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Hi NJ,

You may think I'm overreacting and, I assume, you really meant no malice, but when you (or anyone) refer to things like ADHD (Attention Deficicit Hyperactivity Disorder) as 'one of the alphabet soup conditions' it breaks my heart because it sounds so callous. You may not take the condition seriously or, like many people, think it's an excuse for bad behavior, but I understand it all too well. Most of the time, I'm very proud of the strides he makes which do not always seem like much to others.


Thanks for considering my comment,


A Mother of a child with ADHD and Webelo II Leader


P. S. to SagerScout: (off subject) In my humble opinion, if 'alphabet soup' labeling gets a child the help they need, then let them label as much as they have to. I understand, tho, that sometimes a label gets them the wrong kind of attention.(This message has been edited by janssenil)(This message has been edited by janssenil)

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Why would I support home schooling only when there is no other option? Good question. I do admit that I occasionally make judgements based only on my own experience.


I can see why a student could learn more quickly with one-on-one teaching by a caring, loving parent or other party in a home enviornment.


I think that home-schooled kids receive all kinds of good "book-learning" stuff, but don't believe that "book-learning" is enough to prepare someone for life. A home schooled child doesn't have to worry about a bully taking away their lunch money, doesn't have to learn that society has time-tables, never gets sent to the principals office and often (NOT ALWAYS) doesn't learn to work and play well with others -- which I think is part of the reason home schoolers often want Scouting for their kids.


Now, here's my experience with home-schooling, and I hope it will show you that I don't have much experience with it, and still consider it an option:


1) My brother was heavily involved with a woman who had been home schooled all the way through high school. She had a good mind, but there were holes in her education and social skills because she had very little interaction with people outside of her family and their very narrow religious views. She became pregnant and my mother asked her if she had seen a physician. She said she had. She had seen "Dr. Ohbgin." My mother said, "I've never heard of him. Where are his offices." The gal then described the office and my mother knew it well. This woman hadn't seen Dr. Ohbgin. She's been to an O.B.G.Y.N.


2) My best buddy, who is the program director for a council, decided to home school his two foster children. Actually his wife did the schooling, and that was because the kids had extreme difficulty in school, but were fine when they were home. They made sure the girls had social experience with Girl Scouting and later Venturing. I think that was a good case and one where, in my view, they had no other alternative.


3) I had a district volunteer who's job moved his family to Spain for 18 months. The mother, who was a certified teacher in the USA home-schooled their sons until they returned to the U.S.


Part of my reasoning in my belief that home-schooling should be a later resort rather than a first resort (Please notice I didn't say last resort) is that human interaction is a very important component for living in the world in my opinion. If home schooling is supplemented with enough social-interaction, it is not necessarily bad, in fact, like I said, it can accelerate learning -- but I wouldn't hold it out as a first choice.


That doesn't mean that I'm implying that if you home-school, you're doing your kid a dis-service. I am in no position to know what's best for your child in your circumstantances and believe that you are the best judge of your child's well-being and are doing the best to raise the child you want to become a man or woman you will admire.


I believe that interacting with other people is of primary importance in our learning curve. If a child can be home-schooled and still have enough interaction to learn that skill, okay, but if not, something -- I don't know what -- has to be done.



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First, who do you think may know what is best for a youth, his parents or the Cubmaster?


Similarly, the same question goes for homeschooling. Religion aside, many parents are suited to homeschool their offspring. My children respond very differently to their teachers than they do to me or their mother. Teachers don't have the same emotional attachment that most parents have. Now, some public schools in this country are so bad, homeschooling is the only choice for caring parents. Homeschooled children also seem to have a built in advantage that not all public school educated youth have, parents that care.


Yes, many of the children who are homeschooled are homeschooled because mom and dad did not like how the public school system handled their "special" child. Special because of some "not normal" behavior (superior intelligence, inferior intelligence, medical conditions, behavior problems, etc.). Yes Virginia, surprise surprise, the public school system seems to work best for "average" kids. That is their primary customer.

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This is what I said,


"I'm not a big fan of home schooling when there are other alternatives, but my opinion is that if the state respects it, we should too."


Which is, in my opinion, much more close to supportive than negative.


By other alternatives I mean school with other kids, I don't care if its charter school, private school, public school (in no particular order.)


I happen to think that social interaction that happens in school with other people is as important as the classroom work. You don't get that with home schooling, which is why I'm not a big fan of it.


However, just because I don't jump up and down cheering when I hear about a kid being home-schooled, that doesn't mean I'm against it.


I was trying to help a kid get the best possible program suited for him. I was not slamming home school. I said that if the state accepts home schooling, then we should too. That was meant to be supportive. As to not being a fan of home-schooling, I'm not. That doesn't mean I'm against it, but I am a big fan of social interaction. As long as it happens I don't really care how.


I prefer white bread to wheat. That doesn't mean I'll refuse a piece of wheat bread -- I have no problem with wheat bread, I just prefer white.


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Home schooling. . . I know some home school kids who are educated at home because of religious reasons. These are the ones who worry me, every other comment seems to end with "isn't God wonderful." ("Would you like to cross our monkey bridge?" "My, that was fun. Isn't God gracious to have provided this.")


The majority of home schooled kids that I know are there because the parents got fed up by the public schools and they can't afford private schools. These kids lead well rounded lives except for going to school. They play soccer, baseball and basketball, are in girl scouts or boy scouts, and have friends in the neighborhood.


You brother's girl friend could have been just plain dumb. Ever watch tht Jay Leno segment where he asks people on the street questions? I know high school students who don't know which side won the civil war or why water is called H20. I knew a kid in junior high, considered pretty bright by the schools, who didn't know his mother's name.

