Gaps in Education

No matter where or when a student attends school, there will always be something that student doesn’t learn about that will be relevant in the future.  It happens with public schools, private schools, homeschools, you name it.  One kind of education hasn’t cornered the market on educational gaps.  They simply happen.  Nobody can know everything.  Keep in mind that each child is unique and different learning styles apply.  Teachers are also unique individuals.  Considering all of those variables, how can we be surprised that there are gaps in the first place?

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Our homeschooling journey has felt like one struggle after another this year.  My daughter has turned 18, and she’s a senior.  If she’s not interested in something, she just won’t put forth an effort.  Kids are kids, right?  She has refused to try the ACT test again after her first (and only) attempt.  I understand that she feels discouraged.  I wish colleges would move toward other ways to gauge college readiness instead of relying on high-stakes tests that cannot possibly predict potential or anything else.  It seems to me that test makers are raking in millions at the expense of our children.  Big bucks are paid (not to students or teachers) for testing that serves only to exclude students from higher education.  How about changing our system to invite all students to participate?  How about finding what ignites a student’s passion and work from there?  How about making college an affordable option for everyone?

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The things that interest my child are different from what interests other students.  I will tell you, however, that she is an expert when it comes to anime, cosplay and costume design among other things.  Maybe she should make a portfolio of her passions so she can show college admission staff what she has done and can do.  She amazes me when she casually mentions things she has learned from videos she watched while I was at work.  I have learned from her.  She’s resourceful, too.  She will get interested in something and dig until she has the information she wanted.  My girl is also a talented mimic, able to sing in several languages, and she learned online.  On her own.  Without my input.  I had virtually nothing to do with her research, and she did a fine job of learning something daily about various topics.

Maybe when she decides to try college, she will find the perfect fit.  I sure hope so!  She’ll need a place as amazing and unique as she is so she can fill the gaps and move on to a fabulous future.  I should keep reminding myself that she won’t be the only student filling gaps.

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Sales!

Somehow I ended up at the mall yesterday with my friend.  She told me to head to Riddles and see about getting my ruby ring repaired because I’d been complaining about the prongs being bent.  Turns out the guy there was awesome, and he fixed it in a matter of minutes—for free!  I didn’t see that coming!

While she went to Justice to get an outfit for a little one, I proceeded to a kiosk nearby.  I was looking for something anime for Bela since the prices were right—50% off.  I found a Walking Dead planner we can use for assignments and a Dr. Who trivia game.  Bela was thrilled when I unpacked the bags.

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Forensic Fridays

My daughter and I found an amazing forensics class online.  Since my public school day ends at two on Fridays, we decided to complete work for forensics every Friday.  Yesterday we took a field trip to the local sheriff’s office to look at the equipment for lifting prints.

We saw some training pictures and a program to recreate scenes of accidents.

We saw some training pictures and a program to recreate scenes of accidents.

Wynn showed us how to dust for prints.

Wynn showed us how to dust for prints.

He made lifting the print look easy.

He made lifting the print look easy.

Now Bela has a souvenir of a neat learning experience.

Now Bela has a souvenir of a neat learning experience.

 

http://bsapp.com/forensics_illustrated/index.html

 

What a Haul! (Kids are Expensive)

If Bela hadn’t been sick this week, it would have been awesome.  As it is, she has plenty of new (and new-to-her) things to keep her amused.  I found some cool learning tools at the pharmacy in Broken Bow after Bela’s doctor appointment.  Poor kid ended up in the office twice in one day!  Four prescriptions later, and we were on our way home again.

I got this round chair (with case) for $5.  Bela LOVES it!

I got this round chair (with case) for $5. Bela LOVES it!

She's into Hello Kitty and Batman at the moment.

She’s into Hello Kitty and Batman at the moment.

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She put a few of these together in Mexico.

She put a few of these together in Mexico.

Bela latched onto this music book at the pharmacy.

Bela latched onto this music book at the pharmacy.

I wanted to buy this last time, but I was a tightwad.

I wanted to buy this last time, but I was a tightwad.

Since this was marked down to $20, I grabbed it as well.  At least it counts as a homeschool expense.

Since this was marked down to $20, I grabbed it as well. At least it counts as a homeschool expense.

I hated to spend so much at the pharmacy, but it was all justified—-except for the Jelly Belly jelly beans.  The medicines were the smallest part of the bill!  Bela also got a new (to her) netbook.  A friend had it for sale, we went to see it, Bela liked it, and that was it.  🙂  Oh, yes…kids are expensive.

Bela is so happy with her new technology.  I'm jealous.

Bela is so happy with her new technology. I’m jealous.

