December 21, 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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Nationwide contact for home education enquiries – homeschooling NZ

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:

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/
and
http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

Contact details:
Craig and Barbara Smith
06 357-4399
email: barbara@hef.org.nz
Greetings all,
There have been a couple of requests lately for people willing to give exemption advice and encouragement.
Just a reminder that this is precisely what we at the Home Education Foundation are here for!
We help with preparing for exemptions and ERO reviews, how to understand and answer the exemption questions, we sit in on ERO Reviews with people, and I’ve even been a witness at a court case involving home education and socialisation. We have tons of material on socialisation, research results in both academic and social areas, ideas on curriculum development and getting into university and links to other information that we send out for free. We have 22 years of experience in teaching our own 8 children aged 28 down to 3 (yes, we’re still at it) and running conferences and speaking in nearly every corner of the country. Barbara just talked a mum who was full of panic through her ERO review preparation, and the mum passed with flying colours! I just wrote a letter to the Hamilton office of the MoE about what I thought was unfair treatment in an exemption application…the mum emailed today to say the exemption just came through!
Being a charitable trust, we do not charge for anything we send out or for our advice, even though most phone calls last between a half hour to a full hour or more. We trust the Lord to move people to make donations as they see fit and to subscribe to Keystone http://hef.org.nz/category/keystone-magazine/ and TEACH Bulletin http://hef.org.nz/category/teach-bulletin/. Although we personally are committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Home Education Foundation is committed to rescuing ANY children out of state schooling institutions and to giving as much help and encouragement as we can to any and all parents and grandparents wanting to have a go at home education.
So don’t hesitate to get people to ring us or send an email. We don’t have an 0800 number but if people ring us on a landline, we can ring them back so we pay for the call since it costs us next to nothing.

Applying for an Exemption to Home School

in New Zealand


Here are two very helpful  links

The first is a cut down version of the exemption application, showing you exactly which comments the Ministry of Education (MoE) expects you to reply to:

http://hef.org.nz/2010/making-an-application-for-exemption-from-enrolment-and-attendance-at-a-school/

The second is a lengthy letter giving all kinds of tips on how to answer the comments:

http://hef.org.nz/2010/a-collection-of-exemption-tips-and-ideas/

I’d suggest reading those two, having a go at answering the questions, then give us a ring (06) 357-4399 or emailing your phone number and we will ring you (email barbara@hef.org.nz).

It seems complicated at first, but it really isn’t that bad at all. We can talk you through it. All free of charge. That’s why we’re here.

Websites and blogs:

If you have a website or blog then please feel free to repost this on your website or blog and/or to link to these pages on your website or blog.

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Home schoolers swap teaching tips

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4633178a7694.html

Home schoolers swap teaching tips

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Monday, 28 July 2008

Parents who home school their students compared notes on a surge in their number at a gathering in Christchurch at the weekend.

Home schoolers from Christchurch and around the country met in Bishopdale for a curriculum fair and a series of workshops.

National director of the Home Education Foundation Craig Smith said about 50 people attended and visited seminars which covered topics ranging from classical education to how home education could prevent burnout.

Home schooling appealed to many parents because of the “administrative bullying” of teachers and the public education system in general.

“I hear a lot parents tell me my child’s been at school now for three years and they haven’t learned a darn thing,” Smith said.

The number of children home schooled has grown from about 5280 10 years ago to 6500 in July last year.

Home-schooled children must obtain a certificate of exemption from regular schooling.

The Ministry of Education said home-based schooling must meet the same standards as registered schools.

Kathy Duncan said her four children, aged between five and 12, mixed with a lot of other children who were home schooled.

“Certainly our children wouldn’t socialise with 30 other children the same age as them every day but they do have friends they see regularly,” Duncan said.

Home schooling was a a lifestyle choice, she said.

“It’s not just like having school at home … all of life becomes an education. It’s really hard to separate our life from the education.”

Duncan does not have any teaching qualifications but she said she had “a lot of experience”.

Home schooling is most popular on the West Coast, where 1.9 per cent of children are in home schooling.

The Canterbury Home Educators group has 230 members, representing less than 1% of students in the region.

Smith said aspects of the national assessment programme (NCEA) were “anti-intellectual” and the school curriculum needed to get back to basics and cut out political correctness.

Smith did not want any more Government funding because he feared it would take control of home schoolers.

“The ERO (Education Review Office) is sitting in judgment on the way you as a parent relate to your own child,” he said.

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Government chases homeschool family

Mom, dad now seek help from human rights tribunal

http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=68432
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Members of a homeschooling German family who made a forced move to Austria where the activity remains legal now have fled again – this time to Canada – to escape continuing government actions that now also are the subject of a protest lodged at the European Court of Human Rights.

