Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We missed our anniversary

We've been blogging two years and two days!

I remembered last week that our anniversary was coming up, but this week has been busy enough that I forgot.

It has been a fun two years. I think we are good for at least another year.

Technorati tags: blog, blogging

We just had a little after shock

The building I work in just rattled a bit. This site shows we just had a 3.7 earthquake.

Over the last two days I've told my daughters several times that I'd rather have lots of fours and fives than a really big earthquake.

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Will Utah adopt vouchers?

In Utahns Can Vote for School Choice Tuesday John Stossel starts with:

"Next Tuesday, Utah voters go to the polls to decide if their state will become the first in the nation to offer school vouchers statewide. Referendum 1 would make all public-school kids eligible for vouchers worth from $500 to $3,000 a year, depending on family income. Parents could then use the vouchers to send their children to private schools."

I hope the citizens in Utah pass the referendum. It is a great first step, but a true voucher system would give a bigger slice of the $7,500 per child the public schools in Utah get to spend.

Many opponenets say vouchers don't work and they will find a school or two with lower test scores than the average public school. But this is really an indication of just how bad public schools have gotten when a private school with half the money often does a better job.

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The funny things children say

The guy I jog with told of an incident last night with his family. They were gathered in the living room when the San Jose earthquake hit. This 5.6 earthquake was strong enough that walls and floors were moving. Afterwards his three year old said: "Daddy, don't do that."

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Home Schooling reduces impact of Socio-Economic Factors

Interesting study out of Canada from the Fraser Institute:

The Fraser Institute: Home Schooling Improves Academic Performance and Reduces Impact of Socio-Economic Factors

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2007) - Home schooling appears to improve the academic performance of children from families with low levels of education, according to a report on home schooling released today by independent research organization The Fraser Institute.

"The evidence is particularly interesting for students who traditionally fall through the cracks in the public system," said Claudia Hepburn, co-author of Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream, 2nd edition and Director of Education Policy with The Fraser Institute.

"Poorly educated parents who choose to teach their children at home produce better academic results for their children than public schools do. One study we reviewed found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families with comparable education levels."

The article also states the the research paper was peer-reviewed.

The full report is available at

Interesting data:

Research shows that almost 25 per cent of home schooled students in the United States perform one or more grades above their age-level peers in public and private schools. Grades 1 to 4 home school students perform one grade level higher than their public- and private-school peers. By Grade 8, the average home schooled student performs four grade levels above the national average.

Here's some info on the Fraser Institute from their website:

The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization based in Canada. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Look here to see what Source Watch and Wikipedia had to say about the Fraser Institute. It is described as a libertarian think tank.

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The Carnival of Education is up - the Halloween edition

This week's The Carnival of Education is up at What It's Like on the Inside. The Science Goddess has put together the Haunted Schoolhouse edition. Fun.

If you would like to submit to the next Carnival of Education, go here.

Technorati tags: education,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A lot more news on the San Jose earthquake from blogs than from News

I did some google searches. A half hour after the earthquake Google News had no hits for earthquake san jose while Google Blog had about 2000 hits. If you want to find out real recent information on a major event it looks like blogs are speedier!

The San Jose Mercury got a report up:

"A 5.6 magniture earthquake centered near Alumn Rock in San Jose struck at 8:04 tonight.
The quake, with an epicenter five miles northeast of Alum Rock, was felt across the Bay Area. Ten aftershocks with magnitudes of 1.3 to 1.8 were reported by 8:45 p.m.
There were no immediate reports of major damage, though there were reports of cellular and landline telephone service failing in some areas.

Here is some more information.

Hopefully there are no deaths.

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San Jose just had a 5.6 earthquake

We had soccer practice today. I got home about 7:00 PM. We had dinner. The girls played a bit. We had rootbear floats and did some scripture study. I herded the girls off to bed. They brushed their teeth and climbed into bed.

A few minutes later the house started to shake. It may have gone on for twenty to thirty seconds. The younger girls were a bit freaked. We tried to call my parents, but we kept getting a busy signal. We got hold of Janine. The girls excitedly told them that the house had rocked and rolled.

