Saturday, December 23, 2006

New Look

I decided since Alasandra is getting a new look for Christmas, I would give my old blogs a new look too. Most of my posting will be done on Alasandra, so if you enjoyed Home~Schoolers Rule drop by Alasandra for a visit.

Why It's Important to Teach Facts NOT Feelings

When my kids started kindergarten the latest fad in education was the writing to read program. The students were encouraged to write stories, and were told that spelling wasn't important, to just spell the word however they felt it should be spelt. My youngest who loves telling stories loved it. Then he hit first grade, all of a sudden he had to spell words a certain way, not the way he felt they should be spelled. He was miserable and confused. It took years of homeschooling to convince him that spelling words the way everyone else does is important.

Some parents feel that the theory of evolution challenges their religious beliefs. These parents want to discard teaching evolution because it contradicts the bible stories they were taught as children, what's the harm?
From The Bible Belt's Assault on Education By: Robert W. Tracinski

Some of these religious activists claim that they reject the teaching of evolution because it is "unproven," since it lacks "sufficient evidence." Yet their arguments systematically reject the need for proof and evidence. Scientists can point to a billion-year-long fossil record of continuous changes across all species as they develop from more-primitive to present-day forms. They can point to the natural variations among members of a species, variations that change from one climate to another as species adapt to their environments. But the Creationist categorically dismisses the evidence--because it contradicts Biblical dogma. The central issue is not whether there is enough scientific evidence to validate a particular conclusion--but whether science as such, rather than faith, is the basis for arriving at conclusions. There can be no scientific debate between these two positions. There can be no rational argument between a view that rests on observation and reason, and one that rests on blind faith--i.e., on its adherents' desire to believe something, irrespective of logic. If the Creationist approach were taken seriously, what would remain of education? If evidence and reasoning are to be "balanced" by faith or feelings--what, then, would not belong in the curriculum? Even the theory that the earth is flat has proponents who feel it is true. More to the point, what is to stop teachers from presenting any other non-rational view of the origin of man? Why not give equal time to, say, the Nazi claim that the white race descended from the superior Aryans? The most ominous implication of the Creationist position is its belief that, in judging the truth of an idea, one can simply ignore rational evidence--if it clashes with one's desire to believe otherwise.

I can only wonder how kids who have been denied a "real" science education feel when they go off to university and find themselves being confronted with "facts" they have never heard of. Maybe they should be introduced to The Language of God by Francis S. Collins.

Thus Collins a devoutly Christian geneticist and leader of the Human Genome Project, can comfortably accept that "a common ancestor for humans and mice is virtually inescapable" . ~Scientists on Religion by George Johnson in Scientific American

Or the book Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer (publisher of Skeptic)

In Why Darwin Matters, historian of science and bestselling author Michael Shermer diffuses our fears by examining what evolution really is, how we know it happened, and how to test it. Shermer then discusses what science is through a brief history of the evolution-creation controversy from the Scopes “Monkey” trial of 1925, through the U.S. Supreme Court case of 1987, to the ongoing trials today, demonstrating clearly how and why creationism and Intelligent Design theory are not science. Dr. Shermer also builds a powerful case for evolution as the scientific theory that most closely parallels the Christian model of human nature and the conservative model of free market economics.

In "The Bait and Switch of "Intelligent Design", Keith Lockitch explains why "intelligent design" isn't real science.

The supposedly nonreligious theory of "intelligent design" is nothing
more than a crusade to peddle religion by giving it the veneer of
--to pretend, as one commentator put it, that "faith in God is
something that holds up under the microscope."The insistence of "intelligent
design" advocates that they are "agnostic regarding the source of design" is a
bait-and-switch. They dangle out the groundless possibility of a "designer" who
is susceptible of scientific study--in order to hide their real agenda of
promoting faith in the supernatural. Their scientifically accessible "designer"
is nothing more than a gateway god--metaphysical marijuana intended to draw
students away from natural, scientific explanations and get them hooked on the
supernatural. No matter how fervently its salesmen wish "intelligent design" to
be viewed as cutting-edge science, there is no disguising its true character. It is nothing more than a religiously motivated attack on science, and
should be rejected as such

I feel the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be the intelligent designer, because it's cute and I like eating spaghetti. Which goes to show why feelings shouldn't enter the classroom doors. Since everyone's feelings are valid if we teach strictly what parents feel is "right" then we open the door to any half-backed idea circulating at a particular time. IF on the other hand we stick to teaching "facts" our children will get the education they deserve.

Originally posted October 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Is Harry Potter “Real” Literature?

Webster’s defines literature as fiction, poetry etc. of lasting value. Only the readers can tell you if the Harry Potter series has been of lasting value to them. But using Webster’s definition of literature, it is definitely “real” literature to my family.

Poor Harry has been beset by critics from day one. First there are the Christians who denounce the Harry Potter books as evil because they involve witches and wizards. Never mind that these same Christians encourage their children to read Lord of the Rings which has wizards, elves, dwarfs, and hobbits or The Chronicles of Narnia which involves witches and giants. They were written by Christian writers, which apparently makes them acceptable to read. (Today after actually reading the books some Christians are supporting Harry).

Then there are the literary snobs who claim that Harry Potter isn’t real literature and therefore children (and their parents) shouldn’t waste their time reading him. (I am not ashamed to admit at almost 40, I love Harry as much as my kids do, and how refreshing it is have a book the whole family can enjoy). Most kids enjoy books where they can identify with the characters. The first book came out when my youngest son was six and my oldest was 8. How magical for them to have a book to read about a boy who was only a little older then they were. And the first Potter book was short enough that they were not intimidated by it. Then as they grew up Harry grew up too and the books got longer and more complex. In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry is a typical pre-teen, and now in Harry and the Half-Blood Prince, he is well on his way to becoming a charming young man. Quite Frankly I can’t wait for the next Harry Potter book to come out.

Of course my children’s reading didn’t stop with Harry, they have since gone on to read Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other classics. But Harry earns my thanks for getting them started on the wonderful adventure of reading.

Originally posted July 2005

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why Homeschool: Carnival of Homeschooling - Week 44

This Carnival is a real treat, so jump right in to learn some homeschooling tricks, and enjoy some homeschooling treats.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I was having trouble posting to blogger, so I tried out their new beta version. It has a lot of features I really like so for now you can find me at Alasandra.

Once I am able to do so I will swithch Home~Schoolers Rule to the beta version, don't worry I'll be sure to tell you how to find me.

Recommended for Teens

by Brian Herbert

Book 1 of the Timeweb Chronicles. I enjoyed the prequel and sequel to the Dune series better. The narrative didn't flow as smoothly as in the previous books I had read by him. Still an enjoyable read and suitable for teens.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Late Start to OSSO Season Causes Problems Finding Leagues to Play

As a homeschooler I rely heavily on the recreational leagues for my son to have a chance to play sports. This makes OSSO's treatment of the U16 team especially frustrating and irritating for me.

First off I do want to say that I think Sean has a terrific coach and assistant coach. This post should no way reflect unfavorably on them; as they have no control over the decisions the OSSO Board makes.

The U16 team still doesn't have uniforms, although the other OSSO divisions got theirs over two weeks ago.

