December 20, 2014

The pros and cons of homeschooling

We are not happy to have our photo associated with this somewhat negative article. The Canvas Magazine, the weekend magazine of the NZHerald, took this photo about 18 months ago and didn’t use it then.

We would like to see some positive comments about Home Education on this NZHerald blog.

Original article at:

http://blogs.nzherald.co.nz/blog/keeping-mum/2009/10/2/pros-and-cons-homeschooling/?c_id=6&objectid=10600928

I have to say that the day my fairly conservative husband came home and wondered out loud if homeschooling was a good idea made me stop dead in my tracks.

It’s one of those options that I have always thought of as extreme. An extreme lifestyle choice, and a total career 180 degree turn for a woman in her most competitive years.

Heck, putting your foot on the pedal for 3-5 years while the kids are little is hard enough. But devoting potentially 12 years to their education at home, having them underfoot 24-7? I couldn’t imagine it for my own part – and I swiftly told my dearly beloved this – and wondered aloud back to him if it was in some way detrimental to have the kids cooped up with me for longer than strictly necessary.

Ali had cottoned onto the benefits of homeschooling when he’d done this story about a group of local home-schooled kids who had made an award winning robot and were about to go to America to compete in an extremely prestigious robotics competition.

These guys’ families were part of a well established, tight-knit group of home schoolers currently operating outside the New Zealand school system. Then I came across this article from Salon.com written recently by a husband whose unconventional-sounding wife has made the decision to homeschool the couple’s twins because they felt it unnecessary for the children to come into line with the regular school day (week and year) at their relatively tender age of 5.

The family in this article are teaching two of some 1.5 million US home-schooled kids, and interestingly, statistics on the matter – such as they are – suggest only a third embark on homeschooling for religious grounds (there are some religious groups that consider state schooling morally bankrupt).

The rest just do it because they think it’s better. This is the reason given in the Salon case:

“We’re not ready to surrender our kids, and ourselves, to a 10-month-a-year, all-day institution whose primary goal, at least at this age, seems to be teaching kids how to function within a 10-month-a-year, all-day institution. Our kids are learning plenty – not exactly the same things other kindergarteners learn, I suppose, but plenty. They’re making friends and having fun. They can go to the beach on gorgeous fall afternoons, or hit zoos and museums on crisp winter mornings, when other kids are sitting at desks doing worksheets about the letter B.”

“Hell , I wish I could do it”,” writes the father.

The subject always attracts lots of debate where ever it pops up. Hell, this article in Salon got a whopping 538 letters in response. And you can certainly point to many successes of the home schooled, in various competitions that see them pitted against conventionally-schooled pupils (see not just Ali’s piece but also this admittedly older piece, also from Salon)

I still can’t see myself doing it, although like most people I think the benefits of good home schooling are pretty convincing.

For one, I am not a teacher, certainly not one with much patience. I am the daughter of a teacher who spent many years honing her craft and I find it difficult to see how this skill might simply be aped by the untrained (an ex-teacher would be a different story, of course).

And then there is the issue of socialisation… My children don’t have cousins nearby, and are unlikely to be part of a huge family. Already their options for playdates during the day are ever-decreasing as more and more children get sent off to daycare and kindy. I would worry that they would become insular, and not come into contact with the various types of people they need to – I believe – to develop empathy and understanding.

If you could somehow fill your children’s minds with wonder, teach them everything they need to know to both pass exams and live informed lives, arrange for them to have lots of stimulation from both friends and other “teachers”, then I can see home schooling might work.

But boy it seems like a lot of work – and work that not many of us would really be that well cut out for.

Pictured above: To home school, or not to home school? Photo / Mark Mitchell

Dita De Boni

Please  leave  your comments on both this original website and ours:

http://blogs.nzherald.co.nz/blog/keeping-mum/2009/10/2/pros-and-cons-homeschooling/?c_id=6&objectid=10600928

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Vex Competitions: Homeschool Team Win at 2009 Vex Robotics World Championships

Vex Competitions

Homeschool Team Win at 2009 Vex Robotics World Championships

Written by Mark LawtonFree range Robotics receiving their world title for programming. From left to right - Richard Paul, Kane Ross, Michael Lawton, Isaac Harrold, Ethan Harrold, Mark Lawton, Rhiannon Waller, Terry Allen, Patrick Walmsley, John Waller, Max Waller
Friday, 08 May 2009 17:12

Auckland Homeschool Team Free Range Robotics took away two awards at the 2009 Vex Robotics World Championships held 30th April – 2nd May in Dallas, Texas.

