More kids being alternatively schooled

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zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 20:42
Choccy wrote:
Surely the fact that home-schooling simply isn't an option for a lot of working-class parents, like mine, who both had fulltime jobs since before I was born, and still do, is pretty important. And for those parents who stay at home, I'm guessing other responsibilities might mean they don't have time, resources to educate their kids to a level where they can hang with others in later life.

I've only met one homeschooling family who wasn't working people. Most home-schoolers I've met have lived in trailer parks or been farmers. Many of them have been Christian. Not too many hippies. I say it's a good thing. The growth of home-schooling is one of the most positive trends in modern society.

Steiner schools and Montessori schools are pretty bad, as far as I know. Steiner education is a load of weird, mystical crap and the idea of the teacher being with a class for 8 years doesn't seem to work well in practice. I don't know much about Montessori schools, except that they follow the idea that kids will just "teach themselves." I don't think that's true. I, myself, am self-educated in reading and writing and most everything I know (I had problems with school!), but the cost is that my mathematics and science are very poor. Kids cannot teach themselves everything, or self-direct themselves in all learning. It is a mistake to think so.

Don't dismiss home-schoolers as just "middle class" and "crazy." wink It's anarchism in action. We don't want people getting educated by the State, now, do we?

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2008 20:43
Thora wrote:
Unschooling doesn't mean just leaving kids to learn for themselves though - Arf is still helping her children, even unschooling require someone putting a lot of effort in. Her children are getting a lot more adult guidance and assistance than they would in a class of 30.

Well that's an argument for smaller class-sizes which I think most people would agree with, it doesn't support homeschooling per se though. And I imagine Arf's doing a good job with her kid which is cool. I simply don't think this is viable for most parents, it certainly wasn't for mine.

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 20:44
jef costello wrote:
Thora wrote:
So your objection is more about homeschooling damaging the position of teachers? I think most people are capable of educating their own children, certainly at primary level. It's not a special skill.

Firstly I don't think that that's madas' point.
Secondly teaching is a skill. Most people I know could not do my job. But most of them could be taught to do it. A skill is something that is learned and something that can be taught.

But parenting IS teaching. If you aren't up for teaching you aren't up for parenting.

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2008 20:46
arf wrote:
is "drop out politics" a negative reference to doing something other than trying to reform a thing?

To clarify, it's more from the position Alan stated earlier, which i agree with - an individualised solution to a collective problem.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 20:47
Thora wrote:
If a person who is really shit at maths and doesn't feel they would be able to teach it wanted to homeschool their children, they'd probably seek out someone who was better at maths to help them.

You seem to be seeing this in a very either/or way. I'm not against schools or group learning, but I think unschooling is just as valid. Not everyone is going to want to, or be able to home school their kids, so there will always be a need for schools - but to dismiss non-mainstream forms of education as worthless, as you seem to be doing, is mad.

Ah, sorry, I thought you were arguing for doing away with schools altogether, if home schooling works for some people (and obviously it does, I'm sure arf and others who've done this wouldn't do it if it wasn't working), that's their business, but I think that it's not a good model for education in general.

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 20:47
jef costello wrote:
You don't need to 'make' children learn, they do it automatically, but unless you foster it right then they won't learn or they might spend six months doing the same thing because they find it fun.

No. You have to make 'em. You'll having anger, tears and violence, but you have to make kids do some things they just honestly will not do on their own.

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My own view of education is that there are certain things that we all should know and that the education system should ensure that we do learn them. I believe in structured teaching (not necessarily in a classroom or any of the cliches of the current system) I think it's good to teach children using everyday activites but I would deliberately set up activities that wold help me to teachcertain things which might not come up otherwise. I'd also rather have a specialist teaching some things to my kids, it'd be easier for them and for me as well.

I agree.

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 20:50
choccy wrote:
arf wrote:
is "drop out politics" a negative reference to doing something other than trying to reform a thing?

To clarify, it's more from the position Alan stated earlier, which i agree with - an individualised solution to a collective problem.