The girls have calmed down a bit.

This site shows the earthquake was over 5. Our neighbor heard that it was based in Alum Rock, San Jose, and it was a 5.6.

We'll have to study earthquakes a bit tomorrow.

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A few selections from my mother

My mother was a high school math teacher when she met my father. After they got married she stayed home to raise me and my siblings. When my youngest siblings was in high school my mother went back to college to get a Masters. She worked for several years as a technical writer and then retired. Now she likes to go for walks in the park, work on her garden and surf the internet. Here are a few posts she recently forwarded to me:

Mark Morford, a columnist for the San Francisco Gate warns that The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history. A friend of Mark's is a public school teacher in Oakland and has seen a huge decline in his high school students over the decades. Maybe the teacher would have some hope for the future if he met some homeschool students who get a real education.

After a natural disaster you may be on your own for days or weeks. Popular Mechanics has tips on how to Survive Anything: Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Floods ...etc.

I learned a new term: dropout factory. A 'dropout factory' is "a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year." Yahoo! News carries a report that 1 in 10 schools are 'dropout factories.'

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Cool links from Reddit - 30 Oct 07

It has been a long while since I posted on cool links from Reddit. Below are a few recent posts I've found from Reddit.

A commissioner in Georgia wants to pay kids to learn. He is worried over the high drop-out rate and that Georgia has poor performing schools. He wants to try something different. A typical bureaucrat response: let's have more government. How about pulling the government out of education and letting parents be more involved. Vouchers would make a huge difference.

I Will Change Your Life wants you to End Your Week with 7 Questions. I think they are good questions to ask frequently.

I thought this was pretty silly. A 51-year-old college student received a C. He wanted an A-minus. Instead of working hard, he decided to sue. I think the judge did the right thing in dismissing the lawsuit.

This was pretty funny: a Jane Austen fan submitted the opening chapters of three of her works to 18 publishing companies in England. One editor recognized the work, a few thought it was familiar, but a dozen rejected the submissions.

Are you looking for a particular image? San Jose State University has collected 60,000 images, many of them are pictures of famous works of art.

Or do you want just images from American Political History?

This was interesting. It turns out that Appendix isn't useless at all: It's a safe house for bacteria. Good bacteria.

I liked the ideas on how to be richer in the future.

Are you interested in A Simple Way to Strengthen Your Family?

The rising incidents of obesity are getting more and more awareness. A group of doctors makes the case that at least part of the problem is due to how the United States Government subsidizes farms.

This looks scary. FIRE is warning that the University of Delaware Requires Students to Undergo Ideological Reeducation.

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The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - week 96

Heather at Spritibee is hosting this week's Canrival of Homeschooling.

She has created a Yearbook Edition of the carnival complete with highschool pictures of some of your favorite bloggers.

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

First Day of School - Part 2

Follow-up on First Day of School

When I picked up "Sally" I was able to talk with the teacher. I emphasized that the only thing predictable in foster care is how unpredictable it is. I told the teacher that Sally could be here only two weeks, but she could be here the whole year.

The kindergarten program looked nice. However, the teacher commented that they are one of the few kindergarten programs that has homework. Oh, joy. I was disappointed to see that she is using the "look-say" method to teach reading and not really teaching phonics.

"Sally" came home from school a bit grouchy. It took more effort from me to redirect misbehavior. And while the homework looks short, after a full school day, it is difficult to find time to do it.

When "Sally" got home, she ate a snack. We immediately left to go get a hair cut for everybody. Side note: I had to watch the hairdresser carefully. We only have permission to have "Sally's" bangs cut. I could get in trouble if the hairdresser took off too much.

After 5 haircuts (mine included), we drove home and dropped off my oldest daughter. I then took the rest of the girls to get pumpkins at a local grocery store. That in itself was an ordeal. It took them forever to decide. We also picked a few things at the store and then came home. As I was unloading the car, the little girl that my girls babysit was dropped off.