They won the World Championship title for Programming Skills where they had to design and programme a robot to navigate over a field and score goals in a one minute period without any human intervention.  They were one of the two top scoring robots in the preliminaries and went on to face off against the other top team in the finals.  The team watched and cheered as the Free range robot scored in 3 goals while picking up other blocks on the field and then managed to finish on the raised platform with 4 seconds to go.  The final score was 28 to 14 giving Free Range Robotics the World Title in programming skills.

The team also came third in the Robot Skills Challenge where they had to control a robot by remote control over a course and score goals in a one minute period. Their Score was 59 points which was only one point behind the two finalists who scored 60 points.

In the tournament section the 280 qualifying teams from around the world were split into two divisions. Free range robotics came first in their division, despite the fact that their alliance partners could not compete for two games, and they had to compete with one robot against two opposing robots.

They went on to win both quarter final games. In the semi finals they won their first game and lost their second game by a technicality, even though they were ahead on points. In the nail-biting third game they teamed up with a Canadian team and lost by one point with the final score being 36-37.

Another homeschool team from the USA, along with their alliance partner, won the tournament.

Free range robotics have been meeting as a team at Massey University for ten months who kindly provided their premises and who have facilitated the NZ regional competitions.

“The home school team were great to work with and the Massey University team were inspired by their success and proud to be associated with such a great team of kids and parents”said Dr Johan Potgeiter, senior lecturer in mechatronics, engineering and industrial management at Massey University.

The team is grateful for the sponsorship provided by Frontline Technologies, Joseph Banks, NZMarks, Telecom, Leading Edge, Lions Foundation, Accplus, Imagio, Civileer, Mrs Higgins, Auckland Home Educators and Printstop. They are also grateful to the rest of the team who were not able to go to Dallas and the homeschooling community and others who helped support them.

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Auckland home-schoolers shine in robot competition

Auckland home-schoolers shine in robot competition

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10571246

4:00AM Saturday May 09, 2009
By Isaac Davison

Team members competing in Texas included (from left) Max Waller, 14, Ethan Harrold, 13, and Kane Ross, 16. Photo / Supplied

Team members competing in Texas included (from left) Max Waller, 14, Ethan Harrold, 13, and Kane Ross, 16. Photo / Supplied

A group of Auckland youths have given the favourites a fright in a world robotics competition.

Six representatives of Free Range Robotics – a group made up of home-schooled youngsters from 14 Auckland households – dazzled international competitors and Nasa scouts in reaching the semifinals of the Vex Robotics World Championships in Dallas, Texas.

The six were ranked first in the competition for programming and third for driver skills, leading more than 260 schools from around the world that had won their respective regional and national titles.

Massey University lecturer Johan Potgieter, who mentored the team, said he was not surprised by their success. The more open-minded curriculum of home schooling was an ideal breeding ground for robot-builders.

“Many of these kids have never sat an exam in their life … They have a very structured learning programme during the day, but it is obviously much easier for parents to integrate robotics because they are not following a set curriculum.

“There is a bit more flexibility to think outside the square … They can teach robotics in business terms, they can do projects on fundraising, on constructing … What they are doing is not under the strict guidelines of the [Ministry of Education].”

Dr Potgieter said the driver skills award was especially significant, as the diminutive Free Range Robotics driver, Ethan Harrold, was just 13 years old. “He was so small he could almost not see over the field …”

In Dallas, teams made up of six pupils had to modify and programme their remote-controlled robots, and on a playing field resembling a small boxing ring they had to race to place 7.5cm cubes into goals.

Free Range Robotics supervisor Craig Paul said they were finally eliminated by an experienced and aggressive American high school.

“They knew to study us and programmed their robot specifically to face us. It was almost like robot wars, smashing into us and perhaps pushing the boundaries a little.”

New Zealand teams dominated the championship. Onehunga High School team “Symbiohsis” also reached the semifinals, and Dr Potgieter’s Massey team were crowned best university ahead of top American colleges.

“The American community was impressed with New Zealand teams. We were the favourites … Whatever we did, the crowd just loved us.

“If you look at the number of teams and what we won – we cleaned up.”

