Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

January 24, 2008

Education Expert, Homeschooling, and Socialization

Filed under: education, education reporting, Homeschooling — texased @ 2:45 pm
Texas Ed Spectator
The San Antonio Express News published a very positive article on homeschooling. The best part was that when they presented the obligatory “expert” view on homeschooling who you expected to give the standard “problems with socialization” spiel, you got this instead:
See the complete post at my new website www.texasedspectator.com.

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January 5, 2008

Top Websites on Homeschooling Legality in Texas

Filed under: Homeschooling, Texas — texased @ 7:54 pm
 This is on my new website www.texasedspectator.com.
Texas Ed Spectator
These websites are provide you with information on the legal aspects of homeschooling. They list relevant education code, legislation, and court cases as well as the basic steps to start homeschooling in Texas (how to withdraw your child from public school.) Many other websites present this information as well but those listed here have proved themselves reliable and enduring. If you come across information at other websites that seems inconsistent or contradicts information from the websites below, I suggest you go with the information from the websites below.

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October 1, 2007

San Antonio SAT Prep

Filed under: Homeschooling, San Antonio — texased @ 7:07 pm

Announcements

SAT Prep Class

Offered by: Pauline Bauml (math) and Cayce Yarbrough (language)

Both of these teachers are well known, respected and valued in the home school community. Studies have shown that prep courses will boost students’ test scores significantly and, with these two teachers, your student will look forward to these beneficial classes.

Location: Our Lady of the Lake University, Metz Building

Dates: Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 2007

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

On-time fee: $150 plus $20 registration fee

Walk-in fee: $150 plus $40 registration fee

All material provided.

To register: mail $20 registration fee to Pauline Bauml. Must be postmarked by Oct. 17, 2007 to be “on-time.” Please do not mail after this date.

For questions or to register, please contact Pauline Bauml:

9130 Oak Downs

San Antonio, TX 78230

(210) 287-1898

September 29, 2007

Petition for the National Education Association

Filed under: Homeschooling — texased @ 2:42 pm

Care2 : The Petition Site : Homeschoolers against NEA Philosophy

The National Educational Association in their 2007-2008 Resolutions has taken a stand against homeschooling.

Don’t teacher unions have better things to do? When they take the time to include it as a resolution, you have to wonder what are they worried about?

Do they really think that enough parents will pull their kids out of public school to homeschool that it will effect their ability to be gainfully employed?

Maybe their worried about religious conservatives pulling their kids out of school and brainwashing them. Hate to tell you but simply the fact that parents might consider this means that brainwashing is going on despite the school’s best efforts.

I think it has more to do with some teachers feeling threatened by the “success” of homeschoolers. Right now “success” is homeschoolers winning the Geobee and spelling bee. Well, they want to change it so that “success” is documenting students being able to pass a public school test. Notice that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with learning or problem solving ability.

Given all of the “challenges” teachers face in the classroom, I think the NEA would be better off looking for ways to support teachers in the classroom. But I guess it’s easier to pick on homeschoolers than accomplish meaningful change in the classroom.

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September 26, 2007

Homeschooling and Harry Potter

Filed under: Homeschooling — texased @ 2:16 pm

I’ve always thought that J. K. Rowling did an excellent job of critiquing the school bureaucracy in the fifth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, includes a justification for homeschooling. Once Voldemort takes over the Ministry of Magic, he makes some changes in education policy.

 

“Attendance is now compulsory for every young witch and wizard,” he replied. That was announced yesterday. It’s a change, because it was never obligatory before. Of course, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain has been educated at Hogwarts, but their parents had the right to teach them at home or send them abroad if they preferred. This way, Voldemort will have the whole Wizarding population under his eye from a young age. pg 210

Homeschooling is a sort of canary in the coal mine. When the right to homeschool disappears, we are well on our way to an authoritarian state.

September 24, 2007

PSAT Info for San Antonio Homeschool Students

Filed under: education, Homeschooling, San Antonio — texased @ 6:45 pm

Calendars : Northside Independent School District – San Antonio, TX 78238

October 17, 2007 7:45 am to 12:30 pm PSAT Testing Opportunity for Home School Students

Home school students whose instructional level is either Grade 10 or 11 are eligible to take the PSAT at Northside ISD schools if they live inside the Northside boundary.

