It is stories like this that will cause governmental action.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Deputies in DeKalb County arrested a mother and father on charges of truancy after they allegedly kept their 11-year-old daughter out of school for more than a year....The solicitor general has made pursuing parents who don't send their children to school a top priority. "This is not about the parents. This is about the child," said Solicitor General Robert James.
James said the arrests are about intervening in a child's life and keeping them from becoming a statistic. Eighty-eight percent of Georgia's inmates are drop-outs.
Green first said she withdrew her daughter because she was homeless. She then said her daughter was homeschooled. "I had to take my daughter out because I was out on the streets," Green said.
Laws are abused. It's a fact. The only *real* connection between what I am doing with my children and this story is that we both use the word "homeschool." There was no Declaration of Intent filed nor was their attendance filed.
If the community does not self-regulate, we should expect more zealous DAs and solicitors to pursue mandatory regulation and perhaps some sort of forced schooling. A cautionary tale.
Today I start a real adventure in homeschooling. I have been trying to get the kids to work within traditional mathematics textbooks to little avail. They just can't stand the rote and drill way that we have traditionally taught mathematics. I know how it is -- I used to just speed through the book in class and do all the problems, usually at least a couple of sections ahead of the class (sometimes a chapter or two ahead) and the make up codes with my main dude James V. (who did the same thing.) I took College Algebra when I got to Ga State, just because I wanted to get used to the pacing. I found that I missed math class -- I love math class. So I became a Mathematics Major sort of by accident; I really intended to get my degree in General Science and Philosophy (after I decided against computer programming and discovered that music was just too hard without parental support.)
I wanted to write a Mathematics curriculum for years for thinkers like me -- I love what is usually called the "Discovery Method" -- where the student discovers the entirety of the problem/solution their own selves.
So today, I made a 3 page handout of "everything you need to know in Algebra" because, yes, you can indeed put it on 2 to 3 pages. These things are just tools so that you can "do" math. I have another 3 page handout in the works for Geometry and another for Trig. Then I am going to depart from the beaten path -- I am going to ask the girls to discover math.
Chaos and I got into a big discussion about the Greeks and how they "did" math without Arabic Numerals -- it's mind blowing how the Greeks did it. Math is so much more difficult when you can't use the numeral 6, but have to write out "six" every single time. How the heck did the ancients build what they built without the "tool" of Arabic numbers? We are going to use the traditional Euclidian tools of straight edge and compass and I am going to pull out my big box of Polydrons for them to use and explore.
I believe what is most lost in today's mathematics education is this sense of wonder -- and the fact that most ancient mathematicians looked to math as a way to explore God and Creation. Pythagoras once said something like this: "Mathematics is the ruler of form and idea and the cause of God and demons." He believed that to explore Mathematics is to explore the very nature of the Deity. He discovered the first tenets of today's theory of music as well -- he is the one who first discovered the relationships of ratio to pitch. He believed that all of creation is rational and was so despondent that the square root of 2 is indeed irrational that he committed suicide.
To quote Wikipedia:
One of Pythagoras' beliefs was that the essence of being is number. Thus, being relies on stability of all things that create the universe. Things like health relied on a stable proportion of elements; too much or too little of one thing causes an imbalance that makes a being unhealthy. Pythagoras viewed thinking as the calculating with the idea numbers. When combined with the Folk theories, the philosophy evolves into a belief that Knowledge of the essence of being can be found in the form of numbers. If this is taken a step further, one can say that because mathematics is an unseen essence, the essence of being is an unseen characteristic that can be encountered by the study of mathematics.The pursuit of Math and Science initially is a pursuit to understand creation -- and thus to understand the mind of God. I want my kids to understand where math begins -- and wonder about how this universe works. So today we start -- who knows where it will lead?
Setting up a homeschool beginning "ritual" -- school is in session when the candle is lit; then a moment of silence. Any other suggestions?
I have ordered some things for my microscope, including a stage and a camera. I'm psyched! We are going to have fun with microscopes later this month. I also ordered some agar and Petri dishes; we are going to swap everything (including the litter box) to see how much bacteria there really is. Then (using proper protocol) we can look at some of the bacteria under the microscope and with the digital camera, capture the images. We also are going to study each head of hair in the family, including the cat. We may also go into the field and collect fur and hair from other people and make some observations about fur and hair.
I have given the kids each an essay to write today; I am at times please and at times shocked at their knowledge or lack of knowledge. Entropy in particular is working on proper form for an essay.
I did received a few more books; Chaos is going to work on the Grammar and Language workbook and write a report on Cakes.
I have orders some Petri Dishes and growth medium, liquid iodine and what not for our biology experiments -- particularly Bacteria Experiments. We are going to see what bacteria there is in all our "germy" places; like my pocketbook, the doorknobs and Daddy's lunch box. I have a good site/resource available so that we can look very closely at the colonies and we can discover exactly what it is that lurks in Daddy's lunch.
I also have a microscope upstairs -- and I'm getting a camera for it to examine the stuff on the computer. What fun! What joy!! I'm excited. Biology, here we come!