Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at Homeschool Atheist Momma.

This will be the 379th edition.

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.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.7

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


Subject: REVIEW: Curiosa
Title: Felton & Fowler's Best, Worst & Most Unusual
Author: Felton, Bruce and Mark Fowler
Publisher: Gramercy Publishing Co.
Date: 1984

Bruce Felton is the managing editor of RCA's corporate magazine, COMMUNICATE, and Mark Fowler is a free-lance writer. Their book is a collection of the best, worst, and most unusual of almost everything. A few excerpts follow.

Worst Editing of a Film: A movie theater manager in South Korea decided that the running time of The Sound of Music was too long, so he shortened it by cutting out all the songs.

Most Unusual Traffic Fine: If you run a stop sign in Fargo, South Dakota, it'll cost you a $25 fine or a pint of blood. The choice is yours.

Most Unusual Campsite: The world's first hi-rise campground will soon be built in downtown New Orleans. Campers will park their cars on the eight lower floors of the building and take an elevator to the 240 campsites on the upper twelve stories. Each campsite will be equipped with electrical connections and carpeted with astroturf.

Most Unusual Hotel: Hotel La Parra is located off the coast of Spain and boasts a truly unique view, since the entire hotel is 49 feet underwater. Getting there is half the fun, as there are no boats serving the hotel. Guests must swim there, with their gear sealed in waterproof bags. La Parra can accommodate up to twelve guests at a time and is said to be quite comfortable.


I just heard about a group of US tourists who came back from the Soviet Union. They visited Lenin's Tomb, which is one of the most important monuments in the Kremlin.  Although the line was long, the foreigners were allowed to go to the front of the line. As they were allowed to enter, one 20 year old woman was not allowed to go in because she wore a short sleeved blouse.
(It was in the summer) She couldn't figure out why such a rule existed.
Later on, she asked her travel guide about the rule, and was told that the Soviet constitution does not guarantee the right to bare arms.


Some from the 8th annual Ten-Best Stressed Puns competition:
A man discovered that a blood vessel on his wife's forehead would enlarge as the barometric pressure fell. He learned soon to predict rainstorms by observing her weather vein.


During a dark night in Killarney, a group of American tourists huddled in Durty Nellie's pub. A local Irishman sidled up to one of them and proposed a scheme to sell a cure for leprosy. "I'm sorry", the American said, stiffly.
"I'm not Irish. I don't believe in leper cons."



You see a "60 Minutes" news team waiting in your office.
You turn on the news and they're showing emergency routes out of the city.
Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
You call your answering service and they tell you it's none of your business.
Your income tax check bounces.
Your pet rock snaps at you.

  Author Unknown ... But Troubled

Is this the goal of public education?

I'm afraid there are some in the government who do want this:

Governments don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking.  That is against their interests.
They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork.  And just dumb enough to passively accept it.
- George Carlin

Hat tip: Carolyn Morrison

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at

The carnival starts with:

Welcome to another wonderful edition of the Carnival Of Homeschooling! I hope you enjoy each and every article as I did – make sure to forward this to all your friends so we can share the blessing!


Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another great Sugata Mitra TED talk - Building a School in the Cloud

We've posted several posts in the past about Sugata Mitra.

I recently found he has another TED talk - Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud.  He has some of the same stories he shared in his first TED talk, but he is well worth listening:

He has found that giving children good questions and letting them figure out the answer together can be very powerful.

Amazing breakthrough - cheap water

There are a lot of places in the world near oceans which could support more people if there was cheap water.

Lockheed Martin Throws More Dirt on Malthus’ Grave starts with:

Cheap, clean water may soon be available for the whole planet. According to Reuters, defense contractor Lockheed Martin has developed a filter that will hugely reduce the amount of energy necessary to turn sea water into fresh water. The filter, which is five hundred times thinner then others currently available, lets water pass through but blocks all salt molecules. It will use almost 100 times less energy than other methods for making salt water drinkable, giving third world countries another way of expanding access to drinking water without having to create costly pumping stations.

This should be a great benefit to many parts of the world.  I hope they get this into production soon.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Why do people trust education to the goverment?

Interesting question:

Government schools can't teach reading, writing, and arithmetic – why should we trust them to teach morality, respect, and character? If public education does for ethics what it's done for learning, we'll end up with a generation of immoral, disrespectful, and characterless students.
~ Steve Dasbach

Hat tip: Carolyn Morrison

Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling

If you want to write or have a child who wants to write, check out Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling.

The little things and the big things

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

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may
look back and realize they were the big things.
-Robert Brault

Monday, March 25, 2013

Victor Davis Hanson with some positive thoughts about America's future

I really enjoy Victor Davis Hanson's military history book.  I've even had my daughters read a few of them.  My mother found a thoughtful column by Victor Davis Hanson titled: America’s Big Fat Advantage

He points out how our society allows pretty much anyone to do great things and then concludes with:

The end of American exceptionalism will come not when we run out of gas, wheat, or computers, but when we end the freedom of the individual, and, whether for evil or supposedly noble reasons, judge people not on their achievement but on their name, class, race, sex, or religion — in other words, when we become like most places the world over.

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.6

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


 A man who was really drunk calls his wife for a ride home from the bar.  
 Wife: "Where are you?" 
The man steps out of the phone booth and looks at the corner where he is calling from, goes back and picks up the phone and says:
 "At the corner of WALK and DON'T WALK."


A man is driving along a country road and his car breaks down. He gets out, opens the hood and looks in confusion at the engine.
About this time a horse wanders up to a near-by fence, leans over and peaks under the hood.  The horse looks up at the man and says "It's the carburetor."
The man does a quick double-take and replies,  "What did you say?"
"I said it's your carburetor."
So the man turns and runs away.   Soon he comes upon a farmer and flags him down.
"My car broke down back there and when I opened the hood this horse comes over and starts TALKING to me!"
"What he say?" the farmer replies calmly.
"He said it was my carburetor!"
So the farmer says, "Don't pay any attention to him, he doesn't know  anything about carburetors."


