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Old 04-19-2010, 08:38 AM   #1
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Unschooling

I saw some of this story on GMA this morning. The premise is allowing kids to develop their own passions and they will learn naturally from that and educate themselves without any formal education. Radical unschooling extends that to parenting-no rules and basically the kids can do whatever they want. Unschoolers register as home schoolers so that's how it becomes legal even if it isn't, that's my understanding of it from the GMA story.

Like the interviewer asked, isn't that handicapping a child? And like the other woman said, teaching kids that they're the center of the universe. At least that set of parents seems to have a very laid back pie in the sky attitude towards the future (and the present). Of course they avoid the negatives about formal schooling, but at what cost? And I definitely don't see how extending it to parenting would work well. I don't believe in being too strict, but kids can't parent themselves and they shouldn't. Aren't rules and structure (from school and parents) how you eventually develop self discipline? There are other factors in the development of that, but I believe it's key.

The GMA video is here-bottom row

Good Morning America on ABC News - ABC News

article

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/...ry?id=10410867
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:51 AM   #2
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There needs to be some checks and balances in education, that's why this and home schooling don't work.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:02 AM   #3
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The premise is allowing kids to develop their own passions and they will learn naturally from that and educate themselves without any formal education. Radical unschooling extends that to parenting-no rules and basically the kids can do whatever they want.
That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Kids needs structure and discipline. Without it, they become serious troublemakers and will have difficulty adjusting to the real world once they grow up. Although, that does depend on what kind of future they want for themselves.

I don't understand parents who seem to think giving children structure and discipline is damaging for them. What would they do when their kid starts swearing and hitting them? Are they just going to shrug it off with a smile and say, "oh my kid is just expressing his or herself" ? It's utter nonsense to me.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:51 AM   #4
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There needs to be some checks and balances in education, that's why this and home schooling don't work.
Read an article about "unschooling" years ago. Feels dicey to me. But I grew up home schooled. There are state education standards that parents must comply with (those standards vary state to state). Every year we took formalized tests that were sent to and evaluated by the state. Every year my sister and I tested far above the national percentile.

The reasons people home school are many and varied. Some do it for religious purposes, some do it because their children don't fit into the established paradigm (I was gifted for my age, and my sister had dyslexia; my parents didn't want one child in college at age 11 and another held back).
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Kids needs structure and discipline. Without it, they become serious troublemakers and will have difficulty adjusting to the real world once they grow up. Although, that does depend on what kind of future they want for themselves.
Can't speak to unschooling stats, but statistically, kids who grow up home-schooled actually have been found to be smarter and better-behaved than those who didn't. So...shrug.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:05 AM   #6
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Can't speak to unschooling stats, but statistically, kids who grow up home-schooled actually have been found to be smarter and better-behaved than those who didn't. So...shrug.
Well obviously any child gets one on one education will excel in certain areas.

BUT, to say they've been found to be smarter or better behaved is just a flat out lie. For how are you measuring these things? Grades? IQ tests?

And what about the disturbing numbers that show that home schooled children do not do as well in college? Or the lack of social skills?

The issue I have with the checks and balances is that those yearly evaluation tests aren't monitored, at least not in many states. I know in TX the history evaluation has come under huge scrutiny, which allows for agenda driven social studies to go undetected.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:07 AM   #7
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These kids don't need "unschooling". They need "Old Schooling".
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:24 AM   #8
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BUT, to say they've been found to be smarter or better behaved is just a flat out lie.
Actually, it's not. According to the US Dept of Education, the average home schooled 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average; one in four home school students are enrolled in a grade level that is above their age level; and in every grade, in every subject, home schooled students outperform both public and private school students.

Other studies show that home schooled students have a much higher college entry rate, score higher on SAT’s and ACT’s, have a higher rate of college graduation, and earn higher incomes in the workforce.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:37 AM   #9
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Actually, it's not. According to studies run by the US Dept of Education, the average home schooled 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average; one in four home school students are enrolled in a grade level that is above their age level; and in every grade, in every subject, home schooled students outperform both public and private school students.
I think you missed my point which was "smart" is somewhat of an subjective term. I'm not sure what you mean by "four grade levels" above the national average, what kind of scale are you using?


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Other studies show that home schooled students have a much higher college entry rate, score higher on SAT’s and ACT’s, have a higher rate of college graduation, and earn higher incomes in the workforce.
Does this study look at the make up of homeschool students? Their parents background, income, advantage, etc? I'd be willing to bet that the average homeschooler and the national average public school pupil have very different backgrounds and means.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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I think you missed my point which was "smart" is somewhat of an subjective term.
Happy to objectivize for you. Hope those stats helped.

