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A Return to Homeschool

Published April 24, 2017 by lynn k scott

Discussions, research, contemplation and prayer, it’s been decided my daughter will return to homeschool for next year.  While I LOVE the small, private, Christian school she is in, we financially can no longer afford to send her.  The money spent on the school could be allocated to other bills that won’t take a backseat.

Sixth grade, junior high, here we come!  I refuse to jump on the “Middle School” bandwagon.  It was good enough to be called junior high for me, that’s what her current school calls it and that’s what we’ll continue to call it.

I briefly contemplated using a charter school because I could have received a stipend for educational-related expenditures from the district.  While charters are supposed to allow more flexibility, for a public school, the down side is, they are still a public school.  I became very upset just filling out the application.  That seems silly, right?  Perhaps.

The last two years, we have had this wonderful school.  There’s no PC-ness in play.  They ask for the mother’s and father’s signature on the application.  While, I know there are many, many types of families, I admire they still acknowledge parents.

While filling out the charter application, it asked for the parents’ name.  Then it asked who the child resides with.  Why was “parents”, “mother” or “father” not even options? The option available:  “Guardian 1”, “Guardian 2” and “Guardian 3” as the primary choices.  What?!  The nuclear family, while it has taken on some changes, still does exist.

When I brought this up to the charter, I received the approved response, “the options are within state guidelines”.  Ah yes, good ole’ California and the front-runner of “don’t offend anyone”.  I’m sorry but if the state of California is overseeing my daughter’s education, they should at the very least know that a “parent” and “guardian” are actually different words.

I was a guardian to my nieces for a year.  I didn’t give birth or adopt them.  I was their aunt.  They lived with me.  I made their important decisions.  I fed and clothed them.  I was their guardian.

Over the course of several evenings, unable to sleep, I kept researching charter schools and their requirements.  In addition to their inability to accept parents as a legitimate term, they follow Common Core.  Not to get into this educational nightmare, but let’s just say I’m not a fan and I won’t play nice with the district if they were insistent on how an answer was obtained vs if it was the correct answer.  That’s not how the adult world works and that’s what I’m raising; a child to an adult.

That being said, I reached peace when I realized, we will return to a Christian-based curriculum.  Where it’s acceptable to have my daughter’s homework include Biblical lessons, morality, and ethical responses in it.  Once that decision was made, the decision to return to homeschool became so much simpler.

I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  I know the state has to have some boundaries. Yet, they have overstepped and are reaching for what they aren’t entitled to.  My daughter can learn to think critically without being tested excessively just to “prove a point” or “be another score for the district”.

I am grateful for the ability to be able to register as a private school.  To teach my child in a modern way, yet have a Christian foundation.  I am excited to see what the next school year will bring us.  I’m sure my daughter will continue her spiritual and emotional growth, while on her educational journey.

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Going Into Business With Your Child

Published January 7, 2016 by lynn k scott

When it comes to parenting, there are more ways to approach to raising children than I could shake a stick at.  There are just as many parenting topics that could be addressed too.

I’m going to leap into the educational realm of parenting.  Whether your child attends a public, private or home school, parents and children have a relationship based on that environment.

I just realized, my youngest has been in public school, then we homeschooled and now she’s attending a private school.  I always tell my daughter, “We are in this together.  We are a team for your educational success.”

Sometimes my daughter agrees with me and she’s ready to tackle the world.  Other times, my “team” approach is met with a heavy sigh and rolling of her eyes.

I was preparing her backpack this morning; making sure all her books, homework and whatever else is needed for the day was included.  I love when my daughter shows me the graded work she’s received from her teacher.  Yet, I have to remember, I’m still dealing with a child, who isn’t always forthcoming with all her returned work; especially when the grade isn’t all that magnificent.

That was the case this morning.  I pulled out all these additional sheets of a paper.  Some were satisfactory grades, one was barely passing and one had ???? over it.  Me being me, I planned on speaking with my daughter after she was ready for the day.  It would seem the ???? paper wasn’t properly completed because she simply didn’t feel like doing it.

I can relate to that!  However, we’re not homeschooling any more and it’s not possible just to table an assignment for another day.  I had to reiterate she needs to complete the work as assigned, on time.

There was English work that I was concerned with.  Tenses and parts of speech getting mixed up.  I decided I was going to have the lil miss practice with some online educational games.

Her teacher is great, but I can see my daughter is struggling with a few things.  By being involved, treating her education like a business model, investing my time, we will grow her knowledge together.  School doesn’t have to be all boring.  We can play word games, have conversations and utilize the technology that’s out there.

Her success depends on my involvement.  I firmly believe in working with her teacher, keeping open discussions going, finding out where there are issues and addressing them.  If no official homework is assigned, then I give her something to do each night.  That could include reading her library book to me, playing Scrabble, catching up on some math concepts that could use reinforcement, etc.

Parents know their children best.  That is one reason I firmly believe in homeschooling.  When that isn’t an option, you don’t have to simply sit by and do only what the school says.  You can supplement or raise questions when you see areas that are causing stress.  I see that as my job as her parent, as her partner, for her education.

