Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Planting Little Seeds.

The Carnival of Homeschooling – the Memorial Day Edition

Welcome to the 283rd edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.  We have a great assortment of posts this week.  We hope you enjoy browsing through the selection. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Each year the United States has a federal holiday known as Memorial Day.  The holiday was originally created as a time to remember the death of thousands who died in the United States Civil War.  For the first couple decades it was called Decoration Day.   After World War I Memorial Day was changed to honor those Americans who died fighting in any war.  (For more details, check out Memorial Day Background.) 

The following images are from various US Federal Government web sites.

The US Department of Veteran Affairs explains Memorial Day as:
Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.  In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.”

Memorial Day is a good time to remember the sacrifice so many made that people might live free.
Our society today in many ways is freer than almost any society in history. In F is for Freedom, the Crazy Homeschool Mama found out her value the freedom to homeschool.
Mrs. White has a great point in reminding us to be thankful for our blessings and shares some tips of how to create an environment of a romantic home in The Romance of Home, from The Legacy of Home.
Why I’m glad I was homeschooled has some of the reasons why Meghan feels homeschooling is a great option, posted at Home Free School.

Memorial Day is a time of remembering the sacrifice others made that we might live.  Homeschoolers make sacrifices so that their children might live better.  Homeschoolers also make the effort to help each other.
In One Hard Thing About Homeschooling,  ChrisitneMM of The Thinking Mother discusses one homeschooling con. Or is it really a con after all?
Cultivating Character: It Takes Time reminds us that homeschooling provides the TIME it takes to focus on essential character development!  Posted at Cultivated Lives.
In Making School Something With Which They Look Forward Phyllis has some great ideas on how to make learning fun, posted at All Things Beautiful.
Maureen shares Free Online Resources for Teaching Anatomy, a nice long list, at her blog Homeschool Mo.
In Homeschooling as the Next Step on the Continuum of Attachment Parenting Patti, the Jazzy Mama, shares some of the resources she found that helped her to develop a deeper understanding of Attachment Parenting older children.  For her, keeping her children out of school was the natural next step.
In our post on Homeschooling and Foster Care - Part 2 Janine writes about some of the sacrifices we've made to provide foster care.

Many people take advantage of the three day weekend by going on a vacation.
Dena shares how she turned a Vacation into a Planning Project  where her children had some excellent life learning experiences.  The post is up at PJs All Day.
Pamela and her children took a road trip.  In Feeling Pioneer-ish she shares some of the lessons she learned.  Posted at Blah, Blah, Blog.
Helena  is amazed by how much her children learned over a weekend in why? where? who? what? when?, and it is a long list.  This is why happens when you have an attitude of loving to learn.

Memorial Day is when many go camping for the first time each year.  People head for the parks to get away from the craziness of work and city life.
Melissa shares an epiphany she had with Her Nature Journal, at educating mother.  I’ve always thought nature journals were good for children, now I can see how they are also good for adults.
Kat suggests that all homeschoolers are "green-ribbon" schools, and wonders if we ought to all apply for the “Green Ribbon School” award, at her blog No Fighting, No Biting!
Conversations with a Rockhound describes Michelle’s search to find someone knowledgeable about rocks and minerals when she and her children were starting a unit study, and the subsequent meeting him.   Posgted at Homeschooling and Homesteading in the Present.
There is so much you can learn from simple ever day events.  Ann reveals some of the things she and her daughters learned in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Series #4: Wildflowers-Dandelions, posted at Harvest Moon by Hand.


As Spring draws to an end, people start making decisions about how to spend Memorial Day.  Through the summer many parents struggle with the decision to pull their children from public schools and become homeschoolers.
The inSANEmom has just taken the first steps to homeschooling.  In It’s Official she shares her worries and hopes, at Schola Abdico.
Linda Dobson provides a humorous approach to deciding if You Might Be Making a Mistake While Considering Homeschooling if…, over at Parent At The Helm.
Escaping the Public School Paradigm reminds us that as we seek to give our kids the best education possible, there are many constraints from the public school system that we need not bring into our homeschool.   Posted at Homeschool Roundup.


Friends and families gather on Memorial day.  Often the main event rotates around eating.  Food is cooked on the grill.  Food is also important to homeschoolers.

Bringing kids into the kitchen at appropriate times is a great way to involve them in daily activities, reinforce responsibility, and teach them invaluable life skills. Jane shares practical ideas for including your kids, at The Unofficial Homeschooler.  The Hersheys Milk Chocolate Fractions Book is a good tool for all learners especially if you provide your own chocolate, by the Home School Dad.

Memorial Day has become the unofficial start of summer.
How we homeschool changes for most of us as we transition from spring to summer.  Christy explains their Summer Schedule, posted at the Eclectic Momma.
With The Best-Laid (Curriculum) Plans: Year 1 Jennifer discloses what they will be doing starting in June:  "This curriculum incorporates the best I've found in a year of research, including my Charlotte Mason and Classical leanings."  Posted at Adventures in MamaLand.
Conni has an example of how learning doesn’t have to stop for summer.  Science in the Summer.  It sounds like a grand adventure.  Posted at Mrs MamaHen.com.
As we transition into summer Annie reveals her Summer Activity List.  She has tasks for her children, and for herself.  Posted at Learn at Every Turn.
With Summer Plans Part 1: Dream Lists Annie Kate makes the point that to have a memorable summer, it helps to start with dreams.  Posted at Tea Time with Annie Kate.

