Saturday, July 31, 2010

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

There are only fifty one hours reminder to send in your entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The next carnival will be held at Consent Of The Governed.

Send in your entry about homeschooling.

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,

Short review of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"

We watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Nicolas Cage this morining. The whole family enjoyed it. Baby Bop said the fight scenes were the best.

Disney's original version in Fantasia was cute. This is a full left movie, kind of along the lines of Harry Potter.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

If only

I really enjoyed this commentary by Dennis Prager. Of course, it could never happen at a public school. Can you image the uproar and whining?

If only......

A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.

First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships.

The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity -- your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans.

If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values -- e pluribus unum, "from many, one." And this school will be guided by America's values.

This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.

Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism -- an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America's citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English -- but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can't speak without using the f-word, you can't speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as "Nigger," even when used by one black student to address another black, or "bitch," even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way -- the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago -- by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky -- to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is the problem with Public education that they have too much money?

Natalie Criss (Of I Will Survive - Homeschool Version) had a link on Facebook to an article by John Taylor Gato: The Public School Nightmare. He asks "Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?"

He starts with:

"I want you to consider the frightening possibility that we are spending far too much money on schooling, not too little. I want you to consider that we have too many people employed in interfering with the way children grow up – and that all this money and all these people, all the time we take out of children’s lives and away from their homes and families and neighborhoods and private explorations – gets in the way of education."

It is an interesting thought, that government schools have too much money.

Great advice

Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Always try to stop talking
before people stop listening.

Gut busting funny

My sister shared this with our family:

We laughed so hard my gut hurt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up

The Headmistress is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Common Room.

She has run with the history of homeschooling in America, as she says, an ambitious theme.

Drop by and see what she has to say about homeschooling.

"Give Away" education

It finally occurred to me what bothers me so much about the government directed education model. The whole system is (theoretically) designed to “give children an education.” (Yes, of course, that is very debatable. But just for arguments sake, let’s just assume that is indeed the case.)

So, what is wrong with giving children an education? The same thing that is wrong with combating hunger by giving out fish.

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a life time.”

Can you image combating hunger by discouraging fishing and outlawing fishing poles? Yet, that is exactly what our current school system is designed to do. Every federal education mandate assumes that it is the government's job to deliver the fish (education) through government controlled fishermen (union teachers). Those consuming the fish (students and their families) have no part in the process. They are trained to wait passively to be fed.

We can't maintain a free society with learners dependent up government institutions for access to education. Somebody, often a politician or “activist,” will exploit the opportunity. The examples of this are too many to count.

Just as feeding programs for starving children are successful as a short-term measure to sustain life while local, long-term remedies are put in place, government controlled "give away" education programs serve no long term benefit, except in a short-term crisis situation while local, self-perpetuating educational systems are (re) established.

This reminds me of a quote by Elbert Hubbard:

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.

The world would be a far better place if government sponsored education programs followed the same motto.

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

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My oldest daughters review of The Battle of Midway in "Carnage and Culture"

One of my favorite Military Historians is Victor Davis Hanson. In Carnage and Culture he reviews “Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power.” I am fascinated by his account of the Battle of Midway. He explains how American Individualism allowed the USA to be much more effective than the Japanese expected, thus leading to lost of four irreplaceable Japanese aircraft carries.

I like the fifty pages on Midway so much that I asked my oldest daughter to read the account and provide a short review. Here’s her review:

The American pilots at Midway, a variety of Navy, Army and Air Force, would strike and strike again leaving the Japanese ships unhurt, but desperately tired. This is just the first example of the ingenuity of the pilots. Later three squadrons would be sent to the wrong coordinates, but then correctly deduced the real position of the Japanese fleet. These pilots would help win the Battle of Midway.

If this sounds interest, you can read my review of the same chapter.

Friday, July 23, 2010

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at The Common Room.

Send in your entry about homeschooling.

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, July 22, 2010

When did the Swiss Army Knives join the internet?

A couple years ago I took my three daughters to the local Orchard Supply and they each bought a Swiss Army pocket knife with their own money. The youngest got one of the more expensive knives. She liked the idea of having all the gadgets.

