Thoughts, rants and commentary of a simple man

Candidates for California Superintendent of Public Instruction

Posted on June 8th, 2010 in On Homeschooling,On Politics,Personal Messages,Rants | 1 Comment »

I know this is very last minute but I wanted to post some of the replies I received today from the candidates that are running for Superintended of Public Instruction. Voting for the California Primary Election closes at 8:00 PM today, so if you haven’t voted and you have a heart for home schooling, here are the candidates and their responses to the question: “What is your view on home schooling?”

  • Gloria Romero
    I couldn’t contact her in my email list because her email address is not published anywhere. I find this a little odd for a state senator but, having exhausted my efforts in trying to located a contact email address, I chose to give up lest I spent my entire day trying to find her email address.
  • Lydia Gutierrez
    “Thank you for doing the ground work in wanting to support the best person who will fight for your child’s well being.
    I fully support homeschooling. Before traditional education, children were taught at home or self-taught, like our most favored President, Abraham Lincoln. I am concern what has been happening around the world of children being forced to go to public school or even families having to flee their country because of fear of being arrested because they homeschooled.
    We must fight for parental rights and this is why I supported the ‘Right to Work’ initiative that would not allow unions to use dues for political use without the permission of the member. My union, California Teacher’s Association (CTA) supported the ‘No’ vote on Proposition 4. This was wrong; every parent has a right to know what is happening to his or her child at school.
    When it comes to educating a child, the best scenario is parents, teachers, and the community are playing an active role in the child’s academic success.”
  • Alexia L. Deligianni
    “I support a parent’s right to homeschool their child.”
  • Leonard J. Martin
    Please refer to a previous post of mine detailing Mr. Martin’s response to this question.
  • Grant McMicken
    No response as of this writing.
  • Karen Blake
    “I fully support home schooling. I would work to keep the home schooling a viable option for all parents.”
  • Daniel M. Nusbaum
    “Dear Ms. H., I support and encourage families who privately homeschool their children. As long as the parent(s) have sufficient education, they should be left alone by government to teach their own children. If anything, government could and should do more to support homeschooling parents in their efforts, by providing teaching materials and other educational support requested by parents in order to be the best homeschoolers they can be! If elected I will educate myself to learn as much as I can about the homeschooling movement and the laws pertaining to it in California.” [NOTE: This is from his website. I could not find an email address for Mr. Nusbaum]
  • Tom Torlakson
    “Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate having an opportunity to respond to questions from voters. I’m glad you took the time to ask on Election Day!

    Homeschooling is an option about which many parents feel strongly and want to pursue. So, I support parents’ rights to choose this option for their children. “

  • Faarax Dahir Sheikh-Noor
    No response as of this writing.
  • Henry Williams Jr.
    “We homeschooled our children for 12 years in California (San Francisco Bay Area). I will see to it that parents have the full freedom to home educate their children.

    Sending you my Candidate Statement attachment with important media links.

    Just loaded this MUST WATCH YouTube video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTQug1jSlpI&feature=channel

    See: Queering the Schools
    http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_queering_the_schools.html

    In addition, I am highly recommending that Californians vote for Ken Miller as our next governor. Here are 2 of his media links.

    https://download.yousendit.com/OHo2SkhkNmNiR0pFQlE9PQ

    https://download.yousendit.com/OHo2SkhaTlE5NVh2Wmc9PQ

    Please feel free to forward this information to your circles of influence to help them decide on what is best for their families.”

  • Diane A. Lenning
    “Hi Robert, I support “free choice” in education which includes home schooling. My nephew was home schooled and got a quality education. It is important for parents and students to have choices in education.”
  • Larry Aceves
    “Larry believes that homeschooling is a parent’s right and if a parent chooses to home-school their child, he would support that decision.

    I hope that this helps to answer your question. If not, please let us know.”

If I get more responses I will post them as they come. Again, sorry for the late posting.

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Why you should not vote for Leo J. Martin for California Education Superintendent

Posted on May 24th, 2010 in Observations,On Homeschooling,On Parenting,On Politics,Personal Messages | 3 Comments »

My wife Sandi just ran across a blog post written by a homeschooling parent who made contact with Leo J. Martin, a candidate for Superintendent of Instruction for the State of California in this year’s upcoming California elections.

