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Americans leave school to study with their parents at home

A Brazilian Take on American Homeschooling.

by Mariana Leite

Published in the Diário de S.Paulo, Brazil, February 15, 2004.
Republished here with permission from Ms. Leite.
Translated from Portugese by Lara Fountain and annotated by Ann Zeise.

Americanos deixam a escola para estudar com seus pais em casa

Americans leave school to study with their parents at home

Cresce o número de crianças e jovens que são tirados da escola por suas famílias para serem educados em casa. Psicólogo diz que sistema não funciona

The number of children and teenagers that are removed from school by their parents to be educated at home is growing. A psycologist says that the system does not work. [Isn’t it amazing how reporters can always find one psychologist, who hasn’t studied home education, to make this statement? Here’s research about homeschooling. ~Ann]

Nos últimos anos, tem aumentado nos Estados Unidos o número de crianças e jovens tirados da escola para serem educados em casa. A quantidade de americanos ensinados por suas famílias passou de 800 mil, em 1999, para mais de um milhão no ano passado, segundo o Centro Nacional de Estatísticas de Educação do país. O crescimento do sistema – conhecido como “Homeschool” (escola em casa) – não significa, no entanto, que ele seja o mais indicado para a formação dos cidadãos americanos.

In recent years, in the United States, the number of children and teenagers removed from school to be homeschooled has increased. The number of Americans taught by their families went from 800,000 in 1999 to over one million last year, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. The growth of the movement – known as “Homeschool” (school at home) – is insignificant, even though it may be most desirable for the development of the American people. [See Demographics to see “significance” of the numbers of homeschool families.]

Segundo o professor de Sociologia Educacional Mitchell Stevens, da Faculdade de stanford, em California, o sistema tem crescido porque os americanos preferem instruções individualizadas. “As escolas públicas dos Estados Unidos não estão preparadas para isso”, diz Stevens, que tem um livro publicado sobre o assunto – “Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement” (Reino das Crianças: Cultura e Controvérsia no Movimento de Educação em Casa). “Na maioria das vezes os pais acabam optando pelo ‘Homeschool’ porque é mais barato que a escola particular e melhor que a rede pública”, acrescenta.

According Educational Sociology professor, Mitchell Stevens of Stanford University in California, the movement has grown because Americans prefer individualized instruction. “Public schools in the United States are not prepared for this,” says Stevens, who has published a book on the subject, Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement. “In the majority of cases, the parents end up choosing homeschool because it is less expensive that private school and better than the public school net,” he adds.

Protestantes

Protestants

A religião, no entanto, é considerada um dos principais motivos que levam os americanos a tirarem seus filhos da escola. Protestantes, católicos e judeus conservadores não concordam com o caráter laico (não-religioso) da escola nos Estados Unidos. Foram eles que criaram o sistema de ensino em casa, nos anos 70, e mantêm grupos de apoio a pais-professores em todo o país.

Religion, however, is considered one of the principle motives that lead Americans to remove their children from school. ProtestantsCatholics and conservative Jews do not agree with the secular character of schools in the United States. [As well as those of other faiths! ~Ann] They created the homeschool movement in the 70’s and maintain support groups for homeschool parents throughout the country. [Obviously, Stevens was showing his bias here! See History of Homeschooling for accurate history. I am finding through emails being sent to me that most parents are removing their children from public schools for of academic reasons or because of bullying or other violent behavior at the local school. ~Ann]

Na opinião de Stevens, o sistema funciona: pesquisas mostram que o rendimento de crianças que estudam em casa é tão bom quanto o das que freqüentam escola. Segundo o Instituto Nacional de Educação em Casa, de 7.306 adultos educados em casa, 74,2% têm nível superior – contra os 46,2% da população geral.

In Stevens’ opinion, the movement is working: research shows that that the success of those homeschooled is as good as those that go to school. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, of 7,306 grown homeschoolers, 74.2% have a superior level [have superior yield, income, success, status? ~Lara] compared with 46.2% in the general population. [This translation is dodgy, it all depends on the translation of the words “rendimento” and “nivel”. Rendimento means something like income or yield which may be loosely interpreted as success or something like that, while nivelcan mean level, degree, grade or something like that. ~ Lara] [In other words, this statement is too vague to mean anything at all! Anecdotally,homeschoolers are successful. ~ Ann]

Já o psicólogo Ted Feinberg, diretor executivo da Associação Nacional de Psicopedagogos dos EUA, afirma que o sistema é prejudicial. Para ele, a maioria dos pais não tem a formação necessária para ensinar. “Mas essa não é a pior parte. O principal é que não se pode deixar uma criança crescer numa bolha. Ela precisa separar pais de professores. E, depois, lidar com as diferenças entre as pessoas. Na escola, adquirem um respeito saudável à diversidade”, assinala. Feinberg diz que os pais deveriam parar de criticar o sistema público de educação e “concentrar a energia que gastam ensinando os filhos para melhorar a escola”.