The U16 team has yet to play a game and still doesn't have a schedule even though the other divisions have been playing for weeks. Part of the problem is Brian Parton's refusal to start when the other leagues we normally play in the fall do. East Central and George County will be ending their fall season November 4th. We on the other hand are just starting ours.

Honestly I don't see how we are going to get the 8 games in the fall & 8 games in the spring we are suppose to get and that the other divisions will get. I am going to take a wait and see attitude, but it looks like once again Brian Parton and the OSSO Board could care less about providing the U16 with a quality experience although they were happy enough to take our money. The Vice President is doing her best to schedule games for the U14 & U16 teams, but with OSSO starting after the other leagues that normally play in the fall she is going to have a needlessly tough job. The whole problem of not having anyone to play could have been avoided by OSSO starting at the same time as East Central & George County as we have done in the past.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

School Districts Trying to Lure Homeschoolers With Virtual Schools

The Madison Metropolitan School District is developing a virtual campus and curriculum. The idea has been in the works for several years, but the district hopes to make it widely available for the 2006-2007 school year. The district is trying to bring back state aid for the more than 400 students currently home-schooled in the district.

While I think virtual schools should be an option, it needs to made clear that IF you choose to enroll your child in a PUBLIC virtual school, you are NO LONGER homeschooling. You will lose much of the freedom you enjoy as a homeschooler and your child will be subject to the same requirements as public school students including NCLB.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sensationalism & Dr. Phil

The Homeschool Scuttle had an interesting post on the Dr. Phil show " The Great School Debate". It's too bad he choose to portray homeschoolers in an unflattering light.

Presenting, "Radical Unschoolers," as the norm of homeschooling to the mainstream world, implies that all homeschoolers are radical, controversial, Unschoolers. Unschooling is by far the least understood and radical concept of homeschooling, and the easiest target for critics to judge and condemn. To use this family as representative of the homeschool population is sensationalism at best, and deceitfully manipulative, at worst. The film portrays the Unschoolers as spending all of their days basically playing and hanging out. To seasoned homeschoolers, that may not seem a bad thing, and, to some, would even seem a good thing. But, to every mainstream American, who does not understand homeschoolers and homeschooling, let alone Unschooling, the film and the footage shown of the family serves to reinforce every negative stereotype mainstream America has about homeschooling.

I would have certainly thought that the unschooling approach should have been balanced with other homeschooling approaches. There are many ways to homeschool and unschooling is just one of them.

An angry schoolteacher states that she never wants to see her country led and governed by homeschoolers and unschoolers, and that they could never be future decision makers for her and her country.

I certainly hope she wasn't a history teacher. These presidents were homeschooled:
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, James Madison, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Abraham Lincoln, Theordore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, & Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So unless she lives in a country other then America it has already been led and governed by homeschoolers.

their first request was that I not bring anyone, "Under the age of eighteen."

My seventeen year old is in his second year of college, but he would not have been welcomed at Dr. Phil's show??? (Of course having a formerly homeschooled 17 year old college student there might have shown how successful homeschooling is).

My close, homeschooling friend, my family, and I arrived on the big day, dressed as the Dr. Phil show had instructed us to dress: "Professional; Preferably in dark colors. Nothing white or beige, and no prints." We were to be, "Camera Ready."

A careful review of my closet reveals that I would not have been able to comply with their request. It's not that I don't have any professional attire it's the dark colors. My closet is filled with jewel tones and prints.

a huge group of what appeared to be high school students began arriving in ever-increasingly large lots.

Wait a minute I thought they didn't want anyone under 18???? Was this an attempt to make it look like parents favoured homeschooling while their children hated it? After all how is the TV audience going to know where these teens came from. One would have thought public school students would have been in school.

It's a shame that Dr. Phil choose sensationalism over educating his audience about homeschooling.

This N' That

At the New York Times read Artifacts Unearthed in Syria Hint at Ancient Burial Rituals of Elite then use the handy lesson plans.

Visit About Homeschooling , Beverly is hosting the 43rd COH, not only can you read some interesting post, you can find out more about Benjamin Franklin.

Why Homeschool: Carnival of Kid Comedy, week 29

If you need a laugh drop by Why Homeschool: Carnival of Kid Comedy, week 29, where you will find something to tickle your funny bone.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Arkansas Blog

The Arkansas Virtual School -- a byproduct of a little scam cooked up by Bill "Slots" Bennett to funnel public tax dollars to home schoolers and organizations that sell services to the home schoolers -- has claimed another famous victory in test scores. Home schooling works fine. That doesn't mean the state should pay public school dollars to support home schoolers.

Once and for all these aren't homeschoolers, they are public school at home students. And this is why it is so important to make the distinction. And yes, I am sure some homeschoolers did re-enter the public school system after they were lured with the spiel that they could keep their children in the home and use tax money to school them.

21 Years Ago

Wiseman was first a public defender in Newport and St. Johnsbury before she joined the Twelve Tribes. The video, called "The Children of the Island Pond Raid: An Emerging Culture," uncovers what she called the illegal, unconstitutional actions in the raid, and the anti-cult scheming behind it.
Mike LeClair, a retired state police captain, was just a trooper during the raid."A kid said "Good morning sir,'" LeClair recalled on the video. There were no signs of abuse, just happy, healthy, respectful kids, according to LeClair and others involved.
Headlines said it all. "Judge Mahady: State Didn't Have Single Piece Of Evidence" cried The Caledonian-Record.

Could this happen today? I certainly hope not, but forewarned is forearmed.

Follow Up

This is a follow up to my post The Slippery Slope of Censoring Books. The relationship section at Waldenbooks is back.
"We went through the process and returned the section once we found that we were within our legal rights to have it, well within the local ordinances," Roman said. "We think it's our customer's right to choose what to read and what to buy. But we wanted to balance that with local laws and be sensitive to the local community."
It's a pity Waldenbooks had to go through the hassle, because one customer wanted to decide what was fit for everyone to read.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Living Math Forum

A group for discussing math, homeschoolers welcome.

Emergency Homeschooling

A group to help people who are pushed into homeschooling by unexpected circumstances.

An exhibit at the Franklin Institute introduces museum visitors to the person behind the theory, Charles Darwin.

Instead of becoming a doctor, Charles Darwin studied to be a clergyman. But his real love was collecting beetles.

This love of collecting led to Darwin's theory of evolution.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Black Rose
by Thomas B. Costain

Join Walter in Oxford where he hears a lecture by Roger Bacon, which inspires him to use his inheritance to take a trip to Cathay. Travel with him on the caravan with Bayan of the Hundred Eyes. And find out if Edward the First forgives him for the rash remarks he made about the King in the beginning of the book.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NEA Wants to Make a High School Diploma Mandatory

Reg Weaver the president of the National Education Association, wants a high school diploma to me mandatory for those below the age of 21.

With 30 percent of high school students slipping through the cracks of our educational system, educators and political leaders are looking for solutions. One answer worth exploring is making a high school diploma or its equivalent mandatory for all students below the age of 21.

This is so stupid! What about kids who do well on the ACT and obtain early admission to college. Will the NEA insist they waste their time in high school, just so they can get the mandatory high school diploma?