He put the success down to intensive robotics workshops at weekends and allowing more “play-time” as opposed to strict theory. They also had the advantage of being unknown in the competition, and a laidback approach to problem-solving.

“We were gracious in defeat … but we didn’t have to be gracious very often because we almost never lost.”

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VEX Robotics World Championship Results


Awards

http://www.vexrobotics.com/championship/2009/results.php?div=T

Programming Champion

2921, Free Range Robotics, Auckland, New Zealand (Home Educators)

Robot 3rd

2921, Free Range Robotics, Auckland, New Zealand (Home Educators)

Rankings
RANK
TEAM
W-L-T
(QP/RP)
1.
Team #2921 (Free Range Robotics) (New Zealand  Home Educators)
6-0-0
(12 / 159)
2.
Team #1680 (Kamikaze II)
6-0-0
(12 / 101)
3.
Team #8193 (Team 2 of Shanghai Luwan Teenagers Activity Cent)
5-0-1
(11 / 153)
4.
Team #72b (Bloomington Robotics)
5-0-1
(11 / 147)
5.
Team #341 (Iron Eagles)
5-1-0
(10 / 168)
6.
Team #418 (Exothermic Eye)
5-1-0
(10 / 163)
7.
Team #1114a (Simbotics)
5-1-0
(10 / 151)
8.
Team #2438a (Iobotics)
5-1-0
(10 / 145)
9.
Team #254b (The Cheesy Poofs)
5-1-0
(10 / 142)
10.
Team #1046c (treacherous potentates)
5-1-0
(10 / 141)
11.
Team #1190 (Shenandoah)
5-1-0
(10 / 135)
12.
Team #1899 (Trashbot 1899)
5-1-0
(10 / 134)
13.
Team #1800 (Grant High School Community Robotics Team)
5-1-0
(10 / 134)
14.
Team #8190 (THE METHODIST CHURCH HK WESLEY COLLEGE)
5-1-0
(10 / 120)
15.
Team #148b (Robowranglers B)
5-1-0
(10 / 116)
16.
Team #83 (Eagle Engineering)
5-1-0
(10 / 103)
17.
Team #40b (Trinity Robotics)
5-1-0
(10 / 103)
18.
Team #549 (Jr. Devil Dawgs)
5-1-0
(10 / 87)
19.
Team #702a (Bulldog Robotics)
4-1-1
(9 / 157)
20.
Team #2628 (Team Rex)
4-1-1
(9 / 134)
21.
Team #8206 (Nanhai Shimen Experiment Middle School )
4-1-1
(9 / 123)
22.
Team #12a (Weather Makers)
4-2-0
(8 / 168)
23.
Team #508 (PiraTech VEX Robotics)
4-2-0
(8 / 161)
24.
Team #721 (T.B.A.)
4-2-0
(8 / 161)
25.
Team #1826b (The Fuse – The FCA/Flatiron Robotics Team)
4-2-0
(8 / 159)
26.
Team #404b (ELCO Blue)
4-2-0
(8 / 157)
27.
Team #2242 (CIEM)
4-2-0
(8 / 156)
28.
Team #24b (SUPER SONIC SPARKS B)
4-2-0
(8 / 155)
29.
Team #1000 (Foothill Falcons)
4-2-0
(8 / 146)
30.
Team #2305 (THE MIND CRACKERS)
4-2-0
(8 / 144)
31.
Team #1076a (RoboTigers)
4-2-0
(8 / 143)
32.
Team #7702 (Steel Eagle 2)
4-2-0
(8 / 136)
33.
Team #726d (Team Riverdale)
4-2-0
(8 / 134)
34.
Team #1437 (Patriots)
4-2-0
(8 / 130)
35.
Team #2607 (South C)
4-2-0
(8 / 128)
36.
Team #888b (Ultimate Robotics Team)
4-2-0
(8 / 125)
37.
Team #402a (Rambo)
4-2-0
(8 / 124)
38.
Team #677 (Montclair Robotics & Keepin’ Up with the Joneses)
4-2-0
(8 / 124)
39.
Team #2205 (The Pioneers)
4-2-0
(8 / 124)
40.
Team #851 (Deerfield Robotics)
4-2-0
(8 / 118)
41.
Team #8195 (No 1 Middle school Putian City Fujian Province )
4-2-0
(8 / 117)
42.
Team #2904b (LakeBots)
4-2-0
(8 / 115)
43.
Team #2024 (Kekoa o Haaheo)
4-2-0
(8 / 111)
44.