We all went in the house and I started dinner. At 6 pm, dinner was ready and my oldest daughter and I left for symphony practice as soon as Henry got home. Henry and the girls had dinner. A neighbor came over to copy a tape on our VCR. The mom of the little girl we babysit showed up to get her daughter. Then Henry and the girls went to the folk dancing class we've been attending with Henry's parents.

My oldest daughter and I got home at about 8:45 pm and Henry and the other girls arrive about ten minutes later. It was then the rush to bed for the kids.

So, there really wasn't a homework spot in all of that. Tomorrow won't be much better. "Sally" has a visit with her lawyer, we have the Halloween party at homeschool park day, and soccer practice. I'm glad I don't have to do the school thing more than a couple of weeks.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The cost of education has risen a factor of ten over the last 78 years.

Mark Perry has an interesting comparison at his blog Carpe Diem. In And You Thought Oil Prices Were High? Mark has a graph comparing the "expenditures per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools from 1929-2007, adjusted for inflation, and oil prices during the same period, also adjusted for inflation. Both series are price indexes set to equal 100 in 1929."

He has three fascinating conclusions:

Conclusion #1: Oil prices in real dollars have increased 2.4X since 1929 (the inflation-adjusted price index in the graph above goes from 100 to 240).

Conclusion #2: On the other hand, the average cost of educating a student in U.S. public schools today is about 10X the cost in 1929, measured in real dollars (the inflation-adjusted price index in the graph goes from 100 to 1000).

Conclusion #3: Consider also that the quality of a barrel of oil has probably remained the same since 1929, and we probably can't say that about the quality of public school education over the last 78 years. For example, see this 8th grade exam from 1895; how many high school students could pass this today?

There is a lot of noise and fuss when ever the price of gas goes up a bit, but few people seem to be really upset when public schools ask for more money.

It would be fun to have a graph of the expenditures for homeschooling. I would expect the line to be flat, or maybe even fall a bit.

(Hat tip: Friends of Dave)

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

The Carnival of Family Life is up

This week's Carnival of Family Life is up at Little Legends.

To sumbit to the next carnival click on this carnival submission form.

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First Day of School

I took our foster daughter to school today. I was disappointed to find that the teacher had not been informed about the circumstances of her new student. I talked to the office on Friday morning, but that information never made it to the teacher.

The teacher asked some legitimate questions that I felt awkward answering with the "Sally" standing there. I didn't give the teacher much information, just that I was the foster mother and that she would be with us for a few weeks. What little I did say probably made "Sally" feel sad. Now, I wished I'd said nothing. I'm worried that now that the teacher knows that she will only be here a few weeks, that "Sally" won't get the attention she would get as a permanent addition to the class.

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Communicable Diseases and such

One of the downsides of large institutions like schools is that they can become a breeding ground for disease and other unpleasantness. For example, some years ago when my oldest daughter was 4 years old, she brought home lice from preschool. It quickly spread to me and her sister. It was the worst week of my life.

This caught my eye.

Staph infections catch parents off guard

Milton mother Eileen Prybol didn't know a football player on her son's high school team had contracted a contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection until she read about it last week in the newspaper.

In fact, Milton High School administrators didn't alert parents about the illness until after the article appeared — a full week after officials first learned of the spreadable, sometimes-deadly disease.

"I mean, we even got a letter [earlier this year] when mono was going through the school," Prybol said of the delay in notification. "It's just common sense. If the parents don't know that it's out there, then how can we watch for it?"

When it comes to alerting parents about contagious illnesses, school administrators don't always follow the same procedures. A parent may hear about incidents of mononucleosis at a child's school, but not more serious diseases, such as the estimated dozen drug-resistant staph infections recently reported in Atlanta and Cobb, Fayette, Fulton and Henry counties.

Part of the reason for the discrepancy is because infected students may not have been ill at school and were treated before they returned. But another reason appears to be a lack of uniform guidance from county or regional health departments, which school administrators rely on when they have students with infectious diseases.

23 Kentucky Schools Shut Down To Disinfect

Pikeville, KY (AHN) - The eastern Kentucky school district will shut down all its 23 schools Monday to disinfect facilities.

