Thursday, January 26, 2012

The next Carnival will be held by Amy Baylis at Cajun Joie de Vivre: Stepping Stones to a Fulfilled Life.

Blog Carnvial is partially broken. It is accepting submissions, but not forwarding them. It would be easier if you just submitted your post directly via email. 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

Who does Google think you are?

Google watches and records what web sites you visits and makes guesses about who you are.  This Google site reveals their deduction. 

It is interesting.  I use a variety of  web browsers.  Here is what Google thinks about me:

Internet Explorer:  35-44, Male
FireFox:  No clue
Google Chrome:  55-64, Male

They got the gender correct, but neither age range is correct.

Hat tip:  Natalie Winningham

TED Talk - Jeff Sandefer on improving public education

Jeff Sandefer makes a good agrument for improving public education by going back to what our country did 150 years ago.

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Wintery Mix

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Janice Campbell - Taking Time For Things That Matter.

Janice starts the carnival with:

As your posts were coming in over the past weekend, the weather seemed busy trying to decide what it wanted to be when it grew up. Friday was clear and chilly, but I woke the next morning to the beep-beep of snowplows. From my 40th floor hotel room, I could see snow blowing sideways, nearly obscuring the bright screens wrapping Times Square just a few blocks south. By the time I boarded a train for home on Monday, we had seen sun, snow, rain, fog, and wind, and the trip home held more of the same.

Looking through your posts, I see a similar variety (though more pleasant, of course), so like the forecasters who opted to predict “wintery mix” instead of trying to be specific from hour to hour, I offer you the Wintery Mix Carnival of Homeschooling. I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thanks to all who contributed.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Good reminder of some of the problems with public schools

A Teacher Story: Why I'm Leaving Public Education is fascinating.  A season teacher got tired of playing the games.  She refused to put pressure on her students to focus on "the test."  She had taught four years in inner-city Pittsburgh yet the school principal gave her a bad time.  Finally she quit. 

Her story starts with:

I’ve had a radical change of heart recently. Those who worked with me in my previous position as an Instructional Coach (helping teachers to improve instruction and overcome difficulties with high-needs students) must be shocked by the links I am posting online. They might say that now that I’m back in the classroom, I don’t want to practice what I preached. They’d be at least partly right.

Wasn’t I the one reassuring other teachers that Colorado’s new teacher evaluations, based 50% on student test scores, was exactly what was needed to bring credibility and respect back into the teaching profession? Wasn’t I the one who said, “Merit pay? Bring it on! I’ll be makin’ the big bucks!” Yep, that was me. It was frustrating to work with some teachers who didn’t seem to care about their huge responsibility for educating our youth. Reforming tenure and paying teachers based on their efforts made sense to me, at least in theory.

I tried to reassure the teachers I worked with that they were great teachers who had nothing to worry about, and ignored the nagging voice in the back of my head that said it wasn’t so simple –like what about Special Education teachers? I’d worked with one who had a huge case-load of kids, including Jose, a boy with autism who struggled socially and academically but was a gifted artist. I had offered to help Jose’s teacher administer the CSAP (Colorado’s standardized test) because she had so many students that required special accommodations.
This is a great reminder of some of the problems with government schools.

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

Some of our favorite TED talks

Jay asked for a list of our favorite TED talks.  Here are the ones I've asked my daughters to watch:

Sugata Mitra's new experiments in self-teaching

Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Catherine Mohr: Surgery's past, present and robotic future

Hans Rosling: No more boring data: TEDTalks

Christopher McDougall: Are we born to run?

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

David Pogue says "Simplicity sells"

Deb Roy: The birth of a word

Salman Khan: Education

Dan Myer: Math class needs a makeover

Eric Whitacre: A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong

Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter

Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies

Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools

Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination

Fiorenzo Omenetto: Silk, the ancient material of the future

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter

Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine

Bruce Schneier: The security mirage

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aspects of a homeschooling life

Homeschooling is more than merely teaching your children how to read, write and do their sums.  It is a way of life.  Our oldest daughter is seventeen.  She will be going off to college this fall.  None of our children have ever taken a public school class. 