It seems that there was a magician type booked on a cruise ship as the entertainment.
Well in some part of his act he had a parrot do some parrot tricks and the rest of the time the parrot was supposed to sit on his perch and be quite as the entertainer did the rest of his show.
At one point the magician produced a bunch of flowers out of thin air at which time the parrot said "Squawk! They were up his coat arm".
Well this did not make the magician happy, but on to the next trick.
The magician made his assistant vanish from under a cloak. One again the parrot pipes up and says "Squawk! Trap door, trap door".
Well as one can guess the show did not go over very well.
If this was not bad enough late one night the boiler blew up sending most of the crew and passengers into the drink.
As luck would have it the magician found that he was holding onto a piece of drift wood and who do you suppose was on the other end? That's right the parrot.  Well three days go by and the parrot say's not a thing. On the fourth day the parrot looks at the magician and says "Squawk! OK I give up. What did you do with the boat"?


"My Uncle is in Leavanworth because he made big money."
"How much?"
"About a third of an inch too big."


Q: What nationality were Adam and Eve
A: Soviet, of course! Where else would they have nothing to wear, only an Apple to eat, but be living in paradise!


Officer: Are you happy now that you are in the Army?
Soldier: Yes sir!
Officer: What were you before you got into the Army?
Soldier: Much happier!


The seven ages of a woman are:
 Baby, child, girl, young woman, young woman, young woman, and poised social leader!


One word of advice: Don't give it!


TRAFFIC LIGHT -- apparatus that automatically turns red when your car approaches.
TELEVISION    -- movies where people don't step on your feet.
MOVIES        -- television where people don't interrupt with unexpected visits.
TRANSIT COMPANY- group that complains of bad business when all passengers get a seat.
DIVORCE       -- post-graduate in School of Love.
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE -- one who has mastered the science of remaining a bachelor.
PIONEER       -- early American who was lucky enough to find his way out of the woods.
MAN           -- a remarkable animal whose head swells when you pat his back.
WOMAN         -- creature who acts nice to you because she doesn't like you, or mean, because she does.
PEOPLE        -- some make things happen, some watch things happen, and the majority has no idea what's happened.
SWIMMING POOL -- a mob of people with water in it.
SALESMAN      -- man with ability to convince wife she'd look fat in mink.
FOREIGN FILM  -- any movie shown in Texas theater that isn't a western.
EPITAPH       -- a postponed compliment.
IMMIGRATION   -- the sincerest form of flattery.
MAGAZINE      -- bunch of printed pages that tell you what's coming in the next issue.
MIRACLE       -- something that never happens in our generation.

Interesting argument for getting married early

Our oldest daughter will turn 19 in July.  We talk with her about when she might get married.  I think our ideal is between 21 and 23.  Old enough to hopefully be mature enough for marriage and family, but not to settled in her ways.

The Case for Getting Married Young makes the case that adults should not wait until they get established.  Karen Swallow Prior makes some good points. Her column starts with:

A compelling case can be made for the advantages, particularly for college-educated women, of delaying marriage until after the mid-twenties, as Eleanor Barkhorn recently wrote here. As a math-phobic English professor, I'm not one to wrestle with statistics, but I believe a robust case can be made, alternatively, for young marriage.

There are costs to delaying marriage, a phenomenon that has reached a new threshold, with the average age of marriage for men reaching the historic high of 29 and women 27. New research from Knot Yet, a project that explores the benefits and costs of delayed marriage in America, points to some of the risks of waiting so long to marry. While delayed marriage does have economic benefits for college educated women and is credited with bringing down the overall divorce rate, the news isn't all good:

Check out the column for some of her thoughts on marriage, children and society.

Hat tip:  Instapundit.

Spunky explains Common Core

Spunky Homeschool explains Common Core:

Looking for a concise way to tell friends why you oppose Common Core? Tell them, ObamaCore is a national education system designed to meet the demands of the federal government not the dreams of the child. What is tested is what is taught. What is taught is what is thought. America's foundation is built on freedom not conformity.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at

This will be the 378th edition.

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.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Brain Development 101: Movement Matters Most

I recently spoke at a parent education class for a local preschool.  Much of the research I talked about came from topics we have blogged about over the years.

Here's my attempt to organize the information into one post:

Our First Introduction to Brain Development:

Parents With Purpose 

What to do about brain damaged children 

Here's Donna's website: Parents With Purpose

Brain Development and Gender

Why Gender Matters in Education

Brain Development and Reading:

The effect of mental stimulation on brain development

Little reason to push children to read at an early age 

Early Academics vs Developmental Approach

Brain Development and Play

Study shows benefit of play time with mom
The Jamaican Study  (Note: this is a link to the original study)

Brain Development and TV

Educational DVDs slow infant learning

fatter and stupider

Study finds that TV in a bedroom makes children emotinally numb


Another ADHD study

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Spring Refreshmen Edition

Jamie is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at momSCHOOL.

She starts the carnival with:

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but as a homeschooling mom of six… there are times that I just need a bit of refreshment. Schoolwork becomes overwhelming, housework becomes tedious, and patience runs thin… it is then that I know I need to get my “cup filled” back up. How can I continue to give to my children and my family when my cup is empty. Frankly, it’s nearly impossible. That’s where these carnival of homeschooling editions come in. There have been so many times that I have felt exhausted and my homeschool motivation level way past E… that I’ve opened up one of these Homeschool Carnival blog posts and have found refreshment and encouragement in so many areas of my life. It is my hope and goal to return the favor for each of you this week. I hope that somewhere in the posts of this blog carnival you will find the refreshment, motivation, inspiration, or just plain old laughter that will help you get through the next few months of school! It really is so great when the homeschool community helps each other…

So, sit back, relax… and get your cup filled today…

Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thoughts about the changing nature of higher education

In School 2.0: teachers will be liberated from the classroom Miro Kazakoff shares his predictions on what the future holds for higher education.  He starts with:

Somewhere, this year, a university hired its last tenured professor. That’s because of the economic pressures on higher education. Next year, a university will hire its last faculty member expected to teach in a classroom. And that’s because of the technological pressures on higher education.

Technology won’t kill university education any more than television killed radio, but it will transform it. While your kids will still go to college, and it will still cost a fortune, their study time will look radically different than it does today. Even though our university classroom teachers may be replaced with robots, websites or direct-to-brain Ethernet jacks, on-campus higher education will still have a place that no Massive Open Online Course will supplant in our lifetime.

To understand why the future won’t kill college, it helps to remember how technology has already transformed education.

I enjoyed his column.  He has some interesting ideas.

Anyone using the AVID note taking system?

I'm fairly happy with how I take notes.  It isn't real structured, but I feel like I capture the most important points.