So, like, self-help. That proud old tradition of the working class... Remember, homeschooling parents normally work with each other in local areas, cooperatively raising their kids. If one parent knows more about subject Y, they'll teach it to a bunch of the kids, and if another parent knows more about subject X, they'll probably teach a bunch of kids about it. It fosters community self, mutual aid, etc.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 20:51
zarathustra wrote:
We don't want people getting educated by the State, now, do we?

Don't we? confused

I assume you have no problem with people recieving medical care from the state, so why not education?

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 20:55

I'd rather they didn't receive medical aid from the State. Remember, the lefties (such as ZMag) who are calling for a national health insurance schema in the US are playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie. I was perusing the National Association of Manufacturer's website recently and I came on this gem:

Quote:
Rapidly increasing healthcare costs directly affect the bottom lines of U.S. manufacturers and steadily erode their competitiveness.

U.S. Department of Commerce (2004) "Manufacturing in America: A Comprehensive Strategy to Address the Challenges to U.S. Manufacturers"

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 20:55
jef costello wrote:
You don't need to 'make' children learn, they do it automatically, but unless you foster it right then they won't learn or they might spend six months doing the same thing because they find it fun.

I agree with most of what you're saying here, but that's not always the case, sometimes kids just don't want to learn a given subject, particularly when (for instance) it's been taught badly in the past. Sometimes you do have to get on to them about it, there's been a lot of times when I've had to sit next to a kid and make them work through every single question on a sheet with me, it's no fun at all, but they always come out of it having learned something and otherwise, they'll just sit there, staring out of the window, not even thinking about the work.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 20:58
zarathustra wrote:
I'd rather they didn't receive medical aid from the State. Remember, the lefties (such as ZMag) who are calling for a national health insurance schema in the US are playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie. I was perusing the National Association of Manufacturer's website recently and I came on this gem:
Quote:
Rapidly increasing healthcare costs directly affect the bottom lines of U.S. manufacturers and steadily erode their competitiveness.

U.S. Department of Commerce (2004) "Manufacturing in America: A Comprehensive Strategy to Address the Challenges to U.S. Manufacturers"

Yes, this is true, they also have to pay us enough that we don't all starve to death to, but you don't see me arguing against campaigns for higher rates of pay. A proper national health service is a big part of our social wage, thousands die in the US every year because they can't afford health insurance, you don't see that happening in the UK.

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 20:59

Better to fight for higher pay and use your money responsibly to get healthcare than demand the state provide healthcare and keep your fingers crossed that it'll be any good.

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 21:00
Kevin Carson wrote:
The use of federal healthcare policy as a "progressive" smokescreen for the biggest insurance companies to attack their small competitors sounds awfully familiar.

http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/09/couple-of-items-on-healthcare.html

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Feb 24 2008 21:09
Anna wrote:
Surely it's obvious that if a young kid has a dedicated parent who is able to devote their days to teaching them one on one, they will probably learn better than a kid sat in an underfunded school with one teacher trying to keep a reign on 30 misbehaving kids. But it should be equally obvious that most working class parents have to go to work in order just to feed and clothe their kid, and so this option isn't applicable to the majority of people, hence 'unschooling' cannot provide a solution to the problem of education, and instead the obvious target of struggle should be ensuring better schooling facilities, smaller class sizes, better pay for teachers and classroom helpers etc.

This stuff also came up in the "troops to teachers" thread. Of course there's shitloads wrong with mainstream schools - teachers are overworked, underpaid and forced to teach inane shite to meet bureaucratic targets. Teaching assistants are undervalued and underpaid. Catering is contracted out to private companies feeding kids shite. Funny how if you challenge the route of these problems (oh eh capitalism) - we'd probably have a model in mainstream schools that was in effect beneficial and more in line with a libertarian conception of education.

Almost every single one of my mates growing up and now, both parents has worked most of their lives to pay shit like mortgages and run cars. Not a chance they'd have considered homeschooling and they'd slap anyone that told them their kids would have been better off at home. The one's that did have a parent at home (usually their mum) - certainly didn't have time to school kids because they were cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, visiting doctors and dentists, picking kids up and whatnot.
What's missing in the pro-homeschooling elements is a complete detachment from the reality for most parents.

