Tennis Prodigy and Hope of American Men Homeschooled by His Mom

20 06 2007

Coming Sunday in the NYT:

Prodigy’s End: Donald Young”

” . . .When their only child showed an early gift for the sport, the
Youngs were well aware of the sacrifices, financial and otherwise, that
they would have to make to see him reach his potential. Beginning in
seventh grade, Young was home-schooled by Illona — she is also a
certified teacher — to accommodate a heavy traveling schedule that you
don’t see as often in more school-oriented and seasonal sports like
football and baseball. The United States Tennis Association contributed
yearly grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, but they weren’t enough.
“You take a kid like Donald, who had a hefty travel schedule, and you’re
looking at $30,000 to $40,000 in expenses,” Rodney Harmon, director of
the U.S.T.A.’s men’s-tennis program, says. “Plus, you have to double
that, since he’s too young to travel on his own.” . . .


Greg Laden Supports Evolved Home Education With Slash and Burn From His Bunker

20 06 2007

Here’s the latest from the glass-jawed, self-proclaimed savior of science education who now seems to have declared war on Christian fundamentalism in America, by instead attacking thinking parents who happen to homeschool their own kids in evolution and celebrate the scientific method.

And he’s awfully late to the “define homeschooling” petulance LOL. Hard to improve on this, wish more of us still believed in this combination of unity and diversity in mutual trust, sigh . . .

Despite all that, he announces today that he’s been studying us all along, to ready his mortar fire. He must REALLY think if you’re not schooling then you’re dumber than dirt, because he invites you to come help him put the finishing touches on his weaponry and ammunition before he turns it on you (he already unleashed his dogs of war on Nance and me, and they’ve slobbered all over us. Gross!) 😉

Political Poets Say Abstain From Abstinence Education

20 06 2007

“Unabridged” is a new collection of poetry written and performed especially for the ACLU, celebrating the power of words (in our Constitution and our schools, among other public places) and captures the passion behind
several current battles in the courtrooms and in Congress: abstinence-only programs,
habeas corpus, surveillance, free speech, and racial profiling.

“The Fallacy of Unicorns” is their first piece, on abstinence-only
programs. For more information and to hear all the pieces as they go up, visit here.


Parents Snubbed by School Authorities Resist Dominant Culture In Return

20 06 2007


The Power of Parents: A Critical Perspective of Bicultural Parent Involvement in Public Schools by Edward M. Olivos, reviewed at Columbia Teachers College Record — how parents from cultural backgrounds different than the dominant culture come to be excluded from the public school system

The word “authoritarian” is laid here at the feet of SchoolThink, of direct interest to Liza et al at Culture Kitchen and contradicting comments at Rolfe’s blaming parent involvement from cultural Christians (homeschooling or not) as a threat to school curriculum and credentials, all science education and ultimately the future of civilization itself. The reviewer suggests this book can “bring to light some of the exclusionary practices that educators employ, of which they may not always be aware.” (Really, you don’t say??)

The reviewer btw, is Francisco X. Gaytán, advanced doctoral student in applied psychology at New York University. His research focuses on Latinos and education and the academic and cultural adaptation of immigrant youth. His dissertation research focuses on the educational outcomes of the growing Mexican immigrant student population in New York City. He is co-author, with Carola Suárez-Orozco, of the forthcoming chapter “The Academic Trajectories of Newcomer Immigrant Youth” to be published in How to Help Young Immigrant Youth Succeed by G. Sonnert and G. Holton (Eds.).

A major claim in the book is that the lack of parental involvement is *not* due to the conservative view that they lack interest or motivation, (n)or the liberal view that parents lack the cultural skills to be involved in school. . . [but] the result of subordination and exclusion by those in power (i.e. teachers, school administrators, and those representing the dominant culture), which mirrors their subordinated status in the larger society. . . the paradox of being expected to participate in school on the one hand, and on the other hand not being too involved such that they change the system, or become part of the power structure.

Parents who realize that there are limits to their power disengage. . . by resisting the policies that are imposed upon them by the dominant culture. This creates a vicious cycle because the dominant culture can point to their disengagement as representative of their lack of involvement.

. . .The contradiction of expecting parental involvement and then placing barriers to that involvement is . . a springboard for Olivos’s model of transformative parental involvement.

He outlines different views of parental involvement ranging from an authoritarian perspective, where the administrators and school system dictate the nature and extent of involvement, to a fully democratic model, where parents are equals in the school system with a voice for their views and a role in making decisions. In giving this nuanced model Olivos reveals that all forms of parental involvement are not equal. . .

Stick to Your Beliefs Dammit!

19 06 2007

Thinking fun find of my day comes from the hot wordpress blog, “Gospel of Reason”:
“God Said Pi=3”

There are hundreds of comments and then a short follow-up post here.


Speaking of pi, my “charter’s” recipe for Bible Pie (get it, get it?) shows Christians are a minority, yet a heck of a lot more mainstream than homeschoolers! Maybe that explains why the identity they embrace and project at park day picnics and pie-eating contests, tends to be mainline-ly the former rather than the latter? Safety in numbers and conformity to the whole enchilada, er, pastry?

Creating Smart School Systems – EDWEEK Live Chat Today

18 06 2007

JJ would like to point out that these so-called smart school system relationships with the real world, sound an awful lot like our creative home education networks! Maybe I should submit a question about that, hmmm . . . LIVE CHAT “Creating Smart School Systems”
When: Monday, June 18, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time


Submit questions in advance here.

Please join us for a live chat with Robert Rothman, the editor of City Schools: How Districts and Communities Can Create Smart Education Systems, a new book from Harvard Education Press.

In City Schools, Mr. Rothman and his colleagues at the Annenberg Institute explore “smart education systems” in a series of essays. Smart systems, the writers argue, link highly effective school districts with a comprehensive web of supports for children, youth, and families. The book draws from dozens of real-world examples and shows how school officials can develop relationships with cultural institutions, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to help urban students learn and achieve.

On Monday, Mr. Rothman will answer your questions about the challenges facing city schools and the steps urban school officials can take to create “smart” systems.

Please join us for the discussion.

Submit questions in advance here.

About the Guest:


No special equipment other than Internet access is needed to participate in this text-based chat. A transcript will be posted shortly after the completion of the chat.

Doc’s Seventh Country Fair Is Open!

18 06 2007

A veritable carnival of diversity for the home education community, and never mind that carnival comes from eating meat, even vegetarians and vegans are welcome on the midway — see how broadminded we are??

Snook has a side show booth about educational environments and creating healthier “ecologies” for learning rather than continuing to pollute our kids’ hearts and minds with corporate waste particulates. Rolfe Schmidt’s thrilling roller coaster of a discussion about homeschooling as a radical act is there, too (surprise, Rolfe, you’ve hit the bigtop now!)

Oh, I mixed my carnival and circus metaphors, didn’t I? Well never mind, I blend and mix and match, no separate-but-equal artifice — here OR at the new Country Fair. Y’all come!