Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frequently I reply to the 'lastest' posts in online discussion groups, not sticking to one particular clique or group. I consider myself pretty liberal, and it is rare that I look up and see anything other than title of the the discussion or topic, rather than which 'group' that topic traditionally belongs to.

so it is very reasonable for any innocent to walk into a 'room', not hunting out any particular group to annoy, aggravate, or irritate. frequently I do manage that objective with very little effort what so ever. LOL

that being said, let me chime in here, because I can. and No I will not apologize for my opinions, they free and worth about that much.

My husband is a devout atheist. actually a humanist, but few know about that point of view. I am a possibly a right wing democrat or a left wing republican (the Left is called "the party of movement" and the Right "the party of order".) depending on the topic. (Traditionally, the Left includes progressives, social liberals, social democrats, socialists, communists and anarchists. The Right includes conservatives, reactionaries, capitalists, monarchists, nationalists and fascists.) I am obviously a progressive and anarchist if I am willing to buck the establishment and home school my children, but I am a a conservative nationalist if I am going with such a restrictive program that demands accountability.

So I do not believe that any one stance is perfect, any religion is perfect, any one curriculum is perfect. or any one discussion room is perfect. as with any buffet, you dish up what you want, take what you like, and leave the rest. that is not a secular decision, a racial decision, or a scientific decision, it is just a COMMON SENSE decision. The fact that this topic was raised, and brought to my attention is a 'blessing' since I didn't know that there was a bible study in the literature program perked my interest. Yes I am considered one of THOSE people since it is obvious that I have been lurking over in THAT mormon discussion group, but that does not pigeon hole me to only one track mind set. I chose k12 because it was non-secular, on purpose.

btw, political correctness tends to really irritate me. I watched a new pilot, and I kid you not, they got in one white, one black, one asian and one female to make the cast Barney Diverse. SERIOUSLY? why? life is not Barney Diverse. my family is not Barney Diverse, my kids education is not Barney Diverse. I think sometimes people try to hard.

I recently read in another book The Educated Child and while I find some of his opinions laced with a tad bit more conservatism than I am, the point that he makes is valid. To few parents establish what they believe with their children, they dance around the subject, they never come right now and force their views on their child and they leave the child to figure it out on their own. To teach or not to teach a topic or subject, to censure or not to censure is entirely up to the parent and at least with k12 we have the choice to do so without interference. The local B&M did not offer that choice. They are militant here in conformity to a set of standards that are not MY set of standards, which is why I am in k12.

My point (and I was getting to it) was that I want to be INFORMED, I want to KNOW what is being offered, in the B&M, in k12, on the TV, and I want to make my own choice and my own decision. not because I am part of this party, or that, because I am part of this mindset or that, because I am in this group or that one.

Not everything we say or do is going to be confrontational, not everything we say or do is going to be embracing diversity, but we should be able to make a rational observation and draw a conclusion without constantly apologizing or getting defensive because someone may or may not share our point of view.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Education.. not school

this is our second year and with one it was bad, but with two, it is just as bad as last year when I didn't have a clue. but not unforeseen. I knew it was coming. be careful what you wish for.

okay, here is my brainstorming.

A; this is not SCHOOL, this is EDUCATION. so how long is that going to take?

how long does that job take? 40 hours a week? hmm that is 8-5 not 9-330. so if the WORK at hand is to get an education, not just go to SCHOOL. we are looking at 30 hours of instruction and 10 hours of enrichment.

now the k12 program doesn't say MAXIMUM of 30 hours a week, they said MINIMUM. if your family drives the exact precise speed limit on the freeway, then follow the minimum, if your family goes over about 10 mph, then I would say that they would be acceptable to a 10 hour fudge factor on school work as well. SOUNDS reasonable to me.

remember I am in the same boat, my husband says that this is MY project and I am the PROJECT MANAGER if it succeeds or fails, it is all on me.

so we tried following the k12 recommended day for 21 days. THAT was a FAIL. we do not transition well, I found the kids wandering aimlessly around the house when they KNEW what was on the schedule for that time slot, and they were basically avoiding me and working.

