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Abigail's Homeschool (Poverty Style)


Koala

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Here is my usual supply list for homeschooling three kids in elementary school: pencil, paper, library card, and the internet. Most of what I teach is straight out of my own head.

I use my son's obsession with Roblox to help his reading and writing skills. We do spellings lists based on words he wants to learn. For example, one list was "Sword", "Ax" and "Fire." Then I help him write sentences that he can use on Roblox. The difference between teaching my son fun "boy words" and teaching him words from a spelling word book are huge! He is a kid who actually loves to do homework now.

I think this is the most concerning part for me. "Fire" and "ax" for a 9 year old boy? She is helping him write sentences? "Fun boy words"???? I have just never. :evil-eye: My kids are 8 & 9. I don't remember when they learned to spell "fire" and "ax", but it was a good while ago.

Now, sometime in the Fall, I'm going to buy a third grade spelling book for him--so that we can better master basic spelling rules. (My technique is a little too random I think to really master spelling)

Now tell me, WHY IS THIS WOMAN HOMESCHOOLING????? Ughhh....

(also on her blog: A shit load of recent pictures of them NOT living in poverty :angry-banghead: )

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I think the most concerning words for me are 'Most of what I teach is straight out of my own head.' :?

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I'm teaching my boy to read, so I can understand the "words he is interested in" approach. We've been spelling a lot of 'poop', 'star wars', and 'burp' as a result. The difference of me teaching from my own head and Abigail, however, is that her boy is 9 and mine is 4. I think past a certain point some sort of structure/plan is necessary.

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I think the most concerning words for me are 'Most of what I teach is straight out of my own head.' :?

This is what concerns me most about homeschooling fun die style in general. Why do these women think they are remotely qualified to educate their children? I have a graduate degree and still don't think I could teach science and math beyond jr. High.

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I didn't have too much of a problem with this until I realized the boy is 9.

Ax? Really? :shock:

My daughter learned to read and spell much the same way, only instead of Roblox it was Scribblenauts, she was 5, and the words were things like unicorn, vampire, monster, kitten, tornado, umbrella, volcano, salamander. Ax would have never required a spelling lesson of any type. "A-X. Got it? Good. Moving on."

I don't really disagree that all you need to homeschool is a library card and the internet. We are similar, although I don't tend to rely on what's in my head as much as she seems to. (And I am going to hazard a guess that my head is less murky. :lol: ) I do find it weird that she's going to blow money on a spelling curriculum bc out of everything that seems to be a waste - there are spelling lists by grade level all over the internet if that's really what she wants. that money would be more wisely spent on any number of things, like math or science books.

(I personally believe the best way to build spelling skills is to read, read, read and not necessarily memorize words. And read books, not dialogue from video games.)

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A member of my family homeschools her children and I'm pretty sure she uses Abigail's practice of teaching straight out of her own head. Meanwhile, I'm pretty concerned that none of her children can read or do math, but what the fuck do I know? She's doing what Jesus told her to do.

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This is what concerns me most about homeschooling fun die style in general. Why do these women think they are remotely qualified to educate their children? I have a graduate degree and still don't think I could teach science and math beyond jr. High.

I don't get that either!!

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Her post sounds like things my parents would do with me to supplement the education I was getting at (CATHOLIC) school. You can't just learn how to spell words you like.

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This is what concerns me most about homeschooling fun die style in general. Why do these women think they are remotely qualified to educate their children? I have a graduate degree and still don't think I could teach science and math beyond jr. High.

My son just finished 6th grade. I realized, about 1/2 way through the seccond term, that I really could no longer help him with math. Then it became - "Oh. Your teacher offers after school help on Mondays? Great! There's a late bus home. We'll see you at 4:30" And never mind having the actual knowledge to be able to teach a subject. How many of these women have the patience. I know I don't.

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Based on a previous posting from almost five years ago, it appears Abigail is against using curriculum systems and products even Catholic based ones. They were living in Maryland at the time. It is hard to tell if she is now using a curriculum or decent products. Does anyone about restrictions and regulations about homeschooling in West Virginia?

abigails-alcove.blogspot.com/2008/08/portfolio-review.html

As further proof that God uses all things for his glory, I have now become the biggest fan of the "portfolio review." For those of you blessed to have either "school in a box" or a State that doesn't micromanage your home education curriculum, this sounds odd.

I live in the 16th largest school district in the United States (Montgomery County) in a state with some of the most stringent home schooling laws.

The way home education works in Maryland is that you choose one of three options. Option A, is the portfolio review, where you meet up with a public school administrator twice a year for a review of your child's school work. If the work is not up to par, you get a 30 day remedial period. If the child hasn't made satisfactory progress, you kid is immediately placed in public school.

Option B is to go with a special correspondence school (only two are licensed in the whole State.) Option C is to go with an approved home education curriculum. Under Option B and C, the local school board has nothing to do with you beyond filing a piece of paper. All assessment of your child's progress is left to be completely monitored by the home ed school of your choice.

Everyone who home schools in my parish assured me that it was "impossible" not to go with Mother Seaton, the only Catholic Home School curriculum approved by the State of Maryland. (Which I find hysterically ironic that there are multiple Amish, Mennonite and Free-Will Baptist curriculum available, but only one Catholic curriculum in the state where American Catholic Church began!) Even with the Mother Seaton set, I was strongly advised to sign up for the Home-School Defense Fund and remain on guard for unmerited reports by concerned neighbors to Children's Services.

Going the easy way is never really an option with the Benjamin Family. We prayed and prayed and prayed. It seemed pretty clear that while Mother Seaton has beautifully educated one of my favorite people (Maria from Ordinary Time), it isn't a good option for Hannah. As my husband blithely said "you can either have the daily stress of trying to enforce a curriculum that doesn't fit, or you can have two days of great stress as you meet with the school board each semester." We opted finally for the two days of great stress.

So now I'm trying to figure out what goes into the portfolio? Which is a much larger questions "how do you document unschooling?" and "if you measure something does it change the thing you are trying to measure?"

I'm going to print out the state kindergarten guidelines for Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. I'm just going to file them in the back of the portfolio and check them off as we go along. I also invested in a Teacher Planner Book. There's no grand plan. Rather I just stop every so often and write down what we did that day.

The benefit is that while, I think that we spend most of our day simply "hanging out together", in hindsight there is quite a lot of learning activities going on that would make even the most stringent public administrator proud. That hungry crocodile game just appeared during one quiet nap time.

The benefit of the portfolio review is that it forces me to better reflect and record what happens each day. I'm please to realize in a concert way that what we call "living life" has other official educational names. For example, Hannah's home-made comic book is also called "mastering the concept of return sweep." I feel like I've moved from "Teacher" with a capital T, to 'scribe' with a small s. In my heart, I know this is where God means for me to be.

One of the most complicated thing I had to do as a swimming instructor was teach a kid how to float. There are lots of guidelines in the Red Cross handbook about how to teach the arm movements in free-style or the breaststroke kick. There is no strategy for teaching a kid how to float. Yet, all of swimming depends on that basic building block.

The problem is learning how to float is counter-intuitive. You need to completely relax in the water and "trust" that this "dangerous" substance will hold you.

To teach the youngest swimming class, I didn't focus much on this one critical skill which determined whether the kid passed or needed to repeat the class. Instead, I focused on gaining confidence in the water. I played crazy splashing games. We pretended the water was a boa constrictor that ate us slowly, first the feet, then the knees, etc.

On the last few classes, I held the kids in the water on their backs. My only direction was "put your ears in the water." I held then with both hands until I could feel the tension in their bodies relax. I asked their permission first to drop on hand, and finally simply hold up their bodies with the pressure from one finger. The way I taught kids how to go from "non-swimmers to swimmers" wasn't written in any textbook. I simply hung out patiently in the water with them for 8 weeks. When they were ready to try to float on their own, they told me. I was there to catch them if they sunk. In a class which was supposed to have a 35 percent average failure rate, I never, ever had a kid not be able to easily pass the critical floating test by last day of class.

I hope that this "hang out in the water thing" will work in a similar way for reading and math. As my kid's teacher, I naturally go for the more unstructured "wait, follow the kid's lead" approach. I'm so blessed to have this extra time together. I love hearing Alex theorize that the "red ball" will go faster in our gravity experiment because "red is the fastest color."

I'll leave you some notes on my blog from our journey this year. It's a little intimidating in the beginning, but we are already blessed with beautiful views.

Abigail's system seems crappy and I feel bad for her kids. I also get the feeling that her husband isn't a super science guy like she claims he is. Abigail probably gets kicks out of bragging about how she is homeschooling on the cheap. When my maternal grandmother was alive, she was a subscriber to Catholic Digest and similar magazines. Those magazines advertised heavily for Catholic homeschooling programs. Back in 2004 or 2005, I read a blog of a large Catholic homeschooling family in Kentucky. There were 11 kids in the family. The mom seemed like a decent teacher and they budgeted wisely when it came to homeschooling supplies.

My husband is a science guy. He's also the more quiet parent. Now my husband uses the "dinner topic time" to hold court in his home and share with us all the brilliant stuff inside his head. Sometimes he explains to us the details of how blood clots. Sometimes is the use of those new 3 D printers. Last night it was the photosynthesis process that lets cabbages stay alive long after they are cut from their roots. It's like a college science class condensed into a 20 minute segment.

Jon gives a lot of details in his conversations. Sometimes I worry "this is way over their head." Yet my kids drink in every word. There is something about sitting in a dining room chair and eating that makes information go straight into their brains. It's way better than lecturing at a chalk board. (In fact, teaching while my kids are imprisoned, I mean focused, at dinner is my favorite time to teach Catechism for the same reason).

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I noticed she mentions watching Netflix on her TV. Again, this is NOT poverty. :angry-banghead:

I so wish her comments were open.

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I can't imagine. Even in my areas of strength I feel like I would need at least some sort of basic curriculum to follow if I were trying to teach my own children. Nevermind my weak areas, like math or art.

From what she's mentioned it seems that her son in particular may have some issues both in terms of learning and behaviour. He needs real help from real teachers or other professionals, not whatever crumbs he gets from his mother, who thinks that not being able to spell means she and her children are geniuses.

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I substitute teach in three school districts. Two of those districts use NO textbooks K-5. From what I see, most of the teaching comes "out of the teacher's heads," based on common core requirements (supposedly). All three districts are "at risk" for low scores, so whatever is going on isn't working.

It has been at least 5 years since I've seen a spelling workbook. Lists are teacher-made and aren't usually based on any phonetic patterns. There aren't any lessons related to the words other than writing them 10 times each and using them once in a sentence and once in a journal entry.

Math is an endless string of CGI story problems. Teachers teach a methodology they like. Standard arithmetic algorithms are not allowed K-5. Gotta have those pictures, you know.

Now, I think what she's doing is totally inadequate. However, I see inadequate teaching in many places.

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One night after watching Downton Abbey, I got convinced we could have elevated dinner conversations.

Ah. OF course. The Downton Abbey curriculum.

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My son just finished 6th grade. I realized, about 1/2 way through the seccond term, that I really could no longer help him with math. Then it became - "Oh. Your teacher offers after school help on Mondays? Great! There's a late bus home. We'll see you at 4:30" And never mind having the actual knowledge to be able to teach a subject. How many of these women have the patience. I know I don't.

This happened in my house too. Math was by far my weakest subject, and I spent a lot of time in early morning extra help.

What Abigail's doing sounds nothing like "school", home based or otherwise. Toddler Nolan's recent obsession is with her name. From morning until night the kid walks around with a pad and pencil asking me to "draw her name". We've now started labeling other things in the house like "chair", "book", and "door". I write the words out and then tape them to the object. Does this mean I'm homeschooling my daughter? No. It just means that I saw she had an interest in labeling and writing so I turned it into an activity we could enjoy together. Unlike Abigail, I don't mistake her interest as a sign of genius. Lots of kids are fascinated by letters, writing, and learning to read.

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I just looked over the WV homeschooling law quickly and it seems to be pretty strict. However, it still doesn't require any particular curriculum, or any curriculum at all. I don't believe any states do.