The original intent of the holiday has been lost.  It used to be that most towns had celebrations and parades.  Almost everyone would visit the local cemeteries.  Now few towns have gatherings to remember those in died in war.  Few parades occur.  Cemeteries are pretty much ignored.
Famous Trees For Nature Study in Homeschools by Robin has some interesting facts about trees and some great resources, posted at Crack the Egg.  Some of these trees date back hundreds of years.
It is important to capture our own history for our posterity.  My daughters find my school pictures interesting.  In Homeschooling High School - senior pictures Elena writes about an inexpensive way for homeschoolers to have senior pictures, at her blog My Domestic Church.
Many homeschoolers try to develop in their children a love for learning.  We want learning to be a life-long habit.  Marlis shares an example of this in her report of Famous People – Queen Victoria 1819 – 1901, at The Itchy Homeschooler.

Memorial Day means many things to many people.  It may be the day someone first meet their future spouse.  It may be when someon learned of some good news, or sad news.  Likewise homeschooling means many things to many people. 
In Science and the Library Annette writes about a science experiment her son conducted, from A Net in Time.
I love it when children think out of the box.  Well, yeah, that would work too… is Christine’s account where one child had a humorous solution for answering the question “How many hairs are on your head?”   This was posted at Our Curious Home.
In Trust Your Child, Trust Yourself, Barbara Frank explains why you should trust your own instincts and your child instead of the "experts."
With Home Spun comic strip #616 Cristina explains how they struggled with their son over the difference between card playing and role playing, over at Home Spun Juggling.
In what's important - age or learning ?  Divya has a good message that we should focus on helping our children and not push them to master material before they are ready; posted at Inside the child.
In Terrific Treasuries: James Herriot`s Treasury for Children the Read Aloud Dad says “I'm panic-stricken that I will not be able to tell you how gentle, humane and compassionate are the stories and how superbly illustrated they are.”
As a software engineer I find this pretty exciting.  Misty’s 5-year-old wrote his first computer program with Scratch, and it looks like  something most children could learn to do.  From: Homeschool Bytes.
In See Jane Run - See Jane Dump The Baby Judy shares her concerns about public schools teaching children to have abortions.  Posted at Consent of the Governed.
Kendra writes about her Homeschool Conference Plans, it's about creating your own conference at home if you can't afford to go to one or don't have a conference in your area.  This is from the Aussie Pumpkin Patch.
In Cooperating and Conferences Nancy acknowledges that she feels humble know the Holy Spirit helps with teaching.  Also, she’ll be at the ChildLight USA conference in NC.  Posted at Sage Parnassus.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.

Next week the carnival will be held at HomeschoolBuzz.com.

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Homeschooling and Foster Care - Part 2

The next in a series on the pros and cons of doing foster care while homeschooling. See part 1 here.


Foster Care is really hard work.

It is utterly amazing how much time and effort it takes to care for children under the best of circumstances, and foster care is NOT the best of circumstances. The physical and emotional needs of foster children are great.

For example, when we got Baby Bop, he ran a fever every day for two months (until I took him to a chiropractor at my own expense, after having gone to a half dozen doctors appointments). I was up every night to feed him for a year (because he was so under weight he couldn't sleep through the night).

We had 5 foster children in a row with lice. (Oh, and did I mention that it spread to everyone in the household but Henry.)

We had a little foster boy who developed a respiratory problem that required two visits to Urgent Care and frequent nebulizer treatments (especially in the middle of the night).

It usually takes 1-2 hours to get a new foster child to go to bed. It then takes 1-2 weeks before a bedtime routine can be established that doesn't take an hour or more.

We had a preemie drug baby that weighed 4 pounds that needed to be feed every 2-3 hours around the clock.

We had a foster child that attended a school 30 minutes from our home. I made the trip twice a day to drop off and pick her up at school.

For some reason (stress, germs from the visitation center, whatever), most foster children get sick frequently. (Did I mention that our little 2 year old foster boy threw up twice today, spiked a fever, and has diarrhea and that his brother did the same thing 4 days in a row the week before?)

So, good intentions aside, foster care is not for the faint of heart.


Foster Care is really hard work.

Children need to do hard things to develop depth of character. As parents, we need to model for our children how to do hard things. Children need to feel the stress of difficult situations to give them opportunities to grow.

I'm reminded of a news story about an oak tree that was blown over in a relatively mild storm. Even though the tree was very large, the root system was very shallow. While the tree was growing, it had been over-watered. Its roots had never had to go deep to find water.

I want my children to have deep roots. Frankly speaking, prior to doing foster care, life was just too easy at our house. So, we engineered our own drought. Thanks to foster care, our lives have become very inconvenient. And, it is not only the children who get a chance to grow. I'm doing things and have handled situations that I couldn't have dreamed of before.

