More Parents Look into Homeschooling Their Children

Osceola, FL– With all of the controversy surrounding the FCAT test, more than 18,000 attendees were on hand at the 25th Annual Florida Parent Educators Association Expo at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida . At the expo parents attended workshops and purchased homeschool materials.

It has been reported that parents are realizing that teachers are focusing too much time with preparing students for the FCAT test and not enough time on the students entire learning needs. Since homeschoolers are not required to take the FCAT test, this alternative education may eliminate some of the pressures on the parents and students.

My Homeschool Experience

I Homeschooled my kids on and off throughout their school years. When they weren’t working on a Homeschool curriculum, they were mostly in private schools. I allowed my nephew to attend a public school because I was told that the school would meet his special needs. When my older son reached his high school years he went from Homeschool to a Catholic high school. My youngest son, was Homeschooled up until he got caught up in the Juvenile Justice System. However, the detention facility where he was placed for months failed, to meet his required educational subjects. Upon his release, we opted for him to get his General Education Diploma (he passed with flying colors on the 1st sitting), he was 16-years-old. Both of my sons enrolled in college. My oldest son graduated from Tallahassee Community College and Florida State University. My youngest son was in his 2nd semester at Tallahassee Community College when he was arrested.

I would’ve loved to Homeschool my kids through all of their school years. However, being a single parent and working full-time, was a lot. Although there are programs out there that require little supervision (based on your child’s age), you still have to participate (make sure child is completing assignments, administer quizes and tests). The good thing about the homeschooling program my kids were enrolled in–was the DVDs kind of gave them a classroom experience. If asked–my kids would probably say that they didn’t like being Homeschooled. A lot of that would be due to the lack of socializing.   

I used Abeka Academy’s Homeschool Curriculum

If We Work Together–We’ll Succeed Together–All Things Are Possible

Soulsville Charter School located in Memphis, Tennessee, was featured on Morning Joe, a daily talk show that comes on MSNBC. Althought this charter school is located in another state, it is a model for school for each and every community where there is a disconnect between schools and their communities. Listening to Digger Phelps interview NeShante Brown– the school’s Executive Director, was very moving. NeShante Brown was very passionate about her school, students and the belief that given the right atmosphere and tools–all kids can go to college and succeed in life. I recommend every parent to take the time out to review Soulsville’s website. Just maybe you can encourage a school that your child or a child that you care for who is struggling to adopt their structure.

My Personal Experience

My three sons–I have two biological boys and my nephew–  I refer to them as my three sons. There is a five year age difference between my biological sons; and a one year age difference between my youngest son and my nephew. My two boys are very independent. Always eager to learn (sometimes too eager). My nephew, who is a slow learner, was more dependent. When it came to their education I started them out attending public school. My oldest son fitted right in. The teachers and students loved him. My middle son, was more of a challenge because he was an entertainer (his schoolwork didn’t suffer at all). My nephew, was placed in a regular Kindergarten class despite already having been diagnosed as Educably Mentally Handicapped (a handicap that both his biological mother and sister were under). All throughout the school year, my youngest son’s (nephew) teacher was questioned about when he’d be tested by the school’s Exceptional Education Team, the answer was said to be that there were we a lot of kids in the district that needed to be tested and that he was on the list. In the meantime, the teacher continued to send regular schoolwork home for him to complete. At the end of the school year the teacher wanted him to repeat the Kindergarten because the ESE team never were able to test him during the school year (NOT!) I really worked diligently to established reasonable relationships with all of the boys public school teachers, but it seemed like they wanted structured robotic kids. Something that does not exist in any civilian community. With my oldest son being the “popular kid” in school, he was bringing home other kids problems–allowing other kids problems to become his problem. My middle son wasn’t entertaining other kids, he was challenging the teacher’s competence. My youngest son (my nephew) when he was finally placed in an ESE classroom, he wasn’t being challenged enough. While all of the teachers loved him, he was a great classroom helper, even helping the more severely handicapped kids. I ended up removing all of the boys from public schools and then I  homeschooled them–on and off. I’d mostly homeschool them during the second semester of the school year that way we could go right through the summer. I will say that I would’ve rather homeschooled them their entire education, but as a working single parent–it was often exhausting. They were doing their work–I just couldn’t keep up. And then when school started back up in the fall, they’d be a head of the kids in their class. I was persuaded by a nurse (friend) that it would be more beneficial for my youngest son (my nephew) to stay in public school because of his disability. Because he needed speech therapy. During elementary school, he received very little speech therapy. After that, no more. I was angry. When asked why they were stopping his speech therapy–I was told that he didn’t need it. I eventually just told him to try to mimick what was being said on T.V. (afterall, that’s how Hispanics say they learned to speak English). It helped. When my oldest son reached his high school, I allowed him to go to a private Catholic high school by way of an independent school. He graduated from Florida State University. My middle son, who inspired me to create this blog, made a few bad choices (in friends and of his own), however, he was able to pass the General Education Test with flying colors on his first attempt when he was 16-years-old. He got a part-time job and was enrolled at Tallahassee Community College at the time of his arrest. All of my boys inherited a loving and caring spirit. That’s why I can guarantee you that my son DID NOT commit any murders. Every person that all of my sons have encountered they have helped in one form or another. If one lesson that my son is learning while awaiting his trial–is that everybody who says that they are your friend is not your friend. When you’ve inherited a loving and caring spirit–that’s a harsh reality.