we have a stellar home office with three work stations with three computers with a comfy couch, multimedia surround sound and it is really nice DSL. they are extremely well set up with functionality and all the tools. so it is not THAT, it is lack of direction. the map is in thier hands, the GPS in the pocket, and they still get lost going to the kitchen for a drink.

so here is my plan:

we have a strict menu each week:

  • SUNDAY is Pizza, every Sunday, every week, pizza, cheese pizza, cherry pie pizza, veggie pizza, two kinds of pizza, but always PIZZA
  • MONDAY, is Mac n Cheese, lasagna, some kind of pasta
  • TUESDAY is TACOS, if it is Tacos, it is Tuesday and if it is Tuesday, beef tacos, chicken tacos, it is tacos. you can set your watch by it.
  • WEDNESDAY is Soup and Sandwich, usually tomato and grilled cheese, but always S&S
  • THURSDAY is spaghetti, every Thursday, every week
  • FRIDAY is Fish and Veggies, without fail. fish fillet, fish sticks, fish
  • SATURDAY is Crepes, it just is, always, every Saturday, CREPES, sometimes with jam, sometimes with fresh fruit, sometimes just sugar, but always crepes

so we have embraced the menu, I need to chunk up the lessons

Monday obviously must be MATH, math monday, monday math. no problem, makes sense P.E. is every every day, 2 hours of pe, 5 hours of math, that I can pull off

Tuesday... Silly Science (3)and Social Studies(2)

Wednesday... Health & Music

Thursday.... Music - Composition

Friday... Language Arts (GUM, Spelling, Vocabulary, Literature)<~~I am not sure about this one at all

Saturday... Art and Foreign Language

Sunday... Music

and yes, I think we are going to have to go to 7 a week...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

why virtual school


7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
8 And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.

here is my take on it, and this is just personal reflection. I spend so many hours doing enrichment activities, that we more than cover the basic expectation of commitment. I have a running tally sheet on an envelope that I have for my own accountability, when I was home sick from the hospital, my son laid down next to me on the bed, and he watched 6 hours of walking with dinosaurs on PBS, you can bet that he is getting credit for that spread out over the school year, I call it bankable hours. he hiked 21 miles through Glacier National park with a Geologist / Park Ranger, he participated for 4 hours a day for 2 days, and each night he sat through 3 one hour lectures and slide shows about geology by the time we were done, he earned a Scout Conservation badge from Washington D.C., you can bet that we banked those for Science and P.E., 21 miles... in 5 days is a lot of hiking.

So what I do, is I push him, not watching the clock, but getting 3% assignments done each week. I give credit on each subject that we do work on, if he works hard, 1 hour, really hard, 2 hours, and really really hard 3 hours, until we have 6 - 8 hours. Our program only reimburses us for internet if we have a minimum of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, not 30 hours a week over 6 days. I keep the lessons separate from the time. There are days that we work in a subject and do not complete a lesson, the program doesn't care. Lessons are A, B, C, D grades, attendance is 30 hours a week for 38 weeks, one does not have anything to do with the other.

1080 hours over 38 weeks or 180 days...

anyway you divide it, that is what you need.... at least 180 days of attendance and a minimum of 1080 hours.

there is not a lesson / hour police, they do not call you and question you, you do not have to PROVE that it took xx number of hours, it is an HONOR system, so if you work 10 minutes a day on each subject, and are done in 3 hours, fine, whoohoo, come the end of the year, who won? who benefited? what did you accomplish?

the 1080 hours is RECOMMENDED for the child to get the best possible opportunity to have an enriched and positive day. you get out of it what you put in to it. nothing comes without work, sweat, and striving for excellence. I think that we have become a nation of time clock watchers. it was just a while ago that we had apprentices, they were lucky to get a job training with the best, and they didn't clock in or out, they got up, they learned their craft, and they went to bed, that was their job. they were young children, but they learned their craft.

I would rather do it right, or not do it at all. I tell my children, don't disrepect my time and talent, this is truly a sacrifice for me and if you do not respect my time any better than giving me 110% you can go back to school and be happy with mediocre. I know what my education is worth. What I do for them, is a gift, the ultimate gift. I invested 8 years of my life in college to learn what I did, and I can share it with them, in the ultimate hands on learning experience in the world. We are taking the opportunity to change the educational process. I am not looking for a way to get out of school, I am not looking for a way to beat the clock and spend the day on my butt or worse at the mall. I am striving for an opportunity to give them a college level education before they finish high school, so that when they go to college, they build on that to the next level.

