Re: No dorky jumpers, either.

1

They use a system called Five In a Row, where you read a book per week, and the topics in the book spawn little detours on relevant geography, animals, history, etc. The girl seems to be thriving.

That's instead of school? I wish I'd known about that scam.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 7:44 PM
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The idea of molding an impressionable young mind does sound kind of fun.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 7:44 PM
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Like, surely the right time to teach the Landau-Ginzburg theory of phase transitions, and universality of critical phenomena, is when someone is still wowed by the very concepts of freezing and boiling. Later on it all seems so mundane.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 7:46 PM
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I am concerned about the intersection of home beekeeping and home schooling. Dogs and bees can smell a child's fear.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 7:48 PM
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Not if you use enough air freshener.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 7:49 PM
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Isn't anybody concerned that there might be fewer cock jokes at FIAR ?


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 7:49 PM
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NO.


Posted by: OPINIONATED HENRY MILLER | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 8:07 PM
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On the whole, though, my ratio of exposure to whacked out religious homeschoolers to sensible types is pretty skewed.

My ratio of exposure is skewed in the other direction. I'm aware that religious fundamentalists are a significant subset of homeschoolers (or perhaps the majority of homeschoolers, overall?), but the only homeschoolers I actually know are from very different demographic groups. Some are anti-institution, for lack of a better term (so: "unschooling" or "deschooling"); some have various other, more local or idiosyncratic, reasons for not liking/trusting their neighbourhood schools.

I think I'm too lazy to homeschool (though I've been told, by several homeschoolers, that it takes less time than you might think to cover the required curriculum and even throw in some extras).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 8:31 PM
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It takes a lot of courage to jump off a building, heebie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 8:53 PM
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I'd be a little scared to home-school my kids (if I had any). I'd certainly teach them things, but somehow I wouldn't feel qualified to take full responsibility for their education.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 9:40 PM
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I was homeschooled and loved it. My parents are religious, but I wasn't homeschooled for religious reasons. Getting to spend time reading instead of going to class is a huge huge plus. College already felt like a lot of time to spend in classes, and that's only two hours a day, I can't imagine what 5 hours of class a day is like...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 9:41 PM
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That said I don't think I'd have the energy level I'd need to homeschool kids, of course I don't have the energy level I'd need to want to have kids so it's not an issue. But if I wanted to have kids I'd probably want to homeschool them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-12-10 9:52 PM
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The thing is, educating a 5 year old is ridiculously easy. You read them books and talk to them a lot. Unless you shut them in a cupboard, they can't help but learn stuff just from being in the world. You don't really need a fancy plan or curriculum or anything. It gets more interesting as they get older.

Basically, people want to learn stuff. Which, if you take the line of least resistance, and facilitate your kids' learning about things they're interested in, makes home education fairly straightforward. Sitting them down and teaching them stuff they don't want to know in a school-at-home fashion sounds much harder and much less pleasant - and is, I think, what people mostly imagine it's like. I don't know anyone in real life who does that.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:26 AM
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I wouldn't think the educating kids at home thing would be hard, especially if you only had one and they were five. Earning a living at the same time would be hard.


Posted by: Shadrack | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 5:29 AM
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That's all well and good, asilon, but what about those of us who do shut our kids in cupboards?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 5:40 AM
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We were fairly lucky growing up as 'teh Thatcherism' meant my parents were home a lot and my Dad is the sort of person who can't help but teaching you stuff; and also the sort of person who finds learning fun, so I suspect we learned a lot at home that we weren't getting from school. I remember long periods spent building kites, and the like because I had taken an interest and then my Dad got just as excited by it as me.

I can see how teaching your own kids at home -- or with friends, in some sort of co-teaching/caring setup -- could be fun, but I suspect I'm too lazy to commit to it with older kids, and therefore a bad person. There's also an old-fashioned Calvinist* part of me that thinks a bit of hard boring work at some point is possibly good for the soul.

* in the [ahem] atheist of somewhat Catholic extraction sense of Calvinism ..


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 5:55 AM
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I like the idea of home schooling, but I like more the idea of doing the stuff that I find really interesting and which I've spent years learning about. Perhaps I can take the kid(s) to work with me. Perhaps there is a case to made, or a movement to be formed, on the premise that school is an artificial separation of kiddies from "real life" and hence they should just run amok in the office.

I'm also with Matt in believing that learning how to really concentrate for extended periods of time ("a bit of hard boring work") is a very very useful skill to learn. Obviously I don't have this skill, as I comment on Unfogged, but it would be nice for the kids to acquire it.

Furthermore, there is also the socialisation aspect.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:19 AM
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17 was me. *blush*


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:25 AM
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It takes a lot of courage to jump off a building, heebie.

Oh, I don't know.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:28 AM
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I'd imagine the socialization part of school can be handled perfectly well through other networks, if you have access to other parents and kids, social groups, and so on, but could be harder to manage if you aren't plugged into that sort of social circle.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:29 AM
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You're a dick, Superman.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:31 AM
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14 - yeah, this is true - 5 year olds need supervision wherever they are. But I do know a lot of people who have got round it in more inventive ways than my traditional set-up - e.g. both parents working part-time; one parent doing shift work and the other working partly at home, partly using a childminder; couples running their own business; single parent running their own business; friends and family being involved, and so on. If it's something that's important to the family, there are ways of making it possible.

apo - your kids are fucked, but fortunately they'll always have their good looks to get them through life.

"my Dad is the sort of person who can't help but teaching you stuff; and also the sort of person who finds learning fun, so I suspect we learned a lot at home that we weren't getting from school. I remember long periods spent building kites" - I could have written exactly that, ttaM, except it was my dad who was into kites and roped us all in too. He's an incredible natural teacher, and I often feel like I'm a poor substitute.

I'm hoping not doing it forever won't actually make me a bad person, because I'm not sure I've got another 10 years of this in me. As for the hard work ... I am tempted to agree, but I don't think I do. I'm fine with the idea of hard boring work for some desirable end - you want to get good at something and have to practise, or you need money so you do a crappy job, or you know you want to go to university so you get your GCSEs done, or whatever - but I can't quite sympathise with the concept that hard boring *pointless* work really is good for the soul. Learning to buckle down and get on with stuff is certainly a useful skill, but I think so is learning what's not worth slaving over too.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:37 AM
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My memory of school is that the onerous bits weren't so much about concentration on something difficult, as they were about boredom and busywork. I was talking to Asilon about her kids last week, and of course if you're just doing the academic work, rather than moving from class to class, waiting for the other kids to settle down, sitting while yesterday's marked homework is handed out, and so on and so forth, you can do all the actual academic work someone does in school in much less than the amount of time they spend in school.

This doesn't get me past the "how would I hold down a job" problem, but it does make homeschooling sound much more attractive from the kids' point of view.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:39 AM
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Breeze, I think a lot of young children have that ability to concentrate hard for long periods of time, and it could possibly be argued (if I were in an argumentative mood) that school, with its artificial lesson lengths, messes up that ability.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:42 AM
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Not too big an achievement for a five-year old girl getting much attention to be thriving - I sure hope they keep the blog running until she is 50 or so. & maybe throw in a statistical sample. Why not do it in a double blind way. But hey - five-year olds are cute, aren't they.


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:42 AM
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I have a lot of friends who homeschool, in the same sort of unschooling vein as Mary Catherine's friends, though I grew up with kids being homeschooled for Christian (Protestant and Catholic) reasons and while I envied them I probably wouldn't have wanted what they got. I do think I wouldn't have been as depressed as I was as a kid if I'd been able to really work at my own pace, although my school was good about accommodating me. But if I was going to school all day and still reading two books a day when I got home, I probably managed what I'd have gotten out of homeschooling anyhow.

