Saturday, September 09, 2006

Public School at Home Causes Problems For Homeschoolers in PA

Click here to read what the law legally requires of homeschoolers in PA.

Prior to the 2006-2007 school year, Avon Grove School District sent a letter to homeschooling parents notifying them that it had revised its policy for home education programs. Unfortunately, the new policy had little resemblance to the actual requirements for homeschooling under Pennsylvania law. The most egregious deviations from state law were as follows:

*The program of home instruction had to be deemed satisfactory by the Avon Grove School Board in order to receive approval.

*Parents had to submit a written application to the superintendent requesting authorization to conduct a home education program and meet with the superintendent to demonstrate that the parent/guardian has the capability of providing the educational program.

*The policy said that the District reserves the right to have the student evaluated by the school psychologist or other trained personnel to determine the student's mental ability as well as achievement/instructional level.

*The parents had to submit proposed instructional materials to the school district for review prior to approval of the home education program.

*Parents had to be monitored every month to determine whether or not the instructional program is being completed according to the requirements of the School District and state regulations and standards.

*Students receiving in-home instruction had to participate in all standardized testing for public school students at the public school.

*Parents were required to complete the school district's report card indicating the student's rate of progress and submit a copy of the report card to the appropriate building principal on the dates specified by the district.

*Ignoring the administrative procedure of state law, the policy authorized the school district to summarily terminate the home education program if it is determined the student is not making responsible learning progress.

I suppose they assume since they are responsible for insuring that public school at home students meet all the public school requirements they now have the right to interfer with real homeschoolers too. This should put homeschoolers everywhere on alert.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Distinguishing Between Public School at Home & Homeschooling

In a guest post on Spunky's blog Annette discusses the importance of distinguishing between Public School at Home and Homeschooling.

For those of you who just don't understand the difference, I'll attempt to explain; in terms hopefully even the densest among us can understand. Public School at Home is like renting. You may live in the house, you may consider the house your home; but no matter how often you refer to it as your home it still belongs to your landlord. You can't make changes to the house without his permission and he can kick you out when your lease is up. With public school at home the government (landlord) calls the shots. Homeschooling on the other hand is like being a homeowner, you are free to make changes to your home whenever you want, if you want to rip out the carpeting and replace it with tile; there isn't a problem it's your house. With homeschooling the parents (owners) call the shots. Those of us who wish to distinguish between public school at home (renters) and homeschoolers (homeowners) aren't being mean, we don't feel superior, we aren't elitist and we aren't trying to keep you out of our neighborhood. We are merely trying to explain that there is a difference between doing public school at home and homeschooling. We don't want people (especially lawmakers) to blur the lines. We don't want the government to take away our rights. We will cheerfully welcome you into our groups; just do everyone a favor and don't call yourselves homeschoolers. It confuses people like Dee, who think just because Dan voluntarily chooses to do public school at home and have government oversight other homeschoolers should fall in line and do public school at home too.

Be sure to check out Annette's post on Spunky's blog, she has done a lot of research and her post is very informative.


It looks like the same old same old, a small group wants to undermine science for the sake of their religious beliefs.

At issue is a proposal before a state Board of Education committee that would provide science teachers with guidelines for teaching topics. Supporters say it would force students to think critically about complex issues. Critics say it is an attempt to undermine science by encouraging students to question the validity of evolution, stem-cell research and global warming.

While I am all for discussing complex political issues; perhaps a science class isn't the best place for the debate.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Diversity

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe writes about how textbook publishers often resort to fakery in order to meet their quotas for pictures of handicapped children and minorities. Don't believe everything you see - seems to be the lesson to be learned from this asinine idea that textbooks must show x number of minorities and x number of handicapped children.

And it's perfectly ok to leave out a historically important white male (after all in order to be politically correct white males should be marginalized) as long as you replace them with a minority figure.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Follow Up to The Slippery Slope of Censoring Books

The Sun Herald wrote an outstanding editorial about how our laws in Mississippi are being used against legitimate books.

Public School at Home is Not Homeschooling

Sometimes the best post come from the responses to links left in the comments. Cerulean Sanctum claims to be homeschooling, but then goes on to say this.

Today, my son formally starts Kindergarten with Ohio Virtual Academy, a homeschooling program chartered as a public school, so our taxpayer dollars go to our homeschooling!

