Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

My heart felt thanks to all who have made 2005 such a blessing to me.

I am grateful to my Lord for loving me and sending his only son to die for me.

I am grateful to my family for giving me the encouragement to live my life for the Lord. I am grateful for the love and forgiveness you show even when I mess up.

I am grateful to all who have stumbled upon my blog. You have challenged me and caused me to think about many issues from a different perspective. God has used many of the things shared to remove the impure and draw me closer to HIM.

I am eternally grateful.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you -
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Homeschool Blog Award Winners

Blog Awards

Best Homeschooling Mom Blog:
Here at the Bonny Glen
True Blue Semi-Crunchy Mama

Best Homeschooling Dad Blog:
Doug Phillips

Best Homeschooling Family Blog:
Large Family Logistics

Best Homeschooling Teen Blog:
The Rebelution

Best Informational Homeschooling Blog:
Mental Multivitamin

Best Inspirational Homeschooling Blog:
Holy Experience
Fearlessly Feminine (student)

Best Homeschooling Humor Blog:
Danielle Bean

Best Team/Group Homeschooling Blog:
Choosing Home
Beauty from the Heart (student)

Best Homeschool Curriculum/Business:
Cindy Rushton
Still Thinking (student)

Best Homeschool Blog Template Design:
Classical Education 4 Me
Agent Tim (student)

Best Canadian Homeschooling Blog:
Poppins Classical Academy
Oneway Purpose (student)

Best International Homeschool Blog:
Wired Wisdom

Best Current Events Homeschool Blog:
The Common Room
Legal Redux (student)

Best Homeschooling Arts Blog:
A Circle of Quiet
Rhetorical Response (student)

Best Homeschooling Photo Blog:
My Smoky Mtn. Homeschool/A Picture is Worth a 1000 words

Many thanks to...

...Jake Smith of StillThinking for the programming assistance.

...the young ladies at Beauty from the Heart who spent many hours assisting me.

...Jay from Cleveland and Andrea at A Typical Homeschool. They designed blog buttons for all the nominees and winners.

...HomeschoolBuzz for helping to promote the blog awards!

I would like to award a special honor to The Education Wonks. While they are not homeschoolers they are a great encouragement and support to the homeschool school blog world.


The random blog promo goes to....

The Upward Call

All winners will receive an one year subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Winners will also be featured in Spunky's column in the Spring 2005 issue.

As an added bonus, the three winners in the Mom Category will win Secrets of Successful Homeschooling.

To claim your prize, please send an email to: spunkyhomeschool [at] yahoo [dot] com

In the email, please include your name and address for the subscription and your choice of blog button with the correct category.

Congratulations to all who particpated in the Homeschool Blog Awards. Remember we are not really competitors in the blogosphere. We are here to learn and encourage one another. The awards have made many aware of new and different blogs. That has made this endeavor a complete success. And, we have reposted the list of nominees for you to visit!

And don't forget Why Homeschool is hosting the first Carnival of Homeschooling. That's another excellent way to learn what others in the homeschool blogosphere are talking about.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Proverbs to live by

Sherry at Semicolon posted about Benjamin Franklin and listed a few of his sayings. This post reminded me of a day a few years back when we were reading about Ben and his wisdom. I challenged the children to come up with a few maxims of their own. The two that I still remember came from my son. He said,

If pride goes before a fall, you won't be first after all.
Being in a hurry, never saves you worry.

Those are both excellent reminders as we await the winners of the blog awards. I'm sure a lot of bloggers are wondering who won. So am I. You'll find out just as soon as I do. Stay tuned.

I attended the funeral of my dear friend's mother yesterday. This has me a little drained so my maxim of the day would be

Life is short, hug your mom.

If you're still looking for something more to read then check out my husband's blog today. He shares about our family's favorite gift this year in a post called The Best Present of All.

And since I'm on roll with family members, Spunky Jr. wonders how eating goldfish makes you draw closer to the Lord. The story of the youth group made me think of a frat party hazing not a church youth group activity. After you read her post, you may want to read The Youth Group Question.

Climbing Mt. Homeschooling

I was discouraged about the progress of our homeschooling recently. I dumped my tale of woe to my dear husband. (Over a Starbucks of course.) "Nothing seemed to going as planned." I lamented. "How did I ever think I could teach one child how to figure out the area of a circle, while training another to figure out the circular area in the bathroom? " I was having a classic, woe is me, meltdown moment.

My husband, the steady one, just listened attentively. Bless his heart, living with me all these years, he has learned it is better to listen than speak at times like these. Lest my pity party cross over into the dreaded "and it's all your fault" discussion. For which, I will later regret and have to make ammends. Finally exhausted, I paused for a few minutes to catch my breath.

"Do you know what it's like to climb Mount Everest?" he asked.

"No. You know me. If it has anything to do with athletics I'm blissfully clueless."

"Well, that's what you're doing."


"I just read an article on it. When you climb Mount Everest there are times of sheer endurance. Moments that test your stamina and ability to climb one foot higher. As you climb higher the pressure intensifies. You're in one of those times right now. But if you keep going you'll eventually get to the next camp. When you do, you'll look back down the mountain and wonder how you made it. But you made it. Then it's time to sit, rest, and acclimate yourself to the conditions at that level. That's just as important as the climb. You need to get used to the air at that level otherwise your brain can't handle the pressure. Then with a burst of energy you'll tackle the next climb only to be tested even more. The closer you get to the top the more strength it will take. But God has given us the ability to meet the challenges if we endure the hard times and rest as necessary. The challenge for you is not to give up when it's difficult. And not to rest too long that you don't go to the next level. "

That was the most encouraging thing he could say to me. He didn't try to pretend it would be easy. He perfectly described my atttitude and my struggle. He knew I wanted to continue. But the pressure of the moment were causing my mind to go a little crazy with anxiety.

