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Everything posted by Tarreymere

  1. You are exactly right and you know it. K12 does not run those charter schools. K12 provides the curriculum. Clearly the experience of teachers and students vary from school to school. This is an example of why it is difficult to actually have a serious dialogue about any aspect of cyber charter schools, because people like this teacher generally don't bother to make the effort to be specific about what they are talking about. ETA: My family has had some experiences with cyber charter schools because we have had periods of time in which that sort of thing has been attractive to us for specific reasons. I live in Pennsylvania. My experience with Pa Cyber was that there was no intention on the part of the school to provide direct instruction. Teachers were nearly impossible to communicate with, the 'instructional supervisor' was intended to ride herd on the families, and the few online instructional sessions were, if not cancelled, intended to be viewed by literally hundreds of kids across the state and never meant to be a means of meaningful interaction. Our experience with a K12 school, Agora, was a bit better and we did have some, minimal, contact with a teacher who shared with us that she was responsible for a huge number of kids. We finally tried Commonwealth Connections Academy and while I'm no fan of Pearson I have to say that the teachers each had about twenty to twenty five kids in a 'class', online sessions in which even those class sizes were broken down into smaller groups were a daily part of the schedule, one on one interactive sessions online were commonplace, sometimes planned weekly and some spur of the moment based on an email or a phone call. Those teachers were very proactive and in contact personally with me about once a week and with my kids daily. A totally different experience. If I feel a cyber charter school would fit my family's needs better than homeschooling at any point in the future, I know I'll be going back to Commonwealth Connections (even though some of the curriculum makes me barf) specifically because of the level of interaction.
  2. No, actually. Their lending library only makes me mad. You can only borrow like one book a month. It just makes me nuts. I tend to go through a book in a couple days, or one day if it's a weekend. It seems to take FOREVER to be eligible to borrow a stupid book from Prime again. It is actually an argument against Prime in my house, because it's such a tease.
  3. We don't seem to get sick over the winter, but I admit I'm not really crazy about going out and driving around in the snow and ice so we do tend to scale back our activities from around the middle of December to March. We live in a rural area and some of the roads I have to drive on to get to 'civilization' can be very poorly maintained. I just deliberately decided not to sign up my daughter for an activity she requested at the local YMCA, just because I'd rather wait and have her start the activity during the next session six weeks from now just because of the snow.
  4. Yeppers. Homeschooling is apparently a RELIGIOUS right. You secular people really shouldn't be doing it. :) Alabama, for example, allows only two options for home education. One is to establish or enroll in a church school and the other is to hire a private tutor with teacher certification. I think we can agree that it is certainly an unfair burden on secular families to have to either become a certified teacher or to be able to afford to employ one. There are a few more states, the ones that require cover and umbrella schools I believe, in which the cover schools are supposed to be religious. I will post a more learned and properly researched post on THAT with exact requirements, in a new thread, as soon as I can. Most of the rest of the states have religious families exempt from most if not all paperwork requirements including attendance, because we all know that religion is soooo important in determining how many days a year your kids should be educated. I'm thinking new thread here.
