and we felt the school system was actually doing too much to help her (she wasn't being challenged, and was relying on the teachers to do her work for her). Once we started with her, her sisters wanted to do it as well.
We used a combination of correspondence school, home school co-op and home instruction. We tried to teach them how to think, and I believe we did a good job with them. They all have high school diplomas, and one has a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Far from being isolated, they spent more time at activities (especially with the co-op) than they ever did in public schools. Socialization would only have been a problem if we had actively tried to isolate them.
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Old 10th May 2012, 01:52 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Estellea View Post
I did a homeschool co-op for two years which meant my child went to an actual classroom three days a week and I taught at home two days. My child received an excellent education plus the socialisation and structure of a school setting. Even though I am highly-educated, my expertise is not in education and I wouldn't have felt comfortable going full time home-schooling through high school. Not to mention the socialisation, sports and other school-related activities they would miss out on.

Home schooling has gotten a bad reputation due to the fundies and "radical unschoolers". But I believe it can be beneficial depending upon one's approach and capabilities. To do it correctly is not easy at all and the only reason I did it was because I lived in a sub par school system at the time. I now live in an excellent school district and my children are in public school.

Este
I have home schooled my youngest through a public online charter ("K12") since second grade,(my son is going into high school next year.) Simply stated it is an online virtual academy, fully accredited, part of our public educational system, in California.

http://www.k12.com/schools-programs/...public-schools


He has made the Deans Honor List with our charter for both Spring and Fall this year. Not only is my education well rounded and continuing; I have many friends who have contributed along the way. We have mentors in place for the core subjects,(over and above his assigned teachers.) We employ the services of a child psychologist,(who has been invaluable in helping us understand the needs of our child).
I think that home schooling can be a wonderful opportunity, if done in a way, that takes into account the things that public school offers--for example, sports, and socialization and friends. My son has always been involved in sports and a variety of volunteer programs.

I do not think home schooling is the optimum situation, if a parent is not 150 percent on board and involved. There are those that place the responsibility of their child's education, on the youngsters shoulders. I disagree with this, legally a child has the right to be taught and they should not be expected to teach themselves.
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Old 10th May 2012, 02:02 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by JimBenArm View Post
We homeschooled our three daughters. It was for reasons other than religion, and I think it worked well for them. One of our daughters had some mild learning difficulties, and we felt the school system was actually doing too much to help her (she wasn't being challenged, and was relying on the teachers to do her work for her). Once we started with her, her sisters wanted to do it as well.
We used a combination of correspondence school, home school co-op and home instruction. We tried to teach them how to think, and I believe we did a good job with them. They all have high school diplomas, and one has a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Far from being isolated, they spent more time at activities (especially with the co-op) than they ever did in public schools. Socialization would only have been a problem if we had actively tried to isolate them.
Indeed, very well said, socialization is two-fold. There is the socialization that addresses what it means to be the other ( as in not being the majority.) And, the socialization that teaches one to adapt to a variety of social situations. Most notably-- in the teen years-- as it provides contrast for the budding sense of self and the opportunity to fine tune oneself morally and ethically.
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Old 11th May 2012, 01:11 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Wasn't there a time before public education was available? Aren't there countries where it still isn't? That's one big pool of homeschooling there. How's that working out?
Marvin Minsky Interview
Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (1994-July)
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...the evidence is that many of our foremost achievers developed under conditions that are not much like those of present-day mass education. Robert Lawler just showed me a paper by Harold Macurdy on the child pattern of genius. Macurdy reviews the early education of many eminent people from the last couple of centuries and concludes (1) that most of them had an enormous amount of attention paid to them by one or both parents and (2) that generally they were relatively isolated from other children. This is very different from what most people today consider an ideal school. It seems to me that much of what we call education is really socialization. Consider what we do to our kids. Is it really a good idea to send your 6-year-old into a room full of 6-year-olds, and then, the next year, to put your 7-year-old in with 7-year-olds, and so on? A simple recursive argument suggests this exposes them to a real danger of all growing up with the minds of 6-year-olds. And, so far as I can see, that's exactly what happens.
Our present culture may be largely shaped by this strange idea of isolating children's thought from adult thought. Perhaps the way our culture educates its children better explains why most of us come out as dumb as they do, than it explains how some of us come out as smart as they do.
It does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State (government, generally) provision of Civics and History instruction is a threat to democracy, just as State operation of broadcast news media would be (is, in totalitarian countries).
Originally Posted by Benjamin Disraeli
Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.
Originally Posted by H. L. Mencken
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, and brutal violations of common sense and common decency.
I taught in government schools, independent and parochial schools, and have tutored homeschoolers. I know homeschooling families who do not use tutors. As a broad generalization, parents exert a beneficial influence, the more the better. Motivation is a critical ingredient in academic performance. Children, especially very young children, will work for love, and parents are a more reliable source of love than are strangers. Homeschooling parents do not need to know everything; there are these amazing resources which informed people call "books".
Albert Einstein
"Force and Fear Have No Place in Education"
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To me the worst thing seems to be for a school principally to work with methods of fear, force and artificial authority. Such treatment destroys the sound sentiments, the sincerity and self-confidence of the pupil. It produces the submissive subject. . . It is comparatively simple to keep the school free from this worst of all evils. Give into the power of the teacher the fewest possible coercive measures, so that the only source of the pupil's respect for the teacher is the human and intellectual qualities of the latter.
Albert Einstein
"Autobiographical Notes"
Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, Paul Schilpp, ed. (1951), pp. 17-19
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It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry, especially if the food, handed out under such coercion, were to be selected accordingly.

