Saturday, January 31, 2009

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

You have fifty seven hours to send in an entry to the next Carnival of Homeschool, which will be held at Dewey's Treehouse.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

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

You have thirty hours to send in an entry to the next Carnival of Homeschool, which will be held at Life on the Road.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling 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,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Parents with Purpose

As Henry mentioned, I spent the day at a seminar on brain development. I don't even know how to begin to summarize the day.

So here are a few concepts:

1) Children need lots of opportunities to move their bodies so that their brains can develop. Things that limit mobility, like allowing a baby to sleep in a car seat (when not necessary for safety), putting toddlers in an ExerSaucer or playpen, putting newborns to sleep on their back, electronic babysitters like the TV and video games are bad for brain development.

2) A healthy diet and circadian sleep patterns are vital to brain development.

3) When a child is struggling with learning, programs that focus only on cortical learning (like special reading programs or tutoring) can be very frustrating to children whose brains are sending jumbled information. Occupational Therapy and spontaneous play that involves crawling, running and so forth will stimulate the midbrain to function the way it should and then learning will happen spontaneously. It is kind of ironic. The more time a child is confined behind a desk, the harder it can become for him to learn.

The speaker, Donna Bateman, founded a company called Parents with Purpose. We hired her to do an evaluation on Baby Bop and to create an occupational therapy program to help him.

Her evaluation matched our own conclusions. Baby Bop's brain did not develop properly during the 2-8 month stage when much of the mid-brain develops. He spent much of that stage strapped into a car seat and suffering from malnutrition.

This kind of deficit manifests itself in some quirky little ways. Donna made a loud noise unexpectedly with a boat horn and Baby Bop didn't even flinch. He obviously could hear the sound, but he didn't respond to it. When she rang a bell on the right or left side of his head, he would turn his head. However, when she rang a bell over his head, he would not look up until she had rang it 5 or more times. Again, he could obviously hear it, but he didn't respond. I want to be clear. This is NOT about hearing. This is about how the brain processes input.

Baby Bop had trouble following a two part command without hand gestures. At first, I wondered if he was just being a "terrible two." A few minutes later after we had moved on to something else, he completed one of the commands. Donna explained that this is again an auditory processing issue. Without visual cues like pointing, it took Baby Bop 2-3 minutes to process the request. This wasn't him being disobedient. This was a brain function issue.

While Baby Bop is 28 months old, she gave us a "neurological age" of 18.7 months and a ranked him as having a "moderate bilateral extensive brainstem and midbrain injury." As a side note, his neurological age is almost the same number of months he has been in foster care. I call his time before foster care the "black hole."

Donna then mapped out a 5 module OT program to help his brain develop the functioning he missed. I really worried about this. We have friends whose children are on this type of a program and the father does an hour of OT every day before he leaves for work. I wondered how could I fit that into my life.

Well, I really like how Donna implemented the program. The first two weeks we are to do nothing but get ready.

The second two weeks we do only the first module, which in our case is a daily foot and body massage for reflex patterning.

The third two weeks we continue with module one and add module 2 which has a short exercise 10 times a day for audio processing.

Every two weeks we add another module until we are doing all 5. As he progresses, she will then increase the complexity of each module, or dropped modules that are no longer needed and add new ones that focus on another brain function.

Donna also does OT as a family plan. All my children are involved in the OT process.

I image we will end up at the hour a day mark, but in a way that should not put me over the edge. Because we homeschool, we can also spread out the OT over the whole day.

I would say more, but it is late and I've got to get to bed.

Bottom line: This has really changed how I look at behavior and brain development.

Technorati tags: brain, development, damage

The lastest Charlotte Mason carnival is up

This week's Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Established Work.

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

The Carnival of Homeschooling is the featured carnival today

This is fun. The Carnival of Homeschooling is the featured carnival today at Blog Carnival.

They've added 287 new carnivals in the last 30 days. Just amazing.

