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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Tricia S. Vaughan: Your Child Needs To Be In School

I like news that comes to me. I don't get a lot of time to surf the internet and when I try, unless I am in search of specific information, I get overwhelmed. So I take advantage of new standards that allow me to have news I am interested in come to me. Things like RSS feeds and News alerts.

I have a Google alert set up for Homeschooling Virginia. A lot of the stories I get have to do with activities in Northern Virginia, but today, I got an awesome article written by Tricia S. Vaughan. This is an opinion piece written for The American Daily.

I don't know Tricia, nor have I ever visited The American Daily before, but the article is awesome. A great response to those who believe children need to be heavily schooled in order to learn.

6 Comments:

At 10:20 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi Melissa, that was a very interesting article. I personally believe in the value of home schooling.

But I do think there is one caveat. It takes parents who will take the responsibility, and have the intelligence to do a good job. Looking back on my personal life, I do not think my mother would have taken the responsibility of teaching. Although, I am sure I would have made sure that I did learn myself.

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

I understand what you are saying, Bob, but I think a lot of the time, the kids that wouldn't do well with homeschooling because of lack of parental involvement, probably have a harder time in the school setting as well. After all, with public schools, it is the involved parents that make a difference and the involved parents whose kids take advantage of what the schools have to offer.

And more and more of these involved parents are realizing they don't need the school system to create well rounded individuals.

Music, art, theater, sports, Odyssey of the Mind, Legos, Scouts...etc...all of these can and do take place outside of the school setting. And in a world that has changed to the point where it is more important you know how to locate the knowledge, than that you be able to memorize obscure facts and dates and in a society where it has become more important that you think for yourself and learn how to think on your feet, the schools are lagging in teaching these things.

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi Melissa, I found your comments on memory interesting. There is a way to teach the skill of having a great memory. And the best and easiest teacher to understand is the writer of this book.

I was always amazed when I saw Harry Loraine on the Ed Sullivan show. One thing he did was to be introduced by name to all the members of the audience by name. At the end of the show he would have them all stand up and they would sit as he told each and every member of the audience to sit down. He has written about the system he uses countless times, it’s called the peg system that comes to us from the ancient Greeks.

Learning this system was fun and great to learn and your children might enjoy it.

 
At 4:36 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

I guess I am one of the "unwashed masses" here. I firmly believe in the school system, for more reasons than just grades, and I must take exception to something the author said about school personnel who only take a brief time compared to parents teaching at home. I had some abolutely wonderful teachers, from whom I learned a great deal. It was not just learning by rote....it was the interesting spin applied by these teachers. They took time to educate. My sister in law was of the type of the teachers... She would be up nights till 1-1:30 in the morning grading papers, planning fun educational activities....spending lots of her own money for the students. Problem is though that she was not helped by the parents. She still talks of a parent that came to her eight days (yes that is 8) before the end of school and said "Johnny is failing your class, what are you going to do about it" Thing is, sis-n-law would never fail a student as long as they tried and came to her for help. She would help them as much and as long as needed. She also expected the parents to be involved.

I think that we should not speak in generalities when we are dealing with a subject like Home vs School schooling. The individual school systems..or maybe even the individual school themselves need to be considered in the decision process.

Plus there is the issue of extracurriclar activites, such as sports, and something near and dear to my heart, marching band. Now i am aware that in some areas, homeschool networks provide for this to some degree by getting togther, but you can not substitute putting on the uniform of a recognized team, or band, and competing against others. As long as I have been involved in band, I have never seen a homeschool group at a competition. Why? The kids are missing out on a great experience that goes beyond mere book learning.

For me..I will stick to the public school system. My older three children go to the Brookville schools in Campbell County and I am glad. They will get the comaraderie and feeling of belonging that I can not, in my admitted ignorance, see how homeschooled kids can get.
They will also get the benefit of teachers such as Kelly Shoemaker, quite probably one of my favorite human beings, and still a wonderful teacher even though he is "officially" retired. They will learn from people like Don Reid, who still puts in too many hours but probably still has the coolest classroom atmosphere ever. Or Ann Gorman, or Ashby Milstead, or David Gorsline (who also allegedly has retired). And those other dedicated folks that I have encountered in my educational trek.