Teacher Powernaps During School Day

In Seminole County, FL, a high school teacher chose to go to his truck and take a powernap during lunch time. However, he failed to return to his classroom. After lunch, another teacher noticed that students were in the classroom, but their teacher was not. School officials found him in his truck, fast asleep. He’d overslept. It’s been reported that school officials are expected to ask school board members to suspend the teacher, whose been teaching in the district for over a decade without any other incidents, for one day without pay.


Where is the team support here?

School officials have each others backs when teachers sleep in their classrooms (when they fail to teach students) but they don’t have each others backs when they are found physically sleeping in the parking lot–away from their classroom.



Trayvon Martin’s Death “Ultimately Avoidable”

The Discovery report was released yesterday in the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Sanford police concluded, what everyone with common sense clearly knows, that Trayvon Martin’s death could’ve been avoided. George Zimmerman had no right to pursue (stalk) Trayvon Martin period. George Zimmerman’s actions of following Trayvon Martin and then getting out of his car to confront him, is almost the same as a person driving around in a car with a blue light and pulling over an innocent driver (impersonating a police officer).

People are trying to compare George Zimmerman’s bruises to his statement saying that it’s obvious that George Zimmerman was being attacked by Trayvon. Who wouldn’t fight for their life? Whether you’re age 5, 17,95 or older– if you’re minding your own business and then all of a sudden a stranger approaches you and tries to harm you, you have every right to try to protect yourself. Do you remember Samantha Runnion? Back in 2002, Samantha Runnion, who was this little 5-year-old girl, was sitting outside of her grandmother’s apartment playing with another little girl when this strange man walked up to her and grabbed her. It was reported that Samantha yelled out to her little friend something in the essence of “go get my grandma”. Within hours of Samantha’s abduction, her abducter was apprehended and soon after 5-year-old Samantha Runnion was found dead (my heart still hurts for that little girl). The one thing that was etched in my mind to remember her was that the police said she fought her abductor. When the police pulled the car over that her abductor was driving, they noticed that he had fresh scratches on him. What a brave little girl. Here you have this 5-year-old girl who was by far no match to this grown man, but she fought him as best as she could for her life. A witness in the Trayvon Martin case stated that Trayvon was doing MMA (mixed marshall arts) style fighting on George Zimmerman. Again, fighting for his life.


Where was the immediate arrest warrant here? 

The 911 call placed by George Zimmerman screams alot. The Sanford chief-of-police and other law enforcement officers knew this–that’s why they did not want to release the 911 call or calls. On the call placed by George Zimmerman tells you that he’s angry, he’s a profiler, he’s a stalker and that he has no respect for authority. Other 911 calls from neighbors tells you that he’s an executioner. No matter how George Zimmerman supports try to spin this case, it is what it is–George Zimmerman is a murderer.


Mother Shot and Killed Her Four Children before Killing Herself

Brevard County, Florida, on May, 15, 2012, a 33-year-old mother shot and killed her children, two boys and two girls, ages 12-17, and then killed herself. The family was stamped as the “Problem Family” in the neighborhood where they lived. The shooting spree took place during the early morning hours. In the middle of the shooting spree, three of the children ran out of the house to seek help at one of their neighbor’s house. The neighbor described the children as “trying to break the door down,”. The neighbor admitted to opening the door and seeing blood on one of the children but was bewildered as to what was going on, so he placed a 911 call. The children were never let into the house. The neighbor says that when he went to get towels, the mother called the children to come back home. The neighbor did not question the mother as to what was going on and allowed the children to return home. One of the children collapsed in the front yard, where she later died. The following shots the remaining shots that took their lives were heard by the neighbor and the 911 dispatcher. The “Problem Family” is the “Dead Family” now.

Some people in the neighborhood told reporters that the police had been called out to the home several times. They said that the children were always getting into things. A neighbor said that the oldest boy, 15-years-old, was constantly in trouble and believed that the mother was trying to get help for him. Everyone seems to be unsure about what set the mother off to kill her family.

At the family home, a make-shift memorial, full of football jerseys, teddy bears and flowers covered the front porch, the driveway and the lawn. There were so many people visiting the home, that the police were called to observe the crowd.

Where are people when you really need them? 

This is an all around sad story. It’s sad that this young mother was pushed to make this final decision for herself and her family. It’s sad that she sought help from the local law enforcement agency and probably received little to no help. 

 I say this because I’ve called on law enforcement to help me get a message across to my son (even if it could’ve been to scare him up). And when they came out–they made it seem like I had no authority and he (my son) had authority. I felt like law enforcement had actually gave my son more nerve to be disrespectful. I could only blame myself for that because after all, I had taught him that law enforcement officers are powerful and trustworthy people. And as parents, we all know that our children know that we are powerful and trustworthy too, but we are also on the frontline for when our children want to be rebellious. I have to believe that no parent wants to call the police on their child. But when they do, law enforcement should come out with reinforcement–especially when the call is something as simple as dealing with a defiant child. Law enforcement agents should take the call serious and extend themselves to whatever measures that will help the child understand that the parent is only looking out for their best interest.

I don’t know the ends and outs about this young mother and her family, but I strongly feel like if a quarter of the adults (law enforcement officers, neighbors and all) that stood outside of the victims home on patrol and mourning their deaths, would’ve been their to support the mother and her family when they were alive, then just maybe they all would be alive today.

FCAT Writing Scores Dip Drastically/ Robert Champion’s Death

School district superintendents across the state are urging parents not to worry about the drastic decrease among students in regards to Florida Ccomprehensive Assessment Test writing scores. What is being reported is that last year at least 81 percent of 4th graders passed the test on level 4. This year about 27 percent of 4th graders passed on level 4. How does a parent not panic? That’s a tremendous dip. I know for a fact that school teachers are not the same today as they were when I was in school. It’s going to be interesting to see how this one plays out. Maybe when it’s all said and done–the school district superintendents will say that they felt betrayed by their principals and teachers the same way Dr. Julian White, the band director at FAMU said that he felt betrayed by his students and staff.


Where are the adults/ chaperones here?

Dr. White–what happened to roll call before boarding the bus? What college student wouldn’t try to get away with whatever? It’s sad enough that Robert Champion lost his life on the trip to Orlando. His parents knew that he was in the band and they knew that he was taking the bus back to the hotel. What they probably didn’t know was that on that same bus were young adults who were not band members. If something would’ve happen to one of the young adults on the bus who was not a band members–I can’t help but to wonder if him/ her themselves would’ve been the one to blame? How much attention would his/ her death had gotten? And if people would’ve felt sympathy for the family or what? That’s why it is so important to get the message that Robert Champion’s death is sending. There has to be major changes that will protect our children when they go off to college.    

Bond Denied for Two Suspects in the Cady Way Trail Murders

On May 12, 2012, in Orange County, Florida, two grown men had been charged and arrested for the deaths of two teenagers. Jesse Davis, 30-years-old and Hector Rodriguez, 31-years-old, have been denied bond for the murders. The teenagers, 16-year-old Nick Presha and 18-year-old Jeremy Stewart, were Winter Park High school students. On April 15, 2012, their bodies were found smoldering on a popular walking/ bike trail located in east Orange County. Autopsies showed that the teens hands were bound behind their backs and they both had been shot in the head, before their bodies were set on fire. Shortly after the discovery of the bodies, the Orange County Sheriff’s office had one person of interest under arrest on unrelated charges.

