Monday, September 29, 2008

One of the lessons we are trying to teach our daughters

Over the last couple decades there has been an explosion of available and recorded information. There are thousands of magazines. Something like 50,000 books written in English are published each year. The last I heard there were around 100,000,000 blogs.

I believe that all information may be of use, but not all information is of equal value. If you live in Anchorage Alaska you would find it helpful to know the average rainfall, the population of the city, where the super markets are located and so on. But the majority of people outside of Alaska would find this information of much less value.

Clearly some information and knowledge are of more use and interest than other facts and data. One of the challenges we have in life, now more than ever, is to be wise in what we spend our time learning.

Early in our blog Janine wrote about how we are trying to stack the deck. We are trying to make sure that our daughters learn the important lessons early in their life. As parents we don’t accept everything that public schools seems to consider important to really be important. This is one of the reasons we homeschool. For example we value an understanding of the scriptures.

There are a couple ways we are trying to teach our daughters to recognize that some information is of greater worth.

One of the ways is we talk with our daughters about what they read, and what they are learning. We’re trying to get them thinking now them to consider and analyze how important it is. We are trying to get them into the habit of asking themselves: “Is this information useful? Should I be investing my time learning this?”

Another way we are trying to teach them is to model this behavior. Janine and I talk with each other, in front of the girls, about the books we read and what we are studying. By listening to us go through the process of evaluating a book hopefully this will plant a seed and down the road they’ll step back and thoughtfully decide where to spend their time.

As the amount of available information and knowledge continues to grow at an exponential rate, this lesson will become more and more important. I can only image what it will be like for my grandchildren.

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

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at the Principled Discovery.

As always, entries are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. That means you have less than ten hours to send in your post.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nominations for bad parent of the year

Most mornings I check out Google News. I have all the standard sections. For most of them I'm going with the top ten stories. After the standard sections I have two customized sections for "homeschool" and "education. Next are sections for the U.K., Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. At the end are some pages focused on news based on zip codes. I hardly ever get my news from the paper any more.

Today's edition of Google News had two headlines that shocked me.

One of them reminded me of The Law of Unintended Consequences. Rob Norton has a nice summary which starts:

The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or "unintended." Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it.

The article on Google News titled Father leaves nine children at Nebraska hospital is a classic example of unintended consequences. The article starts:

Parents are abandoning teenagers at Nebraska hospitals, in a case of a well intentioned law inspiring unintended results.
Over the last two weeks, moms or dads have dropped off seven teens at hospitals in the Cornhusker state, indicating they didn’t want to care for them any more.
“They were tired of their parenting role,” according to Todd Landry of Nebraska’s Department of Human and Human Services, quoted in
USA Today.
Under a newly implemented law, Nebraska is the only state in the nation to allow parents to leave children of any age at hospitals and request they be taken care of, USA Today notes. So-called “safe haven laws” in other states were designed to protect babies and infants from parental abandonment.



I feel sorry for the children.

Each time some politician promises to fix a problem, I am sure there will be some unintended consequences, often times worse than the problem they are claiming they'll fix.

The second headline, Dad sentenced over teenage son's car crash, was about a "father" who doesn't deserve to be a father.

A father who provided alcohol to his teenage son and egged him on to drive recklessly before crashing and injuring his 3-year-old son, was sentenced Friday to 36 years in prison.
A Jefferson County jury found Kenneth L. Childress guilty of reckless child abuse, vehicular assault, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. Childress, 35, of Aurora, had two prior felony convictions and was on probation for an alcohol-related driving offense when the Nov. 22, 2007, crash occurred.
Childress, his 17-year-old son, the teenager's girlfriend, and his younger son were headed to a party late at night. Childress provided alcohol to his teenage son, who was driving.


The three year old son suffered a broken jaw and a ruptured spleen.

Thirty six years in jail sounds about right.

Again, I feel sorry for the children.

Technorati tags: children, families, parenting

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Valerie Moon responds to: Are homeschooled kids at a disadvantage?

