Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where can I sign up for this?

Recently, I received a comment telling me that my 11-year old tackling Algebra II is really behind public school academic levels these days. It was suggested I should sit in on a public school fool class to get a better grasp of where my poor, disadvantaged children should really be at in  their education. 

And then I saw this...

... and this...

Oh, sure. This is great! Where can I sign up for such excellence?? I mean, our children are still stuck memorizing their multiplication facts. It's like, Stone Age Math. Worse yet, I don't even care why they think 3x4 might equal anything but 12.

Someone please tell me how I go about getting permission to sit in on a public school classroom? I am as serious as a heart attack. In fact, I will even bring my older children along, just so for once they can have a glimpse into what real education looks like.

That should be very enlightening. Although I fear I might either suffer terrible headaches as a result, or sore abs from laughing fits.


  1. If you really wanted to sit in on a class, you would just need to contact a school and ask permission.

  2. Most schools allow visitors. You just need to call and ask the principal about it. Tell him that you are a homeschooler and you and your child would like to see how other children learn.

  3. I often feel judged by some of these comments about public schools and their shortcomings. Having grown up with two parents heavily involved in the school system and being married to someone who was schooled at home, I think myself to have a fairly unbiased opinion. The truth is, there are positives and negatives to both schools of thought (hah, see what I did there?). While home schooling provides targeted and in-depth teaching, it struggles to offer children experiences in which they meet those of differing social and economic cultures, something I value looking back at my experience. Growing up and living daily lives with other children who are going home to terrible families grows compassion, community, and a well-rounded social world view; Especially for a Christian. To have the reality friends suffering from hunger, poverty and physical abuse mixed into what God teaches in his Word, I have found, is incredibly important in bringing the World to Christ.

    On the other hand, my husband reads far better than I ever will, and picks academia up quicker than I ever have been able to. His mother was able to target his learning needs and cater to them, something I never had. How I wish a teacher from each subject could sit down with me and teach what I needed to know and what I couldn't learn in a room full of distractions during the day (which is why I was often going into teacher's rooms after school.) He was able to work sooner, growing in him a better understanding of working for his money and saving.

    It's clear we have very differing opinions, and that's the beauty of the way God created us. To have different experiences and share what we learned and how we overcame. To read blogs like this is to expand my experience as a Christian and, Lord-willing, future mother. Growing up I vowed to never home-school, simply because most of the home-schoolers I met were rude, arrogant, and harsh...nothing like my public school friends (looking back, I think it was probably just the families' attitude, not that of home-schooling in general). Now, I value the freedom to teach a child at home if their learning isn't suited for a classroom, and if I have a child who needs social interaction and a lot of activities to choose from, I can have them educated by people (mostly) who deeply care for children and will do just about anything to help them learn and experience.

    Thanks for posting honestly, I always look forward to reading your blogs! :)

    1. Leslie....That was a well written post. I agree that some children from homeschholed families can be rude and self-righteous. That is up to the parents to teach them not to believe they are better, but to be thankful for the priviledge of being able to be taught at home That being said, I find only a small number of homeschooled children that way. Most of them are very polite and well mannered. On the other hand, many children in public school follow along with what their peers behave like, and can often be very rude. Many start being afraid to show love toward their other family members (especially parents) for fear of being called "weird" or someother name. They are also made to be in a class where everyone is the same age. How does this help develop social skills? Since when did anyone have a right to tell parents what age their children should be ready for school (5 is way to early for some children to be thrown into a classroom full of children)? Some children are not ready. They are no less intelligent, but they simply are not ready yet. Thus, they end up being bullied, and eventually don't even have a desire to learn. The best place for a child is with the people who love them the most, and truly care about the education they recieve. I am not saying homeschooling is right for everyone. The LORD understands each persons situation. but I do think if there is a way homeschooling is the better alternative. Even putting reading, writing, math aside, it is better to be taught from Godly parents, who ensure that their children are taught from God's Word, and not from the world view( such as evolution, humanism and new age ideas).