Homeschooling our children is our goal. He was climbing it with me. But his strength gives him the ability to handle the struggles in a much different way. He can't climb the mountain for me. It is something I must learn to do, leaning on him and the Lord for guidance up to the top.

Curious, I decided to google how to climb Mount Everest . Here's a paragraph that I found.

In life, and sometimes in death, Mount Everest has had a lasting effect on all of those who have challenged its heights. It can vanquish those who disrespect it, and mercilessly test those who honor it. Yet Everest is indifferent to your presence. Climb it and you will receive a lifetime dose of humility and exhilaration.
While no analogy is perfect, I think this might describe homeschooling.

It is a mountain to be climbed. We look at the summit from a distance below and wonder how am I ever going to get there from here. We hear the stories of those who have finished and wonder will we finish as well? Will my children be all that I envision them to be? More importantly, will they become all that God envisions them to be? " Mt. Homeschooling" will have a lasting effect on all those who have challenged its heights. I have been tested in ways I never imagined. Even with all the advanced preparation and research there are always unforseen challenges. . But just like Mount Everest I know that when I persevere and continue the climb to the top I will receive a lifetime dose of humility and exhilaration.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 3:13-14

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Losing the Right to Homeschool

Daryl had a link to an article about a family losing the right to homeschool.

The parents of a baby who died after being fed a raw food diet have been given suspended sentences and probation, for child neglect convictions involving their remaining children.

Prosecutors in Miami said the other four children are underweight because their parents believe in a diet of only raw, uncooked foods. The jury did acquit the parents of manslaughter in the death of the 6-month-old girl, who weighed only seven pounds when she died in 2003. The other children have been living with a relative since the infant's death.

If another judge approves reunification of the family, the parents will have to agree to make regular visits to a pediatrician and a nutritionist. They'd also have to take a parenting course. And they couldn't home-school their kids.

This is a tragic story of seemingly obvious neglect. From this article it is unclear whether this family homeschooled or how homeschooling was even related. But the ruling presents a dilemma for our society. Should a judge be allowed to terminate a parents right to homeschool? And if so under what conditions should they be ended? We have granted the state the ability to terminate the parental rights completely. But should a court selectively determine what a parent can and can't do if they have retained the right to parent? The assumption from the judge appears to be that the schools are better equipped to catch this type of neglect. So the court has determined that in this case, the schools will protect the best interest of the child.

Tad, had at a comment at Daryl's which said in part.
Where do we draw the line between the rights of the family and the duty of the state to step in? In this case, the family made a decision, regarding diet, that not only risked the lives of their children, but resulted in the death of one of them. Should we therefore enact laws that prescribe the diet we all feed our children?
I'm genuinely curious how others view this. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Homeschooling for God

In response to my post The Homeschooling Movement, Curt asked some interesting questions in the comments.

Having made the decision to homeschool the children that I do not yet have, can you answer me this: Why is it that Christianity is so pervasive throughout homeschooling in America? There are those of us that want to teach our own children, and not simply subject them to the public children's prisons. I want my children to think for themselves, and be creative... not to be mindless gerbils. I want my children to advance at their own pace and develop a love for learning, not be held back or pushed forawrd simply because someone who doesn't know my child has decreed that that is where they need to be. I also want my children to be able to interact with everyone, not fear adults and pick on those yonger than them.

Is it too much for me to ask to have that without having religion smacked in my face at every turn? If not, could you please point me at good homeschooling resources that are not faith based?

Here are my thoughts with a few additions:

Why is Christianity so pervasive in homeschooling? Because so many of us look at our choice to homeschool based on our belief about Christ and His Word. The Scriptures tell us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." For many who homeschool, we desire our children to grow in wisdom and not just knowledge. Homeschooling provides an excellent vehicle for living out our beliefs and teaching them to our children.

Your objectives for your future children are valid but for many of us that would not be the ultimate goal. To be able think for themselves or have a love for learning is noble but what are they to think about? What are they to love learning about? That is just as important if not more so. A child may love science and desire to become a doctor. But wisdom says do not use your skills to kill innocent unborn babies. A child may show an interest in cameras and desire to be a photogrpaher. But wisdom says not to use that skill for pornography. A Christian believes wisdom has its foundation in the fear of the Lord. Without that foundation there is no wisdom.

Is it too much for me to ask to have that without having religion smacked in my face at every turn?If you were to talk with a Joe Paterno it would not take you long to figure out that he loves football. He's been a head coach Penn State for years. He lives and breathes football. He is a coach because of his love for football. It's who he is. The same is true for me and many homeschoolers.

We are Christians. It's who we are. We homeschool because of our love for Christ and obedience to HIM. To ask me not to talk about Christ but only homeschooling is impossible. It's going to come up. I suppose to one who does not know Christ that seems like a hit over the head. Maybe even offensive to some. But it's who I am. Not talking about God within homeschooling would be like separating my heart from my mind. Impossible. Are there non Christians who homeschool? Yes, I'm sure there are but I'm not among them. Homeschooling will lead to significant benefits but nothing eterenal unless we teach our children the wisdom that comes from God. Harvard is nice but Heaven is where I'm aiming.

There were othes who commented as well to Curt. He then said:

Thank you, Sue, Confessor, and Molly. While Spunky gave me the answer that I EXPECTED, you gave me the answer that I WANTED.

Nobody has yet answered the second part, however... Where am I to get information? To use the Joe Paterno analogy, I am asking Joe "Joe, I know you're the football coach for Penn State, and personally I can't stand football, but based on your 20+ years of experience here, can you tell me where the Gym is on Penn State's campus?" Surely Joe can tell me all about the Gym on campus without getting into a football discussion.