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"First, who do you think may know what is best for a youth, his parents or the Cubmaster? "


The state tells us that they know best so why shouldn't the Cubmaster? All too often I see parents "who know what's best" pushing their kids into activities and it looks like the reasons are gratification for the parents. "Johnny's playing travel soccer, it's going to set him up for high school in six years." In the meantime, Johnny's miserable because he's not playing with his friends and in the 4th grade really isn't worried about high school yet.


Years ago, I was helping out at pre-season weigh-in for a youth football league. They have a formula based on age and weight to determine where a kid will be place. One blubbery 10 year old's weigh would have had him playin with 14 year olds. The league director refused to bump him up that far, saying that he's be "eaten alive" by the older kids because they are stronger, faster, and more mature. Mom (also blubbery) was furious, started cursing at the director and had to be escorted out of the building. Who knew "what was better" and had the kid's best interest at heart?



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Janssenil (and others), I apologize for any offense I may have caused with the remark about the "alphabet soup" conditions. I did not mean to downplay these conditions, but the expression I used was a bit flippant. I guess I was conveying my own confusion about these various conditions.


But my main point was to say that the boy I was referring to does not seem to have a medical condition that would cause his poor behavior. It seems to be caused at least in part by the fact that he is being pushed into an age/social group that does not quite fit yet. Dsteele is correct that he meets the age requirements for a Boy Scout troop, but the problem I have is with how he meets the requirements. He meets them solely because his parents decide to call him a sixth grader, with no opportunity for anyone else to assess whether that is correct or not. By age he would be in the fifth grade now, and since he was never a Cub Scout, he would "age in" to the troop about 6-7 months later than when he actually joined. I think that would have been better both for him and the other boys. It just seems to me that there is too much room for "abuse" (not in the youth protection sense) when you combine the Boy Scout joining requirements with home schooling.


I guess another way to look at it is that, any way he were to join the troop, my son had to meet some criterion set by someone or some fact other than a decision of his parents. It could have been the objective fact of his age, in which case he would have joined a troop about 5 months before he did, but he and I decided there was no reason for that. It could have been his completion of fifth grade, which occurred under criteria set by the school system -- they decided that a child born after a certain date would wait to start kindergarten, and he did, resulting in his being a fifth grader almost a year "later" than a child who had been born 12 days earlier. However, that criterion also was not appropriate in his case. The appropriate criterion in his case was that he achieved the requirements established by the BSA for the Arrow of Light award.


I think this is a better system than a boy's own parents deciding he is "ready" because they have sole control over what "grade" he is in. As I may have said earlier, if the boy behaved himself, fine. But since he doesn't, I have to wonder what would have been so bad about making him wait a year.

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I sort of feel the same as dsteele about homeschooling. And yes, the public school system is geared for the average kid. I don;t think homeschooling is always the answer. We need to learn to work & play well with all types of people.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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DS - your examples are excellent, and not too unusual. As FOG says, the one young lady might have just not been very bright, in which case school may not have helped in any event, or in a family that did not wish her to be educated in some subjects (sex apparently on the list) - in which case school still might not have helped as many states have parental permission required for sex ed. Rare for me to agree with FOG, but there you are.


Although I am fiercely FOR homeschooling and wish to maintain the right of parents to homeschool, I would like to point out that one of my children did 13 years in the public school system here in Texas prior to going to college, and was a rousing social success (ADHD kid...). Another is currently in the eighth grade in the local public school and is quite successful both socially and academically. So it isn't that I'm totally against public schools. I just think their effectiveness is questionable for many kids.


My third was diagnosed as OCD, we were told he would have to be on medication for the rest of his life and that we should be aware that his obsessions and anxieties could and most likely would worsen to a life-long disabling condition if we did not keep him both drugged and in weekly therapy. He was in the Level 5 classroom (the most restrictive environment at the local school) and at one point they wanted him to go to school in the local mental hospital. In the level 5 classroom the kids he was "socializing" with had done such charming things as verballly threaten their parents and teachers, set fires in dumpsters, bullied other students, and been so consistently disruptive in class that they were thrown out. At the mental hospital where they wanted my excessively anxious son to go the behaviors of his "peers" expanded to include such endearing traits as throwing desks across the room and self-mutilation.


Now, after 2 years out of the school system he's about to go up for life scout, is off all medications, has been released by his psychologist, elected to OA this summer and completed his Ordeal, enjoyed the fall fellowship campout with his buddy (and reassured him when it got dark and scary in the woods)...


Now, I didn't opine on the cub scout in question before - but I will now. Why doesn't someone tell the kid's parents that although he "could" be in boy scouts he's missing a great, fun, part of the program that he still could qualify to attend - namely a bear den... Home school parents are proud of their children's academic achievements, as are most parents, but they also understand more than most the difference between academic fitness and emotional maturity. I wouldn't think it would even be a confrontational discussion.

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SagerScout lists several good reasons and results for homeschooling.


As to the young lady in my example, oh yeah. You guys are right on. I don't like to disparage people, but she was as dumb as a bucket of hair and no amount of public, private, home-school, or anything short of a brain transplant was going to change that. to steal another phrase, "She was so dumb, she couldn't pour (water) from a boot if the instructions were on the bottom of the heel!"


That being said, I did say I'm not a big fan of homeschooling, and I regret that I said it. However, I didn't say I don't believe in it. I once told my wife that I prefer white bread to wheat bread and for months she thought that I don't like wheat bread. That isn't the case at all -- it's just given a choice between white and wheat, I'll usually choose white bread.


I'm also not a big fan of chocolate cake. Doesn't mean I won't eat it, but I'm not going to cheer when someone puts it in front of me. They can eat as much chocolate cake as they want, and, if they want, I'll cheer while they eat it. :)



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