(Subjective statements probably include ones like "home schooling doesn't work," don't you think?)

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I'm not sure what you mean by "four grade levels" above the national average, what kind of scale are you using?
According to the study, almost 25 percent of the students were enrolled in one or more grade levels above their age-level peers in public school. In my case, I was reading at a seventh-grade level when I was six.

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Does this study look at the make up of homeschool students? Their parents background, income, advantage, etc? I'd be willing to bet that the average homeschooler and the national average public school pupil have very different backgrounds and means.
Actually, you'd be mistaken. According to the US DOT, the race of the student doesn't make a difference. In grades K-12, both white and minority students scored in the 87th percentile on average. In math, whites scored in the 82nd percentile while minorities scored in the 77th. By contrast, white public school eighth graders scored nationally the 58th percentile in math and the 57th percentile in reading. Black eighth grade students, on the other hand, scored at the 24th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. Hispanics scored at the 29th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading.

In terms of statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics says that 2.7 percent of those surveyed were white students, 1.3 percent of those surveyed were black students, and 0.7 percent of those surveyed were Hispanic students.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:14 AM   #11
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these parents should never have been allowed to breed.

honestly the state should take their kids away. alternative means of education is fine... but having your kids play video games all day and have no formal education and no desire to go to college isn't exactly a glowing endorsement for "unschooling."

so we're going to have two kids, who will probably be fat from having no desire to play a sport of any kind and able to eat whatever they want whenever they want, and won't be able to get a job because they won't even have as much as a G.E.D.

excellent job.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:19 AM   #12
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I have thought the opposite - that too many kids are allowed to make too many choices. I'm not talking about high schoolers, but kids like first grades whose parents let them choose what to eat, when to eat, what to wear, whether they are too sick to go to school, etc, etc ad infinitum. Kids are too young to make their own choices about everything. I don't mean to offend any parents or anything but parenting is very much like training dogs - both need consistency, structure, and discipline. Allowing them to make too many choices sets them up for too many possible failures and learned helplessness while limited the choices to all good outcomes sets them up for success. Also if there's one thing I cannot stand it's a kid with an entitlement attitude.

I don't lump homeschooling in with this though. I've known plenty of well-adjusted kids that were homeschooled. That doesn't automatically mean they got to always do as they pleased (often the opposite!). If Phil wanted to homeschool our future kids I would not be opposed. The most anti-social kids I knew went TO my school.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:22 AM   #13
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This sounds pretty much like the anti-authoritarian education that was en vogue in Germany in the 1970s and still is among some very liberal parents. It doesn't have much to do with the home-schooling you mean, because it goes far beyond that and even with that when you have people that are very extreme at it, they only teach the child things when it wants it. So e.g. if the kid says, "I don't want to learn how to write" then they don't learn it. But as mentioned before, it really doesn't show the kids any limits. The parents don't tell their children right from wrong. They discuss it with the child maybe (makes so much sense, as small child debates with its parents), but they don't say, "No, that's wrong, you can't do it." The only thing was, here in Germany home-schooling is not allowed. So eventually the kids had to be sent to schools. Many then went to Waldorf schools or Montessori schools etc. but at least had some form of formalized education.
The movement back then did have some positive effects long-term, as education became a bit more liberalized through it, and sex-ed wasn't a taboo any longer. But people also realized that this extreme form of anti-authoritarian education didn't do much good for their kids.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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Can't speak to unschooling stats, but statistically, kids who grow up home-schooled actually have been found to be smarter and better-behaved than those who didn't. So...shrug.
I wasn't referring to home-schooled children. I was referring to parents who let their kids do whatever they want.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:48 AM   #15
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Uh...yeah...I'm thinking that can't possibly work very well. For one thing, kids who do that are likely only going to focus on the stuff they personally find "interesting" or "fun", and not bother with anything that's "boring" or "hard". I hated math class with a passion (for the most part), but I needed it in my schooling. And if the parents are that laissez-faire with the schooling, how are they going to convince their kids they need to be more well-rounded?

I'm honestly not all that well-versed in the statistics regarding home-schooling and that sort of thing-it's not something I personally would choose for my kids, but to each their own. And if some kids do benefit from that type of schooling, then hey, good deal all around. The only issue I have is that parents are taking on a role that teachers at public and private schools have to go through a lot of training for. There are some things I think are just better taught by a person who's had a particular training for it-parents can certainly help when necessary, but...I dunno. Some people are just more suited to teach the material than others. Feel free to correct me on this assumption if you wish, though.

