Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Austen edition

Carol is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at HomeschoolCPA

She starts with:

I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen, one of the finest authors ever. Like many girls of her age, Jane was homeschooled learning reading, writing, music, dancing and foreign language from her home in the Stevenson Rectory in Hampshire, England in the early 1800s.
One of my favorite Jane Austen quotes reminds me of many homeschool mothers:
“Your mother must have been a slave to your education”-Lady Catherine de Berg, Pride and Prejudice


Go check out the other fun Jane Austen quotes in this week's carnival.

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Test results

Most years I do standardized testing as a way to spot check myself. It gives me something tangible as proof that my children are on track. [I admit that there is some debate on the validity and usefulness of this kind of testing, but I do so love those little graphs and percentiles.]

Since at the end of the year, I always wish we had done more, testing relieves my anxiety. I feel especially guilty about my youngest daughter. I did a lot more one on one with the older girls, as well as more fun projects and recreational classes.

I also used to spend more time preparing for the test. This year I just handed them the test booklet and said do your best.

The test results came in the mail yesterday. I was happy to see that all the kids did well. Spelling is the only area that needs improvement.

As for my youngest daughter, she outscored her sisters yet again in every subject. She even scored above average in spelling, which makes her a superstar in this family.

I can see why unschooling attracts such a following.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pretty funny

My mother sent me a link to this:

Several of her Indian friends say there is some truth to this. (Watch it to the end.)

Technorati tags: parenting, children, education

Friday, June 25, 2010

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

Carol will be hosting the next carnival at HomeschoolCPA.

She has announced her theme: All Things Austen: A Tribute to Jane Austen.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Beach Reading edition

Janice is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Taking Time For Things That Matter.

I like her theme - The Beach Reading edition!

She starts with:

I’m delighted to host the June 22, 2010 edition of Carnival of Homeschooling! It may be summer, but homeschoolers never stop thinking and learning. To celebrate the season, let’s imagine that we’re at a lovely beach with waves breaking, a gentle breeze blowing, and palm trees rustling. Now…. relax and read while your dear children build sand castles!


Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Short review of "The Law"

My second daughter created a reading program for this summer. She is going to read a biography each week. Additionally she asked me for suggestions on informative and educational books to read. The first book I suggested was The Law by Frederic Bastiat.

Here is her review:

Last week, I read a book called The Law by Frederic Bastiat.

It was about government. One of my favorite points argued was that liberty is a God given right, not a government given one.

Another main part was about Socialism and why we really don’t want that type of government. I would highly recommend this book to anyone learning about politics.

Maybe if more people read books like this, our government wouldn’t be in the sorry state it is in.

She just finished Animal Farm yesterday and plans to write her review tomorrow. Next on her list is Parkinson's Law.

It is going to be a good summer.

Technorati tags: ,

Monday, June 21, 2010

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

Act now!

You have just eight hours to get in your entry for this week's Carnival of Homeschooling.

Janice will be hosting the carnival at Janice Campbell - Taking Time For Things That Matter.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good advice on making marriage last

A couple years after we had been married Janine and I had another fight. I remember thinking that I had married the wrong woman, but that since we had a child, I had to stick it out.

Luckily we both matured and I now know that I am very blessed to have married the right woman.

Good marriages don't just happen. Marriage takes effort. It takes work.

Ann Voskamp shares 5 Secrets to Make a Marriage Last. She has some great ideas on what to do to improve a marriage. I think everyone can learn something from her post.

Technorati tags: marriage

Math - optional or necessary?

A little over three years ago Janine and I were talking with a couple. It turned out the wife was an elementary school teacher. I asked which grade she taught. She said something about teaching the lower grades because fifth grade math was too hard.

Janine has a friend who is a kindergarten teacher. During a conversation it came up that she liked kindergarten, because the second grade math was too hard for her.

Even now, years later, I still find both of these events mind boggling. I can understand struggling with calculus or even some aspects of algebra. I don't understand how two digit multiplication could be a problem.

