Saturday, September 29, 2007

I don't have the words

I don't know what to say about this. From Court rules school officials acted properly in strip search:

"Safford Middle School officials did not violate the civil rights of a 13-year-old Safford girl when they forced her to disrobe and expose her breasts and pubic area four years ago while looking for a drug, according to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

"The justices voted 2-1 in favor of the Safford School District on Sept. 21. The decision upheld a federal district court's summary judgement that Safford Middle School Vice Principal Kerry Wilson, school nurse Peggy Schwallier and administrative assistant Helen Romero did not violate the girl's Fourth Amendment rights on Oct. 8, 2003, when they subjected her to a strip search in an effort to find Ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug sold over the counter and in prescription strengths."

Read the whole article for details. Here's another article.

Technorati tags: public, school, abuse, power, children, education

Reaons to blog

Recently I was reminded of various reasons bloggers blog. Lynx at One-sixteenth writes:

"Okay, we'll try something new here, since I haven't been blogging about homeschooling (or anything), and since my parents kind of subtly mentioned that my blog no longer let them see what their grandkids were doing."

Five months ago it was estimated that there were over 70 million blogs! That is a lot of blogs.

When Janine and I first started to blog we were mainly going to use the blog as a draft for a book. That lasted for a week or two.

We continued blogging with the goal of supporting homeschoolers and encouraging parents to consider homeschooling. We use this forum as a way to influence society towards what we believe is a better way for children to be educated.

I've also noticed that our blog has become an extension of my memory.

There are other reasons people blog. Some blog to be famous. Some blog for fun. Some blog to make money.

Here is a partial list of reasons to blog:

1) To stay in touch with family

2) To help in writing a book

3) To promote ideas and try to influence society

4) To extend your memory

5) To be famous

6) For fun

7) To make money


8) To vent (A suggestion from Judy Aron)

If you are not blogging, you might want to reconsider. It can be fun. It is easy to get started. Blogger makes it easy.

Technorati tags: reason, blog, blogging

Friday, September 28, 2007

Carolyn Morrison has a dare for you

Carolyn of Guilt-Free Homeschooling challenges you to go A Day Without Lessons:

"Try it. I dare you. Just try to go through an entire day without learning anything. I do not think it is possible."

She makes the point that we can learn in almost any setting.

I agree. We don't have to be in front of a teacher, without brains wide open, to learn. A classroom setting is a poor place for learning some of life's most important lessons, like character, hard work and your relationship with God.

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

Homeschool "Laws"

Most people are familiar with basic economic principles, such as the Law of Supply and Demand or Law of Diminishing Returns. These so-called laws explain complex patterns of behavior in simple terms. What would such "laws" look like for homeschooling? Here's a few I could come up with.

1) The Law of Diminishing Inputs and Expanding Outputs

Parents spend half as much time teaching each child to read than you did his older sibling. By the time they get to the youngest, the child some how figures out how to read almost entirely on his own through some mysterious process of osmosis.

2) The Law of Inverse Cost

The more money spent on a program or curriculum, the less likely it is to work well. If the curriculum is free, it will probably work perfectly.

3) The Law of Guilt Reduction

Gifting or selling curriculum that did not work well for your child alleviates the guilt associated with buying it and then not using it.

4) The Law of Critics and Supporters

The biggest critics of your family's choice to homeschool will often become your greatest supporters.

5) The Law of Socialization

Parents who sent their children to school because they were concerned about socialization will remove their children from school because of concerns about socialization.

6) The Law of Park Day Politics

Maladaptive behaviors pertaining to popularity and belonging to the "in crowed" typical of junior high will be demonstrated by at least one parent at all homeschool events.

7) The Law of Unanticipated Academic Progress

After a year of making no progress followed by a three month summer break, a child's ability to spell or do math will suddenly jump 2+ grades levels for no apparent reason.

8) The Library phenomenon

The average homeschooler will collect enough books to stock a small library. Bookcases outnumber all other home furnishings.

Update: Since I originally posted this, I thought of one more.

9) The Law of Curriculum Insecurity

Regardless of how well their curriculum is working, homeschoolers will look through the latest educational catalogs and check out what their friends are using in hopes of finding a better/easier/cheaper/more suited to their child program.

Can you think of any more?

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

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Carnival of Space is up, week 22

This week's Carnival of Space is at wanderingspace.

There are a number of new participants. This is one of the effects of having a variety of hosts take turns putting together the carnival. Each host has additional contacts.

Technorati tags: ,

Do genius children need special programs?

Last month Joanne Jacobs posted about a Time's article: Are We Failing Our Geniuses?

The article reveals how the public schools do a poor job for helping those with exceptionable ability. For example the drop out rate for gifted children is about 5%, which is the same for nongifted children.