Spunky said:

But Curt you didn't ask "where the gym is?". That would be totatlly irrelevant to football and easy to answer. Like asking me to give you a recipe for chocolate cake. Your question was more like asking Joe Paterno how to play football anywhere but Penn State. He wouldn't just direct you to Ann Arbor home of the University of Michigan. He would ask you why you wanted to get away from Penn State so badly. His interest is in you as much as in the game. Not just directing people to a location. He would want to know WHY?

So when you ask me where to find out about homeschooling apart from Christ, I would then ask, "Why would anyone want to educate their child without the knowledge of God?"

Then based on that discussion I might be able to direct you to the proper resources. I also accept that not all homeschool for my reasons. But I'm not going to assume WHY you live life the way you do. You see, all curriculum is based on a worldview (even the non Christian ones). I don't know yours. So I could just send you off to some site and assume that's your worldview. But I would rather probe and find out what IS your worldview. Then based on that direct you accordingly.

My blog makes it perfectly clear what my worldview is. A few comments from you and asking a question about where to find NON faith based currciulum do not a worldview make. It is not obvious in which direction to send you. There are other coaches (and blogs) out there who will just point you to Ann Arbor. But like Joe Paterno, success in homeschooling isn't built by just giving directions but learning how and why the game is played.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Monday Returns

It's the Monday after Christmas. Thankfully we won't be making many returns. Our Christmas was simple this year and so was our gift giving.

But after a few days off, I am returning to the computer. I haven't been on much since Thursday. Here are some items of note.

Homeschool Blog Awards
Today is the last day to vote in the Homeschool Blog Awards. Voting will end at midnight (EST). Winners will be announced as soon as voting ends and votes are tabulated.

Changes in the Michigan Graduation Requirement
The Michigan State School Board has approved a change to the graduation requriements in the state. Included is a change to require the students to take atleast one online course. And if you require an online course, you have to have a computer. So I'm sure next on the agenda will be a computer for all students at taxpayer expense. What course they should take has not been defined. All students would also be required to take the Michigan Merit Exam. This was formerly the MEAP but is now it is combined with the ACT which was at one time optional. The state is also picking up the tab for those costs as well. (HT: Joanne Jacobs)

Forum On Education
I will be attending a forum on education in a few weeks. It is hosted by my State Senator Bruce Patterson and will include our State Superintendent of Schools Mike Flanagan. I have a few questions on my list. If you could ask your state officials anything in regards to education, what would it be?

The Carnival of Homeschooling
Given the ever increasing number of homeschool blogs out there, Henry Cate at Why Homeschool has decided it's time for homeschooling to have its own carnvial. A carnival is a collection of blogs written on a general topic. Each week the carnival will be hosted at at a different blog. The first carnival will be hosted by Why Homeschooling. Submissions are due by January 2. You can get all the details here. For a wonderful example of a carnival see the Carnival of Education hosted by Edwonk.

The Week Between
I will be spending the week between Christmas and New Years deep cleaning every room in my house. What do you do in the week between the two holidays?

Tapestry of Grace
We will be continuing into our study of the 20th Century using Tapestry of Grace in January. Some readers have asked me to spend a little time talking about this curriculum and how it works for our family. I am finishing that post and it should be up soon.

Blogging History
One of the topics in our study this year was the Russian Revolution. I was excited to find Melissa's blog, My Side of the Mountain. She has been posting letters written by her grandmother. Her grandmother lived in Russia and also a Polish orphanage during the 1920's. There is nothing better than an eyewitness account of history. Melissa is also my selection for the Featured Blogger on the HSB Front Porch this week.

The Front Porch
The HSB Front Porch has also posted about an online writing contest for children in grades 4-8.
Portico Books and Thumbprint Press, publishers of books for children, are pleased to announce the first-ever international Writing Contest for One-of-a-Kind Kids. This year's contest is The Grannie Annie - A Family Story Celebration. Students in grades 4-8 will interview family members and write a 250- to 500-word story from their family's history. At least ten stories will be selected for publication in Grannie Annie, Vol. I, a paperback book. For full contest details are here
Well I better get off the computer and start my cleaning. It's the bedrooms today. Don't foget to vote.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the earth
Not a teacher was telling
Of Jesus' birth

Parents send their little ones off with great care.
Believing that truth would be taught to them there.

The children settle in at desks in neat rows
While seeds of doubt are placed right under their nose.

The teachers in charge and the principal with a nod
Agree to stop saying "One Nation Under God".

When out in the courtrooms there arose such a clatter
The parents sprang up seeking change in the matter.

The judge supported the ACLU stand
Separation of Church and State,
The law of the land.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
The parents ignore it, and children continue attending here.

So with a wink of the eye and twist of the head
Our schools go on proclaiming
"God is dead."

By Spunky

Blog Awards

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bless The Lord

How do I measure whether a picture book is any good? Usually with one simple test - The Again Test. After reading the book aloud, one of the children will say, "Again! Read it Again!" At the same time I won't be groaning inside thinking, "No, Not Again!" Then I know I've found a good book. Using that rigorous standard, Johannah Bluedorn's book Bless the Lord passes with flying colors.

When we first received the book, my nine year old daughter just stared at the cover illustrations and said, "Wow!" I knew then this book would be special. The pages inside are made of heavy weight paper. That quality is important to me. A good picture book needs to stand up to multiple turnings. And trust me, you'll want to turn the pages again and again in this book. The words are taken directly from the King James Version of the 103rd Psalm. Accompanying each verse is an absolutely beautiful illustration depicting old-fashion family life. The pages are bright and colorful, holding the interest of even my youngest child. As I read the verse, she often traces her fingers over one of the animals or tries to count the flowers in the border. Each time we snuggle up to read, we notice something different in the pictures. More importantly, because she wants to read the book "again" we have memorized the 103rd Psalm without much effort at all.