Last edited by Malcolm Kirkpatrick; 11th May 2012 at 01:13 PM. Reason: grammar, spelling typo.
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Old 11th May 2012, 01:25 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by sherizzle View Post
Indeed, very well said, socialization is two-fold. There is the socialization that addresses what it means to be the other ( as in not being the majority.) And, the socialization that teaches one to adapt to a variety of social situations. Most notably-- in the teen years-- as it provides contrast for the budding sense of self and the opportunity to fine tune oneself morally and ethically.
Conventional school is toxic socialization.
Roland Meighan
"Home-based Education Effectiveness Research and Some of its Implications"
Educational Review, Vol. 47, No.3, 1995.
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The issue of social skills. One edition of Home School Researcher, Volume 8, Number 3, contains two research reports on the issue of social skills. The first finding of the study by Larry Shyers (1992) was that home-schooled students received significantly lower problem behavior scores than schooled children. His next finding was that home-schooled children are socially well adjusted, but schooled children are not so well adjusted. Shyers concludes that we are asking the wrong question when we ask about the social adjustment of home-schooled children. The real question is why is the social; adjustment of schooled children of such poor quality?
The second study, by Thomas Smedley (1992), used different test instruments but comes to the same conclusion, that home-educated children are more mature and better socialized than those attending school.
So-called "school phobia" is actually more likely to be a sign of mental health, whereas school dependancy is a largely unrecognized mental health problem....
Linda Darling-Hammond
American School Board Journal, September 1999.
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...(M)any well-known adolescent difficulties are not intrinsic to the teenage years but are related to the mismatch between adolescents' developmental needs and the kinds of experiences most junior high and high schools provide. When students need close affiliation, they experience large depersonalized schools; when they need to develop autonomy, they experience few opportunities for choice and punitive approaches to discipline...
Hyman and Penroe
Journal of School Psychology
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Several studies of maltreatment by teachers suggest that school children report traumatic symptoms that are similar whether the traumatic event was physical or verbal abuse (Hyman, et.al.,1988; Krugman & Krugman, 1984; Lambert, 1990). Extrapolation from these studies suggests that psychological maltreatment of school children, especially those who are poor, is fairly widespread in the United States....
In the early 1980s, while the senior author was involved in a school violence project, an informal survey of a random group of inner city high school students was conducted. When asked why they misbehaved in school, the most common response was that they wanted to get back at teachers who put them down, did not care about them, or showed disrespect for them, their families, or their culture....
...schools do not encourage research regarding possible emotional maltreatment of students by staff or investigatiion into how this behavior might affect student misbehavior....
...Since these studies focused on teacher-induced PTSD and explored all types of teacher maltreatment, some of the aggressive feelings were also caused by physical or sexual abuse. There was no attempt to separate actual aggression from feelings of aggression. The results indicated that at least 1% to 2% of the respondents' symptoms were sufficient for a diagnosis of PTSD. It is known that when this disorder develops as a result of interpersonal violence, externalizing symptoms are often the result (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
While 1% to 2% might not seem to be a large percentage of a school-aged population, in a system like New York City, this would be about 10,000 children so traumatized by educators that they may suffer serious, and sometimes lifelong emotional problems (Hyman, 1990; Hyman, Zelikoff & Clarke, 1988). A good percentage of these students develop angry and aggressive responses as a result. Yet, emotional abuse and its relation to misbehavior in schools receives little pedagogical, psychological, or legal attention and is rarely mentioned in textbooks on school discipline (Pokalo & Hyman, 1993, Sarno, 1992).
As with corporal punishment, the frequency of emotional maltreatment in schools is too often a function of the socioeconomic status (SES) of the student population (Hyman, 1990).

Last edited by Malcolm Kirkpatrick; 11th May 2012 at 01:33 PM. Reason: surround material with quotes.
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Old 11th May 2012, 03:19 PM   #51
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I do not plan to homeschool, but if my child learns math and reading quickly like I did, and there are no more options than were available when I was a kid, I may well decide to. Most of the years I spent in public school were almost entirely useless, with the only thing really of value was developing a cynical bent early on, before I could build my optimism up too much (learning when you're seven that correcting the logical mistakes of those with authority over you is usually ineffective except for getting blamed is better than learning it at the workplace). Spending hours each day, usually learning nothing academic but getting ridiculed and attacked by peers, getting told it's your fault you were abused because you have nothing in common with your peers and don't want to interact with them more than necessary, can be quite depressing, though. In such a situation it would be better to pressure the school with legal action instead of (or in addition to) pulling your kid from school, but the time and monetary investment in that course of action could easily rival homeschooling.

Ideally, there would be individual, accelerated instruction for kids who learn faster and discipline that recognizes the difference between an unpopular kid being excluded and made fun of and outright assault and acts accordingly, but that is often not the case. In the case of an academically accelerated kid, I would try supplementing at home and community college courses before homeschooling.

For homeschooling in general, I think there should be some kind of requirements and monitoring. I'm not sure exactly what it should be, other than it would include standardized testing. Maybe they could compare IQ and achievement tests for kids performing a certain level below average, and of course make sure they're being taught across the board. So if their subscore on evolution is very low but everything else is high or average, that can be a red flag. Making joining a school or community club/sport/activity a requirement (perhaps with exceptions granted to certain circumstances, such as if the only activity for kids that age is audition-required sports and the kid is terribly unathletic). Just thinking out loud here.

ETA: poor quality teaching would also be enough if they couldn't change the teacher or if it was pervasive, though that wasn't my experience growing up (I had great teachers, they just couldn't teach me math because you can't teach 30 kids long division while teaching one kid the fundamental theorem of calculus, so it wasn't their fault). We had a student teacher "teach" a unit on astronomy that was less in-depth than the unit we did on the same subject three grades earlier, and one question on the quiz had the "correct" answer - Earth's orbit around the sun is "a perfect circle". Yes, they had the word perfect, not "approximately" or "nearly" or "very close to" or "resembles". The correct answer wasn't even on there! I wrote the correct answer on the paper and then argued with her about it after class, but she wouldn't change my grade. If someone like that was teaching my kid full time with a similar frequency of exhibiting such obstinate ignorance, homeschooling would seem like a viable option.

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Old 11th May 2012, 05:37 PM   #52
marplots
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
...As a broad generalization, parents exert a beneficial influence, the more the better. Motivation is a critical ingredient in academic performance. Children, especially very young children, will work for love, and parents are a more reliable source of love than are strangers. Homeschooling parents do not need to know everything; there are these amazing resources which informed people call "books".
Lowest seven countries in literacy ranking:
Somalia -- 35.9%
Chad -- 33.6%
Burkina Faso -- 28.7%
Niger -- 28.7%
Ethiopia -- 28%
South Sudan -- 27%
Mali -- 26.2%

Books aren't much help if you can't read. Am I to assume that parents just don't love their kids in these countries?

This doesn't mean that homeschooling is a bad system, but it's a system designed for those with the resources to make it work. I don't see how this is any different than teaching my child to be a gymnast or to play the piano. I could do it and they may do well in either activity. But if I wanted to be assured that every kid on the block knew how to play the piano, I'd rather see a public utility in place to get it done than to rely on a spectrum of parental motivation.
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Old 11th May 2012, 09:10 PM   #53
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Am I to assume that parents just don't love their kids in these countries?1
This doesn't mean that homeschooling is a bad system, but it's a system designed for those with the resources to make it work. I don't see how this is any different than teaching my child to be a gymnast or to play the piano. I could do it and they may do well in either activity. But if I wanted to be assured that every kid on the block knew how to play the piano, I'd rather see a public utility in place to get it done than to rely on a spectrum of parental motivation.2
1. No. These countries are poor. Poor people have other priorities.
2. The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition, after Weber). The State does not have any resources to devote to education that it does not take from other possible uses. "Public education" is one surviving instance of otherwise discredited industrial policy.