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But if you have the time, resources and intellect to hothouse your kid, then there's nothing in particular wrong with doing it, at least while you're qualified to teach at the level they're at. It's just not a viable option for most families.

Exactly - it's all well and good and of course paramount are the interests of the kid. If you can help your kid learn really well, have the time, and the resources to do so, knock yourself out, that's awesome and I applaud you. But yes it simply isn't practical for most parents, and again, unless some sort of specialist teacher/facilitator is brought in (unless of course a parent is a polymath, which mine certainly weren't wink ) chances are that beyond a certain level, a kid's going to be extremely limited in its opportunity to learn, much more so than in a mainstream school.

And a dose of reality needs to be brought in as well. While school was pretty shite a lot of the time and a lot of people have shit memories of their days in school, it wasn't the demonic dehumanising experience for me or my mates that's it's made out to be. At worst it was a monotonous dreary tiring collection of habitual activities, but at it's best it was brilliant fun, very social, and even very interesting. I'll declare my cards here - I did actually really like school embarrassed Seriously, I kinda missed it when I left. *awaits hail of broken bottles*

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2008 21:09
jef costello wrote:
Jesus fuck would ypu all shut up.
You're all using exaggerated examples to back your shit up.

~State education is shit and a large number of teachers are crap and the ones who aren't are constrained by standardised testing and stats chasing. This doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater. The NHS isn't as good as I expect my healthcare system, it doesn't mean I decide in an anarchist society we won't have a healthcare system.

Unschooling must require a tremendous amount of effort on the part of the parent if, like arf, they do it all themselves, if they do it in collectives etc then what is the difference between that and a good school? A space with chilkdren and adults and equipment where the adult helps the children to learn. You don't need to 'make' children learn, they do it automatically, but unless you foster it right then they won't learn or they might spend six months doing the same thing because they find it fun.

arf would you mind answering some of the questions I asked you earlier? I'd be quite interested to read your responses rather than more of this crap between you madas and thora.

My own view of education is that there are certain things that we all should know and that the education system should ensure that we do learn them. I believe in structured teaching (not necessarily in a classroom or any of the cliches of the current system) I think it's good to teach children using everyday activites but I would deliberately set up activities that wold help me to teachcertain things which might not come up otherwise. I'd also rather have a specialist teaching some things to my kids, it'd be easier for them and for me as well.

Word

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jef costello
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Feb 24 2008 21:16
zarathustra wrote:
jef costello wrote:
Thora wrote:
So your objection is more about homeschooling damaging the position of teachers? I think most people are capable of educating their own children, certainly at primary level. It's not a special skill.

Firstly I don't think that that's madas' point.
Secondly teaching is a skill. Most people I know could not do my job. But most of them could be taught to do it. A skill is something that is learned and something that can be taught.

But parenting IS teaching. If you aren't up for teaching you aren't up for parenting.

I agree, parenting is also a skill, like teaching it is something that isn't innate. To an extent adults are designed to teach and children are designed to learn, but sadly the system we lives in changes us. I was a smart kid at school, because my parents read to me and if I ever had a question they always tried to answer it. A lot of parents don't do that and a lot of children don't grow up used to that.

madashell wrote:
jef costello wrote:
You don't need to 'make' children learn, they do it automatically, but unless you foster it right then they won't learn or they might spend six months doing the same thing because they find it fun.

I agree with most of what you're saying here, but that's not always the case, sometimes kids just don't want to learn a given subject, particularly when (for instance) it's been taught badly in the past. Sometimes you do have to get on to them about it, there's been a lot of times when I've had to sit next to a kid and make them work through every single question on a sheet with me, it's no fun at all, but they always come out of it having learned something and otherwise, they'll just sit there, staring out of the window, not even thinking about the work.

both Zarathustra and yourself picked up on this.
Children want to learn automatically (I agree that teaching is part of parenting) and I think as long as that desire is encouraged you'll never need to force them, obviouslt kids who have been badly educated or simply not encouraged by their parents won't be so keen and you will need to if not force, then coerce them. I was speaking in more in the ideal.