This book is the second in a series. The first was Unless the Lord Build the House Psalm 127. She has also published Little Bitty Baby Learns Hebrew, The Story of Mr. Pippin, and my personal favorite My Mommy My Teacher. The story of a day with a homeschooling, farm family. Johannah Bluedorn was homeschooled and self taught in art.

I would encourage all who are looking for quality childrens literature to check out Johannah Bluedorn's books. Around here they have become favorites. Each one quietly demanding to be read again and again. You can find all these books and those of her family members at their website, Trivium Pursuit.

Bless the Lord was provided free for my review. To find out how you can become a reviewer visit Stacy at Mind & Media.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In Jesus' Name Amen

That's the way many Christians are accustomed to ending their prayers. But maybe not for long if you are a chaplain in the military.
To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday. "I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt.
According to a Rev. Billy Baugham, executive director of the Greenville, S.C.-based International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, the chaplains are unsure of who they are allowed to direct their prayers to, "

So, to what deity do you address your prayer to?" Mr. Baugham asked. "No one knows. And who gets to write the prayers? Once the government becomes the approving authority, the poor chaplain is forced to be an agent of the state."

Mr. Baugham said he had "just got a call from an Army chaplain in Iraq who says he'd be hammered if he used Jesus' name. Chaplains are scared to death. They must clear their prayers with their commanders, they can mention Jesus' name at chapel services, but not outside that context."

Jesus is being taken out of the schools, the stores, and the military. There's only one place left - our homes. Funny, there was a day when we thought we were free.

Principiis obsta and Finem respice -

"Resist the beginnings" and "Consider the end".

Intelligent Design

From the Washington Post, Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, a Republican appointed by President Bush, did not confine his opinion to the missteps of a local school board. Instead he explicitly sought to vanquish intelligent design, the argument that aspects of life are so complex as to require the hand, subtle or not, of a supernatural creator. This theory, he said, relies on the unprovable existence of a Christian God and therefore is not science.
Why do parents keep fighting these battles with the schools?

Referring back to an article from Fox News Why Fight Over Intelligent Design from November,

We're fighting because the institution of public schooling forces us to, by permitting only one government-sanctioned explanation of human origins. The only way for one side to have its views reflected in the official curriculum is at the expense of the other side.

This manufactured conflict serves no public good.

The sad truth is that state-run schooling has created a multitude of similarly pointless battles. Nothing is gained, for instance, by compelling conformity on school prayer, random drug testing, the set of religious holidays that are worth observing, or the most appropriate forms of sex education.

Fortunately, there is a way to end the cycle of educational violence: parental choice. Why not reorganize our schools so that parents can easily get the sort of education they value for their own children without having to force it on their neighbors?

But in the meantime, just because they take your money doesn't mean they have to have your children's mind too.

For more reading check out Sam Alibrando author of the book, Nature Never Stops Talking. He had an excellent post a while back that is worth reading. Football and Science - There are rules.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Homeschooling Movement

Here's a well kept secret about me. I'm a strong proponent of home education. I know, I know it's a startling revelation but I have decided to stop hiding behind my monitor and tell all. And since I'm bearing my soul I have one more confession to make. I'm a Christian too. Calm down. You were bound to find out eventually. So this makes me a Christian homeschooler. Okay, so now you know the truth. I hope we can still be friends.

But having said that I don't feel an overwhelming burden to protect the Christian homeschooling movement. Nor do I feel the need to revolutionize education. Why do I bring all this up now?

Phil Johnson, at Pyromaniac had a quote that I've been pondering since he posted it a while back.
Christian homeschoolers need to guard diligently against allowing their movement to become just one more vehicle for the kind of ecumenism that surrenders vital distinctives of classic Christianity while making unholy alliances in the name of impacting the culture, upholding high moral standards, opposing secularism, or whatever.
Yes, Christians homeschool were probably some of the earliest pioneers but does that make this a "Christian movement?" Is it a movement belonging to only one group? And is it my responsiblity to make sure that it continues to thrive?

Micheal Smith, President of HSLDA, said in the Washington Times,

One of the most effective ways of growing the home-school movement is for home-school families to spread the word about what they have discovered. They should be equipped with facts and figures that support home-schooling. They should be able to point people to "getting-started resources" and local support groups. This is a challenge for all home-schoolers, because if we do not look for opportunities at our church or at work to make the case for home-schooling, then too many families will fail to understand that home-schooling is a viable option. Also, previously home-schooling families could be enticed back under the public system via ever-increasing subsidies, without existing home-school families who are willing to lend a hand.

There are millions of parents who would benefit from making this important choice. In order for home-schooling to fulfill its potential and revolutionize education in this country, home-schooling parents need to persuade other parents that the benefits of home-schooling outweigh the burdens. This is one of the most important challenges facing home-schooling today. I trust that the home-school movement will choose to go the extra mile and ensure that home-schooling continues to thrive.

I understand what both these men are saying. But one the one hand we have Micheal Smith telling us to go out and preach the good news of homeschooling. And on the other Phil Johnson is warning of the dangers of allowing just anyone into "our movement" to the point where we surrender the vital distinctives of classical Christianity.

My desire is not to change hearts toward homeschooling or keep a movement going Christian or otherwise. My zeal for the Lord. In Him I find the strength to educate my children.

Trends in Education

What Every 3rd Grader Needs to Know
Diversity training is all the rage in schools these days. Parents have accepted this teaching as part of the public schools desire to create a culture of understanding. The last thing anyone wants to be labeled is "intolerant".

A school in California is taking diversity training to a new level. They are training the junior high school students to teach diversity to the younger students in the district.