This is NOT homeschooling, this is public school in the student's home. I have no problem with Virtual Schools or Charter Schools, but PLEASE be honest about what you are. You are Virtual Schoolers or Charter Schoolers, you are NOT homeschoolers. Your schools are supported by tax money just like traditional public schools and you have to answer to public school authorities. Which is why it is important to make the distinction between those who really homeschool their kids and those who simply attend a public school in their home. And it leads to people like Dee demanding that real homeschoolers be accountable to someone, after all the public school at home students are and they consider themselves homeschoolers, so why don't the rest of us jump on the government bandwagon.

If I understand the comments of the folks above, they are against being accountable to anyone but the Lord for their homeschooling practices. Being accountable to the Lord is of utmost importance, but I have known parents who homeschool who need to be held accountable to more than just the Lord, because their children are not being taught well. In fact, sometimes their children cannot read at their grade level despite being of above average intelligence. I am concerned about those who just decide that their children don't need to study a certain subject such as math. Legislation might be avoided if homeschoolers would voluntarily be accountable to organized homeschool groups. Being involved with an organized group should beconsidered because of its great benefits rather than its limitations. I applaud you for choosing such a program.

Exactly what organized homeschool group would she force me to be accountable to? HSLDA whom I don't agree with on many issues or some state run homeschool group? No, thanks! Dee is also assuming that all homeschoolers, homeschool for religious reason, which in my case isn't true. I certainly don't want to be accountable to some religious group (which the majority of homeschool groups are) for my children's education. I prefer being accountable to no one. After all I have my children's best interest at heart. And considering my oldest started college at 16 I think I have done a much better job then the public schools would have done. Dee has to be nuts if she thinks every public school student reads at grade level!!!!!! Most public school students read way below grade level as evidenced by the dumbing down of public school textbooks and classrooms.

At least Elena gets the difference, unlike Dan who seems to be emotionally invested in claiming he homeschools even though they do public school at home.

Dan, I live in Ohio too. My oldest goes to Akron Digital Academy, a cyber school formed by the Akron Public School Board. My other four students are home schooled in that I filled out the notification form and sent an assessment by a certified teacher that they were working at their own level as required by Ohio law. So stating all that, I have to say that I love Bill Bennett's program. If I ever decided to use a public cyber school for my next oldest child, that's the one I would go with! However, it's not homeschooling. The legal requirements for enrolling my child in ADA was a lot different than what was required to homeschool. He has to take the Ohio proficiency tests, just as your son will. They are different.

Dan turned off the comments so I can't respond on his blog, but what he and JettyBetty do not get is their insistence on calling public school at home, homeschooling, may someday limit the choices of real homeschoolers. That is why we do not want them calling themselves homeschoolers, not because we are elitist or because we think our method is superior, but because we do not want our choices limited.

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My Response to Dan Edelen - A Public School At Home Dad

Dan Edelen claims he homeschools even though he is doing public school at home.
He says
* I am the teacher.
According to the OHVA website he is teamed up with a certified teacher. At best he is an assistant teacher. The certified teacher is calling the shots.

* My son does not attend physical classes as a group with any other children.
So you are doing public school at home. In his own post he admits this is a public charter school paid for with tax $

*My son attends class as a lone student within our home.
Again you are doing public school at home. OHVA has more then one student.

* I select the curricula.
Really!!! Nowhere on the OHVA website, did I see a place for parents to choose textbooks.

* I select which parts of the curricula we do in a day and how it is taught.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* I can include family activities or other resources as schoolwork.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* I can skip over whatever curricula I feel my son has already mastered.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* Our schooling is subject to all the positives and negatives of being schooled at home.
This statement shows how much Dan Edelen doesn’t understand real homeschooling. He is not receiving all the positives real homeschoolers do. But since he has never been a real homeschooler he doesn’t know what he is missing. I have the freedom to choose every textbook we use, I have the freedom to select every subject I teach. As a real homeschooler I am not subject to government oversight. And I resent public school at home parents co-opting the homeschooling label which could lead the government to take away my options.

The OHVA website claims
Top 10 Reasons Parents Choose OHVA:
1. Public School Accountability
I don’t want to be accountable to a public school. If you do that is fine, but don’t call yourself a homeschooler.

2. Superior K12 Curriculum
Really, says who. Is it as good as the curriculum I picked out on my own that allowed my son to start college at 16 and major in computer science?

3. Extensive Support System
I don’t want government support. If you do that’s fine, but don’t call yourself a homeschooler.

4. Flexible Scheduling
As a homeschooler I already have this.

5. Expert Lesson Plans
Homeschoolers can find expert lesson plans on the Internet, or they can make their own.

6. One-on-one Approach
As a homeschooler I already have this.

7. Socialization Opportunities
Homeschoolers are free to join recreational sports leagues, participate in church youth groups and form homeschool support groups, we don’t need a public school at home program to provide socialization.

