Utah Online School, formerly named Washington Online, hosted a World Block Party at the local community center that sounded like great fun on Earth Day.
Here’s the header from the Cache Valley Daily:
Online homeschoolers hosting World Block Party
These are great activities, not only for fun and learning, but they help build relationships in our homeschool community.” Taylor adds, “Some of what we’ve done, we’ve only been able to invite UOS students due to limited spacing. We’re very excited to open the World Block Party up to everyone – anyone who is currently homeschooling, anyone who is thinking about it, and everyone in the community who would like to come have fun and learn with us.”
Homeschooling is a trend on the rise nationally and in Utah.
One might ask why I’m pointing out a Virtual Public School gathering on a homeschool website. I thought it important to observe the article did not mention these families are in a public school, without the independence of traditional homeschooling. But yet, the benefits of homeschooling are scattered throughout the article.
Some families gain from participation in these virtual public schools. Of course, there are benefits to independent homeschoolers. Clarity and transparency are key motivations for educational success, along with media responsibility.
“The benefits for our family are so many, it’s hard to list them all,” explained Jessamy Bright, of Middleport, who is the primary teacher for her girls, Siena, age nine, and Lucia, age three. “Freedom and flexibility in learning, opportunities for field trips, and socialization and friendships with many different age groups are a few of my favorites to bring up in talking about homeschooling. I love that we live a lifestyle of learning that isn’t restricted to a classroom during school hours. And, since I’ve been blessed to be able to stay at home and work from home, I actually get to see my children grow up and work with them on a daily basis .”
It would be awesome if many government authorities understood homeschoolers don’t need the group control deemed necessary in public schools. Homeschoolers don’t run on a bell. We’re nested in our home (along with our numerous field trips) and our ‘class’ numbers don’t require classroom management. Mother of three, Nora Ellis, makes this point below.
“We’ve found our children enjoy the engagement of independent learning as well as the flexibility they have to do other things. Instead of being in a classroom seven hours a day, they are able to complete their required work and explore their interests,” said Ellis. “Two of the children use the time to study more animal and engineering science while one pursues classical ballet.”
Another form of learning at home is described below. There should have been more clarity from the reporter that both of Teresa Shiflet’s sons are in public school. Connections Academy is also a school under public school accountability regulations. Ms. Shiflet did point out the difference.
Teresa Shiflet, of Rutland, is the mother of two sons — one is enrolled in public school and one participates in a program with Ohio Connections Academy, which is one of several virtual schools offering a full online curriculum for Ohio students from Kindergarten through high school graduation.
“OCA provides their students with books, and computers for free,” Shiflet said. “The students also have teachers for every class. So this program differs from traditional homeschooling in the fact that I as a parent do not have to select the curriculum, nor do I have to teach. My son is held accountable to his teachers who report to the state just like a teacher in a traditional school setting. The education that he is receiving is competitive on a national level.”
Families have many curriculum options and use different methods to achieve homeschool success. Online or virtual schools make homeschooling easier than ever before. But, not everyone goes that route.
The parents all made appealing points about the joys of homeschooling. It’s not a perfect life, but it most definitely is a fulfilling education and family life.
Union Bulletin, Walla Walla, Washington, 25 March 2007, Washington Virtual Academy nets students across state
“It’s not what you would consider a typical public school,” said David Talley, principal of Berney Elementary in Walla Walla. Talley also heads HomeLink, a program offered by the district for homeschool families.
Mary comments in her post titled, The “Net” that Catches Homeschoolers?
posted by Valerie
Journal and Courier, Lafayette, Indiana, 20 March 2007, Parents see benefits in virtual schools
Another misconception, Eby and Brumbarger cited, is that this is homeschooling or only for homeschooled students.
Well, I’m glad we got that straightened out.
posted by Valerie
Seattle Times, Seattle, Washington, 14 March 2007, Motion to stop relocation deniedSnohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz last week denied Edmonds home-school parents’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Edmonds School District from relocating Scriber Lake Alternative High School to the former Woodway High School site currently used by the Edmonds Home School Resource Center.
In other words, the families who use the Edmonds Home School Resource Center want to restrict the use to … enrolled children? … and to keep an alternative school from using the facility. Trouble is (apparently), the Edmonds Home School Resource Center is an alternative school itself.