It’s my business to know where she stands.  It’s her business to be the best student she can be.  It’s our business to accomplish this together.

A little home school education

Published April 8, 2015 by lynn k scott

This is a paper I wrote in tandem with a classmate.  We had to do a research paper and an oral presentation.  I suggested this topic, as I am passionate about it.  I felt it was a good time to share this as I just read an opinion-based blog, trying to pass itself off as factual.  While the practice of homeschooling isn’t always the preferred educational model, it’s a viable one for a growing population of parents.  This paper has some technical terms, but I believe my point will be conveyed easily. Considering how horrendous the public educational sector has gotten, I can only see home school numbers increasing; substantially!

resources

   Education has been at the forefront of discussions lately.  Whether someone is discussing a new school year, government standards for testing, school shootings and safety, or are deciding to home school; there’s always a difference of opinion.  This paper will focus on the topic of home schooling and the on-going debate regarding socialization.  Homeschooled children are not at a disadvantage in regards to social development compared to publically educated children.

There are a lot of misconceptions about home schooling.  By 1989, “home schooling had already been given a certain kind of meaning by the popular media:  home schoolers were quixotic idealists, bucking a great big system, engaged in an activity of questionable benefit to their children, a homespun anomaly in an increasingly rationalized world” (Stevens 17).  While the media may paint a volatile picture of parents rebuking the public education system, look at why some parents choose to take on the arduous task of educating their children.

One of the first lessons home schoolers teach the careful observer is that in fact home schooling is a collective project. Home schoolers have always worked together to surmount the multiple challenges that come with doing things unconventionally (Stevens 4).  Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, “humans are social being, they learn from observing others, even without personally receiving any reinforcement” (Berger 22).  Where does it say children must learn from other children?  “In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily, into conformity with their immediate peers.  Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service and adulthood, with an eye on eternity” (Klicka..The Socialization of Homeschool n.p.).

Every so often, the government will get involved and change what they think should be the norm for students to be tested on.  Yet, standardized tests do not accurately assess skill or achievement levels.  For instance, “in the cities of Brazil…street children sell fruit, candy and other products to earn their living…However, most young peddlers are adept at pricing their wares, making change and giving discounts for large quantities – a set of operations that must be recalibrated almost every day” (Berger 241).  It wouldn’t come as much surprise that these unschooled children would do poorly on a standardized test, yet know a real life skill that students are taught.  In the end, does it matter how the child acquires the skill as long as the skill is acquired?

“Vygotsky asserted that educators need to consider the thought processes of the child and design their teaching accordingly” (Berger 241).  In a public school setting, it is not always possible to create individualized lesson plans for the majority of students.  Yet, home schooling parents do this by scaffolding, “support that is tailored to a learner’s needs and abilities and aimed at helping the learner master the next task in a given learning process” (Berger 174)  They prepare lessons and skill building based on their child’s capabilities.

With the introduction of Common Core Standards, on top of the existing issues of over-crowded classes, limited resources, budget cut-backs, school shootings and reduced staff in the public education system, parents are taking back the primary role in their children’s education.   If during a social outing, with other children, should issues arise, the kids can attempt to resolve the problem.  With parental monitoring, “parents on-going awareness of what their children are doing, where, and with whom” (Berger 356), they will assist in resolving their children’s conflicts should adult intervention be required.   It then becomes a learning objective unlike being sent to the principal’s office, where he decides the outcome based on hearsay.

The primary argument people have with keeping their children home, and not in an environment with other children their age, learning and interacting together will have an effect on their socialization skills in life.  To quote Samantha Lebeda responding to her relatives, “Go to your local middle school, junior high, or high school, walk down the hallways, and tell me which behavior you see that you think our son should emulate” (Lebeda 99).  There are things like bullying, “repeated systematic efforts to inflict harm through physical, verbal, or social attack on a weaker person” (Berger 294) and negative influences such as sex and drug abuse, “the ingestion of a drug to the extent it impairs the users biological or psychological well-being (Berger 392).

Vygotsky’s apprentice in thinking, “whose intellectual growth is stimulated and directed by mentors who are usually older and more skilled members of society” (Berger 173).  If children’s behavior is based on social learning, “learn via observing others” (Berger 132), would it not be prudent for them to model adult behavior instead of succumbing to negative peer pressure, “encouragement to conform to one’s friends in behavior, dress and attitude” (Berger 357)?   According to Dr. Larry Shyers, “A child’s social development depends more on adult contact and less on contact with other children as previously thought” (Klicka n.p.).

Most believe that social development is mainly accomplished when children or adolescents attend public school.  Reason being, these learning institutions have an over-abundance of other children and adolescents of the same cohort, “a group defined by its members’ shared age, which means that they travel through life together” (Berger 9).  It’s here that they are able to experience dealing with peers or others outside the comforts of their nuclear family, “a family consisting of a father, mother, and their biological children under 18” (Berger 282).  They come into contact with experiences that could be either more positive or negative depending on the situation, but in whichever case they are developing the necessary social skills that they will take into adulthood.

