Thursday, June 09, 2011

Every Day I Write the Book

In parallel with the book I'm writing, I've commissioned a study about attitudes with regards to homeschooling. The more participants we get, the more relevant the data becomes, which is where you come in. We are particularly interested in hearing from homeschoolers, especially those who have graduated, but anyone with a dog in this hunt with regards to education is highly encouraged to participate. We want students, parents, homeschooled, regular school, unschooled, charter school, online school, everybody.

Please take the survey yourself and please forward it promiscuously to people who have a few minutes to spare. The survey is "smart". It will only ask relevant questions based on prior responses so a typical session will take from 3 to 12 minutes to complete depending upon your answers.

And please know that I'm sending out a highly sincere "Thank you" to everyone who helps. Since the survey is about attitudes towards education, if you want to make sure your voice is in there, you have to take the survey. The survey is not affiliated with any group, community, commercial enterprise or marketing activity. All responses will remain confidential and secure. No personal information will be sold, transferred or exploited for any purpose other than continued research in the field of education in general and home-schooling in particular. I would never lie about that because I fear karma and I like to think terrible things happen to people who use private information unethically.


Blogger Katy Riker said...

Just found your blog from the link from Sara J. Henry. I read the Frugal Girl blog everyday. She homeschools her four children and was homeschooled herself. I don't know her personally, but her blog is delightful, if very different from the other blogs I read. Anyway, she seems to be a lovely person and maybe she would do the survey! Or become your blogging friend!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

At the risk of acting like the lawyer that I am and over-analyzing, I have a question. If I don't have "a dog in this hunt" (no kids; not home-schooled myself...or attempting to home-school anyone else's kids, etc..) but I am part of "everybody" (or at least I like to believe that) and have a (perhaps not too well-informed) opinion of home-schooling based on what I've seen amongst my friends and because I'm an employer (and therefore seen the results of various forms of education) you want (someone like me) to take the survey? Or does my over-use of parentheticals just rule me out completely?

1:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Parenthicate to a fare-thee-well and then fill out that survey, knowing I am very grateful. And then foward it to people who fill it out, and know my gratitude would dwarf an arena.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Hi Quinn. I am a parent, a constant student (addicted to school), a former private high school teacher, and former served on a school administration team.

I found the survey hard to take because home school students and families are so varied that it's difficult to make sweeping statements about them.

As a private school teacher, I saw many home school students enter our school. Some were way behind academically but socially functional. Some were very awkward socially but way ahead in their studies. Some excelled in areas of interest but had "holes" in their learning in other areas. Some were far and above in academics, morals and social skills... some were behind in all three.

Home school children really run the gambit depending upon the discipline, knowledge, skills and motivation of the parents.

When I was doing my MPA I did a policy project on home schooling, which in Wisconsin is largely unregulated. This is what bothered me the most -- there were mo benchmarks, no regulations, no checking up to ensure that families who chose to home school were not doing so at the peril of their children or society.

I think home schooling can be a great alternative, especially if the public and private schooling options don't meet the child's needs. However, not every parent is a good fit to home schooling, and many who lack study, academic, and social skills themselves choose to homeschool for reasons that are not sound.

I support home schooling in so much as the parents are structured, disciplined, and seek out every resource available to them to ensure the best education and experience for their children.

I personally would not do it even though I was a teacher, based on my interaction and experience with children who have homeschooled. They are often (not always!) missing important learning or social building blocks because of a very exclusive and unvaried pool of influence and input.

Love your blog -- love your insights. Thank you.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Took the survey--and posted the link to my FB page. It's quick and interesting! I look forward to your next book.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous NoL said...

oh, I waited long enough to comment after not being able to answer the survey, that Jennifer hit many of the points I would have tried to make. (Thanks for saying it so well!) Being in the field of education, I have found the homeschool communities, families situations so varied that it was hard to respond to blanket statements.

2:42 AM  
Blogger Sterling Home School Academy said...

Howdy Quinn,

I received the link to your blog & survey from a friend & fan of yours. I sent my kids to a Montessori school for the first 5 years of their educational lives, I home schooled last year and this, and next year will continue with my younger son while my older son gives the public school a whirl. I took the survey. I forwarded to all the home school yahoo groups to which I'm subscribed. One question and one comment came up:

1. People are asking who is sponsoring the study & for what purpose -- they say they've searched the internet and can't find the information they seek. It seems not knowing makes certain folks nervous. I'm not nervous because I don't care who or why -- I figure I entered my ideas into database and don't think any harm can come from sharing those thoughts no matter who or why. And, if I disagree in the end with how the data was used, interpreted or with the strength of the study, I can send a nastygram. But, others are concerned and since I was the one who suggested that they might want to take the survey, I feel I should help them find more info.

2. I had one home school friend say they had trouble answering because they could not be sure whether "home schoolers would/would not take drugs or have sex or otherwise succeed or fail earlier or later than others" (sic). I told her I could see why she might have trouble and I felt that same feelings as I took the survey, but I got around this by "guessing" based on things like age of exposure to peer pressure, the overall amount of moral influence adults had in their lives, the ideals I've seen when interacting with the children & families in the broader home school community, etc. So - whoever designed the quiz should keep in mind that even in the home school community there will be a wide range "how" they responded to the questions. I'll bet my friend more conservatively responded while I might have felt more comfortable extrapolating.

When analyzing the data, I hope the responsible group understands the amount of diversity within the home school "community". The range of beliefs and practices vary widely. In my experience in the community there is a full spectrum of political and religious (or not) beliefs, personal habits, reasons for homeschooling and educational philosophies.

I'm glad my friend introduced me to your blog. Love your sense of humor.

All the Best,

5:16 AM  
Blogger Kara Thompson said...

Love your blog, Quinn! I took the survey a few days ago, and I'm still thinking about it. I homeschool my 11 year old son, and I have found it to be a wonderful fit for him. The kicker for me was our homeschool group's talent show a few weeks ago. One of the kids played the MARIMBA. He played the marimba better than that woman who played for Frank Zappa in the 70's! It was just one of those moments where you realize that homeschool is so much more than "education." Every homeschool kid I have met is interesting, polite, smart and kind. I am excited to read your book!

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jennifer. All homeschoolers I've met are lacking in one or more areas, whether it be academically or socially or both.

My husband and his siblings were homeschooled, as well as their children, for religious reasons. Minus one set of in-laws, who took their children out of school around 9th grade to homeschool, the rest were/are socially (excuse the term) retarded. They have all dabbled heavily in sex, drugs, and alcohol. The one set (taken out of school) get along great socially; however, academically, they weren't advanced enough to even think of going to college. Their only hope for a good job are grocery stores or maid services.

My husband and his siblings (the older generation) all excelled in math; however, ask them who Hitler was, and the only thing they can tell you is that maybe he was a US president. They can barely read and write, and their spelling is atrocious. They are construction workers and housekeepers. Laborers.

My husband hates his job, but he knows that there's nothing else he can do but that. I am sure there are those who can homeschool CORRECTLY (you know, actually overseen and regulated the way it SHOULD be); however, because of what I have seen, I am 100% against it.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Jennifer or Anonymous,
Please get in touch with me; I'd love to talk with you.

9:54 PM  

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