Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book review: Mustang Man by Louis L’Amour

Louis L’Amour is one of my favorite authors. He wrote over a hundred western novels, and dozens of books in other genres. Some of his most famous westerns deal with a family by the name of Sackett. By and large they are good men who, when there is a need, can fight.

The caption on the back of Mustang Man reads “It was almost too much for even a Sackett to handle!” The story is about Nolan Sackett. He is known as a tough name, and even considered an outlaw. But he is basically a good man who stands right.

Nolan happens across several people who are hunting for 300 pounds of gold. Some people are willing to kill him with little thought. There are other tough men who are willing to fight for the gold. And in the midst of all this is a young woman, a beautiful young woman, who has the strongest claim to the gold. Nolan gets roped into helping her and ends up on the ride of his life.

I’m always amazed by how much Louis L’Amour can pack into just a couple paragraphs. The story is rich and deep. It is well told and moves quickly from one crises to another.

Here are a couple great lines from Louis L’Amour

"Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think."
- Louis L’Amour in “The Walking Drums”

"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen."
- Louis L'Amour

If you like westerns give Mustang Man a try.

Some of our best posts from December 2006

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

How to mark a book by Mortimer J. Adler - If you haven't read Adler's book on How to Read a Book you might find this post helpful.

One of the things we like about homeschooling is Teaching children to anticipate.

Janine continued her series on Dads:
Part 6 - Dad regularly has one-on-one time with each family member
Part 7 - Dad gives Mom opportunities to take off her teacher/mommy hat

Did you know the connection between Fishing and homeschooling?

I've told dozens of people about The power of tutoring, another reason for homeschooling.

Part of happiness

I like this thought from my Covey Planner:

Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them.  A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.
 - Norman Vincent Peale

What happy people do!

My mother sent my family a link to a nice article on 10 Things Happy People Do Differently by Paula Davis-Laack.

I'm doing about eight of the ten.

A crazy Rubik's Cube

This is fun:

The really cool thing to me is this Rubik's cube was printed by a 3D printer.

Hat tip: Venture Beat

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.1

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:
A set of really bad puns:


 So there were these three "strings" that were really great buddies.  They did everything together.  One day they were walking down the street when they happened upon a bar.  All being rather thirsty, they decided to go in and have a cool one.  Well, just as they were about to walk in the door, they noticed a sign in the window that said, "NO STRINGS SERVED HERE!".  Needless to say they were a bit upset by this. 
 But, the first string, being rather bold, said to his friends, "You guys wait here, and I'll go in and `feel' the place out and if it's OK I'll come out and get you, K?"  This seemed like a good plan so they all agreed.  The first string went in and sat down at the bar.  As soon as he got there, the bartender noticed him and came over.  The bartender said to the first string, "Say, your a string, aren't you?"  To which the first string replied, "Wellll, yes..". In a very loud voice the bartender said, "YOU GET OUT OF HERE, we don't serve your kind in here!!!!".  So the first string went back outside to talk to his friends and tell them of his experience. 
 After hearing the story the second string says, "Well, obviously you just weren't forceful enough in there." Standing up straight and tall, the second string walks into the bar, sits down at the counter and says, "Hey, bartender, how 'bout gettn' me a beer?". The bartender came over, looked the second string up and down, and said, "Hey, buddy, we don't serve your kind in here.  Get out-a here!!".  So the second string left the bar and went outside and told his two friends what had happened. 
 After hearing the story, the third string said, "Well, you need to be cool about the whole thing, just watch this...".  The third string pulled a little comb out of his pocket, combed the little tuft on the top of his knot, and walked in.  He sashayed up to the bar and said, "Say, bartender, I'd like a beer, please."  The bartender came over, looked at the third string and said, "Hey, wait a minute, your a string aren't you?" To which the third string replied,
 "Oh no, I'm afraid not!" (or a frayed knot!!)


