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To think these children are being let down?

(40 Posts)
EarthboundMisfit Thu 28-Apr-16 11:40:22

And, if so, WWYD if anything?

A year ago, a member of my extended family in the US began home educating her children as she was unhappy with the school system and the lack of religious education her children were receiving.

I think home ed can be a great thing, but I'm really concerned, both from following her home ed blog and hearing her talk, always very positively, about their experiences.

She has 5 children aged from 8 to a year old. Home ed for the older 3 consists of two math worksheets per day, a literacy worksheet eg copying letters and then a 'daily project'. Examples from her blog...watching roadworks in the street, watching birds in the rain, going for a picnic, playing with Lego. That's it, apart from lots of church attendance.

Her 8yo cannot read anything except CVC words. He doesn't want to learn and she is waiting 'until he is ready'.

Her latest blog was entitled 'What about socialization?' 'People always worry about socialization for home educated children. The dictionary says socialization is control of methods of production by the state. Tell me, how is that a good thing for our children?'

This was the last straw for me.

I am deeply concerned about these kids. Would you say something? I have no idea about home ed in California...I'm English. Should she be overseen by education officials, or is she just left to it? Is there anywhere she can be reported to, since other family members have gently suggested it's not working out and have been harshly rebuffed?

acasualobserver Thu 28-Apr-16 11:45:31

It seems, in most places in the world, if you want to mistreat your children - up to a certain point at least - you can do so with impunity. I'm not sure there's much you can do.

Dvallin Thu 28-Apr-16 11:52:21

What you've written doesn't sound terribly concerning.

Lots of HE kids do things later than the national curriculum in the UK would deem appropriate, and lots master things sooner.

By the time they are applying for 6th form, or college, they are all on the same page (assuming that's the route they choose to take).

HE is very common in the States, and colleges there are very used to home schooled applicants.

Grade school expectations tend to be somewhat lower than the age equivalents here too, so academically the kids are probably doing OK.

Shoxfordian Thu 28-Apr-16 11:59:57

Having a quick google, it seems you have to register in a certain way to homeschool in California

I found out how to report it if this helps

I'm thinking it would be this as you haven't said other particular neglect:

Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the instruction required by law should be reported to the local school district. I suppose you'd have to check where she lives and which district but this shouldn't be too tricky.

From what you've said it does seem like the children aren't getting proper education and I think it'd be reasonable to report

EarthboundMisfit Thu 28-Apr-16 12:15:24

The blog details everything they do at length, so I am pretty certain that's it. Perhaps it's normal. I only know 2 other home ed families in any depth and their kids seem to be doing wonderfully in learning about all kinds of things, with ingenious field trips to quite ordinary places but with an educational aspect. I'm just really concerned about these.

FlaviaAnsell Thu 28-Apr-16 12:20:18

The dictionary says socialization is control of methods of production by the state.

Isn't that socialism?hmm

mummyto2monkeys Thu 28-Apr-16 12:20:20

As a home educating parent and ex primary teacher, I'm sorry but YABU. I am terrible at updating my blog, but I am still teaching my son. You cannot judge your friends education provision via her blog. Home Education is popular in America, there are regular groups and workshops. There is an entire world to explore and learn from.

Your friends son would likely have the same issues in school. At home she can give him one to one support and help him grow in confidence. Many uk children move up to Academy with very poor reading/ writing skills.

There are different types/ styles of home education. I know of families who do no formal schooling at all, they 'unschool' and somehow their children have turned out great! In fact one family I know of have two sons in University studying Medicine and Engineering.

Can you imagine someone reporting you for neglecting your children, based on the fact that all of your photographs on Facebook show your children alone? The only way that you could possibly know that your friend is neglecting the education of her children, is if you were in her house following her around as she follows her routine.

G1raffe Thu 28-Apr-16 12:24:55

One of the freedoms of he. Is to take things at a slower pace. I keep wondering about HE as our local junior school is really struggling. But I think learning by worksheets is boring compared to in a group and school done well can be so enriching and stimulating.

I'd not want to go down the just pottering about with the odd worksheet route but people are free to. And avoids all the stimulation of school.

Kitsandkids Thu 28-Apr-16 12:28:42

2 maths sheets, a literacy sheet and a daily project sounds like quite a bit. Last summer holidays my kids did equivalent to about that every day and still made more progress than they had during the previous year at school. Don't forget, at school there is lots of 'wasted' time for things such as lining up, doing the register, waiting while the teacher deals with someone misbehaving etc. They're not solidly doing work for 6 hours.

It sounds like these children are getting an education. It may not be an education you entirely agree with but they are getting one.

acasualobserver Thu 28-Apr-16 12:35:53

It sounds like these children are getting an education

Indeed, from someone who doesn't know the differences between socialism and socialization.