  5. I think that schools run by religious organizations have special privilege when they are not held to the standards that other schools are held to. If schools run by religious organizations want to have MORE requirements because of their religious beliefs, like only hiring people who share those beliefs, that is perfectly fine, and actually I would support any law that protected their right to do that. I do not support the current situation in many states in which declaring a religious belief exempts schools and families from being required to follow the education laws that secular schools and families must follow. What is next? Should religious families get a free pass on traffic laws? Special privilege to bypass driver's license requirements? Then why should they not have to report standardized test scores to the state like everyone else? Or why should a religious school not have a building inspection requirement like a private academic school? Makes no sense and has absolutely nothing to do with the practice of religion. It is not fine if simply having religious beliefs means that the school or homeschool is completely exempt from meeting the non-religious standards and reporting requirements that secular nonpublic schools and families must meet. This is an unfair burden on secular schools and families and a special privilege for religious schools and families. Once the family or school has demonstrated that they meet the same requirements that other families or schools must meet they can be free to implement any further restrictions or requirements placed on them by their religious beliefs without interference from the government. In some states, the 'right to homeschool' is only granted to families who homeschool for religious reasons. Secular families have to profess a religious belief or enroll in a church cover or umbrella school in order to homeschool because they cannot legally homeschool without pretending to be religious. This is wrong also. The government should not be able to 'meddle' in my homeschool just because I do not practice a religion but you consider it 'meddling' if another family, a religious family, has to meet the same burden of requirements for reporting that I do? And you do not consider that 'special privilege?' This 'meddling' as you call it, has nothing at all to do with religion or religious belief when it means reporting attendance, or test scores, or submitting a portfolio for review. It is not 'meddling' when religious families get a free pass to ignore the law because of their religion. It isn't 'meddling' to make sure a building used for a school has a fire extinguisher even if it's a religious school. Perhaps I shall begin a new religion, the Church of the Angry Monkey, and proclaim the Word of the Angry Monkey through out the land. I shall write a holy book and fill it with handy ambiguous statements. My homeschooling families can then homeschool in freedom, with the bonds of oppression and mandatory reporting stricken from their schools and homeschools by their holy conversion to the Church of the Angry Monkey . Do not speak out against my God, the Angry Monkey, because my rights will be violated. You must accept my sincerely held belief and relieve me of any requirements for an occupancy permit for my Angry Monkey schools, and my followers, with their sincerely held beliefs in the Angry Monkey, are now exempt from filing pretty much any paperwork at all if they homeschool in Virginia. Contact me for cover school information, ye residents of states that require such. The most basic tenet of the Church of the Angry Monkey is that you should homeschool in peace, teaching real science instead of creationism, and teaching Latin too. Greek is optional. The children shall be required to read as many books as they wish and to memorize the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. Separate worship groups may be set up for those who chose the Way of Spiral Math and those who chose the Way of Math Mastery. I'll be busy setting up our website so we can take in nontaxable charitable donations to continue our ministry, and mission trips will begin in the near future.
  6. LOL, you are quite correct. I was referring to the folks who wrote the Bill of Rights, not the dang state laws. HSLDA is all about special privilege for religious home educators. And no one seems able to speak up for the rest of us. I often think that when it comes to education, at home or in a school, as a secular parent I have fewer rights and more burden than a religious parent. And that is just plain wrong. Equal laws Infringe religious liberty? No, far from it.
  7. The visible result has been to grant religious homeschoolers special privileges. I doubt that was the intent. As a secular homeschooler I am the one bearing the burden of complying with regulations they are exempt from. It is not an infringement of religious liberty for religious homeschoolers to have to meet the same homeschool reporting requirements as everyone else. To take it further, it is an unfair special privilege for nonpublic schools run by religious organizations to be exempt from the licensing and reporting requirements of nonpublic schools run by secular organizations. This is about the elimination of special privilege for religion, not infringement of religious liberty. I'm quite certain that the constitution does not and never has been intended to create a hostile playing field for nonreligious groups or individuals, but that is exactly what exists today.
  8. I have a point I don't think has been discussed in much depth. While there is a potential for abuse anywhere there is a child, this Coalition is concerned with the sort of abuse that occurs in conservative religious homeschool settings. Without getting into a debate, there is a clear movement in some conservative religious groups toward isolation from others outside the group as well as cultural isolation. I'm in Pennsylvania which is a state that already regulates home education. In fact, I'd prefer the Coalition's recommendations in some instances because I'd be able to choose between an evaluation by a certified teacher, a portfolio, and standardized testing instead of having to submit to all of those in the same year. In my state there is no 'religious exemption homeschooling law', which I understand exists in some states under which homeschooling families are not subject to any reporting requirements. I think that, in simple fairness, there should not be any loopholes for religious families in any state escape the reporting and other requirements that secular families are subject to. It shouldn't matter why a family chooses to homeschool. All homeschooling families should have to meet the same requirements and families who homeschool for religious reasons shouldn't get a free pass. In my own state, academic private schools must be evaluated and licensed while private schools run by religious organizations are exempt and only required to be registered. I am personally aware of a half dozen private religious schools in my rural area, not counting multiple Amish schools. The only private religious school in my area that is concerned with academic excellence is the Catholic school. The rest, Mennonite and fundamentalist Baptist, exist to indoctrinate children into those belief systems (my opinion, I must add) and are not required to submit test scores or any evidence of academic accountability to the state like the academic private schools must do. I suggest that any private schools in a state ought to conform to one set of requirements and that exemptions for religious schools be eliminated. As a secular homeschooler who home educates for academic reasons I sometimes feel very threatened by the choices of religious homeschoolers. If homeschooling is more restricted or outlawed, I have no recourse (there are no academic private schools in my area) while the religious families can simply enroll their kids in the fundamentalist school of their choice and likely continue on even using the same curriculum. I would like to see any distinction and special privilege attached to educating children in a religious philosophy abolished under the law. I would suggest to the Coalition that they ought to add this to their agenda.