Of course, there is a balance to all things. We've turned down more foster care placements than we've accepted. We are very careful what problems we will take into our home. Twice we've had a foster child in our home moved to another foster home when it became too stressful or too risky for our own children.

Foster care builds more than just character. My children will be far more ready to handle parenthood than I was. So, if you are up for the challenge, it is well worth the effort.

As a father with a daughter who just started to date

I greatly enjoyed yesterday's Close to Home.

The Homeschooled Kids Blog Carnival #22 is up

The recent Homeschooled Kids Blog Carnival is up at Homeschooling Ideas Blog.

Homeschool Showcase #73 is up

Homeschool Showcase #73 is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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

My wife and I will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling tomorrow. 

Please 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.  (Which is in ten hours.)

Thank you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Clever idea: Using your blog as part of homeschooling

Many homeschool bloggers post tips and ideas for improving homeschooling.  Homeschooling and blogging go together for many.  For example some of our posts are reports our daughters do on TED talks.

Using your blog as part of your curriculum... suggests using your blog in a way I had not heard of before:

Are we the only ones that use the stats and analytics...and have discussions with the kids about where our international readers are from? It is turning into an active part of our homeschool Geography! I really never anticipated the kids looking forward to seeing what countries turned up today! Then we go on an Internet treasure hunt to see what nuggets of info we can turn up about that culture. Have the kids find it on the map. Predominant religion? Climate? Capital city? How different do you think your life is from theirs?

This summer I think we'll have a unit study on Sitemeter and see what happens with our children.

I've been making notes for my funeral

One of the problems with getting older is that I am attending a lot more funerals.  As a child I don't think I attended any funerals until one in my late teens.  In my twenties I went to a couple.  In my thirties I seemed to average about one a year.  I have been thinking that maybe in another ten or twenty years I might average one a month. 

But I've been to two in the last two weeks.

Two of my friends have each lost their mother.  I attended both funerals.  The mother who died two weeks ago was in her mid 80s.  She had lived a full life.  It was sad for her to move on, but it felt complete.  The lady who died six days ago was 54 and survived by two children, ages 25 and 17.  Disease took away her life with unexpected suddeness. 

I've started a Google document with some notes for my funeral.  I've listed some ways to contact friends who might be interested, some of the hymns that I'd like considered for the service and a few thoughts on what to be said.  I've shared the document with Janine.  At some point I'll share it with my children, maybe when they turn 18 or 21, or something.

My goal is to live another fifty years, but we never know in this life. 

How do you handle sharing?

With the two foster care brothers, ages two and three, staying with us, our four-year-old son struggles at times with sharing.  We break down toys into two broad groups, the general family toys and special toys which belong to a specif person.  Examples of special toys are birthday gifts or items our son bought with his own money.

The family toys have to be shared.  No one can have exclusive use of the toys for long periods of times.  This has been a very hard thing for the three-year-old boy.  We have a couple dozen matchbox cars.  The three-year-old wants all of them. 

For his special toys we give our four-year-old a choice.  He can either put them away or share them.  We do no let him hold a special toy in front of others when he is unwilling to share. 

How do you handle sharing?

Good point: Homeschoolers socialize with all ages

Jennie makes a great point in Those “Socially Challenged” Homeschoolers!

As this tall boy and little girl stood side by side, it struck me that this is a scene you would most likely NEVER see in a public school setting. Could you imagine trying to get a 6th or 7th grader to work on a project with a 2nd grader? No way! It just wouldn’t happen.

But my kids, who may be labeled “socially challenged”, haven’t learned that it’s just not “cool” to hang out with kids outside your own age group…and that’s the way I intend to keep it, for as long as possible anyway.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Get the Federal Govnerment out of Education

The Cato Institute provides a good summary of why we should get the Federal Government out of Education: K-12 Education Subsidies.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Have you heard of the "Candy Cane" case?

Public schools are trying to keep the students from their first ammendment rights to say things like "Jesus is the reason for the season."  Ilya Shapiro provides an update:

Yet another reason to homeschool.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Looks like Utah is getting ready to take on the TSA

Texas was about to challenge the TSA, and backed down.  There are ten other states which are considering taking action against the agressive pat-downs done by TSA agents.

Utah’s Upcoming Opportunity to Uphold the Fourth and Oppose the TSA explains that Utah is joining this movement:

Texas has shown leadership in standing up to the TSA and protecting the right of innocent individuals to travel without being molested by a government agent. As was documented in an article on the national TAC site a couple of days ago, the state has unfortunately capitulated as a result of a direct threat from the federal government.

But as that article explains, Texas is not alone, nor is this war against invasive searches and seizures over. In fact, it’s just beginning. We revealed in that article that at least ten states will be considering related legislation. Today we can announce that Utah will be one of those states entering the fray.

Hopefully some sense can prevail and American citizens can stop being treated like criminals.

