Monday, February 27, 2006

The Carnival of Homeschooling: Week 9

In ancient Greek mythology, nine muses or goddesses were believed to inspire artists, musicians, writers and poets. It was common in ancient schools to have a shrine to the Muses called mouseion, the source of the modern word 'museum.' We review these mythical goddesses as applied to home education. We hope you are a "mused."

We begin with Calliope, Muse of Eloquence and heroic Poetry. Her name means fine voice and she is depicted with stylus and tablets.
(Simon Vouet, French, 1590 - 1649detail of Calliope fromThe Muses Urania and Calliope, c. 1634, oil on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection)

Carolyn of Guilt-Free Homeschooling answers questions from a first time homeschooler embarking on this heroic endeavor. In another epic adventure, Anne of PalmTree Pundit writes about the silver lining during discouraging times. Tenniel for SCHOOL@HOME blogs about risk taking and learning to fly. Homeschool Mami explains how speaking two languages at home gives her children great eloquence.

Clio the "Proclaimer" is the muse of history and is often seen sitting with a scroll and accompanied by a chest of books.
Clio, the Muse of HistoryDetail from 'The Allegory of Painting' by Vermeer Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Steve at the Dad's Corner reveals a little history about American coins the he learned from a tour at the Denver Mint. Janine at Why Homeschool shares why the history that we have with our family matters so much.

Erato the "Lovely" is the muse of love poetry and mimicry. She is seen with a lyre and sometimes wears a crown of roses.
(By Filippino Lippi. Allegory of Music (The Muse Erato). 1504. Tempera on panel. Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.)

Mimicry can be a good thing. Beverly at About Homeschooling shares printable pages and a photo gallery to help homeschoolers learn about Maple Sugaring. Queen of Carrots of Introducing the World shares fun activities with pictures. And moving on to poetry, Bruggie Tales shares a poem "I Stitch, you stitch, we all stitch." Sweetness and Light gives us a list of the reasons she loves to homeschool.

Euterpe is the muse of music. Her name means "rejoicing well" or "delight".
Laurent de la Hyre : La Muse Euterpe, 1648 painted by painted by Camiile Roqueplan.

Mrs. Happy Housewife describes how folk songs are a favorite part of their homeschooling.

Melpomene is the muse of tragedy. In spite of her joyous singing, she is represented by the tragic mask.
Elisabetta Sirani (Italian, 1638-1665) Melpomene, The Muse of Tragedyn.d.Oil on canvas, 34 1/4 x 28 in.

Steve Braun, husband of Spunky, debates what he regards as a tragedy in the Christian homeschooling community, the endorsement of Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad. Captain Mom discusses the tragedy of pushing academics too early and the harm of expecting all children to develop at the same rate. Trivium Pursuit details the tragedy of socialization at public school.

Polyhymnia (Polymnia), "She of Many Hymns," is the muse of Sacred Poetry. She brings distinction to writers whose works have won them immortal fame. She has also been called the Muse of geometry, mime, meditation and agriculture.
K20.10 "The Nine Muses"Roman Mosaic, Vichten C3rd ADLuxembourg City, NationalMuseum of History and Art

Spunky at SpunkyHomeSchool shares her own sacred poetry, The Ten Commandments for Christian Homeschooling Moms. Amy at DANDELION SEEDS explains the principle of PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens).

Terpsichore the "Whirler" is the muse of dancing and is often seen dancing with her lyre and a plectrum, an instrument used for plucking stringed instruments.
Eustache Le Sueur - The Muse Terpsichore (1652-55), Oil on panel, 116 x 74 cmMusée du Louvre, Paris

I'm sure many homeschoolers can relate to that "whirler" feeling. Christine at The Thinking Mother explains that delicate dance with do when networking with other homeschoolers. Melissa at Home Sweet Home talks about another delicate dance, how we decide how many extra-curricular activities is too much. Twice Bloomed Wisteria takes on the difficult question: How much is enough?

Thalia (Thaleia) the "Flourishing" is the muse of comedy and of playful and idyllic poetry, and is often seen with a comic mask.
Seated muse, Thalia (Roman, 2nd century A.D. - Hadrianic period)

Dr. Helen comments on an article in the Washington Post with reference to replacing the Gifted program in Montgomery County, Maryland. We weren't sure whether to put this under comedy or tragedy. Patricia at Pollywog Creek Porch shares how Grandma's comments while studying Shakespeare sometimes made her smile. One Sixteenth contemplates mummifying a chicken as they study ancient Egypt.

Urania the "Heavenly" is the muse of astronomy and is represented by a staff pointed at a celestial globe.
Simon Vouet, French, 1590 - 1649detail of Calliope fromThe Muses Urania and Calliope, c. 1634, oil on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection

Dana at Principled Discovery discusses why it is important to look to a heavenly standard when we struggle with mixed motives in our homeschooling.

If you have enjoyed the Carnival of Homeschooling, please spread the word.

If you missed the previous carnivals, click here for the archives.

Next week the carnival will be held at PalmTree Pundit. If you are interested in submitting a post, click here for information.

If you have some constructive suggestions on how to improve this carnival, please leave a comment.

For those interested, the Carnival of Education will be coming out on Wednesday.

This carnival is registered at TTLB's Uber Carnival.

I'd like to thank everyone who has helped out. Thank you to all the participants in this carnival. And thanks to all those who have helped publicized the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, teaching, politics, books, muse, Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melopomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania

Homeschooling bumper stickers

Isabel Lyman recently posted some fun Homeschooling bumper stickers. I asked her where to get them and she provided me with these links:



I am surprised there are so many choices. I'll pick out a couple in the next week.

Deadlines for upcoming carnivals

There are eight hours left for submissions to the next Carnival of Homeschooling. Go here for information on how to submit a post. (And here for the previous Carnival of Homeschooling.)

You have about a day and a half to send in a submission to the next Carnival of Education. Send submissions to owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. (Last week's Carnival of Education.)

The monthly Carnival of Children's Literature (second edition) will be hosted at Chicken Spaghetti. Entires are due this Friday, March 2nd. Here are more details on submitting. (The first Carnival of Children's Literature.)

