Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Intro = Little Turd!
Max = Adorable
Behavior = Therapy
Cracks = Double Recracker
Chicken = Prothsesis
Bob = Terry
Billy Goat = Hilarious/Gay?
Location = Gorgeous
Carol = What?
Music = Fun
So there you have it. I hope it stirs your interest and you consider check it out. I will mention that the movie moves along smoothly on a superficial level but also supports a 'heavier' underlying storyline that the parents will pick up on. There are definitely intense scenes of potential peril for our little actor, a dog, and the monsters but I will assume that they had green screens and stunt men. I just had to take lots of deep breaths with wide eyes and enjoyed the movie on both levels.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Self-confidence is only gained through feeling somewhat successful in a particular sport as well as the confidence in trying new sports. How many books have been written about the defeated teen who is humiliated over an over in gym class but the more athletically superior "jocks". Being picked last, sitting on the bench, kicking the ball in the wrong goal are all aspects that some of us can relate to but are really unnecessary side effects of that social experiment called school. Providing a variety of options is the key. How many adults like being told what exercise class they "have to" take at the local gym? It is simple people, kids are humans too and like to have that thing called choices. Worst School Memory
And options are out there. In a recent Sports Illustrated for Kids I came across an article about two schools in New York that are offering PE classes for kids, girls and boys alike, that is about learning how to ride a skateboard. There are those archaic nincompoops that hold the belief that skateboarding is just for punks but I would challenge that assertion. Just look at any football or baseball player in the news lately. They could probably be classified as worse than punks...
Tony Hawk is now a 40 something father along with all the other skaters of days gone by who still skate! Wow, you could almost put skateboarding up there with golf as a sport that you can enjoy your entire life. Recently I took my boys, cousins, and a friend to the local skate park. It was great. There were young guys there as well as the "old dudes" and they were all having fun. The boys spent about 3 hours there over the course of two days. Here are some photos of their experience.
The second basis for supporting PE classes in school is obviously the physical fitness component. Everyone needs more physical activity in this age of conveniences. Kids are no longer allowed or encouraged to ride the 2 miles to go to the local store and buy their candy bar. They sit in the back seat and consume it. I remember riding to Evergreen Market which was only about 1 mile one way but it would get so windy at times that you literally had to walk your bike. It was a great workout. But in this day and age you can go to jail for child neglect if you put your child in danger by telling them that they could ride to the store - heaven forbid!
Below are a few articles that address how different districts are addressing the issue of budget cuts impacting PE for school kids. It is amazing how homeschooling allows our boys to choose the sports they are interested in and invest their time into what they enjoy.
PE Budget Cuts
150% Rise in PE Injuries
More Budget Compromises
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
2. The Right to Skip Pages
3. The Right to Not Finish
4. The Right to Reread
5. The Right To Read Anything
7. The Right to Read Anywhere
8. The Right to Browse
9. The Right to Read Out Loud
10. The Right to Not Defend Your Tastes
Monday, June 8, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
I came across a blog posting today titled, "The Case Against Homeschooling" on a blog called, Teacher, Revised. I could not believe the junk they were spewing. I've attached the link above so you can read what they wrote. Below is my response to it. Yikes, I think this is indicative of what some public/private school teacher's feel about homeschooling in general and that's kind of scary.
Wow!! I think every rebuttal above speaks to the frustration I experienced as I read your asinine blog post! I am a FORMER teacher who quit my job in order to homeschool my children after recognizing the shortcomings of public/private education.
I was amazed at your contradictory list of reasons against homeschooling. Especially when considering your list of “credentials” that you provide; “My qualifications to teach English include a double major in English and education, two master’s degrees (education and journalism), a student teaching semester and multiple internship terms, real world experience as a writer, and years in the classroom dealing with different learning styles.” I think this provides further proof that you can not train any one person to be a good teacher, it is rather a calling and something that is ingrained in that person that makes someone a good teacher. I would like to point out that this is often what makes a caring parent the perfect person to teach their child – they care. Also, the way you write is inflammatory, derogatory, and hypocritical. You end up making the case FOR HOMESCHOOLING! Honestly, you are one of the reasons why I chose to take my children out of the public/private school setting and homeschool them. To provide a supportive, open, and encouraging learning environment.
Hmmm…let’s take a look at your top 10.
10. Geeky – this is just name calling. Yes, I do believe they teach this one on the playground.
9. Sarcasm and generalizations – not a very effective way of making a point but again, an often used tool in the public/private classroom.
