HOMESCHOOLING

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HOMESCHOOLING

Postby pet » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:35 pm

I was wondering if anyone could give me some advise about homeschooling in Connecticut. If anyone as done it, the pros and cons. I am considering this for my children ages 10 and 13.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:03 pm

pet,

Welcome to the forum.

Most states have networks of homeschoolers established. One I found for your state is:

http://www.cthomeschoolnetwork.org

I don't know anything about them. Illinois, where I live, has a large network of homeschoolers, and the network is pretty good there. Give them a look.

Good luck!

V/R
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby pet » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:10 pm

Shapley,

Thanks for the link, it looks like a good place to start. I was hoping to get more of a personal experience, good or bad, to help me in my decision. Right now my kids are in a parochial school and I am not at all impressed with their progress level.

Thanks again!
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Nicole Marie » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:12 pm

Home school can be a great thing. In some school systems I can understand why a parent would want to teach their kids. But as a teacher (I teach at the Hartford Conservatory - high school and college level) the students that I have taught that are home schooled, are much more introverted. They lack basic social skills and often lack the ability to feel more comfortable in a group setting. Given that they do not spend time with other kids for most of the day, they have a difficult time with speaking to a group, exchange of new ideas and mostly with social interaction. Granted, kids that do go to public or private schools have these issue too. But every kid I have seen from home schooling lacks some social interaction skills and finds it difficult to except a new idea/concepts from a peer.

Pet you just said you are not impressed with their progress level. Try getting them to a counselor and get an evaluation done on them. All kids learn differently, once you figure out the best way that they can retain and learn then find that setting for them. It may be home schooling, it may be a transfer to a public or private school. But first you need to figure out why they are not progressing to your expectations. And that's the key, it's your expectations, what does the school say? You may want to try a more personal school. For example Renbrook in West Hartford CT, develops a class schedual for each student as an individual. The kids take a class load that is designed just for them. Montassouri School in CT (they have several branches across the state) does the same thing, and they are more affordable. A school with personal class design may be better for your kids.

<small>[ 01-28-2004, 01:20 PM: Message edited by: Nicole Marie ]</small>
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby pet » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:20 pm

That was one of my major concerns. I was hoping to counter that by involving them in activities at the 'Y' or Boys and Girls Clubs and have more time to do volunteer work with various groups. They are both extremely shy to begin with and any interaction lost I'm afraid will only make them worse. They have been involved in a theatre group, which has helped them lose some of that shyness.

Thanks,
Peggy
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Nicole Marie » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:28 pm

I understand that pet. As a teacher I spend more time of a music lesson getting the child to participate with the other students, then on music. But they idea of the Y or a club is great, that will help. Try looking into the individual stlye schools, (see my eariler post) they figure out what a child likes and build a school course around that. It helps kids enjoy their setting, the school, teachers, other kids and they want to learn.

For example, I went to the Hartt School of Music for college. There is a private high school located next door. The high school students were allowed to take part in the college. The high school kids were so outgoing, smart, fun and maintaned great grades - they loved school. In CT there are several schools that are designed to look at a kids likes and expand from that. It helps to engage kids when they enjoy their day. I'll track down several of these schools for you and post the names soon.

<small>[ 01-28-2004, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Nicole Marie ]</small>
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby pet » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:34 pm

I have had nothing but bad luck at the two schools I have sent my children to here in Meriden. I have been through all the counseling. They even had my son diagnosed as ADHD. Luckily, I refused to accept it and the prescription for Ritalin. We worked with his pediatrician and found he has somewhat of a learning disability because he is easily distracted. The answer from the school was to put him at the front of the class close to the teacher. That alone creates it's own stigma. We feel he would benefit more from a 'one to one' teaching method. My daughter on the other hand breezes through her classes (to boredom) and I don't feel she is being challenged enough.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Nicole Marie » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:53 pm

Hi Pet- I have to send you a big high five for refusing the Ritalin. Way to many parents give that to their kids thinking it's a fix. Kids have to learn to live with ADHD/ADD and learn life long skills on how to work with it. My husband has it and he refused meds too. He went to a counsler that taught him skills/tricks that help him at work, at home etc. There is a great book called "Change your Brain, Change your Life" and it talks about how the brain functions, and ways to change your thought process without drugs. It helped my husband to stay more in touch with tasks at work. It's a bit advanced for young kids but it may help you learn tricks to teach your son.

