Monday, April 30, 2007

Reminder for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted at Dewey's Treehouse. Get your submissions in today!

As always entries are due this Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Did you know there is a carnival about horses?

My daughters love horses. I just found out this morning there is a Horse Lovers Blog Carnival.

Maybe I'll get one of my daughters to write a post as an entry for the carnival.

(Hat tip: The Common Room)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Write an essay, go to jail

Student writes essay, arrested by police!

The full details are not out, so there may be important information missing, but my first response "You have got to be kidding."

A high school creative writing teacher gave an assignment to write an essay. Allen Lee wrote an essay. Allen's father says about his son that "The teacher asked them to express themselves, and he followed instructions."

The teacher was disturbed, and so Allen was arrested.

I am sure that the next time the teacher asks the students to express themselves most students will write something fluffy.

In another article where Allen Lee explains the essay we find that Allen "made references to violence, drug use, a song by the band Green Day and the Super Mario Brothers video game, among other things."

Several articles describe Allen as a top student with a 4.2 grade-point average.

This over the top response is because of the Virginia Tech Shooting. One of Allen's friends had given: "10-minute speech in the same class describing what his life would be like as a “hit-man” and identified students he would shoot. He said he was not punished for that speech." It doesn't appear the teacher is being consistent.

It will be interesting to see where this ends up.

(Hat tip: Opinion Journal)

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You are probably one of the richest people in the world

In our society there is a tendency to try and keep up with the Jones. We often hear that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have billions. When we look at our finances it is easy to think we are poor, or that we don't have enough.

Anne, of PalmTree Pundit, found a web site to help put things in perspective. If you are making more than $50,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of the people in the world. You are richer than about six billion people.

It is nice to have more money. There is nothing wrong with working hard and earning more money. But it may be helpful to remember now and then just how much most of us already have.

Of course, the secret to financial success is Don't buy stuff you cannot afford.

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The Carnival of Principled Government is up

Dana is hosting the most recent Carnival of Principled Government at her blog, Principled discovery.

This carnival is looking for posts honoring the founding principles of the United States.

If you have something you want to submit, you can submit via here. The next edition will be on the 14th of May.

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The first Carnival of Space

Welcome to the first Carnival of Space. We have a selection of recent blog posts focused on space. I hope you enjoy the carnival.

Many people interested in space and getting into space grew up on early science fiction authors. We lived and breathed the adventures of our heroes braving the unknown. One of the earliest authors is Jules Verne. In From the Earth to the Moon he wrote:

In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people, who would shut up the human race upon this globe, as within some magic circle which it must never outstep, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the stars, with the same facility, rapidity, and certainty as we now make the voyage from Liverpool to New York.”

In the short term getting off the earth will be done by rockets. Jonathan Goff writes about the Benefits of Orbital Propellant Transfer: Adaptability, Capability, Etc. on Selenian Boondocks, providing a brief introduction to some of the advantages of orbital propellant transfer and storage.

Once we get into space, there will be a number of problems to solve. James at Surfin' English writes about Obstacles to Space Exploration: The Return. He looks at some of the problems involved with manned space travel, focusing mainly on issues involving food.

Farther down the road we will have other methods of navigating space. A Babe in the Universe has a Vision of several Space Elevators rising from her seas, connected by an artificial Ring in geosynchronous orbit. With this approach billions of people might be able to live in space.

The next couple decades may witness an explosion into space. Arthur C. Clarke said:

The Shuttle is to space flight what Lindberg was to commercial aviation.”

As the price of travel into space becomes cheaper, new opportunities will open up, new businesses will be founded. Clark writes on Space Transport News about Microgravity Manufacturing Returns. There is new interest in pursuing commercial applications of materials processing in microgravity conditions on the ISS and the Bigelow Aerospace orbital habitats.

The recent Space Access ‘07 conference focused on private business efforts to get into space. I was surprised by just how close we are to being able to buy a “reasonable” ticket into space. At Why Homeschooling is the agenda with links to my 50 pages of summaries on the various presentations.

Space may be what saves mankind. At Music of the Spheres is a post on Space and the Uncertain Future. A brief review of SF writer John Barnes' near-future "Century Next Door" leads to a discussion of the roles that government and commercial space activities may play in helping humanity to survive into the complicated and uncertain future, including the role of inspiring a few of our kids to do the deep thinking and hard work it will take to get us there.

There are plenty of resources to provide more information about space. From Out of the Cradle is Ken’s Lunar Library which has a list of books and other resources available to learn more about our Moon and the high frontier of Near-Earth space. There is a section for Youth, and another section on Fun and Games.

It appears that Larry Niven may have said:

"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

For many NASA has become a dinosaur. Some of the newer smaller organizations see themselves at the more effective mammals.