 It seems that there were these 3 pregnant Indian Squaws, all due to give birth at about the same time.  The first squaw gave birth to a boy, and the birthing was done on a deer hide.  The second also gave birth to a boy, but this was done on a bear hide.  And, the third had twins, two boys, and she did this on a hippopotamus hide.
 I guess *THIS* shows us that the sons of the squaw on the hippopotamus hide is equal to the sum of the squaws on the other two hides.


 A while back, there were two kingdoms situated close by each other. One kingdom had a powerful king, and the other had a relatively weak king.  The difference (or so everybody said) was that the powerful king had a magic throne, which had the property of making people powerful.
 Well, the weak king wanted this throne, so he had a trusted count get up an army (you know, knights, pages, reporters, that kind of thing) to fetch it.
 The army trudged along for a day or two (only the reporters would know for sure) and came upon the powerful king's castle.
 The castle entrance was guarded by a huge yellow monster with huge yellow hands.  The army (being an army and all) attacked!
 The huge Yellow Monster ate them all, except for two pages  who did not engage in the fight.  The pages, being very frightened, hid until nightfall.
 When night came along, the pages peeked from their hiding place and saw that the monster was asleep.  The only thing guarding the entrance now was the monsters huge hands draped in front of the opening.  The pages, being only 8 years old and all, were able to squeeze through the yellow fingers and gain entrance into the castle.
Moral: let your pages do the walking through the yellow fingers.
 Once inside the castle, the pages had no trouble finding the throne.  Combined, they were just strong enough to lift it, and were able to carry it out of the castle.  (The monster gave them no further trouble, since they had the throne and everything.)
 After having walked half the night with the heavy throne between  them, they were very tired and stopped at a grass house to rest.  The farmer who lived there, wanting to steal the throne for himself, let them spend the night in the barn.  The throne was "hid" in the farmer's attic.
 Some hours later, the farmer stole into his barn and killed the pages.
 The farmer went back to bed.  A few minutes later, the throne crashed through the ceiling, crushing and killing the farmer and his wife.
Moral: people who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones.


 When the powerful king found his throne missing the next day, he  ordered HIS army to kidnap the other king's count and force him to tell where the throne was being hid. The session went as follows:
king: Where is the throne?
count: I cannot tell you.
king:  Then I will have you killed!  Executioner, cut off his
count: (as the axe is swinging down...)
 Ok!  I will tell you!
Moral: don't hatchet your counts before they chicken.


  Our Hero was traveling through the mountains on his quest for the Holy Grail, when a fierce storm blew up and his steed caught some horsey sickness. He hied to a monastery, and asked the abbot for a replacement, citing their loyalty to God.  It was the winter season, and nightfall was approaching as they looked through the stables.  All of the other horses were sneezing a coughing also, until they came to a stable, where a large shaggy dog story(oops) resided.  The knight asked for him, to which the abbot replied, "Oh, no, it is still stormy and getting dark. I wouldn't send a knight out on a dog like this."


 An international chess tournament is being held in a swank hotel in New York. Everyone who is anyone in the world of chess is there. After a grueling 4 hours of chess, the players and their entourages retire to the lobby of the hotel for a little refreshment.
 In the lobby, the players get into a big argument about who is the brightest, the fastest, and the best chess player. The argument gets loud, each player claiming that he is the greatest chess player of all time.
 One security guard in the lobby turns to the other and says:
 If there's one thing I can't stand, it's
 chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.


