Unschooling Update


A very kind reader has reminded me of this.  It dates, as you can see, from last February, and was a response to a question about the testing that the children underwent during their period in state custody.

I take no stock in those tests. They represent nothing.

And that’s that.  Nicole has spoken.  She just sweeps away any sort of testing as a means to determine what a child knows or doesn’t know.

However, she doesn’t offer any other way to determine such a thing. How would one do that?

It’s fair to say that generally the teacher who works closely with a child (whether that teacher is a ‘real’ teacher or the child’s parent) would be well aware of that child’s strengths and weaknesses.  I certainly knew that Nathan liked English and literature and hated science and math.  As a result, I knew that he would score better in the first two areas and less well in the other two, and I was right.

However, I had no idea at all how he would measure up when compared to his peers.  I had no benchmark.

In “real” school, the teacher not only knows that Billy is weak in math, s/he also knows that Billy is only slightly weak in math, but will do fine compared with Susie, who is much less competent and actually needs remedial work.

Nicole has absolutely no idea of any of this, and has no way to evaluate it.

And it’s even worse because she really doesn’t teach her kids at all. Nobody does.  She admitted that she had no idea how at least one of them learned to read.

I remember when Nate learned to read. My mother was his teacher at the Christian School From Hell for both kindergarten and first grade. But she didn’t teach him to read.

I did.

I did by having him read to me for a short time every evening.  In hindsight, we probably pushed it too soon.  It was relatively slow and a bit painful.  He wiggled and squirmed and would much rather had I just read to him.  A bit of age would have probably improved that immensely.  If I had it to do over, I’d wait six months and try again.

However, he learned well, and loved to read, and excelled in the subject, so it didn’t damage him. It was just a bit of a time-waster.

So, I understand that children really do learn to read on their own time schedule.  I am very sympathetic to that idea.

But at least I knew how he learned, when he learned and what was going on with him. She admits not having a clue.  She’s admitting that she simply does not educate her children at all.

And yes, I said they could have done better. . .

And here we start with the really damning stuff.  They could have done better.  In Naugler-speak, that means they did horribly.  Awful.

And we’re talking about the Great Unschooled Children here. Not regular kids in public school, who might do well and might not, because after all, the public schools are so deficient and horrible and of course, no child reaches his potential in that god-awful environment.

No, we’re talking about children who are being reared in the best, most superior, perfect environment known to mankind.  Nicole has found a few memes that attest to that, therefore it is true.

test scores

Don’t homeschoolers love to post skewed statistics that “show” that homeschooled kids outperform traditionally schooled kids across the board?  Why, they all test several grade levels above their age, don’t they? You know, the homeschooled child who is 9 years old and reads on a college level?

The problems with articles like the one posted above include:

First, homeschooled kids are a small subset of all children in school. A hand-picked subset.  Public schools, on the other hand, have to take everyone.

Second, that small hand-picked subset is even smaller when you consider that in many states, including Kentucky, testing of homeschooled kids is not required.  So, the parents who test may well be those who know their children will do well and the ones whose kids are way behind academically simply place “no stock in those tests” and opt out.

Third, most people have no idea what standardized testing means.

Nicole expresses the common view.

X scored an 8th grade reading level.

That means that X could be in the 8th grade, right? At age 12 (which is 6th grade).  Two grade levels above his peers.  Right?


What X did was show that he could read material that an eighth grader could read.  That’s great.  It’s also not uncommon at all.  Lots and lots of kids who read well score above grade level.  It does not mean that the child is capable of performing well at an 8th grade level.  It just means he’s a pretty good reader for his age.


That tells us that X probably reads a good bit and very likely enjoys reading, which is a very good thing.  Children who read well and like to do so often have an advantage over those who do not.

But X’s math scores were abysmal, 4th grade for a 12-year-old.

What about all the great superiority of “unschooling”?

And Nicole is unlikely to tell us about anyone else’s scores.  She presented us with X’s because he’s her prize self-taught student.  If that’s the best that unschooling can do (two grade levels up in reading, and two grade levels behind in math), excuse me, but I’d pass if I were the parent of a school-age child.

Y did horribly on his tests.

Y is another story. The excuse given is that Y is like Nicole and has a “screw you” attitude.  Boy, that’s going to help him achieve great things in life, having a “screw you” attitude. He, too, can be a disaster.

Anyway, because he is this screw-you person, he just circled anything on the test.  Right.

Here’s what actually happened. Y didn’t know the answers.  He didn’t have the slightest idea. So he became very frustrated and just circled stuff.  This is common among children who simply don’t know the material.  It’s not his fault he didn’t know the answers.  He’s never been educated at all (or very little).  He was being tested on a high school level and he probably has the skills of about the 4th grade.  I’d be frustrated too if I was him.

The fact that he did “well” (we have no way to determine what “well” means) later on simply means that they most likely geared the subject matter to his skill-level.

I still want to know, if unschooling is so wonderful, and if Nicole’s children are the poster-children for how wonderful it is, why Nicole won’t have them tested or evaluated in some other way and then show us how marvelous it all is.

Instead, we get videos of bugs and hearts being literally butchered and a baby crawling.  As somebody said, “At some point Nicole is going to use the hashtag #unschooling for a kid breathing in and out.”

Rise to the challenge, Nicole.  Prove me wrong.  I’ll happily admit it if you do.



29 thoughts on “Unschooling Update”

  1. She said that one child could probably score better because he did books at the store. Does that mean that all the children weren’t tested?

    And, if your child is performing two grade levels behind in math, the answer isn’t, “well, my other kid could have done better.” The answer is, “okay, how can we bring him up to speed?” Or, at least it would be if it were about the kids. But it’s not. It never is.


  2. Doing the books at the store would be very simple math compared to the stuff my 6th grader is doing, let alone my 8th grader or my 17yo who’s about to graduate high school. Store books will teach you basic stuff, +-/x, but what about order of operations? Geometry? Algebra? Trig? More than the absolute basics of book keeping?

    She does also know that there’s more to learn than basic reading and math doesn’t she? Science, for example, chemistry, which for them could include learning about soil ph and what is optimal for plant growth and how to test it. Writing. Other languages. Woodworking with materials other than chip board and pallets. Art. Music. Geography. History. So many other things to learn. At least the parents have admitted they can’t teach the kids; too bad they also don’t seem to be able to provide them with the resources and guidance necessary to learn.


  3. “She said that one child could probably score better because he did books at the store. Does that mean that all the children weren’t tested?”

    I suspect it means all of them were tested but only one or two tested well enough that she felt comfortable discussing it at all. Pure a guess, of course.


  4. In NNland traditional educational skills are overrated. Her ideal man simply needs to kept in beer, weed and thick burgers, so what more does one of her kids need, well… except net grifting skills that is. And the girls can groom dogs just like ma for cash as needed. Maybe even a few like minded females one day can be lured into their cult – ure.
    Plus in unregulated homeschool states such as KY, avoiding mandatory reporters is pretty important. Statist teachers might learn something not so becoming if a kid got too comfortable. Also I think the threat to her dominance over her captive audience would be overwhelming to her ego. Remember the parents parting words screamed at the kids as they were removed, ‘don’t say ANYTHING!’ NN needs those kids stuck right down on the compound, SHE can’t survive without them, imo.
    I must say I feel pretty privileged by NN’s hashtag schooling standards, as all mine were both unschooled AND were provided mad extracurricular opportunities in free 8-3 5da/wk programs at our local pubic schools. And all of mine are thriving with total freedom from any LE ever having to intervene, traveling the world and each achieving dreams I could have never imagined. Damn, guess our family unschooling on steroids was pretty good.


  5. mad extracurricular opportunities in free 8-3 5da/wk programs at our local pubic schools.

