Tag Archives: homeschooling

School Days, School Days

It’s official! I’ve sent a certified letter of withdrawal to the school, and joined the Texas Home School Coalition.

I know I didn’t have to do that. Texas is homeschool-friendly and there is no requirement to join an organization or have one represent you. However, one of the reasons I withdrew my son from his middle school was the Principal’s out-of-control and consistently-irrational behavior. That being the case, there’s no telling how she might respond to John’s withdrawal. As a member of THSC, I am entitled to pro bono legal representation, should it come to that.

I’m not expecting the worst, but I’m prepared for it.

Classes begin tomorrow. John and I are so excited! I’ve spent the past couple of weeks reviewing various sources and building our Curriculum Library. Besides all the online sources I have listed, we will use books, worksheets, DVD’s and anything else that strikes our fancy as we go. Of course, we’ll only use a few sources at a time, and pick and choose as we go. I just like having it all there in one place for the sake of convenience. It will also be useful for showing that I do have a curriculum if I’m ever faced with having to prove it. The Lessons page will show that I’m pursuing it in a bona fide manner.

Selena has been a huge source of support from the beginning of this. She lives in Texas and homeschools her son, too. She wrote to me today with some advice that really hit home and rang so true. With Selena’s permission, I would like to share it with you:

One of the biggest things I had to learn was to NOT try to duplicate what has been done in public schools. I was unconsciously still thinking that their way was the standard. I pulled my son out of the public school system, but turned around and unintentionally pulled the school system into our home. I became overwhelmed and put unnecessary stress on the both of us. I want to encourage you that you were the one to be your son’s first and primary teacher. You taught your son how to walk, talk and go potty, and you are more than capable of providing the best opportunities for your son! You go, girl!

When I read that, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I have been so worried about not doing this right because I’ve been measuring myself by the public school standards.

But this is our school! We will meet the basic requirements of teaching reading, spelling, grammar, math and good citizenship. As long as we do that, it’s up to us how, when and where it all takes place, and anything we add to our curriculum is completely up to us and at our discretion. That’s going to the really fun part!

We will follow a schedule that works for us, and study the things that we’re interested in. I’ll post daily lesson plans on my homeschooling blog for anyone who is interested. We plan to study some interesting material that we’re both very excited about.

I mentioned in my last post that I’d found what I think will be the perfect science curriculum for us. I also mentioned that I would probably use an article from BBC History to begin our study of The American Revolution. Since then, I have found another source that I think is fantastic! It’s called Liberty! The American Revolution. I found the lesson outline at PBS Teachers and it’s designed to go along with the six part video series bearing the same title. Mike found all six episodes on Google Video and sent me the links, so I don’t even have to buy the DVD’s.

That should keep our history class rolling for quite some time! I’m really looking forward to that and the science lessons we have planned. I feel like I’m going back to school myself, and in a way, I guess I am.

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


Mom Hates Telling The Truth

In my quest for information about homeschooling (update on that situation coming soon), I keep coming across the blogs of what I call “creepy homeschoolers”: the people who, like Raani Starnes, come right out and say that they homeschool their children to keep them away from homosexuals. And they accuse gays of being sex obsessed. Yeeaah, uh huh…

So, the other day I came across a blog called Mom Loves Being At Home. I can certainly relate to that, but that’s also where the camaraderie ends.

The post that got my attention was entitled This is one of the reasons we homeschool. Can you guess what the reason was? You guessed it: those dreaded homosexuals! They’re hiding behind every bush just waiting to sodomize anything with a pulse, I tell you!

I want to take a quick detour here to say how utterly weird this is to me; I honestly cannot get my head around it. Even at my most religious, I couldn’t bring myself to care about other people’s sexual preferences or activities. I actually felt guilty at one point, convinced that I was a bad Christian because I just could not work myself into a queer-hating frenzy.

Anyway, Mom Apparently Also Hates Telling the Truth. She wrote, in a comment under the above-linked post, that the Day Of Silence was “about promoting the homosexual lifestyle in the public school system”. I posted a comment correcting her, but she deleted it. This wasn’t totally unexpected, so I copied it to a draft for safekeeping.

