Friday, August 31, 2007

School Stress

Research out of the UK, shows that children experience stress up to 6 months before starting school.

Stressed four-year-olds 'fret for months about starting school'

Young children fret about starting primary school for up to six months before their first day, a study warns today.

Researchers say exposure to such prolonged stress could saddle children with long-term health problems....

However, the readings from three to six months before the start of school also showed alarmingly heightened cortisol levels of 4.48ng/ml, more than three times the normal amount.

Bath University's Dr Julie Turner-Cobb, who led the study, said: "This suggests that stress levels in anticipation of starting school begin to rise much earlier than we expected."

I was surprised to read that shy children are less stressed than outgoing children.

Perhaps unusually, the study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, indicated that shy children were likely to be less stressed by starting school.

Outgoing children displayed higher cortisol levels at the start of term, and were more likely to still have high levels after six months.

I loved the logic of this comment. Let's just stress out the three year olds. Yeah! that will make things better. If the child is left someplace without a parent, even if it is to play, it will cause stress. And of course, let the government (tax payers) pick up the tab.

One reason to start school at 3, like many European countries. Children spend the first year learning to play and socialise with others, and only attend the hours they feel happy to do so (most seem to love it) - it's not really 'school' at all. It also means they catch all the colds in the year before they need to start academic work, so don't miss anything too important.

Having the legal entitlement to a school place from the year in which a child turns 3 does, of course, costs the Government more money.

- Roz, Chamonix, France

The house is sooo quiet!

Off and on over the last couple of weeks, we have hosted a homeschool family with 5 boys who came to the Bay Area to get medical treatment for their youngest child. It has been a difficult time for their family. Many days they were on the "white list." This means that the hospital tries to work in their son's surgery when there is an opening. They spent a lot of time just waiting around to see when the hospital could work him in.

The last few weeks have been so hectic. Not only did we have guests, but we also were preparing for the final step to become foster parents. Henry wasn't at home much due to work and church responsibilities, not to mention that soccer season started and Henry is a coaching one of our daughter's teams.

Oh, and I forget to mention the ants. We don't usually have problems with ants, but all of a sudden, they are everywhere. If I leave a dirty dish in the sick, the next morning I will find an ant trail towards it. A child drops a crumb on the floor, instant ant trail. Just when I think we've solved the problem, it will pop up someplace else in the house. Well, it's war, and the ants are winning.

I cleaned like a crazy person and installed a few more child locks and a child gate on our stairs. On Tuesday, while 7 children did what 7 children do, the social worker came for our home inspection. Henry had to miss the meeting because the social worker got held up at the office and was over an hour late. I kept thinking to myself, "I wonder what my blood pressure is right now?"

The inspection went well. There were only two minor things the social worker wanted changed in the back yard. I had the kids take care of it while the social worker and I finished the final paperwork. We were told that our information would be entered into the computer the next day and our names would hit the list of available foster homes on Thursday.

Our friends went home on Wednesday. Later that day, I drove a van full of girls to a local Golf Land Park for a church activity. On Thursday, my youngest two children left on a 10 day trip with their grandparents to Virginia to visit their cousins.

All of a sudden, after racing around like crazy, everything came to a stop. My only daughter left at home went to soccer practice. I didn't even need to drop her off or pick her up. I was home alone for the first time since I don't know when. I almost didn't know what to do with myself.

Everything is quiet and nothing urgent needs my immediate attention. I have to decide which project I have been ignoring to start.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Carnival of Space is up at Out of the Cradle

Ken Murphy is hosting this week's Carnival of Space at his blog Out of the Cradle.

Ken's done a great job of gathering a lot of interesting information and posts about the effort to get into space.

Technorati tags: , ,

In the news

I'm constantly puzzled by the way schools promote profanity and sexual explicit materials as part of an "education."

Illinois School District Ignores Parents' Objections to Books

Parents of middle school students in Oaklawn, Ill., are angry with the local school board for apparently disregarding their objections to three adult-themed books on a summer reading list.

One book, titled Fat Kid Rules the World, has the F-word on more than a hundred pages, plus other profanities and sexual situations.

For two hours, more than a dozen parents pleaded with Illinois School District 126 to yank it from the shelves. But the school board came to the meeting with a written refusal already in hand.

So schools ignore the great works of classical literature and pick this trash. I don't care if the author has something profound to say. If she can't say it with less than a hundered "f-words," it doesn't matter.

