Friday, September 28, 2012

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

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at:

This will be the 353rd 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

There is some truth to this

From my Franklin Covey planner:

Teach the young people how to think, not what to think.
Sidney Sugarman

In general I do agree that it is more important to teach children how to think so they will be able to evaluate and figure out truths for themselves; however, there are some basic principles, like it is wrong to steal or to kill an innocent person, that I think it is OK to just teach them.  As they get older we can re-examine these ideas and hopefully they will agree.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to tell someone's character

From my Franklin Covey planner:

You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise.
-- Seneca

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Fall Transition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Corn and Oil.

Susan starts the carnival with:

Last Saturday our planet's northern hemisphere rolled into autumn. The autumnal equinox reminded us of the later sunrises and earlier sunsets. Cool autumn evenings with a bit of frost here and there prepare us slowly for winter in the northern states. Fall is my favorite season and sometimes it seems to pass too quickly. Digging up the spiked iris plants and magnificent cannas to pack away from the bitter cold, while troweling in garlic bulbs to root and settle in preparation for a late spring harvest is a usual pattern here on our Illinois farm.

Homeschoolers know how to tuck in and prepare in the comfort of home.

Carnival of Homeschooling

We may have a comedian in the family

My older two daughters recently got their learner's permit. Janine and I have talked a bit about getting a third car. My very first car was a F150 pickup truck. I really liked it and it has come up as a possible option for the third vehicle.

Recently my oldest daughter was expressing a hope that we might sell the Camery to her. One of her sisters asked if we would get the pickup. Another sister said that having a pickup might mean that anyone moving would call and ask me to come. I explain that I as I have gotten older my back might stop me from helping out with every move. The first sister said that we could then send my son, who is six-years-old!

At which point my son bent over, put one of his hands on his back and said "My back hurts."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching my daughters to drive (Or earning a few grey hairs)

When our oldest daughter was fifteen and a half Janine and I told her that she needed to talk with her friends and figure out how to get a learner’s permit. She was approaching adulthood and we wanted her to be in charge. She wasn’t very motivated. And we weren’t very motivated. (The idea of spending hundreds of extra dollars for car insurance slowed us down.) The net result was two years slide by and she still hadn’t gotten her learner’s permit.

Our second daughter turns sixteen next month. She is very motivated to get her driver’s license. She talked with her friends and figured out the process. Her sister followed in her wake as she set up appointments last month. Now both of them learning to drive at the same time.

I spent the first couple hours in our church parking lot, one at a time. I had them put the car in low gear so it would naturally go slow.  They drove around and around. After a couple sessions so they worked on backing up, parking and making three point turns. Last week I set up some cones so my second could practice parallel parking.

We were able to schedule a couple hours with a driving school for our second daughter. (Because our oldest is in college she is busy during the morning and we have to wait a couple weeks until the driving school has an open slot.) After the two hours with the driving school it is legal to let our second daughter driving on the road. So far things have gone well. She is cautious and serious about driving.

I have a fairly normal job as a software engineer, so I don’t spend much time with our children as they homeschool. It has been fun, and a bit stressful, to teach my older two how to drive.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The 8th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards has started

The Homeschool Post hosts a annual Homeschool Blog Awards contest.  It is a fun way to meet other homeschool bloggers.  The Homeschool Post will be accepting nominations from October 8th to October 22nd.  Voting will be from November 2nd to November 16th.  Winners will be announced on the 19th of November.

Here is their main page on the contest.

Wise, wiser and wisest

I like this thought:

Thinking well is wise; planning well, wiser; doing well wisest and best of all.
Persian Proverb

Found in my Franklin planner.

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

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at:  Corn and Oil.

This will be the 352nd 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

Pretty amazing - an incredible LEGO Great Ball Contraption

My mother sent me a link with this video LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) Layout 2012.9:

Here's a short article about the contraption.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Ideas You Can Use

Janice is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Janice Campbell  Taking Time For Things That Matter.

She starts the carnival with:

Welcome to the September 18, 2012 edition of carnival of homeschooling. Time and what to do with it seems to be top of the mind for many of our contributors. After all, it’s the beginning of the year and there’s still a chance that you’ll be able to fit in everything you planned! In addition, you’ll find a few articles on words, nature, celebrations, and more. I hope you enjoy it!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, September 17, 2012

We are seeing more of the fruits of homeschooling

My wife and I have been homeschooling for thirteen years. Initially, we tried homeschooling hoping it would work out, but if it didn’t we had a backup plan of putting our children into public schools. At the beginning, we weren’t committed or true believers. As the years went by, we became more and more committed to homeschooling. We became aware of more and more problems with public schools. In the end, we became true believers of the value of homeschooling.

