Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - the Technical Difficulty Edition

Tiffany is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at As For My house.

She starts with:

I think my homeschool lesson for the last week or two has something to do with overcoming challenges.

I had some folks over last Saturday for a canning party (and our little Keepers at Home were earning a badge for their work). We overcame a variety of hurdles before, during, and after the event, including wrong size jars, last minute cancellations leaving odd groupings, a recipe not making as much as expected, and strawberries that went from lovely to rotten overnight (literally). Somehow, we came through it all, and had a great time.

Heaving a sigh of relief, I sat down to start working on the Carnival. Except that, oddly, I only had a few entries… Usually by Saturday, there are quite a few. What could be going on?

Digging around in my Inbox some more, I found a letter from Henry with the explanation:

Go to the carnival for the rest of the story.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 27, 2011

Interesting list

I was a bit surprised by how many items I didn't know in the The 100 Longest Entries On Wikipedia.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

Summer School

We have homeschooled for 12 years. For most of those years I have planned to continue with our educational pursuits during the summer. Every time, I hit July 4th and crash and burn and give up on doing "school." We end up doing more "unschool" activities during the summer.

Now that our children are older children are high school and middle school age, there are academic subjects like math and foreign language that we really don't want to let slide during the summer. However, we don't want our kids (or their mother) to get too burned out either.

So this is this years attempt at "summer school." Henry gives a check list to each child before he leaves for work in the morning. We also have rules like no recreational computer use before noon and a limit of 1 hour of recreational computer/tv viewing per day.

I will keep you posted on how well it works.

Would you like to blog about your congressman?

A couple months ago I posted about a Tea Party effort have a blog for each congressman.  They have setup the framework for the blogs, and now they are asking for volunters.  If you would like to join in an effort to make public exactly what each congressman is doing, you can fill out this questionnaire and the Tea Party Patriots will get back to you.

Homeschool Showcase #75 is up

Homeschool Showcase #75 is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: The Lottery

The Lottery is a 2010 education documentary about how four families try to get their children into the premier charter school in Harlem, the Harlem Success Academy.  I watched this with my daughter last night.  At least ten times my daughter said "This is so sad."  I told her this is part of the reason we homeschool.

The movie is well done and flows well.  It follows these families.  The parents want good educations, but they recognize their children won't get it at the public schools.  I came to care about the children and was sad that they have been so handicapped in life and that the public schools are doing a poor job of educating students.  The movie covers many of the basic problems with government schools.  Here are some of the places the public schools are failing:

1) The average black 12th grader performs as well as the average white 8th grader.
2) 58% of black 4th graders are functionality illiterate.
3) Out of 23 public schools in Harlem 19 of them have fewer than 50% reading at grade level.

In contrast Harlem Success Academy students are going off to college.  In the year The Lottery was filmed, there was 3000 applicants trying for 400 slots. 

One of the most painful parts was watching people fighting Harlem Success Academy's efforts to expand.  Here is a charter school which is succeeding.  By objective measurements the students are way beyond the regular public schools, yet because the teacher unions feel threatened there is great opposition to Harlem Success Academy starting a third charter school.  This is a classic example of how politics is destroying public education in America. 

If you want a better understanding how and why public schools are so broken then watch this movie.  You'll come to understand why so many public school teachers send their children to private schools.

Here is the trailer:

My reviews of the 2010 Education Documentaries:
Race to Nowhere - Students are kept extremely busy.
The Cartel - Problems with public schools in New Jersey.
Waiting for Superman - Public schools are broken, but no one is powerful enough to save them.
The Lottery - Many oppose a successful charter school and the children suffer.

Review: Waiting for Superman

Waiting for Superman is a documentary on some of the problems with public education in America.  Early in the movie we're shown a clip for the old Superman TV show where Superman would always come in and save the day.   The point of this movie is our government schools are very, very broken, but no one is powerful enough to come save the children. 

In many ways it is a sad movie.

The movie shows us children from rough situations.  These children want an educate so they can do well in life.  They have dreams, but these dreams will not be realized if they children are never taught.

The movie interweaves clips of the children and their struggles to get into good schools with quotes from various education experts and politicians.  For decades politicians have been calling for improvements in education.  More funding has been raised for education.  Yet year after year public education continues to get worse.  For example in 2002 President Bush and Senator Kennedy worked to pass No Child Left Behind, where a large focus of the law was to measure progress.  Yet eight years later few children are proficient in math and reading.

Here are some of the sad points made in the movie:

1) Between 5th and 7th grade huge numbers of minority students go from getting B's to D's.
2) Because of poor education in elementary schools many students will group out from middle and high school.
3) Because of tenure it is almost impossible to fire bad teachers.