As for your daughter, she not being challenged at school. If she's bored then she needs more to do. This is a good thing! It means your daughter is bright, quick and will do great things. But she needs a setting that gives her motivation. Do some research, look at the individual based schools. They may be able to develop a course load that fits her. To me my borded students are my favorite. They keep me on my toes. When I see the eyes glaze over, then I know I am not doing my job and I have to keep them interested.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:56 pm

Peggy,

Here in Illinois and Missouri, the local homeschool organizations arrange group "field trips" and other social activities, such as you mention at the "Y". I'm sure if your community is large enough to support a "Y", it will likely have a fairly good sized group of homeschoolers to arrange activities with.

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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Nicole Marie » Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:37 pm

As promised here a few of the schools in CT that work with kids. Here is a link to the Education section of CT Clix web site. They list all the non public schools in the state with links to their websites. It's worth a look. http://www.ctclix.com/directory/education/private_schools/

A few that I am familiar with (from family, friends or students) and have seen the good things they do... Miss Potters (female only), Ethal Walker (female only), Kindswood-Oxford, Watkinson is great! You can find links through the link above. Hope that helps a bit. Good Luck! You are a great, dedicated parent and your kids are lucky.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby EJA » Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:44 pm

Having been home schooled, I maintain that the "lack of socialization" objection commonly proffered by persons involved in the present public education system is a myth. The demeanor of home-schooled children is most certainly different than the demeanor of children schooled in any type of large-class setting, but it is an interesting assumption that the demeanor of the former is inferior to the latter. Frankly, this assumption seems rather prejudiced to me.

A large group of children gravitates toward the lowest common denominator, not only morally but mentally. This is true of adults as well, and is a seemingly inescapable characteristic of human nature. I find that home-schooled students have a much more highly developed conscience and much higher standards than their peers who are subjected to classroom education. When exposed to a large group of their peers (speaking in terms of age, at least), home-schooled students are markedly more perceptive of the stupidity and immorality taking place in the group. Since they know better, they do not take part. It seems to me that this need not be interpreted as a lack of social skills. Indeed, it might even be indicative of some semblance of taste. Home-schooled students generally have much more advanced verbal skills at a much earlier age because for the most part they speak to adults, as opposed to their peers. Moreover, they find it easier to take their place in society because, through long experience, they are very comfortable with interacting with people of disparate age from themselves. Indeed, it is at this point when the home-schooled student gives every indication of having much more fully developed social skills than the classroom educated student. To put it succinctly, those who spend their youth associating with idiots, tend to act like, well, idiots.

Please understand, I do not think that children should necessarily be raised as hermits. My position is merely that un-supervised, un-structured socialization is far more detrimental than a paucity of socialization. Structured socialization, on the other hand, such as that which is experienced in church and family activities is highly beneficial to children. For millennia the Bible has taught that the family is the basic social unit of society, and for millennia, civilizations have been built on this concept. Civilizations have crumbled as they have begun to reject this idea. The concept of classroom education is relatively novel in the history of mankind, and really has no authoritative, or even empirical, basis. In fact, the empirical evidence seems to argue largely against its effectiveness. Classroom education is blind to the individuality of each child. It cruelly forces all children into the same mold with the expectation that their individual traits will emerge in shining luster. In reality, these are crushed. Instead of a loving parent, the child's training is entrusted to a functionary who has at best a mild interest in the welfare of the child, and more often a blatant disregard for anything beyond quitting time. Loving parents are above all others best equipped for educating their children in that their knowledge of their child is so much more intimate, and in that their life’s experience is so much more relevant to their child’s unique strengths and weaknesses than that of some stranger. Moreover, thanks to both biological and spiritual factors, parents’ motivation to do the best for their child is many-fold greater than that of even a well-intentioned stranger.