This story reminds me of similar issues at my local public schools.

As a side note, the book's plot line is a great example of how public school is a miserable place to be.

Technorati tags: children, education, public, school

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nice article out of the UK

It is nice to see more homeschool stories in the UK.

A class of their own: The family with 11 children who turned to home schooling

With 11 children in the house, Debbie and Steve Shepherd could be forgiven for packing their brood off to school each morning with a sigh of relief.

But as lessons start each morning, time off is the last thing on their mind.

For the Shepherds don't believe in school - at least in the conventional sense - and educate their children at home.

Mrs Shepherd, 43, who is eight months pregnant, said: "People are amazed when they discover not only that we have 11 children but that we educate them all at home.

This family is a good example of homeschooling even with significant financial constraints.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

A couple nice quotes

This came in from the A Word A Day mailing list:

They know enough who know how to learn.
-Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)

This sums up one of our main focuses as homeschoolers. It is fine that our daughters may learn a little history, how to read, some math and other topics. We are far more excited that our daughters are learning how to master topics on their own.

For example our oldest daught has been reading large selections from some of Miss (Judith Martin) Manners' books.

This is from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list.

Manners are like the zero in arithmetic;
they may not be much in themselves, but
they are capable of adding a great deal
to the value of everything else.
-Freya Stark (1893 - 1993)
From the Bill Wagner Collection

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, manners

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - week 87

The Headmistress is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Common Room.

She notes that there are close to 50 entries!

One of the things I like about the carnival is meeting new bloggers. Head on over to the carnival. You could spend some serious time reading reading about homeschooling.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Monday, August 27, 2007

Book review: How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

I was telling a friend at work today about How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler. I've written about it couple times, but never got around to posting my review. Below is my review:

This is a great book. This book can make a big improvement in how effective you are in reading. It mostly focuses on how to master a book. It talks about various levels of reading, but mainly the book is trying to help the reader to completely understand and own a book after reading it.

A reader or listener is like a catcher in a baseball game, it takes both the effort of the pitcher (author) and the effort of the catcher (reader) to transmit an idea. In reading only in part, only part of the idea may be caught. The goals of reading: reading for information, reading for understanding. To gain understanding you have to work on the book. Reading for understanding is aided discovery.

The authors point how that there are different levels of reading:

1) Basic reading (See Spot run)

2) Reading with a limit on time, systematic skimming.

3) Reading for maximum understanding, or unlimited time

4) Reading several books, synoptically, this is the ability to do research from several books.

So in reading a book you need to decide what it is you want out of the book. For example you may decide after skimming the book that you are not interested in reading any more. "HOW TO READ A BOOK" gives tips on making that decision, and then how to do a good job of reading at a given level.

The authors give tips on how to skim a book, to check the title page, the table of contents, look through the index, and read the publishers jacket. At some point along the way you may decide you are no longer interested in the book. Next you figure out which chapters are important to the book, read them, and read the summary arguments of the book.

Much of the book is on the third level, where you try to own or master a book, so but the time you are done with the book you have increased your understanding of a topic.

The essence of active reading, trying to answer four basic questions:

1) What is the Book about as a whole?

2) What is being said in detail, and how?

3) Is the Book true, in whole or in part?

4) What of it? What does it mean to me?

There are several suggestions on how to mark up a book, so that when you come back to it later you can quickly remember the key points, and use it as a reference book. And marking up the book helps you to process the material at a deeper level.This is well worth reading, and reading several times, until you own the book.

The Carnival of Family Life is up

From far off Dubai comes this week's Carnival of Family Life, posted at Sandier Pastures.

Technorati tags: , , ,

The principal was reassigned

The LATimes reports Principal removed from troubled L.A. high school.

The background is Vince Carbino, the principal, appears to have relabled the names of classes because the high school didn't have the correct textbooks. This hit a number of students hard when they weren't in the college level classes they had planned on. Some students were placed at risk for getting into college.

Many students and parents raised a fuss, and finally the district took action.

(Hat tip: Google alert)

Technorati tags: public, school, education

UK schools finger print children without telling parents

Last week I read a post at Homeschooling on Why I firmly believe that our public schools are prisons. This reminded me of Gary North's post on the difference between a school bus and a prison bus in The Story of Two Buses. (Gary saw very little difference.)

