May 21, 2019

Why Teachers Choose to Homeschool Their Own Children


Why Teachers Choose to Homeschool Their Own Children

“Schools are different now, they’ve changed a lot you know!”

As a home educating parent I hear this a lot. People want to believe we just don’t know what goes on in schools, as if they operate in secret or something. Not the case, obviously.

You know who knows a lot about what schools are like? Teachers.

I recently read an article which made this very interesting point…

“In biology, there’s a descriptor – “indicator species”.  An indicator species may be unusually sensitive to environmental changes, and biologists monitor the indicator species for signs that something is amiss in the environment.

I wonder when somebody is going to notice that teachers are an indicator species. When we leave public schools with our children, people should consider that there’s something amiss.”

When I shared it online so many teachers contributed their stories about why they had chosen not to send their own children to school. Some of them made me angry, some made me sad, some made me feel super passionate, some made me feel hopeful, some made me feel hopeless. That’s too many feelings for one person, so I decided to share it with you, ha!

I hope the experiences shared here by teachers help in some way. Maybe they will help make the decision to homeschool easier, maybe you will feel less alone in your beliefs or observations, maybe they will give you a picture of what schools are really like.

Why Teachers Choose to Homeschool Their Own Children…

They have a huge amount of experience

Firstly, what I noticed when I read through all the stories was that these teachers had so much experience!

“I am home schooling my autistic granddaughter after being a primary teacher for 40 years.”

These were people who had been in the schooling system for a long time, who had studied education greatly, who absolutely do know what school is like.

“I’m a registered ECE teacher with 18 years experience. We have been homeschooling a year and it has blown my mind how many people I have met who are ex-teachers who now homeschool. There are HEAPS!”

“My husband and I are both educators with Masters degrees in our fields. Unschooling our kids allows us to follow what we know to be true about human development, good mental health practices, and childhood in general.”

“My husband is a Prof. and I have a M.Ed in special education”

The people that commented and sent me their stories were the people who had been in schools for a long time. The fact that they had spent so much of their life dedicated to education but still didn’t use it for their own children was already very telling.

They are disillusioned with the system

“Over the years, I’ve gone from thinking nothing of the system, to not liking it, to thinking it just doesn’t work anymore, and now I believe it was designed to fail kids.”

Over and over again, the stories conveyed a feeling of disillusionment.

“I became a teacher to make a difference in children’s lives, but was completely and quickly disillusioned with the environment teachers and children are in.”

“There is little to no support and the class sizes continue to climb while the funding continues to decrease. I finally decided I’d seen enough.”

“My dream was to integrate the outdoor, nature, garden, environment ed into the classroom. The reality is there is no time for anything but testing, testing prep, data analysis, meetings about data, meetings about tests, meetings about how to get the scores up, etc “

Teachers wanted to help and support children but realized that within our current system of schooling this wasn’t possible. They were dealing with data and standardization, not individual children. They were tied to a system that wanted them to implement teaching like robots, instead of responding to individual needs. In fact, they found that what they had learned about what is best for children and how they learn was not even being respected in schools. They literally couldn’t give children what they need. Test scores were more important.

“The things I’ve learned about motivation to learn are not being fostered in public schools. Things are being taught to children when it is not developmentally appropriate. Most schools are still giving young children homework, even when all the research shows it is not helpful. Anxiety around standardized tests is a huge problem. Recess time is being reduced. Teachers are over worked and underpaid. Until there is a major paradigm shift in the school climate, I will not be comfortable putting my kids in public school.”

“What hits it home for me is when you consider how long the school system has been in place. If a private company had been running this long, it would likely function like a well oiled machine, with a clear purpose and probably making good profit with efficient staff. Now, I realise schools aren’t the same as corporate businesses but the system has been around so long and it’s still a mess, no clear direction, no clear purpose, and by it’s own standards it’s failing, all of that even with lots of teachers working very hard and giving up lots of time. So when you look at a system that is as inefficient as schooling you have to question whether it’s the right thing to do.”

Toxic Socialization

As a homeschooler one of the first questions you get is ‘what about socialization?’ Somehow people have come to believe that schools teach healthy social skills. As we have all experienced, that is not the case. Teachers agreed…

“As for the social side for children – well, teachers are under so much pressure to reach targets that children often miss playtime and lunchtimes while over stressed teachers desperately try to justify how much support they are giving to reach those targets. Autistic children are still expected to reach targets too despite the reaction to pressure. It’s a hive of stress!”

“Schools function as virtual prisons. Very nice prisons, for sure, but with strict rules and consequences. Students who do not comply are punished, labeled, looked down on, thought of as less smart, and less likely to succeed in life.”

“In school, they only socialize with kids in their grade level and class and only during very limited times unless they’re breaking the rules.”

“You have all these very prison like ways of treating students. Lining up in silence, can’t use the toilet during lessons, any misbehaviour at all and you’re in isolation for the rest of the day, the school actually hired an ex-police officer to help them ‘police’ the corridors.”

Inadequate Education

“They just push them forward year after year even if they have not learnt the content and we were getting further and further behind. The class environment did not promote thinking, creativity, self reflection, resilience etc”

While school is supposed to be ‘educating‘ our children, and helping them learn, many teachers thought it was doing a very poor job. What they knew about learning prompted them to remove their children from the system.

“I actually felt like unschooling was more in line with what we learned about how people learn in my education courses. Of course, that looks so different than what you are expected to implement in the classroom, because it just isn’t possible to create a space for the non-linear creative way we learn when you are trying to move 30 people along at the same pace; and moving them along is necessary so they can test well so the school can have funds and resources (and you can have a job) for next year. It’s a terrible system if it’s viewed through the lens of how we naturally learn.”

“I am a teacher. We unschool. I occasionally still supply teach and every time I do, our choice to live the way we do is reinforced by what I experience in schools.”

“The heavy, exclusive focus on reading, writing and math, I feel, kills creativity in school. There is nothing wrong with those subjects but they can be learned alongside the students’ primary interests. When a child realizes that the problems they want to solve, the interests they want to pursue, and the goals they have can be achieved with the relevant math, reading, and writing skills, then they are motivated to learn those skills knowing that it helps them.”


Experiences From School and Teaching

The stories that saddened me the most were when people shared things they had observed in school, or how school had impacted their children. They speak for themselves…more in link below

Having Their Own Children Gave Them a New Perspective…more in link below

Read the rest of the article here: http://happinessishereblog.com/2018/10/why-teachers-choose-to-homeschool-their-own-children/?fbclid=IwAR3VDrcZyTQtuld_t5FFfq5BKRxI-0C5iX8t1h0KgSDfdydNsLfMoB8CdhM?

Why do teachers choose to homeschool their own children? It seems because they are educated, they know what school is like, and they want the best for their children. I think that’s telling.

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You can read the full stories shared by teachers in the link below. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.

Read the full stories shared by teachers here: http://happinessishereblog.com/2018/10/why-teachers-choose-to-homeschool-their-own-children/?fbclid=IwAR3VDrcZyTQtuld_t5FFfq5BKRxI-0C5iX8t1h0KgSDfdydNsLfMoB8CdhM

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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Christians in Public Schooling: Comfortable in Slavery

Douglas Pietersma, Ed.S.

No doubt you have heard the anecdote of how a frog dropped into boiling water will react violently and do everything possible to escape. In contrast, a frog placed in tepid water, heated slowly, will lethargically accept the situation without any attempt to escape inevitable death. In full disclosure, I’ve never attempted to prove or disprove this by experimentation, nor do I plan to do so. The analogy is nevertheless applicable to things we become accustomed to over long periods of time, that we otherwise would react to violently if they occurred abruptly.

Education, specifically as it pertains to Christian families, is one such case. So how did America go from being a nation of Christian founders (Eidsmoe, 2012), who crafted this country without the benefit of compulsory public education (Cox, 2003, p. 506), to a nation of compulsory schooling where Secular Humanism has become the religion of the state, confirmed by ardent humanists themselves (Dunphy, 1983, p.26)? How did public schools become the churches (Cox, 2003, p. 296) for the propagation of this faith? The answers, just like the frog.

It all started with one small step away from the Word of God, which clearly assigns responsibility for the education of children to the parents (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6). Christian parents first allowed for local one-room school houses, then other community schools, being convinced that these organizations were effectively and appropriately teaching biblical morals, values and character. Schools got bigger, government became involved and over time the content of that education became not only secular, but ant-Christian, anti-Bible, anti-God and anti-character. A comprehensive review of this history is beyond the scope of this article, but it should suffice to say that it wasn’t until the late 1970s (Green & Hoover-Dempsey, 2007), and the decade thereafter (Wayne, 2017, p. 178), when some Christian families woke up to the realization that their children were being boiled alive in the cauldron of public schooling. Thus, an explosion ignited the modern Christian homeschooling movement and gave rise to many church schools, which I grew up attending.

Read the rest of the article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/christians-public-schooling-comfortable-slavery-pietersma-ed-s-/?fbclid=IwAR1y4L6mKOgbYc-oRMzowBVMjgkzcGykw8EvBCSotwLBPnA1OBKvS7N4uQAT

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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Who’s home-educating who?

Home educating was such an inspiring experience. Never regretted – sorely missed!

Now those little ones are grown ups they dash home for visits between work schedules and off they go again leaving the house to fall back into the ordered quiet I once wished for but don’t enjoy as much as I thought I would!

Isn’t it always the case that you fail to appreciate this stuff until it’s gone? Who’d have thought the chaos that home educating kids bring to the house would ever end and you’d miss the stuff-strewn style of home-decorating that’s an inevitable part of it. You think it’ll never change.

It does! So does your role as parent.

It’s funny, but it’s the offspring home educating me these days, as much as the other way round. I learn so much from them, as I like to think they learnt from me. We continue to learn from each other actually – that’s how it should be.

Read the rest of the article here: https://rossmountney.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/whos-home-educating-who/?fbclid=IwAR2sPUZDON0lbne-WGI2fBXNC41sRdqdgI5E__C5mP10DUF2my_PoFkD4Hc

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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How Books and Television Affect Your Brain Differently, According to Science

Go to the profile of Melissa Chu

There’s a perception that books are good, while TV is bad. Spend a day curled up with a book and you’re an intellectual, but spend a day watching your favorite show and you become a couch potato.

Similar to how candy gives you cavities and sun tanning is bad for our skin, it’s common knowledge that reading books is good for you. It increases your knowledge and makes you think. Watching television on the other hand kills off brain cells.

But why is that? Why can’t watching TV be just as educational as reading a book? For example, does watching the show Game of Thrones lower your intelligence, while reading the books does the exact opposite?

After all, there are all sorts of books. Some good, some poorly written. The same applies to shows as well. Is the situation as simple as categorizing books as good and TV as bad?

What Science Says About Books and Television

In 2013, a study was performed at Tohoku University in Japan. A team led by Hiraku Takeuchi examined the effects of television on the brains of 276 children, along with amount of time spent watching TV and its long-term effects.

Researcher Takeuchi found that the more TV the kids watched, parts of their brain associated with higher arousal and aggression levels became thicker. The frontal lobe also thickened, which is known to lower verbal reasoning ability.

The more hours of television the kids watched, the lower their verbal test results became. These negative effects in the brain happened regardless of the child’s age, gender, and economic background.

In the same year, a study was done on how reading a novel affected the brain. Gregory Burns and his colleagues at Emory University wanted to see the before and after effects of reading based on fMRI readings.

College students were asked to read Pompeii by Robert Harriss, a thriller based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy. The book was chosen due to its strong narration and a dramatic plot based on true events.

After reading the novel, the students had increased connectivity in parts of the brain that were related to language. There was also increased activity in the sensory motor region of the brain, suggesting that readers experienced similar sensations to the characters in the book.

photo credit: Janko Ferli?

There are also long-term effects from reading books. Reading keeps your mind alert and delays cognitive decline in elders. Research even found that Alzheimer’s is 2.5 times less likely to appear in elderly people who read regularly, while TV was presented as a risk factor.

Six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent, according to researchers at the University of Sussex. Reading beat out other relaxing activities, including listening to music (61 percent), drinking tea or coffee (54 percent), and taking a walk (42 percent).

Why These Activities Have Opposite Effects on Us

So far, reading’s looking pretty good compared to television. We can see that it calms the nerves, increases language and reasoning, and can even keep you mentally alert as you age. TV, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.

But we still haven’t gotten to why that’s the case.

Let’s look first at a study on how preschoolers and toddlers interact with their mothers during TV viewing versus reading a book.

The results found that watching TV resulted in lower amounts and quality of communication between the mother and child. During an educational TV program, mothers made few comments to their children, and if they did, it was unrelated to what their children said.

On the other hand, reading books together increased the amount and level of communication. Mothers were more likely to ask their child questions, respond to their child’s statements and questions, and explain concepts in greater detail.

Beyond mothers and their children, it’s not just an issue of the quality of the TV program or the book. It seems that the nature of the activities themselves is what’s causing the differences.

Television is designed to be…

Read more here: https://medium.com/@melissachu/how-books-and-television-affect-your-brain-differently-according-to-science-34ca8be1493?fbclid=IwAR2CstTUXv5QH4v9Y9RqbEZEkVijm5CJ2on5W081zaqXx3KVhAT6mU6PfsU

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

 

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How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development

Academic skills are best learned when a person wants them and needs them.

In my last post I summarized research indicating that early academic training produces long-term harm. Now, in this post, I will delve a bit into the question of how that might happen.

It’s useful here to distinguish between academic skills and intellectual skills—a distinction nicely made in a recent article by Lillian Katz published by the child advocacy organization Defending the Early Years.

Distinction between academic and intellectual skills, and why the latter should precede the former

Academic skills are, in general, tried and true means of organizing, manipulating, or responding to specific categories of information to achieve certain ends. Pertaining to reading, for example, academic skills include the abilities to name the letters of the alphabet, to produce the sounds that each letter typically stands for, and to read words aloud, including new ones, based on the relationship of letters to sounds.  Pertaining to mathematics, academic skills include the ability to recite the times tables and the abilities to add, subtract, multiply, or divide numbers using learned, step-by-step procedures, or algorithms.  Academic skills can be and are taught directly in schools, through methods involving demonstration, recitation, memorization, and repeated practice.  Such skills lend themselves to objective tests, in which each question has one right answer.

Intellectual skills, in contrast, have to do with a person’s ways of reasoning, hypothesizing, exploring, understanding, and, in general, making sense of the world.  Every child is, by nature, an intellectual being–a curious, sense-making person, who is continuously seeking to understand his or her physical and social environments.  Each child is born with such skills and develops them further, in his or her own ways, through observing, exploring, playing, and questioning.  Attempts to teach intellectual skills directly inevitably fail, because each child must develop them in his or her own way, through his or her own self-initiated activities.  But adults can influence that development through the environments they provide.  Children growing up in a literate and numerate environment, for example—such as an environment in which they are often read to and see others read, in which they play games that involve numbers, in which things are measured and measures have meaning—will acquire, in their own ways, understandings of the purposes of reading and the basic meaning and purposes of numbers.

Now, here’s the point to which I’m leading.  It is generally a waste of time, and often harmful, to teach academic skills to children who have not yet developed the requisite motivational and intellectual foundations.  Children who haven’t acquired a reason to read or a sense of its value will have little motivation to learn the academic skills associated with reading and little understanding of those skills.  Similarly, children who haven’t acquired an understanding of numbers and how they are useful may learn the procedure for, say, addition, but that procedure will have little or no meaning to them.

The learning of academic skills without the appropriate intellectual foundation is necessarily shallow. When the drill stops—maybe for summer vacation—the skills are quickly forgotten. (That’s the famous “summer slide” in academic ability that some educators want to reduce by keeping children in school all year long!)  Our brains are designed to hold onto what we understand and to discard nonsense.  Moreover, when the procedures are learned by rote, especially if the learning is slow, painful, and shame-inducing, as it often is when forced, such learning may interfere with the intellectual development needed for real reading or real math.

Rote-trained, pained children may lose all desire to play with and explore literary and numerical worlds on their own and thereby fail to develop the intellectual foundations for real reading or math.  This explains why researchers repeatedly find that academic training in preschool and kindergarten results in worse, not better, performance on academic tests in later grades (see here).  This is also why children’s advocacy groups—such as Defending the Early Years and the Alliance for Childhood—are so strongly opposed to the current trend of teaching academic skills to ever-younger children.  The early years, especially, should be spent playing, exploring, and developing the intellectual foundations that will allow children to acquire academic skills relatively easily later on.

In the remainder of this post, I review some findings, discussed in earlier essays in this blog, that illustrate the idea that early academic training can be harmful and that academic learning comes easily once a person has acquired the requisite intellectual foundation and wants to learn the academic skills.

Read more here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201506/how-early-academic-training-retards-intellectual-development?fbclid=IwAR2XQIbKqM6sekcsQNPuaNVmXBT0kfHwgUJeNE0NNhBvvp8ZD7pvfpL9nlI

also in the link above is:

Example 1—Benezet’s experiment showing the harm of math training in grades 1 – 5

Example 2:  Preparing for the math SAT, at Sudbury Valley School, after no previous study of math

Example 3:  How unschooled and Sudbury-schooled children learn to read

Read about these there Examples here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201506/how-early-academic-training-retards-intellectual-development?fbclid=IwAR2XQIbKqM6sekcsQNPuaNVmXBT0kfHwgUJeNE0NNhBvvp8ZD7pvfpL9nlI

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

 

 

 

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