If we ended up raising a little little kid, we'd probably consider the local Waldorf school before homeschooling just because the two incomes we live on are a big plus, but I find it very appealing (although maybe that's selfishness talking, that I think well of myself and don't have such a great opinion of the schools in our parts) and would be tempted. With an older kid, I'm skeptical of our town's elementary school but its high school seems decent for average kids. I think there could be a real benefit for a kid who's had a hard life and a lot of moves and so on to move into a school that's not too demanding rather than one that's totally academically rigorous just because the self esteem that comes with being above-average seems like a plus. There are just too many hypotheticals for us to really have a plan, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:43 AM
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re: 24

Yes, I remember my little brother spending quite amazing amounts of time drawing and painting; something he was both very talented at and utterly enraptured by when he was a small child. He could focus for time periods that certainly beat anything I can manage these days.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:46 AM
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What do people who home-school their children dislike about the educational institutions, public and private, otherwise available to them? Institutionality itself? Inchoate lousiness? The little sacrifice of control that is the forerunner to adolescence and everything else about growing up? The surprising frequency with which New York City public school teachers sexually assault students? All "those" kids, whoever they may be?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:48 AM
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I have a friend who went to a Steiner-waldorf school, and, to be honest, it sounds cracked on so many levels. I think the only reason any of his fellow pupils had any kind of success post high-school is because they were all rich anyway. YMMV.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 6:49 AM
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Further to 20, if you have a kid-friendly social network I wonder if you can't get more of the positive benefits of socialization while exposing your child to fewer pathologies.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:00 AM
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29: In my super-limited experience, it varies a fair amount by community. I'm skeptical of a lot of aspects of it (the fairies and gnomes and whatnot especially) but I also think the amount of outdoor activity and tactile work that goes on could be very beneficial for kids with attention problems, which is much of what makes it appealing for little kids. So I'm balancing that against the tendency of black boys with attention trouble (since in looking at potential adoption files we've only ever seen one who didn't have an ADHD diagnosis, warranted or not) to be misunderstood, scorned and punished by white teachers. Though we live in a somewhat diverse town, the adults who work in the local schools are quite homogeneous, and that's a factor too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:03 AM
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What I have read about Waldorf Schools makes them sound very nice, although there is a little bit of "if it isn't working for you, you need to do it harder" that I suppose could be a bad sign.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:04 AM
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Shorter 28: "Look, I'm not necessarily saying that you're homeschooling because you're a huge control freak racist, but I think it's a possibility we should consider."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:09 AM
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I don't have any experience with homeschoolers who aren't either anarchist hippies or members of a reactionary misogynist Christian sect, so this is interesting.

Sometimes you'll see, say, an academic quiz team called "Tulsa Area Homeschoolers" or something. I'm imagining that it's half anarchist hippies and half members of a reactionary misogynist Christian sect, but it's most likely just the latter.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:12 AM
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33 is a bit of cross-thread grumpiness that I'm not convinced is warranted.

32 on the other hand is ignoring the best thing about Waldorf schools, which is the fact that their creator was one of the all-time loons, and making people justify Waldorf schools while stepping (at various appropriate speeds) away from biodynamics, orgone boxes and theosophic architecture is almost as fun as asking people marginally ingenuous questions about their chiropractor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:13 AM
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I should also probably add that while it's generally thought of as bad form to say that I'd treat my adopted child differently from a child who was born to me, seriously, I'd make different decisions for a child coming into our home at age 6 or 11 or 15 with whatever history that child already has than I would for someone who'd been in the family from day one and had plenty of family time to adjust to us and vice versa. I'd still want to make the best schooling decision for a particular child's strengths and needs whether that child was biologically mine or not, but I'm imagining doing it from a very different context.

So Waldorf is also appealing to us because the small classes and the consistent teacher (teacher moves with the class from grade to grade, which is also supposed to give the teacher an incentive to make sure all the kids are making appropriate progress since there's no one else to pass them off to next year) seem like they'd be good ways to help a child who needs some help learning to attach to people and minimize additional transitions. It also helps that several of my brother's friends went to the school and have thrived at various high schools (the arts magnet, the academic magnet, regular Catholic or public schools) and so I've seen it actually work, though I'd be very comfortable switching if it didn't.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:14 AM
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I have direct experience with exactly one home-schooling parent (well, except for asilon), and he did it because (I guess) he felt like his plausibly Asperger's-afflicted son was being ill-served by the public school system (partly because he (the son) had spent much of his school career failing unhappily overseas, and being thrown into the pit of vipers that is a class full of ten year olds in America didn't help), and the father was underemployed anyhow. It seems to have worked out okay so far.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:16 AM
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I only know one kid who was homeschooled (and only know him because he finished off his homeschooling with a year of high school) but he's probably the most successful person I knew as a kid. So, there's that. I have a strong streak of "trust the professionals" and thus find the homeschooling idea vaguely unsettling, but it seems like one of those things that could be wonderful if it works, though good lord it seems that it would be difficult.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:26 AM
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33: Ouch. Charging racism is a little too much gun at this stage in the discussion. Couldn't we start with class prejudice?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:27 AM
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Oh, whoops. Steiner wasn't the Orgone box guy. I take it back!

Also, a feel a little bad for making such fun, because Thorn is very nice, and of course most Waldorf schools (like most chiropractic practices, and for that matter most churches) are run by well-meaning people with a real desire to help, people who are mostly pretty good at taking the thoughtful, humanist pieces and minimizing the hilarious crackpottery that led to them.

But then blah blah anthroposophy blah blah Goethean science and oh well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:33 AM
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Of course, were I Thorn, stuff like this would make me enquire further.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:35 AM
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the "how would I hold down a job" problem

Somewhere they have a post about the schedule they keep. I believe the mom works part-time, and not sure what kind of hours the dad keeps, but they both share the home-schooling. It sounds hectic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:40 AM
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I dunno, it's not like mainstream pedagogy is based on a rigorous scientific method, so if (any particular) Waldorf school seems to be getting good results or a good match for a particular kid, snark about Rudolf Steiner's weirdness is funny but doesn't seem particularly relevant to anything.

All the major strongly-held educational "philosophies" seem to me to be a combination of some obvious truths and a lot of totally unfounded speculation about what works for kids, and what matters is what the school is actually doing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:46 AM
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Data point to some part of this discussion: I was well through college before I ever heard a criticism of chiropractic "medicine"; I just didn't know anyone who did it, I guess. It's surprising how many people aren't really aware that it is, to say the least, controversial.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:48 AM
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||

NMM to George Steinbrenner.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:49 AM
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38: Regarding "trust the professionals" I usually agree, but I differ in the case of teaching. Teaching is usually one of the easiest subject to get into at University, and also a career for which there is little merit-based feedback. For these reasons I don't automatically trust the teacher. (Yes, there are excellent teachers and excellent schools. Blah blah blah.)


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:53 AM
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I dunno, it's not like mainstream pedagogy religion is based on a rigorous scientific method, so if (any particular) Waldorf school Scientology office seems to be getting good results or a good match for a particular kid psychiatric patient, snark about Rudolf Steiner's Tom Cruise's weirdness is funny but doesn't seem particularly relevant to anything.

In general I pretty much agree with you, as I tried to express above, but I do think there's a difference between pedagogical strategies that might at least be amenable to listening to new evidence and those that left evidence behind in a conflagration of inner spiritual learning a century ago.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:54 AM
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You knew that saying I couldn't make fun of Scientology would kick me right in thr gut, didn't you? Damn you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:56 AM
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Sifu, I do know and I'm creeped out by it, yeah. But I went to Catholic school all the way through and I'm not so great with the guys who founded that group either, y'know? I'm trying to take wackiness on a case-by-case basis and then supplement what I can with what we've got at home.

To Flippanter's 33, I think they're not entirely easy to separate. Our little working-class town is right next to a much bigger town that has more highs and more lows on the income level (though we have more of the latter than the former) and all the UMC folks we know there are sending their kids to various non-public schools EXCEPT the family where the kids and dad are Latino, because there's no way they're going to pay to send their kids to be tokens at a private school when the kids can go to school for free in their neighborhood with children who look like them. And those public schools are not bad there by my standards, though I don't think I'd pay out-of-district fees to send my own kids there.