But some how I've missed that the Swiss Army knives have joined the internet. This web page shows a collect of pocket knives that have removable USB flash drives. When a friend shared it I did a double take. It was like seeing a Model T having a GPS system.

I am afraid that often the Wisdom of Crowds is right

One of the books on my daughters' summer reading program is The Wisdom of Crowds. Both Janine and I greatly enjoyed the book. It explores how often large groups of people can make better decisions than the "experts." It also explains why sometimes large groups will make poor decisions, like with a mob.

It was with sadness that I read Poll: Americans Say Bad Economy Will Linger. (The survey matches a situation where a large group often makes a better decision.) A quarter of those surveyed said they thought the current recession would last another two years. And half believed the recession would continue more than two years. So three fourths see the recession going on for at least two more years.

As you are making economic plans, you may want to consider that the economy will probably be down for a long time.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

A short history of Nikola Tesla

Growing up I was fascinated by Nikola Tesla.

This video gives a brief history on this amazing man.

The History of Nikola Tesla - a Short Story from Jeremiah Warren on Vimeo.

One of the things that saddens me is every year there are dozens of young children who enter kindergarten who have the potential to be just as amazing, but 13 years later they graduate from high school having been forced to match with the herd and will never reach even a fraction of their full potential.

An interesting look at products over the last 75 years

ConsumerReports reviews products and publishes their reports about the quality of the products.

They have a Vintage photo gallery of products they have reviewed over the last 75 years. They show pictures of various products and have a short write up about the product. Here's their write up on Ballpoint pens, from 1949:

The average price has recently dropped from $9 to less than a dollar. One of our tests uses this device, which measures how long each pen lasts before running out of ink.

The device looks like it just runs a roll of paper under a set of pens and they watch to see how long the pens last.

What type of schedule do you have?

I'm a software engineer and it seems that recently my group at work has been having more meetings. We may be having twice the hours of meetings that we had a year ago. Another colleague commented this week about how all the meetings were making it harder to get work down. I remembered an essay by Paul Graham and shared it with the team. Several agreed with the main points.

I thought some of our readers might also enjoy the essay. In Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule Paul Graham writes about the affect a meeting has on people at work. He groups people into two categories: Makers and Managers.

Makers are people like software developers, QA or technical writers. They are people who typically need big blocks of time to do their work. As a software engineer I don't whip out another line of code when I have a spare minute. It takes big blocks of time to make progress.

Managers on the other hand typically go from meeting to meeting. They are more interrupt driven. They react to problems and issue. Most of their tasks can be down in an hour or less.

So if a Maker has a couple meetings during the day, say at 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM it may totally break his rhythym. There can be a huge difference in his productivity. Another meeting for a manager doesn't really change his productivity.

The problem is normally it is managers who are arranging the meetings. They rarely see the down side to putting another meeting in the middle of the afternoon.

Interesting article about passwords

Passwords have become a neccessary evil of the internet age. We need to protect ourselves with decent passwords, but a good password is harder to remember.

Passwords that are Simple--and Safe is an interesting article on research into passwords.

I wonder how much truth there is to this???

Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list recently had this selection from Dave Barry:

The typical newspaper staff has been reduced to one editor, one managing editor, 14 assistant managing editors, 39 deputy assistant managing editors, and one reporter. The editors spend their days holding meetings to think of new ways to cut costs, while the reporter (who, for budgetary reasons, is not allowed to leave the building) looks out the window, in case news occurs in the parking lot."

This reminds me of a classic joke (You can select your favorite company and any management heavy compeditor):


The Great Rowing Competition

It was a sunny day on Puguet Sound in Washington. It was the day of the first annual Microsoft vs. IBM rowing competition. Each team was provided with identical 8 person boats. The teams got out of their limos and headed to the boats.

The Microsoft team all wore identical sweaters, and the leader carried a megaphone. They let the leader on first who went directly to the helm, sat down with one hand on the rudder and the megaphone in the other. The other seven grabbed their oars. They signaled the judges that they were ready to race.

