Saturday, May 31, 2008

A homeschool talk show

Several homeschoolers are kicking off a homeschool talk show over the internet. Dana has some details.

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

Good thought on gratitude

From the A Word A Day mailing list:

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
-Gladys Browyn Stern, writer (1890-1973)

Technorati tags: gratitude

Confusing needs with wants

Almost from birth children in our society are taught that they need what they want. "I have to have this." Advertising constantly tells them they deserve the latest toy, video game, clothes and so on.

The reality is we really need very few things. We need food to survive. We need air to breath.

We don't need a car. We don't need a lot of clothes. We don't even need a TV. These things are nice. They make life more enjoyable. I am grateful that we are to afford these, but I recognize that we don't need them. From an objective point of view these kinds of things are really luxuries.

This attitude spills over into the field of education. Politicians and teacher unions constantly claim they need more money to improve education. They can have $9,000 per student, or $24,000 per student, and they still claim they need more money.

One of the local high schools is a great example of confusing needs with wants. The high school recently built a very fancy theater. When I was growing up most high schools have a stage at the end of the cafeteria. This gave the students a chance to be in a play or musical. But my local high school spent millions of dollars for a brand new theater.

Yesterday I noticed they are rebuilding the track. The quarter mile track around the football field, a fairly typically setup, was a nice dirt track. I've jogged around it and enjoyed it. But now the school is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, to put in a rubber track.

These kinds of expenditures are not on needs. They are on luxuries. During a time when money is tight in California, this kind of spending is wrong, irresponsible, and I'd even say it is almost criminal.

One of the reasons I like homeschooling is we are able to teach our daughters the difference between needs and wants. They watch little TV and have few outside influences telling them they deserve lots of toys, games or clothes. When they start talking in terms of they need a game, we gently remind them that they don't really need it, but if they want it, we'll find a way for them to earn the money to buy it.

Needs vs. wants - it isn't a hard lesson to teach, but it seems many people, especially those in government, haven't learned the lesson.

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jerry Pournelle addresses the abuse of power by Texas CPS

Jerry Pournelle makes some strong arguments about the abuse of power by the Texas CPS in the FLDS case:

As to the alternatives, what about showing there was some damage to each child being removed? What about treating them as individuals rather than treating them all at once? Many of them were arbitrarily taken away for no reason and with no charge. Not only were neither parents nor children confronted with their accusers, they were not given any specifications or charges against them.
Punishing people without charging them with any crime or allowing them any defense is a pretty serious thing. I would say that protection from that kind of arbitrary authority is more important than the alleged protection of no more than a dozen kids among the 400 from the allegations of sexual abuse -- allegations, by the way, that now turn out to have been made by an anonymous accuser who may not even exist. It may have been a malicious neighbor.
If we are going to establish that precedent -- that I can call the police and allege that you are abusing me and your children -- and never come forward to confront you, or give any real specifications, but they will come and take your children for their own protection, I have the power to ruin your life.


Reread that last line. "I have the power to ruin your life."

Jerry makes an interesting point at the end of his post:

"Incidentally, statistics show that children in foster homes are more than twice as likely to be abused as those in households with their natural parents."

(hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: Texas, Child, Protective, Services, abuse

Is it open season on kindergarteners?

Originally the concept behind kindergarten to serve "as a transition from home to the commencement of more formal schooling." Kindergarten in German is "children's garden." It was suppose to be a safe place for children to adjust from full time play to a more academic environment.

Lately it seems like some teachers are turning kindergarten into nastygarten, or hellgarten.

Joanne Jacobs found another case of kindergarten cruelty. Last week a poor child was humiliated as the teacher encouraged the class to vote the boy out of kindergarten.

This week Joanne writes:

This time it’s a kindergarten teacher in southern Indiana accused of humiliating a five-year-old boy in front of his classmates. Gabriel Ross told his parents throughout the year that his teacher, Kristen Woodward, was mean. He said other children didn’t like him because he was “bad and stupid.”
In mid-April, Tabitha McMahan and stepfather J.R. Edwards sent Gabriel to school with a tape recorder in his pocket.


