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View Diary: Growing concern about safety of homeschooled kids in North Carolina (121 comments)

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  •  and problem is, you get (1+ / 0-)
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    too much lack of understanding of the homeschooling process when you let professional educators monitor the situation.  

    I just had an extended and somewhat heated discussion with a close friend who generally shares my worldview on most things--but she thinks she understands homeschooling completely while I found her to have trouble understanding many of the things I know about it from my extensive reading and experience.   I found us having severe difficulty communicating about these very issues of situations of neglect and how that is even defined.  She is concerned about a great-niece of hers and the criteria she was using to criticize the situation were inappropriate.  For example, she felt that the time spent in formal learning environments with a homeschool group combined with individual activities with both a nanny and a tutor was inadequate, when it seemed to be well within the norms of the amount of time found in the homeschooling research literature.  (and I might add it is far more than the time given a schooled child who is put on homebound services for a medical condition).

      She also felt that because the child had ADHD and was behind in reading that she "had to have" a skilled professional such as herself (she was a K special ed teacher) and that the other situations the child was in would not be adequate.  And contradicted herself by saying both that "she had been doing fine at school" and ""she is behind in reading" at the same time (the child was only recently removed from school due to an unmanageable bullying situation).  So to me, she was obviously not "doing fine" in school, she struggles with reading still at age 11.  And there is story after story of kids who had ADHD and reading problems who, once removed from school, begin to approach learning in a different way--because the homeschooling milieu and environment is very different--and many of their former learning problems diminish or even disappear.  Despite the lack of a "trained professional" to work with the child.  It doesn't always happen and I heartily recommend using trained professionals (I am one--I work with kids with reading problems myself), and kids in school do need these professionals.  I am not diminishing the wonderful work they can do.  But I also know I work with kids who have problems who don't even come close to getting what they need at school, which is why I as a speech therapist end up working with them at my hospital clinic on reading and writing.

    And my friend is concerned that the situation is "precarious" and they might lose the nanny.  But this seems to be based on assumptions that if the current situation isn't permanent it should not be used now.  When in reality, kids frequently move back and forth between homeschooling and schools, military kids change schools all the time and may also move between schooling and homeschooling etc.  Just because they might have to work out different arrangements later doesn't mean that what they are doing right now is inappropriate.

      Now this particular situation is complicated by the fact that the mother has obvious problems functioning  that I won't go into, but those are issues that are present in this family no matter where the child is being educated, and bottom line is that no one knows how things will work out in the long run.

     But my take is that professional educators (and I am a speech-language pathologist myself, and have worked in the school system) have a hard time understanding homeschooling and judge it through a lens that fails to understand a lot of things about it.  


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