The attitude in public schools is that gifted children can fend for themselves. Many in society think that because gifted children are so smart they don't need help. Another example of this problem is where the money goes. The Time's article reports:

"American schools spend more than $8 billion a year educating the mentally retarded. Spending on the gifted isn't even tabulated in some states, but by the most generous calculation, we spend no more than $800 million on gifted programs. But it can't make sense to spend 10 times as much to try to bring low-achieving students to mere proficiency as we do to nurture those with the greatest potential."

One of the conclusions of the article is gifted children should be allowed to skip grades and moved quicker through school.

Jan Davidson, Bob Davidson, and Laura Vanderkam in Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds write extensively about this problem. Cheri Pierson Yecke in The War against Excellence: The Rising Tide of Mediocrity in America's Middle Schools shows where public schools are often hostile to gifted and talented children.

This month Joanne Jacobs found about another possible solution in What geniuses need. Richard Rusczyk on the Britannica Blog responds to the Time's article in Failing Our Geniuses:

"Aside from continuing to portray the gifted as oddities, the author appeares to think that such students don’t need special attention, using the peculiar argument that if Einstein didn’t get it, no genius should. The author even argues that being forced to overcome an uncaring education system is actually good for the kids; it builds character, etc. Could you imagine the author writing the same about poor students, or women in mathematics, or learning-disabled students?
"The conclusion, of course, is that gifted students therefore don’t need special schools; they just need to be able to accelerate. This shows a clear misunderstanding of the problem. Our top students nowadays usually are accelerated in school. And they’re still bored and underserved."

Richard's solution is not more of the same, but new programs designed for gifted children:

"The problem our students face in their regular schools is that the standard curriculum is not designed for high-performing students, just as PE classes are not designed for our best athletes. The classes are too slow and too easy. And skipping grades or going to community college doesn’t address the core issue either. It puts these students in yet another class that isn’t designed for them, only now the other students in the class are many years older, which creates its own social problems. A better solution is to create a specialized curriculum for honors-level students, just as there’s specialized training for the basketball team and the band. I don’t mean honors classes – these are usually taught from the same books and with the same material as the regular classes. I mean books and classes developed specifically for our future mathematicians, engineers, and scientists."

If you have a gifted child in a public school you may have an extra reason to homeschool them. You can give them so much more than public schools. Your child doesn't have to spend 12 years in classes being bored. They can master the basic material much quicker, and then go on to more challenging and interesting subjects. As children grow beyond your ability to teach them, there are online courses and junior colleges. And there are always libraries.

Parents should not wait until the schools to change, which may never happen, to make sure their children have a great education.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Carnival of Education is up

This week's Carnival of Education is up at Global Citizenship in a Virtual World.

If you would like to submit to the next Carnival of Education, go here.

Technorati tags: education,

Keep looking after you find "The right answer"

In A Whack On the Side Of The Head author Roger von Oech wrote:

"By the time the average person finishes college he or she will have taken over 2,600 tests, quizzes and exams. The 'right answer' approach becomes deeply ingrained in our thinking. This may be fine for some mathematical problems, where there is in fact only one right answer. The difficulty is that most of life isn't that way. Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers - all depending on what you are looking for. But when we think that there is only one right answer, we'll stop looking as soon as we find one."

I work as a software engineer. It is important when creating software to consider several designs. Often the second or third design I come up with is much better than the first idea. I also find that by considering several designs I will avoid problems that I wouldn't have thought about. It is much harder to fix a problem if I am in the middle of writing the code.

As parents we can teach our children to look for several right answers. If our children learn at a young age to come up with several solutions, they will do much better in life. They won't stop with the first career they happen upon. They will be more effective at work. They will be more flexible in their relationships.

One way we can teach our children the habit of looking for more than one right answer is to say things like: "Yes, that is a good solution, can you think of other options?" You can use this approach in talking about why certain events happened in history. You can have your children brainstorm about ways to do their chores.

As homeschoolers Janine and I try to help our daughters realize there can be many answers to complex problems. We try to navigate them through the process of finding several possible solutions and then selecting one of them.

Roger von Oech is right. Our lives will be richer if we can keep looking pass the first "right answer" we find.

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

Countdown for entries the next Carnival of Space - Twelve hours and counting

The next Carnival of Space at wanderingspace. The theme of the next carnival is Art and Imagery of Space.

Here are the instructions on how to submit a post.

Entries are due Wednesday evenings at 6:00 PM PST.

Technorati tags: , ,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Eric Novak is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Voice of Experience.

Eric folds the various entries into signs from a Fall Country Fair. This is another large carnival, I think there are over 50 posts.

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

A good quote on the purpose of education

Sheri at Wisdom Home Academy reports on The goal of education:

But if you ask what is the good of education in general, the answer is easy: that education makes good men, and that good men act nobly.
Plato, Greek philosopher (c. 428-c. 348)

When making decisions about education, it helps to have an ultimate goal. Otherwise you risk floundering, going aimlessly from one idea to another.

