Friday, January 29, 2010

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

Tiffany will be hosting the next Carnival of Homeschooling at As For My House.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Have you heard the news?

Political asylum granted to homeschoolers: first time in US history

The US government granted political asylum to a German homeschooling family yesterday. It’s the first time ‘homeschooling’ has been the main consideration for granting political asylum in the United States.

I was relieved when I read the headline. It is a sad situation in Germany. We wish the Romeike family well and hope they won't run into homeschooling persecution here in the USA.

Here's link to the story in the Washington Post.

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

What teachers want to say

This is pretty funny:

Though Snoops says it isn't true.

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Hazards of Sugar

On Facebook awhile back my brother shared this link:

Dr. Robert Lustig makes a convincing argument that our society is eating way too much sugar. He says that our society weighs 25 pounds more than it did a twenty five years ago. Obesity has gotten to the point that we even have obese 6-month olds.

I'll stop eating so much sugar. (As much as I love brownies.)

Technorati tags: Sugar, Robert Lustig

Interesting new way to block spambots

Captcha systems typically show one or more words in a picture with lines or shapes across the words to block simple pattern recognization software from parsing the image. This blocks vicious computer programs from sending in unwanted requests to a website.

But computer programs are getting better and they are more successful in figuring out the words.

"Emergent" Images to Outwit Spambots is about a new process which may be used to replace simple Captcha:

Researchers have developed an automated system for creating still and video images that can be identified by humans but not by computers. Such technology could be useful for Captcha systems, which were designed to keep "spambots"--or automated junk e-mail programs--from signing up for free online accounts.
The new technology uses simple images of a recognizable, moving figure, such as a running man or galloping horse, and converts them into blotches, hidden within a similarly blotchy scene. Computers are usually unable to detect the figure, but the human eye typically can.


The video is pretty cool.

Technorati tags: Captcha, spambots

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - For those considering homeschooling

Most of the editions of the Carnival of Homeschoolers are targeted at homeschoolers. This week the Carnival of Homeschooling is targeted for those considering homeschooling. Susan of Corn and Oil starts with:

It’s the middle of the school year. Unfortunately, there’s been one more bullying incident on the bus. The principal says his hands are tied, and maybe you’d consider driving your child to school (10 miles away). During those desperate times, you’ve considered homeschooling. After all, this double decker looks more appealing than that yellow one.

Maybe you should forward the URL to this week's Carnival of Homeschooling to your friends who are considering homeschooling.

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

More on homeschooling in England

A couple weeks ago Janine reported that there was A call to ban private schools in England.

Kelly green and gold has more information in An Update on the Home Education Crisis in England.

(Hat tip: Home-ed mailing list)

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

Are you finding taxes hard to understand?

The TaxProf reports IRS Commissioner Does Not Do His Own Taxes Because of Complexity of Code:

During an interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" on Sunday, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said he uses a tax preparer for his own returns:
"I've used one for years. I find it convenient. I find the tax code complex so I use a preparer."


Stop and think about who is saying this. He isn't an average joe. He is the guy in charge of the IRS. And he finds the tax code too complex!

I would love to have a law that required every Congressman to do their own taxes. Maybe they would rein in the IRS a bit.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: taxes

Making people feel like they are solving a problem vs. really making a difference

Too often in politics programs are created with the hope that efforts will make a difference, but way too often all the time and money has little positive effect.

Jay Greene reports on an instance of this problem in Head Start Basically Has No Effect:

The Department of Health and Human Services has been sitting on an evaluation of the Head Start government run pre-school program. Well, the study was released.
As the leaks suggested, the study found virtually no lasting effects to participation in Head Start. The study used a gold-standard, random assignment design and had a very large nationally representative sample. This was a well done study.
For students who were randomly assigned to Head Start or not at the age of 4, the researchers collected 19 measures of cognitive impacts at the end of kindergarten and 22 measures when those students finished 1st grade. Of those 41 measures, only 1 was significant and positive. The remaining 40 showed no statistically significant difference. The one significant effect was for receptive vocabulary, which showed no significant advantage for Head Start students after kindergarten but somehow re-emerged at the end of 1st grade.


I'm afraid rather than cancelling Head Start, lots of people involved will look for ways to "fix" it, or create their own studies trying to find some positive benefits.

Instapundit also has some links on this report:

How the Media Are Covering ‘Head Start’s’ Failure

Long Overdue Head Start Evaluation Shows No Lasting Benefit for Children

Technorati tags: Head Start

Computers in 1963

If you are into computers and technology you may find this interesting:

Timesharing was a big deal almost 50 years ago.