8. Focused, Ethical Environment
Yeah, we all know how ethical public schools are, Bennett’s K12, especially.
In Arkansas -The U.S. Department of Education employees who oversee the public school choice program initially suggested funding for 10 programs, basing their on recommendations from peer reviewers. Bennett's K12 Arkansas project was not among them. Education Week reported that K12's proposal did not score high enough among the peer reviewers to win a funding recommendation.

9. Gifted & Talented Support
If having a gifted or talented program is important to you as a homeschooler you can either find one or start your own, you don’t need a public school at home program to do so.

10. Safety, Peace of Mind
Homeschoolers already have this; they don’t need a public school at home program.

Dan maintains he is a homeschooler because he son doesn’t attend a traditional public school, but Annette points out why he is doing public school at home, by providing us with what the government legally determines a public school to be.

1.) Is supported with public funds.
He brags about getting tax money in his own blog “so our taxpayer dollars go to our homeschooling!”.

2.) Is authorized by action of and operated under the oversight of a publicly constituted local or state educational agency.
Again in his own blog he admits it is a public charter school.

3.) Provides educational services to all students who are enrolled.
Yes, OHVA provides educational services to all students who are enrolled.

4.) Has an appropriately credentialed teacher (or teachers) who provides instruction.
Says they do on the OHVA website.

5.) Has at least one appropriately credentialed administrator, usually a principal, who is responsible for all aspects of school administration including supervision and evaluation of staff, fiscal responsibility, student discipline and safety, supervision and evaluation of curriculum, and assessment of academic achievement and school accountability.
Claims to on the OHVA website.

6.) Has an administrator, usually a principal, with access to and responsibility for maintaining official student records for all enrolled students.
Claims to on the OHVA website.

Looks like Dan’s public school at home meets all the requirements for a public school to me. So why is he adamant that he is homeschooling? When it’s obvious that he isn’t.

Christy commented
Confusion like this– asserting that a child enrolled in a public, private, or online school– will lead to messier legislation that will adversely affect homeschoolers everywhere.

She is right and that is why real homeschoolers do not want public school at home parents claiming to be homeschoolers. It is not because we are elitist, it is not because we feel superior to you, it is because we do not want our freedom to homeschool curtailed. We do not want the government or someone like Dee to decide the only legitimate way to homeschool is by doing public school at home.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book Reviews

By James Patterson
I can't wait until the next book. This one had some stunning developments. The flock actually goes to public school. Needless to say the experience wasn't a happy one for them. Iggy finds his parents, and Total the talking dog is a riot. Not to mention the flying Erasers.

The Glass~Blowers
Set in France, June of 1844, eighty year old Madame Sophie Duval nee Busson tells the story of her life.

Algebra Help?

The Frugal Homeschool offers help with Algebra. I am so glad I discovered her blog. I intend to visit often.

Why Homeschool: Carnival of Homeschooling Week 36: Labor Day

The Cates did a wonderful job, as always. I can't wait to read the post so I'll be back later.

Monday, September 04, 2006

This is NOT Homeschooling

According to the Salt Lake Tribune Online Schools Combine Public and Home Education. But exactly how do you homeschool and do public school at the same time? You don't! This is merely public education at home. It's still public school, the only difference is the location of the students.

The Tribune says
Once, choosing home schooling meant rejecting public school. Now, computer technology enables amicable separations.

Real homeschoolers still reject public education. And considering the failure of public schools in traditional school house settings, what makes anyone think they could do an adequate job of educating children in a non-traditional setting?

Facts On Home Education

Visit My Fun Home School to read this informative post about homeschooling in Malaysia.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I found this cute MEME at Phat Mommy's

Our trip to Hawaii, we learned about time zones, how to navigate airports, we learned more about body searches then we actually wanted to know. Had a chance to try out our Japanese on the Japanese tourist in Hawaii. And we saw some really beautiful places. We also learned not to dive too deep when you are snorkeling or you tube fills up with water and you get a mouthful of water instead of air (well the kids learned that, I never managed too).

Rock Tumbler, we have polished some really pretty rocks and had tons of fun identifying them.

Measuring cups.

National Geographic (magazine), Lord of the Rings (book), Wildflowers of Mississippi (book).

How to compare prices.

I can't think of anything.

Ok, we use curriculum so this question doesn't really apply to us. I did try to be a better shopper this year.

Like Phat Mommy I am not going to tag anyone, but feel free to play.