Edmonds Home School Resource Center, Edmonds, Washington, “About Us”
Edmonds HRC is a “Homeschool Resource Center” that operates as an alternative school under W(ashington) A(dministrative) C(ode) 392-121-182 Alternative Learning Experience Requirements. Edmonds HRC is open for registration to any person who resides in the Edmonds School District. Because Edmonds HRC is a public school in the Edmonds School District, there are no costs to enroll.
With public money comes public strings.
posted by Valerie
Gray’s Harbor Daily World, Grays Harbor and Northern Pacific Counties, Washington, 31 January 2007, Hoquiam looking into online program of its own
The superintendent said there are 42 Hoquiam children who are being homeschooled and another 23 attending Harbor High School.
“Down the road, with what we want to do, the program ought to be able to attract and retain students, and if our homeschool parents see the virtues of it, ultimately it could enhance our enrollment,” Parker said.
posted by Valerie
Atlanta Journal Constitution (subscription), Atlanta, Georgia, 22 January 2007, Gingrich, sent home to study math, tries to pull a Lincoln
‘He plunged into studying everything he had missed during his 20 years in the House. He immersed himself in math and science, trying at first to home-school himself. I spent one afternoon studying fractals, which is a very complex mathematics,’ he recalls. ‘It was hopeless.’
And illogical. One doesn’t just osmotically absorb 20 years of information regardless of absorption style. Homeschooling is a way of living, not a magic act.
Gillette News Record, Gillette, Wyoming, 28 January 2007, Lessons from the comfort of home
Ephrum and Keenan – who are in second and third grade, respectively – are among 19 students enrolled in the Wyoming Virtual School, an out-of-the-classroom education option that began in the fall for kindergarten- through sixth-grade Campbell County students.
Susan is virtual school teacher Susan Bennett. Each week, she requests two assignments from students. Sometimes, she asks for a specific one and sometimes she allows parents or students to choose which ones they turn in.
Home-schooling is not new to Blair. Years ago, he home-schooled his three kids, all of whom are now adults.
Officials at the Wyoming Department of Education have yet to decide whether to fund the Wyoming Virtual School. If they don’t, the program may come to an end within the coming years.
It’s not homeschooling, it’s an in-home public school program for enrolled students. There is a difference.
posted by Valerie
I saw that Susan commented on this story a couple of weeks ago in Forced to Homeschool?, and that she questioned the terminology used. I put it out of my mind but another version of the story came to my attention again as I was cleaning out my Google alerts folder. I saw that misnomers by some members of the news media continued (an explanation of “home-bound” instruction is on PDF pages 30 – 31), and many bloggers commented on the story in the context of ‘homeschooling = home bound.’ The participants at the Snopes discussion board continued in this vein until one of the participants noted, “I take back what I said about homeschooling. According to this columnist, they aren’t doing what we think of as homeschooling, they are getting a district paid tutor. That’s homebound not homeschooled. Big difference.”
Not everyone figured out the “big difference.”
(underlining added in the snips)
CBS2 Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 13 December 2006, Teen Expelled From School For Turning In Found Gun
… Ryan Morgan’s parents and supporters attended the school board meeting Wednesday evening to try to fight the expulsion. They believe the punishment, and the subsequent alternative school option, are not the proper responses to a mistake made by a teenage boy.
WBBM Newsradio 780, Chicago, Illinois, 14 December 2006, Teen Turns In Found Gun, Gets “Expelled”
John Izzo says, while he is prohibited from going into detail about the allegations, the student has been restricted from the general school environment and all school activities but will be provided a home-based tutor and will be allowed to graduate with his class.
The Herald News, Sun-Times News Group, Joliet, Illinois, 14 December 2006, Student ordered to be home schooled
JOLIET — The school board for an elementary district has chosen to have a student home schooled instead of expelling him in response to a possession of a gun incident.
The Herald News, Sun-Times News Group, Joliet, Illinois, Troy student won’t be expelled in pellet gun case
JOLIET — A Troy Middle School student will be home schooled instead of being expelled for gun possession.
Officials at Troy School District 30C barred the teen from attending school for the remainder of the year, although they have assigned him an at-home tutor.
Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 15 December 2006, Parents hit punishment for picking up pellet gun
“In this case, the board’s final motion was to have the student assigned to homebound study instead of expulsion, where no educational services would be offered at all,” Schochat said.
Blogger News Network, 14 December 2006, Schoolboy Turns in Found Weapon’, Gets Suspended For Effort.
As mentioned, this penalty is supposed to leave young Ryan expelled for a full year. Of course, the school board really does “care” about education, you know? We know this because they say so, you see. So, instead of leaving him expelled and sans educational opportunity they are going to pay for a year of home schooling.
And this is where the commotion about what at-home education is called. Once the term ‘homeschooling’ refers to any kind of at-home education/instruction/learning, the conclusions reached during the discussion may be erroneous.
Not only is Ryan being punished for trying to fulfill what he is told is his duty, but now so are the taxpayers who will have to pay double for this young man to be educated. With property taxes already paying for his education once at the school, it will now be doubled for his home schooling.
Free Republic, 14 December 2006, Schoolboy Turns in Found ‘Weapon’, Gets Suspended For Effort
– Also, as to the homeschooling crap…not only do the taxpayers have to anti up, but what about the parents?
– The school district does NOT receive funding for this kid’s education if he is not there, so in effect the taxpayers are NOT paying double for his education. Furthermore, the cost of private school or homeschooling (or vouchers) is typically less than the amount spent per student by the public school system. Therefore, if he is being homeschooled with the school district paying for it, the taxpayers are actually saving money on this kid’s education.
– And if, during the year of home schooling, he should find another gun and turn it into his publicly-funded homeschoolers….
– Homeschooling at taxpayer expense. What an interesting concept.
– This school ordered the boy to be homeschooled (or, as officials put it, to “home bound study”) for a year, at taxpayers’ expense.
See where the confusion of terms gets us? It appears that the officials are seen to be waffling by calling homeschooling, “home bound study.”
– Interesting, as many families homeschool their children without the taxpayers footing the bill.
Many? No, not many, most. But the terms need to be used correctly, while taking into consideration state specifics.
In states such as Iowa and Florida, homeschooling can be legally underwritten by the taxpayers while California has only private school laws, so ‘homeschooling’ is up in the air, too — legally speaking. But the story of Ryan Morgan is from Illinois, and the Illinois laws don’t include public school at home in the private-school homeschooling language, although un-enrolled youth may participate in credit courses at public schools if space is available. In this manner, the course is ‘paid for’ by the registration in the school, just as with any other young person who attends public school, and the course is administered and proctored in the normal public school fashion so that the bureaucracy does all the appropriate i-dotting and t-crossing.
In many places, though, the concept of homeschooling is either knowingly or sloppily co-opted. Regardless of whether the confusion is intentional or accidental doesn’t mean that public school programs delivered via a computer modem and now being labeled homeschooling actually are homeschooling (as in the case of virtual schools), or that “home bound” school lessons mailed back and forth from the local public school constitutes homeschooling. Those programs are publicly funded in their entirety. (caveat for virtual programs fully paid for by parents — this topic is not simply black and white)
Homeschooling families fund their children’s educations privately — that was the impetus before the movement was a movement: Independence. Freedom. Liberty.
Schooling provided at public expense is a part of the public school system. Of course, given the fifty-plus sets of rules (or lack thereof) concerning home education, there are exceptions to the legal terminology, but the ‘do it yourself’ modus operandi of homeschooling parents is intrinsic to the concept of homeschooling. Yes, junior college classes add a wrinkle, but those classes aren’t part of the compulsory primary, elementary, middle/junior, and high school structure such as is considered by most state laws (or most state funding pigeonholes).
Using public money specifically for 1st through 12th grade instruction (but not for college credits) usually incurs an obligation to meet the instructional requirements to be met by using the money. This is how the federal government enforces NCLB. If you take the money, you take the test.
A big problem with the confusion of homeschooling with other at-home options is that, in the realm of public opinion, what is factual doesn’t matter. It is what is believed that sways opinion — and believing the worst is a pleasurable hobby.
posted by Valerie