I do not have gifted and talented children, but I believe that "geniuses are made, not born".

That is my $.02, and that is why I am here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

why electives

I just worked through this lesson with my college freshman child

interpersonal communication

there are some people that go to a trade school or get an Associates Art Degree, they learn one thing and they learn it very well, they are probably considered SELECTIVE, they get educated with the minimal details,

there are some other people that go to a college and get an BA or associates degree, they learn a basic trade, get some enrichment courses, and they get a more SYSTEMIC education, they cover the core essentials of advanced learning and can participate in an intelligent conversation about a variety of subjects outside of their major.

then there are a group of the population that go on to get an MA or PhD, they are are UNIQUE, the go beyond the social norm, the have maximized the processual evolution of education and have increased their quality with increased quantity of education, they have been exposed to a higher quantity of ELECTIVES and are more dynamic in thought process.

WHY do we study other languages, learn to play musical instruments? it helps our brain make CONNECTIONS in a variety of patterns. there is more than one way to get to the grocery store. there may be obstacles and you have to be able to re-evaluate your options and the barriers to get from point A to point B and think outside of the box.

The more ELECTIVES that we have in our enrichment the more ways we can explore to find a solution. It is the Right Brain / Left Brain issue, and you have to EXCERSIZE both sides or your will have a disproportionate development.

Everything has to be in balance, not just work, not just play, not just eating, not just spiritual, but all things in proportion.

So music lessons are not for the sake of MUSIC, they are a foreign language that teaches our brain how to communicate on a different plane. That is important when you think about how many foreign speaking people will be in your child's life when they go to work and have to communicate with people of other cultures.

Art appreciation and crafts are not a waste of time, they are the beginnings of Architecture, not just house architecture but database architecture. Teaching your brain to pick out when the white balance is off, how to color calibrate your tv or computer so see the true blacks, the true whites, for interior design to know when florescent lights make a room 'warmer' or “cooler”, how that affects mood. Did you know that if you go outside and are happier that is because the solar light is a different 'temperature' and it is warmer, than say inside and a 'bluer' light that is a different Kelvin temperature?

oh, that is a different way to look at it. yes we all want a good Art / Music program, but WHAT came in the box does not match the quality level of the other subjects offered by K12. I would have to agree wholeheartedly.

I love the other components like math, science, social studies. But the art and music materials that were provided are sadly lacking in quality and development.

Yes, there does not seem to be the same level of appreciation for the extras and it appears that k12 considers it EXTRA. I do not get the sense that they feel it is worth the effort to find a more current and rigorous curriculum and do not give it the respect that it deserves.

I am actually counting on the piano lessons to be our 'music program' replacement.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fired up

Recent diatribe on

This family home schools and has a free-for-all curriculum, so lets crucify them.

That family home schools and follows a strict national common core standards they must be fanatical because they do not have a bible class each morning.

We home school, for our own personal reasons, and we select a secular curriculum that is internationally influenced in preparation for a foreign college education with a college graduate learning coach and a professional teacher in an online environment. Our children participate in international and interstate field trips that would not only not be possible in a brick and mortar setting, but completely prohibited due to funding and supervisory resources.

Do not assume that it is religion that drives parents from the fundamentalist state of the current education in Texas, sometimes it is quite the opposite, parents that do not want their children to blindly accept doctrine that comes from Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. My parents fought the establishment, only to become entrenched in it to my dismay. I am fighting the establishment to ensure that my children grow up KNOWING they have a choice KNOWING they CAN make a difference and knowing that there is more out there than 50 states and 50 capitals.

21st century education has to encompass that there is more in this world economy than just the stars and stripes. It is knowing the cultural differences on a market that is influenced by geography as well as class distinction. We simply can not afford to wait for the state of Texas to get beyond the heated discussion of which 6 US leaders should be discussed in 3rd grade social studies.