Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nice interview of Glenn Reynolds

I enjoyed Bill Whittle's interview of Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) where Glenn talks about starting up his blog, 9/11 and how to get noticed in the blog world.



Hat tip: Newsalert

Vote for the Cates!

The Circle of Moms is holding a Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs contest.

I am asking our readers to vote for us. Here are some reasons why I think Why Homeschool is one of the top 25 Homeschooling blogs:

1) We have been homeschooling twelve years.

2) We have been blogging about homeschooling for five and a half years.

3) We have several hundred readers.

4) We are the organizers behind the Carnival of Homeschooling.

5) We're nice people too. :-)

You can vote for our blog by going to Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs, searching for "Janine" or "Why Homeschool" and then clicking on the vote icon.

The contest ends May 11th. Please go and vote for us each day until then.

Thank you.


I would appreciate your help in asking others to vote for you.  You can link to this post on Facebook or send out an email to your family and friends. And you can add this icon (which links to this post)
to your blog or website by using this HTML:

<a title="Vote 4 the Cates" href=http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/04/vote-for-cates.html>
<img alt="Vote 4 the Cates" width="74" height="83" border="3" src="http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll227/hcate3/Why%20Homeschool/CateIcon3.png" /> </a>


Double thank you!

The Saturday Review of Books is up

It has been awhile since I was in one of the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our son's prayers have been answered

Our daughters are ages 16, 14 and 10.  Our son is 4.  For a couple months he has been praying for a brother. 

This afternoon Janine got a phone call from a foster care worker asking if we could take two brothers, ages 2 and 3.  Janine is picking them up now.  Our son is pretty excited.

Interesting Factoid of the day

I don't have an opinion on the proposal to Move Server Farms to Desert? Data Is Easier to Move Than Power, After All.

I did find the first line of the article interesting:

----------
Server farms are the Hummers of the information age: they use a substantial 1.5% of the world’s electricity, and that number’s growing fast.
----------

I wouldn't have guess the number was that high.


Hat tip: Instapundit

I think this is a sign of our times

From the founding of the United States to around 1960 most Americans knew our country was special.  It was the light on the hill that would lead other nations.  Whether it was saving the world for democracy, being the economic powerhouse of the world or the belief that we were lucky to live in the land of the free, Americans were proud to be Americans.

For the last couple decades Americans have been taught that this country is not special, that it is just as bad as any other country, including China, Cuba or Cambodia.  Mainstream media magnifies our faults and glosses over the killings and tortures down in other countries.

As I read that Superman will renounce his American Citizenship, I see it as a sign that too many in our country have lost pride in this great land.

Yes America is not perfect.  There are plenty of faults, yet I would rather live here than anywhere else.  We still have more freedoms that any other country.  We have a great heritage of helping other countries.  After World War II we gave millions to help other countries rebuild, without asking for anything in return.  American Charity, public and private, has saved millions of lives.

While flickering, American is still a beacon to the world. 

Another example of what is wrong with politics in government schools

Since public schools were formed a little over a century ago the focus for a long time was to educate the children.  The goal was to teach them how to read, write, master math, understand history and be grounded in the basics of science. 

One of the reasons for the huge decline in government schools over the last couple decades is the increasing number of goals.  Today there are federal programs to teach sex education, death education, make sure each child has a lunch, teach the role of gays in history, and watch for signs of abuse.  The list goes on and on.  Some of these issues are important concerns, but the original goal of public schools gets lost in the many competing demands on government schools.

An example of this is central topic in Gap Between Minority Teachers and Students Widens in Denver

Because some "experts" think minority students learn better if they are taught by teachers who are minorities, there is concern that the percentage of minority teachers has fallen while the number of minority students has climbed.  This is a second order affect.  Maybe some students learn better if they are being taught by someone of the same race, but historically minorities were often taught by teachers of other races.  The goal should be to get good teachers into the class room; not to put some teacher into a classroom because they are the same race.

It is hard to focus on fifty goals.  I defy anyone to do a good job if they are given fifty goals.  If there was a single minded focus to teach children the basic academics that we originally asked public schools to deliver on, the government schools would improve. 

While the government continues to impose dozens of goals on public schools the government schools will continue to decline.

Juggling and homeschooling

Cristina writes about some of the lessons she has learned from performing as a juggler and now in homeschooling: Educational Showmanship.

California budget cuts push more families to private schools

The San Jose Mercury has an article about how public schools are shrinking because more families are putting their children into private schools.  Public schools: Is California's middle class heading for the exits? reports that for when the recession hit a couple years ago private school enrollment shrunk a bit, but now that class sizes are climbing, and the qualidy of education is falling. 

Some are concerned that if too many of the middle class flees government schools that there will be a tipping and the public schools will going into a deepening spiral.

It seems to me that many view "public schools" as what needs to be saved, rather than "public education" which may or may not happen at the government schools.  I would much rather have the vast majority of children education than to save the jobs of those in the public school system.

I also wonder how many people will pull their children and turn to homeschooling.

Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs

College Credit for Rosetta Stone Spanish

The Bluedorns report on College Credit for Rosetta Stone Spanish?:

College credit for Rosetta Stone Spanish? Yes! Now you can. Rosetta Stone recently announced a partnership with James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA to offer Spanish 1 for 3 college credits to students who are at least at high school junior level academically. In order to help get the word out to homeschoolers, they contacted me with a contest offer to our blog readers. They’re giving away Rosetta Stone branded mp3 players to 5 winners.

HERE’S HOW YOU ENTER.

Post the information below (the paragraphs between the ***’s) on your blog – and if you have multiple blogs you can enter multiple times with separate entries.

Don’t have a blog? You can still enter by posting the information on your Facebook page.
Easy, yes? Make sure to include the link back to this original post when you blog and/or Facebook and then leave a comment here on this blog post letting me know so I can enter you to win.

Don’t forget to include your email address so we can notify you if you’re the winner!