But for the longest time there was still a certain amount of faith and hope that homeschooling would really work.

Now we are starting to see the fruits of homeschooling.

Our oldest daughter is now eighteen years old. She is doing well at the local community college. Her teachers like her. She is on top of her school work. One teacher made it a point to say that our daughter was the only one diligent enough to have done all the homework.

Our daughter is able to handle challenges. A friend recommended our daughter for an eight hour babysitting job. She watched four young children, one with a server developmental problem. Our daughter had never met this family before. She dealt with a number of problems while watching the children, but came sailing through.

I am catching myself talking with her more and more often like she is an adult. It is kind of a weird feeling.

And we can see the hints of similar fruits in our other two daughters who are 12 and 15.

If you are considering homeschooling, or have been homeschooling for a while and are having second thoughts my advice is to stick with it. It can be hard at times. It is challenging, but it is worthwhile. And as the years roll by you will also come to see more of the fruits of homeschooling.

Good thought for college students - try to have an intership with a startup

I like 10 reasons every college student should intern at a startup.

Looks like a good movie: Won't Back Down

Won't Back Down will be out in a couple weeks. 

In Feel Good Movie Angers Union Boss Larry Sand reviews the movie.  His post starts with:

Won’t Back Down, a movie due to open nationally on September 28th, centers around two determined mothers, one a bartender and the other a teacher, who team up and try to transform their failing public school in Pittsburgh. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, administrative corruption and the teachers union, they devote their lives to making a difference in the education and future of their children.

It’s a very good film – a film in which the educational establishment is presented in a realistic and honest way – the portrayal of good teachers, bad teachers and mediocre ones and the parents’ frustrations in dealing with the system’s bureaucracy are quite true to life. The union leaders are not caricatures, but they are like many that I knew and worked with during my long teaching career.

The trailer is below.  It looks worth seeing.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

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

Please send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The Carnival of Homeschooling will be held next week at:  Janice Campbell - Encouraging, Informing, and Connecting the Homeschool Community.

This will be the 351st 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, September 11, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - In Remembrance

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at The Homeschool Post.

The carnival starts with:

We are dedicating this Carnival of Homeschooling in tribute to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack on American in 2001. If you are new to ‘blog carnivals’, please read the link at the bottom of this post to find out more. This post has many links that take you off-site to other homeschool blogs where you can read their ‘showcased’ article submission. If you would like to submit an article for a future carnival or host the carnival on your site, please see the bottom section to find out how. Each carnival writer has the option to put their compilation to a ‘theme’ if they so choose. This week’s theme is “9/11 – a Tribute” in honor of the fallen heroes of 9/11 and their loved ones.
Below you will find a varied array of interesting articles from all around the blogosphere. Some are about 9/11 – one in each section – and other posts are homeschool-related articles. In-between the submissions from all the contributing homeschool bloggers this week, you’ll find photos and/or quotes that capture some of the emotion from this event that has impacted our country and our hearts.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Kinkler's laws

These sound about right:

Kinkler's First Law:
          Responsibility always exceeds authority.

Kinkler's Second Law:
          All the easy problems have been solved.

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

The latest Homeschool Showcase is up

The latest Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

My early brushes with homeschooling

This weekend I was brainstorming for a homeschooling topic. I wanted something I could submit to the Carnival of Homeschooling. Sunday it hit me that in almost seven years of blogging I have never mentioned my first brush with homeschooling. I wasn’t aware until I was in my late teens or early twenties that in the 1970s I might have homeschooled.

Education goes deep in my family. Both my parents and all four of my grandparents earned college degrees. My mother taught math and physics at a high school in Alaska when she and my father got married. Her mother taught home economics for decades. There are many others in my family who have taught over the years.

In the early 1970s there was a big push for busing. My parents didn’t want to have their children spend an hour or more on the bus each day. They investigated the possibilities of private schools, but found them to be expensive. They knew of Calvert School. They bought the curriculum for a complete year to check it out. The school district got enough push back from the parents that they dropped the idea of busing children around and so my parents dropped the idea of using the Calvert system.

I have a cousin who was homeschooling in the late 1980s. When we got together for family reunions I was impressed with how his children were doing.