Jay Matthew's column last week about children suffering and the school not telling parents reaffirmed that often schools act like they are completely in charge and don't have to take any input from parents. Public schools are suppose to be nurturing places which help children become educated. Too often the bureaucracy derails this goal.

This problem is not unique to America. In the UK Children as young as five to be fingerprinted in schools. (Hat tip: The opening paragraph is mind boggling:

"Schools have been given the go-ahead to take fingerprints from children as young as five - without asking their parents first."

In the first Star Wars movie Princess Leia said:

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

Some times I wonder if a similar process is a large driver for homeschooling. As schools become worse and more draconian will more and more parents slip away to homeschooling?

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Adams Family and homeschooling

Magaret at Two Kid Schoolhouse has a funny review of an Adams Family episode where Gomez argues for homeschooling.

There are some fun lines:
The truant officer cries "But everybody sends their kids to school!"
"Ridiculous!" says Gomez. "Why have kids if you're just going to get rid of them?"

(Hat tip: kerugma)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Reminder to drop in at The Common Room next week

The Headmistress will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week at The Common Room.

As always, entries are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

The power of a well told story

Dawn puts up a pack of pokemon cards for sale on eBay, along with a story. The story is fun and entertaining, so thousands of people forwarded the link it to their friends. Almost 200,000 people check out the cards which ended up selling for $142.51.

Her blog BECAUSE I SAID SO is only three months old and she already has 294,000 hits. The blog got 77,000 hits on the last day of the auction.

This is the power of a well told story.

I wonder if she'll put putting more items up for sale?

(Hat tip: We Live in the Suburban Boon)

Technorati tags: well, told, story

Benjamin Franklin's 13 areas of self improvement

I received part 36 of 75 yesterday of the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin via DailyLit. I am almost half way through! (If you want to sign up, go here.)

Benjamin Franklin writes about how he started a process of self improvement by focusing on various virtues:

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak

8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Years ago when I took a class on using the Franklin Covey planner system the teacher said that originally Benjamin Franklin only has twelve, and a friend point out to him that maybe he ought to also work on humility.

Benjamin Franklin makes the point in his autobiography that it is hard to improve without having a focus. By working on each of these areas, one at a time, he could make some progress.

As parents we often find ourselves doing this with our daughters. We'll focusing on having them help more around the house by doing the dishes, and then we'll focus on some school work, and then we'll read the scriptures with them, and so on.

(Update I - 29 August)
In Section 39 of the DailyLit emails is the account of adding humility:

"My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word."

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Maybe the principal will get fired

Last week I came across an article about a principal who renamed several high school classes students were in without telling the parents or students. Many students had been on track for college classes but found their classes had been renamed and they wouldn't be getting college credit.

The LA Times reports this week that this may be a problem the school administration won't be able to sweep under the rug in: Faculty, students seek ouster of school principal. The students have been holding rallies. This issue is staying in the news. District officials are hinting that they may put another person in as principal.

In fairness to Vince Carbino the high school does sound like a challenge. The school is understaffed. Several hundred more students showed up than was planned for. There have been hostilities between groups of students, some with gang affiliations.

There was a problem with a lack of appropriate text books. Vince Carbino appears to have tried to cover it up rather than acknowledge that they were short. The cover up worked for a bit, but then when students found out they complained. Vince threatened the students and then the teachers. The students and teachers didn't back down, and then public opinion came down on the side of the students.

Vince Carbino may be let go, but the fundamental problem of not having the correct textbooks may still need to be solved.

(Hat tip: Google alert)

Technorati tags: public, school, education

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Carnival of Space is up at The Planetary Society Blog

Emily Lakwadalla is hosting this week's Carnival of Space at The Planetary Society Blog.

Emily notes that the submission are light this week, but there is still a lot of good posts.

Technorati tags: , ,

Paul Jacobs with Common Sense on Back-to-School Horror stories

Paul Jacobs runs a mailing list called Common Sense. He sends out commentary on politics. He strongly believes we should reduce the size of the Federal Government. If you are interested, you can join the mailing list here.

This week he wrote about horror stories with the Washington DC schools.

Often you can present events in a way that is favorable to you. I remember a joke from twenty years ago about a car race between the United States and Russia. The American car won and all the papers in America ran it as the front page news. The Russian papers reported that they had come in second and the American car had come in next to last.