 

School Supplies!

Since my daughter is now being homeschooled, I don’t have to buy a long list of things for school.  She doesn’t need a backpack or a lot of notebooks, etc.  I do, however, like having bulletin boards and chalk boards for working out problems.  I was lucky to find some for sale this week.  A lady in a neighboring town makes them!  She was kind enough to deliver them to my house, and I put them up immediately.  Ysabela really likes them, too.

This is the smaller of the chalk boards.

This is the smaller of the chalk boards.

I love the detail on the cross.

I love the detail on the cross.

The bulletin board is large, but not heavy.

The bulletin board is large, but not heavy.

The spurs are awesome.

The spurs are awesome.

Wonderful Webinar=Homeschool Help

Tonight I spent some of my valuable time to attend a wonderful webinar hosted by Lee Binz. You can find her online at the links below. Binz is a knowledgeable, experienced homeschool mom who willingly helps others succeed. She spent over an hour sharing her expertise with a crowd of eager parents/teachers. I was glad I got in on this webinar because now I feel much calmer about creating my daughter’s homeschool transcript. Let me say now that when I attend a webinar, I’m usually up for coffee or something, but tonight I had on headphones and was glued to my chair!

Binz gave freebies during the webinar, and at the end, she offered some of her most useful products for purchase. I hadn’t thought about buying anything, but I realized that I really wanted (and needed) some of her transcript templates. When I bought the bundle for the economical price of $47, I received freebies worth so much more!

If you are a homeschool parent, you should really check out what she has to offer. It just might change your whole perspective.

http://www.thehomescholar.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thehomescholar

Bite My Tongue

The following responses are things I wish I could say to people who ask silly and/or rude questions or make comments that are offensive. Some people do not realize how offensive some remarks can be, so consider this a heads up.

Offensive Remark #1 (to parent of homeschooled children): What about socialization?
What I want to sarcastically say: I’m totally against it! The kids spend most of the day locked in the closet.
The reality is that most homeschooled kids are very well socialized. You appear uneducated when you make a comment like this because you have obviously confused socializing with socialization. Socializing as we know it refers to hanging out with friends in social situations. Socialization refers to getting along and acting appropriately with people of all ages. Most homeschooled children are able to appropriately interact with adults, peers, etc., with little trouble. Parents go out of their way to have interaction with homeschool groups and play groups as well as shuttle the kids to dance class, the library, church, museums and the local nursing home. I think that covers socialization quite well.

Offensive Remark #2 (to parent of homeschooled children): Aren’t there some “gaps” in their education?
What I want to say: Why do you consider it your business? What do you remember from high school? Can you give an example of an isotope? Can you tell me what you know about fractals? When you give me a confused look, I can then tell you, “Oh, I see I found your gaps!” Face it—we all have them. The reality is that education and intelligence are partly about knowing where to find information not stored in our heads!

Offensive Remark #3: People should choose a spouse that is of the same race.
What I want to say: Are you referring to the human race?
The reality is people are people. No race is better than another.

These three examples are the ones that bug me a lot, but there are more. Others include (but are not limited to) things like: Why can’t everyone speak English? We should send all the foreigners back to their home countries. I’m sure you can add your own examples. I am trying to be less judgmental and more thoughtful. I wish others would do the same.

Planting Seeds

I had a “Conversation” with my teen today. Capital C. After assuring her she was not in trouble, I asked some pointed questions. What’s the worst part about school? She had a ready answer—the “jacking around” is distracting and the comments some of the boys make are disgusting. Hmmmm. I then asked her what her idea of a good school day would look like and what classes she would be interested in taking. She is interested in French, astronomy, art and choir. I already knew she wanted to learn French, but the astronomy surprised me. After we had chatted a bit longer, I asked the most important question: would you like to be homeschooled again?

She smiled, then frowned. Her friend, Gen, gets to go to prom this year for the first time. She doesn’t want to miss that. I get it. Those two kids are practically joined at the hip! She surprised me by going back to the good parts of homeschooling. We’ve done it before. We could do it again.

I think if we did file as a homeschool, it would be misinterpreted by my colleagues and the community in general. It would be mistakenly perceived as a rejection of our local school. Let me say very clearly: our local school is GREAT, and the teachers and administrators are awesome people who sincerely care about the students. Do not doubt it! I haven’t taught in a better public school.

In our case, homeschooling would not be a rejection of the school; it would be a parental decision based on the needs of my child. It is an option any parent can choose. If we end up making that choice, I hope everyone will see it for what it is: a loving sacrifice a family makes for a child’s benefit.

The Chicken Chick