(Hat tip: Technology Review)

Technorati tags: computers, 1963

Space cannon for cheaper space launches

Our long time readers know that I have an interest in space travel. In fact Space Access 2010 is just around the corner!

One of the biggest barriers to space travel is money. It is very expensive. Current costs are around $5000 per pound, depending on how far you want to climb out of the gravity well.

John Hunter of Quicklaunch is proposing a space cannon. The basic idea has been kicked around for decades. One of his twists is putting it in the ocean, so it can be turned to launch payload into the orbit desired. The big draw back to a space cannon is the incredibly high acceleration. People would be squished flat. But it can launch tougher payloads and thus drop the overall cost for getting into space.

Space cannon to shoot payloads into orbit reports:

A physicist has proposed using a 1.1 km (3,600 ft) cannon to deliver cargo into orbit, and says the cost would be around $250 per pound, a massive saving on the $5,000 per pound ($2280 per kg) it currently costs to make deliveries using a rocket.

If you are interested in more detail, check out John Hunter's hour long presentation at Google.

Technorati tags: Quicklaunch, John Hunter, Space cannon

Classic thought from Daniel Webster

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
-Daniel Webster

This is a great thought. I'm afraid this problem is especially true in politics.

Technorati tags: trouble, Daniel Webster

Cool - See how the Space Station was built

My mother forwarded a link showing how the International Space Station was built.

Technorati tags: Space, Station

Monday, January 25, 2010

Really? I'm so shocked!

Sometimes headlines just make me laugh.

Teen Binge Drinking May Cause Brain Damage

(Jan. 25) -- Teen binge drinking may do more than just get you grounded. A recent study shows adolescent drinking can cause irreversible brain damage.

The study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, found damaged nerve tissue in the brains of teens who drank. Researchers believe the damage translated to teens' test results, which showed shortened attention spans in boys, difficulty comprehending and interpreting visual information among girls and memory damage in both genders.

Although it may seem alarming that teen binge drinking could permanently affect the brain, the leader of the study, neuroscientist Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego, says alcohol is toxic for the still-developing teenage brain.
I'm glad they are promoting the message, but did we really need a neuroscientist to point out the obvious?

Here's a scary statistic:

By the time they graduate from high school, two-thirds (66%) of youth are regular drinkers, and two-fifths (40%) are frequent binge drinkers

A national survey reveals that 42% of college students reported binge drinking.

This is one of the many reasons that I am not too impressed by complaints about students fees and increasing tuition costs. Many students spend more on drinking than they do on books.

As a side note, binge drinking among homeschoolers and adults who were homeschooled is incredibly low. (I can't find my copy of Home Educated and Now Adults to give the exact number, but I remember that is was a single digit below 4%.)

Yet another reason to homeschool. We are protecting our children's developing brains.

Related Tags: , ,

Reminder - send in your entry for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Susan will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling tomorrow at Corn and Oil.

You have eight hours to send in your entry to the carnival.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Library week edition

Dave is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Home School Dad.

He starts out with:

This is week 212 in the carnival of home schooling. If this was the carnival of home schooling for dogs it would be week 1,484.
Before I get started with the theme of this week, I thought this would be the best time to talk about the big news story going on right now. I certainly don't mean Leno vs. Conan. Laura presents 21 Ways For Your Children To Help Haitian Earthquake Victims posted at Practical Homeschooling.
Twice a year, our family embarks on library week. It is a week where we go to at least 1 library every day during the week. It serves our family as both a break in the academic year and also an opportunity to discover the various amenities and learning opportunities afforded at these libraries. In past years, we have crossed state lines to see how the other book lives. This year we kept it strictly in Illinois. Interspersed amongst the fine articles that I have assembled for you this week, I will tell you of our library travels during our Christmas break.


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

The real story of the Blind Side

Henry posted that we liked the movie the Blind Side.

I liked the real story better. I spent hours researching and watching news interviews.

Here's some of what I found in video format.

A Diamond in the Rough

A Dream Come True

An Epic Journey

Class Room Challenge

Here's some of what I found in news articles:

Oher, who has skimmed the book, said he mostly liked the movie, but added that he thought his football skills were misrepresented and that his character was portrayed as too stupid.

For example, in the movie, Oher finds out his father committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. In actuality, his father was murdered.

A good portion of the movie is devoted to Oher's education and his learning techniques.In dramatic form, he needed a 2.5 GPA (grade point average) to get into an NCAA Division I school. One of the final scenes of the movie has Leigh Anne announcing he received a 2.52 at Oher's high school graduation ceremony.

