Saturday, June 30, 2012

Entertaining: The Typewriter Song

A friend sent me this video:

It is fun to watch.

Another reason NOT to send your special needs child to school

Florida Teen Being Punished for Trying to Defend Mentally-Challenged Student From Bullies

Stormy Rich, a Florida honor student, is being punished for trying to protect a mentally-challenged student from bullies. The 18-year-old says that she had seen a girl getting bullied on the bus for months and had reported it to school officials to no avail....

When the bus driver and school officials both failed to act to prevent the bullying, Rich took matters into her own hands, threatening the bullies to stop. The middle school girls then went to the school and told on Rich, and she was kicked off the bus permanently. The school says that Rich displayed bullying behavior herself and that two wrongs don’t make a right.

The school also says that the mentally challenged girl never complained about being bullied, to which Rich said, “What kid that’s bullied goes and tells somebody? What kid? They want to have friends.”

If I was the mother of the special needs child, I would be livid. The school receives multiple reports of abuse and does nothing to protect the child. Even worse, the school gets rid of the only person who will.

I have a hard time understanding how could any administrator or bus driver be that ethically challenged.  The school is a sick system that puts defending the defenseless as equivalent as "bullying."  It is not like Stormy beat the kids up behind the school.  Actually, I wouldn't have problem with that. 

Why haven't the girls who tormented the handicapped child been suspended and banned from the bus?   

I'm sure Stormy Rich's parents are very proud of their daughter, as they should be.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carniva

The recent Charlotte Masson Blog Carnival is up at Piney Woods Homeschool.

Thoughtful post about rising college costs

I like Richard Vedder's essay on The 12 Reasons College Costs Keep Rising.  He starts with:

When asked the question, "Why do colleges keep raising tuition fees?" I give answers ranging from three words ("because they can"), to 85,000 (my book, Going Broke By Degree). Avoiding both extremes, let's evaluate two rival explanations for the college cost explosion, followed by 12 key expressions that add more detail.

University presidents and some economists (e.g., David Feldman and Robert Archibald) often cite the Baumol Effect (named after a Princeton economist), arguing that higher education is a service industry where it is inherently difficult to raise productivity by substituting machines for humans. Teaching is like theater: it takes as many actors today to produce King Lear as it did when Shakespeare wrote it 400 years ago. While there is some truth to the argument, in reality technology does allow a single teacher to reach ever bigger audiences (using everything from microphones to streaming video). Moreover, in reality a majority of college costs today are not for instruction--the number of administrators, broadly defined, often exceeds the number of faculty.

The second explanation comes from former Education Secretary Bill Bennett: rapidly expanding federal student financial assistance programs have pushed up college prices, so the gains from student aid accrue less to students than to the colleges themselves, financing an academic arms race. Recent studies (by Stephanie Rieg Cellini and Claudia Goldin, Andrew Gillen, and Nicholas Turner) support the Bennett Hypothesis. Student aid has fueled the demand for higher education. In the market economy, increased demand for a product made by one company (say the iPhone) quickly spurs competition (other smart phones), so prices do not rise. That fails to happen in higher education, as many providers restrict supply to enhance prestige. Harvard has an Admissions Committee, McDonald's does not.

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

Remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held tomorrow at Homeschool Atheist Mom.

This will be the 340th 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. 

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at

The carnival starts with:

We are approaching a milestone in our homescholing journey. Our oldest is only a few courses away from graduating high-school. How those years zipped by! We have been in college and career mode for a while now and I’m sure many carnival of homeschooling readers are in the same boat.

We stil have two younger children to shepherd through too, so all the collected wisdom below brings us one step closer to graduation day.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 25, 2012

Great report from girls camp

Janine and our younger two daughters returned from a church girls' camp Saturday.  The camp was almost a full week.  They had a wonderful time and were very exhausted.  This was our youngest daughter's first trip to camp, Janine's second trip and our middle daughter's fifth trip.  The camp is run very well.  First year girls are introduced into the culture of the camp in a variety of ways, such as singing before every meal while they wait for their turn in line. They also sing thank you to the cooks every morning at exactly 8:30 am. The camp includes overnight backpacking trips for the 3rd and 4th year girls. The third year girls go on an overnight hike and the 4th year girls go backpacking for 3 days and two nights. 

Saturday evening Janine reported to me that she had been surprised by how many adults came up to her and said how wonderful one or both of our daughters were. 

This reminded me of Susannah Sheffer's book A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls.  The book raises an interesting point that many of the problems girls experience in our society may be due to public schools.  The first part of the book reviews some of the problems typical teenage girls struggle within our society.  But the results of a survey of 55 teenage homeschooled girls found these girls struggled with these issues to a much lesser degree and the longer they had been homeschooled the smaller the problem.

I think this is in part what happened last week.  As our daughters are less exposed to the mean girls and the worry about social status, they feel more at ease with others.

I am so glad we homeschool.

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

Remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held tomorrow at

This will be the 339th 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.  (Which is tonight, so you have only eleven hours.)

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 18, 2012

Side benefits to homeschooling

One of the reasons we started this blog was Janine and I were kicking around an idea for a book.  The title was going to be "101 Reasons to Homeschool.  For several years I had collected various reasons why people should homeschool their children.

Today I pulled out the 3x5 cards for a chapter that might have been on side benefits to homeschooling.  In doing research I had found lots of cool advantages of homeschooling.  Below is a partial list.  Most of them were based on real life instances:

Children have time for charity:  One girl raised $1400 to purchase a bullet proof vest for a police dog. One student wanted to grow his hair to make a wig for a sick child.

More life style options: A family homeschooled so both the parents and children could do motocross together.  I've heard of several families which travel around by boat or RV.  Sam & Lucy Black traveled around the world in their boat for years.  One family biked across the 48 states. 

More opportunities for business:  A 13-year-old boy spent a year making a movie.  The last I heard there was a chance the movie was going to be shown on Cable TV.  A father worked with his two sons to make history games.  (Think of all the history the boys were learning while building the games!)

Children have time for service: A 12-year-old girl collected blankets for the homeless. Another young girl helped at a retirement homes. She would refill water glasses, sort records and deliver flowers. (Talk about great socialization!)

Vacations are better in off seasons: Someone once said you can see more of Disneyland in one off season day than in a week in August.  Janine and I have noticed that we often can have a museum all to ourselves in off seasons.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Popular Mechanics article on mining space

Tapping the Riches of Space is another good article about the possibility of mining asteroids. 

It concludes with this provocative thought:

We’re not going to be able to reach beyond the International Space Station and sustain human explorers on the moon or Mars unless we start "living off the land" in space. If we can’t shoulder the risk of developing off-planet energy, water, and structural materials, high costs will forever chain us to Earth. The risks of tapping space resources are real, but the payoff is huge—nothing less than an economic boom between Earth and moon, and the means to put robot and astronaut explorers to work unraveling the mysteries of our solar system.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Knowledge vs. wisdom

I like this thought:

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.  It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.

- Calvin Coolidge

Hat tip: FranklinCovey planner.

A Double Diamond Celebration for the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Under An English Sky

Shirly Ann starts the carnival with:

How exciting! I am hosting my first Charlotte Mason Carnival! Welcome to 'Under An English Sky' my fellow CMers.

Here in England, we have just come out of some very exiting celebrations. Our Queen has reigned for 60 years. What an achievement! England has been alive with bunting and anything and everything red, white and blue! Queen Elizabeth is the second queen in England's history to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. The first was 
Queen Victoria who reigned very successfully from 1837 to her death in 1901.

As we watched all the pomp and ceremony - which nobody does quite like the British - it occurred to me that 115 years ago, Charlotte Mason was celebrating her Monarchs Diamond Jubilee too! She would have been 55 years old at the time. In this modern world, so many of us reach through time to glean all we can from this wonderful educator. 115 years on, we are celebrating the same rare event that she celebrated. The wheel of time turns and history repeats itself. Being very patriotic herself,I have no doubt that Miss Mason was an active participant in the celebrations of her Queen.

So it will come as no surprise to you that today's Charlotte Mason Carnival is a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen of England - both past and present. Our Queen and Charlotte Masons Queen. A double diamond celebration.


News: African-Americans increasingly turn to home-schooling

African-Americans increasingly turn to home-schooling is a nice article / video about how more parents are turning to homeschooling.

Friday, June 15, 2012

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

Remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at SmallWorld.

This will be the 338th 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.

I have a reminder mailing list.  If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

New job: Asteroid Miner

Computers and the internet have changed so much over the last couple decades.  This huge change has prompted dozens of new jobs, jobs that didn't exist when many of us were in school.

James Cameron talks about a new job - Asteroid Miner:

If I was teenager I would consider preparing myself for such a job.

In Google billionaires, James Cameron backing space resource venture Alan Boyle provides some additional details on a new company, Planetary Resources, which plans to go looking for wealth in space. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The true cost of public schools

They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools explains that it is hard to get a handle on just how much governments spend on public education.  The column starts with:
Although public schools are usually the biggest item in state and local budgets, spending figures provided by public school officials and reported in the media often leave out major costs of education and thus understate what is actually spent.

To document the phenomenon, this paper reviews district budgets and state records for the nation's five largest metro areas and the District of Columbia. It reveals that, on average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44 percent higher than officially reported.

Real spending per pupil ranges from a low of nearly $12,000 in the Phoenix area schools to a high of nearly $27,000 in the New York metro area. The gap between real and reported per-pupil spending ranges from a low of 23 percent in the Chicago area to a high of 90 percent in the Los Angeles metro region.

To put public school spending in perspective, we compare it to estimated total expenditures in local private schools. We find that, in the areas studied, public schools are spending 93 percent more than the estimated median private school.

Citizens drastically underestimate current per-student spending and are misled by official figures. Taxpayers cannot make informed decisions about public school funding unless they know how much districts currently spend. And with state budgets stretched thin, it is more crucial than ever to carefully allocate every tax dollar.

"It reveals that, on average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44 percent higher than officially reported."

Think of that the next time some politician says we need more money for government schools.

Newspapers may be going the way of the horse and buggy

The great newspaper liquidation is an interesting article about problems the newspaper industry is facing.  The column has this surprising prediction:

Newspaper owners may be running out of time to beat the liquidation clock if the prediction (pdf) made in January by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future proves accurate. Because the current generation of print newspaper readers aren’t being replaced, most major U.S. print dailies will be dead in five years, the report concluded.

I have noticed that our paper is shrinking in size.  The Sunday edition now is smaller than the dally editions twenty years ago.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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

Judy is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Consent Of The Governed.

She starts her Flag Day edition with:

We begin our Carnival of Homeschooling this week with a short history lesson - in commemoration of this week's celebration of Flag Day!

"The idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

Inspired by; three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day."(Read more here)

Go check out some of the latest thoughts on homeschooling in this week's Carnival of Homeschooling.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Nice article on why more people should homeschool their children

The Libertarian Homeschooler posted a link to a great column encouraging parents to homeschool their children.  Jack Chambless starts his column Is it time to think about home schooling your child?

For the past 21 years I have taught economics to more than 14,000 college students here in Central Florida.

During that time I have made a concerted effort to glean information from my Valencia students as to their educational background preceding their arrival in college.

Drawing from a sample size this large multiplied by two decades multiplied by hundreds of thousands of test answers has put me in a good position to offer the following advice to any reader of this paper with children in Florida's K-12 public schools.

Get them out now before you ruin their life.


He continues:

While this may seem to be a bit harsh, let's look at the facts.

First, my best students every year are in order — Chinese, Eastern European, Indian and home-schooled Americans, and it is not even close when comparing this group to American public-school kids.

Since it is highly unlikely that any of you plan to move to Beijing, Warsaw or Bangalore, you might want to look at the facts concerning public vs. home-schooled American students.

Go read the whole column.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm an ENTJ

My mother sent me a link to an online free test for Briggs Myers.

This is a good test to have your children take.

I first took a Briggs Myers test in my early twenties.  I found it fascinating.  This was the first time I really understood how people could be different than me.  For the first couple decades I had this gut feel that if people didn't act like me that they were some how broken.  After taking this test and talking with friends about the test I had a greater appreciation for how people functioned differently.

Why you should watch Bollywood movies

Last week I gave a speech in Toastmasters about why everyone should watch Bollywood movies. I gave three reasons:

1) They are very entertaining. The best of the Bollywood movies are just as good as any Hollywood movies.

2) They are educational. I've learned more about India by watching these movies.

3) In some ways they are more powerful than the American Army. In my post Bollywood vs. Islam I explained how Bollywood movies are changing the hearts of the youth in the Middle East.

If you are looking for suggestions you can check out my reviews.

Do you have mornings like this?

I like this Calvin and Hobbes.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Good article about social skills

My mother sent me the link to Secret social skills successful people know.

This is a good article to read with your children.

More college courses are becoming free

Free Courses, Elite Colleges is another article about the trend of college courses being made available over the internet, often for free.

Udemy and Udacity both provide free classes and classes with a price.

Interesting: Study finds Wider letter spacing helps dyslexics read

My mother sent me a link to Wider letter spacing helps dyslexics read which starts:


In a sample of dyslexic children age eight to 14, extra-wide letter spacing doubled accuracy and increased reading speed by more than 20 percent, according to the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


If you have a child struggling with reading you might try printing text in different fonts, larger fonts, and increasing the spacing between lines.

I recently found out I have a relative that can not read, in certain fonts.  He was fine for the first sixty years of his life, but something happened in the last couple years and he fonts with little curvy things have become impossible for him to read.

I wonder if at some point we'll be able to buy books in easy to read fonts?  I would think publishers would take note of studies like this and try to maximize their sales by using fonts which more people can read.

A few more fun Bollywood movies

We have been watching Bollywood movies for almost a year now.  (You can read the reviews of the first set here.)  Here are reviews of the next set of movies we've watched:

A Wednesday is an action thriller. The movie takes place over just a couple hours. A man calls the police and threatens to detonate four bombs scattered around Mumbai unless four terrorists are released. There was no singing and dancing. It is also a short 103 minutes, but it is well done and moves quickly. The Commissionar of Police is Anupam Kher who was the father in Bride and Prejudice.  It is fun that I'm now recognizing actors from previous movies.  I give this four stars.

Ghajini is a very intense thriller. The hero’s fiancée is killed by mobsters. The hero suffers brain damage and can only remember the last fifteen minutes. He constantly makes notes to himself as he tracks down the mobster. The hero is played by Aamir Khan who starred as the kind nice teacher in Taare Zameen Par, which also he directed. The movie is well done, but very violent. I give it three stars.

Jab We Met (When We Met) is a romantic comedy focused on a rich young businessman. The man is depressed when his mother remarries.  He goes into a daze and randomly boards a train. He meets a young girl who stops him from killing himself. He feels grateful and tries to help her out. She is trying to elope. He accompanies her to the town where her fiancée lives and then leaves her. Later her family comes to him asking where their daughter is. He goes to find her and returns with her.  Shahid Kapoor plays the rich business man.  Shahid also starred in Kismat Konnection.  I give "Jab We Met" three stars.

Jodhaa Akbar is an epic historical drama about a 16th century Muslim Emperor, Akbar the Great, marrying a Hindu Princess.  There is a lot of intrigue and fighting. There is also a lot of singing and dancing. Over the 213 minutes they grow to love each other.   The Emperor is played by Bollywood Megastar Hrithik Roshan.  The Hindu Princess is played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who was in starred in Bride and Prejudice.  I give this one five stars.

Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Ha (It’s My Friend’s Marriage) is a romantic comedy about a man who receives a phone from his childhood friend saying she is getting married. The man goes to attend the wedding with the intention of stopping the wedding. The groom recognizes the threat. They both work to win her love. The story is pleasant, but I didn’t enjoy some of the slap stick humor. I give this three stars.

Swades: We, the People stars Shahrukh Kahn. The hero is working at NASA as a project manager. He has been very successful in the United States. He returns to India to find his nanny with the intention of bringing her back to the United States and taking care of her. He finds her in a village. The nanny is part of a small group which is trying to modernize the village. At first the hero just wants to get his nanny to leave with him. Over time he comes to care about the village and starts working to improve it. Shahrukh was also in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Chak de India . I give Swades four stars.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (A Little Love, A Little Magic) is sort of a Indian version of the Mary Poppins story. A young man grows up losing those he loves. He is rich, but lonely. One evening he is driving and using his cell phone, and thus being distracted he accidently kills a husband and wife. The judge sentences him to look after their four children. The children know that if they can get him to mistreat them the man will go to jail. So they try to provoke him. The first couple days don’t go well. They children pray to God and God sends one of his angels. Things get better.  I give this four stars.

I watched all of these on Netflix streaming. 

For more suggestions you can check out my previous set of Bollywood reviews.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

David McCullough Jr: You are not that special

I greatly enjoy David McCullough's books like John Adams and The Path Between the Seas.  I've mentioned him or written about him several times.

His son also seems like a sharp guy:

Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs

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

Remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at Consent Of The Governed.

This will be the 337th edition.

BlogCarnival is down right this moment, so please email your submission.

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.

I have a reminder mailing list.  If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Nice variation on the Golden Rule

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

The Golden Rule of friendship is to listen to others
as you would have them listen to you.
-David Augsburger

Friday, June 08, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Dave Out Loud edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is being hosted at Dave Out Loud.

Dave intersperse this week's carnival with short videos of himself and his family.

I apologize for being late.  I was promoted a couple months ago and it seems like I'm always behind on about twenty tasks.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 04, 2012

We are losing our first homeschooler

Our oldest daughter turns 18 next month.  She is wrapping up her senior year of high school in Cate Academy.  She has been attending some of the local community colleges as a concurrent student (high school student who is permitted to take classes for free) over the last couple years.  Starting this fall, she will be attending full time.  Today she tried to sign up and had a few problems.  I asked her to tell our readers about her experience.

Here is her report:

Hello, I’m the oldest daughter in this family.

Two years ago, I began taking class at a community college as a concurrent student. This is a worthwhile to do as a homeschooler; it gave me a chance to get used to the classroom environment, different teachers, and turning in homework on time.

Now as I have graduated from our family’s esteemed academy, I tried to sign up for classes as a regular student. The very nice community college website told me I couldn’t get in because I didn’t have precedence, or some other such blurb.

So after wandering around the website (looking at apply now, register for classes, current students, future students, checking everything I could think off),  I sent an email of to the Admissions and Records office. Several e-mails went back and forth before I was told I had to reapply, even though I already had a perfectly valid college ID.

After I tried and failed to applying online, my mother and I put together the paper work and drove down to the community college. How medieval! I was the only one there that morning and after explaining my problem, the nice lady behind the desk took my paperwork and spent all of a minute on the computer. Then she told be everything was in order and that could even keep my original ID.

Then we drove home and I sat down to register for classes on my computer (which, by the way, is a really weird process). You first search classes, then place classes on a wish list, then you can register for the classes.

Oh well, I am now in all the classes I wanted, and am an official college student.


Our youngest is just starting homeschooling as a kindergartener this fall, so we will be homeschooling for years to come.

UPDATE:  This is Janine.  When it came time to pay for my daughter's classes, she asked to use my credit card and promised to reimburse me.

[In our household, our children are responsible for paying for college. We started savings accounts for them when they were only babies and they have been adding funds since then.  Much of the money came directly from us or their grandparents in the form of allowance and gifts, but we wanted the children to have the responsibility of managing the money and its use.]

The grand total for tuition for my daughter's first semester as a full time student is $635.  My daughter responded, "Wow. That's a lot of money."  I burst out laughing.  If she had chosen to attend a regular university, the tuition would have been 10x higher.

The latest Homeschool Showcase

This week's Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Beverly Hernandez's new blog

Beverly Hernandez is starting up a new blog at Homeschool Journeys.

Beverly is a long time homeschooler and supporter of homeschooling.