Monday, December 08, 2003

The Home Educating House Dad 

Gone here

Follow me.......
Noted at 10:04 PM. |

Expensive research states obvious... shock! 

Hey look, in depth research into how teachers, parents and students use the internet for learning .

"The project set out to identify how educational websites are used in the home, using case studies of 8 families. Children and parents were interviewed separately and then together; and children were also observed and videotaped using specific sites. While some parents were persuaded of the educational value of the web, or at least felt that it was unavoidable, some were still skeptical about its benefits relative to ?older? media. Some mothers argued that the information was not always reliable and that using the internet for project work was a form of ?cheating? ? although fathers were generally more positive. Education was one of the main reasons given for families? computer purchase. However, parents reported that their children mostly tended to use the computer for entertainment rather than education. Some argued that children aged 8-12 are too young to be using the internet in this way. When computers were used for education, it was usually for homework projects, and for simple information retrieval. Children claimed to prefer using the computer to reading books for information ? even though they did not always know how to find it.

Most parents and children were very critical of sites they found slow and frustrating to use. They questioned whether sites were effectively ?personalised? to the child?s educational level. Several children were able to subvert the educational purpose of the games in order to accumulate rewards more easily; and they often avoided reading written text or instructions, going straight to the activities. Within the terms of our sample, we found little intensive use of educational sites: this was because of parents? lack of knowledge of the sites available; because of the limited nature of homework assignments; because of the greater appeal for children of other (entertainment) uses of the computer; and because of the lack of engagement offered by the sites that they had used."

This research has been published by the Economic Social and Research Council. I would like to know how much they spent on this research because I could have told them the outcome. Teachers don't recommend use of the net enough, parents don't trust the net enough and kids just love playing games online.

In general I would agree that that 'educational' sites are dull, generally slow and lack the hook to keep kids interested. But the main problem here is that most children in school today are seemingly incapable of independent research. If they were taught this skill they would soon learn that online there are an infinite number of exciting, educational sites worthy of their exploration (A lot of them are blogs too!).

Update From the ESRC financial reports:

"By 2005/06 our funding from the Government's science budget will be over £119million..."

Speaks for itself really.
Noted at 10:20 AM. |

Florida pays a fortune for what? 

The Palm Beach Post highlights the recent Florida Virtual Schools fiasco.

"Florida's 'virtual school' pilot program has crashed, and the Legislature should not renew it. Tweaks won't fix the problems, which have included companies trading on political influence, lobbyists who misrepresented potential savings and an education commissioner who ignored the law.
Despite all those failings, Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, will seek an extension of the program, which this year paid $4.8 million in state money to two private companies. One, Virginia-based Florida Virtual Academy, is linked to GOP darling William Bennett, education secretary under President Reagan. The other is Maryland-based Connections Academy."

Now, back in the days when I liked the idea of doing 'school at home' I would have moved to Florida to benefit from this idea. Having had a little experience now I believe it is a complete waste of money. The thought that kids will sit for hours looking at a computer screen working is ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the idea that their parents will make them do it.

Also this kind of failure only gives more ammo to the 'Get all the kids in school all the time brigade' and that is a bad, bad thing.

We use a virtual school called "Google" and find that more than sufficient. $4,800,000 v $0, which gives best value for money?

Florida, sort it out!
Noted at 7:52 AM. |

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Proud Dad bit! 

Went out for a Chinese meal last night "en famille". As we were leaving the chap at the table next to us called me back.

"I would just like to say that sitting at a table next to your boys tonight has been an absolute pleasure. You must be very proud of having two such bright and articulate children."

Gush, gush, gush etc. etc.

But surely how can children be bright and articulate if they don't go to school, receive no 'formal' education and their parents are not teachers or graduates....

Damned if I know!

(Yes. I know. I am due a fall now.)

Noted at 12:38 PM. |

Saturday, December 06, 2003

A Blogging MP 

Clive Soley MP has a blog. Now I have to admit that I have never heard of him before but I am impressed that he has put himself out there. He is 'New' Labour so I am sure I will disagree with almost everything he writes but at least he is writing something.

A question though Clive: "Does everything have to be vetted by the party machine first?"
Noted at 3:32 PM. |

Wireless Router Part2 

Once you realise not to let Windows to do anything automatically it is a cinch!
Noted at 3:11 PM. |

Reason to allow gun ownership Part 25436 

Kim links to a news item that shows another reason to own a gun.

"It took an hour and 10 minutes for a sheriff's deputy to reach the farm where a man had called 911, pleading for help after three pit bulls attacked and killed his partner, authorities said Wednesday."

Of course if this guy had been Daryl below, he would have blown the dogs away, saved his partner and the day would be much happier. We seem to hear of children being mauled by dogs occasionally in the UK. I wonder how many of them would have liked a nearby bystander to have been armed?

Noted at 3:00 PM. |

Wireless router 

Trying to install one. All support greatly appreciated.
Noted at 1:53 PM. |

Friday, December 05, 2003

Why I don't send my kids to school. Part 1000001 

Just go and read this.

