Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A 314 point Lego League run on the 2011 Food Factor

My father coached four or five teams for the Lego League contest this Fall.  This years challenges were harder than many pass years.  Yet some teams still did amazing.  Here is a one impressive run:

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo and the value of quantity

Each November thousands push many activities to the back burner to focus on writing a novel. The National Novel Writing Month challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Four in my family accepted the challenge. My second daughter is doing the best. She is up to about 45,000 words. She is determined to make the full 50,000 words by the end of this Wednesday.

This experience had an unexpected side effect. She told my wife she has noticed that both her spelling and writing has gotten better.

This reminds me of a favorite story of mine:


The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.

All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A," forty pounds a "B," and so on. Those being graded on "quality," however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A."

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

From Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles, Ted Orland

I am often critical of public schools which assign two and three hours of homework each day to students in elementary school.  Studies have found that boring repetitious homework does nothing to improve the long term education, and can often destroy a child's interest in learn.

But I recognize that there is a time and place for volume.  It is nice that as homeschoolers we have the option to pick and choose what works best for our children.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A homeschool mention in the comics

Close to Home has a homeschool mention today.

And as much of my family is sitting around in front of computer screens I thought today's Calvin and Hobbes was pretty good.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving

Janine and I feel greatly blessed.  We have wonderful children, good friends, a place to live, good food and the list goes on. 

We hope all of our readers are having a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I just watched this video on the Origin of Thanksgiving by Paul Harvey and thought others might like it:

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, it might be best to send in a submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling right now, right this moment.  That way it gets done.

Next week's carnival will be held at the NerdFamily Blog.

This will be the 309th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

Currently Blog Carnival is not forwarding submissions.  We can dig them out, but it would be easier for me and the host if you submitted your entries directly to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com.  Learn how here.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Piney Woods Homeschool.

Some of our best posts from July 2006

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

Janine wrote a Rants, Raves and Comments series: part 1, part2 and part3.  She then wrote a series of posts on Anti-homeschooling Views: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.  These posts generated dozens and dozens of comments.

Janine gave some advice in response to a request for help in deciding if a parent should homeschool.

We had a nice interview with Scott Somerville – HSLDA Attorney/Activist.  This might have been the last interview we did.  They were fun, but they were a lot of work.

Janine wrote about how Study shows benefit of play time with mom.

This was first time we posted about the Opaque Gorilla video.  It is such an interesting video I'm posting it again:

Maybe I should buy a house on the beach

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

You never know how many friends you have
until you rent a house on the beach.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Being thankful

Jamie is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at momSCHOOL.

She starts the carnival with:

Have you ever noticed how thankfulness is waning in our culture? From t-shirts to sit-coms the prevailing attitude is “me first.” I hope during this Giving Thanks holiday… that we can each find gratefulness and thanksgiving in our hearts. I for one am very thankful for all the great submissions I received this week. Take time to read through them, there is a lot of great stuff here… and it might even inspire a bit of thankfulness for that great endeavor we each have in common… homeschooling!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, November 21, 2011

Follow up on "Don't Talk to Police"

There is some good advice here:

I thought I had posted this: Don't Talk to Police

I remember watching this awhile back and being impressed by it.  I thought I had posted it to our blog, but I couldn't find it on Why Homeschool.

After watching this video I think everyone will always take the fifth.

Hat tip: Maria C. Mitchell

You may be committing "Three Felonies a Day"

I've been meaning to read the book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.

Here is a six minute summary of the book by its author, Harvey A. Silverglate:

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

Another bully just happens to be a teacher

Last week we wrote about a teacher who was a bully at a school in Ohio. The parent of special-needs student had her daughter wear a wire to record the abuse.

This week I read about another special-needs student who was being verbaly abused by his teacher, in New Jersey.  The parents of this student didn't believe their son, so on his own the son videotaped the teacher.  And now the teacher is on paid leave. 

One article starts:

A special education teacher in New Jersey unloaded a profanity-filled tirade on a special needs student - telling the 15-year-old he would 'kick his a**.'

No one believed Julio Artuz that his teacher at Bankbridge Regional School in Gloucester County, New Jersey, was bullying him, so he used his cell phone to secretly record a rant two weeks ago.

'What’s gonna happen to me? ... I’ll say whatever I want to say. You don’t like it, oh well,' the teacher taunts the teen.

Two thoughts occur to me while reading articles about this teacher:

1) Hopefully teachers will stopped berating their students, as the teachers recognize they could easily be taped.

2) I'm so glad we homeschool, so we don't even have to worry about some out of control teacher being near one of our children.

Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool

Good introduction to Trade

This is a good video for your children to watch.  It is clear and basic.

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

3 Reasons We Shouldn't Bail Out Student Loan Borrowers

The first reason for opposing foregiving Student Loans is because the loans are voluntary.  Check out the video for the other two reasons:

Hat tip: Instapundit

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Interesting: Some Silicon Valley Executives send their children to a low tech school

Why Are Silicon Valley Executives Sending Their Kids to a Tech-Free School? starts with:

You'd think executives at Silicon Valley's top tech firms would be keen to enroll their children in schools chock-full of the latest education technology: one-to-one laptops, iPad programs, digital textbooks, and teachers engaging students using Twitter. But according to The New York Times, some Silicon Valley parents—including the chief technology officer of eBay and execs from Google and Apple—are doing a 180 and sending their kids to the area's decidedly low-tech Waldorf school.