    HAHAHA Best line of the day


  6. At 12, I was reading at a college level (though by no means ready for college!). Five years previously, at age 7, I was in remedial reading due to dyslexia. Somehow, amazingly, public school not only helped me learn to read, but helped me learn to read extremely well. Crazy, huh?


  7. Yeah, my kids are unschooled– from May-August. All that stuff she posts– catching lizards and frogs, chasing lightning bugs, playing in creeks and planting stuff? They get to do that stuff AND learn to read and write and stuff. Crazy, huh?


  8. This is why I’m in favor of mandatory proctored tests for all students, homeschoolers included. (For the purposes of this argument, I’m going to ignore that the state pitched its earlier, human-eyeball-checking-required paper test in favor of the oobiest-doobiest electronic whatever it was, which promptly crashed so badly that NOBODY has test results, anywhere in Alaska, for the school year just ended. Here’s hoping that whatever they replace it with will go back to the old standard!) Starting in third grade, I get detailed explanations of exactly where my students stand on each subtopic of reading, language arts, and science, and which issues will probably need outside tutoring.

    But I’m not asking my students to believe in six literal days or what have you. The tests test consensus reality only.


  9. I have been homeschooling my 2 teenagers starting in Oct for my daughter and Jan for my son. Up until then both had attended public school except for 7th grade when my daughter was also homeschooled . In SC laws are fairly lax but you do have to register with a homeschool association. There are three options and with option 3 testing is not required . I chose 3 only because my daughter is a rising senior with pretty bad test anxiety . She has already taken the psat three times and did way above average each time. She is has over a 4.0 gpa and was in the gifted and talented program . She decided several years ago that she was going into cosmetology . She has been taking business and accounting classes as well because she wants to run her own business . With my son we will be testing ! He wants to go to a 4 year college and we will begin visiting colleges this summer. My kids do an accredited online program with lots of supplemental education and lots of educational field trips. I am thankful for their combination of a good public school education and homeschool education . I have 100% of my time to devote to them and there are only two of them. I just can not imagine trying to educate 11 kids while
    Working full time. All the things she hashtags as unschooling to me are everyday life ! When my kids were in public school they got much more education from us after school , on weekends and during holidays and the summer than the N children do. We were always going on educational trips and encouraging learning !!! My 17 year old daughter calls what the N’s do non schooling ! She is right!!! There is no one correct method for anyone ! While I don’t so much agree with unschooling it could work if you have loads of time and loads of money . The N’s have neither . Those kids are not unschooling . They are existing …. barely


  10. When my public schooled children are gearing up for the state standardized “no child left behind” testing, I remind them to do their best. Get plenty of rest and eat a good breakfast. And don’t sweat it.

    That the testing isn’t about you, it’s to evaluate the teachers and school. Am I right? A part of the teacher’s annual job performance evaluation is accountability. And same with the school.

    So maybe there is some as to why Nicole doesn’t care for testing. It says more about her accountability, than it does the child. Am I right again?


  11. Kentucky Bred, yeah, those tests determine if teachers even have their jobs, and I disagree with this. Let’s say the Naugler kids are forced into public schools with “fuck it” attitudes. Their teachers’ jobs are on the line, even when it comes to kids raised to give the middle finger to schools and to not try. Teachers can only do so much about kids like that, and kids who are too hungry to focus, and kids who don’t have homework help at home, and kids who are too distracted about not knowing there they’ll seep that night.

    When I was a kid, testing was a guide to see how kids in one class did in a subject compared to kids in other classes throughout the state. If Class X was performing in the 60th percentile, the school could use that knowledge to try to determine why, and see what could be fixed. But now those tests can result in teachers, especially in poor schools where kids might not have books to take home to study out of, losing out on raises or even losing their jobs. Teachers can only do so much. We, as a society, need to make sure children are fed, secure, and have someone to help them. Otherwise their failures in school are OUR fault more than it could ever be the teachers’ fault.