In the blog post Mr. Martin is quoted as saying in reply to his position on homeschooling:

Home schooling’s appropriate for children who have special difficulties that make it impossible for them to participate in traditional schooling. But under California law, a parent has the right to home school provided the parent is qualified to offer instruction. Personally, I believe nearly all kids would benefit more from being in traditional schools. Many parents home school for religious reasons, because they still hold outdated views on race or ethnicity, or for what they consider to be moral reasons. Since we have provisions for students to attend a school outside of their local community when there are legitimate reasons to do so, home schooling as an alternative to “unsafe” campuses is hardly a legitimate alternative. For the most part – overwhelmingly – the public schools of California are not only safe but are providing a high quality education. Yucca Valley should be no exception. If it is, as Superintendent I would like to hear the
complaints.

There has also been a tremendous amount of fraud connected with home schooling. Corporate organizations have sprung up to drain precious taxpayer dollars from the state budget to “supervise” home schooling. That has been to the detriment of those children, who by necessity, must be home schooled.

My advice? Send the kids to a traditional public school.

Needless to say there are many points in his response that I take issue with as a homeschooling parent, such as:

  • Home schooling’s appropriate for children who have special difficulties that make it impossible for them to participate in traditional schooling.
    According to who? Appropriateness of homeschooling, location of education or educational curriculum should really only be defined by the parent of the child being educated or the adult who is seeking education. Just like many adults find that educating themselves at home is appropriate, so do many parents find educating their children at home appropriate. To say that homeschooling is “appropriate for children who have special difficulties that make it impossible for them to participate in traditional schooling” is completely ignorant and alienates a huge segment of the population of the state. Elected officials should know better than to call their constituents stupid. Candidates need to know this. Any person who would reveal such extraordinary ignorance in dealing with parents and their decisions on educating their children has no business being in a leadership position over the educational structure and development of an entire state.
  • Many parents home school for religious reasons, because they still hold outdated views on race or ethnicity, or for what they consider to be moral reasons.
    I actually had to read this sentence a few times to see for my own eyes that Mr. Martin did indeed say these words. Apparently he is completely out of touch with the reality that our kids face in public schools today, like issues of crime, drugs, rampant promiscuity, inability for staff and administrators to effectively discipline children, lack of values placed on education within the public school system and an increasing student to teacher ratio throughout the state at all levels of education. None of these have anything to do with religion, views on race, views on ethnicity or morality. These are all issues that our kids face in California public schools today, issues that all parents should be aware of and concerned with. These are just some of the reason parents choose to homeschool, and none of them are religious in nature nor indicative of outdated views on race or ethnicity.
  • Since we have provisions for students to attend a school outside of their local community when there are legitimate reasons to do so, home schooling as an alternative to “unsafe” campuses is hardly a legitimate alternative.
    Who gets to decide what is a legitimate reason for a student to attend a school outside their local community? Someone who believes homeschooling instead of sending your student to an unsafe campus is hardly a legitimate alternative? If this is the attitude of the highest ranking educational leader in our state, I’d rather not educate my kids in this state. With this statement he is in effect saying that just because your local campus is unsafe doesn’t mean that he agrees with your decision to homeschool. Thanks Mr. Superintendent sir. Is there a way you could be less concerned about my child or my desire for him/her to be safe at school?
  • My advice? Send the kids to a traditional public school.
    And my advice to you? Stay out of office. Your incredible disregard for parents and their children would be comical if not so incredibly alarming. Parents in our state need an advocate against our government. What we don’t need is an advocate for the government against our parents and children.

Mr. Martin’s response to an another email inviting him to look closer at homeschooling and to see for himself why so many parents choose this route for their children’s education was met with an equally alarming and ignorant response:

I did not expect any home schooler to be satisfied with my response. Nor will I change it to appeal to the thousands of home schoolers who are voters. If this election were in the 1950s I would have received a question from someone representing tens of thousands of parents who opposed the racial integration of our public schools. They would have been looking for a candidate who agreed with them. My response would have turned them off and they would have urged me to read all the arguments in favor of segregation. I know those arguments, as I know the arguments for home schooling. Now, I’m not equating home schoolers with segregationists, but the situation is the same. As I would not edit my response to the segregationists to win their votes, I will not shape my response to home schoolers to seek their votes
either.