Come January, 68 students will take the stage at neighboring elementary schools in the Saugus Union School District to deliver short performances to third-graders about respecting race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
The students have been in training since November. Just what is a thirteen year old is going to teach an eight year old about sexual orientation?

(HT: Jessica at Our Family's Highlights)

Are the public schools short changing our boys?
I was out walking one day when our children were little. We happened to walk past our local elementary school. Class was in session. Curious, the children asked if they could peek in the windows. Sure I said just don't stare too long. As I lingered back with the baby in the stroller the older three cupped their hands to see inside the darkened glass. They took a quick look and came running back to my side.

"Mom , there just sitting there." They said. "Do they get to get up at all?"

"Yes, but with so many children they have to maintain a certain amount of order. They will get up for lunch and a short recess."

"And then they sit back in their seats?"

"Pretty much. They'll move around the room some but for the most part they sit in their desks."

"Where's the refridgerator?" My son wondered.

"They don't need one. They eat in the cafeteria."

"Sit at a desk and no fridge, Mommy, don't ever send me there."

And so he realized early on that his appetite for food and his energy for life would never be compatible with the typical school situation.

It seems as though researchers are coming to the same startling conclusion - boys and girls learn differently. Current research shows it's the boys who are suffering the most.

Boys' learning abilities mature later than girls; consequently, boys enter school behind girls in reading and writing ability. That means the recent emphasis on early learning, before boys are prepared, leads to more boys disengaging from school.

In addition, boys need more hands-on experience and visual stimuli to learn. But schools are generally organized so that students sit at desks and listen. And boys are more impulsive and physical, but schools have cut recess time and demanded more discipline.

I have seen this with my own boys. Not just when their young but even as teens. They are different. God made it so. They need to eat often and flex their muscles. This keeps their minds alert and more seems to get accomplished.

Having a hard day?

We all have days when we hope to "just survive" the day. It seems as though anything that anthing that can go wrong does. Well after reading about Shayna Richardson I'm rethinking my definition of a hard day.

Richardson, 21, of Joplin, Mo., was skydiving in Siloam Springs on Oct. 9 when her main parachute failed. "I heard a snap and I started spinning and I didn't know why. I didn't know what to do to fix it. I didn't know how to make it stop," Richardson told Fort Smith, Ark., television station KFSM.

She cut away her primary chute so her reserve could deploy, but it didn't open all the way. She spun out of control, heading straight for the asphalt below.

Read the rest of her story here.

Dealing with Temptation

Our children, especially the boys, are being bombarded with suggestive images that distract and tempt. It's everywhere. A friend's son begged to be homeschooled just to keep his mind pure at school. And unfortunately, the church doesn't do a whole lot to help in this area. Is it a hopeless cause? Or are there things a parent can do to help their children walk in holiness in a culture of promiscuity.

A friend asked my husband to answer a few questions in regards to raising children who are pure in mind and body. His answers I think provide a workable framerwork to build upon to encourage purity in our children.

Pornography is destroying lives. Do you agree with this and if so in what ways does pornography destroy? If not, why is there so much made of it?
I agree that pornography is destroying lives. Pornography is a fictional world that dulls ones senses for the real world. The fantasy is always better than the reality and can never be satisfied. It becomes an all consuming fire that ultimately destroys everything -- relationships, self-respect, self-control, and the soul.

You are a parent of several teenagers. As a parent, what steps do you take to prepare them to fight the battle against lust?
Three of our six children are teens; two of them are boys, whom I consider to be the most vulnerable. Our approach with the older children is to be frank and honest in discussing sexual issues. We tell them what is going on with their bodies, what to expect in the years ahead, and how this all fits into God's plan for them as married adults. We also discuss the misuses of their bodies and thoughts with respect to sex.

For our daughter, we have explained that men are visually-oriented and how she can prevent unwanted attention by her conduct and dress. For the boys, we have pointed out the many ways the world appeals to their senses and how to respond when confronted with a tempting sight. This includes how to monitor commercials on TV (when we rarely watch) in order to turn bad ones off quickly, how to avoid unwanted public displays of pornography (billboards, magazines at the checkout, etc.), and how to turn his eyes elsewhere and give his thoughts to Christ when tempted by an attractive young lady on the street. There are positive ways to handle these situations and young men and women need parental input, rather than dealing with it alone. I call it "practical discipleship."

Do you think that it will help?
Yes, I do. It won't make them perfect. They will stumble at times. Temptation is a daily battle we all face. However, I believe our efforts will give them a fighting chance to live pure and holy before the Lord. When tempted, they will know how to respond. If they stumble, they will know to look to Christ for grace. We are equipping them, but they must be willing to own and apply that training.

What steps can parents take to create a heart that will receive godly counsel from parents well?
A parent's best tools for having children that will receive godly counsel are time, communication, and humility.
Time. You must be willing to spend significant time with your children from an early age on up. You are always the parent, but you can become a trusted friend by taking time with your children and cultivating a close relationship built on love and mutual respect.

Communication. While you are spending time with your children, it is the perfect opportunity to communicate your values and wisdom through your words and actions. Talk to them. Ask them what they think. Tell them what you think and why. Explain the things of God and how the world works. They desperately want to know and they want to know it from you.

Humility. Be willing to admit your mistakes, to apologize, and to ask forgiveness. Your children will be more willing to approach you for advice and to confess their own errors if they see it is an important part of your life too. There is a measure of comfort in coming before someone that we believe can relate to us as we are. This is what Jesus did through the incarnation.