    I may be an unschooling mom, but I’ve got crazy mad respect for what our public school teachers are expected to do, especially with Common Core and the non-stop testing they have to do that carries too much weight.


  12. So…what does she mean by 4 1/2th? I can’t stop laughing hard enough to figure it out. 😛


  13. I educate my children at home. Why? Because that is what a parent’s job is. Raising children is synonymous with being a mentor. Unfortunately, in traditional society, people generally don’t see it that way. Because they are products of many generations of undoing. But I won’t go deeply into that.

    I am 45 years old and grew up in public schools. You want tests? I tested as having a 165 IQ. My teachers wanted me to skip three grades. I genuinely hated school. My academic skills surpassed that of all the student and teachers in school. And all I could see there was a social club full of foolish idiots spreading corruption. So when I reached 6th grade, I began ditching school for weeks at a time. You could do that back in those days. Once in awhile we would get a knock at the door. And I would decide to show up at school. Promptly getting A’s on everything and dominating board racing in Math class. Some teachers resented me for being “unconventional”. The principal didn’t like me because I circumvented the system and demonstrated how kids didn’t need all that academic fluff. I enrolled in music class, already having learned how to play two instruments well. And did so during my “time off”. I eventually quit school at 18. The amazing thing is that not one single person in the school system informed my parents that homeschooling was a legal right. Because all they could see were dollar signs.

    Eventually, I attended college for six years, receiving three degrees for the trouble. Looking back, that was a heavy price tag to find out that college is completely unnecessary. There is something seriously wrong with placing your brain in the hands of careless instructors for years just to see what happens. I have learned 1000% more on my own than all my formal education. Education is one of the biggest schemes in the world. Designed to cater to large business and politics. It is NEVER designed around self reliance. A clue that it isn’t really any good at all. You know. I know advanced Calculus. But I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

    All in all. I have walked the walk that “the system” tried to pound into our lives. And I have found ZERO VALUE in any of it. In order for anyone to preserve their sanity or find happiness, they have to rely solely upon money and materialism to “distract” them into thinking they are content inside. But this false sense of happiness needs constant fuel. Meaning, you have to “spend your way” to happiness over and over again. Its a never-ending cycle. And a scheme to feed the rich and their dirty habits. You are no better than a cow with a number on its side.

    My true happiness and inner contentment comes from a laborious life of my 22 year marriage and three children. We live off grid for the most part. Relying less on the system and more on our own efforts. And due to the nature of our homestead, I stay at home. Farming, designing and building, managing everything. I raise and educate our children. Both academically, and spiritually. As it turns out, I was born with leadership qualities. And it took a lot of living for me to realize these things. Academic education has its place. On the back burner. We need far less of it. And a lot more of nature and learning about reality. Sharing each other’s time and loving one another. We have a very private life and fully understand the hypocrisy of the world.

    Finally. While I think “unschooling” is not a bad thing. I think it’s a far lean past the right balance to be. Children should certainly lead a whole lot. But we need to do more than just present resources for them to access. They need some type of structure. But don’t let that scare you. They don’t need a lot of it where academics are concerned. They mostly need it where morals are concerned.


  14. We have a very private life and fully understand the hypocrisy of the world.

    Dear god, what a bunch of bullshit that is. FWIW, JJ789, I do not believe a single word of what you said.

    Well, except maybe this sentence, speaking of children: “They need some type of structure.”

    For one thing, with your massive IQ and “three degrees,” they didn’t teach you a damned thing about sentence fragments, did they?


  15. Generally, people who tout a high IQ are the last to realize they didn’t actually take a legitimate IQ test… Because IQ is a bullshit measurement.

    I’d encourage the previous poster to look at home school anonymous, where many students like myself tell the unadulterated truth about the dark side of un/homeschooling.