In Reforming a nation of bad note-takers Jay Matthews writes about a technique for taking notes.  He explains the basic approach as:

The note-taking system taught by AVID was developed by Cornell University education professor Walter Pauk in 1949. The student divides a sheet of note paper into two columns, the one on the right twice as wide as the one on the left. The student adds a horizontal line about two inches from the bottom of the page.

The student take notes in the right column, using a number of symbols and abbreviations. Questions and key words go in the left column. Afterward, the student reviews the notes, revises and adds questions and a brief summary at the bottom of the page.

If you are using AVID, or some other systematic approach to note taking, I would appreciate your thoughts and insights.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Space Access 2013 is just around the corner

My father and I have a deep interest in space travel.  I grew up reading his high science fiction collection.  Traveling to the planets and eventually the stars has great appeal.  After retirement my father started attending various space conferences.  Space Access became his favorite.

I'll be attending the conference again this year with my father and one of my daughters.

I like my brother's explanation of 
Space Access:

There are lots of people thinking about getting into space. There are lots of people who talk about getting into space. Space Access is run by people who are doing the work.

This conference has entrepreneurs and people who are looking for practical steps to move into space.  It has the same feel as Silicon Valley in the late 1970s before many small start-up companies just exploded into national and international statue. 

This year's Space Access will be held this year in Phoenix from April 11 to the 13th.  If you want to know more about what is happening in the space industry this is a great conference to attend.  The cost is a bargain at only $120.

If you are interested in what happens at Space Access you can check out some of my notes from previous conferences:  2012, 20102009, 20082007.

A possible K-12 implosion?

Bill Whittle argues that there will be a K-12 implosion:

Here is the summary of the video:

Economist Herb Stein famously said that something that can't go on forever, won't. For decades now, America has been putting ever-growing amounts of money into its K-12 education system, while getting steadily poorer results. Now parents are losing faith in public schools, new alternatives are appearing, and change is on the way.

Bill suggests that because there are other options more and more parents will pull their children from government schools to try other alternatives.

This four minute video is worth watching.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Get the government out of higher education

Jarrett Skorup has a thought provoking column with Five Reasons The Government Shouldn’t Subsidize Higher Education.

Jarrett starts the columns with:

When the government is in the business of handing out money, interest groups lobby to get it — or advocate to receive more than they are already getting.

So it is with spending on higher education.

As the Michigan Legislature debates the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, more money for preschool, college and everything in between is being proposed. Over the long-term, the funding for those areas has increased dramatically. Taxpayers should be skeptical of the current reasons for subsidizing universities further.

I think it would be good for most states to take a hard look at how much money gets handed over to higher education.

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at momSCHOOL.

This will be the 377th edition.

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.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Some of our best posts from March 2007

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for over seven years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from March 2007:

Janine shared some Baby steps to homeschooling.

I wrote about the Importance of Hard Work.

Janine was talking with her friends about Problems at my local middle school.  It turns out an Algebra teacher hadn't been teaching algebra and the students were falling behind.

I attended my first Space Access, a conference for private small start-up companies trying to build sustaining space businesses.  Here is the 2007 Agenda and here is my introduction.

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.5

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


     You know you're in a small town.....

- when you don't use turn signals because everybody knows where you're going.

- if you're born on June 13 and your family receives gifts from the local merchants because you're the first baby of the year.

- if you speak to each dog you pass, by name ..... and he wags his tail at you

- if you dial the wrong number, and talk for 15 minutes anyway.

- when the biggest business in town sells farm machinery.

- if you write a check on the wrong bank and it covers you anyway.

- if you missed church on Sunday and the preacher sends you a get-well card!


At one point, the council of cardinals decided that they wanted to make Rome an all-Catholic city.  Since the Jews were one of the smallest populations, they decided to try throwing them out as a test case. The head rabbi was summoned and told of this decision.  The rabbi protested, saying that the Jews had been there longer than the Christians, and that such an arbitrary decision should not be made without some debate. Thus, it was agreed that the Pope would debate one of the rabbi's.  If the rabbi won, the Jews could stay.  If the Pope won, the Jews would have to leave.
The head rabbi went back to the rabbinical council and said that a champion must be chosen.  No one was too eager, as the Pope was well known as an intellectual and religious heavyweight.  Finally, a Basque rabbi was chosen.  As Basque was one of the few languages that the Pope didn't speak (this was before Hebrew was revived), the debate was to be  carried out in sign language.
[Hand gestures must be made by joke teller.]
The Pope starts off the debate by making a sweeping gesture.
[Hands and arms in at chest; hands move up and out until arms in scarecrow position; could be mistaken as symbolism for a rising sun.]
The rabbi responds by pointing adamantly at the ground.
The Pope thinks a bit, then holds up three fingers.
The rabbi holds up one finger.
The Pope begins to take communion.
The rabbi pulls out an apple and begins eating it.
At this point, the Pope concedes the debate.
The Pope returns to the council of cardinals, who ask what happened.
[Begin repeating gestures.]
"Well, I said, 'God is everywhere', and he said, 'and God is right here'. I then said 'God is a trinity', and he said, 'no, God is just one'. As an act of good faith, I began to take the body of Christ in communion. Then he pulled out an apple to show the sin in us all.  He'd knocked me down point for point, so I decided to concede the debate."
The rabbi returns to his fellows, who ask what happened.
[Repeat gestures again.]
"Well, he said, 'you all gotta leave', and I said, 'no, we're staying right here'.  Then he said 'you have three days', and I said, 'not one of us is leaving'.  Then he broke for lunch, so I started eating mine."


I heard a much better version of this joke.  It involved POWs in a German war camp.  They were subjected to unusual tortures.  One day they were forced to lean right and left, saying TICK and TOCK each time.  One prisoner refused to cooperate, and kept jerking right, saying TICK repeatedly.  So the commander came over saying, "Zo, you refuzes to co-OPERate.  Vell, I must VARN you, ve haf VAYS of making you TOCK!"