I like Plato's point. For us education is not about getting rich, famous, smart, or powerful. We want our daughters to be educated so they can be better people.

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

The results of a study on the consequences of preschool

Mark Weis at Trust The Children writes about Why Pre-School Hurts Our Children.

His opening paragraph is:

"Even as the enrollment of children in kindergarten remains optional in most states, the daycare lobby and 'early learning' advocates would like to make preschool universal or mandatory on the presumption that pre-K programs promote the 'school readiness' of children. Yet a study by Lisa N. Hickman at the Ohio State University challenges their agenda, finding that children who attend daycare or preschool the year prior to kindergarten do not gain greater social or cognitive skills and in some measures end up lagging behind their peers who enjoy the attention of their parents exclusively." (I've added the bold.)

Here's an abstract of the study. Unfortunately the full report costs money to read.

Mark goes on to summarize the report.

I expect that as a group homeschoolers are very unlikey to dump their children off at preschool. This study implies that part of the reason children who have been homeschooled do so well may lie with events that happened before they started their "normal school" activities. Keeping young children home with their families has long term benefits.

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

The Carnival of Family Life is up

This week's Carnival of Family Life is up at Mom on Wheels.

This carnival has the highest participation rate I know of. Terry writes that there were over 80 entries. Janine's is the fourth in the carnival!

Technorati tags: , , ,

Go off to college and forget what you knew (And pay money to do this)

Suzanne Fields has a sad column in Not Much Ado About History. She writes that a recent study by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), found civic literacy "to be declining at some of our finest (and most expensive) colleges and universities. Many graduates leave college with less knowledge of American history, government, foreign affairs and economics than when they entered as freshmen. Knowledge apparently just evaporates."

It would be funny, if it weren't so sad. Parents are paying tens of thousands of dollars for a college education. In the cases of elite universities the parents often pay a couple hundred thousand. For all that money their children come out knowing less about important matters than the children knew when they went off to college.

Suzanne Fields concludes with:

"Thomas Jefferson knew that education was essential for the republic to remain strong. He wrote that the purpose of education was to "enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom." That was crucial in his 18th century, and it's crucial in our own 21st. We forget at our peril."

As homeschoolers we've made sure our daughters know much of the history of The United States. We've taken them to important sites. They have walked through The White House and through the Capital Building. We've worked through The Richest Man in Babylon and they have a basic understanding of economics.

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

This may be a record for our blog - 2 hours 18 minutes

Janine and I blog to support homeschoolers and encourage parents to try homeschooling. One of the ways we can tell if we are having an impact is by checking SiteMeter. The more hits we have, and the longer people stay, the more of an impact we have.

SiteMeter reported that this morning some from Denmark spent two hours and 18 minutes reading our blog!

The reader came in via the Danish version of Google. The search pattern was homeschool. Our blog was the tenth site listed. The reader had 21 page views.

If you check quickly you can read the full report.

If you have a blog and don't have a hit reporter, check out SiteMeter.

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

One of the dangers of letting children watch television

Part of my morning routine is reading a dozen or so online comics.

Stone Soup is about an extended family. Two sisters live next door to each other. Mom lives with one of them. One of the sisters is married, the other is divorced. Both have children. Today's strip had a funny take on the problem with letting children watch television.

Close to Home has a wacky sense of humor. Our oldest daughter is 13. Janine and I talk some on what it will be like when our daughters start going off to college. Today's strip was about how parents differ in their reactions to a child leaving home.

Technorati tags: humor, comic, television, college

Music lessons

The saga continues....... What about Band, What about band? - Part 2, What about band? - Day Three

Last week I started taking trumpet lessons. Since I started playing trumpet again after a 23 year break, I figured I needed all the help I could get.

A friend of mine has a daughter who plays trumpet. She and some other parents made a deal with a professional trumpet player who teaches in a city about 30 minutes away. One of the parents would host the lessons here. The teacher would drive down and teach all the lessons back to back at this home. I felt a little funny waiting with the middle school and high school students and their parents.

When I've taken lessons before (when I was a child), the music teacher taught many different instruments. This teacher only does trumpet. I was impressed with his skill and knowledge.

On a sad note, my oldest daughter's clarinet teacher died suddenly last week after a short illness. This woman had been involved for years with the music program at a local middle school. We attended a memorial service at the school

It felt a little strange being at the middle school. I wondered how my oldest daughter felt about being at the school. I was worried that she would feel uncomfortable or left out. We left early from the service because it was getting late for my younger children. My oldest came home with a family friend. I was surprised that she wanted to stay longer. She only knew a few kids from band camp, church and soccer.

I asked her about it this morning.

