Several Mississippi moms connected online through a statewide homeschool network.
Fueled mostly by caffeine, the women of The Homeschool Cafe will regularly top off this virtual bottomless cup with
political opinions, educational issues, and general discussion. Pull up a seat and enjoy!
Spunky wonders about The Unschooling Conspiracy in the media. Your not paranoid if they are really after you. Are they? the situation bears watching. Many of the public school proponents on the Dr. Phil board were demanding that parents have teacher's certificates to homeschool, that their children be taken to a public school every nine weeks for testing and examination by a professional for abuse, and that yearly standardized test be required. And of course there was that annoying myth that homescholers need to be socialized and that all homeschooled children are social retards. Apparently in today's politically correct world it's still OK to bash homeschoolers. Right now they are focused on unschooling, but traditional homeschoolers beware. They REALLY don't understand there are different methods of homeschooling, so we have been lumped in with the unschoolers regardless. Spunky's post reminded me of this poem.
First They Came for the Jews First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. Pastor Martin Niemöller
Overview of Lesson Plan:In this lesson, students will gather opinions about unschooling and the value of learning inside the classroom and in the real world. They then conduct a debate and reflect on the value of unschooling for their own education. Review the Academic Content Standards related to this lesson.
Do you know how many full fledged planets we have in our solar system? Visit Alasandra to find out (post includes links to lesson plans and resources). This is not a trick question. OK so they went and changed things since the majority of us were in school. Hint the answer is not 9.
Tami is hosting the 47th Carnival of Homeschooling. For those of you teaching American History this year be sure to check out the Thanksgiving Proclamation at Why Homeschool. I haven't had time to check out the other post, I just got back from the grocery store, but I hope to grab a cup of tea and check them out soon.
Here's my theory. Bounds' remarks regarding homeschooling and child abuse could inflame the public and result in support for homeschool regulation. However, I believe that the DOE's true aim is to route homeschoolers into the state's new VPS program (Remember? At around this time last year, our lawmakers were lobbied by out-of-state companies with an interest in providing VPS services. The bill essentially came out of nowhere, flew through the process, and was passed and signed with little or no opposition early this year. Yeah, remember that?).
VPS is public school, folks, not homeschooling. Remember that, too.
“We want you to enjoy the freedom you have for homeschooling,” he [State Superintendent Hank Bounds] said.
“But you must realize we all have this moral and ethical responsibility to deal with those situations where clearly it’s nothing more than a child abuse situation when parents pull their children out of school, say they’re being homeschooled just because parents ... don’t want to be involved in the education of their children,” he said.
Moral and ethical responsibility, eh? Gimme a break.
“We also realize there are situations where parents don’t want to be involved, they don’t want to be engaged with the school. They’ve had attendance offices knocking on their doors, telling parent they must get their children in school,” he said. “They completely disengage themselves and disengage their children.”
...which is our right, last time I checked. This article refers to membership in homeschool organizations as a given and infers that lack of participation outside the home is somehow neglectful. Not so, folks. Currently, MS law does not support this assumption. However, if this effort gains momentum, we have a lot freedom to lose.
Sprittibee used a theme of Autumn Blessings. Visit Maureen Wittmann for some free unit studies, I plan to make use of the one on composting. Sprittibee shares some sweet potatoe recipes in time for Thanksgiving. And Janine at Why Homeschool has it made, she has a man whod does LAUNDRY! Ok, I have to admit, my hubby does laundry too occasionally...........not to mention he is great at remodeling and repairing, but that's another post. Anyway grab some coffee and check out the COH.
Kids Voting USA’s mission is to help young people become educated, engaged voters. And, education starts in the classroom with a unique civic learning experience. Students who participate in Kids Voting USA activities learn how to gather information, think critically and make decisions. They also learn important collaboration skills as well as respect for differing points of view – skills useful not only for civic participation but also for life.
How often do you hear politicians say those words? Of course, they're "for education". Who isn't? No matter how they couch that statement, what they are really saying is "I'm for taxation."
Hinds County residents (that is, about a third or less of the eligible voters in Hinds County) will turn out for tomorrow's mid-term elections. One of the items on the ballot is the state's largest school bond issue ($150 million, topping Desoto County's $115 million referendum in 2004), which JPS intends to use for the construction of three new campuses and improvement of existing buildings throughout the district.
Last week, State Superintendent Hank Bounds spoke at a political networking function regarding the school bond issue during which he stated that inadequate education in Mississippi is the result of poverty. I suppose the logic is that if poverty is to blame for MDE's inability to educate children, more funding via taxation will fix the problem.
If funding is the issue (it isn't, but that's another rant for another day), shouldn't taxpayers have the reasonable expectation that districts distribute and schools utilize funding efficiently and effectively? Of course not. It's the government. We know better than that. But, theoretically, wouldn't it make sense to consolidate small districts and combine or eliminate many--as in thousands--of midlevel administrative and support positions? After all, that's where all the money goes.
I see no political will for legislators to order district consolidation. After all, local school supporters are also their constituents.
It is no mystery why our legislators will not touch the issue. Furthermore, consolidation would mean the loss of local money and jobs as well as leave a few school administrators homeless:
The principals of five of the district's eight high schools - Florence, McLaurin, Pelahatchie, Pisgah and Puckett - live in houses supplied by the school district. Each one is located near the school for security purposes, said Marissa Oliveri, district spokeswoman.
The principals at Brandon, Northwest Rankin and Richland get an annual housing allowance of $3,600 instead.
The house in Florence is worth $153,000; McLaurin, $76,500; Pelahatchie, $136,000; Pisgah, $140,250; and Puckett, $136,000.
MDE does not view consolidation as a plausible solution:
Current state law already provides a way for two or more districts to consolidate voluntarily, said Steve Williams, executive to the state superintendent of education. "Voluntary consolidation is rare. I can think of three consolidations in the 20 years I've been here," he said. Those include Vicksburg Warren, Tishomingo County and South Delta.
"Any consolidation of school districts would need to be based on an [extremely expensive, tax-funded --NC] in-depth study of the districts involved," Williams said. That would include debt, merging tax bases and governance, he said.
"Larger is not necessarily better as studies show, but there are some situations in the state that are obvious candidates for consolidation," he said.
Bigger isn't better, that is, unless we're talking about school bond issues. In other words, taxation is the only solution on the table.
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? You ask: where can my school get a COW or better yet a whole herd of COWs? It’s easy! Just give Ignite! Learning’s big boss, Neil Bush a call and… Oh wait… Did I forget to mention that little fact? My oversight. The head of Ignite! Learning, the makers of The COW, is none other than Neil Bush, President George W. Bush’s little brother. And your school can get a COW by using funds from President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program! COWs only cost a piddling $3,800 each!
And thanks to Barbara Bush's donation (earmarked for the purchase of COW) to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, will receive COWs.
Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.
I am not against COWs per see, but I find it ironic that teachers, janitors, and public school officials who often maintain that parents aren't capable of creating lesson plans and teaching classes like certified teachers do, are now willing to turn the job over to a COW.
It seems that science is not taught in the public middle schools today--it has been replaced by...hands on "experiments" which are really pointless diversions. At the high school level, most students are exposed to some science, and most are required to take a physics class. But these physics classes generally suffer from a serious [methodological] problem.
Let me give you an example of this problem, and then I will explain it.
The following scenario will probably be familiar to many of you. It is half-way through the semester, and your physics teacher is going to discuss Newton’s Laws. You come into class, sit down, and the teacher begins to write on the board: “These are Newton’s three laws of motion. #1: Every body continues in its state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it. #2:...,” and so on. No explanation is given as to what observations, integrations, or discoveries Newton made in order to arrive at these laws of motion. No account is given of the long history behind Newton’s laws of motion--of the earlier theories that were refuted or were accepted and refined.
This method of teaching is extremely rationalistic. Scientific knowledge is presented as a series of commandments rather than as conclusions that have been reached by a laborious process of observation, experiment, and induction. If taught physics this way, a student’s grasp of the principles is necessarily detached from reality.
This approach to teaching physics also fails to provide students with a real understanding of the scientific method. If they are not exposed to the way in which a great scientist makes observations and then integrates them to arrive at an innovative conclusion, then they will not understand how science is done. Like the writing process, it will seem like an innate gift of born scientists, and they will never understand that they too can learn the process by which new discoveries are made. Because students are not learning the scientific method through real, historical examples of scientific discoveries, they usually have a few classes within the physics course devoted just to the scientific method. But the way this method is taught reflects the same rationalism. Students are told that the first step in the scientific process is to, “Choose a hypothesis.” Not a word is said about the process of observation that should lead you to a hypothesis, so the implication is that the hypothesis must be chosen on a whim or divinely inspired. Again, what they leave out is observation, integration, induction.
Van Damme continues the article with Dr. David Harriman's approach to teaching physics. His lecture on the history of physics will be made available to the public some time this month.
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