While this did happen, it's not quite accurate. Oher needed more than a 2.65 GPA and achieved this by taking online classes via a BYU program, which was combined with his already achieved 2.52 GPA.

Some players felt the movie didn’t do Oher justice in terms of his football I.Q. It portrayed him as a guy who didn’t know football, yet former teammates said his football experience went much deeper than portrayed.

"In the movie, they tried to make him too quiet, too illiterate,” Ole Miss safety Kendrick Lewis said. "Michael Oher wasn’t that type of guy. They tried to make like he had no football knowledge, and that wasn’t Michael Oher.”

Said McCluster: "I talked to him about it, and he didn’t really like that part. If you look at him, you can tell he’s been an athlete all is life. You can’t learn that in a couple of years.”

Here's a link to a ten page article called The Ballad of Big Mike. This is based on the book that Michael Oher was referring to in the first quote I listed.

I love the Michael Oher story. He is the poster child for what is wrong in foster care and public education. From the Ballad of Big Mike:

In his first nine years of school, Michael Oher was enrolled in 11 different institutions, and that included a gap of 18 months, around age 10, when he apparently did not attend school at all. Either that or the public schools were so indifferent to his presence that they neglected to register it formally. Not that Oher actually showed up at the schools where he was enrolled. Even when he received credit for attending, he was sensationally absent: 46 days of a single term of his first-grade year, for instance. His first first-grade year, that is; Michael Oher repeated first grade. He repeated second grade, too. And yet the school system presented these early years as the most accomplished of his academic career. They claimed that right through the fourth grade he was performing at “grade level.” How could they know when, according to these transcripts, he hadn’t even attended the third grade?

Simpson, who had spent 30-plus years in area public schools, including 29 in Memphis, knew what everyone who had even a brief brush with the Memphis public schools knew: they passed kids up to the next grade because they found it too much trouble to flunk them. They functioned as an assembly line churning out products never meant to be market-tested. At several schools, Michael Oher had been given F’s in reading his first term and C’s the second term, which allowed him to finish the school year with D’s — they were giving him grades just to get rid of him. And get rid of him they did: seldom did the child return to the school that passed him. The year before Simpson got his file, Michael Oher passed ninth grade at a high school called Westwood. According to his transcripts, he missed 50 days of school that year. Fifty days! At Briarcrest, the rule was that if a student misses 15 days of any class, he has to repeat the class no matter his grade. And yet Westwood had given Michael Oher just enough D’s to move him along. Even when you threw in the B in world geography, clearly a gift from the Westwood basketball coach who taught the class, the grade-point average the student would bring with him to Briarcrest began with a zero: 0.6.

In the end, it was the care of a good family that made the difference. No government program can compete with that.

We liked The Blind Side

Janine and I saw The Blind Side over the weekend.

We liked it.

Technorati tags: Blind Side

Monday, January 18, 2010

20 Great Reasons You Homeschool by Jim Erskine

My second daughter forwarded a link to a fun comic about 20 Great Reasons You Homeschool by Jim Erskine.

It is kind of exciting that my children are starting to help out with the blog.


An overdue post

Alasandra hosts an annual Homeschool Blog Awards.

She mentioned awhile back that we had won the Best Group Award, and I meant to mention the winners had been announced, but I never got around to it.

Sorry this is late.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling at be hosted by Dave the Home School Dad.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

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

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

It depends on what you value

I had a recent conversation with a good friend who works at a public school. I was a bit surprised by some of her conclusions about homeschoolers. During the course of the conversation, I realized that we were talking at cross purposes. Many of the things that she believed were negatives associated with homeschooling, I thought were positives. We agreed that our perspectives were different because we valued different things.

For example, socialization is often brought up in the homeschool debate. For many in mainstream America, socialization is measured by interactions among "peers" of the same age and in the same short-lived, artificial bubble (class at school, youth group at church, sports team, and so forth). That type of socialization is valuable to my friend, which is not surprising, considering the nature of her job.

When I define socialization, its end goal is not transitory popularity on the playground. I grade socialization by how well a child interacts in adult society and takes upon himself adult roles. I value peer interaction only as a means to an end.

Of course, I want my children to have friends, but in a broader social context. I expect interaction among youth to serve a long-term function of integrating them into civilized society, not to entrench them in a separate and degenerate subculture.* This is one of the primary reasons we do not send our children to school (public or private).

