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Welcome to our index of diaries posted on this Daily KOS "Education Alternatives" group page as part of our ongoing homeschooling/unschooling series. We will continue to update it as more diaries are added to the series. The diaries are currently organized under the following headings...

* Progressivism and Unschooling/Homeschooling
* Personal journeys in Unschooling/Homeschooling
* Resources for Homeschooling and Unschooling Parents
* Socialization

Current posts are through 7/6/2012.

Simply click on the title of a diary to be taken to its full text and the comments it generated...

Progressivism and Homeschooling/Unschooling

Homeschooling - Erasing the Stereotypes (2/18/2012 by angelajean) - A call for advocates of homeschooling and unschooling to come forward with positive pieces on the subject to counter what appears to be a conventional wisdom among many progressives that homeschooling and unschooling are part of a right-wing challenge to public schooling.

Thoughts on (some) Liberals Homeschooling our Kids (3/3/2012 by leftyparent) - A response to the opinion piece, “Liberals, Don’t Homeschool Your Kids: Why teaching children at home violates progressive values”,  by Slate magazine contributor Dana Goldstein.

No, Rick, a public virtual school is not home school (and other definitions) (3/17/2012 by ForidaSNMOM) - Challenging GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum's assertion that his kid's are homeschooled.

Happy Birthday John Holt – “Patron Saint” of Unschooling (4/14/2012 by leftyparent) - A look at the life and work of homeschooling/unschooling pioneer John Holt.

Not There Yet (4/21/2012 by Nance) - Imagining a day when the right to and the rightness of homeschooling is so ingrained in societal choices that it is taken for granted.

Just another Unschooling Story – No Big Deal (4/27/2012 by leftyparent) - A review of the Psychology Today piece “Meet Kate Fridkis, Who Skipped K-12 and Is Neither Weird nor Homeless” by Peter Gray, a top-flight spokesperson for this “life path” for young people that does not involve routinely going to school.

Every parent home-schools (4/28/2012 by Foothills of Oblivion) - Education begins at home, even if parents send their kids to school.

Saturday Night Homeschool Fever (4/302012 by leftyparent) - A review of and rant about Dennis Danziger's piece critical of homeschooling, “Home School Fever”, in the April 24 edition of the Huffington Post.

What the homeschooling world has to offer (5/2/2012 by smalakoff) - Looking at two stories in the media involving educators taking a second look at  homeschooling and drawing inspiration from it, and a third story of two successful grown homeschoolers.

Why in the hell would you homeschool? (5/19/2012 by rosabw) - A review of a study on the different reasons Americans homeschool their kids.

From Feminism to Unschooling (6/2/2012 by leftyparent) - A review of Wendy Priesnitz's piece, “Unschooling as a feminist act” republished in the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) Education Revolution magazine.

Under 12 minutes and everything that's wrong with our education system explained. Unbelievable (6/16/2012 by angelajean) - A review of Sir Ken Robinson's white-board video "Changing Education Paradigms".

My Take on Learning in the 21st Century (8/18/2012 by leftyparent) - As an unschooler, leftyparent's take on how education may transform itself as an institution in the 21st century.
21st Century "Hybrid" Education (9/1/2012 by leftyparent) - The diarist take on hpw our educationg system will evolve in the 21st century.

Personal journeys in Homeschooling/Unschooling

Homeschooling: Our Journey (3/9/2012 by tigerlilymom) - Choices the diarist's family made concerning their children's education and why they made them.

Unschooling in the Art of Social Transformation (3/12/2012 by leftyparent) - The diarist's own experience learning outside of school in the area of political activism and social change.

From homeschooling fundie to free-thinker (3/15/2012 by jabbausaf) - The diarist's experience growing up homeschooled in a religiously fundamentalist family and then becoming a free thinker instead.

What's a progressive to do? Our decision to homeschool wasn't easy! (3/31/2012 by k8dd8d) - The story of the diarist's difficult decision to homeschool, and the issues it raises about liberals supporting public education while taking their own kids out of public schools.

The Road to Homeschooling or Kicking and Screaming (4/7/2012 by Lily O Lady) - The diarist's story of homeschooling her two kids including a son diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

My Experience With Unschooling (Abbreviated) (4/26/2012 by chicgeek) - The diarist's own experience unschooling instead of going to high school.

Explaining String Theory to a 9 year old (5/4/2012 by FloridaSNMOM) - The diarist's story of teaching her homeschooled kids science.

Unschooling in the Art of Religion (5/6/2012 by leftyparent) - The diarist's story of life learning about religion, outside of any formal educational setting.

Schooling on the Move (5/12/2012 by angelajean) - The diarist's story of being a military spouse, constantly moving her family and trying to facilitate her kids' education.

Unschooled by my Electronic Greek Chorus (6/11/2012 by leftyparent) - The role of the lyrics in popular music in the diarist's own ethical development.