Waldorf's computer-free campuses—teachers use old-school chalkboards and students learn cursive writing with pen and paper—are a sharp contrast from most schools, where access to technology is seen as key to getting kids college- and career-ready. Advocates of Waldorf education say they're not opposed to technology, but there's a time and a place for everything. There are no iPads in kindergarten classrooms at Waldorf schools—instead you'll find plenty of play-based learning and storytelling.

"The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or to do arithmetic, that's ridiculous," Alan Eagle, an executive communications employee at Google, told the Times. His fifth-grade daughter attends a Waldorf school and "doesn't know how to use Google," and his middle school-age son is just learning to use the search engine. Instead, his daughter's class is honing their knitting skills in the hopes of eventually producing socks.

Hat tip: Simple Single Mom

Did you know there is a South Africa Carnival of Homeschooling Blogs?

Pretty cool:  South Africa Carnival of Homeschooling Blogs.

Friday, November 18, 2011

For the tenth anniversary of the TSA let's abolish it

Ten Years Of The TSA (Yes, It Seems Much Longer) recounts a few of the many abuses the TSA has committed over the years and then concludes with this:

Let’s give ourselves a present on the TSA’s tenth birthday: let’s demand Congress do more than merely wring its hands over this horrific boondoggle. Abolish the TSA.

I agree.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

I feel sorry for Europe

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration:

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

I wonder if next the bureaucrats will deny the existence of gravity.

Just amazing.

Hat tip: My brother, who posted on Facebook a link to: EU Bans Claim.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

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

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

Next week's carnival will be held at momSCHOOL.

This will be the 308th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.
Currently Blog Carnival is not forwarding submissions.  We can dig them out, but it would be easier for me and the host if you submitted your entries directly to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com.  Learn how here.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nuture your child's curiousity

A recent study found that Curious Children Perform Better Academically:

Intelligence is an influential factor that helps determine a child’s performance at school. But what about curiosity? Psychological scientists have started looking at factors other than intelligence that could influence how some students do better than others, writes Yahoo News.

A new study has found that curiosity has a large effect on academic performance. Having gathering the data from about 200 studies with a total of about 50,000 students. The researchers found that when put together, conscientiousness and curiosity had as big an effect on performance as intelligence.

The Hallelujah Chorus from Quinhagak, Alaska

A friend sent me a link to this fun version of the Hallelujah Chorus:

I had posted it last year.  Here is what I found out about Quinhagak:

About two thirds of the way down this report on Quinhagak is a chart on the modes of transportation to work. Between 5% and 10% drove a car alone to work. A little over 10% carpooled to work. Close to a third walked to work. But over half of them had some other mode of transportation. Given this is a fishing village I'm guessing they went by boat. But maybe in the winter most of them use a dog sled to get to work?

An anonymous comment posted out that many may use snow machines.

It sure would be a different world.

Bullies at public schools aren't always students

Ohio Special-needs Student Wore Wire to Tape Aide's Caustic Comments starts with:

The mother of an Ohio teenager with special needs had her daughter wear a wire to secretly record a barrage of disparaging comments from a classroom aide, officials and the family's lawyer said.

On the four days of tapes, made last spring, the aide Kelly Chaffins is heard telling the 14-year-old girl that she is "dumb" and "a liar" and saying, "No wonder you don't have any friends."

"Don't you want to get rid of that belly?...Go for a walk. Do you know how to? You are just lazy and your family is lazy," she castigated the child, according to the complaint in a lawsuit filed by the girl's family.

The school paid the family $300,000, but the teachers didn't really suffer.  Chaffins resigned and will probably get a job at another school.  The teacher is on maternity leave and has agreed to take eight hours of training about bullying and recognizing child abuse.  This is just a slap on the wrist, after all the teacher will probably get paid for the training.

Hat tip: Natalie Winningham

Why did we have an explosion in standard of living in the 1800s?

I like this Introduction to the Industrial Revolution:

Here is a summary:

What was the industrial revolution? According to Dr. Stephen Davies, it was an extraordinarily innovative period in history that generated the highest living standards the world had ever seen. For instance, over the course of the 19th century, average per capita income in the United Kingdom rose by a factor of six. To put this in perspective, prior to the industrial revolution, it typically took 300-400 years for the standard of living to rise by a factor of 0.5. Why did this explosion of human flourishing take place? Dr. Stephen Davies claims that people began to embrace an engineering culture along with a respect for trade and business. It was this synergy of trade and engineering that led to a revolution in production and business organization.

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

I think the answer is NO!

Do Failing Schools Deserve a Second Chance? makes the argument that just because a school is in the dumps and children aren't learning that we shouldn't close the school. 

After all "A school building does not cause low achievement."

The claim is that transfering students to another school doesn't always prompt better performance and better education.

