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rainymike

Forgot to add - in addition to all the educational stuff on the internet, I've found two really useful tools for the kids to help with online materials.

 

One is google translator to help with learning Tagalog (although it is far from perfect).

 

The other is Natural Reader to help learning English - a text to speech piece of free software. The free voices sound a bit robotic, but you can purchase some voices that are decent. Helps the kid to see and hear words at the same time. Not so good for speaking Tagalog though. The kid highlights text and the computer reads it aloud to the kids. 

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Forgot to add - in addition to all the educational stuff on the internet, I've found two really useful tools for the kids to help with online materials.

 

One is google translator to help with learning Tagalog (although it is far from perfect).

 

The other is Natural Reader to help learning English - a text to speech piece of free software. The free voices sound a bit robotic, but you can purchase some voices that are decent. Helps the kid to see and hear words at the same time. Not so good for speaking Tagalog though. The kid highlights text and the computer reads it aloud to the kids. 

 

Do you have links?

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Skywalker

 

 

By all means supplement education, but kids need the social skills that the classroom imparts.

 

EXACTLY.

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I've just looked at that Ron Paul page and it is abysmal.

 

By all means supplement education, but kids need the social skills that the classroom imparts.

 

Bob, I have no intention of homeschooling my child, but having prepared lessons that parents can pick and choose from is a great resource. There are actually several homeschooling curriculums out the, and the beauty is that you can cherry-pick them to teach those things you want your child to learn. Our daughter is just in nursery school (at a Catholic school), and we use resources like this to supplement and reinforce her education...not to replace it.

 

However, way too many parents simply abdicate their responsibility for their children's educations by giving that responsibility to the schools (regardless of what school their child is in. If parents do that, their child will receive just as flat an education as if they try to teach them everything in an isolated and insulated homeschooling environment. One thing is sure though...the children WILL learn how to sing and dance if they go to ANY school in the Philippines. All schools in the Philippines must conform to DEPED dictates (or lose their certification), so even in private schools, you are sure to see the same basic patterns. Part of that is the overemphasis on social skills.

 

Socialization is important for children, but here in the Philippines, academic studies are often sacrificed in the name of socialization. All of last week, and all of this week, our daughter is learning NOTHING in school other than how to do the dance her class will perform this Friday. Nevertheless, my wife and I are still spending a couple of hours a day with her working on her writing, reading, math and coloring skills, so she is getting a balanced education regardless of our shortcomings or the school system's shortcomings. I'm lucky though. My wife is a certified elementary teacher.

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rainymike

Do you have links?

 

For Natural Reader, http://www.naturalreaders.com/ (you can run it stand alone, or from Internet Explorer). Might make reading online materials more fun with your kid in particular - although 3 might be a bit young for reading. It's fine for my 6 and 8 year old.

 

Google translator - I use Wordpress as a platform for putting stuff online for my kids. And it is a Wordpress plugin. However, there are apps for mobile devices that can be downloaded. Translates English text on a webpage into Cebuano or Tagalog or a bunch of other languages. There is a clunky translator if you just search google translate.

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thebob

 

 

Bob, I have no intention of homeschooling my child, but having prepared lessons that parents can pick and choose from is a great resource.

 

However, way too many parents simply abdicate their responsibility for their children's educations by giving that responsibility to the schools (regardless of what school their child is in.

 

One thing is sure though...the children WILL learn how to sing and dance if they go to ANY school in the Philippines. All schools in the Philippines must conform to DEPED dictates (or lose their certification), so even in private schools, you are sure to see the same basic patterns. Part of that is the overemphasis on social skills.   Socialization is important for children, but here in the Philippines, academic studies are often sacrificed in the name of socialization.

 

Nevertheless, my wife and I are still spending a couple of hours a day with her working on her writing, reading, math and coloring skills, so she is getting a balanced education regardless of our shortcomings or the school system's shortcomings. I'm lucky though. My wife is a certified elementary teacher.

 

I fully agree with your stance. School educations should be looked on as a basis that needs supplementation after school hours.

 

School covers basic skills necessary to function academically, but life skills and the motivation to pursue education needs to come from the home environment. Children need all the help they can get to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in life.

 

DEPED isn't perfect, but it seems to be immune from many of the "external" influences on curriculum that some countries are suffering from at the moment. Considering their limited resources, I think that they are doing quite a good job.

 

Many of the private schools use the Montessori system, which I think is methodologically suspicious. I don't have a problem with the public education system here, the materials aren't that bad, but the individual teachers make all of the difference.

 

It is imperative to communicate with teachers, and to make sure that they understand the role that you are providing to the children in your care.

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rainymike

 

 

Many of the private schools use the Montessori system, which I think is methodologically suspicious.

 

Can you fill me in on what you find suspect? I do intend to do a lot a probing when I check out those schools. Would help to know what tough questions I should ask. I get what they say they're doing conceptually, but not really sure how it's actually delivered. 

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thebob

Can you fill me in on what you find suspect? I do intend to do a lot a probing when I check out those schools. Would help to know what tough questions I should ask. I get what they say they're doing conceptually, but not really sure how it's actually delivered. 

 

These are the main problems.