Seven of the IBM team all wore identical blue suits, except the ties were allowed to be slightly different. The eighth was a large muscular guy wearing a tee shirt with the IBM crest. The VP ran to the boat and grabbed the rudder. The Lawyer in the group quickly followed carrying a megaphone. The other five managers got on and spent several minutes fighting for position and seating prior to settling down. The big guy in the tee shirt finally was allowed to get on, and pick up the oars. They signaled the judges that they were ready to race.

The starters pistol fired. The leaders in each boat started into the megaphone "Stroke...stroke...". The Microsoft team put it's 14 oars in the water and were soon underway at a good pace. The IBM rower showed his strength and soon had their boat underway. Within a few minutes the Microsoft boat was out in front, running in a straight path towards the goal point off in the distance.

The managers on the IBM boat noticed the gap and started a mini-task force to uncover a solution. They then broke up and empowered themselves to help. Several pulled out their own collapsible megaphones and started yelling their own separate instructions. One pulled out a paper cup and started bailing out the few drops of water on the bottom of the boat. The last one pulled out his laptop to write a white paper covering their involvement in the race.

At the half way point, it started to rain. On the Microsoft boat everyone reached into their back pocket for their portable raincoats. They all slipped into their raincoats without missing the boat. On the IBM boat, several of the managers unrolled and climbed under a tarp. the lawyer held up a large golden umbrella for himself and the VP. The rower was left in the rain, the managers decided it would help keep him cool.

The Microsoft team easily won, but the IBM boat finally finished. The zig-zag route the IBM boat took was still being discussed by some of the spectators. There was a friendly "see you next year" as the teams took their boats and went back to their busses.

The IBM team analyzed the competition to improve the outcome for next year. One manager took the boat to research to see what improvements could be done. The rower was promoted and another manager was demoted to rower. Two other managers were assigned to train the newly demoted manager. They went out and bought the best weights, and rowing simulators available. One of the training managers was replaced by hiring someone with outside experience (in training, not rowing).

The following year the newly refurbished boat and the team were field merged at the waters edge. The oars had new plastic grips and spoilers laser welded to their ends. a portion of the front of the boat had a newly developed superconducting paint applied. The whole boat would have been painted except the researcher had to take early retirement and there were no additional resources to complete the job. A laptop was hooked up to record oar torque efficiency, and stroke quality. A larger tarp lay in the bottom of the boat. The rudder was redesigned into several sections, each with cables so each manager could steer his own direction. The handle of the rudder had been removed. The lawyer now held a bigger megaphone for the VP. The VP also had a small bag of rocks he could use to throw at the managers.

The new IBM team now wore light weight casual suits, each a different shade of blue. several of the managers were now slimmer. They left their VW bus, got onto the boat, and took their assigned seats. The single well trained rower picked up the oars.

The Microsoft team looked about the same, except for new larger sweaters (they had been training too) and hats with a small NT on them. They quickly loaded their freshly waxed boat into the water and were soon ready to compete.

I need not tell you who won the second race.

Nice article about homeschoolers in college

Can Homeschoolers Do Well in College? reviews some of the research on homeschoolers in college.

No surprise, they do just fine.

(Hat tip: Carolyn of Guilt-Free Homeschooling mentioned this on Facebook.)

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A cool thing about the blog community

Our new readers may not realize that I maintain a post that has links to all the past Carnivals of Homeschooling. There is a link to this post near the top of our side bar, called: CoH Archive.

Each carnival is added to the top. There is a one line summary which has: the date it was posted, which blog hosted the carnival and a link to the carnival.

Just recently Heather (aka Sprittibee) graciously decided to gather the themes for each carnival, and then send me the list. So I've updated the archive of past carnivals to now also include the themes for each carnival.

It is neat how there are so many people who help support the Carnival of Homeschooling. I greatly appreciate it.

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

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - the Texas Wildflower Edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at The Homeschool Post.

The carnival hosts a variety of great posts, as well as a variety of pictures of cool flowers.


Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

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

Nine hours and counting ....

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at The HSBA Post. You have nine hours to send in your entry.

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.

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

Friday, July 16, 2010

While we are on the topic of reading programs...

Check out this reading program in England:

Angry parents accuse school of 'dumbing down' English by showing The Simpsons in class

Joseph Reynolds was horrified when his 13-year-old daughter spent six weeks studying the popular US cartoon in English lessons.

