If you have relatives who doubt the value of homeschooling, this will help them understand why so many people think it's a great idea.
Monday, November 23, 2009
If you have relatives who doubt the value of homeschooling, this will help them understand why so many people think it's a great idea.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Validity of high stakes standardized test requirements for homeschoolers: a psychometric analysis (.pdf copy of the 2008 paper)
From the paper:In this paper, I demonstrate, through reference to the extensive psychometric literature, that the psychometric tool prescribed in current high stakes homeschool policies, a norm-referenced standardized test, is invalid for use in a high stakes testing policy. Norm-referenced test scores may not validly be used to determine if a student meets a given standard of performance.
I go on to examine another testing tool proposed by some policymakers: the state-specific high stakes criterion-referenced tests administered to public school students in every state. While theoretically valid for determining a standard of performance, such tests would be problematic for use in the homeschooling context. I end by reviewing the setting of cut points on high stakes tests, showing that, to a very large extent, the entire controversy of high stakes testing can be reduced to the question of the validity of the cut point.
After considering the psychometric evidence, I conclude that current and proposed high stakes standardized requirements for homeschoolers are baseless. Policies based on such requirements are a waste of taxpayer dollars and a needless imposition on homeschooling families.
Through the Lens of Homeschooling: A Response to Michael Apple and Rob Reich (.pdf copy of the September 2004 paper)
From the paper:Michael Apple and Rob Reich speculate that the practice of homeschooling will have negative consequences for our society. Apple contends homeschooling contributes to the “withering” of our “very sense of public responsibility,” and Reich speaks of “the civic perils of homescholing.” Michael Apple is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, and Rob Reich is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Ethics in Society at Stanford University. Both men were scheduled as participants in a panel discussion held at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association. The session was entitled, "Educational Choice versus Civic Responsibility: Are Home Schoolers Embracing Their Responsibilities or Fleeing from Them?” I wrote this article in anticipation of their participation on that panel. The other two panel members were Scott Somerville, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and Brian Ray, founder of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).
A copy of this paper, with minor revisions, appeared in:
Homeschooling in full view -- a Reader
Edited by Bruce S. Cooper, Fordham University
Sunday, October 18, 2009
How Video Games are Good for the Brain, on the Boston Globe site
"Video games are hard,'' said Eric Klopfer, the director of MIT's Education Arcade, which studies and develops educational video games. "People don't like to play easy games, and games have figured out a way to encourage players to persist at solving challenging problems.''
The games aren't just hard - they're adaptively hard. They tend to challenge people right at the edge of their abilities; as players get better and score more points, they move up to more demanding levels of play. This adaptive challenge is "stunningly powerful'' for learning, said John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at MIT.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
I was out of the room without a pen, but there was a quote close to this (maybe just this): "They take on an enormous burden of guilt."
"They" (illiterate teens and adults) do not "take on guilt." They have it heaped and poured and shoveled onto them from the first time they fail to sound out a word to the time they're branded "slow" or "non-reading."
I was thinking that the article didn't say anything that unschoolers don't discuss regularly (at least in the discussions with which I'm familiar), but that's not so. What unschoolers don't know is the *very* high statistics on non-readers among those who have grown up and graduated from school.
One of their main examples was a man with grandchildren who has succeeded in life, had a house, raised kids, did well, but when they talked to him about memories of being ashamed and belittled, he said he still hears those voices, and he cried. He has learned to read, and can read books to his grandchildren.
Schools really need to stop ruining people's ability to read. If they could accept that happy kids can and do learn to read at later ages than six or seven or eight, they could improve their stats and countless lives.
The video isn't on the site yet; I'm not sure if it will be. If someone sees or finds it, please leave a link below, or links to the stats they cited. I didn't take notes, hoping it would be on their website.
I know of no unschoolers who failed to learn to read on their own, with help and encouragement. I was surprised by the statistics on the number of schooled kids who could not read as adults, and who get tears in their eyes just thinking about it.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
From home schooling to 'unschooling'
Parents believe in letting children set the pace
Several people were interviewed, the negative "balance" isn't too bad, and it's well done. I wish the editors had let the writer, Joe Burris, go on at greater length, because it seems a lot of prep was done for it.
As usual, some of the online comments are hostile and goofy.
|Note from the day after, from my friend Leon:|
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
There's a very unschool friendly article in the NY Times today— that isn't even about unschooling. :-)
Written by a researcher, she's discovering what we already know but with the added patina of science to give it more weight.
Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think
(At one time you needed to register to see articles. Not sure if that's still true.)
Excerpt:Babies and young children are designed to explore, and they should be encouraged to do so.
The learning that babies and young children do on their own, when they carefully watch an unexpected outcome and draw new conclusions from it, ceaselessly manipulate a new toy or imagine different ways that the world might be, is very different from schoolwork. Babies and young children can learn about the world around them through
Friday, August 14, 2009
This is the second in the series of videos commissioned by Education Otherwise.
Dr Thomas is a developmental psychologist, author and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education. Interviewed at HESFES, Dr Thomas explains about his research into how children learn and his investigation into autonomous, or informal learning.
Visit http://www.education-otherwise.org for more information and subscribe to our channel http://www.youtube.com/EducationOtherwise
Thursday, August 13, 2009
by Clark Howard, CNN.com
While this article is not about homeschooling, it does make points of which homeschoolers have long been aware. It's brief, it has grace and humor, and it has truth.
One quote that takes it beyond unschooling, homeschooling OR school, to tax expenditure, is:
Do you think this whole issue doesn't affect you because you don't have kids? Think again. Huge amounts of your taxes are still spent to support schools that are failures.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The article is not new, but it was brought to an unschooling discussion by Marina Deluca-Howard, who had the following comments (and more)
There was an interesting stat in this article on co-sleeping about nursery schools. An English study shows that children's stress level goes up in nursery school. *for more than 90%, cortisol rises when they go to nursery. For 75%, it falls whenever they go home.
Note the article also points to a *neurological study three years ago showed that a child separated from a parent experienced similar brain activity to one in physical pain*
Kind of makes one wonder about all those pre-school/nursery school advocates! Where I live there is a move to start full day kindergarten. I am guessing nobody saw the studies Margot Sunderland, director of education at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, seems to have found!
A collection of unschooling notes and comments on sleep and sleeping:
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The pupil becomes the teacher as children activate the self-directed form of education called unschooling
BY ERIN FORE
I didn't make my kids learn anything," Leslie Moyer explained as she nibbled nonchalantly on a scone.
"Well, I did make suggestions. For example, multiplication tables seem to be the question that always pops up. My son is one class shy of a math degree and he doesn't have his multiplication tables memorized." Her son, Matt, is 22.
This methodology, called "unschooling," is considered perhaps the most radical approach to homeschooling—yet it is one of the fastest, if not the fastest growing concept within alternative education.
Monday, June 29, 2009
The authors aren't homeschoolers or unschoolers, but they're writing about ways in which a culture can adopt and nurture ideas without really looking at them.
How did so many people for so long believe the earth went around the sun even when evidence to the contrary was available?
The books named thusfar (with some of the descriptions from the list, so those descriptions have to do more with this particular angle than about the book in general, and so I will link them to the Amazon site where there will be other reviews and comments):
Chaos James Gleick: This is talking about revolutionary new science but could refer to many things. newer edition; fewer reviewsThe discussion is here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AlwaysLearning/message/46054
p38.: To some the difficulty of communicating the new ideas and the ferocious resistance from traditional quarters showed how revolutionary the new science was. Shallow ideas can be assimilated; ideas that require people to reorganize their picture of the world provoke hostility. A physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Joseph Ford, started quoting Tolstoy: "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to othes, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives"
This really reminded me of the reaction of many to unschooling when I read it.
The more I deschool, the more clearly I can see this, even with close friends and family who feel threatened by change.
If I recall correctly, Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is all about that, about scientists/thinkers being invested in certain belief systems, and how that affects their abilities to think and to do research, and to evaluate the research findings of colleagues. And so, progress is very, very incremental. Great big, new, different ideas are just too difficult to accept.
It's hard to consider that the earth goes 'round the sun if you are absolutely convinced the other way around.
That sounds like an interesting book that would go along with what I am reading now–Agnotology [The Making and Unmaking of ignorance] edited by Robert Proctor and Londa Schiebinger...What we don't know and why we don't know it. It's not one of those books about what you should have learned in school and didn't but more the control of information and the manipulation of information to create doubt and change history etc. It discusses military secrecy, Native American paleontology, female orgasm, global climate change, racial ignorance etc. Just finished the section on the tobacco industry. I'm getting into the military stuff. The military had information that it withheld from the public that would have helped confirm the theories on plate tectonics. It took some years for that information to become available for researchers. That was mentioned in Kuhn's book description that I just found on Amazon. Guess Kuhn's book needs to be next in line for me to read.