Defend yourelf against the bully and an even bigger one will put you down.
Noted at 11:17 AM. |

Home educators...Sheesh! 

I have just done a bit of a google on "unschool blogs" and "autonomous education blogs" thinking that I would find lots of people that I would have things in common with.

Surprisingly (or not) I have found a lot of people that I don't agree with. When I have a little more time I will post up some examples. Just to stir the pot a bit!

I think this harks back to one of previous posts about there being so many different ways to do this HE thing. There are even different ways to unschool it seems and this TCS thing seems to cause some confusion as well. I am going to have to get into a bit of a discourse with Alice me thinks.
Noted at 9:56 AM. |

What a big weapon you have Daryl 

Daryl at Homeschool & Other Education Stuff has become another American who has made use of his freedom to buy a firearm to protect himself and his family from bad guys...

How on earth he is ever going to get to sleep with that thing under his pillow God only knows!

Kim will be very proud.

Noted at 8:38 AM. |

Thursday, December 04, 2003

A lesson for pushy parents... 

Asia Carrera is a porn star (Boo! Hiss! I hear you cry) and she is a very intelligent one. As her bio shows though, pushy parents weren't good for her:

OK, we all know I was an academically gifted little girl. What I don't publicize, is that I was not an especially motivated one. I was an overachiever only through a)genetic luck, and b)incredible pressure from my parents. My parents wanted me to go to Harvard and be a doctor or a lawyer, and I wanted to play piano and hang out with friends.


I was grounded for every "B" I got, and beaten for getting anything lower than that. I was not allowed to socialize at all, or go to parties, because they said there'd be time for that after I got into a good college.

Eventually she broke out and went her own merry (and sometimes not so merry) way. But she seems to have learned one lesson that her parents and so many others never manage:

I'm not mad at my parents. I know they just wanted me to be the best I could be, but they pushed too hard, that's all. Being successful is great, and it's a goal I strive for, but never at the expense of happiness. I think happiness should come first, and then success!

So stop pushing parents, let your kids enjoy life!

Obviously in the cause of research I had to look and see, and I can confirm that in all the pictures on the site Ms Carerra does indeed look very happy!

Thanks to Alice for the link.
Noted at 10:25 AM. |

This is good. 

A new blog to titter at. It has rude words and a devil may care attitude so you may want to think twice before clicking the link.

EAT IT: The Food Commission, the bossy charity which misleadingly sounds like a government body, is proud that it "takes no subsidy from the government". But it does receive research grants from "local, national or international public-sector bodies (e.g. trading standards departments, educational authorities, national government departments, the European Commission, the World Health Organisation)". So we, the taxpayer, are paying for it.

Noted at 8:15 AM. |

Alternatively Educated Glamour 

Oh yes. Don't you just love it when you find out something new and really important. Rebecca DeMornay went to Summerhill!

Ding dong!

Noted at 7:50 AM. |

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Gun control doesn't work...Shock! 

Oh looky here then

Fraser Institute : "During the past few decades, more than 25 states in the United States passed laws allowing responsible citizens to carry concealed handguns. In 2003, there are 35 states where citizens can get such a permit.

The upshot is that violent crime rates, and homicide rates in particular, have been falling in the United States. The drop in the American crime rate is even more impressive when compared with the rest of the world."

Not going to make a jot of difference to peoples attitudes over here though. At least not until more people experience the threat of bad guys with guns.
Noted at 3:31 PM. |

Home Education Groups 

At another place we are having a debate about home ed. meetings. My personal opinion is that you arrange a meeting, invite people to come and if they do then great. If they don't then that is cool too.

It seems every six months or so we have a big discussion locally about different meetings and everybody starts beating around the bush because they are to scared to upset the apple cart.

Well this has got me thinking:

"Why do home educators who come from different backgrounds, have different styles and different goals and attitudes think that they should all stick together in one homogenous lump"

It has been a long time since I posted here so I don't really expect anyone to answer this one but it would be nice if you did.
Noted at 3:17 PM. |

Unschooling comment 

"If it is important, you'll learn it."
Noted at 3:08 PM. |


Right then world I am going to do this thing. I have important things to say. Other people need to read them......

Noted at 1:24 AM. |

Monday, October 06, 2003

Why custody? 

A father who kidnapped' his own daughter has been remanded in custody prior to trial.

Former pilot Simon Clayton, 41, disappeared with four-year-old Estelle, known as Esti, from his home in April this year.

The Hay-on-Wye bookseller was days away from a custody showdown with his former wife Aneta, 29, who lives in nearby Brecon.

The guy did something stupid. However, having been in a similar position myself on few occasions I can understand his actions somewhat. The judicial system is so weighted in favour of mothers when it comes to custody cases that no man can genuinely expect to win custody.

He prevented access to his daughter by his wife which was wrong but does this really mean that he should spend 2 months in jail in Portugal before facing even more incarceration in the UK.

I know, he must be locked up, after all he is a danger to society. He is a father who loves his daughter and couldn't bear to be parted from her....Shame on him!
Noted at 9:43 AM. |

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