The PSAT test date for 2007 is Wednesday October 17 with all home school students testing at one central site in Northside, the Patrick Teicher Student Services Building located at 5651 Grissom Road, 78238.

Interested parents should complete the registration form attached to this notice making special note of the requirements for this testing opportunity. Please contact the Testing and Evaluation Department at 210-397-8726 for more information.

For NEISD area

NEISD Press Release — PSAT for Home Schooled

Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It’s a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test™. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

Registration:

The 2007 PSAT/NMSQT test date for North East ISD is Wednesday, October 17. You must sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT at the North East department of Guidance Services.

This test will be administered by North East ISD. If you are a home-schooled student, please contact Guidance Services at 804-7139 to find out about registration, time, and location for testing.

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September 17, 2007

The Homeschooling Community

Filed under: Homeschooling — texased @ 7:02 pm

I subscribe to several homeschool groups on yahoo and periodically there is a “discussion” on what it means to be a homeschooler. There was one recent discussion I decided not to join for several reasons but the principle one being that I don’t need to be yelled at and called some sort of subversive in email. It has been my experience that any remarks by an individual contrary to establish doctrine results in said individual being tagged a troll or flamer or a creator of “shinies” and told that she isn’t being attacked but just informed of the truth. I keep telling myself that I’m going to unsubscribe but don’t because every once in a great while (and it keeps getting greater) I gleam a nugget of information from the discussion.

Before I go on, I just want to state for the record that I do know the difference between a “homeschooler” and someone who does “public school at home.” That said, I wonder about the nature of the discussion and why it seems such an “either or” proposition.

One of the recent discussions was about how people who homeschool today (or at least ask about homeschooling) aren’t like people who homeschooled in the past. It was while following the conversation that I realized why this discussion will never be settled no matter what either side believes.

It comes down to “everything changes” over time, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. I see the defenders (and definers) of the meaning of homeschooling like the residents of a small town not too far from some metropolitan area.

For some reason, this small town has been “discovered.” Maybe it started attracting people during it’s hometown fair. Maybe the media finally ran out of human interest stories closer to home and ran something about its residents. Maybe enough people started commuting to jobs in the city and people just found out about it through their co-workers. No matter how it was “discovered,” the town residents now find themselves living with an ever increasing number of new arrivals and things just aren’t the same.

Initially, the presence of the newcomers brought some welcomed changes to the town. Maybe there were now enough kids to form a baseball league or even keep the local school from closing. Maybe it meant enough new subscribers to allow the local paper to publish more frequently. Maybe it meant more money for the local library or made it a little easier to attract new health care professionals to town. For many small towns, the initial influx of new comers is a revitalizing change.

For a while.

And then the old timers find that the newcomers aren’t interested in contributing a turkey dinner to fund the volunteer fire department–they would just rather raise taxes and pay for a full time department. Enough people are interested in the town that some housing developers are starting to build cookie-cutter neighborhoods that could be found in any suburb. And the next thing you know, the town has a referendum on whether or not Walmart should be allowed to build a store downtown.

The old timers wonder why the newcomers want to destroy the very nature of what attracted them to the town in the first place. The newcomers wonder what’s wrong with wanting to buy a house that has modern conveniences.

And so there you are, the town has changed and there’s no going back to the way it was before. The old timers who jump all over the person asking directions to the nearest Starbucks and telling them that Dairy Queen does the town just fine doesn’t help the situation. The newcomers do need to be reminded about the values that attracted them to the town in the first place. But the fact remains the newcomers are there and they get to vote just like everyone else in the next election. So instead of alienating them with a “like us or leave us” attitude, it might be better to try to educate them.

Of course, some people aren’t interested in being educated and some people are still going to want Walmart to open shop in town. Then you will have to gather up as many supporters as possible to keep Walmart from building. Its going to be a whole lot easier to find supporters if you didn’t start off the relationship by calling them idiots.

Obviously, the newcomers are going to differ from the old timers regarding some issues. It’s to be expected since there was something different about the old timers that made them willing to live in the town long before the newcomers came. Therefore, things aren’t going to be the same. And how ever things are going to turn out isn’t going to be determined strictly by the old timers. They may be able to run off some of the more clueless newcomers, but not all of them. So it’s time for all the people in the town to figure out where it’s going rather than just remembering where it’s been.

I see myself definitely as one of the newcomers to homeschooling. I was one of the people who wouldn’t move to the town until I could get high speed internet. I’m also one of the newcomers that is sticking around.

What can I say, I’ve stopped referring new homeschoolers to some of the national lists because I’ve seen them jumped on for asking the wrong question. I don’t need to be spending my time explaining to them what happen when I’ve got plenty to look after locally.

I’m not that egotistical to think that my lack of participation in the national lists or refusal to recommend them to other homeschoolers spells doom for the lists. I’m sure they will continue on fine without me. But when they continue on without a lot of other homeschoolers as well, what becomes of their relevancy to homeschooling in general? Ultimately, I think it would be a loss to all homeschoolers, even those that never heard about the lists.

August 27, 2007

Back to school

Filed under: Homeschooling, Socialization — texased @ 8:00 pm

Broadsheet: Women’s Articles, Women’s Stories, Women’s Blog – Salon.com

It’s that exciting time of year when adolescent girls across the nation go in search of the essentials for starting off the school year prepared and ready to learn as a hot new ‘tween: pink, padded bras, T-shirts with slogans declaring their total lack of smarts (“I Left My Brain in My Locker”) and, perhaps, a Juicy Couture gym bag made especially for prepubescents, announcing “Juicy and Happy.”

If you want to understand why homeschoolers give you a look of amazement when you ask about socialization, think about “back to school.” Now if the phrase “back to school” conjures up a collection of warm feelings and exciting images, you can stop reading write now. But if “back school” brings a creeping feeling of dread, you might get some glimmer of understanding why homeschoolers think it’s schools with the socialization problem and not homeschoolers.

Do homeschoolers have to deal with the latest fashion trends? Yes. But it generally isn’t in the context of who is wearing what in Algebra class. And I don’t know many homeschoolers avoiding advanced math and science classes because they might be perceived geeky.

So the next time you have a feeling that all the “back to school” hype has gotten a bit out of control, you’ll have some insight as to why people choose to homeschool.

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August 20, 2007

The only place to play baseball

Filed under: Homeschooling, sports — texased @ 2:53 pm

Several people have been telling my husband that we should enroll our son in high school because he’s certain to make the baseball team. This isn’t about his need for “socialization” or better academic opportunities. This is about how the only place to play high school age sports is in high school.

It’s not that he would have a chance to learn to play baseball, it’s that he is already good enough to play–the high school isn’t going to waste it’s time teaching kids a sport when they need their team to win.

And this is the only reason people can come up with for him to go to high school. So what does that mean?

August 11, 2007

Because education officials wouldn’t lie

Filed under: Accountability, Education reform, Homeschooling — texased @ 5:54 pm

Critics say TEA’s dropout figures mislead public | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Bob Sanborn, who runs a Houston-based education research and advocacy group, said the changes addressed some of his concerns. But, he said, the state still allows schools to get credit for students who never graduate. Students can say they are dropping out to be homeschooled, for example, but the state never checks on whether that is true.

Is he seriously suggesting that the high school dropout rate will be affected by cracking down on those “fake” homeschoolers?

HISD has already shown that if a high school has listed a big enough number of students having withdrawn to homeschool that it actually gets notice then the problem is with the keepers of the list, not the homeschoolers. They could just as easily have stated that they had transferred to a private school or moved out of the state.

Counting dropouts in Texas has been a problem for over 30 years. If the best Sanborn can do it to point to “homeschoolers” then you’ve got to wonder about the quality of his education analysis. Somehow, I have a feeling that Sanborn would want to check up on homeschoolers regardless of the dropout situation.

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