I haven't read that book, but it fits my view that science advances through attrition. Death. The old scientists defending their beliefs/worldview die and new beliefs are allowed to sprout in the minds of younger scientists.
I can see that being somewhat true, but as I read Agnotology I think it is even more complex than that. What areas get funding for research.... what is the monetarily favored areas to grow knowledge..... What falls out of fashion.....Who controls information.?I know some very complex knowledge of the people that lived before us is essentially lost. I'm think of some of the agricultural practices that worked very well in the Amazon mentioned in the book 1491:New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann. Some of this knowledge is being rediscovered, but I'm betting a lot more has been lost. I'm not sure that "science" is always advancing. It seems as if we are always losing previously well know information as we learn the new.? Our brains can only hold so much knowledge/information but I think our collective brains only hold so much knowledge/information to.
By the way 1491 made the history I learned in school seem like some weird
fabrication of reality and I think Agnotology will explain some of that.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Unschooling Playgroup in CT and Western Mass ;)
We are hearing a bunch of people say they would like an unschooler's
playgroup formed here in CT. We would be happy to organize this. Since it's
summer, let's start with outdoor places and find somewhere indoors later in
the year. (We have a few options in mind.)
How about everyone emails us privately and says what days do and do not work
for them? We will pick a day that works for most people. We would love to
make it a weekly or biweekly thing.
Also email where you live and we can pick a nice playground/park in the
middle of everyone.
We can't wait to get our kids together. Our kids have gotten so much out of
being with other unschoolers at conferences. We would love to have that on a
more regular basis.
Esther and Jean Elizabeth
and Ethan (age 9) and Ryan (age: 1 week until I'm 6!!)
laurie.marg AT gmail DOT com wrote:
My daughter and some of her friends are in this Off-Off Broadway Homeschool Production. Ticket prices are reasonable and you may be able to find parking on the street.
West End Theatre at Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew
263 West 86th St.
New York, NY 10024
June 23, 2009
June 27, 2009
Running Time: (includes 1 intermission)
Ticket Price: $10.00; $15.00 Opening Night
Tickets by Phone: 212-352-3101
Saturday 12:00pm & 6:00pm
Thursday, June 11, 2009
home educators are currently threatened with the draconian recommendations
of Graham Badman's report to the government - link below
Included are compulsory registration, monitoring including automatic right
of entry into the home on pain of criminal charges, and the enforcement of
a 'suitable education' (whatever that's supposed to mean). And the
recommendations are particularly short-sighted and plain ill-informed with regard
to autonomous approaches. Worse still is the conflation of home education
with child welfare issues - we're all being smeared as abusers, and the
onus seems to be on us to prove our innocence.
I wonder if the delightful (!?!) Mr Badman might appreciate an invite to
the London Unschooling Conference to hear some properly informed debate.
This is not the link Jude sent; this is a summary from the government press release site:
What Jude sent is a PDF of the entire "Report to the Secretary of State on the review of Elective Home Education in England by Graham Badman"
These seem to be still at the level of formal recommendations, but if people have follow-ups, please do leave comments. Also, clarification of whether this will affect other parts of the UK or just England itself would be good. —Sandra
Monday, June 08, 2009
Loyola College in Baltimore is the latest of over 800 four-year institutions to make their admissions criteria SAT (and ACT) results optional. The change comes about six months after Monty Neill of Fair Test submitted invited testimony to the Maryland Board of Education on the "Limits and Dangers of High-Stakes Graduation Tests."
FairTest's testimony on graduation tests to the Maryland Board of Ed.
Better assessment methods are needed if high schools are to develop higher level skills students need for college and work. Unlike standardized exit exams, the use of assessment methods such as performances, exhibitions and portfolios has been shown to promote the development of skills, knowledge and disposition actually valued in college and employment (Wood, Darling-Hammond, Neill and Roschewski, 2007; Darling-Hammond and McCloskey, forthcoming). Employers have said they are more interested in examples of student work and problem-solving, such as portfolios, than they are in test results [or grades] (Peter D. Hart, 2008). Similarly, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (n.d.) has outlined a range of knowledge and skills students should acquire, much of which clearly cannot be measured with traditional paper-and-pencil tests – but can be assessed using other means. Only with a range of strong and flexible assessments can students or schools be fairly and comprehensively evaluated and learning outcomes improved
These links were sent by Kathryn, an unschooling mother of four. Thanks!
Friday, June 05, 2009
By Don Tapscott
For fifteen years, I've been arguing that the digital revolution will challenge many fundamental aspects of the University. I've not been alone. In 1998, none other than, Peter Drucker predicted that big universities would be "relics" within 30 years....(the rest of it)
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I've just bought and happily read a new book by PS Pirro called 101 Reasons Why I'm an Unschooler. It's sweet, it's short, and it's full of irrefutable information about school in the first section (school-related reasons to unschool) and life at home and in the real world in the second.
Those who have wished for something they could give relatives to read might have found the answer in this.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Who Needs School? Interview With A 17 Year Old "UnSchooler" (Video)
"In a society that often considers the act of parents teaching their children at home to be something bizarre, the idea of unschooling is about as radical a parenting strategy as one can imagine. It's homeschooling without the artificial structure of formal education...."
Friday, May 15, 2009
You can predict even from when the children are 3 or 4 what their social understanding will be like when they're 8 or 9," said Nicola Yuill, lead author and senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex in England.
This effect becomes weaker from ages 10 to 12, perhaps because as children get older, they spend less time at home, and their peers and teachers influence them more, she said.
The 12-year-olds, however, generally did as well as their mothers on social understanding tasks, indicating that children at this age can be as "socially sophisticated" as adults, the authors said.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
May 3, 2009 by Mary Jessica Hammes
An article on homeschooling, with statistics, which turns toward unschooling, describes a few families, and has several paragraphs about Ren Allen and her family. Some of what Ren said:
“We started as very eclectic home schoolers and hit lots of bumps along the way, before finally realizing that when we went with the flow everything, well, flowed,” says Allen...
. . . ."I don’t believe my husband and I would be as connected to our children’s joy, to their dreams and daily activities the same way if we hadn’t chosen unschooling."
(More by Ren Allen)
Sunday, April 19, 2009
This is from an article by Pater Gray on Psychology Today's site. I don't know if it's also in the magazine.
At first it's about the study in India ten years ago of what kids would do if a computer were left out where they could get to it. What they did was learn like crazy.
Here's a portion of this new article:
Why don't school lessons spread in the same wildfire way that Mitra observed in his experiments on minimally invasive education? It is not hard to think of many answers to this question. Here are a few that pop to mind:http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200901/minimally-invasive-education-lessons-india• Children in school are not free to pursue their own, self-chosen interests, and this mutes their enthusiasm.Learning is so easy, and such fun, when it occurs naturally. ...
• Children in school are constantly evaluated. The concern for evaluation and pleasing the teacher--or, for some children, a rebellious reaction against such evaluation--overrides and subverts the possibility of developing genuine interest in the assigned tasks.
• Children in school are often shown one and only one way to solve a problem and are told that other ways are incorrect, so the excitement of discovering new ways is prevented.
• Segregation of children by age in schools prevents the age mixing and diversity that seem to be key to children's natural ways of learning. Mitra observed that the mix of abilities and interests in the age-mixed groups that gathered around the outdoor computers ensured that different functions of the computer were tried out and played with by different children and that a wide variety of discoveries were made, which could then spread from child to child.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
An UNESCO report places the UK an the US on the lowest places of a list of countries, looking to the well-being of children, and places the Netherlands on the top of the same list.
As we know, UK and US are usually quite proud on their policy of 'protecting' children - against myths, as we saw in the articles here before - and usually have lots of critics on the policy of the Netherlands with its liberal climate, including sexual openness and education. Now, the Netherlands may be proud, and let the UK and the US think twice or more about their policy.
Three articles here below give more details.
(the full summary: http://www.ipce.info/newsletters/e_22/2_10_unicef_report.htm )
Monday, March 30, 2009
Evie hits the airwaves
A few weeks ago we were at a log rolling tournament in Oconomowoc. A man from WI Public Radio was there as a field reported for the WBUR (Boston) show "It's Only a Game." He was doing a story on log rolling.
He took a lot of pictures, interviewed some coaches including Evie's. He also asked who they thought he should interview. They all pointed at Evie. She was articulate, funny and expansive. The radio story includes only a snippet of her but you can listen!
It's Only a Game: Logrolling To fast forward to her part hit "Listen to the Show" and drag the progress bar until there are about 8 minutes left of the show. (Embedding just her part proved too taxing for my brain.)