I enjoyed Valerie's response in Answering illogic at Opposing Views: Are homeschooled kids at a disadvantage? She has a very thoughtfull post about the debate.

Technorati tags: children, government schools, public school, public education, education

Humor: Have you heard about the NCLB version of football?

The Crimson Wife at Bending the Twigs has a funny post on the NCLB version of football, she writes:

I couldn't find the original source on a quick Google search, but I personally came across it in one of the comments on Tamara Fisher's blog "Unwrapping the Gifted".No Child Left Behind: The Football Version
1. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.
2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabiliites. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL.
3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who are not interested in football, have limited athletic ability, or whose parents don't like football.
4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games.
5. This will create a New Age of sports where school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals.

Technorati tags: children, government schools, public school, public education, education

Saturday, September 20, 2008

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at the A Pondering Heart.

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

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another homeschooler doing well - Christopher Paolini's book due out

My oldest two daughters love the books by Christopher Paolini. His third book in the Inheritance Series, Brisingr, is due out. Maybe I'll encourage them to each buy their own copy so they don't have to wait. :-)

HomeSchoolBuzz referenced this article on the book:

The creativity of children, which is often seen in their drawings and stories, can be as­tounding, and some of them find their talent translates to a larger stage early on in their lives.
That's how it all happened for young author Christopher Paolini, who wrote the best-sell­ing books, "Eragon" and "Eld­est." These are the first two books in "The Inheritance Cy­cle," a four-book series.
Paolini, who lives in Mon­tana, was home-schooled by his parents and at an early age, be­gan putting his dreams on paper by writing short stories and poems. Paolini's love for the magic of stories resulted in the crafting of a novel that he would enjoy reading.
The project began as a hobby and a personal challenge, but he never intended it to be pub­lished. With the support of his parents, "Eragon" did get pub­lished and in December of 2006, the book was made into a major motion picture.


Pretty fun when a homeschooler does well.

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


This looks interesting - HomeschoolersLikeUs is a Homeschool Social Network, or as Danielle Bean says: "It’s like Facebook for homeschoolers."

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

Training yourself to rein in wants and desires

A lot of misery and unhappiness comes when buying the latest toys, clothes and just plain stuff runs unchecked. Uncontrolled finances creates stress. Too many people in America spend $105 for every $100 they make.

A friend sent me a link to Challenge Yourself To A Money-Free Weekend, which starts out:

For the last few months, my wife and I have been doing something every other weekend or so that we call a “money free” weekend, in an effort to live more frugally. It’s actually quite fun - here’s how we do it.
We are not allowed to spend any money on anything, no matter what. In other words, we can’t make a run to the store to buy food, we can’t spend money on any sort of entertainment, and so on. Since we often do our grocery shopping on Saturdays, on a “money free” weekend, we delay it to Monday or Tuesday.


In sports people practice and practice for hours so that in a game or contest they'll be ready to perform well.

Going for a weekend without spending money seems like a good way to practice controlling wants and desires. In our society, with the great proliferation of new and interesting products it is easy for wants and desires to be nearly infinite.

Consider going for a weekend without spending any money.

Technorati tags: children, parenting, education, money, finance

This week's Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers is up

Shez is hosting this week's Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers at Homeschooled twins.

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

Would you like your children to have long lives?

A recent study found that More active, emotionally stable people live longer:

After tracking more than 2,300 people for more than 50 years, researchers there found that calm and active people lived longer than their counterparts.

Later the article reports:

The most recent findings looked at the link between personality traits of people and their lifespan. The data showed that certain personality traits were definitively linked to a longer life, including emotional stability, organization, discipline, conscientiousness and resourcefulness.
Certain other traits led to a shorter life: anger, emotional instability, anxiousness and depression, among them. The study concluded that "longevity was associated with being conscientious, emotionally stable, and active."

The first list is a great road map for what to teach your children. One of the benefits is they'll live long and productive lives.

Technorati tags: children, parenting, education, family, life

Checking out a children's book before buying it

Online stores have a great selection. Amazon currently has over three million books available. Just amazing!