But if a school has been consistently destroying the lives of the students, then we have a known quantity, and I would take the chance of improvement over a hope that some day the school will improve.  A broken school has a broken culture.  It is almost impossible for a few good teachers to come in and turn a poorly functional school around.

Hat tip: Waiting for "Superman"

I have asked my daughters to read this

Cal Newport asserts that If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers.  He recounts a study which found average and elite violin players spent about the same amount of time practicing, but that the elite players were both more focused and more relaxed.  They were more focused when they practiced and more relaxed the rest of their day.

He summarizes the results as:

  • The average players are working just as many hours as the elite players (around 50 hours a week spent on music),
  • but they’re not dedicating these hours to the right type of work (spending almost 3 times less hours than the elites on crucial deliberate practice),
  • and furthermore, they spread this work haphazardly throughout the day. So even though they’re not doing more work than the elite players, they end up sleeping less and feeling more stressed. Not to mention that they remain worse at the violin.

This is a good article for students to read.  I've asked my daughters to read it.

Hat tip: My brother-in-law.

Another beautiful picture from the Astronomy Picture of the Day

Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Obs) gave me permission to post his beautiful picture of IC 59 and IC 63 in Cassiopeia:

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Tweet edition

Dave is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at HomeSchool Dad.

He explains the theme:

My response to twitter when I first heard of it was exactly the same as my response to Facebook when I first heard of it was about the same. Why would I ever do that. With twitter I was intrigued about the process of condensing my thoughts and even did a few twitter sized posts on my blog. Finally I warmed up to the idea of twitter and started using it from time to time.

Earlier this year it dawned on me that about the only time I read all the carnival of homeschooling articles is when I host the carnival. I even read other hosts say the same thing. Each time I have hosted I get so much out of the carnival since I do read each post. So as a writing challenge to myself and a chance to read an entire carnival I tweeted every post of COH#286 that was hosted @ As For Me and My House this past summer.

I really enjoyed all aspects of the experiment, I got to read every post and I got to work on my writing chops by reviewing each post in twitter sized chunks. So when my turn came up to host the carnival I decided to tweet the entire carnival. As each submission came in I tweeted intro and even made up a hash tag for the carnival, #CH307. Most of these tweets came on Monday night because like the title of the aforementioned COH 286 there were technical difficulties in getting all the links to me in a timely manner.

So, for your enjoyment, enlightenment, entertainment and 3 other words that don't start with an "e" or end with a "t", here is the Twitter edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling:

You can read his tweets at #CH307.

What is going on here?

"Meet Blue Jay, probably the greatest talent to come along in 200 years. At age 12, he has already written 5 full length symphonies."

Just amazing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homeschooling might have saved a life

Bullying and Suicide -- 10-year-old Takes Her Own Life is a sad story about a ten-year-old girl who saw no way out of the bullying that made her life hell.  (Think of the paragraphs we could write about the importance of "socialization" that occurs in government schools.)

Just days before Ashlynn Conner had: "begged her mother to pull her out of Ridgefarm Elementary School, and to put her in homeschooling."

If a child is suffering this kind of abuse there is no good reason to force them to go back to public schools.

Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool

Some of our best posts from June 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 June 2006:

Janine wrote about how Friendship is in decline and then shared some more thoughts about Friendship.

I shared a few lessons learned from hosting the Carnival of Education.

Janine explained Why Gender Matters in Education.

Money was a popular topic in June. We had a post on Teaching Children to be the Master of Money, a post on How to teach basic economics to children and a post about Ways homeschooling can save you money.

We had two interviews.  One was with Jennifer James - Director of National African-American Homeschoolers Alliance. The second was with the author Beverly K. Eakman.

One of the family stories we often share is when our youngest daughter told Janine "I want to be smart!"

We also wrote about a short cruise we took out of LA.

It isn't just the miles

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:
Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me; I want people to know 'why' I look this way.
I've traveled a long way,
and some of the roads weren't paved.

-Will Rogers

A little science: Laughter really may be the best medicine

Maybe along with our daily vitamins we need to take a daily dose of jokes.

The Reader's Digest runs a section titled Laughter is the best medicine.  A recent scientific study found that Happiness contributes to longer life:

Previous studies on happiness and longevity have looked at how people felt in the past. These recollections of feelings are not always accurate. Not everyone can remember exactly how they felt last Tuesday, so the information is a bit faulty.

For this study, researchers led by Professor of Psychology at the University College London, looked at 3,800 participants between the ages of 52 and 79. They were asked to record their levels of happiness, anxiety and a variety of other emotions at four specific points throughout one particular day.

Based on answers, the researchers divided the participants into three groups based on their level of happiness and positive feelings. Each group was comparable in ethnic makeup, employment status, overall health and education but varied in terms of age, wealth and whether or not they smoked.

After a period of five years, the researchers discovered that within in the groups, seven percent of the least happy group had passed away compared to only four percent in the happiest of the three groups. The middle group was at five percent.

Researchers then looked at each group again and controlled for age, chronic diseases, exercise, alcohol consumption, depression and socioeconomic factors. With these factors taken into consideration, they discovered that 35 percent of the happiest group was less likely to have died and the middle group of happiness was 20 percent less likely.