Malvolia Thu 28-Apr-16 12:43:25

People always worry about socialization for home educated children. The dictionary says socialization is control of methods of production by the state. Tell me, how is that a good thing for our children?'

I'd be more worried about her inability to read a dictionary entry and make any sense of it. Unless there are still paranoiac McCarthy-era anti-communist dictionaries in circulation in the US? hmm

StealthPolarBear Thu 28-Apr-16 12:49:26

Has no one pointed out the irony to her?
Wonder what she'll get if she looks up irony grin

Jackie0 Thu 28-Apr-16 12:50:10

I'd be more concerned about their involvement in church. I wonder if she's teaching creationism

EarthboundMisfit Thu 28-Apr-16 12:56:44

It's tricky. I've never homeschooled, so I just don't know, and I'm only in the area once a year or so. It's a big topic of concern among the family, which does include other home educators, and as I said, their concerns have been rebuffed soundly. Perhaps IABU then. I've kept well out of it up until now, but I think the misused dictionary definition felt like the last straw because I thought a huge part of home educating was giving children the tools to do their own research, and if their mum can't do that for herself, how will she show them?

EarthboundMisfit Thu 28-Apr-16 13:00:49

Yes, she does teach Creationism. She posted the other day that her 5yo asked why parrots have big beaks, and how it was a wonderful opportunity to teach how God made all animals suited to their environments and met all their needs.

WellThisIsAwful Thu 28-Apr-16 13:02:06

I got to the word 'religion' and decided yanbu. However, I don't think there is anything you can do about it.

Jackie0 Thu 28-Apr-16 13:17:44

Well hopefully the kids will be able to break free from brain washing nonsense like that when they are older .
It's a shame they aren't getting a better start in life but sadly it's still legal to fill children's heads full of all sorts of mumbo jumbo.

EarthboundMisfit Thu 28-Apr-16 13:20:52

I know. It's her right to believe what she wants, I'm just concerned they won't be able to get a job because they can't do basic English or maths. But you're right, there's not a lot I can do. If people had unilaterally said YANBU to report, I'd have done so, but as it's split I won't report as I wouldn't be convinced I had good reason to.

Bogeyface Thu 28-Apr-16 16:13:26

Home Education is a tool that is often used by religious fundementalists fanatics in the US to indoctrinate children away from the "evil" influence of the school system. They brook no arguments with their beliefs and therefore keep their children away from anybody that may threaten their world view. The Duggars, although an extreme example, show how damaging this can be.

I think that reporting them would be the best thing to do. At best, she is doing just fine and you can relax about it or at worst she really is failing them and the authorities can help them get the education they need, either by supporting her or finding a school that suits them.

MadamDeathstare Thu 28-Apr-16 16:27:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rainbunny Thu 28-Apr-16 16:42:18

I think the lack of regulation over homeschooling here (USA) is a disgrace. A child has a RIGHT to an education and there is little to no oversight of homeschooling. Here are two interesting articles on the subject:

Of course some parents are wonderful at homeschooling but too many are not.

witsender Thu 28-Apr-16 16:43:00

It is highly unlikely that they will never learn to read or write tbh.

G1raffe Thu 28-Apr-16 16:47:36

I'm not sure you can report for creationism. Whole homeschooling science curriculums are based on it in America...

I knew a family in the UK who homeschooled and we're creationists. Kids bright, and write. Spent ages on computer games most of the day and lots of nature videos. Another friend went to.christian school in America where the "pace" curriculum was similar to homeschool and all the answers for whatever topic seemed Bible related.

Spandexpants007 Thu 28-Apr-16 16:55:14

In lots of countries round the world, formal education only starts at 7 years old. Starting formal education at 4 as they do in Britain is rather premature/pushy and doesn't result in a better education. Surely it's good to help kids develop in a more rounded fashion before pushing them into regimented and less creative ways.

All the home ed folk I know have lots of social things going on. They are a part of huge home schooling communities with a wide range of provision.

Whats more their education is led by the children's interest. Home ed children on average also finish with better grades than state educated children.

Rainbunny Thu 28-Apr-16 16:57:50

Witsender - What are the chances that one or both parents are likely to be remotely qualified to teach a full range of subjects to a highschool SAT level? Even if the children are introduced into the public education system by junior-high the may be seriously behind their peers.

I only knew one person in the UK who was homeschooled, her parents were incredibly intelligent and she got into Cambridge University at 15 years old. I completely understood that situation as my friend could not have been adequately challenged to her academic ability in the regular education system but here in the States homeschooling is often done because the parents want to teach a religious based education, not because they have academically gifted children whom they can educate at a higher level than a school.

I have no problem with homeschooling when it is conducted properly, I have a huge concern with the lack of regulation over it here though. There are homeschool survivors groups for a reason, it's heartbreaking to read some of the accounts by young people who have been denied a real education.

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