Regular book stores can not complete on selection. One of the things they are able to do is to let you touch the books, to open them up and browse through a book.

A friend sent me a link to Lookybook. They are bridging the gap. Their about page explains:

Picture books are for looking at. Lookybook allows you to look at picture books in their entirety—from cover to cover, at your own pace. We know that nothing will replace the magic of reading a book with your child at bedtime, but we aim to replace the overwhelming and frustrating process of finding the right books for parents and their kids.

Pretty cool. Now you can look at a book online, before buying it, online!

Technorati tags: online, books

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Suggestions for helping children to learn self-motivation

In response to my post about the importance of self-motivation, Catherine asks:

"Great, but how do you instill that in your children? How do you get rid of a bad attitude about learning? What if your kid always gives up when things are hard, and stops from boredom when they're easy?"

We try a couple ways to promote self-motivation:

1) Low key rewards when our children take initiative. We don't want them to start taking action with the hope for some prize. When they do something good we try to praise them.

2) We talk with our children about why they should be active and be self driven. If they understand a principle, they are more likely to take action.

Anyone have any other suggestions?

Catherine, to an extent all children are lazy. (At least the ones I've met.) Some times they'll see value in a certain amount of work. Some children are more willing to work.

Part of my answer to your question would depend on the child, the age of the child, and why they are avoiding work.

If the child has been in public schools and learned that "education" is boring, for nerds, and just busy work, then you might want to give the child a chance to deschool.

If a child is getting lots of fun benefits for no work, you might take away video games, fancy clothes, toys and so on. One of the most important lessons children need to learn is that actions have consequences. If they work, they should get a benefit.

If the child is really bored, then look into finding more challenging work.

Does that help?

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another beautiful picture from APOD

Once in awhile I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day and think the images are more breathtaking that great art. This was one of those:

Mike Sidonio gave me permission to add a copy to my blog. Go here to read the explanation of the picture.

Go here for a more detailed version of the above picture.

At times I envy those who take such pictures.

Technorati tags: , , Mike Sidonio

How to put out a kitchen oil fire

My mother sent a video to our family about putting out a kitchen oil fire. I had heard that throwing water on an oil fire was a bad idea. This video shows exactly why this is a bad idea:

My mother's cousin explained what is going on:

"The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out."

As water turns to steam it takes up about a thousand times as much volume. One cubic foot of water will turn into a thousand cubic feet of steam, or ten feet by ten feet by ten feet.

The end of the video is sobering.

Technorati tags: kitchen, oil, fire

Monday, September 15, 2008

An amazing universe

Hundreds of years ago explores sailed across the sea coming in contact with new cultures, new animals, and new ideas. The last couple hundred years there seems to be a sense the frontiers are all gone. Even with space there seems to be a feeling that we understand most everything, we just need to fill in the details.

It is exciting to me to read that astronomers may have found a new object. From Slashdot is Hubble Finds Unidentified Object In Space:

Gizmodo is reporting that the Hubble space telescope has found a new unidentified object in the middle of nowhere. Some are even suggesting that this could be a new class of object. Of course without actually understanding more about it the speculation seems a bit wild.
"The object also appeared out of nowhere. It just wasn't there before. In fact, they don't even know where it is exactly located because it didn't behave like anything they know. Apparently, it can't be closer than 130 light-years but it can be as far as 11 billion light-years away. It's not in any known galaxy either. And they have ruled out a supernova too. It's something that they have never encountered before. In other words: they don't have a single clue about where or what the heck this thing is."

Pretty cool!

Now if we can just get there some day to check it out!

Technorati tags: ,

The Carnival of Family Life is up

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

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

Technorati tags: , ,

Saturday, September 13, 2008

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at the Nerd Family.

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

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

If money is tight, get rid of your credit cards

This is interesting - How you spend affects how much you spend: Non-cash purchases found to be higher than cash buys:

There is fresh evidence that people spend less when paying cash than using credit, cash-equivalent scrip or gift certificates. They also spend less when they have to estimate expenses in detail. These findings appear in the September issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, published by the American Psychological Association.

Technorati tags: cash, credit

Anyone know of effort based pay?

A friend pointed me to The LawDog who writes in Stop the planet! I want off! about amazingly stupid public school approach to grading:

Under "effort-based grading" if a student turns in homework, and the grade received on said homework would lower the students grade point average -- well, that homework grade does not count. Only homework grades that raise the students GPA are to be recorded.
If a DISD student fails an exam, the teacher MUST allow the student to retake the exam, and the higher of the two grades will be the official grade.
If a DISD student misses a deadline on turning in an assignment, the teacher MUST accept the late assignment with no penalty to the student. If the teacher believes that a penalty for late work is appropriate, that teacher must inform the school principal, who will make the decision as to if a penalty is actually appropriate, and if so, the principal will set the penalty.
No DISD student will receive a grade of zero for any reason, unless the teacher contacts the parents of the student, and efforts made to assist the student in completing the work.
A grade of fifty is the lowest grade that may be recorded in a six weeks average for a DISD student.

I love the comments. One points out that real life is not effort based, but performance based. People get paid for what they produce. Tiger Woods doesn't get applauded for tried. He gets cheers because he is great at golf.

Children who get passing grades for "trying" are being taught the wrong lessons. Some day in the real world they will get a boss who will laugh at them when they say "But I'm trying!" If all they do is "try" and never do the job, he will very correctly fire them.

Technorati tags: children, government schools, public school, public education, education

A blog for homeschool seniors

Miss Jocelyn is kicking off a Homeschool Seniors 2008-09, here's the announcement:

Last year about this time my older sister, Amanda @ The Daily Planet, had a brilliant idea to start a blog for the homeschool seniors of 07-08, and I am doing it this year because it's my senior year. I would like to invite homeschoolers seniors for the school year of 2008-2009. My life has truly been blessed by being homeschooled and I want to share some of my last year as a homeschooler with others who have also taken this journey. I don't know what this blog will be used for in others lives, but I want to highlight the memorable things that happen this last year of high school, and highlight some other seniors too.If you're a homeschool senior or you know of one, please leave a comment with your blog link so I can check it out. I am also setting up a blogroll so each of us can have a list of our "class" and enable easy access to the list of seniors. Put the icon and the blogroll on your site, and then send me the following information in an email (homeschoolseniors AT gmail DOT com) if you want to be added.
Your Name:
Blog URL:


If you know of a young homeschooler who will be going off to college next year and has a blog, have them check out Homeschool Seniors 2008-09.

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

Why it is so important to teach, correctly, the first time

I enjoyed the TED video by Jonathan Drori on Why we don't understand as much as we think, which is below. He had some good lines. The first I liked was a quote:

"Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out." Thomas Cardinal Wolsey

The point that both Thomas and Jonathan make is once we develop mental models of how things work, it is almost impossible to change them. Later in the talk Jonathan said:

"We look for evidence which reenforces our models."

Rather than change how we think about the world, most of us will look for "data" and "facts" which confirms what we already believe.

This is why early education is so very, very important. If a child is taught wrong, they may never recover.

This is a good video, well worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch.

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

A perfect day

From the A Word A Day mailing list:

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
-John Wooden, sports coach (b. 1910)

Technorati tags: perfect, day, service

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adding social buttons to your posts

Digg, Reddit and Delcious are productive social bookmarking sites to check out. I scan Digg and Reddit almost every day. They are a way to take advantage of the Wisdom of Crowds and find cool sites. There are dozens, or maybe hundreds, of similar sites.

If you have never checked them out, give them a gander. They are interesting.

These sites provide a couple basic services. They provide a way for people to submit web sites and articles. They provide a way to aggregate the interest people have in the submissions, for example allowing people to vote up or down. And they provide a way for people to come in and review the submissions.

Now when we host a carnival, I add buttons at the bottom of the carnival to make it easy for readers to vote for the carnival, thus increasing the exposure. I don't bother to add the buttons for each post I write, because I figure most of my posts are fairly average and I don't want to spam these services.