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 21:20

You should have seen me getting taught math, jef, when I was a kid! It was not pretty. If people had been more 19th century on me, maybe I wouldn't get all perplexed during "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" tongue

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 21:25
Choccy wrote:
And a dose of reality needs to be brought in as well. While school was pretty shite a lot of the time and a lot of people have shit memories of their days in school, it wasn't the demonic dehumanising experience for me or my mates that's it's made out to be. At worst it was a monotonous dreary tiring collection of habitual activities, but at it's best it was brilliant fun, very social, and even very interesting. I'll declare my cards here - I did actually really like school embarrassed Seriously, I kinda missed it when I left. *awaits hail of broken bottles*

Well, you're lucky. For many kids with so-called "learning disabilities" and pseudo-conditions like ADD and all that crap, school means forced Ritalin drugging, and all kinds of bizzare BS.

Quote:
We hear reports of people leaving the US to keep the witch doctors from frying their kid's brains - particularly given the fact that parents are now being arrested and having children taken from them for resisting compulsory drugging.

http://www.geocities.com/northstarzone/RITALIN.html

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Feb 24 2008 21:31
zarathustra wrote:
Choccy wrote:
And a dose of reality needs to be brought in as well. While school was pretty shite a lot of the time and a lot of people have shit memories of their days in school, it wasn't the demonic dehumanising experience for me or my mates that's it's made out to be. At worst it was a monotonous dreary tiring collection of habitual activities, but at it's best it was brilliant fun, very social, and even very interesting. I'll declare my cards here - I did actually really like school embarrassed Seriously, I kinda missed it when I left. *awaits hail of broken bottles*

Well, you're lucky. For many kids with so-called "learning disabilities" and pseudo-conditions like ADD and all that crap, school means forced Ritalin drugging, and all kinds of bizzare BS.

Quote:
We hear reports of people leaving the US to keep the witch doctors from frying their kid's brains - particularly given the fact that parents are now being arrested and having children taken from them for resisting compulsory drugging.

http://www.geocities.com/northstarzone/RITALIN.html

I worked with lots of kids working disabilities, and yes it is a bit shit, but I still think it's better they're educated with the rest of the kids. Can you clarify what you're getting at.
Ritalin seems to be a more US thing. Everytime I visited the US my friends there all had been given Ritalin or had mates/siblings that did - that shit seems to be given out willy-nilly over there! wink

zarathustra
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Feb 24 2008 21:40

You're right. It is better to be educated with other kids. I agree. But, as I said above, homeschoolers tend to work in local groups. Kids tend to actually have MORE time to hang out and play.

I think the benefits of kids going to school, being "normal" and being around loads of other kids is outweighed by the negative effects. At least for some kids. Specifically, "abnormal" kids.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 21:53
zarathustra wrote:
Well, you're lucky. For many kids with so-called "learning disabilities" and pseudo-conditions like ADD and all that crap, school means forced Ritalin drugging, and all kinds of bizzare BS.
Quote:
We hear reports of people leaving the US to keep the witch doctors from frying their kid's brains - particularly given the fact that parents are now being arrested and having children taken from them for resisting compulsory drugging.

http://www.geocities.com/northstarzone/RITALIN.html

While ritalin is hugely overused, for some kids it's necessary. I can think of a few kids I've been on a one to one with who go absolutely fucking mental if they're not on the stuff, they can actually be a bit scary. It's far from ideal but I don't see what else you can do if otherwise the kid's going to be shouting stuff all the time or standing on their desk without it.

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Feb 24 2008 21:56
jef costello wrote:
Children want to learn automatically (I agree that teaching is part of parenting) and I think as long as that desire is encouraged you'll never need to force them, obviouslt kids who have been badly educated or simply not encouraged by their parents won't be so keen and you will need to if not force, then coerce them. I was speaking in more in the ideal.

Well yeah, ideally I'd rather avoid doing it, and it's shit the way school knocks all the fun out of learning for some kids, I'm just not sure you can ever avoid it altogether.

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Feb 24 2008 22:08
madashell wrote:
jef costello wrote:
Children want to learn automatically (I agree that teaching is part of parenting) and I think as long as that desire is encouraged you'll never need to force them, obviouslt kids who have been badly educated or simply not encouraged by their parents won't be so keen and you will need to if not force, then coerce them. I was speaking in more in the ideal.