The move, affecting more than 10 ,000 students, comes after one Pike County student in September was found infected with MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Without antibiotic treatment, the bacterial strain can be deadly.

Pike County schools superintendent Roger Wagner said, "We're not closing schools because there's been a large number of breakouts, but as a preventive measure."

Pike County schools were on top of the problem while Atlanta schools took little action. Some have criticized that the Pike county schools over reacted.

I'm not so sure.

Resistant bug alarms health workers

The state epidemiologist wants to require the public to report cases of the dangerous staph “superbug.”

A new study on Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, shows that deaths tied to the infection might exceed those caused by AIDS.

Although the most invasive type is hospital-acquired MRSA, local physicians are seeing an increase in the community-acquired germ from public places such as locker rooms and school gymnasiums.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at Sprittibee.

You have about 48 hours to send in an entry.

As always, entries are due 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,

Public schools fight parents over diversity

Education Matters US writes about The Hypocrisy and Arrogance of Public School Adminstrators. There is an interesting contrast as the public school bureaucracy pushes for diversity in making the children read books the parents say are age inappropriate; however, when the parents want diversity in music, one school formed ranks and said "no". Read the post for the full details.

This kind of double standard will push more and more parents to homeschooling.

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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Your perspective affects your response

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

If you don't like someone, the way he holds his spoon makes you furious; if you like him, he can turn his plate over into your lap and you won't mind.
-Irving Becker

Anyone know who Irving Becker is?

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Nerd Humor: The Day The Routers Died

You can see the words by clicking on the video twice, and then clicking on "More info" in the section "About this video" on the right hand side.


Technorati tags: nerd, humor

We've made it to our 1500th post

According to Blogger this post is our 1500th!

We've been blogging almost two years, so we are doing about 750 a year, or about two a day. Some days we won't post at all. Other days we've posted around ten to twelve.

Technorati tags: blog

Update on What are they thinking?

Here's an update on What are they thinking?. The school was breaking the law.

School health centers didn't report underage sex

Portland's school-based health centers have not been reporting all illegal sexual activity involving minors as required by law, but they will from now on, city officials said Thursday.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson questioned the health centers' reporting practices after the Portland School Committee decided last week to offer prescription birth control at the King Middle School health center.

The King Student Health Center has offered comprehensive reproductive health care, including providing condoms and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, since it opened in 2000. The school serves students in grades 6 to 8, ages 11 to 15.

Maine law prohibits having sex with a person under age 14, regardless of the age of the other person involved, Anderson said.

A health care provider must report all known or suspected cases of sex with minors age 13 and under to the state Department of Health and Human Services, she said. Abuse also must be reported to the appropriate district attorney's office, Anderson said, when the suspected perpetrator is someone other than the minor's parent or guardian.

This part confuses me. Does this mean that they don't have to report abuse to the district attorney's office if the suspected perpetrator is the minor's parent or guardian? How crazy it that?!

Update Note: I checked the Maine law. If the abuser is a parent or guardian, the abuse is reported to Social Services.

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I Just Couldn't Sacrifice My Son by David Nicholson

David Nicholson has a powerful account of dealing with the Washington D.C. public school bureaucracy in I Just Couldn't Sacrifice My Son. I enjoyed the article. David loved living in Washington D.C. He use to give his friends a bad time when they moved out to make sure their children received a decent education.

The shoe was on the other foot when David finally had a son in elementary school. He ends the article with:

"In the end, though, I couldn't sacrifice my son to an education system that seems at best inefficient and at worst willfully corrupt. As much as I admire Mayor Fenty, I can't help noting that his children go to a private school.
"And if he doesn't send his kids to D.C. schools, why should I?"

To an extent I think most parents suffer many of the same problems David struggled with his local public schools. At some point many parents say this is enough. Parents moved their children to better school districts, or pay money to send them to private schools, or homeschool. Fundamentally the big problem is public schools are bureaucracies and have little motivation to improve. As monopolies they have a captive audience. It takes a lot of effort for parents pull their children. Many parents find it easier to just coast along.

As public schools get worse I predict that more and more parents will say:

"I won't sacrifice my children to an education system that seems at best inefficient and at worst willfully corrupt."

(Hat tip: edspresso)

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

This week's Carnival of Space is up

Dr. Pamela L. Gay is hosting this week's Carnival of Space at Star Stryder.

The turnout was a bit low this week, partly because I forgot to send out the weekly reminder.

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Money and the importance of education

Money is one measure of success. It is not the only measure of success, and not even the best measure of success. However, the amount of dollars a person has tells something about their how well they are doing.

Forbes Magazine tracks the richest people in America. They have some surprising results:

"The vast majority of the 234 U.S. billionaires whose education level is tracked by Forbes magazine through 1999 finished college; 100 have some form of advanced degree, but 41--that's 18%--never got their college diplomas and two never even finished high school."

This shows that education helps people succeed in the world of finance, but it is not nesseccary.

Our children need to be taught that an education is only one of the things that will help them get ahead in life, at least in terms of money. They also need to learn to work hard and be frugal.

Technorati tags: success, children

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Maybe I'm blogging too much right now

Blogging may be too much on my mind.

Last night I dreamed that I was starting up a blog carnival on superman.

In the light of day it doesn't seem like a good idea. But last night it made sense.

Technorati tags: blog

I registered a child for school today

For legal reasons, I needed to register our foster child for school. I had mixed feelings about this. There is a school within sight of our house. It is not a high performing school, but it is convenient. If I were every going to put my kids into school, it would NOT have been my neighborhood school. If she were my child, I would drive the twenty minutes each way to the better school.

Well, as it worked out, my neighborhood school is "full" so the child needed to go to another school anyway. Unfortunately, all the really good school were also "full." So, I will end up driving her to another average school anyway. I now wish there was a space at my neighborhood school. To take the time to drive her to an average school seems like wasted effort. I could request that they bus her to the other school, but I think that would be more traumatic for the child.

I must say that the school office staff were very nice and helpful. However, I felt like I was incognito. I thought to myself, "I wonder if they would act so nice if they knew we homeschool our own children."

While I was in the school office, I could hear and see into a nearby classroom. It was easy to see that the teacher was extremely talented. I thought to myself, "Even with teachers like that at this school, I wouldn't be willing to put up with the garbage (bureaucracy, badly brought of children, stupid laws, amoral rules, union interference) for my children to get to her. However, I'm glad that she and teachers like her are there for children like our foster child, who don't have any other options.

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Good thought on parenting

From the A Word A Day mailing list:

It is not giving children more that spoils them; it is giving them more to avoid confrontation.
John Gray, author (b. 1951)

Technorati tags: parenting, children

Lisa Russell on the "S" word

Lisa Russell has a well written article titled No Thank You, We Don't Believe in Socialization in the recent Home Educator's Family Times Newsletters.

If you have ever struggled with how to address the socialization issue, check her article out. I gratly enjoyed it.

(Hat tip: Corn and Oil)

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

We're flattered

A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University focused on: Which blogs should one read to be most up to date, i.e., to quickly know about important stories that propagate over the blogosphere? They wanted to find those blogs which would give good coverage of the blogosphere. Using some algorithms they built a list of the 100 blogs one should read.

I was greatly surprised that we are number 30!

Below is the list of 100 blogs. They also have a list of 500 blogs to read. You can go here to read the study in a PDF format.

We're honored and flattered to be on a list which includes so many famous bloggers. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd be on a list which included Instapundit.

The list:











(Hat tip: Sitemeter - I noticed hits coming in from the study)

Technorati tags: blog, blogosphere

Thomas Sowell has advice for those about to head off to college

I have a lot of respect for Thomas Sowell. I encourage people on the fence over homeschooling to read the first hundred pages of his Inside American Education. The first part of his book covers dozens of problems with K-12 in public schools. The rest of his book reviews problems with American colleges.

This week Thomas Sowell has a column called Choose Wisely on helping high-school students select an appropriate university. His basic premise is that students will get a better education if they avoid the big name prestigious universities.

If you will be sending one of your children off to college in a year or two, this column is well worth reading.