If you haven't checked out the list of carnivals recently, give it a glance. There's probably a dozen carnivals you could participate in.

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

Another beautiful picture from APOD

R Jay Gabany gave me permission to post this picture:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another example of politics in public education

Joanne Jacobs reveals how some government school administrators will fight dirty. In Recession attack on charter schools she explains that public schools are threatened by charter schools, and are trying to claim that during the recession we just can't afford to fund them. Chester Finn pokes holes in this claim:

But of course it’s completely cockeyed. If every public-school pupil in America attended a charter school, the total taxpayer cost would be 20-30% LESS than it is today. That’s because charters are underfunded (compared with district schools) and thus represent an extraordinary bargain—even if their overall academic performance isn’t much different from that of district schools. Think of it as the same amount of learning at three-quarters of the price.

Maybe the correct argument is that during the recession we need more charter schools.

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

What to do about brain damaged children

Janine went to a seminar Saturday on how to help brain damaged children. The focus was on child with brains which haven't developed normally, as a opposed to damage from a physical injury. The lady giving the seminar had been trained by The Family Hope Center. I wanted to share some information about it. Janine will blog later about some of what she learned.

The Family Hope Center has a model of how children's brains normally develop. Our brains literally take two decades to develop. The pre-fontal lobe is one of the last parts of our brains to come to full functionality. This is the part of the brain that says "Hey this might be a bad idea." It becomes fully developed around age 18 to 20. This is one of the reasons why teenagers often do stupid things. Their "Jimmy Cricket" isn't warning them to re-think their choices.

The Family Hope Center has a chart with items each stage of brain development. For example in the category of Seeing and Reading they have:

Birth to 2 weeks: This is when the Medulla Oblongata part of our brain is developing. At this stage babies should display a fast pupil contraction reflex in both eyes

2 weeks to 2 months: This is when the Pons part of the brain is developing. At this stage babies should find light in a darkened room, see and recognize shapes, and consistently track people and objects.

2 to 8 months: This is when the midbrain is developing. Here babies should be able to see and distinguish details from three meters, see changes in facial expression, and bring eyes together and converge vision on an object.

There are many more stages.

Part of the center's program is that by recognizing where a child is on the normal progression, you can work to help a child catch up. For example at age 2 to 8 months, a child should be able to quickly locate the source of sounds in the environment. The speaker talked about how a young girl was struggling in class. They realized the girl had trouble with sounds that came from above. The prescription was to stimulate the girl's brain by blindfolding her, create sounds at various places in the room, and have her point. I think they did this ten times a day. Once she got good at this, they did it with talk radio in the background. All of this practice stimulated part of the girl's brain, and she was then able to do much better in class.

Now that I've teased you with part of this, I'm sure Janine will have to clarify, correct, and expand on this post.

Technorati tags: brain, development, damage

Study concludes that Facial Expressions are inate

I read a book just over a year ago with a discussion about an expert who could read faces with great accuracy. (I think it was Blink, but I can't find my copy.) The man was shown pictures from two different tribes, I think from Indonesia. Just from looking at the pictures the man was able to give great details about the natures of the two tribes. One was friendly, the other was cannibalistic. The expert picked up on this, and much more, from the pictures.

Study: Facial expressions of emotion are innate, not learned reminded me of this expert. The article started with:

Facial expressions of emotion are hardwired into our genes, according to a study published today in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The research suggests that facial expressions of emotion are innate rather than a product of cultural learning. The study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that sighted and blind individuals use the same facial expressions, producing the same facial muscle movements in response to specific emotional stimuli.

As Spock would say: fascinating!

Technorati tags: facial, expressions

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I find this more than a bit scary

Fabius Maximus reports America Passes A Milestone! (Check out his graph)

"We now have more poeple employed in government than manufacturing."

I wouldn't worry if we had more people in the service sector than in manufacturing, but the almost doubling of the number of people working for the government in the last couple decades scares me.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: government, economy, manufactoring

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Mystery Hat edition

Beverly has posted The Mystery Hat edition of this week's Carnival of Homeschooling, at About Homeschooling.

I'll leave a little mystery for you to figure out what is the Mystery Hat.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Pied Piper and government schools

We've had a bit of a problem with rats in our garage the last couple months. While working in the garden today I got to thinking about The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Hamelin, a town in Germany, was suffering from an infestation of rats. Nothing they tried got rid of the rats. Cats and Dogs were chased away and the rats continued to increase. A man came along and promises to get rid of the rats by means of music. The town hires the piper. After luring the rats into a river, the town reneges on paying the piper. In revenge, while the adults are in church, the piper lures the children away, never to be seen again.

At one level I have a little sympathy for the piper. He had contracted to perform a service, but after doing a great service, the town tries to stiff the man. But his revenge is way, way over the top. I cherish my wife and children more than anything I own. It might be overwhelming to lose them.

As I was rototilling my garden today I mused on the difference between public schools and the Pied Piper. Public schools take children from their parents and often transform them into new individuals that parents no longer recognize. This is the goal of many involved with government schools. Teachers and administrators, and many others, see public schools as the place to "fix" the ills of society.

Each evening parents get their children back, but over time the children change. Often into individuals the parents no longer understand or can connect with. Parents struggle and wonder where they went wrong. It is easy to blame the change on teenage years, or society in general, yet as Thomas Sowell writes in Inside American Education:

"Parents who send their children to school with instructions to respect and obey their teachers may be surprised to discover how often these children are sent back home conditioned to disrespect and disobey their parents."

As homeschoolers we are Pied Pipers in the opposite direction. We are encouraging parents to reconnect with their children, to rescue them from indoctrination camps called public schools, and to protect their children.

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

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

You have ten hours to send in an entry to the next Carnival of Homeschool, which will be held at About Homeschooling.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling 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,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wise advice from Mark Twain

This came in via the A.Word.A.Day mailing list:

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there -- lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more.
-Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

This is good enough you should read it twice.

Technorati tags: wisdom, learning

Reading and Short-sightedness - correlation is not causation

Sunglight Could Stop Short-sightedness is about a study which found that reading or using the computer may not matter as much for developing myopia (short-sightedness) as just spending time outdoors. The article starts with:

Australian scientists from The Vision Centre say there is persuasive evidence that increased exposure to daylight can prevent the permanent short-sightedness and eye damage which now afflicts up to 80-90 per cent of children in cities in East Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Professor Ian Morgan explains:

“Looking at children of Chinese origin, we found only 3 per cent of those in Sydney suffered from myopia, compared with 30 per cent in Singapore, where there is an epidemic. Yet, if anything, the children of Chinese origin in Sydney read more than those in Singapore. This clearly suggests that myopia was triggered by something in the environment, rather than the genes. The critical factor seemed to be the fact that the children in Singapore spent much less time outdoors.”

Another reason to let your children play outside.

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

Applying for college - almost like rolling dice

Kathleen Kingsbury reports on Dirty Secrets of College Admissions. She starts with:

While you’re anxiously mailing off those college applications this week, you might want to recalibrate your expectations based on your race, your wealth, and whether the NFL team in the city where that college is located is on a losing streak. The shadowy world of college admissions has left millions of confused and frustrated rejects in its wake. (So stop practicing the oboe.) Current and former admissions officers from colleges and universities across the country talked to the Daily Beast about why attending a good high school can hurt your chances, the perils of too many recommendations, and why white girls from Jersey barely have a chance.

The rest of the post is quotes from admissions officials and others involved in the admission process. One admission official said:

One night, I got food poisoning at a restaurant in Buffalo. The next day, I rejected all the Buffalo applications. I couldn’t stomach reading them.

It is an interesting article. A bit scary just how arbitrary the process seems to be.

(Hat tip Lillian Jones via the HSC mailing list)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education, college, university

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up! The teal edition

Alasandra is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. She is showing her support for Cervical Health Awareness Month by blogging about Teal, which is the color which represents Cervical and Ovarian Cancer.

There's a great selection of good posts.

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

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stealth education

Much of my time in public schools was boring. Hour after hour was spent listening to teachers talk, and talk, and talk. Some times the lectures were a bit interesting and even entertaining. If the subject was one I wasn't interested in, more often the lectures were boring.

Our society seems to have an attitude that education must be boring. One of the criticisms by the "professionals" is that if we don't have lesson plans our children can't be learning. Many politicians and public school officials want homeschoolers to replicate school at home.

The fallacy with this approach is that we can learn outside the classroom environment. Learning can be fun. This was driven home last week.

My mother came over Thursday to play with her grand children while I was at work and Janine was with Baby Bop. My mother and my youngest daughter played Take Off! My mother later raved about how much geography was taught.

I've played the game dozens of times with my daughters. It is a simple race around the world. You move your jets from one country to another. If you roll the right dice you can race ahead. But if you draw the wrong card you can be set back pretty dramatically.

At eight-years-old my daughter doesn't know all the countries in the world, but she has a sense of where twenty to thirty of them are located. When some country is mentioned we can always put it in relation to countries she knows.

Homeschooling is more than merely putting some books in front of a child and asking them to learn. It is an attitude that learning can be fun, as well as educational.

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

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Carnival of Homeschool: Week 158 - The 3rd Anniversary

Where has all the time gone? Three years ago my wife and I launched the first Carnival of Homeschooling. The carnival keeps going strong. Every week we pick up new bloggers. There is a vast number of people who participate. We are also blessed to have several dozen people who take turns hosting the carnival.

The posts here are grouped by the subjects that people wrote about this week.

Carnival of Homeschooling


In Things Have Changed Alan reflects on how his reasons and motivations for homeschooling have changed over the last five years, on his blog Prose Politics and Piety.

With Unschoolers and Textbooks, Dawn wonders if she has gone over to the dark side, posted on Day by Day Discoveries.

Give aways

Lady Jess, a young homeschooled student, shares an Interview with Mrs. Ronneberg "Beauty of Braille" from the Growing In Grace Magazine. The post includes a book giveaway.

At A Pondering Heart Joycelyn has put together a big giveaway for homeschoolers with the Winter Bundle 2008-2009.


Lady Rachel, a young homeschooler, shares some of her 2009 goals in Homeschool Memoirs – Making a List… at her blog A City on a Hill.

Denise of Let’s Play Math! asks “Have you made a resolution to exercise your mental muscles this year? If so, then please join us for the 2009 Mathematics Game.”

It is important to plan when you want to get a lot done. Lionden Landing shares their Themes and plans for January.

Miss Amanda, a homeschool graduate, reflects on her 2008 goals, and shares some of her 2009 goals in Homeschool Memoirs – Making a List… at her blog The Daily Planet.

Rachel Starr Thomson, homeschool graduate and author, talks about setting yearly, weekly, and daily goals for the new year in Goal Setting: The Plans.


Carletta in Public School Sports – Can Homeschoolers Have Their Cake and Eat It, Too? asks “Could widespread participation in public school activities jeopardize homeschool freedom?” on her blog Successful Homeschooling.

At Eclectic Education, Lynn warns about a New Law which Could Affect Parents in the United States.

Mary (The Informed Parent) has some thoughts about the number of homeschoolers in Statistically Speaking – Homeschool Enrollment.

Joanne Jacobs has breaking news, the UK will no longer have schools, they’ll have ‘Places for learning.’ Maybe we’re no longer “homeschoolers.” How about “homes places for learning?” It doesn’t have the same ring.

Help for homeschoolers

Elena of My Domestic Church gives A Pep Talk for Homeschool Moms who may be starting out, or need a little extra encouragement.

CHATS WITH AN “OLD LADY” has great insight into the importance of building a support network in I’VE HAD IT!