Eduardo Zambrano
"Formal Models of Authority: Introduction and Political Economy Applications"
Rationality and Society, May 1999; 11: 115 - 138.
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Aside from the important issue of how it is that a ruler may economize on communication, contracting and coercion costs, this leads to an interpretation of the state that cannot be contractarian in nature: citizens would not empower a ruler to solve collective action problems in any of the models discussed, for the ruler would always be redundant and costly. The results support a view of the state that is eminently predatory, (the ? MK.) case in which whether the collective actions problems are solved by the state or not depends on upon whether this is consistent with the objectives and opportunities of those with the (natural) monopoly of violence in society. This conclusion is also reached in a model of a predatory state by Moselle and Polak (1997). How the theory of economic policy changes in light of this interpretation is an important question left for further work.
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Old 12th May 2012, 08:25 AM   #54
marplots
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
1. No. These countries are poor. Poor people have other priorities.
True enough.
My point is that home schooling is only a valid alternative in a context where public education already exists. Home schooling can then act as a customized tweak to failures in public education. However, I do not think it rises to the level of a real alternative in most situations -- situations where public education meets the need of having a citizenry trained in a knowledge base needed to function.

Socialization should be viewed as more than, "I can get along with others." It should also mean, "I can speak and read a common language. I know some foundational information relevant to the society I find myself in."

One of the original impetuses of homeschooling was, after all, a rejection of what was seen as instilling secular values, another way of saying socialization I don't like. Education in the Madras model is an example of getting religious training and a world view along with the ability to read.

In any case, when we criticize public education, we should first step back and ask what it is we desire it to accomplish in the first place. Should we demand a high level of expertise or should that be reserved for college, trade schools, OJT or a more customized education, like home schooling?

I would be satisfied if Johnny could read, write and figure out how much to tip the waitress.
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Old 12th May 2012, 10:44 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
...home schooling is only a valid alternative in a context where public education already exists.1 Home schooling can then act as a customized tweak to failures in public education. However, I do not think it rises to the level of a real alternative in most situations -- situations where public education meets the need of having a citizenry trained in a knowledge base needed to function.2
Socialization should be viewed as more than, "I can get along with others." It should also mean, "I can speak and read a common language. I know some foundational information relevant to the society I find myself in."3
One of the original impetuses of homeschooling was, after all, a rejection of what was seen as instilling secular values, another way of saying socialization I don't like. Education in the Madras model is an example of getting religious training and a world view along with the ability to read.4
In any case, when we criticize public education, we should first step back and ask what it is we desire it to accomplish in the first place. Should we demand a high level of expertise or should that be reserved for college, trade schools, OJT or a more customized education, like home schooling?5
I would be satisfied if Johnny could read, write and figure out how much to tip the waitress.
1. Seems to me the statutes that operationally define "homeschooling" vary from one jurisdiction to another. In Hawaii, a child is homeschooled if s/he is between 6 and 18, has not tested out of school via GED, and is not enrolled in any accredited school. There is no requirement that parents confine the homeschooled child to their residence. Surfing is PE. Mall crawling is Social Studies. Parents have to notify the DOE of their intent to homeschool to avoid charges of educational neglect.
2. Gandhi wrote that parents are the natural teachers of their children. I do not see any good argument for taking from parents the power to determine what, where, and how their children learn their place in the world.
3. Okay. Why suppose that the State is the appropriate tool to produce this result?
4. Homeschooling was what everybody did before compulsory attendance laws. Compulsory attendance laws had the explicit rationale to indoctrinate children into the State religion. Google "That Old Deluder Satan Act".
5. What do you mean "we", paleface? Why suppose that this issue is appropriately addressed by aggregated decision-making? What size shoes should "we" all wear? How many times should "we" chew "our" next bite of toast?
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Old 12th May 2012, 12:44 PM   #56
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I'm not for home schooling. My granddaughters are homeschooled and I've seen the down side of it.

If a teacher is ill in the public school, someone comes in with lessons or activities (yes, sometimes it's just "make work" but it's something and they go to other classes where the teacher isn't ill and does have planned activities.) If Mom is ill or gets distracted dealing with creditors/home repair/the dog getting sick/household disaster, no education happens. If the child is good at cuddling up to Mom and distracting her, it eats up classroom time. If the child dawdles at lunch or wherever, this time is not spent in educating the child on any science/reading/writing -- they do, however, learn to manipulate parents.

Interaction with other children is limited. My daughter in law is giving remedial education (this is ironic) to a teenager who was homeschooled whose writing and reading is at about 7th grade (the teen wants to go to college.) As with my granddaughter, the teen is fearful of new situations (prays before going on long trips, writes asking for God's hand of mercy over her when she goes to the grocery store, etc) and has poor comprehension skills.

In Ye Brutal Public School, kids are made to do lessons and there's no exemptions or delays for being cute. Schedules are very strictly adhered to, and if a child is falling behind in something, remedial classes are done as soon as the problem is discovered -- not 8 years later.

In addition, most homeschool parents are unqualified to deal with things like teaching ADD children or dyslexic children. The school system has specialists. They aren't perfect, but they're better than what I've seen.

(and these are not the only two homeschooled children I've seen. I teach at a museum center, and have dealt with homeschool groups, private school groups, and public school groups. It's my observation after 4 years of this that in general, private schools turn out the most educated children and public schools come in second. The quality of education of homeschooled children varies between the rare sets that are better educated than private school students and those who are worse than the worst of our public schools.

The distribution tends to lean towards the "worst" area; not the "best."
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Old 12th May 2012, 12:51 PM   #57
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I was homeschooled myself, and I honestly wish I hadn't been.
It wasn't the Liberals-are-corrupting-the-schools kind, mind you--more the my-child-is-a-special-snowflake kind, and because I was too clever by half as a kid I went out of my way to nurture this impression and get utterly coddled by my well-meaning, but scatterbrained mother.
I'm still not sure how much of the nervous breakdown that led to me getting pulled out of public high school was real and how much was just dramatic license on my part--but the end result is that by my "graduation" I had a lovely, thorough liberal arts education and absolutely no higher math skills, study skills, academic skills, or work ethic. College has been the most awful, humiliating experience of my life because of this, and technically speaking, it's all my fault.
I'm sure there are children out there for whom homeschooling is the right thing to do. I was not one of them.
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Old 12th May 2012, 05:13 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
1. Seems to me the statutes that operationally define "homeschooling" vary from one jurisdiction to another. In Hawaii, a child is homeschooled if s/he is between 6 and 18, has not tested out of school via GED, and is not enrolled in any accredited school. There is no requirement that parents confine the homeschooled child to their residence. Surfing is PE. Mall crawling is Social Studies. Parents have to notify the DOE of their intent to homeschool to avoid charges of educational neglect.
OK

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2. Gandhi wrote that parents are the natural teachers of their children. I do not see any good argument for taking from parents the power to determine what, where, and how their children learn their place in the world.
Here is the main reason: Parents are a variable commodity. Some may be excellent, others not so much. We'd like to give students the opportunity to rise above the station they were born into. We do not hold with Gandhi's idea of a caste system. This isn't to say parents won't have an influence, but where they fail at it, children are not left without another viewpoint.