*****************************************************************
Do you know a high school Junior or Senior who would like to knock out 3 college Spanish Credits without setting foot in a classroom (except maybe the one in their home)? Rosetta Stone has partnered with James Madison University, a fully accredited four year institution, to offer college level Spanish 1! Enrollment is now open, and learners can start in as little as 8 days from today! Online courses begin every Monday, and the complete intensive program takes 16-weeks to complete.
In addition to Rosetta Stone online coursework, the program includes live online sessions with a tutor who’s a native Spanish speaker. This beginner-level course also gives students access to their own Success Agents dedicated to helping students succeed in Spanish.
This is a strictly limited offering open to the first 500 students to enroll. In other words, courses begin on Mondays only as long as there are still openings, and once there are 500 students enrolled, no more classes will begin. To be eligible, students must be at least high school junior level academically, OR at least 18 years of age.
To learn more or enroll today, visit www.RosettaStone.com/coursecredit.
*************************************************************

------------------


Janine and I have our daughters using Rosetta Stone.  It is is a good program.

A great society?

From A.Word.A.Day:

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
-Greek proverb 

Too often our government seems to go around chopping down the trees that would have provided shade for the next generation.

An amazing world

Ten and twenty years ago people would have laughed if you had said that Apple would ever pass Microsoft, yet the headlines today are Microsoft’s Quarterly Profit Falls Below Apple’s for First Time in 20 Years.

This is one of the points that is made in the Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two video. It is hard for a few people to have any ability to predict the future and anticipate what will happen. 

Now I wish I had invested in Apple ten years ago.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mind boggling

This is political correct taken to extremes previously before unimagined: Pub singer's 'racism' arrest over Kung Fu Fighting performance.  The story from the UK starts:

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Simon Ledger says he fears he will end up with a criminal record for performing the 1974 disco classic at a seafront bar on the Isle of Wight on Sunday after two people walking past apparently took offence.

The 34-year-old, from the island, regularly features Carl Douglas’s 1974 number one hit in his set when he performs at the Driftwood Beach Bar in Sandown.

But after striking up the melody in front of customers at the weekend he noticed a man of Chinese origin walking past with his mother, making gestures at him and taking a picture on his mobile phone.

He said that he later received a telephone call from police - while he was dining in a Chinese restaurant - asking him to meet officers about the incident.

He was then arrested and questioned before being bailed.
---------

It sounds like in the UK if someone is offended then someone has to be arrested.  Amazing.

Hat tip: Blue Collar Phillosphy / Instapundit

Update I: 29 April 2011

Miazagora posted on Facebook the link to the original song:

The TSA is out of control

Two weeks ago I wrote about the TSA doing an agressive pat down of a six-year-old girl.

Someone left a comment suggesting I join the Facebook Boycott Flying which opposes the abuses by the TSA.  I have been following it for several days.  There are a lot of reports of TSA abuse.  In just the last twenty four hours there have many posts.  Here are a few:

Aol's article TSA 'Behavioral Officers' Monitor Passengers At Airports explains that a new TSA procedure is to target anyone who complains about TSA full body scans and/or the agressive pat downs.

The New Generation of Scanners starts: "The slippery-slope argument against the warrantless, illegal searches that the TSA conducts is to point out that body cavity searches will be next."

Here the title is enough: Pregnant Teacher Harassed By TSA On Easter Sunday Tells Her Story.

Susie Castillo, a former Miss USA, writes about My TSA Pat Down Experience.


I oppose both the full body scans and the aggressive pat downs.  I've written my repsresentatives.  I have also contacted our favorite airlines and told them I would not be flying until this was fixed.  Hopefully the airlines will be able to lobby and get this fixed.

Does anyone have other ideas on how to effectively oppose the TSA on these two issues?

Top 5 reasons parents give not to homeschool

In Why Do So Many Parents Think They Can’t Homeschool Their Children? Linda Dobson starts with:

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I’m cutting to the chase. Many parents don’t think they can homeschool their children because their own schooling experience convinced them they’re incapable. Not directly, of course. Instead, it was part of an overall message of incapability that permeated our formative years in school.


Move on command of the school bell…move on command of the factory whistle. Don’t talk in class…don’t talk while you work. Acquiesce autonomy to the teacher…acquiesce autonomy to the boss. Don’t think you can learn on your own…don’t think you can build a better business than the one that employs you and needs your hands, not your head.


What happens? In the institution of school you learn to quietly take a place in yet more institutions. You learn that the only one who can solve a problem is an “expert” who has training you don’t. You learn not to trust yourself.
----------

She then goes on to address the "top 5 reasons parents give not to homeschool."

If you are considering homeschooling, but are hesitant, read Linda's article.  If you know someone in that situation, send them the link.

Hat tip: Valerie Moon via Facebook

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two:



If you missed it, here is round one.

Hat tip: My brother

Recent edition of "a homeschooling carnival" is up

The latest edition of a homeschooling carnival is up at the Garden of Learning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Has it been a long day? Are you about at the end of your rope?

Shannon has some good suggestions so you Don't Pull Your Hair Out.

What is the answer to the problems with public schools?

I only recently found the Buehler Education blog.  I really enjoy the posts.  Antonio Buehler does a great job. 

In The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time he reviews the call for more spending in government schools and explains why it won't fix the fundamental problems.  The post starts:

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Yesterday, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a rally was held on the steps of the state capitol building to protest proposed budget cuts to public education. The protesters demanded that Governor Tom Corbett abandon his proposal to reduce funding for K-12 education, as the state deals with the same fiscal shortfalls that are plaguing states across the nation. And across the nation, these rallies have become a common sight, with roving bands of teachers and their truant children, their union leaders, and bussed in protesters excoriating and vilifying those who think education spending should be curtailed. Often times the teachers pull public school students into the rallies, as they apparently did in Harrisburg with marching bands from two public high schools. And always quick to join the fray are a smattering of social advocacy groups and politicians, the former trying to be relevant and the latter trying to score points for the next election.

What was remarkable about the Harrisburg rally was that it was planned and directed by the NAACP, or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and not a teachers union, although it seems that the NAACP is becoming a front group for teachers unions. Admittedly, they had a good reason to protest, at least in spirit. While the state is planning to cut funding for education, they plan to increase funding for prisons. They cited a recently released NAACP report that showed a trend of high incarceration rates in areas surrounding poor-performing schools. Assuming (or implying) causality between the two, they suggest that money should be diverted from the penitentiary-industrial complex in order to better fund the education-industrial complex.* However, even if poor-performing schools are the driver of the high incarceration rates, the argument that robust education funding is the answer to the problem is misguided at best.
----------

Do you know the parable of the bucket?