It's only because the racial/cultural diversity is decent at the Waldorf school that it even made it through our first layer of winnowing and it's because of the kid-specific things I mentioned above and not the underlying philosophy that it's still an option. I do have a somewhat distant cousin who's really into biodynamic farming now, but that's my only connection to other Steiner-spawned ideas.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:59 AM
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A bunch of the kids (early twenties) that I played Ultimate with and socialized with a fair amount a couple years ago were a cohort at a Waldorf school nearby. Can't speak to their education, but they were about as sweet and androgynous and happy as any bunch of people I've ever met. A process that ends up with one of them is all right in my book.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 8:26 AM
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A girl on the lacrosse team that I coach is home schooled by her mom. The mom keeps the kid busy with church choir, team sports, etc. for socialization. The kid is a little precocious, but not obnoxiously so. One can tell the child is "different", but she may have been that way no matter where she was schooled


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 9:00 AM
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Hey guys, I'm the homeschool blogger in question.

Re: making a living, it's definitely an issue for many. Homeschooling message boards tend to have a lot of threads about frugality. We are extremely lucky in that we both have job flexibility. I work about 70% time on a flexible schedule, and my husband works 90% time as four nine-hour days. We use part-time childcare. Kindergarten really only takes 60-90 minutes a day tops, so it's pretty easy to fit in outside of our work hours. Of course upper grades will take more time, but also by the time she's older she should be more independent with at least part of her work.

@28: We are homeschooling for a variety of reasons. The biggest is that we want to be able to provide a flexible education matched to our child's abilities and interests. Also, we find it to be totally fun.

Our neighborhood school is a nightmare, the worst stereotype of an inner-city school with failing students, unqualified teachers, collapsing physical plant, locked doors and metal detectors, etc. We could have entered a charter school lottery, but that wouldn't have taken care of my more general concerns about public schooling: high-stakes testing, lack of individuation, lack of respect for children, developmental inappropriateness (e.g., cutting out recess for more academics), massive cutbacks in arts, music, social studies, science in favor of a relentless focus on reading and math.

Private schools were out of the question. Even if we could afford our city's $20K/year prep schools, I don't want my kids exposed to those kinds of values.


Posted by: Rivka | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 9:28 AM
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Waldorff was totally nutty, and I've heard very bad things about inflexibility in Waldorff schools (for example, they have some philosophy about what you're "ready" to do at what ages and so you're not allowed to read until a certain age). However, I'm sure some Waldorff schools ignore all the Waldorff bullshit.

My impression is that Montessori schools have much less of the crazy while still having a lot of the upsides.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 9:52 AM
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How do parents assess local schools, anyway? We're in a smallish town, so there aren't a lot of hard-hitting journalism stories assessing the schools. Just fluff pieces. If we're about to add an addition to our house, then we're really locking into our elementary school.

Also they closed the elementary school that's super close to us a few years ago, for being a failing school. So I take that to mean that our current school districting is not particularly permanent, and will be re-drawn with the whims of politics, since no one feels much ownership of our neighborhood.

So it seems fruitless to count on whichever school we're currently zoned for. (I do know a few parents who like the current one just fine. But it's on the far side of town and I'm just not certain we'll always be zoned for it.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 9:59 AM
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It's a real problem. As I've said before, I like our current school, but that's on the basis of (1) Spanish language immersion which mostly produces bilingual kids (a chunk of the Anglo kids hate it and transfer out, but it works for most of them, and all the primary-Spanish kids learn good English); (2) a generally pleasant environment; and (3) it's convenient physically. I didn't do any serious assessment of its educational quality, and I don't really think there's all that much that can be done reliably along those lines.

OTOH, there's just not that much content taught in elementary school -- if your kids are happy, you can teach them anything they're missing in school in odd moments here and there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:06 AM
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The socialization canard is really not an issue. First off, the socialization that people get at school is deeply screwed up in a lot of ways (age-segregation is very un-natural, and being forced into situations with people you have nothing in common with is un-natural), and secondly it's just not that hard under normal situations to get plenty of socialization. I always had good friends in the neighborhood, I played lots of sports as a kid, I was in lots of home school activity groups (reading group, writing group, math team, etc.), and in high school I met lots of friends through a community theater. Furthermore, *not having homework* means having evenings totally free for other activities.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:12 AM
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Doing some quick online searches reveals that all the testing scores for reading and math are mostly in the 70% proficiency or above, for all the schools. Of course, I have no idea what this means. Is everything sacrificed to high-stakes testing? Are the tests super-easy? Would I give a shit about what's being assessed on the tests?

But right - if the kid loves their teacher, probably nothing else about the school can bring down their experience. Etc. I guess we'll just wing it and respond as we go.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:13 AM
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I agree with 55.2. Teacher turnover is something to watch-- if it is high, that suggests that teachers are not getting along with either the principal or the parents. Also, kid behavior-- if there are too many fighty kids or if the school handles them badly so they don't improve, that's a problem. The aspect of physical maintenance that matters most to kids is bathroom sanitation; ask a currently enrolled student if they're grossed out by the bathrooms.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:16 AM
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The socialization canard is really not an issue.

Or it wasn't for you, anyhow. The home-schooled kids I knew growing up were very much examples in the opposite direction. The takeaway lesson is probably that the quality of homeschooling varies every bit as much as the quality of public schools.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:16 AM
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56: I don't think I'd known you were homeschooled.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:16 AM
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The only homeschoolers I knew growing up were, in my non-professional estimation, relatively bright kids who grew up to be dumb as fuck because of their abysmmal educations. And none of them made it through college. I could see it working with someone who was a good teacher--just like there might not be anything terrible that resulted if our public schools had a 1:1 student-teacher ratio, and everyone essentially got an individually tailored curriculum and, basically, a personal tutor. But all the talk about "it's so easy to homeschool because kids don't learn elementary school anyway" makes me pretty nervous.

That said [what follows completely contradicts the end of the preceding paragraph, I acknowledge], we've started sending our oldest kid to something called a "wall dwarf" school, basically at the insistence of Mrs. Landers, who likes it even though it's kooky, even though as far as I can tell they don't actually even attempt to teach him anything remotely academic, nor do they ever plan to, but he seems to love it, so I'm mostly "eh, whatever". Although if he gets a few grades into it and seems to me to be falling behind, we'll have him do something else. But my guess is that we read enough, and do enough other "learning" sort of things at home, that it won't much matter, at least for a while.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:16 AM
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"kids don't learn elementary school" s/b "kids don't learn anything in elementary school"

sorry, commenting in a rush


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:19 AM
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Teacher turnover is something to watch-- if it is high, that suggests that teachers are not getting along with either the principal or the parents. Also, kid behavior-- if there are too many fighty kids or if the school handles them badly so they don't improve, that's a problem.

But how do you find something like this out, short of experience or gossiping with other parents?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:19 AM
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But all the talk about "it's so easy to homeschool because kids don't learn elementary school anyway" makes me pretty nervous.

Well, I'm talking to Heebie -- not that anyone could teach the important bits of elementary school in offhand minutes here and there, but probably most of the people here could. (Apologies for the implied vanity, but you know what I mean.)

High school is different -- there you'd need to actually have plans, or it'd probably turn out just like you said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:19 AM
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Maybe you could go audit some classes, heebie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:20 AM
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I know how to read already.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:21 AM
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63: And it's not always a terrible sign. Our elementary school has pretty intense turnover -- we get a lot of perky young teachers who get some experience and then flee for more money in the suburbs. It doesn't seem to do the kids much harm because the principal has a knack for picking out good ones, so we get enthusiastic, competent kids for three years or so, and then when they leave they're replaced with similar ones.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:23 AM
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But gossip is key. You want to locate simpatico parents with kids older than yours in the target school, and see what they think of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:24 AM
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Well, I'm talking to Heebie -- not that anyone could teach the important bits of elementary school in offhand minutes here and there, but probably most of the people here could. (Apologies for the implied vanity, but you know what I mean.)

I think what you may mean, that I wouldn't necessary disagree with it it were what you meant, is that children of a certain class of educated parents probably don't really need much in the way of formal elementary schooling at all, because they'll naturally learn all of the things that they would be expected to learn in elementary school (and likely more!), just by being read to and interacted with by their educated parents, and by digging around in the copious family bookshelves, and family trips to museums, & etc. But that's a very different thing from "children don't really need to learn much in elementary school".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:27 AM
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63. email the principal to ask about teacher turnover. Subscribe to the pta listserv. Gossiping with other parents at neighborhood stuff gets easier as there are birthday parties and the like.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:28 AM
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I have to say, unless you're an unusually broadly educated polymath, it seems like home schooling your kids in high school would be quite a stretch. And even for elementary school, I'm not sure why I would trust myself (new to the job, no training, no experience, not much to rely on other than a bunch of books and other internet resources) to do a particularly good job of teaching. Obviously there are some parents who do this and it seems to work out great, and also obviously there are some really terrible schools out there, so I'm not trying to suggest that homeschooling is always and everywhere a bad idea -- it's just that teaching does seem like something that's both a profession and in which skills/experience could matter a lot.

Even in elementary school, the idea that I could teach my kid a lot in offhandish ways in time in between working strikes me as pretty hubristic, although admittedly I'm much stupider than a lot of people here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:29 AM
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69: Not only is that pretty much what I meant, it's also pretty much what, on rereading, I said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:30 AM
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I shouldn't rant too much a bout Steiner-waldorf schools, but my friend's peer-group were exactly the same over-privileged, irresponsible parasitic upper middle class, silver-fucking-spoon shites you'd get at any expensive private school. Just with a thin layer of macrame, and a we-holiday'd-in-Tarquin's-yurt-in-Cappadocia hippy veneer. They were, on the whole, utterly insufferable.

A couple were harmless trust-fund hippy types. Pleasant enough, and perfectly nice as people. The rest were going to end up as investment bankers, and newspaper editors, and arts administrators just like everyone else from their zealously guarded bastion of class privilege -- just with an extra layer of insufferability dusted over the top.

And yeah, the stages of development stuff is fairly odd. My friend was still writing with a crayon [because, iirc, he still had one or more milk teeth] around the age I was starting algebra.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:31 AM
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Damn, was 33 being mean? I laughed.

Flippanter, the home educators I know split roughly 50/50 into those who have always done it, and those who have taken their children out of school because it wasn't working. Out of my good friends, we've mostly always done it.

I started thinking seriously about it when my 4 year old told me she didn't want to be taught things, she wanted to learn things by herself. I figured if she could already see the difference, then perhaps I should pay this idea some attention. I'm not anti-school - the then 4 year old is now 13 and at secondary school - more pro my children.

For us, home educating gives us more time to do what they want, and I think it has made the kids closer than they might have been. Also it means that on days such as today, my 9 year old son and I don't have to get dressed, which has to be a plus.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:32 AM
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I shouldn't rant too much a bout Steiner-waldorf schools

They are, at least, preferable to Statler-Waldorf schools. I went to one of those and the teachers just sat in the corner of the classroom in pairs and shouted abuse at me all day.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:33 AM
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And even for elementary school, I'm not sure why I would trust myself (new to the job, no training, no experience, not much to rely on other than a bunch of books and other internet resources) to do a particularly good job of teaching.

Have you clicked over to the blog in the OP? There are models out there for doing a really excellent job. Not that you're actually contemplating this, but I think this just reflects that you haven't put the thought into it that you would if you were seriously thinking about home-schooling your kid.

(I agree that high school homeschooling is a whole 'nother thing.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:34 AM
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Anecdata, but I have had homeschoolers in my college classes, sometimes in a traditional classroom for the first time in their lives, and they've been among my favorite students. They don't have the demand-resistance that a lot of traditionally-schooled students have, and get really excited about the material in ways that are infectious for their fellow students.

When I was a kid, I used to think homeschooling would be great, because you could cut out all the wasted time. In elementary school, I basically did all my learning on my own time or in gifted class, which was run on the principle that students have to decide where their interests lie and create longterm goals for large research projects. But the problem, as I think we've discussed before, is that all kids have interests, not just gifted kids, and it's a fucking shame that elementary school education is a lot of busywork and practicing using fractions.

I'm deeply invested in public education, but given what I've heard from students in the Ed program where I teach, it's not a field that's making good use of the current pedagogical research.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:35 AM
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Also it means that on days such as today, my 9 year old son and I don't have to get dressed, which has to be a plus.

Also it means that you're on a much more even-paced schedule throughout the year, with breaks for vacations when you want them.

Also I suspect you are lax on the 6 weeks of standardiazed testing/year that we firmly believe in, here in Texas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:36 AM
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And yeah, a lot of it depends on the kid. I used to tutor a high school kid in Spanish whose mom had raised him mostly on a sailboat where they worked at their own pace. As long as they were on the boat, he was testing years ahead of grade level. The instant they went into school, he fell behind by the same margin within a few years.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:38 AM
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Even in elementary school, the idea that I could teach my kid a lot in offhandish ways in time in between working strikes me as pretty hubristic, although admittedly I'm much stupider than a lot of people here.

Your kid's not quite school-age yet, IIRC, and you may be forgetting quite how little material gets covered in elementary school. Assume you don't have trouble teaching them to read (if you do, then you're going to need a professional to help, but if you don't, you don't).

You need math through fractions, basic geometry, and so on, but that really doesn't take a lot of time. You need writing practice and feedback, but the subjects don't really matter. Everything else fact-based, they get sort of a random selection of bits of history/geography/science, and it doesn't really matter which bits they happen to learn -- high school classes aren't going to assume much of a particular basis of factual knowledge. Any randomly sane reading/discussion list would probably do just fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:38 AM
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what I've heard from students in the Ed program where I teach, it's not a field that's making good use of the current pedagogical research.

As best I can tell, there is a massive disconnect between pedagogy and classroom experience. I always feel like we're throwing our Ed majors to the wolves.

(A lot like that article LB linked to about what actually constitutes effective teaching, and whether it can be taught, and how much of it is techniques for engaging students, which can be taught. But is not what we teach in the school of Ed.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:38 AM
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76 -- I dunno. I mean, there are lots of great resources out there for learning the law, but I wouldn't want a lawyer who hadn't had a bunch of experience, professional socialization, etc., etc. Maybe being an elementary school teacher is just totally different, or maybe the connection you have with your individual kid trumps any of those problems, but it just seems weird to me to think that this is such an undemanding and unspecialized profession that literally anyone can study at home and just do it.

I'm not really invested in this argument one way or the other, it's just that the notion of DIY teaching strikes me as a little odd. If it works for you, awesome, and Asilon's explanations make a lot of sense to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:40 AM
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re: elementary school teaching

There's a difference between the skill set needed to teach in a school and the basic subject knowledge one might need to teach one's own kid, at home.

My ex was a primary school teacher, and I'd be surprised if there was any subject other than the theory and practice of primary school pedagogy about which I didn't know quite a bit more than she did.* However, she'd spent many years being trained in the theory and methods of teaching, and she was also shit-hot at all the 'people' skills that one needs to control a class of unruly nine-year olds from difficult backgrounds, while simultaneously developing their social skills, teaching them to respect themselves and others, imparting subject knowledge, dealing with the (really gnarly) personal problems they may have, and so on. That is some fucking hard shit.

There is no way in a million years I could have done her job even a fraction as well as she did it. But that was the job of being a teacher. The skill set required to do that isn't really the same as the skill set needed to teach 'stuff' to one's own kid.

* that sounds insufferably arrogant, and it isn't meant that way. She was a very bright person, but not someone with a particular big general knowledge, or a broad education.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:40 AM
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When I was a kid, I used to think homeschooling would be great, because you could cut out all the wasted time. In elementary school, I basically did all my learning on my own time or in gifted class, which was run on the principle that students have to decide where their interests lie and create longterm goals for large research projects. But the problem, as I think we've discussed before, is that all kids have interests, not just gifted kids, and it's a fucking shame that elementary school education is a lot of busywork and practicing using fractions.