It seems there was this priest who just LOVED to golf, but he had been very busy for many months and had not been able to get away to go golfing.  Well, one Sunday morning he woke up and felt he just HAD to go golfing.  The weather was just beautiful.
He called up the Bishop and claimed he had a really bad case of laryngitis and couldn't preach, so the Bishop told him to rest for several days.  He then got out his clubs and headed off for the golf course.
He set up at the first hole, making sure no one was there to see him playing hookey, and blasted that ball with his wood.  It was a beautiful shot!  It went straight and true; it bounced, and bounced (right up onto the green) and rolled its way closer... closer... a hole in one!  The priest jumped up and down in his excitement, praising the Lord and shouting alleluias.
He struts off to the green, collects his ball, and tees off at the second hole, repeating his performance on the first hole, much to his astounded delight.
All this time St. Peter and God have been watching him from the gates of heaven.  St. Peter has finally seen enough to pique his curiosity.  "Lord," he says, "this priest seems to be a real trouble maker.  He ignored his congregation and even LIED to go golfing.  And now you reward him with a hole in one! Why?"
God smiles and looks over at St. Peter and says, "I'm punishing him." St. Peter looks very confused and asks God for an explanation.  God replies, "Well, after he finishes his game by himself, who can he tell his story to?"


God decided to take the devil to court and settle their differences once and for all.
When Satan heard this, he laughed and said, "And where do you think you're going to find a lawyer?"


Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer and an old drunk are walking down the street together when they simultaneously spot a hundred dollar bill.  Who gets it?  The old drunk, of course, the other three are mythological creatures.


A traveling salesman once stopped along a deserted stretch of road at a monastery.  He was hungry and a sign outside the monastery read "Friday Night -- Fish and Chips Dinner".  Since it was Friday night and since he was hungry, he went in to try the food.
When he went in, he found that many others were there also.  This monastery had quite a reputation for its excellent fish and chips. Well, very soon the meal was brought out and put before him.  He began to eat and was quickly amazed at how great the food was.  He devoured his meal in minutes and then ordered more.
After he was finally through, he asked the waiter if he could meet the cook.  The salesman had to thank him for such an excellent meal.  The waiter agreed, and led the man into the kitchen and introduced him to the cook.  The salesman began to commend the cook's great ability to cook fish and chips, when the cook interrupted.  "Wait a minute, wait a minute.  I am only the fish friar.  The chip monk is over there."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - another graduation

Conni is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Foodie Army Wife.

Connie starts the carnival with:

"In a few short weeks, I’ll have my second homeschool graduate. Holey Socks!!!! Where has time gone?!"

She shares some pictures of her son growing up, along with comments and then continues with:

Thankfully we aren’t quite finished with our homeschooling adventure. Our youngest has a couple more years of homeschooling left, and so our journey will continue a little while longer, We’re not the only ones traveling along on this road.

Learn about the homeschooling adventures and live lessons from these other great posts.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Who are we racing against

Too often in life we are racing the wrong people

Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by our today, to do our work with more force than ever before.
 - Steward B. Johnson

From my Covey Planner

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why don't more parents homeschool?

Sara Hoyt has a good post on public education.  In Malice or Incompetence? Sarah points out how our government schools have become places where children are being taught not to read.  She starts with:

Recently I came across a news article estimating that 80% of NYC graduates cannot read and write and are functionally illiterate. I’d bet those numbers are not far off across the country, and it wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was what my son told me when I discussed the matter with him.

It is so sad. It is hard to imagine that 80% are functionally illiterate.   

Teaching our children to work

A good thought about work:

Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results.  It produces no results.  Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.
 - Hamilton Holt

From my Covey Planner

Opting out of Common Core

Michelle Malkin provides a form: Attention, parents: Common Core opt-out form now available.

If you have children in public schools you may want to consider opting out of Common Core.

Here are more posts by Michelle Malkin on Common Core:

Rotten to the Core, Part 4: The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Database
Rotten to the Core, Part 3: Lessons from Texas and the Growing Grassroots Revolt
Rotten to the Core, Part 2: Readin’, writin’ and deconstructionism
Rotten to the Core, Part 1: Obama’s War on Academic Standards
Rotten to the Core: Reader feedback from the frontlines
My child’s Common Core-aligned Algebra book is crap

Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool

Shoe on true friends

I enjoyed today's Shoe.  It is a great contrast on the difference between a Facebook friend and a true friend.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another nice column on education by Glenn Reynolds

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a column at USA Today. 

Public school insanity starts with:

In The K-12 Implosion, and also in these pages, I've noted that goverment-run public schools are facing a problem: There are more and more alternatives. It's not so much that the public schools are getting worse, I've argued, as that the alternatives are getting better and more attractive.

But now I'm starting to wonder. Maybe the public schools are getting worse. At least, to judge from recent news reports, they seem to be getting crazier.

Exhibit One: A seven-year-old boy who was suspended because he chewed his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Now, really, why would you suspend a kid for that? A gun-shaped Pop Tart isn't a threat to anyone. Nor does chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun suggest violent tendencies.

Glenn enumerates a number of similar instances of inappropriate reactions to typical child behavior. 

He then has this fun paragraph:

And that's the problem with all of these cases. Our justification for putting massive amounts of taxpayer money into public schools is that they're supposed to teach critical thinking. But stories like these -- and they're legion -- suggest that the very people who are supposed to be teaching our kids how to think are largely incapable of critical thought themselves.

So homeschool your children because too many adults in the government schools are no longer able to think rationally!

Kindergarten Stress (Picking a school)

We have a 5 year old foster boy, "Wreck-it Ralph", who will likely be with us until January 2014.  Originally, I had planned to homeschool him utilizing a homeschool program through a local public school.  In the fall I had planned to enroll both "Ralph" and our own son "Baby Bop."  I figured, it would be easier to have them both in the same program since they are so close in age (16 months apart).

However, now that things are progress so well toward reunification, I think it would be better for "Ralph" to be at the school he will attend when he transitions home.  That way, the school routine would be a constant and he wouldn't have so many changes in his life at the same time.

His father is in the process of moving into our school district which makes things easier on one hand and harder on the other.

Here are my options:

1) Enroll Ralph in my neighborhood school which just happens to be by my house.
 +  This is convenient for me.  I just have to walk across the street to drop off and pick up.
 +  This is the school where Baby Bop does speech therapy.  I know the staff and the
      principal is quite nice.

 -  This school is not in the neighborhood where Ralph's father will live.  It would make
     it unlikely for Ralph's father to arrange play dates and such with children who live
     so far away from his home.
 -  Even if Ralph stays at this school for the whole year, he would like change schools
    next year.

2) Enroll Ralph in the neighborhood school near his father's home.
 + This school has a better demographic than my neighborhood school.
 + This is a neighborhood school. He could build relationships with his neighbors.