(Hat tip: PalmTree Pundit)

Update I - 26 Oct 07
Sandy found the full text of Thomas Sowell's Choosing a College online!

Technorati tags: college, education

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Danielle Bean with advice for aspiring writers

Bloggers write. Bloggers write frequently and often. Many bloggers are also writers, or are considering writing. Janine and I have thought some about writing a book, but have put that task on hold for now.

Danielle Bean, an author, answers some Frequently Asked Questions. One of the questions she answers is how she got started.

She also responds to 4 Freelance Myths.

If you are thinking about becoming a professional writer go check out Danielle's posts.

Technorati tags: writer, writing

Alasandra reports on problems with sexual abuse in public schools

Over the last three days Alasandara has blogged about several instances of students suffering sexual abuse at the hands of teachers. With several million teachers in the United States there are going to be a few bad apples. But one of the big problems we have in public schools today is that the bad apples are rarely punished, and when they are punished it is often after years, or decades.

In Sexcual misconduct plagues US Schools Alasandra links to Not good, not good at all! which has a long article about how public schools do not punish predatorial teachers. There were several scary lines. For example:

"One girl in Mansfield, Ohio, complained about a sexual assault by teacher Donald Coots and got expelled. It was only when a second girl, years later, brought a similar complaint against the same teacher that he was punished."


"Too often, problem teachers are allowed to leave quietly. That can mean future abuse for another student and another school district."

There is a famous saying: "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." Way too often the public schools are allowing students to suffer when the problem could have been prevented.

In Public School Teachers and Sexual Misconduct Alasandra references a news article. The article reports on a teacher who gave a 14-year old girl gonorrhea, he pleads guilty and only has to suffer "a six months unsupervised probation and (pay) a $500 fine." The teacher hardly suffers. The poor girl will suffer for years.

Alasandra has several other recent posts which also document the problem: An overlooked blight on our education system, Teacher sex abuse scars family, town, and No way to keep predators from moving from school to school.

The words from public schools is that "Sexual misconduct is wrong and will not be tolerated." But unfortunately the actions too often are "Please, please don't do it again. Please."

Technorati tags: public, school, sexual, abuse

We've passed the 200,000 hit mark

Sitemeter reports that we've passed the 200,000 hit mark!

It happened some time this morning. I wanted to see the details, but I forgot to check.

Technorati tags: blog, blogging

6th Edition of A Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival is up

This month's edition of A Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival is up at Trinity Prep School.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Have a butter knife, get kicked out of school

A girl accidentally takes a butter knife to school. The school finds out about it and suspends her. They have a zero tolerance for weapons. Butter knifes? You have got to be kidding.

Years ago I use to watch martial art movies with a friend of mine. He liked to joke that in the hands of a ninja master any object could be a deadly weapon.

I wonder how soon public schools will take the zero tolerance for weapons all the way to the extreme. No more books, you could hit someone with a book. No more pencils, you might stab someone. No more chalk, someone might choke.

With the kind of logic that says expend a teenager who accidentally brings a butter knife, I think you can say any object could be a weapon.

I wonder how many students will start bringing butter knifes to school.

And I wonder how soon this girl's parents will start homeschooling.

(Hat tip: OpinionJournal)

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

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up: The ABC's of homeschooling

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is hosted At Home With Kris.

Kris sifted the 50 or so posts into categories ranging from A to Z.

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

Monday, October 22, 2007

A UK secondary school is trying out RFID embedded in uniforms

From England:

"Hungerhill School, a secondary school in Doncaster, South Yorkshire is running a trial that involves tagging the uniforms of pupils with RFID tags. The tags pull up data including academic performance, the child's current location, and can even deny access to certain restricted areas -- behind the bike shed, perhaps?"

The school will be able to track the students every where. The children aren't being treated like people, but animals.

(Hat tip:

Technorati tags: education,

A few recent posts from Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs does a great job of staying on top of education news.

In No college app, no high school diploma is the news of another stupid idea from Maine. "Maine’s education commission wants to require high school seniors to apply to college to qualify for a diploma." I have trouble wrapping my mind around this. Why in the world do you need to apply for college to have a high school diploma?