 Buster Crab and Sam Clam were the best of friends for years, and every evening one could find Buster in Sam's bar down by the beach.  Finally, Buster passed on and went to heaven.  There, he was a model citizen, but he longed for the companionship of his pal, Sam. 
 So the next Christmas, Buster was approached by God who asked him why he wasn't happy.  Buster explained that although heaven was a pretty nice place and the halo and wings were real swell, he missed Sam and wished he could go back and spend just one more night in his bar by the beach. 
 God recalled how good Buster  had been, and told him that he could spend New Year's with Sam in his bar.  "However," God cautioned, "things have changed since you were there last.   In order to keep up with the times, Sam has converted his place to a disco. Still, if you wish, you may spend New Year's eve with your old buddy, but be  sure not to drink and take good care of your wings, harp and halo." 
 Buster was ecstatic and spend the next week practicing his chops on the harp and  polishing his halo.  Then the big evening arrived and poof!  There he was beside Sam in his disco.  Well, they had a great time talking of old times and dancing and singing and playing.  After a while, the temptation to have a  drink proved too great for Buster, and he imbibed.  So did the rest of the party and the night got progressively wilder until morning found everyone sleeping it off on the furniture and floors of the disco. 
 His time up, Buster was transported poof! back to heaven.  God saw him, bleary eyed, halo dented and slipping off to one side, wings in disarray, and well, you get the picture.  God gives him an ice bag and asks what happened.  "Buster!  You've  been at the bottle, haven't you?  Look at you wings!  Look at that halo!  And where is you golden harp?"  To which Buster replies,
 "I left my harp in Sam Clam's Disco."  (better sung)


 Isaac Asimov did this one best; the story concerns a man, Mr. Stein, who robs a bank, jumps into a time machine, and re-emerges seven years later (after the statute of limitations has expired).  They arrest him anyway, but the judge's verdict is
 "A niche in time saves Stein."


 There was once a young man who was very fond of illicit vegetable matter that is commonly smoked to get high. Anyway, one day, while he was cleaning his stash of extremely potent stuff ( high oil content) he was called to the phone.  His friend, who had already consumed a great portion of the matter thought he would help out in the cleaning.
 Unfortunately, he was new to the game so he tried to separate the stems and seeds by cleaning the pot with a soap solution. Needless to say, when the hero of our story returned from the phone he was extremely upset, to say the least.  However, he didn't have time to cry since the phone call informed him that his wife's car had broken down and he had to go out to help her fix it. He scooped up the messy bag of soapy resinous cannabis and drove out to the broken down car. When he arrived he immediately realized that the car had run out of oil. Unfortunately, he didn't have any oil, but he did have the bag of greasy marijuana. He put the wet pot into the cars engine and started up the car. It ran fine until it exploded a quarter mile down the road. 
       There is a moral. You know what it is?
     - A washed pot never oils.


 A philanthropist decides to donate his prize dolphins to the local zoo.  Upon making his donation, he reveals that the dolphins can be kept alive indefinitely by feeding them live myna birds.  The zoo, not happy with the prospect of depleting their myna bird collection, decides to send an expedition to Africa to pick up some of the birds.
 The bird seekers land their helicopter in a large clearing in the middle of the jungle, and go off to seek their prey. They search all the trees, the myna bird bars, the bird baths; in short, all the places myna birds hang out.  When they get back to the clearing, they discover that a pride of lions has taken up residence there.  As the lions all appear very sleepy, they decide to tiptoe their way back to the safety of their helicopter.  But, alas, when they get back to the helicopter, the game warden pops out and writes them a citation for
   "Transporting mynas over sedate lions for immortal porpoises."


 An explorer on safari through Africa discovers a magnificently plumed bird known as a Raree.  The bird is near death from exhaustion and starvation brought about by a combination of poachers and climatic changes which have turned its once-friendly environment into a death-trap.  The bird is uncharacteristically docile, and does not flee from the explorer when he approaches it.   The explorer had believed the Raree birds were an extinct species;  and so to save the creature from an environment which has become  hostile, and to preserve the species, he brings it back with  him to the United States.
 Proper feeding and warmth bring the bird around to its normal behavior.  Far from being docile, the Raree bird reverts to being a pain in the ass.  It tears open the refrigerator with its beak and rummages around for food.  It overturns garbage cans and rummages around for food.  Its instinctive loudness and viciousness reassert themselves, and the explorer finds himself gradually losing his mind.  He decides to do away with the Raree, figuring that if nature had wanted the species to survive, it would have given the birds better survival skills.
 He loads the Raree into a pickup truck and drives to a high cliff.  He has put drugs into the bird's morning feed so it is docile.  He binds its wings and hauls it over to the edge of a 300-foot-high cliff overlooking the ocean.  The bird opens its eyes, looks down, and says to the explorer:
 "It's a long way to tip a Raree."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Online education study

Yesterday I referenced a study of online education.  The study, Going The Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011, had these findings:

Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year.