If you like to experiment with adding these buttons to your blog, here are pages explaining how to add for the three services I frequent:

Digg buttons

Reddit buttons

Delicious buttons

Technorati tags: digg, reddit, delicious, button

Interesting thought on breaking America into two camps

Tom Smith has an interesting way to separate America into two camps - Maybe it's all about kids:

Maybe there are two Americas: one likes kids, the other doesn't. Maybe it's just that simple.

His post is largely political, but it is an interesting thought.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: children

One of the problems with growing up

As a youth I had tons of free time. I also loved to read. In high school I'd come home and often read a whole book in the afternoon and evening. My father had been collecting Science Fiction for twenty years. There were boxes and boxes up in the attic. Heaven!

I also loved to play strategy games. Avalon Hill had a whole set of World War II games that I'd play for hours. France 1940 was one of my favorites. It reproduced the exciting three week of the German invasion of France.

As an adult, before marriage, I still had lots of free time. As personal computers entered the home I spent many happy hours playing. In the early part of our marriage I was reluctant to give up my habit. I've reined it way back, but I still play Civilization IV and Master of Orion II now and then.

So you may understand that I'm drooling about a newly released game: Spore. Here is part of one review:

The hype leading up to Spore was excessive. But then, so is the scope of the game; following the growth of a species from the cellular level to galactic domination was an ambitious goal, to say the least. Bringing evolution into the realm of entertainment was something Will Wright hoped and gambled he could do after the success of the Sim franchise. But rather than evolution, Spore became more about creation — creation that allows a single-player game to include the community, as well. It ties the various parts of the game together to make Spore very entertaining as a whole.

The review goes on. There are many cool features in Spore. It looks like a lot of fun. But, I won't be getting it, at least not now.

One of the problems with growing up is putting away childish things. I miss the dozens of hours each week, but being married and raising a family are way, way more important.

Technorati tags: games, childhood, adulthood

Are you blogging? Maybe you are helping to destroy the newspaper industry!

Yahoo! Finance has an gloomy article that Newspaper Stocks Are Value Traps:

The resulting dynamic is a value-destroying feedback loop: Declining ad revenue and readership necessitates cost-cutting. Cost-cutting inevitably affects content. Diminished content, whether real or perceived, alienates readers, who become more likely to cancel their subscriptions and seek out alternative news sources. This accelerates the migration of readers to online sources and the decline in ad revenue, which will necessitate even more cost-cutting. We think the cycle will feed on itself.

Blogs are not explicitly mentioned, but we are part of the "alternative news sources." I took a history of American business in college. It was amazing to whole industries come and go. I don't think newspapers will disappear, but I have noticed that our newspaper seems to get smaller each year.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: newspaper

Homeschooling news from Brazil

Awhile back a Google Alerts took me to Last Days Watchman, a conservative blog in Brazil with this ominous post - Brazilian Homeschool Couple May be Jailed if Their Children Fail Harsh Government Tests:

As LifeSiteNews reported previously, the Nunes children passed law school entrance exams at the ages of 13 and 14. Despite this success, Brazilian authorities decided to prosecute the family for "intellectual abandonment" because they were schooling the children at home rather than in a government-approved institution. If the Nunes lose the case, they could forfeit custody of their children, pay a steep fine, and even spend time in jail.

Read that last sentance again. The parents could lose their children and be thrown in jail if their boys don't pass some government test. The pressure on the two boys must have been immense. The article goes on to say that the government officials were pulling out the stops and making the test harder and covering more areas that originally stated.

It was neat to read about the results - Brazilian Homeschoolers Score Surprise Victory in Showdown Against Government:

MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL, August 29, 2008 ( - In a surprise victory against government officials who sought to prosecute a homeschooling family for refusing to participate in the public school system, David and Jonatas Nunes have passed tests proving a high level of knowledge in a variety of subjects, including history, the natural sciences, the arts, sports, computing, and mathematics.

Even with the government officials playing dirty the two sons were able to demonstrate that they were educated.

Good job!

