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March 27, 2009

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clazy

If Ryan was so upset about the "rush to the floor", and having no time to review the bill, why didn't he take the floor and read it aloud? It might take a while, but isn't that the point?

Rick Ballard

"I have thought seriously about homeschooling, but I don't know how we would afford it."

Porchlight,

If I remember correctly, here is where I would start. I'm going to try and work (as a volunteer) with a local homeschooling group in the fall. It isn't just mom 'teaching school' five days a week - families pool efforts and many two earner families participate.

You wouldn't allow kids to drink from a poisoned well, it's worth a very hard look and some pushing regarding flex time with employers.

Charlie (Colorado)

Glenda, I've had a crush on Edna Millay since I was about 13; she completed the corruption that Robert Heinlein started.

Oddly, I first learned about her from a sort of pulp bestseller called Onionhead that I read because I'd just finished a Hornblower novel and I wanted a modern sea story.

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky

Anybody know what a Kensian is?

It's a fairly obscure economic theory propounded by a sect of grown men who play with their daughter's dolls.
They are vigorously opposed by the "Barbians" who hold to the general view that anyone who disagrees with their theories are by definition Kensians. Barbians routinely dismantle weak Kensian economic theory in highly technical papers which use difficult to understand arcane theories such as "you are all maggots" and "f*** you, you half witted RINO f***wit".
Barbians are closely associated with Randians but their dolls are a lot cuter.

Porchlight

Thanks, Rick, for that link. Daughter number one is in kindergarten, so I hope we have a little time yet to pursue the idea.

This may be a crazy question, but has anyone ever paid someone else to homeschool? We are in Austin, so goodness knows if there's a soul around I would trust, but is it possible that a talented homeschooling parent out there might be willing to take in a couple of extra kids? Or does that go against the grain?

Charlie (Colorado)

Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots,

Just a little more Edna.

Jane

Maybee,

Henry Waxman would shiver in his long johns.

clarice

porchlight, you might consider whether your community has a charter school provision. If it does you might organize some families to start your own school where you devise the curriculum and control admission, personnel,discipline, etc. If your community doesn't have that, you might want to start working on that. In that way you and similarly situated families could obtain funds to run the school in your own way, following your own path.

Of course, participating families could contribute in many ways--including offering instruction in things they are most knowledgeable about.

clarice

Here's the charter school in Texas website--there are lots of them and lots of support for people wanting to start one, it seems:
http://www.charterstexas.org/ct_schools/listed_city.php

Porchlight

I believe Austin does have charter schools, Clarice. I will look into the options. I have a feeling the existing ones skew hippie, but you never know what the possibilities are.

Rick Ballard

"but is it possible that a talented homeschooling parent out there might be willing to take in a couple of extra kids? Or does that go against the grain?"

Would you take on 7-10 kids for a four hour stint of English/History/Geography - u-pick it once a week? There is a lot of 'shared enterprise' work going on. I'd tend to go through a church based group (believer or not), not necessarily for religious instruction but because they have the structure to run quick and cheap background checks. I haven't checked but there is probably a good MOPS (mothers of pre-schoolers) group in Austin. It's not a bad place to start.

Jim Ryan

Porch, great advice from Rick and Ignatz. My wife and I aren't rolling in dough. She has a home business (Clarice if you want to get rid of some nice stuff from your closet, talk to my wife.) I teach the kids until 10am, she from 10 until noon. You're done after 4 hours, five tops. I have to go back to the office for a few hours after dinner, as a result of the schedule. My wife and I don't get enough sleep and don't get rich, either, but the ROI is enormous, including time spent with one's kids and the re/learning of history with them.

clarice

Porch, I saw a number of Austin charter schools..Since Austin has a lefty orientation, you may be right, but if the curriculum and teachers are good, that shouldn't matter as much as you might think..
Anyone why not take a look at them and check them out..

Porchlight

Looking at your link, Clarice - the principal of the Austin YouthWorks charter school is actually a good friend of mine. He and his wife have four children and we've talked in the past about starting a homeschool for our combined six kids (all of whom are currently 5 and under). And I think other parents might be interested. Hmmm.

Rick, thanks. I like the idea of a co-op of sorts. I'll ask around at my church - I think there are some homeschoolers there.

clarice

Great! I hope that works out.
Even if it is a charter school and you get soome tac money, of course, the educational experience is much enriched by contributions of parental time and labor.

Jim Ryan

Porch, there is probably a large homeschooling community with a message board on the Web, like we have here in Charlottesville. My wife and I don't use coop, but there is plenty of that here, too, so you probably have it, too. We make lots of playdates, as Ignatz mentioned above.

daddy

Concerning your comments about Euclid up above.

That's why I love that story of Isaac Newton I mentioned the other day, where he has to present a gift to the visiting Princess, so he gives her a copy of Euclid's Elements, and when she comments "What is the use of a book about this", that's when, for the only rercorded time in his life, Newton cracks up laughing.

Porchlight

I'll look for a message board - great idea. Thanks, all, for the information and encouragment! Lots of possibilities.