NYC teachers agree to merit pay as long as the school administration doesn't call it "merit pay."

This sounds like an interesting career to check out: The $40,000 college coach. The opening line is: "Wealthy, anxious parents are willing to pay as much as $40,000 to Michele Hernandez, a college coach who will start in eighth grade prepping students for an elite college." As I understand the article more than one parent is paying her fee. I wonder how many children she works with at the same time?

Technorati tags: education,

The Carnival of Education

Last week The Carnival of Education was posted at The Education Wonks.

If you would like to submit to the next Carnival of Education, go here. You have 20 hours.

Technorati tags: education,

Are you pregnant and trying to homeschool?

Carolyn Morrison of Guilt-Free Homeschooling wrote a post for pregnant mothers who are struggling with homeschooling titled From the Mailbox: Pregnant & Homeschooling. It is a nice long post with lots of good advice.

One of the points Carolyn makes is that mothers can, and should, teach older children how to help around the house. We heard a speaker at church years ago tell the congregation that mothers should not be slaves doing all the work around the house. He said mothers should be supervisors who teach the children how to do the chores around the house. We like this approach. We want our daughters to leave our home competent and able to run a house. We don't want them to leave for college helpless and clueless about how to cook, clean and so on.

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

Another reason to homeschool - so your child can get enough sleep

Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well Trained Mind, recently reminded me of another reason we homeschool. On her blog The History of the (Whole) World Susan writes that she has been reminded of the importance of sleep. She references a recent article in the New York Magazine. In Snooze or Lose the point is made that children today on average are getting an hour less sleep than children thirty years ago. A study in Israel found that getting one hour less sleep was the equivalent to the lost of "two years of cognitive maturation and development."

One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is we are not driven by the schedules of public schools. If we think our daughters need more sleep, we can let them sleep in. In a typical evening we'll send our daughters to bed between eight and nine. Our older two daughters normally get up around seven in the morning. Our seven year old can sleep in for hours, so I will usually wake her up around eight in the morning.

With homeschooling we can do what is best for our children. If they need sleep, we can let them sleep in.

This approach applies to other aspects. The third foster care child we had cried a lot and needed attention. Janine was able to go lighten up on school work last Friday and off load some of the burden to our daughters. Our daughters learned skills and bounded with the child.

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I finished the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

I like DailyLit. They provide an amazing service. They deliver books via email in manageable chunks.

I started the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin early in June. I just finished it. Getting an email every weekday has made it very manageable.

If you have always wanted to read a classic, but have been intimidated by the size of some of these books, try DailyLit. You can see the books they have available here.

I love to read Science Fiction. For my next book I've signed up to read From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne.

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Rejoicing in Mudville

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer is a famous poem about a baseball game. The poem starts near the end of the game; Casey's team is down by two points. Things look grim. Then luckily Casey gets his chance! Casey is equivalent to today's Barry Bonds. (I liked the analysis of the poem on Wikipedia.)

The poem ends with:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

This soccer season has been rough. Collectively our daughters have played in twenty games. Until this Saturday they has lost all but one game. Some of the games have been 5-0 at the half, and then the other team would play easy. The league asks that no team be defeated by more than five points.

We like soccer for a number of reasons. It is a fast moving game. It is great exercise. Our daughters learn teamwork. But it has been hard for each of them to lose every Saturday.

This last Saturday my middle daughter's team fought a great game. They pulled ahead 2-1. At the very last minute the other team scored the winning tie. Our daughter's team was still super excited. These were the first two scores they had made during the whole season.

My youngest daughter's team, one of the teams I coach, played a hard game. They have really started figuring out passing. All of the players new to soccer have made amazing progress. They have risen several levels in their understanding of the game. They will even stay in position. For under age eight the league plays seven girls from each team on the field. This is the transition year where they first start playing position. One of our best players scored early in the game. She took a shot from about twenty feet away, it went between the defenders, and right passed the goalie. Later she scored again. The ball bounced off the goal post, the goalie fumbled for it, the ball bounced around for two more seconds and then rolled across the line! The final score was 2 to 1. I am very pleased with how well the girls play together and the progress they have made.