My oldest daughter doesn't like math. She has to work hard to master the concepts. She's asked a few times this year about why she has to study algebra. Some of my main reasons are:

1) Helps to develop logic skills
2) Helps provide a better prepective of the world, a deeper understanding
3) Helps to develop discipline

Not everyone needs to master calculus. But I think everyone should be able to do at least handle addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and some simple algebra.

Issues with teachers not being able to handle basic math may have some root causes in teacher schools. A recent article reports that U.S. Teachers Not Well Prepared to Teach Mathematics:

In a seminal study of international teacher preparation released today, researchers found a striking parallel between future U.S. teachers’ knowledge of mathematics content and the performance of the students they teach.
Led by education and mathematics experts at Michigan State University (MSU), the Teacher Education Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M) is an international examination of how math teachers at both elementary and middle school levels are trained.

The article continues later with:

The study reveals that middle school mathematics teacher preparation is not up to the task. U.S. future teachers find themselves straddling the divide between the successful and the unsuccessful, leaving the U.S. with a national choice of which way to go.
The findings of TEDS-M additionally revealed that the preparation of elementary teachers to teach mathematics was comparatively somewhat better as the U.S. found itself in the middle of the international distribution, along with other countries such as the Russian Federation, Germany and Norway, but behind Switzerland, Taiwan and Singapore.
“Our future teachers are getting weak training mathematically and are not prepared to teach the demanding curriculum needed for U.S. students to compete internationally,” said William Schmidt, Ph.D., MSU Distinguished Professor of Education and Statistics, who directed the Study.


It is no wonder that many students are graduating from public high schools without the basic skills needed to survive in our high tech world. Too many teachers can't teach them.

(Hat tip: Homeschool Math Blog)

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do you have something to say about research on homeschooling?

Milton Gaither blogs about Homeschooling Research. He is taking a break and has extended an invitation to others to contribute to his blog:

A reader suggested that while I’m taking this year off there may be some of you out there who would be willing to do a review of a piece of homeschooling research you come across. If so, I’ll be happy to post it here for everyone to read. You can email me any reviews you may want to do at Thanks Rina for the suggestion!

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

An interesting map of the world

This map shows the world with the size of the countries proportional to the number of people.


Technorati tags: world, map, population

A reason to get an education

It appears John Wayne said this in "The Sands of Iwo Jima"

Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid.

(Hat tip: PalmTree Pundit)


Funny, I just realized I posted this quote back in February of 2006, along with some thoughts.

Technorati tags: education

See images as the color-blind see

Vischeck is a cool web site. You select the type of color blindness you want to experience. Then you upload an image, and Vischeck shows you how a color-blind person would see the same image.

Technorati tags: color, blind

Great video on motivation

My mother sent me a link to this great video of Dan Pink on Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us:

This is worth watching with your children.

Technorati tags: Daniel Pink, motivation

Fun thought

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

A Golden Odie:

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people?

Technorati tags: ignorance, happiness, Dan Galvin

Statistics on the traffice for the Carnival of Homeschooling Images

Just over two years ago our readers selected three images to represent the Carnival of Homeschooling. I set things up so people who wanted to help support the carnival could copy some HTML code to their blog or web site. The image would appear, along with a link back to the carnival.

I loaded the images up on PhotoBucket back then and didn't think too much more about it.

Today I went to PhotoBucket and happened to check the statistics.

Carnival of Homeschooling

The small image right now averages about 1000 downloads a day.

Carnival of Homeschooling

The medium image is a touch under 400 downloads a day.

Carnival of Homeschooling

And the large image is in the 900 downloads a day range.

I'm not sure why, but downloads were about 30% higher back in the December to February time frame.

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pretty cool - see where people are moving from and to

Forbes has a cool web site showing Where Americans Are Moving. They have an interactive map. You click on a county and then Forbes displays both from which counties people moved from, and which counties people are moving to.

Here's their explanation:

"More than 10 million Americans moved from one county to another during 2008. The map below visualizes those moves. Click on any county to see comings and goings: black lines indicate net inward movement, red lines net outward movement."

Go check it out!

(Hat tip: Hacker News)

Technorati tags: population, movement

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Mary Nix is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Informed Parent.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Advertisers can target just you!

This is fascinates me. Gabrielf Weinbergon creates A FB ad targeted at one person (my wife).