It looks like this will plays fairly typically:

1) The union rushed to the defense of the teacher
2) The teacher won't suffer any consequences
3) The poor child has been harmed, but few seem to really care

What is German for "Children's Hell?"

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

Do homeschoolers have mascots?

Joanne Jacobs writes about The scariest mascot - lawyers!

I got to wondering, are there homeschoolers who have a school mascot?

We don't. My daughters would probably pick something horse related, or maybe a Star Wars theme.

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

David Kirkpatrick defends homeschooling

David W. Kirkpatrick of US Freedom Foundation makes a strong arguement on the silliness about critizing homeschooling on the basis on socialization in Socializing Homeschooled Students:

One objection to homeschooling is that the students don't get the chance to socialize with others. There are several things wrong with that view.
For one, it isn't really an argument and is usually presented as a dogmatic statement with the implication that it is to be taken at face value. Not only is specific evidence lacking, there isn't even a pretense in that regard.
The major problem is that this view suggests that the only, or at least principal, place for youngsters to be socialized is in a formal school. That, of course, is incorrect. Most people throughout history, and even today, have limited or nonexistent formal schooling but they are still socialized.
More to the point, even public school students spend most of their time outside of the classroom. Even the establishment likes to point this out when they are making excuses for their failure to educate millions of students. They sometimes point out that students spend less than one-eighth of a calendar year's 8,760 hours in school


Later in his column he makes this strong point:

"Those who emphasize socialization within the public school framework further imply, but never state, that such influences are unfailingly positive. In fact, for millions of students, socialization experiences in public schools are predominantly negative, sometimes heartbreakingly so."

And this is a point Janine made awhile back:

"Largely unrecognized are studies that show youngsters who spend more time with their peers are more likely to develop peer standards than adult ones, and the earlier they begin peer-dominated experiences the more dysfunctional their values and attitudes may be."

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

Another example of socialization in government schools

Joanne Jacobs has a sad tale of a boy being voted out of kindegarten:

Five-year-old Alex Barton was voted out of kindergarten class by his fellow students in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Before the vote, his teacher told classmates to say what they didn’t like about Alex: He was labeled “disgusting” and “annoying.” They voted 14 to 2 to kick him out of class.
The boy apparently has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that’s linked to poor social skills. Children can learn how to function in a group but they need to be taught explicitly and they may always be awkward, withdrawn or odd.


Alex has problems. The government school is suppose to have a plan to help Alex. As Joane Jacobs says: "I’ll bet the plan doesn’t call for public humiliation and isolation."

Now Alex cries as his mother takes him along to drop off his siblings at school.

I think we should vote this teacher out of school. As one of the comments says "... she was astoundingly cruel."

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

Dilbert explains meetings

Dilbert resonances with many who work in American corporate business today. Scott Adams pokes fun at many aspects of business.

I greatly enjoyed this explanation of why we have so many meetings.

I thought about including the strip in my post, but I couldn't figure out if it was legal after looking at the Terms of Use.

Technorati tags: meetings

Why Americans know little about the rest of the world

Alisa Miller explains Why we know less than ever about the world:

I loved the first two maps, about a minute into the talk.

(hat tip: reddit)

Technorati tags: world, news

Good point - innocent until proven guilty

I haven't followed closely the taking away of 400 children from their parents in Texas. If you want the details The Headmistress at The Common Room has been all over this.

It has bothered me that the Texas Child Protection Service just yanked all 400 children with little due process. I liked Michele Catalano's column Even Polygamists Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty. The United States is based on rule of law and due process. One of the fundamentals is we are assumed innocent until proven guilty.

Michele makes an interesting point:

"Texas has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the U.S. Why isn’t child protective services going into all those households and removing the pregnant teens from their parents? There is obviously some kind of permissiveness going on in those homes where the teens did not receive the education necessary to know how to prevent pregnancy. They might get pregnant again. Swoop in and take them away from their parents, because they might end up in the same situation again. Is that a stretch? Maybe, but it seems to me that the zealousness of Texas protective services overruled their ability to figure out how to determine fact from truth. Or maybe they didn’t even care to do that in the first place."

