Homeschool debate continues….

And I think it will continue as more and more families decide against sending their children into public schools – there will be more outspoken debate regarding the valdity of homeschooling.

Here is an article from my local paper and then a home-schooler’s response. Be warned it is kind of long – but interesting.

From 12/05/06 Cincinnati Enquirer:

“IF YOU HOMESCHOOL, TEACH YOUR CHILDREN

The Enquirer article ” ‘Unschooling’ rejects class, curriculum” talks
about results from parents basically not schooling their children.

How do some parents believe that child-led learning is best for our
children?

I don’t understand how a grown adult believes that another child can
teach a child everything they need to know in life. Parents need to
teach their children if they home school them. I think it is very
irresponsible to let siblings teach other siblings and to let their
children learn on their own. Parents are the models that teach
children the importance of learning; children should not have to do
that by themselves. If parents choose to home school their children,
then they should be responsible and teach their children all subjects,
whether their children like the subject or not.

Shannon Croxson
Walton”

Dear Editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer,

I recognize that as a community it is a public service to continue to
promote the public school system and I commend the Enquirer for doing
that – consistently. The one thing I never really see the Enquirer do
is ask the public school system the really hard questions, like, if
you are going to be building less of these fancy school buildings we
see popping up all over the city, are you going to give back the tax
money you’ve already taken? As a member of the Cincinnati community, I
have never participated in CPS. I went to Catholic schools. I
homeschool my own. I pay some of the highest taxes in the United
states and I really fail to see why we don’t ask the public school
system harder questions to verify that as a community we are getting
value for the dollars we spend on public education. I think instead of
continuing to promote the public school system as it is, we ought to
look at making it better by getting government out of the business of
schooling all together. A local paper, like the Enquirer could take a
stand like that and instead of continuing to promote status quo,
assist in making public education better. 10 years ago a member of the
homeschool community in Connecticut wrote to the local paper with a
very simple idea: What if parents controlled the schools…

The Education Liberator <http://sepschool.org/edlib/index.php, Vol.
2, No. 4, May 1996

If parents controlled the schools

by Ned Vare

/Editor’s Note: Ned Vare has become a one-man publicity machine for
Separation in his town of Guilford, Conn. “I include the idea of
Separation in every letter and TV program now,” he says. The latter
refers to programs he does on Guilford’s community access channel,
which have made him something of a local celebrity. “Community access
TV is a great way to get the word out about Separation. You should
tell all of your readers to look into it.” Ned originally wrote the
following as a letter to the editor which appeared on March 13, 1996,
in the/ Shore Line Times /of Guilford./

*IF PARENTS CONTROLLED* the schools, would we…

* Insist children learn the same things at the same time?

* Create a bleak artificial environment and lock our kids in it for
years, knowing that most of what they learn is irrelevant or wrong?

* Allow them to have no standards, no goals, and to dumb down the kids?

* Allow our property to be confiscated if we didn’t pay their bigger
bill each year?

* Hire unionized teachers with binding arbitration who could vote
for their raises?

* Let them give our kids mind-altering drugs (Ritalin) to control
behavior as insane asylums do?

* Suspend the band and sports for a year to coerce ourselves to vote
for a tax increase?

* Believe that 10 to 15 percent of our kids are “learning disabled”
when figures show only a 1 percent likelihood?

* Allow our children’s and our lives to be so dominated by school’s
synthetic experience that there’s no time left for real experiences?

* Use standardized tests that have no education value and can damage
kids?

* Use only “certified” staff when private schools have no such
restriction and avoid hiring them?

* Assign 60 percent of every day to non-academic indoctrination like
“social values?”

* Allow the state to dictate who can run our schools?

* Let teachers use our children as shills for their pay raises?

* Pay twice what private schools charge and get half the learning?

The answers are either /no/ or /hell no./

Parents are encouraged to relinquish our natural roles as educators.
Feeling guilty about that, we are easy prey for schools that demand
more taxes to raise our children badly. Educationists have learned to
hustle us, shake us down in a shell game for control of money and our
children’s lives.

What’s wrong here in my city is what is wrong everywhere — school is a
state monopoly that can neither educate effectively nor inform the
public honestly. To become responsive and accountable, education needs
to be separated from government. Otherwise, it will continue to serve
only itself and we will remain its slaves.

————————————————————————

/This article is copyrighted by the Alliance for the Separation of
School & State. Permission is granted to freely distribute this
article as long as this copyright notice is included in its entirety./

Perhaps The Enquirer could print this article and get a better
dialogue going regarding the sorry state of our public school system
here in Cincinnati…


Best Regards,

-Amy Cortez
Columbia Tusculum


Educational Christmas Toys

As I mentioned before I am just getting into the whole world of home schooling, and one of the most fun things I have come across is the wide array of educational toys.

Here are some of my favorite pics – you probably still have time before Christmas too!

1. ATM Bank -self-explanatory

2. Discovery electronic gadget lab -you build lots of electronic devices by snapping different pieces together

3. First Words magnetic poetry – create messages, work on sentences, anything else you can do with words

4. Gardening Tool tote – just a kids size to get them started playing in the garden
5. Quercetti Marble Runs – build innumerable tracks for marbles to go down

6. Magnetix – another builder – my son loves his!

7. Hows and Whys of Science – again self-explanatory – i think this comes with experiments the kids (of all ages) can do.

I tell ya it actually makes me want to go Christmas shopping (at least online) – shopping for kids is the best!


“10 mph educational system”

I ran across this quote while reading Revolutionary Wealth by Alvin and Heidi Toffler.   The authors are known for their thoughtful evaluation of big cultural trends.  Of all the cultural factors they evaluated (business, family, government, etc…), the American school system was the second slowest in being able to adapt to all the changes that we are facing.  What does this mean for our children, the future of our society?

“Is it possible it costs $400 billion to maintain this broken heap?  The answer is yes, every year.  The American school system.

Designed for mass production,  operated like factories, managed bureaucratically, protected by powerful trade unions and politicians dependent on teachers’ votes, American’s schools are perfect reflections of the early twentieth-century economy.  The best that can be said of them is that they are no worse than schools in most other advanced countries.

While businesses are driven  to change by high-speed competition, public-school systems are protected monopolies.  Parents, innovative teachers and the media clamour for change.  Yet, despite a growing number of educational experiments, the core of U.S. public education remains the factory-style school designed for the industrial age.

Can a ten-mile-per-hour education system prepare students for jobs in companies moving at a hundred miles per hour?”
That also raised an interesting question in my mind (and one of the main reason I am homeschooling)  = what is the stated purpose for public education?  Are we truly trying to prepare children for future work?  Or to be well-rounded individuals?  These questions are always have before me as I consider what my children are presently needing.


Classical approach to homeschooling

Like I mentioned in an earlier post I am doing an investigation into the different approaches to homeschooling/ education. I thought I would start with the classical approach.

Some think that this method of education grew in popularity during the middle ages. It’s roots are tracked back to Socrates, Aristotle, and Greek culture. The goal of this method is to teach people to learn for themselves.

The belief is that before the age of 10 students should learn basics – reading and writing and that instructors should read to them a great deal. These years are focused on developing a foundation for later learning. At age 10 they are developmentally ready for what is known as the Trivium. Learning is centered around composition, grammar, math, Latin, and Greek.

Check out this blog for more information on classical education.

Also here is a popular book for classical education.


Help for homeschool science woes

I was never much for science when I was in school. Even though I loved to be outside and play in the woods I never had the curiosity for the physical world going on around me. Over time this has changed and I have learned many facts about this incredible world we are living in. Maybe like me you are needing some resources for you and your kids to spark interest. Check out this blog for a daily dose of interesting science facts.



Homeschool Options

One of the greatest things about homeschooling is you can do anything you want to do. You can go down any road you choose. You can be highly structured – or no structure at all. You can use curriculum, do online school, or follow your child’s interest. Either way you might want to find out your child’s personality preferences – check out this article.

Because of this freedom you can adjust to your child’s current level of learning and what they are interested in. I discovered this with my 4 year old who recently is interested in puzzles. I bought some inexpensive puzzles.  Ones with numbers on them, some with letters. So while he is working on the puzzle he can work on his ABC’s and number order. Do things this way makes learning these basics fun – not like work at all.

Dr. Phil recently had a program addressing homeschooling and unschooling in particular. The show addressed the issues one needs to think about when considering homeschooling. But really this is the case no matter what schooling situation your child is going to be in. It seems to me that the publics schools would like for it to be a brainless choice for us to send our children there. And maybe in the past there hadn’t been the options there are today. But in reality now there are so many different choices you can make based on your beliefs and values are surrounding education.  I’m working on a post that discusses some of the differences.


Why Homeschool?

People homeschool for many reasons. Some of the reasons I have decided to journey down that road is one, I enjoy my kids, and don’t want to just see them for a few hours a day. And to spend those few hours watching them do homework. I made a decision to slow down a few years ago and it has effected my views on the typical experience of todays children. It feels like as a society we have pushed children into a schedule of hectic pace. Check out this article .

Two, I really want my children to enjoy learning. I didn’t really learn how to learn until college, I was always too busy trying to keep up with the work that was given to me to realize that I was supposed to be learning. I also feel like I get a second chance to learn with them.

Third, and probably the biggest reason, is I really don’t like what I see coming out of high schools. There are some children who do really well in the public school system and take advantage of the opportunities there. But it seems like a majority suffer from peer and academic labeling which slows them down in discovering who there are and what they are really good at. Schools just don’t have the time and staff to truly help a student work through these issues. I remember that the only help I had in choosing a path for my life was a standardized test I took my sophomore year. Which the results suggested I would like a certain occupation (one I can’t even remember). The only thing it taught me was what I didn’t want to do. How many adults are actually working in the same field that they were trained in? There are now estimates that the average person will change occupations 6 times.

I want my kids to spend their teenage years really honing in on what they are good at and what they would like to do. I envision them spending these years actually doing these things hands on. Whether it be an apprenticeship, volunteering, taking college courses, and/or traveling.


Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

With the holidays around the corner you might be looking for some ways to learn about the traditions of Thanksgiving or just to have a fun time doing crafts together. I, too, have been looking and have found some helpful resources that you might enjoy.

For crafts look to Family Fun.

Check out A to Z Homeschooling. This is a blog with a wealth of ideas for educational as well crafts.


Welcome to Homeschool Central

Well it might be a little early but I am jumping in. My kids are 4 and 2 and I am feeling the need to get organized for our official, unofficial homeschooling (my son has almost already taught himself to read). I have been perusing blogs and homeschooling sights since my oldest was an infant. I would get so excited to hear about the different approaches people were taking in homeschooling. It is like a big world ready to explore. I almost feel like I get a second chance at education, getting to learn everything my kids are learning. My goal with this blog is to gather and organize resources centered around homeschooling. So I hope this will be as helpful for you as for me.