I wonder if people will start proposing via a targeted Facebook ad, or if parents will ask their children to do chores?

(Hat tip: Hacker News)

Technorati tags: ,

One of my favorite quotes

"You say the little efforts that I make will do no good; that they never will prevail to tip the hovering scale where justice hangs in the balance. I don't think I ever thought they would. But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight."
- Bonaro Overstreet

Technorati tags:

Even more reasons to homeschool, from the archives

Long ago, before Janine and I started blogging, I used to browse around the internet looking for reasons to homeschool. Earlier this year I've been working through some old email and came across some of the links I had saved, so I started posting some of the reasons to homeschool. (Posts 1, 2, 3, 4)

Here are yet more from 2004:

Reason to homeschool: Because Homeschooling is Freedom.

Reason to homeschool: Because You can homeschool for Liberty.

Reason to homeschool: Because Children are a gift and responsibility from God.

Reason to homeschool: Because Teachers Unions really just care about the money.

Reason to homeschool: Because Many public schools are encouraging children to experiement sexually.

Reason to homeschool: Because Public school teachers send their children to private schools.

And if that is not enough, check out Ann Zeise's wonderful web site: A to Z Home's Cool. She has reasons for Mom, reasons for Dad, a few other reasons, and then her personal explanation of why Homeschooling is Best.

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

Are you dangerous?

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

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
-Charles A. Beard

Technorati tags: politics, Dan Galvin

Another reason to eat right - to fight cancer

From a TED talk: "William Li presents a new way to think about cancer treatment: angiogenesis, targeting the blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that beat cancer at its own game."

At exactly minute 13 there is a list of food that help fight cancer. The foods are mostly fruits and vegetables. My mother will be excited to know that Licorice seems to help!

Technorati tags: health, food, cancer

Monday, June 14, 2010

I think this is a cool idea

One of the bottlenecks with computers today is pulling data off a hard drive, or writing data onto the hard drive. At the core of your hard drives is a spinning platter. Because the computer has to wait for the platter to spin around to the right place, and for the head to get to the correct grove, the computer has to wait a long time to get or store data on a hard drive.

In the future it appears hard drives will be replaced with Solid State Drives, or SSD. These are basically a collection of memory chips which retain the information after the power goes off. Currently they cost much more per Gig than hard drives, but the price per Gig is falling faster for SSD than hard drives, so the industry expect a big switch in a couple years. When this happens the performance increase of our computers will be huge. Boot up times may be in microseconds, instead of tens of seconds.

Seagate may bring some of the benefits of SSDs sooner that most of us expected. Seagate Demos First Hybrid Hard Drive explains:

On Monday, Seagate released details of a new hybrid Flash memory-hard disk drive, which is intended to significantly boost performance of notebook computers.
The drives combine a traditional 250, 350 or 500 GB spinning platter drive (HDD) with 4 GB of single-level cell Flash memory, which is intended to be more reliable than cheaper varieties of flash memory. (Seagate says it has tested its SLC flash to levels reached after 5 years of use and found no degradation of performance or data loss.)
The result is a combined drive that approaches the performance of solid state drives, but at a fraction of the price. According to Seagate's own tests, the Momentus XT is 80% faster than a traditional notebook hard drive, and 20% faster than an ultra high-performance 10,000 RPM HDD.

It is just such an amazing world.

Technorati tags: computers, storage

I would love to know where the rest of the money goes

Bob Samuels has an interesting article called The Solution They Won't Try. His main point is that public universities can pick up a lot of extra money by accepting more students. The point I found most fascinating was in these two paragraphs:

To calculate how much public research universities spend on educating each undergraduate student, we can look at national statistics regarding faculty salaries and how much it costs a university to staff undergraduate courses. According to a recent study by the American Federation of Teachers, "Reversing Course," the average salary cost per class for a tenured professor at a public research university is $20,000 (4 classes at $80,000), and it costs $9,000 for a full-time non-tenure-track teacher and $4,500 for a part-time instructor to teach the same course. Using these averages, we can determine the annual instructional cost for each student by considering the number of classes each student takes in a year and how much each individual course costs. Since we know that only a third of undergraduate courses are now taught by professors, and the other courses are taught by non-tenured faculty, we can calculate the per student cost, but we first have to determine the average class size to do this calculation, and this is the analysis that I believe no one has ever done.
Looking at transcripts from several public research universities, I have determined that the average annual course load for a student is six large classes (averaging 200 students) and two small courses (averaging 20 students). Next, by using the national faculty average salary per class, and determining who actually teaches the courses (1/3 professors, 1/3 full-time non-tenure-track faculty, and 1/3 part-time faculty), we find that the total average annual instructional cost per student is $1,456 (each large class costs $56 per student and each small class costs $560). In other words, public universities charge on average
$7,000 per student and they get another $8,000 per student from the state, but in reality, it only cost about a tenth of this amount to teach each student.

For me the key point is public universities have to pay out about $1,456 a year to teacher's salaries for each student, but the universities collect about $15,000 each year.

Where does the rest of the money go? I'm sure there are some reasonable administration costs. I know it costs some money to maintain the buildings and the grounds. But that shouldn't account for more than a couple thousand dollars a year per student.

Where does the remaining $10,000 a year per student go? Has anyone seen a good pie chart on the break down for where the money goes?

Keep in mind that this is happening while the cost of a college education is climbing three times faster than inflation.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

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

Do you have children who will be entering the workforce soon?

My mother sent our family a link to Fortune's 100 Best Companies to work for in 2010.

She made the point that too often students graduate from high school, and even college without a real understanding of the huge variety of jobs in the workforce. She added a note just for me:

"Henry, perhaps you could post this site on your homeschooling blog along with other sites that might help children being homeschooled get a vision of the variety of professions available for them to consider. Perhaps encouraging them to explore sites such as: would help them get some idea of what is available. They could check what kind of jobs they could get and how much they would be paid with different combinations of education and job experience. Use such sites like a video game to check out what your job future might be with a either a BS or a PhD in physics or other types of training."

If you have a child fifteen or older you might encourage them to start with the list of the 100 best companies so they have a better idea of just exactly what is out there.

Technorati tags: careers, jobs, workforce

I think we'll be heading to Borders this week

Do you have a reluctant reader who needs a little encouragement?

Homeschool Bytes shares some good news in Read 10 Books Get One Free from Borders:

Borders has a great summer reading program for kids:
Be 12-years-old and under
Read any 10 books
Fill out a form
Bring completed form to a Borders to get a FREE BOOK!


Technorati tags: reading

Two great graphs on public education

When talking about problems, especially complex problems, it always helps to have data. In The U.S. Economy Needs Fewer Public School Jobs, Not More, Andrew J. Coulson has this shocking report:

"Over the past forty years, public school employment has risen 10 times faster than enrollment (see chart). There are only 9 percent more students today, but nearly twice as many public school employees. To prove that rolling back this relentless hiring spree by a few years would hurt student achievement, you’d have to show that all those new employees raised achievement in the first place. That would be hard to do… because it never happened."

Here's his first graph:

Mr. Coulson continues with:

"Student achievement at the end of high school has been flat for as long as we’ve been keeping track—all the way back to 1970. But we did get something in return for all that hiring: a great, big, fat, BILL.
If you graduated from high school in 1980, your entire k-12 education cost your fellow taxpayers about $75,000, in 2009 dollars. But the graduating class of 2009 had roughly twice that amount lavished on their public school careers. The extra $75,000 we’re now spending has done wonders for public school employee union membership, dues revenue, and political clout. It’s done a whole lotta nothin’ for student learning (see chart).

And here is his second chart:

These two graphs should convince any reasonable person that more money for government schools is not the answer. In fact you could even argue that more money may be contributing to the problem.

I asked Mr. Coulson if I could include his two graphs. He wrote:

"Thanks for writing. Please feel free to reproduce the graphs--I think it's important for as many people as possible to see them."

(Hat tip:


Being prepared - suggestions on what to do in case we have a double-dip recession

There are some hints that maybe our economy is getting better. My belief is that many of the problems that caused this recession haven't been fundamentally fixed, so I'm expecting the economy to continue to struggle for a long while. People are calling this down, then slight up, and back down again a Double-Dip Recession.