The movie showed how Michelle Rhee tried to tackle the bureaucracy in the Washington DC school district, but was fought on many sides.  She tried to fire 50 principles and close down 23 failing schools, but there was a huge backlash.  Michelle Rhee said that the public is willing to let the children suffer so teachers don't get fired.

The movie ends on a positive note.  It claims we know how to improve public schools now we just need to do it.

While I think this is a good movie and worth watching I don't believe the conclusion.  The government schools today in the United States have institutionalized their problems and I don't have any faith that things will get better in the next decade.  It is such a Gordian Knot.   Any time someone tries to fix even a piece of the problem the teacher unions and school officials talk about the law and threaten lawsuits.  There are thousands of roadblocks scattered all across public education.

If you want to see a good summary of the problems with public schools, this is worth watching.  If you want to see how to fix the government schools, then you'll have to wait for superman.

To give you a sample of the movie here is the trailer:

My reviews of the 2010 Education Documentaries:
Race to Nowhere - Students are kept extremely busy.
The Cartel - Problems with public schools in New Jersey.
Waiting for Superman - Public schools are broken, but no one is powerful enough to save them.
The Lottery - Many oppose a successful charter school and the children suffer.

Being good company

From A.Word.A.Day:

A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.
-Charles Evans Hughes, jurist (1862-1948)

Peter Falk died at age 83

I loved Columbo.  I am sad to learn that Peter Falk died Thursday evening.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thoughts about why we need to be OK with being wrong

Jesus Christ teaches us to be humble.  I think one of the reasons why it is important for us to be humble is we are then more teachable.  We are more open to change, to learning new ideas and this will lead to growth.  Part of the way we become better people is by admiting we don't know everything and that we might be wrong in some things.  This is scary.  There have been times in my life when I felt like I would rather be dead than to admit I was wrong.  But we have to be humble and open to truth to become more perfect.

Kathryn Schultz has studied what it means to be wrong.  She calls herself a wrongologist.  I first heard of her yesterday when I watched her TED talk On being wrong:

It is worth investing 18 minutes in watching her talk.  She is entertaining and informative.  If you watch the video I think you will be more comfortable in being wrong.  I've added her book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error to my list of books to read.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cool idea: Civilization on a CD

I started exercising again.  With the two foster care boys we had for almost six weeks we got into survival mode and dropped things that weren't essential.

This morning I moved the laptop to be in front of our elliptical and watched Marcin Jakubowski talk about Open-sourced blueprints for civilization.  Open source is well known in the technology world for the creation of Linux.  Thousands of software engineers around the world have worked together to create a powerful platform for computing.

Last month I wrote about Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir, which is kind of an open source approach to singing.

Marcin Jakubowski is taking this distributive collaborative approach in a different direction.  He wants to make freely available the plans and instructions for building fifty key machines for civilization.  His hope is that they can design basic rugged machines that can be used in third world nations to allow them to boot strap themselves.  Long term Marcin would like to make the plans available on a CD.  I would buy the CD.

Here is his talk:

For more information check out: Open Source Ecology.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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

Tiffany will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week at As For My House.

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.

Carnival of Homeschooling

The Hands On Homeschooling Blog Carnival is up

The latest Hands On Homeschooling Blog Carnival is up at Talking to Myself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This I believe

"We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much."
-- Ronald Reagan

Hat tip: My brother-in-law

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Summer Camp Edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Sucessful Homeschooling.

Carletta starts the carnival with:

Last summer, a friend called to ask if I knew of any inexpensive summer camps. The cheapest summer camp she could find cost $150 per week! Aren’t you glad that we can give our children all those fun summer experiences right in our own homes?

Welcome to the Summer Camp edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling!

Go check out what homeschoolers are blogging about this week.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Now the house will be real quiet

The two brothers that we provided foster care for went home on Wednesday.

The last couple days have been peaceful and quiet.

Our oldest two daughters leave for girls camp on Monday.  They'll be gone until the following Saturday.

After having six children in our household it will be weird to have only two for a week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blog Carnival has a problem

Starting around the 8th of June, Blog Carnival stopped forwarding submissions to Amy for this week's carnival.  By using the Insta Carnival feature I was able to dig out the URLs for the posts submitted, but the full submissions with comments and email addresses never came through. 

This problem still exists.  I have checked with the organizers of three other Homeschooling carnivals and they are seeing the same problem.

If you send in your post via Blog Carnival we should still be able to include it in the next carnival, but it probably is best if you mail your submission directly to the Carnival of Homeschooling's email address which is: CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com.  Remember to include:

Title of Post
URL of Post
Name of Blog
URL of Blog
Brief summary of the post
(With "carnival" or "submission" in the subject field of the email.)