While I generally agree with this, what's with slamming fractions? Fractions are great, and essential! No fraction-dissing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:41 AM
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but it just seems weird to me to think that this is such an undemanding and unspecialized profession that literally anyone can study at home and just do it.

You don't think anyone at Unfogged could study at home and pass the bar, given sufficient motivation?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:42 AM
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82 written before seeing the intervening comments, or (obviously) 83. I don't actually know very much about what professional elementary school teachers learn or why they do so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:42 AM
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Throughout school I never met a single kid who didn't go to the same school as me, except the ones on my soccer team at ages 14 and 15 who I never saw outside of soccer, so the irrelevance of the socialization canard definitely depends on the parents actively introducing the kids to activities, and the existence of a "neighborhood" in which kids can interact.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:42 AM
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82, 83: What ttaM said. Teaching is very difficult and skilled, but the difficult, skilled bits are mostly about managing a classroom full of people. Take that out of the equation, and the one-to-one transmission of knowledge isn't that hard for someone with a grasp of what they're teaching.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:44 AM
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Wildly off-topic, but does anyone in the New York chapter want to go to a "VIP Reception in honour of Latin music legend T/ito F/uente" given by his son and LaFiesta 1490AM on Thursday, July 15th? 424 W/est 33/rd St. RSVP to Danielle, whose phone number I won't put on the www.

Explanation - I get spammed by a PR company in New York, and occasionally this includes an invite. I'll forward the message to any takers. Warning - I suppose you'll have to pretend to be me. But then, better being like Lemieux than being like den Beste...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:44 AM
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85 -- pass the bar, sure. But passing the bar has essentially zero connection with the skills you need to be a decent lawyer.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:44 AM
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Throughout school I never met a single kid who didn't go to the same school as me,

One thing that was crucial to my balance as a middle-schooler was having groups of friends who didn't know each other. (For me, I had summer camp vs. school. To a degree, soccer was a different group, too.) It drove home the point that no one's perspective was right. The popular kids at school would not have been popular at camp, etc. Each group had it's own quirks, and so I learned that my station in middle school was not some cemented fact about myself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:46 AM
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re: 86

My ex did a 4 year education degree, rather than a 3 (or 4) year subject degree [English, maths, or whatever] followed by a 1 year conversion course. I think the latter is the more common route into primary and secondary teaching in the UK. She was pretty scornful of the degree + 1 year conversion course route when it came to primary school age children, as she did really a LOT more in-classroom teaching practice and assessment over a much longer time, and wrote a fairly lengthy research dissertation that went quite a long way beyond anything people would have done in the 1 year conversion course. By the time she came to teach in schools full time she was in her 5th year of teaching kids, and had worked for fairly long periods with a range of age groups.

That said, the 4 year course was definitely geared at primary/elementary education. You wouldn't pick up the necessary subject knowledge to teach a specialist subject to university entrance level.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:46 AM
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84: I'm not dissing fractions. The problem is that, because elementary school classrooms have to get a lot of people on the same page all the time, the pace for mathematical learning is so fucking slow that if you're not in the bottom quarter of the class, math class is a misery.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:46 AM
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Yep - being a professional teacher is about crowd control, and also about having umpteen different approaches at your fingertips to be able to get a concept across to 30 people, who will all learn best in a variety of different ways. All I have to know is how each of my kids ticks. Very different. Fortunately. (And yeah, I'm totes lax on the testing!)

Robert, as I said back in 13, I don't do much at home that would look like traditional teaching. We read lots and talk lots. For some things we use textbooks and workbooks, for others we don't. I like to follow my children's lead as much as possible.

My 12 year old is working on various things each day. She has some textbooks that we chose together, and mostly she just gets on with stuff - reading, working, looking things up. If she doesn't understand something, she'll ask me. If I can't explain it, I'll ask C or friends or family or google it. It really is very different to a classroom situation. And it pretty much all comes from her own motivation - I'll ask what she's up to each day, and check her work every now and again, but I'm not teaching her.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:49 AM
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93: Oh, that? You betcha.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:50 AM
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The problem is that, because elementary school classrooms have to get a lot of people on the same page all the time, the pace for mathematical learning is so fucking slow that if you're not in the bottom quarter of the class, math class is a misery.

I think this is a quality-of-instructor variable. An excellent teacher is providing tasks that can operate on several levels of depth.

I've been designing baby algebra modules all summer. There really are plenty of workshop style activities available that are very flexible, depending on the individual's understanding of the material.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:50 AM
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I imagine it is also a misery for the bottom quarter of the class. Nothing about elementary school math seems to work well.

I worked at CTY one summer, and they have a three-week course in which students work at their own pace through a series of math problems and use the teacher for individual lessons as they require help. Students would blow through years and years of math curriculum during that time. Of course, those are the self-selecting mathies, and I worried about what happens to them when they go back to school and it's all "OK, now we're reviewing fractions again!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:52 AM
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96: I've been designing baby algebra modules all summer.

For elementary schools? That's what they did with Sally when she got bored, put her at a table with a friend and some algebra project, and she had a great time with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:54 AM
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workshop style activities

You and me both, babe. Teaching college means I get to do this stuff, using the abilities of the students to help one another. My students learn a great deal more from being in a group environment than they would on their own, but it's because I actually learned something in my pedagogy courses about group learning strategies. I don't remember a single time in all my pre-college education when there was any kind of well-implemented group work.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:55 AM
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Certainly high school home schooling is *different* in a lot of ways from elementary school home schooling. However, it's worth keeping a few things in mind. First, the parents don't have to be the only instructors. There are online courses (I took one for AP Government), some high schools will let you take a class there (we were on good terms with our local public school and I took a history class there), and for advanced kids there's summer programs (lab chem and bio) and college classes (math and physics). Second, don't underestimate how much one can learn just by reading. Finally, keep in mind that a lot of high school teachers don't actually know that much either. Sure I'd passed the math my parents knew sometime at the end of 8th grade, but I passed the math that any high school teacher in my county would know some time in 9th or 10th grade, so it's really not that big a difference.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:56 AM
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"VIP Reception in honour of Latin music legend T/ito F/uente" given by his son and LaFiesta 1490AM on Thursday, July 15th? 424 W/est 33/rd St. RSVP to Danielle


One day Tito Fuente's gonna be dead, and you're gonna say, "Oh, I've been listening to him for years, and I think he's fabulous.


Posted by: John Winger | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:58 AM
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Fractional violence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 10:58 AM
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For elementary schools?

For college, but they could easily be modified for middle-schoolers or bright kids in later elementary school. Lots of actually cutting things out of cardboard and trying to see describe why the volume formula works, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:03 AM
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101. Puente? Or is there another Latin music legend I haven't heard?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:11 AM
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My students learn a great deal more from being in a group environment than they would on their own, but it's because I actually learned something in my pedagogy courses about group learning strategies.

Well-designed small group activities are incredibly effective with post-college-aged adults as well. I'm working on spreading this pedagogical point throughout the labor movement. Piloting a workshop tomorrow, as a matter of fact.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:24 AM
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Private schools were out of the question. Even if we could afford our city's $20K/year prep schools, I don't want my kids exposed to those kinds of values.

I'm wondering what "those kinds of values" might be. My experience of private school kids is that they run from really neat to really unpleasant, pretty much like any other group of human beings I've ever encountered.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:26 AM
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||

I just got an email that the IT department at school is currently putting a bunch of software and updates on my work computer. God I hope I closed out everything Unfogged and secret-identity related.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:26 AM
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In the movie, this is where you'd be forced to come clean to your family, friends, and cow-orkers and find out they knew all along.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:35 AM
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53 I've heard very bad things about inflexibility in Waldorff schools (for example, they have some philosophy about what you're "ready" to do at what ages and so you're not allowed to read until a certain age)

This isn't really different from most schools, is it? I can pretty much sort the teachers I had into two categories, the ones who encouraged me to read whatever I wanted, and the ones who tried to exert pressure to stop me from learning things I wasn't "ready" for. The latter were mostly really insecure, I think. ("But I didn't learn that until college! You can't understand it now! You might think you do, but you're not ready.")