 

 

  • Most use of Montessori materials strictly adheres to fairly rigid and methodical use. When I was in Montessori teacher training, our instructional materials consisted of step-by-step, extraordinarily specific guides to using each piece of educational work in the classroom. According to writings by and about Maria Montessori, she favored a much more experimental and less systematic approach; in one of her books, she advocates throwing the material around, something which would undoubtedly be verboten in the contemporary classroom.
  • At the same time, individual freedom is encouraged while creativity is often curbed. As long as materials are used systematically, creativity with them is discouraged; there can be a lot of "we don't do it that way, we do it this way" in a Montessori classroom. John Dewey advocated creativity and adaptation in education while at the same time criticizing the Montessori Method's lack of it. [Monart, a so-called "progressive" approach to painting which advocates a collective repeating of basic elements in a classic "banking approach" to art education; coincidentally, I came to dislike this style at a Montessori elementary.] Maria Montessori also discouraged imagination in education and in its stead advocated a concretely reality-based learning; in particular this horrifies teachers who place storytelling and creative activities in the center of their classroom.
  • Individual learning is preferred while social interaction is discouraged, whether intentionally or not. Arguably preschool, more so than any other level, is the environment for the most formative social learning; kids are not only learning how to interact with others, but understanding their place within a community. Often, time in a Montessori class are spent either alone with materials, or in a circle group led by the teacher. In my opinion, not enough time is spent in small group activity; and, in fact, much social interaction outside of work is discouraged (my theory to explain this is that collaboration between students is difficult to facilitate, especially when teacher training is not suited to train for it). I think contemporary theories of and projects for group learning, peer interaction, and collaborative work are important at any level, particularly for developing skills particular to this contemporary era (often described as 21st century skills).

http://uglyamericaninafrica.blogspot.jp/2010/12/montessori-method-criticisms-and.html

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TheMatrix

I've just found some more information about Dr. Gary North, the director of curriculum development for RonPaulCurriculum.com

 

 

Gary North: The Christian Taliban Writing Ron Paul’s Curriculum

 

Let this serve as a warning to the libertarian and Christian homeschooling communities: Gary North, the man who is writing and publishing the “Ron Paul Curriculum,” is certifiably nuts. North subscribes to an ultra-ultra-fundamentalist religious ideology called “Christian Reconstructionism,” which aspires to establish a global Christian theocracy and reinstitute all of Old Testament law. I am not exaggerating.

 

North, who has been lurking around the fringes of the libertarian community for decades, has reemerged from his cave to pen a homeschooling curriculum under Ron Paul’s name, based “first and foremost” on “biblical principles.” (Tom Woods, who has done some writing for Dr. Paul before, is also involved in the project.)

 

Paul’s involvement in the project appears to be minimal, and statements allegedly from him on the curriculum site are written in the style and voice of Gary North (peppered with transparently self-conscious first-person references to remind the reader that this is really Paul, not North, speaking). The site itself appears to be modeled, if not an actual clone, of North’s own subscription website. For instance, “Ron Paul’s” 100% guarantee reads a lot like North’s own, and the domain RonPaulCurriculum.com was first registered in 2010 to “GaryNorth.com, Inc.” The fee for the curriculum is $25 to start, $250 a year after that, plus $50 per course. (I notice that for all the grousing about “worthless FRNs,” he still expects to be paid in dollars.)

 

While none of this is wrong in itself (high-profile people often lend their names to their friends’ projects–and it isNorth’s project), parents should be concerned about about Gary North, and what his agenda is in educating their children. North has been quite explicit about this in the past, and he laid out his ultimate goals in an article in Christianity and Civilization, which you can find on his website:

 

"Everyone talks about religious liberty, but no one believes it. So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God."

 

North wrote this totalitarian screed in 1982, but, as he said then, he’s playing the long game: “It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow from the hearts of a majority of citizens.” Although he despises the notion of religious liberty, he accepts its use as a strategic deception (“As a tactic, it is legitimate; we are jockeying for power. We are buying time”) until he and his fellow Reconstructionists are in a position to seize power and destroy the “enemies of God.”

 

http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/04/08/gary-north-the-libertarian-taliban/

 

I have reviewed the Ron Paul Curriculum and have not detected any of Gary North religious fanaticism if any.   Further, and since I will be learning and teaching my children their studies, regardless of who's beliefs, I will eliminate those items which I feel are not appropriate and insure I am not converting my children into religious zealots.  I seriously don't think it will be an issue.  Perhaps Gary North has calmed.  I have received his weekly emails over the past year, and have not noticed any religious material whatsoever.  I do, however, welcome a healthy spiritual learning experience filled with facts and led by faith.  

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I have reviewed the Ron Paul Curriculum and have not detected any of Gary North religious fanaticism if any.   Further, and since I will be learning and teaching my children their studies, regardless of who's beliefs, I will eliminate those items which I feel are not appropriate and insure I am not converting my children into religious zealots.  I seriously don't think it will be an issue.  Perhaps Gary North has calmed.  I have received his weekly emails over the past year, and have not noticed any religious material whatsoever.  I do, however, welcome a healthy spiritual learning experience filled with facts and led by faith.  

 

That was pretty much my take on the lessons I read as well. I saw no religious influence at all, and since parents choose which lessons they give their children, I don't see it as a problem. Children do need socialization at a young age, and if there is a weakness in home schooling, that is it. I think that play time with other children (not just their own siblings) is an important part of a child's education, and if children are home-schooled, they should have time to play with others as well. Playtime is when children learn how to (and how NOT to) interact with other people. They find out what works when dealing with others and what doesn't work...especially with some guidance from their parents. Children can't learn those things from books and lesson plans. As long as parents can give their children playtime with other children in addition to lessons, then I see nothing wrong with home schooling. For us, I think the perfect mix is regular school plus home lessons...at least for now. Our daughter is (truthfully) getting her socialization at school, and learning most of her academic lessons at home. Teachers here tend to send assignments home with children when any real teaching is involved. They expect the parents to teach their children. They are better at assessing what the child has learned than in teaching the lessons themselves...at least that is our limited experience so far. I am OK with that to a point, but we pay a lot of tuition to the school she attends, and we would like to see her with results (from school) other than just being able to do little dances (performances) once a month.

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