So don't worry, be happy:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good article from Reason

The School District Is Dead, Long Live the Schools explores a trend in public schools.  More and more students are going to charter schools.  The article concludes with:

The bottom line is that charter schools give school leaders, teachers, and parents much more control over staffing and finances while also freeing them from the economic consequences of belonging to a district that has been in financial distress for decades. A school district may become financially bankrupt, but individual schools can live on through the charter school process. It raises the question: As a nation, should we continue to support large school districts at the expense of individual schools and students? Oakland school district spokesman Troy Flint speaks the truth to power when he says that “ASCEND is a canary in the coal mine, and that fact has shaken people, that's no question.”

Are Americans Leaving the US?

Last month I wrote about how to get rid of $132,000 of debt: move to another country.

It looks like millions of people are considering this. Meet The Growing Number Of Americans Who Want To Move Abroad starts with:

A growing number of Americans is thinking about turning expat, according to a survey by America Wave and Zogby International.

The share of Americans planning to relocate increased to 2.5 percent from 0.8 percent in 2009. If this number describes the entire population, that means around 6 million Americans are planning on leaving the country.

I think if some other country would just get their house in order that thousands of Americans would leave the United States.  The problem is all the other countries in the world seemed to have problems just as bad and worse.

Here's a video reviewing some of the data on Americans who are planning on leaving:

Hat tip: Instapundit

NYT column on homeschooling

Margaret Heidenry write about being homeschooled in the 70s. Her column My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists starts:

Tired of the constraints of the 40-hour workweek, my father, in 1972, quit his job in publishing. My parents were in their early 30s, and they had four children under 7. “But we still wanted to explore the world,” my father recalled recently. They bought six one-way tickets to Europe, leaving only a laughable $3,000 to subsist on. Young and idealistic, they thought they could easily educate us along the way. “Life itself would become a portable classroom.”

And kind of fun, her father responds with I Was That ‘Home-Schooling Anarchist’

Hat tip: CA HSC mailing list

You can do something that will long be remembered

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

Perhaps the world little notes
nor long remembers individual
acts of kindness--but people do.

-Herm Albright
Bits and Pieces
August 2008

Nice picture from APOD

Daniel Verloop gave me permission to post his beautiful picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Our status on NaNoWriMo

Here is our current status on the National Novel Writing Month challenge.

Henry: stalled at 4,000 words.  My biggest problem is finding the time to write.

My oldest daughter: struggling at 5,000 words.  She's hit a problem in her plot she isn't sure how to resolve.

Send oldest daughter: Cruising at 20,000 words.  She writes early in the morning, during her lunch break and in the evening.  When she hits something she's not sure how to deal with she makes a note and keeps on going.

My youngest daughter: Stopped at 2,800 words.  She did great for the first couple days and then got distracted.

Good article about the benefits of homeschooling

How to Raise Your Child’s ACT Score and College GPA starts off talking about how so few graduates from public high schools are ready for college. The article has this startling line:

Across America, 75 percent of high schoolers will need one or more remedial classes before they are ready for college.

I had known it was bad, but I hadn't realized it was this bad.

Then the article points out that homeschoolers do not have the same problem.  It reports on a study done by Michael Cogan.  CBS News listed some of the findings of Mr. Cogan's study:

Homeschool students earned a higher ACT score (26.5) versus 25.0 for other incoming freshmen.
Homeschool students earned more college credits (14.7) prior to their freshmen year than other students (6.0).
Homeschooled freshmen were less likely to live on campus (72.4%) than the rest of the freshmen class (92.7%).
Homeschoolers were more likely to identify themselves as Roman Catholic (68.4%).
Homeschool freshmen earned a higher grade points average (3.37) their first semester in college compared with the other freshmen (3.08).
Homeschool students finished their freshmen year with a better GPA (3.41) than the rest of their class (3.12).
The GPA advantage was still present when homeschoolers were college seniors. Their average GPA was 3.46 versus 3.16 for other seniors.
Homeschool students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).
It is a good article.  And the comments are also pretty positive.

Humor - type "askew" in google

This is cute: go type "askew" in Google, or click here.

Hat tip: Valerie Bonham Moon

SNL gives us the cause of the Higher Education Bubble

Now you know why higher education costs so much:

Hat tip: Instapundit

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oh, bummer

Janine was listening to Baby Bop cheer as he watched a TV commercial for some toy. He yelled at Janine over the back of the couch that he wanted some toy. She told him that he could save up his money and buy it.

The commercial ended with the disclaimer "must be 18 years old or older to order."

Baby Bop stopped cheering and groans "Oh, bummer!"

Janine said "Good parent that I am, I'm not going to explain what that means. I'm just going to let him think that you have to be 18 years old to own that toy."

The problem with tests

Recently, a little incident in the car illustrated how easy it is for children to miss the point of their academic efforts.

My daughters use an online program from a private school. They log in and watch the class presentations, do the homework and take the tests provided by the school. The school offers history, science and English in both accredited and non-accredited formats. We've chosen the non-accredited option so the only one they report their scores to is me. If one of my children does badly on a test or assignment, I have them repeat it until they understand the material.

While I drove one of my daughters to a music lesson, she studied for a history test. Each test has a section where the student is required to fill in a time line with important dates for the time period they are studying.

As she is reciting the dates and events, my daughter listed a date followed by a single word, "Barbarians."

I questioned her about what that meant. She replied that "...that is what the teacher said."

I persist with "....but what does that mean?"

She responded with, "I don't know. That is all he said. This is what I need to put on the timeline for the test." She was upset at this point.

I explained to my daughter that if she doesn't know what something means, then that's a problem and that she needs to do something about it no matter what the "teacher" said. At this point I called home with the phone on speaker and asked one of the other girls to tell me what happened on that date and what does it mean.

My middle daughter explained to us both what the teacher meant (and most likely said during class.) The same teacher teaches both the upper and lower history classes. While it is possible that the material was not explained in as much detail to the younger class, I doubt it.

I preached to my now very grumpy daughter a little sermon on "this is why you don't go to school." I care that she understands the material. Getting the right answer on a test is pointless if she can't use the information.

To my youngest daughter, the grade on the assignment matters a lot, understanding the material, apparently not so much yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ask a question

This article from the New York Times solicited a bunch of comments with a similar theme.

The article asked students to reply to the following question:

Would you like to be home-schooled, whether abroad or where you live now, or would you prefer to go to a traditional school? What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks to home-schooling?

No I would not like to be home-schooled. I don’t think you learn as much and get the skills needed to survive in the real world. One of the huge real world skills is being able to socialize and when you’re home-schooled you don’t really get any social activity. Therefore, you really wouldn’t have many friends and it would be hard to apply for a job and speak well at an interview.

— Jacob H

In my opinion, i would never turn to home schooling. When you are home schooled, you automaticly loose the whole social experience of school. In the real world you need to be social. Otherwise you’re going to get know where....I would never home school my child because I would be holding them back from friends and the social life they will need in the feature. I would never even consider home schooling.

— Macie P.

My best friend is home schooled and is doing good. I think that home schooling is not as good when it comes to the real world because it doesn’t give you the human interaction that you need to succeed in life with. it might better than public schools because they can learn what they want and not what they don’t want to learn.

— Gage T

In my opinion, I am not in favor of home schooling. I think that it is important for a student to attend a regular school. This is because it will allow them to become more prepared for the real world. For example, it will allow them to work either by themselves of within a group of people. It will teach students important social skills that they will need late in life, such as making friends or learning how to compromise with others....

— Mike D.

I believe that home-schooling doesn’t prepares children and teenagers for the ” Real world”. It doesn’t let children that chance to be in a social community with more kids or people. I think Home-schooling has his dos and dont’s.

— Ilenia P

I think home schooling can be benificial to the children but then its not always. Homeschooling wont really prepare the children for the world because they are not around many people and I think going to a traditional school is better because they will be more used to other people and the world or learning and with with others. I think the children would miss out on social skills and learning because all depending on the teacher depends on what the children learns.

— Eileen

I could go on, but they mostly all said the same essential thing: Homeschoolers don't have any friends and aren't prepared for the "real" world. I will have to let my children know when they get home from band, soccer practice, community college, babysitting, play practice, church, a friend's house, co-op, or choir practice.

I find it interesting how peer dependent most of the respondents sounded. I hope more homeschooled youth respond and set them straight.

Write an essay; have a chance at a prize

I like John Stossel.  We have frequently referenced him on our blog.

He is having an essay contest.  Here are some of the details:

Teachers - Help your students earn LOTS of great prizes by entering them in Stossel in the Classroom's 2011-2012 essay contest, for students aged 13-18! And we have super prizes for teachers, too!

Teachers may submit an unlimited number of student essays (500-1000 words in length) on our web site between now and the Feb. 6th deadline.

Simply have your students view John Stossel's recent special, "Politicians' Top 10 Promises Gone Wrong" (view the streaming video here), and write an essay on the following Essay Topic:

"Why do you think politicians make promises? When they try to keep them, why are there often unintended consequences? Describe a promise made by a current politician or political candidate from any party, and discuss whether or not they will be able to keep that promise and what, if any, are some potential unintended consequences from that promise. Please use at least one example from the Stossel special or other Stossel report to support your response."

We are offering your students 225 CASH PRIZES totaling $23,000! First and second place winners will also receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City for themselves, an adult chaperone each, and the teachers who submitted their essays to see a live taping of STOSSEL. Click this link for complete rules and submission information.

I have asked my daughters to each write an essay.

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

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

Next week's carnival will be held at Home School Dad.

This will be the 307th edition.

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Some other homeschooling carnivals

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Fisher Academy International.

The recent Homeschooling on the Cheap is up at 3 Boys and a Dog.

Classical Homeschooling Carnival #20 is up at Baby Steps.

The Homeschool Post is having their 7th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards

It is a bit hard to believe that we are now up to the 7th annual Homeshcool Blog Awards.  Where did all the time go?

