March 20, 2012

Science of Homeschooling


 Homeschool Domination

10 comments:

  1.      Reads like a propaganda piece and the sources seem to have a built in bias. As they say: Let the buyer beware.

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  2. One has to be very cautious with homeschooling data. Some of the larger studies, while not incorrect, were performed in a way that means comparisons between their results and public school averages are not valid. Furthermore, homeschooling is only an option for a subset of the population; for the rest, public schools are a necessity. And for this latter group, in many cases, public education is the only possible route to a better life. But I doubt this group troubles Dan at all.

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  3. And yet you will cry fowl when I criticize evolution experiments with the same incongruity and skepticism. You Atheists crack me up.

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    1. Nope. You are welcome to criticize evolution experiments all you want, and within the scientific community biologists are positively cut-throat in criticizing each others' work. But evolution is probably the most scrutinized theory in human history. Before you do, make sure you've actually come up with a valid criticism - if your criticism is one that they've already heard and answered 20 times that day alone, you are wasting everyone's time. Given that there's been 150 years of such criticisms, the bar is pretty high. If you don't have a degree or two in biology, don't bother IMHO.

      The problem with some of the homeschooling data is that some of the studies are based on volunteers and specific sub-groups (certain parental education levels, for example). My understanding is that these studies are quite clear about what can and cannot be inferred from the data; it seems, however, that these warnings are ignored and the results are sometimes used to show large differences in performance between homeschool and public school students. This does not mean the study is wrong - it means the results are being used incorrectly.

      And, as I've discussed in more detail on your previous post, extrapolating the data to support the idea that homeschooling will work for everyone and have the same outcomes is not valid. (And remember - I support the right of parents to homeschool their children if they choose.) If this is the position you want to support, you need to have studies specifically designed to study that scenario. I haven't seen any of those at all.

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    2. You must be sticking your head in the sand if you don't know that all public schools across the board are being reformed. It's for a reason you understand.

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    3. My kids go to public schools. Your kids don't. Do not assume I know nothing about public schools.

      They are NOT being reformed. They need to be. My kids have (sometimes) been lucky enough to attend schools that had a progressive attitude and implemented some of the ideas presented in your video clip. Other times, not so good.

      Let me describe some of the barriers that prevent school reform and will continue to do so:

      - a political party that has decided that education is not only not a major goal for this country, but is actively trying to destroy it

      - state legislatures that spend more time trying to insert school led prayer or religion into the classroom rather than worrying about actual learning

      - the evangelical right that fears knowledge and fosters a culture that lauds ignorance and denigrates those that gain knowledge

      - people who complain about teacher salaries when we should be trying to encourage the very best qualified people possible to teach our children

      - people who feel that spending additional money to help those disadvantaged at the bottom of the ladder to succeed in school is somehow an undeserved hand-out from a 'nanny state'

      I could go on, but I don't see the point. It may be instructive for you to re-read my comments on the numbers for homeschooling. At no point did I say that homeschooling is not effective, nor that homeschooled children cannot perform as good or better than public schooled kids. My concern is your approach - you parrot anything from specific sources implicitly (e.g. homeschool websites), and you jump to a solution ("homeschooling is the answer for all!") without even the smallest amount of data to support that conclusion. If schools are to improve, we need people who are willing to look at actual data and base decisions on it. We don't need people who spend five minutes copying web pages, make a decision and then fight anyone who tries to take a deeper look at the available information.

      And this is not an appropriate time for one of your "are you certain?" bullshit responses. My kids deserve better than that.

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    4. >>They are NOT being reformed. They need to be.

      Touché. I stand corrected.

      >>and you jump to a solution ("homeschooling is the answer for all!")

      Coorection: Unschooling is the answer for all. (
      bitly.com/unschooled
      )

      I see your passion and I feel your frustration. Unschooling is the solution but please don't take my word for it. Do your homework :7p

      Remember though. This fight started a while ago and the reason why it is a dismal failure is because of something that was decided back in 1983.

      An American Humanist named John Dunphy said in 1983:

      "I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level--preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new--the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism."

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    5. Coorection: Unschooling is the answer for all. (
      bitly.com/unschooled)


      Sigh. Let me try this again. You do not have the data to support this statement. Unschooling may be the answer for all, but it has not been tried outside of a specific group - a dedicated cohort with higher than average education levels and sufficient income to allow one parent to stay home and be available even if not actually 'teaching'.

      Let me put it another way. Do you have any evidence that unschooling will work for children who do not have enough to eat and live in a single parent home with the parent working minimum-wage or less jobs? If your paradigm cannot serve this population then large scale implementation will be extremely difficult. Again, I'm not saying unschooling can not be the answer; I'm saying you haven't got the data yet to make the claim that it will.

      Remember though. This fight started a while ago and the reason why it is a dismal failure is because of something that was decided back in 1983.

      Really? What exactly was decided in 1983 and by whom? The key decisions impacting religion in schools were in 1962/3 and 1971. Based on a Google search, your quote from Dunphy is mostly found on creationist sites, presumably because it makes such great fear-inducing PR. I'd never heard of Dunphy until you quoted him.

      You see only two options - theism and secular humanism. Secular humanism is generally atheistic. However, what the First amendment defines is a government (== school) that is neither of those. The First Amendment requires a school to be secular in the sense of neutral - it must attempt to serve a population that can contain many religions (or none) without favoring one over another.

      It is no more appropriate for a teacher to proselytize Christianity in a classroom than it would be for an atheist to proselytize atheism - this is the point of the 2005 court decision declaring atheism to be a "religion" for the purposes of the First Amendment. The ACLU would be quite happy to sue on behalf of the student in either case. So you can try and make something out of Dunphy's quote - but what he proposes on a direct level is rightly unconstitutional.

      And, by the way, I was a public school teacher in 1983. The problems we face now were well on their way at that point.

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  4. I am a 22 year old. I was home-schooled. It was the worst for my education. I would love to have gone to public school instead, because while I have just enrolled in college this past year (luckily), I have to take what's called "learning support classes". Yes, they mean what you think they mean. I'm only taking one, thankfully, for math, but it is still costing me extra tuition money to do it. And I know two or three people who are currently and were previously home-schooled and their education is that of a 3rd grader. One is a 16 year old and the other is my own age. I was lucky enough that I went to public school through 9th grade, and only finished high school with home-school. But, others are not so well off. Home-schooling requires a great deal of dedication and unfortunately many families who try to take it on are just taking on more than they can chew - or afford, because it can be incredibly expensive. Did I gain something from being home-schooled? Yes, I think I did. But I would have been better off socially and academically at this point in my life had I finished public high school instead. Many times, home-school textbooks are tailored to fit with the Bible's teachings; especially science textbooks. And I feel sorry for students who are not being given the fullness of a proper education that's not been twisted around. They'll hopefully wake up when they go to college and possibly have to take biology classes.

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    1. You're making wild, unfounded, assumptions about your quality of learning in a public indoctrination center setting, verses a home based education.

      I don't know if you have seen this or not, but I want you to watch and read this post, about Unschooling: Unschooled

      The Q/A after the 2 hour version, of that first video, is the best. It comes down to how you're taught, not what you're taught.

      >>But I would have been better off socially and academically at this point in my life had I finished public high school instead.

      Hogwash! Listen to the valedictorian at the bottom in that same post? I think you would benefit the most, for you and your kids, if you learn about unschooling verses home schooling. What is schools for, if not schooling, instead of educating?

      >>Many times, home-school textbooks are tailored to fit with the Bible's teachings; especially science textbooks.

      The unschooled woman in my post is certainly secular, and conveys that pain of yours, and would benefit you the most.

      >>And I feel sorry for students who are not being given the fullness of a proper education that's not been twisted around.

      To each their own, are you intolerant of their intolerance?

      >>They'll hopefully wake up when they go to college and possibly have to take biology classes.

      Do you mean a secular and liberal left, indoctrination center? Why? You have an agenda?

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