      To the other commenters. I don't think Zsuzsanna seriously wants to go to the public school classroom :) I think she was having fun :)....Sonja

    2. Some children are simply not suited to homeschooling. I work as support for a mother who homeschools (Grandma is dying so her time is quite divided) and they have two kids. One could probably learn anywhere, though she does miss out on the social interaction (which is pretty much because the parents have super busy lives, not because of school or anything). The younger one, however, really does not work in a home-based environment. She kind of...wilts, I guess, and really withdraws into herself. I'd love to see the parents try her out in a public or Christian school where she'd have more constant social interaction. Depends on the family, depends on the world around them.

  4. In our district, you would simply have to show up, and tell them which classes you would you like to audit. It's not enought to say "7th grade math " though, as I found out, because (in our district anyway) there are different levels of various subjects at each grade. Disagree with you on many issues, I must say I have NEVER encountered a homeschooler who insists that homeschooling is the best, be they secular or faith based. They have only offered resources and wished me well. The proponents of public schools, on the other hand, are downright militant in their insistence that my kids belong in a traditional school. They become hateful when they find I homeschool!

  5. Let me just say, that NO WAY is your 11 year old behind if he is tackling Algebra II ! I work in the public schools as a custodian and in our school, the principal frequently gives tours to families interested in our school. Ours is one of the best in the area. I'm not sure she would allow you to sit in on class( although she may). Parents of students are always welcome to sit in on a class. Rarely does that ever happen.

  6. Algebra II in fifth grade? Sheesh!

  7. You should really research things before you post them. Making fun of kids who aren't that smart was wrong the first time they did it and it is wrong now. They made the video for laughs. Mean bullies.

  8. Just call the principal. I'm sure you'll learn a lot that will help you in homeschool. Good luck!

  9. I took Algebra 1 in eighth grade, and I was in the honors/advanced class. An 11 year old doing algebra 2 is very advanced! Good for him!

  10. Replies
    1. Did you read that link that explained the video? It had a statement from the students who made the video. They took video for hours and many students got the answers right. They filmed the ones who got it wrong for laughs. Laughing at children who are slow to learn is not only disgusting, but it is also a form of bullying.

  11. I think she is serious about wanting to go to a public school. I would love to read her report. She should do it.

  12. I'm gonna defend that 3x4=11 video.

    Word Problem:

    Ms. blahblah is putting a carpet into her closet. Her room is 3 feet long by 4 feet wide. She's getting her Carpet from Carpetland. Each square foot of carpet costs $7 dollars. Ms. blahblah has $80 dollars. Does she have enough money to carpet her closet? Why or Why not?

    3x4=12 square feet of carpet.
    Ms. blahblah does not have enough money to buy the carpet. She needs $4 more dollars.

    How the Grading Works

    If a student did 3x4=11, then they would have decided that Ms. blahblah needed $77 to buy the carpet and could afford her purchase. This answer is wrong.

    The student would not get full points, but the student would probably get most of the points for the question, because they understood the thought process required to answer the questions. As long as the work that was done to get the answer was displayed the student would get 3/4 points or 3.5/4 points.

    Now, if the student showed no work and just put "Yes, she has enough money", then the student would get no points.

    Yes, we want students to get it all right, but what's excellent about Common Core and this style of grading is that it doesn't penalize students radically for stupid mistakes.

    1. Isn't the point of the Common Core to better prepare students for college and/or the workforce because we're currently failing at it? I've never been in a workplace in which I have been given credit for understanding the thought process while getting the answer wrong. In the real world you either get rewarded for getting it right or you don't. No employer is going to say, "I'll give you 50% of your paycheck because while your thought process while doing the job was great, the end result was a failure."

      I remember taking Calculus in school and taking tests that essentially were one problem. If you got the right answer you passed and if you got the wrong one you failed. There was no partial credit. I remember going to my teacher with my failures and asking where I went wrong and he would praise my thought process while showing me my mistakes. I learned from them because I knew that I needed to do better on the next test in order to pass the class. I wonder what service we are doing children who know that can just get by with that 75% without having to ever really work to make sure they know exactly what they are doing. I feel like the partial credit has the potential to make lazy students. What incentive is there to work for an A when you know you can get by with a C?

  13. While it is nice that you're eleven year old is one Algebra II, which is advanced, I'm wondering while you're teaching him the math, who is teaching him humility? Because from this post, it certainly can't be from you.

    If you bothered to research the Lunch Scholars video at all, you'd see that the filmmakers admitted that they had to cull through SEVERAL HOURS of video to get the few minutes that were shown. But you choose to ignore that so you can feel smug that your kids are smarter than a handful of specially selected below-average kids.