The 10% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.

Thirty-one percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.

Reported year-to-year enrollment changes for fully online programs by discipline show most are growing.

Academic leaders believe that the level of student satisfaction is equivalent for online and face-to-face courses.

65% of higher education institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long-term strategy.

There continues to be a consistent minority of academic leaders concerned that the quality of online instruction is not equal to courses delivered face-to-face.

It is clear the next twenty to thirty years are going to see a huge upheaval in higher education.

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up: What do homeschooler DO all day?

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is being hosted at Consent Of The Governed.

Judy starts with:

This week's theme answers the question, "What do homeschoolers DO all day?"

Carnival of Homeschooling

Why is Higher Education So Expensive?

This is a good video about why higher education has gotten so expensive over the last thirty plus years:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What most schools don't teach

I've been thinking about having a summer class for my daughters on programming.

This video gives added weight to the decision:

Another good article on online higher education

The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years by Antonio Regalado is a good summary of the changes in the Higher Education world.  The movement to online education will soon become a tadal wave.

I'll share a few snippets:

The education market is huge:

These ideas affect markets so large that their value is difficult to quantify. Just consider that a quarter of the American population, 80 million people, is enrolled in K–12 education, college, or graduate school. Direct expenditures by government exceed $800 billion.

The potential for online education is almost breath taking:

At edX, Agarwal says, the same three-person team of a professor plus assistants that used to teach analog circuit design to 400 students at MIT now handles 10,000 online and could take a hundred times more.

There has been a massive movement to online eudcation:

According to a study from Babson College, the number of U.S. college students who took at least one online course increased from 1.6 million in 2002 to 6.1 million, or about a third of all college students, in 2010.

Medical Web site for self diagnois

My mother found this cool web site: WebMD Symptom Checker

It seems well done.  As they say with most medical and financial, don't depend solely on the web site for your response, but it could be a good place to start when you aren't sure what is going on.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I almost want to go back to college

This is so cool:  Embry-Riddle to offer first ever commercial space degree:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has announced plans to launch the nation's first ever bachelor's degree in Commercial Space Operations.

The announcement was made Wednesday at the 16th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington. The new degree program would be offered at Embry-Riddle's campus in Volusia County. The school said the program will supply the commercial spaceflight industry with skilled graduates in the areas of space policy, operations, regulation and certification, as well as space flight safety, and space program training, management and planning

For a couple months when my son was asked what did he want to be when he grew up the answer was often a spaceman.  Maybe when he goes off to college he'll head for Embry-Riddle.

Hat tip:  Going to the Mat

Stacking the deck – round two

As I pondered what to say about homeschooling for this week’s carnival I decided to review some of our old posts for inspiration. In one of our first posts my wife wrote about how homeschooling allows parents to stack the deck. Today I’ll reiterate the main point and expand on the idea.

Janine and I have many goals for our children. These goals range from the physical and mental to social and spiritual. We want our children to be functional and healthy adults. We want them to be competent. We want them to be kind. We want them to have a relationship with God. We want them be happy people who will make the world a better place.

One of the reasons we homeschool is because public schools have goals which are sometimes orthogonal and more often in direct opposition to our goals. Government schools teach children to go along with the group. They don’t teach children to do what is right. Government schools, and society at large, send messages which undermine basic Christian values.

There are 168 hours in a week. Children need lots of sleep. At some level children only have fifty to eighty hours each week in which they can be influenced. If a child is spending thirty to forty hours a week in an environment which teaches them that the government is the right answer to any problem, that it is OK to experiment a little with sex, that religion is old fashion and that it is more important to feel good about yourself than to actually accomplish activities, then as parents we’ll be fighting an uphill battle. We will have given the high ground to the “authorities and experts” at schools who are in a position to be the oracle with all the answers. Children can get swept up along with the crowd and just accept what they are taught.

But with homeschooling we are able to make sure our children are taught the lessons we want them to learn. I am glad that with homeschooling we are able to stack the deck in our favor.

How does "society" help?

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite authors:

"Mystical references to 'society' and its programs to 'help' may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats."
Thomas Sowel

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

Good article on the Higher Education Bubble

Nathan Harden writes about The End of the University as We Know It.  It is a great article.

He starts off with this prediction:

In fifty years, if not much sooner, half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in the United States will have ceased to exist. The technology driving this change is already at work, and nothing can stop it. The future looks like this: Access to college-level education will be free for everyone; the residential college campus will become largely obsolete; tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs; the bachelor’s degree will become increasingly irrelevant; and ten years from now Harvard will enroll ten million students.

I found this paragraph fascinating:

One of the biggest barriers to the mainstreaming of online education is the common assumption that students don’t learn as well with computer-based instruction as they do with in-person instruction. There’s nothing like the personal touch of being in a classroom with an actual professor, says the conventional wisdom, and that’s true to some extent. Clearly, online education can’t be superior in all respects to the in-person experience. Nor is there any point pretending that information is the same as knowledge, and that access to information is the same as the teaching function instrumental to turning the former into the latter. But researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, who’ve been experimenting with computer-based learning for years, have found that when machine-guided learning is combined with traditional classroom instruction, students can learn material in half the time. Researchers at Ithaka S+R studied two groups of students—one group that received all instruction in person, and another group that received a mixture of traditional and computer-based instruction. The two groups did equally well on tests, but those who received the computer instruction were able to learn the same amount of material in 25 percent less time.

Think about it.  Not only can online education be cheaper, it can be faster!

This was also interesting to learn:

It’s worth noting that while the four-year residential experience is what many of us picture when we think of “college”, the residential college experience has already become an experience only a minority of the nation’s students enjoy. Adult returning students now make up a large mass of those attending university. Non-traditional students make up 40 percent of all college students.

I hadn't realized that higher education wasn't delivering much of an education for many students:

In their research for their book Academically Adrift, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa found that 45 percent of the students they surveyed said they had no significant gains in knowledge after two years of college. Consider the possibility that, for the average student, traditional in-classroom university education has proven so ineffective that an online setting could scarcely be worse.

The article is long, but well worth reading.

Homeschoolers Worldwide

Homeschoolers Worldwide Join Forces is a nice article about, well, homeschooling worldwide.

The article reports that in general Educational Freedom is increasing for parents in most countries, for example:

It was not all bad news, however. More than a few experts said the global trends were encouraging. Even countries ruled by governments that are not famous for their sterling human rights records put Sweden and Germany to shame by comparison on homeschooling, which analysts said was a positive sign that the tide was turning in favor of educational freedom.

In Russia, for example, homeschooling is completely legal under federal law, which explicitly guarantees the freedom of parents to educate their children at home anywhere in the country. The movement is also growing throughout Russia, with estimates suggesting that many tens of thousands of families are already exercising their rights, possibly more.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, which has endured more than its fair share of tyranny as well, homeschooling is also legally protected and expanding. “There are problems, but in actual fact, South African homeschoolers operate quite freely, on the whole, and the numbers are growing all the time,” said Leendert van Oostrum, president of a prominent South African homeschooling defense fund.

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.0

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


 Q. How do you catch a unique rabbit? 
 A. Unique up on it.

 Q. How do you catch a tame rabbit?
 A. The tame way.


 Seems there was this father who has three sons. They were always on their best behavior. It turns out that he always paid two of his sons $5 a week to be good. The third son, by the way, was good for nothing.


Q: How can you tell if a lawyer is lying?
A: His lips are moving.


Judge: Haven't I seen you before?
Man: Yes, your honor, I taught your daughter how to play the piano.
Judge: Thirty Years!


Some from the 8th annual Ten-Best Stressed Puns competition:

A man discovered that a blood vessel on his wife's forehead would enlarge as the barometric pressure fell. He learned soon to predict rainstorms by observing her weather vein.