  16. Generally, people who tout a high IQ

    If you want me to discount every word you say, begin with “I have a very high IQ.” 🙂


  17. Eventually, I attended college for six years, receiving three degrees for the trouble. Looking back, that was a heavy price tag to find out that college is completely unnecessary. There is something seriously wrong with placing your brain in the hands of careless instructors for years just to see what happens.

    To JJ789, aka “Mr. or Miss Mensa”–
    So, college is “completely unnecessary”? Then I am sure you wouldn’t mind having an aneurysm or set of broken ribs operated on by a physician from the YouTube School of Medicine. There is something seriously wrong with people who think that college has no value at all, and are willing to place themselves in the hands of self-taught doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, “just to see what happens”.


  18. I was placed into some special classes for gifted kids shen I was younger. I guess there was some IQ requirement to be in them. They told my parents not to tell me what I scored, and I have still never asked to this day. I dont care. The results arent worth the paper they are written on. Being successful requires a whole lot more than having a high IQ.


  19. One of my children had some hit some developmental milestones late. Some parents would adopt a “wait and see” position, but knowing that early intervention works, we did not hesitate to get an assessment. The child was 18 months. The delays were in expressive speech and some fine and gross motor coordination. Through the school district (i.e., free to us), she received speech and occupational therapy when it made a huge difference. Later, she struggled to learn to read. Again through the school district, she received “intensive instruction” with a PhD candidate private tutor, and she learned to read one-on-one. I was working at the time. None of these interventions would have been possible without having had these “arbitrary” assessments and testing.

    Our now-teen girl is an avid reader, a good student, member of a marching band, and joined a rock climbing team (a sport of strength, agility and coordination).

    Nicole and Joe are handicapping those kids terribly by their dismissal of assessments. These barometers are not only “cognitive”, or academic, but also measure speech and language, as well as physical (fine and gross motor coordination), and social skills. (children with a speech delay may also have a fine motor coordination delay.)

    If any of the Naugler children have delays, then apparently the parents’ response is to let them “be” and “lead” their own learning, at whatever their pace is, regardless if it is 3 years behind their peers?

    But what if Johnny can’t read, and can’t teach himself to read? Children with learning issues are easily frustrated by their inability to catch on. The kid’s response is not to persevere, but to give up. Screw any parents who do not recognize when their children are struggling and do whatever is needed to help them not drown.

    If you don’t test them, you will never know.
    What we are seeing here is the same arrogant superiority in dismissing academic testing as exhibited toward prenatal care and testing. Pride goeth before the fall. In this case, 11 educationally neglected children, and one dead baby.


  20. Addendum: I hated math in high school. Geometry was not my friend. In college I had a math requirement and was loathe to take it, fearing I would struggle. Calculus was the lowest math course offered and I was terrified as I never had Trigonometry. Surprise, the class was enjoyable and I did well. All due to a wonderful professor and TA, who made my conquering the material their personal mission.
    Dislike of a subject can change with the right mentor and with encouragement.


  21. “Education is one of the biggest schemes in the world….It is NEVER designed around self reliance.”

    Umm, JJ789 wasted 3 degrees and 6 years of college.

    I know several people, having used their education towards self reliance. An attorney friend, has her own small law practice. College degreed and Law School. Another friend, college business degreed, owns his own construction company. Another, a counseling psychologist, has her own counseling services business and contracted with school corporations, employers, and so on. A family member, college degreed in business and industrial arts, owns restaurants. And designs restaurant buildings as a consultant. All working in a self reliant capacity, all educated.

    There are some, maybe many, that make choices. Regardless of an education, will still choose to be dependent and not self reliant.