The monthly Carnival of Unschooling (fourth edition) will be at Atypical I think it will be up on the 9th of March, so entries are due by 9 PM (Alantic time) on the 8th of March. Email submissions to: (Last month's Carnival of Unschooling.)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Links to interesting postings - 25 Feb 06 linked to what appears to be a stupid enforcment of zero tolerance. We have had some very cold weather recently here in California. In Riverside a couple high school students went and loaded up their pickup with snow. They drove to school. They had snowball fight. Sounds pretty fun to me. Principal Mike Neece supsended the two students. The principal said: "Anything that disturbs that or disrupts that is inappropriate on a school campus ..."

Kimberley Swygert at Number 2 Pencil found an article about how some schools are showing Disney movies like Lion King and Mulan. Mulan was used in an AP history class. My daughters have been watching Disney movies for years. Maybe at eleven my oldest is ready for an AP history course.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Blogs and the blogosphere

Instapundit mentions a Carnival of Blog Coverage. The carnival is about what the news is saying about blogs. If you are interested in the state of the blogosphere, this looks like a good carnival to follow.

Bloogz has a list of the most popular blogs. The ranking changes atleast daily, maybe more frequently. Today I noticed that the top page was Google page creator. It looks like in addition to Blogger, which was bought by Google, Google is starting up another free service to host blogs. Unfortunately there was so much demand Google had to create a waiting list. You know blogs are becoming the next big thing when Google starts competing with itself.

Links to interesting postings - 24 Feb 06

I like vouchers. I think they would greatly improve public education. A big part of the problem with public schools is there are few consequences for poor schools. Public schools have a captive market. Spunky writes at SpunkyHomeSchool about Hillary Clinton speaking out against vouchers. Hillary tries to scare us away from vouchers. Spunky points out that what is happening now in public schools is pretty bad. While I do think vouchers would be better for our country, I don't think they are going to happen any time soon. People have been pushing them for decades, and we've made little progress.

The Brew*crew Adventure has a funny homeschooling cartoon.

And Daryl's recent post reminded me about One-Sixteenth's funny post about the power of mom.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tricks of the trade, and a great homeschool project

From Clicked!

There is a Tricks of the Trade blog which collects better ways to do things. There were some fun ideas.

Clicked! also mentioned a site showing you how to build your own hoverboard. Maybe in a year or two as my daughters get older we'll give this a try.

Another reason to blog

Normally the posts on this blog are about education, homeschooling, and why more parents should homeschool. As we see interesting posts, we'll mention other topics.

We've found another reason to blog: free books. La Shawn Barber writes about a publisher who is looking for bloggers to review books. What we need is someone to start a list of publishers who are willing to send advance copies to bloggers.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Education columns from has two columns related to education.

Walter E. Williams write about a big problem in public schools today: Indoctrination of our youth. One reason why students come out of high school without an education is because too many teachers are not teaching subject matter, but trying to change the children. Walter Williams writes about how some teachers take advantage of their captive audience to try and mold the minds of their students. One of the issues I really struggle with in our public schools is that bad teachers mentioned in this column don't get fired. Teachers should be teaching students in their classroom the subject matter the students are there to learn.

John Stossel continues to expose major problems with public schools. He writes about how Unions fight to protect the nightmare. The nightmare John Stossel is focusing on is how hard it is to fire bad teachers. He reports "Klein said that out of 80,000 teachers, only two have been fired for incompetence in the past two years."

Reminder - please send submissions for the 9th Carnival of Homeschooling

We will be hosting the ninth Carnival of Homeschooling next week. Submissions are due by 6:00 PM (PST) on Monday evening, the 27th of February. Go here for information on how to submit a post.

Update I - 23 Feb 2006
A question was asked of if there is a theme for the next Carnival of Homeschooling, or can the submissions be on anything related to homeschooling. The answer is the posts can be on anything related to homeschooling. If you would like some ideas, check here, and here.

My wife has selected a "theme" how the ninth Carnival of Homeschooling will be structured. It should be able to handle any post about homeschooling. The theme is a surprise, so you'll have to come back next week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Carnival of Education (week 55) is up

This week's Carnival of Education is at The Education Wonks.

In the carnival EdWonk announced that "If you have a web site and are interested in guest hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via the email address given below." (Check his blog for the email address.)

Hosting a carnival is a lot of work, but I've found it to be worthwhile. Here is the best discussion I've seen about hosting a carnival. Here is some of what I've learned.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The long term consequences of being too nice to students

Thomas Sowell has a recent column titled Postponing Reality. He makes the point that being nice to students may seem like a kindness in the short run, but if the student never learns or masters the material, the student will suffer greatly in the long run.

Dr. Sowell starts off with:

"Reality can be stressful and can sometimes get very rough. Everyone has an incentive to postpone it. Most of us, however, learn the hard way that postponing reality only makes it far worse than facing it early on."

We all know people who put off certain jobs until something becomes a crisis. Often there isn't a problem for awhile. But once the crisis hits, it is much more painful.

An obvious example is the person who never changes the oil in their car, and then eventually the car needs major work. The owner could have taken an hour once every couple thousand miles and the car would have lasted much longer. Without the needed oil changes, the car dies an early death or the owner spends thousands of dollars to rebuild the engine.

Schools and parents are not doing anyone a favor by allowing a student to continue into the next grade if the student hasn't mastered the material. The schools need to give accurate grades, and parents need to fight harder to keep the student where they belong. If a student needs to take a year over, it will be hard in the short run, but they will have a much happier life. By not taking the effort to make sure a child learns the material, the child can avoid the oil change. But down the road the child is the one who will suffer greatly. They will earn less. They will be more likely to be in trouble with the law.

John Wayne once said: "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid."

The reality is that by being “unfair” now and making children really learn the material, teachers and parents are truly being kind. Don’t let the children grow up to be stupid. Make sure they are educated. It is the real way to kind.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling week 8 is up

By day Daryl Cobranchi is a meek, mild chemist. But now we know that at night he is a hard digging journalist, searching for truth. He answers those key questions of "Who, what, when, where, why, and how" in reporting on homeschooling in this week's carnival which is hosted on his blog HE&OS. Go check out the carnival, and then tell your friends about the latest carnival.

Introduction to Homeschooling

This is a brief overview of homeschooling. There are two main goals. The first is to explain the basics of homeschooling. The second is to provide links to additional information.