Hat tip:  Boycott Flying

The Government's War on Cameras

We need to make sure all people, especially cops, understand cameras in public places are legal:

Hat tip: Natalie Winningham

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a homeschooling carnival

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

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite authors

In Dependency and Votes Thomas Sowell writes about the interaction between "entitlement" programs and votes.

I love this point:

We have all heard the old saying about how giving a man a fish feeds him for a day, while teaching him to fish feeds him for a lifetime. Independence makes for a healthier society, but dependency is what gets votes for politicians.

For politicians, giving a man a fish every day of his life is the way to keep getting his vote. "Entitlement" is just a fancy word for dependency.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Have you heard of: Have fun teaching

While dealing with three little boys at six in the morning, Janine found a fun set of videos for teaching children the letters and phonics.  The videos are produced by Have Fun Teaching.  Here is the letter A song:

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

My wife and I will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week. 

Please 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.

If you are going to be out of town for the three day weekend, please send in your post now.

Thank you.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nice television interview of an unschooling family

I like positive press about homeschooling and unschooling:

Hat tip: PatFarenga.com

It used to be that most acknowledged privacy was a good thing

We have yet another reason for homeschooling: Protecting your children's privacy.

WILL NEW EDUCATION REGULATIONS ENDANGER YOUR CHILD’S PRIVACY? has the latest encroachment at government schools:

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education issued a controversial proposal to amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA was signed into law in 1974 with the sole purpose of protecting students’ educational records. Now, the law is being dramatically altered in an effort that critics claim will endanger student privacy, while increasing the federal government’s access to and control over private information.

The Department of Education’s web site, describes FERPA as a Federal law that “…protects the privacy of student education records.” According to some advocates, proposed changes dramatically alter its intended purpose.

Later the article explains:

With more student data falling into the hands of a greater number of researchers, one also wonders how individual student data will be kept safe. States will need to take on the task of training any and all teachers and support staff with access to the system. Simple mistakes happen, but in this case a small error could mean the exposure of very private information.

One of my first reasons for homeschooling was I felt the public schools had almost destroyed my love for learning.  When my daughters were young, like most little children, they were constantly asking why, how, what and so on.  They were hungry for knoweldge and understanding.  As a young child I had also been thirsty to learn, but after twelve years of public school I came to see education as a chore, as a punishment.

I just checked with my two oldest daughters, ages 14 and 16, and they both say they like to learn interesting things.  Yeah!

Years ago when we started homeschooling it never occurred to us that we might also be protecting the privacy of our children.  Homeschooling has so many benefits!

Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool

Handwriting Worksheet Maker

This is pretty cool:  The Amazing - Incredible Handwriting Worksheet Maker

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Hopefully I've been a man of wit

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

A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.
-Joseph Roux

I like to share good quotes.  Hopefully they have been diamonds.

Humor - How to Homeschool Your Baby

The lady who explained the difference between homeschoolers and homeschooled in Homeschooled??? has a new video on How to Homeschool Your Baby:

I'm disappointed that Texas backed down


Feds’ Threat to Cancel Flights in Texas Kills Anti-TSA Grope-Down Bill has an update on the latest with Texas fighting the groping by TSA:

An astounding Department of Justice threat to cancel airline flights to and from Texas, in addition to underhanded lobbying by TSA representatives, has killed efforts in the state to pass HB 1937, a bill that would have made invasive pat downs by TSA agents a felony.

HB 1937, a bill that would have made it “A criminal act for security personnel to touch a person’s private areas without probable cause as a condition of travel or as a condition of entry into a public place,” was headed for an imminent Senate vote in Texas having already passed the House unanimously 138-0, before the federal government stepped in to nix the legislation.

I wish the Texas State Senate had voted for it, and then taken the DOJ to the Supreme Court.

As the article explains, the Constitution has limits to the power of the Federal goveernment.  It is time for more people, at all levels, to push back.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Flag Edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is being held at Sprittibee.  The carnival starts:

Welcome to The Flag Edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling! If you are new to ‘blog carnivals’, please read the link at the bottom of this post to find out more. This post has many links that take you off-site to other homeschool blogs where you can read their ‘showcased’ article submission. If you would like to submit an article for a future carnival or host the carnival on your site, please see the bottom section to find out how. Each carnival writer has the option to put their compilation to a ‘theme’ if they so choose. I'm sure with Memorial Day coming up, I hope you enjoy these flag pictures I've stolen, er - borrowed to share with you.


A modern version of a classic story

Here is the modern version of the Little Red Hen:

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Monday, May 23, 2011

FYI: It is easy now to share one of our posts

It is now easy to share one of our posts.  (Since the conversion over the weekend.)

At the bottom of each post are a set of icons to make it trivial.  For example you can click on the Facebook icon if you want to tell your friends your thoughts about one of our posts.

Some of our best posts from January 2006

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for over five years now. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from January 2006:

Janine shared a Good Homeschool Day and some ideas on How to Put Together Your Own Curriculum.

I asked Do we have time to read? and wrote about one of my pet peeves: Not Firing the Bad Teachers.

Janine and I are trying to raise children who will be capable adults.  I shared some problems with making life too easy for our children.