I've been thinking recently about how homeschooling families differ from families which send their children off to government schools.  A couple main areas jump out:

Responsibility: Homeschoolers take complete responsibility for the education and welfare of their children.  When parents send their children to public schools they surrender many decisions to teachers and school officials.  And if the parents disagree too often the courts say tough.  Homeschoolers make the decision to be in charge.  They may hire someone else to help with certain subject, but we have the final say.

Freedom: It is so cool to be able to do things when you want.  This can range from the subjects the children study, the order of the subjects to how long you spend on a subject.  But there is flexibility beyond education, for example we love being able to go on vacation when everyone else is in school.

Character: We are not in a constant battle with dozens to hundreds of conflicting messages which tell our children to ignore their parents on issues like integrity and honesty.  Our children have never been pressured to cheat on a test.  They are not being constantly told to experiment with sex or alcohol.  With homeschooling we control the turf and the message.

Homeschooling is a challenge.  At times it is a lot of work.  Overall I think we put in about the same amount of time as parents who use the government schools.  But even if we spend more time I'm glad to do it. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Some of our best posts from August 2006

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for over six years now. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from August 2006:

Janine posted Reasons to Avoid Government Schools: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

We shared some links on John Stossel with Stupid in America.

In Respect and choices Janine addresses the question of do homeschoolers show disrespect towards public school families.

Richard Feynman on the textbook review process is both insightful and scary.

Janine wrote about our first day of 'school'.

Henry shared some ways to Promote Your Blog.

Janine wrote about a typical crazy day in What a Day!

Do you think there is any difference between Schools and Prisons?

I posted one of my favorite quotes:

"You say the little efforts that I make will do no good; that they never will prevail to tip the hovering scale where justice hangs in the balance. I don't think I ever thought they would. But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight."

- Bonaro Overstreet

And I posted this great story on The importance of Mathematics:


From: (Tom Duff)

Taylor Series - a matter of life or death

Mathematics can even be a matter of life or death. During the Russian revolution, the mathematical physicist Igor Tamm was seized by anti-Communist vigilantes at a village near Odessa where he had gone to barter for food. They suspected he was an anti-Ukrainian communist agitator and dragged him off to their leader.

Asked what he did for a living he said that he was a mathematician. The skeptical gang-leader began to finger the bullets and grenades slung around his neck. "All right", he said, "calculate the error when the Taylor series approximation of a function is truncated after n terms. Do this and you will go free; fail and you will be shot". Tamm slowly calculated the answer in the dust with his quivering finger. When he had finished the bandit cast his eye over the answer and waved him on his way.

Tamm won the 1958 Nobel prize for Physics but he never did discover the identity of the unusual bandit leader. But he found a sure way to concentrate his students' minds on the practical importance of Mathematics!


Khan Academy explains why SOPA & PIPA are bad

It is interesting to me that Khan Academy has moved beyond basic academics:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

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

The next Carnival will be held at Janice Campbell - Taking Time For Things That Matter.

Blog Carnvial is partially broken. It is accepting submissions, but not forwarding them. It would be easier if you just submitted your post directly via email. 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

Humor - Shakespeare's version of The Three Little Pigs

My brother posted this on Facebook:

Pretty funny.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Organized Homeschool

Dee is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at the Homeschool Online Blog.

She starts the carnival with:

So, did you know that January is officially “Get Organized” month? That’s probably pretty timely when you figure just how many of us have created New Year’s resolutions with some form of the word “ORGANIZE” in them. And we homeschoolers - - especially - - have more than a few things lying around the house that we’d like to bring order to, don’t we? So this 316th week of the Carnival of Homeschooling is going to be dedicated to tips and tricks that homeschoolers can use to curb the chaos and get organized for 2012!! Shall we get started???

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mises article on homeschooling

In Praise of Homeschools starts:

The most admirable group of entrepreneurs is perhaps the least appreciated. Homeschool parents, or parentrepreneurs, are not waiting for politicians and technocrats to fix broken systems of education. Rather, they are eschewing the status quo and finding innovative ways to advance the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth of their children. Unlike their counterparts in the public sector, parentrepreneurs have achieved astounding results with humble budgets.

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

Monday, January 16, 2012

We homeschool so the world will be comprehensible by our children

These last couple weeks I have been distracted by a local political issue.  I've spent hours and hours gathering signatures to put this issue on the ballot.

As I have gone door to door one of the things which has become clear to me is many people don't really understand the issues.  As we talk about the issue they cannot seem to connect cause and effect.  Some believe programs funded by the government are somehow free and without cost.