I explained before that there are legitimate reasons for home schooling. If you meet those conditions, I fully support home schooling. But that is not why most home schoolers engage in it. And while they have a legal right to do so, I do not support home schooling in those situations.

Best Regards,
Leonard J. Martin

I am not going to go into my take on this response of his. All I will ask is that if you are a homeschooling parent in California, please spread the word that this man is bad for our state’s educational system. All homeschooling parents and children will suffer if this man is elected. Let’s do our part as a free state to see to it that he never makes it into office.

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Since when have the courts become parents?

Posted on March 13th, 2009 in On Education,On Government,On Homeschooling,On Parenting,Rants | 2 Comments »

Someone recently sent me a link to a court case in which a judge ordered homeschooled children into public school based on his decision that the children needed more ‘focus’. This, despite the fact the kids in question had tested above their grade levels.

A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be “challenged.”

The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.

The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue.

The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.

I couldn’t believe this was a real and true story. This kind of injustice doesn’t happen in America. Does it? I know judges have an appointed authority to interpret the law and enforce it accordingly, but if you read some of Judge Mangum’s own quotes you can’t help but be left with the same questions I am sure all people who read them have.

How can any judge see this case in the manner in which Judge Mangum is seeing it? How can he favor so heavily in favor of a father that has admittedly committed adultery, repeatedly, and has even gone so far as to admit that he took time away form his kids to pursue relations with his mistress? How can this judge feel as negatively as he does toward Mrs. Mills?

I am astonished by this to be honest. If you are a home schooling parent I would encourage you, if you are not already a member, to become a member of the Home School Legal Defense Association. It is an invaluable resource for home schooling families and something that every home school parent should be a part of.

And if you haven’t yet, stop on by The Homeschool Injustice blog set up by Mills family friend Robyn Williams and offer a word of encouragement to Venessa or support for the case that she is so valiantly fighting right now.

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A teacher, a student and a week away

Posted on February 25th, 2009 in On Homeschooling,On Parenting,Personal Messages | No Comments »

CNN.com ran a story yesterday about a 24 year old teacher that had been apprehended after running off with one of her 15 year old students for a week.

A 24-year-old teacher from Holyoke, Massachusetts, is in custody after allegedly leaving town with a 15-year-old student, city officials said Tuesday.

Lisa Lavoie and the male student were found in Morgantown, West Virginia, Monday night after apparently being together for a week, Holyoke Mayor Michael Sullivan said.

Investigators have charged Lavoie with enticement of a child.

Seriously? I know, I know. Everyone has fantasies, desires, wants, etc. But he is a kid. 15 years old. Hell, he might not even have grown any hair yet. What would a 24 year old woman want with a dude like that? I mean, he is just a boy. I suppose when it comes to maturity levels they could be on an even par with one another, but he is just a boy. A 15 year old boy.

Yes, for the record, I do think the kid was at fault, too. He made a decision, acted upon it and go tangled up in this mess. But almost any 15 year old boy (without a religious upbringing or moral fortitude) would jump headlong into the sack with a 24 year old woman. So though he is to blame for this, somewhat, the onus has to be on the adult in this case.

There has to be some amount of judgement exercised at some point when thinking of doing something devious. Acting out in a deviant matter is something everyone does. We test our boundaries daily. But almost all of us tend to think about consequences of our actions before acting. This is what keeps us alive for the most part. But taking a child that you teach, that you are in a position of authority over, for a week of who knows what, is a monumental lapse in judgement.

Things like this make me glad we homeschool our kids. I know where my kids are, who is teaching them, what they are being taught and just as importantly, what they are being fed emotionally, spiritually and mentally. There is no one preying on them “at school”, no one to tempt them beyond what they can bear. No one to compromise them like this teacher did.

This woman has problems, that’s for sure. Any adult that messes with a kid does, in my opinion, and this woman is no exception. She needs something, and I don’t think it is a week away with a 15 year old boy. No, in fact it might be a few years away with a 40 year old women named Greta that looks like a man named Chuck.

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Teaching your child beyond the textbook

Posted on February 19th, 2009 in Observations,On Children,On Homeschooling,On Parenting | 2 Comments »

The other day I was at my sister’s house. While I was there I noticed by niece doing her math homework and as I sat next to her my sister asked me to help her because she was having a hard time with it. As I reviewed the material and looked at the problem it became clear that my niece’s struggle with her homework was not because she couldn’t do it or because it was too hard. The struggle was that context of the problem was completely irrelevant to her and as such, didn’t offer much in the way of motivating her.

So I decided to do to her what I do to my kids: teach her outside the textbook in a real life context that would make sense to her. This isn’t a cutting-edge principle by any stretch of the imagination, but it is one in which many parents fail to provide adequately for their children’s learning. And please don’t take that to mean that parents are failures at teaching. To the contrary, parents that invest time into their children are smashing successes. It’s just that often children need more out of their young education than their school or teacher can give them (hence my love for homeschooling).

The problem that my niece was working was pretty simple as it was stated: “A basketball team has won 15 out of 21 games. What percentage of games did they win?” Simple enough, right? But beyond setting up a percentage division equation, where is the thought supposed to come from in this problem? When is the last time you had a problem to solve that was written down on a piece of paper for you?

So after I explained how to set up the necessary equations to determine a percentage from a total and a quantity and I threw a few problems at her. The first was a handful of crayons. There were broken crayons and complete crayons. I asked her to first tell me what the total was. Then I asked her to count how many of the crayons were complete. Then I asked her to tell what percentage of crayons were complete.

We moved on from there to looking at the complete crayons and I asked her to tell me how many of the complete crayons had yellow wrappers and then tell me the percentage of complete crayons that had yellow wrappers. Each time I asked her to set the problem up on paper only after she was able to look at the situation and determine the variables and values for herself.

Then I gave her another problem, a little more relevant to what she does for fun. She is one a swim team. So I told her that there is a swim team that just competed at the championships. The team had 150 swimmers on the team. Of those 150 swimmers 20% were girls under the age of 12. I then asked her how many of the girls on the team were under 12. After that I told her that the coach wanted to surprise the girls under 12 on the team by taking them to a water park to celebrate their season. But the coach found out at the last minute that only kids 8 and over were allowed in the park. I told her that there were 9 girls on the team that under 8 years old that wouldn’t be allowed to go. I then asked her to calculate the percentage of girls under 12 that would not be allowed to go to the water park. Then, as a recap, I asked he to tell me the percentage of the swim team those 9 girls represented.

I set up problems like this for my kids all the time. I can, because I am one of their teachers. Very seldom do I take a problem as it was written in a book and hand it to them to solve. I am actually looking for a few things from my kids when I teach them, none of which is available from them calculating numbers on a page.

The first thing I want them to do is understand the nature of the problem they are solving. Setting up a solution to a problem has to start with understanding the problem at hand. If not, well your foundation will suck and will ultimately lead to potentially questionable results.

The next thing I want them to do is think about the simplest way to solve the problem. Complex problems can sometimes be solved by simple means. But looking at something and thinking right away that it is a huge problem and then getting worked up over it can and usually does lead to something going haywire. Thinking about the nature of the problem often presents potential paths to a solution, and sometimes even offers a simple solution.

After figuring the best way to solve the problem I like my kids to setup the way in which they will solve it. This can be the part where they write and equation, or using block put some on one side of a table and some on the other, or using army men or … you get the point. Whatever path they have chosen to solve the problem needs to then be converted to a solvable schematic.

From there it is just a matter of arithmetic or simple logic. When it comes to math I am really not at all concerned with the correct answer being returned so much as I am with the correct means to a solution being used. Arithmetic is the easier of the things to teach when it comes to math. Logic, not so much.

And such is the case with almost all disciplines of education. Language, history, science… all disciplines have challenges that need to be solved, solutions to those challenges and basics that are used in those solutions. unfortunately schools, textbooks and teachers often have to rely on making things as simple as they can for the bulk of the students being taught and this often results in many students that could learn more or learn faster being restrained and often retarded in their learning.

But if you are a parent you have opportunities every day to test your children, teach your children and train your children. In fact, it isn’t so much an opportunity as it is a responsibility. And it is a responsibility that parents must necessarily take seriously given the condition of our public education system.

Wrapping it up

Just for grins I gave this problem to my three older daughters yesterday after watching a cake competition on Food Network. Sarah gave me the answer before I finished telling her the problem. Lets see how well you do:

Say you are making a stacked cake. The bottom layer of the cake is a perfect square in shape with a known side length of L. Now say we are going to put a round cake on top of this layer and we want the round cake to be exactly in the middle of the square cake below it. The round cake will have a diameter, D, that is smaller than the length L of the square cake. How would you determine where on the square cake to place the round cake so that the round cake was exactly in the middle of the square cake?

Ready? Go!

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Visiting the teacher’s mecca – RAFT

Posted on November 14th, 2008 in On Homeschooling | No Comments »

Last night I had the wonderful experiencing of going to RAFT. RAFT is the Resource Area For Teachers and because my wife and I homeschool our kids we get to access the awesomeness that is the RAFT showroom.

I was totally amazed at how cool this place is. They receive lots of teaching, classroom, office and business supplies from all over and sell it at stupidly low prices to teachers. Some of the stuff they sell if brand new stuff (like notepads, pencils, stickers and some books) while other stuff is used (some books, furniture, computer equipment) while other stuff is donated new stuff (company embossed shirts, coffee cups, mouse pads, computer bags). I was blown away at the sheer magnitude of the place, the inventory they had and the brilliant ideas they had for using some of the things there that you would never expect to see or use in education.

Like sport water bottle lids. Did you know you could use one of those, a CD and a balloon to make a hover device? They sell a kit for that for like $1. Everything the sell is typically below $2 though there are a few things that they sell for more (nice corporate apparel can get as high as $5 while computers and servers can go as high as $115). But the ideas they package with old unwanted material is amazing. And the amount of stuff they have there to test your imagination is even more awesome.

I saw CDs, CD cases, CD tube bases (excellent ring toss posts), CD tube bodies, scrap clothing material, scrap wood, butcher paper, binders, tinsel, medical pipette racks, food trays…. the list goes on and on.

So if you are a teach in norther California you really owe it to yourself to get to RAFT. You can get a lot of great ideas, a lot of great stuff and have a great time for just a little bit of money.

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Yesterday was the longest day of my life

Posted on September 27th, 2008 in On Christianity,On Homeschooling,Personal Messages,Rants | No Comments »

Ok, maybe not the longest day of my life, but man it sure felt pretty long to me. But before we get into this longest of days I should step back a bit and get to the cause of it all.

The past few days have been somewhat rough on me because of this stupid cold I have had. Fortunately I go better pretty quick due in large part to the efforts of my wife and kids in taking care of me. Well, that type of effort seldom goes without punishment as the caretaker often takes on the symptoms of the one being cared for. So was the case with my wife. She got what I had. And she got it a lot worse than I had it.

She started showing signs of illness late Wednesday night and as of Thursday was pretty well in the heat of getting he butt kicked by this bug. What that meant for the household was that she would not be able to be a mom on yesterday and she asked me if I could take care of the Friday activities for her.

I was not able to miss work yesterday because of a meeting that has been planned for the last two weeks. What that meant was that I was now thrown headlong into the role of a single parent getting his kids to school for the day along with getting other of his kids to a place outside the home because my wife would not be able to do anything for the day. So late Thursday night I set out to make sure that Friday was taken care of. Here is what ended up being set up for Friday:

  1. Wake up the kids, feed them, dress them and get out of the house by 7:30 AM.
  2. Get to grandma’s house in Newark by 8:00 to drop off the younger three children, one of whom was staying the night and needed a night bag packed.
  3. Get to Hayward by 8:30 to drop off the older two for school.
  4. Get to Concord by 9:30 to prepare for my 10:00 can’t-miss meeting.

Now there was a little more to it than that. If you look real close at that list above there is no provision for getting my kids home from school. See that was a little more complex because their school does not start until 9:30 and it is against the rules to be at school and not be in a class room. So what I set up for the kids was:

  1. Get to school at 8:30 and go to the early math class room. Sit there quietly until it is time for their classes to start at 9:30.
  2. Go to class at 9:30. Learn like champions.
  3. After school find a particular parent who was going to take them to her house.
  4. Wait at this particular parent’s house until another parent comes by to pick up her kids and my kids, then take my kids to yet another parents house from where my kids will be brought home.

When all was said and done I was able to get all of the morning activities done and get to work a little after 9:00. I met with my boss who helped me set up a very aggressive schedule that pretty much commits me to a single project through mid-November (which I am ok with but hope I am not setting myself up for dropping the ball). I spent the rest of my day working on the project and got out of work a little after 5:00 PM.

I got on the road and found a message from Adriannah on my phone that she wanted all of us to come pick up the younger kids from grandma’s because there was cake that she made and she wanted all of us to share some of it together. So I went home, picked up Sandi, Sarah and Bekah and hit the road to grandma’s house. We had cake, mingled a bit and picked the kids up and headed home.

We got home at a little after 8:00 at which time I put some hotdogs to boil, fed the kids, ate dinner, prayed for us all and put us to bed. At about 9:30 or so I was finally able to sit down, take a breath and realize what had happened in the day.

What a day. What a long, long, longest of days. I am glad I am able to rest a little today. I totally need it.

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Interview with Miss Mota Mouth Michelle Naranjo

Posted on August 8th, 2008 in On Homeschooling,Personal Messages | No Comments »

I am a social media hound. I love the social web and all that it encompasses. And as a web developer I love finding new instances of technology in use around the Internet. In the arena of Internet technology no where has there been as exhaustive an explosion of technological advancement and the inventive use of said technology as in the social media space.

It would go without saying then I have a pretty deep place in my internet <3 for social web sites that kick ass when it comes to the use of modern technology (or older technology with a modern, inventive spin on it). Of those sites, my favorites are Twitter, BrightKite and FriendFeed. I am not really sure if I like Plurk and Kwippy just yet, though I do use them. I also have accounts at Utterz, Pownce and Identi.ca, and I tie them all together with Ping.fm. I am not at all a fan of Flickr or Picasa or YouTube or Facebook or MySpace. There is just something so nasty about all of them that I only visit those sites on occassion and, when I do, it is usually only for short amounts of time.

Enough about my fascination with the social web. Today I was asked by Twitter’s own @missmotormouth herself, Michelle Naranjo, to be Interviewed because some of the recent Tweets I have made regarding fuel prices and the effects of said prices on families, outings and the general economy of the home. I have used the social web for a while as a medium to voice some of my discontent with rising fuel prices. I have used this blog to voice a lot more of the discontented feelings I have regarding lots of stuff. A lot of what I feel makes its way into the social circle, including my thoughts on homeschooling, marriage, finances, work, programming and many other issues that I hold dear to me.

In talking with Michelle about fuel prices we also got on the subject of homeschooling. We talked briefly about her daughter’s challenges in public and private schools and her success with homeschooling before being admitted to a magnet school. We talked about the current state of the California education system. We talked about Christianity (mildly) and we talked about the economy.

We also talked about Toyota and the trail they are blazing through the auto manufacturing sector, the experience I had with NUMMI (a GM and Toyota joint venture plant), some of the knowledge I had gained from knowing the Toyota Production System and some of the other things I have experience with, like car sales, design, time to market and customer experience. In the end it was a great hour or so spent talking business, economy, children and experience. Plus I was asked if, in the future some time, I might consider writing a guest blog for an as yet to be named site (not sure how I would do that seeing as I can barely keep up with mine).

But of all that I could take from this experience the one thing that stood out to me the most is that the social web can be used in today’s business world if used properly. Not all socializing on the net is young men stalking young women hoping to “hook up”. It is very possible to find lots of useful information, and to provide lots of useful information, when you use the internet in an appropriate way. It has given everyone an equal voice and a platform by which to project that voice. And I have used that platform, sometimes thinking that I was the only one on the internet, to broadcast my thoughts, rants, feelings and commentary. And lo and behold, someone was listening.

Socializing with me
If you ever want to know what I am up to when I am not totally neglecting this blog…
http://twitter.com/RobertGonzalez/
http://brightkite.com/people/RobertGonzalez/
http://friendfeed.com/robertgonzalez
http://www.plurk.com/user/robertgonzalez
http://www.kwippy.com/RobertGonzalez/
http://www.utterz.com/RobertGonzalez
http://pownce.com/RobertGonzalez/
http://identi.ca/robertgonzalez/

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Homeschooling now illegal in California?

