Sunday, January 25, 2009

Schooling...

I'm completely excited about next fall already. I've probably bored a lot of my friends to tears talking about homeschooling lately. I've been finding curriculum on various sales and web sites where it's cheaper and buying it, and I've gotten almost everything put together - I lack math, and that's about it for the basics... I don't know that I'll be able to get in any more than the basics, anyway!


Then I found these desks for a great price on Craigslist...

Even M2's been getting in on the excitement...



And then... well... the cat just decided he needed some schooling himself a few days ago with some nacho cheese I'd heated up...



Cats and kids crack me up... yay for being schooled!

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009 Weblog Awards - Pioneer Woman fans unite!

http://2009.bloggies.com/
Check it out - Ree's been nominated! Multiple times! Go and vote for her photography, writing, layout, and overall bestestness. Let's hope she wins!

Rant about THIS

The title of this post *should* be a link, but in case it's not, here's the link to the story again: http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/local/local_story_020175840.html

I am irritated. I'm not even actually homeschooling yet, and I'm irritated.

I had heard about the proposition of these bills a few days before this story was published and researched them.

I seriously dislike Jim Wilson. The words 'unqualified boob' come to mind.

First of all... I'd love to know where he's finding these homeschoolers who plunk their kids in front of TV. Do you think this guy is aware that homeschooling doesn't necessarily take 7-8 hours a day, every single day, like a regular school does?? Does that mean they might watch the odd video as part of their education? M1 once went to a Mom's Day Out program where I found out much later that he was watching a movie every single day. I remember watching many, many videos throughout school. Does it mean that these kids might get a few breaks during the day? *gasp* Not a break! I bet this guy would also take away recess. Every single homeschooler I have been in contact with so far is very, very involved in their child's education. I'm not saying there aren't some complete incompetents out there, because I'm sure there are, but it seems to me that the vaaaaaaast majority of them care! And act on that! And care!

Plus, if he calls ignoring a child's education child abuse, what does he consider leaving a child in a school where the child is failing and watching that child's self-esteem go down the toilet? What about latchkey kids who come home and sit in front of the TV all afternoon or go off with their friends doing Lord-only-knows-what while the parents are clueless? Is that also child abuse? Where exactly is the line?

AAAAAND the kicker. The icing on the cake, so to speak. "...homeschooled students who go into public schools are two years behind students their age..."

WHAAAAA....???

Again, I plead for evidence. Prove this to me. Show me that homeschooling my son is going to put him two years behind his peers. I'll happily keep him enrolled somewhere. We're not asking every child to become a Jeopardy champion; we're just asking them to keep up. That's my real goal, anyway. If we do more than that, I'll be thrilled, but do I expect that? No.

So I dug deeper. Apparently Mr. Wilson (maybe my name should be Denice the Menace?) proposed these bills, almost word for word, the last time he was elected to his seat. One homeschooling mom on the Well-Trained Mind forum (http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/index.php) said that she's seen similar bills come out almost every year she's been homeschooling - 14 years total. So far, none of them have passed. Homeschooling is a wonderful constitutional right in Oklahoma, and we fight for it!

I do have to say that I don't have any humongous objections to Senate Bill 472. If I had to call up our school district and inform them that their school test scores are so low that there's no way in Hades I'm sending my kids there and that I will be homeschooling them... I could do that. If I then had to prove that my kids were making academic progress... I could do that.

But to yank a kid off the streets because there's a truancy problem, not a homeschooling one?

Get your facts straight. Get over yourself.

Thank you. Rant over. Carry on. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why?

I suppose no homeschooling blog would be properly written without an introduction and an answer to the perennial question, "Why?"

There are lots of versions of this question that I have encountered over the past few months, and they seem to come from all directions.

"Why do you want to homeschool?"

"Why do you think you can do better than [insert school/teacher here]?"

"Why is your family going along with this idea?"

If it's not 'why,' it's still something along these lines:

"How is he going to have any friends?"

"Are you going to be able to get anything done around the house?"

"How are you going to be able to get any time to yourself?"