Committed "educators" People for whom the word teacher is not so much a title, as a way of life.

So say we al..well, so say I anyway. :)

 
At 7:27 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Jeff,

I have good memories of school. I also have a lot of bad memories. I had some teachers who were great and went the extra mile, but only had a couple of those that had actually prepared me for the next step which was college. My first semester in college was a disaster for me (a top 10 student at JFHS) because I had to relearn how to learn. I was conditioned that I had to read every single thing and that all the answers were there if I just read the books. Not the case at all in college. I needed to learn how to look for concepts, ideas, then apply them. I was fortunate enough to figure that out after one semester.

Marching band is one thing I don't know much about (either from public school or from home school point of view). We do have a wonderful homeschool orchestra that has children ages 5 and up playing the violin, flute, drums, etc. Don't remember seeing a lot of violin playing going on when I was in school. And I also don't know if they participate in any types of competition (we are not involved in the orchestra except to attend concerts to support friends who are). But why is competition so important? These kids have a great camraderie and they help one another. To me far preferable to the message of having to be better than someeone else.

I have been on field trips and park days and homeschool gatherings such as Valentine Parties where I watch big kids interacting with and helping and teaching little kids. Something that is rare if it exists at all in the public school realm. These are kids who watch out for one another without being told to do so. These are kids who share their talents with others without saying 'hey I'm the best at that'. Instead they say...'hey, let me help.' At a Valentine's party I watched a 15 year old teaching a 5 year old how to snowboard, listened as a 9 year old willing told 20 kids about the meaning of saints in her religion, and watched as some 10 year olds and 6 year olds watched over 2 year olds without parental interference. Plenty of camraderie to go around in our group. We meet weekly to skate, we meet weekly for a P.E. class in Bedford at the YMCA, we meet for orchestra practice, girl scouts, play dates, movie gatherings, parties, boy scouts, church activities, local sports, theater, group studies, gymnastics, art groups, dance classes, karate, field trips... There is no limit to the activities we participate in (except time and money).

Kids miss out on this in the public school system. The only interaction I remember having with kids older than I was was on the school bus and then us younger ones were ignored, ridiculed or taught bad language...hmm, I am not sorry that my kids are missing out on that. I had stepsons that were bullied, learned bad language (at the age of 4, Charles said a word at the dinner table that I didn't hear of until I was in college), they were picked on by others for their enjoyment of learning, and my oldest was called a liar by his teacher when he told her we were going to Paris for two weeks (which we were). I could go on about my negative school experiences with my two oldest, but I won't.

I found it interesting that you talked about how teachers need parent involvement for school to be a success (paraphrasing). I believe the author of the story and I said the same thing. Parental involvement is key. Home schoolers and unschoolers are just taking out the middle man. And more and more jump on this wagon every year and colleges are clamoring for the homeschooled kids...

When I was in elementary school I remember reading a story about the future where parents were in the living room working on their computers and the kid was in the bedroom learning on his computer. At the time computers were pretty much non-existant for the average person and I thought this was the most far fetched thing I had ever heard...now I am living it (to an extent...they were home a whole lot more than we are).

BTW, we are having a science fair next month (without prizes), just where the kids come and share their knowledge and have some fun. Wanna come see?

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Bob,

That does indeed look like an interesting book. I had a very good memory as a kid (but as I have gotten older and stuffed more stuff into my head, it seems it is not as good as it used to be;) However, Daniel tells me I never forget anything;)

I have put the book on my list of books to look for. I would like Daniel to read it especially since he has a hard time remembering things. And I can see where it would certainly be useful to get my memory back in better order and help the kids as well.

 

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