Home Schooling Neighbors--15 yr old daughter can't read/write!


#1

So our neighbors are evangelical Christian homeschoolers. Very nice, good people. We are friends.

They homeschool their daughters, who are excellent homemakers–they know how to cook a gourmet meal, sew ball gowns, knit, garden and make their own food, including grinding their own grain into whole wheat flour…

But their 15 yr old daughter can’t read or write past a 4th grade level…I think. I never ever see my friend teaching her daughter anything academic. They are always outside in their garden/yard.

So…
-is this my business how they are educating their daughters? In our limited conversations about homeschooling, I do notice some reticence on my friend’s part to discuss education. She has mentioned the fact that she thinks her daughter has a learning disability.

-I’m not quite sure, really, what level of reading/writing the daughter actually displays. I just hear about it from my DDs who play with her. And, about a year ago she was excitedly discussing the play she was “writing”, but when she showed it to me she had it all down in pictures/stick figures. She said, “I like to draw my plays 'cause it’s funnier that way.”

-I just don’t want this 15 yr old daughter, someday, to think, “Wow. I never learned to read and write well and people around me knew that and never came to my rescue.”

Thoughts? Comments?


#2

I’ve got a homeschool family that I’m kinda watching too. Same situation. I plan on calling child protective services if I don’t see improvement in the kids’ (all of them) educational level.


#3

I think you should do something about it. I saw a kid in trouble once and I didn't do anything about it, it was years ago and it still haunts me.

Hard to think of what you could do though, can you call the authorities on this sort of thing?


#4

What is described by the OP and the first poster who responded is not normal for homeschooling.

A family I know homeschools their nine children, the oldest of whom earned a scholarship to University. They are all well rounded and educated for their age levels.

Most homeschoolers use one of the reputable curricula and also join an association of homeschoolers.

The situation described by the OP seems to be particularly odd. Perhaps the child does have a learning disability. If that is the case, perhaps she should not have been home-schooled

.


#5

Thankfully, most homeschoolers are bright, motivated,and well educated, however, this is a problem. I do NOT think her being an evangelical has anything to do with it. Some people who homeschool do need to show that they're not doing this to their child...then again. I hate state intervention in the private life. It's a tough, tough situation, and one I don't have a answer for....it's a dark side of being home schooled that some people who home school don't want to admit exists....


#6

It is not your business how they are educating their children, and not your place to “do” something about it.

The laws of your state govern parents’ rights to educate their children and this mother is exercising her right. It is not for you to say what you think her education should be. Perhaps someone who can sew a ball gown will have a wonderful income as a seamstress. Not many skilled seamstresses around these days. If the daughter has a learning disability, a trade is a wonderful way to go.

You don’t have facts, you have assumptions. Stay out of it.


#7

I used to be a homeschooled Protestant Evangelical before converting to Catholiscism... then I was a homeschooled Catholic! So I thought I'd share a little of my experience. Although my family was never of this opinion, a lot of the Evangelical families we were involved with were of the opinion that it's not as important for girls to get an education because they're just going to be homemakers, wifes and stay-at-home mothers someday. They believed that it was more important for the boys to get an education because they were the ones who would be the breadwinners and supporting families one day. Fortunately my family always believed in the importance of education for both boys and girls! I hope this helps a little with perspective though, to show where they're coming from.


#8

[quote="PRmerger, post:1, topic:199454"]
But their 15 yr old daughter can't read or write past a 4th grade level...I think.

[/quote]

You think. You don't know.

I never ever see my friend teaching her daughter anything academic.

Why would you see her teaching? I don't think anyone's ever seen me teach, either.

They are always outside in their garden/yard.

Schooling doesn't have to happen in a classroom.

So...is this my business how they are educating their daughters?

No.

She has mentioned the fact that she thinks her daughter has a learning disability.

If she brings it up again, try to discuss it more and offer suggestions as to how to get her daughter help.


#9

.

Being a wonderful seamstress is all great and good but if you are not properly educated you open yourself to being taken advantaged of by unscrupulous vendors, clients or employers. You don’t want to have to depend on the wrong people to read important documents, if you don’t have to.


#10

OP here…

I really, really don’t want this to get into a discussion about the risks/benefits of homeschooling.

This is more of an ethical question for me: sit back and do nothing vs intervene to help.

Clearly, my fall back position is: sit back and do nothing. I mean, really, isn’t that the easier thing?

Just didn’t want to shirk on a moral obligation…but it seems that some very good points have been made to butt out.

Fair enough! Easy to do. Actually, that’s kind of what I was hoping to hear…


#11

[quote="PRmerger, post:10, topic:199454"]
OP here...

I really, really don't want this to get into a discussion about the risks/benefits of homeschooling.

This is more of an ethical question for me: sit back and do nothing vs intervene to help.

Clearly, my fall back position is: sit back and do nothing. I mean, really, isn't that the easier thing?

Just didn't want to shirk on a moral obligation...but it seems that some very good points have been made to butt out.

Fair enough! Easy to do. Actually, that's kind of what I was hoping to hear...

[/quote]

I appreciate your concerns for both the daughter and the parents' right to educate as they see fit.

Since the mom has expressed to you concern over a learning disability, I suspect the mom knows something is wrong. It is entirely possible that the daughter has some form of dyslexia. That's not a just homeschooling issue--dyslexia affects a number of children in public schools and private schools too.

There are various parenting and homeschooling websites where parents discuss with other parents what they can or have done when they suspect their child has dyslexia or some type of learning disorder. The Home School Legal Defense Association offers help for Homeschooling Families that encounter learning disabilities too. I don't know if you have any "moral obligation" to do anything, but instructing the ignorant is one of the corporal works of mercy. I think it could be helpful if you gently pointed the mom in a direction that both supports homeschooling but also that can offer some help diagnosing and remediating her daughter's learning disability.


#12

:( As a homeschooling momma this saddens me. I 'm so excited that my k and 1st are becoming readers.

This is the type of things that give homeschoolers a bad name.


#13

Just wanted to chime in, since I like my opinion :wink:

If you are truly worried about it, talk to the mother. If she is the one teaching, perhaps she doesnt know how to adapt her teaching style to a learning disability and is too embarrassed to ask. Or perhaps she is not as worried about an academic education for the reasons posted above.

Personally, I tend to downplay the necessity of having an “academic” education. Yes, it is very important to learn fundamental things (three r’s) yet, is a higher education truly important? We live in a society that judges a person based almost entirely on what they can “do” for us. When I was debating what to do as an adult, my father flat refused to teach me his trades. He told me I wasnt going to break my back, I was going to get an education. Well, I hate my job, but I love what my father does. His decision not to teach me his job was very well meaning but arguably a bad decision. What happened to being proud of your children when they mastered a trade? Master plumbers, electricians, and carpenters used to be respected. Now, my generation looks down on these people since they never went to college. It is confusing to me, since those are the people who keep society running. Without plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, janitors, etc. I think almost everything would begin to shut down.

If it is your neighbours decision that she learn trades instead of calculus, that is her right. But if you are concerned, offer help. Granted, you will have to do it very very gently, but if you are that worried, offer so that it wont pain you.

FSC


#14

If you are so concern about the family that you are observing why don’t you talk to the parents and give them your opinion and suggestions, WHy should you call Child protective services right away if you are not sure what is going on in a family. Can you live with a consience of having a child taken away from a family that loves him? I have had friends whose children were taken away due to nosey neighbors and I have seen the suffering that caused these children as well as the parents…


#15

Personally, I tend to downplay the necessity of having an “academic” education. Yes, it is very important to learn fundamental things (three r’s) yet, is a higher education truly important? We live in a society that judges a person based almost entirely on what they can “do” for us. When I was debating what to do as an adult, my father flat refused to teach me his trades. He told me I wasnt going to break my back, I was going to get an education. Well, I hate my job, but I love what my father does. His decision not to teach me his job was very well meaning but arguably a bad decision. What happened to being proud of your children when they mastered a trade? Master plumbers, electricians, and carpenters used to be respected. Now, my generation looks down on these people since they never went to college. It is confusing to me, since those are the people who keep society running. Without plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, janitors, etc. I think almost everything would begin to shut down.

GREAT point!!!

My husband and I see it this way too…we wouldn’t mind at all if our son became an electrician. (They make good money, I hear.) :wink:

There needs to be more trade schools around, IMHO. Some kids just aren’t academically inclined…we should not make them think less of themselves because of it.


#16

I normally agree with you, but on this I don’t.

I understand that parents have the absolute right to decide how to educate their children, but they must educate their children, right?

I imagine that homeschoolers don’t want to be subjected to scrutiny every time someone thinks that they should send their kids to public school. That’s fine; but, what about the one child in ten thousand (or a hundred thousand) that is in trouble academically and the parents don’t know or don’t know how to handle it? Don’t we, as adults, have a responsibility to that child once the situation comes before us?

Just a talk with the mother. It might not have to go any further.


#17

Just a practical suggestion:

I don’t know what your schedule is like of course, but you could offer to help tutor the daughter in reading or writing. You can approach it as your interest in sharing your love of learning and education. The mother may welcome the friendly help as well as having the instruction coming from someone she can trust.

Also, if you are not able to tutor, maybe find someone who you can recommend as a tutor. Again, with the parent recognizing that the daughter is not learning to the appropriate level, she may be interested in bringing someone in who is more experienced in this kind of situation.


#18

I thought home schoolers had to follow state approved curriculum and submit regular reports to the state.


#19

Buy two midsized wipeoff boards with markers & a rag eraser.
Send your daughter outside with them to draw flowers & leaves and see how accurately she can draw each type, and invite her friend the neighbor to do the same and have a bit of a competition/cooperation between them. Perhaps the neighbor knows how to grow all the plants and knows all their names, perhaps not. Perhaps the girl has a serious learning disability, perhaps not. Do not threaten that child or her parents or her world when you have absolutely no basis on which to conclude that child is being abused in any way.
Simply approach them at work drawing and present your daughter's spelling list, asking the neighbor if she could please ask your daughter her spelling words so she can practice.
If the neighbor isn't willing or able....
have your daughter practice writing her spelling words and teach the neighbor.

I first started tutoring neighborhood kids when I was 7.
That neighbor may be God's gift to your daughter to help your daughter become...... a teacher.


#20

What do you mean they must educate their children. Should they teach them about sexual education, homosexual relationships etc. Those are part of school curricula in a lot of places. Do they have to teach evolution?

I think that it is easy to have good intentions but I also think that people should stay out of other peoples home schooling. I think that we already have ignorant people coming out of public schools, people that cannot read or compute.

Where does our responsibility start and where does it stop? I agree with you that a talk with the parents would be a reasonable thing to do. However, the talk requires acquisition of facts before acting and charity during communication. Beyond that I would not act unless I were asked for help.


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