How to Plan For a Double-Dip Recession has some great suggestions on how to protect yourself.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: economy, recession

Crash and Burn

Every year about this time, I "crash and burn." I always say that we will "do school" during the summer. In 9 years of homeschooling, it has never happened. That is not to say that we don't do worthwhile things, but I don't seem to be able to force myself to do structured educational activities like I planned.

This year might be a little different. I'm trying to keep some basic routines going. My goal is music (two of 3 instruments per child) and math, and just a little grammar, and while we are at it, a writing workshop or two. You may recognize a pattern here. I keep adding things until it looks like a full schedule and I'm tempted to go back to vacation mode.

It is too soon to tell whether this year's fantasy will turn into reality. Today is the first day of "summer break." The big test will be what I do after the girls get back from a week of church camp. Once you've let the routine go for a whole week, it gets harder to get the momentum moving again.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, education, government schools, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education

The house is quiet

One of my favorite jokes is about the man who asks the rabbi to help him with his small house. Here is one version of the joke:

A man goes to the rabbi at his wits end.
“Rabbi, I can’t take it any more. I have no peace in my home. I live in a shack so tiny
that my wife and children drive me crazy. The noise, the commotion, it’s driving me
crazy! I don’t know what to do.”
“Do you have a chicken?” the rabbi asks.
“I do,” the man answers.
“Bring your chicken in the house and come back tomorrow.”
The next day the rabbi asks how things are going.
“Awful,” the man replies. “The chicken clucks all night. There are feathers and
chicken poop everywhere.”
“Do you have a goat?” the rabbi asks.
“Yes, a Billy goat in a small pen.”
“Wonderful,” said the rabbi. “Bring your goat into the house.”
The man returns the next day. “The goat ate what little stuffing there was left in our one
chair, he bleats all night and passes gas all day,” the man exclaims.
“Wonderful,” says. “Do you have a cow?”
“I do.”
“You know what to do” says the rabbi.
The next day the man returns. “Rabbi, if you think a goat smells, you ought to try
living with a cow!”
“One more thing,” asks the rabbi. “Go home. Take the cow back to her pasture,
the goat back to his pen and the chicken back to her coop.”
The next day the man appears in shul smiling. “So how are things?” the rabbi
“Wonderful,” the man exclaimed, “Never better. With only my wife and children
around the house is so quiet and clean. I can stretch out for a good night’s sleep drifting
off to sound of chirping crickets and giggling children. What a blessed and fortunate man
I am.”


Last week we had two more foster care children. Janine picked them up on Memorial Day. These sisters were three and six. The three-year-old played great with BabyBop. The six-year-old is a good kid, but my nine-year-old tended to butt heads with her.

It was a bit crazy with six children.

Friday we got the call that social services had been given the OK from a judge for the two girls to live with their mother, so Janine dropped them off at the social worker's office. Then Saturday our oldest flew to Washington DC for a homeschool field trip.

With only three children our house almost feels empty.

Technorati tags: family

Yet another documentary on problems with education

I just showed the trailer for Waiting For "Superman" to Janine:

She said "It makes me want to cry."

There really are so many problems with government schools today. For decades thousands of experts have tried to "fix" them. Yet things keep getting worse.

Stupid is doing the same thing again and again, but expecting different results. As a country we are pretty stupid about education. I am afraid it will only get worse.

(Hat tip: The Heritage Foundation / Instapundit)

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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blame the Parents — I Do

I agree with most of what this teacher had to say.

Blame the Parents — I Do

This happens to teachers and counselors quite a bit. We wonder why a kid is failing in class. We meet their parents — then we know....

The biggest influence in a child’s education is not the school, or the teachers—it’s the parents. If we really want to change education in our country, we need to start in the homes.

This is where I'm not in quite so much agreement.

I guess at the heart of what I’m saying is that we need more social services at our school sites. And instead of having these services spread around our cities, why don’t we put them where they are needed most? Why don’t we take all these social outreach programs, and after school programs, and counseling institutions, and make them an integral part of our public schools? I think that by combining all the great things we have out there with the physical site where the learning takes place, we could improve things a great deal. Our teachers, administrative staff, and counselors, are doing jobs we are not trained to do. Half of what we do is social work, which takes away from everything else we want to get to. If we ever want to get serious about CHANGE, this is where we need to start.