From the Curmudgeons Corner are some thoughts on NASA Funding Update: The Funding Gap for Space Exploration. The post links to a long article examining the funding problems for the Vision for Space Exploration brought on by the new Congress.

The Robot Guy explains What NASA Should Be Doing, But Isn't: DARPA's Orbital Express program is everything that DART should have been, and more – and is exactly the sort of thing NASA doesn't do anymore, due to budget constraints. (Some cool graphics.)

Brian Wang, who blogs at advancednano, writes that Possibly the last NIAC studies are being released. He reviews two of the more interesting recent concepts from NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, NIAC. One is the space bubble concept where bubbles up to 1000 kilometers (!) in size are created and then made rigid. The other concept is using two lightweight lunar Winnebagos to provide a mobile base camp for lunar exploration. Check out the pictures!

I hope you have enjoyed the Carnival of Space.

If you are interested in submitting a post for a future carnival, click here for information.

If you are interested in hosting a future edition of the Carnival of Space, go here for the guidelines. If you are still interested, contact me.

I thank everyone who has helped out with bring this carnival together, and to the participants in this carnival.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Book Review

Elizabeth Johnson offered our family the opportunity to review some new books published by Multnomah Publishers, Inc. She sent us a list of books with summaries to choose from. Here are the summaries provided by the publisher for the books we choose to review:

Kingdom’s Dawn, Kingdom’s Hope, and Kingdom’s Edge by Chuck Black

Good and evil clash. Leinad and Cedric are determined to not only survive, but claim hope and victory! In Kingdom’s Dawn , Leinad and Tess, along with all the king’s people, must escape slavery by the powerful Lord Fairos. Kingdom’s Hope finds them free and arriving in the Chessington Valley . But when they forget the king, will Kergon and the Kessons capture them for good? After many years, Kingdom’s Edge finds Cedric living a hopeless life until a stranger appears with powerful words of a new kingdom and a grand army. Swords, knights, and battles define these captivating tales that parallel biblical events from Genesis to the time of Jesus!

Kingdom’s Call, Kingdom’s Quest, and Kingdom’s Reign by Chuck Black

The final three books in the Kingdom series for young readers follow the life of Sir Gavin, a Noble Knight who aids in the execution of a stranger who comes from a distant land claiming to be the King’s son. When an unexpected encounter changes his life—and the kingdom itself—Sir Gavin received a new name and a mission to take the Prince’s message not just to the people of Chessington but to everyone in the kingdome of Arrethtrae. The quest for good in a dark world climaxes years later when the evil Dark Knight, Lucius, reigns in Arrethtrae with comlete authoriity. Will the King himself be able to return Arrethtrae to the land of light it was created to be?

Written for ages 10-15, the Kingdom series depicts the battle of good and evil without using magic, mysticism, or witches. Spanning the time of Jesus to Paul’s conversion to the second coming of Christ and the book of Revelation, the final three books in the series will remind children of their own significance in God’s kingdom. Each book contains discussion questions that can be be used as part of a homeschooling curriculum or to enhance discussion between family members.

When the first three books arrived, my 12 year old daughter read them in one day. The books are less than 200 pages each and have very engaging stories. She enjoyed explaining the biblical symbolism behind the stories and characters. My ten year old also enjoyed the books. However, the ten year old was disappointed that the third book in the series picked up the story a couple of generations later and did not continue with the same characters from the first book.

About the time we received these books in the mail, we had an "incident" at our local library. My 12 year old daughter is branching out from the children's section. She picked out a few books with a similar knights and middle ages look to them. After she brought the books home, she asked her dad if he thought they would be appropriate to read.

For days the library books sat on the counter by Henry's computer. We didn't have time to read a whole book, so I tried reading reviews online. Many of the reviews described the book as suitable for teens. Nothing jumped out as obviously bad. So, I resigned myself to spending the time to read the books so that I could comfortably give them to my daughter. When Henry finally sat down to read one, it didn't take any time at all.

Luckily, he started with the second book. It began with the teenage heroine lying naked with her lover, reminiscing about her exciting first sexual encounter. Her lover was a robin hood type, and they were are on a quest to find the heroine's betrothed. I thought, "Great. Let's just romanticize promiscuity and adultery. Just what I want my pre-teen to read."

Carmon at Buried Treasure has a good post about this sort of problem in so called "teen" books.

I like that the Kingdom series book because they are entertaining stories with a message I can support. Today, the next three book came in the mail. I told my daughter she couldn't read them until she helped me write a review for the publisher. My 12 year old daughter is a reluctant writer. I've never seen her write so fast. While I was reviewing my 12 year old daughter's book report, the ten year old walked into the office where we were working. The ten year old said that she had changed her mind and now wanted to read the third book in the series so that she would be ready to read the next three books.

I will end my little review with a few words from my 12 year old's book report.

The Kingdom series is full of bible symbolism. I can feel my Heavenly Father and Savior’s love through these books. I can groan with Moses about Israel’s pigheadedness and feel Adam's pains when Cane murdered Abel. The Kingdom series allows me to understand what and why things happened. I enjoyed guessing which prophet or person from the bible the Knights in the stories represent. Each of the books are extremely well written and I can’t get enough.

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Homeschooling and the Internet

I'm constantly amazed at how much information is available over the Internet. I almost can't comprehend what it would be like to homeschool without the easy access to information we enjoy.

It is more than just information. The blog world makes it very easy for like minded people in different parts of the world to connect with each other. You can easily meet people with divergent perspectives. It provides a way of learning from the experiences of others.

Every time my children ask me a question I can't answer, I turn to the Internet. Yesterday, while discussion history, my children wanted to know what had happened to a relatively unknown person who played a small part in a larger historical event. I easily found the information, well documented, by doing a simple search on Google.

With the audio-visual capacity of the Internet, you can easily see and hear facts in a dynamic way. For example, my mother-in-law likes to send along interesting links. Here is one she sent me a few days ago.

Amazing Grace - Wintley Phipps

Someone else sent me a link to this website.

Until Then

I think I've watched it 20 times. I did some more research (on the internet of course) and found the company that had produced it and many other tributes.

The internet makes it easier to more than just current events. History comes alive. This is one of my favorite links.

This more artistic rendition is nice as well. This is what I think about to make myself workout at the gym.

The Internet is a bit like the Wild West. You have to be careful. For example, the company the produced the Until Then tribute that I like so much also produced a 9/11 tribute that was just a little too graphic for me or my kids.

Not every thing you read on the internet is truthful. Websites like this are very usefully to check the veracity of questionable stories floating around the web.

We also use the internet to help my children with music. My daughter is preparing for Certificate of Merit on the piano. One of the pieces she is working on is called La Chase from Opus 100 No. 9 by Burgmuller. I downloaded a free midi file from the Internet, so that she could hear how it is supposed to sound. (The sad thing is I can't find the site I got it from to provide the link.)

The internet is a wonderful resource for homeschoolers. It puts information at your fingertips, if you know or can remember where to browse.

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The secret to financial success - Don't buy stuff you cannot afford

I came into our study this morning to tell my oldest daughter I was ready to take her out to breakfast. Janine and the oldest were watching a video on the computer. They were laughing hysterically.

Bruggie Tales had posted a link to a Saturday Night Live skit called "Don't buy stuff you cannot afford."

It is pretty funny, but there is a lot of wisdom in those simple words.

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The Carnival of Education, week 116, is up

The Education Wonks is hosting this week's Carnival of Education.

You can start thinking now about what to submit to the Carnival of Education next week. Dr. Homeslice will be hosting the carnival next week. Entries are due Tuesday evenings at 6:00 PM PST. You can send them to: drhomeslice [at] hotmail [dot] com, or use the Blog Carnival Submission form.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

10 reasons not to homeschool from a famliy about to emark on a long cruise

My mother sent me an email with a link to 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Homeschool. It is a fun list.

I found the whole blog, Toast Floats, to be fascinating. A family is getting ready to go on a cruise for a couple years. They've bought the boat. They've won a battle in purging their stuff, though the stuff may be staging a comeback.

It will be fun to read about their adventures. (Hey Janine, should we buy a boat?)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Time to send in an entry for Unschooling Voices

Entries for the next Unschooling Voices are due at the end of April. Here are the details on how to send in a post. Unschooling Voices will be held at A Day in Our Lives.

Here are the themes for the next Unschooling Voices:

"How has unschooling changed YOU? Yes, it’s about the kids, but is it ONLY about the kids? I sometimes think unschooling has changed me more than them. What are your thoughts? Also, here another short, just-for-fun question this month; share two photos that show what unschooling currently looks like in your house at this time."

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - week 69, the Bee edition

Sprittibee is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. She runs with a Bee theme. You can learn a lot about homeschooling and bees with this week's carnival.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

This is a holiday I can get behind

Two days ago at The Common Room the Headmistress announced that the 19th of April was National High Five Day. It seems kind of silly that someone wanted to make a national observance of people giving each high fives.

I happened across the Beehive Academy which writes that April 23-29, is National TV Turn-Off Week. This seems like a worthwhile holiday.

The last couple months our daughters have watched very few television shows. About the only time the TV has been on recently is when they are watching DVDs. They are watching some online , and also Perry Mason and the original Star Trek episodes.

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We've been visiting Louisville, Kentucky for $37

All three of my daughters are seriously horse crazy. More than half of the books they check out of the library are about horses, both fiction and non-fiction. Starting three or four years ago it became a family tradition to watch the Kentucky Derby. This year the Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs on May 5th.

