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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2270926 05/04/14 10:04 AM
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Ok, gotcha. Thx. smile Over here there is the possibility of actual credits which are recognized officially, specifically when certain RCM exams are taken (I think in the practical-theory combo at given piano grade levels). This is usually done via private lessons, not class scenarios. In fact, even schooled kids tend to do it via private lessons. But you mentioned that.

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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2270927 05/04/14 10:06 AM
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We have homeschooled from infancy and the kids as are now in high school in California. For the teachers in US states with charter public schools devoted to homeschoolers who desire more homeschooling students, sign up to be a "vendor" with the public charter schools. These vendors go on a list of available music teachers who students in the public charter school can sign up with for piano/music lessons. Vendors circulate and send flyers regarding their services to the homeschooling families. Teachers of subjects (horseback riding, foreign languages, martial arts, ballet, science, mathematics, etc.) can all sign up as "vendors" of their subject. In California, these public charter schools provide money to the homeschooling family which can be used to pay the teachers, including music teachers for lessons. We have used our educational funds to pay our ballet teacher for years, but could have used them for our piano teacher as well.

Keystring, as far as "credit" is concerned, both ballet and piano lessons have received "credit" as fine arts classes in the public charter school with the number of units determined by the public school "teacher" assigned to monitor our family's homeschool process once every 20 days. This "class" in piano and ballet appears on a school transcript. We never looked at the transcript in elementary/middle school, but have recently looked at our high school transcript through this school which basically is formatted like any other public high school transcript with units assigned to classes.

In high school, our children have organized a group to play at retirement homes, and this receives unit credit for community service through the school.

Next year, we will quit the charter public school because of increased school bureaucracy associated with high school and become our own private homeschool. Then we will continue to generate our own "transcript" and list piano lessons and ballet as classes on our homeschool transcript to be submitted for college applications. Would you consider that "credit"? Application for the University of California requires either a class in high school ("A-G" class) in fine arts or we will be able to satisfy this requirement by taking the AP Music test (which we intend to do). Even if you never listed music as a "class", as far as college applications, you could use the AP Music test to prove you had done music instruction.

As far as credit in college, some schools will award "credit" for a 4 or 5 on the AP Music test.

So much for "credit"! However, the more important aspect is the homeschooler's development of real love of music, enjoyment, and ability to make their own music. This is the real payoff for homeschoolers. We are free to incorporate music in the education of our children throughout the day and throughout the year (free for lessons with a teacher in the morning, free to noodle around, free to digress from the recital piece practice to just playing whatever we enjoy, free to explore another instrument, composition, improvisation, reading a book on theory or biography of Bach). We don't have to jam "music" into one hour a day or one hour a week, constrained by a fixed "curriculum" or playing at a level commensurate with others. Our kids are not forced to "take lessons" or forced to practice one hour a day. They play piano because they want to and "practice" because they want to learn that particular piece and love that piece.

I have written before that any parent of children taking an instrument dreads the words "I want to quit". In the right environment, however, it is possible to move piano/music lessons beyond being a burden and "forced labor" to a point of personal satisfaction, achievement and enjoyment for the children. In our homeschooling environment, we have managed to turn "quitting" on its head: in our home, STOPPING music lessons, piano lessons, MTAC certification, joining the Ragtime Competition, etc. is viewed by the kids as a threat. Homeschooling is a good environment to make piano/music lessons an intrinsic part of the education of a total human being; music is as much a part of our day as eating our meals or studying calculus.

I'm sorry that some teachers find homeschooling parents a problem. Not all homeschooling parents or kids or families are the same. Most homeschooling parents I know are extremely supportive of the music lessons and music teachers. It is a continual matchmaking process for any music teacher and music student, whether homeschooled or not. The right match of student, teacher and parent can maximize everyone's enjoyment of the process. Homeschoolers are in the best position of finding this optimal match because we are free to find and choose that optimal teacher/teaching situation.

In our situation, as parents, we recognized that our children needed and wanted a very flexible teacher who could do classical improvisation (he is a Baroque specialist), work on composition, do theory (working on MTAC level 10), and was willing to give them "credit" for using the time to compose their own pieces rather than punishing them for failing to use this time to practice their recital piece on any given week. We found such a wonderful teacher which was our optimal match and the kids love him. Much of their continued progress and enthusiasm for piano is due to finding this good match. Making the match was our responsibility as homeschooling parent-teachers.


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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2270933 05/04/14 10:17 AM
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Going back to the original issue of homeschooled kids and piano lessons:

Our kids were used to the following:
- A lesson was relatively brief and to the point, because the teacher did not have to address umpteen learning styles and levels of ability. We did not try to stretch out a lesson to fit a 40 minute time slot (school system) and wanted to get on to other things. The kids learned to ask pertinent questions, liked to zero in on parts that fascinated them, and had the freedom to do so. For things like math., spelling etc. they knew that they needed these things to function as adults so they applied themselves.

- If you did your assignments well, you ended up with more free time. So they looked for efficient ways of working. I.e. you are not waiting around for the next period to end. They learned to work independently at an early age.

So when one of my children asked for music lessons, the one-on-one scenario was familiar territory. He did exactly what he was used to doing in homeschooling: followed what the teacher was telling him during lessons, and then during the week when practised, he tried to find the most efficient way of working. Of course, playing an instrument is all about efficiency: good movement, good strategy etc. The transition into private music lessons was seamless.


Re: Home Schoolers
A2mom #2271092 05/04/14 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by A2mom
We have homeschooled from infancy and the kids as are now in high school in California. For the teachers in US states with charter public schools devoted to homeschoolers who desire more homeschooling students, sign up to be a "vendor" with the public charter schools. These vendors go on a list of available music teachers who students in the public charter school can sign up with for piano/music lessons. Vendors circulate and send flyers regarding their services to the homeschooling families. Teachers of subjects (horseback riding, foreign languages, martial arts, ballet, science, mathematics, etc.) can all sign up as "vendors" of their subject. In California, these public charter schools provide money to the homeschooling family which can be used to pay the teachers, including music teachers for lessons. We have used our educational funds to pay our ballet teacher for years, but could have used them for our piano teacher as well.



I have been a vendor for a large charter school in my town that receives funding from the state. Vendors here must offer group classes (ballet, dance, gymnastics, art, piano, etc.....) and I am the only music school in town who teaches group classes.

The state pays the vendor $40 per month for an approved group activity. Parents must pay the balance. Honestly, it's time consuming on my part to participate in this program. I cannot bill for the month until the month is finished; it then takes up to another month to get a check. I have to have a separate policy sheet for the charter school students. It messes up my bookkeeping (I charge by the quarter, not monthly). I participated years ago, then stopped because it wasn't worth it with all the paperwork for just a couple of students. I just this last year decided to participate again because I had 6 students wanting to do it. Not sure I'll continue it.


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Re: Home Schoolers
keystring #2271143 05/04/14 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
I was not questioning the 2%. You stated that the top students got tested. It is more likely that those hypothetical 2% represent random students of all kinds of levels and abilities, who happened to decide to take these tests. It would be 2%, but not the top 2%.


Oh, I see what you mean now. That 2% is not random, it is those very few students who have self selected out of a much greater interest in going to college than the other 98%. Homeschooler organizations are comparing that 2% to the average of school kids, most of whom take the tests.




Quote
Actually, instead of hypothesizing what percentage of homeschooled kids might be interested in going to college, it may be more useful to see what percentage does go to college. The info that I got back then is that it was disproportionately high, but that was some years ago. Both my sons entered college.


It would be very useful to see that percentage. It is not available. Nobody knows. That is the reason I developed the 2% number in the first place, because I couldn't get any reliable estimates on that.

You homeschooled out for situational reasons that are very different from the usual US reasons. Homeschooling in the US has its share of parents that have very practical reasons for doing so, like you, and i suspect the percentage of those kids who go on to college is high. But we also have a huge block of people who homeschool for ideological reasons, both religious and political, and many of those have an almost pathological distrust of higher education. (as you can see in a current popular US movie)

We also have a sizable "unschool" movement. Are you familiar with that? Many people have the idea that homeschooling is simply an attempt to duplicate a public school curriculum in the home under much more controlled conditions. But unschooling rejects the idea of a prescribed curriculum and believes every child will self select whatever subjects he/she needs, and should never be interfered with.


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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2271180 05/04/14 09:12 PM
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The general idea of "unschool" began with Holt. I devoured Holt when it first came out when I was still in high school myself. Once I began to teach in the system, I saw good reason for Holt's ideas, though I tried to do what I could in the classroom to mitigate the damage. To some degree what we did was "unschooling", but it must be done intelligently. It does not simply mean to have your kids run wild without stimulus or feedback. We had a quasi formal part in the 3R's, though even that was very loose. For example, "writing" included a "daily writing" with the assignment that at least one full sentence had to be written per day, with proper spelling (dictionary supplied) and punctuation. But if a child wrote "I don't know what to write." 5 days in a row, that was accepted.

While the curriculum guidelines were met, that was a small part of what we did. There was a large section where the kids pursued "anything as long as it is something." This was also more along the "unschool" philosophy. Among the things the boys pursued on their own: entymology with insects mounted and labeled with their Latin names; history going to a level beyond what I had ever learned; law; culinary arts; and apparently they learned Latin and Hebrew while I wasn't looking.

The religious wing existed here as it does down south. In fact, the teaching material was ordered from the US as far as I know. Other reasons for homeschooling included kids with physical problems and certain learning disabilities that were best met with one-on-one teaching. Some parents went to homeschooling after encountering disasters in the school system.

Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2271240 05/05/14 01:11 AM
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currawong,

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Wow, those are some cynical views about the school system!

Guess I've had too much experience with bad kids smile

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All kids don't get taught in the same way. And some of the most dedicated and innovative people I've ever met were teaching in schools in difficult areas and producing amazing results in the lives of children, some of whose parents were worse than neglectful.

Agreed! The teachers do the best they can. Actually, under the circumstances, they do extremely well! But when you've got 1 teacher for 30 kids, you're going to have problems smile
You've got 30 assorted kids (different learning methods, personalities etc), you can't teach them all the same way, and you can't make amends for every single kids either, so the faster kids are held up by the slower kids, the obedient kids are held up by the disrespectful etc
The school system does quite well under the circumstances, but the job is virtually impossible to do perfectly.
When homeschooling, you've got a far far better ratio (1:3, 1:4 1:7 even 1:10 is better)
So yes, teachers do an amazing job, but really, it's an impossible job to do perfectly.


TimR,

Quote
That's a highly misleading "average." Really good statistics do not exist

I got my statistics from a pro-homeschooling website, so I don't know exactly how accurate they are. It's so hard to find un-biased resources on a controversial subject like this smirk
From my personal experience though, homeschoolers have better critical thinking skills, manners, work ethic, plain old common sense, spelling and the like. School kids are without exception better at swearing though...
This is from my limited experience though.

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If teaching doesn't require any skill, and any parent can do just as good a job, why don't parents teach piano, too? (I do think there are some school districts where education or safety is so bad that any parent COULD do a better job - but that hasn't been true for most of the schools I've encountered.)

Well, actually, teaching doesn't really take much skill. More experience and knowledge. But the truth is that simply, any school teacher, in a homeschool situation, could do a far better job at teaching their trained subject. I agree with you 100% on this. But the reason homeschooling often manages to work better is this:
1. The parents normally have at least some experience in the subject (after all, they learned it all already, unlike piano)
2. The learning environment is much better (as explained earlier)
3. The parents are following a good curriculum (hopefully smile ) in which they pretty much just have to read out the book and learn it at the same time:) (which, when combined with no.1, works pretty well). The main point being no.2

With teaching piano, this won't work because they normally have absolutely no experience in it. Of course, for those parents who do have previous experience, there's no problems with the parent teaching their kids piano. My Mum taught me for two years before I moved on to private lessons.


Quote
One of my concerns with homeschooling, and the reason i wouldn't have done it, is that teaching like any skill develops over time with experience, trial and error, and lots of mistakes. A young teacher however prepared does not teach piano or calculus as well as the experienced master teacher (although they may teach as well as a burned out older teacher who didn't learn along the way). With your own kids you only get one shot.

Fair enough. As it happens, both my parents were/are trained school teachers, so I never had that problem. Dad was (and still is) and high school science teacher and mum was a primary school teacher (until she became a homeschool teacher smile )



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TimR again,

Quote
We also have a sizable "unschool" movement. Are you familiar with that? Many people have the idea that homeschooling is simply an attempt to duplicate a public school curriculum in the home under much more controlled conditions. But unschooling rejects the idea of a prescribed curriculum and believes every child will self select whatever subjects he/she needs, and should never be interfered with.

I definitely do NOT agree with this movement. I know a family who tried it and it failed miserably. (well, actually, not really, the younger kids went to school later and were far behind. But the older kids (relatively started life at maybe year 8 level) have both got high paying jobs and bought their own homes outright before 24) So it didn't destroy their lives, but they were definitely not well educated.

Last edited by AtomicBond; 05/05/14 01:14 AM.
Re: Home Schoolers
AtomicBond #2271282 05/05/14 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by AtomicBond
The school system does quite well under the circumstances, but the job is virtually impossible to do perfectly.
Of course it's impossible to do perfectly. But so, surely, is homeschooling.


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Re: Home Schoolers
currawong #2271320 05/05/14 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by AtomicBond
The school system does quite well under the circumstances, but the job is virtually impossible to do perfectly.
Of course it's impossible to do perfectly. But so, surely, is homeschooling.


On one hand, there are some checks and balances on teaching that don't exist for homeschooling. There is a system of management monitoring and oversight, evaluation, observation, and some opportunity to see how others do it and learn from them. How effective that is can be argued of course, but it doesn't exist for a parent on their own. (some of them are very active in homeschool organizations and have more interaction with other homeschoolers)

On the other hand, there are zero checks and balances on parenting itself!

I'm admittedly biased against home schooling because of personal experience. I think it can be done very well, by the right type of parent; some of those I've met were the last people I thought should try it! They seemed to be poster children for the Dunning-Kruger effect.


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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2271437 05/05/14 12:27 PM
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Having studied secondary education in college, I am convinced that actually reaching students, actually teaching is far harder than most homeschooling parents believe it is. I am also convinced that many public school teachers have less in-depth knowledge of the subject matter they teach than they should.

Which is to say, nowhere's perfect. Which really has nothing to do with teaching piano. I just wanted to say it. Haha.


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Re: Home Schoolers
dumdumdiddle #2271515 05/05/14 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
The state pays the vendor $40 per month for an approved group activity. Parents must pay the balance. Honestly, it's time consuming on my part to participate in this program. I cannot bill for the month until the month is finished; it then takes up to another month to get a check. I have to have a separate policy sheet for the charter school students. It messes up my bookkeeping (I charge by the quarter, not monthly). I participated years ago, then stopped because it wasn't worth it with all the paperwork for just a couple of students. I just this last year decided to participate again because I had 6 students wanting to do it. Not sure I'll continue it.

Wow, that does sound like a pain. Good thing I didn't sign up to be a vendor.


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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2273970 05/11/14 10:32 AM
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While it's true that homeschoolers have a different view towards education, that isn't necessarily a bad thing-- I know of music teachers who have 80% of their clientele consisting of homeschoolers because they are more intrinsically motivated in their own education.

Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279341 05/21/14 04:34 PM
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Some compiled stats on homeschooling with a list of sources at the end you can explore.

http://www.home-school.com/news/homeschool-vs-public-school.php

Last edited by kck; 05/21/14 04:35 PM.

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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279371 05/21/14 06:08 PM
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Thanks!

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Re: Home Schoolers
kck #2279576 05/22/14 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kck
Some compiled stats on homeschooling with a list of sources at the end you can explore.

http://www.home-school.com/news/homeschool-vs-public-school.php


Check out those sources.

Notice that the number one source is WND, usually known as wingnut daily because of a credibility far less than the National Enquirer.

Notice there are no links to where that "data" comes from.

Notice that the 2% or less that make it to college score .3 grade points above average - but most homeschoolers who do go on to college attend bible schools with no entrance requirements.

Take a look at the left hand column, there's a prominent anti-vaccination article there. Probably a few anti-global warming and anti-evolution ones too.

This website comes from a firm that makes money selling to homeschoolers. A typical product:
Quote
This parable of how "love of nature" is a good idea that can sometimes go too far is a welcome antidote to the eco-radicalism which permeates so many children's books. Fully illustrated in cartoon style by a former Disney artist. Perfect for coloring in.
Only $9.00.

Sorry, not impressed.


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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279578 05/22/14 07:46 AM
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When we homeschooled, nobody surveyed us. There are no statistics on what we did, and I'm sure that this is true for many, if not most homeschoolers. I have no idea about the quoted organization, and whether they represent anyone.

Whatever the story, this is a piano forum, and in particular a piano teacher forum. The question involves teaching piano to homeschooled students. Not how some homeschoolers might feel about vaccination, or what biases some publication might have.

Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279662 05/22/14 10:49 AM
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If we're asked to visit a site to inform ourselves about homeschooling, perhaps so that knowledge can help inform our thoughts about piano teaching and home schooling, then the credibility of the site is quite relevant. That credibility is gauged, among other things, by the reputation of the publication behind it and the credibility of other views put forth by the website.

You seem to be proposing a different way of gauging the credibility of the survey: apparently because you and the homeschoolers you know have not been surveyed about what you do, no credible surveys of homeschooling exist at all. Is that what you are saying? Or have I misunderstood?


Last edited by PianoStudent88; 05/22/14 11:07 AM.

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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279675 05/22/14 11:26 AM
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There seem to be statements and conclusions about homeschooling, which are being based on what is found on a site. It can only tell us about the site and the people running it.

In any case, this forum is about teaching piano. I can't see how a family's attitude toward immunization, global warming, or evolution has any bearing on how that person might be taught piano.

Pertinent to piano might include:
- the student can come at times when schooled children cannot come
- the student is accustomed to working one-on-one with an adult
- anything that schooled kids have/know which the homeschooled kids don't/have know which are useful to piano, and vice versa

Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279684 05/22/14 11:51 AM
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I don't think I'm getting across the point I was trying to make, but I can't think of any other way to try to explain what I mean, so I'll leave it be.


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Re: Home Schoolers
sonataplayer #2279693 05/22/14 12:12 PM
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I'm not sure that I would try to figure out about teaching piano to homeschooled students, by looking at a survey. I also don't think the survey was being proposed in view of teaching piano to kids, but more in regards to the merits or demerits of homeschooling. In regards to the site itself, something that has titles like "Homeschool Domination: Why These Kids Will Take You Down" does not inspire much confidence. Meanwhile the information that was stressed in this forum: attitudes to vaccination, the theory of evolution etc., have no effect on teaching piano. It seemed focused on whether or not homeschooling was good, rather than what that means for teaching piano.

I used to subscribe to a publication for homeschoolers. There was practical information, and it was rather low budget. There you might actually see some information that can give you an idea about teaching such students. Actual activities and approaches were discussed, as well as personal articles that reflected individual parents' attitudes and concerns. The publication in question seems to be largely political and somewhat combative. I don't see how you could get an idea about students through it, in all honesty.

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