During a dark night in Killarney, a group of American tourists huddled in Durty Nellie's pub. A local Irishman sidled up to one of them and proposed a scheme to sell a cure for leprosy. "I'm sorry", the American said, stiffly.
"I'm not Irish. I don't believe in leper cons."


 Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.
    -James F. Byrnes


A guy is driving through Vermont when he sees some old fogey sitting on a rocking chair, rocking back and forth, looking like he hasn't moved since 1957. He asks they guy "Been rocking there all your life?" And the guy replies "Not yet!"


Soviet Premier Brezchnev is visiting France.  They show him Versailles, they show him the Louvre, they show him Notre Dame. He is not really impressed.  Finally they show him the Eiffel Tower.  "What do you think of that?"  Ho ho!  He looks up, thinks for a moment, and says, "There are nine million people in Paris."
"Do you think one watchtower is enough?"


     Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy.
         Janet Long


"Maturity is knowing when and where to be immature."


"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."
                -- Jim Horning


"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
 Edmund Burke, in a letter to William Smith.

Introduction to Henry Cate's Life Humor collection

When I was a couple years out of college a friend emailed me a collection of jokes he had come across.  I saved the jokes and started adding to the collection.  Being young and single I had lots of free time.  And being a bit compulsive I started collecting more jokes. 

As the collection grew I started mailing snippets of it to friends, people I worked with and eventually even to people I didn't know. When the first couple batches went out the subject of the email was something like "Jokes 1.1" or "Humor 1.1." One friend was concerned that if his manager saw the subject line he would get into a bit of trouble, so I changed the subject of the emails to "Life 1.1" and this become the Henry Cate Life (Humor) collection.

At one point I was sifting through almost fifty different sources of humor.  These included rec.humor and other news groups.  Since rec.humor received sometimes hundreds of posts a day I enlisted others to help with the sifting process.  I was also on a couple dozen mailing humor mailing lists.  And at times I even plowed through other people's collections.   

Over a period of almost ten years I gathered about 50,000 clean jokes, thoughts, puns, sayings and so on. 

I've decided to post some of the collection to our blog.  I hope you enjoy the humor.

Movie review: Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is a wonderful movie about the destruction of the British slave trade. Based on the true story this 2006 film was strongly recommended to me when it came out. I was busy at the time and only got around to seeing it recently. I wish I had seen it sooner.

The movie shows us how William Wilberforce struggled for years to stop British ships from trafficking in slaves. He was opposed by those who made money from the trade. William was a young politician who experiences a religious conversion. At first he considered giving up politics but decides to try to get rid of the slave trade. He started in 1782 and was unsuccessful for years. He is supported by a few others devoted to the cause, but for a long time they are unable to convince a majority of the Parliament to stop the trade. Finally they are successful.

I strongly recommend the movie. If you have not seen it, track down the DVD now. It is well worth watching. It is uplifting to see how a few determined men can accomplish great things.

Here is the trailer:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What makes American unique?

Sarah Hoyt has some interesting ideas about what makes Americans unique. 

It is that we are Ungovernable.  Part of her point is that Americans believe in a heavy dose of self government and don't have a need to find experts to tell them what to do.

I think this is a strong theme in the homeschooling movement.  We don't see a need to ask "the experts" how to raise our children.  And especially once you start to understand that "the experts" don't know all that much and/or are frequently wrong.  (I love Thomas Sowell's Inside American Education.)

As Janine said years ago: "We have a probelm with authority figures."

The power of positive reinforcement

My mother forward a good column about the power of reinforcement:  On My Mind: The mean Boss.

14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends

Forbes has a good article about 14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

A good resource for presidential campaigns

In looking through our posts from November 2006 I came across a post to a fun resource for learning history - videos of presidential campagins.

The Living Room Candidate has tv commericals going back to 1952.

It is amazing to see how ads have changed over the years.

Some of our best posts from November 2006

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

Janine continued her series on Dad and homeschooling. 
In Part 4 Janine expounds on how Dad handles everything and anything to do with pets or animals.
In Part 5 Janine talks about how Dad covers Mom's blind spot.

Janine also shared some thoughts in More on Bullies

Generosity and Education covers some problems with the Government's involvement in both.

If you aren't using Google Alerts you might find Google Alerts are better than ever interesting.

And finally I'll end with A thought from Will Rogers on money:

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like."

-Will Rogers, humorist (1879-1935)

Another fun Piano Guys video

My son really enjoys this video:

In a Piano Guys mood

The latest Piano Guys video:

Fun video

I enjoyed this video:

Hat tip:  The Libertarian Homeschooler

Friday, February 22, 2013

Is this the reason language developed?

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

It's my belief we developed language
because of our deep inner need to complain.
        -Lily Tomlin

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

The recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Delightful Education.

There is some truth to this

I used to go rock climbing.  Today's thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list tickled my funny bone:

Q: Why do mountain climbers rope themselves together?
A: To prevent the sensible ones from going home.

Reminder: Please send in a post for next week's Carnival of Homeschooling

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

This will be the 374th 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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A good thought about reading

I like this thought:

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.
The man who never reads lives only one."
George RR Martin

Hat tip:  Waiting for "Superman"

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Following Your Interests

Mary Nix is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Informed Parent.

Mary starts the carnival with:

I have often mentioned that we followed an interest based learning over the years. Whether we were immersing ourselves in trains, art, baseball or just reading a book for fun, the method served us well. Having plenty of time, resources and encouragement enables anyone to make the subject they are interested in their own. There is no one right way, but every individual finds the methods that work best for them.

My grown son still has the photo in his office that a major railroad sent him when he wrote them asking what the very fancy train was that occasionally sped by our house. They wrote back that it was the old “President’s Train” that was now used for executives to travel the country, and set a lovely 8 x 10 along with it. They had so many of those experiences with the librarian, a zookeeper, naturalist and others in the community they learned to seek out information and solutions from others when they needed to. I’ve seen them use those same skills very well as adults.

Enjoy this carnival as others share their methods, lives and learning experiences in this week’s carnival.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 18, 2013

A great benefit of homeschooling: having children who become adults

One of the problems in today’s society is so many children who grow old but don’t grow up.  The term “Failure to Launch” has been coined to describe children over twenty who aren’t really yet adults.  They don’t take on adult responsibilities.  They often are still at home with their parents.  Not every person who lives with their parents is in this category, but society has seen a scary trend of more and more children who depend on their parents for support.

One of the driving factors of this trend is children are not embracing and taking on adult responsibilities.  They get married at a much later time in their life, and frequently never marry.  Rather than looking to establish a home and form a family their primary goals are more focused on short term satisfaction from playing video games, traveling or just hanging out with their friends.  They miss out on the joy that comes from marriage and children, and they miss out on the growth. 

Homeschooling provides a setting where parents can encourage and support children to take on more responsibility.  In contrast to the Helicopter parents who push their children through high school and follow their children to college, to make sure Johnny stays focused on school, homeschooling parents normally encourage their children to take ownership of their own education and a young age so by the time their children go off to college the children will welcome the chance to be in charge.

Public schools’ busy schedule with tons of homework push aside any time for gradually learning to run a household or start up a small business.  With homeschooling the parents have greater flexibility to make sure their children are more well-rounded.

It would be interesting to see a study which focused on failure to launch children from the public at large vs. those from homeschooled families.  I expect homeschooled children would have a much higher percentage of those who grew up as their grew old.

The latest Homeschool Showcase

The latest Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Jerry Pournelle's advice on how to get his job

My mom found a good column by Jerry Pournelle on how to become a writer: How to Get My Job.

If you know someone who wants to be an author, have them read the column.

I've pointed my second daughter to the column.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for next week's Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at The Informed Parent.

This will be the 373rd 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

Holding a grudge

I like this thought one of my cousins found:

Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This week's Carnival of Homeschoolings is up - With a big heart

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at

The carnival starts with:

In honor of Valentines Day, we celebrate the big hearts of homeschooling families. After all, love is the reason we homeschool and home is where we learn to love.

The first love of all children are their parents. I remember making valentines each year for my Mom as a child. I would still be sending her one if she was still with us. Collected below are the posts of some loving homeschoolers as they share their wisdom with us all.

Check out the cool valentines heart in the carnival.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 11, 2013

Homeschooling and babysitting

My second daughter wrote about some of the advantages of homeschooling:


There are lots of awesome benefits of being homeschooled. One of my favorites is having a flexible schedule. The plan one day might be totally different the next. The only consistencies are my college classes, choir, and church. Everything else I rearrange all the time.

Because I’m homeschooled, my calendar is a lot more flexible. As a result, I get a lot of babysitting jobs. On average I have one to three babysitting jobs a week. Most of them are during regular school hours. We have the nitch in the market for morning babysitting.

I also get a lot of weekend jobs from the people I babysit for during the week. My sisters and I get many more weekend jobs then our friends. It is mostly because we have a bigger customer base from babysitting during school hours.

Babysitting jobs during the day doesn’t infringe of my school work. I still get all my classes and homework done; I just do it when it’s convenient. This morning I had a babysitting job; that just means that I’ll do some of the homework I would have done this morning tonight instead.

There are lots of good things about babysitting! Mainly playing with adorable children and getting paid for it. (My parents sometimes joke that the families we babysit for are putting more money into our college funds then they are.) Also, I have lots of child care experience which is bound to be useful someday! It’s certainly useful with our foster care kids!

As I’m getting older my schedule has gotten a little less flexible. For instance, my schedule now includes an ASL class at our local community college. (Yay! I got in!) As my schedule gets busier I have had to decline several babysitting jobs, which my twelve year old sister has joyfully accepted. Luckily our client base for babysitting is pretty big so there are enough jobs for all three of us babysitters.

To sum up, homeschooling is awesome and babysitting will pay for my college.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for next week's Carnival of Homeschooling

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

This will be the 372nd edition.

Gary asks for your post the carnival next week.

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.

Monday, February 04, 2013

A typical day of college for our oldest homeschooler

My oldest daughter contributed this post:

I have discovered that even after graduation you’re still a homeschooler. (This might be because I still live at home.)

I get up every morning and depending on the day will either make a family breakfast or exercise for an hour on the elliptical. Then in any free time I have between breakfast, shower, and putting my things by the door I practice piano, read the news, or be asked to feed my brother, read to my brother, find shoes, jacket, unload the dishes, or move a load of laundry through. Pretty much like home schooling was for me.

Then I get on the bus that takes me down to school. On the bus I read. Just like before, I take every opportunity to read.

When I get to school I go to class. Having not been conditioned that school is where one might socialize I don’t have the same problems paying attention that I sometimes witness. (To be fair not everyone talks in class.)

I then take the bus home. Sometimes I work right after school; sometimes not. It depends on the day. Whenever I get home I then do any assigned work, perhaps some math problems or a draft of a paper.

During the rest of the afternoon I could be asked to supervise a quick school lesson for my brother, clean a room in the house, or start dinner.

In the evening I might read a book, check e-mail, watch an episode of White Collar with my sisters, or help bath and put my little brother to bed.

While where I “learn” has changed how I study, what I expect my share of the chores to be, and how long I sleep have not. (I was really hoping on more sleep with out early morning seminary.)----------

The latest Homeschool Showcase is up

The latest Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Nice column on why homeschooling is cool

Why Homeschooling is Becoming Hipster starts with:

Who knew? My parents are cool. Homeschooling is becoming hipster. Celebrity parents like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie proudly discuss their homeschooling lifestyle. But pioneers like my parents set the trend of educational freedom.

The plan was to send me to public school. My mother enjoyed her job as an R.N. and was not bored. She was simply a creative rebel. And my father encouraged her to pioneer—because he believed in freedom.

Read the rest of the column.

Hat tip: Instapundit