A couple weeks back I signed up for The Courier Journal. This is the Louisville, Kentucky paper. We started getting it last week. By way of information, papers coming third class mail tend to come in bunches, and often out of order.

Every time the paper comes my second daughter goes straight to the sport section and reads every article about horse racing. My oldest daughter is a bit more sedate. She'll read all the articles, but isn't in the same hurry. After the oldest girl reads the articles, our second daughter will cut them out and save them. Then she will recount in detail much of what she read to anyone who will listen.

I've encouraged my daughters to read other parts of the paper. So far the second biggest attraction has been the comics. Maybe at some point they'll branch out and read some of the local news.

This year the Kentucky Derby will be much more interesting for my daughters. They already know many more details about the horses than in years past.

I remarked back in October that it seems some areas of the country have certain focuses. The Anchorage Daily News had tons of articles about oil. I've been surprised that The Courier Journal doesn't have more news on horses. I've only read four or five issues so far, but it seems like the paper has a pretty normal selection of news.

If there is some place you are interested in knowing more about or considering moving to, it is relatively cheap to get the paper via third class mail for a month.

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Two more ways to get some visibility for your blog

I like this line by Gilbert and Sullivan in Ruddigore:

"If you wish in the world to advance . . . you must stir it and stump it, and blow your own trumpet, Or trust me, you haven'ta chance!"

Successful blogging is a balance of writing stuff people want to read, and spending some time getting others to notice your blog.

Several months ago I built a list of ways to increase traffic for a blog. I’ve come across two additional sites which have promise. Both of them are places you go to register your blog. I joined awhile back. I haven’t noticed a big increase in traffic, but I figure every little bit helps.

Blogarama is a blog directory. They have 47,000 blogs registered. I’ll try using this for awhile to see if it provides me with the types of blogs I’m looking for. It seems like if I want to look for something I’ll have better luck with Google which searches most blogs.

Blog Flux is also has a blog directory. They provide a number of other services. They have a Map Stats option. I couldn’t get their Page Rank service to work.

Anyone come across a new way for getting people to notice your blog?

Update I - 24 April 07

As AhmedF wrote in a comment Page Rank is now working. I've added it to our template.

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Toddlers and children's literature

We haven't had a toddler of our own for a couple years. Our youngest daughter is six. (She will tell you that she is six and three quarters, soon to be seven.) We do have a few toddlers in our life. For example our oldest daughter regularly babysits a darling little girl every Monday afternoon. We all enjoy the little girl's zest for life. We may be having more toddlers in the house soon. We are about to hand in all the paperwork for foster care.

If you want to read more about tolddlers, or share the joy of having your own toddler, then there is a blog carnival for you. The first Toddler Carnival is up at Sweetness and Light.

I find it fascinating that many toddlers love books. Even before they could talk each of my daughters would sit and look at books, some times for hours. Recently books have become even a larger part of my older two daughters' lives. Every Friday they come home from the library and disappear into a new stack of books. We are always on the look out for more good books.

The monthly Carnival of Children's Literature is a good place to start. This month the carnival is held at Jen Robinson's Book Page. There is a huge selection. I wonder if the carnival will start appearing twice a month.

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Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books is up

Semicolon is once again holding her Saturday Review of Books.

Already there are 21 book reviews.

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Book review: An Army of Davids by Glenn Reynolds

I’ve been reading Instapundit for about three years now. As one of the first bloggers Glenn Reynolds enjoys a huge readership. Recently he has been averaging 200,000 hits a day. He maintains his readership by providing a great variety of fascinating links. My wife and I have been blogging for a year and a half. I wonder how he is able to keep up the pace.

In addition to blogging on Instapundit Glen is also a Law Professor and a columnist. He writes for TCS Daily: Technology – Commerce – Society. His book An Army of Davids is a repacking of his columns.

The full title of the book is: “An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.” The first half of the book is focused on the idea that technology can give great power to individuals. Glenn says that over the last couple hundred years production was concentrated in big businesses. Huge plants gave big businesses a compeditive advange over smaller companies. The same thing happened with governments. It took a lot of capital to build big armies and navies. And the same pattern happened with the media. Newspapers and television companies grew bigger and bigger.

But over the last couple decades the trend has changed. The reason is technology has gotten much cheaper. This allows individuals to challenge big organizations. Many of the successful technology startups have been done on a shoestring by a few individuals. Likewise blogging shows that individuals, like Glenn Reynolds, have more influence that many small and midsize town newspapers.

He has a brief interlude of a couple pages where he gives advice on how to be a better blogger. These couple pages are very worth reading. If the interaction of society and technology is not your bag, track this book down at a library just to read pages 115 to 119.

The second half of the book is a hodgepodge of ideas. Glenn writes about the potential of nanotechnology, what may happen as people live even longer, the future of space, and the coming singularity.

I enjoyed this book. It is well written and interesting. The basic premise that technology gives power to individuals and allows them to have great influence is the classic story of David v. Goliath. Glenn’s claim is that an “Army of Davids” is challenging the established Goliaths. I agree with Glenn that the future will be interesting.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Bullies attend private school too

It surprised me that this incident happened at a private school.

Highland family angry over son's schoolyard attack

The boy, who is half-black, was playing with friends during a physical activity period at St. Adelaide School when one student is suspected of grabbing a jump rope, wrapping it around the teen's neck "and commenced to drag him around the play area," Curtis said.

Other youngsters threw basketballs at him and used racially insensitive comments, the attorney said.

When the incident occurred the school did not immediate action. Two weeks later, only after the parents complained, were the attackers suspended for up to 5 days.

Although the teen's parents filed a police report and put their son in another school, he still is receiving threats of retaliation from the boys via the Internet and through mutual acquaintances, Curtis said.

Very sad. I did some research on this school. It is very small, with less than 250 students in K-8th grade. There are only about thirty-four 7th graders at the school. On paper, it looks like a good school.

Another news article reported that another racially motivated attack occurred at the school last year in the 6th grade involving another victim. Since last years attack was in 6th grade and this year attack involved a 7th grader, I would guess that that same group of boys were responsible for both incidents.

The school response to this problem: classroom sessions were being planned to discuss with students the "use of certain words." Forcusing only on the words seems to be a bit trivial. It is allowing a group of students to assault another student and harrass the victim that I have a problem with.

I found this comment on the newspaper article.

This article does not mention that the victim was seen playing and laughing with the accused immediately after this incident happened and throughout his stay. Many students, faculty, and parents witnessed the aftermath.

An important fact is that the victim’s sister is happily still attending the school and is involved in extra curricular activities.

My prayers go out to the victim, his parents and those of the accused!!
charles powell | 04.20.07 - 2:42 pm | #

And so the plot thickens. Was the boy covering up his embarrassment or did the parents blow the incident out of proportion? Does the commentor really know what happened? We will probably never know.

The big question is, "What have these young men learned about the world from this incident?"

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Predictions for the year 2000 from 1900

John Elfreth Watkins (1852 - 1903) was a civil engineer who worked for American railroads. He wrote an article for the December 1900 edition of The Ladies Home Journal. Some of the predictions are very funny. Overall I am impressed with how many of his predictions were in general close to the mark.

Here are some of those he was close to:

"The American will be taller by from one to two inches. ... He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present ..."

"Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of to-day. They will make what are now known as cavalry charges."

"Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later."

"Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theatre box."

"Fast-flying refrigerators on land and sea will bring delicious fruits from the tropics and southern temperate zone within a few days."

Here are some that he missed on:

"No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated."

"Strawberries as Large as Apples will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence. ... One cantaloupe will supply an entire family."

"Roses will be as large as cabbage heads."

"Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath."

The article is fairly long. If you enjoyed the above predictions, read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: Cool List Digest)

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A nation of wimps?

Both Principled Discovery and Alasandra have recently posted about some of the fundamental lessons public school teach children.

Dana (what is she doing posting after just having a baby?) in Developing a culture of docility builds on some thoughts from Michelle Malkin. This is in response to the recent killing of students at Virginia Tech. Dana writes:

"We are trained from little up not to defend ourselves. That task is the responsibility of others in authority over us. We should try to understand the aggressor. We are supposed to be friends with everybody. If you have a conflict in school, you are to tell the teacher. The student who defends himself is likely to receive the same punishment as the aggressor."

Dana makes the point that we are even taught not to "defend our thoughts."

Alasandra liked a recent post by Orson Scott Card on public schools and home education. Orson Scott Card likes homeschoolers. As a college professor he has found:

"That the best writers, the best thinkers, the most broadly educated among my students are the ones who were home-schooled."

Then here is the point he makes which ties in with Dana's thoughts:

"Meanwhile, the educational establishment makes ironclad, unbreakable rules about how many days and hours our children must be put under the control of the 'experts,' who march them through the halls in lines, refuse to let them use the toilet without being punished for it, and inflict group punishments like 'silent lunch' for the crime of sitting near other kids who were daring to talk to each other. (I'm describing one of the 'better' middle schools in our district.) "

I recognize that it is easier for a teacher to control a class of sheep. I've taught Sunday School classes of energetic children. I've been in situations when I wished my own children weren't so head strong.

But this is short sited. In the long run we want our daughters to be capable individuals who can make up their own minds and have the will to make things happen.

One of the reasons we homeschool is to help our daughters be independent. This is the kind of socialization we want to give them.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Reminder for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Next week's Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted at Sprittibee. Sprittibee was one of the three women who put together The 2006 Homeschooling Blog Awards.

As always entries are due this Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In the News

This is a positive article about homeschoolers transitioning to college.

Road To College

Home-schooled students face different hurdles

By: AGNES DIGGS - Staff Writer

When some of Caitlyn Chione's fellow college students learned she had been schooled at home, they asked her what it was like and whether she had friends and stuff.

The answer was yes, but not tons of them because she is naturally shy, she said.

Caitlyn, 19, attends MiraCosta College and is also taking a course at Grossmont College. Her first semester was sort of a revelation to her. Before that, her education had been conducted at home -- and her mother was her teacher.

What was that like?

"She was two-in-one all day," said Caitlyn, a Fallbrook resident. "I was actually pretty autonomous. She set up a schedule, and I would just do the work. She never had to tell me what to do. She would always help me if I needed help, and she would correct my work at the end of the day."

Lots of students

Exact statistics on how many young people are home-schooled are not available. A 2003 report from the education statistics center of the U.S. Department of Education estimated the numbers at 1.1 million students. "Nearly two- thirds of home-schooled students had parents who said that their primary reason for home schooling was either concern about the environment of other schools or a desire to provide religious or moral instruction," the report said......

The article continues with information about various college entrance requirements. I'm happy to see more about homeschoolers doing well in college.

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You have about six hours to get in a submission for the Carnival of Toddlers

Meredith from Sweetness and Light is starting up a Carnival of Toddlers. Submissions are due in about six hours. Go here for instructions.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Carnival of Homeschool: Week 68

Cartoon from

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling Tax Edition. Today, April 17th, is the deadline in the United States to file taxes this year. No one likes paying taxes, but here's a humorous look at the IRS and tax collection.

"You must pay taxes. But there's no law that says you gotta leave a tip."
-- Former Morgan Stanley Advertisement

From SmallWorld is a good tip: Support Group Leaders Need Your Support. It's hard being a support group leader, especially to a bunch of independent, opinionated homeschoolers like we all are! Don't forget to tell your leadership how much you appreciate them as the year winds down!

Dawnelle is a former teacher and reading tutor, as well as a freelance writer. At Keeping It Real she gives some tips on Publishing a Zine, a fun, inexpensive writing project for homeschooled students.

At Unbridled Learning Sarah gives some reasons, examples, and tips for using Powerpoint to do notebooking with homeschooling in Notebooking with Powerpoint.

A fool and his money are soon parted. It takes creative tax laws for the rest.
-- C Bob Thaves

Reading all those tax laws is hard. It is important to start our children on the road to reading mastery. The Headmistress from The Common Room says There's More to a CM Education Than Narration. Narration isn't the only way Miss Mason used books, and the other methods she used still work today. In fact, they make up a significant portion of the Remedial offered by most colleges.

Literature of all kinds can be useful in teaching. Over at Food History Gillian Polack explains how homeschoolers can use ephemera (technical term for leaflets and pamphlets and stuff) in Dr. Morse’s Pills and home teaching.

Writing is also very important. My Domestic Church recommends Bravewriter. Elena shares her experiences with the Bravewriter site and the course her son just successfully completed there.

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the Income Tax." - Albert Einstein

Sometimes our children don't believe their parents, or understand why their parents do things. Lill with News from Hawkill Acres tells a delightful story about her Four Years Old, Litter-ally.

Sometimes all we need to understand is a little learning. At Little Acorns Treehouse Jenny explains What Asperger's Syndrome looks like... in her six year old daughter Ellie and how that impacted their decision to homeschool.

This is hard to understand: Susan blogs at Corn and Oil. She writes that there has been an increasing trend to mandate mental health screens or assessments for all children; including homeschoolers. In The Last People Who Should Be Defining What is Normal... she reviews some of the legislation currently in Illinois and Indiana, and the legislators' reactions to the introduced bills.

"A fine is a tax for doing something wrong. A tax is a fine for doing something right."

The above is a cute jingle. But a cute jingle that rhymes does not equal a poem of worth. A child may start off his poetic career with such, but growth and improvement should be expected, and this can only happen with some guidance. From Higher Up and Further In is some help with Poetic Narration Demystified.

This is unrelated to taxes - I've been surprised by how video blogging is taking off. We have two video blogs in this carnival! The Trivium Pursuit has A Lesson in Watercolor Art by Johannah Bluedorn

Andrea who blogs at Notes From A Homeschooling Mom says she has heard the Dumbest reason not to homeschool Ever! She has a video log post where she rants about another video blog which against homeschooling.

"If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don't teach him to subtract - teach him to deduct."
-- Fran Lebowitz

Another thing you might want to teach your child is about nature. At Alone on a Limb Terrell has kicked of a Carnival of Learning in the Great Outdoors. If you want to use nature as setting for educating your children, check out this carnival.

Also a nature theme, High Desert Hi-Jinks has a nice list of mainly Internet resources to help a young boy Learn About Foxes.

Along the similar lines, from The Heart of Harmony, Barb writes on how to start a garden as a unit study project in your homeschool and introduces the idea that your garden is a great subject for drawing and sketching as it grows.

It is also important to teach our children to help out. From All Info About Homeschooling are some ideas on Volunteering for Homeschool Families. This is a starting place for families who want to reach out together to help others. And all counts as school!

A good way to prepare a child for the future is to teach about the past. At Ragamuffin Studies Elisheva Hannah Levin in Remembering and Understanding: Studying Yom Ha-Shoah writes how she helped her son understand The Holocaust, or Shoah, as part of their historical study. By combining historical background, real events, songs and ceremony they were able to get a grasp on what it means for them on the rational as well as emotional level.

"I guess I think of lotteries as a tax on the mathematically challenged."
-- Robert Jones

The mathematically challenged might want to head over to Let's play math! which has some Twaddle-free math handouts - library and online math resources, games for learning multiplication and fractions, and two math article reprints.

At Life Without School Tammy recounts Working Out Fractions with her son. Her observation is that with the amount of understanding he’s gaining on a daily basis, any pushing from her couldn’t possibly speed things up any faster. And other than to assuage my own personal worries and fears, what’s the purpose of wanting him to go faster anyway?

It can be a challenge to deal with other's comments on homeschooling. From a School of Thought the Unschooler responds to some concerns about homeschooling in Homeschool opinions - everybody has one.

From The Lilting House Melissa Wiley challenges us to Stop and Smell the Soap Bubbles: Imbuing the Ordinary with Wonder

"Day in and day out, your tax accountant can make or lose you more money than any single person in your life, with the possible exception of your kids."
-- Harvey Mackay

Pets are one of the ways children can cost us money. In a Diary of 1 is an account of Puppy love. How does a homeschool family react to a new puppy? After the children finish jumping for joy, they head for the library!

Just like it can be tricky in dealing with your tax accountant, some times we have to be careful how we answer non-homeschoolers. Barbara Frank says that when non-homeschoolers ask you how many hours of "school" you do each day, answering them can be like tip-toeing through a minefield.

Another profession many parents deal with is teaching. At Absolutelee is How This Public School Teacher Views Homeschooling. He views it positively! He says that he and his wife are going to be homeschooling their own kids in a couple of years.

"The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don't have to pay taxes naturally, no one wants to live any other way."
-- Judith Martin (writing as "Miss Manners")

From Consent Of The Governed Judy Aron asks Has Your Teen Written A Resume? Her short essay is for homeschool teenagers on the importance of preparing a resume as well as some tips in creating one.

Teenagers are known from a large appetite. At Redbud's Lane is A Lesson You Can Sink Your Teeth Into. This must have been a fun lesson, learning and chocolate!

Long before our children are teenagers we start thinking about what we want for them. The Thinking Mother shares a list of (non-material) things she wants her children to have.

"The Internal Revenue Code is about 10 times the size of the Bible - and unlike the Bible, contains no good news."
-- Don Rickles

At Inklings Rachel has some good news: There's Magic in the Dirt. She explains that it can be hard to see the results when we start homeschooling, or investing in people in any other way. The results are there--they're just buried for a little while.

From at home, on fire, Kristina is a bit overwhelmed and wonders Am I the Only One? Is she the only one who, coming to the beginning of a new homeschooling week and looking back on the one that preceded it, sees that she spent a lot of time doing “something” but cannot necessarily find a category heading to file it under?

Mess and clutter can also be overwhelming. From Why Homeschool is Janine’s account of a little spring cleaning and how it helps our homeschooling.

Hopefully this has cheered you up a bit.

If you have enjoyed the carnival, tell your friends, families, neighbors. Please mention the carnival on your blog, and other appropriate places.

Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.

Next week the carnival will be held at Sprittibee.

If you are interested in submitting a post for a future carnival, click here for information.

We'd like to thank everyone who has helped out. Thank you to all the participants in this carnival. And thanks to all those who help promote the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm not surprised the school made a mistake, just that it took so long to realize it

This is pretty amazing. A boy calls the school. The school thinks the boy had called in a bomb threat. The boy is thrown in jail, for twelve days. Then the school realizes that the phone call they traced back to the boy came in an hour earlier than the bomb threat. They had forgotten about Day Light Savings Time!

I'm surprised the boy was in jail for twelve days. Where is Perry Mason when you need him?

Here are the opening couple paragraphs from one news report:

A fifteen-year old boy in America was incarcerated for twelve days, wrongly accused of making a hoax bomb threat - because his school had forgotten that the clocks had gone forward.

Cody Webb was arrested last month, after Hempfield Area High School received a bomb threat on their student hotline – which provides a range of information to students about the school - at 3.17am on March 11th. They believed they'd found the culprit when they traced the phone number they thought was responsible to Webb.

Unfortunately, the school forgot that the clocks had switched to Daylight Saving Time that morning. The time stamps left on the hotline were adjusted by an hour after Day Light Savings causing Webb's call to logged as the same time the bomb threat was placed. Webb, who's never even had a detention in his life, had actually made his call an hour before the bomb threat was placed.

Despite the fact that the recording of the call featured a voice that sounded nothing like Webb's, the police arrested Webb and he spent 12 days in a juvenile detention facility before the school eventually realised their mistake. (The emphasis is mine.)

The incident is getting press across the world.

The last line of the article is:

"All charges against Webb have now been dropped."

I wonder if the parents will sue?

(Hat tip: Risks Volume 24: Issue 63)

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The 2006 Homeschool Bog Awards are up

The voting is closed and the winners have been selected. Pop on over to The Homeschooling Blog Awards to see some of the most popular homeschooling blogs.

I thought it was amusing, Spunky last week posted for the first time in four months, and she still won the Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog. It was a close race, Daryl Cobranchi was gracious in conceding. The point was made that the awards were for 2006.

A big round of thanks to Laura, Heather and Sprittibee for hosting the awards. It has been fun to learn of more blogs on homeschooling.

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TheCarnival of Family Life is up

This week's Carnival of Family Life is up at Everyday Disasters. This is carnival edition 50!

If you'd like to submit to next week's carnival, go here.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

On Saturdays we normally spend a few hours cleaning house. This morning Henry found an old science fiction story that he liked. He decided to read it to the girls before we cleaned house. I had some time to kill before we started the Saturday chores, so I thought I would organize the homeschool shelves while I waited.

Yesterday, I installed furniture straps on the tall bookcase in our kitchen as part of earthquake preparedness and for our foster care certification. I found many odds and ends behind the bookcases. This inspired me to sort the shelves all together.

I ended up taking everything off the shelves and emptying the drawers. The entire kitchen table and floor was covered with "stuff." Well, six hours later I finished in the kitchen. Sadly, I still have some odds and ends of homeschool "stuff" in the office and front room cabinets that I didn't touch.

Henry ended up directing the Saturday clean up without me. He also order pizza for lunch. I ate lunch standing up in the kitchen because there was no place to sit.

I threw out a bag of garbage, a bag to recycling and I have a bag of books to give away at homeschool park day. I still have "stuff" that we really don't use that I can't bring myself to part with yet. For example, I found that we have at least a half a dozen different kids of phonics flash cards which we never use. Now that I know I have so many varieties to choose from, maybe I will get them out once in a while.

Half way through the sorting, a neighbor came over and commented that if we installed tall cabinets where we currently have the bookcases, our kitchen would look like a kitchen again. Oh, well.

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The Carnival of Kid Comedy is up

I've been racking my brains. I've asked Janine. I've even asked our daughters. No one is fessing up to a funny incident this week. So we don't have anything to submit to Kid Comedy.

If you have posted something funny recently you can hop over to Life in a shoe and add your entry to the Friday Funny: Kid Comedy.


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Book review: Blackcollar: The Judas Solution by Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn is best known for his Star Wars books. He has written other Science Fiction. My favorite Timothy Zahn story is “Pawn’s Gambit” published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact in 1982. It was a Hugo nominee and was republished in Distant Friends and Others.

The Blackcollar stories are in a universe where humans were conquered by the Ryqril. Once conquered it is hard for humans to rebel. The Ryqril were able to develop a drug which turns humans into slaves. The Judas Solution is the third in the series.

The heroes in the story are Blackcollars, men who have been given a special drug which makes them excellent fighters. Their reflexes are twice as fast as the average human. They also have extensive training. There is a lot of martial arts fighting.

In The Judas Solution the heroes travel back to Earth and to Khala. On Earth the Blackcollars are trying to strengthen the resistance. They have a drug which counteracts the Ryqril slave drug. But the resistance has stayed very passive. It takes some time before the Blackcollars understand why the resistance hasn’t done more. On Khala the Blackcollars are trying to destroy a Ryqril complex, but the Blackcollars have their own hidden agendas.

The Judas Solution is the third book in the series. It could be the conclusion, but it does open up new plot lines. If you enjoyed the earlier Blackcollar stories, this is worth reading. If you haven’t read the first two, my suggestion is you read the earlier two books before reading this one.

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