We can use my eldest son and his cousin for an example. Both started college at 16, neither will ever have a high school diploma or it's equivalent. Will this hurt there earning power as Reg Weaver maintains? I sincerely doubt it as both will have college degree's (which are much more important then a high school diploma). My son at 17 is a sophomore in a Computer Science program, his cousin is working on her masters as well as working in a field she loves.

How would requiring students to have a high school diploma effect homeschoolers? An important question to ask before any legislation is enacted.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Shannon at Homeschool Hacks is hosting the 42nd Carnival of Homeschooling. I hope you'll check it out, some very interesting post were submitted.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

At least one public school forces homeschoolers to start in their freshmen year if they wish to return to the public school system, no matter how old they are or what grade level they test at.

“I find this a very user-unfriendly system that we have,” said committee member Mary J. Mullaney, who raised the issue after a home-schooling parent and advocate contacted her. Home-schooled students thinking of going to public high school “get very discouraged at the idea of having to begin again all over as a freshman,” she said during the committee’s Thursday night meeting. In one instance, a home-schooled boy who had tested at the college level in math was interested in coming back to high school, but decided not to after learning he would have to start with freshman algebra. In the other, a home-schooled girl who moved to the area from Virginia was accidentally allowed to enroll at Doherty Memorial High School as a junior. She passed the 10th grade MCAS and qualified for the National Honor Society, but three-quarters of the way through the year, she was told she would have to stay at the school four years, Mrs. Casiello said. Instead, the girl dropped out of school and earned her GED.

It seems it's easier for homeschoolers to enter college then it is for them to reenter the public school system.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hunters of Dune
by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Omnius is back, can human civilization survive?
Some questions are answered, Murbella is able to go back in other memory to discover why the Honored Matre's hate the Tleilaxu. Sheeana, Miles Teg, the Rabbi and Thufir Hawat barely escape from the Futars home world. And Omnius launches a full out evasion, we will have to wait till Sandworms of Dune (August 2007) to see how Omnius' war goes.
Mislabeling of Public School at Home Causes Confusion

Dan at Cerulean Sanctum insist on calling his public school at home, homeschooling. He took offense when "real" homeschoolers pointed out he is not homeschooling according to Dan

People must come before labels. When we love our labels more than people, there’s a big problem. Jesus blew that kind of thinking away.

My response

Labels (or names) help us identify things. It’s not about loving labels more then people or using labels to put people down. It’s about having clearly defined definitions so we can communicate with others without misunderstandings.

Ironically Dan doesn't have a problem using labels. Apparently he has decided to do some reading and he had this to say about one of my favorite authors.

Never having read a Dean Koontz novel in my life, I picked up The Taking. For the purposes of my mission, I'd hoped to avoid any kind of pseudo-Christian themes in any secular authors

Gosh Dan's on a roll he labeled Koontz's work pseudo-Christian and labeled Dean Koontz as a secular author. Maybe he should think twice over admonishing people for using labels, since he obviously uses them himself. But honestly we all do. You couldn't communicate with others without labels (or names) for things.

But back to the subject at hand the mislabeling of public school at home students as homeschoolers. Dan has a big problem with homeschoolers objecting to him misusing the homeschooling label for his public school at home venture. According to him we are bad Christians because we want to keep the homeschool label for ourselves. This kind of rhetoric usually shuts most people up. Dan has said they are "mean", Dan has said they are "bad Christians"; so they better be silent and let Dan call himself a homeschooler even though he isn't and even though he is doing harm to the homeschooling cause. Heaven knows being labeled "mean" in today's politically correct society is enough to get you banished from social events, being labeled a "bad Christian" probably gets you thrown out of church.

Why is Dan so invested in calling himself a homeschooler?
From his previous post I gather it is because his religious leaders have told him that good Christian parents homeschool and bad Christians send their kids to public school. Dan apparently has bought into this belief; but for some reason chooses not to homeschool. He seems to feel doing public school at home is OK as long as he can call it homeschooling. Never mind that by misusing the homeschooling label he is causing confusion and sowing discord (two unchristian activities).

Why is it important to distinguish between families that homeschool and those who do public school at home?

1. Tax Money - Public school at home is paid for with public funds, just like traditional public schools are. The public has the right to expect certain things when their tax money is being used. On the other hand parents are solely responsible for the expense of homeschooling therefore the public (government) has very little excuse for interfering with homeschoolers.

2. Testing - Public school at home students are required to take the same test and meet the same requirements as their traditional public school counterparts. These test and requirements should not be required of homeschoolers, who do not receive public funds.

When public school at home parents insist on mislabeling themselves they cause confusion. J.Q. Public wants to know why they are being forced to pay for homeschooling? J.Q. Public wants to know why homeschool Dan's son has to take certain test while Susie homeschoolers children do not? When you attempt to explain to them that Dan isn't homeschooling, he is doing public school at home, they look at you blankly and state but HE SAYS HE IS HOMESCHOOLING!!!!

So maybe Dan should ask himself these questions.

  1. Would a good Christian intentionally attempt to deceive people about the educational choice he has made for his children by mislabeling public school at home, homeschooling?
  2. Would a good Christian cause confusion?
  3. Would a good Christian sow discord?

When "real" homeschoolers attempt to explain to Dan that he isn't homeschooling, we aren't labeling him a bad parent, we are simply attempting to prevent confusion that could lead to the loss of our homeschooling freedoms.

IF everyone agrees that homeschooling is an educational choice paid for by the parents. That homeschoolers do not receive public funds, and that the testing and requirements required of public school students is not required of homeschoolers, then we can converse with J.Q. Public without confusion. On the other hand if public school at homers insist on muddying the water, then any discussion about homeschooling will be fraught with confusion.

Annette Hall explains how charter schools are hurting independent homeschoolers. I encourage you to read her entire post.

The public schools have done everything they can to neutralize the homeschool movement, right down to absconding with use of the "homeschool" label. We must ask ourselves why? Why wouldn't the public schools simply call their students, charter school students or something properly describing their ownership? With all of the words in the English language they could have selected, homeschooling was chosen to confuse parents and blur the distinction between public and private educational options.

If you haven't signed the We Stand For Homeschooling Resolution, please do so.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Hack from Alasandra @ Home~schoolers Rule

The New York Times on the Web Learning Network offers daily lesson plans. While some of these plans have to be altered for homeschool use, they have provided interesting topics for us to discuss. Some lesson plans I found of interest.

Both Home and School on the Range
It allows students to investigate the notion of homeschooling. Related article On-Line Courses Have Given a New Impetus to the Home-Schooling Movement .
We used this lesson plan to define what we consider homeachooling to be, we talked about the pros and cons of public, private and homeschools, and we talked about how public charter schools are misleading people by calling themselves homeschools.
Student Violence in America's Schools
We used these articles to start a discussion on why we think these students resorted to violence, and we talked about accountability. We also discussed how homeschoolers aren't immune from violence in their lives. Spunky had an interesting post on the Amish School Shooting, and how homeschooling doesn't guard us from all evil.
If you like Crossword puzzles check out the Fifty States.
As a Tolkien fan I loved Old Hobbits Are Hard to Break where we explored how films are marketed on the web.
For those of you trying to increase your students vocabulary's be sure to check out The Word of the Day.If you are up for a challenge try The Test Prep Question of The Day.
Either visit The Learning Network archives for some great lesson plan ideas or sign up for the daily lesson plan emails, either way you will be a winner. Hope you enjoyed the hack.

