Tag: Homeschooling

Americans have always had mixed emotions about schooling: in popular literature and television, teachers are often depicted as tyrannical authorities, even as in classroom settings they often try to style themselves as “friends.” Dr. Rita Koganzon, professor of political science at the University of Houston, discusses the history of the idea of authority in education, dwelling on Enlightenment thinkers like Locke, Rousseau, and Bodin. Along the way, she covers contemporary issues like homeschooling and parents’ rights, and how attitudes towards those concepts have changed from the Early Modern period to the present.

More on Dr. Koganzon, https://uh.edu/class/political-science/faculty-and-staff/professors/koganzon/

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Amar Kumar, founder and CEO of KaiPod Learning, a network of in-person education centers for online learners and homeschoolers, based in Massachusetts. They discuss how the pandemic dramatically changed parents’ sentiments about their traditional public schools, opening the door to wider private school choice options, including homeschooling, micro schools, and pods. Mr. Kumar explains how his experiences in teaching, school leadership, and business drove him to launch KaiPod, and how he is navigating the Bay State’s regulatory obstacles to educational entrepreneurship. He distinguishes between “Zoom school” and the poor-quality remote learning that took place during the pandemic, and high-quality online and hybrid learning. Mr. Kumar shares thoughts on the notable uptick in demand among parents of color for wider private and public-school choice options, and how KaiPod is working to serve at-risk student populations.

Stories of the Week: How much learning loss occurred among college students during the pandemic? We don’t know, because higher education institutions don’t invest in the tools to measure it. In North Carolina, the state’s highest court ruled that state must provide sufficient school funding to fulfill the constitutional mandate that all children have access to an equitable public education.

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Being a home school parent must be incredibly challenging.  Aside from the time commitment, once you get beyond grade school education, there are a lot of rather tough areas to cover.  Science.  Math.  History.  English Composition.   Some of you may already be sweating.  We all know homeschooling is a powerful way to help protect precious […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Angel Adams Parham, Associate Professor of Sociology and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia, and the author of The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature. Professor Parham shares her background as an academic and former homeschooling mom, her embrace of classical education, and her philosophy about what constitutes a sound humanities curriculum. She reviews the wide variety of ancient and contemporary sources she has drawn upon, and how best to weave both faith and classical learning into the lives of children. She offers thoughts on how parents and teachers should be using enduring ideas of justice, from Plato through MLK, in this time of bitter division, and how to teach about America’s past. They also talk about her 2022 Wall Street Journal op-ed on the importance of classics, and the main themes of her new book.

Stories of the Week: In Maine, multiple police departments have recovered candy-colored fentanyl and methamphetamine in the shape of chewable vitamins, part of a nationwide trend of making these deadly drugs more appealing to younger people. Is the teacher shortage crisis a myth? New research cited in The 74 indicates that teacher turnover rates have not changed since before COVID.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Bernita Bradley, founder and president of Engaged Detroit, a parent-driven urban homeschooling advocacy coalition. Bernita shares her background, and how she became a nationally recognized parent advocate for urban K-12 education reform. They delve into problems with the chronically underperforming Detroit Public Schools, the ways in which parents have responded, and the tensions in Detroit between the traditional public schools and charter schools. Bernita describes her daughter’s experience during COVID, why it was a turning point, and how it sparked an interest in homeschooling. She shares how Engaged Detroit and other parent organizations’ efforts to organize parents across the country are progressing, and the main lessons K-12 education policymakers should be learning from parent-driven school reform efforts.

Stories of the Week: A new study from a team of political scientists found that those college grads who worked for Teach for America were significantly more likely to vote than their peers who applied but weren’t admitted to the program. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has called for the abolition of the agency she once led, and giving more authority back to states and localities.

Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate Arizona leading the way on universal school choice – including parents keeping money for private tuition or homeschooling. They also groan as Canada’s vaccine mandate for people entering the country will mean 10 players for the Kansas City Royals can’t play in Toronto. And they analyze polling showing potential Georgia ticket-splitting as Gov. Brian Kemp enjoys a healthy lead while GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker is slightly behind.


A Revisit to the Village


“The simple message of It Takes a Village is as relevant as ever: We are all in this together.”- HRC, It Takes a Village

That is, until the going gets tough. Then you’re on your own.

Homeschooling and ‘Socialization’


My kids starting homeschooling 30 years ago, when homeschooling really wasn’t much of a thing. A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

In fact, they all came out pretty well, at least in that regard. (Decades of having me as a dad has left some of them with an … unconventional … sense of humor, but that’s another story.)

On Quitting


Lazy author’s note: One of the effects of membership in this site is that I have written down a lot of things that I otherwise would not have. Many of these thoughts remain in editing limbo. The intent is to post my great wisdom and reap the internet points, but a side effect is that I have accidentally created a bit of journal that I have never before managed to convince myself to write. I wrote this back in the spring of 2018. I decided not to change much. There are no conclusions here, just thoughts. I’ve added a few notes in bold italics for updates and clarity. And because I like bold italics.