Michele is making the point that there is a double standard.

Janine and I have been doing foster care for eight months now. We know that there are children suffering abuse. In our county 85% of the children taken are suffering from neglect. Real abuse happens, but is rarer that you might think given how the media reports.

CPS are suppose to investigate and remove children when the children are in danger.

It is clear that very few of the 400 children might have been in danger.

The CPS made a huge mistake. In a just world individuals would be demoted and fired. I'm afraid that little will really happen. Even with the recent court ruling, few children are being returned to their parents.

(hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: Texas, Child, Protective, Services, abuse

Petty principal stops senior from graduation ceremony for riding his horse to school

No graduation ceremony for student who rode horse to school:

A student rides his horse to school. The high school principal gets upset and says Caleb Anderson can not receive his diploma with his friends:

Brad Walker saves $25 a week riding his horse Pumpkin to Rockwood High School in Roane, TN. It's a protest to high gas prices that has the support of Rockwood High's principal and has turned a lot of heads in the rural town.
It was a different story all together for a Dickson County High School student who was told this week he would not be able to participate in his graduation ceremony for riding his horse to school.
Caleb Anderson rode the horse to school on his last day of classes. The trip took him almost four hours, arriving at Dickson County High at 7:40am after leaving home at 4am. According to Caleb's grandmother Sandra Anderson, Caleb didn't think it would be as big of a problem as the principal made it out to be. Besides, he was doing his part as a new high school graduate to go green and save a little gas.
But once Caleb arrived at school, Dickson County High Principal Ed Littleton told Caleb to get the horse off the school property. Police arrived shortly after Caleb put the horse in a friend's pasture near the school. As punishment, Caleb was told he will not be allowed to participate in his graduation ceremony Friday.


In the videos there was some vague comment about rules are rules. I would be surprised if there was a rule about how students were suppose to travel to school. Maybe the principal was upset that the horse was on school property. Caleb puts the horse in a friend's pasture, off school property. I don't understand what the big deal is with riding a horse to school.

(hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is at Walking Therein.

Jacque starts the carnival with:

This week is the end of the 2007-2008 school year for many families across the country. June is a few days off and will be the start of summer vacation.
We have not had a ’summer vacation’ in six years. Oh, we have plenty of fun and plenty of vacationing at home during the summer, but we don’t officially take time off from school. School is life, and those Living Learning Moments include reading, textbooks, extra-curricular activities, and anything you can think of.
So, the official school year is over, but, is it? Is it the end of the homeschool year or not.



Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Pretty funny - man's new best friend, a horse

I am impressed:

(hat tip: Dog videos)

Technorati tags: horse

Monday, May 26, 2008

Paul Graham on avoiding distractions

Paul Graham gave me a light bulb moment a couple years ago with his essay on Good and Bad Procrastination. A main point of the essay is there are always millions of things we could be doing, so the real trick is not to avoid doing things, but to be wise in picking what we choose to do.

Paul follows up on this theme with Disconnecting Distraction. He explains that with easy access to the internet we can often be distracted from doing real work:

TV is in decline now, but only because people have found even more addictive ways of wasting time. And what's especially dangerous is that many happen at your computer. This is no accident. An ever larger percentage of office workers sit in front of computers connected to the Internet, and distractions always evolve toward the procrastinators.
I remember when computers were, for me at least, exclusively for work. I might occasionally dial up a server to get mail or ftp files, but most of the time I was offline. All I could do was write and program. Now I feel as if someone snuck a television onto my desk. Terribly addictive things are just a click away. Run into an obstacle in what you're working on? Hmm, I wonder what's new online. Better check.
After years of carefully avoiding classic time sinks like TV, games, and Usenet, I still managed to fall prey to distraction, because I didn't realize that it evolves. Something that used to be safe, using the Internet, gradually became more and more dangerous. Some days I'd wake up, get a cup of tea and check the news, then check email, then check the news again, then answer a few emails, then suddenly notice it was almost lunchtime and I hadn't gotten any real work done. And this started to happen more and more often.