Rick Ballard

Porchlight,

I don't know if you have ever been involved in church governance - I'm writing under the assumption that you have not. In your place, I would approach the elder (vestryman, deacon, whatever) responsible for Christian Education and explain your interest in a charter or co-op situation. Most churches have the necessary facilities (SS classrooms) and they sit empty most of the time.

I've done the whole schtick on pre-school to elementary from the business side (market assessment, business models, raising the seed, getting the loan) and if the elder in charge wants to speak with someone concerning feasibility I would be pleased to do so.

I won't say that it's easy (I won the Order of the Iron Butt, First Class through the meetings involved) but if an elder catches the vision, it's not brain surgery.

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky

Porch,

Our daughter is enrolled in an adjunct of a public school district in Sacramento. They have an incentive to enroll homeschoolers because the state pays the district as though each one is a regular student but homeschoolers cost them a pittance comparatively, so the district make out like bandits.
Now obviously CA regs are probably far different than TX, but here there is literally no interferance in curriculum. We are allowed around $12-1500 per year for school supplies, but any religious themed books are not paid for, which is fine by me; payment=control.
There is also a local resource center that the school district maintains for the homeschoolers to access.
About the only requirement is that a certified teacher meets with us once a month to get work samples and make sure everything is hunky dory and she is a good friend of ours.
You are however correct in how much time young crumb crunchers consume in homeschooling. The older they get though, it falls off dramatically.
Our daughter now is almost completely self directed; my wife just checks her progress every day or two against her lesson plan to make sure she's keeping up.

bad

Porch, be VERY sure that whomever you join with in this pursuit aren't parents who want to create a system that allows their child to look like a superstar by eliminating anything challenging or of real substance.

There are a few of those parents around....

Porchlight

Rick,

Thanks so much for your offer. I'll talk to our rector. He is very serious about education. Our church is quite small, but the space is there.

clarice

Many schools start out in churches,Porch,often pre-K and K and then add a new class per year. If the school is doing well, by the time you need more space, you hace enough parents and income to cover that.

Porchlight

Ignatz, that is very interesting about the adjunct. My SIL homeschools in Santa Cruz - I'll ask her about that.

I think we could do it, financially. My parents would help. Frankly, it's the mental leap that's hard. We live two blocks from our elementary school and I must admit I love the whole school thing - walking them over, picking them up, meeting the teachers and parents, etc. I loved it as a kid and I have looked forward to experiencing it as a parent. I just wish it didn't come with so much ideological baggage.

Jim Ryan

Ignatz, I unfortunately attended Sacramento public schools. Mira Loma '83.

hit and run

For whatever it's worth, one of my favorite people in the world is a muckety muck at http://k12.com/>this company.

In fact, Clarice, if you recall right before our dinner last fall, I was having drinks with an old friend and her family. This is she.

Well, I know almost nothing about the company, so I can't really call this a recommendation. But my friend is top notch.

daddy

Porch,

My mission tonite will be to dig up that Snow/Hardy quote. Hardy's "A">http://www.amazon.com/Mathematicians-Apology-Canto-G-Hardy/dp/0521427061/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/190-4601497-0118335?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238186496&sr=8-1">"A Mathematician's Apology" is a great short read, and Snow's introduction is excellent. And if the volcano keeps blowing and the planes stay grounded, (and the beer is good) I may just have to include how OVALTINE murdered the most original mathematical mind of the 20th Century. BTW,
Hardy was a buddy of Keyne's so TCO probably hates Hardy's guts as well.

Glenda, Flights are indefinitely delayed heading westbound. We have very little ashfall in Anchorage, but both the Western Kenai Peninsula and the small communities north west of Wasilla are the ones getting hit. The ashfall is still reported as much smaller than what I remember from the 92(?) Mt Spurr eruption, which was a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch unmistakable thick dark ash. In Anchorage, when it's not snowing, we just have reduced hazy visibility and mildly dirty snow, but nothing of big consequence.

Homeschooler Jim, You are exactly correct to be doing the educating yourself. I am so thankful when I finally get the kids on summer break and can work with them on stuff of value, and stuff that takes more concentration than the 3 minutes required to listen to a pop song. I volunteer in the classrooms all the time, and what I notice, besides the uninteresting schlock they're being exposed to, is that their attention spans are woeful.

matt

Kensians are actually the students of John Maynard Kens, a little known and best forgotten economist of the 1930's. Kens wrote the treatise on improbability, positing that an economist can in fact disappear up his own kiester. This was ill received by other economists at the time and since.

In his theory of spare change, Kens argued that the entire 1931 budget of the United Kingdom could be balanced with the injection of funds which had accumulated in milk jugs and dresser drawers. He was roundly condemned by all 13 and 14 year olds at the time.

he retired to a life of quiet deliberation on his farm, where he raised Brussels Sprouts and cabbage until his death in 1951.

Porchlight

Thanks, Daddy, that would be cool. I am going to pick up where I left off in the Strangers and Brothers sequence (The New Men) this weekend. Someday I will finish that sequence and the Aubrey-Maturin novels, too. Then I can start over.

Jim Ryan

Too funny, Matt!

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky

Ignatz, I unfortunately attended Sacramento public schools. Mira Loma '83.

My wife was Encina '73, apparently hated rivals of Mira Loma. :)
You both seem to have survived intact.

PD

I'll tie together the TV-watching and homeschooling topics.

I watch lots of TV. None of my kids have been homeschooled. I have nothing against non-TV watchers, and great respect for homeschoolers. But I will observe that one of the benefits of homeschooling -- the ability to recognize and resist peer pressure -- has been achieved in my home to no small degree by watching TV. For example, advertising presents a marvelous opportunity to point out the utter shallowness of the pitches being presented and teach critical thinking at the same time. Watching FOX and CNN/MSNBC presents an opportunity for compare and contrast.

clarice

True,PD.
Here's my lesson plan. When your kid first sees a toy tv ad and begs for it, have him/her work up a sheet in which he shows how big the toy is and what it can do. Order it. When the toy comes, compare it with the schematic and the list of what the ad suggested it could do.
Then explain the tricks used to get your kid to think it was much bigger and better than it is. Make sure they know these are standard techniques, not limited to this toy only.
You will never hear whines for such things again.

Peter H. Douglas

"When your kid first sees a toy tv ad and begs for it, have him/her work up a sheet in which he shows how big the toy is and what it can do."

That only works for girl kids because they aren't good at math so they find it to be a punishment.

rse

Jim Ryan-

Congratulations on your homeschooling. I have done it some so we could travel and supplemented for years.

The coolest part is how it changes how your kids see you and how they react to other parents who see education as not their responsibility.

What wonderful discussions we have had about books, politics, and ideas. It's fun that they think parents should explain things to them and not just give things to them.

I like to think it will make it more enjoyable to know them as adults.

PD

Peter H. Douglas: You have the same initials as me! Quite a curse, isn't it?

glenda

Porch:
I am thinking about home-schooling our Colin in 2+ years-that is when the public schools start the intermediate/middle school here and when I will be vigilant about Colin's autism and peer problems. His fellow students(whom he has been in class since K, are helpful and empathetic towards him, but when puberty kicks in...being over-protective might be necessary. He is academically at the top of his class but socially vulnerable. I believe because autism is now considered a medical condition/handicap; the State might even help provide a home-school environment if I can justify his public classroom would be detrimental. I just don't know. We have been notified because of his testing, we can opt out of special education, but; he gets occupational, physical and speech therapy through SE (and we send him to same privately through Texas Childrens Hospital)
Ranting, now...will close with some apropos Millay..

The soul can split the sky in two
And let the face of God shine through
....
and He whose soul is flat - the sky
Will cave in on him by and by

bad

God be with you and your family, Glenda, as you make these decisions. My prayers are with you.

DebinNC

Same here, Glenda. You're an inspiration to me.

Porchlight, my daughter is currently using Ambleside Online, Year 1 with her 4 and 6 yr. olds. I think Charlotte Mason's philosophy might resonate with you.

sbw

Persistence-->Virtue and Character

Am I way off?

Porch, Virtue is the result of solid processes that lead to character.

Persistence is one virtue that comes from understanding what is important and why.

Virtues ought not be taught, because they are the answers one arrives at when one's processes of thought are critically examined.

Teaching virtues is like teaching numbers instead of teaching arithmetic. "Three is a good number; learn three and we expect you to be on your way to becoming a math wiz."

Sounds silly, doesn't it? It is silly.

But when you master logic, logic masters you. It becomes compelling. I'll save that for the next lecture.

glenda

back at ya, my friends!

clarice

Deb I never heard of Ambleside before..I had time to skim the booklist and two of those looked so great I ordered them immediately for my granddaughter. Of course I adore good children's literature.

daddy

Porch,

Can't find that Snow/Hardy quote dagnabbit. Guessed the CP SNOW foreword to "Apology", but no luck, so maybe 2 cultures or his later 2 Cultures Revisited. Will keep looking as its now driving me crazy. grrr.

rse

Glenda-

There's a wonderful link filled education blog called http://kitchentablemath.blogspot.com that is full of resources on current issues in public education. There are extensive archives of all the contributed articles by topic.

The primary author has 2 autistic children so it has a great deal of materials on current interventions as well.

Good luck.

Porchlight

No worries, daddy - take your time and I'm sure you'll find it. I have Two Cultures & A Second Look so let me know if you want me to try.

Thanks DebinNC - Ambleside looks really intriguing. That kind of curriculum has a deep appeal. I also love Dorothy Sayers' vision of a classical education - I think the Well Trained Mind curriculum uses that as a guide.

Glenda, I wish you the best! Someday all of us TX JOMers really need to get together. :)

Porchlight

I see Ambleside Year 3 incorporates some of my favorite books in the world, including Caddie Woodlawn, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and my all-time fave, Elizabeth Enright (Thimble Summer, the Melendy family books and the Gone-Away Lake books). Awesome!

glenda

Thank you, rse..it's the kindness of strangers that often leads to answers!

Porch..amen, to that! JOM, TX --we are a force!

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