What is a charter school? The definition is “a public school operated independently of the local school board”. It sounds simple and straightforward, but the reality is that charter schools are an extremely complex and controversial topic. Charter schools were first introduced in the early 1990’s in response to a nationwide call for sweeping public education reform. Most states passed legislation where they would allow the formation of some publicly funded “experimental” schools to give parents an alternative to the traditional public schools that were under so much fire at the time.
What does “experimental” mean? First of all, charter schools are not part of a school district. They are independently run businesses that follow a private school business model, except instead of charging tuition, they get public funds. In a traditional system, the school districts set the curriculum for the schools in their domain, receive money from the state, and distribute it among the schools. In the case of charter schools, the individual schools set their own curriculum and receive money directly from the state.
Think about standing in front of a bookstore rack teeming with titles on a topic about which you want more information. Or scanning through possible sources in the electronic card catalog that might be appropriate to your needs.
Or perusing the stacks of professional resources on display at a educators’ conference or convention. How do you decide what to pick up? How do you determine what is worth reading?
Often, our dilemma is not that there are no resources available. Instead, we are more likely to feel inundated by possible materials that could meet our needs. You may be forced, perhaps within a limited time period, to make a choice, and in some cases spend money.
Students experience a similar challenge when they undertake research projects. They may confidently sally forth to the library, only to discover a few minutes later that there are more potential sources related to their topic than they can possibly handle.
Overwhelmed, many adopt a default strategy to make their choices, settling for the source that appears to be the easiest. The rest are relegated back to the shelf, even though some of them might have been better suited for what the student was looking for.
How can you get a “read” on a book before you actually have to read it? Helping students size up a possible resource is a critical component of the research process. Take a look:
Following on from the success of the “Working Without Walls” project I have done with previous classes, the second half of last year saw skills being shared with colleagues throughout school in shared planning/shared teaching sessions – CPD that I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed being involved in and which has seen the learning platform being increasingly used for learning throughout the school.
So it’s time to look at some ways in which we can move the project forward as a whole school – and so starts a year which I think is going to be enormously exciting for us! If you’ve been following my tweets recently, you will know that I am getting very excited about this weekend because I am off for an e-twinning workshop.
e-twinning is a great opportunity to work with other schools from around Europe in collaborative projects and one reason I am particularly looking forward to the trip is the opportunity to establish lasting relationships with other teachers which will lead to sustainable, planned collaborations. Continue reading “International Collaboration in Education”→
Do you ever have the feeling that you are not making any progress with your child´s education? It´s like you’ve been trying some etiquette rules (could be as simple as saying please and thank you) or make her clean her room, for instance.
Well, let me tell you one thing: there is no such thing asnotmaking any progress with a child.
Do you know why? Because children are always learning and they are always picking up on things, so even if you feel stagnated, they are not. And we also tend to let simple achievements pass by when in fact they are tremendous on the long run.
Let me give you a practical example. My daughter is 3 years old, I’ve been telling her to go and help herself with water for months (years, I can barely tell), I let the water easily accessible for her. Well, one day she just helped herself and from then on she´s been quite independent in that field.
In The Gypsy Mama’s Guide to Real Traveling with Kids, you can find advice on how to make your travels safe and fun with kids from all ages. The two authors (Jenn Miller and Keri Wellman) have experience in traveling with kids from the early months to teenagers, they have four children each.
I get asked questions about traveling with children all the time, and I have many answers, but this is a complete book on the topic, I highly suggest it. This is an affiliate link, but I really think it can help many families to make a dream trip happen.
I really loved the examples of games to play at home before getting on the road, like the ones about safety rules, airport and train security or tips on how to help your baby nap on the road. The two families were doing all kind of games, making it all fun for the children.
There are tips from packing (try the one bag rule), with lists of what they bring, healthcare options and emergency care conducts, besides what to do when a child is having a tantrum on a plane or how to work up the guts to let your teenager travel alone for the first time.
