WHY WE HOMESCHOOL
Education stories from this week's headlines, reported by author
LauraMaery Gold, for the benefit of more than 8300 parents and
other educators who care about kids. (See distribution notice
at end before forwarding all or part of this column)
BECAUSE OUR KIDS ARE FUNNY! A reader writes: "A former classmate of my son
Kelly asked why he's not in school any more. 'He's homeschooled now,' I
replied. 'How would YOU like to be homeschooled?'
'No way!' she answered, 'I get THREE recesses!'" -- Lois Corcoran,
Gladstone, Michigan *
MICHIGAN HOMESCHOOLERS PROFILED. A quest for academic excellence influences
the decision to homeschool, says this favorable report on homeschooling in
Michigan. But homeschooling may not be legal, says an assistant
superintendent for governmental services for the Michigan Department of
Education interviewed for the article. "The local school district where the
family lives may look in on (home-schoolers) to see if they�re meeting
compulsory school laws.� If the school district feels "educational neglect"
is taking place, parents could face charges.
Bet you went to sleep last night thinking you were safe, right?
HOMESCHOOLERS EXCEL IN BEES. A CNN report focuses on homeschoolers win
academic competition in disproportionate numbers. While home-educated
children make up only 2 percent of school-aged children, they continue to
win prestigious competitions around the United States. Homeschooled children
comprised 10 percent of the finalists in the National Spelling Bee, and make
up significant numbers of finalists in other academic competitions.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? An editor at the local newspaper tells the real story
behind the North Idaho standoff between government officials and a family of
homeschooled children. It wasn't educational neglect, the editor says. It
was a land grab. And the only reason it made news is because the kids sicced
their dogs on the authorities.
Hmmm�A business opportunity for Rottweiler breeders?
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING. No, we're not all hiding in the woods or
avoiding taxes. Here's a positive look at homeschooling from other
homeschoolers in Northern Idaho.
OK, sometimes we DO hide in the woods�but only if we have an academic
Senate Approves Measure to Legalize Internet Use of Educational Materials
Homeschooled Spelling Champ Meets President
Homeschoolers Told: 'Thank Your Parents'
South Carolina Debates Homeschooling Scholarships
Tennessee Homeschoolers Stage Speaking Event
Libertarian Editorialist Defends Homeschooling
Membership Increases for Texas Homeschooling Group
Colorado Homeschoolers Hold Track and Field Day
California Homeschoolers Tie for Second in Chess Tournament
California Homeschooler Swims in International Tournament
ABSOLUTELY FREE HOMESCHOOL RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: CyberCollege
> I'm teaching a journalism class in our
homeschooling cooperative. So this site was quite a find: Cybercollege
consists of free online lessons in mass communications, and film and
television production. The opening page is less than impressive, and you
might be tempted to rush past it. But dig around. You'll find scores of
fascinating lessons in studio and field production, as well as the history
of the media. This is a fabulous, completely illustrated online course in
journalism. -- lmg
FREAK DANCING. It's not the hustle, and it's not the macarena. Around the
United States, school proms and dances have turned into "Playboy After
Dark," where kids lie on the dance floor and simulate sexual acts. "They
mimic Kama-Sutra positions to the beat of rap and techno music, [and touch]
one another in ways that would frighten Pamala Anderson," says commentator
But creative expression builds self esteem.
CURRICULUM CHOICES. Teachers in a heavily Hispanic California school saw a
dramatic improvement in test scores when they began using Saxon math books.
But when they asked the Los Angeles school board for permission to continue
using the texts, their request was denied. Instead, the district reiterated
its plan to unify math instruction throughout the district.
Regardless of what works.
WHOSE CHILDREN ARE THEY? A Washington D.C. Council member is proposing that
the age for compulsory education in the District be lowered from age five,
to age three. The District's age cut-off is December 31, meaning that if the
proposal passes, one third of the District's two-year-olds would also be
forced into school for six hours a day. The councilman said that putting
young children into the hands of the public school system "would force the
school system to take charge and responsibility for every 3- and 4-year-old
in the city to make sure they are prepared for kindergarten." His proposal
is supported by a variety of school administrators.
Hush, little baby, don't say a word. . .