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

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling: 141 – The Hero Edition

When we host a blog carnival it can take any where from ten to twenty hours of work. It takes time to request submissions, to reply to the entries, to organize the posts, and then announce the carnival and promote it. But one of the hardest steps for me is selecting a good theme. A good theme elevates a long list of links to a more entertaining post.

I was lamenting the challenge of picking a good theme at dinner last week. Our oldest daughter suggested comic book heroes. I pondered a bit and thought it would be fun to explore some heroes, why we have heroes, and how they help with homeschooling.

This edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is The Hero Edition!

Carnival of Homeschooling


One of the most famous comicbook heroes is Superman. Over the last sixty plus years Superman has been rewritten several times. The early Superman was the ultimate Boy Scout. He lived every aspect of The Scout Law. He was trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, and so on. Many homeschoolers are these traits.

Mothers are loyal. One mother writes about Counting the Cost—Homeschooling, but she doesn’t mind the sacrifice, at My twenty cents keeps moving.

Michelle is helpful. She is a foster care mother. She shares her Insights into homeschooling multiple children at Michelle’s Family.

In Help! My Child Wants to Go Back to Public School! Kris, from Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, provides some practical help to parents with children who are yearning to return to government schools.

Carletta writes about Learning Styles at Successful Homeschooling. She has learned to recognize her children’s learning styles and gives some pointers to help us.


Batman has no special powers. He is a man who through training, hard work and perseverance is able to figure out what happened and capture the bad guys. Of course it helps that he is wealthy and doesn’t have a family to worry about.

Tiffanie writes about Planning and Organizing Homeschool Curriculum at My Kids Blog. Like Batman she gets more done by planning ahead.

Anne encourages us to plan ahead in Begin As You Mean To Go On from The Week In Homeschooling.

Sheri is trying something new this year, she homeschools four weeks, and then takes off a week to plan the next four weeks. Read about this at ..: My week off:.., on The Shades of Pink.

Our humble submission is on Homeschooling and World War II, and what goals do you have for your children?

Frugal Expectations has some good ideas about restarting your homeschool year, over at Ship Full O’ Pirates.

George Washington

George Washington the first president of The United States. As the general who defeated the British at Georgetown he was loved by the nation. One of the things I am most impressed by is that George Washington stepped down after serving two terms. If he had lusted after power he probably could have turned the fledgling republic into a monarchy.

Lizzie, of A Dusty Frame, shows How to Make a Book of Centuries. I'm sure there will be an entry on George Washington.

George Washington loved freedom. Denise reports on a delight story of letting her daughter have her freedom in More Backwards Math from Let’s Play Math!

Home Spun Juggling has one of the great benefits of homeschooling, freedom, in Home Spun comic strip #263.

Jennifer has some good ideas on Getting ahead with Free Time Learning.

Patrick Henry

Over the last couple years I've developed a great appreciate for Patrick Henry. He is well know for saying "Give me Liberty, or give me Death." He loved this country. He was also a very religious man. During much of his adulthood he read the Bible something like an hour every day.

At The Week In Homeschooling Anne, reports on Three Snakes and a Funeral- Part 1: The Funeral where her daughter learned about death.

Sarah Bray from The Curiosity Spot has built a Creation unit study for preschoolers, day one.

Mark from Every Good Path writes about the recent Association of Classical Christian Schools and his Take Home Messages.

James J. Hill

As a teenager I developed an appreciate of James J. Hill, the railroad baron. While many were lobbying the government to give them money and land to build railroads across the continent, James J. Hill was frugal with his money, built his business by helping those along his lines, and I don't think he took any government handouts. His railroad was the one that lasted for decades, while those that were built on taking handouts died.

Learning at Home reminds us that When it sounds too good to be true, save your money.

Barbara Frank writes Don’t Let Inflation Keep You from Homeschooling. She has some great ideas for pinching pennies.

Christine, The Thinking Mother, has some frugal ideas in A Great Book for Picture Study.

Beverly of About Homeschool has a question about the Northern Pacific Railway completion - Who was it?

The Veterans

As soldiers returned from major wars, we're grateful for their willingness to put their lives on the line to protect us. Often there will be big celebrations. Parties may last for days. The streets of New York City will be covered with confetti.

Laura Frantz shows how they celebrated the Not Back To School Party.

Laura shows socialization at its finest in Edmonton’s Annual NOT-Back-To-School Picnic!, on Practical Homeschooling.

From Life Without School Bettina writes about One Family's Experience at Polyface Farm.

Current heroes

Some of us look up to our current leaders. With the upcoming US Presidential election those running will be in the news day after day.

Mary Nix, The Informed Parent, challenges us as homeschoolers to be better informed in Who should homeschoolers vote for?

Save Money Homeschooling says it is good news that McCain wants to Hold Education Accountable to parents.

Susan of Corn and Oil reveals that Todd Palin was homeschooled in Gotta love this…

Homeschooling parents

Many homeschooling parents are rescuing their children from public schools. There are many reasons and benefits to homeschool. reports that Strikes, Protests Hit Schools Like Wild Fire! One of the nice things about homeschooling is a student has a much harder time going on strike with his parents.

Kim shows off a family trip – Our Trip to the St. Louis Zoo at Works in Progress.

Brenda of The Family Revised explains one of the great benefits of homeschooling in The Expanse of Goals.

Heroes in general

Real and fictional heroes have many common traits. These characteristics help the hero to preserve and succeed when others might turn back.

Heroes stand up for truth. Alasandra calls to task Marc Cooper, another public school apologist.

Heroes are helpful. Gina answers some common QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK ABOUT HOME SCHOOLING at Chats With An "Old Lady." If your friends ask you about homeschooling, direct them to this post.

Heroes share what they know. Delighting in His Richness shares Homeschool Memoirs - Schedules.

Heroes learn how to work with challenging individuals. Janet, from Findings, shares a way to turn young horse lovers into poetry lovers in Pure air and fire: a roundup of horse poems.

Heroes are often lucky. Life often has serendipity, if you know to look for it. From Ms. Julie’s Place is an example of Making the most of teachable moments.

Variety in heroes

While there are some common treats to heroes, there is also great variety. Heroes come in many sizes and shapes. They have different goals and interests. Some rush in to help, while others are more cautious and may be reluctant heroes. We have a great variety of posts in this carnival.

Cathy writes about back to (home) school days at from the field of blue children. She comments about how sad it is that many parents don’t enjoy their children, and what she is doing to get started with the new school year

Miss Monica June, a young homeschooler, shows a fun craft in the Fish Tank Project, at her blog The Chic Boutique.

How To Easily Make a Storage Sack may solve some of your storage needs, from HowToMe.

Dawn writes about her struggles with curriculum in It Almost Had Me..., at Day by Day Discoveries.

Do others not know that homeschoolers are busy? Explaining School Days To Others, from Cyberschool Kids are Cool, explores the problem of getting others to understand they are busy.

Would you like to be a hero?

Several bloggers are looking for help, suggestions, thoughts, or advice.

The Reluctant Homeschooler is looking for help in Fuming! If you have any experience with homeschooling in New York State, drop by and see if you can help her.

Stephanie writes about a recent homeschooling trip and encourages us to Save the Bees at her Adventures in the 100 Acres.

Annette asks for help in how to help her son To see God in All?, from Fish and Cans.

The NerdMom, who will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week, is looking for help in identifying a bug: Homeschooler Powers Activate: Name the Bug.

Hero review

With this review of heroes, we have a number of posts about reviews.

Kim, of In Our Write Minds, has some tips on how to review your favorite, and not favorite, homeschool products.

Nerd Family Things reviews a cool book about young people who contributed to science - Information, Inspiration and Joy: The Best Kids' Book.

Maria from the Homeschool Math Blog provides a Review of Kiss My Math and Math Doesn't Suck by Danica McKellar.

A few more heroes

And we'll end with a few homeschooling heroes with their advice and suggestions on how to be a better homeschooler.