He continues by writing how the internet makes it easy for us to be distracted from the real work that we are trying to do.

This can happen with blogging. Blogging is addictive. I find myself often looking for one more thing to post about. This distraction from important work may be part of the reason people like Spunky and Izzy gave up on blogging, or at least take a break.

I don't think I'm there, yet. But Paul's essay does give me food for thought.

Technorati tags: Paul Graham

I enjoyed Paul Graham's essay on essays

As I have mentioned before I greatly enjoy Paul Graham's essays. A friend recently pointed me to Paul's essay The Age of the Essay. He had several thoughtful things to say, for example:

To understand what a real essay is, we have to reach back into history again, though this time not so far. To Michel de Montaigne, who in 1580 published a book of what he called "essais." He was doing something quite different from what lawyers do, and the difference is embodied in the name. Essayer is the French verb meaning "to try" and an essai is an attempt. An essay is something you write to try to figure something out.
Figure out what? You don't know yet. And so you can't begin with a thesis, because you don't have one, and may never have one. An essay doesn't begin with a statement, but with a question. In a real essay, you don't take a position and defend it. You notice a door that's ajar, and you open it and walk in to see what's inside.
If all you want to do is figure things out, why do you need to write anything, though? Why not just sit and think? Well, there precisely is Montaigne's great discovery. Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them.

Many of his points apply to blogging. If you want to improve your blogging, check out his essay.

Technorati tags: Paul Graham

The 10 Commandments of Unique Blogging

My mother found a good list of The 10 Commandments of Unique Blogging.

Technorati tags: blogging

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vouchers are struggling in Arizona

Matthew Ladner of the The Goldwater Institute reports in Arizona vouchers down, but not out that:

"... last week an Arizona appeals court struck down the voucher programs for children with disabilities and foster care children."

Part of the Arizona Constitution reads:

"No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation."

Based on the law the court may have made the right decision.

In general I find the logic interesting that so many people hostile to vouchers because they might be used at a private, religious, school, are comfortable with the government giving money to private colleges.

I wonder if the State of Arizona gives money to private colleges.

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

Is it time to hoist the Skull and cross bones?

Diane Flynn Keith challenges us to Be A Homeschool Pirate!Hoist the Jolly Roger! This is along the same lines as Spunky's call to Speak With Authority.

Diane starts the call to action with:

On February 28th, 2008, in a moment of monumental stupidity a decision handed down by Appellate Court Judge William Croskey turned most of us, who homeschool our children in California, into outlaws.
He and the other two judges who rendered the decision didn't bother to do their homework - they simply interpreted the California education code without the facts. They made a bad decision based on ignorance, bias, and prejudice.
Due to social and political pressure the court has agreed to reconsider its decision. In doing so, it invited written arguments not from homeschool parents or state and national homeschool organizations — but from the California Department of Education and the California Teachers Association!
Of course, state homeschooling organizations are filing amicus briefs on behalf of homeschool parents - but who knows if the court will consider them?
If they don't, we may be faced with a decision that could severely restrict how we homeschool legally in California - and it could instantly turn many of you into outlaws

She reminds us that we are morally obligated to do what is right, even when the law is wrong.

As a sign of support she encourages us to raise a pirate flag.

This is a good column, well worth reading.

(Hat tip: HSC e-list)

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

Muslim charter school officials attack news crew in Twin Cities

This will set the charter school movement back a bit.

Ed Morrissey reports on Muslim school officials attack news crew in Twin Cities:

"I’ve followed the story about the Tarik ibn Zayad Academy and allegations that it abuses its status as a state-funded charter school to teach Islam instead of a public-school curriculum for the last six weeks. Katherine Kersten first brought the story to our attention, for which local journalists have begun petitioning the Star Tribune to fire her. The state department of education found several potential issues for violation of laws intending to keep public schools from providing religious instruction, and notified the school today that it had to make changes to its Friday prayer efforts and the lack of transportation service for students who opt out of prayers, among other issues.
"Local ABC affiliate KSTP has also continued to update the reporting on this story. Today they went to the school to determine how TiZA would respond to the state’s demand for corrective action. Instead, they found themselves at the center of the story as two TiZA officials attacked the news crew and stole their camera ..."

Ed makes the point that there seems to be a double standard. Politicians are reluctant to fund Christian schools, but are slow to address Muslim schools.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is at Po Moyemu--In My Opinion.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Spunky challenges us to speak with authority

Spunky has another post up challenging homeschoolers to Speak With Authority.

If you haven't see the "Speaking With Authority" video, it is both funny and profound.

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

I may have found an author to replace Horatio Alger

A couple years back we went on a Horatio Alger's kick. Horatio wrote adventure stories in the late 1800s. Horatio Alger stories had the classic down on their luck lad who through luck and pluck would triumph in the end. The stories were moral and gave insight into life 150 years ago. We read over twenty of his books.

These books are hard to get. Many of them have been out of print for a century or more. We are fortunate that our library belongs to Link+: "a union catalog of contributed holdings from participating libraries in California and Nevada." (If you live in California or Nevada, check with your local library(s) to see if you have access to Link+.) Via Link+ we were able to get many of Horatio Alger's books. Eventually we read all that we could get hold of.

Deanna from Life In a Shoe has a possible replacement. In Ballantynes she writes:

"R.M Ballantyne was born in 1825 and was one of the most popular authors of the 19th century. He wrote stories of daring adventure, narrow escapes, and faith in God. He believed that the boys of his time were too sheltered and pampered and wimpy, so he wrote inspiring stories meant to show how much of a hard knock world it was. His stories are meant to highlight how dangerous and treacherous the world is/was and how important it is to trust in God to know best."

I'll use Link+ to check out the Ballantyne books.

Technorati tags: , ,

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Carnival of Family Life is up

This week's Carnival of Family Life is up at ice cream is not for breakfast.

To submit to the next carnival click on this carnival submission form.

Technorati tags: , ,

Grand Theft Education

Grand Theft Auto is a series of games where the player tries to steal cars. As a game many people seem to enjoy it. Over 65 million copies have been sold.

In real life society takes a harsh view of criminals who steal a car. Cars are a major capital investment. Used cars sell for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Brand new cars sell for thousands, tens of thousands, and more.

K. Lloyd Billingsley has a recent column on Grand Theft Education. Mr. Billingsley writes about a California Department of Education (CDE) whistle blower, James Lindberg, who tried to stop the theft of millions of dollars, and was stonewalled, and then sued, by the Department of Education. Juries kept awarding Lindberg money, and the CDE kept apealing. The incident with James Lindberg may finally be over, but as K. Lloyd Billingsley points out there is strong reason to believe there are other incidents of abuse.

Grand Theft Auto may be a fun game, but Grand Theft Education is wrong. The root problem is there is no public outcry. There is no media holding corrupt officials' feet to the fire. The result is Grand Theft Education will continue.

(K. Lloyd Billingsley is editorial director of the California-based Pacific Research Institute)

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

Isabel Lyman is still writing

Isabel Lyman, who was one of the first bloggers I started reading, blogged for years at Homeschooling Revolution. Last year she announced that the revolution was over and she was moving on.

She recently wrote an article Will Independent Truckers Survive the Cost of Diesel? She writes about the struggles her husband is having with the high price of fuel. If you enjoyed her blog, you might enjoy reading this article.

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

Another possible term for government schools

Two weeks ago I decided to start calling public schools "government schools."

I may rethink this a bit.

Paul Peterson, a Harvard Professor and Hoover Senior Fellow, argues that public schools are really an Education Industrial Complex. It doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, but it is more provokative. Paul sees many of the current problems with American Education due to unions, and to politicians who don't work towards long term results:

"Around 1970 or thereabouts, the educational-industrial complex was hammered into place: School boards gave teachers collective bargaining rights. State governments assumed greater responsibility for financing the schools. The courts instructed schools on the civil liberties of their students. Regulations multiplied. America gained a federal Department of Education. And state and federal dollars poured into the system.
"If the political and legal activity was frenetic, education itself was put on pause. Grades inflated, learning faltered, graduation rates stagnated. The mammoth, expensive, drug-infested, security-obsessed high school was better suited for incarceration than learning."