My oldest daughter's team, which I got drafted to coach, played an amazing game. This team almost fell apart near the start of the season. The first couple games were painful. The girls would often boot the ball down field. The other team would recapture the ball and bring it close to our goal again. Our girls would put up a good defense and boot it out. They were not keeping possession of the ball. The other team again would bring the ball down field. Eventually the other team scored. I think we lost all of the first four games by at least three points. We have gotten some amazing help for the soccer league. The league brought a couple young soccer coaches over from England. One of them came to several of our practices. Additionally a senior, nationally trained, local coach has made about half our practices. It has made a huge difference. The girls are playing position much better, they are passing to each other tons more. They work to be in open space. They are putting the ball in the goal! They won their game last Saturday 5 to 1.

This weekend there was rejoicing in Mudville.

Technorati tags: soccer

While you wait for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

The next Carnival of Homeschooling won't be up for another day or so. While you wait go check out the recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival at The Heart of Harmony. I counted 24 entries. This carnival is off to a great start!

If you have some thoughts about Charlotte Mason, consider submitting a post to the next Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.

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

We'll be hitting a number of milestones in the next couple weeks

Sitemeter reports that we are approaching our 200,000th visiter! We'll probably hit 200,000 some time on Wednesday.

We are coming up on our second blog anniversary. Our very first post was on the 29th of October, 2005.

Blogger reports that we've done 1475 posts. We'll probably break 1500 posts some time early in November.

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Update on our third foster care child

Our third foster care child was a 13 month old infant girl. It seemed like she cried almost half the time she was awake. She cried if I held her. She cried if Janine held her. She would cry more if we put her down. She cried so much that we worried she was allergic to milk, so we asked the social worker to check with the family. The report we got back was no, she wasn’t allergic to anything. Often she would cry and gesture towards the door. It appeared she wanted to return home.

I got my first and only smile yesterday at church. She was much happier away from our home. I think she recognized we were a family and lived in a home, different from hers; however, she liked being with larger groups of people.

Her extended family met Saturday and worked out which of them would take this little girl. The social worker checked out the home and approved it. Janine and my middle daughter took the little girl to the children’s shelter Sunday evening. The little girl was relieved to see her two aunts and her grandmother.

One of the problems the Foster Care system worries about is something called Attachment Disorder. My understanding of this problem is that if a child does not learn to emotionally connect with people before they turn five, then they may never be able to empathize with other people. This little girl is clearly not at risk for this problem. She was very, very, very attached to her family.

We only had her three days. We’ll miss her for a long time.

We still have the five year old girl. Janine is trying to work out the schooling situation. The county wants her in school. There is an elementary school a couple blocks away from our home. Janine learned that we might also be able to homeschool her under a local charter school.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, foster, care

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at At Home With Kris.

You have about 50 hours to send in an entry.

As always, entries are due 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, October 18, 2007

I think the next couple months are going to be interesting

About two hours ago we just got another phone call from the county. A social worker asked if we could take an infant. We still have the second foster care child. We said yes. Janine drove over and picked up our third foster care child. In about eleven days we've had three children.

I've struggled with what to have the children call me and Janine. With the two infants it hasn't been a problem. The five year old on her own started calling us mom and dad. I don't want the children to feel like I'm trying to take the place of their parents.

Our daughters have reacted in various ways. For the most part our 13 year old and our 11 year old have enjoyed having the children. Most of the time our seven year old enjoys playing with the five year old. The five year old can be a bit bossy. Our youngest daughter doesn't like it, but doesn't handle it well. We're trying to teach our seven year old to be pleasant, but to draw boundries.

I think we will all learn a lot from being foster care parents. At this rate we could have fifteen to twenty children go through our house by the end of the year.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, foster, care

The Carnival of Space is up, week 25

Sam wise is hosting this weeks Carnival of Space at Sorting Out Science.

The topics range over all the place, include: SETI, Space elevators, Space-based solar power, the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and more.

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