As I was in the shower today (enjoying one of the few moments of silence in my life) I started thinking about different things going on, and I won't explain the progression from one item to the next (it started with thinking about going to Mass tonight, and ended with my two new reasons to homeschool...) I ended up ranting inside my head, and thought since blogs are basically for ranting and raving, I'd come post my thoughts here.
So, the first one, reason 3,000,091 to homeschool is this: I know all schools, both public and private, do fundraisers...and that reason alone is a much lower number on my list (Colorado spends $8167 per student, among the lowest funding, with New York spending over $15000 per student) Even with Colorado's low school funding (for comparison, we don't expect to ever spend more than $500 per kid, per year)I find the fact that schools feel they need fundraisers to make ends meet disconcerting.
Due to the dumb cut off date, Eva is finally old enough to be going to PRESCHOOL (yes, we are over half done with Kindergarten) so, several of my friends kids have just started preschool. At our last Bible Study, one mom was telling us that the PRESCHOOLERS are required to do the fundraising, as well as the older kids. I mean, honestly...making 4 and 5 year olds sell crap for the school??? Just ridiculous. It just means that they expect the parents and other family to buy stuff, because I am ASSUMING they don't want 4 year olds going door to door selling stuff! (I guess what they probably REALLY want is the PARENTS to sell stuff...) And of course, there are rewards for selling the crap for the school...you get some sort of money "school bucks" or something like that. These "bucks" can be used at the school Christmas shop where you can buy cheap crap to give as gifts to your parents and siblings. As if that's not enough...the school wants the parents to come in an run the Christmas shop.
While I am on the subject of cut off dates (although this has nothing to do with homeschooling), I am very aggravated with the library. You see, at our library, they have an awesome story time program. Unlike other programs I've heard of, the kids must be signed up for an official time, and must be 3 to be a part of storytime. Of course, Charlotte won't be 3 until November, but the library says that it's cut off date is that they must be 3 before storytime begins (in late September...) and she can't just join a group in the middle of the year. NEVER MIND that EVERY SINGLE LIBRARIAN has told me that Charlotte is more than ready for story time...she doesn't fit into the dumb age schedule, so she is not welcome!
And of course, the reason 3,000,092 is President Obama's address next week. Last time I checked, the schools weren't doing the most fabulous job of educating students...for instance, this says that 75% of high school graduates are not ready for college...so, lets waste time with a "stay in school" speech by the president followed by questions such as (for the younger kids) What is the president trying to tell me? What is the president asking me to do? What new ideas and actions is the president challenging me to think about? What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?
Teachers could extend learning by having students:
· Create posters of their goals. Posters could be formatted in quadrants, puzzle pieces, or trails marked with the following labels: personal, academic, community, and country. Each area could be labeled with three steps for achieving goals in that area. It might make sense to focus first on personal and academic goals so that community and country goals can be more readily created.
· Write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals. Teachers would collect and redistribute these letters at an appropriate later date to enable students to monitor their progress.
· Write goals on colored index cards or precut designs to post around the classroom.
· Interview one another and share goals with the class to create a supportive community.
· Participate in school-wide incentive programs or contests for those students who achieve their goals.
· Write about their goals in a variety of genres, such as poems, songs, and personal essays.
· Create artistic projects based on the themes of their goals.
· Graph individual progress toward goals.
Or, for the older kids, great questions like: Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us? How will he challenge us? What might he say? Do you remember any other historic moments when the president spoke to the nation? What was the impact? What resonated with you from President Obama’s speech? What lines or phrases do you remember? Whom is President Obama addressing? How do you know? Describe his audience. We heard President Obama mention the importance of personal responsibility. In your life, who exemplifies this kind of responsibility? How? Give examples. How are the individuals in this classroom similar? How is each student different? Suppose President Obama were to give another speech about being educationally successful. To whom would he speak? Why? What would the president say? What are the three most important words in the speech? Rank them. Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything? Is he challenging you to do anything? What do you believe are the challenges of your generation? How can you be a part of addressing these challenges?
Yeah...couldn't they use all this time to actually TEACH and LEARN something???
Okay, rant over!