On more than one occasion, I've heard homeschoolers criticized for interacting too well with adults and not mixing enthusiastically enough with youth of their same age.

Obviously, we don't value the same things.

*Paul Graham's essay, Why Nerds are Unpopular, does a great job of exploring this issue.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - the Dog and Cat edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is being hosted at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog.

She starts out with:

Fenris was adopted from the Bay St. Louis/ Waveland Animal Shelter. He is a well loved Mutt. The best guess is he is an Great Pyrenees & Australian Shepherd Mix. Fenris' name comes from Norse Mythology.
The Fenris Wolf (aka Fenrir) is a creature of the Asgardian dimension who is said to be an offspring of Loki and the giant Angrboda. It is a huge wolf (usual height 15 feet tall) with human-like intelligence, vast strength and the capacity to change its shape to that of a god or to change its size to that of a real wolf.
Just like there is a lot of diversity in the dog world there is a lot of diversity among homeschoolers.



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

No bang for the buck

This news story gives a perfect example of why pouring money into a problem doesn't necessarily help.

Study finds UNICEF program in West Africa fails

...An analysis of the program in Benin, Ghana and Mali found children in areas where it wasn't in effect had a better chance of surviving past age 5 than children who were covered by it. The study was published online Tuesday in the British medical journal Lancet.

It is one of the few studies to evaluate whether U.N. health programs really save lives. Related work published last year found that it wasn't clear what the world had gotten from U.N. initiatives that cost nearly $200 billion over the past two decades, and that some programs may have been counterproductive.

....In Benin, child deaths fell by 13 percent after the UNICEF program started. But in areas of Benin where the program wasn't used, the death rate dropped by nearly double: 25 percent.

....Little effort has gone into finding out if global health initiatives work, yet billions of dollars are poured into them every year.

....UNICEF should have made the grant money dependent on delivering results. "It's hardly surprising the program was a complete flop."

It is interesting to note that areas that weren't "helped" by the UN health program did dramatically better than those that were.

This study reminds me of all the tax dollars poured into education that show no benefit. As long as the funding goes to programs that focus on the wrong thing, it doesn't matter how much money is spent. This should also be a cautionary tale for both education and health care reform.

Technorati tags: children

Saturday, January 09, 2010

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

The next Carnival of Homeschooling at be hosted by Alasandra at her Homeschooling Blog.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

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

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

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Tea Party Question

I saw this article, Will Tea Partyers Homeschool Their Kids?, and it got me wondering.

How many homeschoolers are involved in the tea party movement and are homeschoolers more likely to support the tea party idea?

Take a minute and answer the poll.

If you have at anytime homeschooled your children, pick the homeschool option.

If you have used a combination of public and private school, choose the private school option.

Technorati tags: government, tea party, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Carnival of Homeschool: Week 210 - The 4th Anniversary

Welcome to the fourth anniversary of the Carnival of Homeschooling. This is the 210th edition! This is one of the longest running weekly blog carnivals!

My wife and I are very grateful that so many people who participate, who help promote the carnival, and who give us encouragement. We are especially appreciative of the several dozen people who take turns hosting the carnival.

Four years ago we started up the carnival for several reasons. The carnival would provide a way for homeschoolers to teach and give encouragement to each other. Each week dozens of bloggers continue to do just that. This week is a great example.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Advice for beginners

Transitioning to homeschooling can be very hard. Homeschooling is almost another culture. There are new words, new ideas, and even new behaviors. It is good to get advice and support from others. A little direction can save a beginner from big mistakes.

In When Your Family And Friends Don’t Support Your Homeschooling, MamaMary writes about the story of her journey and the things that led her to homeschool at Home School Online.

Brenda shares some Ideas from her schoolroom, the 2nd edition, on her blog The Tie That Binds Us. She has some good homeschooling tips.

Joy gives 4 Easy Steps to Help You Fail at Homeschooling, and then explains how to succeed. (From the Five J’s)

In School Schedule – 2010, Julee shares where they are in their education journey, from her blog the Abundant Harvest.


At the core homeschooling is about parenting. As parents we focus on the complete package. We want our children to learn academics, but also much more.

Michelle D Evans writes about the importance of Putting Kids to Work.

How would you answer? Success on Paper or Success in Life – Which Would You Choose? Some good thoughts about what we as parents should to be working towards, at Homeschooling For 3.

Carletta asks a provocative question: Would You Lay Down Your Life for Your Children? at her blog Successful Homeschooling.

Amy says living this life requires sacrifice and asks are you ready and willing? (At Raising Arrows)

High School issues

As our children get close to life after homeschooling, there are extra concerns. For example, we may be helping them get ready for college.

Do you have students in High School? Are you looking for help with their transcripts? Putting Together Your Highschool Transcripts has some suggestions, over at Homeschool Highschool.

Andrea quizzes us are we In a Rush to Graduate Your Kids from Homeschool? at Homeschool Blog.


Homeschooling has many, many challenges; however, it also has great rewards.

With an Educational Christmas Kat explains that it is fun to shop for Christmas gifts for the over-10 crowd as science and craft kits can double as both fun and educational. (From her blog No Fighting, No Biting!)

In Gingerzilla!!! Cristina shares the...unique gingerbread creation her kids made this year, at Home Spun Juggling.

Mrs. White explains how one of her daughter was The Breakfast Hostess, from The Legacy of Home.

Searching for a fun indoor activity for the kids this winter? Consider making and playing your own homemade board games! (From Craft Stew)

Do you have a budding illustrator? Beverly may be able to help you in Fun with Jenny B. Harris at Beverly’s Homeschooling Blog (


As homeschoolers we often make goals, especially at the start of a new year. As in so many other areas, homeschoolers have advice on how to set goals and what kinds of goals to set.

I was reminded of the line about eating an elephant one bite at a time with Rachel’s post The Gianormous Resolution. (From Minds in Bloom)

Elena shares A Homeschool mom’s new year’s list at My Domestic Church.


There are so many products, curriculums and tools available to homeschoolers. It is impossible to research them all. Homeschoolers often rely on reviews by others.

If The Shoe (Box) Does Not Fit is a review Sue Patrick's “Workbox System.” A former school teacher turned homeschooler writes about how the “Workbox System” changed, and didn’t change, her approach to homeschooling, at The Learning Curve.

I Want to Teach Forever has a review at You Can Count on the Sequence Numbers Board Game.

Misty reviews Five in a Row – The Early Reading Curriculum that doesn’t feel like school at all! at Homeschool Bytes.

Kathy reviews Catherine, Called Birdy at Reviews.

Amy shares a summary of the best chapter book read-alouds she did last year in Read Aloud Thursday–Best of 2009 with her 4 and 5 year old children, posted at Home Is the Word.

The Informed Parent writes about Captain Cook and Saurekraut.

DreamBox Learning has released a new Teacher Tool – Snap Blocks.

The Government

In walking away from the norm, homeschoolers are often viewed with suspicion. They often have to deal with hassles from the government.

Susan reports that one school administrator is attempting to use city daytime curfew ordinances to chase down Illinois homeschoolers at Corn and Oil.

Janine writes about A call to ban private schools, at our blog Why Homeschool.

Grandma Linda, aka Linda Dobson, has some More Eye-Opening Facts about Who Is Teaching Your Child in public schools, at her blog Parent at the Helm.

General thoughts and support

How to Get Homeschool Books in China has several tips for homeschoolers moving to China, from Jimmie’s Collage.

I’m sure this must have been an exciting moment. In Brand Loyalty Tracy wrote a post addressing the idea: “Does Susan Wise Bauer contradict herself?” And then Susan commented! (From Higher Education)

April has a tip for An Organized Homeschool: File Boxes, this is one of the ways Ambitious April gets a lot done.

An Alternative Education is a thoughtful reflection on unschooling, from The Expanding Life.

Heather has some suggestions on Home Renewal: Let eBay Freshen Your Décor, from her blog Professor Mom.

Barbara has classic good news, bad news. The bad news is Marva Collins had to close down her school. The good news is Marva plans to go online and help homeschoolers! (From Barbara Frank Online)

Carnival of Homeschooling

If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. Please mention the carnival on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other appropriate places. You can also help promote the carnival by adding the carnival images. Learn how by going here.

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 04, 2010

A call to ban private schools

A friend forwarded this article to me. It was published in the Online Times out of the United Kingdom in the School Gate section.

Why private schools should be banned

"....I believe that educationalists and egalitarians should fight for an end to private schools and the extension of an Eton standard of education for every child. Why? Because the current system institutionalises and makes acceptable educational inequality."

The article has a lot of liberal gobbly-gook that is not very logical, but there are many comments on the article which are pretty good.

I'm against inequality in educational opportunity.

But this is because I want to level up the worst schools, not level down the best. It is unfair that some people have a rubbish education, but it wouldn't be made any more tolerable by making even more people have a rubbish education, which is presumably the point of abolishing the private schools.

From the article and the comments, I was struck by the difference between British Society and the American "Land of Opportunity." We have so many people who achieve rags-to-riches success, that not attending an ivy-league school like Eton (or Harvard) is not seen as a career stopper here.

As a side note, I did a little research on the homeschool laws in the United Kingdom. This from HSLDA:

Compulsory Attendance Ages: 5-16

Legal Status: Homeschooling is legal in England and Wales under the 1944 Education Act, which was consolidated in 1996. Section 7, Education Act 1996 states, "…[E]fficient full-time education, suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special education needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise." Under the "or otherwise" phrase in the law, families can legally homeschool.

There are no requirements to inform the authorities when one is home educating, unless the student was previously enrolled in the government school system. At that time, the parent must let the school official know they are withdrawing their student to home educate him. No other requirements for home education exist.

Number of Homeschoolers: Between 20,000 and 100,000 children.

The Online Times article claims that 7% of children in the UK are educated in private schools. I wasn't successful in finding a percentage rate for homeschoolers, but I found many articles detailing the increase in home education.

I was surprised that home education was not mentioned in either the article or the comments section. Many comments gave me the sense that parents felt trapped in the public school system. It was kind of strange how the parents seemed to believed that a private school was the only option to a good education, as if the content being taught at private schools was top secret information. I found myself muttering at the computer screen, "Well, then pull them out and teach them at home." With the internet, that wealth of knowledge is available with a click of a button.

I have to admit my view of the educational system in the United Kingdom was tainted by watching the World's Strictest Parents. Listening to those teens talk was down right painful.

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

Saturday, January 02, 2010

WSJ column: Why the Health-Care Bills Are Unconstitutional

I think Senator Orrin Hatch and others make good points in Why the Health-Care Bills Are Unconstitutional. The column starts with:

President Obama's health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because key provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional. Legally speaking, this legislation creates a target-rich environment. We will focus on three of its more glaring constitutional defects.

First, the Constitution does not give Congress the power to require that Americans purchase health insurance. Congress must be able to point to at least one of its powers listed in the Constitution as the basis of any legislation it passes. None of those powers justifies the individual insurance mandate. Congress's powers to tax and spend do not apply because the mandate neither taxes nor spends. The only other option is Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.

The column goes on expanding on the first point, and exploring two other points.

Over the last year as Americans have found out about the Healt Care proposes, more and more have opposed the current reform efforts. My current guess is the longer this drags on, the less likely it will be that the present bills will be modified enough to pass. Too many Congressman and Senators want to be re-elected.

If it does pass, then it will be interesting to see how the Constitutionality question.

The year 2010 promises to have a lot of interesting events.

Technorati tags: healthcare, reform

Friday, January 01, 2010

From the archives - Telling point about government schools by Thomas Sowell

Several years back Joanne Jacobs referenced a column by Thomas Sowell. Here was the interesting quote in Dr. Sowell's column:

A recently reprinted memoir by Frederick Douglass has footnotes explaining what words like "arraigned," "curried" and "exculpate" meant, and explaining who Job was. In other words, this man who was born a slave and never went to school educated himself to the point where his words now have to be explained to today's expensively under-educated generation.

It is sad. Because of the poor education many Americans are getting today they are in ways slaves to ignorance.

The version of the column Joanne linked to is no longer up, but I found it here.

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

Send in your entries for the 4th anniversary edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

Janine and I will be hosting the 210th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling at our blog Why Homeschool. It is a bit sobering to ponder about how we took a leap into the dark when starting up the carnival four years ago.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Start off 2010 right by encouraging your readers to send in an entry to the Carnival of Homeschooling. You can even use the carnival icons by adding the HTML from here.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Then please send in your own post about homeschooling.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

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

Happy New Years

Janine and I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Technorati tags: 2010

Study finds earliler to bed makes teens mentally healthier

One of my brothers posted this on Facebook - The earlier to bed, the healthier the head, which starts:

Teens allowed to go to bed after midnight were almost a quarter – 24 per cent – more likely to suffer from depression and a fifth more likely to think about self harm than those who were set bedtimes of 10pm or earlier.
The authors of the study, published in the journal Sleep, said that the more sleep adolescents get the better it is for their mental health.

Adolescents who usually slept for five or fewer hours per night were 71 per cent more likely to suffer from depression and 48 per cent more likely to think about committing suicide than those who reported getting eight hours of nightly sleep, it was claimed.
Researchers studied more than 15,000 students and their parents at US schools from age 12 to 17.


Technorati tags: sleep