Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Buy Independent!

I haven't done a lot of endorsement of homeschool curriculum, mostly because I believe there is a LOT of great material out there and mostly because I truly think what works is going to be personal to you with very few exceptions.
I'm also not wanting to tempt parents that are perfectly happy with what they have to switch to something new.  Just because it's new, doesn't make it better and there's some high value to becoming an expert at the resource you do use. [over and over! It comes with practice baby]

So with all that in mind, there is one thing I can recommend.  And that's to buy Independent!!    If you are looking, check out the products HERE at the Homeschool Resource Roadmap to make sure they are independent of common core before you spend your money.     I know Tina includes other resources as well, but for me personally, if you are in the market to buy something- vote with your dollars and support independents!

Homeschoolers fought a very hard battle to even be legally recognized.  It took years before publishers and authors started providing homeschool specific resources. Most of my favorites are produced by homeschool parents themselves!  Individual State groups continue to battle state by state to keep our homeschooling free with minimal government entanglements.  Let's not lose our freedom even a tiny bit by supporting this Federal takeover. [which is what it is, really].  Let businesses know you are shopping independent and that you appreciate their independent stance.

Some independent resources I've just discovered that look good.
[doesn't mean they're new, I just rarely look anymore]
Classical Historian
Shakespeare in Bits

My long time favorites:
Spell to Write and Read
Institute for Excellence in Writing [IEW]
History Revealed
Truth quest History 

If you want to know more about the history of common core and why we all should oppose it, read here.   For more in-depth anaylsis of our government school system, read John Taylor Gatto's books, such as the Underground History of Education.

Maryland Proposes updates to the Homeschool Regulations

December 10, 2015
Here are my comments on the proposed homeschool regulation changes.  I have included the regulations that I wish to point out, writing in italics my comment below each one.  

.01 Home Instruction Program
I would recommend that some additional wording be added here to confirm the breadth of the definition for the word program :  “ such as but not limited to textbooks, unit studies, online courses, parent-constructed curriculum, tutors, dual-enrolled college classes (full or part-time), and or other instructional options chosen by the parent or guardian.”

C. Instruction Program.
 (2) The home instruction program may include enrollment on a part-time or full-time basis in
 courses offered by accredited or unaccredited colleges.
This is welcome clarification. Though redundant if included in .01 program definition. 

D. Educational Materials.
2) A parent or guardian who chooses to enroll his or her child under § C (2) of this regulation
shall provide to the local superintendent or the superintendent’s designee a copy of a report
card or transcript from the accredited or unaccredited college at the conclusion of each
semester of the accredited or unaccredited college in lieu of a portfolio of materials for the
courses in which the child is enrolled.
While it might be easier to simply show a copy of a transcript, I would prefer parents have the option of continuing to show work/educational materials etc and not grades or credits to the superintendent.   And so  it should say “ may use a copy of grade reports or transcripts or continue. .  .” Also, why at the completion of each semester? Why not at the usual review time along with the rest of the portfolio? This entire section should be deleted, if college classes are part of the home school program option no special treatment ought to be needed.     

By the way, will the superintendent be documenting the grade/ credits or merely checking off a box that this form of evidence was presented? [This should be made clear in the regulations so that counties do not add to the intent of the changes] That would make a great difference, because prior to the increase in compulsory attendance age, homeschoolers generally were no longer required to report to the county by the time they graduated and therefore, the matter of transcripts and credits were rarely  brought up. Is this a small step to regulating the graduating of homeschoolers? Something we’ve been independently doing quite successfully for decades?  The fact that the MDSE has refused to clarify how the increased compulsion will  specifically affect homeschoolers graduating prior to reaching the age rising requirement has made me mistrustful of how it will eventually be handled.   

.05 Home Instruction Under Supervision of Nonpublic School or Institution.

B. The home instruction program may include enrollment on a part-time or full-time basis
 in courses offered by accredited or unaccredited colleges with the approval of the supervising
 nonpublic school or institution described in § A of this regulation

While C (2) was a welcome clarification, this idea of Approval being required is absolutely not.  We have a constitutional [ie natural right] to direct the education of our own children and do not need permission. If  C (2) is true, why do we need approval from anyone to implement this?  This is where a broad definition for “Program” needs to be given as above.  If it is specifically stated that a home instruction program may include anything from parent created materials to college classes, then this section is unnecessary.