  9. Just FYI on the Pennsylvania thing: I'm in Pennsylvania. No one has to come to your house. You do have to have your child interviewed by a certified teacher or other person considered qualified under the law at the end of each year for an evaluation. You get to choose the person and the location. I hired an unschooling mother of ten who is a certified teacher in PA to do our evaluations via telephone, which is perfectly legal. Maybe this year we'll do it via skype. No home visits required. You could have the evaluator come to your house if you want, I guess.
  10. I'm from Pennsylvania. I had heard of grits, may even have seen them a time or two, but I had never really ever thought of actually eating them. I think it was the name that turned me off. Grits. Not appetizing. Anyway, my husband has developed a tendency toward gout. Apparently oatmeal can exacerbate gout. So breakfast oatmeal is out. We quickly got tired of eggs and pancakes, pizza for breakfast gives us heartburn, and cold cereal just doesn't work for us in the winter. I bought some grits. I cooked them according to the directions and we tried them with a little butter. We like them. But they are pretty plain. I added some sugar and cinnamon to make a sort-of-like-oatmeal dish and that was a success. But, I know there are people here who are a lot more familiar with grits than I am and I'm hoping that the experienced grits people will share with me some of their favorite ways to eat grits. And what exactly is 'red-eye gravy' and does it really have coffee in it? Thank you in advance :001_smile:
  11. 1. Many families who do not homeschool and that aren't even particularly religious hold certain cultural biases about women and their role in the world. My own family was not at all religious, but they believed that a woman did not 'need' a college degree. When I graduated from high school my parents not only refused to even consider giving me any money at all toward any form of higher education, they actually turned down a scholarship that had been awarded to me, and finally refused to provide me with their social security numbers and my father's income information, which effectively prevented me from applying for financial aid. I was old enough to leave home and so I did, later attending college as an adult student. While I do think they were lousy parents, I'm more irritated that there was no option available to me at that age to enroll in college and apply for financial aid without their income information. Even later, after serving in the US Army and enrolling in college as an adult student, all communication regarding financial matters (and my grades) came to the house addressed 'to the parents of". However, I do not believe their actions or lack of action, deserve to be termed 'abuse'. 2. Conservative religious groups from many different faiths do not believe in education for women or for both men and women. They don't all homeschool, but really is it any better to attend a one room Amish schoolhouse to the eighth grade or a conservative Mennonite or LDS school? Same deal. Doesn't have anything to do with homeschooling. This has everything to do with conservative religious groups, including the parents who made the choice to participate in the religious group and to raise their kids in that lifestyle. Is that abuse? I doubt we are going to outlaw the practice of religion. Do I feel sorry for those girls who 'escaped' from their conservative religious families and are trying to call for some kind of homeschooling reform? No, because their issue is not and has never been homeschooling. I know more than a couple adults raised Amish and educated in Amish schools who left as adults and had to make up their education on their own. Reforming homeschooling is not a way to address the issues of kids who choose to leave conservative religious groups who feel they have missed out on education or experience with pop culture. Calling it 'abuse' doesn't help either. 3. If you think that raising kids in a particular religion or with a particular world view that you don't agree with is abuse, then you must believe that there is a 'right way' to raise a child and a particular sort of education that all children 'deserve'. Doesn't that mean that if there is a 'right' way then people who don't do things that 'right way' should be labelled as abusive and have their kids removed? Isn't that fascism? Good luck with that. 4. Have we all forgotten the recent case in Florida where the parents went to court over visitation and the court appointed guardian ad litem for the kids had that 'gut feeling' that the kids 'should' be in public school? And the judge agreed, and ordered the kids into public school even though both parents were in agreement about homeschooling? If our Aussie friends missed that case, maybe then they don't realize that in the US there are quite a lot of people who just disapprove of homeschooling for no real reason beyond a 'gut feeling', who have no intention of educating themselves on the matter, and who would, if given the opportunity, think they were doing a good thing by preventing a family from homeschooling. And a lot of those 'do-gooders' work in social services. So at any point in all of that interviewing, evaluating, assessing, and what-not under this proposed legislation all it would take would be one person with an agenda or a 'gut feeling' to prevent a family from homeschooling. This is not paranoia, it happened. Recently.
  12. "Enough" is always relative. That said, it looks fine to me. What does your son think? If he feels he would like to get out a bit more, have him think of a volunteer activity he might like to get involved in. He will probably not be around other kids his own age but that isn't necessarily a deal breaker. At the very least, he'll get a chance to meet some new people and do some good.
  13. My DH cooks thanksgiving dinner. He started years ago because I usually had to work that day at the hospital. I'm a sahm now, but he still cooks all the holiday dinners. I think he likes it. He is into disposable pans, and paper plates, so no clean up. If he plans, I don't notice it and he doesn't mention it. He also doesn't watch football. I think he's a keeper. :laugh: I don't camp. A few years on active duty in the Army cured me of any desire to commune with the outdoors. DH is welcome to go, and take all the kids with him. So far he hasn't gone.
  14. I live in Pennsylvania, and my kids make snowmen with no arms. Often the snowmen will have stick noses, because we would never think of wasting a carrot on a snowman. No one in the area has a top hat, to my knowledge, and I've never seen one on an actual snowman. Our snowmen do not have hats. Further, my kids do not watch network television or cartoons so they are not familiar with what I recognize in your description as the Frosty the Snowman from a tv show I watched as a child many decades ago. My kids would consider such thing as an animated snowman named Frosty with stick arms to be very strange and not at all related to the snowmen they like to create in the winter. I think whoever made up that particular assignment is making some extremely narrow cultural assumptions. However, my review of the Common Core standards did not reveal any standards related to knowledge of snowmen, so it is likely that this is indeed a problem with the curriculum itself being poorly written and not the Common Core standards. I have two kids in a public high school this year and the school is trying to implement Common Core. My daughter is annoyed, because she isn't happy to have to actually think about anything and would rather be told what to parrot back, and my son is totally oblivious. I'm not sure what I think yet.
  15. I think homeschools in my area vary a great deal in academic intent. There is a Christian homeschool coop in a city north of where I live. Last year or the year before they offered a once a week 'class' for high schoolers to watch an episode of Drive Through History together.Several of the families commented on an email list I've since left that they firmly believed that this 'class' met the PA state requirements for a high school history credit. I can only imagine what those families considered an adequate math or science education to consist of. There are local Mennonite private schools in my area that earnestly believe that an eighth grade education is sufficient. The local Amish schools only offer up to eighth grade. I'm sure they teach creationism, and while I'm not exactly familiar with the curriculum I don't believe much real science is taught beyond what is useful and practical in the lifestyle the children are expected to follow. These are religious people, and their religion determines their views on the education of their children. I'm willing to say that I think those families that don't choose to educate their children at a minimum to what is generally accepted to be a high school level understanding of math, science, history, and language arts are probably doing their children a disservice, but then again there are more than a few communities in my area that don't teach their kids to that level and continue to thrive. I agree their kids wouldn't be prepared for life in a big city or a highly competitive area, but they aren't being prepared for that. As for the secular homeschoolers in my area? Well....I only know one other family and their single child is working on kindergarten this year. They don't plan to homeschool next year. We're secular homeschoolers and we try to follow a classical model. I've yet to meet any unschoolers, Christian or secular.
