Monday, October 29, 2012

Brewer from Tennessee

Brewer: Time to Fix Multi-Million Dollar Cyber School Mistake

Senate Candidate Says Education Should Focus on Student Achievement, Not Corporate Profit Margins

Apparently, you have not done your homework. This is our fourth year of Virtual Academy with k12.

Every August 84 lbs of books come UPS for each individual student. Those books include the same books from Harcourt / McMillan/McGrawHill that all the other school children use as reference that have been approved by Teacher Education Agency.

The assignments are just a real as any other course taught in a brick and mortar setting, the daily exams are just as real and the number of standardized tests are four times a year not just annually.

A significantly more rigorous program with a teacher pupil ratio of closer to 1 to 2 rather that at the local school with a teacher pupil ratio of 1 to 30 is easily identifiable by the scores.

There will be a significant deviation of the overall performance due to the disproportionate number of special needs population that were not getting their needs met at the local brick and mortar school and would have done poorly on standardized tests. That should not be the only indicator of progress in either school setting.

Many students are thriving in a more private one on one setting where the student can talk to a certified teacher via skype for an hour if need be when there is a question and not feel rushed by the clock, or intimidated by the rest of the class for being unable to comprehend something that is below grade level.

There may not be a high quality research, but I am confident that while three of my adult children were graduated from the 12th grade without the ability to complete 8th grade algebra, 10th grade English, and one that can only spell her name, but she got a diploma. Now I am paying for that same education at the college level since it was not taught by the certified teachers that had a building and books. Apparently, the lights were on, but no body was home.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spirit of the lesson

when I started schooling at home, I was a frazzled mess that I was doing it wrong. that my kids would be permanently scarred for life that either they would not learn anything or worse that they not learn the right way.

a veteran of 20 years and 8 kids told me this at her last child's 12th grade graduation. "I QUIT EVERY SINGLE DAY I TAUGHT.  I wanted to turn it over to someone who had more patience. someone that was more qualified. someone that was trained. anyone but me. I knew I was not cut out for it. I knew that I was not effective at it. I just knew that I was messing it up. The next morning, I would wake up, and it was a fresh start, a do over, and I would try again."

Personally, I thought about that throughout that evening and many times since. I just knew that eventually we would run out of review material and I would have to teach. eventually the kids would figure out that I had no idea what I was doing. eventually the school / state would figure out that we were not doing it by the book, and I would have some explaining to do. My only saving grace is that I find that teaching / finding resources that teach to the spirit of the lesson rather than the letter of the law is how we do this.  if the objective is Texas independence, I can find something on the history channel in youtube that teaches it. if they watch it and can orally answer the questions in the assessment, we are good. we move on. everything in the curriculum is a suggestion, not the 10 commandments. If you can find another way, to cover the topic, GO FOR IT.

So each day we get up, we drink our coffee, we look at our kids, we tell them, failure is not an option. We cherry pick what we can from where we can, when we can.  The finally result is not how we get from A to B, but that we finished what we started. That we kept our children safe. Now do not assume that means that we have to be drone like teachers. I scream at my kids. sometimes I scream that they are brilliant and pissing it all away. sometimes  I scream that they are morons and that they need to freaking quit screwing around. and sometimes I scream because the science experiment has gone terribly wrong and I am afraid, truly afraid that we may not survive. sadly, in each situation, they do not take me seriously, they know that I we are not going to quit, we are not going to fail, and that it is going to eventually all be okay. Family is where you can say anything and it does not matter because they do not listen to you anyways.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Drink the Koolaid

Dear Mrs. Xxxxxxxx

    You may already know this, but in case Erik has neglected to tell you, I am assigning him to detention for one hour this Friday, April 22nd.  The reason is as follows:

    Erik consistently defied me.  During class he contradicted me numerous times when I insisted that the length of one kilometer was greater than that of one mile.  Every other student in class accepted my lesson without argument, but your son refused to believe what I told him, offering such rebuttals as, "You're lying to the class," and commanding other students to challenge my curriculum.

    Although he was correct, Erik's actions show a blatant disregard for authority, and a complete lack of respect for his school.  In the future, Erik would be better off simply accepting my teachings without resistance.

    Please see to it that your son understands this.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Study Island

A question came up about study island. how many blue ribbons does we need to be on target. it is complicated:
log in to study island and count how many topics to be passed = 23 - 28 depending on grade and subject
calculate how many weeks until the exams = safe to say all by around 4/1/13 or 27th week of the school year if you are not sure.
now subtracting out 1 blue ribbon for each week between then and now... (we are embarking on week 8) we have 20 weeks left to finish up the difference between where you ARE and were you NEED to be.
sounds like an algebra problem?
If you have 28 topics (6th grade math) and we are in week 8 of school, you have 20 weeks left to complete your ribbons. If you have 1, you need to get to work, if you have 8, then you are in line with 1 per week as recommended, if you have something in between, pick up the pace.
6th Math: 7 blue ribbons (week 30 testing)
6th Reading: 2 blue ribbons (week 30 testing)
7th Math: 5 blue ribbons  (week 31 testing)
7th Reading: 4 blue ribbons  (week 31 testing)
7th Writing: 5 blue ribbons  (week 28 testing)

Study Island


Saturday, October 13, 2012

more free curriculum
Classifying Critters
Scientists have a special system to keep track of plants and animals.
Cool Science for Curious Kids
Fun and interactive site to help kids appreciate science.
MHSchool: McGraw-Hill Mathematics


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

N.A.S.A. Field Trip - 7th grade





tired camper