Do you have any further thoughts regarding the training and teaching of our children to pursue holiness ...
My other advice on training children for holiness is to avoid the mass media as much as possible -- TV, radio, movies, videos, newspapers, magazines, computer games, and the internet. At best, these things are a distraction, including the Christian stuff. At their worst, the mass media open Pandora's Box and lead to Hell's gates. You can live without the mass media as a child. When your children get older, you can begin to introduce them to appropriate doses of the mass media as a tool to accomplish something (research, communication, etc.) rather than as mindless, idiotic entertainment. There are plenty of other exciting things to do in God's creation besides sit in front of a machine and waste the mind and body God gave us.

Friday, December 16, 2005

And God said....

Let there be snow!

And there was snow!

Lots of snow!

Check it out: End of year Christmas inventory reduction sale. Save 33% to 70% off on Civil War Dads and other tapes by my husband Steve Braun.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

God NO, Santa Yes!

What's a teacher to do? She is forbidden to tell the students there is a God but is required to tell the children there IS a Santa Claus. Atleast that's what a school down in Richardson Texas is saying. She dared tell her little charges the truth about Santa and the parents responded with enough fire to melt the North Pole. Here's what Michael Millett had to say, "
When you take a 6-year-old and tell him [there's no Santa], you got to spend how much time to get him to believe again. The damage is done,"
The teacher was forced to tell the children that she actually talked to Santa and that the spirit of the Holidays are alive and well. How reassuring. Never mind that the season has nothing to do with Santa and everything to do with Jesus. We don't want to confuse the poor dears with the truth at such a young age. Never mind, how much time God's going to have to spend getting them to believe again. The damage is already done.

And here's one final thought...If Santa knows if we've been bad or good and lying is bad. What does that mean for the teachers down in....oh never mind, Merry Santamas to all and to all a good night.

Check it out: End of year Christmas inventory reduction sale. Save 33% to 70% off on Civil War Dads and other tapes by my husband Steve Braun.

Preparing for the Big Event

Blog Awards

December seems to be a month of big events.

There's an over abundance of family, company, and church gatherings to fill the calendar and our stomachs. We've attended and hosted a few such gatherings in recent weeks. Usually, before the event there's the inevitable preparation. The house to clean, the cookies to bake, children to bathe, clothes to iron, decorations to hang and the list goes on and on. The preparation and busyness seems endless even as the guests begin to arrive.

Then there were the Christmas concerts our family participated in. Lots to get ready for there too. Does everyone's black shoes, skirts, and pants, still fit from last spring? How about the white shirts? Why didn't anyone tell me that there was a stain on this one? More baths to do and hair to fix right up to the minute we all get in the van. That's not even counting the practice and rehearsal hours spent the previous months.

And of course there's Christmas Day. It's prepare, prepare, prepare all the time.

In all this hustle and bustle it's easy to forget what really is a big event.

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." Mark 10:32

Now that's big. A death, and a resurrection in one weekend. Not to mention the trip to Jerusalem. Yikes! How do you prepare? Obviously you consider the most important things first, "What am I going to wear?" Not Jesus. Does he have the donkey packed and ready to go? No. He quietly trusts that those details will be taken care of.

Just as Jesus begins to prep the disciples, the usual bickering between brothers breaks out. The argument is predictable - who get's to sit in the front seat. James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, argued with Jesus they should sit on the right and left. The other ten disciples become indignant. Great! Just as He's about to enter Jerusalem he has to hassle with quarreling discples. Does Jesus get mad at them for arguing and ruining HIS day? Does he send them all to a time-out yelling, "That's it! No one's going to Jerusalem with me today." No. Jesus dismisses their request, and reminds them of the priorities.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Gulp. Here was the biggest event in the earthly life of Jesus and His heart remains that of a servant. How could the star of the show not demand to be served. After all isn't this all about HIM?

He then continues to Jericho and meets up with blind beggar named Bartemaeus. When the beggar heard that Jesus was in town he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many tried to quiet him down. After all this was Jesus on his way to Jerusalem for the BIG EVENT. How could he possibly have time for a blind beggar on the side of the road. But Jesus still refused to think of himself. He stops and calls the man to Him and heals him. The man immediately recieves his sight and FOLLOWS JESUS down the road. A miracle occurred that day and a man became a follower of Christ.

How often do I miss such opportunities? Rushing to and fro to get my "priorities" accomplished. Thinking only of ME and MY big event. Missing the "blind beggar" along the road.

Could it be that what I consider "big events" are really just the backdrop? Maybe they are actually the small events. Maybe the really big events are those that I might meet on the way? And quite possibly bring along to the really BIG EVENT --Eternity.

He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Check it out: End of year Christmas inventory reduction sale. Save 33% to 70% off on Civil War Dads and other tapes by my husband Steve Braun.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Musical Memories

Blog Awards

Things went very well on the first day of voting for the blog awards. We have had nearly 1000 votes cast so far. I'm so glad the voting was automated. Otherwise, the winners might not have been announced until 2007. I'm not privy to the numbers yet so I don't know who is in the lead in any of the categories. I don't think I'll look until the voting is over. I love the suspense. I"m also afraid I might stuff the ballot for Spunky Jr. in the best teen category!

The blog awards is not the only reason to get dressed up around here these days. We've been attending our chiildren's Christmas concerts. The older three are in the local community youth symphony. And four of them participate in a homeschool concert band. It is wonderful to see the fruits of their hard work.

Where did all this musical ability come from? I believe it was divine intervention. The thought of 6 more croacking out tunes like their mother was too much for the Lord's ears. HE had to do something.

All my children love music and play multiple instruments. Our home is never quiet because someone is always playing something. This is nothing short of amazing to me. Rest assured their talent is not inherited. My husband and I don't have one ounce of musical ability. I play the radio because that's the only way I can carry a tune. When I want a room to myself I just start to belt out a song like "Love Will Keep Us Together". Before long I'm alone.