Homework assignments included watching episodes of the TV series.

His petition calling for Shakespeare to replace The Simpsons has now gained more than 300 signatures.

But the school, Kingsmead Community School in Somerset, has defended its curriculum, claiming the programme helps students 'to become critical readers and analysts of complex media texts'.

It insisted it was merely following the National Curriculum, which requires that students study 'moving image' texts.

And it said 'many other schools' used The Simpsons to teach English...

In a letter, the school claimed that analysing the opening sequences of the Simpsons was similar to analysing the opening of Dickens' Great Expectations.

To top it off, check out this comment left by Ian McNeilly, Director, National Association for the Teaching of English:

...It's an interesting one...who should decide which texts pupils are taught? People with relevant degrees, postgraduate teaching qualifications, those who have been committed enough to enter one of the most challenging professions there is or...?

Please don't think I'm deriding your opinion - I'm not.
It's just that there is a chance that the English department at your school might: a) be more informed than you and b) be doing a better job than you realise.

Well, what more could I say to that? I'm debating posting a comment to Joseph Reynolds suggesting he check out homeschooling.

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

Just throw out the books

When a reading program was canceled at a school in Utah, the school threw out all the books they had purchased for the program. All the books were relatively new and in good condition. Somebody noticed and called a local news station.

Here's the story:

Hundreds of near-new textbooks found in school dumpster

...In a time of very tight budgets, a KSL viewer was surprised to find the books in the dumpsters at Twin Peaks Elementary School at 5325 South 1045 East, piled on top of one another....

Full of stories, illustrations and cultural lessons, some were published as recently as 2008. None were published before 2001...

A re-sale contractor has first dibs on the books to buy them back and sell them to another school. Horsley says in this case the contractor wasn't interested.

"Once the contractor deemed them non-marketable, someone took it upon themselves to dispose of the materials and did so against and in violation of district policy," he said.

So, why did the contractor deem the books "non-marketable?"

This reader has a reasonable explanation:

Ian S.
6:53pm - Thu Jul 15th, 2010
@Mr_neo - Part of the problem could also be that the State School Board of Education keeps changing the English core curriculum causing the textbooks to become outdated and non-compliant. This is what happens when the government gets too involved with education whether it is state government or federal government and they keep adopting new programs in hopes of finding that silver bullet that will bring about better test scores. Don't be too harsh on the individual schools when it is the politicians that are to blame. I agree that it is a waste, and waste usually starts up at capitol hill.

Is book dumping really against district policy or just an excuse? Call me cynical. This particular incident wasn't against district policy until someone reported it to the media.

Whether the school bought useless books, gave good books away, or threw the books in the recycle bin doesn't really matter that much to me. Neither option benefited the students at that school.

This reminds me of the decline of the McGuffey Readers. That was a good reading program.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I think we are back in business!!!

Several people helped me in resolving a problem with our blog not displaying. It appeared to have something to do with

We finally figured out that starting with FireFox 3.6.6, a reference to Technorati's tag script would stop FireFox from loading. I've removed the reference. It is possible we may lose a little traffic, but I'd rather everyone be able to read our blog.

For anyone who wants more information, here are three places that discussed this problem: Blogger Help, Blogger News Network and FireFox Support

Life is good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Test three - real simple template

Hopefully this post will load for people.

Test two - just Blog Carnival

The second test.

Test one - just Blog Buzz

I'm having trouble with the carnival. It doesn't seem to load well for some people. I'm trying to get a handle on what exactly is the probelm.

I've moved the Blog Buzz HTML code to just this post, as a way to isolate what is the problem.

Anyone still having trouble loading the carnival?

A couple people mentioned they were having trouble loading the Carnival of Homeschooling. The browser would get started and then hang, sometimes with a reference to

I did a Google search and found several references saying this was a know problem, that things we put in our template, like Google Analytics often use this server to track when web pages get loaded.

I have cleaned up my template, so I think the problem was fixed. If you have trouble loading the Carnival of Homeschooling, please tell me.


