Thursday, April 10, 2008

Progressive Homeschoolers

Setting the Homeschool Record Straight

Apparently I wasn't the only one upset by Mr. Shives' potshots at homeschoolers.

In the American Chronicle article, Homeschoolers Who Don´t Learn Science Shouldn´t Receive a Diploma , author Steve Shives takes some initially ill-informed pot shots at homeschooling as part of a critical evaluation of Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association (MDHSA) of PA, a diploma mill that counts Apologia Biology, a creation science based curriculum.

The post goes on to explain how Mr Shives is helping HSLDA by buying in to their propaganda.

I wrote to him, saying, “The majority are not, by a long shot, "specifically, fundamentalist Christian—in nature" and when you say that, you're buying into their substitution of volume for substance propaganda, and undermining, hopefully unintentionally, the work of thousands of us trying to set the record straight. The majority of homeschoolers are middle of the roaders, like most folks in America, where, despite the familiar volume of religious fundamentalists in our general society, I doubt you'd claim the majority of Americans are fundamentalist Christian.

Read the whole post at Progressive Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Enjoyable Reads in Blogland

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Public School ...I Learned in Calvin & Hobbes Comic Books by B.R. Merrick

I just love his list

So permit me to list, in order of importance from worse to worst, the life lessons I, and all the other non-fictional Calvins out there, learned from former-factory/now-corporate government schools:

10. Grades are important. Make your report card look good. You need a degree--any degree--to land and keep a good job.

9. Stay away from the weird kids, especially when they’re being made fun of.

8. Adults are not going to help you with anything that matters. Their world is separate.

7. You’re on your own. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

6. You can have the life you dream of after you are certified by experts.

5. Freedom isn’t free.

4. If you are gifted and talented, life will be handed to you on a silver platter, unlike the dumb kids.

3. You need permission to piss.

2. Wait out your time. Life is filled with drudgery. Just get through it as best you can.

These are not exaggerations. If your child is in school right now, this is what he is learning. He may not realize it until he’s much older. The worst and most dangerous lie he is imbibing is this:

1. Learning, like work, is not meant to be enjoyable.

Eye Opening Thoughts on Public Education

The Harassment of Homeschoolers Continues At The American Chronicle

Mr Shives post, Homeschoolers Who Don´t Learn Science Shouldn´t Receive a Diploma is intolerant claptrap.

There are many, many things I find dubious about the practice of parents homeschooling their children. I wonder how a mother or father who has not been educated as a teacher, who in many cases has not even been to college her/himself, can possibly provide their child with as good an education as students receive in our much-maligned public schools. And I can´t help but think that these homeschool students, of whom there are several million in the United States, are being robbed of a crucial formative experience by not attending school with other people their age and being forced to interact with a diverse group of peers.

I assure Mr. Shives that homeschoolers receive an education equal to or better then any public school student. Consider the 2007 ACT High School Profile Report.
Check out this National Data! For the graduating class of 2007, 10,072 students who list themselves as homeschooled took the test, and their average Composite score was 22.3. [1,300,599 students took the test in all, averaging 21.1.] [0.77% homeschoolers] from Jim Sconing, Director, Statistical Research Department, Research, 319/337-1709.

Mr Shives is also wrong in his belief that Homeschoolers "are being robbed of a crucial formative experience by not attending school with other people their age and being forced to interact with a diverse group of peers."
Dr. Shyers measured the self-esteem of the homeschooled group of 70 children in his study and compared it with that of the traditionally schooled group, also 70 children between the ages of eight and ten. On the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, a widely used measure of self-esteem, no difference was found between the two groups. (That finding by the way, stands as a failure to replicate the earlier thesis research of John Wesley Taylor in 1986, in which a small sample of home-schooled children scored significantly higher than classroom-schooled children on the Piers-Harris scale. Taylor's thesis, Self-Concept in Home-Schooling Children, is also available from UMI, order number DA8624219.) Thus it goes beyond the available evidence to say that homeschooled children have higher self-esteem than other children. In fact, more studies (and especially more studies with large sample sizes, and more recent studies) have confirmed Shyers's result than have confirmed Taylor's. There appears to be no significant difference in self-esteem between the overall population of homeschooled children and the overall population of children attending classroom school.
Mr Shives seems unaware that homeschoolers are a diverse group and have many opportunities to interact with each other as well as their public school peers. Homeschoolers join recreational sports team, scouts, robotics teams and many other groups which provide them with ample opportunities to socialize.

Mr Shives maintains that Fundamentalist Christians make up the majority of homeschoolers. In my opinion they are just the ones who get the most attention while Secular Homeschoolers are often ignored or marginalized. Also people like Steve Shives with their hostility to homeschoolers, drive many Moderate Christian Homeschoolers into HSLDA (or other religious groups like Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association that Mr. Shives references), clutches as they offer protection from the intolerant and bigoted people who wish to curtail our homeschooling freedoms.

He also maintains that homeschoolers who are taught creationism/intelligent design should not receive a diploma. This smacks of hypocrisy as a vast number of public school students are still taught intelligent design. Does Mr. Shives also believe that these public school students shouldn't receive a diploma?

Echoing similar comments from President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said "intelligent design" should be taught in public schools alongside evolution.

Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula:A Legal Guidebook

President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about "intelligent design," a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity.

Parents have the right to decide what educational choice is best for their children be it public school, private school or homeschooling.

Confederate History ~ Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Next to Robert E. Lee himself, Thomas J. Jackson is the most revered of all Confederate commanders.

  • A graduate of West Point (1846), he had served in the artillery in the Mexican War, earning two brevets.

  • He resigned to accept a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute. Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson served on the VMI Faculty as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy & Instructor of Artillery from August 1851 until the beginning of the Civil War in April 1861. Thought strange by the cadets, he earned "Tom Fool Jackson" and "Old Blue Light" as nicknames.

Stonewall Jackson House

Stonewall Jackson Shrine

VMI Archives

Carnival of Homeschooling

Click here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lenient Sentence for Sexual Predator Futher Reduced

She was sentenced in November 2005 to three years' house arrest and seven years of probation for having sex with a 14-year-old boy in a classroom and her home.

Prosecutor Mike Sinacore (SIN'-uh-core) objects to Tuesday's decision. He says the victim's family objects, too.

This seems like a very lenient sentence for having sex with her 14 year old student to begin with, I am outraged that apparently the judge doesn't take this CRIME seriously.

Mislabeled ~ Not a Homeschooler

The confrontation startled Janice Moore, 55, of Pelzer, who told deputies after calling 911 that she had gone to the teenager’s house to help him with homework. The teen had been expelled from Wren High School, the report states.

The boy had been expelled from a public school so why did Pearce Adams (Contact) label him a homeschooler in his column Piedmont teen accused of disrupting home school?

For the record a child who has been expelled from a public school and is doing public school "homework" is NOT a homeschooler.

Monday, April 07, 2008


A Massachusetts school custodian and basketball coach has pleaded not guilty to charges that he repeatedly raped a 12-year-old boy over six months last year.

Robert Shea was ordered held Monday on $15,000 bail. He's charged with two counts of child rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery.