Sales of Home Education Tools on the Radio

Every morning when my alarm goes off, and whenever I’m in the car, I listen to Chicago radio. It’s a lifetime habit I can’t break, even though I left Illinois several years ago.

Chicago radio is overloaded with ads. Some of them are played over and over, so they must be successful. I assume whatever’s being advertised on Chicago radio is something that’s probably popular with a lot of people, since a big city usually has a good cross-section of the population.

Lately I’m hearing a lot of radio ads for a DVD series that teaches children to do math. If you knew nothing about public education today, you might wonder why advertisers think there’s a market for such a thing. But as the public schools continue their downward trajectory, more parents are seeing a need for math help for their kids. A DVD is something they can put in front of their children without getting too involved themselves, or so they hope.

Technology is slowly changing the face of education. Today’s kids have access to so much educational material on DVDs and the Internet, via tablets and laptops. More and more parents are realizing that their children can have a good education at home, without the distractions of the classroom, or the dangers.

Think I’m exaggerating about that last part? I wish I was, but it scares me to think about how easily and quickly I came up with these stories from just this month:

Teacher with child porn on FBI Most-Wanted List

Iowa teacher admits to sex with four of her students.

Utah teacher charged with raping student.

Illinois teacher pleads guilty to sex with student.

California teacher pleas “no contest” to sex with 14-year-old student.

Maryland teacher arrested with child porn.

California special-ed teacher fired for running porn sites on school computer.

Two married female NY teachers investigated for “inappropriate relationships” with student athletes.

Florida teacher’s assistant charged with aggravated child abuse.

NY teacher fired for kissing student, exchanging 1400 texts.

Texas teacher fired for molestation denies it, saying she doesn’t even like touching black children on the hand.

OK, that’s enough or I’ll lose my lunch. I find it especially depressing that most of the perpetrator teachers listed above are women. Ugh. Bottom line: today’s schools are definitely dangerous places for children.





The Increasing Danger in Public Schools

I’ve written extensively about the many negatives of public schools: herd mentality, negative socialization, indoctrination, bullying, etc. As much as I see homeschooling as something positive in its own right, it’s also a great way to give your children a far better education than what they’ll get in a public school.

But I never dreamed that yet another reason would crop up, one that would make it imperative that people take their children out of the public education system: increasing numbers of these teachers are sexual predators.

And it’s hard to know which ones are the predators. For example, who would look at this young woman, an Iowa math teacher, and suspect that she sends nude photos of herself to students and performs sex acts on them?

Or this young man in Pennsylvania, another math teacher, who sent dirty texts and a thong to one of his students, promising her extra credit if she sent him a nude photo of herself AND it turned him on. How creepy is that?

While teachers preying on students is not unheard of, we’re seeing new reports of such teachers on a regular basis these days. The fact is that sexual predators are in schools all over this country, and until they’re caught in the act it’s almost impossible to know who they are. How do you know your child won’t be targeted by one? You can’t know….and you can’t guarantee your child’s safety in school. You can only guarantee your child’s safety by teaching your child at home.

A Response to the Usual Back-to-School Drivel

A recent issue of the Sunday newspaper supplement USA Weekend offered the usual back-to-school article; this year, the author devised a 7-point plan for parents sending their children back to their local school.

Here are her seven points, followed by my take on them  🙂

1)      “Make contact with teachers by Week 3.” Personally, I’d want to know the adult(s) my child is spending each day with before I put her on the bus. But that’s just me. As the author says, “The goal is to open up the lines of communication between the most influential adults in your child’s life.” Again, we homeschoolers prefer that the most influential adults in our children’s lives are us. We’re funny that way.

2)      “Check that your child is reading at grade level.” This would be perfectly logical if all children learned at the same rate. But they don’t. I read at three; a friend’s homeschooled daughter didn’t start reading until 11. Both of us could read massive novels at age 13. So let’s not try to force kids into a mold; they’ll read when they’re ready.

3)      “Understand the importance of downtime.” We already do, which is why we homeschool! The author quotes an article from Pediatrics magazine stating that in 2009, 30% of 8- and 9-year-olds got little or no recess in school. That’s sad, but the remaining 70% probably don’t get much more downtime because today’s kids are fully booked outside of school. Downtime is sorely needed by ALL kids.

4)      “Analyze test scores.” Because test scores tell you how smart your child is, right? No! Some very bright kids don’t test well, and some average kids can score quite well because they can read the test-writer’s intentions. Schools (and our government) place way too much importance on test scores.

5)      “Stay on track for college.” Here we go again. Not all kids should go to college. Not all kids need to go to college. And given the number of college grads now underemployed and unemployed, college is not a guarantee of a promising job future. Determine if your child is college material and go from there.

6)      “Don’t trash-talk about math.” Well, duh. You never trash-talk things you want your child to enjoy and excel in. But why math in particular? Be open to all of your child’s interests and give him plenty of opportunities to explore the world around him.

7)      “Be part of the learning community.” The author recommends going to school meetings, being a school volunteer and going to the school play. Beans! My parents never showed up at school except for occasional parent-teacher nights and my graduations, yet I still made the honor roll. Let’s be honest: being part of the “learning community” is just a way for the school to butt into and usurp your family life. Replace the phrase ‘learning community” with “family.” Be there for your child. Read to her, answer her questions, take her to museums, zoos and anywhere else that piques her curiosity. Put your energy into your child instead of the PTA. The time you put into actually being a parent is priceless.

A Parent’s Righteous Anger

We never sent our youngest son to school because we were already homeschooling our older three kids and didn’t think his having Down syndrome was a good reason not to homeschool him, too. That was our main reasoning. But underlying that logic was our fear that he might be mistreated in school.

When I went to school, the “retarded,” as they were called, were often made fun of and picked on by other students. But it never occurred to me back then that teachers might do that too. Adults were supposed to be above such things; teachers in particular were supposed to care about children and be kind to them.

As a parent, I wasn’t quite so naïve. Yes, there are good teachers out there, but I know from the experiences of some relatives and friends that you take your chances when it comes to your child getting a good teacher vs. a bad one. When your child has mental retardation (and particularly when he has speech delays or apraxia), you lay awake nights worrying that someone might hurt him in school and he wouldn’t even be able to tell you that it happened, much less share his pain so that you could help him recover from it.

So homeschooling our son resolved all sorts of problems for us. But not everyone can homeschool their special needs kids. Take this single dad, for example. His 10-year-old son has autism and as a result has difficulty communicating at times. But he’s normally a sweet kid, so when he started acting out in school, his dad became concerned. Then he sent his boy to school with a recorder in his pocket and soon discovered the ugly truth that his son could not tell him.

My heart breaks for this man and his son, and for all parents of special needs kids who can’t homeschool them. What you will see in this video is righteous anger:


Students? What Students?

Here’s a story for those well-meaning relatives and friends who tell us we shouldn’t be homeschooling our children because we aren’t certified teachers.

You know what bugs me the most about this story?

It’s not the fact that this fifth-grade teacher sent 3800+ emails over the course of 169 school days. (At a rate of one minute per email, that’s 57 hours of paid work time.) Continue reading