How did a Boston radio show learn about log rolling in WI? Enter Scott's mom! She happened to sit next to the show's host, Bill Littlefield, at a WBUR dinner. They got to talking, she bragged about her granddaughter, he got intrigued, she did an amazing follow-up job and BAM, log rolling makes public radio!
POSTED BY LYNCH FAMILY AT 3:03 PM at http://circletheworld.blogspot.com/2009/03/evie-hits-airwaves.html
Monday, March 23, 2009
by Pam Laricchia, the article "Unschooling Passions" in The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Education.
Here are two of the graphics from her article which are inspiring and self-explanatory on their own:
click to enlarge
Friday, March 13, 2009
By Sarah Karnasiewicz
The article isn't new, but I didn't want to lose this quote if it disappears:
"When you buy a curriculum and set your kids down five days a week, except in the summer, all you're doing is playing school at home," says Sandra Dodd, a mother of three unschooled children from Albuquerque, N.M., and an outspoken unschooling advocate. "Most home-schoolers, especially Christian home-schoolers, believe that schools are too liberal and too lax," she explains. "On the other hand, unschoolers believe that schools are too inflexible. Our objections to school are 180 degrees apart from their objections. And so we are not only not on the same team, but school is actually closer to what they're doing than we are."
Monday, March 09, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Apparently experts were called in and the European Parliament has decided that video games are good for children. I think the actual report isn't out yet. Hopefully it'll get airtime when it does come out.
That's because the Puritans, Huguenots and Anabaptists left Europe. Unfortunately, I live where they built an anti-child culture in which children are just bad, and fun is a sin. (that was an editorial comment from Sandra Dodd)
If the U.S. Senate (advised by the education and child welfare experts) voted that video games were harmful, it wouldn't make it so, and so it's not a vote of the European Parliament that makes them good, either. Still, I love government legislation of value-to-children (who can't vote). At least they gathered expert advisors from many countries and listened to them.
Monday, February 02, 2009
March 7, 2009, Tempe, Arizona
Home Education Network of Arizona is holding a one-day conference on homeschooling. Several speakers are unschoolers.
September 10-13, 2009, San Diego/Del Mar, California
Good Vibrations Conference
October 2-4, 2009 Toronto Unschooling Conference
This will be the fourth Toronto conference!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
"In December, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics released new estimates on the number of American families homeschooling their children. The new report shows the growing popularity of homeschooling. In view of this trend, it is important that federal and state policymakers safeguard families' right to educate their children at home."
The article provides results of surveys on reasons people choose to homeschool, demographic information, benefits of homeschooling, and anticipated trends. It supports protecting homeschooling rights.
Monday, January 12, 2009
'Big Kitchen With Food' gets attention online
Last Edited: Monday, 12 Jan 2009, 9:21 AM EST
Created On: Sunday, 11 Jan 2009, 11:45 AM EST
By Anthony Bartkewicz, special contributor
PORTLAND, Ore. - Five-year-old Julian Kreusser is the product of unschooling , a style of home-schooling in which kids direct their own learning toward their particular interests. Julian's interests have included cooking since he was 3 years old , and a mere two years later he's the host of his own cooking show.
On "Big Kitchen With Food," which airs on Portland, Oregon public access TV and online at Blip.tv , Julian's family helps with lightning, camera and editing but the recipes are all Julian's. They include a chocolate chip zucchini bread , a spaghetti sauce that's gotten raves around the world and something called "Yummy Yummy Citrus Boys."
The UK's Times Online reports that publishers are interested in a cookbook from Julian, tentatively titled "My Big Kitchen." Portland Community Media executive director Sylvia McDaniel believes that "Big Kitchen" "has potential to be a national program." In an interview with OregonLive , she said, "It's a wonderful show. We're just thrilled. He actually understands what he's doing. He's not just following orders."
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Top reasons cited by parents (could pick more than one):
• Concerns about the school environment (including safety, drugs, peer pressure): 88%
• A desire to provide religious or moral instruction: 83%
• A dissatisfaction with instruction at other schools: 73%
• An interest in a non-traditional approach: 65%
Source: Top home-schooling reasons in 2007 Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey
by Janice Lloyd
"The 2003 survey gave parents six reasons to pick as their motivation. (They could choose more than one.) The 2007 survey added a seventh: an interest in a "non-traditional approach," a reference to parents dubbed "unschoolers," who regard standard curriculum methods and standardized testing as counterproductive to a quality education."
The article has useful information, and the comments are good.