When business does this it is called marketing. When politicians do this it is called spin. To an extent it is reasonable. When the spin is very misleading it is better known as lying.

Paul Jacobs writes about some schools in Washington DC which don't seem to have their textbooks. Back in 2005 the schools had a similar problem and "some students didn't get books until December."

Here comes the spin: Paul Jacobs writes that The Washington Post explains "textbook department had its budget cut from $8 million to $1.5 million. And that it only has one employee."

It sort of sounds reasonable. The poor school is struggling meeting the needs of the students, but they just don't have enough money.

Then Paul Jacobs cuts through the spin and reminds us that the DC public schools are spending $13,000 per student and the overall budgets are going up, not down. He found that the "have been bought and paid for, and sit in warehouses because there is no system for keeping track."

Paul Jacobs says "This isn't a money problem, but a case of incompetence or neglect . . . or both."

Technorati tags: children, education, public, school

Dana has picked her homeschool tagline

A couple weeks ago Dana at Principled Discovery announced she was looking for a tagline to go with the name of her school. She ran a poll to gather input from her readers. Dana announced that she will be going with: "crafting a world of social misfits one child at a time."

That means the other options are available. I like "where the 'real world' dares not tread."

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

A funny list of the problems with public schools

When people learn we homeschool, most of the time they are pretty accepting. Many are positive and supporting. Every once in awhile someone will start to tell us about all the problems with homeschooling. Normally they are clueless and parroting age old criticisms.

With her tongue fully in her cheek, Valeria at News & Commentary has a funny list of problems with public school. Maybe I'll print off a couple copies of the list.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A bad, bad case of zero tolerance

Creating a safe education environment is sometimes a hard job. Over the last decade schools have pushed for zero tolerance of particular actions or objects. For example some schools have a zero tolerance for guns or drugs.

This can be taken to an extreme. In an effort to keep bad drugs off campus, some schools have pushed for a zero tolerance of drugs. The big problem is some drugs are good. For example a diabetic needs insulin. Sometimes schools try to address this problem by saying that students need to go to the school nurse to get the good drugs. If a student is blood sugar goes high, it is wrong to make them wait until the school nurse can see them.

The blog Zero Intelligence focuses on the idiotic cases of "Zero Tolerance." (I find it interesting that Jim Peacock who first ran Zero Intelligence is now homeschooling.)

Today we have a pretty extreme example of Zero Intelligence, assuming the news is correct. In Arizona a school suspended a 13-year-old boy for drawing a picture. The boy says it is a harmless doodle. The school says drawing is of a gun. Since they have Zero Tolerance for guns, the boy was suspended. One news article starts off with:

"An East Valley eighth-grader was suspended this week after he turned in homework with a sketch that school officials said resembled a gun and posed a threat to his classmates."

What in the world??? A picture of something that might be a gun is going to hurt someone? The school feels it is OK to suspend him? In looking at the picture from the side it looks like a building to me.

The boy says it is a picture of a laser. It was on the margins of a science assignment he was turning in. He was drawing because he had finished the assignment and had some time to kill.

Here is what happened: the school officials interpret the drawing and then punish the student.

There was no trial. There was no sanity. There was no intelligence.

This is one of the worse cases of Zero Intelligence I've heard of in a long while.

(Hat tip: OpinionJournal)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, zero, intelligence, tolerance

Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

SharpBrains has a list of Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains. There are some interesting ideas. I was most surprised by number two:

"Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weights 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don't need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don't stuff yourself with the "bad stuff"."

It is worth checking out the whole list.

(Hat tip:

Technorati tags: health, brain

Another one of my favorites

Yet another gem from YouTube.

White and Nerdy

They see me mowin' my front lawn
I know they're all thinkin' I'm so
White and nerdy

Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Can't you see I'm white and nerdy
Look at me I'm white and nerdy

I wanna roll with the gangstas
But so far they all think I'm too
White and nerdy

Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
I'm just too white and nerdy
Really, really white and nerdy

First in my class here at MIT
Got skills, I'm a champion at D&D
M.C. Escher, that's my favorite M.C.
Keep you're 40, I'll just have an Earl Grey tea
My rims never spin, to the contrary
You'll find that they're quite stationary
All of my action figures are cherry
Stephen Hawking's in my library