(This reminds me of a couple columns comparing schools and prisons.)

Paul Peterson writes that we need more local control, and local accountability. He ends with:

"If politicians in America attended more closely to the needs of the next generation than the interests of unions and bureaucrats, the country could use its ingenuity to create once again an educational system the world would seek to emulate. To do so, however, politicians will have to take on the education-industrial complex."

But this will never happen. Too few politicians recognize that public schools have started falling into the abyss. Too few union leaders sense that their jobs are at risk. For decades thousands of people have tried to fix government schools; for decades things have gotten worse.

The only reasonable answer now is to leave. More and more parents are pulling their children from "The Education Industrial Complex" and turning to private schools or homeschooling their children.

Maybe some day our history books will try to explain to students what this dinosaur called "public school" was really like.

(Hat tip: Harrison Scott Key)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, government schools, public school, public education, education

Have you thought about colors in terms of dancing atoms?

I thought this was an interesting way to think of colors, from Quotation of the day mailing list:

"The best way I've found of understanding this [the way we see colors] is to think not so much something 'being' a color but of it 'doing' a color. The atoms in a ripe tomato are busy shivering - or dancing or singing; the metaphors can be as joyful as the colors they describe - in such a way that when white light falls on them they absorb most of the blue and yellow light and they reject the red - meaning paradoxically that the 'red' tomato is actually one that contains every wavelength except red. A week before, those atoms would have been doing a slightly different dance - absorbing the red light and rejecting the rest to give the appearance of a green tomato instead.
"I saw what I understand to be transitional color only once, on a journey to Thailand to undertake a ten-day fast. I was feeling good (although I had never realized it is possible to smell chocolate ice cream at 20 meters), and on day nine I was walking through a garden when suddenly I stopped in amazement. In front of me was a bougainvillea bush cove red in pink flowers. Only they were not pink, they were shimmering - almost as if a heartbeat had been transformed into something visible. I suddenly understood with my eyes and not just my mind how the phenomenon of color is about vibrations and the emission of energy. I must have stood there for five minutes, before I was distracted by a sound. When I looked back the bougainvillea had returned to being flowers, and nature had turned itself the right way round once more; it's usually easier that way. After I started eating, this never happened again."
- Victoria Finlay, in Color: A Natural History of the Palette.

Technorati tags: color, Victoria Finlay

Maybe SPAM will slow down

From - MySpace wins $230 million anti-spam judgment! I have heard of some problems with MySpace, but this is a big plus. If MySpace can decrease the amount of SPAM flowing into our inbaskets, that will great PR affect for Myspace.

Also from - A baseball cap that reads your mind:

"It looks like an ordinary baseball cap. But when you put it on, the cap detects and analyzes the electroencephalogram (EEG) signals from your brain. It can even tell you if you’re getting too sleepy when driving based on your brain wave patterns. Similar technology could also allow you to control home electronics such as TVs, computers, and air conditioners, all by just thinking about them."

Technorati tags: SPAM

How much affect does athletics have on children?

Joanne Jacobs writes in Athletes keep winning about a recent study by:

"economists John M. Barron and Glen R. Waddell of Purdue University and Bradley T. Ewing of Texas Tech University who surveyed American males who attended high school in the 1970s. High school athletes went on to complete more years of education and earn more money than non-athletes. Another study by Ewing found that ex-jocks had a smaller but still significant edge over classmates who participated in band, student government and theater but not sports. The results hold up when students with similar IQ scores and standardized test scores are compared: Jocks do better."

Like Joanne I wonder about the cause and effect in this situation. Do children who want to go off to college and work hard on their career tend to be the same children who want to play sports? Or is there something about athletics which encourages children to take school more seriously?

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

Is this the socialization homeschool critics want?

