Saturday, March 22, 2008

Praying Mantis

The kids and I have been trying to hatch praying mantis. We ordered the egg case and set up a habitat - and have since waited about three weeks. Finally, we saw that they had hatched and we were so excited. The only wierd thing was that only a few seemed to have hatched and about five or so seemed to have died and turned brown. One was still doing ok for awhile, and we released the wingless fuitflies into the habitat. The little guy is hard to find now, and I am wondering if he has died as well. I haven't found any research to suggest that they would have more than one hatching period. A science teacher told me that it might be that the temperature in my home is too warm, or that they had too much direct sunlight.

In any case, I guess that is what science is all about - trying things and seeing what happens! Perhaps I will order or try and find another egg case and see if we have better luck.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Whose Job is it to Educate the Children?

I have read all the flurry of emails over this case in California... and I guess what I don't understand with this country is why do people feel that it is the Governments job to educate our children and not the parents? Apparently educating ones own children is not *technically* a Constitutional Right. Why? Because I think our Founding Fathers thought this was a given. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, it was the parent’s job to see that their child was educated. Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution, governments wanted to keep immigrant children out of the factories and keep developing new cogs for the wheel.

So, here we are with our whole society believing that it is the Governments job - and when kids are aren't educated, it is now the teachers fault, and the school needs more money. In my district, it cost $13,000 per child to educate them. I understand overhead and all that - but I am doing it with way less than that. In addition, why don't people question the growth and net profit of all those places like Sylvan Learning Center? So, not only does the district spend $30,000 for my children - but then parents pay again when the system isn't working for them.

I am not saying that schools are bad - and that we should banish them - because they are important in the goal of educating children - but what irritates me is that if the parents choose an alternative method - such as homeschooling, why is it the governments job to regulate and make sure parents are doing their "job", when everyone is crying at what a sad state the schools are in.

Which brings up the child abuse issue. That argument that says, children being in public school are screened for abuse. Hello!! I know many children that have faced sexual abuse and bullying in the public school - and no one is dragging the school into court. Well perhaps they are, but it is not as well publicized. I am in no means wishing to protect child abusers. But in most cases where this in the family that is called into question about homeschooling, it is that they were already having issues, social services dropped the ball and then when the children are starved and murdered, the headlines all say "Homeschooled Mother kills her children". I don't believe in these cases that the parents were really "homeschooling" and even if they were making their kid do sit down school, if they were abusive and controlling, they would have been this way regardless of whether the child was in school or not.

So, really I am not panicking about this California thing. Chase says we can just move to Canada ;-) But perhaps if it came down to it, I could get a teaching certificate and add it to my degree collection.

But the crux of the matter as I see it is - Who do we really think is responsible for the education of our children? Why do we insist on letting the government control us and let them serve the people rather than the other way around? I understand all the social implications of an educated vs. non-educated population, and I understand the Bell Curve. But in theory educational institutions should be in place, should we wish to utilize them. They should not be forced on us.

Monday, March 10, 2008

How I Love Theater....

We have had such a busy month and a half. Brianna has been in the play The Three Musketeers at York Little Theater. It has been a great experience for her and this particular play has had rehearsals every night and Saturday for the past 6 weeks. She has had to learn stage combat, a bit of fencing and an Old English low-class dialect for her character.

I have had to learn a lot of new things as a mother ;-) I guess the biggest thing is the social part. Brianna has always been very social. I remember as a child she was happiest if I took her out somewhere - even to the store. So with this play she has met all kinds of new kids and adults - and has spent a lot of time on IM and email. Sometimes, it seems that she spends all day doing this. Then she'll be on the phone with a friend, reading the IM's from other friends, to the friend on the phone. And she has a million windows open and is flipping back between them, listening to Sirius radio on-line, updating her Facebook, etc. I am sure that many other Mothers experience this at this age - but I am just in awe at the pace of everything. Some of the kids she is IM-ing are in school using IM from their phones. I am amused as I am sure they are sitting in class - doing something other than what they are supposed to - as I was at that age.

I find myself worrying that she really is doing something worthwhile. I will say that she is working on her spelling and typing by using the IM...I am amazed at how well, what your peers think of your spelling matters way more than any spelling "test".

Many of the other kids use rather bad language. One of those "socialization" issues that you kind of miss by not being in school is the language. I guess that depends on what your household is like. We don't really use it - and I always tell my kids we have so many words in the English language that we can find one that is appropriate for any situation - that is clever and doesn't make you sound like an idiot. Ah - but then again, some people would suggest that peppering your phrases with the "F" word is the appropriate expression. Who knows... I just know that she has been exposed to many new and different things. I wonder sometimes how other parents are when their kid is in school. One of the things that I found shocking was how many parents will just let some strange woman (i.e. me) who they have never met or talked to, take their kid home at midnight. My daughter is always saying that this certain teenage boy has offered to bring her home - and I am thinking ....uh yeah - NO! It is a whole new world. Teenage boys who drive...

So, from my experience the whole socialization issue is ridiculous. I think people envision that we sit in our house at the kitchen table and never get out. Its crazy. I am almost feeling that we are always surrounded by people.

And on another note - I was impressed with Brianna giving a Bible Basics book to one of the other kids who she thought might enjoy reading it. I still sometimes stress at suggesting a certain book, or sharing my faith with people. She was so unabashed by it. She was sharing who she is. I am so jaded by experience. I feel a bit uncertain about what I think and feel- that I often don't just come out and say what I think. And yet, here my 13 year old daughter is confident in who she and and what she thinks - and it makes me happy to see it. She doens't have the hang ups caused by the "socialization" and bullying you can find in school. She has been able to develop in her own way, at her own pace.

So, I think what it really is that worries me is that I am afraid of all the ugliness out there. The meanness of other kids, the emotional rollercoaster that comes along with adolescence and the beginning of relationships with boys... I want to be able to talk honestly and openly - but not freak her out with too much information - or saying the wrong thing. I just want to be a good Mom.

Beyond that I do love theater. It just inspires my spirit somehow...