One of the reasons Janine and I homeschool is so our children are grounded in history.  They know how various programs in the past have worked and understand why, at least in part, the effects.  They understand basic economics and recognize the value of delayed gratification.

I don't want the world to be incomprehensible or unfathomable to our children.  Life is scary and confusing when things just "randomly" happen.  If both good and bad things just "happen" and someone doesn't understand why they happened, then life is an enigma.  It is baffling.

By homeschooling we are able to make sure our children have some understanding of cause and effect.  And maybe more important, they have an attitude of continuing to learn and to try to understand cause and effect to a greater degree. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This week's Carnival is up - the Gemstone Edition

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

The theme for this edition is Gemstones.

The carnival starts off with:

Welcome to the Gemstone Edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling. Below you will find not only the wonderful submissions for this carnival but gemstones commonly used for birthstones and the history behind them.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, January 05, 2012

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

The next Carnival will be held at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog.

Blog Carnvial is partially broken. It is accepting submissions, but not forwarding them. It would be easier if you just submitted your post directly via email. 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

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Maybe it is time to move to New Hampshire

I found this good news: NH House may let travelers complain to police over TSA airport searches; allow videotaping.

Hat tip: Boycott Flying

Carnival of Homeschool: Week 314 - The 6th Anniversary

Welcome to the sixth anniversary of the Carnival of Homeschooling. It is one of the longest running weekly blog carnivals. This is the 314th edition!

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

The theme for this carnival is "Starting the New Year." We've just entered 2012 and many homeschool bloggers are thinking about their plans for the New Year.

Goals and Resolutions

With a New Year, we often step back and reconsider what we are doing and what we might want to do differently.

With Reminders, Christy provides a new way (and a helpful way) to look at New Year’s resolutions, posted at Eclectic Momma.

In Looking Back Before Looking Ahead Pamela reflects on 2011, which included a five week road trip with her children, posted at Blah, Blah, Blog.

Jen writes about the process of Goal setting for the Whole Family, posted at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

In God’s Will for Your Homeschool, Vicki shares ideas for seeking God in your homeschool as 2012 begins, and a FREE download to help you set priorities and handle your calendar accordingly, posted at 7 Sisters Innovative Homeschool Helps.

The Homeschool Dad lists five of his goals for the New Year in Resolved.

Kelly reminds us that along with making goals for our children, we should have our own Personal Learning Journey, posted at The Homeschool Co-op.


As homeschoolers, we put a lot of focus on the education of our children.

In the post A Self-Taught Couple Who Dabbles, Susan includes snippets from a news article about how long-time homeschoolers deal with the economy and their lifestyle, posted at Corn and Oil.

In Just for Us Homeschool Parents, Chris encourages us “To take a look at what we are worth! Believe in the value of what we add to our children, community and society as a whole. We are the ones who will guide the best of the next generation.” Posted at Home School vs. Public School.

My Daughter Does Not Have Bieber Fever is a fun story by a proud NerdMom, posted at NerdFamily Blog.

Michelle presents The Face of Homeschooling: Interview with Jennifer posted at Holistic Homeschooler.


Reading is very popular with homeschoolers. My family has started the New Year with everyone reading books. Out of the 30 posts for this carnival, seven of them have to do with reading. I'm sure homeschoolers will do a lot of reading in the New Year.

Jimmie has Three Reasons Why You Should Read Aloud to Your Independent Readers, posted at Help You Manage Your Life.

Along with reading we, teach our children to spell. Jennifer shares her experience in Spelling Lessons with Explode the Code, posted at Adventures in Mama-Land.

Susan has a weekly “Virtual Curriculum Fair” for the month of January. This week’s post, On Learning to Spell, has several ideas for helping children to be better spellers, posted at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds.

In Shakespeare and Audio Books, Nadene recounts how she read aloud Julius Caesar with her tenth grade daughter and greatly enjoyed it. Now she is considering having her younger children listen to other works by Shakespeare, posted at Practical Pages.

Karyn wrote a book review on America The Last Best Hope. This is third book in a series about history and also covers recent history. It is posted at Teach Beside Me.

The Read Aloud Dad provides a fun story with his review of Dinosaur Cove: Attack of the Readaloudsaurus.

