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!
I understand part of the reason why the moderates and liberals aren’t included in the national conversation — they don’t seem to tie their homeschooling to other agendas. They homeschool … and do other things, but the homeschooling isn’t a vehicle for promoting the other things. That kind of living doesn’t produce many fireworks, and few hot-button issues. They also aren’t out “recruiting.”
Still, it’s a shame that public news media don’t dig deeper into the subject. If they are going to present a national “debate” on homeschooling, let that debate reflect the full gamut of the homeschooling movement, and not just the kind that looks like “brainwashing.”
CORY WILSON ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 66
Jackson, Miss. – Cory Wilson is announcing his candidacy for the Mississippi House of Representatives in District 66. Wilson, 36, graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Business in 1992, and he graduated from Yale Law School in 1995. He also graduated from the Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi Class in 2001. Wilson is currently a partner with the law firm of Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP. He is married to the former Stephanie Webb, and the couple has a two year old son, Webb. The Wilson family attends Broadmoor Baptist Church.
Cory Wilson has been very active in his community. He has served as a past president of the Belhaven Improvement Association, and he is currently serving as President-Elect of the Exchange Club of Downtown Jackson. Wilson founded the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation, intended to address problems faced by urban neighborhoods in Jackson. He is on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Economic Forum and the Mississippi Society for Disabilities.
One reason Cory Wilson says he is running is the need for new leadership in the House. “I will work with the Governor, and vote for a new Speaker.” He also wants to fight to make our capital city safer and stronger. “By entering the race, I offer the people of District 66 someone who will work with the Governor and build relationships with the rest of the Jackson legislative delegation to get things done,” Wilson said in a recent interview with mississippipolitics.com. “I believe the neighborhoods in District 66 are incredibly important to Jackson’s future. I want to make our capital city safer, stronger, and more economically viable. There are great things happening in Jackson, but they can get even better. To move forward, we need teamwork and new leadership in the Legislature.” Wilson will seek the seat, currently held by Cecil Brown, as a Republican."
(4) The State Board of Education may establish student testing proficiency standards for promotion to grade levels for students in home instruction programs which are equivalent to requirements applicable to public school students.
Senator Sampson Jackson II - Democrat, isn't on the Education Committee, but he is the author of the bill, which just goes to show we should get to know all our legislators, not just those on the Education Committee. Who is going to pay for the testing? Where would the testing take place? And isn't this a huge infringement on the parents rights to teach their children as they see fit?
(9) Notwithstanding any provision or implication herein to the contrary, it is not the intention of this section to impair the primary right and the obligation of the parent or parents, or person or persons in loco parentis to a child, to choose the proper education and training for such child, and nothing in this section shall ever be construed to grant, by implication or otherwise, to the State of Mississippi, any of its officers, agencies or subdivisions any right or authority to control, manage, supervise or make any suggestion as to the control, management or supervision of any private or parochial school or institution for the education or training of children, of any kind whatsoever that is not a public school according to the laws of this state; and this section shall never be construed so as to grant, by implication or otherwise, any right or authority to any state agency or other entity to control, manage, supervise, provide for or affect the operation, management, program, curriculum, admissions policy or discipline of any such school or home instruction program. SB2327 - Introduced by Senator Chaney
Senator Chaney - Republican, on the other hand is Chairman of the Education Committee
I was conversing with an acquaintance, she was lamenting the fact that her son doesn't read and inquiring how on earth I got Lord Epa to read? Both my kids love reading, in fact you might say we are a family of bookworms, so I'll offer these suggestions.
Have books in your home. The more variety the better. Not everyone has the same taste in literature.
Read to your children from an early age.
Allow your child to choose the books he/she wants to read. I would have thought that would have been a no brainer; but after reading How Much is Enough? at Life Without School I realize that for some parents it's not.
Allow your child to tell you about the book, if you have read it discuss it with them.
Buy them books for Christmas, birthdays ect. Most children love having their own books. As they get older make sure it's a book they want, NOT something you want them to read. Sometimes the two coincide.
Read books yourself. If your children see you enjoying a book they are more likely to pick one up themselves.
Here's a typical, one-sided article on homeschooling in Greenwood, MS. I have two issues (two-point-five, actually) with this article. The reporter says:
Some high schools and colleges will also open up their science labs to allow homeschool students to do experiments.
Who does? Where? Not in Mississippi they don't.