A number of people have passed through our blog who are not homeschoolers. Many of them know little about homeschooling. We haven't had any posts explaining the basics of homeschooling, where to go for more online resources, or how to find the legalities of homeschooling for where you live. This was brought home to me when a friend asked last week how could he get started with homeschooling his son.

What is Homeschooling?

Basically homeschooling is parent directed education. This can occur in the kitchen of a home, where my wife and I do some of our homeschooling. It can take place at other locations in a home, for example a spare room, the garage, the basement, or the back porch. A number of parents find ways to teach their children outside of the home, for example in taking lessons, or going to the library, or going on field trips. In short parents assume full responsibility for educating their children. The parents may choose to involve others to help with the education, but the parents are still in charge.

Here and here have more information on what is homeschooling.

Why do people homeschool?

There is a huge variety of reasons why parents may choose not to send their children off to public schools. A majority of homeschoolers have one or more of the following three basic reasons: 1) School environment 2) Religious or Moral 3) Academics.

A recent survey, by the Department of Education, found that about 85% of homeschooling parents were concerned about the environment of public schools. This ranged worries about safety from bullies, to gangs, to drugs, and so on. A second major reason, for 72% of the parents, was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction. The third major reason, 68%, was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at public schools.

There are also many, many more reasons. Some homeschool so their child can be in the movies. Some homeschool because it is hard to get rid of bad public school teachers. Others homeschool because of the father's work schedule. I know some parents homeschool to avoid assignments like researching internet porn. The reasons go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on.

How to homeschool

There is also great variety in how people homeschool. Some people use a very structured curriculum, like Calvert. Other have a more relaxed approach like the Robinson Curriculum. Some parents pick and choose individual curriculums for math or reading. Some might use a particular approach like Montessori Homeschooling. Some parents take an unschooling approach which is child directed learning. Often parents will use one approach for one child, and another approach for another child. Many families find their approach changes over time.

If you have additional thoughts, resources or questions, please add a comment or send me email.

If you are interested in what you might need to do to become a homeschooler, go here for some basic steps.

If you would like to explore some internet resources, go here.

Steps to becoming a homeschooler

You've heard about homeschooling. Maybe even you've thought about it. But you aren't sure what you would have to do to actually home educate your children. Here are some basic steps:

1) Learn more about homeschooling

Before tackling a big task, you need to do your research. Head to your local library and get a couple books on homeschooling. Do a Google search on homeschool. Find someone who homeschools and ask them questions. If possible watch them homeschool for a couple hours.

2) Find out the legal requirements

Depending on where you live there may be few, or lots of legal issues. Again do your research. Find out what you need to do to teach your children at home. In The United States it is legal to homeschool in all fifty states. But the rules vary from state to state. You can go here and here for more information.

3) Find local homeschool support groups

When trying to lose weight many people find they are more successful when they are in a group. I get out of bed early in the morning to go jogging because friends of mine will be waiting for me. There is energy and encouragement that comes from being with others focused on a similar task.

Find a local support group. Better yet, find a couple and get together with each of them. You'll learn a lot, and you'll have a better vision of how to homeschool.

If you have trouble finding a local homeschool group, check out here, and here.

4) Attend a homeschool conference

If possible, try to attend a homeschool conference. Try a conference which will have a variety of styles. You may think you want to be a classical homeschooler, but at the conference you may find that unschooling or Charlotte Mason better suites your family.

Check here and here for a list of homeschool conferences.

5) Then give it a try

Test the waters. Remember you can always change your mind and put your child back into a public school. The earlier you start homeschooling, the easier it is. You can’t blow a year of kindergarten. Colleges don’t look at elementary or middle school transcripts.

It can be scary trying something totally new like homeschooling, but it may be the best thing you can do for your children. If you are wondering if homeschooling is for you, ask yourself these questions. Then give homeschooling a try.

Here are a couple other places which can help you get started:

Home Education Magazine - click on Dear New Homeschooler
Beginning to Homeschool
Getting Started
Advice for New Homeschoolers

And here is a brief list of internet resources on homeschooling.

Internet resources on Homeschooling

For parents new to the idea of homeschooling I thought it would be helpful to have a list of a few places to go on the internet for more information.


Here are some web sites with vast amounts of information on homeschooling. Each site is very complete in providing information how to homeschool your children.

Jon’s Homeschool Resources is one of the oldest sites on homeschooling. It is the first one I started sharing with friends who had questions about homeschooling.

Ann Zeise’s A to Z Home’s Cool (Homeschool) is one of the most complete sites I've seen on home education. There is tons and tons of information for everyone, from the novice to the expert.

On the left side of Beverly Hernandez’s blog, About Homeschool, is a comprehensive collection of information about homeschooling.

Support Groups

It helps to have the wisdom of experience. By working with someone who has been homeschooling for a couple years, you can greatly improve how effective of a job you do in teaching your children at home. With about 2% of children in America currently being homeschooled, chances are you know several families who homeschool. Ask them if there are local groups of homeschoolers. See if you can join. When possible check out several different groups. Often you'll find value in each of them.

You might also want to check out these sites for finding more groups in your area:

Support Groups – Jon’s Homeschool Resources
Homeschool Social Register
Homeschool Central


For years critics of teaching children at home said that the children would never do well academically. Studies have found that children which have been taught at home do as well, and in many cases much better, than children taught at public schools. Now one of the big attacks on home education is that the children will miss out on some kind of socialization. Many parents agree. They don't want their children to be bullied, harassed, and intimidated. At public schools children learn social behavior from other children. When children are homeschooled, parents teach them correct social responses. In addition homeschooled children often deal with a greater variety of people, especially in the ages of children.

Here are a several places for thoughts on the benefits of socializing children at home:

Beverly Hernandez has a good collection of articles about socialization.
Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialization
Social Skills and Homeschooling: Myths and Facts
How to Answer the Socialization Question Once and for All

And if you want more, check out what Google finds.


Amazon has thousands of books on home education and homeschool. Two of the first which greatly motivated us to try homeschooling were Inside American Education by Thomas Sowel, and The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother Jessie Wise. If you like The Well Trained Mind, you might want to check out their web site The Well-Trained Mind. The Moores argue in Better Late Than Early that the rush to push academics on young does great damage. The Homeschooling Revolution by Isabel Lyman does a great job of explaining what is homeschooling. Homeschooling: Take A Deep Breath - You Can Do This! by Terrie Lynn Bittner helps first time homeschoolers get started. Home Educated and Now Adults by Brian Ray is the result of a survey of 5000 homeschooled adults.

Here are some lists of books on homeschooling:

New to Homeschooling?
Books About Homeschooling Organized by Title
Tammy's Homeschooling Curriculum and Book Reviews Listed by Author


Magazines are another good way to get ideas on how to educate your children at home. They can provide answers to questions you didn't know enough to ask. Here are some you might want to check out:

Home Education Magazine
Life Free Learn Free
The Link
The Old Schoolhouse
Practical Homeschooling

Mailing lists

Another good way to get help, support, and guidence on how to homeschool, is to find a couple mailing lists. Here are some lists of mailing lists:

Mail - Jon's Homeschool Resources
Homeschool E-Mail Lists & Free Newsletter Directory

And more resources

Here are a few more web sites about homeschooling:

Advice for New Homeschoolers from Homeschool Central
Best Homeschooling
Excelling in Homeschool
Home Sweet Home School - Resources, Links & Information
Homeschool World
Learn in Freedom!
NHERI - National Home Education Research Institute

If you know of additional places someone new to homeschooling might want to check out, please add a comment or send me email. If there is a problem with any of the above links, please let me know.

A few puzzle posts - mazes & a touch Rubik's Cube

I found the following via digg, which allows people to rating various posts.

If you have a child who likes to solve mazes you might want to check out Exactly One Billion Mazes to Solve. The site has mazes in PDF format, both without and with solutions. I just checked a dozen or so mazes and found that they get more complicated as you get closer to the last. (hat tip: the post)

For the Rubik Cube experts, there is now a Touch Rubik’s Cube. It uses six different materials: metal, wood, textile, stone, rubber, and plastic. It is an amazing world. It appears that part of the reason for developing this was so blind people could have the experience of solving Rubik Cube. (hat tip: the post)

Hard hitting columns from NewsWithViews recently had links to two columns on

In her column Your Child Needs to be in School, Tricia Smith Vaughan says one of the main reasons she homeschools her son is to help develop his intelligence. She finds that homeschooling provides a better environment for children to learn.

Joel Turtel's column Why Public Schools Hat Homeschooling Parents opens with this line "Homeschooling is a great success. That's why many public school authorities hate homeschooling parents." Joel wrote Public Schools, Public Menace. In this column Joel explains why some public school officials are so hostile to parents who homeschool.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Two posts on how to write better

Clicked! referred to a couple recent posts with suggestions on how to improve your writing.

John Scalzi, a professional writer, has a list of ten suggestions. He opens and closes with: read out loud what you have just written. If it doesn’t sound right, work on it, and read it out loud again, until it is understandable. I also liked suggestion eight, read good writing.

In response Lori Montimor, another professional writer, posts her suggestions. She says that John missed a key point; always try to use the active voice. Another suggestion which resonated with me is to write, and then sleep on it. It is good to have a fresh look at what we are writing. She also said it is good to have others review what we have written.

If you are trying to improve your writing, both of these posts are good places to start.

Homeschool students doing well

Izzy of The Homeschooling Revolution found an article about Braden Juengel who got a 36 on the ACT. He was one of 39 in the United States who got a perfect score. The article mainly focuses on Braden and some of the things he has done. He has a great variety of interests, and sounds like a hard worker. I think he'll go far.

And HomeSchoolBuzz found an article about Sarah Schwab, a 13-year-old girl, who may be the first to have a perfect score on the essay part of the SAT. Her goal is to nail all three sections of the SAT with perfect scores. At the rate she is going, she may do it.

How to find the local book store when traveling

The Head Mistress has found a book store locator. Now when you are traveling you can almost know where to go to get your fix. Often when we're traveling we'll check out the local library for a couple hours.

And my reading list grows - The Graves Of Academe by Richard Mitchell

At The Common Room, The Head Mistress has several quotes from Richard Mitchell. He wrote "The Graves Of Academe," which hammers the education establishment. I had heard of him before, but hadn't paid much attention to him. After reading The Head Mistress' post I've requested "The Graves of Academe" from the library. If you are interested, you can read an online version here.

I've skimmed the online version a bit. Here is a sample of his writing:

"Therefore, whatever it is they do in the teachers' colleges of America has had and will always have tremendous consequences. By comparison with the attitudes and intellectual habits and ideological predispositions inculcated in American teachers, the acts of Congress are trivial. Indeed, the latter proceed from the former." (From Propositions Three and Seven)

"Even when I became a schoolteacher myself, quite by accident, I imagined that I had been chosen for the work because of my knowledge of the subject I was to teach. It turned out not to be exactly so, for I was soon asked to teach something else, of which my knowledge was scanty. No matter, I was told. I could bone up over the summer. Eventually, I was asked to teach something about which I knew nothing, nothing at all. Still no matter. I seemed to be a fairly effective teacher and at least smart enough to stay a lesson or two ahead of the students. That's just what I did. No one saw anything wrong with that, and the students never caught me." (From The End of the String)

The Head Mistress has more quotes.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The first Carnival of Children's Literature

At Here in the Bonny Glen, Melissa Wiley has done a great job of putting together the first Carnival of Children's Literature. (Melissa herself has written children's books, check out her website.) There are a ton of interesting posts in the carnival. I've spent close to two hours looking through them. It was fun to see so many authors of children's books are also blogging.

Here are some of the postings I especially enjoyed:

At Sweetness and Light: Love of Books, a homeschool mother posts about how important books are in their study.

At Six and the City, another homeschooling mother decides to study geography when one of her children says that to get to Mexico you have to go through Alaska. The United States maps he had seen showed Alaska under the 48 states. The mother writes about her efforts to teach where the nations of the world are located.

Camille blogs at Book Moot about meeting Jonathan Stroud. Jonathan has written many books, including the popular Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye, and Ptolemy's Gate. I had never heard of the author, or these books. In reading through this carnival I was surprised by just how many children's authors I didn't know. Camille attended a book signing by Jonathan Stroud and was impressed.

At Semicolon Sherry Early writes about reading a book to her children. She made an interesting point, that the same book, Swift Rivers, was interesting in different ways to her children.

At CLASSical Liberalism Kenneth Gregg provides a brief, and fascinating, biography of Jules Verne. I learned a lot about Jules Verne from this post. For example From the Earth to the Moon was first published in 1865, and was very amazing in predicting much of what America would do in the Apollo program.

At Trivium Pursuit is an insightful discussion about what makes a book good. While OK once in awhile, most of us won't let our children live on junk food. Likewise it is important to make sure our children don't read just junk books.

The Carnival of Children's Literature will be coming back again in a month. In March it will be hosted at Chicken Spaghetti. Submissions are due by March 3rd. This carnival has gotten off to a great start and I'm looking forward to the next editions.

Selections from - 17 Feb 2006

From I found the following:

David W. Kirkpatrick of a nice article about some of the history of homeschooling. I had not heard of Everett Reimer before. David Kirkpatrick mentioned Creating Learning Communities which I hadn't know about either, and Alliance for the Separation of School & State, which I check in on once in awhile.

There has been a movement to force school districts to spend at least 65% of the budget in the class room. This opinnion piece looks at some of the problems with this approach. At the The Education Gadfly is a little more in depth analysis. I like Joanne Jacobs' line: "Instead of devoting more resources to teaching, it will devote more resources to redefining 'in the classroom.'"

Finally we have another account of out of control school district spending. Yesterday we blogged about one high school of costing millions of dollars more than originally planned. Today we have a school district in New Jersey which has 300 contrsuction projects, and the costs keep rising, but now we are talking about billions. The original estimate had been $6 billion, but the costs have climbed to $12 billion, with expectations that it may be $19 billion before the building is all done. Every time there is a call for more money in education, the public needs to push back and make sure the money is spent wisely.

Links to interesting postings - 17 Feb 06

Spunky at SpunkyHomeSchool reviews some of the issues in deciding who is called a homeschooler. This is an important issue for a number of people. After reading Spunky's thoughts you'll have a better understanding why.

HomeSchoolBuzz continues to help us stay on top homeschool news. From here is a link an article about a 14-year-old homeschool boy who is doing amazing things. And here is a link to a decent article about how homeschooling can be hard, but worth while.

At The Education Wonks, EdWonks had another one of those scary teacher stories. The teacher was taking bribes of a $1 a day to allow his studnets to sit out gym. My fustration about scary teachers is not that they exist, we have scary people in almost any large group of people, but that in general it is hard to get rid of teachers are extremely bad teachers, or break the law. It looks like in this case the bad teacher won't be teaching again.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reasons to Homeschool: Family Time

One of the many benefits of homeschooling is family time. As a parent, I am pleased to see how well connected my children are to each other. For most people, the bond between siblings will be the longest and most resilient relationship in their life. I've been married for 14 years. I have one friend from high school (25 years) with whom I keep in regular contact. My sister and I have a 40 year long relationship. History matters.

The following was compiled by students taking HDFS 433: The Transition to Adulthood and HDFS 239: Adolescent Development at the Pennsylvania State University.

* Sibling relationships aid the adolescent in many ways: as a preventive measure against depression, and in forming social networks and building social skills.

* The sibling relationship fosters many skills for peer relationships including intimacy, trust, conflict resolution, and identity formation.

* Parents and siblings are significant sources of social support in lowering the risk of depression.

* Siblings are a key component during adolescent development. Even though adolescence is thought of as a time when familial ties are severed and peer relationships become paramount, scientific evidence proves this popular myth wrong. Although peer relationships are an important part of adolescence, it is the family that the adolescent still turns to most in times of need.

Today, my 9 year old taught her 5 year old sister to ride a two wheeler bike. She spent a few hours in the backyard running beside her sister, holding the bike upright while the 5 year old learned to balance. Both of them are quite proud of themselves. This is one of the magic moments.

If my 9 year old had spent today at school, came home tired, completed her homework, finished her chores and piano practicing, there would have been very little time to spend with her sisters. I also don't think she would have wanted to spend the time.

This does not mean my children get along wonderfully all the time. I play referee more than I like. However, there is a depth to their relationship that is a result of the increased time they spend together. Homeschooling makes this possible.

Selections from - 16 Feb 2006

From EducationNews.Org I found the following articles:

Marty Solomon writes about a movement to get full-strength soft drinks out of the schools. He is happy that students in Kentucky will now only be able to have milk, fruit drinks, vegetable drinks, water, or drinks that carry less than 40 or less calories per serving. This took the state of Kentucky over four years to make this change. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is not having to deal with bureaucracies. If parents want their children to have a change in their diet, they can make the change that day.

The L.A. Daily News has another example of the problems with government bureaucracies. A new high school is being built. Already the costs for construction have climbed to $170 million, more than double the original plan. This 1,700 student high school will cost $100,000 per student. There is a lot of finger pointing and no seems to be at fault.

Sandra Stotsky wrote a column saying that the movement to make high schools smaller doesn't make sense, it is based on faulty data. She points out that there are some good high schools with four thousand students. We blogged about this move back in December after Jay Mathews wrote about huge schools in the Washington Post. Economists know that for many products there is economy in scaling up production and allowing people to specialize. Adam Smith wrote about this in his The Wealth of Nations. But there is also a point in which continuing to scale has diminishing returns. That is why we don't have factories of ten thousand workers; the complexity gets too hard to handle. My personal opinion is a high school with 5,000 students, in general, will have too much bureaucracy and perform poorly.

David Sifry's State of the Blogosphere - part 2

David Sifry has a second post about the state of the Blogosphere. It is a couple pages long and has some interesting graphs. (Here was the first.)

If you are interested in how things are changing with blogs go read his post. One of the things I thought was interesting is he said the ranking is very dynamic and some of the top bloggers from a year ago are no longer in the top 100, and some of the top blogs now didn't even exist a year or two ago.

Technorati now allows users to explore for blogs on certain topics in addition to doing searches. Check out the article for more information.

(Hat tip: Clicked!)

The next Carnival of Homeschooling

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted by Daryl Cobranchi at HE&OS. Go here for details on how to enter a submission. Entries are due by 6:00 PM (PST) on the 20th of February. Daryl will be hosting week 8! We are rapidly closing in on weeks with double digits.