    Do you know who DOES go to a failing public high school in Prince George's County, Maryland? Jack Andraka. In case you've been hiding under a rock, Andraka, at only fifteen has done what no scientist or researcher has been able to do ever, which is find an cheap and highly effective early-detection test for pancreatic cancer.

    And yet when I read an interview with Andraka and his mother, she comes off as far more gracious and humble than you. How about that. A woman who I would say actually could fairly be smug about her child's accomplishments isn't. You could learn a little from Mrs. Andraka.

    Andraka is no more the face of a public school system that those kids in that video that you were so kind to publicly shame on your blog. Is calling out kids something you do often? Or do you only do it to make yourself feel better? Because that's what a bully does. So congratulations. You're a bully who needs to bring down a bunch of high school children so you can assure yourself you're doing a better job at mothering than their parents are.

    1. I think this is an important point. I'm pretty sure that Zsuzsanna was just reacting to the way in which people were criticizing her in her curriculum post and isn't implying that all public-schooled kids are stupid.

      Sometimes homeschool parents take a lot of criticism when their kids are judged based on the actions of the minority of homeschooled students - the ones whose parents are lazy and don't do anything to teach them or the ones who may be a little socially awkward. Critics of homeschooling will use those "unsocialized" kids or the ones that may be failing academically as evidence that all homeschoolers are socially backwards or their parents are lazy. I think this anon has a point, that we need to be careful not to paint all public-schooled children with the same brush. I am a product of public school and do believe that I received a stellar academic education, my issue with public school and the reason I have not chosen it for my own children has more to do with the social education I received while in the public schools. Not all public schools are just churning out morons.

    2. Her intention wasn't to bully or to be smug. Someone accused her of not giving her son a proper education and even claimed that her son was behind in the public school academics. She was simply defending herself and her son from a very inaccurate accusation. Another thing, showing this video was not being a bully to the kids that were on it, it was simply showing that even in the public school, not every child is where they're supposed to be at; whether they be smart or not. Therefore, no one has a right to judge her for where her son is at in his academics. The real bullies were the ones who made the video to begin with, not her for sharing it as a self-defense. I didn't read any mean or negative comments from her about any of the students on this video. YOU on the other hand called them below-average kids; therefore insulting their intelligence. I would say that you are the bully here for settling in your own mind that these kids were below-average instead of thinking that they just might not have paid attention in class. Not paying attention in class doesn't make you below average, it just means you're not hearing what you're supposed to be learning and therefore not learning it. So before you start accusing Mrs. Anderson of being smug and a bully, you might want to take a look in the mirror at yourself.

    3. Jenelle, calling them "public fool classes" and worrying about sore abs from laughing fits are pretty derisive, smug comments to make, especially when Zsuzsanna implied that these videos represent public schooling generally. She's just propagating the bullying by posting them without any context about who made them and why. If her intention was only to defend homeschooling she would not need to shame other students, only to make factual statements about the curriculum.

      Oh, and calling kids "below average" isn't insulting their intelligence, it's just a statistical measure of performance on a given task. If a student doesn't answer a question correctly where 99% of their peers are able to, they are performing below the average. There might be any number of reasons for that. Were they not paying attention? Did they have a poor teacher? Were they unable to afford the textbook? Did they have a chronic illness which meant they missed class a lot? Any of those scenarios could result in below average performance but none of them have anything to do with intelligence.

    4. Lilly, obviously you don't know the difference between public fool classes and public school kids. She didn't insult the kids, she insulted the curriculum and the way they were taught. Her ribs aren't sore from laughter at the kids and their lack of knowledge, she's laughing at the poor instruction they are given. And yes, calling them below average is insulting their intelligence. If 99% of their peers can answer correctly in the same scenarios that the "below average" are given, then it means the "below average" are not as smart as their peers; therefore anonymous is insulting their intelligence. And if it were really a statistical measure of performance on a given task, than those taking the statistics should make sure that each student is evaluated with the exact same scenarios as the "acclaimed" below average child in order to make the claim that they are below average. In order to perform a task, you need to have a level of intelligence; therefore the statistics are referring to the child's intelligence level. And again, she's not bullying or even propagating bullying. She is simply showing that whether in public school or in homeschool there may be some students who aren't learning what they need to (no matter what the scenario is). Meaning, no one has a right to say she is not doing a good job with her child when the public school system is not necessarily doing a good job with each of the children they teach.