The polls are up and you can now vote!

There are twenty categories to vote it:

    1. Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog
    2. Best Homeschool Dad Blog
    3. Best Blog Design
    4. Best Photos Blog
    5. Best Crafts, Plans & Projects Blog
    6. Best Family or Group Blog
    7. Best Encourager
    8. Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog
    9. Best Homemaking or Recipe Blog
    10. Best Teen Blog
    11. Funniest Homeschool Blog
    12. Best Special Needs Homeschool Blog
    13. Best Homeschool Vlogger
    14. Best Homeschool Variety Blog
    15. Best Thrifty Homeschooler Blog
    16. Best SUPER Homeschooler
    17. Best Nitty-Gritty Homeschool Blog
    18. Best NEW Homeschool Blog
    19. Best Homeschool Methods Blog
    20. Best Homeschooling Nature/Field Trip Blog

Janine and I are in the Best Family or Group Blog contest. 

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Quotes to Ponder Edition

Richele is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Under the Golden Apple Tree.

Interspersed in the carnival are a number of thoughtful quotes.  For example:

I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.
- Agatha Christie

Carnival of Homeschooling

Another article about youth sleep deficit

Over the years we've blogged several times about how many children are not getting enough sleep.

Jennifer Moses drives this point home in Waking Up to Young Kids' Sleep Troubles:

We're used to teenagers (SATs! Hormones! Facebook!), college students (can you say "pulled an all-nighter"?) and hard-driving professionals (billable hours!) not being adequately rested. Now we can add a new category of the chronically catatonic: preadolescents.

Take 10-year-olds who routinely wake at 3 a.m. with a nightmare or a wave of anxiety—and just as routinely move into their parents' beds for the rest of the night. Or the sixth-grader who's always tired because she has so much homework that, even when she finishes it on time, she's too keyed up to fall asleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, two-thirds of kids in the years through middle school aren't getting adequate sleep, which, for these ages, is 10 to 12 hours. James B. Maas, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, puts that figure higher, at around 85%. A study published in 1999 showed that about 10% of school-age kids through fourth grade fall asleep in school—and parents and experts will tell you that the problem, enhanced by the Age of Internet and iPod, has only grown worse. From Massachusetts to Oregon, middle schools, along with high schools, are now pushing back their start times so that students can get more sleep. Which is a great idea—unless it just gives kids yet another excuse to stay up late and watch TV.

This statistic really surprised me:

But sleeping tight is hard when 42% of children have televisions in their bedrooms, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Hat tip: Race to Nowhere, The Dark Side of America's Achievement Culture

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Great point - we don't have to have a fixed pie

I like this thought:

Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to think that there is a fixed pie—that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”
-Milton Friedman

Monday, November 07, 2011

The benefits of homeschooling from the eyes of a fifteen-year-old

Recently I have asked two of my daughters what they liked about homeschooling. Today I asked my middle daughter. She thought about it for a while and then told me:

1) She liked being able to work with us on what classes she took. She liked having input and being able to be part of the decision process.

2) She recognizes that she gets along better with her sisters because they spend a lot of time together. Some of her friends are not very close to their siblings.

3) She likes the flexibility of being to accomplish her work on her schedule. If she masters a new concept she can move on to the next and not be forced to spend a full hour on some new idea.

4) And she likes that she gets lots of babysitting jobs. Over half the money she is earning right now comes from babysitting young children during school hours.

You can read what her sisters said they liked about homeschooling. The oldest said "The flexibility." The youngest said "Going your own pace."

Will Dropouts Save America?

Michael Ellsberg has an interesting column in the NY Times.  He askes Will Dropouts Save America?  His column starts with:

I TYPED these words on a computer designed by Apple, co-founded by the college dropout Steve Jobs. The program I used to write it was created by Microsoft, started by the college dropouts Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

And as soon as it is published, I will share it with my friends via Twitter, co-founded by the college dropouts Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and Facebook — invented, among others, by the college dropouts Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, and nurtured by the degreeless Sean Parker.

American academia is good at producing writers, literary critics and historians. It is also good at producing professionals with degrees. But we don’t have a shortage of lawyers and professors. America has a shortage of job creators. And the people who create jobs aren’t traditional professionals, but start-up entrepreneurs.

Michael makes several interesting points.  For example in reference to a recent study he says most jobs are not created at small businesses, but at small businesses with are startups.  Old businesses which happen to be small are not creating lots of new jobs.  The new jobs are created by small businesses which are young.

He points out how traditiona public schools discourage students from become entrepreneurs. 

It would be interesting to see how the percentage of homeschoolers who become entrepreneurs compares to those from government schools.

Hat tip: Pat Farenga.

"Growing Without Schooling" is now all online

Milton Gaither shares a great resource:

In addition to many other wonderful historical resources, the site has every back issue of every year of Growing Without Schooling, the first national newsletter about homeschooling and the most important historical resource extant for the early years of the homeschooling movement.  If you’ve never read through any of it I highly recommend doing so–Holt’s writing is lively and compelling, and many of the issues with which he was wrestling in the late 1970s continue to have resonance today.  Issue 1 begins in August of 1977, and the final issue takes you to December of 2001.  Most remarkably, it’s all free, just as Holt would have wanted it to be.