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3. Okay. Why suppose that the State is the appropriate tool to produce this result?
Because we care about our citizens.

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4. Homeschooling was what everybody did before compulsory attendance laws. Compulsory attendance laws had the explicit rationale to indoctrinate children into the State religion. Google "That Old Deluder Satan Act".
I did look it up. Sounds pretty much like the correct rationale.

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5. What do you mean "we", paleface? Why suppose that this issue is appropriately addressed by aggregated decision-making? What size shoes should "we" all wear? How many times should "we" chew "our" next bite of toast?
If education is a public good, in a democracy, the 'we' is the body politic. In pretty much the same way we pass laws on other public goods for the welfare of the nation. I am missing the parallel with shoe size and eating though.

The problem with relying on parents is that parents are limited by not only what they think important to teach, but also by their ability to teach other things. My daughter tutors home-schoolers. She has several client families who recognize they need an outside expert to teach their children English (her subject).

I'm educated and think I could teach a child reasonably well. But I found out that what I knew to be so has been altered a bit since I learned it. Snowball earth wasn't taught when I was in school, Fortran's a loser language now, dark energy wasn't even on the horizon. Then there's the thousand things I simply can't recall -- what a gerund is, how to take square roots by hand... lots of stuff.

Add to that all the things I never thought much of that my child might have a talent for: most sports, music, art, dance...more.

Before we dismiss public education as past its prime or harmful, we ought to take a good look at what we intend to replace it with. And why.
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Old 12th May 2012, 06:37 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
True enough.
My point is that home schooling is only a valid alternative in a context where public education already exists. Home schooling can then act as a customized tweak to failures in public education. However, I do not think it rises to the level of a real alternative in most situations -- situations where public education meets the need of having a citizenry trained in a knowledge base needed to function.
I think this gets to the crux of the matter. Looked at from a purely economic perspective, public schooling is the end result of people pooling their available resources to deliver a more efficient result. Sure, you could have everyone's mum educating them, with the inherent variability that comes with that, or you can reduce the variability by finding people who actually want to teach kids, and are suitably trained to do so.

Home schooling can talk about crap teachers all they like, but imagine a world where that was the normal way. Pretty soon you'd have some people offering to teach other people's kids in exchange for goods and services, because they can do a better job. And while some of those who are home schooled may not be left behind, the majority of those who are are likely to find themselves in such a situation.

Personally, I'm of the opinion if it can't be suitably monitored to ensure adequate results, it should be banned, or heavily discouraged. There are far more things likely to go wrong than there are to go right.
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Old 12th May 2012, 10:02 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by supaluminal View Post
I think this gets to the crux of the matter. Looked at from a purely economic perspective, public schooling is the end result of people pooling their available resources to deliver a more efficient result.1 Sure, you could have everyone's mum educating them, with the inherent variability that comes with that, or you can reduce the variability by finding people who actually want to teach kids, and are suitably trained to do so.2
Home schooling can talk about crap teachers all they like, but imagine a world where that was the normal way. Pretty soon you'd have some people offering to teach other people's kids in exchange for goods and services, because they can do a better job. And while some of those who are home schooled may not be left behind, the majority of those who are are likely to find themselves in such a situation.3
Personally, I'm of the opinion if it can't be suitably monitored to ensure adequate results, it should be banned, or heavily discouraged.4 There are far more things likely to go wrong than there are to go right.5
1. Education only marginally qualifies as a public good and the "public goods" argument implies subsidy and regulation, at most, not State (government, generally) operation of an industry. The State cannot subsidize production of a good or service without a definition of that good or service. Monitoring conformity to the definition involves regulation. Direct employment of producers by the provider of the susbsidy is the extreme version of regulation. The "public goods" argument contains a flaw: corporate oversight is a public good and the State itself is a corporation, therefore, oversight of State functions is a public good which the State itself cannot supply. State assumprion of responsibility for the provision of public goods transforms the free rider problem at the root of public goods analysis but does not eliminate it.
2. Current Colleges of Education are a waste of time. These people inflicted Whole Language methods of reading instruction, discovery methods of Math instruction, portfolio assessment, and countless other bone-headed fads on schools. Colleges of Education serve principally to lend a sheen of expertise to the fraud of government schools. No one has ever demonstrated that Education credits enhance teacher effectiveness.
3. Right. A market in education services. Do not suppose that "homeschooling" must entail a parent providing all instruction.
4. We agree. Have you read recent reports about wide-spread exam fraud by school districts? Have you followed the arguments against standardized tests? The State has a serious conflict of interest when it simultaneously operates schools and monitors the education industry. Ban government schooling.
5. The evidence is against this. Homeschoolers outperform conventionally schooled children academically. Further, in Hawaii, juvenile arrests FALL when school is NOT in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma FALL when school is NOT in session.

Last edited by Malcolm Kirkpatrick; 12th May 2012 at 10:03 PM. Reason: grammar.
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Old 12th May 2012, 10:31 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Here is the main reason: Parents are a variable commodity. Some may be excellent, others not so much. We'd like to give students the opportunity to rise above the station they were born into. We do not hold with Gandhi's idea of a caste system.1
Because we care about our citizens.2
I did look it up. Sounds pretty much like the correct rationale.3
If education is a public good, in a democracy, the 'we' is the body politic. In pretty much the same way we pass laws on other public goods for the welfare of the nation. I am missing the parallel with shoe size and eating though.4

The problem with relying on parents is that parents are limited by not only what they think important to teach, but also by their ability to teach other things. My daughter tutors home-schoolers. She has several client families who recognize they need an outside expert to teach their children English (her subject).5...
Before we dismiss public education as past its prime or harmful, we ought to take a good look at what we intend to replace it with. And why.6
1.Gandhi opposed the caste system. In the US, the coefficient of correlation (district size, d) is positive, where "d" is the difference between the mean NAEP 8th grade Math score of white students and black students. The coefficient of correlation (district size, d) is positive if "d" is the difference between the mean score of college-educated parents and high-school-educated parents. Herman Brutsaert found higher mean scores AND a lower coefficient of correlation (parent SES, score) in parochial schools in Belgium than in State schools. Public schools exacerbate economic inequality.
2. Does "we care" imply collective farms? State-operated shoe stores? Why the education industry?
3. Really? The "whereas" part does not maintain that parents were not teaching their children to read or to learn a trade, it complains that parents were not indoctrinating their children into the State religion. The US "public" school system originated in Congregationalist indoctrination (c. 1650) and, later, anti-Catholic bigotry (c. 1830).
4. The public goods argument implies subsidy and regulation, at most, not State (government, generally) operation of an industry.
5. Two issues here. a) The substitution of a political process for parent control means that some body determines what children will learn. This guarantees a poor match between individual children's interests and abilities, on the one hand, and the pace and method of instruction, on the other. Parents are flawed, but so are teachers, curriculum planners, and democratic processes. b) The point about tutors favors homeschoolers. Through tutors, books, apprenticeships, and other methods, homeschooling parents can provide instruction beyond their individual knowledge.
6. What do you mean "we", paleface?
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Old 12th May 2012, 10:36 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Jontg View Post
I was homeschooled myself, and I honestly wish I hadn't been...
Thanks. That must have been hard to write. Some parents will screw up. No question. On the other hand, Dennis Rader, Ted Bundy, and Ted Kaczynski went to government schools.
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Old 12th May 2012, 11:10 PM   #63
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Quite a few parents on the renfaire circuit homeschool due to the inability and/or lack of desire to split the family up for long periods. The socialization comes from other kids on site in the same situation. (Anywhere from 10 to 3 dozen depending on the Faire.)