    5. "If 99% of their peers can answer correctly in the same scenarios that the "below average" are given, then it means the "below average" are not as smart as their peers"

      What? No, it doesn't mean that at all. I explained already that there are many reasons someone may not answer a question correctly that have nothing to do with intelligence.

      As for the bullying... would you feel differently if a blogger had posted a video like this with a homeschooled child struggling on a particular task? If the blogger said their ribs were sore from laughter at the instruction this child had received? Saying they attended "home fool classes"? I think it betrays bad character to shame children no matter what the reason, and that is what Zsuzsanna was doing.

  14. Algebra II is very advanced! That lady didn't know what she is talking about. That is what "normal" students in my school took in Junior year of high school (algebra I= Freshman, Geometry=Sophomore, algebra II=Junior, pre-calculus or statistics=Senior) and my district was one of the best in our state.
    You are doing a great job homeschooling your kids and are a source of inspiration for women like me.

  15. Regular algebra isn't even taught in public elementary and middle schools in Arizona. Cursive also isn't taught. My kids did attend public school there for a few years. Algebra wasn't taught until high school. Whomever told you Algebra II was being taught to elementary school kids was lying. That is considered an advanced class for high school.

  16. I took algebra II when I was 15! And even then, I was terrible at it!!! I honestly think that these people commenting are just being malicious trolls. Surely no one can be that dumb...

  17. Zsu if your son can tackle and understand the thought process behind Algebra II then he's probably not behind. That said I would encourage you to sit in, with your son, in a public school class. Simply because you might find see some tips to help you and get some ideas to stretch your son. I've done both; home school and public school. Both have good points and bad points. I understand your reasoning behind homeschooling but it never hurts to check out the the competition!

  18. This can all be put to rest very easily by making your children take the AIMS test. Homeschooling parents in Arizona can buy the test through independent suppliers. Buy it, post the results, and no one will be able to tell you that your homeschooling is awful.

  19. My third grader in Arizona is getting pre-Algebra this year and will have Algebra next year. Public school, Anonymous at 5:16.

  20. It's really important to know the whole story about this video. The video itself as posted gives a very skewed perspective:

    Olympia students' 'Lunch Scholars' video offers a lesson in social media

    Published On: Feb 03 2012 05:02:26 AM PST Updated On: Feb 03 2012 05:12:48 AM PST

    A video created by two Olympia High School journalism students intended as a comedy sketch turned into a bigger mass media lesson than they bargained for this week.

    Austin Oberbillig and Evan Ricks produced ?Lunch Scholars? in the vein of Jay Leno's Jay Walking? sketch series and asked fellow students (who signed a consent waiver) basic questions about history, geography and current events.

    While the filmmakers say many had the correct answers, some were surprising - and those made the final cut.

    A few days later a Huffington Post reporter used it to highlight some of the country's education woes.

    As of Friday afternoon, the video has been shared on Facebook nearly 13,000 times and spurred more thousands (mostly negative) comments.

    The video was originally posted by the students on Vimeo, but they decided to take it down. It has since been resurrected on YouTube.

    In a statement posted on the OHS student newspapers website, Ricks writes:

    "Students found Jay Leno's Jay Walking? videos funny and decided to make one of their own. As is natural for a comic bit, the creators edited in the funniest responses, with the students? consent. Though there were many correct answers to these pop questions, the comments in national forums concentrate on the negative, and, as usual, do not take into consideration the amount of editing it took to get these funny, incorrect answers. So, we are taking down our video. Thanks for thinking about this. It is an interesting lesson for all."

    Reporter Laura Hibbard uses the well-produced video as an intro into a breakdown of United States' poor international rankings in subjects like math and reading.

    What Hibbard doesn't say is Olympia High ranks as one of the best in the state in graduation rates, AP test results and SAT scores.

    "It was intended for here in the school and when it got to be as big as it did, they felt like their fellow students were unfairly portrayed," said Olympia School District spokesman Ryan Betz. "I think the students are disappointed at how it made their school look."

    Olympia High is the defending state champion in the 'Knowledge Bowl" competition.

