View Full Version : I do not understand Home Schooling in America

Ian Gills
01-14-2011, 01:44 PM
It's been quite some time since I have done one of these but that don't mean I finally understand America nor Americans. I still have lots of questions, and here is one of 'em.

I know you do not like paying taxes. And I know you do not like to see poor people's kids go to good public schools because you just can't stand the thought of you paying for other people's children.

But, that aside, what I don't get is that because of this we see a lot of Americans, many of whom are not teachers themselves, give up their jobs and decide to teach their own kids at home. I had the pleasure of meeting one such person a few weeks ago. A nice guy. But nevertheless, this is crazy.

It is crazy because trying to home school when you are not a qualified teacher is like a DIY'er giving up his day job to do the work of an electrician or plumber full-time with no qualifications and with real world consequences not only for themselves but for their kids!

But it is most crazy because one of the things school teaches you, for better or worse, is how to deal and get along with people who don't love you. It teaches you social skills. The home-schooled kids in this country might make it out with a decent education if they are lucky. But they won't make it out with any coping skills.

It should, therefore, be Federally regulated that all kids go to school. Home schooling should only be considered for parents who are qualified teachers and even then social workers should make regular visits to the home to make sure everything is fine.

Kids need to be gently exposed to the fact that most people do not love you. They need to slowly experience the cold world outside of the family. For their own long-term survival. School does this. Home schooling does not.

And we all should pay more taxes for better public schooling for our poorer neighbors.

01-14-2011, 03:58 PM
Yikes! We agree on something. :) And, very well put, too, but many kids that are home schooled do very well. Yet, what they lack can be, (not always), pretty extensive. In our country their are pockets of home schooled families, connected mainly by churches, they have quite a network, that is impressive. The unity is amazing. I have been doing placement assessments for special needs for over 20 years.

To home school the mountain of paperwork would discourage most, and accordingly, it is regulated, to maintain a timely, order of education and the learning process. It is not for slackers.

Social skills are learned in the family and church environment which is where, I think, it falls short. But, then again, when you think of all the violence in the public schools, it is understandable that some want to shelter the kids from harm. No easy solution or answer.

I still think those without children should not have to pay for those with kids in school. I am guilty of thinking... since, my kids are now grown and educated, I paid my dues.

Is it wrong to simply want a break from all the taxes?

I keep adding onto this, lol.
Also, what basically makes a great teacher is not always found in that piece of paper which makes us qualified, it is found within. The best teacher in the world is one who cares. If a mother wants to take on the task of teaching her kids, knowing all which is involved, you will find no better teacher in this world. She cares. She will care more than the teacher standing behind the desk getting paid just 40 some thousand a year.

I think parents should choose. I stongly recommend public education, like with anything, anything can fall short, but, most are great and will produce happy, well-adjusted, smart kids.

What is great, is having the right to choose what is right for you, for your family, and for your kids. But, if your kids as they get older voice wanting to change the path of education, wanting to go to public school, they should definitely be supported.

I applaud all parents who care, and teachers in any capacity who teach because they care. It this field, it is never for the money.


01-17-2011, 01:56 AM
The only way to get an education is in a 60 and 70's era Catholic school with 30 kids per class and a big nun with a big stick and the right to use it.

The public schools were full of trash and monsters. And no discipline.

Tom Sawyer
01-19-2011, 04:09 AM
Unfortunately with the popularity of "social networking" school kids are disconnecting themselves from the school culture all by themselves. No matter how well prepared someone may think they are to teach their children, there is no way that anyone can have enough experience and knowledge in all the necessary subjects. Teachers bring more than book knowledge to the class. They bring their life experience and life outlook also. Teaching has become a daunting task these days. Keeping students focused and engaged is difficult. How are teachers supposed to compete with an electronic device that has become the center kids lives? An I phone has a few million available "apps." Thousands and thousands of games along with video, music, texting and lord knows what else. Home schooling won't solve those issues either. Fortunately, a very few people are willing to undertake the task and most can not afford the expense.

Ian Gills
01-19-2011, 07:38 AM
I would not worry about the virtual world too much. People will soon realize its limits and come rushing back to the physical.

Hand held devices will never be able to fix your car or change a faucet. The real world is the one that counts since that is the one we live in.

Any day soon people will realise this and come rushing back to the traditional crafts. Especially as costs continue to rise.

DIY is the future my friends. Using the internet for knowledge.

It is just more efficient.

01-19-2011, 11:00 AM
You have to train a kid in mechanical knowledge from age 3 and up DAILY, like on a farm, or the window of
opportunity closes.

They will just use their electronic devices to call someone, IF they have a job.

My kid crushes beer cans in a huge vice, and pounds thousand of nails as his entertainment.

Managed to get a 60 penny spike into a 3" particle board table top. Wore his safety glasses, and did'nt know I was watching from afar. I only wish he could read so I could pass my 1940's popular mechanic magazines to him - about the last time anyone wrote a magazine that really taught something.

And don't worry, last month the wife took him to an opera in Warsaw.

The only opera I got at age 5 was the three Stooges.

I have had hundreds of employees, and if they did not come from a heritage of mechanical training and exposure, they were absolutely without use and unable to be trained.

I actually had one mother call me and inquire why I made her kid work so hard. Said she had to keep him home.

Keep your baton ready for him, Ian.

Ian Gills
01-19-2011, 12:22 PM
You have to train a kid in mechanical knowledge from age 3 and up DAILY, like on a farm, or the window of opportunity closes.

Rubbish. It's all in the genes. All of my family are engineers, plumbers, electricians and builders. Not me. I was encouraged to go to University and get a higher paid desk job. Which is what I did.

Move forward 30 years and with very little training all these things seem to come naturally to me as a DIYer at the weekend.

01-20-2011, 10:03 AM
I'll give you 25% genes. The remainder you received by OBSERVATION of all those workers in the family. And surely you handed dad a screwdriver when you were a kid. Thats almost enough right there.

Subliminal education.

Ian Gills
01-21-2011, 05:09 AM
No, it just came naturally.

None of this stuff is rocket science after all.

Practice with tools is all that is needed to "loosen the hands".

You don't need to be a three year old to do that. But some genetic wiring in the brain is necessary to go about doing these types of work.

So, you're either born with it or you're not. I'd quit teaching your 3 year old to hammer things and give him something he'll find more challenging to do instead, like maths or music. He clearly already has the skills gentetically that you wrongly credit yourself with teaching him. If he could speak, he'd say "Quit it dad, I get it." He won't lose them if you encourage him to take up the piano instead.

01-21-2011, 10:50 AM
He has 2 piano's and is more than happy to iterate "quit it", though not in such a polite way.

Gets the keys dirty with greasy and muddy hands.

The hammering was his own idea, and now all the workbenches are armor plated. And I have yet to bandage a finger on that project. Maybe we can up the genetic proportion.

But observation is big. The kid that grew up in a crack house is not going to chock all four tires the instant he see's someone with an impact wrench heading towards a vehicle.

01-21-2011, 08:58 PM
Ian, Ballvalve, I think you are both right.

My daughter is 2 (almost 3 now) and you can just tell its in the blood. One of her first words was tools. Often times, when she sees my tool bag out she will come over and start taking out the tools one by one lining them up on the floor, playing with the trays of nuts and screws. She knows the names of many of the tools now and will bring them to me when I ask for them. Now that she knows what they are I am trying to teach her what you do with them. I tried the hammer - that didn't go so well. I think I need a lighter hammer. She can put in screws if I pre drill holes for her and she can thread/ unthread nuts onto bolts and machine screws so we're making progress.

I think the sooner you teach them what tools are and how to use them the sooner they will start creating meaningful things and building on what they know. I'm all for early learning. I also think growing up around someone who uses tools is a great advantage for any kid. You get to watch, see how something is done, and then later do it yourself. That said I don't believe there is a limited window of opportunity to start learning. I saw my retired grandfather go from barely being able to cut a straight line to turning out detailed book cases, end tables, and music cabinets within one year. If you have the gift, it will always be there.


Tom Sawyer
01-22-2011, 06:17 AM
High School technical center machine shop:

20 lathes
10 bridgeport milling machines
1 new haas 5 axis milling machine
1 new haas 5 axis lathe
4 surface grinders
6 drill presses
2 40 ton presses
1 plasma cam cnc machine
tooling, stock, welders and fabricating equipment - a virtual wonderland for the creative mind

18 students
3 engaged and working
3 watching those working
6 in the other room playing texas hold em on the computers
6 milling around trying to text without getting caught.

No matter what we have available to these kids, they still have to buy into the program. The above numbers for student are pretty much average for any technical program. whether it's right or wrong, who can say. some kids just have a talent or at least a desire to use their minds and their hands to create something. They see the possibilities and I suspect that like those that can play an instrument, there is something in their make up that gives them a leg up on those that don't. My father is a prime example. He was a college boy. Wound up teaching science and math for 30 some years. He always wanted to be handy with tools but just watching him handle a screwdriver you could always see that he was not and never would be "comfortable" handling tools. funny thing though is that he was a world class piano player in his youth.

Ian Gills
01-22-2011, 06:32 AM
The kid that grew up in a crack house is not going to chock all four tires the instant he see's someone with an impact wrench heading towards a vehicle.

You'd be surprised. Never underestimate someone based on their upbringing. They'll eat you alive.

01-22-2011, 09:47 AM
What is not to understand about homeschooling Ian...

You yourself say that it is much more effective to DIY than rely on outside providers....

Education isn't any different...

It is well know that schools at best can only be about 50% effective....

Figure this....

From bus stop to bus stop the child is going to have about 9 hours (540 minutes) of their day consumed by the school system....
Of that time the child will have 6 Hours and 43 minutes (403 minutes) of actual "School Time."
137 minutes are consumed by transportation to and from school, home room attendance taking.
Now the "School Time" is cut by an additional 61 minutes lost to lunch and walking between classes leaving 342 minutes of "Class Time."
Now lets take the at best situation of "Class Time" and figure that with 6 classes a day, 5 minutes of each class will be lost to settling in and attendance taking. That leaves 282 minutes of "Instruction and Learning Time" per day out of the 540 minutes of the child's day consumed. The effective yield is at best 52% of the day spent on "Instruction and Learning Time."

Of course that fails to take into consideration the effectiveness of the teacher, any disruptions of the class by students that missed their Ritalin dose, time spent for testing required by the "No Child Left Behind" Act, teaching to the test for the "No Child Left Behind" Act, scheduled half days, and weather related late starts and early dismissals....

It's easy to see that a properly home schooled child can probably learn more in 1/2 a day of home schooling than a full day of regular school.

Here in Connecticut there are a number of home schooling associations across the state that offer outside services to home schoolers such as band and orchestra classes, sports, and other activities where home schooled children can be grouped together for social interaction and activities...

My sister home schooled her 3 children and all 3 went on to do well in college and life....

Of course this isn't for everyone and the parents have to be capable of teaching and actually do it. I wish that I was in a position where I could have home schooled my children as I know I could have done better....

01-22-2011, 11:28 AM
But observation is big. The kid that grew up in a crack house is not going to chock all four tires the instant he see's someone with an impact wrench heading towards a vehicle.

Actually I must revise that

The crack house kids, when they see someone heading toward a car with an impact wrench, They jump up on the victims car roof and start scanning for police cars.

High School technical center machine shop:

20 lathes
10 bridgeport milling machines
1 new haas 5 axis milling machine
1 new haas 5 axis lathe
4 surface grinders
6 drill presses
2 40 ton presses
1 plasma cam cnc machine
tooling, stock, welders and fabricating equipment - a virtual wonderland for the creative mind

Same as in our high school - TEN YEARS AGO - the morons that masquerade as teachers sold all that at auction, and I bought most of them at 2 cents on the dollar. School took the money to make a computer lab - insurance that the kids come out beyond ignorant.

Now when I try and hire a kid around here, 98% of them are mechanically illiterate in the extreme.

I hope you start the kids with a hacksaw, scraper and file. If you cannot operate those, all is lost.

01-24-2011, 08:02 PM
I agree 100% with Redwood. In our rural school you can find plenty of teachers that are just putting in their time. Some are very good and do well. Others could care less. Our graduating kids are hitting a brick wall when they go to college. We have had AP students who had good grades all through school litterally struggle to survive college. AP classes are disapearing because all the schools assets are going into special no child left behind classes. Spending more on kids that don't even want to be at school. As test scores fall schools are required to offer more remedial and special "lets pass the standardized testing" classes.

Admittedly home school is not for everyone. But for some it is an incredible experience. Today's homeschooler belongs to a home school group. If a parent is weak in a particular subject, there is usually one who is strong and often they are willing to teach small groups. There are home school field trips, dances, outings. The picture the op painted about today's homeschoolers is not typical. I wish our metal shop had all of the shop equipment listed in the previous posts! The word from our kids is wood shop is a great place to buy pot because the pot heads hang out there and the teacher is oblivious to anything going on in the shop.

Yes we continue to pay taxes so all kids can get a public education. If I could afford private school for our kids (and transport them as well) I would do it. My wife has homeschooled one of our kids off and on. It has been very successful. I would think using the op's line of thinking we ought to outlaw do it yourself plumbing, electrical and mechanical work as well. Everyone should utilize the services of a trained proffesional so they don't accidently screw up the end product. The mechanic knows the proper and legal requirements for performing brake work. A DIYer may just throw on any ol set of pads without turning the rotors.