  16. We use it for everything too. I've killed too many computers to trust my stuff to one.
  17. Yes, I do understand that. I think it is an excellent thing to caution people about. I also think that some people, looking for free books, find Henty and other similar writers and offer those books to their kids and have no idea what their kids will be reading. That's exactly why I wanted to make a different kind of website for free resources, one that isn't just a list of free stuff, exactly because I want to include that kind of information. Even in my version of homeschool, one or two Henty books are plenty to get the point I"m interested in making across to the kids. So, the big idea for my poor website is to list the free resource, describe the resource, and list some kind of informed pros and cons of the free resource so families can make that informed choice. It's exactly why I don't think lists of links are helpful to most homeschooling families, because those links aren't accompanied by some kind of independent critique of that resource. I'm sure I'm not the only homeschooling parent who just doesn't have time to pre-read everything my kids read. My own introduction to the pitfalls of free vintage books came about a few years ago when I tried to do a read aloud of the comparatively innocuous Bobbsey Twins and ran smack into racism on the very first page. I wasn't prepared for it, and instead of listening to a family friendly story we ended up in a much deeper discussion that took a lot longer. I do think that there are some great vintage books out there. While I'm not informed well enough to know what the actual experts would consider to be a great resource, I do try to pay attention and I'd like to offer those kinds of opinions along with the list of links. I do think that between Creative Commons material and out of copyright material there is enough 'good stuff', and that the potential to create some kind of preferred free program of study exists. Ideally, that will mean schedules and maybe even lesson plans to make it easier for the average person like myself. Maybe, as an exercise in possibility, we could list what we think might be a decent program of study using free resources either vintage or contemporary. Or, we could list a program of study that uses those special out of print but not out of copyright resources for a 'not quite free but close' program of study. Anyone interested? I hope so because I'd like to take notes.
  18. That is exactly the kind of information that people need to know, and encountering Henty's social views in context is more revealing than just about anything else besides entering a time capsule and personally living through those times. It is one thing to know intellectually that that kind of racism existed in the past but reading this kind of literature, with proper guidance, gives the reader the closest thing to an opportunity to experience it. For some people, this kind of thing is so far from their normal experience that it is difficult to comprehend. It is certainly the choice of any family to only allow their kids to read books with a social context the family finds acceptable. I'm more of the opinion that in order to properly appreciate the kind of social culture we aspire to it is enlightening to see the reality of where we've come from. Again, this is a choice that needs to be made by the individual family and in regard to an individual text, for whatever purpose or reason the family deems appropriate. Not everyone who reads Henty does so in hopes their kids will grow up as racists.
  19. In the end, it will be my own opinion of what those 'best free resources" are. I do hope to research well enough to offer a list of resources of acceptable quality and I will be very happy to solicit and include commentary from other people who offer an opinion on an individual resource. This is hardly a new idea and it is one that other people, like Cathy Duffy for example, have done quite well with. I have never found lists of free links to be helpful and those thousands of google results include mostly either lists of links or links to individual projects, worksheets, or unit studies. It takes hours and hours to sift through those, and most of us with children don't have the time or the inclination to sift through all of that if it isn't strictly necessary. You are welcome to do so if you prefer, of course. While I am, barely, young enough to have school-age children, I apparently do not move in the same circles you do because most of the homeschooling families I know personally (with much younger parents) don't surf homeschooling forums. Some of the adults are aware that homeschool forums exist but tell me they don't really have time to spend reading them. They either don't know which forum to do a search on, or they may not know how to search posts on a forum. Some people have trouble coming up with a good query to search with. These people aren't going to spend time doing a search on WTM to find a recommendation for a not-quite-vintage biology text, especially since they don't spend enough time on a forum to know that some out of print but not out of copyright texts are considered to be an excellent resource. I'm not suggesting that this information is 'hidden', but it certainly isn't common knowledge. Quite a few homeschooling families, rather than use a forum, tend to google for specific results. They really are not aware of how much is out there. Googling for specific results tends to result in those thousand of links you refer to, and I'm told that generally one's interest wanes after checking out a half a dozen or so. Consequently a good number of perfectly acceptable resources are never investigated. The book "Homeschool your child for free" while helpful was basically a compilation of links without commentary and is sadly out of date today.