This is the comment that was so offensive it had to be removed:

Lottie, on October 24th, 2008 at 1:02 pm Said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

No it is not about promoting the homosexual lifestyle. It is about not bullying and harassing LGBT students. It was held in memory of Lawerence King, an 8th grader who was murdered because he was gay.

Do you not see the difference? Do you seriously oppose a non-violent, civil and very quiet demonstration that serves only to bring awareness to such a tragedy and attempts to put a stop to this kind of violence?

Is that what Christianity does to people?

Of course, the truth doesn’t line up with the homophobic propaganda she’s been sucking down from the American Family Association before regurgitating onto her own blog, so she simply deletes it, which means she is knowingly and deliberately promoting a lie. Nice values there. Can’t let the truth interfere with the agenda, though!

Those pesky little facts always seem to send the hate-mongering fundies into hiding (Raani Starnes’ blog is now open only to invited guests).

Another thing a lot of these creepy homeschoolers have on their blogs is Proverbs 22:6, which says:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

It seems that hate, intolerance and dishonesty are all part of the training for these people.

As much as I feel sorry for the kids at this point, I’m also glad, in a way, that they’re being kept home. This way, they’re not running loose in the public schools spreading the hatefulness their parents are indoctrinating them with. As if we needed anymore of that…

UPDATE: More underhanded, dishonest maneuvers from Mom:
After deleting my comment from her blog and then posting a 417 word comment on mine, she also posted the same long-winded comment on her blog in response to my comment which she refused. While she’s perfectly within her rights to do this, it’s just another example of how dishonest she is, and how she’s more interested in promoting an agenda full of lies and bigotry than in having an honest discussion.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Why Homeschool? Faggots and Liberals!

Raani Starnes of Fort Worth, Texas has a website entitled Baptist Homeschooling. Included on the website is a page which lists a few reasons some people might choose to homeschool. The number one reason, at the very top of her list, is this:

The desire to have control over what your child is being taught Today’s public schools are teaching evolution, humanism, liberal political agendas, tolerance for homosexual “lifestyles”, and more. Christian parents should be teaching their children from a biblical perspective. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

OK, so this sounds pretty typical, really. No real shocker here. She doesn’t approve of a lot of what she perceives is being taught and promoted in public schools, and has chosen to keep her children home and teach them her Christian values.

But what does this mean to Raani? What is the biblical perspective of which she speaks? Let’s have a look, shall we?

We won’t be able to see the original post which was entitled Perilous Times: Sodomites in School because Raani deleted it presumably due to an onslaught of traffic and comments after PZ Myers linked to it from Pharyngula. Fortunately, Evolved Rationalist saved a screen shot from her Google reader. I found it at The Teapot Atheist. Here is an excerpt (emphasis mine):

Yes, I’ve seen the previews for Will and Grace where they’re lying next to each other in bed platonically. Isn’t that cute? The homosexual agenda wants people to think that homosexual men are safe for women to hang around and even be alone with. Nothing could be further from the truth. The stories about Sodomites in the Bible teach us that they do violate women as well as men. I’ve also known of people personally over the years who were known as gay yet “experimented” with the opposite sex. The term bisexual is an unnecessary distinction, because a faggot wants to defile anyone or anything he can get his hands on.

A friend recently sent me this article about a “gay-friendly” high school. If we were living in a biblical society, homosexuality would be punishable by death so such a school would be unnecessary. Although I’m against the special accommodations, perhaps this new trend of segregation will protect straight kids from these predators. With any luck, some radical will blow up the gay school. No, I’m not condoning vigilantism–I’m merely saying that it would be poetic justice.

And there you have it, folks: the moral highground! Hatred and extremism are the lessons of her Baptist Homeschool, and will be taught to her young children, in the name of a superior moral agency. And supposedly, this is more moral than teaching tolerance, respect and inclusion.

Raani has replaced the deleted post with this little gem. Also, while I was writing this, she changed her display name to Janine and her location to Farmington, NM. I wonder what’s up with that.

I also wonder if Raani’s maiden name is Phelps

Update: Here is the Google cache of the original post including comments and a lovely photo. And here is a mirror of Raani’s original profile which still links back to that cesspool she calls a blog. (H/T Thinking Meat)

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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