My MySpace page is all totally pimped out
Got people beggin' for my top eight spaces
Yo, I know pi to a thousand places
Ain't got no grills but I still wear braces
I order all of my sandwiches with mayonnaise
I'm a wiz at Minesweeper, I could play for days
Once you've see my sweet moves, you're gonna stay amazed
My fingers movin' so fast I'll set the place ablaze

There's no killer app I haven't run (run)
At Pascal, well I'm number one (one)
Do vector calculus just for fun
I ain't got a gat, but I got a soldering gun (what?)
Happy Days is my favorite theme song
I could sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong
I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on
I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon(in part)

They see me roll on my Segway
I know in my heart they think I'm
White and nerdy

Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Can't you see I'm white and nerdy
Look at me I'm white and nerdy

I'd like to roll with the gangstas
Although it's apparent I'm too
White and nerdy

Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
I'm just too white and nerdy
How'd I get so white and nerdy

I been browsin', inspectin' X-Men comics
You know I collect 'em
The pens in my pocket, I must protect them
My ergonomic keyboard never leaves me bored
Shoppin' online for deals on some writable media
I edit Wikipedia
I memorized Holy Grail really well
I can recite it right now and have you R-O-T-F-L-O-L

I got a business doing websites (websites)
When my friends need a code, who do they call?
I do HTML for 'em all
Even made a homepage for my dog (yo)
I got myself a fanny pack
They were havin' a sale down at The Gap
Spend my nights with a role of bubble wrap
Pop, pop - hope no one sees me get freaky

I'm nerdy in the extreme
Im Whiter than sour cream
I was in A/V club and glee club
And even the chess team
Only question I ever thought was hard was
"Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?"
Spend every weekend at the Renaissance Fair
Got my name on my underwear

They see me strollin', they laughin'
And rollin' their eyes cause I'm so
White and nerdy

Just because I'm white and nerdy
Just because I'm white and nerdy
All because I'm white and nerdy
Holy cow, I'm white and nerdy

I wanna bowl with the gangstas
But oh well, it's obvious I'm
White and nerdy

Think I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy
I'm just too white and nerdy
Look at me I'm white and nerdy

Donny Osmond is hysterically funny as a dancer.

This behind the scenes clip if fun too.

It was interesting to see how they film music videos with the music played half speed.

A laugh from YouTube

I love some of the funny things on YouTube. Enjoy this little prank from Japan.

Benjamin Franklin on one of the first public libraries in America

As I mentioned last month I've been working my way through the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin using DailyLit. It has been fun to get brief emails with snippets from the book.

I was struck today by just how wealthy our society is today in contrast to 250 years ago. In today's email was this snippet from chapter eight:

"Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd to render the benefit from books more common, by commencing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary, and got a skilful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in form of articles of agreement to be subscribed, by which each subscriber engag'd to pay a certain sum down for the first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library wag opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned.

"The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no publick amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries."

I found this fascinating on a number of levels. One was a reminder that books were very expensive back then. I remember reading that The Wealth of Nations when it was published cost about a full years salary.

It was neat to see that people donated books.

Another interesting thing is that many people wanted to improve themselves. They wanted to read books. They were willing to spend money to join the library. This is one of the points that homeschoolers recognize: young children love to learn. Most chlidren lose their love for learning in public schools.

You can read the full biography at Project Gutenberg, though the text is slightly different.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

The Carnival of Education is up, with a survey

This week's Carnival of Education is being hosted at The Red Pencil, from India!

Vivek has some interesting results from a survey he gave to the participants of the carnival. The results are at the end of the carnival. Thirty people responded to the survey; three of them were homeschoolers!

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Two good thoughts

This came in on Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Measure wealth not by the things you have,
but by the things you have
for which you would not take money.

-Author unknown

Technorati tags: , ,

Jay Mathews on bad things can happen to your child at school, and the school doesn't have to tell you

This is disturbing. Jay Mathews' recent column Teachers in Trouble, Parents Ignored-- Part II is the second in a series "about parents who are denied important information and find themselves frozen out of important decisions about their children's teachers."

Several children suffered from a teacher. One student told her mom that the teacher "ordered the class to count to 10 in French while he hit the boy 10 times with a ruler." Then suddenly the teacher no longer worked at the school. Years later the girl was still scared of asking for help in school. Parents started asked the school for more information. The school stone walled the parents, and said they didn't have to tell the parents anything.

As the parents started talking with each other they heard more horror stories. For example one mother said "Her son was in counseling because of emotional distress. She thought it was because of her divorce, but now she wondered if it was related to what happened in his second grade class."

I understand that when you have a couple million teachers that you will have bad apples. The problem Jay is focusing on, and I agree with, is parents need to know. They are the ones who can help the children recover from a traumatizing experience with a bad teacher. The parents and children might otherwise suffer for years.

(Hat tip: Google alert)

Technorati tags: public school, parenting, children, education

Two items from Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs does a great job staying on top of education news. Here are two news items recently she blogged about:

In Don’t stress the teacher Joanne reports that a Montreal school found out one of their teachers had murdered his wife. They fired him. A judge said sorry you can't. Joanne hopes that the students are careful not to put him under any stress. I hope all the parents pull their children from the school. Maybe a few of them will homeschool.

Our society focuses greatly on students who are falling behind, who are struggling, who have limitations or handicaps. Joanne points out that we are Failing our geniuses. There was a recent Times article on this. Joanne writes "The argument is that we invest 10 times more money in educating students who perform way below the average than we spend on students who are way above average (145 IQ and up). Some get bored and drop out." In 1984 we were told that we were all equal, but some were more equal than others. There is a problem when the children who could solve many of society's problems are not given the tools, training, or education to help improve the world.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Google Earth has gone to outer space

One of the hot Google Trends this morning is for google sky.

This is pretty cool. Now Google Earth will show you the sky above a point on Earth. Go here for information.

Technorati tags: Google, Earth, Sky

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The 5th edition of the Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival is up

Maureen put together the latest Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival at her blog Trinity Prep School. This month's carnival breaks the entries down into three categories:

1) A Peak Into A Thomas Jefferson Education Home
2) Classics Not Textbooks
3) TJEd: Basic Training

If you would like to participate in next month's Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival, you can use this carnival submission form.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

A Magical Carnival of Homeschooling

Gary has built a Magical Carnival of Homeschooling at Homeschoolbuzz. I love the pictures he has with the carnival.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

The road to happiness

Research (and common sense) show that the road to happiness begins at home.

Youths’ stuff of happiness may surprise parents

NEW YORK - So you’re between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, a little rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.

Turns out the real answer is quite different. Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey — more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 — conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.

Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.

Money vs. Education

You might think money would be clearly tied to a general sense of happiness. But almost no one said “money” when asked what makes them happy, though people with the highest family incomes are generally happier with life. However, having highly educated parents is a stronger predictor of happiness than income.

Effect of divorce
Also confirming existing research, Twenge says, is the finding that children of divorced parents are somewhat less likely to be happy. Among 13-17 year olds, 64 percent of those with parents still together said they wake up happy, compared to 47 percent of those with divorced parents.

MTV/AP Study What Makes 18-34s 'Happy'

....The partners said the results reveal that young people "are generally very happy, optimistic about the future and have goals in place to achieve a happier tomorrow." But the levels of contentment have inconsistencies based on racial lines, faith and family dynamics, and levels of sexual activity. Sexually active young adults, as a rule, indicated "lower levels of happiness," the research partners said.

Results show that 65% of those surveyed are happy with their lives, and 62% think greater happiness will come later...

In the faith area, 80% of those who cite spirituality as the most important thing in their lives report being happy with life overall.

The traditional crowd really does have more fun.

As a side note, the first article mentioned above also reported that "Most young people in school say it makes them happy." Is "most" 52% or 92%? How does that compare to homeschoolers? I would be interested in seeing a bit more data and research on that point.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Monday, August 20, 2007

Carnival of Family Life

Thank you for coming to this week's Carnival of Family Life. I am grateful to Kailani for allowing me to host this week. It was fun to read the great variety of posts.

Next week's carnival will be at Sandier Pastures, in far off Dubai. To send in an entry for future carnivals use this form.

For this week's Carnival of Family Life we're going to look at look at the stages many families go through.

Maintaining your marriage

After the honeymoon, we need to remember to make the effort to keep a marriage strong.

Amanda Regan writes about The Sunday Moan & Groan. #4. at The GOOD, The BAD & The MISCHIEF. Amanda explains how a simple misunderstanding of words can lead to relationship worries.

On a more personal note... Dana explains some of the challenges with having her husband work away from home at Principled Discovery.