Carol reminds us about the important of writing in Teach Your Child to Write, posted at Everything Home With Carol.

Art, Music and Geography

Education is more than just the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Homeschoolers know this and will spend time in the New Year helping their children learn other topics.

Jimmie has materials and ideas for studying the artist Pieter Bruegel, posted at Jimmie’s Collage.

Mary provides some resources and links for nature study/artist study highlighting John James Audubon, posted at Homegrown Learners.

Cristina shows off some cool presents her son created in Crafting Christmas the Guy's Way, posted at Home Spun Juggling.

Regena provides a Ninth Grade Music Appreciation Plan.... which includes links to worksheets and other resources, posted at Green Apple’s Blush.

Jimmie has a free printable that can be used with the study of any country, posted at The Notebooking Fairy.

Education beyond academics

Many parents decide to homeschool because they want to teach their children additional topics. True education is more than the academics.

In Homeschooling Homesteaders: Teaching Self-Reliance Skills, Janice explains that self-reliance means looking ahead, anticipating potential dangers, and setting aside resources to care for your family in the event of an emergency, posted at Taking Time For Things That Matter.

In Exploring Your Interests WILL Take You Places, Sue reflects on her three children’s hobbies and fascinations over the years and recognizes the value in allowing them to develop their own interests, posted at A Life Full of Days.

Judy shares some important thoughts by John Taylor Gatto And State Controlled Consciousness, posted at Consent Of The Governed.


Homeschoolers do a great job of sharing. The following bloggers provide some great resources to help everyone in 2012.

Mrs. White has been homeschooling since 1990. Homeschooling Stories and Ideas – Index of Articles provides quick access to some of her experiences and the lessons she has learned over the years. This is from her blog: The Legacy of Home.

Lisa shares suggestions from others on Handling the Morning Wake-up (Encouragement to Kiss Those Rough Mornings Goodbye!), posted at Homeschool Circus.

In tutor your own child, who would’ve thought? Kat reviews a book extolling the methods of homeschooling for the public/private schooled child, posted at No Fighting, No Biting!

Annie Kate provides a list of Resources for Shakespeare’s Henry V she used recently, posted at Tea Time with Annie Kate.


One of the few constants in life is that life constantly changes. Each year is different.

The Thinking Mother is struggling with self-doubts and shares them in Having that "Throw Them in School" Phase Again.

In Changes, Changes: Here We Go Again! Tina explains how they are switching from a traditional school calendar (i.e., September-May) to an alternate (southern hemisphere) schedule, in which an academic term (or “school year”) will begin in January and end in December, posted at Being Made New.

Dee is feeling Lost in the Fog and trying to figure out how to do a better job her lesson plans, posted at Homeschool Online.

We humbly submit our post about Thoughts on hosting the carnival where I share hits on how to put together a blog carnival more easily.

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 

Monday, January 02, 2012

Thoughts on hosting the carnvial

I always approach the carnival with a bit of dread.  It can be a lot of work.  Often I can spend ten to twenty hours putting it together.

It seems to be coming together easier this time.  At first I wasn't sure why.

Normally I'll think of a theme in the weeks before the carnival.  A good theme can make the carnival more fun to read so it is not just a list of links.  BUT, not every post will fit cleaning into a theme, and it can take a lot of work to push various posts into the framework of the theme. 

This time I had a couple ideas in mind for the theme, but I wasn't committed to any of them.  This morning I skimmed all the posts, kicked around five or six themes, and then selected a theme which seems to fit all the posts. 

It has been much easier to place each post within the framework of the theme!

Nice reminder that simple acts of kindness can be powerful

Good video:

Hat tip: A Life Full of Days

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

Janine and I are hosting the 6th anniversary edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling this week.  This will be the 314th edition.

Please send your submissions to the carnival via email.  You have just seven hours!
Blog Carnvial is partially broken. It is accepting submissions, but not forwarding them. It would be easier if you just submitted your post directly via email. for the instructions on sending in a submission. Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.  

Movie recommendation: Glory Road

Netlfix is providing my family with about three movie nights a month.  Our biggest challenge is finding time when we are all available.

This last weekend we watched Glory Road:

It is based on a true story about a Texas college which crossed the racial divide in basket back in 1966.  The story is pretty powerful, though a little intense at points.