The 41st COH is up!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Musings From Other Blogs on Homeschooling Issues
Corn and Oil has two terrific post on the problems with public school at home. She points out that "real" homeschoolers do not want to become public school at homers.
Homeschoolers are actually wanting to maintain our family autonomy of privately funded (families) and privately overseen (parents) education for our kids. Homeschoolers can have a loud grassroots voice too; when they want to be heard. We don’t have the same concerns as the CTU, for sure, as this is just ignorant coming from an educator. (That would be teaching the abc’s and 123’s, as I understood the public school mission)
The second post ask Who's Watching Out for Homeschoolers?
Family Education has a post on Social Skills and Homeschooling that homeschooling parents should find very reassuring.
The homeschoolers scored as "well adjusted." In one study, trained counselors viewed videotapes of mixed groups of homeschooled and schooled children at play. The counselors didn't know the school status of each child. The results? The homeschooled kids demonstrated fewer behavioral problems. Dr. Lines' conclusion?
"There is no basis to question the social development of homeschooled children."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Importance of Labels

Dan Edelen bemoans our obsession with labels. And wails that we are being mean when we call him on his "misuse" of the homeschooling label.

"No," came the righteous response from a couple people, "you are most definitely NOT homeschooling your son. You're doing a public e-school at home, but that's not the same as homeschooling.".

He insist that labels are just around so you can say this (label) is good and this (label ) is bad. He seems to miss the point that labels are used to differentiate between two different things, and both may be good. Apples and oranges are different but they are both good.

What's the big deal you ask? Labels allow us to communicate with others, without being misunderstood. When the recent e. coli outbreak in spinach occurred, since we all agree on what spinach is, we knew what to avoid eating. But what IF a segment of our population insisted on labeling any green vegetable spinach - broccoli, asparagus, lettuce - if it's green it's spinach. What if these people were the ones who were in charge of getting the word out about e. coli out breaks. So they issue a bulletin about e. coli being found in spinach, but the e. coli was really found in broccoli. Because they insisted on mislabeling green vegetables their bulletin would be misunderstood. The vast majority of us who label vegetables properly would avoid spinach but not broccoli (which is not spinach).

While mislabeling public school at home, homeschooling is not life threatening it is troubling. The general public will ask why they are paying for homeschoolers to educate their children when they don't pay for the education of children who attend private schools? Dan himself bragged that he was homeschooling his child with tax money (Apparently trying to explain to Dan as well as the general public that he isn't homeschooling, he is doing PUBLIC school at home is going to be an ongoing battle. Especially as long as the Dan's of this world insist on mislabeling themselves). Then they will ask why homeschooling Dan's child has to take test while the "real" homeschoolers don't? (Again you will have to explain that Dan is doing PUBLIC school at home. He isn't really HOMESCHOOLING. That public school at home has different requirements then homeschooling).

All this confusion could be avoided if Public School at Home Dan and the other public school at home participates would label themselves correctly.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Chicago Teacher's Union is suing over the cities cyber charter school and claims it violates state law.

In the lawsuit, the union argues that state board members broke the law by authorizing the virtual school. The suit points to a state law that says a charter school" shall be a public, nonsectarian, non-religious, non-home based school." The suit also contends that, to receive state money, a school must provide "direct supervision," which the union says the virtual school does not.

I think it's a shame that these teacher's are against a public school option that may work for many families. In light of the recent school shootings, I know if I were a public school parent I would be for anything that could keep my child out of a physical building and out of the line of fire.

I also think we need to be very clear here PUBLIC SCHOOL AT HOME IS NOT HOMESCHOOLING!
by Carol Higgins Clark

I have always loved her Mother, Mary Higgins Clark's books, so when her daughter started writing I was anxious to give her a try.

Carol Higgins Clark with her Regan Reilly Mystery's has created fun, breezy novels with happy endings and zany characters. Popped continues the tradition.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Homeschool Hacks

Shannon has a new blog, Homeschool Hacks. It's full of resources. I can't wait to use the Algebra Assistance and hopefully I can get Sean interested in the National Vocabulary Championship listed in the teen catagory. But wherever you are on the homeschooling ladder you are sure to find something to please at Homeschool Hacks.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Am So Excited!!!!!

As a homeschooling Mother with limited resources I am always on the looking out for bargains and free resources. Thanks to the generosity of Eric Brooks and the Ayn Rand Institute I now have a wonderful literature curriculum that I am excited about teaching. I received Ayn Rand's novels Anthem & The Fountain Head along with lesson plans, a study guide, & a teacher's guide for both novels in the mail today. I can't wait to get started teaching them.

For Teacher Resources click here.
To enter/find out about essay contest click here.

Other useful information for those planning a literature curriculum.

The Buley Library offers Internet Resources for English and American Literature. For those interested in Tokien the J.R.R. Tokien Institute has several projects worth looking into. There is also the planned release of the Children of Hurin next year to look forward too. Project Gutenberg offers free e-books. And be sure to check out Book Crossing to learn about and join a very unique book club.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Check It Out!

I have discovered a new blog Electric Venom, while there read about the dreaded S word (socialization).

Checking out some old favourites.
PolitiCalypso has a post on the Earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico. I actually think I felt it.
The Amateur Economist & Curmudgeon Blog tells how homework is being outsourced, as e-tutoring grows.

Lordy, Lordy look who's 40! The Homeschool Buzz is hosting the 40th COH.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Too Good to Be True!

Free online courses offered by the University of Berkeley, click here for their webcast requiring real player.

For the technology challenged click here for the easier google offering.
Study: Boys Learn Better From Males

Read all about it in the Denver Channel
Dee says his research supports his point that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student's academic progress.

This is so stupid!
The art teacher came under fire last April when she took 89 fifth-graders on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. Parents raised concerns over the field trip after their children reported seeing a nude sculpture at the art museum.

The parents had signed permission slips allowing their children to take part in the field trip. McGee's lawyer said the principal at Fisher Elementary School admonished her after a parent complained that a student had seen nude art. McGee said the principal had urged her to take the students to the museum.

The only good news is that 98% of the parents who took the survey said they wouldn't be upset if their child saw a nude sculpture at an art museum. It's a tad hypocritical to fire a teacher because she took her class on a school approved field trip and some prudish parents got their panties in a knot because their kiddies saw a nude sculpture. What about Michelangelo's David, would students viewing that be grounds for firing a teacher???? I foresee that few public school teachers will be willing to risk taking their students on field trips after this fiasco.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lauren Wells has a doctorate in Elementary Education and is president of LRW & Associates, an education consulting firm. She may be contacted at

In a guest column in the Meridian Star she attempts to answer the question what do the standardized test scores really mean? and tells how our children are being short changed by schools teaching to the test.

If schools deny opportunities for these diverse modes of learning, they severely limit equal education opportunity for children. If we want children to become thoughtful, caring, successful individuals, then schools must provide many opportunities to develop the unique talents children possess. So what does a school’s accreditation level really mean? Perhaps it doesn’t mean much. Parents should ask, “What is happening and not happening in my child’s classroom to impact test scores?”

One thing I have observed as the homeschooling Mother of two boys is that each child has their own learning style. What works with one child may not be equally successful with another. Unfortunately for the vast majority of public school students the public school system is busy trying to fit square pegs into round holds instead of trying to find ways to teach the square pegs. It's not the teacher's fault, when you have 25+ students in a classroom, you don't really have time to get to know your students and discover their learning styles, much less tailor your teaching to each individual student.

The problem lies with the public school system as a whole which seems intent on wiping out individuality. Mandatory school uniforms that force students to dress like clones was just one of the symptoms of the new mentality invading our public schools - that individuality is BAD and conformity is GOOD. This mentality allows them to ignore the individual needs of Joe and Sue and concentrate on the good of the collective (uh, I meant classroom).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Coincidence or Conspiracy ?

Many homeschoolers were upset when e-bay stopped carrying teachers manuals. HSLDA's solution, they launched a new site, HSLDA’s Curriculum Market. Anyone can sell their home instruction material on their site, the hitch only HSLDA MEMBERS (you can join for a measly $115. a year) can buy. Supposedly one of the reasons is so HSLDA can ensure that teacher materials are being sold only to teachers. It smacks of exploitation, to this homeschool Mom.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

by Patricia Cornwell

Who is HOG (Hand of God), and why is HOG killing people? What happened to Helen Quincy and her Mother? These mysteries and more will be solved in Cornwell's latest Scarpetta novel.

And they wonder why so many of us choose to homeschool? My heart goes out to the families affected by this.

The high school in this tiny mountain town (Bailey Colorado) was closed Thursday, a day after a mysterious gunman took six girls hostage in a classroom for hours before fatally wounding one and then killing himself as authorities stormed in.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We have been having lovely weather here in Mississippi. Yesterday I got some outdoor time. I enjoyed watching two red tailed hawks soaring over my back yard, a hummingbird zipping by and tons of butterflies flitting through my yard.
Not Content With Destroying K-12 Education, Spellings Goes After Colleges & Universities

Unlike K-12 public schools which need all the help they can get, our colleges and universities are doing a wonderful job. So why does Spellings want to mess that up?

Looking to extend its education policies into America's colleges and universities, the Bush administration outlined new proposals Tuesday that some higher-education officials fear will lead to standardized testing at the collegiate level and trample on students' privacy

The government should stay out of the higher education business until they figure out what they are doing WRONG with K-12.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

¿Cómo le hacen día homeschool en español?

Lord Epa and I are learning Spanish this year. There are several reasons we are learning a foreign language.

  1. Most colleges and universities require a foreign language.
  2. I enjoy traveling, I hope my children will too and one day I hope to visit a foreign country where knowing at least some of the language would be nice.
  3. Learning a foreign language is a wonderful way to teach empathy for those who come to the United States from non-English speaking countries and who are struggling to learn our language.

We choose Spanish because after Katrina a lot of Hispanics have moved to the area. It would be nice to be able to communicate with them and read the labels on cans at our local Wal-mart. When studying a foreign language I also like to study the culture and the different counties that primarily speak the language. This post will share some of the information we have studied so far - later post will update our discoveries.

First we choose Spanish names Sean is Juan Thomas and I am Sandra Inez (yes, Sandra happens to be a Spanish name - or so a Spanish speaking friend informed me). Spanish speakers usually have two last names, the first surname of both the Mother and the Father so Sean would be Juan Thomas Alawine Jackson

We definitely like the Spanish tradition of siesta, as hot as it is in Mississippi we think this is one tradition Mississippians should adopt.

One of Spain's traditional Dishes is Paella, which we enjoyed eating tonight.

Our first Spanish Holiday to celebrate will be Dia de los Muertos. We will celebrate el 2 de noviembre de 2006, with PEAK. Our plans include making sugar skulls and paper flowers, thanks to Rachael who has volunteered to head up those two crafts. I am hoping to cajole someone into heading up making paper mache mask for the kids to paint. We will also have lots of Spanish food to eat. If I am feeling really brave I may try to make Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead).

You can find a teacher's packet on Dia De los Muertos here.

I'll post how our celebration turned out in November along with new things we have learned and upcoming activities, so stay tuned.

Adiós for now.


This weeks COH is hosted by Anne at Palm Tree Pundit. Anne happens to live in Hawaii. I wish I could figure out a way to send myself through the internet to visit. Hawaii is one of my favorite vacation spots. I took a picture of this blow hole the last time I was there.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Ambler Warning
by Robert Ludlum
If you enjoyed The Bourne Identity you'll love this book. Has a very shocking and heartbreaking ending. I didn't see it coming. Full of thrills and chills.
At Stand Up For Kids in Mississippi read how a federal law will allow teachers to preform strip searches on students.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Public School at Home Debate !

Jennifer Barnett Reid in School or Scam? ask why taxpayers should foot the bill for public school at home.

Because families in the Virtual School must be able to have an adult at home full-time, it's effectively off limits to many, although Greenway said that about 30 percent of children in the school this year are low-income, and some live with only one parent. The online-school model, though, is beyond the intent of Arkansas's charter school law, Argue said, and widening the umbrella of public education to include homeschooling simply because it meets the needs of a certain segment of families would be taking the first step down a perilous road. "If we redefine public education to include homeschooling, the next logical debate is, why not broaden it to include private schools or church schools?" he said.

National Charter School Watch Blog ask If Homeschool Advocates Are Literalist?

If “literalism” means “seeking the plain meaning without exaggeration, distortion, or inaccuracy”, and separating the facts from someone’s ideals, then yes, I would classify myself as a literalist when it comes to seeing the necessity in acknowledging the distinctions between homeschooling and public school-at- home programs. I would ask national and state homeschool advocates to consider applying their efforts to presenting these facts:

Homeschooling is
1. Not a public school choice.
2. Homeschooling is not a government program. It is an education option as separate as non-government funded, private education.
3. Options such as charter schools and public virtual schools are choices which are not independent of public schooling.
4. Homeschooled students are not under federal NCLB requirements, nor are they required to keep state learning standards.

To those who would seek to vilify others for acknowledging public school-at-home is not homeschooling, I would encourage tolerance for other’s viewpoints and a greater respect for our homeschool diversity.

I encourage you to read these two post in their entirety. Homeschoolers must stay abreast of the public school at home debate, in order to safe guard their homeschooling freedoms or we may all be doing public school at home rather we want to or not.
American History
You can now visit the Museum of the Confederacy online.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I saw a hummingbird in my yard today. Everyone now is a terrific time to put up hummingbird feeders. Here is a recipe for hummingbird food. Also when planting flowers it's a terrific idea to plant those that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Not only will you be able to enjoy the flowers, but you can enjoy the hummingbird and butterfly visitors they attract.

If you are interested in Hummingbirds check out Operation Ruby Throat, they welcome homeschool participation.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Florida school's Creole classes are causing a stir.

Rico and Kalyn James were among dozens of parents and school officials who participated in a survey to choose the languages for the school's new dual-language program. The parents were given the options of French, Spanish and Creole. According to the survey, French and Spanish were the top choices.

So why was Creole picked?

Several parents in Morningside's attendance zone say they were blind-sided by the implementation of Creole into the school's curriculum, a decision they argue was influenced by Haitian solidarity, which undermined the wishes of many non-Haitian parents.

Chalk it up to multi-culturalism. Spanish or French would have served these children better, but it's more important to be politically correct and culturally diverse.

We all know how the media was instrumental in destroying Senator Trent Lott's career as Speaker of the House by taking a statement he made at a private birthday party out of context. Now they are doing it with the Pope.

The speech was largely a scholarly address criticizing the West for submitting itself too much to reason, and shutting belief in God out of science and philosophy. But he began by recounting a discussion of Christianity and Islam between a 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian scholar. "Benedict said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached'-Manuel II Paleologus’’ . Benedict also briefly considered the Islamic concept of jihad, which he defined as “holy war,” and said that violence in the name of religion was contrary to God’s nature and to reason.

But never mind what Pope Benedict said. Let's take a look at the Muslims response.

A Turkish man with a fake gun tried to storm a Protestant church in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. He was arrested after worshipers trapped him in the church entryway.

Why did he attempt to storm a Protestant Church? The Pope does not and never has spoken for Protestant's. Apparently Muslims are so ignorant of the Christian religion that they do not understand that there is a difference between Catholics and Protestants and that the Pope does not have any sway over Protestants.

And if you want to prove your religion isn't evil and inhuman then burning an effigy of the Pope and posting a warning on a web site threatening war against “worshipers of the cross” doesn't seem to be the best way to go about it.

Anne Applebaum of The Washington Post thinks we should all join together to protect "free speech".

The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.

Lesson Plans can be found at the New York Times.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bird Walk

The Bird Walk at Gulf Island National Seashore, was well worth getting up early for. I am thrilled that Sean and I got to see a Clapper Rail. These are very shy birds, we had heard them for awhile, but we didn't see one until the tour was almost over and we were busy checking off the birds we saw. And then right in front of us one flew up out of the grass and hovered for a few seconds before sinking back out of sight in the grass.

Other birds we saw:
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Laughing Gull
A Tern (sorry but I don't know what kind of tern it was)
Mourning Dove
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Warbler (again I am not sure what kind, but there were several flying around a pine tree)

For those of you interested in identifying the birds you see check out Cornell Lab's online bird guide.

The weather was nice and sunny this morning, so the walk was very pleasant. We also saw some lovely wildflowers. Morning glories are a favorite of mine, so I was thrilled to see them along the trail.

We should start seeing humming birds around here soon, so I am fixing to go put some food in my humming bird feeders.

This is my entry to win a camera in the "Capture the Educational Moment" Contest sponsored by Spunky and Academic Superstore.

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This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up, so drop by for some educational and entertaining post.

What is the value of an education?

Henry Cate's ask What is the value of an education? Read the Cate's Why Homeschool blog for the answer.

Monday, September 18, 2006

What's really interesting is the parents didn't realize their children were taking part in a homeschool program.

The Sisters school district received $1.2 million in public funds for a homeschool program in violation of a state ban on the use of public money to benefit a religious institution, a state audit has found. Auditors also found that parents of Sonrise students were not generally aware that their children were participating in the district's homeschool program, although the district was receiving money for the costs associated with educating those students.

If it's really homeschooling how can the parents not know????

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Articles of Note From the Metro Business Chronicle Blog

Kirk Thompson explains why education fails to make the grade in Mississippi. Of particular concern is the fact that civil rights education is being promoted over science, math & reading - skills Mississippi public school students definitely need to improve.

How any education superintendent, educator, or school administrator can look at these numbers and argue for more social education in Mississippi schools is also staggering. When less than half of the students are performing at NAEP Basic level, it is time to implement another language arts class, not civil rights education. Are there any more basic skills than reading and math? A child will be unable to learn history from a history book or create a poster of his or her favorite culture if the ability to read has not been developed properly.

Considering that we throw more tax money at education then we do defense the failure of our public schools is alarming. Sadly students were better educated years ago.

A hundred years ago, the average high school student could speak and read both ancient Greek and Latin. Today? Most. Lack. Knowledge. That speaks for itself.

Natalie Criss's article on capitalism is well worth reading. And if you ever doubted the importance of education consider this.

Capitalism is the result of thoughtful, engaged, rational minds. Therefore, paralysis brought on by indecision is the biggest threat to capitalism.

These two article are well worth reading in their entirety so grab a cup of coffee, click on the links and get busy reading.

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Three boys were bullied and harassed so badly that they devised a scheme to harm classmates. One of they boys was teased because of his weight and a learning disability. His Mother made teachers aware of the bullying and harassment but nothing was ever done.

Sturtz's mother said her son was kicked out of the school last year for bringing a knife because he felt he needed protection. He was assigned to an alternative school for the last part of the year. She said she called the principal and social workers to alert them to her son being bullied but no one ever called back.

"He didn't want to go to school because of the kids and he knew the teachers wouldn't do anything because we tried last year," the mother said.

Now the victims of the bullying and harassment face jail time, while the bullies get off. Why weren't the bullies punished? Why wasn't the harassment stopped? Why did school authorities allow these kids to be bullied and harassed for years?

Friday, September 15, 2006

A New Plan For Mississsippi

The Mississippi Press insist that we need a new education plan for Mississsippi. Considering these chilling facts

The state's graduation rate is 60 percent. Of the students entering ninth-grade, 35 percent drop out before graduation.

I agree.

One has too wonder what the Bush boys were doing during Civics.

Holy Land Park scored a major victory this summer when Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill granting a property-tax exemption to nonprofit organizations that display biblical manuscripts or that stage scenes from the Bible. Holy Land paid a team of lobbyists between $10,000 and $30,000 to push the legislation through, according to lobbyists' records.

What about a theme park that displays the Koran does it get a tax break? What about a Wican theme park will they get tax breaks? I imagine sooner or later someone will challenge government support for only Christianity based theme parks. After all the government isn't suppose to support one religion over another, the bill Jeb Bush signed does.

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The safety of their children provides a strong motivation for some parents to homeschool. Apparently not only are public schools failing to educate children, they are also failing to create good citizens.
Two teenage boys amassed a cache of guns, ammunition, bombs and other weapons at their homes and apparently planned to use them to attack their high school, authorities said Thursday.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Her You Tube profile states Bree is home-schooled . Viewers are led to believe she is the daughter of strictly religious parents. But somehow Bree is able to find the time and technology to upload video blogs of her innermost thoughts, without her parents knowledge. Too bad they can't come up with anything more original then the typical homeschool stereotypes.

You see it's a hoax. Bree is played by actress Jessica Rose, a 20-ish resident of New Zealand and Los Angeles and a graduate of the New York Film Academy. The whole project appears to be the early serialized version of what eventually will become a movie.

It certainly doesn't portray homeschoolers in the best light. Considering the public generally has a lot of misconceptions about homeschoolers this is one hoax that needs to be brought to light sooner rather then later. If you want to do a fictionalized story about homeschoolers fine, but make sure everyone knows it's fiction.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Thinking Mother: Please Contribute To The Next Carnival of Homechooling

The next COH will be hosted by The Thinking Mother who is asking for contributions. She has some wonderful tips for those who would like to contribute but are suffering from writer's block.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A MEME About Books

One book that changed your life:
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, while it hasn't changed my life in a big way, it has changed the way I think about somethings.