A 7-year old neighbor came to play in our house. My 5-year old and the boy played a little and then drew a little. Luísa was very protective of her pencils. She wanted to grab whatever he was using. The thing scaled up and she finally bit the boy in his arm.
When I heard the boy crying, I attended him immediately. I asked him if he wanted some water, offered him ice, which he accepted and empathized with him: ¨I’m sorry, that must really hurt¨. He was very upset. Luísa wouldn’t answer to anything I asked. She didn’t want to help care for the boy. Soon enough though, they were playing again.
A little later, his mom came and as he went to tell her what happened he got emotional again and started crying. His mom reacted with: ¨Luísa, why are you so mean?¨ and ¨I heard you like to bite, who was it that you bit before?¨
I felt really bad. I didn’t want Luísa to be labeled and we had taken care of what happened. But I understand the boy getting emotional again, and his mother having an emotional reaction. And I was feeling very disappointed that Luísa didn’t want to help the boy. After they left, I was insisting that she made a picture to the boy to say she was sorry. She didn’t seem sorry at all, she wasn’t doing it.
Not too long ago, I was not aware of unschooling or mindful parenting. Now I understand why they go together and will always attract interested parents in organic living and getting out there in the world to see it by themselves (aka traveling).
I found Tara Wagner’s blog The Organic Sister a few months back and it made all of this much more clear to me. It became a great source to find other blogs and writers on these subjects too.
I also had a few coaching sessions with Tara that really helped me to handle better my relationship with my daughter. She has a special way of addressing people´s doubts and concerns.
I´m happy to have Tara talk a bit about these things herself here on Tripping Mom, so let´s get to it.
Can you tell Tripping Mom readers a bit about what your blog/life is about?
Tara: We’re a family of three, living life authentically and on our own terms. We travel full-time, learn without school, and work in more unconventional ways. My son, Zeb, is 11 and learns at his own pace by following his passions. My husband, Justin, is a jack-of-all-trades and I am a writer and blogger, photographer and unschooling and mindful parenting coach.
How can you describe unschooling and mindful parenting?
Interactive Writing is a Kindergarten – Grade 2 teaching/learning activity that promotes a strong reading/writing connection.
It helps children who are learning to read and increases their learning to write. As children work through text, their own writing helps lay the foundation of understanding necessary for successful beginning reading.
Interactive writing promotes the “building up processes” and the “breaking down processes” Marie Clay described. Interactive Writing promotes the reading/writing relationship for the following reasons:
I was listening to a talk show a few weeks ago where the host shared a personal story that struck me. When his kids were school aged, they lived in an area with a great school district. But, none of his three children did well in the assigned public schools.
Even though the schools were high ranking, they didn’t use a teaching method that his children responded to. Each of his children learned in different ways, and he wound up choosing different education methods for all three children, carefully matching the style of teaching with each of his children’s manner of learning.
His eldest child went to an all boys private boarding school, his middle went to a charter school, and his youngest was home schooled. Each of them flourished once they were in the right environment for them. “Wow”, I thought “talk about extremes.
Ship one kid off to boarding school but keep one at home with you.” Ever since then, I have been mulling over how to figure out what kind of teaching style your child responds to best, and how to find the school that utilizes that particular style. It seems like a daunting task. Continue reading “Is the Local School the Right School?”→
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I started reading books on my own. Soon enough though, the books I had to read for school occupied all my reserved time for reading. In fact, I started to not like reading so much, because I didn’t really like those books from school and had little time to read anything else.
Along my life, I would read books on my own. Just a few. Much more than my school mate´s average, I’d say. I think my interest in reading comes from having watched my parents read and comment on their books at home.
I remember my mom laughing so much at this book about a cat, and I waited anxiously for her to finish it so I could read it. I didn’t find it so amusing, but it was my first book without any drawings, and I was really proud I finished it. When I was 21, I went to Journalism College. You can imagine that in such a course, they give the students lots of books to read. I read them all, plus very few off of the curriculum.