 - While I can request this school after I register at my neighborhood school, until the
    father has moved in the school boundaries, we can not register directly.  The school
    could be "full" by the time he moves and Ralph would be assigned to a different school.
 - I would have to drive and pick up at a school 11 minutes from my house. : (

3) Try to enroll Ralph in one of the parent participation lottery school.
 + This is a school I would actually consider sending my child.

  - We missed the open enrollment period, and could only get on a very long waiting list.
  - The parent participation requirements would be a burden to a single father.
  - The school culture is very child centric.  Ralph already thinks he should do
     whatever he wants whenever he wants it.
  - The children live all over the district, so setting up get togethers and networking would
     be harder.

4) Try to enroll Ralph in another school in the district with a better after school program to make childcare easier for the father later.

5) Try to enroll Ralph in another school in the district with a better API.

I have this personal rule about foster children.  I try very hard to do for a foster child exactly what I would do for my own child. That doesn't work in this case.  As much as I love homeschooling, beginning school for the first time in the middle of the year and moving to live with his father, doesn't seem like a good idea.  Also, it would be a big burden on the father having to deal with the transition to school on top of everything else.  If Ralph was already at the school, he would have one less thing to worry about.

And, I will admit it, there is the tiny part of me the thinks "Man, my life would be so much easier if this kid (Baby Bop) were at school."  Somebody else to worry about  the curriculum.  Somebody else to tell him what to do all day.

Many of the schools I've looked at recently have a lot of neat things to offer, at least on paper.

However, with Baby Bop's speech impediment, this would not be a good option in the long run.  Baby Bop's new speech therapist recently commented to me that she was so surprised how willing Baby Bop was to talk with her the first time they met and how unselfconscious he was about his disability.  Because Baby Bop has never been to school, he has never been teased or compared to another child.

Then there is the whole competitiveness issue between the boys.  If one is at school, and the other at home, I can image both boys feeling a little defensive and jealous of the other's schooling.  This is what bothers me the most.

No matter what we do, I'm going to have little boys who will resent where ever they are, sometimes.

Then there is the whole competitive issue with me.  I find myself feeling a little defensive when I see all the homework that the kindergarteners now do.  My son is just barely beginning to write and read. Much of what we are doing (Explode the Code) would be considered on a preschool level at most schools today.  My neighborhood school had the kindergartners doing spelling words in the first week of school. 

I have this little voice in my head saying we should spend more time on workbooks and less time in the yard even though I've seen the studies that show that playing in the yard is better for brain development in the long run.

Most of the time, it is easy to ignore what the schools these days are doing since I have so little contact with the school. That is about to change.

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.4

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:

 One day a lion was walking through the jungle feeling particularly  arrogant.  He came upon a zebra, roared loudly and said,
 "Who is king of the jungle, zebra"?
 "You are, oh lion", the zebra replied.
 "Yeah, and don't you forget it", said the lion as he walked on.
 Shortly, the lion came to a gorilla and once again he said,
 "Who's king of the jungle, gorilla?"
 "You are, oh lion", the gorilla said.
 "Correct!", the lion roared as he swaggers on down the jungle path. Soon the lion came to where an elephant was pulling leaves off a tree for his lunch.
 "Who's king of the jungle, elephant?", the lion ask with his usual big roar. Without saying anything, the elephant wraps his trunk around the middle of the lion, picks him up off the ground and throws him against the tree! The lion picked himself up off the ground, broken, bleeding and dazed. He looks up at the elephant and says,
 "Damn, you didn't need to get mad just because you didn't know the answer!"


 A man accidentally falls over a high cliff, and on the way down he grabs onto the only branch within reach or sight. In a few moments he summons enough strength to move again, and he cries upward, "Help! Is there anyone up there who can help me?"
 A moment passes without event, and he again cries, "Help; can anyone hear me? I need help!"
 Looking down at the jagged rocks and the pounding surf, the man thinks for a second, and then calls up, "Is there anyone ELSE up there?"


 There once was a preacher whose congregation was so large that he had trouble remembering the names and faces of everyone in it. One fine Sunday after the end of the service, he was greeting various members of his congregation as they left the church. A woman came up to him and said, "Good morning, Reverend, surely you remember me!"
 Well, he didn't. But he made a valiant effort. "Why, you look like Helen Brown."
 The woman looked somewhat offended as she said, "Well, you don't look so good in black, yourself!"


 His first day on the job at a small rural town the new pastor was surprised when only one person showed up for the ceremony.
 Perplexed the pastor said,"Well young're the only one in  attendance, do you wish me to go on with the sermon?"
 After a silent moment the young cowboy replied "Weeeelll pastor I don't know much about that religion stuff but I'll tell you this.... If I went out to pasture to slop the hog's and there was only one out there I guarantee I'd feed e'm."
 Upon this reply the pastor went forth with his sermon, which lasted for an hour and a half!! When he finished he asked the cowboy "Well son did you learn anything?"
 "Weeellll", the cowboy said "I didn't understand a lot of it but I'll tell you this..... If I go out to pasture to slop the hog's and there is only one there I sure wouldn't give him the whole load!!"

Good reminder to be careful about trusting Wikipedia

I think Wikipedia can be a good place to learn about a topic, but not everything in Wikipedia is correct or true.

After a half-decade, massive Wikipedia hoax finally exposed starts with:

Up until a week ago, here is something you could have learned from Wikipedia:

From 1640 to 1641 the might of colonial Portugal clashed with India's massive Maratha Empire in an undeclared war that would later be known as the Bicholim Conflict. Named after the northern Indian region where most of the fighting took place, the conflict ended with a peace treaty that would later help cement Goa as an independent Indian state.

Except none of this ever actually happened. The Bicholim Conflict is a figment of a creative Wikipedian's imagination. It's a huge, laborious, 4,500 word hoax. And it fooled Wikipedia editors for more than 5 years.

But even exposed and deleted, Wikipedia's influence over the Web is such that the Bicholim Conflict continues to persist, like a resilient parasite.

An important trait to teach our children

Self-control is one of the most important things we can teach our children:

Fortunate is the person who has developed the self-control to steer a straight course toward his objective in life, without being swayed from his purpose by either commendation or condemnation.
 - Napoleon Hill

From my Covey Planner

Friday, March 08, 2013

Good column on problems with public schools

I check Glenn Reynolds' blog Instapundit almost every day, several times a day when I have time.