One objection that I often hear from parents considering home-schooling is that their own education is deficient. This objection is specious from two points of view. First of all, one need only examine the aggregate academic acumen of America’s grade school teachers to realize that there are very few parents less qualified to teach their children than most teachers. Secondly, the goal of primary education is not really to fill a head with lots of facts and figures. It is not even to teach complex mathematical or scientific processes. Rather, it is to teach the child to learn. The process of learning is a complex thing involving mental attitude, mental discipline, and a certain amount of technique. All home-schooling parents have to do is teach their children to learn. If you can read, think, and have the discipline to stick to the task, you can learn any subject. A child that can learn can acquire not only the facts and figures, but also the mathematical and scientific processes. My mother took no higher math other than Algebra, and forgot that long ago, yet I learned Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus under her tutelage. The same was true of Chemistry, Physics, and Latin. By the time those courses came along in high school, all she had to do was hand me the books. I planned and graded my own lessons — honestly — and was responsible for finishing the coursework on time. She corrected the tests with the aid of a teacher’s manual. The reason this worked is that both of my parents engrained in me, almost from my first recollection, a hunger to learn, and the discipline to achieve my goals. I am so thankful that they did this for me. I believe that it has given me a tremendous advantage in life.

Of course, learning cannot occur in a moral vacuum. I believe that a moral framework is absolutely essential to learning. Morality is nothing other than a ground for what we should and should not do. Learning is not always pleasant, and without an authoritative reason for its practice will fall into disuse. Without a moral mandate, a command, or demand, to learn is toothless at best. Moreover, to have any binding power, such a moral mandate must be religious in nature, for if morality does not proceed from a higher than human Reason, then it may just as well be scoffed by human reason as proceed from it. Therefore, religious education is the first order of education, and must be the basis of any successful home-schooling effort.

Obviously, being home schooled, I am prejudiced in favor of home schooling. Thanks to being home schooled, I have the education and mental acuity to recognize that fact.

If you love your children, home school them. Don't let some thoughtless amateur botch the job.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby EJA » Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:52 pm

Incidentally, I think "an energetic boy with a brain" would be an appropriate alternate definition for ADHD. It's not a disorder. It's evidence of life. The poor fellow is bored to death. He needs but to learn how to concentrate in order to fly past his peers. Thus far he has received no sufficient motivation to do so from the non-teacher that stands at the front of the classroom. He is in good company with Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Jan 29, 2004 4:03 am

Pet, homeschooling is worth looking into. However, as usual, I find myself in disagreement with Ethan about many things.

Older childhood and early adolescence are the ages when children learn many of their adult social skills. I think that if you do decide on homeschooling that you need to address this as aggressively as the academics. If kids don't learn to work in unstructured and heirarchical settings they risk being adults who cannot function as well as they should.

Ethan is justly proud of his intellectual skills but I'm not sure that they are entirely the product of homeschooling. There are several others here that can hold their own with him and who are not the product of homeschooling.

There are also several points of view here on the Bbb as to what constitutes desirable "moral" and "ethical" standarads. I feel that pragmatism is a cardinal virtue and that negotiation and compromise are essential life skills; there are differing points of view on that subject. Children do not learn these things without being an accepted part of the kid-gang. This is usually found at school.

Regarding the ADHD issue; Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are not binary things; they are neurochemical conditions which manifest in varying degrees from extremely slight to profound. Any diagnosis of these disorders should be made by a qualified specialist, who should also suggest a variety of treatments. Chemical interventions are sometimes useful to help the child "focus" while he is learning the coping behaviors. Again, medical advice is something you want to consider before accepting or rejecting. Schoolteachers who suggest the presence of a neurochemical disorder are not really qualified to diagnose or treat ADD or ADHD. The physician is a resource but the parents are the experts on the individual child.

I'm also strongly in favor of children having interests outside of school. It usually comes down to "an art and a sport". With my son it was baseball and band. With my older daughter it was chorus and softball and band and later she discovered musical theater. My younger daughter did a youth chorus, youth theater, and gymnastics, and band, and now drum corps (which is both a sport and an art). The point is that they were always moderately busy in group enterprises. I think that's important.

You might also want to consider some independent diagnostic academic testing on your kids. This could be useful in dealing with whatever schooling strategy you decide on. There's no such thing as "too much information" when you're deciding about schooling methods. It sounds like your daughter could benefit from some sort of enriched program.

Angie has children a little younger than yours, and some similar issues in their educations, and found that changing schools (and districts?) was an improvement. There were other things that she tried; perhaps she'll look in and make a comment or three.

Best of luck. We all get to do combat with the Professional Educators, every now and then. Have at 'em! Non illegitimati carborundum!

Selma
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby pet » Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:54 am

Thank you everyone for your input. Nicole - I will look into your link, thanks. It will help me tremendously in making my final decision. EJA - I couldn't have expressed my feelings more completely than you. Shapley - I did find quite a few sites for homeschooling in our area, thanks. I think I'm going to need all the support I can get. Selma - my son was diagnosed by his kindergarten teacher which prompted us to seek qualified medical advice. He was diagnosed with ADD and to the physician's credit, he did recommend teaching method changes over medication. A few years ago we took him for his annual physical and he no longer was displaying symptoms of ADD (????) go figure! Different doctor, but same practice. He still has trouble concentrating and focusing in the classroom. Could be boredom, could be he would benefit from a one to one teaching method. Anyway, I love them too much to just shuffle them off to the public school system.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby Shapley » Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:27 am

Our parochial school is involved in various extra-curricular programs which also include home-schooled children. As the school itself is not large enough to conduct these programs itself, they are offered by outside interests: Church League Basketball, Faith-Based Martial Arts Program, Community Soccer Leagues, etc. Some of these are offered in the schools gym, others in other facilities. Most arts activities (individual music lessons, dance, etc.) are offered outside of the school system.

The point is that home-schooled children have a number of options for extra-curricular activities and socialization opportunities available to them.

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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby EJA » Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:57 am

– EJA

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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby monkeymd2b » Sun Feb 01, 2004 3:04 pm

"If you love your children, home school them. Don't let some thoughtless amateur botch the job."

Hmmm...if my mom weren't as nice as she is, she would be at your house in a second to beat the crap out of you on behalf of the teachers in schools worldwide. Yeah, my mom taught 5th grade and now subs. While I agree that there are some teachers out there who should have considered other career pathways, you can't ignore the ones that are good at their jobs and as her child and former student, my mom is one of them. Ironically, what makes teachers' jobs difficult and constraining is now having to teach kids how to take these stupid standardized tests instead of how to learn for life. In the last few years before she retired, my mom had to cut out certain enrichment activities so her students could spend a week taking these so called achievement tests. The principal at her school cancelled both the physics olympics my mom started and the christmas fun fair (where the 5th graders learned about running a "business" in terms of advertising their game booth and making a profit), she also reduced recess to 10 minutes so that the students could theoretically perform better on these lame ass tests and the result? The kids did worse!

It's true that everybody learns differently and while some kids can do quite well in a classroom situation, others need more individualized attention and most schools can't afford to have more employees to provide that one-on-one attention. Some schools get around this by requiring parents to spend so many days volunteering in their child's classroom (like the Pentagon Schools run by the govt and some private and public schools). Pet, have you tried going in and observing your kids in the school environment or helping their teachers in the class?

As for ADHD and ADD, it needs to be properly diagnosed by a psychiatrist with the aid of both the parents and teachers. THe psychiatrist interviews the kid on several occasions and has the teachers fill out surveys/questionnaires about behavioral and social aspects of the kid and the parents do the same. For some kids, behavioral therapy and intense parental involvement in restructuring the kid's approach to activities that require more concentration will work but for other kids, drugs like Ritalin, Strattera, Concerta, etc, provide an extra added benefit. I mean, how many of you require coffee to help you concentrate as the hours pass at work? Caffeine is the stimulant of choice for adults and yet I don't see any of you protesting the use of coffee at work for coworkers or yourselves when you need something to help you concentrate and stay on task. The danger comes in when the full diagnostic workup isn't done for a child with attention deficit symptoms (such as ruling out other conditions/learning disorders that could produce ADD/ADHD symptoms) or if the diagnosis is not done by a trained professional.

I've treated kids (under the supervision of a licensed doc of course since I'm still a student) with ADHD and let me tell you, I have seen the difference. One boy came in and was bouncing off the walls while bouncing a rubber ball off the walls of the examing room. I was tired after just watching him for 5 minutes. He was incredibly inattentive and had failed other behavioral therapy trials and his family wanted to try a different medication than the one he was currently on (started by the shrink). So we did this and he came back in 3 weeks for a followup visit and he was significantly better. His family said that he could now stay on task for longer periods of time and he sat relatively still for most of the visit but was still full of energy as detected when I talked with him about what he had been doing since I last saw him. He was able to make a new friend and keep that friendship. The change was impressive. I saw him one more time before I shipped back to nola for surgery and he had made more improvement.

If you can get your kid to improve without drugs and using only behavioral techniques, then more power to you but don't delude yourself into believing it's working if it's obviously not just because you fear the medication. Not giving the drug can be just as bad as what you feel the cons are of giving it.

By the way, the next time your kid gets an ear infection, don't bother going to the doctor, just give him/her motrin for symptomatic relief since if you're so afraid of horrible side effects of drugs, the antibiotics that probably aren't necessary anyway (most are caused by viruses) that your doctor will give you are more likely to give bad side effects than the ritalin.
have fun homeschooling...hopefully you won't miss that free time you had for yourself when your kids were in school

<small>[ 02-01-2004, 03:05 PM: Message edited by: monkeymd2b ]</small>
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby monkeymd2b » Sun Feb 01, 2004 3:11 pm

wow 3rd year of med school has made me so bitter, resentful, spiteful, impatient, and jaded.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby shostakovich » Sun Feb 01, 2004 4:01 pm

One of the points mmd brought out struck a chord with me. "Education" (in quotes) has largely been gauged to taking tests, rather than education (without quotes). Years ago the practice SAT tests were put out so people intending to take the test could focus on material they would likely face. I thought that was wrong-minded, but someone using a practice test would at least be learning something useful. Unfortunately, worthy material in a curriculum, but not in the practice tests, would be ignored.

Later, enough students at my college petitioned for a 1-credit course based on the practice tests for the CPA exams. They may have done that in high school for the SATs. Later still, general math students at my school petitioned for cramming sessions prior to all freshman and sophomore exams. At these sessions, about an hour in length, the students could get a very good idea of what would NOT be on the exams, making study easier and broader education weaker. This hit my school about 25 years ago.

It's only one example of how the "education" system has systematically watered down education. It's only one reason that I've lost respect for American education, and believe the system can be vastly improved WITHOUT a big investment of money.
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Re: HOMESCHOOLING

Postby monkeymd2b » Sun Feb 01, 2004 4:07 pm

I'm curious as to how such a huge change can occur without a huge financial investment. and please don't take that comment as an attack, I'm seriously curious about your suggestions and if you've ever submitted such suggestons to the government officials who clearly have no freaking clue about how to fix the american system of education

Oh and now that I'm here in louisiana, I've learned about the worst of these achievement exams - the LEAP test. They take LEAP between 4th and 5th and 10th and 11th I believe. Basically , if failed, the kids go into a half grade (grade 4.5 and 10.5) and then basically spend that time preparing to retake the LEAP exam. I'm not quite sure but either they then proceed to the 5th and 11th grades or to the 6th and 12th grades. No one could give me a clear answer when I was tutoring the ghetto kids in my first 2 years of med school. The sad thing is that the kids really aren't taught anything but what is on the test and the ones that don't pass for the 2nd time usually drop out at some point. We were supposed to be there to prepare the kids for the LEAP exam but we felt that they didn't need one more person doing test prep and tried to teach them skills for acquiring and maintaining new skills/info.

<small>[ 02-01-2004, 04:22 PM: Message edited by: monkeymd2b ]</small>
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