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Posts Tagged ‘school’

Top Twenty Reasons to Home School


picture of home school house

I believe there are quite a few home school families who read my blog. I have the utmost respect for home schoolers who do their job well. In recent years some fine students who were home schooled have been in my university French classes. I'm confident that any home schoolers will read today's post with an eye to the humor. It is in no way meant as a criticism, but rather it highlights the humor of their particular situation. The list has been in my files for years, recently resurfaced, and has been tweaked slightly from the way it originally came to me.

Top twenty reasons to home school

20. Your kids never tell you that their teacher knows more than you do.

19. If you can't find matching socks for your child first thing in the morning, who cares?

18. Cleaning out the refrigerator can double as science lab.

17. Your kids never have a reason to think they'll get beat up by a gang at school.

16. If the principal gives the teacher a bad evaluation, she can stick her icy feet against his legs at night.

15. You can post the Ten Commandments on your school room wall, and you won't get sued.

14. You never have to drive your child's forgotten lunch to school.

13. Your child will never go to their 20th high school reunion, meet an old flame, and rush into an unfortunate marriage.

That reminded me of a cartoon I love....

picture of home school cartoon

12. You get to change more than diapers — you get to change minds.

11. If you get caught talking to yourself, you can claim you're having a PTA meeting.
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Is Cursive Dying?


picture of practice writing

I have noticed in recent years that fewer of my college students turn in work written in cursive. This past week I did an survey in my classes and discovered that only 15% of my students write mostly in cursive. In fact, one student said that the only thing she knows how to write in cursive is her signature.

At the time my wife and I were growing up in northwestern Ohio, we were taught the Zaner-Bloser method of writing cursive, beginning in second grade. I remember hardly being able to wait to learn it so that I could write like the older kids and grown ups.

Here's what the Zaner-Bloser letters and numbers that we were supposed to emulate looked like:

picture of Zaner-Bloser cursive

I worked hard to perfect that skill and have been told through the years that I had neat handwriting, for a guy. A few years ago some of my students were having a hard time reading what I'd written on the board and the overhead. I attributed it to my handwriting, rather than to the fact that I'd written in cursive. I think now, though, that it was actually the cursive that was throwing some of my students. Here's what my writing looks like — I'll let you decide whether it's legible.

picture of my handwriting

I do understand the frustration of some students, though. The semester I took Chinese, our teacher was out for part of the semester on maternity leave. The substitute teacher wrote on the board one day in Chinese cursive. I was having a hard enough time reading Chinese characters as it was, let alone throwing cursive into the mix!

Our children went to Bob Jones Elementary School where they were taught precursive then later cursive using the handwriting curriculum from the BJU Press.

Here's a sample of what PreCursive looks like:
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Are Test Results Valid?


picture of scantron

I think most teachers would agree with me that one of the hardest parts of teaching is testing and assessment. And I'm not talking about grading tests, but writing good ones. You think you have written good questions that cannot be read into, and then you give the test... How could the students misunderstand or misinterpret such clear questions?!

The teacher of the Tests and Measurements course at BJ came to class one day and told the students to take out a half sheet of paper. He told them to number from one to ten. He then proceeded as follows, "Number one; true or false? Number two; true or false? Number three; true or false?" At this point a student timidly raised his hand and asked the teacher if he was going to read the questions. The teacher interrupted, "Number four; true or false?" and so on through number ten. He then told the students to exchange papers, and he read the "right" answers. He asked the students to show by the raised hand what their scores were on this "quiz." One person got nine out of the ten right — with no questions! He went on to talk about the ineffectiveness of true-false questions in determining what students knew — good guessers could get at least a 90% and poor guessers considerably less, when there was no information actually being tested. BTW, we're currently considering eliminating true-false questions as much as possible from our French tests.

One of my "fun gifts" for Christmas this year was a "Teacher's Grade Decider" from Mark and Katie. Below is a picture of it:

picture of the teacher's grade decider

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Back to School!


picture of back-to-school stuff

What do you / did you like best about starting back to school? When I was a child, I think that my favorites were the smell of new pencils and erasers, new paper in my notebook outfitted with dividers for that year's classes, putting book covers on that year's textbooks, and new back-to-school clothes. As a teacher I still love back to school, but for very different reasons. I love seeing my students from previous years who are still in the university — especially if they're in my classes. I love meeting my new students, looking forward to forging some friendships that will go into the future.

I woke up this morning at 5:05, awake as I am now, so I decided to get up and post a special first-day-of-classes iv. I'm sure I'll pay for this this evening when I struggle to stay awake till bedtime.... 🙂

This year it will be fun to watch the reactions of returning students to the new furniture in our classroom, generously provided by the school's alumni. It looks so fresh and roomy — we went from a crowded room with 59 desks to just 35 seats. Ah, room to move around! Here are two pictures of the classroom in which I teach French.
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Please Excuse…


picture of sign

The last post dealt with students' excuses for the way things are. Today's will focus on the parents of those young scholars. My first eleven years of teaching were on the high school level where meeting the parents of my students was often quite interesting. It left me thinking one of two things — either "Is that child really from that family?!" or "Well, that explains a lot!" As one of my college teachers used to say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the horse, does it?"

The following are reputed to be real notes written by parents. I have left (mis)spellings and grammatical problems intact. Some of them are funny, but some are just sad.

My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.

Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
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