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@Amyb86 I never said homeschoolers do not have to take standardized tests. SATs and ACTs are not expected of homeschoolers. They are expected by some colleges. Hundreds of colleges do not require them and not everyone chooses college.
1 year, 3 months ago on 12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Children
@sharongreenthal @WratchelRattleberry I've been in the system many years and have seen it take a sharp turn away from what is right or best for children. For the past two years I see school after school where teachers and school leaders are forced to do what they know is not right for children. They are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs. I'm on the inside. I am an employee. Are you amazed that I am sharing what I see...What we all see... And that I am not afraid to speak up on behalf of kids? Perhaps it is different where your children go to school, but in the high-stakes testing, accountability culture of systems like the one in which I work, everyone in the know when it comes to what happens in schools, knows this is not right.
You're amazed that I call out the system. I'm saddened more do not.
2 years, 6 months ago on 12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Children
@WratchelRattleberry I admit it. I judge a parent when they see that school is not in the best interest of their children. Why do we think so many kids are occupying Wall Street and beyond? It is no wonder that kids are not prepared for the work force today. Preparation for the workforce has no place in the test obsessed climate of schools today and there are no bubble tests in the world of work. More and more parents are becoming informed and discovering that in many cases there are better options than public school these days. I applaud the parent who looks into doing what is best, which might not be what is easiest, for their child. If they feel something is not right, they should take the time to look into some other options.
@diogenes Yes. Stress happens in the real world, but for real, not manufactured, reasons. Do we really need to unnecessarily inflict stress upon children?
As far as what every job does or doesn’t do, people choose their jobs and if computer access is important to them there are plenty such jobs to choose from.
As far as the very few things that still require handwriting, that is not a skill that is taught through standardized tests. Kids can learn to write by hand but they don't need to be forced to take a test to learn how.
Regarding “relying” on the internet... we rely on the tools in our world. If the internet is an available tool, great. When it’s not available people can learn what is necessary when that is the case. There are still no tests required for that to occur.
You share that we need a way of assessing children. There are many ways to assess children. In fact educators spend years in school studying assessment. The best assessments do NOT involve tests. They involved teachers and students who know how to look at and analyze work. I live in a world that expects people to do their job and meet standards of performance and I have NEVER been forced to take a test to demonstrate my competence. This is not the way most of us are assessed in the real world.
2 years, 6 months ago on 12 Most Unconventional Reasons to Opt Your Child Out of Standardized Testing
There are certainly better ways to assess. Most teachers are very proficient in assessment. The best ones are authentic and involve no tests.
Parents in many #homeschooling families work. I feature such families as well as advice for how to do so successfully in my "Working home educator's guide to success" (http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=985801). Of particular interest might be the introduction by a single, working home educating mom.
2 years, 8 months ago on 12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Children
I appreciate your comments and feedback, however, I am wondering how recent your public school experience has been. As we move to national standards and students, teachers, and schools being judged in great part by results on the multi-billion dollar, high-stakes tests, EVERYTHING I share is in existence in today's public schools.
You state that schools have customization, but in great part that is customization based on student's date of manufacture to ensure they pass the requisite tests that the institution has imposed upon them. Sadly today, the opportunity for electives has become sparse and while there are activities and credits that can be taken outside the school day, it is a crying shame that by-and-large such activities have less of a place during the school day.
As far as how public school students spend their time outside of school, I don't assume students do nothing then. What I do know and movies like Race to Nowhere exemplify is that today's overscheduled students after school time is often spent with homework and the requisite activities necessary to get into the "right" college which all students are mandated to be prepared for today.
While, I know public schools are a better place than home for some, what I share are some compelling reasons to consider homeschooling for those who can provide this option for their children.
Agree. Each point could easily become it's own post. The importance of the relationships you identified are also a terrific benefit of those who choose this option for learning.
One great thing about home education is that you don't need to force a child to learn anything until it becomes relevant to them. There are all sorts of reasons to learn math and at the appropriate time your children can learn the math that is applicable to their lives rather than the math an outsider says is important. You never need to worry about teaching "just in case" (it's on the test) since those who are home educated know they can always learn "just in time." Once that's in place you don't have to worry about work that children "don't want to do" because when it is relevant and useful to their lives, they'll want to do it.
I'm mostly connected with parents who home educate for reasons other than religion, however, I would like to address this point. In public school the teaching of religion is specifically not allowed. There's is not a lot of time devoted to "the getting to know you" based on religious diversity. Additionally, in many cases schools are actually segregated by racial and religious lines as Jonathan Kozol writes about in "Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid." For many parents who do choose religious reasons to homeschool, that does not mean that they are isolating their children, but rather want the opportunity to infuse religion into their learning.
Your experience has seen children as more than a name on a list, but it sounds like your children may have graduated from public schools by now. Today, the climate is very different. Teachers are forced to turn children into data whether they, the children, or their child's parents want this or not. If they don't, the schools risk losing funding and the child risks being kicked out as my friend Gretchen recently experienced http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2012/02/last_year_south_carolina_mothe.html Her story is not unusual today.
It is because more and more schools are forcing teachers and parents to do things that they know are not good for children, that I do my best to help parents understand the benefits of the many alternatives to traditional school choices.
Students should have personal success plans customized to their learning goals. Teachers should support students in achieving personal success. We can measure teachers by how well students feel their teachers are supporting them. Of course, this approach requires that we trust children. It works well in those environments that do. Those that don't may have a problem with a method like this.
2 years, 9 months ago on #SOTU Inspired A Replacement For Standardized Tests
We start with the biggest stakeholders in education. The students. We've over complicated the issue. When teachers make learning relevant and meaningful to the real lives of students they have achieved success. We can trust students to know whether what they are learning has value to their lives. They've been crystal clear that much of what they learn today is boring, irrelevant, and disconnected from what they'll need for success in the world. They will know and value when that changes.
This is a great idea and quite similar to one I shared last year at about the same time here http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2011/01/best-teacher-evaluation-system-ive.htmlMost of those deeply involved in education AND ed reform know that a teacher's ability to support students in compliantly memorizing and regurgitating does not equate to either effective teaching or student success. Being relevant and engaging, which is what student's value, measures exactly those things. If we agree students own the learning we must invite and value their feedback. Kudos to you for helping to popularize this idea.
If you are interested in seeing the effectiveness of this method, many Democratic schools such as Sudbury and Summerhill have been employing it successfully for many years.
Couldn't agree more @dalejstephens ! And, wtf? They have a panel called "The students" but there are no students! Schools of yesterday for sure. How on earth can you talk about schools of tomorrow without including the students of today???
3 years ago on Be the Youngest Person in the Room