Are you just starting out homeschooling?

Carolyn Morrison is a long time homeschooler.  She has recently posted Top Ten Things I Wish I’d Known When I Began Homeschooling.  If you are just starting out with homeschooling the post could be eye opening.

Some of our best posts from May 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 May 2006:

We have a post about how often Reading leads to thinking.

Janine wrote about Destructive Family Trends in two posts: Part 1 and Part 2.

May was the big month for interviews posted on our blog.  Here is our interview with Brad Miser, author of Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, and our interview with Barbara Frank author of a couple homeschooling books.  We also intereview Isabel (Izzy) Lyman, one of the first homeschool bloggers and Pat Farenga, a long time supporter of homeschooling.

And here is my review of Joanne Jacobs' book Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds.

I found it interesting that the blog became an extension of my memory.

In May of 2006 the Carnival of Homeschooling was still pretty new.  Several questions came up about hosting the carnvial and I posted some guidelines for hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Another reason to homeschool - to escape the crazy homework load

An often made fallacy is that if a little of something is good, more of it must be better.  People will go way overboard.  The truth is for many things it is important to find a balance.  It is important to eat, but not to excess.  It is important to work, but not a hundred hours a week. 

One of the places this fallacy is being implemented to great destruction is by assigning hours of homework each day to young children.  The movie Race to Nowhere focuses on the damage done by too much homework.

The Homework Revolution is a great column by a young school student who refutes many of the common arguments for more homework.  This was one of the great points made:

Is homework really necessary? Most teachers assign homework as a drill to improve memorization of material. While drills and repetitive exercises have their place in schools, homework may not be that place. If a student does a math worksheet with 50 problems but completes them incorrectly, he will likely fail the test. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most math teachers can tell after checking five algebraic equations whether a student understood the necessary concepts. Practicing dozens of homework problems incorrectly only cements the wrong method.

And this point is one of our first reasons for homeschooling:

Some people argue that homework toughens kids up for high school, college, and the workforce. Too much homework is sapping students' strength, curiosity, and most importantly, their love of learning. Is that really what teachers and parents want?

It is a good column, well worth reading.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Stories like this restore my faith in humanity

As I mentioned Wednesday Janine is reading Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church.  The book tells of a football team from a prison for teenage boys and how one high school treated them during a game.

Janine found this video A Game of Hope which tells the great story:

There are some games in which cheering for the other side feels better than winning has more details.

I wish there were more people like coach Kris Hogan.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Looks like we'll be part of the new trend

Even before the birth of our first daughter Janine and I have been planning on our children attending college.  We both earned Bachelors and wanted our children to have the addtional education that comes from college.

Just this last year we started rethinking this.  Our oldest is in her senior year of high school.  She is taking a couple classes at a local junior college. It tunrs out one of the local community colleges has a great project in Interior Design, which is what she is currently exited about.  We've been under going a mental shift because now her tenative plan is to earn her Associates and then leave to earn her Bachelors at a tradtional four year college.

The Washington Post reports that Two-year colleges draw more affluent students. The article starts with:

Julie Hong grew up in the sort of leafy Montgomery County suburb where college is assumed. Her parents had saved for the expense since she was a baby. When the time came, they said she could go wherever she wished. She chose a community college.

Comparatively affluent students are picking community colleges over four-year schools in growing numbers, a sign of changing attitudes toward an institution long identified with poorer people.

A recent national survey by Sallie Mae, the student loan giant, has found that 22 percent of students from households earning $100,000 or more attended community colleges in the 2010-11 academic year, up from 12 percent in the previous year. It was the highest rate reported in four years of surveys.

In the lengthening economic downturn, even relatively prosperous families have grown reluctant to borrow for college. Schools are finding that fewer students are willing to pay the full published price of attendance, which tops $55,000 at several private universities. More students are living at home.

Read that third paragraph again.  In just one year the number of students from higher income homes almost doubled from 12% to 22%.  In one year.

The article goes on to say that many families with good incomes are deciding not to spend through the nose for the four year college experience. 

This is just another sign that the education bubble will burst.
Hat tip: Instapundit

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cool chart showing the increasing power of computers

Go check out The Rise of the Machines.

Hat tip: Instapudit.

Heritage: The Truth About Public School Teacher Pay

A recent report came out this week on Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers.

There are were a number of interesting points:

Public-school teachers earn higher wages than private-school teachers, even when the comparison is limited to secular schools with standard curriculums.

Workers who switch from non-teaching jobs to teaching jobs receive a wage increase of roughly 9 percent. Teachers who change to non-teaching jobs, on the other hand, see their wages decrease by roughly 3 percent. This is the opposite of what one would expect if teachers were underpaid.

We conclude that public-school-teacher salaries are comparable to those paid to similarly skilled private-sector workers, but that more generous fringe benefits for public-school teachers, including greater job security, make total compensation 52 percent greater than fair market levels, equivalent to more than $120 billion overcharged to taxpayers each year.

Hat tip: My mom.

