On being homeschooled: “I was getting to a point where things were starting to pick up for me and I was getting a little bit busier and the school wasn’t very supportive of that. It had to, at that point, be one or another. My parents looked into homeschooling – since dropping out of school is the last thing my parents would ever let me do. It’s hard because I’m not in school with my friends. But I’ve had events that have compensated for that.”
Hailee has definitely had some experiences along the way, including the recent film location of Mantua and Rome.
A couple of homeschooling teens are heading into promising directions.
Successful in ballet dancing and her academics, Madelaine Graber is expanding her horizons to Russia and the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet.
The Woodlands Villager in the Houston area reports Home-schooled ballet dancer to study at Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow By Kimberly Sutton
Homeschooling seems to bring out the best in those with computer passions, as illustrated here. David Kulp is one example, as shown in last month’s sale to Yahoo of the blogging world’s Tumblr collection. Many homeschoolers are asked how they can leave the school system, when they could support the public school with their attendance. It’s always been a puzzle to me why the kids should support, when they are there to be educationally supported. If the premise is to keep the schools’ test scores higher, that seems unfortunate. Kids should be able to follow their passions.
Congratulations to the 2013 National Spelling Bee winner – Arvind Mahankali. An 8th grader at Bayside’s Middle School 74, he plans on spending his summer studying physics. But keeping with the homeschool theme on this website, I will add that three homeschooled young ladies won 4th, 7th and 10th place. 4th place finisher and comedienne, Amber Born, received a standing ovation as she left the stage. (more…)
Congratulations go to all the winners putting together a video documentary for the C-Span contest.
C-SPAN is pleased to announce the 75 winning videos in the 2013 StudentCam competition! A hearty congratulations to each of the winning documentarians, whose videos competed among the record-setting 1,893 films that were received in this year’s competition. A total of 3,753 students representing 44 states, as well as Washington DC, and Taiwan, took part in the competition.
We thank all of the students and faculty advisors who participated. We hope that creating your documentary was a rewarding learning experience, and that you enjoyed making them as much as we enjoyed watching them. We encourage students who remain eligible to compete in the 2014 competition to participate once again. Details about the 2014 competition will be available in July, 2013. The creators of this year’s 75 winning documentaries will share in a total of $50,000 in cash prizes.
Home educated Trevor Warren won third prize in the high school category with his documentary – “The Strangers: Illegal Immigration in America”. Trevor is from Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Arkansan Kye Masino also won third prize in the middle school category for “Government Wa$te”. You can’t go wrong with Pink Floyd playing in the background.
Check out the Getting Started instructions for participation in the 2014 contest.
A San Francisco start-up brought in some help. They created an engaging recruiting tool for their company with the vital help of Doug Hoogland, former homeschooler. Doug is the youngest son of Karen and David Hoogland. Karen is a long-time Illinois homeschool advocate with some computer/website skills under her belt too.
Start-Up Uses Portal Game as Recruiting Tool By Nick Wingfield New York Times Bits
Mr. Bisciglia got the idea to use the game as a recruiting tool after seeing the work of Doug Hoogland, who helped create a custom version of Portal 2 (called a mod in the gamer community) for a man who used it as a wedding proposal. Mr. Bisciglia estimates that half of the engineers at WibiData play Portal 2, which Valve encourages people to mod.
WibiData flew Mr. Hoogland to San Francisco to tour its offices and provided him with architectural renderings of the space so he could faithfully create a virtual version of it in the game.
I want to apply for a job there just to play the game! But I suspect my computer skills will give me the hook in the reception room.
In his own words, he “pretty much dropped out of high school…was technically homeschooled the last three years…” Worked for him. Here’s the Forbes Cover Story video below and there’s more information here:
As an aside of sorts, Karen Hoogland also wrote a Home Education Magazine article [Education Without Medication] back in 2001. It’s still timely as many kids are pulled out of schools to get away from the medication pressures. High-energy kids have a hard time sitting in those seats all day. Boys seem to have the worse problem being singled out in schools.
Educational freedom seems to prove most useful for our young adults that were homeschooled.
Update – Douglas was also in this Wired magazine article:
“It’s borderline creepy how accurate the finished product turned out,” he [WibiData Biciglia CEO] says. Hoogland wrote the game’s story, which features Bisciglia as a bumbling CEO who repeatedly forgets his PIN for the WibiData jobs website.
By Sage Ross (Flickr: Boston Wiki Meetup) via Wikimedia Commons
Aaron Swartz is dead. His memorial service was Tuesday at a synagogue in Highland Park, Illinois. I ran into the terrible news reading Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing. Besides working with Doctorow on Creative Commons, Aaron developed the RSS program, the popular news and information site – Reddit, along with Public.Resource.Org. He co-founded Demand Progress, and served as a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Those are a few of his contributions from his 26-year-old life.
The prosecutors, legislators, regulators, MIT leaders and other mucky mucks against him surely did not anticipate the fallout from his tragic death. In a time where there is little public honor in Aaron’s and my home state of Illinois, Aaron (and his family) have been acclaimed for his fight to open access for documents and information that should be freely available via the internet.
From the Chicago Tribune By John Keilman and Sally Ho:
“He grew up in an environment where those sort of things were held in high esteem, the notion of making the world a better place,” Robert Swartz said.
That outlook became clear at 13, when he gained national acclaim for creating a do-it-yourself online encyclopedia that predated the launch of Wikipedia. It was the height of the dot-com boom, yet his site, The Info Network, was bereft of advertising, subscription fees or any other way to generate money.
“That’s not what the Internet was made for,” he told the Tribune at the time. “It was based on open standards and freedom, not ads.”
After Aaron’s freshman year in a private school, he moved on to homeschooling, supplementing his education with Lake Forest College classes. The homeschool community can be proud of him, not just for his brilliance, but for the way he lived his life expressing that genius.
The above video How We Stopped SOPA is explanation of the political activism and creativity used against an invasive regulatory bill that would cause government censorship on the internet.
Homeschoolers passionately protect our educational autonomy by visiting our represesentatives in our state and nation’s capitol. We do this to guard against our children being shut down in their learning joys and life passions. Just as Robert and Susan Swartz allowed for their son. We can relate to Aaron’s conversation he shared with a United States Senator. When Swartz asked him about the hypocrisy of the SOPA bill stifling freedom of information, he saw fire develop in the representative’s eyes, along with a raised voice: “There’s got to be laws on the internet. It’s got to be under control.” The tyrannical attitude was defeated that time. Aaron went on to say that these invasive bills will “happen again. The fire in these politicians’ eyes hasn’t gone out.”
The internet really is out of control. [He said with a mischievous smile] But if we forget that. If we let Hollywood rewrite the story so it was just big company Google who stopped the bill, if we let them persuade us we didn’t really make a difference. And we see this as someone else’s responsibility to do this work. And it’s our job to just go home and pop some popcorn and curl up on the couch to watch Transformers, well then next time they might just win.
Let’s not let that happen. ~ Aaron Swartz 1986-2013
Internet – 1 Congress – 0
From the New York Times By John Schwartz Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26
In 2008, he took on PACER, or Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the repository for federal judicial documents.The database charges 10 cents a page for documents; activists like Carl Malamud, the founder of public.resource.org, have long argued that such documents should be free because they are produced at public expense. Joining Mr. Malamud’s efforts to make the documents public by posting legally obtained files to the Internet for free access, Mr. Swartz wrote an elegant little program to download 20 million pages of documents from free library accounts, or roughly 20 percent of the enormous database.
The government shut down the free library program, and Mr. Malamud feared that legal trouble might follow even though he felt they had violated no laws. As he recalled in a newspaper account, “I immediately saw the potential for overreaction by the courts.” He recalled telling Mr. Swartz: “You need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk to a lawyer.”
Mr. Swartz recalled in a 2009 interview, “I had this vision of the feds crashing down the door, taking everything away.” He said he locked the deadbolt on his door, lay down on the bed for a while and then called his mother.
Aaron was a tireless supporter of the open internet and an old-school hacker. To honor his memory and his contributions to technical community, Aaron’s family and friends wanted to provide a way to share their memories that:
- uses free and open source software wherever possible
- licenses its content under the Creative Commons
- is open to the technical community to hack on and contribute to
- leverages tools that Aaron used and contributed to, like Markdown and RSS
The site itself is a work in progress; we can’t do everything ourselves. To that end, we’d like to invite other programmers to contribute to the improvement of the site on Github. Here are more features we’d like to add:
- allows for sharing and contribution to Reddit
- provide compatibility across a diverse set of web platforms
If you’d like to contribute, please fork the repo on Github and get hacking. Alternatively, you can email your memories to share them directly with Aaron’s family and friends, who will work to shift them onto the website as quickly as possible.
Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.
16 year old Ethan Chu , South Bend, Ind., was awarded a $1,000 scholarship check during a visit to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s headquarters in Stratford, Conn. Ethan and his father, William Chu, toured the Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopter assembly lines. They were also able to meet with company designers and engineers.
From the press release:
As an 11th grader, Ethan likes to play football and paintball. He is a member of the Eta Sigma Alpha National Home School Honor Society. When he is older, Ethan aspires to be an aerospace engineer, and would like to learn to fly aircraft.
“This competition gave me the opportunity to learn new knowledge and gain new skills,” said Ethan. “I was fascinated with the ‘Coanda Effect’ that I read about, and I decided to use it to make my helicopter design more efficient.”
Museums throughout the country participated in the Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Challenge program, which engaged young visitors to envision the environmental future of helicopters while learning important scientific and engineering principles through fun hands-on activities.
The Coanda Effect doesn’t pique many peoples’ interest, but it grabbed Ethan’s. I suspect his job prospects look good for his future endeavors.
Good school teachers could only be envious of the advantages homeschoolers have in the art of education. We have a cozy view of our children’s interests, strengths and weaknesses. Solutions to any learning problems can be directly applied in day to day practices. If a child balks at learning science one way, we can stroll to the great outdoors exercising a little hand-on science and biology. Park, pond and beach trips suit those goals perfectly. So does road kill.
Home education has recently been referenced as a model for educators/education.
In the Spirit of Jefferson blog, Elliot Simon pointed out former West Virginia State Superintendent Jorea Marple’s homeschool misconceptions, while offering reasons her focus was wrong. Mr. Simon also noted despite West Virginia’s low per capita income, homeschoolers succeed. Homeschoolers are often one-income and not rich, despite the media clamor stating otherwise. Check out Laura Grace Weldon’s column response – Moneybags.
I should also note West Virginia homeschoolers suffered a bit of a fright in 2011 with the appointment of Ms. Marple. She was quoted in her very first address to the WV Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education with this:
“West Virginia homeschoolers need more oversight, better standards, better evidence of progress; homeschoolers have too much flexibility.”
She’s moving on.
From Mr. Simon’s article:
It is pretty clear that homeschoolers are doing something right. On the other hand, it is equally clear that something has gone wrong with public schools here in West Virginia. For my part, I don’t blame public school teachers. The system is broken and has let them down. Homeschooling parents are not burdened by the same regulations and constraints as professional teachers. They are free to innovate and the results speak for themselves.
The website Edudemic says this about homeschooling:
5 Lessons We Can All Learn From Homeschooling – Katie Lepi
Homeschooling has probably as many supporters as it does people who are strongly against it, and while those who homeschool often have a variety of reasons for it (a concern for the school environment and the quality of instruction available top the list), most who oppose it don’t necessarily consider homeschooling a place to look for teaching and learning advice. But if we take a quick look at in the infographic below, there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between various ‘methods’ of homeschooling and many of the tactics teachers are using to try to get away from a lecture based classroom (and often, to integrate technology, too).
The article lays out commonly used homeschooling styles.
More homeschoolers are using technology based materials to either drive or supplement their learning.
“Independent Study” style homeschooling uses the parent (teacher) as a guide to help the student on their learning journey rather than to teach (sounds a lot like Challenge Based Learning, no?)
“Unschooling” style homeschooling lets the student set the direction and pace of learning based on their needs and interest. There has been a lot of press recently on integrating this style of learning into the classroom.
A focus on one-on-one attention is obvious in homeschooling, but many parents and teachers are pushing for lower teacher to student ratios in classrooms to take advantage of more personalized attention, too.
Lepi also points out Clark Aldrich’s refreshing book – Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education. Aldrich notes a practical fact many homeschoolers understood when they stepped out of the education grid(lock) in his post –Still think PhD’s and Educators should be in charge of reforming schools?
From Katherine Mangan’s article in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
“Educators were much more upbeat than either college graduates or employers about graduates’ preparation for the work force. Seventy-two percent of educators felt the graduates were ready for entry-level jobs, while only 45 percent of the graduates and 42 percent of the employers shared their optimism.
Could we dream the notion the newest ‘cutting edge’ federal government endorsed idea of more school time in the classroom will disappear? Homeschoolers demonstrate quality learning time does not mean quantities of structured time.
Maybe these observations will continue and help nudge the school system into a more useful condition. Obviously, our home educated families have an intimacy schools cannot share, but there surely could be educational movement proving beneficial for our communities as a whole.