Bears' Guide to Earning High School Diplomas Nontraditionally

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Tom Head, Jul 19, 2003.

  1. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    I just received my copy of Tom Nixon's Bears' Guide to Earning High School Diplomas last week, and am thoroughly impressed with it; it has one of the best signal-to-noise ratios that I've seen in an education book in some time. There are no filler pages; each chapter covers a specific set of options and then, if those options apply to you, the entire relevant chapter will be helpful.

    I'm particularly happy, as a homeschooled student, about what he did with the homeschooling chapter. I'd granted him an interview on my homeschooling background some months ago (reprinted on pp. 60-61), but was skeptical that someone could do justice to the idea in one chapter of a relatively slim book. He did extremely well--with plenty of sound advice, intensive research, and contact information on regional homeschooling associations--and, as was par for the course, did so without pretense or wasted words. The entire chapter is made up of sound data and sound advice--and the advice really is sound, sidestepping both the wild and lighthearted hype of the homeschooling movement and the vaguely ominous "socialization" drum-beating of the anti-homeschooling movement. All of the advice given in this chapter really seems sensible; if I were doing a book on homeschooling, this is exactly the sort of tone and philosophy I like to think I'd use. No hype, no mystique, just practical advice.

    Anyone seriously in the market for a high school diploma would be well-served to give this book a glance. It isn't the sort of book you're likely to pick up and read from beginning to end (as is the case with most education books, the average student will only find a few chapters relevant to his/her own needs), but it has pretty much all the relevant information that can be found on the topic of nontraditional high school diplomas. My obvious conflict of interest aside, I'd give it my highest recommendation.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2003
  2. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

    I seem to recall Rich Douglas having a rather strong opinion about homeschooling (and parents who choose to do it). I wonder if he'll chime in on the subject...

    Ah, here it is:
    Wow, homeschooling is tantamount to child neglect! Thus, Tom Nixon is giving people information that could be used to help enable neglect of their own children. Tom Head, I assume that you disagree with this assessment? Since you were homeschooled, I'd be interested in hearing your perspective on these comments.
  3. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

    I sincerely apologize (to Rich, Tom, and everyone) if my post comes across as being overly antagonistic. I'm genuinely interested in hearing Tom's response to Rich's opinion, but I could have elicited it with more tact. I'd like to blame it on stress and lack of sleep, but really there's no excuse.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I haven't read Tom's book.

    I have an opinion about home schooling.

    I doubt I could debate Tom--or even comment on his views--with authority.

    He might change my mind.

    He might not.
  5. kf5k

    kf5k member

    First- a home-schooled child does not have to be part of, or have parents who are members of a religious cult. If you have proof of cults controlling home schooling, please present that proof.

    Please show what proof, if any, that home schooled children are victims of child neglect. I would like to know their names and where this occurred.

    The same things may be said of the home schooled college student. In almost all cases a B & M school exists that could be used by students young and old. They would have more social contact, make future job contacts, have direct contact with teachers for hours, more exchange of information between themselves and others, gain the benefit of exchange of ideas with others on a daily basis. If learning at home is inferior for high school, why would it not be inferior for the same reasons for college?

    If home schooling is child neglect, it is also child neglect to allow a child to take college courses by mail instead of the B & M method. There are numerous reports of children earning college degrees by mail. Is this the result of a religious cult, or child neglect?

    Rich Douglas, if you have proof of any kind to support your comments about home schooled children or their parents, please present it, or is this opinion completely devoid of facts, merely your opinion.

    Rich, your comments are narrow, biased, and in no way based on any facts!!
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  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I think I made it clear that I was offering my opinion. Rather than characterize mine, perhaps you could stick to yours? (Characterize, not refute. Of course I expect people to refute points of view. But the labeling you engage in is not conducive to the exploration of this issue.)
  7. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    My opinion on homeschooling is similar to Rich's.

    I think that it can work well if parents are capable, prepared and willing to expend the effort. Nevertheless, I don't think that it's scaleable to the general population. Most parents simply aren't capable, prepared or willing to expend the effort. And I also share Rich's concern that a loud segment of homeschooling proponents do seem to be religious seperatist militants of one sort or another. That troubles me.

    Bottom line: Home-schooling might work well in special cases for a special kind of student, but it probably isn't wise to suggest it as an alternative that's appropariate for all or even for most students.
  8. kf5k

    kf5k member

    You claim that home schooled children are the victims of child neglect.

    That parents of home-schooled children are unqualified to teach their children.

    You state that religious cults are involved.

    That home-schooled children are deprived of social contact.

    That education at home is a "Poor substitute for REAL EDUCATION".

    I ask you to prove your statements!
  9. kf5k

    kf5k member

    Then show me where you are getting these facts. Where is your evidence that home schooling is about religious cultism, or that parents are incapable of teaching their children? Militants, where does that come from? Do you agree that children of home schooling are neglected, or that their parents have been guilty of neglect? Are you saying as did Rich that children educated at home have a"Poor Education", or that they lack social skills?

    As I said to Rich," Back these charges with evidence-proof."
  10. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    I won't bite; Rich and I have already been around this bush a few times, he knows his view is unpopular, and I don't really want to give him the Custer treatment on this. Folks who are seriously interested in my views on homeschooling can take the issue up later, in a less--shall we say--antagonistic way.

    What I will say is that neither I nor Tom Nixon have ever suggested that everybody should be expected to homeschool their kids; what I have said is that everybody should have the right to do so.

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  11. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    (And Gary--don't sweat the tone of the post. This sort of thing happens to me all the time. Less often now that my doctor has taken me off coffee, but it'll still probably happen often enough to embarrass me. This is an emotionally charged issue for many folks, myself included, and a certain amount of hyperbole is par for the course. The important thing is to know when to jump off of an argument when it becomes too emotional and too tied in with folks' personalities and perceptions of one another, because that's a situation where nobody can change his or her mind without backtracking, and where in any case the focus of the discussion is bound to shift from the topic itself to the personalities discussing that topic. Cheers, TH)
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Once again, I share Rich's misgivings about homeschooling.

    I don't think that most parents are able or willing to competently homeschool their children, so I don't think that homeschooling is a credible alternative to conventional schooling for the average person, even though it might work very well in special cases.

    (Just look at the public's average educational levels and at the fact that most parents work.)

    I also have misgivings about some of the voices in the homeschooling movement, who seem to have sectarian motives.

    Finally, I question whether parents have any absolute right to choose homeschooling for their children, without careful consideration beforehand of whether they have the preparation, means and motivation to make it work. If they don't, unsuccessfully making the attempt to homeschool might constitute something very much like neglect.
  13. Charles

    Charles New Member

    Home School Legal Defense Association

    I find this website fascinating. Michael Farris, the President of Patrick Henry College, is the Chairman of the HSLDA.
  14. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Well, okay, I'm nervous about arguing with Rich because he's getting the Spanish Inquisition, but since we've argued about stuff for four or five years with no hurt feelings, I think we can hash this out.
    The reason that doesn't work as an indicator is that what a homeschooling parent is trying to do is really much easier than what a traditional teacher is trying to do. A homeschooling parent only has to educate his or her own children--which allows more time for independent research on the teacher's part, to fill in relevant gaps in his or her own knowledge, and allows the curriculum to be tailored to the needs of each individual student. This is why standardized test results have reliably shown that a reasonably intelligent parent who is willing to dedicate time to the homeschooling process can homeschool his or her children and do as well, or better, than most professional educators could do in a classroom setting.
    So do I, but the fact of the matter is that many parochial schools were built with sectarian motives, too. The idea of separation of church and state should extend to any public or subsidized institution, but that doesn't mean that private and independent educators and educational institutions should be secularized. I'm not a parent myself, but I think I can say with some confidence that I strongly disagree with the way that some conservatives homeschool their kids; but I also disagree with the way some churches socialize kids. Fact of the matter is that it isn't up to me.
    I don't believe that homeschooling is an absolute right, and I think I've seen cases where teenagers were not properly educated when they were homeschooled. There's nothing mystical about the word "homeschooling" that will educate a neglected child. But then I've also seen cases where teenagers were not properly educated when they attended a public school. Statistically, the homeschoolers are more likely to do well academically.

    I'm not necessarily averse to the idea of introducing state-mandated standards to homeschooling--it has already been done in some states--but it should be done in an intelligent and reasonably libertarian way. Overworked public school administrators should not be in the position of giving parents permission to homeschool their children; neglect is a serious crime, but like all crimes, it should be proven and not assumed.

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  15. kf5k

    kf5k member

    There is still not one word of evidence presented, only unsubstantiated allegations. If you can show proof that what you have said is true show it.

    If you want real information check the site Charles mentioned.

    here's another-

    Here are two books with real facts-
    Home- Schooling-Step-By-Step by-Gold & Zielinski 2002

    Homeschooling For Success by- Kochenderfer & Kanna

    It is estimated by researcher Brian Ray that from 1.5-1.9 million homeschoolers existed in 2001, and this is growing by about 7% a year. People who home school are all types of people from all walks of life, and they do so for all sorts of reasons. They are not religious cultists or some type of ignorant, uneducated clowns, but are decent people making a personal choice. If anyone can prove the claims against home schooling then state the facts and where you got them so we may debate them. I'm ready, numbers, judicial cases, periodical review. List your sources and facts, lets start the discussion.
  16. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Anecdotal evidence

    I do not personally know anyone with a college degree doing home schooling.

    Most of the people (few) whom I know, that home school are members of non-mainstream religious groups.

    Are my observations unique?
  17. Gary Rients

    Gary Rients New Member

    Maybe not unique, but certainly very different than my own experience. The majority of homeschooling families that I know personally have at least one parent (and usually both) with a bachelor's or master's degree. Honestly though, I'm not sure that I consider it relevant to the needs of the child. I agree with Tom's assertion that a reasonably intelligent person who is willing to dedicate the time is capable of teaching their children. I'm not sure that there's necessarily a correlation between a person being reasonably intelligent and that person having a college degree. However, I do feel that it's a good example for a parent to set.

    Dedicated parents can also (fairly easily) find good social outlets for their children. I certainly don't consider the overall social environment in many schools to be a generally positive one, so I'm honestly not sure how "going to school" could be considered healthy socialization. Admittedly, my opinion is probably influenced by my own negative experience growing up in public schools, but what I experienced is far from unique.
  18. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    In most of the homeschooling families I'm familiar with (I'd say half to two-thirds), at least one of the parents is/was a college graduate. At the time I was homeschooled, my mother actually wasn't--she was an R.N., and didn't get her degree until a year after I graduated from Regents (three guesses where she finished it!). Time magazine's poll on this from late 2001 addressed this, I think; unless I'm remembering another article, it said that something like 65% of homeschooling famiies have at least one parent with a college degree.
    Homeschooling is a movement in which evangelicals are overrepresented; this I won't argue with. But I don't think it's fair to characterize it as an evangelical movement (just as conservatives are statistically overrepresented here, but this isn't a "conservative" board).

  19. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with both points, and I'm wondering why so many people here have a conservative slant. :confused:

  20. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I gave the keynote speech at the two biggest homeschooling conventions 3 or 4 years ago, one very conservative (NHLDF), one not.

    My most vivid memory is of the elevators in the hotels.

    At the non-conservative one in Texas, the children had decorated the hotel elevators with wild and crazy drawings. They were singing as the elevators went up and down. They were racing elevator vs. stairs. There was a chess game going permanently in one, with new riders moving the pieces. The children were in brightly-colored clothing, tie dyes, costumes, silly hats.

    At NHLD the little boys all wore suits and ties and the little girls all wore white or pastel dresses, and they stood quietly and faced the front.

    Different strokes, indeed.

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