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 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.
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.