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Trust me when I say this isn't me poking fun at home school. There are many good homeschooling curricula out there; this just ins't one of them. Basically, these are the questions pupils use after working through the unit to show they've mastered it and be evaluated.


ETA: Skip the commentary if you like. That is anti-homeschooling, and is a serious topic for another day. I mainly found the questions LOL-worthy bad.

ETA #2: On rereading this post, I see I may have given a bad impression of the original post. It's not really anti-homeschooling so much as (rightly!) frustrated with what I agree is a bad curriculum. I want to talk more about ACE and some of the concerns raised in this post and by Azalais in the comments - when I find the time. Most likely after the holidays. In any case, if you're interested in this topic, the comments at this blog post, both before and after the actual test questions, are actually very much worth reading. I didn't mean to imply they were of no consequence; rather, they're very much worth talking about but I don't have the time right now to do it properly right now. In any event, I didn't mean to misrepresent the original post in any way.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
Not only are the questions horrendously bad, but so are half the supposedly-correct answers. "Scale drawing" does not mean "a small picture"! Sheesh.

Leaving aside the home-schooling side of it, this kind of rubbish is one reason many people in the UK are very, very unhappy about religious fundamentalists (of any religion - we've had scandals about both Christian and Muslim schools recently) being allowed to run either academies or free schools (schools which are state-funded but not bound by niceties like the National Curriculum or having to have teachers who actually know anything or can teach - whoops, sorry, personal prejudices showing there...)

- their schools don't exactly seem to abound in intellectual rigour. And it's not as if the latter has to be incompatible with religious belief - look at the Islamic and Jewish scholarship of medieval Spain, or the Jesuits today.

Personally, I'm profoundly opposed to any child being educated in a school which comes from and teaches only one religious perspective - particularly on public funds - but that, too, is a debate for another day :-)
Dec. 14th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
Between Fordham and a Catholic parochial school where I did middle school, I've spent the better part of my life studying under Catholics. I've seen more intellectual rigor and flat-out encouraging of hard questions and curiosity at those schools than in probably any other school I've been a part of. And as for intellectual rigor and hard-fought scholarly debate? The Talmudic reading club I join for Pirkei Avot every spring puts every academic conference I've been at to shame. Perhaps you've heard the old joke "Two Jews, three opinions"? In my experience it's true. ANd I don't doubt for a second you can find the same thing in other religious traditions, where they take those traditions seriously. That's what eats me up about dogmatism and fundamentalism: it's not just bad for religion and bad for reason, but it's such a waste of the best things that keep me religious. But then I'm from the denomination that has almost as a slogan our founder's statement that we don't have to have identical beliefs in order to have true communion.

I think that's why I actually am in favor of having people educated within their faith tradition, as long as that's not the only option. And because I think think this shouldn't be restricted to people who can afford an extra $5k per year per kid (a very cheap parochial school tuition in the American South - probably more than that elsewhere), I actually don't think it's antithetical to a free, good society to have that be tax-supported. It is antithetical to American-style freedom of and from religion, but doesn't have to be. I'm absolutely opposed to doing that as an excuse for a shallow education (which this curriculum is), or in a way that doesn't also teach proper respect for diversity. That's absolutely possible, btw, though it's less likely to be done well when you feel like you yourself are being excluded. And that's a subjective statement rather than an objective one, FWIW.

See what happens when you get me started on this topic? I must do things today besides blog. But to say I have Thoughts on religion and education and the proper meeting of the two is an understatement.
Dec. 14th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC)
Holy cow! Perish forbid any child being asked a question in a way that they might get the answer WRONG!

What's scarier is that probably some of them still get wrong answers!

*sheesh!* It's cheating, really. And that's not very Christian at all.
Dec. 14th, 2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
I've only heard about ACE in the context of homeschools, but it's also a thing with private schools as well. As you say, it really is cheating to have so many of the questions be so easy. Cheating in the deepest sense: pity the poor kids who only get this kind of demand for regurgitation, how cheated of a true education they are.
Dec. 14th, 2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
I know some of the homeschoolers in this area, and thankfully most of them don't use such a curriculum, or perhaps they supplement it with something else. Most of the homeschooled kids I know are pretty sharp, and don't seem to be ignorant of the things they should know for their age.
Dec. 14th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
I really am making a mess of words on this one. I meant pity the poor kids who aren't expected t do better than this, whether in private school or homeschool or whatever. You're absolutely right about most homeschoolers.
Dec. 15th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
You didn't make a mess at all--I knew what you meant, but was simply passing on a personal observation. I am sure there are a lot who DO get the straight curriculum and need to be pitied.

It's the developers of the curriculum who are cheating, rigging the tests from the top, and the parents and kids who are being duped; and the kids the worst, since it leaves them inadequately educated.

What should happen (and perhaps it does in some states, I don't really know) is that the kids (whether in private schools or home schools) should have to pass a test to see if they are being taught to grade level at least equivalent to what kids get in public school. IMO, of course.
Dec. 14th, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC)

I wrote this article. Thanks for linking to it. But why are you saying it's anti-homeschooling? I didn't say anything about homeschooling.

A lot of articles linking back to it are calling ACE "a homeschooling curriculum" and that's not really accurate either. It is popular with homeschoolers, but it was designed for private day schools, and that's still the majority of its market.

I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

Edited at 2013-12-14 12:44 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Anti-homeschooling
I've reread that ETA comment and see it came across as much more... absolute, I guess, than I intended. I have some friends who occasionally read here who homeschool and actually used the ACE curriculum for a few years before deciding it wasn't at all right for them. Mainly due to the rigor issues you talked about. That probably explains why I associate ACE with homeschooling: I'd heard of them before your post, but in the context of homeschoolers using them to meet state requirements rather than for private schools.

But I clearly swung too far in that direction. What I was trying to do was head off a serious conversation of schools and homeschoolers using this curriculum and just offer something that struck me as worth laughing at. Not in the sense of making light of, but in the sense of it's so bad, laughter is the only sufficient response. I actually do want to talk about these issues but the holidays have me thinking about other things. So that comment was written quickly and in an attempt to keep some people from feeling a bit laughed-at at a time of year when I think most people are stretched a little thin. Most likely it was an overreaction on my part and in any event is badly worded to give a wrong impression of your piece.

I'm going to try to clarify the original post a bit. Thanks for calling me on this. And I do thank you for your comment - it's always good to meet another blogger and, while I've pretty well bungled this first impression thing, I hope you'll consider following me if the topics interest you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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