Hopefully Blog Carnival will soon fix the problem and the submissions will be forwarded to the carnival hosts.

Carnival of Homeschooling

a homeschooling carnival is up

Garden of Learning is hosting the a homeschooling carnival.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A beautiful video

This is a beautiful video.

Hat tip: My mom

I like Senator Marco Rubio's speech

I like Senator Marco Rubio's perspective on the role of government and the factors that made America great.  I wish my senators were more like him.

Senator Marco Rubio's Maiden Floor Speech:

Hat tip: The Heritage Foundation

I'll have to ponder this a bit

From A.Word.A.Day:

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him.
-Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)

My first thoughts are:

Can you really learn anything worthwhile from idiots?
And is it worth the effort?

In general I think we should invest our time in learning from wise people.  Maybe Galileo's point is if we are forced to be with an idiot that make the best of it and try to learn?

The TSA sees everyone as a terrorist

15-year-old girl: To TSA agents, I’m the face of terrorism is another sad account of mindless TSA policies which allowed TSA agents to grope a fifteen-year-old girl.  The girl starts with her account writing:

I’ll bet you didn’t know I’m a terrorist. I didn’t either until Wednesday when Transportation Security Administration workers at Midway Airport decided I fit some obscure profile. I guess terrorists these days typically have braces and freckles.

I think, and hope, that as more and more citizens are subjected to unacceptable treatment by the TSA there will be a ground swell push for the TSA to treat us with respect and thoughtful policies.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Should we present new material in new fonts?

I found this fascinating.  Study suggests 'hard to read' fonts may increase reading retention reports:

In the study, as described by lead author, Connor Diemand-Yauman in an interview with ABC Radio National, a first group of volunteers, comprised of 28 adults, were asked to read some fictional text and then were asked questions about the characters involved afterwards. The volunteers were divided into three groups, with each being given the same text but printed in a different font; the first got 16-point Arial, the second 12-point Comic Sans MS and the third 12-point Bodoni MT. The group that had the so-called hard to read Comic Sans outperformed the other two on the questions given afterwards.
In the second study, the volunteers were high school students (over 220 of them, from six separate groups) reading normal course material in different fonts; some of which were considered hard to read, such as Comic Sans or Monotype Corsiva. Once again, those that were reading the material printed in the more difficult to read fonts outperformed those reading easier type on tests given afterwards.
Diemand-Yauman says these experiments show that people tend to remember what they’ve read better if the material given is in a hard to read font.
What’s not discussed in the paper, however, is if it was possible that the results achieved were due simply to the newness of the fonts to the readers...

Maybe we should presenting new material to our children in a different font each week?

Remember - You have a right to take pictures at public places

There is a disturbing trend.  More and more people are being hassled about taking pictures in public places.  The Navigator: Don’t shoot? But it’s a public space reports:

“I used to deal with one of these a month,” says Mickey Osterreicher, the general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). “Then it was weekly. Now it’s almost every day. Citizens are being told that they can’t take pictures out in public — whether it’s a building, a bridge or a train.”

Later Osterreicher shares his understanding of the law:

Osterreicher says that there are only two public areas in the United States where you can’t shoot pictures: military bases and nuclear facilities. “The warnings are clearly posted,” he says. “Otherwise, if the public is allowed, then so are their rights.”

My guess is many of the policemen trying to arrest people for taking pictures in public places went to public schools and slept through the one hour lecture on the Bill of Rights.

Hat tip:Boycott Flying

The worth of a college degree?

A NY Times article Calculating the Potential Return on Your Major summarizes a recent report on What's It Worth?

I found this interactive graphic very interesting.

I was suprised to learn that the median engineering salary was much higher than the median for Law and public policy.

Hat tip: my mom.

The Story of Science

In Books to Homeschool With: The Story of Science Jeanne Faulconer encourages homeschoolers to check out Joy Hakim's The Story of Science series.

Hat tip: Natalie Winningham

Nice video about the benefits of homeschooling

The video Homeschool: Propaganda Vs. Reality (Shattering the myths) has a number of fun statistics, facts and quotes about homeschooling. 

Here were two of my favorites:

"Home school students watch much less televsion than students nationwide; 65% of home school students watch one hour or less per day compared to 25% nationally."

A reason why homeschoolers do better is they aren't wasting their time filling their brain with mindless junk.

Dr. Gary Knowles, the University of Michigan, studied home educated adults and found:

"None were unemployed and none were on welfare, 94% said home education prepared them to be independent persons, 79% said it helped them interact with individuals from different levels of society, and they strongly supported the home education method."

This one surprised me.  I don't remember hearing of any study between unemployement and homeschooling.  Maybe the answer to the current depression is to ask more parents to homeschool their children.

Here's the video:

Hat tip: Miazagora on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The house is strangely quiet

The two brothers who have been at our house for almost seven weeks went home today.  The social workers recommended that these boys be allowed to return to their home and the judge agreed.

It is so quiet now.

We'll miss them.  They have been good for our son.  Our boy is talking so much more now. 

But the boys did take a lot of energy and I think everyone in our family is glad to have a break from the near constant drama.

News: Students don't know much about US History

There is a line about those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.  It looks like we'll be repeating it.

Report: Students don't know much about US history:

U.S. students don't know much about American history.

Just 13 percent of high school seniors who took the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the Nation's Report Card, showed a solid grasp of the subject. Results released Tuesday showed the two other grades didn't perform much better, with just 22 percent of fourth-grade students and 18 percent of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency.

I wonder if the test is online.  I would love to know how my daughters would do on the test.

How government solves problems

The story is told that early in America's effort to get into space that officials in NASA realized that pens wouldn't work without gravity.  A program was created to develop a pen to work in zero gravity.  Millions and millions of dollars were "invested."

The Russians recognized the same problem and bought some pencils.  Problem solved.

I thought of this as I read TSA will fly in screeners to an Alaskan outpost to inspect one flight per day:

Because the tiny landlocked city of Gustavus, Alaska has a seasonal airport that is open only during the summer months and services only one Alaska Airlines flight per day, TSA has awarded a $40,000 contract to a small Juneau-based airline to fly four TSA security screeners from Juneau to Gustavus and back again, each day for 77 consecutive days.

It seems like there has got to be a dozen better ways to solve this problem than to spend $40,000 for a town of 377 people.  Maybe you could call the mayor and ask the people boarding the plane are people you need to worry about.  With a population of 377 I'm sure everyone knows who boards the planes. 

There are few secrets in a small town.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Easily amused

I took my oldest two daughters to see a movie last night.

Someone had a tee-shirt which read:

Haikus are easy.
But some of them don't make sense.

My oldest daughter really enjoyed it.  I told her she was easily amused and she said it is a sign of genius.

Wish me luck

I was in a Toastmasters club for six or seven years at my previous company.  There isn't a convenient Toastmasters club near my new company, so today I'm having a kickoff meeting to start a new club.

Wish me luck.

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

Carletta will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week at Successful Homeschooling.

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.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up

Amy from Peru is hosting the latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival at her blog Fisher Academy International.

Sad news of the day

Janine and I had known each other for over a year before we even thought about dating.  For a long time she wasn't that interested in me, though she did think my house had potential.  I thought Janine was cute but I was chasing a few other women at the time.

Janine was providing technical support and she was encouraged to take a C programming class.  She says she went to class the first day and didn't understand a word the teacher said.  Some guy at work told her she could skip the introduction to programming and thus there were a number of concepts she had never heard of before. 

I offered to help her.  Neither of us remembers exactly how it worked out, but the first tutoring session was at Marie Calendars.  I think her best time was during my dinner time.  I had fond memories of Marie Calendars.  Growing up my grandparents often took us to a Marie Calendars restaurant about 30 miles from their ranch.  I love their pies.  Janine and I spent a lot of evenings together studying C.  It was a hard topic for her, so we "had" to spend hours working on the concepts and the homework.  And I'm pretty sure we returned back to Marie Calendars for some of these study sessions since it was close to her apartment.

Marie Calendars became a place we returned to often for anniversaries.  And since we submitted birthday cards for our children we frequently go back now to also celebrate birthdays.

So it was with a heavy heart this morning that I read Marie Calendars filed for bankruptcy.  I hope they are able to survive.  I would love to have dinner with Janine around our fiftieth anniversary at a Marie Calendars.

Are we teaching our children to have a sense of entitlement?

The Entitlement Trap looks like a good book to read. Here is a video where Richard and Linda Eyre talk about some of their concerns and ideas:

Here's another video:

Why everyone needs to learn science and math

Often our daughters ask they have to study math.  I like Neil deGrasse Tyson's answer:

Hat tip: Natalie Winningham

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Amy is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Cajun Inspired Living.

Blog Carnival had some kind of problem this last week.  Only three of the entries were forwarded to the Carnival of Homeschool's email address, and thus Amy only got three directly.  I went into Blog Carnival and was able to dig out more submissions to the carnival, but I may not have gotten them all.  If you entry didn't appear, tell me.  We'll see what we can do, but it might be easiest to resubmit it.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Why Homeschoolers succeed

Jay P. Green reviews a new book in his post One of the Best Education Books I’ve Read. He starts with:

And I’ve read quite a few. The book is Barker Bausell’s “Too Simple to Fail: A Case for Educational Change”, which just came out from Oxford University Press. Bausell was a biostatistician and professor for many years at the University of Maryland, but he started out in graduate school doing some fascinating educational experiments that showed the irrelevance of teacher training. He brings the perspective of a brilliant outsider.

His main thesis: that the only thing that improves education is spending more time on instruction at a given child’s level. In his words:

All school learning is explained in terms of the amount of relevant instructional time provided to a student

I bolded the third paragraph.

This is why homeschoolers do so well.  By going one-on-one with our children we can spend more time with our children at an appropriate level.  Public school teachers can never hope to manage the number of hours we can spend with our children one-on-one each week compared to the number of minutes they can spend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good article about homeschoolers and college

In Do Homeschoolers Succeed in College? Milton summarizes a recent article about homeschoolers in college.  Milton starts with:

This post reviews Michael F. Cogan, “Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students” in Journal of College Admission 208: 18-25(2010). Read the full article here.

Cogan acknowledges the lack of satisfactory, empirical research concerning homeschooled students’ academic achievements and/or outcomes at the collegiate level. In an effort to correct the deficiency, he compares the academic outcomes (or academic standing as evidenced by comparative GPAs) of homeschooled students to those of traditionally-educated students enrolled at a mid-sized doctoral institution in the Midwest.

And Milton concludes with:

Cogan tells us with statistics what administrators have known anecdotally for a long time. Homeschoolers typically perform as well or better than their traditioanlly-schooled peers, and they don’t drop out of school. That’s the kind of student any school covets.

I'm guessing most homeschoolers can tie their own shoes

Joanne Jacobs writes about a sad trend: Students can’t tie their own shoes:

In recent years, college students have lost the ability to tie their own shoes, writes Jerry Weinberger, a Michigan State political science professor, on City Journal. Without their helicopter parents, students lose syllabi, break appointments and can’t find the final exam. They don’t buy the right books — and as many as 20 percent don’t read the books, Weinberger believes.

Before 2004, his final exams would pose essay questions like “Compare Hobbes and Nietzsche on the question of religion” and “What is the difference between Marx and Locke on the origins of private property?” That’s impossible now. Too many would flunk.

I've heard that in general most colleges find homeschoolers are responsible and serious about higher education.

Seems a bit high: Superintendent in NY State Making Half a Million in Salary

Almost without fail proponets of public schools demand more money "for the children." 

Superintendent in NY State Making Half a Million in Salary makes it clear that at least some of the money is not for the children.

I thought this was interesting:

Even while the Syosset schools are of the highest quality, the students are confused as to why she makes so much money especially when they have never seen her face before in the halls of the school.

How to Raise an Entrepreneur

I don't think you can trick a child who would normally be an artist or soccer player into being an entrepreneur, but if you have a child who has tendencies in that direction there are some things you can do to encourage and support your budding future businessman.  How To Raise An Entrepreneur has a few tips.

Be careful of who you friend on Facebook

Are you also exposing your private parts to strangers on Facebook? is an interesting post about the risk of saying yes to friend requests from strangers.  This seems to be a real problem for rich and famous people on Facebook:

Think it’s only old men in trench coats and — ahem — congressmen who like to share intimate moments with attractive strangers?

Based on my own Facebook experience, I’ve seen at least 100 influential tech, media and politics folks — men and some women — accept friend requests from attractive women they don’t know. For as long as three years, these supposedly savvy folks have been having personal conversations and sharing photos online in front of strangers that few (if any) of them know personally. And they are, inadvertently, sharing lots of their friends’ private data with these strangers.

These people are in the tech, media and political digital elite. They should know better, right? They include professors at Harvard, Columbia, NYU, CEOs and execs at Internet companies, e-consulting firms, ad networks, and PR companies. They include senior journalists and editors at places like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. Details below.

Hat tip: Transterrestrial Musings

Homeschool Showcase #74 is up

Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie reviews for Kids and Parents

Sometimes we're not sure if we want to take our children to a particular movie.  If you struggle with the same problem check out: Parent Previews.

Hat tip: R. Hansen

Another reason what public schools are failing

Too often teachers feel it is their right and responsibility to change how the students think.

3rd Graders Indoctrinated in School Budgeting by Milwaukee Teacher is another classic example of how rather than spend time on teaching children how to read and write a teacher wastes the studens' time trying to teach them about "social justice" which means to think like the teacher.
Maybe we shouldn't be calling people like this teachers but something like "brain washers."

Hat tip: Deputy Headmistress

Good thought about the problems with lying

From A.Word.A.Day:

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.
-George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

Paradise lost

Well paradise didn't last very long.

All three boys are healthy and full of energy.  But I seemed to have caught what they had.  My stomache feels awful.  Hopefully I won't be throwing up.

29 Ways to Stay Creative

It is worth spending three minutes to watch this video:


Hat tip: A friend

Another set of early morning phonic videos

Janine has had several rough nights with the two foster care boys over the last couple weeks.  Often they'll cry at two or three in the morning.  Probably because they are in a strange home, away for their parents. 

So when the boys get up at six, I'll take them upstairs and we'll watch phonic videos so Janine can sleep another hour or two.  Last week I wrote about  Have Fun Teaching

Another phonic series is by Hooked on Phonics.  I like these.  Most letters have their own song.  With the Have Fun Teaching videos I found the same melody very repititious.

Here is the A Song by Hooked on Phonics:

Humor - 10 Things Never to Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom

This is kind of fun: 10 Things Never to Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom.

I wonder which of these Janine has heard?  Given the friends we hang out with I doubt she hears any of these very often.

Hat tip:  Tiffany Fisher Holley

Humor: Another Don McMillan - The bachlor solution to cooking

I'm on a bit of a Don McMillan kick.  Here's another fun video:

I don't know of anyone who has a remote cooking pot combo.  But I wonder if it is available somewhere?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Good post about the value of a classic education

A Cornucopia of Classical Homeschoolers! By Hal and Melanie Young Partner Post starts with:

David Farragut was a midshipman when he was made the prize master of a captured British vessel. As he sailed home with his skeleton crew, the British captain escaped, set free his crew, and tried to retake his ship. Farragut led the fight to recapture them and successfully brought the prize to home port. He was 12 years old.

When we first read stories like that from American history, we wondered why young men seemed so capable and mature in the early days of our country. We wanted our children to have the kind of education our nation’s heroes did—a classical education.

We’ve homeschooled from a classical perspective for seventeen years, long before most of the current books, curricula, or classes were offered. The classical method of education was the traditional way to pass on Western civilization before public schools were redesigned to try and remake children into interchangeable “human resources.”

I think most children are handicaped by the poor education they receive in government schools.  Could you imagine a generation which was allowed to develop to their full potential?

Jobs for the next decade

My mother sent me a link to Yahoo!'s article on Degrees for the Next Decade.  The projections are that there will be great demand for:

Health Care Degrees
Business Degrees
Education Degrees
Technology Degrees

I was surprised that Education Degrees made the list.  My belief is in the next decade or two public schools and higher education are going to have a huge implosion.  As government schools continue to get worse the rate at which people turn to other alternatives will accelerate.  We may even cross a tipping point at which time the demand for "certified" teachers will plummet.

More on why the Department of Education sent a SWAT team

Yesterday we reported on how the United States Department of Education sent a SWAT team to invade a man's home. 

Miazagora found a post on the Charges That Require the Department of Education to Send a Dozen Armed Agents to Kick Through Your Front Door.

There are a lot of weasel words but basically the Department of Education wanted to be repaid for a student loan.

I wonder how much the loan was?  Maybe a few tens of thousands of dollars?  I wonder how much it cost to send 13 men to invade the home of the estranged husband and damage the house?  I hope the husband is able to get his door replaced.

Good column by John Stossel

In The Cancer of Regulation John makes the point that too often regulation doesn't protect the consumer, but the competition.  His column starts:

Politicians care about poor people. I know because they always say that. But then why do they make it so hard for the poor to escape poverty?

Outside my office in New York City, I see yellow taxis. It's intuitive to think that government should license taxis to make sure they're safe and to limit their number. It's intuitive to believe that if anyone could just start picking up passengers, we'd have chaos. So to operate a taxi in NYC, you have to buy a license, a "medallion," from an existing cab company (or at a once-in-a-blue-moon auction). Medallions are so scarce, they now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Licensing prices poor people out of the business.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Is this a good summary of what college is for many? Drifting without purpose

We've written often about the problem of the cost of higher education climbing twice as fast as inflation, for decades.  Instapundit started calling this the Education Bubble.

California teen entrepreneur asks: College? Who needs it? is one solution to this problem:

He calls it the UnCollege movement.

Nineteen-year-old Dale Stephens is urging his peers to rethink the need for college, arguing that they can get more out of pursuing real-world skills than completing homework assignments and studying for exams.

"I want to change the notion that a college degree is the only path to professional success," said Stephens, who grew up in Winters and now lives in San Francisco, where he is building the UnCollege movement and developing a Web-based company.

Later the article has the phrase: Drifting without pupose.

I wonder how many college students that applies to?

Hat tip: Judy Aron

Interesting thought

From A.Word.A.Day:

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.
-Fyodor Dostoevsky, novelist (1821-1881) 

I like to think this isn't true for me, but I haven't really thought about it.  I'll have to watch myself the next couple days and see.


It appears all the boys are now well.  We haven't had a fever or anyone throwing up for three days.

Kind of amazing what simple things can make us happy.

More Don McMillan - Life After Death by PowerPoint

Yesterday I posted a short video by Don McMillan.  This is the classic Don McMillan video:

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Another mind boggling TSA incident

This is so sad:  Dr. David Mandy: Special Needs Son Harassed by TSA at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

We're on track for a busy blog year

One of the things that has been interesting to me since I switched our blog to the new format is having the Blog Archive feature.  This year is not quit half over and already we've written 623 posts.  In all of 2010 we wrote only 560 posts.  Our most prolific year was 2008 when we posted 908 posts. 

We're on track to pass that number around September!

I have a new hero: James Otis

Where are you, James Otis? explains some of the little known history of the founding of our country:

Arguing before the Superior Court of Massachusetts in 1761, attorney James Otis argued for five hours against the legality of writs of assistance. These writs, which served as general search warrants that did not expire, allowed government officials to search an individual’s person or property at any time, and for any (or no) reason, without having to obtain a specific warrant that described in detail the person, place, or thing to be searched.

Retained by a group of Boston merchants for the case, Otis was well-versed in the abuses of these writs. When speaking before the Court, he related the story of one Mr. Ware, who in retaliation for having been brought before a court on charges of using profanity on the Sabbath, used a writ he had been granted to search through the judge’s home for smuggled goods, as well as the house of the constable who had brought him to the court. Similar abuses of the power to search and seize were quickly becoming commonplace.

Read the whole article.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Humor - Corporate Mathematics

Don McMillan is pretty funny here:

Hat tip: Valerie Bonham Moon

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I didn't realize the Department of Education could invade your home

Education officials break down Stockton man's door:

STOCKTON, CA - Kenneth Wright does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said.

Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as the officers team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.

They were looking for his estranged wife.

Kenneth Wright is a lot more foregiving then I think I would have been:  "All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door,"

Hat tip: Judy Aron

Should we start boycotting cruises now?

The overzealous TSA has decided to go over British senior citizens on cruise ships. 

Cruise passengers tell of seven-hour security 'revenge' nightmare:

It was billed as a chance to taste the “glitz and glamour” of Hollywood or enjoy VIP treatment in some of the most exclusive shopping areas in the world.

But when a group of 2,000 elderly British cruise ship passengers docked at Los Angeles for a short stop-off during a five-star cruise around America it was, in the words of one of them, more like arriving at Guantanamo Bay.

The article, a long article, paints a picture of petty TSA officials.  If this happens a couple times that I'm guessing a lot of foriegn tourists will start spending money else where.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

The thought for today

From A.Word.A.Day:

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE) 

Seems like the police over reacted

I'm glad this was taped:

It will be interested to see if any of the police get disciplined.

Do you live in the US? How free is your state?

Freedom in the 50 States is a study on the personal freedoms in each of the fifty states.

New Hampshiranked first and New York ranked last.

Summary of the study:

Hat tip: Judy Aron

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

The Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted next week at Amy Bayliss - Cajun inspired living.

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.

Interesting study - corn syrup causes you to gain weight

A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain:
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. 

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.


Hat tip: My sister-in-law.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out

Is anyone using the Zero Tuition College?

Yet another problem with public schools

There was a huge out cry when the public learned of Catholic priests who had molested children.

But there doesn't seem to be the same concern when teachers at government schools do the same thing.

Sexual Misconduct Plaguing U.S. Schools starts:

The young teacher hung his head, avoiding eye contact. Yes, he had touched a fifth-grader's breast during recess. "I guess it was just lust of the flesh," he told his boss.

That got Gary C. Lindsey fired from his first teaching job in Oelwein, Iowa. But it didn't end his career. He taught for decades in Illinois and Iowa, fending off at least a half-dozen more abuse accusations.

When he finally surrendered his teaching license in 2004 — 40 years after that first little girl came forward — it wasn't a principal or a state agency that ended his career. It was one persistent victim and her parents.

Lindsey's case is just a small example of a widespread problem in American schools: sexual misconduct by the very teachers who are supposed to be nurturing the nation's children.

The article mentioned a study which estimated that only 10% of the 50 million children in public schools suffer some form of sexual abuse by the employees at these government schools.

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Good article on drowning

My family spent a week at a small lake with some friends when I was six.  I was given a life perserver and allowed to swim for hours at a time.  After four or five days the life perserver became water logged and I had trouble swiming.  Luckily a friend of the family noticed I was in trouble and rescued me.

Drowing Doesn't Look Like Drowning explains that the television version of drowning is not what happens in real life.  It is worth reading.

Sometimes I feel like this

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

"I don't have any solution but I certainly admire the problem."
               -- Ashleigh Brilliant

Are you flying less?

I had not realized that things were so bad.  Are Ridiculous Airport Security Measures Killing Airline Profits?  reports:

According to the International Air Transport Association, profits for the global airline industry will only be about $4 billion this year. Last year, the airline industry made $18 billion. Things look particularly bleak in the North American region.

I know we have decided not to fly until the TSA abolishes their groping policies.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Lemonade Edition

Gary is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at HomeschoolBuzz.com.

The carnival starts with:

Summertime is unofficially here and we can think of no better symbol of summer than lemonade. Welcome to the Lemonade edition of carnival of homeschooling.

Note, you can click on the facebook Like icon for HomeschoolBuzz.com at the bottom of the carnival.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Good news about the TSA

Alaskans push for changes in TSA screening; agency says 'risk-based security' under discussion:

ANCHORAGE, Anchorage — A top official for the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday the agency is considering changes in its screening techniques, including "risk-based security" procedures that will rank populations of air passengers as more or less potentially dangerous.

"There are probably people that we have to take a closer look at than others," said Scott Johnson, the TSA field operations manager.

I doubt things will change quickly, but hopefully more and more people will push back on the TSA. We need to push our government to follow the Constitution which prohibits unreasonable searches.  It is totally unacceptable for TSA agents to grope thousands of men, women and children every day, day after day.

Hat tip: Infowars.com

Column on Higher Education Bubble

We have long blogged about how the cost of college and university education can not continue to climb twice as fast as inflation.  Instapundit calls this the Higher Education bubble. 

The decision to go on for higher education is not considered isolated from the rest of life.  It is a decision based on trade offs.  If it cost a dollar more people could justify the value of four more years.  If it cost a million dollars far fewer people would be willing to make the sacrifice.

Bubbles tend to burst over some event.  Often one that shows the emperor has no cloths or draws back the curtain to reveal a man pushing dials and buttons.

In What is a college education really worth? Naomi Schaefer Riley wonders:

Did Peter Thiel pop the bubble? That was the question on the minds of parents, taxpayers and higher education leaders late last month when the co-founder of PayPalannounced that he was offering $100,000 to young people who would stay out of college for two years and work instead on scientific and technological innovations. Thiel, who has called college “the default activity,” told USA Today that “the pernicious side effect of the education bubble is assuming education [guarantees] absolute good, even with steep student fees.”

Good column.  Some good thoughts.

Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool

New CA law demands that students receive gender 'diversity training'

I find this scary: Parents defenseless against gender 'diversity training':

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), says it is difficult to imagine the liberal indoctrination endured by elementary students.

"No child in kindergarten should be introduced to the question of whether or not they really are a boy or really are a girl," he contends. "That has no place in public schools, and these schools are engaging in an area that without question results in children having problems that they likely would not have had otherwise."

He questions the legitimacy of the topic. Meanwhile, legal counsel is being offered to parents who oppose gender-diversity lessons.

"Legally, there is no right under California law for parents to opt out from this kind of outrageous pro-transgender indoctrination," Dacus laments. "Nonetheless though, as legal counsel, we are giving them advice as to how to protect their children."

I am so glad we homeschool.

Hat tip: Education Watch International

Interesting argument for getting rid of government schools

Creative Destruction in Education has an interesting reason why we should get rid of public schools.

It starts off with the observation:

For the most part, organizations are incapable of innovating. Most organizations are founded with a particular mission and method for pursuing that mission. If circumstances require that the mission or method be changed, organizations generally can’t do it. They’ll just keep doing what they were initially established to do until they can no longer continue operating.

Public schools as they exist in the United States were formed a little over a hundred years ago.  The point is government schools are fundamentally incapable of fixing themselves.

The post concludes with:

Let’s stop trying to fix Detroit, LA, or Chicago public schools.  Let’s let the reality of their failure become official.  They, like most organizations, cannot innovate.  They need to be replaced with new organizations with new missions and new methods of education.  That’s how we can reform schools — by replacing them

Humor - MozART Group

This is fun:

Their web site: MozART Group

I think I'm back

The last week has been rough.  All three boys have been sick.  The throwing up kind with high fever sick.  They are looking better now so hopefully we are through the worse of it.

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

The Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted tomorrow at HomeschoolBuzz.com

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 twelve hours.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Why do bureaucrats want to control our lives?

Sometimes little children like to be bossy and tell other children, and even adults, what to do.  As people grow up most of us learn to just worry about our own lives. 

I wonder if most bureaucrats are just children who never grew up?

Hat tip: Miazagora via Facebook.

The conflict between privacy and security

Interesting article: Why "security" keeps winning out over privacy.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying