Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One of the reasons why the cost of higher education keeps exploding

For several decades the cost of higher education has climbed two and three times as fast as inflation.  It used to be that a student could work himself through school and graduate with a BA or BS without being in debt.  Now millions of graduates are suffering from billions of dollars of debt.

U execs are paid handsomely on their way out reports:

Since retiring 18 months ago as chancellor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Kathryn Martin has collected more money from the U than she did in her last two years on the job.

One of nearly a dozen university executives to step down in the past two years, Martin was granted a two-month sabbatical, a 15-month "administrative transitional leave," a final deposit to her retirement fund, and a severance check. Total: $535,700.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Monday, February 27, 2012

The nose into the tent

The story is told of a man out in the dessert with his camel.  It was cold and windy.  The man was safe and warm in his tent.  The camel ask the man if he could put his nose into the tent, out from the wind and sand.  The man said sure.  A few minutes went by and then the camel asked if he could put his head into the tent.  The man said yes.  Then a little while later the camel asked if he could put his neck into the tent, soon the whole camel was in the tent, and the man was pushed into the wind and cold.

Many parents homeschool because it gives them greater freedom in what, how and when they teach their children.  One of the very attractive features of homeschooling is the ability to make decisions about what we think is best for our children without other people trying to run our lives.

A recent article Gov't intrusion in homeschooling: Alberta bill to outlaw Bible teaching on gays worries me about a government's attitude that it thinks it should be able to control what parents teach their own children, in their own home. 

The article starts:

The Alberta Province of Canada is moving forward with an education bill that will redefine acceptable instruction regarding homosexuality. The Alberta Education Act passed through the Second Hearing on February 22, and mandates that the diverse nature of the province be reflected in all curriculum, including that of homeschoolers. Each school entity is called to "honor and respect" the Alberta Human Rights Act that protects gays from discrimination.

"Whatever the nature of schooling - homeschool, private school, Catholic school - we do not tolerate disrespect for differences," stated Donna McColl, assistant director of communications for the Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

McColl went on to clarify that homeschoolers could use the Bible's teaching in personal, family time, but not as part of the curriculum. The difficulty is that many homeschoolers are in teaching mode all day long, informally and formally, and teaching foundational beliefs is part of their lifestyle.

There are two issues here.  One is how people feel about gays.  The second issue is just how much should the government be able to control our lives? 

There are too many areas in society in which governments dictate what we should do.  I hope this is not the start of a trend where the government tries to control what we teach our children.

Family reunions - leveraging the wisdom of crowds

We are starting to think about a family reunion for all the decendents of my parents. It will be in 2014. We'll have about 35 people. We normally spend about a week together. There are six couples. The grandchildren range from born in 2011 to born in 1990.

I'm looking for suggestions. What types of venues have worked well for you?


Saturday, February 25, 2012

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

Please send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

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.

The next Carnival will be held at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Harry Potter Homeschooling Pensieve edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is being held at A Life Supreme.

Laura starts the carnival with:

When I first read the Harry Potter books a few years ago, I fell in love with all 4195 pages of the saga. J.K. Rowling's ability to carry the plot over seven action-packed books, planting little elements along the way that seem unimportant when first mentioned but are ultimately of great significance to the greater story, fills me with the greatest admiration of her storytelling ability.

In addition to her great characters, Ms. Rowling creates a world that is just plain old fun to get lost in. And there are quite a few objects that inhabit that world that I wish were available in this one, like: The Weasley Family's Clock. 

Yes, a cell phone with GPS can tell you where your family members are at any given moment, but this clock is just so much prettier hanging on the wall or sitting on the mantle.

Later she continues with:

But, hands down, my absolute favorite creation in the Harry Potter world is: The Pensieve. 

This handy contraption allows you to take thoughts that you have conveniently removed from your mind (and stored in handy phials up on the shelf) and view them from another perspective at a later time. Being able to save the details of a memory so that you can revisit them later with greater perspective could be a very useful tool. And not only can you revisit your own memories, you can also share your memories with others to get their perspective.


Let's take some of the phials off the shelf labeled "Homeschooling," whether they be thoughts we've had before or those shared by others, and see what new insights they reveal to us once we access them through our virtual pensieve, shall we?

So apparate over and check out this week's carnival.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Have you heard Sissel sing "Bridge over troubled waters?"

Sissel is an international singing sensation from Norway:

Hat tip: my mom

Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Here is my oldest daughter's review of the TED Talk: Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

Kathryn Schulz wrote a book on being wrong.

Her fascination with this particular condition began on a car trip with a friend when she mistook the sign for picnic tables as a Chinese pictogram.

During her explanation on how being right all the time limits us Schulz made a interesting point. When a person disagrees with another they are likely to come to one of three conclusions. One, the other is ignorant, they don’t know what you know. Two, the other person is an idiot, they know what you know but are incapable of reaching the correct deduction. Or three, the other person is evil, they know the right answer but refuse to acknowledge it for their own nefarious purposes.