One book that you've read more than once:
Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

One book that you would want on a desert island:
How on earth do you expect me to manage with just one. Honestly you have to at least let me have all the books on my family room book shelves. But I demand a public library on this desert island. They can drop new books by plane every month or something.

One book that made you laugh:
They Shoot Canoes, Don't They? Actually anything by Patrick F. McManus is guaranteed to have me giggling.

One book that made you cry:
A Tale of Two Cities

One book that you wish had been written:
I just wish Tolkien and some of my other favorite authors were still alive and churning out books for me to read.

One book you could not put down:
Any book I pick up.

One book you are currently reading:
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, I can't wait for him to finish the third one in the series.

One book you've been meaning to read:
Gosh you expect me to pick just one off my list of 100+, that I add a new book to almost everyday.
Odds & Ends

Dana Hanley at Homeland Stupidity (gotta love that blog title) defends homeschoolers from Kelley Course's outrageous demand that homeschoolers be subject to visits from social services in Indiana.

McGann's Factors has tips for homeschoolers who wish to attend MIT.

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Monday, September 11, 2006


The Democrats told me not to watch it because it bashed the Clinton administration. I can only wonder what on earth they were referring to. The film didn't mention Clinton, and only briefly showed the firemen listening to President George W. Bush on TV. The documentary itself was more focused on the reactions of the firemen watching TV, then on what they were watching.

The American Family Association told me not to watch it because of the swear words. Considering the outcry they raised and their threats to have the FCC fine CBS if they showed it I was surprised at how little profanity was in the documentary.

I found the documentary moving, and extremely sad. I will never forget the chilling sound of the bodies hitting the ground. Made by Gedeon and Jules Naudet who were actually filming a documentary about a rookie firefighter when the World Trade Center was attacked it's focus is on the firemen from Engine 7. How they desperately tried to get the people out, how they dealt with the loss of friends and fellow fire fighters, how their escape from tower one was a miracle, and the survivors guilt they deal with even now. It also documented their grim determination to go back the next day and rescue anyone trapped and their dismay when they realized all that was left was body parts and dust.

Today they still deal with survivors guilt and some have medical problems related to 9/11, but you have to admire the resilience of those who go on fighting fires, go on saving lives and rejoice in the lives they were able to save 9/11, while never forgetting those who were lost.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Book Reviews

Speak You Also A Survivor's Reckoning
In 1943 Paul Steinberg (age 16) was arrested in Paris and deported to Auschwitz, this is the story of how he survived.

Book One Prodigal Son
Book Two City of Night
Set in New Orleans. 200 years ago Victor Frankenstein created a monster. Now the monster is more human then his creator, can Deucalion save humanity from Victor's latest creations?
Florida students celebrate Freedom Week.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Public School at Home Causes Problems For Homeschoolers in PA

Click here to read what the law legally requires of homeschoolers in PA.

Prior to the 2006-2007 school year, Avon Grove School District sent a letter to homeschooling parents notifying them that it had revised its policy for home education programs. Unfortunately, the new policy had little resemblance to the actual requirements for homeschooling under Pennsylvania law. The most egregious deviations from state law were as follows:

*The program of home instruction had to be deemed satisfactory by the Avon Grove School Board in order to receive approval.

*Parents had to submit a written application to the superintendent requesting authorization to conduct a home education program and meet with the superintendent to demonstrate that the parent/guardian has the capability of providing the educational program.

*The policy said that the District reserves the right to have the student evaluated by the school psychologist or other trained personnel to determine the student's mental ability as well as achievement/instructional level.

*The parents had to submit proposed instructional materials to the school district for review prior to approval of the home education program.

*Parents had to be monitored every month to determine whether or not the instructional program is being completed according to the requirements of the School District and state regulations and standards.

*Students receiving in-home instruction had to participate in all standardized testing for public school students at the public school.

*Parents were required to complete the school district's report card indicating the student's rate of progress and submit a copy of the report card to the appropriate building principal on the dates specified by the district.

*Ignoring the administrative procedure of state law, the policy authorized the school district to summarily terminate the home education program if it is determined the student is not making responsible learning progress.

I suppose they assume since they are responsible for insuring that public school at home students meet all the public school requirements they now have the right to interfer with real homeschoolers too. This should put homeschoolers everywhere on alert.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Distinguishing Between Public School at Home & Homeschooling

In a guest post on Spunky's blog Annette discusses the importance of distinguishing between Public School at Home and Homeschooling.

For those of you who just don't understand the difference, I'll attempt to explain; in terms hopefully even the densest among us can understand. Public School at Home is like renting. You may live in the house, you may consider the house your home; but no matter how often you refer to it as your home it still belongs to your landlord. You can't make changes to the house without his permission and he can kick you out when your lease is up. With public school at home the government (landlord) calls the shots. Homeschooling on the other hand is like being a homeowner, you are free to make changes to your home whenever you want, if you want to rip out the carpeting and replace it with tile; there isn't a problem it's your house. With homeschooling the parents (owners) call the shots. Those of us who wish to distinguish between public school at home (renters) and homeschoolers (homeowners) aren't being mean, we don't feel superior, we aren't elitist and we aren't trying to keep you out of our neighborhood. We are merely trying to explain that there is a difference between doing public school at home and homeschooling. We don't want people (especially lawmakers) to blur the lines. We don't want the government to take away our rights. We will cheerfully welcome you into our groups; just do everyone a favor and don't call yourselves homeschoolers. It confuses people like Dee, who think just because Dan voluntarily chooses to do public school at home and have government oversight other homeschoolers should fall in line and do public school at home too.

Be sure to check out Annette's post on Spunky's blog, she has done a lot of research and her post is very informative.


It looks like the same old same old, a small group wants to undermine science for the sake of their religious beliefs.

At issue is a proposal before a state Board of Education committee that would provide science teachers with guidelines for teaching topics. Supporters say it would force students to think critically about complex issues. Critics say it is an attempt to undermine science by encouraging students to question the validity of evolution, stem-cell research and global warming.

While I am all for discussing complex political issues; perhaps a science class isn't the best place for the debate.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Diversity

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe writes about how textbook publishers often resort to fakery in order to meet their quotas for pictures of handicapped children and minorities. Don't believe everything you see - seems to be the lesson to be learned from this asinine idea that textbooks must show x number of minorities and x number of handicapped children.

And it's perfectly ok to leave out a historically important white male (after all in order to be politically correct white males should be marginalized) as long as you replace them with a minority figure.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Follow Up to The Slippery Slope of Censoring Books

The Sun Herald wrote an outstanding editorial about how our laws in Mississippi are being used against legitimate books.

Public School at Home is Not Homeschooling

Sometimes the best post come from the responses to links left in the comments. Cerulean Sanctum claims to be homeschooling, but then goes on to say this.

Today, my son formally starts Kindergarten with Ohio Virtual Academy, a homeschooling program chartered as a public school, so our taxpayer dollars go to our homeschooling!

This is NOT homeschooling, this is public school in the student's home. I have no problem with Virtual Schools or Charter Schools, but PLEASE be honest about what you are. You are Virtual Schoolers or Charter Schoolers, you are NOT homeschoolers. Your schools are supported by tax money just like traditional public schools and you have to answer to public school authorities. Which is why it is important to make the distinction between those who really homeschool their kids and those who simply attend a public school in their home. And it leads to people like Dee demanding that real homeschoolers be accountable to someone, after all the public school at home students are and they consider themselves homeschoolers, so why don't the rest of us jump on the government bandwagon.

If I understand the comments of the folks above, they are against being accountable to anyone but the Lord for their homeschooling practices. Being accountable to the Lord is of utmost importance, but I have known parents who homeschool who need to be held accountable to more than just the Lord, because their children are not being taught well. In fact, sometimes their children cannot read at their grade level despite being of above average intelligence. I am concerned about those who just decide that their children don't need to study a certain subject such as math. Legislation might be avoided if homeschoolers would voluntarily be accountable to organized homeschool groups. Being involved with an organized group should beconsidered because of its great benefits rather than its limitations. I applaud you for choosing such a program.

Exactly what organized homeschool group would she force me to be accountable to? HSLDA whom I don't agree with on many issues or some state run homeschool group? No, thanks! Dee is also assuming that all homeschoolers, homeschool for religious reason, which in my case isn't true. I certainly don't want to be accountable to some religious group (which the majority of homeschool groups are) for my children's education. I prefer being accountable to no one. After all I have my children's best interest at heart. And considering my oldest started college at 16 I think I have done a much better job then the public schools would have done. Dee has to be nuts if she thinks every public school student reads at grade level!!!!!! Most public school students read way below grade level as evidenced by the dumbing down of public school textbooks and classrooms.

At least Elena gets the difference, unlike Dan who seems to be emotionally invested in claiming he homeschools even though they do public school at home.

Dan, I live in Ohio too. My oldest goes to Akron Digital Academy, a cyber school formed by the Akron Public School Board. My other four students are home schooled in that I filled out the notification form and sent an assessment by a certified teacher that they were working at their own level as required by Ohio law. So stating all that, I have to say that I love Bill Bennett's program. If I ever decided to use a public cyber school for my next oldest child, that's the one I would go with! However, it's not homeschooling. The legal requirements for enrolling my child in ADA was a lot different than what was required to homeschool. He has to take the Ohio proficiency tests, just as your son will. They are different.

Dan turned off the comments so I can't respond on his blog, but what he and JettyBetty do not get is their insistence on calling public school at home, homeschooling, may someday limit the choices of real homeschoolers. That is why we do not want them calling themselves homeschoolers, not because we are elitist or because we think our method is superior, but because we do not want our choices limited.

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My Response to Dan Edelen - A Public School At Home Dad

Dan Edelen claims he homeschools even though he is doing public school at home.
He says
* I am the teacher.
According to the OHVA website he is teamed up with a certified teacher. At best he is an assistant teacher. The certified teacher is calling the shots.

* My son does not attend physical classes as a group with any other children.
So you are doing public school at home. In his own post he admits this is a public charter school paid for with tax $

*My son attends class as a lone student within our home.
Again you are doing public school at home. OHVA has more then one student.

* I select the curricula.
Really!!! Nowhere on the OHVA website, did I see a place for parents to choose textbooks.

* I select which parts of the curricula we do in a day and how it is taught.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* I can include family activities or other resources as schoolwork.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* I can skip over whatever curricula I feel my son has already mastered.
OK, you get some flexibility unlike traditional public school students, but your child is still enrolled in a public school.

* Our schooling is subject to all the positives and negatives of being schooled at home.
This statement shows how much Dan Edelen doesn’t understand real homeschooling. He is not receiving all the positives real homeschoolers do. But since he has never been a real homeschooler he doesn’t know what he is missing. I have the freedom to choose every textbook we use, I have the freedom to select every subject I teach. As a real homeschooler I am not subject to government oversight. And I resent public school at home parents co-opting the homeschooling label which could lead the government to take away my options.

The OHVA website claims
Top 10 Reasons Parents Choose OHVA:
1. Public School Accountability
I don’t want to be accountable to a public school. If you do that is fine, but don’t call yourself a homeschooler.

2. Superior K12 Curriculum
Really, says who. Is it as good as the curriculum I picked out on my own that allowed my son to start college at 16 and major in computer science?

3. Extensive Support System
I don’t want government support. If you do that’s fine, but don’t call yourself a homeschooler.

4. Flexible Scheduling
As a homeschooler I already have this.

5. Expert Lesson Plans
Homeschoolers can find expert lesson plans on the Internet, or they can make their own.

6. One-on-one Approach
As a homeschooler I already have this.

7. Socialization Opportunities
Homeschoolers are free to join recreational sports leagues, participate in church youth groups and form homeschool support groups, we don’t need a public school at home program to provide socialization.

8. Focused, Ethical Environment
Yeah, we all know how ethical public schools are, Bennett’s K12, especially.
In Arkansas -The U.S. Department of Education employees who oversee the public school choice program initially suggested funding for 10 programs, basing their on recommendations from peer reviewers. Bennett's K12 Arkansas project was not among them. Education Week reported that K12's proposal did not score high enough among the peer reviewers to win a funding recommendation.

9. Gifted & Talented Support
If having a gifted or talented program is important to you as a homeschooler you can either find one or start your own, you don’t need a public school at home program to do so.

10. Safety, Peace of Mind
Homeschoolers already have this; they don’t need a public school at home program.

Dan maintains he is a homeschooler because he son doesn’t attend a traditional public school, but Annette points out why he is doing public school at home, by providing us with what the government legally determines a public school to be.

1.) Is supported with public funds.
He brags about getting tax money in his own blog “so our taxpayer dollars go to our homeschooling!”.

2.) Is authorized by action of and operated under the oversight of a publicly constituted local or state educational agency.
Again in his own blog he admits it is a public charter school.

3.) Provides educational services to all students who are enrolled.
Yes, OHVA provides educational services to all students who are enrolled.

4.) Has an appropriately credentialed teacher (or teachers) who provides instruction.
Says they do on the OHVA website.

5.) Has at least one appropriately credentialed administrator, usually a principal, who is responsible for all aspects of school administration including supervision and evaluation of staff, fiscal responsibility, student discipline and safety, supervision and evaluation of curriculum, and assessment of academic achievement and school accountability.
Claims to on the OHVA website.

6.) Has an administrator, usually a principal, with access to and responsibility for maintaining official student records for all enrolled students.
Claims to on the OHVA website.

Looks like Dan’s public school at home meets all the requirements for a public school to me. So why is he adamant that he is homeschooling? When it’s obvious that he isn’t.

Christy commented
Confusion like this– asserting that a child enrolled in a public, private, or online school– will lead to messier legislation that will adversely affect homeschoolers everywhere.

She is right and that is why real homeschoolers do not want public school at home parents claiming to be homeschoolers. It is not because we are elitist, it is not because we feel superior to you, it is because we do not want our freedom to homeschool curtailed. We do not want the government or someone like Dee to decide the only legitimate way to homeschool is by doing public school at home.