And the next Carnival of Education will be hosted at The Education Wonks. Submissions are due by 9:00 PM (PST) on the 21st of February. Send them to

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Carnival of Education is up, week 54

This week's Carnival of Education is being hosted by The EdWahoo. There are tons of entries. I have found value in every Carnival of Education I've read. This looks worth checking out. Hopefully I'll have time tonight.

Links to interesting postings - 15 Feb 06

Buried Treasure Books has some good thoughts about the importance of getting an education, and how you don't need to go off to college to get an education. It is an interesting contrast. Most people who homeschool don't trust the public schools to do a good job of educating their children for kindergarten to 12th grade. As the price of college continues to grow faster than inflation, I wonder how many young adults will find other ways to get advanced education. I believe that distance learning may end up closing a number of colleges.
(hat tip: The Common Room)

HomeSchoolBuzz found a letter to the editor by a 16-year-old homeschooled girl who is also questioning the value of going off to college. She makes some good points.

Just for the record, our current plans are for our daughters to go off to college, but that is at least seven years away. We want our daughters to be well educated, and to develop a life long pattern on continuous learning.

At John Stossel has another column about problems in public schools. He explores some of the absurdities of not firing bad teachers to how private businesses are constantly working to improve their workforce.

There was a song in the 1960s, which had a line something like "The games people play now, every night and every day now, never meaning what they say now …" Joanne Jacobs reports on an instance of the kind of games public schools play. About a quarter of Seattle Public School sophomores are being reclassified as freshman. This will help the test scores with a much better average from the remaining sophomores. My suggestion is they do both. Go ahead and hold back those who can't do the work, it will be better for them to really learn the material. But still include their test scores to show more accurately where that year of students are performing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Importance of "Correct Punctuation"

Depending on how the following is punctuated, this is either a Valentine's Day post, or an Anti-Valentine's Day post. (It might be good to show this to your children the next time they complain about having to learn how to punctuate correctly.)

Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?

Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Yours, Gloria

(author unknown)

Edgar A. Guest - The Dull Road

Sherry Early just posted a poem of Edgar A. Guest’s on her blog Semicolon. This reminded me that about two years ago our older two girls had memorized "The Dull Road." Some times when we have them do chores our middle daughter will quote "It's the dull road that leads to the gay road." Every once in awhile she'll recite the whole poem.

Here's the poem:

THE DULL ROAD by Edgar A. Guest

It's the dull road that leads to the gay road;
The practice that leads to success;
The work road that leads to the play road;
It is trouble that breeds happiness.

It's the hard work and merciless grinding
That purchases glory and fame;
It's repeatedly doing, nor minding
The drudgery drear of the game.

It's the passing up glamor or pleasure
For the sake of the skill we may gain,
And in giving up comfort or leisure
For the joy that we hope to attain.

It's the hard road of trying and learning,
Of toiling, uncheered and alone,
That wins us the prizes worth earning,
And leads us to goals we would own.

(Courtesy of the Gutenberg Project.)

It is our hope that our children will understand that hard work does bring the good things in life.

Links to interesting postings - 14 Feb 06

Chris O'Donnell of O'DonnellWeb found a report on the status of education over the last 180 years. Pretty much every decade someone was claiming that education wasn't as good as it was the generation before. The report said that people have always been complaining, and that maybe there hasn't ever been a good period for education. In contrast is Diane Ravitch's Left Back A Century of Battles Over School Reform. Her book indicates that things have gotten worse. So it is possible there have always been problems, but the problems are getting bigger.

The Head Mistress at The Common Room calls attention to the attitude of the Chicago Teachers Union President which is "How we use Your money is None of Your business."

EdWonk of The Education Wonks calls attention to another new Carnival, the Carnival of English Language Teaching, already up to the third edition.

EdWonk also reminds us that the submissions for this week's Carnival of Education are due ttonight at 6:00 PM. Here's the details.

Another Amazing Astronomy Picture of the Day

The NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is one of the sites I check out every day. Today's picture of the Rosette Nebula is gorgeous. If you haven't looked at any of these pictures before, you can start at the high level overview here, or you can see all of the pictures from last month at one glance here.

The pictures are both educational and beautiful.

The Carnival of Homeschooling, week 7 is up!!!

Beverly Hernandez blogs at About Homeschool. She is hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling this week. She ties Valentine's Day in with homeschooling, and does a great job. Go see what homeschooling bloggers are saying about homeschooling this week.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Some good quotations from "I Saw the Angel in the Marble"

I recently happened across a new blog, ~Unwaveringfaith's Journey~. There was this post which mentioned a book about homeschooling, I Saw the Angel in the Marble. Jennifer included several quotes, here are a few:

"We are so used to thinking of school as children sitting in desks, listening to lectures, and working on pre-packaged curriculum for six hours a day, 180 days a year, over a period of twelve years, that we have a hard time imagining any other way."

"The less involved the Dad is with the homeschool, the more resistant children tend to become (especially the boys). Fathers can help their sons learn productive and respectful ways to assert their masculinity. A Dad's active involvement in the home school also communicates to his children that he considers this a very important endeavor."

From the review on Amazon it sounds like a decent book.

One of the books I've read recently on homeschooling is Homeschooling Take a Deep Breath - You Can Do This! by Terrie Lynn Bittner. It is a good general book on how to get started with education at home.

News from some Google alerts

I've signed up for several Google alerts focusing on homeschooling in the news. If you haven't checked out Google alerts, give it a try. I've entered our site, the names of my siblings, homeschooling patterns, and other stuff. It is a nice way to get the news on something you care about, the moment the news is reported.

Here is some of the recent news about homeschooling which Google alerts lead me to today:

Isabel Lyman (of The Homeschooling Revolution) has a good column at the Cato Institute. She responds to a recent speech by President Clinton about the need for more government control of homeschoolers. She says "This is truly a case of government's attempting to create a remedy for a problem that does not exist." She goes on to point out how homeschooling children are doing very well.

Susan Wight, head of Home Education Network in Victoria, Australia, also has a nice column about how children who have been homeschooled are turning out well. The column started out mentioning how a teacher had turned to homeschooling for her own children.

The Courier-Journal has a positive article about the growth of homeschooling, and some of the business aspects of the variety of curriculums.

Update I (14 Feb 2005)
As Daryl (of HE&OS) says in the comments Isabel Lyman's column was originally written back in 2000. Isabel says thanks here. The Cato Institute does have a "February 13, 2006" on the column. Maybe yesterday was a slow news day and they recycled the news, with the hopes that no one would notice.

The First Carnival of Children's Literature is up

Melissa Wiley (author of The Martha Years books and The Charlotte Years) has kicked off the first Carnival of Children's Literature at Here in the Bonny Glen. It is off to a great start, with lots of interesting posts.

Express Yourself

As a mother of daughters, I wish to teach my children how to use their power wisely. Little things matter. For example, sometimes women and girls try to get noticed by wearing modish and revealing clothing. They do not get respect in this manner. They can, however, loose it.

This brings me to an odd conversation I had at a department store recently. I had come to this particular store to return an item I had bought online. I passed through the girls department and was surprised to see nice Easter dresses on sale. They, of course, also had the typical trashy, transparent, too short styles, but there were a few modest styles mixed in. I was overjoyed to find all my girls' sizes in a lovely, long, linen style dress. While standing in line to buy the dresses, I bumped in to a casual acquaintance who was waiting in line with two adolescent girls. I made the comment that "it was hard to shop for girls." What I meant was that it is hard to find appropriate clothing in the right size.

The woman, however, misunderstood me. She responded that "if I pick it out they just hate it and never wear it, so I have to bring them along." One of the girls snorted in agreement. The mother lifted up a skimpy t-shirt and commented that if it were too loose, her daughter wouldn't wear it.

I didn't have much to say after that. I felt very sad. I thought about how different things are at my house. When I returned home with the new dresses, my girls were excited. They loved them.

We have a generation of young people (not just girls) who are desperate to be noticed. They are willing to harm and demean themselves just for the attention. Youth mimic "gang bangers" and "prostitutes" just to feel important. Any attention is better than being invisible. They foolishly believe that an invitation for sex or drugs is better than being ignored.

Adolescents have a need to express themselves. They want to be unique. I attended a homeschooling conference in which Susan Wise Bauer emphasized that children who can not express themselves with language will do it with their clothing. Children who can articulate complex ideas with spoken and written words will NOT have the "need" to express themselves in dangerous behaviors or extreme styles.

All of this reminds me why socializing children to the standards of other children is a really, really bad idea. Children need attention. If they can't get in healthy ways, they will take anything they can get from anyone who will give it.

So, when anyone asks me about socialization, I reply, "That's why we homeschool."

Daycare and where school administrators send their children - from HE&OS

Daryl Cobranchi posts about interesting news on homeschoolers at his blog HE&OS. He went to town this weekend with almost a dozen posts.

In California there is a push for government funded daycare. Daryl blogs about an article from the UK on Steve Biddulph. Steve Biddulph has written books on raising children; his books have sold over four million copies. He used to endorse sending children off to nurseries because he felt that it would be better for the children. After researching the effects of spending time in nurseries, he came to the conclusion: “The best nurseries struggled to meet the needs of very young children in a group setting. The worst were negligent, frightening and bleak — a nightmare of bewildered loneliness that was heartbreaking to watch.” His book "Raising Babies: Should Under 3s Go To Nursery?" is scheduled to be out next month. Hopefully people in California will realize that young children belong at home with their parents.

Another post links to a Q&A about a local school board president who sends her children to private high schools. Basically the question was isn't it hypocritical for the president of the local school board to send her children to private schools? The answer was no, as the president she has the responsibility to work on improving the schools. As a parent she has the responsibility to send her children to the best place for an education. This reminds me of a Denis Doyle study which found that public school teachers are more likely to send their children to private schools.

Daryl also reminds us that there is still time to get submissions in to Beverly Hernandez for the Carnival of Homeschooling. Submissions are due at 6:00 PM PST tonight. Daryl will be hosting the carnival next week.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

What do I want out of Children's Literature?

In pondering about children's literature this week I’ve decided to write on what I want out of the books my daughters read. Here are a few goals:

1) I look for books that my daughters will want to read. As they transition from non-readers to readers, I want them to be exposed to books that they won't put down. Reading is not a passive activity; there are a lot of brain cells involved in transforming some black lines on a page to thoughts and ideas. This is especially when children are first learning to read. It helps to have a lot of practice, so I want my children to read a lot. One of the major requirements I have for children's literature is that my daughters will want to read it.

2) I also want books that teach my daughters more about the world. This doesn't have to be boring page after page of dry data. My daughters have enjoyed books like the Anne of Green Gable series, or the Horatio Alger stories. These are primarily stories, but the background and setting teach in a subtle way what life was like a hundred years ago. My daughters have also enjoyed the Black Stallion series; my daughters have learned some about the world of horse racing. I look for books with a variety of settings so our young readers learn more about the world.

3) It is very important to me that the books be moral. My children will be happier if they learn to be honest, work hard, and so on. They will have better friends if people trust them. They'll have better jobs if they can stay focused and get the work done. I like books that reinforce good character traits.

What traits do you look for in children's literature? Do you like the above goals? Are there any that you would change? Are there additional traits?

Selections from - 11 Feb 2006

I found a couple interesting articles from EducationNews.Org today:

David W. Kirpatrick, Senior Education Fellow at U.S. Freedom Foundation, writes about education reform. He makes the observation that in the past major reforms have taken a lot of time. In the case of unions and letting women vote it took decades. He makes a call for people to keep pushing for reform in education. To an extent he is right; to fix the education system in America will take time. But I think he wants to work within the current framework and just tweak public schools. I think it would be better to scrape the current system, at least go to vouchers and get the Federal government out of the picture. There has been a number of reforms over the last thirty years, and yet things have gotten worse.

At The Washington Times Deborah Simmons has an opinion piece about a fight to keep charter schools out of Capital Hill, a part of D.C. It appears a group of people don't want a charter school in their neighborhood, so they have taken to the courts and have filed a lawsuit. This is one of the reasons reform is hard. Here we have some teachers who want to break out of the traditional public school straightjacket, and parents who want to send their children to what they see as a better school, but a small group of people are throwing up a number of roadblocks. A very sad part about how long reform takes is that thousands, millions, of children are suffering. As more parents understand the value of homeschool I think more and more will just step outside the box and make sure their children get a quality education.

Links to interesting postings - 11 Feb 06

At SpunkyHomeSchool I enjoyed Spunky's post about teaching her children to read. She taught phonics. And she taught each child according to their needs.

HomeSchoolBuzz mentions a nice article about home school team sports. It is pretty positive about homeschooling in general.

At Greg Forster has a good column about some of the flaws in two recent studies which claimed that public schools were doing better than private schools. I have some thoughts here about why the conclusion is suspect.

Cool new use of Google linked to which used GoogleFight to show that more people are talking about buying Danish than boycotting Danish goods, by a large margin.

GoogleFight is a fun site to play with. It compares how popular two different phrases are in the internet. For example I compared apple to orange. Apple won with over 660 million results, while there were only 302 million hits for orange.

You can also check out comparisons other people have been making.

Do be warned that each time you do a compare there are two little stick figured which have a quick fight.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Selections from Carnival of Education - week 53

The Carnival of Education has it its one year anniversary! The Education Wonks kicked off the first Carnival of Education back on the 9th of February, 2005. The carnivals have been very informative and I look forward to many more years.

It seems this week there were a number of posts about how the environment at public schools can make it hard for the teacher to teach, and the student to learn.

At Polski3's View from Here a teacher relates how he struggles to get support from the school administration. One boy threw another into the teacher's classroom, but the teacher had a hard time getting anyone from the school administration to come deal with the boys. These two boys disrupted the class, and probably won't have any consequences. The students in the class were cheated out of their learning time.

At Three Standard Deviations to the Left another teacher has to spend a lot of time dealing with one disruptive Special Ed student. The blog has a number of other posts about problems the teacher has had with special ed students. It seems like at some schools regular students end up suffering because the special ed students get special privileges.

At Going to the Mat, Matt evaluates the issue of teachers wanting to be treated like professionals. Matt is currently preparing to become a lawyer. He see a big difference between how lawyers and doctors who most people acknowledge as professions, and teachers. The big difference is how doctors and lawyers will try to discipline, and even remove those who are acting unprofessionally. In contrast most of the time there is a move to fire a bad teacher, many teachers will automatically rally to support the teacher.

Doing a good job v. doing the right job

Peter Drucker (1909 - 2005) was a very influential management consultant. In addition to consulting, he wrote books and taught at a couple universities. One of the mailing lists I'm on lead me to a recent article about him. The article had these statements by Peter Drucker:

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
"In knowledge work, the first question is, 'What should you be doing?' Not how."
"Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things."

These thoughts were written for business managers, but they apply just as strongly to parents and homeschoolers. Paul Graham talked about some of the same ideas in his recent essay about intelligent procrastination. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says it doesn't matter how far up the ladder you are if the ladder is on the wrong wall.

As parents it is easy to get caught up being busy with things that don't need to be done, or don't need to be done well. There is something satisfying with getting a task done. But if it is not an important task, we may be wasting our time. For example it is important to have breakfast, but we don't need to spend three hours preparing the food every day.

A big part of the problem of being parents is there is a multitude of important things we need to be doing, and lessons we want to teach our children. Many of these things are worth doing. It is a constant balancing act. We want to teach our children academics like reading, writing and arithmetic. We also want to help our children develop good character, to be kind, hard working, responsible, and honest. Many of us want to help our children have a relationship with God. But we shouldn't focus on just one thing. A child who is honest but doesn't work hard or know how to read will not be as happy or complete as a child who has developed in many important areas.

One of the best ways to make sure you are doing the right things is to take time to ponder what is important. Some kind of planner can provide a framework to step back on a daily basis and help us to focus on the things that are truly important. Stephen Covey said it was also worthwhile to step back in week and evaluate the slightly bigger picture.

One of the most important things we do as parents is to teach our children to ask themselves if they are doing the right thing. If our children learn to think about the things they could be doing, and then select the more important activities, they will be more effective.

As we go through the day it is helpful to ask ourselves now and then, “Am I doing a good job?" But, more importantly, we should often ask ourselves, "Am I doing the right job?”

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Upcoming Carnivals

At Here in the Bonny Glen, Melissa Wiley is kicking off a new carnival. It is "A Carnival of Children's Literature." Go here for details on how to submit an entry. Entries are due by 6:00 PM this Saturday, the 11th of February.

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted by Beverly Hernandez at About Homeschool. Go here for details. Entries are due by 6:00 PM (PST) on the 13th of February.

The next Carnival of Education will be hosted at The EdWahoo. Go here for details. Submissions are due by 8:00 PM (EST) on the 14th of February.

A Major problem with public schools, a principal's opinion

Dr. Terrence Moore is the principal of a K-12 charter school in Colorado, Ridgeview Classical Schools, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The school was recently ranked the number one public high school in Colorado. Over the years Dr. Moore has interviewed many teachers, trying to find good ones to hire.

He recently wrote a column, The One Economic Job Mr. Greenspan Can't Have, about the problem of hiring qualified teachers. He constantly gets certified teachers that are not qualified to teach. He refers to the recent John Stossell 20/20 report and says:

"What virtually all politicians and pundits are unwilling to say, however, is that the leading cause of this failure is the incompetence of the nation’s teachers, and that incompetence is guaranteed by the monopoly of ed-school certification."

He hammers on the point that the major reason children are not getting an education is because the public school teachers don’t know the material they are suppose to be teaching.

He has written a number of columns over the last five years. I’ve looked through a few and enjoyed what I've read.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)

New Carnivals are up

Andrea has hosted the third monthly Carnival of Unschooling. My wife's post about too many hats is in this carnival.

EdWonk has hosted the one year anniversary of the weekly Carnival of Education, which includes my post about some forgotten skills of reading.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

I like this story:


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

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

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

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

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


There is a joke about a man in New York City who is a bit lost and asked a street musician how to get to Carnegie Hall. The answer was "You gotta PRACTICE, man ... you gotta PRACTICE!"

One of my father's friends used to tell people that the way to become an expert was to make 5,000 mistakes. His point was people learn by trying, making mistakes, learning from them, and trying again.

As parents we need to be comfortable with letting our children make mistakes. Sometimes they will recognize they have made a mistake on their own and try again. Sometimes we need to point out the mistake and encourage them to try again.

Some times a good way to help your children is to give them pounds and pounds of clay, and let them learn.