Friday, September 26, 2008
Sorry to infuse politics into homeschooling, but gee whiz, I'm mad as all get out about this. You see, my children and I had been looking forward to the debates and really getting to know the candidates better. Not only would this be a perfect homeschooling "moment", but one of these candidates is going to directly impact the future of these little people with whom I share so many important things.
As my children cannot yet vote, they depend on my husband and me to make the best informed decisions on their behalf. They are going to inherit this mess and the least I can do at this juncture is do my homework. That includes watching the presidential debates.
What does this teachable moment teach my children? That when things are looking challenging and the situation is getting complicated and frightening, it's okay to shirk your responsibilities and just not show up.
That's not okay. It's not the lesson I want my children learning today or any other day.
Leadership is about courage, wisdom, and fortitude. Sometimes, it's just about just showing up.
Friday, September 5, 2008
I'm having to reconsider his day to day schedule. I was only going to do the Story of the World for history with the two younger ones to streamline things a bit, but I realized this week that my son needs more stuff he do on his own than I had predicted. The best solution, I think, is to add History Odyssey to the mix. That way, we’ll still do Story of the World, but he’ll have more things that he can work on without my help. I've been very happy with the Level 2 material for my sixth grader, so I expect that the Level 1 study guide is what we're missing. I definitely don’t want to give him busy work just to fill the hours, but on the other hand, if he’s not focused on something constructive he’s a distraction to the other two, particularly his older sister. We just can’t have that. We just can’t.
Patience, my young Padawan. Patience.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
She asked if she could bring in the package and I'm certain she assumed it was yet another school book I'd ordered. They've been arriving pretty regularly now. Anyway, after making sure it was okay with me, she opened up the box. It wasn't in the excited way you tear open a birthday or Christmas present, either. Just slow and easy and without any kind of expectation at all.
She was beside herself when she realized it was the fourth book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. I'm sure I've given her birthday and Christmas presents that didn't elicit that kind of response. It was pure joy.
We had almost forgotten. Today was the release date for The Battle of the Labyrinth by homeschooling dad, Rick Riordan.
Today she was supposed to be working on ancient history, grammar, spelling and more math. She's already finished up with science and classical roots for the year. I've been pushing her pretty consistently this first year of homeschooling. So I thought, "What the heck. Let's call it a Percy Jackson Day!" I told her to scrap the rest of today's schedule and get reading. "Really?" YES, really.
Sometimes it feels good to throw caution to the wind and do something that just feels right. Today was one of those days.
Percy Jackson Word Problems.
Myth & Mystery - The official blog for author Rick Riordan
Check out the trailer and this snippet from The Battle of the Labyrinth, I Battled the Cheerleading Squad read by author Rick Riordan:
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Arizona magazine, 1981
I did it for a textbook house and they sent me a word list. That was due to the Dewey revolt in the twenties, in which they threw out phonics reading and went to a word recognition as if you’re reading a Chinese pictograph instead of blending sounds or different letters. I think killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country.
Anyway they had it all worked out that a healthy child at the age of four can only learn so many words in a week. So there were two hundred and twenty-three words to use in this book. I read the list three times and I almost went out of my head.
I said, “I’ll read it once more and if I can find two words that rhyme, that’ll be the title of my book.” I found "cat" and "hat" and said, the title of my book will be The Cat in the Hat.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Wednesday's total lunar eclipse promises to be quite a display and Sky and Telescope has all the interesting details here. If you're on the East Coast, like we are, you'll want to adjust the viewing times to begin at 8:43 p.m. and end shortly after midnight.
The full Moon is going to get totally eclipsed on the night of February 20–21, putting on a gorgeous show as it glides through Earth's shadow. Skywatchers in nearly the entire Western Hemisphere will get an excellent view.
In the Americas, the eclipse happens during convenient evening hours on Wednesday, the 20th, when people are up and about. In the time zones of Europe
and West Africa, the eclipse happens during the early-morning hours of Thursday,
Earth’s shadow will totally engulf the Moon from 10:00 to 10:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or 7:00 to 7:52 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The partial phases of the eclipse last for about an hour and a quarter before and after totality.
Mark your calendar! If you miss this one, you'll have to wait until 2010 for the next lunar eclipse.
Friday, January 25, 2008
I didn't do my homework.
My teacher asked me, "Why?"
I answered him, "It's much too hard."
He said, "You didn't try."
I told him, "My dog ate it."
He said, "You have no dog."
I said, "I went out running."
He said, "You never jog."
I told him, "I had chores to do."
He said, "You watched TV."
I said, "I saw the doctor."
He said, "You were with me."
My teacher sees right through my fibs,
which makes me very sad.
It's hard to fool the teacher
when the teacher is your dad.
by Bruce Lansky
If I Ran the School
Sunday, January 6, 2008
The following is excerpted from "Why the Public Schools?"
That parents should go so far as to remove their children from school, to teach them themselves, at home, or to form parallel classes for them in which they, themselves, are the teachers, to prefer a school to which they must pay the fee to the free public school, or to impose on their children and themselves the burden of a night school added to the day school they consider to be nothing but a holding pen, all this became and remains for me a theme of profound dismay. And I notice as well that these are surely the parents who enjoy a high level of education and – for those who can pay the fees of a private school – of income. And then I think of the other children, who do not have the benefits of having been born into families similarly favored.
Since we have said that it is necessary for us to make choices, let us look for some hints or directions that would help us to choose what must be taught. But look, we already have them in the definition we have just read – a definition much more helpful, to tell the truth, than what one may read every year and every month, as penned by those who govern our national Education system.
For years now, these last have placed at the top of their page that the school must no longer teach “knowledge”, as the dictionary has it, but “competencies” and “skills”. Just a few days ago, a member of the Academy of Sciences who specializes in education wrote to me that in school “one acquires abilities, such as thinking skills”. Well, yes, Mister Academician: in school one acquires, or rather ought to acquire, the ability to think. But, contrary to what you prescribe, only knowledge, not thinking, should appear in the curriculum. For thinking cannot be taught.
What can be taught are the words, the vocabulary, the verbs, the conjugations which render thinking possible and which give it form.
What can be taught are the rules of grammar, which provide a considered mastery of the language, that open the way to the rich language of books and to the precise, structured and abstract language of the sciences, which are the introduction to logic – that basic logic which is today so lacking among the majority of today’s university students.
What can be taught are the organized forms of reasoning such as: in mathematics, the careful writing out of the solution of prosaic problems in arithmetic, and later of proofs;
What teaches is still the culture, the knowledge of those great works which will become the material for thought.
What teaches is still and forever that well defined knowledge that is the means and the conditions of thought, but not thought itself.
Mister Academician, Ladies and Gentlemen who have brought our school to where it now is, have you ever asked yourselves if it is possible for a teacher to say to his students, “For tomorrow, you will learn how to think”? Thinking, like all other aptitudes, is only cultivated laterally, indirectly; one doesn’t teach in the hope of developing it except in looking at it from the side while speaking of other things infinitely more modest and infinitely more precise.
In the definition of the verb “to teach” given us by the dictionary, one must presume that the student “assimilates” the transmitted knowledge. The student must assimilate the knowledge as an organism assimilates food, and not at all the way a computer receives a program. What the verb “assimilate”, with its underlying metaphor of nourishment, is saying is that a student is not a machine but a living being.
This is an extremely important point, one too much forgotten by the technocrats of education imbued with a scientistic vision of man, something they reduce to a mechanism whose functioning is something that needs governing. It is this vision that has made possible the domination of the schools of education by the so-called “sciences of education”. It is also what leads to the incessant questioning of whether what is taught in school will be useful in later life.
-- Laurent Lafforgue, Why the Public Schools?
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Well today we received a package. Of course, they wanted to know what it was.
We opened it right up to find it filled with protractors of different types and sizes. You'd think it was filled with candy and video games they were so besides themselves with joy.
It warms my heart.
I'm raising three little nerdy kids who find great happiness in mathematical tools.
You gotta love it!