8. Selfish Parents – Selfish because this article refers to “white”, “upper-income”, and “well-educated”. You assume that it automatically excludes people of color, lower-income, and poorly educated from homeschooling? That is called an ASSUMPTION and you can not base an entire point on one newspaper article, as it leads to generalizations. My take on this article is that there are many UNSELFISH families. Families who are willing to cut corners in order to allow themselves the privilege of homeschooling because they care about their child/children.
7. Hateful God – By the way, as an agnostic, I think you are the last person to speak to what God hates.
6. Arrogant lunatics – You refer to your list of credentials to teach English but based on your post, I would rate you poorly on use of evidence, inflammatory tone, and overuse of slang words, which I believe to often be used due to lack of ability to express oneself otherwise.
5. Pisses you off – The fact that what others do the does not impact you directly seems strange that it can “piss you off”. This implies an emotional response. Are you bitter about being homeschooled? I think there are bigger and more personal issues here for you. Also, see response to #6 in regards to the use of words, such as ‘piss’.
4. *Intolerance and racist – Well, if you’re referring to yourself, I believe your post provides ample evidence of such, but your asterisk implies that intolerance and racism of others is a potential side-effect of homeschooling. Homeschoolers everywhere counter this with activities called reading, outreach, and open-minded and tolerant discussions.
3. Socially unprepared – My question is, socially unprepared to what, roll a joint, succumb to peer pressure, get pregnant, belittle others, waste class time because they wish they were anywhere else, talk back to adults, drink alcohol, hope for a fire alarm or a bomb threat so the day will go more quickly, become suicidal, get in fights, or drop out of school?
2. Arrogant gamblers – The only arrogant gamblers are the parents who send their child to school thinking that all of those child’s problems at home and at school should be solved by the teacher(s) hoping that their child will return home “fixed”.
1. Geeky*** – You conclude by referring back to your #10 reason. Your comments on geeky mean squat. I thought we’d include the definition from Wikipedia; The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as “a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc.” Formerly, the term referred to a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken, bat, snake or bugs. The 1976 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary included only the definition regarding geek shows. This word comes from English dialect geek, geck: fool, freak; from Low German geck, from Middle Low German. The root geck still survives in Dutch gek: crazy, and in the Alsatian word Gickeleshut: geek’s hat, used in carnivals. Unfortunately, “geeky” kids everywhere are ridiculed and tormented. You provide evidence, once again, of that very cruelty.
I would suggest renaming your blog post, The Case for Homeschooling with Evidence Provided by a Public School Teacher.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Recently I saw the following headline at the bottom front page of USA Today, "Profound shift in kind of families who are home schooling their children". As I read through, it confirmed what I've seen on a local level, more families, especially, white, wealthy (who is really wealthy anymore?), and well-educated families are moving towards homeschooling. I think that this reflects people deciding to take ownership of what happens to their families as their confidence grows in making decisions who impacts their children.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This is a photo that I found and kept from an education textbook that I used while attending Western Washington University back in 1990. I first attended college with the intention of becoming a teacher. I believed then, as I believe now, that this photo sums up many children's educational experience. I know it did for me. Memories of sitting in a class thinking what a total joke it was, both in terms of my time, as well as the teacher's.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Not having voted for President Obama, I have agreed with him on very few issues, but find myself fully on his side in this instance. He was recently quoted as saying, "In the end, no program can substitute for a parent." In the following link you will find 10 tips for parents, suggesting ways in which they can be more involved with their child's education and well-being. I would venture to guess that most of you are one of those super duper parents, with the tights and capes to boot, but just in case you need a refresher, check it out, it's good to know that you are doing a great job!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
So, I was asked to help in coordinating this program and encouraging local students to attend. The person I was helping made calls to the local public elementary schools and I made calls to a local private school. With over 70 2nd – 5th grade kids planning on attending, I was asked to create a craft to tie into the presentation. Going with the idea that Alex had worn a yellow bandana, I decided that we would provide plain yellow bandanas, fabric pens, and ask the kids to decorate and wear them to the author’s visit.
My director was concerned that the yellow bandanas may be forbidden by the schools in respect to any anti-gang clothing policy that they may have. So, I made the call and spoke with the secretary in the office (they’re really the ones who run the place!). She told me that there was no policy against the color yellow and that yellow bandanas would be fine.
The bandanas, fabric pens, and lesson plans (for a writing and science component, of course!) had all been distributed to the participating classrooms. Alright, we’re good to go, or so I thought. The day before the program, I got a call from one of the teachers from the public school and was told that they were not going to use the bandanas because it was “a gang thing” and that since it had snowed and it was too cold, they would not be attending the program.