Me: How did you feel when we attended the memorial service at the middle school.

My daughter: It was kind of sad. (Referring to the woman who had died.)

Me: I mean how did you feel about being at the school?

My daughter: (Blank look) How was I supposed to feel?

Me: Did you have any thoughts about school?

My daughter: (Another blank look) Like what?

Me: Did you wonder what it would be like to go to school? Did you wish that you went to school.

My daughter: (Still looking puzzled)

Me: So you were comfortable?

My daughter: (Blushing) Well, (blank- name of boy she likes) was there. And you better not use his name on your blog.

She definitely doesn't feel left out or uncomfortable. As a child, I would have been miserable out of my own territory. I would have felt bad that my friends were in the group that was performing and I wasn't. I'm happy she doesn't have my hang ups about fitting in or keeping up with the Jones.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, Orchestra, Public School, Home School, home education, parenting, children, education,

Saturday, September 22, 2007

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

Eric Novak will be hosting the carnival next week at The Voice of Experience.

You have less than 48 hours to send in an entry.

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,

A few other good carnivals to check out

This week's Carnival of Education is up at The Education Wonks. This carnival is very accepting. There are several posts from homeschoolers. If you'd like to submit something for the next Carnival of Education go to here.

Sherry at Semicolon has a weekly Saturday Review of Books. This is a dynamic carnival. You can add a link to a recent post about books. It is a quarter to ten in the Morning and there are already 52 entries. The post will probably climb to 80 or so posts. This is a great place to browse for ideas on books to read.

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

The first Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up!

Jacci did a great job kicking off the first Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival at SalmonMe. Jacci has a very creative introduction to the large collection of posts about Charlotte Mason and education. If you have wanted to learn more about Charlotte Mason this carnival would be a good place to start.

The Charlotte Mason Carnival is going to come out weekly. The second edition will be at Homeschool Diva. To submit an entry about Charlotte Mason go here.

Spread the word and tell others about the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.

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

Some of the benefits of homeschooling

Janine and I homeschool mainly to provide religious training, moral development and a stronger academic setting. We also like the political autonomy.

There are many other benefits to homeschooling.

Jennie von Eggers of Creative Homeschooling writes about how any day can be "go to work with your father day." Her oldest son arose at 2:30 AM to go to the studio with his dad. Jennie's husband works as an Executive Chef at a ABC studio. I am sure the son learned many things that day. He learned more about having a work ethic. He learned how television studios work. He learned more about what his father does when he is away from home. I'm sure he will remember this day for a long time.

Christine Miller at a little perspective wonders if Schools will be the next al Qaeda target? Thursday "twelve towns in New Jersey closed their schools, and 14,000 students stayed home, after receiving a threat that those schools would be 'blown out'" Christine writes about other incidents that indicate terrorists are getting ready to target public schools. We feel pretty safe from terrorist attacks, thought I may finally get around to signing up our daughters for a gun safety class.

At Education Matters US is a warning how public schools are Dumbing Down Summer Reading Lists. Public schools are encouraging children to read inappropriate books. As homeschoolers we are careful about what our daughters read. I love the observation that many parents are very careful about what their children eat and put into their bodies, but pay little attention about what goes into their minds.

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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Have you wondered how the book publishing industry works?

Susan Wise Bauer is one of our favorite authors. We first read her book The Well Trained Mind. We bought all four books in the Story of the World series. Our daughters like to listen to the audio tapes of Story of the World books.

On her blog, The History of the (Whole) World, she wrote about how authors are paid. It was fascinating to find out how long it takes for authors to get paid.

If you have wondered how the book publishing industry pays authors, check out her post.

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

When public schools drive parents to homeschooling

Dana at Principled Discovery reports of a public school that drove parents to homeschool their son.

A knife accidently ended up in a boy's bag at school. Tyler D'Allesandro, the boy, showed it to a friend. A third boy grabbed the knife and waved it around. Tyler put the knife back in his bag and took it home. The school decides to investigate and Michael Brumbaugh, the dean of the school, goes into the home without the permission of the parents. Michael takes the knife from the home.

The parents complain. The school decided to suspend the student for a couple days. The more the parents complain, the bigger the penality. Finally the school decides to expell Tyler, and his parents turn to homeschooling.

This is a classic case of Zero Intelligence gone bad.

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

Do you homeschool in Illinois?

Things have been fairly hectic recently, so I'm now catching up on some of the blogs I normally follow.

Susan from Corn and Oil has a good post on the politics of homeschooling in Illinois. If you homeschool in Illinois, check her post out.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Carnival of Space - week 21, the XPrize edition

Would you like to win the $20 million prize the Google Lunar contest? This was the big excitement this week for the Carnival of Space. We had several posts addresses various parts of the contest.