I joined Ricochet after I had been visiting the site for several years. The reason I had not joined earlier was that I had nothing to say. If I had a question or comment on a post, somebody else had already voiced it. All I had to do was scroll through the comments and wait and somebody did the work for me.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kerry McDonald, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom. Drawing on her experiences as a homeschooling parent and researcher, Kerry shares thoughts on the major lessons we all should be learning from this educational moment, now that COVID has turned most of America’s 50 million schoolchildren and their families into “homeschoolers.” Kerry reviews which education choice mechanisms, such as education savings accounts, would most effectively support homeschooling, and which states have policies that encourage entrepreneurship and innovative K-12 models, such as microschools and virtual charter schools. They also explore the increasing diversity of the two million children in the U.S. who were homeschooled before the pandemic, changing public perceptions, and a Harvard Law School professor’s controversial call for a presumptive ban.

Stories of the Week: Over 100 Catholic schools across the country are permanently closing as a result of the financial losses associated with COVID, impacting an estimated 50,000 mostly low-income and working-class students. How will the closures affect cash-strapped district schools facing an influx of these new students? Kudos to Kelley Brown, a history teacher from Easthampton, Massachusetts, who led her high school history students to win the national “We the People” civics competition. The achievement – a first for the Bay State – was all the more impressive considering the contest was held in the midst of a global pandemic and conducted entirely via Zoom, requiring extraordinary coordination.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Bob Bowdon & guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Susan Wise Bauer – writer, historian, homeschool parent, and author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, as well as numerous other books. They explore the impact of technological innovation, online tools and social media, and the plethora of resources now available to the increasingly diverse and growing population of American homeschool families. They also discuss Susan’s approach to writing and teaching about major world historical figures and eras, and why classical education’s developmentally appropriate approach to instruction in grammar, logic, and rhetoric is a model worth preserving.

Stories of the Week: Despite widely covered teacher strikes this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ newly released data on union membership shows a decline – but will this reduce organized labor’s power? In Maryland, a school desegregation proposal that would redistrict over 5,000 children to address educational inequity is meeting parent resistance. A tweet-up timed to counter National School Choice Week, using the hashtag #ILovePublicSchools, backfired when 8,000 public school students posted overwhelmingly negative comments about their experiences.

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So, being in Germany means Homeschooling is illegal. At least, only homeschooling is illegal. If you send your child to the Staatschule and homeschool on the side… well, the law doesn’t say a darn thing about that. So we do. And we are constantly on the look-out for new A/V materials in history and science, […]

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What Could Schools Learn from Homeschools?


shutterstock_283575290Why does homeschooling work? Specifically, what could traditional schools — public and private — learn from homeschoolers?

This is a neglected debate. Many traditional educators, of course, feel threatened by homeschooling or reject my premise that it works; certainly they aren’t looking to learn from uncredentialed parents. And once homeschoolers find what works for them, they tend not to look back in the opposite direction.

Even education reformers favorable to homeschooling — who should be interested in this topic — never seem to ask this question (if they have, they’ve sure been quiet about it). They would probably give you some broad answers why homeschooling works: homeschooling parents tend to be well-educated, stable, and involved; they can give plenty of one-on-one attention; they’ve freedom to customize freely, without having to overcome bureaucratic inertia; they aren’t as subject to behavioral distractions; etc.

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Like Claire, I also noticed yesterday on the Silent Members thread that we seem to have a large number of homeschoolers on Ricochet. I am always on the lookout for new curriculum and ideas to incorporate into our homeschooling routine. Anyway, this is our second year of our second round of homeschooling (taught the older […]

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There use to be a post on great resources for homeschooling, but I can’t find it. So here’s a bunch of the resources I’d recommend; I hope others will add theirs, since not everyone is doing elementary education.  All the internet ones have good things that are free, although some sell additional material.  Mine are […]

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The Importance of Learning at Home


Rewards BookNearly all children are “home schooled” during their first four or five years before being enrolled in a formal school. Growing numbers of students – approximately 1.7 million to 2.1 million – continue to be schooled at home after they are old enough to attend conventional schools, but in some capacity all students continue to be, or should be, substantially “home schooled” for their entire K-12 careers. This is because in their first 18 years, only about 12 percent of children’s time (when they’re not sleeping) is spent in school.

Some parents do all they can to ensure their children rank first in all their academic classes in school. Best-selling author Amy Chua, for example, described herself as a “Tiger Mother” and was much ridiculed for her impressive and successful efforts to gain her daughters’ entrance to Ivy League universities and for one to even make a solo performance at Carnegie Hall. Her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, noted that rigorous family emphasis on achievement is common in Asian cultures. It sparked a national debate about parents’ roles in educating and pushing children to achieve.

Research shows children with devoted parents are likely to learn far more than others. Parents can create a learning environment at home by having on hand age-appropriate personal or library-borrowed books and if they can afford it, art supplies, musical instruments, and electronic devices such as personal computers and tablets, which continue to fall in price. Many of these items can be purchased inexpensively at second-hand stores, such as Goodwill. Since children quickly outgrow many of these learning aids, it is a good idea to get in the habit of buying them used and then donating them when finished.