Once a year you have to submit a letter of intent to a school district along with your educational objectives. School is compulsory between the ages of 6-16. By June 30th you have to submit either standardized test results or a portfolio assessment done by a state certified teacher. There's other stuff, but that's the basics.

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Sometimes he explains to us the details of how blood clots. Sometimes is the use of those new 3 D printers. Last night it was the photosynthesis process that lets cabbages stay alive long after they are cut from their roots. It's like a college science class condensed into a 20 minute segment.

In bold is what disturbs me about this quote. Blood clotting, how to use printers, and photosynthesis? College class? Uh, I'm pretty sure I learned all of those things in elementary school. In fact I'm positive.

I'm also more than a little disturbed that Mom appears to need this stuff explained to her.

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I homeschool my older three children. Right

now it's 4th grade, 6th grade, and a 2nd grader

I held back. The younger two are done for the

year (the 4th grader finished today, and the 6th grader

is finishing up her tests or English and math

this week), but I held the 2nd grader back

this year because she had major issues with

phonemic awareness. She could not read in

1st grade, or her first round of 2nd grade. No

amount of work I did with her helped, until I got

her a tutor. She's been working with her or close to

two years, and at her appointment last week is

FINALLY there. I can't imagine where this child

would be reading wise if I had not gotten her the

outside help she needed.

I am grateful we home school because I can

tailor the work to her needs, but she would have struggled,

possibly even failed, if she didn't have the help I wasn't

able to provide.

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I use my son's obsession with Roblox to help his reading and writing skills. We do spellings lists based on words he wants to learn. For example, one list was "Sword", "Ax" and "Fire." Then I help him write sentences that he can use on Roblox. The difference between teaching my son fun "boy words" and teaching him words from a spelling word book are huge! He is a kid who actually loves to do homework now

So now there are "boy" words and presumably "girl' words, too. Does that mean that boys don't have to spell stove, cook or laundry and girls don't have to spell sword, ax (which I learned as axe, BTW), or fire? I have a nine year old son. He just finished 4th grade. The only words he misspelled on any of his (individualized) spelling lists were the names of some of the more esoteric Greek gods.

Her method of teaching science is crazy. Science is all about connections! You can't learn about blood clotting one day and photosynthesis the next and expect to truly understand it all. Science is best taught with a mixture of didactic and hands on work. For example, learn about electricity, build a circuit, talk about electrons, talk about atoms. You really need a well equipped lab to do the experiments necesary to understand chemistry. This is where a good local community college can come in handy but I'm guessing that won't be an option for her kids.

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What on Earth is her issue with Catholic school? I get that it's expensive, but if she really were as poor as she claims, they offer scholarships to parishioners, i.e., how all four of the children in my family went to Catholic school.

Of course, my parents had to do stuff like clean the church after mass every Sunday and run bingo twice a month in exchange for the scholarships, and Abigail is the laziest fundy I've seen in a while.

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Abigail's beef with Catholic schools is (probably) that they aren't fundy enough for her. The Catholic schools where I live teach a predominantly secular curriculum. There are religious ed requirements, but for the most part they use similar curricula to the public schools. I'm sure Abigail would see Catholic school as too liberal, especially since the schools probably adhere to Vatican II standards. We'll have none of that now!

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Judging from her blog posts, 3rd grade spelling may be a bit beyond her.

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This is what concerns me most about homeschooling fun die style in general. Why do these women think they are remotely qualified to educate their children? I have a graduate degree and still don't think I could teach science and math beyond jr. High.

I'm in exactly the same situation. I'm actually not sure I could teach it beyond primary school level... Helping a child with homework is one thing, but teaching outright? I really don't get the mentality that having given birth to a child is sufficient credential to teach him or her.

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I am currently working with a large family who homeschooled before. It was exactly the same: the 9-years-old child could barely read, write, or do a multiplication ... The eldest of 16 years can't give me a book by Hugo, Voltaire, Baudelaire... (shocking authors, perthaps ?, can't give me the definition fo totalitarism, and can't write an essay of 1000 words in English. BUT inspection was conducted by Education National about the level of the family , and now, they are obloged to send their children to school. I am outraged that the inspection was not made ​​earlier. Normally it is every year. How these children will be able to survive in public school ? They never received a decent educatio n!

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