    One can lead a horse to water. But ya can’t make him drink…


  22. Every year I pay to have my homeschooled children tested. If I didn’t I would go crazy not knowing for sure that we were on target. My 26 year old is working on her Master’s degree, my 21 year old is about to finish his Bachelor’s Degree. My senior in high school will be starting Culinary School in the Spring. My Junior in High School wants to be a Police Officer and has joined a club at the public high school for that. My high school kids will both be taking the ACT in September. We are studying for that now. I can definantly tell you when my fourth grader learned to read. He also goes to outside Art classes and Music classes. Homeschooling is hard work. The Nauglers make me sick with what they are doing to their children. If you take on the responsibility to teach your children at home, you better take it seriously. If you truly care about your children, you get them ready to have their own life someday. You make it your top priority to help them achieve their goals and dreams.


  23. Nicole can’t teach advanced math because she has no idea what advanced math is. I had to laugh at her version of algebra. This is the sort of problem my 13yo had last year, and they had to show their work, not just work it out by brute force.

    A coin collector has 41 coins consisting of nickels, dimes and quarters and they are worth a total of $4.00. If the number of dimes plus the number of quarters is one more than the number of nickels, then how many of each does he have ?


  24. The idea that college is a waste is asinine. That whole mindset astounds me. College isn’t just about the academic, it’s an intro for young adults into the real world not under their parents’ thumb. There is a personal growth that occurs especially when parents let go.

    And yes the academics are essential too. While my husband doesn’t use his degree in his profession, he doesn’t consider it a waste. He was a performance major but know works in the technical side of music.

    I cannot imagine a parent not wanting their kids to go to college, it’s not a scheme. I’d like all my children to get advanced degrees if possible. I don’t want them working jobs, I’d like them to have careers and in order to do so they need that piece of paper. That piece of paper represents years of training. And that’s why I have such a hard time being around a good majority of homeschoolers, they discount education. Sure we homeschool but we do not look down on traditional education.

    Sorry, I’m rambling. But seriously test your kids, prepare them for the world and please encourage them to attend college.

    And Nicole, stop hash tagging everything with unschooling. It’s embarrassing! I took my kids IKEA today to go window shopping, it wasn’t fucking unschooling, it was life.


  25. A few weeks ago N wrote that one of the children would make a good hall monitor. I’m not aware that this is a recognized, paying job, and if so, it’s certainly a statist career choice. Just recently she mentioned that a child could probably work at the Dollar Store or Walmart. So sad that those are the carrer aspirations that a mother has for her child.


  26. “So sad that these are the career aspirations that a mother has for her child.”
    Well, her oldest, often in families the great hope, has a steady, excitingly dangerous job as a “tipper”, I believe. Aim for the stars, Nauglers!
    Although perhaps just not being a fat lazy pothead is an ambition in some families.

    I like rereading these old posts, funny how many things in them by now have come true.


  27. In defense of Nicole’s oldest son working as a “tipper” in the trash collection industry.
    It requires muscles, and a desire or acceptance of working every day in the out doors, not to mention getting up every morning at 4:30am.
    I’m very glad we have young men, and older men to do this job.
    Granted it doesn’t take special a special degree to enter this work force.
    The pay is decent, because it’s hard to find good reliable people to do the job.
    I’ve talked to our collector and he is delightful. He is cheerful and clearly a good person.
    He also has an advanced degree in education. This is his “work out door muscle workout get dirty job” and that he loves being outside regardless of the weather.
    Apparently they have showers at work, so he doesn’t have to go home dirty.
    He drives the truck, hops off and dumps our trash in a flash.
    He says it is much easier than “dealing with badly behaved junior high kids and their parents”. I’ve never asked him why he works so much, but he’s one of the happiest nicest people you’d ever meet.
    Looks like he’s in his mid thirties.
    The fact that he drives the huge garbage truck means he has his CDL and probably went to truckers school.
    I also suspect that the extra money the Nauglers seem to have is coming from the oldest son. I feel for his girlfriend as his income should be for his little family to build up a nest egg… not clean up that nasty old shed for them to live in…
    I doubt seriously that Ma and Pa just gave it to them and would let them live there rent free…
    I think he’s probably a son that I could be proud of, but I’d never take advantage of him like that.
    Well, maybe to bring something heavy up the steps for me. ?


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