Brian Wang of advancednano has a plan in his outline for how to win the Google Lunar Xprize. It seems doable.

Also in response to the Google Lunar contest Brian Dunbar from Space For Commerce muses on How To Make a Small Fortune in Space. I love his third thought.

At Discovery Enterprise Ralph Buttigieg and Alex Bonnici have been looking how exploration of the Moon can inspire generations in More on the New Moon Race. Ralph has a close look at the Google Lunar Xprize and responds to some of its critics.

In Roving on the Moon, Cumbrian Sky looks at the ways in which the Google Lunar Contest might inspire future generations of explorers and engineers, and help kill the "Moon Hoax" myth once and for all.

We have a few other topics to cover in this week's carnival.

The Astroprof writes about the beginning of the International Lunar Decade, a proposed 12 year period of time in which a multinational cooperative effort can augment lunar exploration.

The Space Cynics getting tired of "announcements" of great things space agencies intend to do that are 20+ years from now (and somehow never seem to materialize...) in their post Anyone Can Take a Reservation.

Ian Musgrave writes I Miss My Notebook on his blog Astroblog. An unexpected astrophoto turns up and brings a wave of nostalgia for a lost notebook.

The Pioneer spacecraft were first to explore the outer Solar System. The Doppler shift of their faint radio signals led to the mysterious Pioneer Anomaly. A Babe in the Universe explores a possible solution to this anomaly in her post Pioneers.

I hope you have enjoyed the Carnival of Space.

The Carnival of Space will be held next week at wanderingspace, click here for information on submitting a post.

I thank everyone who has helped out with bring this carnival together, and to the participants in this carnival.

Technorati tags: , ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Socrates understood the difference between an education and a certificate

From the Quotation of the day mailing list came this quote:

"Socrates gave no diplomas or degrees, and would have subjected any disciple who demanded one to a disconcerting catechism on the nature of true knowledge."
- G. M. Trevelyan

This captures well the difference between

1) having an education where a person gains knowledge and wisdom
2) having a certificate which means a person has passed a set of requirements

There is a problem in our society as many people confuse the two, because there is some correlation. Socrates would have laughed at all the degrees floating around today.

Technorati tags: , ,

It is nice to be back

I didn't realize how much I used the internet until it was partially gone. For the last three days our DSL line has been up and down.

I ran:

ping -t

against my DSL service provider. The ping command showed that the connect to the internet was going up and down every couple minutes, some times within seconds.

This made it hard to read and respond to email, to browse various blogs, and to post.

For the last three hours ping has showed a solid connection, so it looks like we are back in business.

(Update I - 20 Sep)

The command I was mainly using was "ping." I got a bit confused when posting. I was thinking of "tracert." I've updated this post to use the correct command - ping.

Technorati tags: , ,

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Beverly Hernandez is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at About Homeschool.

Beverly's grandson was recently diagnosed with Autism. She ties what she has learned about Autism in with homeschooling. It is a very informative carnival.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cate Academy is back in session

We got off to a bit of a limping start last week. The two youngest girls went on a 10 day trip with their grandparents and they were pretty wiped out when they got home late a week ago Sunday night, so we didn't do much school that Monday.

Having grown up attending school and being tied to the school year, I find that I get anxious if I depart too much from the traditional school calendar. Psychologically, I realize that they learned at lot on that trip, but I still worry that we are "getting behind" the kids at school or those super homeschools who go year round.

Every year I plan to "do school" during the summer. Every year around the end of June, I just run out of steam. We do a lot of educational things during the summer, but not like during the "school" year. I call it my unschooling phase.

Another thing that interferes with year round "homeschool" is summer camp. My oldest daughter spent a week away at a church camp in the mountains. My two oldest daughters then spent 3 weeks in a half day music camp. So, before I even blink, a month of the summer is gone. Soccer season starts the last week of August, so there you have it, the summer is over.

Our homeschool co-op started back up last week and mentally that marks the beginning of a new "homeschool" year for me. So here's to a new year of homeschooling

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What about band? - Day Three

As I mentioned earlier, I've taken up playing the trumpet again. It has been 23 years since I've touched an instrument.

The first night was pretty scary. The sounds coming out of the trumpet did not resemble the sounds that are supposed to come out of a trumpet. The next day in a fit of optimism, I rented a trumpet. So, now I have a three month commitment.

Day two was pretty scary as well. Once in a while, I would get something that sounded like it was supposed to. However, I had no control of what note I played. I was just happy to get something that sounded like a note. I decided to not worry about it at this point and just played as much as I could. I've averaged about two hours a day of practicing. Any chance I get, I will stop and play for a few minutes.

While my daughters were at Violin lessons, I sat in the van trying to notes that sounded like notes. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought.