This lecture has led me to decide to be more open to the possibility that I am fallible. I’m not sure how successful I will be but I’m going to try

I enjoyed the talk and recommend it:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homeschoolers – vacation days and snow days

Is it time to party? Today is Presidents’ Day. My daughters’ friends in public schools have the whole week off as Winter Break. I went to work today and the parking was only lightly used. Lots of my friends were given the day off or took it off. Many people in our area are heading for the snow or other fun destinations.

Others might normally have gone to school, but were forced to stay home today. My brother and his family live in Virginia. Yesterday they had a snow storm and their schools were closed. The children were very excited. They had a great time today playing in the snow.

With ideas of Winter Break and Snow days my daughters asked this morning if they could have the week off. Janine and I said no. (They would have been happy to have today off, but that wasn’t an option either.) We usually save our down times when everyone else is in school.

I wonder if most homeschoolers end up taking more vacation or less vacation? Janine and I have a high need for achievement. We like to play, but we really want our children to do well in life. It is important to us that they have a solid education.  As John Wayne said in “The Sands of Iwo Jima”

Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

It is a balance. I would have to research back through our calendars but I think we take off about the same number of days each year as our friends but just at different times. Sometime in the next month or two when everyone else is in school we’ll have to take a “snow day” and do some fun family activity.

I found a new hero

So much of history is about people who lead wars and conquored other countries, or politicians who grew the size of government by adding yet another program.  A few of them are worthy of respect, for example Patrick Henry, George Washington and John Adams.

I've found a new hero:  Norman Borlaug -  The Father of the Green Revolution.

It is sad that so much of what he did was attacked.  He saved millions of people from death by starvation.

Hat tip: My mom

Cute ad

At some point the line may blur between entertainment and advertising.

De Lijn - Crabs

De Lijn - Pinguins

Scary statistic: 10% may suffer sexual abuse in public schools

There seems to be a double standard in our society over sexual abuse.  The Catholic church was hammered when adults stepped forward to report abuse, yet many more children may be suffering in government schools and little seems to fundamentally improve.

How Many Kids Are Sexually Abused by Their Teachers? starts:

Los Angeles police are investigating a teacher aide at Miramonte Elementary School who allegedly sent love letters to an 11-year-old student. The student’s mother discovered the letters in 2009, but she says police and school officials didn’t take the matter seriously until last week, when two other teachers at the same school were arrested for sexually abusing students in separate cases. Is sexual abuse in schools really as common as these reports make it seem?

Possibly. The best available study suggests that about 10 percent of students suffer some form of sexual abuse during their school careers. In the 2000 report, commissioned by the American Association of University Women, surveyors asked students between eighth and 11th grades whether they had ever experienced inappropriate sexual conduct at school. The list of such conduct included lewd comments, exposure to pornography, peeping in the locker room, and sexual touching or grabbing. Around one in 10 students said they had been the victim of one or more such things from a teacher or other school employee, and two-thirds of those reported the incident involved physical contact. If these numbers are representative of the student population nationwide, 4.5 million students currently in grades K-12 have suffered some form of sexual abuse by an educator, and more than 3 million have experienced sexual touching or assault. This number would include both inappropriate romantic relationships between teachers and upperclassmen, and outright pedophilia.

It is very disturbing that this one school has three cases which seem to be unrelated.  This implies that there is something systemic happening.  If it was just a random case we could pass it off as unusual, but for one school to have three cases in the same year says there is a serious problem.

I think one of the differences between the Catholic church and public schools is the Catholic church as a private organization is subject to the full force of the law whereas government schools have a lot of protection by being part of the government.  Additionally the teacher unions do a lot to protect teachers, no matter what the teacher may have done.

I would like to know the breakdown from the study.  While a lewd comment is inappropriate it is not in the same category as a teacher having sexual intercourse with a student.  If the vast majority of "sexual abuse" reported by students was lewd comments then we have a problem, but it would be near as bad as if even 20% of the sexual abuse incidents were physical in nature.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Unschooling Blog Carnival

Sue and Cydney are hosting a monthly Unschool Blog Carnival.

You can get information for submitting to next months carnival at here.

Why You Shouldn’t Have More Than 354 Facebook Friends

A study found Why You Shouldn’t Have More Than 354 Facebook Friends:

Among the group who read updates, the study revealed that having 354 Facebook friends seemed to be the tipping point after which people were increasingly less happy with their lives.

I currently only have 137 friends on Facebook!

Another reason to homeschool: Controlling what your children eat

It appears an official at a public school in North Carolina has become the lunch bag police: 2nd N.C. Mother Says Daughter’s School Lunch Replaced for Not Being Healthy Enough.

 It appears the school gets to decide whose lunch isn't "healthy" enough and then gets to bill the parents. 

Hat tip: Instapundit

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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

Please send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

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.

The next Carnival will be held at A Life Supreme.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Love is

Tiffany is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at As For My House.

She starts the carnival with this observation:

Love isn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling. We’re not talking about teenage infatuation, or overactive hormones, here.

Love is a verb. Love is the commitment you make, and the action you take. Love is much more than whether you “feel like it” or not on any given day.

People homeschool for different reasons, but it seems to universally boil to down to the fact the we love our children (and in many cases, including ours, we love our Lord).

Carnival of Homeschooling

Good insight into why public schools struggle so much

I like Paul Jacobs' post Will They Ever Learn.  He makes the point the government organizations by their very nature have a hard time being productive.

He starts with:

In which industries do prices and costs rise fastest? Those in which government is most involved.

The process is no mystery. Regulate supply by limiting entry into the business — to “increase quality,” of course — will raise prices, as producers behave oligopolistically. Government does this with health care providers, and have done so increasingly for the last century. If, at the same time, you subsidize the consumption, that amounts to increasing demand, which also puts upward pressure on prices. This has been accelerated in America since the beginning of Medicare, and with each additional healthcare program.

Interesting news on healthy benefits of coconut oil

My mother found an interesting news report on how Coconut Oil is Touted as Alzheimer's Remedy.  It will be interesting if this proves helpful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Can only the privileged few homeschool?

Erin Gallagher has a short post about homeschooling. It is a pleasant column where she explores why people seem to take an automatic dislike to homeschooling. So far there are 137 comments on her post and about homeschooling.

The column starts with:

Homeschooling, like most things, is a personal decision each parent will make. Most families don't have the luxury of the option. Those who do should seriously consider it.

I struggle with the second sentence. I don’t see homeschooling as an option that only the privileged few get to do. Most of the people I know who homeschool are average people, with a few poor and a few rich thrown in. I don’t think it is a case that only a few people can homeschool.

Is homeschooling a luxury that only a few can afford?  Our experience has been that homeschooling is not expensive.  If a parent can be home with the children there is no reason why they can't homeschool.

I think there are a lot of people who recognize the value of homeschooling and are either scared by the unknown or are unwilling to make the sacrifice for their children.

It is scary to try something that is counter culture, that you may feel unqualified for and most of your support group won't support you in the endeavor.  The answer for this group is to learn more about homeschooling, try to find small babysteps to take and find a support group for homeschooling.

I don't have a good answer for the second group.  If parents believe that homeschooling is better for their children, but are not willing to make the effort, then I feel sorry for the children. 

If a parent can be home with the children, in general is there any reason why they can't homeschool?

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

You have just 10 hours to send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

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.

The next Carnival will be held at As For My House.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Some other homeschooling carnivals

Here are a few other recent homeschooling carnvials:

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnvial is up at Handbook of Nature Study.

And the latest Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Another reason to homeschool - to protect your daughters

This happened in the UK, but I'm afraid the same attitude of  government knows best exists in the US and this may have already happened here.  Girls, 13, given contraceptive implants at school:

Girls as young as 13 have been fitted with contraceptive implants at school without their parents knowing.

The procedure was carried out in Southampton, Hants, as part of a government initiative to drive down teenage pregnancies.

As many as nine secondary schools in the city are thought to have been involved.

But it has caused a backlash from parents who weren't aware that their daughters had been fitted with the 4cm device, which sits under the skin.

It is currently unknown exactly how many youngsters have taken part in the scheme.

Yet another reason to homeschool.

Hat tip: The Libertarian Homeschooler

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Changes in Alaska

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at MrsMamaHen.com.

Conni starts the carnival with:

For our family, moving to Alaska brought on a great number of changes. Some changes we expected.

Like having to learn how to deal with -50 degree temperatures.

Or being entertained by new things we've never experienced.

But some of the changes weren't so expected or pleasant.

We were very spoiled living in North Carolina when it came to homeschool activities and opportunities. My boys were part of a Homeschool Football League. The kids were all in 4-H. We had a fantastic homeschool support group - one of several to choose from locally. They could go the the "Prom." There was literally nothing our kids couldn't do!

Then we moved here. And we had no idea just how good we had it.

Go to the carnival to read more about Conni's experience homeschooling in Alaska and all the fun homeschooling posts this week.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 06, 2012

Would you like to have a reminder email?

We've been having trouble with Blog Carnival.  One blogger suggested I send out a reminder on Fridays.  I'm wondering, how many people would like a weekly email reminder to send in an entry to the carnival?

Thought of the day

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

Be braver -- you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.

Blog Carnival update

Blog Carnival has been partially broken for months.  The submissions to the Carnival of Homeschooling are not being forwarded.  I've checked with the organizers of some of the other carnivals and been told they are having the same problem.

I've been able to dig out the submissions via Insta Carnival. 

But this weekend I found out that some how Blog Carnival lost all the submissions sent in before about 3:00 PM Saturday.

If you sent in a submission to the carnival before that time please send your submission directly to: CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com.


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

You have just 12 hours to send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

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.

The next Carnival will be held at MrsMamaHen.com.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling