I love reading our local public school's yearly updates. It has awesome information that can be affirming and encouraging to homeschoolers. Let's do a quick check and see how we are doing by looking at the Highline Public Schools 2012-2013 Report Card and annual report to the community.
First of all, do you insist on labeling your children by color groups? I always find it so frustrating when I see pie charts with "black, white, mixed, and other." I always wonder how that might feel to a child, being labelled like that. I'm glad that as a homeschooler I didn't have to label my children, or risk having them feel "less than" if they weren't in a majority on the pie chart.
This year My school district announced some big and bold new goals they hope to achieve in the next 5 years. In the coming years, they want 95% of kids to pass algebra in 9th grade. Today that is 77%. One quarter of children aren't ready for algebra 1 in 9th grade. When will your child be ready for algebra? It's awesome that homeschoolers can give their children algebra when they are ready for it, even if that's in 7th grade. It's awesome that they don't have to force their 9th grader into algebra and risk failure and confusion if they really need another year of preparation before they jump into that subject. I'm the first to admit that algebra is critical for college preparation, but at the same time forcing it on a child that isn't ready can't be the besdt option.
My school district says they want 95% of kids to graduate and be able to choose their future. Right now that is 66%. One third of students don't have the necessary credits to graduate on time with the classes needed to success at college or career. Will your child be ready to graduate and choose their future? Will they have the classes they need? Homeschoolers can prepare their children for college and career with the freedom to choose appropriate classes at the right time.
My school district set a bold new goal of zero children suspended from school, "except when critical for student and staff safety." This year, there were 1,622 children suspended from my district. They plan to do this by rewarding positive behavior and developing alternatives to suspending students. But my children used to attend public school, and were in class with some violent youngsters who probably should have been suspended. I'm left wondering about the other kids in class. How can average students manage in a class with kids that might need to be suspended, but aren't? I'm thankful that homeschoolers can feel safe and secure without the threat of violence or bullying.
The local school district has the goal of 100% of children becoming bilingual, so that all graduates can speak, read, and write in another language. They plan to do this by awarding high school credit for "competency in heritage languages" - they will grant high school credit for speaking a non-English primary language at home. I tell this to parents all the time! If you are bilingual at home, you can count the non-English language on your transcript as a foreign language credit. Yes, it would be nice to also study another language for foreign language credit, but giving credit for a bilingual home is another option to consider. I'm glad we have the freedom to do things the easy way or the hard way, so that it meets the needs of our own child.
The local school want every student to become technology-literate. I agree, technology is important. At the same time, I'm very thankful that homeschooling allows us the freedom to determine how much technology we can use in our homeschool.
In the brochure I was mailed, I noticed they were talking about huge, lofty goals that were actually quite different than the current state of education. Does that every happen to you? Do you wish it could be 100% at your home, but you only end up falling short. Have you read the information from your local high school? It can be surprisingly encouraging.
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My history with this district goes back decades - think Disco, LOL. It's a pretty crummy district and they've always blown hot air about how they're going to improve. I've yet to see it. I have scars that I try not to brood over. When I got to college (out of state) I met kids from one of the best school districts in the nation and I found out what I'd been missing. I got good grades in spite of it, but that's because I'm stubborn and determined.
Nonetheless, when I hit a brick wall with home school, I enrolled my special needs child in this district. We're a little over two months in, and I can say with confidence her classmates are getting a way better deal than the mainstream kids. They're being taught social skills, and the mainstream kids are still hanging around street corners smoking and cussing. The special ed kids are being taught how to get along with people who are vastly different, while the mainstream kids sneer at even the most superficial differences. There are eight kids, three para-educators, and one teacher - so they're getting a lot more individual attention. Learning is customized as much as possible, even to the point where if a kid can do OK in a mainline class, that's cool. I'd love to bring my child home again, but for now, I'm just thankful she was placed where she is because the other options are very grim indeed.
Yep. I read our local school report. The numbers always remind me that homeschooling is an excellent option for education [smile].
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