The Education Wonks found a sad story about Los Angeles' Combat High School. A fight broke out at Locke High School in LA. As many as 600 students ended up fighting:

"A fight between rival groups of black and Latino students at Locke High School quickly escalated into a campus-wide melee Friday, with as many as 600 students brawling until police restored calm with billy clubs.
The troubled campus in South Los Angeles was locked down after the fight broke out at 12:55 p.m., as students returned from lunch to their fifth-period classes. Overwhelmed school officials called Los Angeles police for help, but students and faculty said it took about half an hour before dozens of officers, many in riot gear, restored order."

The article provides a lot of insight into why the fight broke out. The Education Wonks' closing observation was very telling:

"As one who has taught for many years in a California public school system, I continue be puzzled at how our school administrators continue tolerating this type of criminal behavior from certain students who view school as little more than a place to socialize and victimize those youngsters who do attend school in order to make something of themselves.
But until the parents of the good students unite and rise-up in defense of their kids, further incidents of this nature can and will continue to plague our public schools."

Until government schools find a way to protect students, I think parents with children in these kinds of schools have an obligation to homeschool, and send their children to private schools.

Technorati tags: government schools, public school, public education, education

More blacks are turning to homeschooling

I'm still cleaning out my back-logged inbasket. A friend sent me a link to a good article about more black parents turning to homeschooling:

Say "homeschooling" and what tends to come to mind are the whitest people you know, holding Sunday school every day of the week in their basements, producing kids who can declaim against Charles Darwin for hours on end, but who are so screwed up socially that you can't imagine them getting a date, except years later as part of a group outing to Christian Day at Disney World.
So, with that admittedly over-broad stereotype in mind, it's something of a shock to see the lessons in progress at Bread Stuy, a small café in Brooklyn, where customers sip at their coffee and read newspapers, unaware that a woman named P. Aurora Robinson is holding a homeschooling class in their midst.


The article quotes Jennifer James, who we interested last year.

Be warned, the article has a little swearing.

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

A few recent blog carnivals on homeschooling

The 4th edition of the Canadian Home Educators is up.

Harmony Art Mom is hosting the recent Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Yosemite Edition.

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

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted at Po Moyemu--In My Opinion.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

You have ten hours to send in your post.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

We're home!

We traveled most of Saturday up Interstate 5. It took us three hours to cross Los Angeles. There were two accidents, three different construction projects, and one funeral procession. LA really is a great big freeway.

We barely arrived home in time to change and head off to a violin concert. Our younger two girls were performing at a garden party organized by their teacher.

The trip went well. We had a great time at Legoland. Our daughters enjoyed the rides and the shows. We watched the Legoland Volunteer Firefighter show twice. The foster care boy we have now liked playing in the water. (We've had this foster care boy now for six months!)

Friday evening we visited with some friends in Temecula. They live near the Pechanga casino. The indian tribe makes so much money that each member receives $30,000 a month, tax free. A family of four would receive $120,000 each and every month.

We're still pretty exhausted. Janine and our oldest both took naps yesterday. At home we send the girls to bed by nine in the evening. Down in Carlsbad we all seemed to settle down closer to ten.

It is nice to be home. It will take a couple days to recover, just in time to go camping with some friends.

Technorati tags: legoland, vacation

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A nice collection of Great Quotes

My mother sent me a link to a site with some Great Quotes from Great Leaders.

Technorati tags: great, quotes

Interesting: TradeStats Express™ - State Export Data

A friend sent me an interesting link to TradeStats Express™ - State Export Data.

From the help section:

TradeStats Express displays the latest annual U.S. merchandise trade statistics -
  • At national and state levels.
  • In maps, graphs, and tables.
  • As exports, imports, and trade balances.
  • Custom-tailored to your year and dollar ranges and display preferences.

It is divided into two main sections: National Trade Data and State Export Data. For each section, the basic tools (for example, choosing product classifications, downloading the data, seeing a print preview) are the same. The links at left will help you use these tools.


If you, or a child, is interested in business or trade, this is an educational web site.

Technorati tags: trade

We've arrived

We arrived in Carlsbad around 6:00 PM yesterday. We checked in to a motel, then had dinner at Marie Calendars. For our daughters one of the most important things when traveling is to go swimming. We swam last night for almost an hour.