Jill writes about her relationship with her husband in Ode to My Hubby at The Diaper Diaries.

First came love, then came marriage,
Then came baby in the baby carriage

Children are one of the joys, and challenges of starting a family.

Elena has some good advice for expecting mothers in Pregnancy: First Things First at

New mothers some times struggle with what, and how to feed their children. Cathy Reviews Kidco Electric Food Mill as a CFO: Chief Family Officer.

Mommy Babble shares some ideas to help mothers in Diaper Rash is a Pain In the Butt.

Jenny is wondering how to do allowance in Little Paychecks at the so called me. Do you have any advice to give?

Not all children come after nine months. Suzanne presents The Adoption Decision by Laura Christianson on adventures in daily living.

Raising children

Raising children is a challenge.

While some schools in the UK are pushing for more testing, Melitsa argues that children need More time for play at

Living with children presents a special set of problems. Emily Berry tells the secret to MacDonalds’s success in You don’t have to get the kids out of the car! on Mommin' It Up!

Do you have this problem? Family has Squirrels in the Attic, and would like some suggestions for getting rid of them.

Parenting may be the hardest job we’ll ever have. Patricia has 30 Ways to Instantly be a Better Parent.

Eric Ellen explores some issues of a Massive Toy Recall – My Thoughts, Your Thoughts, Some Tips at Husbandhood.

Linsey Knerl explains some of the problems and benefits of Short People.... at Facipiers and Stinky Toes.

Feeding our children is an important aspect of raising them. Char Polanosky presents 21 Healthy Lunchbox and Snack Ideas posted at Raising A Healthy Family.


This is really just more on raising children. I broke it up because there were so many ideas.

One of the worries parents have is how to keep their children safe. Megan Bayliss writes on We welcome you Keeping Kids Safe at Imaginif...

Parents even have to keep our children safe from toys. pickel has a Lead Free Toys List, updated daily at My Two Boys.

Some times we need to keep children safe from themselves. We humbly submit It was a pawn.

SingForHim gives a light-hearted look at a Mom Profile: The Don't-Stay-at-Home Mom at Real Life.

Jordan says "I've finally begun to understand living my life WITH my son." in Living our life at MamaBlogga.

Christina presents what can we do when we don’t want to do it anymore? at Solo Mother, saying, "Being a parent is hard. Being a single parent is harder. How on earth do you get through those days when you just don't want to be a parent??"

Expat Chef writes about reinforcement theory and the use of candy as a reword in Burying the Treasure at The Expatriate's Kitchen.

Children with special issues

Children with special needs may need extra help.

Summer reviews What You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Child with Autism on Mom Is Teaching, and offers the book in a contest.

Leticia Velasquez, as the mother of a Down’s syndrome children, shares some thoughts in "I'll pray for your child to be cured" posted at cause of our joy.

Creating Memories for children

As parents one of the most important things we do is to create memories for our children.

Millionaire Mommy Next Door reminds us that Memories are made of the things we DO, not the things we BUY on Millionaire Mommy Next Door.

Vacations and holidays are a great way to create memories. Grace, who will be hosting the Carnival of Family Life next week, shows pictures from the Obon Festival in Japan at her Sandier Pastures.

SengAun Ong has a Freshwater Aquarium Starter Guide posted at Tipskey - Unlock Practicality, explaining that a freshwater aquarium at home can be a material for homeschool biology and a relationship bonder.

Doing service projects is one of the best ways to build memories. Stretch Mark Mama reports on her Trash Mash, at Stretch Mark Mama.

Mommy Poppins writes about new services which provide shared pet ownership in Mommy, Can I Have a Puppy, Sometimes? at Mommy Poppins—Get more out of NYC for kids.

Memories are really all about spending time together. Kevin Heath has Fun Activities Mom or Dad Can Do With Your Kids at More4kids.

Children love simple toys. Host Bee has a Recipe for playdough at Busy Bee Lifestyle.


As our children become teens, we have new things to worry about.

Before our teenagers go off into the wide world, there are a number of life skills they should know. In Life Skills (Updated) Annette Berlin list some basic skills and ideas on how to teach them, at Homeschooling Journey.

Teenage years can be hard on teenagers. Dianne M. Buxton helps with Lose Weight Safely - in Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes at Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes. She has some ideas on safe dieting for dancers and young athletes.

