Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homeschool Coop

Today the twins registered for their classes for the fall semester of our homeschool coop.  Our coop is located in Independence MO.  If you want information about joining our coop, let me know and I can email you the information  for our director.  It is NOT to late to join, as we don't begin until the Monday after Labor Day.  Last semester we met on Fridays, this semester we will be meeting on Mondays.  So far, it appears some of our usual families will not be joining us, but it also looks like we have a couple of new families.

Coops are a great way for kids to meet other kids, and parents to network and get new homeschooling ideas.  They also help in that kids can take a class in a subject that may not be your specialty, but is of another parent/teacher.

The twins are excited that it will be starting back up, as they have missed some of their coop friends over the summer months.

Emily, however, is a different story.  She decided that for this semester she wanted to try public school (her first time).  While she was at CIY (Christ In Youth) this summer, she drew a card that told her to be a witness at her school.  So, we are trying it out.  So far, I am not convinced it is the right choice for us.  We got off to a rough start.  I had called ahead, and arranged an appointment to have her tested, meet the principal, tour the school and pick her classes.  When we got there, the principal then informed us they could not test her at that time.  Then we were told the next day she could not pick her classes or even start school until after she was tested and that she may not be tested until after school started and her results were back....  Our tour turned into wandering the building ourselves, and a nice janitor woman kind of showed us the upstairs.  After putting my foot down, and contacting the state board of education, they suddenly could test her the next day.  Her test results were great--and she tested on college level in most subjects.

However, she had 16.5 credits on her transcript, and the school refused to accept her transcript.  They only gave her credit for 7, which is what most freshman have.  Then they put her in health, which she has already had, and gave her Biology I.  Finally the principal changed it to Biology II, but she has already had both Biology I and Biology II.  So, she is repeating 2 classes that she tested high on.  

I don't understand the purpose of the testing if she isn't allowed to pick her classes based on the test results.  She is enjoying it for now, but this may be her only semester there.  She worked hard for those 16.5 credits and to have the school district not recognize them is not acceptable. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our week in Joplin MO

You probably noticed I have not been on here much this summer.  All summer, the girls and I have been home for a week, then gone for a week.

Last week was our last "gone for a week" week.  At least for awhile.

We spent part of our summer in Texas, then on to Flaming Spirit Christian Camp, then Mission Lake Christian Camp, then Girl Scout Twilight Camp, then VBS followed by a family reunion.  Then, last week we were in Joplin MO for 6 1/2 days.

After church, I headed up a group of homeschoolers to go to Joplin MO to work with IDES to assist with the tornado damage from the May tornado that removed between 30% and 40% of the structures in Joplin, including a huge hospital.  My church was good enough to let me use the church van to take the bulk of the group in, and then we met another family in Harrisonville and headed on down to Joplin.  IDES has their base camp set up at the West Side Christian Church in Joplin.  We slept in the church, and IDES has built portable shower houses, a laundry room, and tool sheds in the church yard.  In addition, they also have set up a lumber yard and 2 semi trailers full of supplies and tools.

Removing wood and rocks from a yard that a tornado family was moving to.

Spreading gravel at the IDES headquarters

Our group showing off some tools that were donated.  I think by the weeks end we used them all.

The shed we built.  IDES builds sheds for tornado families to put their belongings in if they are in a situation where they had to downsize or still have their land but no home yet to store their belongings.

Each week, a different team takes turns coming in and helping out, often taking up where the last group left off.  During our week, we did landscaping, cleared and burned brush, dug up a unwanted zillion yucca plants (which the kids gave me a hard time about as I drug a bunch of the better looking ones home to replant), removed a fence that was to be relocated later, removed bricks and mortar off of a house wall so that siding could be put on, helped with some roofing and siding chores, picked up glass, rocks and nails from a yard, primed the trim of a house, moved gravel by hand (2 huge piles of it), and in 12 hours time cleared a huge parking lot of the debris left from a concrete block church maintenance building.  We also removed some flower beds and enlarged the floor of an old shed site, and erected a new larger shed at the site.

Still many homes like this one standing--The kids called this photo "cook out?"

This is a pile of debris that we moved by hand.  We tried to get a bobcat, but due to all the glass and nails it had to be one on solid tires or tracks--and none were to be found in Joplin.  Under the brush is concrete blocks.

Our group.  We had 4 adults and 9 teen home schoolers.  Rick, the director was impressed by the amount of work these kids did each day.  He would make a comment to the effect that if we got done to point A or B, we could call it a day, but each day they kids were determined to get the entire project done.

The work was not easy--all pretty much hard labor and in high temperatures.  One day we had a heat index of 113 degrees, but we kept drinking water and kept on working. 

Free Book Bank by appointment only in KCMO

Here is a great book bank that is non-profit and everything is free! It is called Heartland Book Bank, it's located in the AT&T building downtown 1425 Oak Street, KCMO 64106 and the phone number is 816-472-5600. They are only there 3 days a week, so call and make an appointment.  You must bring proof that you are a teacher or a homeschooling parent.
There is a ton of teacher resource books, texts books for all ages, and just fun reading too! All kinds of books that you can ever imagine. And it's free, so how can you pass it up? See what you think, they are always getting new materials from publishers, school districts, retired teachers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Conference in Cameron MO area

Just a reminder that the FHE Back to School Conference is this weekend. It is not too late to come. 8AM to 9AM is registration with workshops starting at 9AM.

Families for Home Education
Back to School Conference
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Old School House
116 W 4th Street
Cameron, Missouri
Guest Speaker Kerry Messer
Minister/Missionary to the State Capitol
and Your FHE Home School Lobbyist
A Special Update will be given on Joplin

Workshops include Homeschooling 101; Homeschooling Special Needs; Homeschooling
Elementary; Homeschooling High School; Homeschooling Dads; and many more

8AM – 9AM Registration
8:15 AM – 9AM Support Group Leaders Meet and Greet
9AM – Noon Workshops
Noon – 1PM Lunch
1PM Guest Speaker Kerry Messer; Past, Present, Posterity – Protecting Homeschooling Policy
1PM - 2PM Guest Speaker Kerry Messer; Past, Present, Posterity – Protecting Homeschooling Policy
2PM - 3PM A Special Update on Joplin, Q&A Panel, and Door Prize Drawing

We will be collecting basic school supplies to send to Joplin homeschoolers.
1 ream of paper 5 spiral notebooks 10 glue sticks 20 pencils
For each of these items you bring, you will be entered in a drawing.

This is a day of encouragement and refreshment for parents. While we love children, we kindly request that parents find childcare arrangements for their children. Nursing babies are always welcomed to attend.

For questions or more information:
Charyti Jackson, FHE Reg 1 Dir. 660-582-5903 or Lesa Verbick, FHE Reg 1 Assistant

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why the difference in the test scores?

After reading the previous post, those who are not familiar with homeschooling will not believe or will not understand why the difference in the test scores.  The reasons are easy for those of us who homeschool.....
  • Lower ratio  My "class" has a ratio of 1 teacher to 3 students.  Sometimes its 1 to 5,  But, it is never 1 to 24 or 1 to 30 as the traditional school setting.  This means each student gets more 1 on 1 with the teacher.
  • We do it till we get it right  If we don't understand it, we keep working at it.  A traditional school keeps moving according to schedule.  If a student doesn't get it, the rest of the class doesn't stop for them.  So, he gets further and further behind unless he gets worked with quickly.  When you homeschool, you can afford to adjust the schedule and learn it,  as your class most likely only has 1 to 3 in that grade.
  • Less time wasted  I can tell you from subbing the in classroom that we aren't waiting for people to sit down, quit talking or goofing off, taking turns to the water fountain, breaking up fights.....Then, when it finally settles down you have good 30 minutes before the bell rings.  Here, we just sit down and do it.
  • We can get more credits and electives  Homeschoolers tend to count or grade more things.  For example many traditional schools only offer home ec in middle school now.  We can offer it EVERY year.  Its called doing their own laundry, helping in the kitchen and with housework, sewing, mending, baking...every day life.  I heard a report on the radio once that said home schooled adults tended to have more and better life skills such as maintaining a budget, home ec, gardening and food preservation, cooking, making their own auto and home repairs....  This is probably why.  As kids, they were doing it for a grade, not just because they were told to do it.  If we find a TV program or video that deals with a recent lesson, we will watch it and count that time as well.  Often I will even make up a quiz to go along with it after we watch it.
  • We can school year around, and not have a 3 month "forgetting break" during the summer.
  • We don't rely on twice a year notices from the teachers to find our students weaknesses-IF our students even remember to bring the note home.....  We observe them at work on them immediately
  • We tend to get more "hands on" and fieldtrips.  Many people learn from seeing and doing or watching much better than reading about it in a text book.
  • We don't generally have to get up as early as some students do to catch a bus.  For many kids it is hard to get up at 5:30 to catch a 6:45 bus then be awake to learn at 7:55.  After school, they want to play, eat or nap, then they finally get to their homework (often after sports) and don't make it back to bed until 11 or after.  That makes it a difficult environment  to get enough rest which is necessary for our minds to work properly.
  • Everyone knows (including me) traditional schooled straight A students.  If you know anything about their family or home life, you will notice that they usually have parents who are very very involved with their children and their children's friends, activities and whereabouts.  Sadly for too many kids out there, that is not the case.  Since homeschoolers parents are usually their teachers (sometimes it is Grandparents or other close family members or friends), they as well tend to be involved in knowing their children's habits, learning patterns and activities.  Involvement is a huge factor in education.

Homeschooling vs Public Schooling

I'd like you to read this interesting article on a blog.  It is from Feb of this year...

It cites the differences between test results of homeschoolers and public schoolers.  Its very informative and factual.  

"Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled student from all 50 states who took three well-know testsCalifornia Achievement Test, Iowa Basic Skill, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007-08 academic year. The progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.
National Average Percentile Scores
Subtest          Homeschool          Public School
Reading                89                                50
Language             84                                50
Math                     84                                50
Science                 86                                50
Social Studies     84                                50
Core-a                  88                                50
Core-b                  86                                50
Core-a is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math
Core-b is a combination of all subjects that the students took on the test.
There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.
Boys – 87th percentile
Girls – 88th percentile"

This statement is great--defeats the argument we hear most often.....
"Educational level of parents:
Neither parent has a college degree – 83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree – 86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree – 90th percentile
Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.
Certified (i.e. either parent ever certified)-87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)-88th percentile"
Great information isn't it?