Early on into the investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s office  reported that Jesse Davis, who has been in and out of mental institutions, was known to terrorize people in the neighborhood where he lived, which was not to far from where the bodies were found. Now the sheriff’s office is reporting that the boys were killed while trying to sell two stolen handguns to the suspects.

Where are the adults here?

I’ll admit, when it comes to gun ownership–I’ve always been on the fence about it. On one hand, I understand why some people would choose to own one or more guns. But on the other hand, I know first hand about how careless people can be when it comes to storing guns. And sometimes the results in the owners carelessness with storing their guns can land in the guns in the wrong hands. What I really don’t get is– why gun makers haven’t done more to protect and detect guns when they are stolen? 

Last Friday, I was watching the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. I don’t watch Rachel’s show on a regular basis, but once again it was about timing. In the opening of her show, Rachel reported on how due to the reconfiguration of gas tanks on cars, truck and SUVs, the government has decided to take off the boot-like device that is attached to the nozzle of the end of the gas pumps. The purpose of the boot-like device on the nozzle was to prevent gas fumes from seeping into the environment. Rachel said that by removing those boot-like devices, the government and gas station owners will be saving millions– if not billions– of dollars. 

Do you remember when car thefts was like one of the hottest crimes out there? When it was a huge deal for people to steal cars and such a tragedy for those who owned them? Over the years, engineers have come up with Vehicle Identification Numbers, GPS Navigation and On-Star systems, etc. in order to track vehicles. It’s been reported that it’s easier to find a stolen car than a kidnapped child–now that’s really sad. But the point I’m trying to make is– where is the tracking device on handguns? I’m not talking about simple serial numbers. I’m talking about a special device that should be able to go into the chamber of guns in order for gun sellers/ owners to track their guns. A device that could be built into the gun that if and when someone attempts to remove the device, they have to dismantle the gun in such a way that it will then be useless. Now, for those of you who may be saying–well, that sounds like a good idea–why don’t you come up with a device for it? I say to you, I know I’m not the only one who has thought about this. I’m sure that a lot of people (including gun makers/ owners, etc.) have thought about ways to track their guns. After all, it’s their investments. So really–how important is it to them to get guns off of the streets?  

A Former Cocoa Beach Police Officer Charged with Having Sex with a Minor

In Brevard County, FL, Alysia Flynn, a mother and former Cocoa Beach police officer, is facing 97 felony charges, some including having sex with a minor. It’s been reported that her son and the minor that she’s been accused of having sex with attend the same high school. Alysia Flynn has been married for 13 years. Her husband says that he will continue to support his wife.

Where are the adults in the police office/ community?

This is a very unfortunate situation for all families and their communities. This stretches way out there because not only is the loss of trust in a law enforcement officer destroyed, but a mother–what happens to her children and their state of mind? And the minor who she’s been accused of having sex with–what about his state of mind and his family, especially his siblings state of mind? These types of situations affects generations. This situation sort of hits home with me because my son was invited to an ex-law enforcement officer’s home–and because of the carelessness of the homeowner and his adult son–my son and my family has been scared. Law enforcement agents and teachers are pillars in their communities. I used to think–what parent wouldn’t want their child to be friends with a child of a law enforcement officer? Now, I don’t know what to think.

Seminole High School Teacher Fired After Marijuana Arrest

In Seminole County, Florida, Richard Joy, a Seminole High School social studies teacher, was arrested for having felony amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his home. School Board members voted to have the teacher, who’d been working in the district for 6 years, fired. Rumor has it that the teacher may have been selling marijuana to students. However, deputies say there’s no evidence at this time to show that he’d been selling marijuana to students. An anonymous tip is what led deputies to the teacher’s home.

Where are the adults in the schools?

What people do in their homes is beyond my control. But when a person takes a job as a school teacher, that person signs off on rules, regulations, policies, etc. that they will abided by. If a teacher wants to smoke marijuana, then he/she needs to find another career path. Simply because of the influential position that teachers have on all students–directly and indirectly. Think about how many students at Seminole High School went home and told their parents and their siblings about this teacher’s arrest. As a parent, that’s a setback in your teaching of ethics.