The suggestion of integrating social services into the public school programs sets off all sorts of alarm bells for me. The more responsibilities the public school system tries to handle, the less effective the system becomes at its (theoretically) main objective of teaching.

I agree that teachers should not act as social workers. Teachers should teacher. Students should behave themselves and study. Problem students should be expelled.

What to do after the student is expelled is debatable. There is no easy answer or quick fix. Every option should follow the basic swimmer safety rules: In a rescue attempt, don't create more victims.

Just as someone drowning can pull under another swimmer, problem students can pull down good students. No intervention to assist floundering students should put successful students at risk.

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

Friday, June 11, 2010

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

Before you start your weekend, don't forget to send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

Mary Nix will be hosting the carnival at The Informed Parent.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Other homeschool carnivals

It has been awhile since I promoted other homeschool carnivals.

Here are the active homeschooling carnivals I'm aware of:

The recent Charlotte Mason Carnival was hosted by Melissa at Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys In the Yard. Go here to submit an entry.

The latest Hands-on Homeschool Carnival was hosted by by Cheryl at Talking to Myself. Go here to submit an entry.

The current Homeschooled Kids Carnival was hosted at World Star Academy. Go here to submit an entry.

The recent Homeschool Showcase was hosted by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Go here to submit an entry.

A recent edition of the Spanish Carnival of Family Education is up at The Homeschooling Option. Here is an English translation of the carnival.

And as always, if you know of another active homeschooling carnival, please leave a comment or send me an email.

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

I wish I had meet this janitor

Damon Dunn just won the Republican primary for California Secretary of State. I watched his video last week:

The thing I was struck by was a life turing event for him in school. He had gotten in trouble and the teacher put Damon out in the hall. (Check out the video at 2:00) While there a janitor came by. The janitor asked Damon to look into the classroom and tell him what he saw. Damon didn't say anything. The janitor said "I see kids learning to be your boss." He didn't want anyone being his boss so Damon resolved to take education seriously and eventually went to Stanford on a football scholarship. He later played in the NFL.

I wonder if that janitor ever knew the profund effect he had?

This reminds me of the comic strip Frazz, about a janitor at a school.

(Anyone know how to tell Youtube to start a video at a certain point?)

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

Without the GED more students might stay in high school

Here are some sobering thoughts about the GED:

Although a growing number of high school dropouts are taking the GED, most who pass the exam discover that it doesn't help them much in finding improved economic opportunities or completing postsecondary education, a new analysis concludes.
In fact, through its widespread availability and low cost, the GED appears to be inducing some students to drop out of school, the study suggests. In 2008, almost half-a-million dropouts earned a General Educational Development credential, amounting to 12 percent of all high school credentials issued that year, according to the new study, published this month as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"The GED is not harmless," says the study. "Treating it as equivalent to a high school degree distorts social statistics and gives false signals that America is making progress when it is not."


This is a great example of the law of unintended consequences. Someone puts together a plan and doesn't anticipate all the consequences.

With the GED it isn't clear that in the net it is good or bad. It may be that with the option of the GED more people drop out of high school, but over all more are going off to college. I sort of doubt it, but it is hard to know.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs)

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

College tuition has been climbing three times as fast as inflation - Wow!

For years I've heard that over many decades college tuition has been climbing twice as fast as inflation. This means that in real dollars, dollars adjusted for inflation, it will cost a lot more to send my children to college, than it cost me to go to college. I was able to work summer jobs and pay my own tuition. My children will probably not be able to self fund their college education. We're hoping that our children will be able to get enough scholarships and grants that what is left is something they can handle.

It looks like the truth is worse, Mark Perry reports that for the last couple decades college tuition has been climbing three times as fast as inflation:

"Actually, tuition has been been increasing annually (7.88%) at more than three times the rate of inflation (2.37%) since 1978, see chart above. The article points out that "unlike the housing bubble, in which foreclosure and bankruptcy allowed people to have a fresh start, the college tuition bubble will haunt young people for life unless bankruptcy laws change" (since student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy)."

For those of you who like graphs, and don't mind really seeing bad news, check out his post 8 Reasons College Tuition Is Next Bubble to Burst.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

I wrote last year:

"I have blogged in the past about the problem of rising cost of a college education. In a nut shell the cost of college education has climbed twice as fast as inflation for decades. It has gotten to the point that a college education is not an economic benefit for many."

I think things will have to change. This trend can not continue. At some point people will stop going to collge, or more likely, figure out a cheaper way to get the equivalent of a college education.

Technorati tags: college, tuition, education

The Lottery - Looks like another interesting movie on education and politics

The Lottery is the second of three documentaries I've heard about on education and Politics:

It could be an interesting summer.

(Hat tip: The Heritage Foundation / Instapundit)

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

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The launching of the SpaceX Falcon 9!

The launching of the Falcon 9 is a major event! The rocket made it into orbit. This was privately funded. I think of this as the rocket equivalent of Kitty Hawk.

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The Cartel - a documentary about education and politics

Has anyone seen The Cartel Movie?

It looks worth watching.

(Hat tip: The Heritage Foundation / Instapundit)

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

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - reflections on homeschooling

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

She is in the mist of a remodel and the carnival gave her a chance to reflect on homeschooling:

"My brain is so fried by all the decorating choices I have been making that I could not come up with a theme for this carnival, so instead of having a theme, I broke the posts up into topics and have placed pics of my delightful offspring at random spots within the copy. We start this topic off with posts that recap this last school year."

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Monday, June 07, 2010

Homeschooling - no wasted time!

Janine and I have been blogging just over four and a half years. We have written about dozens of reasons why homeschooling is a good option. We strongly believe that most children would greatly benefit if they were homeschooled. As public schools get worse, it is easier to point out the great advantages of homeschooling.

Today I was thinking a bit about how homeschooling is more efficient in the education process.


Last week we got a call from social services asking if we could take two sisters. Most of the children we have taken in for foster care are young. The majority of them are under five, so school is rarely a distraction. The older sister of the two we have now is in kindergarten. Today Janine got up at 6:40 AM, woke the poor girl up at 7:00 AM, and they left the house at 7:30 AM. Because this is the last week of school Janine decided to keep the girl enrolled in her school, which is about twenty minutes away from us. Between dropping the young girl off and picking her up, Janine will spend almost an hour and a half driving each day. This is not an efficient use of Janine's time, or of the girls. I acknowledge that it normally isn't this bad.

But many of our friends spend ten to fifteen minutes in the morning, and then again in the afternoon dropping off and picking up. And if they carpool, there is more time driving around from house to house. Children can easily spend a half hour a day sitting in a car, being bored. And after a long day, the children will frequently be exhausted and tired.

With homeschooling our daughters get up from the breakfast table, and sit down with their schoolwork. Maybe ten or fifteen seconds; there is no wasted time.

Waiting for someone to help

When learning new material students will encounter concepts they don't quit get. What do they do? They have to ask for help. I remember in third grade not even understanding a set of questions on a worksheet. I've long forgotten the topic, but I remember having no clue what I was supposed to do. I asked the substitute teacher. She just read the instructions to me. I asked what they meant. She didn't know and told me to sit back down in my seat. I spent the whole hour frustrated and angry because I didn't know what to do.

Again, this is an extreme, but day after day children spent countless minutes waiting for someone to help with a new concept.

With homeschooling, if a student gets stuck someone can often help them in seconds. My younger daughters get help for other sisters. My wife is almost always available. And if they hit something when no one is available to help, they can just move on to another topic. They are not forced to do math from nine to ten, at the exclusion of everything else. When Janine or I am available our daughters ask us for help, and they move on. There is no wasted time!

One of the ways homeschooling speeds up the learning process is to make more effective use of the student's valuable time. I'm glad we can homeschool our children and increase the rate at which they learn.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, education, government schools, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A candidate for homeschooling theme song?

Do you remember this song?

The opening words are:

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all

And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

(Hat tip: radio free school)

Technorati tags: parenting, children, education, government schools, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education