Personally, I'm going with the Venture Industries Learning Bed for my son.

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Old 12th May 2012, 11:31 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Pyrts View Post
In Ye Brutal Public School, kids are made to do lessons and there's no exemptions or delays for being cute. Schedules are very strictly adhered to, and if a child is falling behind in something, remedial classes are done as soon as the problem is discovered -- not 8 years later.
We live in very different parts of the world.
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Old 13th May 2012, 12:26 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
5. The evidence is against this. Homeschoolers outperform conventionally schooled children academically. Further, in Hawaii, juvenile arrests FALL when school is NOT in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma FALL when school is NOT in session.
I'm interested most in this point, as this goes to the heart of the issue. I'm not dismissing any data on this, educational performance information just isn't something that sits very high on my radar to be honest. But I have to wonder if there is some self-selection bias in those who home-school, namely that the people who do it tend (either kids or parents) to be the most capable, and those who can't send their kids to be educated elsewhere. If so, fine, but then we're not exactly comparing like with like. If the home schooled group is likely to be academically more successful than the average to begin with, then it is necessary to control for this bias before accepting the statement that home schooling is superior.

In order to test for it would probably require the tracking of a similar cohort prior to schooling beginning throughout their educational lives, looking at a number of different factors, and looking at transfer rates between the two methods. I think this would make for a fascinating (though quite long) study.

I guess the problem is that education is an inherently complex field, and so in order to gather comparative statistics between two disparate groups there are a vast number of other factors that need to be controlled for in order to produce a valid comparison. You only need to look at attempts to compare different education systems around the world to see the inherent difficulty in the task.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:46 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
1.Gandhi opposed the caste system.
But your mention of Gandhi was this:
Quote:
2. Gandhi wrote that parents are the natural teachers of their children. I do not see any good argument for taking from parents the power to determine what, where, and how their children learn their place in the world.
How is that not caste like? It advocates parents determining their children's place in the world in the context of homeschooling. My objection is that the parent is limited in what they can expose their child to and the opportunities that come with an education beyond the parent's station and status. In the US, education is considered one path to a life other than what parents would think sufficient for their child.

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In the US, the coefficient of correlation (district size, d) is positive, where "d" is the difference between the mean NAEP 8th grade Math score of white students and black students. The coefficient of correlation (district size, d) is positive if "d" is the difference between the mean score of college-educated parents and high-school-educated parents. Herman Brutsaert found higher mean scores AND a lower coefficient of correlation (parent SES, score) in parochial schools in Belgium than in State schools. Public schools exacerbate economic inequality.
But this is an objection to how schools are run instead of the idea of collective education. Parochial schools are, after all, a type of not-home-schooling.

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2. Does "we care" imply collective farms? State-operated shoe stores? Why the education industry?
There are no fixed limits on what a society deems important enough to establish as a broad offering. Still, insofar as we might agree there are ridiculous examples, that far too does society at large reflect our commonsense. It would not be so in a dictatorship or tyranny. It is so in a democracy.

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3. Really? The "whereas" part does not maintain that parents were not teaching their children to read or to learn a trade, it complains that parents were not indoctrinating their children into the State religion. The US "public" school system originated in Congregationalist indoctrination (c. 1650) and, later, anti-Catholic bigotry (c. 1830).
But these were values important to the body politic at the time, weren't they? This is how it should be. Just because I may not think those values apt now (and indeed they no longer are taught in public schools), doesn't mean those people, at that time, didn't think them important.

In fact, the evolution of public education away from the religious indoctrination model argues for an entity that can be changed by general agreement, rather than one that is so balkanized it cannot be.

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4. The public goods argument implies subsidy and regulation, at most, not State (government, generally) operation of an industry.
It can be accomplished many ways. Including private and a blend, as is done at the college level. In the US, education is handled largely by local boards of education under state and federal rules but with some leeway.

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5. Two issues here. a) The substitution of a political process for parent control means that some body determines what children will learn. This guarantees a poor match between individual children's interests and abilities, on the one hand, and the pace and method of instruction, on the other. Parents are flawed, but so are teachers, curriculum planners, and democratic processes.
Yes, a body of those most expert in doing what we want to do. This is like complaining that roads are build only by civil engineers when everyone could easily build a perfectly useful road themselves.

The poor match between children's interests and abilities isn't necessarily a bad thing. It depends on what we want to accomplish. Do we want to instill knowledge we think useful and beneficial to society in general or do we want to fulfill our children's ideas of what best suits them? I am envisioning a "Facebook 101" or "World of Warcraft I and II."

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b) The point about tutors favors homeschoolers. Through tutors, books, apprenticeships, and other methods, homeschooling parents can provide instruction beyond their individual knowledge.
Exactly. And by combining students under a single tutor in a classroom, we gain efficiency and reduce costs. We are comparing concierge medicine with a public health clinic. Of course, if you can afford a live-in doctor, you'd expect better overall health care. I will grant that a Utopian, concierge education would probably be better than any collective effort.

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6. What do you mean "we", paleface?
Me and an assumed larger group that shares my opinion. You can take it as a rhetorical device if you like.
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Old 13th May 2012, 04:56 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
The "public goods" argument contains a flaw: corporate oversight is a public good and the State itself is a corporation, therefore, oversight of State functions is a public good which the State itself cannot supply. State assumprion of responsibility for the provision of public goods transforms the free rider problem at the root of public goods analysis but does not eliminate it.
I disagree because you have characterized the State here as a monolithic entity. This is arguably not the case, with not only divisions and different objectives at the federal, state and county level, but also input by the citizenry at all those levels as well. I commonly vote on local millage proposals -- the latest was funding for a new gym at the local highschool.