Public school children also have more access to extra-curricular activities that encourage peer bonding such as sports, clubs, and fun activities such as rallies or dances.  They are also able to join the organization of these events; encouraging involvement with their peers who may have different ideas and opinions contrary to their own.  All this plays a huge role in helping children to build their self-esteem, “a person’s evaluation of his or her own worth (Berger 198) and a positive self-concept, “a person’s understanding of who he or she is” (Berger 198).   On the other hand, a home schooled child, build self-esteem by taking pride in completed work and understanding of learned concepts without undo peer influence.

“Many educators, child development specialists, and social scientists claim that home schooling deprives the child of the ability to develop socialization skills” (Lebeda 101).  It is through social comparison, “judging themselves on the basis of what they see in other people” (Berger 274) that it can be argued, that one would need to develop these skills.  In order for the 4th stage of Erickson’s psychosocial crisis, industry versus inferiority “children try to master the skills that their culture values…as competent or incompetent, productive or failing, winners or losers” (Berger 273).   Based on this, social cognition, “the ability to understand social interactions, including the causes and consequences of human behavior” (Berger 293) could only be achieved in a public school setting.

While educating children in a public school setting it’s still the primary social development option.  “Adolescence is defined in humans as the period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood” (Burnett, Blakemore 51).  It cannot be denied that parents who choose to homeschool, may still provide adequate socialization experiences through private organized sports, volunteering, church groups and community-based projects.  As long as parents are diligent in allowing access to a variety of social activities, the debate regarding enough socialization for home schoolers is a non-issue.

It’s estimated that there are over two million K-12 children currently being homeschooled. Those numbers increase annually.  “Homeschoolers typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on academic-achievement tests” (Miller n.p.).  If academics play an important role, then home schooling surpasses institutional learning.  “Home schooling is one of the most formidable educational causes of its time” (Stevens 11).   While its origins may not have been the social norm or preferred education option, it cannot be denied, home schooling has dug in its heels and is here to stay.

CITATIONS

Berger, Kathleen Stassen.  Invitation to the Life Span.  1st ed.  New York:  Worth, 2010.  Print.

Stevens, Mitchell.  Kingdom of Children:  Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement.  Princeton University Press, 2003.  Web.

Klicka, Chris.  “Socialization:  Homeschoolers Are in the Real World” n.p. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

Burnett, Stephanie, Blakemore, Sarah-Jane.  “The Development of Adolescent Social Cognition”.  Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1167 (2009):  51-56.  Web. Full Text.  19 Nov. 2014.

Lebeda, Samantha.  “Homeschooling:  Depriving Children of Social Development?”  Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 16.1 (2007):  99-104  Web.  Full Text.  19 Nov. 2014.

Miller, Lisa.  “Homeschooling, City Style:  Why More and More City Parents are Teaching Their Kids Themselves”.  New York Magazine Oct. 2012.  Web.

Community Rallies to Help “Shamed” 6 -year old

Published March 23, 2015 by lynn k scott

I’m sure some of you have seen this when it first happened.  A student in Oregon if frequently a few minutes late to class.  The school believes in public shaming, as others have confirmed this is standard procedure.  Now, I’m all for accountability.  Perhaps we should take a look at some facts that I temporarily omitted.

  • The student in question is a 6-year old first grader
  • He has a 3 year old sibling
  • His mother isn’t in the best health
  • The family car doesn’t always work

The school’s administration thinks segregating a small child from his class at lunch, making him sit behind a cardboard barrier and make him eat his lunch in isolation is appropriate.

Here is the link so you can read about it and see this child being held accountable for something that’s completely out of his control.

Student Shaming in Redwood, Oregon

I was outraged as the next parent.  I would have definitely lost more than my cool had I walked in on this and saw my child being treated by his “educators”.

There is some good news to come out of this.  I heard about it on the radio on my commute into work.  A local radio DJ ran with the story after his mother posted her son’s punishment on Facebook.  In the outrage, the post and picture went viral. The good news is the community rallied to support this family.

They received a donation of a minivan, gas card and some oil changes.  I was so glad to hear something good came out of all that hurt.

Every day, stories like these make me grateful that I chose to home school.  With bullying running rampant in our public education system, it’s hard not to wonder about the safety of your child when they are not with you.  They are supposed to be receiving an education while at school.  They are supposed to be safe.

I will make the statement that part of the reasoning bullying is completely out of control is because of school districts like the one in Redwood, Oregon.  Why haven’t those “educators” who thought this was an acceptable form of discipline come forth to defend their asinine decision?  Are they not proud for humiliating a 6-year old child for something he couldn’t control? Where is the compassion for a mother with a medical condition that is partly responsible?  Is it because she doesn’t have a serious enough disease like cancer?  Where is the school district and it’s investigation?

Until the school districts, administrators and teachers who practice and get away with bullying children are held accountable, how do we expect them to hold the kids at school accountable for their bullying actions?  Oh wait…they don’t.  Therein lies the rub!

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