Well yeah, ideally I'd rather avoid doing it, and it's shit the way school knocks all the fun out of learning for some kids, I'm just not sure you can ever avoid it altogether.

A huge reason all the fun is taken out of learning is often to do with rediculous targets, league tables and curriculum demands schools and departments face. Say, if you're a science teacher, there's considerably less time for hands-on, outdoor, or practical work because you have to get through 3 units of work in one month to meet the term tests or some shit.

Also the bureacracy and climate of fear regarding fieldtrips/off-site visits is absurd. I wanted to take kids across the fucking road to Greenwich park to do some observational stuff, let them mess about and take pictures of trees, use quadrats and find insects whatever and just get some fresh air but, no - you have to fill out a million forms and contact parents and stuff, just to cross the road - so instead teachers just stick on a video and say "so, this is what a woodland/park/forest looks like" sad

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Feb 24 2008 22:13
Choccy wrote:
A huge reason all the fun is taken out of learning is often to do with rediculous targets, league tables and curriculum demands schools and departments face. Say, if you're a science teacher, there's considerably less time for hands-on, outdoor, or practical work because you have to get through 3 units of work in one month to meet the term tests or some shit.

Also the bureacracy and climate of fear regarding fieldtrips/off-site visits is absurd. I wanted to take kids across the fucking road to Greenwich park to do some observational stuff, let them mess about and take pictures of trees, use quadrats and find insects whatever and just get some fresh air but, no - you have to fill out a million forms and contact parents and stuff, just to cross the road - so instead teachers just stick on a video and say "so, this is what a woodland/park/forest looks like" :(

Too true, you can't even take them to McDonalds without forms signed, stamped in triplicate and then buried in a peat bog for six months. You can minimise this kind of stuff, but I reckon even in a communist society you're going to get some shit teachers and some shit situations making things crap for kids now and again.

martinh
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Feb 24 2008 22:25
Choccy wrote:
A huge reason all the fun is taken out of learning is often to do with rediculous targets, league tables and curriculum demands schools and departments face. Say, if you're a science teacher, there's considerably less time for hands-on, outdoor, or practical work because you have to get through 3 units of work in one month to meet the term tests or some shit.

Also the bureacracy and climate of fear regarding fieldtrips/off-site visits is absurd. I wanted to take kids across the fucking road to Greenwich park to do some observational stuff, let them mess about and take pictures of trees, use quadrats and find insects whatever and just get some fresh air but, no - you have to fill out a million forms and contact parents and stuff, just to cross the road - so instead teachers just stick on a video and say "so, this is what a woodland/park/forest looks like"

Choccy , do you honestly think state education is reformable? This shit is only going to get worse, what with education being a political football, and education policies being half about education, half about allowing parents to work and, in secondary particularly, about keeping kids off the streets and causing trouble.

Until the social control/creche functions are separated (and the creche functions are why our kids start school at 4, for up to 10 hours a day under Labour's plans) from the educational ones, it's going to remain problematic. While I think some progress has been made in education in the last 30 years (kids are less likely to leave primary unable to read and write - particularly native born ones, for example) - lots of other things have gone backwards. There are virtually no extra-curricular activities, you talked yourself about taking kids off site (something my daughter's school does do, thankfully).

Ah well, I'm almost tempted to start home schooling, after all this. If only we had the time roll eyes

Regards,

Martin

arf
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Feb 24 2008 23:41

jef i missed your questions but ill go back and look for them sometime in the next few days, sorry for that, im not being rude just got a busy week.

fwiw - i dont think home edding is particularly difficult. its challenging and some days are hellish, but work and school can both be hellish too. i think HE when youre working to a curriculum must be really hard, im crap at timetables and routines, i cant make them work for me at all. but unschooling works really well for me. i think a lot of unschooling is just learning to see the value in everything we do, using every normal everyday things as an inspiration or opportunity for learning or doing something together. like even baking, its fun and you get cakes at the end of it, but it has value as a learning experience as well as a fun activity. if the kids show an interest you go with that, no pressure, and if they just want to be left to play then thats good too. im a big fan of playing and i think its just as worthwhile an activity as anything else.

yuda
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Feb 24 2008 23:46
zarathustra wrote:
jef costello wrote:
Thora wrote:
So your objection is more about homeschooling damaging the position of teachers? I think most people are capable of educating their own children, certainly at primary level. It's not a special skill.

