Friday, March 17, 2006

Been tied up lately

My father was very sick and passed away last week. I'm hoping to have more time to blog real soon.

My youngest has also been having problems with recurrent ear infections and persistent Bells Palsy. That too has been taking up a great deal of my time. He has an MRI next week under general anasthesia and then will probably have tubes placed in his right ear sometime in the next couple of months.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Cost of Universal Access to Quality Preschool in Illinois: A Report to Gov. George H. Ryan's Task Force on Universal Access to Preschool

After very minimal research I found out that the State of Illinois has already looked into universal preschool. The title will take you to the report where you can read the report completed in 2003. It was highly enlightening. I didn't believe the current Governor's price tag for Preschool for All. This report has confirmed my suspicions. Under the plan looked at the Universal Preschool would be phased in over 10 years, serving 10% more of the target population each year. If the program was implemented over the ten year period at completion, in the year 2012, the price tag was estimated to be 440.8 million dollars. So, if the Governor's program is serving "all" as suggested, then how could they do it for 135 million over 3 years? I'll let people read the report and come to their own conclusions.


"Preschool For All"

It's time for me to dial up the state legislators, again. I have never called my legislators as often as I have during Gov. Rod Blagojevich's term as governor. I might add, that of all the politicians offices I have called over the last 15 years, whoever answers his calls has been consistently uninterested in what I have to say.

Governor Blagojevich has decided that the taxpayers of Illinois should foot the 135 million dollar bill for the first three years to offer preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds. It would make Illinois the first state to do so.

I have numerous objections to this program. Illinois cannot afford it and we already pay for preschool for "at risk" preschoolers. Preschoolers with delays or who are low income are eligible for preschool. If government schools can't get the job done in 13 years, then how in the world is two more years going to help? The logistical issues surrounding this are huge. Many of these preschoolers will need transportation which is expensive and these are small children to be put on buses. Then there is the issue of where the preschools will be located. There will be a need for new structures or a remodeling of old structures. Someone will have to hire and train the new teaching staff. The list just goes on and on. I'm thinking 135 million isn't going to pay for all of this. The plan is for a minimum of 2.5 hrs which means that parents have to figure out what to do with the kids the rest of the day and gets us back to the transportation issue. On the surface, this may sound like a great idea. To really make it work, it would take a lot more money and a lot more practical approach to serve the needs of working families. Illinois just doesn't have the money to pay for this.
Here is a link to a Chicago Sun Times Article: Gov to propose preschool for all kids 3-4 yrs. old


Thursday, February 09, 2006

A bit of a controversy

There is a bit of controversy going on over at the ILHS Announce List on Yahoo groups. It's over one of the hot button topics in Illinois Homeschooling and I think on more of a national level too. This involves K12 Inc.

Apparently Chicago is thinking about using the K12 virtual program. See this article from the Chicago Sun Times titled, "Virtual Academy idea may become reality."

Here's where I differ from many of the vocal opponents of this plan. I think all parents have a say in how to educate their children. I, a homeschool mom of four, do not have the right to tell you how to obtain the best education for your child. I believe in parental educational choice. I am increasingly frustrated with some homeschoolers who are "against" programs that allow children to complete their public school education from home. They are schooling at home, but they are not enrolled in a private homeschool. I've heard all the arguments about people aren't bright enough to know the difference between homeschooling and public school at home. I think some of that is just ridiculous. I know there are a few who don't get it. I do not think that gives others the right to try and cut off a parent's choice to choose public school at home.

In my career as a nurse, I saw many children with cancer, sickle cell, burns etc who had to stay at home to do their public school at home. A program like K12 inc would have made a huge difference. Instead, the families had to struggle with teaching plans that weren't meant for anyone other than the person who wrote them. This on top of a child struggling with a serious, sometimes deadly illness was just too much stress. Then caretakers had to deal with scheduling for a teacher to come for a minimal visit where not much was accomplished in addition to ferrying the child back and forth to clinics, hospitals, and labs and working around home health care providers.

The dropout rate at some of the high schools is astounding. Dropouts are no longer the traditional dropout. They are kids who are afraid to be in school and their parents cannot afford to place them in a private school and are not homeschooling them. There were two shootings recently across the street from the high school I graduated from. I thought that school was dangerous when I was there.

Last night the topic at my Girl Scout meeting was mostly about the violence the kids see every day at school. They've seen violence their entire education. A substitute teacher "smacked" a girl at the local middle school. There was a fight at the local middle school where a fish tank was broken and five children not involved in the fight were injured. A fourth grader took a gun to a local elementary school and was showing it to kids. Just another week in central Illinois. One of the girls said she doesn't want to go to high school. Who can blame her? No one is looking out for our children.

I am not going to lash out against charter schools whether the work is completed at home or in a brick and mortar building. I am not going to be against K12 inc if they can do a good job with educating children who need an education. I am for parent choice in education. I will now step down from my soap box.


The Story of Science

Last night, after our Girl Scout meeting at a local bookstore, I purchased the Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way for my seventh grader. I was poking around on the internet looking for teaching resources and found an errata page for the book. You can find it here(scroll down and there is a link to a word document). Now, if I can just find a way to incorporate all those errors into the book. The only idea I have is post-it notes.

I was unable to find any teaching materials for this book. If anyone knows of any please drop me an email or a comment.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Little Hands Making Little Gifts

This is going to be for my son's speech therapist who is expecting a baby. I thought a gift would mean more if I found something that he could make. I did all the cutting and then he did the rest. My daughter made a matching one. The baby is very sick and I thought it would be nice for the mom to have two. That way she could leave one at the hospital and not worry if it disappeared. Posted by Picasa


Thursday, February 02, 2006

And along came February...

Where did January go? I've been working on the Chinese New Year stuff for the homeschoolalong and all of the sudden, it's time for the next topic. We are moving on to the Olympics for February.

Do I have a plan? Uh, no. I'm sure one will come together. That's the joy of owning a heck of a lot of books. You can slam together a unit study without ever leaving the house. I also joined Enchanted Sometimes, it's nice to just print stuff out.

So, if anyone knows about any good stuff for the Olympics, leave me a comment.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Not much blogging here...

It's been a busy week. Our third child had a birthday this week, followed by a Dr. visit and shots. I'm also getting ready for the knitting Olympics. We'll be on the road over the weekend to see family to celebrate the winter birthdays.

I've discovered the wonders of educational television coupled with the use of the dvr player. It's very easy to use. I was never one of those people that programmed a vcr. I already feel like I've gotten my money's worth for the extra 5$ for the family stations and the $8 for the dvr. I've been recording the Magic School Bus and now, I'm trying to record Zooboomafoo tonight. It's not one of my favorites, but the kids will zip through their school work tomorrow so that they can watch it.


Monday, January 23, 2006

I checked the HSLDA website

The story titled, "Illinois Homeschool Family Dragged Into Court" remains unchanged. I think they should update the story and make it a little more reflective of the case. If the word through the grapevine in Illinois homeschooling circles is correct, then this story is inaccurate. I responded to Mr. Somerville's comment on my previous post about this, however, he has not left any more information. I really wish someone from HSLDA would be tell interested parties what is really going on.

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