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

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling - The Punctuation Edition

Welcome to the Punctuation Edition*
of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

*Most of the grammar rules are courtesy
of Basic Rules of Punctuation at

1) End Punctuation: Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points

There are only three ways to end a sentence: with a period (.), a question mark (?), or an exclamation point (!). And because most of us state far more often than we question or exclaim, the period is by far the most popular end mark of punctuation. The American period, by the way, is more commonly known as a full stop in British English. Since around 1600, both terms have been used to describe the mark (or the long pause) at the end of a sentence.

Until the 20th century, the question mark was more commonly known as a point of interrogation--a descendant of the mark used by medieval monks to show voice inflection in church manuscripts. The exclamation point has been used since the 17th century to indicate strong emotion, such as surprise, wonder, disbelief, or pain.

Use a period at the end of a sentence that makes a statement.

Barbara explains that Homeschooling a child with special needs gets easier once you face the facts at Barbara Frank Online.

Kid-erpillars makes the point on another life lesson from watching animals, from Home Spun Juggling.

"I'm one of those people who purposely grows plants for those hungry caterpillars."

Use a question mark after direct questions.

With Thoughts on Education Jessica writes about her evolution from being a school teacher to homeschooling at Teachable Moments.

"How was I to know that my long held plan to be a working parent would dissolve the moment I thought of placing my six month old daughter in day care?"

Marbel wonders about Counting days or hours? At Two Kid Schoolhouse she muses about how best to record educational days or hours to fulfill my state law.

Now and then we may use an exclamation point at the end of a sentence to express strong emotion.

Misty at Homeschool Bytes shares Keeping the Cute Rascal Busy While We Homeschool

"Here he is helping me hammer a little turtle stamp into some soap I made. Only afterwards did I shudder a bit when I realized I’d just taught him how to use a hammer. Eeek!"

In Frugal Homeschooler: Presidential Timeline the Nerd Mom tells how to get a great homeschooling resource. (Posted at NerdFamily Things.)

"Remember as always, homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive to be educational!"

The summary for Congratulations, Kitten! is: Blogging has become a large part of our homeschool language arts over the past three years. Will you help us celebrate Kitten's blogiversary! (At Blogging 2 Learn.)

Skills Round Up starts with both an exclamation mark and a question mark. (Posted by the Home School Dad)

"Howdy Homeschool Pardners! How are your doggies getting along now that summer's breaking at your home school on the range?"

2) Commas

The most popular mark of punctuation, the comma (,) is also the least law-abiding. In Greek, the komma was a "piece cut off" from a line of verse--what in English today we'd call a phrase or a clause. Since the 16th century, comma has referred to the mark that sets off words, phrases, and clauses.

Keep in mind that these four guidelines for using commas effectively are only guidelines: there are no unbreakable rules for using commas.

Use a comma before a coordinator (and, but, yet, or, nor, for, so) that links two main clauses.

In Kitchen Inventory - The Pantry, Mrs. White explains how she and her daughter create a pantry list to help with meal planning. (From The Legacy of Home.

"I want to stress the fact that I do not create a pantry list based on things I want, or things I hope to have on hand."

Lynn, noticing that we’re half way through summer, writes some of her thoughts about Goals, at Eclectic Education

"I have some of their year planned, but I am still trying to figure out what all I am going to doing with them."

Use a comma between words, phrases, or clauses that appear in a series of three or more.

Jamie responds to Top Five Reasons NOT to Homeschool, or excuses not to homeschool, at Parent Community and Forum.

"I am a very busy mom of six, a business owner, a pastor’s wife, and I have two part time jobs, but somehow homeschooling and investing in the children that were given to me always seems more important than the other stuff."

What Can a Homeschooling Parent Do When Math Isn’t a Strength? explains how homeschool co-ops can help. (Posted at Math Learning, Fun & Education Blog : Dreambox Learning.)

"Most co-ops offer some combination of classes, clubs, field trips, potlucks, and parent discussions."

Use a comma after a phrase or clause that precedes the subject of the sentence.

Elena explains How we hope to give five kids college educations for under $50 grand at My Domestic Church.

"So for our family, College Plus looks very attractive."

Janine writes about some recent good news in Homeschoolers in the News on our blog Why Homeschool.