Janine wrote one of our first posts about The Socialization Question.

And we also put together the very first Carnival of Homeschooling.

Personal update: It has been a challenging couple of weeks

Our family has been providing foster care for four years. Just over three weeks ago we got two brothers, ages 2 and 3. They have been a lot of work. Janine is carrying the majority of the burden since I go off to work during the week. The weekends have become very unproductive for me.

These boys are highly energetic and are quick to cry when they don't get their way. They are not bad kids, but it has been fairly stressful. Yesterday the three-year-old thoughtlessly slammed a door on his brother's fingers and didn't seem to understand why we were disciplining him.

They are frequently up at six in the morning and hard to put to bed at night. And the brothers are frequently up during the night, sometimes multiple times.

Our son enjoys having them around, most of the time. The three-year-old has trouble sharing. Our son is happy to share some of his toys, but the older brother is used to having his way and often wants all the toys. We have been making some progress in getting him to share, but there has been a lot of crying.

It has been a growing experience for us. We tell our girls that this will help them be better mothers. That when their own children have difficult times they'll have the skills to handle the challenges. I think they also understand the importance of developing good characters from the start and not trying to fix things later.

Cool - the Invisible iPhone

Albert Einstein, when asked to describe radio, replied:

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

It looks like now you can have a phone, without a cat:  The Invisible iPhone

Over time, using your smart-phone touch screen becomes second nature, to the point where you can even do some tasks without looking. Researchers in Germany are now working on a system that would let you perform such actions without even holding the phone—instead you'd tap your palm, and the movements would be interpreted by an "imaginary phone" system that would relay the request to your actual phone.

The concept relies on a depth-sensitive camera to pick up the tapping and sliding interactions on a palm, software to analyze the video, and a wireless radio to send the instructions back to the iPhone. Patrick Baudisch, professor of computer science at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, says the imaginary phone prototype "serves as a shortcut that frees users from the necessity to retrieve the actual physical device."

We live in such an amazing world.

A Khan Academy for younger children

My brother found Educational Videos, Lessons and Games for K-12 School Kids.

Caution against thinking yourself an expert

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:
  ... no one ever considers himself expert if he really knows his job.  A man who knows a job sees so much more to be done than he has done, that he is always pressing forward and never gives up an instant of thought to how good and how efficient he is. Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more, brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible. The moment one gets into the "expert" state of mind a great number of things become impossible.
                 -Henry Ford Sr.

This is a good lesson to teach our children.

Interesting thought about why the TSA likes the full body scanners

Another Problem With TSA Body Scanners explains that the TSA likes the full body scanners, because if they were implemented everywhere the TSA would have to triple the number of employees.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

New blog layout

Saturday I converted our blog from the old blogger template to layouts.

Any thoughts on how to improve it?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is this a sign of the economy, or that we no longer raise children to be adults, or what?

At one level it does make sense to live with your parents for awhile. It can help to save money. But too often it seems like adult children end up taking it easy and don't work to becoming self suficient.

Survey: 85% of New College Grads Move Back in with Mom and Dad explains:

Surprise, surprise: Thanks to a high unemployment rate for new grads, many of those with diplomas fresh off the press are making a return to Mom and Dad's place. In fact, according to a poll conducted by consulting firm Twentysomething Inc., some 85% of graduates will soon remember what Mom's cooking tastes like

Hat tip: Instapundit

I agree we need to put up with rubbish, I don't agree that we should pay for it

I like some of this thought from A.Word.A.Day:

The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish.
-Robert H. Jackson, US Supreme Court justice (1892-1954)

I totally agree that we do need to put up with certain amount of rubbish.

I don't understand what Justic Jackson was thinking when he said we also need to pay for it.

Another reason to move to Texas

The economy in Texas is growing, largely because the government there has a lower tax rate and less regulation.  As such many companies are investing in Texas.

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill which prohibts "intrusive touching" of people traveling.  The TSA claims that according to the Constitution Texas has to stay out of Federal affairs. 

But there is nothing in the Constitution which allows TSA to grop passenger. 

I wonder if this will end up in the Supreme court.

Maybe we should move to Texas.  The government there seems a little more sane.

Normally we pay people to do their job

This is another example of how politics and government schools interfer with children's education.

Normally people are paid to do their job.  In February Madison school teachers stopped teaching to protest.  The school district saved close to two million dollars.

Now a member of the school board is proposing to give a million dollars to the teachers:

I am afraid the lesson the teachers will learn is there are no consequences for failing to do their job.


Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Morality of Profit

I like this video:

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Another reason to homeschool - to avoid indoctrination

One of the many reasons we homeschool is to avoid having the government schools try to control how our children think.  Dean Kalahar has an example of this as he points out in Florida high school exit exams indoctrinate children into a progressive and revisionist model critical of America that the very questions used in exit exams push a certain world view. 

Here are a selection of recent questions:

•Describe the attempts to promote international justice
•Analyze the major factors that drove United States imperialism
•Analyze the effects of domestic terrorism on the American people.
•Examine the controversy surrounding the proliferation of nuclear technology in the United States
•Assess key figures and organizations in shaping the Black Power Movement.
•Analyze significant Supreme Court decisions relating to reproductive rights.
•Describe efforts by the United States and other world powers to avoid future wars
•Examine the failure of the United States to support the League of Nations
•Discuss the economic outcomes of demobilization.

I am so glad we homeschool.

Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool

The book industry seems to be alive and well

The internet provides people so many more options.  When Anything Can Be A “Book,” Anything Is A Book–At Least 3.1 Million In 2010 Alone has what I consider great news:

It’s time for the reporting of annual publishing statistics and as usual, the most profound numbers for us are the unreported ones. The bigger and more technologically-fueled book publishing gets, the less we actually know about the universe in which we all work. It all comes back to the metadata mess, in which many newer players do not use standard identifiers at all for their books, and even traditional players have not agreed on a single practice.

The “known universe” clearly continues to expand, and we infer that the darker “unknown universe” is doing the same. Today, Bowker’s Books In Print reports their preliminary estimates of print books published in 2010. The big number is the continuing explosion of public-domain reprints and self-published works that exist primarily as files promoted on the web in case someone wants to pay to print one. These “nontraditional” books published with ISBNs last year grew to 2.776 million works, well up from 1.033 million such titles in 2009.

When we adopted our son two years ago, Janine and our second daughter created a book about him being a part of our forever family.  It was relatively easy to do and it looks great. 

The industry is still in transistion.  The article goes on to say:

Self-publishers monitored by Bowker are growing at over 10 percent. CreateSpace led the field, with about 34,000 titles. Lulu was in second place with 11,000, followed by Xlibris at 10,700 and AuthorHouse with 8,500 (or about 64,000 titles as group). Last year the top 5 self-publishers, also including PublishAmerica, accounted for 57,500 titles. Remember that self-publishers who do not use ISBNs for all (Blurb) or some (Lulu) of their books are not included in these totals.

Also still not included at all are ebooks, whether self- or independently-published, or digital-only works from traditional publishers. We know that means the published counts are “missing” works in the six-figures, but we don’t know anything more than that. As an example, Barnes & Noble’s PubIt launched in October 2010 and already has 90,000 titles or more.

We live in such an amazing world.

Hat tip: Valerie Bonham Moon

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys.

This is beautiful

My niece linked to this on Facebook: Michael Meets Mozart - 1 Piano, 2 Guys, 100 Cello Tracks- by Jon Schmidt & Steven Sharp Nelson

Wow: Greatest Marriage Proposal EVER!!!

This is pretty amazing: Greatest Marriage Proposal EVER!!!

He did a great job.

Posted three days ago and already up to 2.7 million views!

Hat tip: Tiffany on Facebook.

Nice video on the beginning of written language

A great video about the beginning of written language!

Children of the Code Video: Chapter 5 - Segment 4: Grecian Formulas

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cool: The galaxy may swarm with billions of wandering planets

There was a Poul Anderson Science Fiction story which suggested that wandering planets could be very valuable.  If recent findings prove true, our galaxy may be flooded with wandering planets.

The galaxy may swarm with billions of wandering planets starts with:

A new result from astronomers who have spent years peering toward the center of the Milky Way has led to a startling conclusion: there may be billions of Jupiter-sized planets wandering the space between the stars, unbound by the gravity of a parent sun. In fact, there may be nearly twice as many of these free floating planets as there are stars themselves in our galaxy, and they may even outnumber planets orbiting stars!

We live in an amazing universe.

Hat tip: Digg

Sounds like a good idea to me: Get the Federal government out of the affordable housing program

The Cato Institute has a post about HUD's 'Wastlands'.  It starts:

A year-long investigation by the Washington Post into the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s HOME affordable housing program uncovered systemic waste, fraud, and abuse. The tale is yet another example of why the federal government should extricate itself from housing policy and allow the states to chart their own course.

Politicians keep promising to "fix" these kinds of problems.  Waste and fraud are problems that come from large, lossely supervised bureaucracies. 

The Constitution clearly limits the role of the Federal Government.  If there is a problem with housing it should be addressed at the state level.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at Sprittibee.

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

Being dramatic and lying hurts your cause

Recently the California Teachers Association put on a dramatic event and claimed that 40,000 educators had "been laid off over the past 3 years due to the state budget crisis."

In Filling the Empty Chairs Mike Antonucci looks at the numbers from the California Department of Education and reveals that the Union was lying.  From 2005 to 2009 the number of educators in government schools grew from 593,365 to 610,494.  This dropped to 600,0400 in the 2009 to 2010 school year, for a lost of 10,094.  Over the three year period from 2007-08 to 2009-10 the numbers only fell from 604,563 to 600,400, for a lost of 4,163.

It may be understandable to ignore the hard economic reality that the economy is in a tank and continue to push for more teachers, but when the union lies like this, why should we believe anything they say?

Why we need to be on constant watch

Susan uses the metaphor of Boiling Frogs to explain why we need to always watch what our representatives are doing and to push back when they go even a little bit too far.

Amazing: Netflix is now the largest single source of internet traffic in North America

Real time entertainment over the internet has almost doubled in the last two years.  And now Netflix Now The Largest Single Source of Internet Traffic In North America

Go check out the graph and table.

It is an amazing world.

Hat tip: Hacker News

Good thoughts about why privacy matters

Daniel J. Solove has a great column on Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide'.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Why wasn't this a law decades ago?

Wall Street Journal hearts Marco Rubio bill that would allow states to return $$ to the feds has some exciting news:

Rubio's bill would allow states to return unwanted federal money to the federal Treasury to pay down the national debt -- rather than have the money spent elsewhere.

"The REFUND Act ends the 'use-it-or-lose-it' mentality that encourages states to take debt-financed cash from Washington that will be a crushing burden on our children and grandchildren," Rubio said. "Fiscally responsible state officials should be allowed to divert Washington's spending spree towards debt reduction and do their part to end the practice of spending money we don't have."

Cool!  Someone is serious about trying to reduce expenses.

Though, I wonder why this wasn't considered decades ago?

I don't know much about Senator Rubio, but I'm tempted to donate to his campaign just because of this bill.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

a homeschooling carnival

The recent a homeschooling carnival is up at Garden of Learning.

This is outrageous on several levels

Secret Service interrogates Tacoma 7th grader reports on an incident in a public school that it outrageous on several levels:

1) The school just let the Secret Service interview the boy, without the mother's permission.

2) There was no warrant.

3) The Secret Service way over reacted.  The boy's post that Obama should be careful of suicide bombers could have just as easily been taken as advince.

4) Violation of the 1st and 4th ammendments.

I am so glad we homeschool, but I hadn't ever thought that it might provide my children some protection from being questioned by the Secret Service without Janine or I knowing about it.

Hat tip: My brother-in-law who writes:

"Can you be too young to have Miranda rights? And yes, non-friends can see your FB posts…"

TSA "only" pats down three percent of the passengers

The article Homeland security chief stresses that "very, very, very few people" get hands-on treatment at U.S. airports security examines the claim that few people get pat downs.  They contacted the TSA and found "only" three percent get pat-downs.

This is a one in 33 chance of getting a pat-down, which recently has come to be an aggressive pat-down.  If anyone but a TSA agent did this, they would be sued for sexual harassment.

The article goes on to state that each month 60,000 people get the pat-downs.  Maybe over time as more and more people receive "the treatment" the concern and outrage will increase to the point Congress will finally rein in the unacceptable behavior of the TSA.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Nice speech about Jimmy Doolittle and the importance of history

Jonna Doolittle Hoppes gives a nice speech about her grandfather and how we need to record our history.

I found it fascinating.

Hat tip: Jerry Pournelle

This is sad, Diane Ravitch may not be a reliable historian

Over the years I've blogged several times about Diane Ravitch.  I was really impressed by her book Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform.  The book reveals that the "public education experts" flip flop following the latest fad of the day, changing course every three to five years.  I've recommended the book several times.

I may now be a bit slower to recommend the book.

Jay P. Greene writes about a recent event that raises the question of Diane Ravitch, Unreliable Historian?

Diane wrote about an exchange she had with Lincoln Chafee and claims Lincoln insulted Diane.  Unfortunately other people at the exchange said the conversation was useful, productive and there was no rudeness. 

Jay concludes with:

There are good reasons to doubt Ravitch’s credibility. First, the statement from Governor Chafee contradicts Ravitch’s account even though he has no particular motive to do so. Second, Ravitch clearly has an inflated ego, thin-skin, and has been unreliable in other claims she has made. And third, Gist is eager to have the video released while Ravitch so far has not given her consent. It sounds like Ravitch has more to hide.

Let’s see the video. And if Ravitch does not allow it, we can assume what the video contains.

Some people struggle with fame.  It goes to their head.

I hope this isn't what happened here.

Thomas Sowell's latest column: The 'Education' Mantra

This is the last one that I'm reposting.  It appears to have been left scheduled for the 12th of May, but was never posted. 

Janine and I love Thomas Sowell

His latest column, The 'Education' Mantra, warns against blind support of government schools:

One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.

One of those words that many people seldom look behind is "education." But education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling.

Unfortunately, an increasing proportion of American education, whether in the schools or in the colleges and universities, is closer to the baton twirling end of the spectrum than toward the nuclear physics end. Even reputable colleges are increasingly teaching things that students should have learned in high school.

We don't have a backlog of serious students trying to take serious courses. If you look at the fields in which American students specialize in colleges and universities, those fields are heavily weighted toward the soft end of the spectrum.

It is a good column, worth reading.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Poll: Can parents make decisions for their children without government interference?

The following was also in a post that Blogger kept throwing back into draft mode. I've deleted the original post and created this new post. Hopefully Blogger will stop getting confused.

Squidoo has a poll up which asks:

In general, parents have the constitutional right to make decisions for their children without government interference unless there is proof of abuse or neglect. Do you agree or disagree with this view of parental rights?

The possible options are: Strongly agree, Somewhat agree, Somewhat disagree, Strongly disagree and Not sure. 

It gives me great hope that 97% of the 855 votes are Strong agree

At one level it appears most people recognize in general the government has no business telling parents how to raise their children. 

I do wonder how the 97% with children in governments schools then justify allowing the schools to dictate so much of the lives of both the children and the parents?

Hat tip: Tiffany on Facebook.

The military and homeschoolers

The post below was first created around the 12th of May, when Blogger went off line.  It kept being thrown back into draft mode.  So finally I deleted and I am now reposting it.  Hopefully Blogger won't keep tossing this post back into draft mode.

Cyber-school students: Pentagon snubs our service is an article about how the military will only take 10% of recruits from a non-traditional high school. 

The armed services has a policy of limiting those they accept from non-traditional high schools.  I guess this makes sense for alternative high schools which often graduate those who can't read or write, but it makes no sense for those who are homeschooled or graduate from online schools, because homeschoolers have a much better education that those in government schools.

The article starts:

Students graduating from the growing ranks of online high schools are running into a hurdle if their goal is to join the military: The Pentagon doesn't want many recruits with non-traditional diplomas.

Many would-be soldiers like Ryker Packard, 17, of Fassett, Pa., say they weren't aware the armed services have a policy of not taking more than 10 percent of recruits with a non-traditional high school diploma. Critics, including some in Congress, say the military is behind the times and point to the growth on online teaching and testing at all levels of education, including college degrees.

"It just grinds my gears," said Packard, who wants to become an Army diesel mechanic after graduating from Pennsylvania's Agora Cyber Charter School in June.

Packard said his conversation with an Army recruiter came to a brusque end after he told him he was due to graduate from a virtual school. "He just wouldn't talk to me," said Packard.

Hat tip: Spunky via Facebook

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cool: A wisdom of crowds approach to the Somali Pirates

One of my favorite books is Wisdom of Crowds.  A main messages of the book is that large groups of fairly average people can, in some circumstances, make better decisions that a few "experts." 

The Navy is taking a Wisdom of Crowds approach to sloving the problem of Somali Pirates.  Navy Taps the Crowdsourcing Power of Online Gaming to Fight Somali Pirates shares this new program:

The Office of Naval Research is seeking fresh tactics for fighting the problem of Somali piracy, and it is turning to the defense community via an increasingly common tool for crowd sourcing tactical advice: a video game. ONR’s Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) exercise will gather more than 1,000 players into a three-week scenario where they’ll deal with the complex nature of a changing and evolving threat.

It’s safe to say MMOWGLI won’t look like a massive multiplayer round of Black Ops or Counter Strike. ONR isn’t looking for players that are particularly adept at collecting frags with a virtual rifle, but rather for minds from academia, the defense industry, government organizations and other defense- and naval-related fields that might produce solutions to a set of difficult problems. Like how to defend a growing swath of a major shipping lane from determined bandits in small, fast boats.

This is pretty cool.  I wonder what ideas will come up.

If you have some ideas, or would like to evaluate other people's ideas, it looks like you can register at here.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Create funny ads and the world will share the video with everyone

I am not into big thrills, but I like doing some exciting activities. In my twenties I used to go rock climbing.  Since getting married there hasn't been the time.  Once or twice I've suggested that it would be fun to go hang gliding or sky diving.  Janine is not very excited about either option and asks me to wait until the children are gone. 

Maybe when the children are gone I could start cruising a fast car across the desert. Do you think Janine would join me?

Hat tip: a cousin

TSA Molests Bill or Rights

The TSA Molests Bill or Rights is a great summary of the problems with the TSA.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Good article about problems that sometimes happen with CPS

Three years ago the Texas Child Protective Service took over 400 children away from their families. There was a few allegations of abuse, but the main reason the CPS took the children away appears to have been they didn't like what the parents were teaching the children. It was the wrong thing to do. The children suffered being kept away from their loving parents.

As Foster Care parents Janine and I recognize that there is a balance between being too slow to yank children and too quick to yank children. One of the scary things that I learned while reading about the FLDS incident three years ago is that a large fraction of social workers who came from dysfunctional homes. They go into every situation with the view point that there is probably abuse and they have to save the children. They want to save someone else, because no one was there for them. Their attitude is too often the parents are guilty until proven innocent.

Should the state be able to take your kids, or does it have too much power? is a recent example of this. In Michigan a father took his son to a baseball game. While at the game he bought his son some lemonade. Turns out it was Hard Lemonade with alcohol in it. Someone reported this and the police took the boy away from his father. The poor 7-year-old boy was away from his family for three days.

The article has another painful incident where CPS took a baby away from the mother but wouldn't allow the father to have the baby, even though the father was providing foster care for other children. How does this make any sense?

There is a push in Michigan to pass a law, Leo's Law, which would only allow CPS to take a child away from his family if the child was in immediate danger. It is the standard for most other states. If you live in Michigan you might want to encourage your representatives to pass it.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Another thought about allowing people to be different

From A.Word.A.Day:

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
-Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

I posted this last year, worth posting again.