Psychologist, Ted Feinberg, Assistent Executive Director of the National Association of School Psychologists, claims that the movement is prejudicial. [Pease see Dispelling the Stereotype of Ethnic Prejudice in Homeschooling.] In his opinion the majority of parents do not have the training necessary to teach. “But this is not the worst part. It is that the children are left to grow up in a bubble. It is necessary to separate parents from teachers. And, afterwards, struggle with the differences between people. In school, children acquire a healthy respect for diversity,” he observes. Feinberg says that parents should stop criticizing the public school system and “use the energy they are spending on homeschooling to improve the schools.” [Feinberg, this is a democracy and a capitalistic one at that! We tend to speak out and vote with our feet and our wallets! Many homeschool parents were once on PTA boards, and just gave up trying to make a change in their child’s lifetime! One school board member in our district decided to homeschool one of his sons because he just wasn’t thriving in the public schools. In case you haven’t noticed, the homeschool movement is influencing changes in the public school system. Here are more answers to your socialization concerns. ~ Ann]

Legislação

Legislation

Como o sistema educacional americano é descentralizado, cada Estado tem uma legislação que trata do assunto. Geralmente as crianças fazem provas periódicas para comprovar o aprendizado. O sistema é aceito no país inteiro e pode ser empregado em todos os níveis – do jardim da infância ao ensino médio. O sistema também existe no Reino Unido (com 500 mil alunos), Austrália, Nova Zelândia e África do Sul.

Since the American educational system is decentralized, each state has it’s own legislation to deal with this subject. Generally, children take periodic tests to show their learning. This system is accepted throughout the country and is used through all grades elementary through high school. The system also exists in the United Kingdom (with 500,000 students), AustraliaNew Zealand, and South Africa. [And don’t forget CanadaBrazil, and all these other countries!] [Note: we are not sure where the author got the idea that homeschoolers accept the idea of testing or that it is done in all states. This is not something I told her! ~ Ann]

Mulheres desistem da carreira

Women give up their careers

Segundo o professor de Sociologia Educacional Mitchell Stevens, da Faculdade de Hamilton, o aumento recente no número de crianças educadas pelos pais reflete não apenas uma mudança nas instituições de ensino, mas também no papel da mulher na sociedade. “A educação em casa requer que um dos pais esteja em casa período integral e, geralmente, é a mãe que assume esse papel”, explica. Assim, está surgindo um “movimento pós-feminista”, de mulheres que desistem da carreira para cuidar dos filhos e da casa. Stevens acredita, no entanto, que este seja o fator que conterá o crescimento do “Homeschool”, pois muitas mulheres não querem ou não podem deixar o emprego para virarem donas-de-casa.

According to Educational Sociology professor, Mitchell Stevens of Hamilton College, the recent increase in homeschooled children reflects not only a change in the educational system but also in the role of women in society. “Homeschool requires that one of the parents is at home fulltime and, generally, it is the mother that takes on this role,” he explains. A post-feminist movement is growing in which women are leaving their careers to take care of their children and their homes. Stevens believes, however, that this will be the factor that will limit the growth of homeschool because many women don’t want to or cannot leave the workforce to become housewives. [A good number of fathers also participate significantly in their chilren’s home education. See Dads Talk. Also, a good number of families with all adultsworking are able to homeschool. ~ Ann

As mulheres também são as líderes dos movimentos que pressionam os governos a abrandarem as regras sobre este sistema de ensino. Diversas associações de pais foram criadas nos últimos anos nos Estados Unidos e não só fazem seu papel político, de lobby, como prestam assistência aos pais-professores, fornecendo currículos, CD-Rom, livros, enciclopédias e métodos de ensino. “Há um grande mercado para pais-educadores nos Estados Unidos. Isso é bom, pois eles são auxiliados por profissionais da educação”, afirma.

Women are also the leaders of the organizations that pressure the government to soften homeschool laws. Diverse support groups have been formed over the past few years in the United States and they not only play a role as lobbyists but also provide assistance to home educators by providing curriculum, CD-Roms, encyclopedias and other resources for teaching. “There is a big market for homeschoolers in the United States. That is good because they are helped by professional educators,” he states.

Entrevista

Interview [with Ann Zeise over the phone.]

“Isso fez com que meu filho mantivesse a cor natural do cabelo”

“This made it so that my son kept his natural hair color.”

Ann Zeise, de 56 anos, formou-se em Filosofia, fez carreira em marketing e chegou a trabalhar na Apple, empresa multinacional de computadores. Desempregada, não quis deixar o filho Scott na escola pública e, em 1993, decidiu dedicar-se à sua educação. Hoje, aos 18 anos, Scott estuda na Universidade do Havaí, após ter obtido o certificado do ensino médio no ano passado. Em Milpitas, na Califórnia, Ann atualmente mantém um site de auxílio a pais que educam os filhos em casa (https://a2zhomeschooling.com) e diz “salvar vidas” dos que se vêem em situações difíceis na prática do ensino.