Team #2620 (Doherty A)
4-2-0
(8 / 105)
45.
Team #8178a (Tsinghua University Primary School “A”)
4-2-0
(8 / 102)
46.
Team #211b (Robodogs B)
4-2-0
(8 / 94)
47.
Team #7011 (Eniac Challengers)
3-2-1
(7 / 150)
48.
Team #822 (Manchester Militia)
3-2-1
(7 / 131)
49.
Team #599c (Robodox)
3-2-1
(7 / 128)
50.
Team #8174 (The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of)
3-2-1
(7 / 109)
51.
Team #2238 (Sotero Figueroa)
3-2-1
(7 / 108)
52.
Team #687j (CAMS BLU)
3-3-0
(6 / 161)
53.
Team #420 (Exothermic Secret)
3-3-0
(6 / 158)
54.
Team #8197 (Shanghai Zhongshan School Attached Luwan Institute)
3-3-0
(6 / 157)
55.
Team #12e (Easily Distracted)
3-3-0
(6 / 157)
56.
Team #2610 (Claremont A)
3-3-0
(6 / 151)
57.
Team #1083a (Betelgeuse)
3-3-0
(6 / 149)
58.
Team #254e (The Cheesy Poofs)
3-3-0
(6 / 146)
59.
Team #8203b (Subisidiary Primary School of Nanhai Experimental )
3-3-0
(6 / 145)
60.
Team #1622 (Spyder)
3-3-0
(6 / 145)
61.
Team #687e (CAMS Epsilon)
3-3-0
(6 / 144)
62.
Team #1060a (Team A)
3-3-0
(6 / 144)
63.
Team #294 (Beach Cities Robotics)
3-3-0
(6 / 141)
64.
Team #2243b (Artificial Intelligence)
3-3-0
(6 / 134)
65.
Team #368e (Cop-E-Cat)
3-3-0
(6 / 134)
66.
Team #3500 (Reitz Robotics)
3-3-0
(6 / 132)
67.
Team #8165 (Shanghai Xinhua Private Junior High School)
3-3-0
(6 / 128)
68.
Team #984 (CONTINENTAL ROBOTICS)
3-3-0
(6 / 126)
69.
Team #2587 (DiscoBots)
3-3-0
(6 / 124)
70.
Team #8182a (ChengDu No.7 High School )
3-3-0
(6 / 120)
71.
Team #12c (Vexy Things)
3-3-0
(6 / 116)
72.
Team #7705 (Steel Eagle 5)
3-3-0
(6 / 114)
73.
Team #119b (Fairhaven Robotics #2)
3-3-0
(6 / 113)
74.
Team #974 (Robot Chickens)
3-3-0
(6 / 106)
75.
Team #8200 (Shanghai High School )
3-3-0
(6 / 104)
76.
Team #599a (Robodox)
3-3-0
(6 / 88)
77.
Team #646b (I Like Pi)
3-3-0
(6 / 81)
78.
Team #52 (Sahuarita Mustangs)
3-3-0
(6 / 80)
79.
Team #4033a (Fender Bender’s)
2-4-0
(4 / 153)
80.
Team #1009c (Red Raiders 3)
2-4-0
(4 / 147)
81.
Team #8208 (Daxin,shiqi zhongxin primary school of zhongshan )
1-3-2
(4 / 144)
82.
Team #2671 (Maria’s Magic)
2-4-0
(4 / 142)
83.
Team #859 (Cubic Droid)
2-4-0
(4 / 139)
84.
Team #3102 (Barcaly British Bulldogs)
2-4-0
(4 / 138)
85.
Team #702c (Centennial Robotics III.)
2-4-0
(4 / 138)
86.
Team #7018 (PROROBE)
2-4-0
(4 / 135)
87.
Team #1179 (High Tech High Chaos Vortex)
2-4-0
(4 / 131)
88.
Team #1134b (Robotic asylum)
2-4-0
(4 / 129)
89.
Team #1079a (Code Red)
2-4-0
(4 / 128)
90.
Team #2459a (Nanakuli Robotics)
2-4-0
(4 / 124)
91.
Team #1054a (Team A)
2-4-0
(4 / 124)
92.
Team #1748b (Lab Rats)
2-4-0
(4 / 123)
93.
Team #8211 (The Beijing Haidian District Zhongguancun No.1 Pr)
2-4-0
(4 / 122)
94.
Team #1010 (West Vancouver 2)
2-4-0
(4 / 122)
95.
Team #2224 (Petra Zen De Fabery)
2-4-0
(4 / 120)
96.
Team #8214 (The Beijing 12th middle school )
2-4-0
(4 / 117)
97.
Team #377 (Greely)
2-4-0
(4 / 117)
98.
Team #197 (Metalheads)
2-4-0
(4 / 115)
99.
Team #30 (Montville Robotics Team)
2-4-0
(4 / 113)
100.
Team #1301 (That 1 Team)
2-4-0
(4 / 110)
101.