  20. I think you're missing a big part of the picture. MEP and NCERT books are not 'vintage' or out of print. There is currently a veritable explosion of Creative Commons licensed free educational material out there. Khan Academy and CK12 are great examples of some of the excellent contemporary content available for free. Vintage books are only a small part of what is available. It is of course, perfectly possible to adapt or update vintage material if one is so inclined. There certainly are vintage texts that would be candidates for the effort involved to update them or to at least add some commentary about the social context of the times. Mark Twain's classic novels, for example, contain a slew of currently unacceptable social ideas but I don't often hear folks insist we should ditch Tom Sawyer because of those ideas. Even in our relatively enlightened times we still can find something of value in the past. I know that for my kids understanding that something like racism or sexism existed in the past is a pretty vague sort of thing, but encountering examples of it in literature really brings home the true impact of that kind of thinking. I think it would be a great benefit for the homeschooling community if there were a directory of free material along with some suggested schedules or plans. Some people would likely really prefer some kind of schedule or plan even to use content from Khan Academy or CK12. I also have to say that those of you with educated opinions on the published material that you consider to be the best example of whatever subject don't seem interested in sharing your opinions with the average homeschool family, unless said family is savvy enough to sift through the posts on a board like this. Where does the average home educator come by the knowledge that Dolciani is a great text? How does the average person, like me, find out about what you folks recommend? Maybe I should add 'great WTM forum thinker's curriculum picks that you might find at a discount' to my website.
  21. You know, I would imagine that if something like Hunter is interested could be created it would likely be created by people like those we have here responding to the OP. HInt hint..... Either that or we'd end up arguing about it forever. Anyway, I'm personally working on a website to organize free resources beyond just listing a slew of links. It is far from complete and of course my priority is homeschooling my kids so the project is moving slowly. I'm also not exactly even remotely qualified to do something like this. I just thought it would be a good idea and it is something I wished someone else had done so that I could use it. I don't find lists of links or links to single page worksheets to be especially helpful. I do like the Old Fashioned Education website, but I wanted something more comprehensive. My idea is to collect the links to as many decent free resources as possible (ongoing) and to offer some kind of review or critique of each one. The logical next step is to develop some kind of plan of education using selected free resources. My own sense of fairness suggests to me that such a plan or plans should be offered for free, given that the material used to create the plan is free. I do have ads from adsense on the website, in hopes that just maybe once it is complete I'll make enough to cover expenses like the domain name. I also have an Amazon affiliate store and some links to that in case anyone is overcome by a mad desire to buy a kindle while looking over the site. There is a contact form on the website if anyone would care to offer to assist or add content. Hint, hint. Please be gentle, since I already admitted I don't know what I"m doing and I don't have much free time to do it. www.thestingyhomeschooler.com
  22. I'm a bit hesitant to jump in here. People have so many different situations. I know that for my own family, social concerns come in second to academic concerns so I wouldn't necessarily consider enrolling a child in a public school just for social reasons. In my area, public education is poor. Academic standards are nearly nonexistent, and I'm not exaggerating. My older kids had more negative social experiences than positive ones in our local public school. For us, in our situation, enrolling our younger kids in the local public schools is just not an option. I would like to believe that good schools exist. If I did happen to live in an area with a good school I would probably be open to letting a child enroll if he or she really wanted to. But like I said, it just isn't an option for us.
  23. The Nanowrimo workbooks are free to download anytime and they have an elementary version at http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/workbooks There is an introductory language book in the public domain that is suitable for second grade and contains composition exercises. Language Lessons Part One by Robert C. Metcalf. Find it at https://archive.org/details/languagelessons01metcgoog The Progressive Composition Books This series of composition books is very popular with home educators. You can find these on Google Play, just make sure you have the one for the grade you are looking for. Progressive Composition Lessons Book One by Ida Brautigam (1912). An excellent stand-alone composition book for students in grades 3 and 4. Here is the link for the first one: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=Ws8AAAAAYAAJ The Progressive Composition Lessons Book Two by Ida Brautigam (1912) Grades 5 and 6. The Progressive Composition Lessons Book Three by Ida Brautigam (1912). Grades 7 and 8.
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