Day three is looking up. I can play notes and I can play the note I'm trying to play. I still get occasional weird sounds and stray notes, but it is starting to feel like what I remember. I can now play songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Old MacDonald." I still have a long way to go, but considering where I started, things are looking up.

I've noticed that the kids are practicing more on their own now that I'm practicing every spare minute.

Continuing on with Music Lessons
Technorati tags: homeschooling, Orchestra, Public School, Home School, home education, parenting, children, education,

The Carnival of Space, week 20, is up!

This week's Carnival of Space is up at Music of the Spheres.

I will be hosting the carnival next week, so please consider sending in an entry about space. Here are the details on how to send in a post.

Technorati tags: , ,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Don't worry about education - build peace in the minds of men

One of the problems with public, government run, schools is they try to solve world hunger. It seems like every political group tries to solve a problem by dumping another burden on public schools. Are children going hungry? Have public schools feed the students. Do we need to fix the environment? Then teach them about ecology. Are too many girls having babies? Well then have sex education classes. The list goes on and on and on.

The consequence of this is schools fail, dramatically, at what they were created and originally chartered to do: provide a solid foundation in reading, writing and math.

I recently came across one of the worse cases I've ever seen of this at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UNESCO. In explaining what they do, what their goal is, their web site has:

"UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945. For this specialized United Nations agency, it is not enough to build classrooms in devastated countries or to publish scientific breakthroughs. Education, Social and Natural Science, Culture and Communication are the means to a far more ambitious goal: to build peace in the minds of men."

Think about that for awhile.

It is good to set goals. Goals help us to reach and strive, moving us far beyond where we might ended up if we were drifting. But goal setting has to be reasonable, intelligent. I can have a goal of jumping to the moon, but such a goal will do little good.

Having such a lofty goal like building peace in the minds of men lets the organization escape accountability. The UNESCO is never going to fix all the angry and hatred that has built up over thousands of years. By saying they are trying to end strife, it is easier to cover up that they are doing little in help children have a better education.

The UNESCO would do better to focus on helping education organizations do a better job of teaching children how to read, write, and do math. Then the students would be way more capable then they are today. They would have the tools to really make a difference. Maybe after growing up the students could have a possible affect on peace in the minds of men.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Paul Graham on the value of an elite college

Paul Graham with three others run Y Combinator which funds small startup companies. They fund an average of 40 companies a year. They review 900 applications each year.

In News From the Front Paul explains how he has come to the conclusion that what college a person goes to has little to do with how successful they will be in their career. He has been able to see quickly who can perform and who can't. He used to have a tendency to accept those who went to a prestigous university "must be smarter than they seem." After losing money in a number of startups by graduates of elite colleges Paul focused more on who the person really was, not what school they attended.

Paul writes:

"Between the volume of people we judge and the rapid, unequivocal test that's applied to our choices, Y Combinator has been an unprecedented opportunity for learning how to pick winners. One of the most surprising things we've learned is how little it matters where people went to college."

The top, expensive, schools have traditionally commanded a lot of respect. People fight to get into these schools. Paul points out that those in the admissions administration have targets and goals which students learn to game, to fake out, and to work around.

Later in the article Paul says:

"... what we've found is that the variation between schools is so much smaller than the variation between individuals that it's negligible by comparison. We can learn more about someone in the first minute of talking to them than by knowing where they went to school."

His conclusion is that smart, compable students can do just fine attending a good college, without the huge price tag that the ivy league schools charge. Something to think about parents.

The whole article is worth reading.

Technorati tags:

Hobbit galaxies and dark matter

One of the models for star and galaxy formation expects large galaxies like the Milky Way to have hundreds of smaller galaxies. Until recently we've only observed a few. The more popular "dwarf" galaxies orbiting the Milky Way Galaxy are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

Earlier this year astronomers found ultra-faint galaxies which seemed to be a different class. These were dubbed "Hobbit" Galaxies. A report back in January said:

"Seven of the new galaxies are gravitationally bound to the Milky Way, while the eighth appears to float freely in space, beyond our galaxy's grasp."

I wonder how someone can tell that a small galaxy is floating freely in space. Does this mean it is far from the Milky Way Galaxy? With the short amount of time we've been able to observe these galaxies it would seem impossible to predict an orbit.

USA Today has an article which reports several astronomers measured these Hobbit Galaxies and found them to be 10,000 times smaller than the Milky Way, but it appears the mass of the Hobbit Galaxies are 100 more than would be expected for the size. This implies the Hobbit Galaxies have a higher concentration of dark matter than larger galaxies.

It will be interesting to see what develops as astronomers study the Hobbit Galaxies.

Technorati tags: ,

A fun thought on Questions and Answers

I read this insightful line on a work mailing list this morning:

"There are many questions in life, but there are only three answers - Google, Wikipedia and eBay."
From Chris Jankowski's son

Technorati tags: ,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Carnival of Homeschool: Week 89 - The Soccer Edition

Henry has been coaching our youngest daughter's soccer team for four years. This year there was a last minute problem and our oldest daughter's team needed a coach. So, Henry is now coaching two soccer teams. Since we are spending so much time involved in soccer, it seemed natural to do a soccer edition of the carnival.

Things parents should say to their youth soccer players before a match:

I love you!
Good luck!
Have fun!

After a match

I love you!
It was great to see you play!
What would you like to eat?

Homeschoolers are are very supportive and nurturing.

At Tomorrow is Another Day is a request: Calling All Homeschoolers- Cool Homeschool Ideas Wanted! Mrs. Ghost shares what worked for her and asks for ideas from others.

From Pick the Brain are 5 Keys to Success in Foreign Language Learning

Homeschooling Journey reminds us that parents learn along with our children and shares some Homeschooling Tips to help parents improve.

Denise of Let’s play Math! writes that there is a Free American classics study guide for junior high or high school American literature.

Elena of My Domestic Church explains how her older students developed an Enthusiasm for Forensic Science after watching a Discovery Channel Program on the Kennedy assassination.

Mama Squirrel up in Dewey's Treehouse reveals how she designed a high school history course for a part-time homeschooler in The Apprentice's Canadian History.

Homeschooler are happy to give advice and share what they have learned.

From Just Enough and Nothing More are 10 Ideas for a Better Home Education.

Notes From A Homeschooling Mom encourages us to Help failing Homeschoolers.

Carolyn from Guilt-Free Homeschooling has Top 15 Mottoes to Get You Through Your First Homeschooling Year. The first year is the hardest; Carolyn list will provide encouragement.

Dana of Principled Discovery writes about what she would do different if she had only know…

Mrs. Mental Multivitamin makes a great point in When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard...'

Timothy Power of Sometimes I’m Actually Coherent shares what he learned while teaching his daughter to read in Phonics vs. Sight-Recognition Reading: A Case Study.

The Headmistress of The Common Room explains how she Chooses Sentences for Copywork.

From Po Moyemu--In My Opinion is a report on the Live and Learn Conference.

Our Homeschooling Expedition has a unit on the Civil War with hands on activities and living books.

Saille who is trying to Survive the Experience writes how she aligns geography studies with her homeschooling methods in Geography in (Our) Context.

The Fall

The Fall is a fun time of the year. In addition to soccer games, we enjoy the cool weather and getting back into the routine of learning.

From Amusing Reflections Of A Country Girl Jocelyn shares few idea and thoughts on creating a fall or year 'round nature journal.

Autumn is in the air, and apple season is coming! This is a great unit study to get in the mood for fall. SmallWorld has an extensive Apple Unit for learning about apples.

At The Heart of Harmony is homeschooling at its best: Nature Study: Goin’ To the Pond.

Rebecca from Little-Homeschool-on-the-Prairie writes that taking a homeschooling vacation in September is like have Dessert First!

Stephanie writes about her First Day of School with Tuesday Links at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.

At HSBiz are some Links for Fall.

"Dribbling is one of the most important skills in soccer. Dribbling is how one player moves the ball up and down the field. To dribble, the player moves the ball back and forth from one foot to the other. This is done by shoving, pushing, tapping, or nudging the ball with the inside, outside, or sole of the foot."

Homeschoolers have fundamental skills they learn first, before they move on to other skills.

At Round Unvarnish'd Tale is an account of how Cheryl discovered and began homeschooling in Why We Started Homeschooling.

Susan at Corn and Oil lays out the how to's in regulations for new homeschoolers; in particular for Illinois homeschoolers and provides links those just starting or considering homeschooling in Getting Started.

From Day by Day Homeschooling Dawn has a Few SOTW Ideas to supplement the early chapters on Mesopotamia and Egypt in “Story of the World” by Susan Wise Bauer.

At Life Without School Stephanie answers the question are "late readers" at a disadvantage? She explains why this is not the case in How Can You Learn if You Can't Read?

"A pass is a kick, or a ball played with the head, chest or thigh, that is intended to be received by a teammate. Like in basketball, passing is preferable to dribbling because the ball can be moved more quickly & can better be kept away from the other team."

Teamwork is also an important part of homeschooling. Children and parents need to work together to make homeschooling successful, and it helps to have the support of extended family and the community.

Alasandara shares her two School Year’s Resolutions.

Patty Wipfler and Julie Idleman wrote I Sword I’d Never Say That! for They have several tips on how to be better parents. tells us It is that time of year: PYO. (Pick Your Own vegetables) This was a great family activity, and the children learned a lot.

Pass the Torch shares her School Year’s RESOLUTIONS and asked that her readers share their goals.


One of the funnest parts of soccer is scoring. Homeschoolers have fun in a variety of ways.

Kylin’s mom at Facipiers and Stinky Toes writes You might be a homeschooler if.......

At Reese's View Of The World is a response to 8 Reasons Not To Homeschool.

Some time we can have too much fun. Renae of Life Nurturing Education found her son was Bored of Amusement.

Both fun and serious - at Home Spun Juggling is the recent Home Spun comic strip #134, where the artist wonders why she can't complain about a bad homeschooling day without being told, "You can always send them to school."

Susan’s Pendulum tells us how to use for some of those trivia games that thefamily never seems to find time to play in Using Games.

Lizzie of A Dusty Frame shares some random moments from their first week of homeschool in Homeschool Fun.

From HowToMe are some tips on How to make a Custom Birthday Cake

The Not Quite Crunchy Parent wonders Is Afterschooling Too Much? and concludes, it's not, as long as it remains fun!

"There are occasions when a player should literally trap the ball."

As parents we want our children to capture certain ideas and concepts.

With Hands-On Geology ~ or "1 More Reason Why My Kids LOVE Homeschooling" at blog of a redhead we read about the wisdom of allowing teens to make informed choices.

At Percival Blakeney Academy in Beyond Rosetta Stone is a post about ways to help young boys who like bugs, knights and Harry Potter continue learning German.

At Today in Faerie School Rebecca explains how she and her 5th grader are learning about India in Ramayana for Indian stories. Rebecca shares links to some resources.

At All Info About Homeschooling is a post, Key to…Math Series, which reviews how the “Key to…Series” can help children learn mathematics and geometry at their own pace.

At A Hen’s Pace reports on her Education in Education.

As our children capture more and more ideas they become ready to take the next step, going off to college.

High School Grads Ready to Write in College? Nope at Great College Advice is about the importance of competent writing, and how many high school students are not prepared

Deborah from Eat Your History writes about the challenge of getting Santa Monica College to Acknowledge Your Transcript & Admit Your Child.

Matthew K. Tabor has tips on how a homeschooler can prepare his own school profile to provide context for the rest of his application in College Application Overview for Homeschoolers.


When the ball gets out of bounds, it may be thrown back into the game.

One of the benefits to homeschooling is we can go outside the traditional boundries.

Judy Aron of Consent Of The Governed makes the point that there can never can be "equivalent instruction" between government schools and homeschool in The Myth Of Equivalent Instruction.

From Higher Up and Further in are some tips for when you can’t afford a piano or private lessons in Learn to Play the Piano on a Shoestring.

Christine, The Thinking Mother, is glad her Older Son Wants To Be More Self-Directed With His Homeschooling.

Becky at Life Without School writes her thoughts on "Not Back to School" and that
annoying question: "What grade are you in?" in The Definition of Me.

"As players get older, they use their head more often to pass, receive, shoot or "redirect" the ball."

It is important to use our heads when homeschooling.

Lilliput Station shares her answer to What Should We Teach Our Daughters?

Homeschool2.0 Blog writes about Accurate Self-Assessment of Learning Style and provides some links to a couple tests parents can give to their children.


"Except in small-sided play, each team must have a designated goalkeeper. He is the only player on the field who can legally use his hands and then only inside the Penalty Box."

The goalkeeper is at the end of the field. As we come to the end of this carnival we'll share a few more posts.

Barbara Frank explains in The Flexibility of Homeschooling that homeschooling isn't hard; its flexibility actually makes life a lot easier.

From My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving is another unforeseen benefit of homeschooling in Why home's Cool.

The Online Education Database has a list of the Top 25 Librarian Bloggers.

Amber at Trust in the Lord shares her weekly homeschool plan in By Curious George I Think I've Got It!!!

Jacci at SalmonMe’s Xanga Site wonders “Are elite prep schools the only excellent academic option in the United States today?” in For Just $23,000 A Year.

Jacque who is Seeking Rest in Ancient Paths writes about Homeschooling and the Confidence Factor.

The NerdMom a chief technologist at the Nerd Family explains that record keeping for homeschooling doesn't have to be hard or expensive in Frugal Homeschooler: Record Keeping

Super Angel, top reporter for The Daily Planet, writes about what she has learned from her Senior class of Business Management Skills 101.

At Apollos Academy we that while a schedule may help us reach our educational goals, but sometimes more learning occurs when the schedule goes out the window in It’s Because of Days Like This.

And for our humble submission to this week’s carnival is Janine’s post on What about band? - Part 2.

There you have it, the soccer edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. Please mention the carnival on your blog, and other appropriate places.

Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.

Next week the carnival will be held at About Homeschooling.

If you are interested in submitting a post for a future carnival, click here for information.

We thank everyone who has helped out. Thank you to all the participants in this carnival. And thanks to all those who help promote the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Digg my article
Post to

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