My younger sister got married several years before me. In the early 1990s as she started having children she fell in with a group of like-minded mothers. Many of these women homeschooled. As my sister’s children grew older she decided to homeschool.

So when Janine and I started having children we were acquainted with the idea. We could see that it worked well. As our children started getting to the appropriate age we decided to give it a try, and as they say the rest is history.

Back in the early 1970s homeschooling was barely getting started as a movement and it appears my parents didn’t even know about it.  But they were considering it.  I wonder how my life might have turned out if the school district had pushed hard for busing?

Atlas Shrugged Part II is coming out next month

I enjoyed the book Atlas Shrugged

Last year I watched part 1 - the movie.

Part 2 will be out next month.  Here is the trailer:

Good sites for following technology

A couple months ago a friend gave me links to TechCrunch and VentureBeat.  I have really enjoyed them. 

If you are looking for the latest in the high tech industry give them a try.

Good article: Sacrificing boys to promote girls

I enjoyed Janice Shaw Cruouse's column Sacrificing boys to promote girls.  As the father of three girls I want a society that treat women well, but not at the expense of men.  We should treat both men and women equally and fairly.

The column had some scary statistics:

Data clearly reveal that boys are being left behind, especially when it comes to education. As early as 2000, Christina Hoff Sommers wrote a best-seller, “The War Against Boys,” detailing how the education establishment was making schools more girl-friendly to the detriment of boys. Now, boys are being “expelled” from preschool four times more frequently than girls. More girls than guys graduate from high school (72 percent to 65 percent).

Girls are taking more Advanced Placement classes in high school, and girls dominate as school valedictorians. Boys with lesser qualifications than girls are being admitted to colleges in order to keep gender somewhat balanced among the students. Even with lower admission standards for males, most campuses remain predominantly female, with undergraduate men making up just 43 percent of enrollment. American women have received more college diplomas than men since 1992. One study reports that for every two men, there are three women in college, and women are more likely to be accepted for graduate programs.

How to make life easy

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

By the yard, life is hard.
By the inch, it's a cinch.

This is a great thought.  It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the things we want to do.  When we stare at a mountain we think there is no way we'll ever be able to climb it.  But by taking life one step at a time we can do amazing things.

Good thoughts about what generates wealth

I enjoyed this TED talk - Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity:

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Why we should call public schools "Government Schools"

My father sent me a link to a nice article about why we should Call Them Government Schools.

I liked this:

The term “public” has a positive ring, as in “public service” and “the public good.” Pro bono publico is a lovely idea.

The word “government” lacks this gloss. It rarely gives people a warm and toasty feeling.

Thus, the term “government schools” stops people in their tracks. It reminds them why schools run by politicians frequently fail: They are part of the same state that too often robs us blind, delivers poor services, and founders in corruption.

So whenever you can please try to use the phrase "Government Schools."

More on the higher education bubble

Almost five years ago I wrote a post about the exploding cost of higher education.  For decades the cost of going to college has climbed two to three times faster than inflation.  When the cost was relatively low as a fraction of an average yearly salary it made sense to send children to college.  Now that it has become sometimes two to three times how much a parent makes in a year it no longer makes sense for some to go to college. 

Over the years I've written several posts about what Instapundit calls the Higher Education Bubble.  He has even written a book about this problem called appropriately The Higher Education Bubble.

Recently my mother sent a link to the family on University 2.0 — Revolution in Education.  It is a good summary of how online education will help make higher education more affordable.  The post starts with:

Two major announcements in the last month showed online higher education moving decisively beyond for-profit institutions such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, Walden, and DeVry.

Some of the U.S.'s most prestigious, established universities are making aggressive inroads into the field of online education. The recent announcements were preceded about a decade ago when University of California Berkeley, Yale, and MIT began to offer free internet access to videos of their courses to the public. Video footage of classes received some acknowledgment for providing excellent knowledge from top universities for free, even though they offered no grade or certification of completion. However, in the last month a new company, Coursera, was launched. Coursera will be partnering with some top universities -- Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford (the home of the two professors at the helm of the startup), and the University of Michigan (the only non-Private University in this group) -- to provide free online courses.

Then, just last week, Harvard joined MIT in announcing their new joint e-learning platform, edX. Both online learning platforms go far beyond the simplicity of video lectures, and incorporate a variety of interactive learning tools. The entrance of such storied institutions has the potential to radically reshape the landscape of higher education worldwide.

With these universities typically admitting only about one applicant in fifteen -- and with those lucky few staring down a four-year bill of $200,000 or more -- such moves by the two universities raise a number of questions. Since the online courses will be free, what's their strategy?

Online education will be part of the process, maybe the main influence, which makes higher education more affordable and pops the higher education bubble.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up -

Jamerrill is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling.

She starts the carnival with:

If you’re new to the Carnival of Homeschooling then I have a treat for you. This carnival has made its home on the web since 2006. Each addition is hosted on a different site and this week it’s our turn. This is simple. Just click-through the posts that have been submitted below for more homeschool goodness.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Is this true?

I think there is some truth to the saying below, but as one who likes to plan ahead I hope my chief danger isn't taking too many precautions.

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

The chief danger in life is that
you may take too may precautions.
-Alfred Adler

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Being a true Patriot

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

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time,
and your government when it deserves it.
-Mark Twain

Children learn faster when the robots make mistakes

Study: Stupid robots can make kids smarter reports on some interesting research:

A story in New Scientist explains that Japanese children are learning to speak English faster than before thanks to a new robot that tries to teach them, but gets things wrong. The discovery comes after Shizuko Matsuzoe and Fumihide Tanaka, two scientists at the University of Tsukuba, studied nineteen children aged between four and eight years old interacted with a humanoid robot known as Nao as it tried to teach them simple English words for shapes such as “circle,” “square” or “heart.”

The key discovery, according to the report, was finding out that the kids became more engaged with the robot as it made mistakes that they could recognize and try to correct. “When the robot got a shape wrong, the child could teach the robot how to draw it correctly by guiding its hand. The robot then either ‘learned’ the English word for that shape or continued to make mistakes,” the report explains, adding that “Matsuzoe and Tanaka found that the children did best when the robot appeared to learn from them.”

Later the article explains:

The basic idea behind the robot theory is a simple one, and not an uncommon one in educational theory; by allowing the child to feel more in control of the situation and responsible for teaching the robot, it’s empowering the child and reinforcing the value of the lesson that they are now passing on, but in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a learning experience.

Kind of cool.

Book review: No School Today? A Home Spun Comic Strip Collection

I have long enjoyed Cristina' blog Home Spun Juggling.

One of my favorite aspects of her blog is her frequent comics.  She has released the first two hundred comics in No School Today?  A Home Spun Comic Strip Collection.

There are many fun strips.  Here are a few of my favorites: 

Remember to tell children not to break cookies when giving them permission to eat the broken cookies.

Socialization at its finest.

Homeschoolers who are readers.  (All three of my daughters are like this!)

Cristina also writes thoughtful paragraphs here and there through the book.  My suggestion is you read all the comics first and then go back and read her prose.  I found it a bit hard to switch back and forth from the comics to the prose.

Now hopefully she will be releasing her next book soon!

Monday, September 03, 2012

A great article about higher education and technology

The Siege of Academe is a long article.  It took me about fifteen minutes.  But it is very worthwhile. 

Kevin Carey reports on various start up companies in Silicon Valley which are focused on changing the way higher education works. 

It is worth reading. 

Trust me.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Our first week

Our first week of back to school has gone well.  Here is a brief summary:

Our oldest is attending two local community colleges.  She is taking Concepts of Criminal Justice, Elements and Principles of Interior Design, Intermediate Algebra and U. S. History. She is off to a good start.  She feels comfortable with the material.  In one class she is the only one who has done all the assignments.  Janine and I are pleased that she is on top of her homework and assignments.

Our second and third daughters are really only doing school part time right now.  The distance learning school we use for English and History doesn't go live for one more week.  They have been doing their math. 

We are formally starting our son in school.  Janine is working with him on his words and teaching him to read.  He is reading complete sentences.  I think his reading vocabulary is up to around a hundred words.  Janine is also working on teaching him to write.  Here is Baby Bop getting tactile simulation as he practices his letters:

Note, he is still in his pajamas, as he works on writing the letter "f" in flour.  The flour started off in a pan.  We left him alone and a half hour later the flour was scattered across much of the kitchen floor.

Some of our best posts from October 2006

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for almost seven. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from October 2006:

Janine writes about the positive influence parents can have on their children in: Parental Involvement Deters Teens Drug Use.

And she has a three parter on How college influenced my career path: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

The next two months will be brutal for some

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

In war, you can only be killed once,
but in politics, many times.
-Winston Churchill

I wonder how many children feel this way

Yesterday's B.C. comic strip captured how some children feel about school. 

I wonder how many feel like they are in prison.