Sandra struggles to find a balance between having a plan and being flexible to respond to her children’s interests in Individualized Home Instruction Plan, Third Grade, at On Living By Learning.

Joy has some ideas with Hands-on ABC Order Activities (no worksheets or dictionaries allowed!), at Happy to be at Home.

From The Daily Planet: Amanda, a homeschool graduate, shares her homeschool college routine for this year.

Kerry provides another installment of Art History for Homeschoolers - September 2008, at her blog A Ten O’Clock Scholar.

Over at My Quivers Full is a cool way to Improve Grammar.

Carnival of Homeschooling

If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. 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 Nerd Family.

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

We 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.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Homeschooling and World War II

With the start of the new school year I've been thinking a bit about what are our ultimate goals for our children. In Alice in Wonderland is this famous exchange:

“Which road do I take?" (Alice)
"Where do you want to go?" (Cheshire Cat)
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter. If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

Here are some of my goals:
I want my children to be happy and productive members of society.
I want them to help make the world a better place.
I want them to be good parents when they start having children.
I want them to follow God.

I haven't read a military book for maybe a year, but for some reason I've been thinking about World War II. One interesting fact has stuck with me for several years. With hundreds of thousands of soldiers fighting, statisticians were able to generate numbers on how effective soldiers were in the war.
In Europe the Germans were tops. On average it took ten Russians to kill one German. There many factors. The Germans were better armed, better supported, and better motivated. In the Eastern front the Germans faced ill equipped men, often with little food and clothing. This was only a generation after the Soviets took power and there were many Russians who hated the Soviet government. Initially some of the troops surrendered to the Germans, proposing that they be given guns and they would fight for the Germans. Unwisely the Germans threw them into prison or killed them, and thus the Soviet troops decided it was better to fight the Germans than to surrender.
In the Western front the statistics were better, it typically took two or three allies to kill one German.
Except for the American soldiers working under George Patton . It took two or three Germans to kill one soldier in the Third Army. As a military leader Patton, few are his equal. (Of course I'd never let him near my daughters.) His men had the same equipment that most other Americans had. With tens of thousands of men Patton had not sifted out the elite. He was a very gifted leader who was able to motivate. He had spent decades learning how to be a military leader.

I want my daughters to have internal self drive. This will make them ten times more effective in what every endeavor they choose to work. If they are passive, then they will accomplish little in life. If they wait for things to happen or for someone to tell them what needs to be done, they will make little difference in the world.
But if they are actively looking to make a difference they will accomplish great things. If they will learn take the initiative they will help make the world a better place.

When I was growing up I was pretty much a loaner. I rarely invited friends over to play. I am happy to see my daughters often asking if it was OK to have friends over, and then calling up and arranging play dates.

Academics is important. Children need to know history, math, reading, writing and science to survive in the world. But to thrive, to really make a difference, they'll need to learn to take the bull by the horns and charge ahead with a project. This way they'll be ten times more effective than others.

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

Friday, September 05, 2008

I like this thought

My Franklin Covey planner has a thought for each day. I really like this thought:

"If you want to make minor, incremental changes and improvement, work on practices, behavior or attitude. But if you want to make significant, quantum improvement, work on paradigms."
Stephen Covey

Technorati tags: life, balance, life balance

David Kirkpatrick writes about The Difficulty of School Reform

I enjoyed David Kirkpatrick's column The Difficulty of School Reform. He writes about why it will be impossible to fix government schools:

It should be obvious by now, as more than one person has concluded, that the public school system cannot be reformed. At the very least it might be recognized that logic has nothing to do with the way it is organized. If the process by which students are educated was based on logic, the public school system would not exist.

I am afraid David is right. The current school system is broken, probably beyond repair. Over the years thousands of people have tried to fix public schools, and things have gotten worse. Albert Einstein is reported to have said that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Hopefully more and more parents will pull their children out of the government schools. They can put them in private schools or homeschool them. Either way the children will have a much better chance at getting a decent education.

Technorati tags: children, government schools, public school, public education, education