"While community college GPA is not necessarily the reason we homeschool, it is nice to see homeschoolers doing well in the academic arena."

Beverly shares about another homeschooling success in Homeschooler's Journey to (Kids) Jeopardy, at Beverly’s Homeschooling Blog (

"On April 12th, I received an email from Jeopardy telling me that Samantha had qualified for an in-person interview and audition in Philadelphia on June 19th."

Use a pair of commas to set off words, phrases, or clauses that interrupt a sentence.

Grocery Store Math by Rational Jenn is about making a sometimes-frantic family chore a little more interesting . . . with math.
"Everyone agrees to the general plan, and apparently I am an idiot because I will often feel good about our prospects for a smooth grocery store run, suffering as I do from Grocery Store Amnesia (similar to Pregnancy Amnesia)."

3) Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes

These three marks of punctuation--the semicolon (;), colon (:), and dash (--)--can be effective when used sparingly. Like the comma, the colon originally referred to a section of a poem; later its meaning was extended to a clause in a sentence and finally to a mark that set off a clause.

Both the semicolon and the dash became popular in the 17th century, and since then the dash has threatened to take over the work of other marks. Poet Emily Dickinson, for instance, relied on dashes instead of commas. Novelist James Joyce preferred dashes to quotation marks (which he called "perverted commas"). And nowadays many writers avoid semicolons (which some consider to be rather stuffy and academic), using dashes in their place.

Planning Our Almost Completely Free Homeschooling-Part 1 is about a first time homeschooler's plans for a mostly free homeschooling curriculum, from the Musings of a Real Housewife.

Use a semicolon to separate two main clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction.

In A Disciplined Will Naomi includes several quotes from Charlotte Mason and comments on them, at Living Charlotte Mason in California.
His thoughts are wandering on forbidden pleasure, to the hindrance of his work; he pulls himself up, and deliberately fixes his attention on those incentives which have most power to make him work, the leisure and pleasure which follow honest labour, the duty which binds him to the fulfilling of his task. His thoughts run in the groove he wills them to run in, and work is no longer an effort. ~Vol.1, p.324

Make Online Tests Easily With Free Zoho Challenge reviews a service for making online tests, at I Want to Teach Forever.
"The quiz editor is straightforward; I was able to assemble this example in just a few minutes."

Use a colon to set off a summary or a series after a complete main clause.

Linda Dobson is announcing a July Book Giveaway, for The 15th Anniversary Edition of The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self. (Posted at Parent at the Helm.)

"You are allowed one entry per book, with the exception of BLOGGERS: I know your pain."

Use a colon between the title and subtitle of a book or article
Christine has a New Homeschool Project: JETS. The Thinking Mother is sharing what her latest homeschool research project is, an engineering competition for high schoolers.

Lain has a provocative topic, is Banning Books: A Parent's Job? (Over at the Parenting Squad)

Use a dash to set off a short summary after a complete main clause.

The summary for Mistakes I Have Made - A Regular Feature is: some things you might want to know about graphing calculators so you avoid the mistake I made. (From The Home (School) Stretch.)

With Sorry State Financial Affairs Cause Bureaucratic Breakdown Susan wonders if bureaucracies will fail -and homeschoolers prevail- with the continual poor fiscal governmental policies, at Corn and Oil.

4) Apostrophes

The apostrophe (') may be the simplest and yet most frequently misused mark of punctuation in English. It was introduced into English in the 16th century from Latin and Greek, in which it served to mark the loss of letters.

The use of the apostrophe to signify possession did not become common until the 19th century, though even then grammarians could not always agree on the mark's "correct" use. As editor Tom McArthur notes in The Oxford Companion to the English Language" (1992), "There was never a golden age in which the rules for the use of the possessive apostrophe in English were clear-cut and known, understood, and followed by most educated people."

Use the apostrophe to form contractions.

Margy writes about The Case Against Homeschooling at Homeschool Highschool.

"Don't worry, I haven't gone over to the dark side. But read on. You may be surprised."

Use an apostrophe plus -s to show the possessive form of a singular noun, even if that singular noun already ends in -s.

Balderdash is Alasandra's reponse to a claim homeschool text books are only aimed at Christians.

To form the possessive of a plural noun that already ends in -s, add an apostrophe.

Five Things Your Kids Don’t Really Need reminds parents to l earn to say no. It's not only better for your pocket book, but it's better for your kids too, posted at MoneyNing.

Many criticize this company for selling overpriced casual clothing, exchanging parents’ money for the promise that their kids would be “cool.”

5) Quotation Marks

Quotation marks (" "), sometimes referred to as quotes or inverted commas, are punctuation marks used in pairs to set off a quotation or a piece of dialogue. A relatively recent invention, quotation marks were not commonly used before the 19th century.

Use double quotation marks (" ") to enclose a direct quotation.

Nancy has some thoughts about treating High Schoolers as Persons from her blog Sage Parnassus.

"Just because they are in high school, doesn't mean you stop treating them as persons." - me

Gifted Kids in Art: Color Constancy has some suggestions on how to really see when painting, from Crack the Egg.

"In order to learn to draw, you must learn to see." This is a well-used dictum for art students. It means one must learn to draw what one actually sees and not just what one thinks they see.

Use double quotation marks to enclose the titles of songs, short stories, essays, poems, articles and so forth.
Reading a Gift for All Seasons is about how important reading is, in so many ways. (At Homeschooling for 3

'Do you remember “RIF” back in the days of the Flintstones? It stands for “Reading Is Fundamental” and is something that should be engaged in everyday, not just for homework or something to keep the kids busy during the summer months.'

6. Ellipsis (...)

Use an ellipsis to indicate a pause or an interruption in speech.

With It could be worse . . . And maybe it should be? April wonders whether we should always choose the path of least resistance in homeschooling? (At her blog ... Chronic Learning.)

Carnival of Homeschooling

If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. Please mention the carnival on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other appropriate places. You can also help promote the carnival by adding the carnival images. Learn how by going here.

Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.

Next week the carnival will be held at The HSBA Post.

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


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

Homeschoolers in the News

I stumbled across a recent article about homeschooling on Sonora

Home-schooling: Rising statistics

In 2008 more than 2 million U.S. students were home-schooled. This most recent poll, provided by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) proves that since 2003 the number of home-schooled students has more than doubled. The National Household Education Surveys, NHES, says 850,000 students were home-schooled in 2003. In fact, home-schooling is steadily increasing at a rate of 15 percent per year.

Here's a noteworthy tidbit from the article:

For the fall of 2009, Michael Cornelius, the Director of Advisement at Scottsdale Community College, found that the average freshman GPA was 2.54 while the average GPA for home-schooled students enrolled was 3.46.

While community college GPA is not necessarily the reason we homeschool, it is nice to see homeschoolers doing well in the academic arena.

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

Friday, July 09, 2010

A book review of Animal Farm - by one of my daughters

As part of our summer reading program I've asked my two oldest daughters to read a set of books and write short reviews of the books. This is my second daughter's review of "Animal Farm."

This week I read Animal Farm by George Orwell.

It is an analogy of the Russian Revolution. The story is told through the eyes of animals that overthrow their drunken farmer.

The animals then make rules for the farm and all starts off well.

The pigs quickly rise to power. The two main pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, vie for control. Then Napoleon raises two litters of puppies and turns them into his private fighting force which he uses to chase Snowball off the farm.

After that things go down hill rapidly. By the end their society was far worse off then when the drunken farmer was in charge.

Early on in the book when they are forming laws one of the laws they make was “All animals are equal.” By the end of the book that law has changed to, “All animals are equal but some are more equal then others.”

Henry speaking now: I like this book. It is short, but has some powerful messages. We've had a few discussions after my daughter read the book.

Technorati tags: Animal Farm

Politics and Education don't seem to mix

Maybe the answer to the problem with education in America today is a complete separation of education and state. What do you think?

Too often children suffer from meddling politicians and hundreds of special interest groups. For example it is almost impossible to fire a bad teacher, once they have tenure.

The education debacle of the decade is yet another example of the problem of having the government involved in education. Dan Ewing writes about a study in DC on the effect of vouchers. The study found there were huge improvements:

Previous studies by Wolf showed an improvement in academic performance, to the point that a student participating in OSP from kindergarten through high school would likely be 2 ½ years ahead in reading. The key finding in this final round of research, Wolf told us, was the graduation rates. OSP dramatically increases prospects of high-school graduation.
Wolf pointed to research showing that high-school diplomas significantly improve the chance of getting a job. And dropouts that do find employment earn about $8,500 less per year than their counterpoints with diplomas. Further, each graduate reduces the cost of crime by a stunning $112,000. Cecelia Rouse, an economic advisor to President Obama, found that each additional high school graduate saves the country $260,000.
Simply put, OSP has a profoundly positive effect not just on students, but on the city and the country as a whole.
So when it came time for Congress to reauthorize OSP, it would seem to be a no-brainer: Expand the program.
Instead, they killed it.


Read the last line again, they killed the program. It was effective. The children improved. It was cheaper. The government was saving money. Yet they killed the program.

Later in the column Bob Ewing explains:

Why did this happen? According to former DC Mayor Anthony Williams and former DC Councilman Kevin Chavous (both Democrats), the answer is politics at its worst.
Williams and Chavous co-authored an op-ed arguing that politicians opposing OSP “are largely fueled by special-interest groups that are more dedicated to the adults working in the education system than to making certain every child is properly educated.”
The editorial board of the Washington Post put it a little more bluntly:
It’s clear, though, from how the destruction of the [OSP] program is being orchestrated, that issues such as parents’ needs, student performance and program effectiveness don’t matter next to the political demands of teachers’ unions.


I think as long as the Federal government has so much control and influence on the public schools things won't change. It is too hard for parents to have much influence on the local schools. Paid bureaucrates have plenty of time to stonewall parents who have many demands on their time.

I thinka complete separation of the federal government from public education would be a huge improvement. But I don't think it will happen, maybe ever.

So I am so glad homeschooling is an option.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

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

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Friends, homeschoolers, blog readers - send me your posts

As the organizer for the Carnival of Homeschooling I try to reminde our readers every week to send in a post to appear in a carnival on another blog.

This week I'm asking for myself. Next week Janine and I will be hosting the carnival, so please consider sending in some post about homeschooling. Thank you!

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,

Monday, July 05, 2010

One of the nice things about homeschooling - you have a better chance of getting accurate history

Jeff Dunetz's column My Son's Textbook Denies Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II Their Rightful Place in History is his realization that the textbooks used by public schools can be flat out wrong! (Hat tip: Jeff starts with:

I spent much time during the past few weeks helping my son study for the state-wide World History test he took a few days ago. Working with him through his studies, I learned his class presented a brand new version of history, a version that never occurred. Some can argue different versions/interpretations of events that happened centuries ago, but his text book and curriculum distorted events I saw with my own eyes.

I have loved history for decades. My interest really started in my junior year in high school. The American History teacher was entertaining and really knew the subject. Only after class started did I realize there was a difference between the regular history class and the AP American History class. I decided to take the AP test, but only received a 2; however, I audited the class in my senior year, along with the European AP history class, and ended up with a 4 and 3 on the two tests, earning college credit for both classes.

During my college years I think took a history class every semester, while earning a BS in Physics. And I've continued to read history since.

Having read tens of thousands of pages of history, I understand how hard it can be to put together a complete and accurate summary of the millions of events that have happened over thousands of years involving millions of people.

But, while people can have different interpretations of the causes and effects of various events, there should be no disagreement on basic facts. For example Columbus discovered America in 1492, not 1592 or some other year. When history books have factual errors, they do a disservice to the students.

One of the main reasons we study history is to learn lessons from the past so we can better live in the present. By understanding the past, the present makes more sense and we can anticipate the future.

Too often politicians and others see history classes in public schools as a chance to push their agendas. (For a scary account of how textbooks are picked, read Richard Feynman on the textbook review process.)

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is my children have a better chance of getting a more complete and through understanding of history.

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

Friday, July 02, 2010

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

Dana will be hosting the next carnival at Roscommon Acres.

I'm sure many of you have been plans for the weekend, and you might forget to send in your carnival entry later, so do it now!

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,