Most of these, I will admit, are valid questions, especially the one about having any sort of time to myself. However, in the interest of reminding myself later - when I feel like quitting - why I'm doing this, I think it'll be good to take the time to answer all of these. Besides, it'll be good to have this later so I can also show my son why I believe homeschooling is the best decision for him at this time.

"Why do you want to homeschool?"

I guess this is the question I get the most, and it requires the longest answer. It has come from family, friends, educators, and homeschool enthusiasts. I know they all mean the best (well, except perhaps some of the educators), but it's still a tough question to field, and I had to answer it to myself before I was able to answer it to anyone else.

The answer is: I think it's for the best. M1 has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and 'pervasive emotional developmental delays.' He's a great kid. When he's properly medicated, he is the sweetest, most thoughtful soul you've ever met. He has big dreams and a lot of emotions all built up in his little body, and they sometimes get mixed up when they come out. This has made private school difficult at times. Before we were on the right medication, it was not uncommon for me to receive phone calls or have hurried conversations about his behavior with his teacher or even the principal. It was devastating for me as a mother, and it certainly wasn't any fun for him, either. He's doing better now, but now he has other complaints about school. He's bored, and that's not going to get any better. I tested his reading using a quick web site analysis the other day, and he's reading at roughly a fourth-grade level. At the beginning of this school year, he was reading at maybe a high kindergarten or early first-grade level, so obviously he has progressed rapidly. I'm proud of him, but this rapid progression has meant that he has surpassed all but one other classmate in reading. While his classmates are sounding out 'c-a-t,' he's starting to read chapter books. This isn't going to change next year, and I don't want him to be bored any more than he wants to be bored.

Then - and it pains me to say it - there's the school itself. I adore the preschool program, and for the price, there's not a better one in our entire metro area. The teachers are wonderful, and last year when M1 was in that class and some of the students were getting antsy, the lead teacher started with some simple sight words and phonics rather than allow them to stay bored. I will happily let M2 stay there next year. However, the school itself is old, and while they are planning to erect another building over the next few years, it IS going to take that long. I just don't want the kids going to a school where the heat could be out in certain classrooms for weeks or where the doorbell to the preschool works only intermittently or where the Internet and phone for the school itself also work sporadically. The administration affectionately refers to these problems as "gremlins," and I suppose after many years at a place there is a certain affinity to remain, but it doesn't really fly with me. I'm also not Catholic like most of the school population, and I can see some serious theological problems arising in the next few years. I initially hadn't considered this a big problem, but M1 is showing great depth in philosophical subjects and will truly think these things through at a young age.

So it's time to pull him out. Is that a long enough answer for that question??

"Why do you think you can do better than [insert school/teacher here]?"

"Why is your family going along with this idea?"


I think I'll answer these two questions together. I don't know whether I can do better than any school or teacher out there. I could fail miserably. But I'll never know until I try, and the best I can do is try to keep him challenged and work on his problem areas one-on-one, and that's more than any school can offer, no matter what the price. I think that's why my husband and my family have come around to the idea, because they understand that if I can't do it, then I will admit that. I sure hope it won't come to that, though!

Of course, there's always the perennial question,

"How is he going to have any friends?"

Easy! I'm part of a mom's group in the area, I am going to begin participating in an area co-op that offers weekly playdates and many other events, and this town is chock-full of great things for homeschool kids/families. I'm sure we'll meet some great friends along the way, and we're not going to lose touch with his best friends from his current school. They won't be back next year, either, so he won't be missing them. :)

Finally,

"Are you going to be able to get anything done around the house?"

"How are you going to be able to get any time to yourself?"


As for the first one, I won't be able to answer that until I start homeschooling this fall. I figure I'll work it out. I'm pretty structured to begin with, and since we'll probably be home a good part of the day anyway, it'll probably get done. When it comes to time for myself, I have a really fantastic network of great friends, and I love going out with them! I don't think I'll be giving that up, either.

So that's pretty much the 'why' of homeschooling! Not the shortest answer, but I think it'll be a good reminder in a few months when I'm asking myself what the heck I got myself into!

Thanks for reading ;)