Hmmmm…my mommy mind was racing…a child can’t wear a yellow bandana decorated with dinosaurs, princesses, or the obligatory, “Girls Rock!” and you’re also saying that KIDS can not be allowed to walk in the cold?!? My mind reeled in recollection of a recent article I saw on the art of hiking nude, in the Alps, no less!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This book could leave you wondering just how authentic your own education really was. He contends that students from kindergarten through graduate school are often playing “the Game” of getting by and complying with the system and not really engaged in learning. The problem with this type of system is that it stifles creativity and the opportunity for impromptu discussion. However, this book does not point fingers but rather calls attention to the situation encouraging those who recognize the problems with the current system and inspires them to make changes that allow for more authentic learning and teaching.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
SW Schools Looking at Deep Cuts in the Budget
Helping Kids Get Ready for a 'Competitive World' - Quote from article: “It’s just so exciting,” Schlundt said. “They’re learning how to read. They’re just becoming big people. They aren’t little kids anymore.”
If they are not little kids in Kindergarten then that is a very sad thing.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
At first glance my initial response is the thought that this would be great. How can you go wrong in ensuring that these "weirdy" parents are on track in instructing their children. Considering that we have teachers go through an arduous training process to ensure excellence...right?
Sadly, I don't think that's completely true. While it is true that it can be a long (5 years in college) and a somewhat arduous process with the student teaching, it's going to come down to who is sitting in that chair, in that class, "learning" to become a teacher. Either they're doing it for the right reasons or the wrong ones. Either they're going to put their heart and soul into it or they're not. Either they're going to be a good teacher or an ineffective teacher. While we can only hope that that the children will survive and learn in spite of the person at the front of the classroom.
It's actually my sincere belief that either you are meant to be a teacher or not long before you step foot into your first college class but that's for another post.
So, while at first glance I thought I would lean on the pro side. I then reread the article and spent some time thinking about what was actually being said. You had the president of the teacher federation acknowledge that not every certified teacher is an effective educator while stating that "...a homeschool teacher may be a natural teacher but lack training and necessary supervision" My question is, supervision by whom and why is it necessary? The last time I checked with the county you are not required to obtain a license to become a parent. It is assumed that we will be a parent to our child, good or bad, but that appears to be a God given right and only in the cases of neglect and/or abuse is it necessary for the government to step in.
The other side of this question is responded to by a gentleman who is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He counters that states have moved toward more home schooling freedom because research has shown that home schooled students on average score 20-30 percentile points above the national average on SAT's.
How can you argue with that. What is it that parents do that is difficult for all teachers to do?
Let's consider for a moment the benefits a "teacher" has when homeschooling; small class size (1-4 students), flexibility, not tied into a schedule (ie. computers, PE, art, library, assembly, etc. is at a certain time and my possibly interrupt other learning), opportunities to DISCUSS (more on the value of this later) at length, not governed by a bureaucratic school board/principal in what they can or can't teach, autonomy, ability to collaborate with lots of different resources/people, you know who your students are and don't spend the first couple of weeks/months just getting to know them and helping the class bond, and I could probably think of a few more but I'm worried about my run-on sentenece. Hey, Mrs. Johnson, I just think I broke my old record for number of words in a sentence ;-)
Now let's consider the benefits a "teacher" has when working in a traditional school; large class size (18-24 students or more - hang in there Aunt Karen!), inflexibility with the schedules of other classrooms and in coordinating everyone for pull-out classes, addressing a variety of learning styles and abilities, lack of opportunities to discuss topics at length because of the schedule, time constraint, and curriculum goverened and controlled to some extent in what they can or can't teach by a bureaucratic school board/principal, ability to collaborate with the teacher next door to you because you can or can't stand her/him, getting to spend the first couple of weeks/months of school getting to know your students and their parents, and then helping the class to come together and bond - can you say Kum Ba Yah?
So, in the end it comes down to making the decision to teach your child at home being a very personal one. Where we get a lot of debate is from folks who are not able/willing to acknowledge the good and bad of homeschooling and the good and bad of public education. Neither one is perfect but they both can work. Doesn't being able to make your own choice sound great?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Out we went and right off the bat Nathan had to start clicking away on the pitch counter (device used to count the number of pitches during a game to ensure that your pitcher, or their's, does not go over the maximum number of pitches during a game). There were birds far out in the field and he was counting and I was counting to compare numbers and ensure some accuracy.
Overall it took about an hour to drive that square mile, count, and stop to take photos but it was a lot of fun. I should mention that the photos were taken with a small pocket camera so quality suffers but it was a lot of fun and you're able to see some of the beauty we saw. Final results were:
Trumpeter Swans - 874
Canada Geese - 56
Mallard Ducks -23