Tag Archives: homeschool

S-U-C-C-E-S-S

That’s the way we spell success!

Our first day of homeschooling couldn’t have been better! John was motivated and eager, and his energy was contagious. It was great to see him smiling and excited about school again.

The assignments in the outlines I have posted are quite easy. They are, for the most part, a record to show that we are meeting the minimum requirements, and then some. John’s educational experience is by no means limited to the assignments recorded on my blog. I could not possibly record every learning experience that he and I share together.

Math has been quite intense for John this year. Not only had it become more difficult, as would be expected, but his math teacher was extremely critical and demanding. She describes herself as “passionate” and claims that her methods motivate students. I describe her as obnoxious, and her methods did nothing but discourage my son and make him feel bad about himself.

What she calls “motivating”, I call humiliating and belittling.

In an effort to help restore John’s confidence, I have decided to back up a bit in the math department. Right now we are reviewing material that he is familiar with, and we’ll gradually progress to more challenging work. My hope is that this will remind him of just how much he does know, and help relieve some of his anxiety over math. It will also give me an opportunity to find out, first hand, what he knows and where he gets stuck. This way, I can have a better idea of how to help him improve.

I had fully expected a call from the school today but didn’t receive one. The letter of withdrawal should be the end of it. I guess I’ll find out in the next week or so if that’s going to be the case. I certainly don’t want a fight, but I’m prepared for one. Hopefully, it will end with the letter and we can continue with the business of homeschooling without unnecessary distractions.

You know I’ll keep you posted!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Happy New Year!

I guess I’d better make my New Year’s post before the clock rolls over.

I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately. School starts next week and I’m trying to put together a workable homeschool curriculum. There’s no shortage of sources, but reviewing them and finding the right ones can be very time consuming.

Of course, I also have to work, keep up with the housework, make sure we’re both fed and still make time to relax and laugh with my sweet pea. It’s a challenge, but we’ll work together and get it done.

We’re very excited about homeschooling! I believe I’ve found the perfect science curriculum; it’s from Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes (ENSI). We’ll start with a unit called Nature of Science. It teaches what science is and is not, discusses the limits of science and corrects misconceptions about it, and eventually leads to a study of human evolution.

I’m really looking forward to this course of study.

My son also wants to study the American Revolution. I’m pretty sure I’ll use BBC History as a guide, but if anyone knows of other good sources for teaching this subject, please post a link in comments. I need to put the lesson together over the weekend, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

Everything else is coming together nicely. This year is going to be great!

  • We’ll get Mike’s immigration taken care of and we can finally live as a family on the same continent!
  • I have made a wonderful friend who is more like the big sister I never had, and I look forward to the continued growth of that relationship.
  • Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States.
  • We’re happy, healthy and loved.

Happy New Year, readers, friends and loved ones. May we continue to grow, learn, share and laugh together.

Peace and happiness to you all!

Sincerely,
Lottie

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2009 Rambling On


Teacher, Teacher

It’s been a exhausting but productive day. Homeschooling will be a major adjustment for us, and the more prepared we are, the better the transition will be. I’ve been working on a new blog today. I need structure in order to function, and this blog will be a great way to stay organized.

The one nagging question on my mind is, “Can I do this?” Having my son’s education resting solely on me is a huge responsibility. If I fail, he fails.

This old 38 Special song kept playing through my mind while I was working on my new blog and researching online teaching sources. I never thought much of it back in the 80’s, but it came to mind today with an entirely new and much more profound meaning than it ever had way back then.

Anyway, here it is. I’m pooped. Good night.

Teacher, Teacher
38 Special

Just when I thought I finally learned my lesson well,
There was more to this than meets the eye.
And for all the things you taught me, only time will tell,
If I’ll be able to survive. Oh yeah.

Teacher, teacher, can you teach me?
Can you tell me all I need to know?
Teacher, teacher, can you reach me?
Or will I fall when you let me go? Oh no.

Am I ready for the real world, will I pass the test?
You know it’s a jungle out there.
Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me, I won’t be second best,
But the joke’s on those who believe the system’s fair, oh yeah.

Teacher, teacher, can you teach me?
Can you tell me if I’m right or wrong?
Teacher, teacher, can you reach me?
I wanna know what’s goin’ on, oh yeah.

So the years go on and on, but nothings lost or won.
And what you learned is soon forgotten.

They take the best years of your life,
Try to tell you wrong from right,
But you walk away with nothing. Oh oh.

Teacher, teacher, can you teach me?
Can you tell me all I need to know?
Teacher, teacher, can you reach me?
Or will I fall when you let me go?


Lottie’s Texas Homeschool

I’ve decided to give it a shot.

Back in October, I wrote a post about how I was thinking of removing my son from public school and teaching him at home. In that post, I explained some of my reasons and said that I would give it until Christmas and then re-evaluate the situation.

Well, Christmas break is here, and I have decided to start homeschooling on January 5th, when school reconvenes. As previously stated, I work from home so I have the flexibility to manage it. Mike will help via the internet until he is able to to join us permanently.

Quite a lot has transpired since I first wrote about this. Not all of it was bad enough to qualify as any kind of deal breaker, but it certainly didn’t tip the scales in the school’s favor. I won’t bore you with everything that got under my skin, but I would like to talk about the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Apart from the rampant bullying, potential gang activity which no one at the school seems to know how to handle and the other problems I mentioned in my other post, many of the staff members seem incompetent and out of control.

Of course, there are some very good teachers there who have been just great and I mean no disrespect to them, but they can’t control or make up for what I see as abusive behavior from the others. Simply put, many of them just don’t seem to understand about appropriate boundaries, much less recognize when they’ve been crossed. Not surprising, though, considering the type of leadership they have.

As mentioned in my October post, the Principal announced that parents had better not call and “complain” to her about anything unless we were willing to help out by volunteering at the school. Yes, we should all leave (and possibly lose) the jobs that we get paid for to come and help them do what they get paid for. Otherwise, we’d better just keep quiet because we’re not bieng team players or something.

That aside, the final straw came this past Thursday. I received a call from the school informing me that my son had been given ISS (in-school suspension) for an entire week and would not be allowed to attend the school dance that afternoon. Why? Because he had been late to gym class that day.

I thought this was extremely harsh and disproportionate and I said so. The secretary explained that there are “just a whole bunch of kids who are constantly late” so they made an “administrative decision” (translation: knee-jerk response by the Principal) to lock the doors as soon as the bell rang. Anyone left outside would be dealt the same punishment regardless of how many times they’d been late because — get this — they don’t know which of them are chronically late, because they don’t record tardies. They don’t follow any sort of protocol for dealing with it at all.

So, because of their own haphazard administration, and finally getting fed up with the result of it, they decided this was how to handle it. But that’s not all.

My son was late that day because the teacher of his previous class had kept them after the bell. He had never been told anything about being late, didn’t know it had been a problem, and didn’t see this coming at all. When the students who had been locked out were taken to a secluded area, the Principal shouted out them, “You have pissed me off! And you don’t want to piss me off!”

Now, I’m no prude when it comes to language, but this is a school Principal addressing students, for crying out loud! This whole ordeal demonstrates poor leadership abilities, lack of professionalism and plain old bad judgment.

I will not go along with this extremely harsh and disproportionate measure. And I will not frustrate myself by attempting to reason with a woman who has consistently displayed irrational thought and behavior. So I contacted Pupil Services to inquire about my options for a transfer to a different middle school.

The only option available to me at this point in the school year is an “administrative transfer” which is based on “evidence that either a safety/emergency and/or a medical condition exists which hampers a student’s educational success”. I thought I could make a good argument for it being a safety issue because of the bullying and a few other things, so I asked to have the forms sent.

Well, guess who has to sign off on an administrative transfer? The Principal who we’re trying to get away from and avoid dealing with. Catch-22 anyone?

Yes, after I submit the request along with “substantiating documents”, it will be reviewed by Principals at both campuses. I will then be called for conferences at both schools. Following that, the Principals will contact Pupil Services to confirm the conferences and offer their opinions. Pupil Services will then make a final determination and contact me in writing with their decision. Meanwhile, my son is to remain enrolled and in attendance.

I don’t think so.

Is it just me, or is something inherently wrong with expecting a child to remain in attendance pending a transfer request based on a safety/emergency or medical condition?

Besides that, I’ve had it. They don’t own me or my child and I’m tired of having to comply with their ridiculous demands while also having to tolerate their irrational behavior. I’m not putting myself through this process or forcing my son to go back to a place that we both feel is unsafe, where the person in charge behaves no better than some of the students I don’t want my son associating with.

I am sending a letter of withdrawal, and will begin homeschooling on January 5th. As of now, this is a temporary arrangement; I am also planning to move to an area where he can attend a different school without having to jump through a bunch of flaming hoops.

I’ve done a lot of homework on this and still have a lot to do. I am currently working on putting together a curriculum, some of which will be internet-based. I have a lot of ideas that I think are very good. I’m getting excited and will write more about it as I’m working it all out.

I’m sure you’ll be reading more about this in the days and weeks to come. Any suggestions or feedback you may have will be greatly appreciated.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Odds and Ends

Besides having Mike here, there’s really not a lot going on at my place. It’s great having him here and I wish he didn’t have to go back next week.

Work is boring, but at least I’ve managed to hold on to my job during this economic crisis. It’s pretty sad when you’re thankful for a job that doesn’t make ends meet and health insurance with a premium that’s killing you. But I admit I’m still on cloud nine over the election results, and I believe Barack Obama will deliver change we need, as promised.

The situation at my son’s school seems to have greatly improved. A few changes have been made; my son is happy and performing well academically, so I am reconsidering withdrawing him for now. I’ll post a full update on this soon.

It’s finally starting to get cold in my part of Texas. We had a cold spell a while back and then it passed. It seems to be back now and I hope it sticks around. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it doesn’t last long enough here.

I think we’re going out for dinner tonight, but I haven’t decided where. My son suggested “someplace nice” like Whataburger or Subway. Bless his heart. Just goes to show that we’re definitely not living high on the hog. But I think we’ll go somewhere even nicer tonight because… didn’t I tell you?

It’s my birthday!

Yep! I got a visit from my husband, an excellent report card from my son and the President of my choice. What a great way to turn forty-two! Now, I’m going to celebrate it all with a nice dinner someplace and no dishes to wash afterward.

Have a great weekend! I know I will!

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Secular Homeschooling and Texas Public Schools

For the first time ever, I am seriously considering homeschooling. I work from home, so I have the flexibility needed to manage it. Mike could help via the internet until he’s able to join us permanently.

On searching for homeschool resources in my area, I kept finding Christian and Bible-based curricula . After listing a few well-known sources, one secular homeschool mom said the following:

Unfortunately, these curricula are so steeped in Christianity that even purchasing individual subjects will not shield you from the onslaught of indoctrination. Yes, my friend, even mathematics can be related to the glory of god!

Secular Homeschool

It was through Secular Homeschool that I found several other sites offering support and resources for atheists who want to homeschool, or even Christians and other theists who choose homeschooling but do not want a Bible-based curriculum. Two of the sites I found were Atheist Homeschool.com and Homeschooling Freethinkers, both of which link to a large variety of other sources.

The curriculum packages can be very expensive, and Mike and I are not in a position right now to purchase our top choices. We could do next year, but I’m not sure we can hold out that long due to the nature of the problems at my son’s school, which I will explain shortly.

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