Firstly I don't think that that's madas' point.
Secondly teaching is a skill. Most people I know could not do my job. But most of them could be taught to do it. A skill is something that is learned and something that can be taught.

But parenting IS teaching. If you aren't up for teaching you aren't up for parenting.

Exactly.

Also as a parent if you aren't into learning new skills yourself you're not going to do a good job either. I've also seen the argument on here that for example if you're shite at maths how can you teach it? Well homeschoolers aren't just left to their own devices, you get a number of resources you can use and you're learning along with your child.

Myself and my partner are looking at setting up a home school goup with other parents in our area, we will also enroll our children in a school that supports home schooling, that way we aren't going it alone, our kids still get to mix with their peers and we can also use the resources that the local school has to offer

arf
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Feb 24 2008 23:58

My kids do some organised activity (gym, martial arts). i really want to get the girl guitar lessons, shes been asking for ages, but its too expensive and i cant find anyone to share a lesson. i was hoping to find someone through the local LETS scheme (local exchange thing) but no luck so far. i cant teach her myself unfortunately, cos i dont play. i did try to learn but its not for me. sooner or later we'll find someone who can help though, either that or ill cut something out of our budget to pay for the lessons.

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Feb 25 2008 00:45
martinh wrote:
Choccy wrote:
A huge reason all the fun is taken out of learning is often to do with rediculous targets, league tables and curriculum demands schools and departments face. Say, if you're a science teacher, there's considerably less time for hands-on, outdoor, or practical work because you have to get through 3 units of work in one month to meet the term tests or some shit.

Also the bureacracy and climate of fear regarding fieldtrips/off-site visits is absurd. I wanted to take kids across the fucking road to Greenwich park to do some observational stuff, let them mess about and take pictures of trees, use quadrats and find insects whatever and just get some fresh air but, no - you have to fill out a million forms and contact parents and stuff, just to cross the road - so instead teachers just stick on a video and say "so, this is what a woodland/park/forest looks like"

Choccy , do you honestly think state education is reformable? This shit is only going to get worse, what with education being a political football, and education policies being half about education, half about allowing parents to work and, in secondary particularly, about keeping kids off the streets and causing trouble.

Until the social control/creche functions are separated (and the creche functions are why our kids start school at 4, for up to 10 hours a day under Labour's plans) from the educational ones, it's going to remain problematic. While I think some progress has been made in education in the last 30 years (kids are less likely to leave primary unable to read and write - particularly native born ones, for example) - lots of other things have gone backwards. There are virtually no extra-curricular activities, you talked yourself about taking kids off site (something my daughter's school does do, thankfully).

Ah well, I'm almost tempted to start home schooling, after all this. If only we had the time roll eyes

Regards,

Martin

I had mixed experiences - the school in Bexleyheath had next to no extra curricular activities and was just a mess. My dept was lovely but the school was a fucking mess, ruined by PFIs and manager who had no fucking clue abut the realities or practicalities for teachers or kids.
Whereas the school in Greenwich/Blackheath was much better organised, slightly smaller class sizes, better teacher-pupil relations, and far more extra curricular activities. I miss that school.

I did meet a lot of really lovely people who genuinely gave a shit about kids and were enthusiastic about their subjects, unfortunately paperwork, targets and bureaucracy took the joy out of most of it. I only organised one off-site trip to the Science Museum which was cool, but it was the nerds from the science club we did so they were self-selecting and keen - still had a ridiculous amount of paperwork to do - worth it though.

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Feb 25 2008 01:23
arf wrote:
jef i missed your questions but ill go back and look for them sometime in the next few days, sorry for that, im not being rude just got a busy week.

no problem, I'll be interested to hear what you think when you've got some time to answer.