Ann Zeise, 56 years old, once majored in Philosophy, made a career in marketing and once worked at Apple, multinational computer company. Self-employed, she did not want to leave the Scott son in public school, so in 1993, she decided to dedicate her time to his education. Today, at 18 years old, Scott studies in the University of the Hawaii, after having passed the California High School Proficiency test in the last year. [She forgot to add that he also had earned 64 college units!] In Milpitas, in California, Ann currently keeps a website to aid the parents who educate the children in house (https://a2zhomeschooling.com) and says “to save lives” of those who are having difficult situations of the practical type with education. [I find it interesting that the reporter finds it necessary to give my age but not that of Mitchell Stevens (probably 37) or Ted Feinberg (at least mid-50s)! In no online resource could I find a mention that either of these men are parents. ~Ann]

Por que a senhora escolheu ensinar seu filho em vez de mantê-lo na escola?

Why did you choose to teach your son instead of keeping him in school?

Scott estudava em uma escola particular, mas perdi meu emprego e não podia mais pagar. Então colocamos o menino na escola pública, mas ele não se adaptou. Um garoto brilhante, ele era novo para a série em que estava e não podia ser colocado na classe das crianças talentosas por causa da idade. Quando a professora da 4ª série disse que ia colocar uma caixa na carteira dele para que não se distraísse, foi a gota d’água! Além disso, meu marido foi trabalhar na região de Tahoe, a cerca de 4 horas daqui (Ann vive em Milpitas, Califórnia). Precisávamos ter finais de semana prolongados para nos encontrarmos com ele.

Scott studied at a private school, but I lost my job and could no longer afford it. We put him in the public school but he had trouble adapting. A very bright boy, he was young for his grade and could not be put into the gifted class because of his age. When the 4th grade teacher said she would put a box around his desk to keep him from being distracted, it was the last straw! In addition to this, my husband started working in the Tahoe area, almost four hours from here (Ann lives in Milpitas, California). We needed to have extended weekends so we could spend time with him.


Foi difícil no começo?

It was difficult in the beginning?

Sim, pois fiquei tentando trazer a escola para dentro de casa. Quando iniciamos o aprendizado baseado no sistema “Homeschool”, tudo ficou muito mais fácil.

Yes, because I kept trying to do school at home. When we started learning in more of an unhomeschool style, everything got much easier.

Como foi o desempenho escolar de Scott?

How was it carrying out Scott’s schooling?

Ele começou a faculdade (“college” – período anterior à universidade) dois anos antes, aos 15 anos, e se saiu muito bem.

He began college two years ago, at age 15 1/2, and it went very well.

Que outras atividades ele teve durante os anos em que estudou em casa?

What other activities did he participate during his homeschooling years?

Aos 13 anos, Scott foi membro do Conselho Juvenil (um comitê formado por jovens que dão idéias ao Governo municipal), em que exerceu várias responsabilidades, como planejamento de shows, danças, um centro para adolescentes, exibições de filmes etc. Também foi escoteiro. Ele praticava ainda futebol, natação e escalada.

At ages 13-18, Scott was a member of the Youth Advisory Commission (a committee of youth that gives suggestions to the local government), in which he performed various responsibilities, such as planning of shows, dances, a teen center, film exhibitions, etc. He was a Boy Scout. He also practiced soccer, swimming and rock wall climbing.

Quais são as vantagens da educação em casa?

What are the advantages to homeschooling?

Acho que a principal vantagem para todos é a proximidade entre pais e filhos. Eu gosto que ele tenha nossos valores e não os das crianças desta região. Isso fez com que ele mantivesse a cor natural do cabelo e não optasse pelos piercings. Ele olha para os adultos diretamente nos olhos e consegue conversar com qualquer pessoa. E eu tive de aprender novas coisas para acompanhá-lo e poder ensiná-lo, além de ter conhecido pais fantásticos que também educam os filhos em casa.


I think that the main advantage for all of us is the closeness between parents and children. I like that he has our values and not those of the children of the area. This is why he maintained his natural hair color and has not opted for piercings. He looks adults directly in the eyes and can hold a conversation with anyone. And I had to learn new things to keep up with him and be able to explain some things to him. In addition, we have met many fantastic parents who also homeschool their children.

E as desvantagens?

And the disadvantages?

Parar foi difícil. Sei que vou sentir saudade dele agora que está estudando fora. Vejo também que ele é mais estudioso que a maioria dos amigos, o que o torna um pouco “esquisito” por se preocupar demais com os estudos.


To stop was difficult. I will miss him now that he is studying away from home. I see that he is more studious than the majority of his friends, which makes him a little odd because he worries a little too much about his studies.

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