I can think of no other issue, including abortion and defense, that is so constantly of concern to a broad swath of the population, at all levels of government. In Obama's most recent campaign-opening speech, public contributions to college education were featured -- granted it was at a college...
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Old 13th May 2012, 10:01 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by supaluminal View Post
Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
5. The evidence is against this. Homeschoolers outperform conventionally schooled children academically. Further, in Hawaii, juvenile arrests FALL when school is NOT in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma FALL when school is NOT in session.
I'm interested most in this point, as this goes to the heart of the issue. I'm not dismissing any data on this, educational performance information just isn't something that sits very high on my radar to be honest. But I have to wonder if there is some self-selection bias in those who home-school, namely that the people who do it tend (either kids or parents) to be the most capable, and those who can't send their kids to be educated elsewhere. If so, fine, but then we're not exactly comparing like with like. If the home schooled group is likely to be academically more successful than the average to begin with, then it is necessary to control for this bias before accepting the statement that home schooling is superior.1
In order to test for it would probably require the tracking of a similar cohort prior to schooling beginning throughout their educational lives, looking at a number of different factors, and looking at transfer rates between the two methods. I think this would make for a fascinating (though quite long) study.

I guess the problem is that education is an inherently complex field, and so in order to gather comparative statistics between two disparate groups there are a vast number of other factors that need to be controlled for in order to produce a valid comparison. You only need to look at attempts to compare different education systems around the world to see the inherent difficulty in the task.2
1. If parents who would homeschool if the legal environment makes that option available differ systematically from those who would not (likely), you would expect to see a systematic difference in performance between homeschooled and conventionally schooled children, granted. This implies also that you would see a systematic difference in overall performance of the student populations where the legal environment makes the homeschooling option available and where it does not, right? This argument supports policies that relax restrictions on homeschooling, seems to me.
2. Controlled studies of human behavior are difficult in free societies. The closest we get are before and after comparisons when the legal environment changes, or inter-State comparisons. Alaska's policy of subsidized homeschooling (enrollment in "virtual" correspondence school) provides evidence. On standardized tests, the homeschoolers' median is close to the 80th percentile of conventionally schooled kids. Homeschooled children of parents with no schooling beyond high school outperform the students of college-educated teachers in conventional schools. This policy has become so popular that some districts lost enrollment. The Alaska 90th percentile score (NAEP 8th grade Math) is among the top in the US. Given the facts above, I suspect that homeschoolers account for this.
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Old 13th May 2012, 10:39 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I disagree because you have characterized the State here as a monolithic entity.1 This is arguably not the case, with not only divisions and different objectives at the federal, state and county level, but also input by the citizenry at all those levels as well. I commonly vote on local millage proposals -- the latest was funding for a new gym at the local highschool.2
I can think of no other issue, including abortion and defense, that is so constantly of concern to a broad swath of the population, at all levels of government. In Obama's most recent campaign-opening speech, public contributions to college education were featured -- granted it was at a college...3
1. Not at all. "Monolithic" is not part of the definition. Governments are made of self-interested, ignorant people, like you and me, your neighbors, your US Senator, and President Obama.
The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition, after Weber). A law is a threat by a government to kidnap (arrest), assault (subdue), and forcibly infect with HIV (imprison) someone, under specified circumstances. Individual A has a right to do __X__ within the territory controlled by a government if that government has promised not to interfere when A attempts to do __X__ and has further promised to interfere with any individuals B if they attempt to interfere with A when A attempts to do __X__. Individual A has title to a resource __X__ if the government in which that resource is located has granted A a right to control __X__ that includes the power to transfer control over __X__ to any individual B on terms mutually agreeable to A and B. The system of private property (title) and contract law combines control over resources with local knowledge of resources and the incentive to use those resources in socially beneficial ways (the invisible hand). A legal environment is market-oriented to the degree that resources move within the system of title and contract law.
2. The State is a corporation, composed of people. People do not become more intelligent, better-informed, more altruistic, or more capable (except in their access to the tools of State violence) when they enter that State's employ. Quite the contrary, guns attract thugs and the democratic process selects for narcissism and megalomania. I agree that Federalism matters, but the argument that Federalism diminishes the malign effects of aggregated decisionmaking begins with recognition of the malign effects of aggregated decisionmaking. Federalism and markets institutionalize humility on the part of State actors. If a policy dispute involves a matter of taste, numerous local policy regimes and/or competitive markets in goods and services will allow for the expression of varied tastes while the contest for control over a State-monopoly enterprise must create unhappy losers (who may constitute the vast majority; imagine the outcome of a nation-wide vote on the one size and style of shoe we all must wear). If a policy dispute involves a matter of fact, where "What works?" is an empirical question, numerous local policy regimes and/or competitive markets will generate more information than will a State-monopoly enterprise. A State-monopoly enterprise is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls, a retarded experimental design.
3. This indicates the failure of centralized control. Collectivize agriculture and nutrition will become as much of a concern.
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Old 13th May 2012, 10:54 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
But these were values important to the body politic at the time, weren't they?
No. Religious indoctrination was important to the theocrats in charge. It obviously was NOT important to parents who declined to indoctrinate their children.
Originally Posted by marplots View Post
In fact, the evolution of public education away from the religious indoctrination model argues for an entity that can be changed by general agreement, rather than one that is so balkanized it cannot be.
I recommend Ravitch, Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms.There was little democratic about it.
Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Yes, a body of those most expert in doing what we want to do.
Originally Posted by marplots View Post
How is that not caste like?
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Old 13th May 2012, 11:23 AM   #71
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The background to education in the UK is markedly different to the USA.

My four children went to independent (fee-paying) schools, but I homeschooled my eldest for his GCSE (aged 15-16) year, and my youngest for two years leading up to his GCSEs. It wasn't a decision I wanted to take either time, but my eldest was chafing at the slow pace of learning even in the most academic pushy school we could find, and as he was already almost the youngest in his year we didn't want him moved up a year. I wouldn't have been able to do it without my now-ex husband earning sufficient money to pay the school fees of the other three children and allow me to take a year off work. He did well in his GCSEs and then went to a state college to do A-levels. He's since graduated with a first from a good university.

My youngest (17 today!) was homeschooled for a very different reason, he became a school refuser after several episodes of bullying. I was by then a single parent so I couldn't give up work, and it took a few false starts to find the right approach for him, which turned out to be a much more child-centred curriculum in the afternoons and evenings. We focussed less on producing essays and following plans and more on workbooks and projects. He chose not to do any GCSEs but we still had to present the Local Education Authority with evidence that he was studying and getting a fully rounded education.

He is now back in the state system, at college, and though he has no formal qualifications, he's working towards some and hopes to become a paramedic. He initially intended to join the army but decided against it just recently. He'll be the only one of my four not to go to university though he is undoubtedly bright enough to do so, but he doesn't want to and it has to be his decision.
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Old 13th May 2012, 11:27 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
No. Religious indoctrination was important to the theocrats in charge. It obviously was NOT important to parents who declined to indoctrinate their children.I recommend Ravitch, Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms.There was little democratic about it.
Again, I would claim that your objection is to the system of government (here a theocracy) rather than public education in general. If a mechanism (socialization by way of standardized, required education) can be used to create a general ill, how can you then deny it cannot also be used to create a general good? It becomes a matter of what you want to teach, not the structure of teaching en mass.