Team #1129b (Michael Smidebush)
2-4-0
(4 / 108)
102.
Team #627b (Van Nuys Robotics 2)
2-4-0
(4 / 108)
103.
Team #2226b (Los Duros Team B)
2-4-0
(4 / 107)
104.
Team #8202 (Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Nanning Peihong M)
2-4-0
(4 / 105)
105.
Team #2528 (RoboDoves)
2-4-0
(4 / 97)
106.
Team #2467a (Sabertron)
2-4-0
(4 / 86)
107.
Team #1183a (Grayson High School)
1-4-1
(3 / 145)
108.
Team #2202a (CIEM)
1-4-1
(3 / 143)
109.
Team #2213 (ECA Robotics)
1-4-1
(3 / 131)
110.
Team #631 (The Strike Freedom)
1-4-1
(3 / 124)
111.
Team #817a (Sparticles)
1-4-1
(3 / 118)
112.
Team #8100b (Infiniti)
1-4-1
(3 / 115)
113.
Team #2467c (Sabertron)
0-4-2
(2 / 144)
114.
Team #1067a (Team A)
1-5-0
(2 / 142)
115.
Team #7710 (Steel Eagle 10)
1-5-0
(2 / 141)
116.
Team #1169 (Northgate Robotics)
1-5-0
(2 / 140)
117.
Team #21a (SPUR-FLYS A)
0-4-2
(2 / 139)
118.
Team #887b (Transformers)
1-5-0
(2 / 139)
119.
Team #2217a (Trojan)
1-5-0
(2 / 134)
120.
Team #438 (Metal Gear)
1-5-0
(2 / 132)
121.
Team #9378b (WHS Blue)
1-5-0
(2 / 126)
122.
Team #918 (Hyde Park Pantherbots)
1-5-0
(2 / 113)
123.
Team #2625 (Team Remix)
1-5-0
(2 / 107)
124.
Team #563b (Titan Robotics Club)
1-5-0
(2 / 91)
125.
Team #8171a (Team 2 of No.2 Middle School of ChangDe City)
1-5-0
(2 / 81)
126.
Team #829a (Warren Robotics & Digital Goats)
0-5-1
(1 / 132)
127.
Team #1133 (Heavy Metal)
0-5-1
(1 / 124)
128.
Team #4921 (MMRBC)
0-6-0
(0 / 143)
129.
Team #2400b (Wom-Bots)
0-6-0
(0 / 136)
130.
Team #1116d (Panthobot 4)
0-6-0
(0 / 126)
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The World Winners: The New Zealand Home Education Free Robotics Team

From Blog:

http://www.robotics.org.nz/index.php/blog.html

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Written by Michael Lawton
Saturday, 02 May 2009 15:50
Hi Guys,

Today was the final day of the Robotics Championships!

We were beaten by one cube in the semi’s, but achieved first place in Programming Skill’s and third place in Driver Challenge in the World!

Thank you so much for all your support in helping us get here, and for cheering us on from New Zealand! Go Free Range Robotics!!! Well done!

The new game was previewed, and looks really exciting!

Thank you again for all your support!

Talk to you soon!

Rhiannon

““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

http://www.3news.co.nz/Kiwi-kids-to-compete-in-World-Robotic-Champs/tabid/973/articleID/98047/cat/587/Default.aspx

Kiwi kids to compete in World Robotic Champs

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 11:37a.m.

video

This month 2,000 school students from across the globe will compete in the World Robotics Champs in Dallas, Texas.

Amongst them will be two teams from New Zealand, one of which is made up students many of whom have never been to school.
““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`
Also see:

http://hef.org.nz/2009/robotics-competition-winners-will-head-to-us/

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