Blogging may be light this month

I am working hard on NaNoWriMo project which is part of the National Novel Writing Month

So far I am up to 2,800 words.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Why the TSA bans liquids

This explanation of why the TSA bans liquids on airplane flights makes a lot of sense.

Hat tip:  Boycott Flying

New way to carve a pumpkin

Recently our daughters carved several pumpkins.  This approach never occurred to me:

Hat tip: Judy Aron.

Oxymoron? Effective Government

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

If you put the federal government in charge of the
Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.

-Milton Friedman

Homeschool Product Reviews

Laurie Bluedorn introduces the Home Educating Association Reviews site with this explanation:

Introducing the first comprehensive, easily-searchable homeschool curriculum review site with in-depth reviews written by expert reviewers. Besides the numerous reviews on the site now, over a dozen will be added each week. This is a project of Home Educating Family (publishers of Home Educating Family magazine and Well-Planned Day planners) and part of the larger BIG thing coming to homeschooling this spring: homeschoolconvention.com

Almost Christian

Janine is reading a fascinating book called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church.  Janine plans to post a review when she finishes the book.

In the author reports finding that too often in an attempt to make Christianity pleasant and fun, it gets watered down.  The CNN article Author: More teens becoming 'fake' Christians gives a summary of the main points.  The article starts:

If you're the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:

Your child is following a "mutant" form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls "moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist" whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem.

Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of "Almost Christian," a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.

She says this "imposter'' faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.

"If this is the God they're seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust," Dean says. "Churches don't give them enough to be passionate about."

Interesting post about a TSA agent

In Honestly, I don’t really remember Michael Maharrey writes

I think my loathing of TSA stems from the fact that it is probably the most “in your face” encounter I have with overreaching federal power. I know other unconstitutional acts engaged in by the fed probably have more of a detrimental impact on my day-to-day life. But when I am queued up in my stocking feet wondering if I should choose a grope or a scan, it brings unconstitutional federal power right out in the open.

He follows this up with an account of how he asked a TSA agent:

"Do you guys swear an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution?"

The TSA agent says he doesn't remember. 

It turns out that all TSA agents swear and oath to uphold the Constitution.  Michael poins out that so much of what the TSA is doing is in contradiction with the Constitution.

Hat tip: Maria C. Mitchell

Interesting video: How Much Does The Internet Weigh?

This is an educational video about the weight of the internet:

Hat tip: Judy Aron.

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

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

Next week's carnival will be held at Under the Gold Apple Tree.

This will be the 306th edition.

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, November 01, 2011

A little more science

This is a classic:

The Astronomy Picture of the Day has this explanation:

If you drop a hammer and a feather together, which reaches the ground first? On the Earth, it's the hammer, but is the reason only because of air resistance? Scientists even before Galileo have pondered and tested this simple experiment and felt that without air resistance, all objects would fall the same way. Galileo tested this principle himself and noted that two heavy balls of different masses reached the ground simultaneously, although many historians are skeptical that he did this experiment from Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa as folklore suggests. A good place free of air resistance to test this equivalence principle is Earth's Moon, and so in 1971, Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott dropped both a hammer and a feather together toward the surface of the Moon. Sure enough, just as scientists including Galileo and Einstein would have predicted, they reached the lunar surface at the same time. The demonstrated equivalence principle states that the acceleration an object feels due to gravity does not depend on its mass, density, composition, color, shape, or anything else. The equivalence principle is so important to modern physics that its depth and reach are still being debated and tested even today.

We have hit a milestone!

Previously our most prolific year in terms of our number of posts was 2008 when we wrote 908 posts.  I'm not sure why, but the following two years were much lower with 739 posts in 2009 and 560 posts in 2010.

This year we are on fire.  According to Blogger this is our 909th post!

I think we are on track for breaking a thousand posts this year.

Some of our best posts from April 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 April 2006:

In Education, as business, what gets rewarded gets done examines some reasons for why there is little improvement in public education.

For awhile I was interviewing people.  I think Interview: Judy Aron - Director of Research at NHELD was my first.

Book review: A Son of Thunder by Henry Mayer is a book review of a biography of one of my favorite founding fathers: Patrick Henry.

Another reason to homeschool: Interesting Report on Educator Sexual Misconduct

You can also read about our trip to Washington DC:  Our arrival, Day 1, Day 2 part 1, Day 2 part 2, Williamsburg, Days 3 to 5 and Days 6 & 7.

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

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

The carnival starts with:

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling. Today is celebrated by some Christians as the Festival of All Saints. This likely began as a Christian response to the Pagan Halloween tradition (which also has been co-opted by Christians as the Festival of all Souls or more recently, Harvest parties). It’s been a time-honored but controversial strategy to counteract the popularity of pagan rituals by Christianizing them. Although it’s a stretch to weave all these posts into some kind of saintly theme, at least I’ll decorate this carnival with some righteous artwork.

Carnival of Homeschooling

New and improved

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

Anything labeled "NEW" and/or "IMPROVED" isn't. The label means the price went up. The label "ALL NEW", "COMPLETELY NEW", or "GREAT NEW" means the price went way up.