Secondly, the only person this article focuses on is the local group leader. There is no diversity in homeschooling represented here.
And the point-five objection:
"Homeschoolers consistently score above the national average," said ACT spokesman Ed Colby.
I know homeschoolers' stellar performance on standardized tests is a commonly cited "proof" that homeschooling works, but if WE consider standardized testing an adequate measure of our children's education, what is to stop the state from mandating it?
I was going to publish More Misconceptions About Homeschoolers at the Cafe but blogger was being difficult, so I published it at Alasandra instead. This post is going to address the posters on the Dr. Phil Board who were generally interested in homeschooling and expressed valid concerns.
First there was PP who really wants to homeschool, but is worried that they will not be able to find a support group their family is comfortable with as they are atheist. While PP is right that there are many Christian support groups that require statements of faith and where her family would not be welcome there are also inclusive groups, like PEAK. She may also want to visit Free Thinking Home Educators a yahoo group where all free thinkers are welcome and which has a nationwide membership. Hopefully they would be able to help PP find an inclusive or secular homeschool group near them that would meet their family's "real world" needs.
Another poster was hesitant to consider homeschooling because she didn't think she was capable of "teaching" her child. Luckily her child is just a toddler so she will have plenty of time to research homeschooling (hint the Dr. Phil message board is NOT the best place to find information on homeschooling). I would suggest she pick some pre-school workbooks up at the $ store and have fun using them with her child to see if "homeschooling" would be something she would enjoy. Also many homeschool support groups will allow Mom's with toddlers to attend, this would allow her to learn more about homeschooling from actual homeschoolers and get a support group in place. It's odd that parents teach their children how to tie their shoelaces, potty train them and that their children learn speech from them but the general public is brainwashed into believing that without a teachers certificate you can't teach your children how to read or anything else of educational value. Of course the same people that tell you, you are incapable of "teaching" your child see no inconsistency in expecting parents to help with homework and instruct their children on material over the summer that the teacher didn't have time to teach so they won't be behind.
Of course all the myths and misconceptions about homeschoolers make it hard for people who don't know actual homeschoolers to make informed decisions. Just when I thought I had heard it all a poster stated with absolute authority that homeschoolers didn't have TVs and that they censored what their children listened to on the radio. While it's true that some homeschoolers don't have TVs, it's also true that some public school parents choose not to have TVs in their home. It's a personal choice not a requirement of homeschooling. Not only do we have a TV, we enjoy XM radio, video games, Dvds and the Internet, imagine that.
Does The "No Child Left Behind" Act Benefit Our Children? --Yes, test scores and knowledge are increasing (5%) --Yes, it helps underpriveledged kids (5%) --No, the program cuts fitness and art courses (16%) --No, kids are not getting rudimentary education basics (59%) --I don't know (15%)
Lectures are necessary for teaching and for developing truly active minds. by Lisa VanDamme Founder and Director VanDamme Academy
Every class in elementary and junior high school should be in a lecture format. The teacher must be an authority on the subject, he must grasp its basic purpose, he must carefully define the knowledge to be conveyed by reference to that purpose, and he must present that knowledge in a hierarchical, integrated, and engaging form.
When I teach a literature class, I go in to each class armed with an understanding of the value of studying literature, and the knowledge that this value is derived primarily from an appreciation of the novel’s plot, an understanding of the basic nature of the characters, and a clear grasp of the novel’s theme.
These broad goals then guide me in defining the goal of any particular class. If I am teaching Sinclair Lewis's novel Arrowsmith, for example, I might give one class about the idealistic characters and in what way they are doomed to suffering in the world, another about those who abandon their ideals and achieve practical “success,” another about the basic moral/practical dichotomy this implies, and another contrasting this view with that of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
In each class, I would set out to convey a definite point about the novel, and to methodically lead the students to a clear understanding of the principle through the events of the novel. I would not conduct the class as question-and-answer, back-and-forth, bull session.
This is a notable contrast to most literature classes today. English teachers often select novels that are disintegrated and purposeless, and therefore have no single, objective interpretation. And even if they teach a good work of literature, with a definite theme, they allow students to take charge of the class, treating every one of their arbitrarily held, sometimes unintelligible, and often contradictory interpretations as sacred.
Several years ago I visited an English class at a reputable college prep school in my area, in which the students were reading Macbeth. The class had a “seminar” format, with the chairs in a circle, and the teacher treated as just one of the student’s peers.
This teacher explained to me that the class is “student driven.” He doesn’t give reading assignments, but instead defines “reading goals.” He does not lecture to the class, but assigns each student a section of the play, asks them to prepare a presentation, and listens without comment as they discuss their interpretation with the class.
Other teachers commit the same error in a less flagrant form. A method often used by well-meaning teachers that encourages subjectivism is the overuse of questions and answers. Some teachers go in to class with a definite, objective end in mind, but either in the name of promoting independent thought in the students or of making the class lively and engaging, they think that the steps toward this end have to be elicited from the students.
Many teachers will, for example, introduce a new topic of history, and rather than presenting the relevant facts and integrating them into abstract conclusions, they will ask the students to guess— both the facts and the conclusions. For example, in discussing the founding of Jamestown, such a teacher might ask, “How big do you think the original settlement was?” or “What sort of governing body do you think they established?”
It is appropriate, once in a while, to ask the students to guess the answer to a factual question, particularly when they will be surprised by the right answer. And it is appropriate to ask abstract questions that clearly draw upon their prior knowledge and that they therefore have the context to answer. But to routinely play a guessing game as part of the basic format of the class promotes a subjective, anything-goes view of knowledge on the part of students. Students habituate the idea that knowledge is not the product of a scrupulous and methodical process of integrating the facts of reality, but instead comes from randomly throwing out groundless views.
This does not promote intellectual independence and enthusiasm; it promotes intellectual unseriousness and eventually boredom. Questioning of the students should be secondary to the teacher’s directed, purposeful, positive presentation of a clearly defined body of knowledge. For every class, the teacher should seek to convey definite knowledge, presenting the essential facts and integrating those facts into abstract conclusions, thereby leading the students to a clear understanding while also modeling rational thought.
This does not entail passivity on the part of the students. On the contrary, they will be engaged in answering questions when appropriate, asking questions that occur to them, making connections with other relevant items of their knowledge, and following the logical progression laid about by the teacher—which itself is an active and independent process. ##
Another take on the recent homeschool articles that appeared in the Clarion Ledger. Be sure to scroll below the Google ads in the middle...and try not to giggle:
In their never-ending effort to "help" homeschoolers, public school bureaucrats periodically try to increase homeschooling regulations. This makes K-12 education perhaps a unique endeavor: it's a field in which the failures regularly, and astonishingly, insist that they should be able to regulate the successful. [snip]
The latest outbreak of education bureaucrat compassion comes from Mississippi. There the Grand Panjandrum, indeed, the very Mikado of Mississippi education, Superintendent Hank Bounds, is working at creating a panel of Quisling homeschool parents to determine whether homeschool families should be further regulated. [snip]
Reading: 82 percent of Mississippi's fourth-graders cannot read at grade level, with 52 percent not being able to read at even a basic level. By eight grade, 82 percent of Mississippi's children still cannot read at grade level, with 40 percent being unable to read at even a basic level.
Mathematics: 81 percent of fourth-graders are below grade level in math, with 31 percent lacking even a basic grasp of mathematics. By eighth grade, math illiteracy is burgeoning in Mississippi: 86 percent of students are below grade level in math, with 48 percent lacking even a basic understanding of mathematics.
Science: 88 percent of fourth-graders are below grade level, with 55 percent lacking even a basic knowledge of science. By eighth grade, 86 percent of Mississippi's children are below grade level, with an amazing 60 percent lacking a basic grasp of the subject. [snip]
Perhaps we can all agree with Superintendent Bounds in one respect, however. Mississippi does need more regulation of education. Consequently, as a public service, here is my modest proposal for reforming Mississippi's public schools: Homeschooling parents should regulate Bounds until the students in the government schools for which he is responsible academically outperform homeschooled children. Unfortunately, this recommendation is not likely to be accepted, which means that state superintendents of education around the country will continue to be able to tell parents upset about the job their local schools are doing, "Well, at least we're not Mississippi."
We are all aware of the media bias against homeschoolers, and their attempts to portray our children as social retards who will be unable to make it in the "real" world. Because many of our legislators do not know anything about homeschoolers other then what they see portrayed in the media many of them will feel the need to pass laws "regulating" homeschooling. If homeschoolers make the attempt to get know their legislators and let them know our children are normal kids who are capable of making it in the "real" world they will be more likely to support our decision to homeschool.
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