I am loth to read the material you cited but would enjoy hearing something about it. The only thing I can point to is the product of the system as it is now and claim it "good enough."

Last edited by marplots; 13th May 2012 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 13th May 2012, 11:33 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Agatha View Post
The background to education in the UK is markedly different to the USA.

My four children went to independent (fee-paying) schools, but I homeschooled my eldest for his GCSE (aged 15-16) year, and my youngest for two years leading up to his GCSEs. It wasn't a decision I wanted to take either time, but my eldest was chafing at the slow pace of learning even in the most academic pushy school we could find, and as he was already almost the youngest in his year we didn't want him moved up a year. I wouldn't have been able to do it without my now-ex husband earning sufficient money to pay the school fees of the other three children and allow me to take a year off work. He did well in his GCSEs and then went to a state college to do A-levels. He's since graduated with a first from a good university.

My youngest (17 today!) was homeschooled for a very different reason, he became a school refuser after several episodes of bullying. I was by then a single parent so I couldn't give up work, and it took a few false starts to find the right approach for him, which turned out to be a much more child-centred curriculum in the afternoons and evenings. We focussed less on producing essays and following plans and more on workbooks and projects. He chose not to do any GCSEs but we still had to present the Local Education Authority with evidence that he was studying and getting a fully rounded education.

He is now back in the state system, at college, and though he has no formal qualifications, he's working towards some and hopes to become a paramedic. He initially intended to join the army but decided against it just recently. He'll be the only one of my four not to go to university though he is undoubtedly bright enough to do so, but he doesn't want to and it has to be his decision.
Thank you. This is an excellent anecdote that illustrates the goods and ills. Primarily, I was struck by the amount of resources expended to get the kid educated.

To those who object to public schooling, I'd ask why then do they ever stop? Why don't they school a kid through a university degree? The answer to that is the same as why most would not choose to school through high school (in the States) -- a lack of expertise, resources, or a recognized certification.
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Old 13th May 2012, 11:53 AM   #74
marplots
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
1. Not at all. "Monolithic" is not part of the definition. Governments are made of self-interested, ignorant people, like you and me, your neighbors, your US Senator, and President Obama.
Yes, and this is a valuable mechanism. One sphere fights against and modifies the others to prevent the kind of quick movement and sweeping mistakes of totalitarian style governments.

Quote:
The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition, after Weber). A law is a threat by a government to kidnap (arrest), assault (subdue), and forcibly infect with HIV (imprison) someone, under specified circumstances. Individual A has a right to do __X__ within the territory controlled by a government if that government has promised not to interfere when A attempts to do __X__ and has further promised to interfere with any individuals B if they attempt to interfere with A when A attempts to do __X__. Individual A has title to a resource __X__ if the government in which that resource is located has granted A a right to control __X__ that includes the power to transfer control over __X__ to any individual B on terms mutually agreeable to A and B.
Here I think we are moving too far afield into an argument that anything government does, including education, is immoral or doomed to failure.


Quote:
The system of private property (title) and contract law combines control over resources with local knowledge of resources and the incentive to use those resources in socially beneficial ways (the invisible hand). A legal environment is market-oriented to the degree that resources move within the system of title and contract law.
Where did you get, "socially beneficial ways" from that set up? Insofar as social justice is a concern of the voting public, that will be reflected in the results of their votes. Making it a market decision simply alters the terrain into one where skill at manipulating the "invisible hand" becomes the guiding principle and the path to success. We have had scandals surrounding for-profit colleges recently that did precisely that. And to say the market self corrects misses the injustice visited up those who were damaged by the flawed profit making enterprises issuing bogus degrees -- they cannot recover the time and money lost.

Quote:
2. The State is a corporation, composed of people. People do not become more intelligent, better-informed, more altruistic, or more capable (except in their access to the tools of State violence) when they enter that State's employ. Quite the contrary, guns attract thugs and the democratic process selects for narcissism and megalomania.
Is this really so? And would you say this necessarily translates into these people hiring poor teachers or harming education? I would need to see a more direct link to accept your characterization.

Quote:
I agree that Federalism matters, but the argument that Federalism diminishes the malign effects of aggregated decisionmaking begins with recognition of the malign effects of aggregated decisionmaking. Federalism and markets institutionalize humility on the part of State actors. If a policy dispute involves a matter of taste, numerous local policy regimes and/or competitive markets in goods and services will allow for the expression of varied tastes while the contest for control over a State-monopoly enterprise must create unhappy losers (who may constitute the vast majority; imagine the outcome of a nation-wide vote on the one size and style of shoe we all must wear). If a policy dispute involves a matter of fact, where "What works?" is an empirical question, numerous local policy regimes and/or competitive markets will generate more information than will a State-monopoly enterprise. A State-monopoly enterprise is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls, a retarded experimental design.
It is true this is a one-off experiment shaped gradually with best guesses and in response to current results. But so is home schooling. Each child becomes a data point and each parent an experimenter. I would look to the expertise of professional educators in such a situation.

As to the vote on shoe sizes, I can only reiterate that whacky seems to be held in check in reality, although I agree it is theoretically possible. I can only point out a long history of not-that-whacky as a real world result. Our definitions of whacky might differ.

Quote:
3. This indicates the failure of centralized control. Collectivize agriculture and nutrition will become as much of a concern.
Again, my experience is that control is much more distributed. Although there is a basic skeleton in place, the meat seems to attach at the state and local level. Even so, the largest policies, the most sweeping, are in reaction to failures in the system lower down. So, for example, putting programs in place nationally address current ills rather than simply attaching capricious whims. An example would be desegregation. Another should be school nutrition, although I don't know if that is federally mandated or not.

Teacher licensing, as far as I know, is done at the state, and sometimes county level. (My wife informs me in South Carolina, teachers are only certified on a county by county basis and cannot work in a county without approval at that level.)
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Old 13th May 2012, 01:30 PM   #75
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Again, I would claim that your objection is to the system of government (here a theocracy) rather than public education in general.1 If a mechanism (socialization by way of standardized, required education) can be used to create a general ill, how can you then deny it cannot also be used to create a general good?2 It becomes a matter of what you want to teach, not the structure of teaching en mass.

