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Truth is the life of still waters (JulieD)
Truth is the life of still waters.  (JulieD)

The homeschool inquisition began many years ago and the war wages on.....

When they question you, your motives, your reasons, your choices....how will you answer them?

Are you prepared for the next set of questions coming at you from the homeschool  battlefield?

Of course you are, because you have the truth on your side. You may lose a squirmish or two but in the end the one who has the truth will win.

To help you prepare here are a few survival tips:

Inquisition Survival Tips

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #1:  Be honest.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #2:  Know Your homeschool's strengths and weaknesses.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #3:  Be friendly and smile...they may just be curious.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #4:  Be prepared with facts.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #5: Know the current homeschool inquisition questions and how you will respond to them- hopefully with the truth, facts and love.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #6: Ask questions back and be respectful of their decisions.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #7: Try to understand the motives behind their questions and keep your desire to put up defenses in check.

Homeschool Inquisition Tip #8:  Love your children, and show you care about their education.

The best course of action to survive a homeschool inquisition is to make sure your motives and actions and beliefs are honorable and based on the truth.  

Then educate your child as only you can do with positive, supportive, belief in them and in their abilities.

Yes, it is true we will make mistakes but we are driven not by monetary gains but by a desire for our children to succeed, for our children to get a great education, and for the hope to instill into our children direction, peace, and a step towards a wonderful future.

Fight for what is best for your child...whatever that may be. That may mean having them attend a public school or a private school or to continue being homeschooled.

But be forewarned, there is an educational battlefield. They want your children to get the "same" education. Their concern is disguised as if they are concerned about the education of your child but the truth is their motives are not always so honorable.

Stand for and act on what is best for your child and when the inquisition starts you will be prepared.

So what questions can you expect at the next homeschool inquisition?

Homeschool Inquisition: Socialization

It is not about socialization anymore....why, because we won that battle.

We had the truth and it has destroyed the premise behind the question.

Yes, our children socialize differently but they do have the ability to socialize with their peers and opportunities to do so. This is no longer an issue and in some ways it never was an issue.

Will you still get this question? Most likely.

We have the truth.

The internet, local homeschool groups, teen nights, youth groups, scouts, sports etc.....our children are active within their own circles as much as they want to be.

If they act differently it can be attributed to their personality or to the way they are being treated by their non homeschooled peers or to the instillation of a different set of morals and values or to any number of non school related issues. They don't need to attend a public school to fix socialization issues.

Our children do need to interact with others. We need to teach them relationship skills. They need to be a part of this world and to be aware of how others perceive them. They also need to be informed about how to respond to those who are less than positive about homeschooling.

I suggest we shower our opposition with love, the truth and a bit of humor if possible....but that's just me.

In fact...let's make this fun. Below, I will have a place for you to submit funny or interesting responses to the socialization question...Join in and read what other's have to say in response to the homeschool inquistion.

In the darkness the light of truth will prevail
                                                   In the darkness the light of truth prevails.

Homeschool Inquisition: Testing

The newest homeschool inquisition focuses and attacks on a basic fear that we might be missing something.

 My thoughts about this are, outside of the homeschool setting I have yet to find a class that has actually finished a math book completely...meaning every lesson...and they think we are missing something....hmmm. IF they aren't even completing the math books what else are they missing?

The inquisition might begin as a sly or snide remark such as "You should get your child tested," or a more vicious attack quoting something to do with No Child Left Behind. These are the new types of questions/comments coming from the homeschool inquisition front.

They will wind up their stance with..."Don't you think homeschoolers should be subjected to the same standards and testing as every other school?"  They will then usually refer to No Child Left Behind and claim they are addressing the issues we have concerns about.

So let's look at testing and make sure the truth is on our side....I already know it is but..
just for fun...let's discuss it anyway.

1. What is the purpose of testing?

Ideally, to tell us what our child knows about a subject.

Truthfully, it is only a guage of what they don't know and is not an accurate test of what they do know.

Think about this....how much can a multiple choice or T/F type of test reveal about what you know about a subject?

Example: Let's say I have been studying knitting.

A couple of experts in the field design a test about knitting...they make broad questions related to knitting and cover a wide range of known knitting issues. They make a really good test covering terminology and all facets of knitting known to man.

Now, I've studied knitting by actually knitting. I can knit sweaters, socks, hats, gloves and have in general gained a great deal of knowledge about knitting ...so I take the test to prove to someone I don't know that I know how to knit.

The questions however,  minimally cover sweater knitting and needle knitting ...instead one huge section covers loom knitting of which I haven't ever encountered. Another whole  section covers the names of stitches...which I know how to do but don't know the technical names. Now I'm a little stressed and accidentally skip a question and mark a whole section wrong on the answer key. The end result is I fail the test or do poorly.

Now I didn't fail because I didn't know about knitting or how to knit but because the test failed to ask me about what I do know.

Knit together
Education for everyone.

It is important to understand:

Tests are designed shortcuts to try to figure out if most of the students in a class room setting are getting:
  • Minimal amount of appropriate instruction
  • To verify that they are meeting some educational requirements

Tests are not designed for homeschoolers.

They are biased by the nature of their purpose.

Homeschoolers, often test in a different way along with the traditional methods. The teachers ask questions and the students tell the answers or demonstrate what they know or have learned. The students are actively involved in guiding their learning and while they learn the facts they also gather and learn much more.

The main benefit of homeschool testing is apparent not by the test results but by what happens with the results.

If a child in a class room fails a test...the class doesn't stop and review and retest and make sure that everyone gets it before going on...they just go on. However, we can't have the child left behind...so homework and extra study materials are sent home with the student and possibly with all of the students(don't want to single anyone out).

The ones who got it are now getting bored too. The ones who didn't are getting overwhelmed with trying to grasp one concept while being taught the next.

writing girl

Homeschoolers, by nature, want their children to know the material. They don't want their children to just be able to pass a test. No, we want and expect more. We spend more time on a subject to insure they know the material, if necessary.

So a test that tests by an age or projected grade level may or may not be an accurate assessment of where a homeschooled child is in a particular subject or subjects.

True, they may need help in a particular area or it might be that they may have spent a great deal more time on the basics to insure that the student has all they need to go on and be successful. The thing is eventually, not only will they catch up to their peers but because of the foundation they will be able to excel beyond what their peers are doing. Standardized tests do not take this into account...they can't.

2. What do tests reveal?

The difference between what you know and don't know is the issue here. Testing at it's best can give an idea of what a student doesn't know or hasn't mastered yet but it does not and should not be used as a reliable indicator of what they do know.

There are too many variables in testing; the subjectiveness of the test, the material taught, the methods used to teach the material, the answers are at times variable by curriculum, even the expectations of the teacher and or the test creator all play a role in the test results.  

Keep in mind also, that most homeschoolers don't spend months or even weeks preparing the students to take the test. Can other school teachers truthfully answer how much time is spent on test preparation vs. actually teaching? How skewed are the results if a class studies how to pass/take the test and  prepares for the standardized test, by teaching the students material they know will be on the test...do the students really benefit from this?

So along comes a homeschooler to take the test...homeschool teachers do not have access to what is on the test or even what to expect...the results probably are therefore more accurate than what was obtained for the classroom...that isn't to be left behind.

Also, while standardized tests may help pinpoint areas that need work..chances are a homeschool teacher will already know about what needs to be worked on and is actively doing so.

We homeschool because we want what is best for our child. We want them to be successful. We aren't making money from educating our children and in some cases, homeschoolers are even financially strapped because they homeschool.  We are doing what we believe is best.

3. What is done with test results?

This is where homeschoolers excel....we are focused on our child's educational success.

Other schools are focused on ????? maybe on success of the students but they are also focused on other issues as well that affect every child in the classroom and in some cases in the whole school.

4. Why and when and what to test?

Should you ever test your child? Of course, but in a way that makes sense. If you want to check their progress or to get a general idea of something you might be missing or just want to know how they compare and want to do so with a standardized test...test away.

If your school setting does spelling tests or math tests or other tests use the results to help them get it right...don't just go on. Don't throw away one of the best opportunities of homeschooling so that you can finish the books on time...you don't have to be tied to schedules.

5. The truth about testing.

The educational setting has come to rely on standardized testing as a determining factor of learned knowledge.

However, the truth is testing is a general assessment and should only be used as a tool to assess progress and to offer suggestions on areas that need to be focused on...and subsequent focus on those subjects should be applied. 

When we respect the choices of others
I ask you to respect my choices as I respect yours.
Together we can create an educational system
that truly works for everyone.
Take the first step: Respect

6. Studying to pass a test, to gain knowledge or just for fun?

Learning something new is exciting and awesome!

This basic belief is lost in many educational settings.

In my school, I want my students, my children, to develop a love of learning. I want to give them the tools to be able to teach themselves and to find the information they need by themselves. This is a long process but it can be done.

No child should hate having to go to school or be bored or frustrated. This happens in the best of schools and even in some homeschools.

Perhaps a better standardized test of our child's progress might be, to measure if they know how to learn and love doing it?

If they love learning or at least know how to learn....they pass.                                


There will always be homeschool issues...how will you respond to them?

For now....let's have some fun with homeschool inquisition quips, tips and stories!

Have you been grilled on homeschooling issues?

Share your inquisition story, your answers to the questions, your solutions to the problems (please be proactive)or about how you deal with the questions you receive about homeschooling.

Or send in a funny quip about the now defunct socializaton issue.

It's all good!

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