Posted on March 18th, 2008 in On Homeschooling,Personal Messages,Rants | No Comments »

On February 28, 2008, a travesty occurred in California that will have a long lasting ripple effect on all homeschooling families in California. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association:

On February 28, 2008, the California Court of Appeals (The Second Appellate District in Los Angles County) issued a ruling in a juvenile court proceeding that declared that almost all forms of homeschooling in California are in violation of state law. (Private tutoring by certified teachers remains an option.) Moreover, the court ruled that parents possess no constitutional right to homeschool their children.

The publication in question, document number B192878, asserts:

It is clear to us that enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor
children unless (1) the child is enrolled in a private full-time day school and actually attends that private school, (2) the child is tutored by a person holding a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught, or (3) one of the other few statutory exemptions to compulsory public school attendance (Ed. Code, § 48220 et seq.) applies to the child.

However, the same document also states:

Exemptions to compulsory public school education are made for, among others, children who (1) attend a private full-time day school (§ 48222) or (2) are instructed by a tutor who holds a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught (§ 48224).

The opinion document also cites the following, from the case of People v. Turner [(1953) 121 Cal.App.2d Supp. 861, 865 et seq.]:

Since Pierce [v. Society of Sisters was decided], a substantial body of case law has confirmed the power of the States to insist that attendance at private schools, if it is to satisfy state compulsory-attendance laws, be at institutions which provide minimum
hours of instruction, employ teachers of specified training, and cover prescribed subjects of instruction. Indeed, the State’s interest in assuring that these standards are being met has been considered a sufficient reason for refusing to accept instruction at home as compliance with compulsory education statutes.

The opinion also provides:

It is clear that the education of the children at their home, whatever the quality of that education, does not qualify for the private full-time day school or credentialed tutor exemptions from compulsory education in a public full-time day school.

In all of this I have to ask one overwhelming question: When did the government receive the authority to decide the quality of a parent’s education for their own children? In all of the words in that opinion it becomes increasingly clear that the opinion asserts that parents are incapable of appropriately educating their children and that somehow the state education system is the best means by which children should receive education.

This is complete hogwash. The fact that a court, a group of judges or any other organization has the right or authority to impose upon me their opinion of what is best for my kids irritates me beyond words. They are my children. It is my responsibility to raise them and train them up in a way that is best for them. The court in this case has not only overstepped its bounds but have, in my opinion, grossly misunderstood the text of the law they are citing gives them the right to make the decision to illegalize home schooling.

It is a fact that any home can be declared a private school by the filing of an R-4 affidavit. Since the conditions cited in the judges opinion are “either/or” type conditions fulfillment of one of these conditions fulfills the entire requirement. An R-4 filing would satisfy this requirement.

There are many factors involved in this case, including the statement that one of the home schooled children actually filed a claim of abuse against his own father. I am not saying that I agree with the parents or with the children in this case. I am, however, stating clearly that I completely and emphatically disagree with the judges opinion in this case.

I would also like to recommend that if you are home schooling your children in the state of California that you become a member of the HSLDA and that you follow this case at the California page of the HSLDA web site.

Citations

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A day at the Tech Museum of Innovation

Posted on March 14th, 2008 in Geek Stuff,Getting Out,On Homeschooling | No Comments »

I had the wonderful opportunity to join my wife and children on a homeschooler’s field trip today. We went to the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

Getting there was rather uneventful (save for us almost running out of gas AND not finding validated parking). However, once we got in the first thing I could think of was “Why had I not been here before?”. The place is amazing. It is family friendly, homeschool friendly, group friendly. It is just a plain friendly place to go.

It is also very rich with technological history. There are references to Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard on the exterior walls of the building. There is mention of IBM, Adobe Systems, Apple and Microsoft everywhere and there are historical relics all over the place.

We stayed there for about two and a half hours and even at that there was almost another two hours that we could have stayed there. It was a great field trip.

On a side note, Sandi and I did notice that there were a lot of other kids there. I believe it was a “free” day where the museum does not charge admission fees. This meant that there were a whole lot of public school kids there along with us. What made them especially noticeable was their complete lack of courtesy and respect for others.

The homeschool kids we run with are remarkably well behaved and courteous. They use their manners, they respect their elders, the consider others first. The other kids… not so much. Which kind of makes me wonder what the benefit of public schooling really is?

Anyway, I have no desire to launch another debate on homeschooling versus public education. I know the details that make my decision very clear.

And besides, we get to go on some outrageous field trips. 🙂

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