While traveling yesterday through Los Angeles I thought often Dionne Warwick's song "Do you know the way to San Jose?" One of the lines is:

"L.A. is a great big freeway."

The freeways go on and on and on.

The girls are now happily watching "Scooby Doo." We'll head down for breakfast soon and then off to Legoland.

Technorati tags: legoland, vacation

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blogging may be light for a couple days

We are heading for Legoland in an hour or two. We'll drive down today, go to Legoland Thursday and Friday, then drive back on Saturday.

Janine and I will be sharing one laptop, so I don't know how much blogging we'll be doing in the next couple days.

It turns out this is a good time to go. The weather is suppose to be very hot inour city the next couple days, climbing close to 100, while down at Legoland it will be in the mid 70s!

Technorati tags: legoland, vacation

Monday, May 12, 2008

Powerful Learning Trick - the continuing saga

Three months ago I came across Lisa's blog, Home School Evangelist where she shares a tip on how to have a Powerful Learning Trick. The core of the trick is for the learner to consciously think about what they have learned and then record it. A two sentence summary can lock in a half hour lesson.

This seems like is a great technique. I pondered for awhile on how to get my daughters to incorporate it in their daily learning. I decided to start off by bribing them. We went to Office Max and each girl picked out a bound notebook. During our morning planning session I asked them to add writing in their learning journal as one of the things they would do that day.

In the evening, after dinner I reminded the girls about their learning journal. If they had remembered on their own they would get six points. If they hadn't, but would then go write down some of what they learned that day, they would get three points. I want them to develop the habit of recording the key points of a lesson, on their own. I want them to take ownership. Each point was worth a little candy, for example one chocolate kiss or two Skittles.

My thirteen and eleven year old girls have done pretty well. Over two thirds of the time they would remember to write something in their learning journal. My seven year old really struggled. She has a harder time. She is still learning how to spell words, and how to be responsible.

Today the youngest was so proud, she remembered and wrote down several sentences on her own!!! I am very pleased.

My plan is over the long run to reduce the frequency of the treats. Maybe I'll start doing it three times a day, then two times a day, and then once a week. I'll randomly pick a day, and if they happened to record something that day, then they'll get the six months.

Try out something like a learning journal for a couple weeks and let me know if it works.

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

Introduction to the Carnival of Homeschooling

The Carnival of Homeschooling is a weekly blog carnival. The carnival showcases posts about homeschooling from both seasoned and new bloggers. Various bloggers take turns hosting the carnival.

We welcome posts about homeschooling. You can learn how to submit a post.

The archive of past carnival will provide hours, or days, of distraction. The carnival started in January of 2006, so there are over a hundred editions.

The schedule has who will be hosting in the next couple months.

You can help promote the carnival by adding the carnival images. Learn how by going here.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

We have the winners of the Carnival of Homeschooling images contest

Late last year we kicked off a contest for graphics to represent the Carnival of Homeschooling. We had great participation in January. You can see all the entries for small, medium and whatever sizes.

After getting dozens of submissions, my wife and I narrowed the contest down to a dozen or so. We then asked people to vote. The voting ended late in March.

Below are the winners. (I took so long to announce the winners because I was trying to figure out a good way to host the images.)

Nancy of The Kings Kreation won the prize for the small image:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Eric Novak of The Voice of Experience won the prize for the medium size image:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Amy of ....In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 won the prize for the Whatever size image:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Please use these images on your blog to help promote the Carnival of Homeschooling. You should be able to just add the following HTML to your template or a post and not have to worry about down loading and uploading the images.


<a title="Carnival of Homeschooling" href="">
<img alt="Carnival of Homeschooling" width="80" height="15" border="0" src="" /> </a>


<a title="Carnival of Homeschooling" href="">
<img alt="Carnival of Homeschooling" width="75" height="75" border="2" src="" /> </a>


<a title="Carnival of Homeschooling" href="">
<img alt="Carnival of Homeschooling" width="160" height="200" border="0" src="" > </a>

Thank you all for your help and support.

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