The case involving Andreas and Katharina Plett is being addressed by Joel Thornton, chief of the International Human Rights Group, who alleges Germany is violating articles 8, 9, 10, 14, and 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights with its persecution of homeschooling families.

The Paderborn family is among several in Germany who have challenged that nation’s Nazi-era ban on parents teaching their children at home. Thornton told WND in the Pletts’ case, one of the government maneuvers gave the authority to determine where the Pletts’ two youngest children live to the Youth Welfare Office.

It happened because of their homeschooling. According to a Brussels Journal report at the time, a plain-clothes policewoman rang the Pletts’ doorbell early one day, and when Katharina Plett opened the door, a team of officers who had concealed themselves forced their way in.

Katharina was able to notify her husband by telephone since he and the children were not at home, and instead of returning they traveled directly to Austria and set up a residence.

However, German authorities continue to try to impose their requirements on the family, since they still own property in Germany, and the Pletts now are challenging not only the authority to decide where the children will live but the other decisions in their case as well.

“About a month ago the family fled to Canada to be together without fear of government officials taking their children,” Thornton told WND about the family.

“Though the court has been unwilling to uphold international law in regards to parents’ rights in educational matters it is our hope that the court will look at the number of families continuing to have problems and decide to take the initiative to enforce the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights that are currently being violated by the German courts,” Thornton said.

The earlier decision came in the now-infamous Konrad case. There, the same court concluded that Germany’s ban on homeschooling – in place since the Nazis reigned – does not violate the convention’s religious rights provision, finding that it was important for the nation to avoid parallel societies created by religious groups.

The new case raises that issue, but several others as well.

“The Plett family has suffered the deprivation of their rights guaranteed under Article 8 of the Convention in that respect for their private and family life has been violated without demonstrated necessity for national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others,” the complaint, filed on Friday, says.

It also alleges violations of Article 9 in that their “religious convictions” have been violated and Article 10 violations involving “freedom of expression, particularly the freedom to impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities.”

Further, the court action alleges Germany is discriminating against them based on their religious convictions and under Protocol 1, Article 2 in that “in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the state shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.”

“The Plett family is asking this court to overturn the decision of all the German courts and declare that the state took improper custody of their children while exercising their rights. … The Plett family asks this court to clarify that the rights guaranteed under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 14 are not subject to governmental intervention without clear and convincing evidence that homeschooling their children would rise to the level of violating the interferences regulated by the Convention. That is not the case here,” the appeal said.

The action also seeks a cancellation of all fines imposed by Germany and the recovery of all costs.

Thornton told WND the children continue to live with the family only because the state Youth Welfare Office never has exercised its authority to determine where they are required to live. Such situations are not unusual in Germany. However, they create huge complications for families doing any traveling.

The Pletts have their roots in Germany but had been living in Russia before returning. They decided to homeschool after the parents” perceived a negative influence of the public school onto their children.”

It was in 2005 when German authorities ordered decisions about the children’s residence given to the Youth Welfare Office without a hearing. The result was the family’s sudden move to Austria. Their further move came after Germany continued to try to exercise control of the family even while living in Austria.

In 2006, the Strasbourg, France-based court ruled in the Konrad case. In that dispute, Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who argued Germany’s compulsory school attendance endangered their children’s religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family’s Christian faith, were told they did not have a case.

The court said the Konrads belong to a “Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible” and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.

The German court already had ruled that the parental “wish” to have their children grow up in a home without such influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.” The decision also said the parents do not have an “exclusive” right to lead their children’s education.

“The parents’ right to education did not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience,” the decision said. “Not only the acquisition of knowledge, but also the integration into and first experience with society are important goals in primary school education. The German courts found that those objectives cannot be equally met by home education even if it allowed children to acquire the same standard of knowledge as provided for by primary school education.”

A website for the Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues.

In 1937, the dictator said, “The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”

WND has reported multiple times on German’s attack on homeschoolers, including earlier this summer when a judge handed down three-month prison sentences for two homeschooling parents.

The sentences for Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek came in Germany’s equivalent of a district court in the state of Hesse, according to a staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association. The group, the premier homeschooling advocacy organization in the world, has been monitoring and helping in the Dudeks’ case since before a federal prosecutor announced his intention more than a year ago to see the parents behind bars.

Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government “has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion.”

Drautz said schools teach socialization, and as WND reported, that is important, as evident in the government’s response when a German family in another case wrote objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.

“The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling,” said a government letter in response. “… You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. … In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement.”

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Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling

Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling

 

Added 5/5/2007 - Schools Are For Fish - By Jason Holm;

http://www.inflatablestudios.com/saff01.htm

There’s a few others there. Click ‘next’ bottom right of cartoon.

 

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