Christine writes about Teenage anst in Teenagers, School and Texting Oh My! at Are We There Yet?

Memories for Adults

Memories are important for both children and parents. Alta celebrates the Day After Yesterday at Love Country Living.

Leisa also thinks about her birthday in Good Times at

JD has a touching and humorous account of saying good-bye to her dad in I Scattered My Dad’s Ashes so you don’t have to, posted at I Do Things So You Don't Have To.

Riley writes about memories in The Wonderful World of Disney at All Rileyed Up.

Being Grandparents

My father teases me that the best part of being a parent is being a grandparent. Jerry Stearns has suggestions on Relationships-Fun Activities To Do With Your Grandchildren, Ages 6-9 at Your Life After 50,

There are other common issues relating to families. Here are a few:

Finding a balance between: Work, Personal and Family

One of the challenges for fathers is finding a balance between work and family life. Ben Yoskovitz presents How-To Start a Company and Family at the Same Time with nice graphics at Instigator Blog.

Sometimes it is hard for parents to find the time to exercise. In A HowTo Guide for The Kids Club at your Gym Csara shares some ideas and her experience at Baby Talkers.

Micellaneous Mum presents Roll up, roll up, plenty to go around posted at Miscellanous Adventures of an Aussie Mum.

Education and School

School can add a lot of stress and pressure. Julie Bonner has Top 5 Tips to Make This an Organized School Year to help things go smoother at her blog Declutter It!

Music is an important part of our education. Tupelo Kenyon writes about the Benefits of Music for Personal Development on Tupelo Kenyon.

Kailani, the organizer of the Carnival of Family Life, shows off her daughter in Photo Contest: The First Day of Kindergarten at Local Girl.

There is a lot of excitement at the start of a new school year. Char Polanosky writes about one such situation in The Envelope Please… at Casual Keystrokes.

HowToMe has ideas on How to Teach your Tactile or Kinesthetic Learner to Study (4 of 4).

Corrie explains Why we choose to learn everywhere posted at Tyler's Triumph.
mom & dad have an ode to their kindergarten son in Kindergarten Kid posted at

Remembering our parents

It is good to let our parents know we appreciate their efforts to raise us. Alfa King pays Tribute to his beloved Dad at Alfa King Memories.


Warren Wong has some good thoughts both parents and children in Make People Comfortable By Greeting Them Right at Personal Development for INTJs.

TherapyDoc has some ideas on how to have healthy relationships with our spouses and children in You're not the boss of me: Playing defense at Everyone Needs Therapy.

Hal Sommerschield presents No! No! No! Don't Do That! posted at North Star Mental Fitness Blog.

Charlie Close shares pictures in The Cooperators posted at Summer Grasses, stories from the seasons of life by Charlie Close.

Whymommy writes about relationships and internet communities in Blogging and a Room of One's Own, posted at Toddler Planet.

Charles H. Green explores issues about trust in The Dark Side of Trust? Not! at Trust Matters.

A picture is worth a thousand words. confess mail has a great picture in I thought I was marrying him, not his family... posted at ConfessMail.


Learning the rules of finance makes a family more successful.

Stephanie encourages us to Don't Waste Your Time or Money on Bad Movies at Stop the Ride!

In addition to money, Fiona Lohrenz askes Parents - Do you have a contract with your childcare provider? at Child Care Only.

Lill Hawkins explores the different between frugal and cheap in Frugal is the New Cheap at News from Hawkhill Acres.

Frugal Duchess has some great tips in Money & Management Lessons From a Lemondade Stand at The Frugal Duchess

Betsy Teutsch shares how her son learned some lessons about money in Money Changes Things: What Topps This? at Money Changes Things.


Super Saver has some good news on College Costs and Average Debt at Graduation at My Wealth Builder.

Scott H shares 5 Questions Parents and Students Should Ask When Choosing a College at College and Finance.


Terri Mauro reports that Kids Prefer Food That Says McDonald's? Excellent! at About Parenting Special Needs.

Donetta presents Carnaval of family life. posted at A Life Uncommon, saying, "Sweet Onion"

zamejias has A Confession at Verb.


Thank you for coming to this week's Carnival of Family Life.

Thank you to all the participants in this carnival.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Reminder - You have 52 hours to send in an entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Gary at Homeschoolbuzz is hosting the next Carnival of Homeschooling. You have just over two days to send something in.

As always, entries are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,