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#1 of 14 Old 08-26-2014, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So this could be interesting....

I've posted before about the Distributed Learning program we're part of. I helped get it started about four or five years ago. It's a public school district administered program and in a nutshell in exchange for oversight, enrolled families get some funding and access to things like the school district downhill ski instruction program, homeschoolers' art classes, a library of curricular resources, manipulatives, science tools and so on, as well as advice/support/reassurance from the supervising teacher. The teacher chosen for the program was a lovely guy, holistic in his approach, easy-going and trusting. He made it very easy for us to unschool and report in the fashion that suited us. He had no preconceptions about what homeschooling ought to look like and supported whatever we wanted to do. The principals of the DL program (there have been two so far) were always of a similar persuasion, not that they had anything much to do with the reporting and such, but it was nice to know they really understood and supported our approach.

This year we have a new principal for the program yet again, and our lovely supervising teacher is on leave. And the new principal is going to take on the teacher-supervisor role with the program as well.

Teachers are on strike in our province, but principals are with a different union and are working. So I figured I'd email the new person, introduce myself, offer to meet with her whenever it suits her. I figured she'd be spinning her wheels a little with the teachers on strike and regular school not starting next week as expected. I offered to send her our draft Learning Plan.

She wrote a kind and gracious response, thanking me for writing and for being proactive, getting a jump on the year, making her job easier, etc.. She said she'd love to meet with us next week at our convenience, and yes, it would be great if I could send along the learning plan in the meantime.

All of which sounded lovely.

And then at the end she wrote:

"I am receiving updated information around the labour dispute later this week - this is part of the reason why I suggest we meet next week rather than Friday, as then I should have the most accurate information for you as to how the year will proceed in light of the strike and how and when I will be able to mark Fiona's work."

Excuse me? "Mark Fiona's work?" wtf does that mean?

Does she think we will sit at home all year and Fiona will merrily churn out worksheet pages from a curriculum, and we will turn it into her so that she can decide what grades to award her? Is this what she thinks the DL program is about?

I read the comment off to Fiona and she said "Oh my. Has she talked to Scott? I think she should talk to Scott."

(He's the teacher who is on leave this year.)

If she's just woefully under-informed, and humble and willing to learn, things may go just fine. But if she brings those preconceptions forward, and hangs onto them tightly, there is no way we will be sticking around in the program. And I have absolutely no qualms about making the decision to leave if that's the case.

I am almost relishing a bit of back-and-forth about this, because I know that in many ways Fiona is a trump card. She produces almost no school-style output, and uses almost no curriculum, and commits to almost no scholastic structure or goals, yet if anyone wanted to take issue with our methods, I can easily point to hard evidence that she is easily two to four grade levels ahead in almost everything. And I would hope that no matter how the chips fall, that would be a somewhat eye-opening realization for this woman.

Miranda
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#2 of 14 Old 08-26-2014, 02:16 PM
 
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I wonder if some of the other families in the program want and expect the teacher to mark their children's work and have been contacting the principal in a panic about that.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-26-2014, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, I doubt it. The DL program has only 7 families, and I know them all. They're way too laid-back, and are all quite Waldorfy and unschoolish in their style. And several of them live off the internet, or even off the electrical grid. I'm quite sure I'm the first person to get in touch. I'm the one who always gets to the Learning Plan in August (because I'm an old hand at this and don't need or want any teacher support or interference in the process), while everyone else waits until the teacher contacts them to set up a meeting to talk it over collaboratively before the end-of-September deadline for enrolment.

I know there are a few families who are considering DL enrolment, but the school isn't even open for administration for another week and nothing else will start until the teachers' strike ends (probably at least mid-September). I only found the new principal's email address through a back door at the district's website, and she seemed genuinely surprised to be hearing from a DL parent already.

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#4 of 14 Old 08-26-2014, 03:53 PM
 
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Then I agree completely with your initial assessment....it could be a very interesting meeting.
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#5 of 14 Old 08-28-2014, 05:46 PM
 
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Interesting indeed, Miranda. Keep us posted!

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#6 of 14 Old 09-02-2014, 03:28 PM
 
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I know this is a bit off topic, but do you know if distributed learners qualify for the $40/day payments during the strike? I cannot find any information on this.
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#7 of 14 Old 09-02-2014, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Public DL programs yes. Just go to the bcparentinfo website and register with your school district. In the drop down menu you should see your DL program listed.

Miranda
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#8 of 14 Old 09-03-2014, 12:11 PM
 
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Subbing. Interested to see what happens.
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#9 of 14 Old 09-03-2014, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No meeting yet, since the teachers are picketing the school again and I won't be crossing the picket lines. Might be a while. No further emails. I'll keep you posted.

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#10 of 14 Old 09-03-2014, 01:54 PM
 
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Out of curiosity, does that mean you get $40 per school day?

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#11 of 14 Old 09-03-2014, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, it's a truly bizarre politically-motivated move by the provincial government to buy complicity from parents as they try to bleed the teachers' union dry of funds during the strike. The government can only afford to do this because they are not paying its 40,000 teachers during the lockout. The money is intended to make parents stop freaking out about having to pay for childcare, but lest it be seen as portraying school as equivalent-to-childcare, they're also saying the money is for families "exploring other educational opportunities as they see fit." But the money is only available to parents of kids under 13, so as I see it, it must be primarily about child care.

And the weird thing is that because the government has insisted for years that hired teachers are in charge of the education of children enrolled in DL programs -- even though the supervisory teachers in question, the kids and the parents know that their education is almost entirely in the parents' hands -- they're being forced to put their money where their mouth is and offer the money to DL parents as well.

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#12 of 14 Old 09-11-2014, 06:05 AM
 
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Have fun with the extra cash

I am imagining she is simply ignorant - but I guess you will see.

I agree with your daughter, she needs to talk to Scott.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#13 of 14 Old 09-15-2014, 08:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post
I know this is a bit off topic, but do you know if distributed learners qualify for the $40/day payments during the strike? I cannot find any information on this.
There is a lot of chatter on FB about this, and how the various DL are responding to questions.
There is a BC homeschool/unschool group on FB that should be easy to search for.
As far as I know, all DL students should get the $40 a day (payable as a lump sum at the end of the strike, which sucks for parents of any child who is out for cost of childcare up front, grrrrr) and registered homeschoolers do NOT get the money.

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#14 of 14 Old 09-18-2014, 09:08 AM
 
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Thanks for posting, I find this program very interesting. How cool to get such good people (teacher and principles) to start the program with! I hope you are able to convey to this new principle how the program has worked in the past and how you are looking forward to the same in the future. I would also ask her if there is an intention to fill the teachers role when they are no longer on strike. I think from the start of the program the possibility of changing principle/teacher would have been a worry of mine!
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