The Headmistress shares a great point in What's In Your Bucket?

Another good article on the Higher Education Bubble

Chris Dunn opens his article Education bubble is close to popping in our faces with:

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Fair warning: This article will piss off a lot of you. That was the opening sentence to TechCrunch’s recent article, “Peter Thiel: We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet. It’s Higher Education.” Earlier this month Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, told TechCrunch that the housing bubble was replaced by the education bubble. Thiel was in the minority of people who predicted both the dot-com and housing bubbles. Now he and others are warning that most college degrees are not worth the cost.


According to Thiel, a bubble, in this sense, exists when “something is overvalued and intensely believed.” He makes another claim: “To question education is really dangerous ... It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.” Thiel’s definition is a good one because it accurately describes the frenzy surrounding the dot-com, housing and education bubbles.
----------

Just like the housing bubble, the issue isn't should people buy a house or go to college, but should they waste a ton of money doing so?

Janine and I encourage our children to go to college.  But we also encourage them to be wise in where they go and not incur huge debts.  We don't plan to give them a lot of money so they can attend a high priced school.  If they want to go to Harvard or Stanford, they'll need to work out the financing.

With the current hard economic times I agree with Chris Dunn, the Higher Education Bubble will burst soon.  At some point the number of students applying to go to college will drop to a point which affects many schools.  Once that happens, many colleges will start to scramble trying to chase the shrinking applicants.  The classic law of supply and demand will result in lower prices.  Colleges that cannot survive on lower tuitions may not survive at all.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

How do you socialize your children?

This is a fun video:



The video to have been created by HomeSchool Advantage.
Hat tip: HomeschoolBuzz.com

Please vote for us

The Circle of Moms is holding a Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs contest.  The contest runs until May 11.

You can vote for us each day.

Remember to send your entry for next week's Carnival of Homeschooling

Dave will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week at Home School Dad

Dave askes for entries about movies:

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Next weeks carnival will be right here at HSD. I am currently accepting submissions for next weeks fun. I will be commenting on my favorite 10 movies of all time between the home school stuff. So if and when you make a submission try to answer one of these questions in the space where you can make comments:


1) What is one of your favorite movies of all time?


2) What is one of your least favorite movies of all time?


3) What's a good movies you have watched in the last 3 months?
----------

You have five days to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of 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

Saying NO to the government

Susan explains why Illinois Homeschoolers Don’t Need IDs from the Schools at Corn and Oil.

This is an amendment I support

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is proposing a Constiutional Amedment to limit federal spending!!!

I'm starting to hit this age

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

           Don't worry about avoiding temptation --
           as you grow older, it starts avoiding you.
                         

 -The Old Farmer's Almanac

Big problem in higher education: Too many administrators

One of the complaints against public schools is so much of the money goes to administrators, staff and even janitors, while a small fraction reaches the teachers.  I remember reading awhile back that government schools have something like one person out side of the classroom for every two teachers.  By way of comparison many private schools are much leaner and have one person in the office for every ten to fifteen teachers.

But it looks like higher education is worse.  Hard to imagine!

Malcolm Harris has an article about Bad Education.  He starts by comparing the current higher education bubble with the recent housing bubble:

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The Project On Student Debt estimates that the average college senior in 2009 graduated with $24,000 in outstanding loans. Last August, student loans surpassed credit cards as the nation’s single largest source of debt, edging ever closer to $1 trillion. Yet for all the moralizing about American consumer debt by both parties, no one dares call higher education a bad investment. The nearly axiomatic good of a university degree in American society has allowed a higher education bubble to expand to the point of bursting.


Since 1978, the price of tuition at US colleges has increased over 900 percent, 650 points above inflation. To put that number in perspective, housing prices, the bubble that nearly burst the US economy, then the global one, increased only fifty points above the Consumer Price Index during those years. But while college applicants’ faith in the value of higher education has only increased, employers’ has declined. According to Richard Rothstein at The Economic Policy Institute, wages for college-educated workers outside of the inflated finance industry have stagnated or diminished.
----------

then here is the killer:

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If current trends continue, the Department of Education estimates that by 2014 there will be more administrators than instructors at American four-year nonprofit colleges.
----------

Wow!


Hat tip: Newsalert

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Rich are getting richer and the poor are getting richer

Last week I posted a video of Professor Horvitz challenging the saying that "The Rich are getting richer and the Poor are getting poorer."

Instapundit posted a link to an article which also challenges this saying. Economic study: Despite Obama’s claim, the poor are not getting poorer references a recent article that reviewed some of the recent economic research. Table 2 from the article has a table from a study which shows that from 1979 to 2007 the when you look at the salaries before taxes and various transfers that the bottom quintile in America fell over the 28 years by 33%. This is what most people based the belief on that the poor are getting poorer.

But the report says that when you factor in things like:

Taxes: typically the poor pay fewer taxes while the middle class and upper class pay much more
Household size: Often the poor will live together, outside of the typical family unit
Income transfers: food stamps and welfare payments
Benefits: Like medical benefits

that over the last 28 years the poor have actually improved by 26%.

The article explains:

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Burkhauser’s research shows what has actually been happening to the lives of Americans over the last thirty years — not just counting the amount of money individuals made in the market, but the actual income that people get in their hands to spend.
----------

I think there are two important issues here:

1) Overall society is getting richer. During the Great Depression, seventy five years ago, thousands of people were worried about starving to death. For the most part that is not an issue today, because the United States has gotten to the point that we are wealthy enough that food is no longer a major expense. A hundred years ago the vast majority of people spent 20% to 40% of their time working just to put food on the table.

2) There is an incredible amount of churn from generation to generation. For a decade I read the Forbes Richest 400 report. One of the things that becomes clear is that is hard to stay at the very top. Many of the people who were in the Richest 400 in 1980 and 1990 are not even on the list today. Many of them have died, and many of the children who inherited the wealth have not been able to keep it growing. The Millionaire Next Door explains that Millionaires are good about making money, and teaching their children to spend money. Often by two and three generations all the money has been spent at the great grandchildren are back in the middle or poor classes.

Times are tough now and many suffer, but I would much rather be alive now that 75 years ago.

Sheldon Richman: Public schools teach children to follow

Sheldon Richman raises concerns about how public schools teach children to obey the government and not think for themselves.



He also points out that a big problem with vouchers is that everyone still sees funding as "public funds" and that it is appropriate to have rules and guidelines on who gets money.

While vouchers might not be perfect, I think it would be a huge improvement over what we have now.

Good video.  Worth watching.

Sheldon wrote Separating & School State: How to Liberate America's Families.  I enjoyed the book and bought a copy.

Hat tip: Miazagora

Khan Academy provides the learning, the credential may come in a decade or two

Sal Khan makes some good points about online learning in this interview:



Hat tip: Instapundit / Newsalert

Do you ever feel overwhelm and that you are not doing enough?

The Homeschool Village has some suggestions on how to recognize when you have done 'enough.'

Grocery School

Don Boudreaux uses an analogy in Grocery School to explain why the public schools run by the government are so bad.

Good post.  Worth reading.

Hat tip: Judy

Sad commentary on college sports

A college basketball player admits he read his first book, cover to cover, in his junior year.

Sad.

Hat tip: Percival Blakeney Academy

Homeschooling and Foster Care - Part 1

We have been homeschooling for 10+ years and have been providing foster care for 3+ years. I been meditating on the things we've learned over the last few years. When I hit 3+ pages of notes, I decided that this was more than one post. So, here's the first in a serious on the pro's and cons of providing foster care in conjunction with homeschooling.


Con's
-------

Foster Care requirements are never ending and often useless.

The list is a pretty intimidating. When we began this process, the to-do list seemed endless. I began planning what to do and how to do it for a couple of years before we officially began the foster care application process.

Every three years we are re-inspected and the licensing worker or the state typically requires something new. And, it is not just the inside of our house. For example, the licensing worker made us move the stepping stones in our then fallow garden because he considered them "a tripping hazard."

Luckily, we don't park our cars in our garage which down graded it into the "locked storage" category. We had friends who couldn't store their bicycles in their garage because their licensing worker considered the bikes a hazard when exiting their car.

This sort of bureaucratic nonsense comes with the territory. We even had our foster care license suspended when the permits for a minor remodel were not filed the way the licensing worker expected. We ended up paying the city $600 dollars to issue additional permits . The inspector from the city barely set foot in our house, but we got the documentation that we needed to satisfy the county.

Bottom Line: To become a licensed foster home, you have to play their games. Just expect a certain amount of busywork and you won't get so upset.



Pro's
-----------

Foster Care is a great motive to organize and earthquake-safe your home.

In preparation to become a licensed foster home, we dejunked our house. I sorted all the outgrow clothing and have each age and gender stored in its own plastic tote. If it couldn't fit in its age/gender bin, I gave it away.

I sorted our linen closet and the drawers in my bathroom. (I found that we had three different kinds of heating pads. I didn't even know that we owned one heating pad, let alone three.) I got rid of accessories to medical equipment that I no longer owned. (I donated those to the American Diabetes Association in my community.) I don't have room to mention all the stuff I found, organized and got rid of in the garage.

Best of all, I installed the earthquake and safety precautions I had been thinking about for years. I learned how to use a power drill and a stud finder. Our bookcases (and there are many) and large furniture are now bolted to walls.

Not all the improvements were requirements of the state. Most were my requirements. I felt uncomfortable having guests in my home when it felt messy or cluttered. I frequently have my children drop what they are doing to do a quick tidy because I received a call from a social worker asking if she can come over sometime in the next hour. (One good thing: social workers are almost frequently late which give us more cleaning time.)

While all these picky details have been a burden at times, having a well organized home has improved our homeschool experience. The children have less distractions and I feel better. In addition, home management is an important skill that I want my children to master.





When I get around to Part 2, I will post the link here.

Why would anyone disagree? The quality of teachers is important

One of the problems with public education in the US today is that is has become very, very hard to get rid of bad teachers.  Teacher unions claim that all teachers are equal and it is wrong to fire poor teachers.

Finland has emerged as one of the best educated countries in the world.  And they acknowledge what most thinking people would realize:

---------
But Finland's sweeping success is largely due to one big, not-so-secret weapon: its teachers. "It's the quality of the teaching that is driving Finland's results," says the OECD's Schleicher. "The U.S. has an industrial model where teachers are the means for conveying a prefabricated product. In Finland, the teachers are the standard."
---------

The amount of damage the poorest 10% teachers hurts us in so many ways.  When children learn incorrect concepts or learn them in the wrong way it takes much more effort to straighten them out, and some times they never unlearn.  For example I was taught look-say and decades later I still struggle with sounding out new words.  It has made me a poor speller.  I wish I had been taught phonics.  One of the good things about homeschooling is we can learn, correct and do a better job.  All of my daughters are much better at sounding out new words.

Hat tip: Mental Multivitamin who has been saying for years that The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

Barbara Frank has written a book: Thriving in the 21st Century

I've been reading Barbara Frank's blog for years. 

I was excited to read that her book is now available at Amazon:  Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children for the New Economic Reality

You can see the table of contents and learn more about the book at the website:  Thriving in the 21st Century.

Amazing Grace

My mother sent out this link to Amazing Grace to our family. 

The four men did an amazing job.

I had a little trouble getting the song to load once or twice, I'm afraid the site may be swamped with all the demands for the song.

I think this is true for most of our enemies

From A.Word.A.Day:

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet (1807-1882) 

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - diverse adventures

Susan is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschool at Corn and Oil.

Susan starts with:

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Putting together the Carnival of Homeschooling has always been a great pleasure for me. Discovering new blogs always provides more food for thought from our diverse and unique homeschool community. The common theme we have is homeschooling and finding the written word (and images) important enough to blog or record our family journeys as we go. Homeschoolers like to spread our wings and hit the community resources, along with traveling here and there to find great adventures. I've added some places of interest, but please – good readers and contributors – feel free to add comments and other suggestions of your very favorite places to go and people to see.
----------

This week's carnival has a large selection of posts.  Hop on over and enjoy the carnival.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, April 25, 2011

Advertisers recognize boys and girls are different

Raising Read Men has a interesting post.  In Stereotypes or Created Types? Melanie reports on some research about toy advertisements for boys and girls:

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The words used in advertising toys for boys are things like battle, power, heroes, action, stealth, and mission, while the words used to advertise to girls are love, fun, friendship, magic, babies, mommy, hair, and style. So, do you think this is about “How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes?” We don’t think so. We think that advertisers use words that sell, and these words sell not because kids are forced into stereotypical gender roles, but because boys and girls are reflecting how they are made.
-----------

Go check out the word clouds for boys and girls.

Review: Columbo - the second season

Last month I was icing my shoulder four times a day, for ten to twenty minutes.  I used the time to rewatch some of my favorite movies.  I started with the second season of Columbo.

The Columbo movies take a different approach to mysteries.  Most of the time the viewer watches as the detective finds clues and tries to figure out who did it.  But with Columbo we see the murder and know who did it.  The game is watching Columbo find clues to figure out who did it.  There are no exciting car chases.  There are no gun battles.  Columbo is able to look at simple small clues and make important deductions.  It is a thinking man's game. 

These movies are also fun on another level.  Columbo is a likeable person.  He comes across as a bit average and maybe even incompetent.  Rarely does the villain worry tell after Columbo starts piecing together the clues.  He will badger the villain with "Just one more question." 

Season two has eight movies.  One of my favorites is "A Stich in Crime" with Leonard Nimoy as the doctor who operated to kill a colleague.  I also enjoyed "Dagger of the Mind" as Columbo takes a trip to England and ends up helping Scotland Yard.

If you have never watched a Columbo movie before, you are in for a treat.  They are fun movies.

A once anti-nuclear power advocate now confesses he was wrong

In The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all George Monbiot starts with:

----------
Over the last fortnight I've made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.

I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott is the world's foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott's response has profoundly shaken me.
----------

It is a good article, worth reading.
I am impressed that George was able to overcome his mindset and change his point of view.  Too often once we get a certain viewpoint locked in our brains it is almost impossible to change it.

My analysis is that nuclear power has risks, but it is safer other forms of energy.  Cheaper energy increases our standard of living and saves lives.  Nuclear power has many advantages over coal, wind and oil.

Resources for Homeschooling by Homeschoolers

Miazagora mentioned the Directory of Homeschool Lessons on Facebook over the weekend.

Why the budget was cut by only $38 billion

With the current huge, and increasing, deficits the United States Federal government is running you think our leaders would start to realize the need for serious cuts.  The recent $38 billion in cuts was merely a small slow down in the growth of the budget.  It wasn't the kind of cut you or I would make when faced with hard economic times. 

Benjamin Powell explains why the "cuts" are so small:



For more information check out: Why Washington Only Cut $38 Billion from Federal Spending.

Hat tip: Miazagora

Golden oldie: John Stossel's 2007 Stupid in America

Kimberly reminded me of John Stossel's 2007 Stupid in America:



If you haven't seen the video, it is a good summary of the problems with government schools.

I like John Stossel's line: "Most Americans don't know what stupid schools are doing to American kids."

Voting for the Top 25 Homeschooling blogs

The Circle of Moms is holding a Top 25 Homeschooling Blogs contest.  We are in the contest!

You can vote once a day until May 11.

Hat tip: Judy

Made me laugh

If you ever watched the Popeye cartoons I think you will also laugh: Michael Ramirez's cartoon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Some good reasons to have some food storage

Judy has 20 Signs That A Major Food Crisis Is Coming

While I hope that we never face a famine, I do think it is good to be prepared.  There are some inexpensive ways to build up your food storage. For example a few buckets of wheat can provide a lot of calories and it stores for a long time.  A friend told me someone had found some wheat in one of the pyramids of Egypt and after three thousand years it was still eatable.

Would you pay $23 million for a book?

Amazon’s $23,698,655.93 book about flies tells about a problem when you let computers pick the price for a book.

The short story is profnath at Amazon would set the price for a particular book to be 0.9983 of whatever price the book sold for at Borders.  Borders would set the price to be 1.27 times that Amazon charged.  Fairly quickly the price skyrocketed to tens of millions.

Now The Making of a Fly is back in a little more reasonable $237. 

I wonder what it will be selling for tomorrow?

Hat tip: Hacker News

Well we did it, we now have a garden

We have a patch of dirt in our back yard that is about 30 by 40 foot.  The soil here is clay.  For the last ten years the tradition has been that I add twenty cubic feet of steer manure and rototill the soil.  Then we plant a garden.

Today we skipped the first step and planted.  It went much faster!

Happy Easter

I hope everyone has a great Easter.

Children can take an alternate path after schooling

Janice Campbell has a thoughtful post reminding us that our children don't have to go off to college.  They can still be successful in life. 

Also included in Of Daffodils and Diesels, Revisited is a nice essay about a smart boy who struggles with academics.  If the public school doesn't mess him up he could go for.

Why should it be hard to find out how many teachers were fired?

The Honolulu C ivil Beat documents how hard it was for them to find out that out of 12,000 teachers Hawaii Fires 10 Teachers for Misconduct in 2 Years.

I guess the other 11,990 are all wonderful teachers.

Hat tip: Intercepts

Good article on Sal Khan and his Khan Academy

My mother shared this link on Facebook: Bill Gates' favorite teacher

It provides insight into who is Sal Khan and details about the Khan Academy.

Amazing what one person can do to improve the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This news story reminded me of the song "Here's Your Sign"

Janine was reading some news and told me about Gang Member With Tattoo of Crime Scene Convicted of Murder.

Wow.  Hard to imagine someone would be that stupid.

Reminded me of this song: Here's Your Sign.

Nice video on homeschooling

In doing a little random googling for homeschool blogs I found:



Hat tip: Blessings for Homeschool Moms

I liked "Atlas Shruggled"

Janine and I saw Atlas Shrugged Part I last night with my parents.  It was faithful to the book.  My mother noted that it was much easier to watch the movie than to read the book.  I read the book about thirty years ago.  It took me three days to get through the complete 1100 pages.  (I even read John Galt's speech.)

While the story was written back in 1957, it eerily echoes things happening today.  Ayn Rand was born in Russia in 1905 and in 1925 she escaped the communist environment to the United States.  Having experienced first hand the perils of government control and intervention of the economy she was very hostile to attempts to justify increased government in the United States.

Atlas Shrugged was her last novel and tells the story of a struggle in society between those who produce and those who demand others provide for them, because of their "need."  If you would like to read more about the book you can check out the Wikipedia entry.  You can read the first paragraph from the Ayn Rand Institute.

The movie is about an hour and a half.  I liked it.  It was very professional.  Some critics tried to claim it was less than theater quality, but I disagree.  The actors were great, and the villains made me squirm.  The one thing I would have liked taken out was the 30 second bedroom scence. 

I recommend the movie.

If you haven't already seen the trailer, here it is:

This seems like a bad idea

Obama To Implement Gag Order By Decree:

----------
On April 18, the Heritage Foundation’s Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commissioner, broke a story for Pajamas Media about a draft executive order by the White House to compel companies, their directors, and officers to disclose donations to candidates, parties, campaign committees, and non-profit groups that make independent expenditures during an election cycle.


The executive order would apply to both “[a]ll contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of federal candidates, parties or party committees made by the bidding entity, its directors or officers, or any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control” and to “[a]ny contributions made to third party entities with the intention or reasonable expectation that parties would use those contributions to make independent expenditures or electioneering communications.”
----------
Read the article for why this is a bad idea.

Hat tip: Miazagora

Professor Horwitz dispels the myth of The Rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer

I like this video:



Hat tip: Miazagora

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maybe there is something in the air

After reading this morning about Indiana Senate passing a voucher bill, I was suprirsed to read this evening that Tenessee Senate has passed a School Voucher for low-income families in the states largest four counties.  I wonder why only the four counties?

It would be great if more states passed voucher bills.  And it would be especially great if they just opened them up to all families with children, without strings or conditions.

Hat tip: Jay P. Green's Blog

Some teachers are just bonkers

In Writing Teachers: Still Crazy After All These Years Mary Grabar writes:

----------
After spending four depressing days this month at a meeting of 3,000 writing teachers in Atlanta, I can tell you that their parent group, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, is not really interested in teaching students to write and communicate clearly. The group’s agenda, clear to me after sampling as many of the meeting’s 500 panels as I could, is devoted to disparaging grammar, logic, reason, evidence and fairness as instruments of white oppression. They believe rules of grammar discriminate against “marginalized” groups and restrict self-expression.
----------

It isn't the English languages that keeps people down.  Rather the reverse is true; the lack of mastery of the English language holds people back.  For example French Canadians in Quebec who don't know English make less money than those who know English.

If these teachers really cared about the "marginalized" groups they would bend over backwards to help their students learn how to write.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Antonio Buehler addresses Homeschooling Parents being selfish

Antonio Buehler has another nice post.  This one answers the question Are Homeschool Parents "Selfish"?

Do you know someone interested in Physics?

I earned my BS in Physics.  I found it fascinating to understand how much of the world works.  It greatly helps to have a good teacher. 

Richard Feynman was famous for both his research into physics and his ability to teach Physics.  (I also think of his comments on the textbook review process.) 

Microsoft has acquired the rights to the well known Richard Feynman Lecture series.  They are being made available via Microsoft's new enhanced video add-on known as Tuva.

It is such an amazing world.  You can have top level education in the comfort of your own home, at no cost.  Just amazing.

Hat tip: Slashdot

It is a step in the right direction

From Indiana: State Senate approves school voucher program:

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The Indiana Senate on Thursday narrowly approved a plan giving families state tax dollars to pay tuition at private schools.


House Bill 1003 passed 28-22 and now goes to a House-Senate conference committee to work out differences in separately passed versions of the legislation.


Under the plan, a family of four earning less than $41,000 a year would be eligible for a tuition voucher of up to $4,500 for grades 1-8, and up to $4,964 for high school.


A family of four with an income between $41,000 and $61,000 would be eligible for a voucher of up to $2,758 for all grades.


A total of 7,500 vouchers would be available in the 2011-12 school year, with 15,000 vouchers available for 2012-13.
----------

I think vouchers are a great idea, but there should not be any limit on the incom of the parents.   I realize this is political, but why should one family who has a higher income get a smaller voucher?  It makes no sense to me.

I found the next paragraph in the aritlce funny:

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The Senate changed the legislation to require private schools participating in the voucher program teach American history and government, maintain a selection of patriotic readings and not advocate the violent overthrow of the government.
----------

Does that mean there are private schools out there which advocate violent overthrow of the government?  I've never heard of one in the US.

Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs

An update on how college indoctrinate students

I found Robert Weissberg's article on Capturing the College Textbook market fascinating.  He starts with:

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At least superficially, the Right’s counterattack on the Left-dominated academy seems a roaring success. We now have dozens of conservative-leaning think tanks whose experts daily churn out policy analyses, together with innumerable Internet sites telling our side of the political story. Add traditional media outlets galore, particularly Fox Cable News, our own conventions — even affinity European and Caribbean cruises where we can eat, drink, and be re-energized.


Unfortunately, this otherwise vigorous counterattack lacks a critical element: the college textbook. Here our ideological enemies totally, absolutely, and positively dominate, and this power undoubtedly trumps our entire arsenal. In the war over culture, the college textbook is the ultimate weapon, but one all too easily ignored.


As an academic lifer and college-textbook author, let me describe the terrain. Virtually all college students regardless of major will take required courses in the social sciences and humanities. With scant exception, these courses will be built around a survey-type textbook. Thus, every semester, thousands of undergraduate learn American government, sociology, anthropology, or history from these books and the accompanying lectures that often regurgitate textbook material. Exams guarantee attentiveness to these textbooks, no matter how cockeyed.
----------

He goes to to share a good example of the kind of bias that exists in text books.


Hat tip: Instapundit

The importance of talking to your children

Antonio Buehler has some great thoughts on the importance of Talking to Your Children.

He starts with:

----------
The homeschool versus public school debate revolves around the education of children typically only after the age of five. Ignoring what happens before a child is old enough to attend state schools ignores the reality that education begins at home, not at school. A significant portion of a person’s intellectual capacity is determined in his or her first 36 months. As such, parents cannot wait until children learn how to speak or until they are old enough to be shipped off to state schools to begin to foster their children’s intellectual development. Fortunately for parents, developing a child’s intellectual capacity is simple; they only need to talk to their child, early and often.


In 2008, Harvard professor and innovation expert Clayton Christensen wrote Disrupting Class, focusing on how innovation can be used to transform education in America. Christensen felt so strongly about the importance of parents talking to their children that he deviated from the theme of his book and dedicated an entire chapter to this subject.


Much of the education gap between the rich and the poor upon entering school age is driven not by economic disparity, but by how much a child has been talked to by their parents. As Christensen notes, “talkative,” college educated parents spoke 2,100 words per hour, on average, to their infants, while “welfare” parents spoke on average only 600 words per hour.
----------

I remember reading that not only do children of welfare parents hear fewer words, but the quality of the communication is less.  Average and well educated parents will use complete sentances and discuss complex thoughts.  But children of poor parents hear a much limited vocabulary.  With less stimulation there is less brain development.

Antonio has some other thoughts, go check out the whole post.

Thoughts on preparing dinner

Because homeschoolers often try to do a lot, dinner can be one more task which overwhelms us at the end of the day. 

Heather shares 5 Ways to Simplify Dinner in a Homeschool Kitchen.

Maybe it is time to put down your cell phone and walk away

Constant stimulation may not be good for our brains. 

All those tweets, apps, updates may drain brain explains:

---------
There's growing concern among scientists that indulging in these ceaseless disruptions isn't good for our brains, in much the way that excessive sugar or fat - other things we evolved to crave when they were in shorter supply - isn't good for our bodies.


And some believe it's time to consider a technology diet.


A team at UCSF published a study last week that found further evidence that multitasking impedes short-term memory, especially among older adults. Researchers there previously found that distractions of the sort that smart phones and social networks present can hinder long-term memory and mental performance.
---------

Hat tip: The Thinking Mother, who has some more thanks about this Techno Brain Drain

Is the glass half full or half empty

I like this thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road
and celebrate the journey.
                        -Fitzhugh Mullan
                         Submitted by Herr Kemper

Interesting - how nations spend their time

The Economist has pie charts should how six major nations spend their time.  On averages individuals in France spend 11.1 hours a day eating and sleeping while Americans spend only 9.9.  Those in Japan had the highest number of hours of paid work and study, but the lowest for unpaid work.

It appears the numbers can from OECD, but I haven't been able to track down the study.

Amazing - the World's Most Complicated Goldberg Machine

I had not know there was a Goldberg machine contest.  The World's Most Complicated Rube Goldberg Machine reports:

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It starts with the Big Bang, re-creates the extinction of the dinosaurs, holds a jousting competition, flips over an album, and simulates World War II, a shuttle launch, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and even the alleged apocalypse in 2012. In its precisely executed review of history, "The Time Machine," a Rube Goldberg contraption built by members of the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, incorporates a record-breaking 244 steps—all to water a single flower.


The machine beat the existing world record of 230 steps, achieved last year by Katsumi Takahashi and students at Michigan's Ferris State University. But that wasn't the team's objective: The goal was to win the 24th annual national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest held in March at Purdue University. Zach Umperovitch, a geology major and the team's captain, decided to count the steps in the machine the day before the competition. "We never do step counts," he says. "It just kind of happened."
----------

Here is the winning machine:



Hat tip: Hacker News

A trend in higher education: more people are doing it online

Going to Harvard from your own bedroom starts with:

----------
The Open University, the UK's open access university, which allows people to study from home in their own time, has been an international pioneer of degree courses online.


The university, with more than 263,000 students in 23 countries, has become a record breaker on the iTunes U service, which provides a digital library of materials for university students and staff.
----------

Once employeers start accepting online degrees I think more and more people will earn their degrees online.  It will be cheaper and more convinient.  This won't work for every degree, for example medical degrees demand real life ingteraction with the human body.  But the material for a lot of degrees like history, math and business could be mastered via the internet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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

You have five days to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. 

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.
If you don't have a post yet, there are still 120 hours left to write one.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.
The carnival next week will be held by Susan at Corn and Oil.  Susan has been following closely attempts at passing more laws to control homeschoolers in Illinois.


Carnival of Homeschooling

How do you teach someone to pass the marshmellow test?

Three years ago I wrote:

----------
I first heard of the test from Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. The marshmellow test was conducted by Walter Mischel. He would test four year-old children to see if they could not eat a marshmellow that was one the table before them. The results of the test came out ten and twenty years later when they found that the children who had self control and resisted eating the marshmellow were successful in almost every facet of their lives.
----------

Back in January I posted about a similar study which found the same basic results. 

I think one of the most important things we do as parents is to teach our children to pass the marshmellow test of life.  As my brother-in-law says: "No limits in childhood = lots of limits as an adult..."

In the comments Fatcat asked:  "How do you teach such a thing?"   

I wrote a few idea in the comments:

----------
1) Model self control. If our children see us making plans and sticking to them, then they are more likely to recognize the value and be willing to wait.


2) Talk about it. Help children to see cause and effect. If children can understand that some investment now will pay dividends then they are more likely to work hard and study.


3) Help with baby steps. Maybe do something like the marshmellow test each day. Yesterday I told my girls that if they would work hard during the day we would watch a movie. They did, so we did.
----------

Do you have any additional ideas on how to teach children to have self-control?

What is the point of your life?

From A.Word.A.Day:

No one imagines that symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.
-Alan Watts, philosopher, writer, and speaker (1915-1973)

Humor and culture - Mozart

My mom shared this link with the family:

The Google Sketchup house

All three of my daughters like to play with Google Sketchup.  It is a free online program which allows the user to design houses.  (Most of their houses have large libraries!)  My oldest just created a medieval cottage.

Maybe some day they'll design a house which gets built.

Couple builds eco-friendly home like no other using free program is an article about a couple which did exactly that!

Hat tip: my mom

What do little girls learn when they are dressed like sex objects

I like LZ Grandersen's plead: Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps.  His column starts:

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I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.


Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie "10" (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her "Xtina" phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.


You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word "Juicy" was written on her backside.


Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. ... I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she's not even in middle school yet.
----------

He goes on to ask parents not to buy clothese that turn their daughters into sex objects.

And I agree.  The lesons little girls learn when they are given push-up bras at seven are not good lessons.  It is hard enough for a young woman in our society have have a healthy sense of who she is really.  Parents should not be tell their daughters at ages six and eight that all that really matters is who sexually attractive they are to men.

Hat tip: Tiffany via Facebook.

Superhero capes for the jobless

Maybe we really do live in an alter-universe that is someone's comicbook universe.  How else do you explain:  Job center blasted for giving capes to unemployed

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Florida officials are investigating an unemployment agency that spent public money to give 6,000 superhero capes to the jobless.

Workforce Central Florida spent more than $14,000 on the red capes as part of its "Cape-A-Bility Challenge" public relations campaign. The campaign featured a cartoon character, "Dr. Evil Unemployment," who needs to be vanquished.
----------

I love my brothers-in-law's comment:

----------
Ever been in one of those meetings where someone says, "I know how to help the unemployed. Let's give them superhero capes!"


Idiocy is embarrassing...
----------

Interview with the producers of Atlas Shrugged

This is long and I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but it is interesting:



Hat tip: Natalie

Humor - The Ten Commandments of Facebooking

The Ten Commandments of Facebooking is pretty funny.  Here is the first one:

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1. Thou shalt not post anything thou wouldn't want thy mother-in-law, thy tenure committee, or thy grandchildren to see. Yea, though thou thinkest that thy mother-in-law knoweth not how to find facebook, or that thy grandchildren be not yet born, or that thy tenure committee wouldn't do such a thing, thou knowest not the day nor the hour at which thine error may be discovered.
----------

Go read the rest.

Hat tip: Valerie Moon via Facebook

Victor Davis Hanson's thoughts on Obama's speech

Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite authors.  I have even had my daughters read from one of his books.

I enjoyed his thoughts on Obama's recent speech.  He starts with:

-----------
Last week the president gave a speech on the deficit, rightly trying to convince Americans that it is now beyond unsustainable. Yet his theme was that the Republicans’ attempts to reduce it were cold-hearted, endangering the most vulnerable among us, such as those with Down’s Syndrome, while protecting the proverbial “rich” from commensurate sacrifice. Let us, then, look at Obama, and the context of his speech, as a doctor might a patient.
-----------


Hat tip: My mom via Facebook.

Recent homeschooling blog carnivals

The recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival comes from Fisher Academy International, in Peru!

The recent Classical Homeschooling Carnival is hosted by Baby Steps.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The answer to "How do you do it all?"

I liked this post about How Do You Do It All?

The short answer: I don’t.

Erica has some great thoughts about the pressure we put on ourselves.  If you are feeling overwhelmed go check out her post.

You might also find it helpful to read Paul Graham's essay on Good and Bad ProcrastinationPaul makes the point that because there are a near infinite number of things we could be doing at any one time, the trick is not how to procrastinate, but how to procrastinate the trivial things and do the things that really matter. 

For example I think one of the most important things we do is to spend time with our families.

Parkinson says five is a good number

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

          To get something done,
          a committee should consist
          of no more than three persons,
          two of them absent.


Typically the more people involved in making a decision the hard it is to reach agreement.  This is why Parkinson says the best sized group is five people.  This will give enough varity in viewpoints, but not so many people that it will take forever for each people to toss in their two cents.

New lesson from an old story

A friend sent me the story and lesson below.  I've heard the story a couple times.  The lesson was new to me. 

Enjoy.

----------

If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result .... all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one.  The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment... with enthusiasm.
Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth.  Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs.  Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will  try to climb the stairway for the banana.
Why, you ask?  Because in their minds... that is the way it has always been!


This, my friends, is how Congress operates... and is why, from time to time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

Scientist may have figured out the Antikythera mechanism

Ancient Greek calculating device continues to reveal secrets starts with:

---------
It's known as the Antikythera mechanism, a metal gear driven device found over a century ago on a sunken Roman ship, near the island of Antikythera, that for just as many years has had scientists analyzing, scratching their heads and offering suggestions as to its purpose.


Some have called the device the first analog computer; others the first mechanical computing device. Either way, the device very clearly demonstrates that the Greeks of 150 to 100 BCE knew far more about gears and calculating machines than had been thought possible just a decade or so ago.
---------

It appears the tool was used for predicting the location of the sun, the moon and the five known planets. Pretty cool

Here is a video of the reconstruction:

Who is John Galt?

Janine and I will be watching Atlas Shrugged Thursday evening:

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Sarah is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at SmallWorld.

She starts with:

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Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling! I'm glad you're visiting here at SmallWorld at Home. Let me introduce myself for those who are new here. I'm finishing up my 11th year of homeschooling, currently with a 4th grade son and an 8th grade daughter. Our oldest son is finishing his freshman year in college. (Want to know how that's going? Check out my Burying the Big Yellow Bus.) And yes, he was homeschooled all the way through high school.
----------

Enjoy.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Students say OK to redistribute money but not GPA

This is kind of fun:



For more details: But..."Progressive" Students Don't Want To Redistribute Their GPA?

Hat tip: Right on the Left Coast

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cool resource - museum via the web

My mother sent a link to the Google Art Project.  It is pretty cool.  You can see thousands of works of art and even wander around great museums around the world.

America may be better off that we realize

My father found an interesting column which explains There are many reasons why India and China have nothing on us:

-----------
Americans, hit first by outsourcing and then a recession, are becoming deeply pessimistic about their country’s ability to maintain its economic leadership. America’s Aristophanes, Jon Stewart, commented during a recent interview with the author of "India Calling," Anand Giridhardas: "The American dream is still alive — it’s just alive in India." Likewise, 20 percent of Americans in a December National Journal poll believed the U.S. economy was no longer the strongest. Nearly half picked China instead.

But there are at least five reasons why neither India nor China will knock America off its economic perch anytime soon, at least not by the only measure that matters: Offering the best life to the most people.

-----------

Our country does have many problems, many serious problems.  And it is easy to focus on a few strengths other countries have and feel like we've hit the end of the line and the United States is dying.  Columns like this help us to step back and see the bigger picture.

We still need to focus on getting our country back on track, we can take heart that we still have a number of strengths.