I am loth to read the material you cited but would enjoy hearing something about it. The only thing I can point to is the product of the system as it is now and claim it "good enough."
1. The current system is a relic of religious intolerance.
2. Aggregation of educational decisionmaking creates this general ill, just as aggregation of shoe size decisionmaking would guarantee a poor fit for most people.
3. The fire bow was "good enough" compared to finding lightning-generated fire. Compared to microwave ovens and induction ovens, well,... you can continue to rub sticks together if you wish. It's evil to wish it on everyone else.
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Old 13th May 2012, 01:35 PM   #76
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
...Where did you get, "socially beneficial ways" from that set up? Insofar as social justice is a concern of the voting public, that will be reflected in the results of their votes. Making it a market decision simply alters the terrain into one where skill at manipulating the "invisible hand" becomes the guiding principle and the path to success. We have had scandals surrounding for-profit colleges recently that did precisely that. And to say the market self corrects misses the injustice visited up those who were damaged by the flawed profit making enterprises issuing bogus degrees -- they cannot recover the time and money lost.
In the system of title and contract law, mutually agreed upon exchange benefits both partes, otherwise, they would not trade. This system does not require global knowledge of everyone's preferences, just knowledge of one's own. Voting on aggregated preferences has serious defects, as the example of shoe size illustrates.
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Old 13th May 2012, 01:46 PM   #77
Mercurial Artism
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
True enough.
My point is that home schooling is only a valid alternative in a context where public education already exists. Home schooling can then act as a customized tweak to failures in public education. However, I do not think it rises to the level of a real alternative in most situations -- situations where public education meets the need of having a citizenry trained in a knowledge base needed to function.

Socialization should be viewed as more than, "I can get along with others." It should also mean, "I can speak and read a common language. I know some foundational information relevant to the society I find myself in."
Exactly. Arguably one of the most important skills for someone considering homeschooling their kids is to be able to look at objective data to monitor how well they're doing and change course if it becomes necessary, as well as being able to separate their own selfish, overprotective impulses (every parent has them, but some are not good at pulling in the reins) from what is truly in the child's best interest. Is this really the best thing for X? Do I understand the subjects well enough? Can I teach well enough when it is X and we're in the home environment? Does X have adequate socialization in community activities with other kids? How will I know when X needs outside resources?

Also, I will add that while I think homeschooling should be legal but highly regulated (exactly how it should be regulated I have only vague ideas that would need lots of refinement), unschooling sounds like a really bad idea. Sure, some kids are self-motivated to learn about such a wide variety of things in such depth that they would naturally seek out the topics to learn about and pursue them with sufficient rigor until they've mastered the concepts, but that is such a tiny minority (though similar models would be a good idea for pre-school kids and for "fun" units about the natural world, for instance, that break up early elementary math and reading lessons). I learned quickly as a kid and sought out extensive information on all kinds of things, but if I had been left to unschool, I would've created my own structured timelines and topics to study because without that kind of structure, I would never progress beyond a superficial level in anything. I get the feeling that virtually all kids who would succeed with unschooling would succeed in structured homeschooling or regular public school.

There are some situations where the public school just isn't equipped to handle without breaking their budget over one pupil, but there are many benefits to (even a mediocre) public education that few parents could compensate in ordinary circumstances. Homeschool co-ops mitigate this to some degree, but it is not substantially different from (and only rarely superior) to the public school set-up) for it to be a draw itself. If homeschooling is the best option for some other reason, but your history isn't very good and someone in the co-op is good at history, that would be good (unless they're not actually good at history, distorting it for ideological purposes, like denying the Holocaust, or evolution if the subject is biology). But it's still a less quality-controlled version of the typical public school classroom, unless you have a group of PhDs who are also skilled at teaching or something along those lines.
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Old 13th May 2012, 01:57 PM   #78
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
To those who object to public schooling, I'd ask why then do they ever stop? Why don't they school a kid through a university degree? The answer to that is the same as why most would not choose to school through high school (in the States) -- a lack of expertise, resources, or a recognized certification.
Just the certification. Books are cheap. Classes must move at a the pace of the slowest student at every step. Like when runners tie themselves together and compete as a "centipede". The centipede will take more time than any member would have completed the course alone. If you want to learn 20th century US diplomatic history or read 18th century French literature in translation, you don't need to kiss some professor's...
toes.
It makes sense to disdain pre-college credentials. If you get an E.E. BS or ICS BS, nobody will care where (or whether) you went to high school.
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Old 13th May 2012, 02:15 PM   #79
marplots
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kirkpatrick View Post
Just the certification. Books are cheap. Classes must move at a the pace of the slowest student at every step. Like when runners tie themselves together and compete as a "centipede". The centipede will take more time than any member would have completed the course alone. If you want to learn 20th century US diplomatic history or read 18th century French literature in translation, you don't need to kiss some professor's...
toes.
But this is why you customize at the course level, if not the class level. It isn't uncommon for better students to finish a degree in less than the normal four years.

Quote:
It makes sense to disdain pre-college credentials. If you get an E.E. BS or ICS BS, nobody will care where (or whether) you went to high school.
But why stop there? Why not a home schooled E.E. BS? And if that turns out to be a bad idea, why not let the guy who stopped with a high school degree have the same benefits at that level? -- a recognized degree. It is exactly the same logic.

If kid one has a high school degree from a public institution, I can have a reasonable expectation about what they learned. If they are home schooled, I cannot. This is, I think, why SAT's become the yardstick for college entry. At a higher level, I'd more likely hire the guy with a recognized baccalaureate than someone who stated they had learned the material on their own. Why? Because I don't have the time or means to test them as an individual.
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Old 13th May 2012, 02:34 PM   #80
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
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Originally Posted by Mercurial Artism View Post
...there are many benefits to (even a mediocre) public education that few parents could compensate in ordinary circumstances.1 Homeschool co-ops mitigate this to some degree, but it is not substantially different from (and only rarely superior) to the public school set-up) for it to be a draw itself. If homeschooling is the best option for some other reason, but your history isn't very good and someone in the co-op is good at history, that would be good (unless they're not actually good at history, distorting it for ideological purposes, like denying the Holocaust, or evolution if the subject is biology).2 But it's still a less quality-controlled version of the typical public school classroom3, unless you have a group of PhDs who are also skilled at teaching or something along those lines.
1. Any resources that the State devotes to education it either shifts from other uses or imposes a definition of "education" other than people would have used in the absence of State violence. The current system is a huge waste of taxpayers' money and students' time.
2. You seem to imagine that "homeschooling" means that children are confined to a home or apartment. Let's consider "parent control of education" instead of "homeschooling".
3. How does anyone utter "quality" and "public school" in the same sentence? The Singapore 5th (fifth) percentile score (TIMSS 8th grade Math) was higher than the US 50th (fiftieth) percentile score. If this were IQ, half the US population woyld qualify as severely retarded by Singapore standards.
Socialization? A statistician in the office of the Attorney General, State of Hawaii, gave me these charts.
Moar?
Quote:
In 2007:
Students ages 12 to 18 were victims of about 1.5 million non-fatal crimes when they were at school compared to about 1.1 million non-fatal crimes while they were away from school.
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