Thursday, February 26, 2009

Legislative Information

I wanted to share some information with you about what is going on in the state legislature regarding home schooling. As some of you know, last year the legislature cut the funding to home school assistance programs from .6 to .3. Because of the changes, it opened up the door for making legislative rule changes regarding home schooling. In response to this, there are a couple of new faces lobbying for home schooling at our capital this session.
In the past, only NICHE has had a constant presence at the capital. The problem with that, was that NICHE lobbies for families who don't use home school assistance programs, and they don't advocate for the needs of Iowa families who are in home school assistance programs. So, Ed Dickerson and a few others have formed the group HAIL, Homeschool Alliance for Iowa Learners. On their website, they describe themselves as; a grass roots, non-partisan homeschool lobby group dedicated to having an inclusive lobbyist working for Iowa Homeschoolers at the State Capitol. This resource is designed to assist homeschool families and their state legislators communicate with each other on Iowa homeschooling issues.
If you are curious about what they are up to and the kinds of things they are advocating for, check out their website. You can also sign up for e-mail updates from them.
Another new presence at the state capital is Andrea Farrier. She is a home school assistance teacher from eastern Iowa who represents the Iowa Home School Assistance Professionals, a group that I belong to. I also get a weekly update from her on the happening at the capital with regards to home schooling. In her last update she stated that we have Democratic sponsorship for parent-taught driver education in both the house and senate. This is a positive thing, but there is still the possibility that the governor will veto it as he did in 2004.

If you and your children are interested in seeing more about how the legislative process works, there is an opportunity for home school families to be a part of this on Monday March 2. Families will be meeting in the rotunda area at 11:00 and there is a capital tour scheduled for 1:00. I will not be able to attend that day, but if any of you can, it would be a very educational experience! I went once last year and it was a great experience.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Be My Valentine

My Valentine's Day memories are full of things like;
  • construction paper hearts glued together in pinks and reds
  • wondering whether the person who stuck the conversation hearts in the flimsy little envelope read them first and if it was a message for me
  • those little red heart suckers
  • the sappy card and chocolate from Mom
Valentine's day is traditionally thought of as a time for couples in love, but really it's a celebration of love itself and a perfect opportunity for a mom to teach and express genuine love for her kids.

My niece wrote about her memories of Valentine's Day on her blog, Musings of Foreign Hearts. Check it out. Her mom puts me to shame with individual poems for her children and a feast ending with individual heart shaped cakes for each of her five children. Actually though, it inspires me to want to make a special effort this year to let each of my kids know how much I love them and cherish them as individuals. I haven't decided yet exactly how that will play out, but let me know if you have any great inspirational ideas!

In the meantime, make some glittery Valentine's boxes with the kids, do some baking, read about St. Valentine, or just go to the store and buy some boxed Valentines. I am putting together some little heart things with pixie sticks shooting through them for my students. There are some great ideas at The and a reading list of Valentine's Day books at Apples for the Teacher. Let me know how you show love and teach your kids about real love by leaving a comment.