In Another Milestone, a homeschool mom fondly looks back on homeschooling her third child, who will graduate this spring, on her blog Barbara Frank Online.

Homeschool co-ops can be a great addition to your homeschool efforts, but too much of even a good thing can become overwhelming. Carol Topp has some tips on how to be A happy co-op member at HomeschoolCPA’s Blog.

Janice explains how using the SWOT Analysis for Homeschools can help improve your year, at Taking Time for Things That Matter.

Older Kids - Less is More reminds us that it may be best for our children not to throw lots of instructional materials, from the HEM Takes a Closer Look blog at the Home Education Magazine.

Sprittibee writes about their First Day of the Rest of My School Year. It was a challenging day.


Laureen is surprised to learn that All I Needed to Know About P.E. I Learned from Jackie Chan, at The Life Without School Community Blog.

Non-Traditional Learning: In Other Words, Homeschooling! Reviews many of the ways children learn, at Walking Therein.

In Racing Through Life Sisterlisa writes about lessons learned homeschooling a son while building a racetrack, at The HomeSpun Life.

Amy shares us information about Improving Visual Perception and Memory Skills on her blog Kids Love Learning.

Lesson Plans

Kerry, A Ten O’Clock Scholar, shares her Classical Conversation Cycle 3 lesson plans for History and Science.

In Lesson Plans Beckon, Renae ponders about the importance of preparing for lessons on her blog Life Nuruturing Education.

Cindy created a Westward Expansion Unit Plan at Our Journey Westward.

From Delighting in His Richness is a unit study on Hawaii in New year, new study.


Alasandra points out the huge bias in Daily News puts homeschooling in the headline, at Alasandra’s Homeschool Blog.

With 52 Teachers, 52 Lessons Project Mr. D is asking homeschoolers to send him advice on teaching, at I Want to Teach Forever.

Grace announces Every Good Book, a web service her father has created, at her blog Sing me to Heaven.

Jerri Ann in School… worries about homeschooling when she is still struggling with potty training her four-year-old, at Mom Is Teaching.

Kathy reviews The Distant Shore, an inspirational adventure novel for your young adults at HomeschoolBuzz Reviews.


We all need to be frugal, especially in the current economy. Destroy Debt has 20 Inexpensive Ways to Entertain Your Kids In The Winter.

It is important to start teaching children about money when they are young. NerdMom has a review in KidsWealth Money Kit on her blog Nerd Family Things.

The Other Stuff

The Family Revised reminds us that homeschooling allows us time to do more than just academics, time to do The Other Stuff.

Home Spun Juggling reminds us that astronomy looks better in the sky than in a book in Home Spun comic strip #300.

Brainiacs - Finger Knitting has a video of homeschooled children showing how to finger knit, at welcome to my brain . net.

Shannon explains why winter is one of her favorite seasons for nature study in Winter Nature Fun! at her blog Song of My Heart.


Educational Insights From the Academy On Everest has some thoughts about the importance of Play.

Kris has some ideas on how to collect and use bottle caps for More Preschool Manipulative at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Special Needs

Homeschooling is such a wonderful solution for so many issues. Mrs. Brown writes about Celebrating Special Needs: Education on the Autism Spectrum at the Growing In Grace Magazine.

Mrs. C has some tips on How to Do Workboxes for your autistic child or preschooler from Homeschool and Etc.


Lisa writes about her plans to develop a love for poetry in her children with Monday’s a Comin’ at the House of Many Blessings.

Heather writes about the importance of starting young to train children to help with chores in Toddlers and Housework - Part of the Action at her blog Mother By Nature.

Kat shares her thoughts on just how much “school” children need in back to school today at No Fighting, No Biting! (I love the name of her blog.)

Teaching Test Taking Skills Doesn’t Mean You Are Teaching to the Test has some ideas on how to teach test taking skills, at

Unexpected learning

Sometimes math happens when you aren't expecting it. Christine writes about Bathtime Algebra at Our Curious Home.

ChristineMM at The Thinking Mother talks about the books that her sons are enjoying reading in Older Son Loves Benedict Society and Other Juvenile Literature Book Thoughts.

Tiffany writes about one of those times when "schooling" creeps up on you... in Family Portraits 1598, er, 2008 at Life on the Road.

Why people homeschool

Jess shares in Why We will homeschool in 2009 at Life Learning Leonards.

With Two Peas at Opposite Ends of the Same Pod, Sally tells what she is grateful that homeschooling allows her to treat each child different, at Diamonds in the Rough.

With yet another reason to homeschool, Dr. Helen reports the double standards of schools.

Jennifer explains why they homeschool in Tree of Life at Tree of Life Homeschool.

Our humble entry for this carnival is One of the reasons many turn to homeschooling.

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 Alasandra's Homeschool Blog.

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.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Monday, January 05, 2009

Conformity - funny and sad

I wonder how many people they tried this on? I like to think not everyone conformed.

(Hat tip: The Common Room)

Technorati tags:

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A great summary of progress for the Space Industry in 2008

It has been months since I've posted anything about the space industry. The Space Access '09 conference is just around the corner, with it being the first weekend in April. I am currently planning on going again with my father. And I'll blog again about each talk.

I came across a wonderful summary of events and milestones in 2008 for the space industry in NewSpace Review for 2008 at HobbySpace. It is a long post and there is no good way to summarize it. If you have any interest in the current state of private companies in the space industry, go check it out.

It really seems like we will be able to buy a ticket to the moon in the next decade or two.

Technorati tags:

Impressive - 40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes

Take a deep breath before you click on play:

(Hat tip: My Life As A Military Spouse)

Technorati tags: Inspirational, Speeches

News about changes in how we get news

It has been awhile since I checked in on Lost Remote. I've been missing out. There were a number of interesting posts. Lost Remote focuses on "Local Media and the battle for the web."

Very depressing local media predictions quotes Dianne Mermias as saying:

Major advertisers such as automotive, financial services, retail and real estate will not return any time soon; they will be diminished and different when they rebound a year from now. That is a disaster for local media, which could easily see more than half their ad revenue base wiped out in 2009.

Wow, wow, wow! That would be huge. Major advertisers are cutting back because of the current economic conditions, and they are choosing to spend their advertising dollars more and more online. This means local televisions and newspapers will suffer. Dianne believes that one broadcast network will completely disappear.

Later on Lost Remote is Detroit papers cutting home delivery to 3 days each week:

Both Detroit daily papers, the Free Press and The Detroit News, say they’re making a big change come March. They’ll only throw the hard copy to the doorstep on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

And later in the same post:

The Christian Science Monitor recently said it will kill its print edition in April and the Capital Times in Madison dumped its print edition earlier this year. The real question for the Detroit papers–which both lost subscribers over the past year–is whether this will keep them in business long-term.

This ties in with a post by Jeff Jarvis who is collecting statistics on the state of the news business. In Bad news, good news he writes about the stats he has so far. Here are a few:

Newspaper stocks fell an average of 83.3% in 2008—twice the fall of the S&P 500—wiping out $64.5 billion in market value, according to Alan Mutter’s Newsosaur blog.

Since 1994—and the release of the commercial web browser—newspaper audience penetration has fallen a third, from 23% to 16%. In that time, circulation fell 14% (59 million to 50 million, according to the Newspaper Association of America) while population rose 20%.

Viewership for network evening news continues to decline, to 23.1 million in 2007, according to Nielsen. The median age of network evening news viewers is 61 in 2008, according to Magna Global USA.

That last statistics is just amazing. As the current views of the evening news die off, the evening news might end up going away. (If you have any money invested in newspapers you might want to reconsider.)

We are living in transitory times. Even the way we get news is changing.

Technorati tags: newspaper, news

Dr. Laura's advice on letting things go

I liked Dr. Laura's two minute story about how it is important to let things go:

Technorati tags: Dr. Laura, life

Friday, January 02, 2009

One of the problems with being a popular author

I've written about how public schools destroys children's love for reading. Susan Hill agrees. From the UK - Poor teachers fuelling 'loathing of books':

Susan Hill, who wrote The Woman in Black, Strange Meeting and I'm the King of the Castle, told how she has been flooded with "desperate" emails from pupils struggling to understand her novels.
Many of her most famous works are featured in GCSE and A-level syllabuses.
But she claimed they were taught "so badly, so dully and so mechanically" that many children were being turned off literature altogether.


This is exactly the point I've made. My daughters love to read. Going to the library is one of the highlights of the week. For Christmas one of the best presents is books. Yet all of their friends in public schools see reading as a chore, something they have to do. None of their friends read for fun.

Here are some of the letters Susan's gotten from students asking for help:

"Hi Sue, I'm doing your book, we have to read it and just wanna say it's the most boring crap book I ever read, so thanks a lot for ruining my life. Cheers."

"Hi Susan, we're doing your book, I've gotta do coursework only I don't understand about context, what is it, and I don't no any other gothic writers and we've got to compare you, what's gothic anyway. Pleeeeze reply asap."

"Hi. I've got this essay to do for tomoz, it's about I'm the king of the castle and does the setting play an important part in the story. Can you reply tonight and do it in bullet points so I can copy and paste it straight in. thanks you're a star in advance, cheers..."

"Hi, we have to do this essay on context with your book, and cultural context so what are those please, please explain carefully, I don't get it."

I wonder if any of these students will ever be successful in life?

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

Another book to check out - Men to Boys

One of my goals this year is to read more books. I've slacked the last six months. Ironically, in terms of "Men to Boys," I've read fewer books because I've been playing Master of Orion II.

I happened across this review of Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. The basic premise is that many boys are not maturing into men. The author compares men from the 1940s, the 1970s, and now. A review of the book had this line from the book:

"... modern toys have gradually lost their 'expiration dates,' the markers that designate the time that children are expected to abandon them after reaching a new developmental stage. ... their manufacturers design them to blur, even deny this historically essential transition from boyhood to manhood."

The problem is many men do not put away childish things.

I've added my name on the list of people at our local library who want to read it. It looks to be an interesting book.

Technorati tags: games, childhood, adulthood

From the UK - School teaches children how to blow noses

I think this is funny, in a sad sort of way. School teaches children how to blow noses:

The five- to 11-year-old children at Broad Oak Primary School in Manchester have been shown a DVD telling them the right and wrong ways to act when they have a cold.
But one parent condemned the exercise as "a complete waste of time".
The parent added: "I send my kids to school to learn, not for someone to show them how to blow their nose.


I wrote two years ago that one of the big problems with public schools is they try to do so much. Jim Collins says in Good to Great, that great organizations are great because they have focus. Every time someone implements another problem in public schools, it diffuses the teacher's focus and weakens their ability to do the core job, that of giving the children an education.

It would be better for the children if government schools just backed off trying to solve all problems and taught children how to read, write and do arithmetic. Then maybe some child will have the education he needs to one day solve world hunger. It is clear that government schools won't.

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

One of the reasons many turn to homeschooling

I recently came across this 1989 quote from Al Shanker:

It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: it's more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy.

I haven't been able to track down where he said this or the full context.

Al Shanker was President of the American Federation of Teachers. He started out as a teacher and then rose through union ranks. While he realized that the government schools had major problems, he seemed to think they could be reformed. I wish he had pushed something radical like getting the Federal Government out of public education or going with vouchers.

Until something major happens to government schools more and more parents will leaved the bureaucratic mess.

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

Another beautiful picture from APOD - The Large Cloud of Magellan

Robert Gendler gave me permission to post his picture of the Large Cloud of Magellan:

This is a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Technorati tags: , , Robert Gendler

Thoughtful way to wish your spouse Happy Birthday

Perry earned a bunch of husband points in Happy belated birthday to the prettiest girl in the world.

My father gave me some great advice a week or two before Janine and I got married. He said that men were very task focused. Once we accomplish something we'll move on to the next task. But marriage was not the end, but the beginning. He said that I needed to keep courting Janine.

Perry's learned this lesson.

Technorati tags: marriage, courtship

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Almost thirteen years of Home Education Magazine online

Helen Hegener announced that the Home Education Magazine has Twelve Years of Great Reading!

There are twelve years of archived articles from Home Education Magazine right here at the HEM website, free for the reading and right at your fingertips! From the Jan/Feb, 1997 issue - we’d already been publishing for 13 years by then - through the current Nov/Dec 2008 issue, the HEM archives offer a wonderful assortment of writing from the oldest homeschooling magazine still being continuously published.

Check out her post for more information, or go straight to the archives. There is a lot of information there.

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

A legal paper on homeschooling

Debbie Schwarzer the HomeSchool Association of California (HSC) Legal Team Co-chair sent the following to the HSC mailing list:

I wrote a paper about homeschooling with two of the other pro bono counsel from the in re Rachel L. Case (Sean Gates of Morrison & Foerster and Tanya Dumas of Bingham McCutchen). The paper is based largely on the brief that we wrote and submitted about the efficacy of homeschooling; our clients were Ann Zeise, Martin Forte, Diane Flynn Keith, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Wes Beach's school, Arbor Academy and a support group for African American homeschoolers.

Sean, Tanya and I really wanted the information in the brief to be available to the wider world (since none of the briefs filed with the case can be published anywhere under the juvenile court's confidentiality rules). We thought it would be best if it were published in some sort of scholarly journal, and we submitted it to several. We learned a month or so ago that our paper was selected for publication in the fall 2009 issue of the Law Review of the Widener School of Law (Widener is in Delaware) . Getting published in a law review is sort of a big deal, and papers in law reviews can be found by people using legal search tools.

Several people knew we were turning it into a paper and wanted a copy, but I couldn't give it out since it was being published and we had promised not to give it to anyone. But something cool just happened. The Law Review has agreed that it can be posted at the Social Science Research Network, a website that collects scholarly papers. So anyone who wants the link to the paper just needs to go to

If you go there and see the abstract, there is a button for downloading, and that takes you to the complete paper. You are welcome to cite to the paper in anything you are posting or writing, but you need to give proper mention of where it is being published. They give you a suggested way to cite to the paper at the SSRN website. It is possible or even probable that there will be some edits before the paper finally appears next fall, but Widener must have felt confident enough about it to let it get out now in draft form.

Nice to have this in such a "formal" place. The reaction to the paper from the people at Widener has been very positive. You are welcome to forward this email to anyone who might be interested.


I've read the paper. It makes several good points about the legal issues with regards to homeschooling. Here's the abstract:

Homeschooling is a time-honored and widespread practice. It often presents, however, a conflict between the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and the State's right to impose regulations in the interest of ensuring an educated citizenry. The Supreme Court has made it clear that any regulation impacting this constitutional right must be "reasonable." The courts have therefore generally resolved homeschooling cases by examining whether state regulation of homeschooling places an unreasonable burden on the rights of parents. The courts, however, have altogether failed to address another, more fundamental question: whether the state regulation in fact advances the State interest. A regulation that fails this criterion cannot be "reasonable." Using the vehicle of a recent California appellate court case, in which the court initially upheld a regulation prohibiting parents from homeschooling their children unless they first obtained a state teaching credential, we show how recent social science research should impact the analysis. Instead of assuming away the issue of whether the regulation in fact advances the State interest, we show that this type of empirical research will allow courts to be able to answer this threshold question.

I bolded the last sentence.

If you have a couple minutes, go check out the paper. It is well worth reading.

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