I enjoyed his column - Title IX for our boys.  Glenn starts with:

In The K-12 Implosion, an Encounter books "broadside", I suggest that public education may be in trouble. The problem is not so much that public schools are getting worse -- overall, they're more or less stagnant. We've been putting more money in and not getting better results out.

The problem for public schools, instead, is that the alternatives are getting better. Not long ago, there weren't many other choices: You could send your kids to a traditional private school (either religious, or socially upscale, usually) but that was about it.

Now there are other choices. Large urban school districts are losing students at an alarming pace. They're going to charter schools, to online schools and to home-schooling. But now there's another reason for parents to think about moving their children out of public schools -- the boys. It seems that teachers -- overwhelmingly female -- just might be prejudiced against boys and it's hurting their grades.

The column is short and worth reading.

And if you have boys in government schools you may way to pull them out.

This is doubly true for children

This is a great thought for parents:

Trust men and they will be true to you;
treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

From my Covey Planner

Some of our best posts from February 2007

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for over seven years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from February 2007:

With I have introduced my daughter to "The Forgotten Man" I share how I take my children out for monthly dates.

In 2007 Steve Jobs said:

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way."

Steve Jobs gets it right on teacher unions has my initial thoughts.  What good are teacher unions for public education? explores what value teacher unions add to public education.  And More on Steve Jobs, Public schools, and Teachers' Unions has my reaction to the union's reactions.

It is good to think about How do you praise your children?  A study found:

"...that children who were praised for working hard were more likely willing to try harder problems. Children who were praised for being smart were more likely to select easier problems."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The March 2013 edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up

The March 2013 edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up at Living Charlotte Mason in California.

Book review: The Rider of Lost Creek by Louis L’Amour

The Rider of Lost Creek is a fun read.

With over a hundred novels Louis L’Amour has created many characters. Lance Kilkenny is one of my favorites. Louis L’Amour wrote three novels and three short stories about Kilkenny. He is one of the fastest with a gun, but tries to avoid trouble.

In many ways this is a classic Louis L’Amour. We have gun battles and fist fights. There are cattle, long rides and a beautiful woman.

Mort Davis is a friend of Kilkenny. Mort gets in trouble and asks for help. Kilkenny comes a running.

One of the things I like about this story is the depth. The plot is nicely done. We have a number of obvious items, but there are also a few fun twists.

If you haven’t read any Louis L’Amour stories before, of you already know & enjoy Louis L’Amour, give “The Rider of Lost Creek” a try. I think you’ll enjoy it

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.3

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


 Once upon a time, these two women were talking and the one asks the other how many times she's been married, and the reply was 4.  'Four times!' exclaimed the first girl, why so many?
 So the other girl said:
 'Well, I first got married when I was very young, and I married this wonderful man who was a banker.  However, one day just a few weeks after we were married, his bank was robbed and he was shot and killed.'
 'Oh my gosh, that's terrible'  the first girl said.
 'Well, it wasn't that tragic.  Soon after that, I started seeing another man who performed in the circus.  He was really a great guy, but he lived pretty dangerously because he performed his high-wire act without a net. Well, a few weeks after we got married, he was performing a show and suddenly a gust of wind came by and knocked him off his wire and he was killed.'
 'Your second husband was killed too?!!?  That's horrible!'
 'Yes, it was terrible, but at the funeral I fell in love with the minister and we got married soon after that.  Unfortunately, one Sunday while he was walking to church, he was hit by a car and killed.'
 'Three???  Three husbands of yours were killed?  How could you live through all that?'
 'It was pretty tough, but then I met my present husband.  And he's a wonderful man.  I think we'll live a long happy life together.'
'And what does your present husband do for a living?' 'He's a mortician.'
'A mortician?  I don't understand something here.  First you marry a banker, then a circus performer, then a minister, and now a mortician?  Why such a diverse grouping of husbands?'
'Well, if you think about it it's not too hard to understand...
     One for the money...
     Two for the show...
     Three to get ready...
     And four to go!'


In brief,
 Roy Rogers gets a new pair of boots, but a mountain lion eats the boots. To get even, Roy chases (insert colorful description as needed) and kills (after long fight - to be described in vivid detail) the lion, and returns carrying the lion back to camp. When he returns, Dale Evans  exclaims, "Pardon me, Roy. Is that the cat who chewed your new shoes."


 This frog walks into a bank to get a loan.  He steps up to the counter and asks for an application from the clerk, Patty Wack.
 "Hi, I'd like to fill out an application for a loan", said the frog. 
 Patty Wack replied, "Do you have any collateral for this loan;  something to stand against your loan." 
 The frog replied, "All I have is this statue of a unicorn." 
 "Well, I don't know," said Patty Wack, "I'll have to ask the manager about  this."  Patty Wack goes to see the bank manager. 
 The bank manager looks at the statue and replies:
  "Knick Knack, Patty Wack. Give the frog a loan."


 A group of guys used to get together once a week to play poker.  Well, one of the guys died; but his ghost continued to join in the poker games as before. On one of these evenings, the ghost got five beautiful hearts in his very first hand, and he bet his stack.
 Unfortunately, one of the flesh-and-blood players had a full house and raked in the pot -- another case where the spirit was willing but the flush was weak.


 It seems there were two frogs sitting on a lilly pad, when all of a sudden, a fly came along.  One frog put out his tongue, ate the fly, and started laughing hysterically.  Soon the other frog joined in the laughter.
 Later in the day, the other frog ate a fly and the two frogs burst out in laughter.  As time went on, the frogs enjoyed the flies so much that the sight of a fly would cause them to double up with pleasure (if it's possible for frogs to double up!).  But of course, the most pleasure came when the fly was actually eaten.
 A third frog hopped up to the first two and asked what  was so funny.  The first frog answered "Time." "Huh?" asked the third frog. The second frog explained:
         "Time's fun when your having flies" 

Reminder: Please send in a post for next week's Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at The Foodie Army Wife.

This will be the 376th edition.

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.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at SmallWorld.

Sarah starts the carnival with:

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling! I'm glad you're visiting here at SmallWorld at Home. Let me introduce myself for those who are new here. I'm in my 13th year of homeschooling, currently with a 7th grade son and an 10th grade daughter. Our oldest son is finishing his junior year in college. And yes, he was homeschooled all the way through high school.

This week's edition is full of great articles on homeschooling, from precious preschool crafts to serious science for high schoolers. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, put your feet up, and get your weekly dose of articles from around the web. I've thrown in a few photos of the Smoky Mountains in winter just for some added aesthetic pleasure. I sure do love my big backyard!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Made me laugh

This came from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Despite inflation, a penny for some
people's thoughts is still a fair price.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Homeschooling, Race, Income and Family Structure

I recently watched a news segment on a homeschooling family. 

Family of 7 kids finds a way to homeschool, attend college

I was happy to see a focus on a black homeschooling family.

I have to say upfront, that it is a little uncomfortable talking about race and racial differences.  Even the terms, White, Black and Non-white Hispanic, I find a little offensive. But it is a lot easier to type the word "White" or "Black" as apposed to "Americans with pale skin pigmentation predominantly of European descent" or "Americans with dark skin pigmentation predominately of African decent."  So, I hope you will bear with me and not take offense.

While homeschoolers are predominately white, homeschooling is drawing families from an increasingly diverse ethnic background.  At my local homeschool support group, I'm noticing a wider variety of faces.

However, homeschoolers are often perceived by the media and others as only "white, wealthy and well-educate."

From the National Center for Educational Statistics:

More White students were homeschooled than Black or Hispanic students or students from other racial/ethnic groups, and White students constituted the majority of homeschooled students (77 percent). White students (3.9 percent) had a higher homeschooling rate than Blacks (0.8 percent) and Hispanics (1.5 percent), but were not measurably different from students from other racial/ethnic groups (3.4 percent). 

I wonder if the difference in homeschooling rates between various racial/ethnic groups is partially a function of the family structure.  The higher the rate of two parent households, the higher the homeschooling rates.

Again, from the Nation Center for Educational Statistics:

Students in two-parent households made up 89 percent of the homeschooled population, and those in two-parent households with one parent in the labor force made up 54 percent of the homeschooled population.

This difference in two-parent households between ethnic groups does not entirely explain the difference in homeschooling rates, but it can account for much of the difference.

Some claim that homeschooling rates are also tied to income. [I had to laugh here.  While researching income and homeschooling, I stumbled across a USA Today article, More higher-income families are home schooling their children, that quoted Henry].

While the title of the article makes the claim of homeschooling attracting higher income families, another study finds that the affluence rates are similar between homeschoolers and families who send their children to public school.

[T]here is virtually no difference between home schoolers and their peers in terms of income. In its 2001 study, the Department of Education found that an equal share—64 percent—of home-schooled students and those in schools live in households with incomes of $50,000 or less

The educational level of the parents also makes a difference. The USA Today article states that 6.8% of college-educated parents home-school, up from 4.9% in 1999. Remember that the overall homeschool rate is estimated to be about 3% of all school age children. So college educated parents have double the rate of homeschooling.

I'm glad to see more attention to homeschoolers that fall out side of the "white, wealthy and well-educated" stereotype. The family featured above has a father that works 3 jobs and a mother who had worked nights while still homeschooling her children and who was only now pursuing her own college education. 

I hope to see more news stories that promote the idea that homeschooling is an option for a wider circle of families with a variety of educational backgrounds, income levels, and ethnic backgrounds.

Recent Homeschool Showcase

The latest Homeschool Showcase is up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

A proposed trip to Mars

The new world was first exploited and settled by various governments, mostly Spain and Portugal.  The American colonies were founded by private organizations. 

This pattern is happening in space.

The first trips to orbit and then the moon were by the Russian and United States governments.  Over the decades various companies found ways to make a ton of money by putting satellites up.

Now a private organization is proposing to leap frog pass NASA and send humans to Mars.

My father sent me a link to the article The Crazy Plan to Fly Two Humans to Mars in 2018 which starts with:

At the National Press Club in Washington today, businessman and private space traveler Dennis Tito officially announced his plans to fund a private, nonprofit effort to launch the first human mission to the Red Planet, called Inspiration Mars. To take advantage of an alignment of Earth and Mars that happens once every 15 years and would allow the shortest possible travel time possible between the planets, the mission seeks to launch on January 5, 2018. The crew would return to Earth on May 21, 2019.

Tito's spacecraft will be as stripped-down as possible. There will be no landing, and no need for a landing craft. Instead, the spacecraft will fly to within 100 miles of Mars to give humans the first close-up view of the planet without actually touching down. The crew would also be kept to a bare minimum for safety: just two astronauts

Part of me wishes I was going.

Movie review: The Ultimate Gift

The Ultimate Gift is a pleasant story about Jason, a young man in his early twenties. The movie is based on a book.

Jason’s father had died when he was young and he became estranged from his grandfather. The movie starts with his grandfather’s funeral. Jason is still angry with his grandfather.

His grandfather left a set of videos for Jason to watch and if Jason will do a set of tasks his grandfather promises via the videos to give Jason the ultimate gift.

I have one problem with the movie. If the grandfather was wise enough to make a set of videos before his death which helped Jason become a better person, why couldn’t the grandfather have done a better job with his own children?

All in all it is an uplifting story and worth watching.

Here is the trailer:

If you like the trailer, check out the movie.

Some of our best posts from January 2007

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for over seven years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from January 2007:

In One of the things I love about homeschooling I talk about reading and why I like How to Read a Book.

With In the news Janine writes about the problems of parents trusting their children to complete stranges in the public school system.

In January Janine and I started taking classes to become foster parents.  One starfish at a time is based on a speech I gave about foster care in Toastmasters.

What will the future hold for homeschoolers? is about what kind of impact homeschooled children may have on the future.

Henry Cate Life Humor 1.2

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:

More really bad puns:

 There was a Russian man named Rudolph, a high ranking member of the KGB. One evening Rudolph and his wife, Helga,  were walking along, and it begins to snow.  "My, my, look at the lovely snow," said Helga.
 "No, that is not snow, that is rain!" replied Rudolph.           
 "No, no, no, this is snow," she said.   "Look, there is a palace guard, we will ask him."     
 Rudolph went to the palace guard and said "is it raining or snowing?"     
 The guard was no dummy, so he said "what do YOU think it is doing, Rudolph?"      Rudolph replied, "raining." and the guard said "Yes comrade, I was going to say raining, also!"
  So Rudolph and Helga went walking off.  The guard could just barely hear the KGB official say:  "RUDOLPH, THE RED, KNOWS RAIN, DEAR"  


 Two guys were stranded on a desert island. The only way they could get food was to kill sea birds by throwing rocks at them. By the time they were rescued, ... 
 They had left no tern unstoned.


 Once in a land far, far away there lived a group of people called Trids.  The Trids were happy except for the huge ogre that lived on the mountain.  The ogre would periodically terrorize the Trids.
 The Trids tired of the ogre and sought to reason with him.  They thought one of their religious leaders would be a good intermediary.  So a group of Trids and their minister went up the mountain and before they could even say one word the ogre kicked them down the mountain. 
 Not being dismayed the Trids thought that maybe the ogre was Catholic, so they sent another delegation, this time led by the local priest.  But alas, as they approached the ogre he once again kicked them all down the mountain.  The Trids were upset until they thought that perhaps the ogre was Jewish.  Unfortunately, no Trids were Jewish, so they wrote to the people of another land and asked them to send a Rabbi to help them with the ogre.  The Rabbi arrived and led a delegation of Trids up the mountain.
 The ogre saw them coming and kicked all of them, except for the Rabbi, down the mountain.  The Rabbi, having been told of the previous expeditions, wondered why he alone had not been kicked down the mountain, so he asked the ogre. The ogre laughed and replied:       
 "Silly Rabbi, kicks are for Trids!" 


 During the invasion of Sicily in World War II, General George ("Blood 'n' Guts") Patton was preparing to take the city of Palermo.  He checked with his meteorologists and learned the day he had chosen would be incredibly rainy.  So he issued an order to place copies of the New York "Times" immediately beneath the tailgates of the transports carrying his troops. In this way the men could keep their feet dry.
 His staff was mystified.  Why the "Times"?  Why not the New York "Daily News"?  Patton was adamant; and one did not argue with the General.  As five tons of old copies of the "Times" were being loaded, the General issued one of his greatest quotes to the assembled war correspondents:


 Once there was a King who was loved by all of his subjects, especially because of the hunting excursions he shared with them.  As will happen, one day he died and his eldest son took the throne.  Now this new king was an animal-lover to the core, and immediately outlawed all forms of hunting and fishing.  His subjects accepted this for only a short time before they ousted him.  This is a truly significant event, because it's the first time a reign was called on account of the game.


 Late in the previous century, the well-known folklorist Vivian McNabb was collecting ballads and tales in the Scottish Highlands, and found a previously unknown musical instrument, something in the lyre-lute-dulcimer range.  It was sitting unused as a family heirloom, and the family who owned it no longer knew exactly how it should be tuned or played, nor did anyone else in the region.  McNabb purchased it, and showed it in every village he passed through.  Nobody could give him completely accurate information, and nobody could tune it or play it, but some clues began to fall in place.  Several people mentioned Seamus O'Pernokkety, who lived in Ireland, as a great authority on stringed instruments.  McNabb determined to go over and consult Seamus.  Insert shaggy description of McNabb's difficult travels, and the frustrating search for Seamus O'Pernokkety.)   
  Finally, weak and confused, McNabb stumbled up to the door of the cabin at the top of the steep hill.  Success at last!  Seamus recognized the instrument, and agreed to tune it and teach McNabb how to play, but only if McNabb would serve as his apprentice for a full year. (Insert description of McNabb's arduous year of servitude at the feet of his musical guru.)      
 When the year was up, Seamus took the instrument out of the cupboard, spent the rest of the day tuning it up, and played all night and all the next day.  It was the most remarkable, beautiful tone McNabb had ever heard.  He stayed on another month, until he too had some proficiency at playing.  At last they parted.   
 McNabb skipped and jumped down the hill, exulting in his newfound skill in playing the instrument, and in the precious object itself. So unbridled was he in his joyous carriage, that he tripped and fell, and went tumbling down into a ravine.  A large boulder finally broke his fall, and also his leg.  The instrument, however, did not seem to be damaged.  But when he tried to play it, it proved to be badly out of tune, and he could wring from it nothing but harsh discords.  There was no help for it: he painfully crawled all the way back up the terrible hill, arriving at Seamus's cottage late that evening.
 "Oh, Seamus, the most terrible thing has happened!" he gasped out, and explained about his accident.  "Please, maestro, help me in my despair. Re-tune the instrument!  And perhaps do something about my leg, if you can."
 "Certainly, McNabb, I can set your leg, and you're welcome to food and lodging while it mends.  But I hope you realize I can't work on that instrument again."
 "But why not?  Please, you must."
 "No, I cannot.  I thought it was well known: O'Pernokkety tunes but once."


 It seems there were three monks who enjoyed raising plants and were trying to keep a flower shop running, selling unique  and exotic plant life.  One day, some children where playing behind the shop and were eaten whole by an extremely rare man-eating plant.  The parents, needless to say, were outraged, and demanded that the friars get rid of the dangerous plant.  The friars refused.  So the parents and the people of the town tried several ways to get  the friars to consent, but finally they asked Hugh, the town blacksmith, (undoubtably the strongest man around), to run the friars out of town.       Your waiting for the moral... Can you guess? "Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars!"

One of the problems with trying to do good

I am afraid this is too true:

Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly, even if they roll a few more upon it.
 - Albert Schweitzer

From my Covey Planner:

Saturday, March 02, 2013

The world in five to ten years - Microsoft's future vision

This is kind of cool:

Hat tip: Venture Beat

Cool article on how Google Search works

Google Explains How Search Works, Complete With Live Spam Slideshow is a fun article. 

It starts with:

Google today updated its Inside Search site, its homepage for all things search, with a handful of educational and interactive features that explain in layman’s terms how Google’s Search works. Did you know the web had over 30 trillion pages, by the way? Or that Google supports over 100 billion searches every month? Or that Google’s index is over 100 million gigabytes? If you find factoids like that interesting, you’ll probably enjoying a scroll through the new “How Search Works” live infographic, which also contains a few clickable links to charts and graphs showing things like the rise of spam, and milestones in Google’s spam-fighting techniques, among other things.

If this is interesting to you, read the whole article.

And you can also check out the Venture Beat article: How Google searches 30 trillion web pages, 100 billion times a month

Reminder: Please send in a post for next week's Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at SmallWorld.

This will be the 375th edition.

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.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me.

Friday, March 01, 2013