Teaching

Teaching

As I continue my read through of the Fulton County Public Library, I find myself immersed in nostalgic memories of my own former teaching career as well as laughing myself silly.  I have really enjoyed reading the books for this post.

The first book that I read was I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza.

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had

(Yes, for those of you old enough to remember this is the actor, Tony Danza.) For those of you not old enough to know who Tony Danza is, he acted in the sitcoms Taxi

Tony Danza, Judd Hirsch and Danny DeVito (from left) 
Taxi

and Who’s the Boss?

Who's the Boss

Before Danza was an actor, he was a professional boxer.

Danza Boxer

It was during his boxing career that Tony Danza was “discovered” and then became an actor. What most people don’t know is that even before Danza’s days as a boxer, he trained to be a teacher.

Life has a strange way of taking twists and turns. After college, Danza intended to actually be a teacher but his boxing career took off and he pursued it for awhile. Because of his boxing, he then became an actor, and because of his acting career and his desire to return to his love of teaching, he was offered a reality show called Teach. Teach is a one season DVD series with 7 episodes.

Teach Tony Danza

Tony Danza was actually hired at an inner city school in Philadelphia as a first year teacher. Danza bravely agreed to be filmed as a first year teacher.  There were some concessions that had to be made to the Philadelphia school district to ensure that students would actually receive a legitimate education during the reality show. A teaching coach was assigned to the classroom. He sat at the back during the classroom sessions and then made recommendations and suggestions afterwards. Danza was expected to be like any other teacher in the school and he had extracurricular duties.

This first year teaching experience led to writing I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I’ve Ever Had, a book which I totally enjoyed. Danza truly does have a heart for kids. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that Danza’s eyes got opened. According to him, teaching is the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life. It’s harder than being a professional boxer. I would totally recommend the book. I liked Teach, the DVD series, but I actually liked the book better.

The next book I read was “Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?” Teaching Lessons from the Bronx by Ilana Garon. I had to read this book for it’s title alone. I also perk up when I hear about aliens (for more about this see my post Shelf Browsing Leads To Memory Lane.)

Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens

Garon is a young Jewish teacher who explains the realities of teaching in an inner city school in the Bronx. Her book follows the first 4 years or so of her teaching career through two different schools and a sabbatical. While I liked the overall story in the book, I have to admit that I did have some difficulty relating to some of the cultural elements of the students and teachers. Since I’ve never lived in a huge city like New York, many of the concepts were quite foreign to me. For instance, rather than having huge school systems, many of the larger school buildings have been reinvented and may house multiple schools within the same building complete with their own staffs of support people and administrators. In both this experience and also in Tony Danza’s experience, all three schools discussed house their own police department to control their students and the students are sometimes dragged out of class in handcuffs.

The next book I came across was Hugs for Teachers by Martha McKee, Caron Loveless, and LeAnn Weiss.

hugs for teachers

This book is a very quick read book which is faith based, inspirational, and motivational. It is one of those books that you may want to give as a gift to your child’s teacher.

Finally the last two books I read (and laughed myself silly reading) were:

F in Exams   F for Effort

Both of these books by Richard Benson are compilations of wrong (but often quite creative) test answers. I literally laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes and trouble catching my breath! If you need to laugh, I highly recommend these books!

Were you aware that Tony Danza is a certified teacher? Have you ever been to a school that has it’s own police department? Have you ever given “creative” test answers when you didn’t know the real answer?

 

 

 

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Homeschooling

Homeschooling

Several different approaches to this post have been considered. There is just no way to adequately cover homeschooling in one blog post so I’ve decided I will make this post a bit of a survey post to show some of the many options when homeschooling.

Beginning with the most well known version of homeschooling is the Stay at Home approach. This approach in and of itself has many different versions although the most common is when kids learn at home and are taught by one or both parents.

Real-Life Homeschooling

In Real-Life Homeschooling: the Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home by Rhonda Barfield many different methods of homeschooling are explained by the real life families who do them. Many people have an idea in their heads that all homeschoolers do (if they are taught at all) is sit and do worksheets all day. While worksheets might play a part in some homeschooling programs, they are actually not very typical. Most homeschoolers get a very hands on approach to learning complete with educational field trips and instruction in home arts skills. Often homeschooling parents are very capable and good instructors. They have good days and bad days–just like teachers in a public school. When a homeschooling parent is not strong in a certain academic subject and other family members aren’t able to fill in the gap, sometimes they will join Cooperative Home Schools.

In the cooperative homeschooling approach parents may formerly join other homeschoolers and/or organizations. Some cooperative homeschoolers are organized informally because the homeschooling families know and trust each other. Each co-op looks and functions differently. Sometimes homeschooling parents will teach different subjects which may be set up by the day of the week. For instance if one parent is very strong in Math and another is stronger in Language Arts, they may trade kids for a day and teach their particular subject to ensure that the kids are taught well. This isn’t all that different than changing class periods and teachers in a public school. One advantage to setting up a curriculum where students learn math skills on a Monday is that there is more time to explore and practice a particular subject. A more hands on approach can be utilized without time restrictions which allows children to work and learn at their own pace. Some parents using this approach may set it up differently where Math is half a day twice a week or whatever works in their particular situation(s).  The possibilities are endless.

In addition to the two approaches listed above, now there are also Hybrid Home Schools. This approach amounts to part time homeschooling. In this approach students may attend an actual school (often a private one) a few days a week and learn at home the rest of the week. This approach has also been called the Collegiate Model since the schedule will resemble a college student’s schedule.

I have also heard of some newer versions of homeschooling which I believe would fall into a hybrid description. In this approach a small amount of homeschoolers (maybe 3 or 4 students from different families) are taken to another home, usually another homeschooling family. They maintain fairly regular school hours but are instructed in small groups by the homeschooling parent(s) who reside there. A fee is charged (similar to private schools) to take on these extra students, but all the benefits of homeschooling are maintained. Though there are regular hours there is heightened flexibility in scheduling to accommodate family schedules, doctor’s appointments, and the like.

Although I’m sure all of us could think of a few exceptions, usually homeschooling families are quite dedicated and organized. In my read through of the Fulton County Public Library, I came across many resources and suggestions for homeschool organization, including how to keep academic records and create transcripts for college entry. Since I can’t go into all of this in depth, I will just show a few of the (many) books that I checked out on this topic.

The Well-Trained MindThe Complete Guide to Homeschooling

Setting the Record Straight

The cost of home schooling ranges from free to quite expensive. Many families strive for the free range while still providing quality education. For those interested, the following book would be a good place to start your research.

Homeschool Your Child for Free

Another book worth checking out is The Well-Adjusted Child: the Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole.

The Well-Adjusted Child

Homeschooling families are often accused of neglecting the social development of their children by keeping them isolated. This has been changing quite a bit in the last several years. Homeschoolers are now much more conscientious about providing socialization activities.

Homeschooling laws may vary from state to state. According to the A -to-Z Homeschooling  site, in Indiana all you have to do is start homeschooling. There aren’t a lot (if any) forms to fill out. There are, however, some guidelines for parents which are recommended by the Indiana Department of Education. If interested in homeschooling, be sure to check the laws of your own state. Some states require the supervision of homeschoolers by a licensed teacher.

Do you know anyone who is homeschooling? Is homeschooling something that you would be interested in? What is your opinion of homeschooling?