GROUP LEARNING. On average, there are one or two children suffering
emotional or behavioral problems in every classroom in the State of
Washington says a new study. Rather than being taught individually, though,
children with serious mental illnesses -- such as bi-polar disorder, panic
disorders, and schizophrenia -- are being taught in "mainstream" classrooms
where teachers sometimes deal with severe disorders by shouting over the
disruptive behavior or simply letting affected children do whatever they
want in order to keep them from becoming violent.
in�sti�tu�tion (noun): an established organization (as a school or hospital)
of a public character; also: ASYLUM
BUYING IN. A mother accidentally argues for homeschool in a column that
rants against children and summer break. "By June I'm practically chomping
at the bit, so very ready am I for school to be over, for the imposed
structure of my children's schedule on my life to be lifted," she says. "I
think we all need the lack of structure, whether we know it or not - a time
to catch our breath and breathe deeply. If life is a merry-go-round, then
there's no getting off. But at least in the summer, the horses start to
saunter." But by September, she says, she's giddy at the thought of sending
her kids back to school, so someone else can teach them.
Ironic quote: On the subject of the school's upcoming school-year
renovation: "Why not enjoy the upheaval? It won't last. Like the school
year, it will end."
Summer School: Three Strikes, You're � Held Back
Kentucky Decides to Grade Standardized Tests on a 'Curve'
Virginia Teachers Fail Teaching Tests En Masse
Indiana Court Approves Exit Exams -- Even for Disabled Students
Test Scores: The Rich Get Richer
Texas Teachers Protest Legislation For Teacher Testing
Ohio Parents Sue Over Test Scores, Blame School Funding Mechanism
Wisconsin Test Scores Drop -- Dramatically
Virginia 'Prescribes' Curriculum to Match SOL Assessments
New York School Wrestle Over Standards
MORE SCHOOL VIOLENCE
Florida Kindergartner Pulls Handgun at School
Violence Up Amongst Youngest Students; Seventh Consecutive Year
Legal Controversy Arises over Weapon Searches
Sex Crimes on the Increase, But NY Schools Ignore Recommendations
Trial Delayed for Student Who Made Bomb Threat
Knife Attack on Japanese Schoolgirl
Protesting Parents Abduct School Administrator
Teens Suspended Over Sex Acts at School
Study: Georgia Students Bullied Over Sexual Orientation
AND A CATALOG OF OTHER 'WHY WOULD YOU LET STRANGERS TEACH YOUR CHILDREN?'
'Blame the Christians': School Board Bans All Extracurricular Clubs
Summer School: A Prime Place to Ditch the Kids
Indiana Pays Ex-Con Administrator $57K to Resign
Connecticut School Administrators Propose Contraceptive Distribution
Audit Results: More Money Missing From Detroit Schools
Rhode Island Suspends 10% of Students
Despite Multiple Violations, District Hires Driver Who Causes Nearly Fatal
Controversy Over Supreme Court Decision Against Bible Stories in School
Dallas Creates Efficient, Highly Computerized Truancy Courts
And so it goes...
"WHY WE HOMESCHOOL" LETTER OF THE WEEK: From Megan, a 16-year-old in Texas:
"My mom checked me out of school earlier this year to home school me. My
school counselor said that unless my mom enrolled me in a home schooling
organization or I attended another public school, then my mom would go to
jail. DO we have any choices? Can my mom legally home school me with our own
curriculum? We need help, please. Thank you." (Take a deep breath. Megan's
mom won't go to jail. I sent her a copy of the Texas homeschooling law, and
referred her to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. But I'm still
fighting the urge to call the counselor myself to discuss the concept of
psychological child abuse.)
*HAVE HOMESCHOOLING STORIES? We'd like to share them with the world. We
invite anecdotes about cute homeschooling moments, and brief explanations of
why your family homeschools. Your stories may be published in this column,
or included in one of the author's books. Please limit your submissions to
about 50 words, and include your geographic location. Please send your
stories to mykids@...
NEWS NOTE: We need your watchful eyes! Read a homeschooling news story on
line? Let us know! We spend a lot of time searching, but we don't catch
everything! You're invited to e-mail us about HS'ing news at news@...
>. And a special thanks to Renee at Homeschool Haven
for several of our recent news leads.
You may freely distribute this entire column, or any part of it, so long as
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This is WHY WE HOMESCHOOL NEWS for June 23, 2001
Copyright LauraMaery Gold, 2001
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