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:35 AM
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109: The difference is that Waldorf schools have really screwy ideas about what you are ready for at different ages, including putting off reading at all for some ungodly period of time.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 11:41 AM
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I worked at CTY one summer, and they have a three-week course in which students work at their own pace through a series of math problems and use the teacher for individual lessons as they require help. Students would blow through years and years of math curriculum during that time. Of course, those are the self-selecting mathies, and I worried about what happens to them when they go back to school and it's all "OK, now we're reviewing fractions again!"

They get bored and read things on their own? I went to TIP intending to take a math class, but did so well on their pre-test they wouldn't let me into the class. They gave me a note along the lines of "this kid knows calculus, let him take advanced math", but it didn't help convince my high-school math teacher to let me skip more than one year. She also liked to say things like "I would let you borrow some books on abstract algebra, but you really shouldn't learn that sort of thing before college, they won't know what to do with you if you show up knowing it". Thank god for well-stocked libraries and cheap Dover paperbacks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:03 PM
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109: The difference is that Waldorf schools have really screwy ideas about what you are ready for at different ages, including putting off reading at all for some ungodly period of time.

What do they do with the kids who can read anyway?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:04 PM
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Oh man, according to wikipedia the Waldorf people still believe in the 4 humors!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:06 PM
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111: And thanks to that teacher, you ended up the sort of well-adjusted person who hangs out here.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:08 PM
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I was very fortunate that my elementary school let a group of us skip ahead a few years in math, but I gather that this is not common. It meant we had to go to the high school for math in the morning and get bused back to the middle school, etc. I also managed to convince my schools to let me test out of Health, not take Communications, take extra foreign languages, and skip ahead a few years in Spanish, all on the threat that otherwise I would be an unbearable pain in the ass.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:08 PM
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...all of which meant that I never had to choose between taking the arts classes I wanted (chamber choir, repertory theater) and AP courses, which then meant I had time for two majors and a minor in college while still dicking around as much as I wanted.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:11 PM
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The difference is that Waldorf schools have really screwy ideas about what you are ready for at different ages, including putting off reading at all for some ungodly period of time.

My understanding on the reading thing (and this may vary by school, but to the extent that it varied in the direction suggested in this thread, that would indeed be very unfortunate) is that they just delay formal schooling of reading until several years later than most "traditional" schools. They don't in any way discourage children from learning to read prior to then, they just discourage them from being taught to read prior to them (except to the exent the teaching is child-initiated--i.e., it's perfectly okay to answer a child's questions about "what's that word", or "what's that letter", or "how do you write [...]", but not to sit a child down and have them work through the alphabet, or their phonics lessons). Indeed, the expectation is that a significant number of the kids will pick up the decoding all on their own, just by being read to and paying attention to the words, and then a lot of the "formal" education in reading will become unnecessary. And for those who haven't picked it up on their own (which isn't a fault of the child or an indication of slowness, just of a relative lack of interest), the belief is that the whole process will be much quicker and less painful for everyone involved (most of all the child) if it's done a few years later than is traditional, and consequently that reading will be a much more pleasurable experience for the child, rather than something associated with drudgery*. (Second grade is when they teach it, I believe?)

And my (only partially informed) understanding is that, screwy or not, this is one of the aspects of their pedagogy that's actually got a respectable body of research supporting it.

* This may be foreign to most people here, but it's disturbingly common in students.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:16 PM
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JRoth's daughter goes to a Waldorf school and he's talked about it extensively in other threads. (Your homework is to search TFA yourselves.) It sounds like Iris is getting a non-insane education there despite the 4 humors & etc.

Where's JRoth been anyway?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:22 PM
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Where's JRoth been anyway?

Heebie's blog had a possible clue recently, but I wasn't sure if it was a joke or not.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:28 PM
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I'm poking around on the Waldorf webpage and the obsession with milk teeth is super weird.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:29 PM
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I've said before, but he's on vacation, coming back soon I think.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:29 PM
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That's kind of my approach to most things - learning stuff when you want to is when it's going to be quickest and easiest. One of my problems with schooling is that there is always an arbitrary age that 'they' decide is when you will learn it. So even if Steiner schools don't teach reading until age 7, they still have that 'age 7' this-is-when-you-learn-to-read mentality.

None of my kids have been early readers (around 5-6), but the older 3 all love reading now (the 9 year old boy does the stereotypical boy thing of vastly preferring non-fiction, but he did just read Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow). The youngest will be 8 in September and is still at Green Eggs and Ham level, having not been interested in reading at all until this year. Which, 9 years ago when we started home educating, would have freaked me out, but in reality is just not a big deal.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:30 PM
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@71: Interestingly, there's been educational research about this topic. It turns out that homeschooled kids whose parents are certified teachers don't score any better on standardized tests than homeschooled kids whose parents don't have teaching experience.

I'd be the first to agree that I lack the skills and resources necessary to teach a whole classroom of kids. Teaching one-on-one is very different. And of course there are tons and tons of resources for homeschooling parents these days, on both subject matter and pedagogy.

Also, you say "Even in elementary school, the idea that I could teach my kid a lot in offhandish ways in time in between working strikes me as pretty hubristic". If that's a reference to my post @52, I'd be honestly curious to have you click through to my blog and tell me what you think we should be covering that we aren't. (If it isn't, then nevermind.)

You may also be overestimating the breadth of subject knowledge that the average elementary school teacher has. The book Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma has been extremely eye-opening for me, in that regard; she found that even elementary teachers who saw themselves as particularly good at math had commonly just memorized a set of procedures to apply and did not understand elementary-level math at a conceptual level.


Posted by: Rivka | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:31 PM
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119: Not a joke; he and AB were here several weeks ago on that mission. Which reminds me that he took a photo of a flashing cockaroach sign. I'm off to see if it's posted in the pool.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:32 PM
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Also, you say "Even in elementary school, the idea that I could teach my kid a lot in offhandish ways in time in between working strikes me as pretty hubristic". If that's a reference to my post @52, I'd be honestly curious to have you click through to my blog and tell me what you think we should be covering that we aren't. (If it isn't, then nevermind.)

Don't worry, I'm pretty sure that was aimed at me for claiming that well-educated parents could generally make up for educational gaps in what their kids' elementary schools were providing without too much effort. Look at my 55 and 64.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:34 PM
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Where's JRoth been anyway?

I've said before, but he's on vacation, coming back soon I think.

I'm pretty sure that JRoth went to live on Emerson's farm. I'm not expecting him back.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:44 PM
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Also, thanks for coming by and hanging in with our conversation, Rivka. You've obviously put a lot of thought into these issues.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:44 PM
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126: Really?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:48 PM
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Yeah, we emailed about it a while back. Hope I'm wrong, or that he changes his plans. For that matter, I miss Emerson.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:55 PM
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Rivka!

Gosh, I just checked this thread, and noticed that you were commenting.

I have to say, respectful of otters was one of my favorite blogs, when I discovered it in 04 or 05.

Sorry for the random effusiveness, but I was so surprised and pleased to see your name.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:57 PM
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I hope all that "feed him to the hogs" stuff was a joke. I would hate to have to involve the FBI.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:57 PM
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Wait, this is RoOtters Rivka? I assumed it was just someone of the same name. Cool!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:59 PM
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You don't think the FBI keeps a close eye on Emerson's farm?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 12:59 PM
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Wait, this is RoOtters Rivka? I assumed it was just someone of the same name. Cool!

I'm assuming, since Tinderbox lists Alex as having been born on 4/05 and this post (the first baby post I found scrolling from the top) on 7/06 would match that date.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:02 PM
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For that matter, I miss Emerson.

If you just get over your grudge against FB, you could have Emerson commenting on, like, every other status update. His World Cup running commentary was pretty funny, too. TEMPTING, RIGHT?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:05 PM
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You don't think the FBI keeps a close eye on Emerson's farm

Back in the day, we'd have had all the hogs bugged. Now we are too busy rounding up suspicious brown fellows.


Posted by: Ghost of J. Edgar | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:07 PM
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134: Woohoo! Now I must read the Tinderbox archives.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:07 PM
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So far, that's the most tempting argument I've heard for FB. But it still isn't enough to get me to join.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:09 PM
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Holy crap, I can't believe anyone here remembers me. Respectful of Otters was, like, a million years ago in Internet time. Thanks, you guys.

Someday I hope to have a political blog again, but not while I have an NIH grant, a homeschooler, and a toddler to juggle. It's the toddler part that is really killer.


Posted by: Rivka | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:10 PM
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LizardBreath, Tinderbox's archives are solely educational and may disappoint you. I also have a LiveJournal which is still pretty kid-centric (at least the parts that aren't friendlocked) but may be somewhat less disappointing.


Posted by: Rivka | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:12 PM
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If you just get over your grudge against FB

Steady on, Megan. I've half-caved. Don't let them get you, too!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:16 PM
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140: No, I have (slightly older -- about to turn nine and about to turn eleven) kids, and I find educational stuff fascinating.

You have an early post on Alex learning to read, and being more comfortable writing simple words than reading the same words, which was very familiar. My oldest was writing a lot long before she was a fluent reader: there was a several month period where she was writing stuff that she absolutely wouldn't have been capable of reading.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:19 PM
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Caring about public education as only the NYT can.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:25 PM
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Now I must read the Tinderbox archives.

What, my say-so wasn't sufficient?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 1:52 PM
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||
Off-topic bleg of sorts. Not a math problem but looking for personal experience, if a boy is 6 feet tall (1.83 m) at age 14, how tall will he be at 16? And as an adult? All my brothers are over that height and I can imagine the youngest sprouting at 15 or so, but maybe it's normal to get taller earlier. I know experiences vary, but I'm having trouble visualizing.
|>


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:24 PM
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See if this helps, Thorn.

http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:28 PM
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I expect boys to keep growing longer than girls -- that is, a female 14-year-old I'd think would be within an inch or so of her adult height, but a boy of that age could have any distance to go yet. But I'm not sure if that's accurate -- I just have men on both sides of my family who were short until sixteen or so, and then grew a lot very quickly. (And my grandfather was 5'9" when he immigrated from Ireland at twenty, and 6'1" when he died. But that, we think, was about being malnourished. They were pretty poor.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:28 PM
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IIRC, I was a couple inches short of 6' at 14, and reached 6' by 16, which is the height I am today.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:30 PM
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145- two of my brothers were around 6'2 by 13 or 14, and they are now 6'5 and 6'3. So they don't always grow much after that. Just usually.

The other one was always the shortest kid in his class, but grew more later and is now 5'11.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:31 PM
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145: This calculator says 6 feet 3 inches at age 21, but I had to guess at a bunch of stuff, so I just put in rough estimates for what the mean values might be. With better numbers it'd at least give you ballpark upper bounds.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:32 PM
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6 foot looks off-the-charts tall for 14, so I'm going to maybe guess that the paperwork is wrong, as it is when it puts his mother's birthdate as two years before his. It's also 2 years old, which is why I'm asking. I love the quality of data available in foster care!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:32 PM
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I think the "normal" thing is for boys to be shorter for a while, and then start growing later, and then keep growing into their early 20s. But (I think, based on my own personal experience of seeing my brothers a few times a year) boys who get taller earlier, maybe don't keep growing as long?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:32 PM
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150: Huh. That calculator says Newt's going to be 6'6". That'd make him eleven inches taller than me, and four taller than his father, which seems unlikely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:35 PM
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Thanks, togolosh. That's what I was picturing, but we really won't know anything until we know anything, "tall and thin" is all I've got. I was just curious, because I can't think of many boys who got very very tall early but by 14 I was also in a single-sex school. 6'3" would fit perfectly in my family.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:36 PM
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152: True. The family narrative I have is of boys who grew late compared to the other boys -- short in middle school and tall at high school graduation. Which implies that someone else was growing tall early.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:37 PM
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6'3"

That's exactly how tall I'd be if I were granted a height wish. I thought I was headed to that neighborhood, and was disappointed to stall out at 16.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:37 PM
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It also claims he was 6 feet tall and weighed 104 pounds. I'm going to assume they were estimating significantly and he's tall and thin, not in fact a skeleton.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:38 PM
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Oh, never mind, if I enter Newt's age correctly he comes out as 6'3", which is plausible enough that I won't look askance at the calculator.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:39 PM
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Isn't there some magic age, in the 2nd year, where all kids are exactly, precisely, and universally half of their adult height?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:41 PM
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I'm going to maybe guess that the paperwork is wrong, as it is when it puts his mother's birthdate as two years before his... It also claims he was 6 feet tall and weighed 104 pounds

Um, I'm going to guess you're right about maybe there being some errors in the paperwork. At this point I'm not sure you can safely assume he's really 14, or that he's a boy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:41 PM
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Because then Thorn could just look up this kid's month-by-month height chart at age two.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:41 PM
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159: For each child, there is such an age. You figure out when it is by measuring them frequently and noting their age when they're half of their adult height.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:42 PM
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So you apply the Intermediate Value Theorem recursively.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:43 PM
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160: Yeah, with paperwork like that, I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up and was a female iguana.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:43 PM
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Retroactively, not recursively. But you all knew that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:44 PM
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I know from the paperwork that his weight and length at birth are unknown! Seriously, I don't put a lot of stock in these forms, and this one is no worse than most. It's probably more accurate than our original homestudy, which included a long explanation of how my partner is a lesbian because of her lifelong "interest in the opposite sex" and a charming anecdote about the hospital job I've apparently worked since age 6. Ah, fun stuff, I'm telling ya!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:44 PM
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And it predicts Sally at 5'10". A respectable, albeit not extreme, height.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:45 PM
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Isn't there some magic age, in the 2nd year, where all kids are exactly, precisely, and universally half of their adult height?

I don't think it's necessarily in the 2nd year, and I'd scrap "universally", but I'm pretty sure there is indeed a magic age at which all kids are exactly, precisely half of their adult height. The age just varies somewhat from person to person.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:45 PM
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So very pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:46 PM
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169: yeah, sorry. My phone rang. I'm sure I'd thought of it first.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:47 PM
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a long explanation of how my partner is a lesbian because of her lifelong "interest in the opposite sex"

Hmmm. So heterosexuality would be strongly influenced by a lifelong interest in the same sex.

It is true that some of my best friends, as a small child, were girls.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:48 PM
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a female iguana

Proving that the numbers were not to scales.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:49 PM
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I was thinking more "And after extensive research into and observation of the opposite sex, she made an informed decision that she wanted no part of them."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:49 PM
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171: Nah, just a complete typo where every time she meant to say "same sex" she wrote "opposite" instead. There were so many errors. It makes me furious to think about it and I wish we'd known sooner how bad the damage was. I think it makes a pretty bad impression when social workers read it, except they're probably used to files like this boy's and so it doesn't even matter. Sigh!!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:50 PM
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a long explanation of how my partner is a lesbian because of her lifelong "interest in the opposite sex"

If it was just stray erroneous phrasing, then it's funny. But if it was actually a "long explanation", then I'd be somewhat worried.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:50 PM
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Damn.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:51 PM
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Actually, is explaining her lesbianism by her "lifelong interest in the same sex" significantly better?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:53 PM
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Do try to keep up, Brock.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:53 PM
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It doesn't really strike me as better. I furrow my brow as much at one as at the other.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:54 PM
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6 feet tall and weighed 104 pounds

I bet he's a dorky jumper. Awkward, at the very least. But hey, that's okay.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:54 PM
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Stanley's been looking for an opportunity to drop that joke since this thread began.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:56 PM
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I wonder if the social worker who did the report just thinks that women are always "the opposite sex", regardless of the sex of the person under discussion. Very Simone de Beauvoir.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 2:56 PM
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Thorn, if you have possession of the child, and strong reason to care, I think you can get a medical-type person to tell you how tall your kid will be. My brother got a height estimate when he when in to get braces (from the x-rays of his jaw), and for some reason I think maybe they can tell from x-rays of the wrist. So you could send him off for superfluous x-rays and find out, maybe.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:07 PM
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Thorn, if you have possession of the child, and strong reason to care, I think you can get a medical-type person to tell you how tall your kid will be. My brother got a height estimate when he when in to get braces (from the x-rays of his jaw), and for some reason I think maybe they can tell from x-rays of the wrist. So you could send him off for superfluous x-rays and find out, maybe.

My wife had this done as a kid, and ended up being about 5 inches shorter than predicted (though still a respectable 5'7"), which her parents still to this day* blame on her teenage conversion to vegetarianism, but which convinced her those tests weren't always as accurate as promised.

*They brought it up to me just this past Saturday, for example.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:12 PM
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I know they try to tell age from wrist X-rays -- it comes up in immigration cases where they're trying to determine if someone's a minor. I think what they're looking for is whether all the cartilage in the growth plates on the long bones has turned to bone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:12 PM
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they try to tell age from wrist X-rays

This seems materially different from predicting adult height.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:17 PM
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Yeah, but I could see it being connected -- that is, I think they're telling age from "How close to done growing is this kid", and that seems as if it'd predict the other as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:18 PM
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heterosexuality would be strongly influenced by a lifelong interest in the same sex

I'LL SHOW INTEREST IN ANYTHING THAT MOVES!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:20 PM
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This is like Ogged's claim that adolescent girls masturbate dogs because they're natural scientists.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:22 PM
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187 gets it right. You can usually tell from x-rays whether someone is done or about to be done growing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:24 PM
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188: I love this.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:24 PM
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You can usually tell from x-rays whether someone is done or about to be done growing.

I know this, but I didn't think that translated into being able to tell exactly how much more growing someone who clearly isn't done growing or about to be done growing has left to do. It's possible they're now able to do both, I guess, but I'm still skeptical.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:26 PM
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We haven't even seen a photo and if anything happens toward having him placed with us, I'll have my answer about how tall we'd expect him to be. I was curious more than anything.

As far as the same-gender thing, I don't remember whether it also cited Ginger from Gilligan's Island as how she knew she was "interested in the opposite sex," but I think it does. And this is because we got the worker with the most experience, who requests all thr LGBT families because her mom is gay and she wants to see them get matched. She sees no problem with the job she does and apparently there isn't even a protocol for fixing homestudies because there's never been a problem before!!! I can't even talk about this without getting annoyed.

My partner might actually appreciate how it's written since she informed me last week that she thinks she chose to become a lesbian at age 8 or so because all her friends were boys and she wanted to be like them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:34 PM
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Ginger from Gilligan's Island

A friend's college professor mentioned that seeing a sweaty William Shatner with his shirt off in an episode of Star Trek clarified his sexuality for him. There are probably a lot of people with stories like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:41 PM
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I'm pretty sure there is indeed a magic age at which all kids are exactly, precisely half of their adult height. The age just varies somewhat from person to person.

Doesn't the "varies" kind of cancel out the "magic"? There's a magic age at which all people are exactly, precisely halfway to death. The age just varies somewhat.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:43 PM
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She says as a child she'd hear the boozy trombone that meant Ginger was on-scrreen and come racing in from another room so she could watch. I think it's a cute story, but not necessary for a document about whether we can be good parents. At least it's true, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:44 PM
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I remember hearing someone on NPR say that as a child they got so excited watching Adam West on Batman that they had to be physically restrained. This was apparently foreshadowing not just being gay, but being an especially campy gay man.

Also, I knew at age 8 Mary Anne was cuter, but I was into my 40s before I knew that she was Bob Denver's pot connection.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:53 PM
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196: Does it provide the same info on you, or did you spring forth fully gay from your father's forehead?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 3:56 PM
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Doesn't the "varies" kind of cancel out the "magic"?

Um, no, it doesn't. That's what makes it magical, because it's imperceptible at the time. Magic requires mystery. If it were a fixed age, known openly, it would cease to be magic, and would become just another boring fact of life.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:24 PM
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199: That's what makes it magical, because it's imperceptible at the time.

Just like the magical age when you are reach exactly half your total lifespan!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:29 PM
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Yeah, but everything is halfway to its endpoint at some point, nu?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:29 PM
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And the magical age when you weigh exactly half as much as you will at your fattest!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:30 PM
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And the magic moment when you've posted exactly half as many comments on unfogged as you ever will!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:30 PM
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200 is exactly right.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:31 PM
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203 is somehow more depressing than 200.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:31 PM
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Yeah, but everything is halfway to its endpoint at some point, nu?

And the guy's not really sawing the lady in the box in half, either; it's just an illusion. What's your point?



Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:33 PM
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194: There are probably a lot of people with stories like that.

A friend of mine was remarking a few months ago that his gay epiphany had come (IYKWIMAITTYD) when viewing the locker room scenes in Varsity Blues of all the awful things. Interestingly, his parents are big Trekkies, so presumably he had scene shirtless William Shatner on a number of occasions by that point.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:34 PM
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My son, whom we adopted as an infant from Korea, is small for his age. We had very little info on his health history and nothing on his birth mother and father. His pediatrician measured one of his leg bones a couple of times and (I think) did the wrist X-ray thing and has been able to predict his growth pretty well. We took him (my son, not the pediatrician) to an endocrinologist to find out more, including whether to give him human growth hormones. She said "You have a healthy, small son. I wouldn't recommend any hormones." Good enough for us. He is probably the smallest guy in his class but this does not seem to bother him socially or otherwise. He has only the haziest notion of Gilligan's Island - I attribute this to our lack of a cable package. ms bill and I sang the theme song one night and he clearly thought we had lost our collective parental hive-mind.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:35 PM
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Yeah, but everything is halfway to its endpoint at some point, nu?

Do go on.


Posted by: Zeno | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:35 PM
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seen, rather. Homonyms! In a gay anecdote! Of all the darn things!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:35 PM
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208 brings this to mind.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:40 PM
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209 cracked me up way more than I can explain. I'm still giggling.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:53 PM
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206: I'm just trying to understand whether it's any imperceptibly halfway-to-somewhere point that's magical or the magic is specific to half-grown children. I thought you meant the latter, which I found Btock style odd.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 4:57 PM
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Re 211: I hadn't seen that article but I'm not surprised. We just weren't comfortable with the idea of giving our son drugs/hormones if he didn't have a health problem, even if, hypothetically, some more height might ease his way in society, in years to come. We have friends who did exactly that with their son - these are tough calls for any parent with the health plan or other resources to think about them.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:20 PM
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Belatedly, but:

I have to say, respectful of otters was one of my favorite blogs

Seconded! Unfortunately I didn't discover it until quite late, just before you stopped posting. I circled back mournfully for several months, hoping there would be more.

Anyway, so nice to see you again. And Nick, thank you for making the connection, which I would not have.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 7:56 PM
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Seconded!

It's funny, I was just thinking that the virtues of respectful of otters overlap significantly with what I would expect from a Witt blog, were one to exist.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 8:21 PM
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217

A friend's college professor mentioned that seeing a sweaty William Shatner with his shirt off in an episode of Star Trek clarified his sexuality for him.

Clarified how? is my question. The sight of a sweaty, shirtless Shatner might confirm a same-sex attraction, or it might confirm an opposite-sex attraction, or it might serve as a strong inducement toward lifelong celibacy. Just asking, of course.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-13-10 9:49 PM
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218

188 would imply, shockingly, that the author is headed for celibacy.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-14-10 3:19 AM
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219

I'm just trying to understand whether it's any imperceptibly halfway-to-somewhere point that's magical or the magic is specific to half-grown children.

I'm just trying to understand if this is all an elaborate ruse to boost Standpipe's traffic (is he paying you kickbacks?), or if you genuinely didn't perceive 168 to be a joke (which was itself pwned by 162/163 (as acknowledged in 169/170)).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-10 6:56 AM
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