Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Importance of Labels

Dan Edelen bemoans our obsession with labels. And wails that we are being mean when we call him on his "misuse" of the homeschooling label.

"No," came the righteous response from a couple people, "you are most definitely NOT homeschooling your son. You're doing a public e-school at home, but that's not the same as homeschooling.".

He insist that labels are just around so you can say this (label) is good and this (label ) is bad. He seems to miss the point that labels are used to differentiate between two different things, and both may be good. Apples and oranges are different but they are both good.

What's the big deal you ask? Labels allow us to communicate with others, without being misunderstood. When the recent e. coli outbreak in spinach occurred, since we all agree on what spinach is, we knew what to avoid eating. But what IF a segment of our population insisted on labeling any green vegetable spinach - broccoli, asparagus, lettuce - if it's green it's spinach. What if these people were the ones who were in charge of getting the word out about e. coli out breaks. So they issue a bulletin about e. coli being found in spinach, but the e. coli was really found in broccoli. Because they insisted on mislabeling green vegetables their bulletin would be misunderstood. The vast majority of us who label vegetables properly would avoid spinach but not broccoli (which is not spinach).

While mislabeling public school at home, homeschooling is not life threatening it is troubling. The general public will ask why they are paying for homeschoolers to educate their children when they don't pay for the education of children who attend private schools? Dan himself bragged that he was homeschooling his child with tax money (Apparently trying to explain to Dan as well as the general public that he isn't homeschooling, he is doing PUBLIC school at home is going to be an ongoing battle. Especially as long as the Dan's of this world insist on mislabeling themselves). Then they will ask why homeschooling Dan's child has to take test while the "real" homeschoolers don't? (Again you will have to explain that Dan is doing PUBLIC school at home. He isn't really HOMESCHOOLING. That public school at home has different requirements then homeschooling).

All this confusion could be avoided if Public School at Home Dan and the other public school at home participates would label themselves correctly.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Chicago Teacher's Union is suing over the cities cyber charter school and claims it violates state law.

In the lawsuit, the union argues that state board members broke the law by authorizing the virtual school. The suit points to a state law that says a charter school" shall be a public, nonsectarian, non-religious, non-home based school." The suit also contends that, to receive state money, a school must provide "direct supervision," which the union says the virtual school does not.

I think it's a shame that these teacher's are against a public school option that may work for many families. In light of the recent school shootings, I know if I were a public school parent I would be for anything that could keep my child out of a physical building and out of the line of fire.

I also think we need to be very clear here PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME IS NOT HOMESCHOOLING!
by Carol Higgins Clark

I have always loved her Mother, Mary Higgins Clark's books, so when her daughter started writing I was anxious to give her a try.

Carol Higgins Clark with her Regan Reilly Mystery's has created fun, breezy novels with happy endings and zany characters. Popped continues the tradition.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Homeschool Hacks

Shannon has a new blog, Homeschool Hacks. It's full of resources. I can't wait to use the Algebra Assistance and hopefully I can get Sean interested in the National Vocabulary Championship listed in the teen catagory. But wherever you are on the homeschooling ladder you are sure to find something to please at Homeschool Hacks.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Am So Excited!!!!!

As a homeschooling Mother with limited resources I am always on the looking out for bargains and free resources. Thanks to the generosity of Eric Brooks and the Ayn Rand Institute I now have a wonderful literature curriculum that I am excited about teaching. I received Ayn Rand's novels Anthem & The Fountain Head along with lesson plans, a study guide, & a teacher's guide for both novels in the mail today. I can't wait to get started teaching them.

For Teacher Resources click here.
To enter/find out about essay contest click here.

Other useful information for those planning a literature curriculum.

The Buley Library offers Internet Resources for English and American Literature. For those interested in Tokien the J.R.R. Tokien Institute has several projects worth looking into. There is also the planned release of the Children of Hurin next year to look forward too. Project Gutenberg offers free e-books. And be sure to check out Book Crossing to learn about and join a very unique book club.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Check It Out!

I have discovered a new blog Electric Venom, while there read about the dreaded S word (socialization).

Checking out some old favourites.
PolitiCalypso has a post on the Earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico. I actually think I felt it.
The Amateur Economist & Curmudgeon Blog tells how homework is being outsourced, as e-tutoring grows.

Lordy, Lordy look who's 40! The Homeschool Buzz is hosting the 40th COH.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Too Good to Be True!

Free online courses offered by the University of Berkeley, click here for their webcast requiring real player.

For the technology challenged click here for the easier google offering.
Study: Boys Learn Better From Males

Read all about it in the Denver Channel
Dee says his research supports his point that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student's academic progress.

This is so stupid!
The art teacher came under fire last April when she took 89 fifth-graders on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. Parents raised concerns over the field trip after their children reported seeing a nude sculpture at the art museum.

The parents had signed permission slips allowing their children to take part in the field trip. McGee's lawyer said the principal at Fisher Elementary School admonished her after a parent complained that a student had seen nude art. McGee said the principal had urged her to take the students to the museum.

The only good news is that 98% of the parents who took the survey said they wouldn't be upset if their child saw a nude sculpture at an art museum. It's a tad hypocritical to fire a teacher because she took her class on a school approved field trip and some prudish parents got their panties in a knot because their kiddies saw a nude sculpture. What about Michelangelo's David, would students viewing that be grounds for firing a teacher???? I foresee that few public school teachers will be willing to risk taking their students on field trips after this fiasco.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lauren Wells has a doctorate in Elementary Education and is president of LRW & Associates, an education consulting firm. She may be contacted at

In a guest column in the Meridian Star she attempts to answer the question what do the standardized test scores really mean? and tells how our children are being short changed by schools teaching to the test.

If schools deny opportunities for these diverse modes of learning, they severely limit equal education opportunity for children. If we want children to become thoughtful, caring, successful individuals, then schools must provide many opportunities to develop the unique talents children possess. So what does a school’s accreditation level really mean? Perhaps it doesn’t mean much. Parents should ask, “What is happening and not happening in my child’s classroom to impact test scores?”

One thing I have observed as the homeschooling Mother of two boys is that each child has their own learning style. What works with one child may not be equally successful with another. Unfortunately for the vast majority of public school students the public school system is busy trying to fit square pegs into round holds instead of trying to find ways to teach the square pegs. It's not the teacher's fault, when you have 25+ students in a classroom, you don't really have time to get to know your students and discover their learning styles, much less tailor your teaching to each individual student.

The problem lies with the public school system as a whole which seems intent on wiping out individuality. Mandatory school uniforms that force students to dress like clones was just one of the symptoms of the new mentality invading our public schools - that individuality is BAD and conformity is GOOD. This mentality allows them to ignore the individual needs of Joe and Sue and concentrate on the good of the collective (uh, I meant classroom).