Back to School (8/11/2012 by angelajean) - A homeschooling mom looks at our cultures back-to-school rituals compared to those with her homeschooled kids.

A Blue-Collar Girl in a White-Collar World (8/25/2012 by chicgeek) - Chicgeek tells her story of navigating young adulthood after parting with formal education after 9th grade and the whole white-collar dominated world that that formal education is the conventional gateway to.

Resources for Homeschooling and Unschooling Parents

How to Homeschool on a Shoestring Budget (3/10/2012 by FloridaSNMOM) - How to use one's ingenuity to create an enriched learning environment for homeschooling.

Home Schooling Lessons (5/26/2012 by GreenMother) - Looking at the use of flash cards and gardening as two techniques to facilitate homeschooling.

Observation: Unexpected Benefit of Home Schooling (6/12/2012 by GreenMother) - How homeschooling can lift an entire family out of "educational poverty" as the parents learn along with their children.

Homeschooling Awakens a Desire for Learning (6/30/2012 by Zoltan) - The diarist's story of pulling his daughter out of school, homeschooling her, and witnessing her transition from learning what she had to when she had to in school to wanting to learn on her own timetable.

Living Math Not Just for Homeschoolers (7/7/2012 by angelajean) - A variety of games and books used by an unschooling parent to help her kids learn basic math skills.

Resources I Use for Homeschooling (9/8/2012 by by Mommyp00ka) - Calling out homeschool resources the diarist has used.


Homeschooling: The Dreaded 'S' Word, Socialization (2/25/2012 by angelajean) - Attempting to launch an honest conversation about homeschooling and socialization.

Homeschooling and Socialization (2/25/2012 by KGardner) - A list of tips for homeschoolers to promote social interaction with others.

Does homeschooling destroy the community? (3/24/2012 by Gareth) - Challenging the argument that homeschooling parents are unfairly depriving the community of their contributions to the education of all.

Originally posted to leftyparent on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 05:19:55 PM PDT

  •  Yay! thanks for posting this leftyparent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, leftyparent

    Thanks for all the work you've done on it. It looks great and should be a good resource for our community.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

  •  My two cents... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, elmo

    I guess I'm a bit shocked to see that there's a significant home-schooling community on this site.  As a fan of public education, let me (try to) list the reasons for and against home-schooling your children...

    It's your choice
    The biggest (and perhaps) the only reason I have in favor of home-schooling is that it's available as a choice for all parents.  Without this choice, we're reduced to a world where unnamed bureaucrats take away your kids and teach them god-only-knows-what.  So, kudos for all who venture down the home-schooling path... it's keeping our public schools honest.

    It's a full time job
    Isn't it?  Is this something you can do before/after you go to work?  No... it's something that someone has to spend their day working on.  And so, in my view, it's about as elitist as sending your kids to a private school.  In one case, you have enough time, in the other you have enough money.  I never seem to have enough of either.  If you're able to home-school your kids or send them to a private school, then good for you.  But that doesn't help the rest of us.

    Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
    The folks who teach at public schools have (at least) some sort of certification that says they're capable of handling the material and presenting it to the students.  I really don't know any couple that I would trust with the education of my son.  They might think that they're more than capable, but... well, I'll just leave it at that.  To me, the diary of the parent who tried to teach string-theory was quite disturbing.

    Play-Dates are not "socialization"
    The biggest benefit I had from my public education was from being around all sort of kids from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of talents.  I learned to be respectful and polite to everyone, and learned that every kid has a good side (even the ones that were supposed to be not-so-good).  Ain't no way this is happening at home or at social events orchestrated by the parents.

    Where's the mutual benefit?
    With charter schools, I can see how lessons learned by a charter school can be applied to the public schools and be a benefit for all.  How does this work with home schooling?  I see that home-schoolers exchange ideas and (perhaps) improve things, but with what metric?  And (if they are improving things in a way that we all agree is worthwhile) how can those ideas be applied to public education?
    And, I guess, this is my biggest problem with home-schooling.  My Mom isn't a dullard, but she really wanted us to memorize things.  Why?  Who knows... but she thought it was important.  If she decided to home-school us, then I'm sure that I would have been able to recite half of David Copperfield by the time I was sixteen.  And if, God forbid, my Mom found some other home-schoolers who also thought that memorization was important, they would have unearthed any number of very effective ways of getting us to memorize things.  And I'd be a sooper-genius if the ability to memorize had any value... or a freakish bum otherwise.  

    You can't let naysayers (like me) get you down
    I have no hope for the folks who home-school their kids so that they'll learn that humans lived during the age of dinosaurs.  Maybe the folks in this home-schooling community will achieve some sort of break-through... maybe it's that kids learn more from gardening than from book-lernin' (although my son's elementary school did stress it's vegetable garden).  Maybe it's that you only need 15 minutes of "lecture time" every two hours to be effective.  I don't know... but I do know that without you home-schoolers we'll never know.

    Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

    by godwhataklutz on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:10:32 PM PDT

    •  Just some replies.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mayim, elmo, leftyparent

      It's your choice: Yes, yes it is. And sometimes it's the best choice, it really depends on the parent, the child and the circumstances. Home schooling is not for everyone. For some of us however, homeschooling meant salvation for our child.

      Full time job: It actually takes less time so far as actual teaching time goes than public school does, because it's all one on one. YOu don't have to wait for a whole class of kids to finish, you don't have to handle nearly the amount of discipline problems, and you don't have the wait in line times. It does take a lot of planning and work though. It does NOT have to take a lot of money. I know homeschoolers who utilize entirely library books and free sites and information online. You should read "Homeschooling on a Shoestring" in the above list.

      Are you smarter than a fifth grader: I have an AS my other half has a BS. I am also capable of doing research. I teach my children how to do research as well. Sometimes knowing how to find the answers and learning from ones mistakes is much better than memorizing the answers.

      Socialization: Not every child can handle the same level of socialization. For my son 'socialization' at school meant constant bullying from the time he got on the bus in the morning until the time he got off the bus at home. Now that he was able to learn socialization skills at his own speed, he's got more friends, more real friends then he ever had in his life, including a girl friend.

      Mutual Benefit: I can use my childrens interests and abilities to the best advantage while I teach them. They learn skills they need to know in life, not just how to pass a test. Things like cooking, cleaning, job skills, how to balance a budget, how to navigate the world and their disabilities. This may not benefit 'public education' now, but it will enable them to be independent and productive adults. It's definitely not skills they were learning in public school. I volunteered in schools, I was in Americorps before they were in school, I can volunteer again when they're done. They only have so many years of formal education. I have my entire life to advocate. We also went on marches and advocated for teachers as part of their education.

      Naysayers: Why do you need any "lecture time"? We learn things together and then we discuss them. I don't lecture at him. I don't have to lecture at him. For one, he doesn't process audio well or quickly and he would miss most of a lecture anyway. I do use some collegiate youtube lectures, but many times he pauses those and asks questions, or replays bits if he finds his focus gone. Most of us combine "book learning" with hands on learning. Both have their place. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:29:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Grumpy Early Morning reply after no sleep: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Play-dates are not socialization

        The Lord of the Flies type environments are not appropriate modes of socialization either.

        The assumption there, is that the way that we socialize is somehow inferior to the way public school kids socialize.

        If you say so.

        Am I smarter than a 5th Grader?

        Are you?

        It's a full time job.

        Well duh. And it should be.

        Where is the mutual benefit?

        So I am to take it that you believe that somehow I am personally responsible for the abysmal failures of society in general, the school-to-prison-pipeline, tracking, the high cost of higher education, the failure of standardized testing, the international issue with bullying [did I miss anything].

        What mutual benefit would that be? That if only I were to cast my children into *that gaping maw, that somehow their mere presence would transform all of that into an educational utopia peopled by talking genius unicorns?

        Or am I to interpret this as: "All the Cool Parents are doing it!"

        Either way, I see no *mutual benefit at this point.

        As for what Nay-Sayers like you *imagine that goes on when people homeschool for those 15 minute lectures every 2 hours--really?

        That is what you think?

        15 minute learning blocks are traditionally allocated for young children who have shorter attention spans. Good gods.

        I suppose if I were teaching Young Earth Creationism, I might only need 15 minute blocks, but since we are studying conventional Science, my kids require more time to complete their studies. I hope you can forgive me for failing to live down to your expectations.


    •  Society benefits (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftyparent, FloridaSNMOM

      by having citizens who are capable of intelligent thought and who care about being contributing members of the community. Remember, that's the goal (hopefully) of any education.

    •  "You can't let naysayers (like me) get you down" (0+ / 0-)

      Don't worry.

      I don't.

  •  This was a lot of work... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We won't realize the benefits, but a parent who has arrived at the end of their rope, or one who can't make their environment fit the needs of a system, or for health, psychological, religious or educational benefits of their child...Well...when I began, most of the homeschool groups set up were religious.  I had a heck of a time finding secular groups.  We finally hooked in with one that took place in a church, yeah, you heard it!  But it was a place to belong.  This is a beginning, a place to belong, for progressive homeschoolers.

    We all have our reasons, and we feel justified in the decisions we have made.  Does the progressive community have it in their hearts to abide by our decisions?  We'll see.

    Congratulations on the beginning of a dialogue that needs to be heard, Coop, and for your hard work.

    If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

    by rosabw on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 11:20:25 AM PDT

    •  Thanks rosabw... glad to do it towards... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      continuing and enhancing that dialog.  I will also take on keeping it up to date, it needs the latest couple diaries added.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 01:49:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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