Somehow music is a part of our lives. People have oftened asked me how we did it. Well, I'd like to think I was the conductor of a magnificent plan that cresendoed into a symphony of sounds. But I'm not. However, there are a few things that we did early on that now looking back have been instrumental in their musical development.

1. We took advantage of free concerts. From the time my children were little I took them to concerts. We lived near the University of Michigan school of music and I would go to recitals. In the fall, we would go listen to the Marching Band rehearse on the practice field. They would sit on the side and march as they practiced. That was nice because they didn't have to sit still and be quiet. The indoor concerts required me to teach them how to sit quiet but once that was done I could pretty much take them anywhere. Many churches also have musicals and I always tried to check the papers and attend those. A personal favorite was a "human Christmas Tree" where the choir was placed on risers and shaped into a tree. All the music was acapella. It was beautiful and entertaining.

2. We kept them in church with us during the worship and sermon both. The praise and worship are always a favorite. I think this is where my son Jason developed his love of the drums. Now that he is older he is frequently in the basement worshipping on his set with a praise CD. We also played church worship team alot at home. They would gather whatever "instruments" (read pots and pans and recorders) and a few play guitars and we'd all sing to the Lord. (That was back when they didn't care how I sang!)

3. We didn't buy them their instruments. When my children expressed an interest in an instrument we encouraged them to save their money. When they had enough they purchased the instrument. We did help with the rentals to make sure they wanted to play that instrument. But the purchase was their responsibility. They have been able to purchase two violins, two trumpets, a flute, and a drum set, and a electric keyboard. The clarinet and oboe were mine (from my feable attempt at music in my youth). Friends gave us a flute and a trombone. The piano we have was also given to us.

The way they earned their money is a post for another day. We do not pay an allowance they earned all the money themselves. They are not super kids by any means. But children who want to do something will find a way to pay for it when given the opportunity. A side benefit is that since they made the purchase they take much better care of the instruments and also practice more faithfully.

A special memory for me was when my son, Joshua (12) gave his first violin away when he purchased his full size. He could have traded it in to help defray the cost of his full size but he insisted he didn't want to. On his younger sister's 10th birthday he put it into a big black bag and gave it to her as a gift. He is now helping her learn how to play.

4. We play alot of music during the day. When they were little I picked one classical CD and played it for that week. We would then choose another composer the next week. Most of the CD's were not purchased we checked them out of our library. We were especially fond of the composer/story CD's. Like Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, Bethoven Lives Upstairs, and When Bach Comes to Call.

5. We were creative with lessons. We have bartered meals for piano lessons. My daughter, Kristin, learned how to cook by making a meal for piano teacher once a week. This saved him the hassle of cooking and Kristin felt like she was contributing to the lessons. As she progressed she became responsible for teaching some of the younger children. This reinforced her learning and created a special musical bond between them. Since the instruments have been purchased the children also contribute to the weekly lesson payments. Kristin also has a few piano students who pay her and she uses the money to pay for her flute lessons.

6. Four are involved in homeschool concert band and three are in orchestra. The ability to play in a group situation has been helpful in their development. We helped organize the band so that our children would have another outlet for their music.

These are some of the things that come to mind when it comes to raising muscial children. When my children first started playing their was a lot of "joyful noise". But now that they are getting older and more proficient the melodies are a beautiful blessing to our household.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Time to Vote!

Blog Awards

That's right! Now's the time to cast your votes in the Homeschool Blog Awards 2005. I apologize for the delay. But a delay today means easier voting and tabulating. A hearty thank you to Jake at Still Thinking for programming the poll. This homeschooler is brilliant!

There are so many excellent bloggers and nominees. Please take time to visit the blogs before casting your vote. It is tempting to just vote for the blogs you currently visit. But please take the time to visit all the blogs before you cast your votes.

Here are the rules.

1. No voting by email.
2. No anonymous votes. Please use a valid email or blog URL.
3. You can only vote once. Duplicates will be deleted and votes disqualified.
4. You can only vote for ONE blog in each category.
5. A blog can only win in ONE category vote.
6. In the event of a tie, both blogs will be given the award in that category.
7. In some categories, both a teen and a parent blog may be chosen.
8. Voting will end on December 26, 2005 at Midnight EST.
9. Winners will be announced as soon as all votes are counted and verified. No later than January 1st, 2006.

A special thank-you to those that helped me with these awards!

Thanks to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and for sponsoring this contest. Make sure you check out their websites. There is loads of homeschool information. Also, if you're not currently a subscriber to The Old Schoolhouse this would make an excellent Christmas gift for you or a friend.

Thanks to Jake Smith of StillThinking for the programming assistance and developing the poll page. And many thanks to the young ladies at Beauty from the Heart who spent many hours working on the nominations lists.

Many thanks to Jay from Cleveland and Andrea at A Typical Homeschool. They have designed blog buttons for all the nominees (above and to the right). So if you've been nominated in any category please feel free to use either blog button to let your readers know.

Please do not vote in the comments section. Comments are reserved for those who would like to thank Spunky Jr. or send her a Starbuck's gift card for all her hard work! I could not have done these awards without her. Thanks you so much!

And lastly, thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who make blogging so much fun! Please don't forget to spread the word!

If you are having trouble uploading the buttons, Jay from Cleveland has graciously provided instructions on how to do so.

Voting will begin today

Blog Awards

Voting will begin today after we finish compiling all the nominations.

Thanks to StillThinking, the voting process is now going to be automated. This short-term delay will make it easier to vote. We're getting very close to being done. Thanks for your patience.

UPDATE: Due to some internet problems, voting has been delayed. We are just doing final edits and checking links. We're hoping to still get the nominations posted today, but with the internet you're never sure!


While your're waiting here are some interesting reads.

Blacks turning to homeschooling.

