This picture is from 1958-59 school year in Minneha on the east edge of Wichita. M -I-N-N-E-H-A, Minneha, Minneha Yea, Yea Yea! The teachers there suffered with me from Kindergarten thru the 9th Grade. That was the same school where Mrs MUD did her student teaching. Poor Bobwa.

A few years back, I was responsible for the computer design that would take the Guard into the new Century. To put it mildly, we didn't know what we didn't know. We spent hundreds of thousands on technology that was outdated before we got it installed. We built on line computer training centers that cost well over $50,000 and that is now replaced by a notebook computer at less than $500.00. A little later I was assigned to the job of chief Training officer for the Kansas Guard. We were killed by the rigid requirements of the Brick and Mortar crowd that insisted that an Artilleryman must go to Fort Sill, OK for 8 weeks, not mater what!

Just this morning, National Public Radio (NPR) had a piece about virtual schools and how they are "cherry Picking" students away from the Real Schools. My thoughts are that times and technology are changing and schools should keep up. I always thought that Kicking out a student for bad behavior was a reward not a punishment. Make them attend a virtual school and do the same work as if they had been in school. But, the Brick and Mortar board people don't want to change and they just want to eliminate the other guys.

In my dream of the future, my little friends Katrina and Kendra in Morocco, should be able to go up on line from there and attend classes with a class in Topeka (Or Timbuktu if that is where their parents want them to go) Yes, I realize there is a time differential but tape delay is possible. Once a day they could be on a conference feed and touch the life in the class room.

Just as I started this, Barb told me that our son is taking a Distance Learning class this summer. I think it is darn near past the time we can go to school anywhere, anytime.

Yes, I do realize there is a need for students to have a socialization component in their lives but that is available anywhere. I'm also not sure that some of the play behavior I was involved in was social or even legal. I damn sure wasn't politically correct by today's standards. Oh well,



  1. There will likely be a place for brick and mortar schools for a long time to come. You are right that socialization is available anywhere--and often in a better form than that available in some public schools. My three older kids were very well socialized before ever attending a public school. They participated in Scouts, 4-H, Young Marines, and various homeschool groups and sports as well as volunteering in the community and attending our small Bible fellowship. Naomi has participated in many of the same activities and goes to gym 20 hours a week. That socialization argument is one that really gets to us homeschoolers.

    Now, there is a certain type of homeschooler that people like to point out in order to illustrate the need for socialization. However, that has more to do with upbringing and the personality of the parents than homeschooling. I'm guessing those kids would probably be much the same if they were in public school since there were always kids like that when I was growing up. Shoot, I was a little like that myself. Having been a shy, awkward kid, I have always made an effort to make sure that my kids could be comfortable in any social setting and did not allow them to just sit on the sidelines.

    Virtual schools are gaining popularity because many of the traditional schools have not been able to keep up. Drugs, violence, and poor discipline make some schools a dangerous choice and learning extremely difficult. Virtual schools are also more cost effective and our brick and mortar schools have largely proved (like the government entity that they are) that they are incapable of staying within budget and using resources wisely. The only reason they fear competition is because they are not up for it. Attention should be focused on fixing the problems rather than whining about a little competition.

    Do not take this to mean I am anti-public school. Three of my kids attend a public school in a pretty nice school system and the fourth may soon attend there as well. I've even considered going to work for that school system. There are some wonderful public schools and teachers all across this country and I am thankful for them.

  2. I was a substitute teacher for a year and learned that there is a lot more to learn than I learned. I am glad that our school system is one of the best and yet I know there are a lot of problems. Virtual schools, on-line learning or distant learning is something we need to look at and make work. Thanks for the good words. MUD

  3. Having home schooled for none year, had one of the kids in virtual school for a semester, then put the kids into public school this year, I can tell you that I like the virtual school idea. Florida has a very strong virtual school in existence, and you're right that kids kicked out shouldn't be exempt from their studies.

    One of my Florida friend's children basically played hooky all last year, skipping most of the year. He was allowed to attend the next grade this year, but he has to make up what he missed last year by attending virtual school this summer. That works for me.

    Then there are the schools all over central Florida which have been bursting at the seams for a long time. Virtual schools are a nice alternative for a lot of people.

    As to kids overseas, the school my daughter used had no "live" classes. She could do the classes any time of day and the teachers kept in contact via email.

  4. Anonymous9:23 PM

    Nine year veteran homeschooler here. I'll keep this short and sweet as you probably don't want to know all the ins and outs of our homeschooling saga.

    I believe parents are responsible for their children... including their education. I think parents should be able to choose whether they send their kids to a public school, a private school, homeschool them or utilize any number of different virtual type schools.... or use a combination of any of the above. I don't believe the government has a right to tell us what our children have to learn and by what age... or have the right to say which curriculum we choose.

    Case in point... our girls are graduating next week. It is a program where you are dually enrolled in high school and college at the same time. They will be getting their high school diplomas but will also have earned 20 college credits this year. They had to test college ready last summer before we enrolled them, which they obviously did. I had to provide transcripts for the three years of highschool that they were homeschooled. We used Apologia for Biology and Chemistry... because they were Christian curriculum there was a big broohaha as to whether the school would accept those credits! It just chaps my hide! Our son is in honors biology at his school... we made our girls' biology an honors course by requiring them to do very involved research papers in addition to the entire curriculum. My son is not required to do that. We have a microscope and dissecting kits and they each dissected their own frogs, crawdads, worms, and fish. We did everything. We did MORE than what they do at school.... AND for their chemistry class we hired a real chemistry teacher who was homeschooling her daughter. She came to our home once a week and the girls went to her home once a week.

    Okay... so, I am hyperventialating. Sorry. It's the whole taxation without representation thing all over again... not just in the school arena either. That, and I just don't like to be told what to do. We are supposed to be FREE in this country.

    Oh, and a word about socialization. Ummmmmm... yeah, there are definitely some strange kids in the homeschool world. Especially boys whose fathers aren't really involved. However, this year I have been really looking around at the other kids at my kids' schools. Holy Moley People!!! There are some socially retarded kids running around that have been in the school system all along!!! Yikes!

    Sadly, our oldest ran away in January. Our sheltered little Christian, homeschooled girl. She got out there and has decided to walk on the wild side. Truthfully, our homeschooling her just put it off until she was older.

    All righty then... I'd go stick my head in my oven... but it is electric.

  5. Whew, I didn't think I would kick a hornet's nest. I think being introduced to my dad & grandfather game after hunting made biology a lot more fun. My 7th grade science teacher has us do a autopsy on a pet alligator that died and after that I loved science. Some one fed that poor alligator an eraser and he died from it. Great posts. MUD

  6. Okay, the alligator thing made me laugh. Kids will do anything.

    Here's what I got from the post. There's an "old" guy in Kansas that is technologically more savvy than some kids. That guy received his lessons the hard way (from experience) and realizes a lot more than he gives himself credit for. "Online" simply must become more important because of limited space to develop more structures.

    And Fort Sill is still awesome, no matter what. That polo ground is impressive to say the least. that base is as big as Delaware. Bean is stationed one hour away in Altus. We drive by Sill from OKC when I fly in.

    But, yes, I agree with the online learning concept and hope that it becomes more and more available. Having those classes with the students NOT getting together in a single place will cut down on the costs of education by eliminating the needs for additional classrooms, parking, support facilities, et al. And from my experience in college, I never saw a need to ever be in the same place as the professor. Never, ever saw that need.