    Betz said the video was a major topic of discussion during journalism class at OHS this week.

  21. An 11-year-old doing Algebra II is behind? Here in California, when I was in school, it wasn't even taught until high school! "Pre-algebra" was taught in 8th grade.


  22. I was homeschooled all my life, and steeped in the kind of contempt for public schooling that you so clearly express. My parents and their homeschooling peers regularly called children in public schools "public fools," just like you do. I am sorry to say that it took me quite a while to rid myself of the spirit of pride and disdain for others that my parents cultivated in me. It also took me a long time to make up for all the shortcomings in my homeschooling education, since my parents' fears of public education were much stronger than their abilities to educate me and my siblings. It sounds like your children don't face the same educational disadvantages that I did as a homeschooled child, but it sounds like they're getting quite an education in pride and haughtiness to go along with it.

    My children go to public school, and I've found that their experience is nothing like my parents implied. Like all educational options, their particular school has strengths and weaknesses. They are thriving educationally. More importantly, they are learning to interact with their peers with compassion and respect, reaping the benefits of sincere friendship. That's not to say their social lives aren't without challenges, or that I'm never concerned about peer dynamics. But recently I've watched my pre-adolescent daughter navigate a difficult situation with a girl who I'm sure you'd be happy to call a "public fool"--a girl I'm quite sure you would never let your children interact with. And you know what? They've both come out of the situation as healthier human beings. At my daughter's age, even had I been allowed to come into contact with such a child, I would have been too afraid and full of contempt for her to even interact.

    I think it's wonderful that you teach your young son Algebra. But teaching him compassion and humility for the least of these is far more important.

  23. From 6th grade on (about 11 years old) our schools test the kids to see where they are in math and put them in the appropriate class. For instance, my daughter has always been what I call a "math kid" and has a great aptitude for math. She will be going into Geometry in 9th grade having already completed Algebra I & II.

    I think it is great that your son is already in Algebra II at 11 years old, but if a child is not ready it does not necessarily mean it is the school's fault or that the child is a "fool".

    For instance, my neighbor home schooled her children. Her three oldest children were reading very well by six years old. Her fourth child, 8 almost 9 years old was struggling to read and was reading the same series of books as my 6 year old public school educated son. (As soon as they finished the series they were both rewarded with a ride in our Jeep with the top down and ice cream.)

    Was it the fault of my neighbor that her child couldn't read at 6 years old? Would he have been able to read better if he had gone to public school? Was he just a stupid kid? The answer to all of those was no. He just wasn't ready to read at age 6, just like some kids just aren't ready to do Algebra until 10th grade.

    I couldn't understand how to do percentages until I was in 11th grade. Now you should see me figure out the sale price in my head in about 2 seconds.

    Did I look down on my neighbor (we have now been friends for 21 years) because she home schooled? Did she look down on me because my kids went to public school? Nope. We learned from each other and enjoyed each others differences.

    That little 9 year old boy is now 24, just graduated from technical school with a degree in Computer Science and an Associates Degree. Moved out, has a great job, great apartment, and wonderful friends and family.

    I also agree with a lot of these other posters that teaching compassion and humility is one of the most important lessons that children learn.

  24. I think people need to pay attention to what they are reading. She never said that the children in the public schools are fools. She said the public fool system. Meaning the system is foolish, not the kids. And she is correct when she says it is foolish. If you read your KJV Bible everyday and pay attention to what it says, you would know that what she says is true. I don't care if your child comes out of the public school system smarter than Einstein. The Bible says that the parents are to teach their children the way they should go. That doesn't just mean Bible doctrine, it also means everyday life and what comes with it. If you put your children in the hands of others to teach (which goes completely against Scripture), no matter if they come out a genius and socially interactive you are being foolish. And those who take it on themselves (the public school system) to teach other's children are foolish and know not the Scriptures. It has nothing to do with pride and arrogance, it has everything to do with obeying God's Word.

  25. As a teacher, it concerns me that you think that all public schools are not educating children properly, or are bad. I believe that as long as a teacher is enthusiastic, qualified, knowledgeable and has the childs best interests at home, with the intention for that child to succeed in a fun and educational environment, then it shouldn't matter whether it's public school, private school, charter school or home schooling.
    There are fantastic public schools out there. Just like I'm sure there are fantastic home schoolers out there.


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