But yeah, this "unschooling" idea just sounds really stupid.

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Old 04-19-2010, 12:01 PM   #16
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I wasn't referring to home-schooled children. I was referring to parents who let their kids do whatever they want.
True. I wasn't talking to you -- BVS drew the connecting line between unschooling and homeschooling. I'm not in favor of unschooling either; I agree about standards. My point was simply that home schooling actually does conform to state education standards and is an acceptable alternative form of education.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:19 PM   #17
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(Subjective statements probably include ones like "home schooling doesn't work," don't you think?)
I meant strictly from a standards perspective. Was there anything stopping your parent from helping you on those yearly tests? Because there isn't in many states.


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According to the study, almost 25 percent of the students were enrolled in one or more grade levels above their age-level peers in public school. In my case, I was reading at a seventh-grade level when I was six.
This is why I'm confused. You stated:

Quote:
Actually, it's not. According to the US Dept of Education, the average home schooled 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average;
The average 8th grader is performing like a senior in high school? The AVERAGE? So where are all these Doogie Howsers?

But then you say:

Quote:
one in four home school students are enrolled in a grade level that is above their age level; and in every grade, in every subject, home schooled students outperform both public and private school students.
So why are only 25% enrolled in only one grade level higher if the average is four grade levels higher?




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Actually, you'd be mistaken. According to the US DOT, the race of the student doesn't make a difference. In grades K-12, both white and minority students scored in the 87th percentile on average. In math, whites scored in the 82nd percentile while minorities scored in the 77th. By contrast, white public school eighth graders scored nationally the 58th percentile in math and the 57th percentile in reading. Black eighth grade students, on the other hand, scored at the 24th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. Hispanics scored at the 29th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading.
Who mentioned race? By background I meant did they come from a long line of higher education? Is the average income level higher for home school than public school? Etc... I said nothing of race.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:36 PM   #18
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Those "standards" always seemed ridiculous and arbitrary to me. I went to a private school so the only ones we did were ones which granted us college money from the state. Going into college, most of the entry level courses we were required to take felt remedial. So, like most homeschoolers, I didn't take those standard tests nor was the curriculum obsessed with them but my grades have always been competitive.

I think there's a vast range of why people homeschool and how well academically and socially that the kids compete, but for as weird as it seems, pretty much everyone I've met who was homeschooled was "normal" if not on the smart side. Most people I know that do it are doing it for cost, b/c the public schools here are a joke (50% graduation rate at the high school that would have been my district and that's already with a laughable grading scale) and private schooling costs $7500/yr per kid. Charter academies are pretty popular.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:42 PM   #19
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I meant strictly from a standards perspective. Was there anything stopping your parent from helping you on those yearly tests? Because there isn't in many states.
Since at least one-third of polled home-schooled families were religious, I'm willing to bet they honor the code when it comes to yearly tests. Mine sure did.

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So why are only 25% enrolled in only one grade level higher if the average is four grade levels higher?
State standards. This was exactly my story -- I was enrolled one grade higher even though I was doing much higher level work. The state doesn't have anything in place to evaluate eight-year-olds doing high-school-level English.

Quote:
Who mentioned race? By background I meant did they come from a long line of higher education?
You asked about background. There is a common misconception that there's a gap between urban and suburban kids. It's just that -- a misconception.

In terms of parent's education levels, the most recent statistics I have say that 20% of homeschooling parents have only a high school diploma, which makes the performance of their kids that much more notable.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #20
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Those "standards" always seemed ridiculous and arbitrary to me. I went to a private school so the only ones we did were ones which granted us college money from the state. Going into college, most of the entry level courses we were required to take felt remedial. So, like most homeschoolers, I didn't take those standard tests nor was the curriculum obsessed with them but my grades have always been competitive.
But here's my point about "standards", what is keeping a parent from indoctrinating their child in false history or science?

This is really my only fear with home schooling, well this and the social factors.

If a parent is going to indoctrinate their child, then more likely it's going to happen no matter what, but if they are going to school then at least they are given the tools to question. But if their parent's version of history/ science is the only version of history/ science then the child is not going to be equipped.

That is why I have a problem with the laxed standards.

Most of the home schooled people I know are wicked smart, but severely lack in other areas. They lacked certain social skills, were scarily inept about sex ed, and the majority ended up in the same professions as their parents.
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