From the New York Times

The move toward home schooling, advocates say, reflects a wider desire among families of all races to guide their children's religious upbringing, but it also reflects concerns about other issues like substandard schools and the preservation of cultural heritage.

I think this is a growing trend. Many that I talk to think it is still illegal to homeschool. As this misinformaiton is cleared up, more and more will look at the homeschooling option. Living around the Detroit area, I have met quite a few blacks who homeschool. And they are doing quite well. (HT: Joanne Jacobs)

The Christmas Box

If you read only one book as a Christmas read aloud make it the Christmas Box. This book presents a perspective on Christmas that busy families especially fathers ought to read. I highly recommend it.

Why December 25th?

Do Christmas and December 25th really have anything to do with each other? World Magazine had an interesting article in their magazine explaining the significance of the date. He presents some historical information that I didn't know. In the end he comes to the conlcusion,

Regardless of whether this was Christ's actual birthday, the symbolism works.
And Christ's birth is inextricably linked to His resurrection.


Thanks to all who expressed their thoughts on Narnia. It was a good discussion and I learned a lot. Time will tell if the "teach Disney" strategy will work. I have heard from a few friends that saw the movie that they noticed that the role of Aslan was minimized in favor of the children. Christian movie critic Ted Baehr who reviewed Narnia very favorably saw it as well.

"Finally, the resurrection romp with Aslan, Lucy and Susan has also been eliminated, and the movie focuses more on the children being the solution to the evil in Narnia when in fact the victory is Aslan's, and the children, just like we are in our world, are more than conquerors because they are heirs to the victory that Aslan wins on the stone table, and Jesus Christ won on the cross.

"Again, however, these changes are subtle, with a little more emphasis on the Creation rather than the Creator. Even so, you have to be very close to the book and very theologically astute to notice the changes.

I must have very theologically astute friends. Amy at Amy Loves Books must be as well because she caught the change. She commented how no one in the theatre had any emotion when Aslan died.

I think I've realized what the problem is. The movie is not really about Aslan at all; it is about the children. As you watch, you get the message that the children are the important thing. The witch wants to kill the children, the beavers must take the children to Aslan. There is never any sense that the children need Aslan - it's as if Aslan needs the children. Aslan's sacrifice is cheapened.

I remember the emotion of the book as well. So now I'm curious, did those who viewed the movie sense the importance and emotion in the death of Aslan? Or did you think it was more about the children's doing as Amy and Ted Baehr did?

(Thanks to Tulip Girl for pointing me to Amy's review)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Predestination anyone?

Blog Awards

I didn't take any offense at those who disagreed with my stance on Narnia. Nor do I judge anyone for going to see it. I honestly didn't think what I said was all that earth shattering. But I guess it was. I understand that there are those who want to show Disney we support them when they do something good. Obviously, my not seeing it isn't going to affect them. In the end the strategy may work. Time will tell.

But in an effort to lighten the discussion I thought I would talk about something a little less controversial today - Predestination. Just kidding. This is not a theology blog. So you'll have to look somewhere else for that discussion.

I know there have been many who have been visiting for the first time from various places and this is also awards time. So I thought I'd repeat one of my favorite posts.

Successful Bloggers and Homeschoolers

Catez asked the question "Are you a successful blogger?" To be honest, the idea of a "successful blogger" is of little concern to me. Sure, I blog. But I'm not seeking to be a successful blogger. Why? Because blogging is a tool that I use to be successful at something far more important. And that is, the discipleship of my children and a witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So asking me if I am a successful blogger is a little like asking the carpenter if he is a successful "hammerer". (I know that's not a word!) But if he uses a hammer correctly, he will build a better house. I feel the same way about my blogging. If I use my blogging correctly, I will accomplish the larger goals I have set out.

The same is also true about homeschooling. When I first starting homeschooling I thought about all the things that would make homeschooling a success. And I often compared myself to other families and used them as the way to determine my success. (Just like I'm tempted to do in blogging.) And to no great surprise, I usually come up short. I seemed to be unable to measure up to the mythical standard of the "perfect homeschool family".

Many families give up at this point. Thinking that they have somehow failed their children, they hope a different school arrangement will accomplish what they have "failed" to do. But over the years, I have noticed that it rarely does. Why? Because it's not a method it's a Man.

Just in the past few months adultery, divorce, and suicide have all touched our local homeschool community. Homeschooling is not the salvation of our culture. Jesus is. Homeschooling will not make a family successful. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a child from rebellion. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a marriage strong. Jesus does. And the minute, I think that homeschooling will do any of these things, is the day I begin the slide toward defeat. Homeschooling will not build a successful family any more than a hammer will build a successful house.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Psalm 127:1

Don't expect homeschooling to do what homeschooling was not designed to do. So if you find yourself, as I often have, in a panic because you think you are not meeting the standard of a "successful homeschooler". Think again and give up the "mythical standard." Don't compare yourself to those around you. Fix your eyes on HIM. Don't give up homeschooling. (A carpentar would be lost without his hammer.) Give it back to the Master Craftsman and let HIM design your family according to his specifications and for HIS glory.

(If you liked this post you may also want to read Why Do We Educate?)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Narnia NOT - and other thoughts

Blog Awards

Is anyone else in America NOT going to see Narnia? Or are we the only ones? We went through the series as a read aloud and enjoyed them. But I'm not interested in any movie put out by Disney. They ought to rename that company Depravity. One "good" movie won't change my mind either. Maybe when they start pulling the MANY "bad" ones OFF the market I will reconsider. (Update: Amy Loves Books shares her thoughts after seeing the movie. They are worth reading.)

Family Read Alouds
Speaking of C.S. Lewis, we just finished reading The Great Divorce as a read aloud. It took a few chapters to get into but we all enjoyed it. We began Mere Christianity last night. We are also reading The Christmas Box by Evans. . It is a short story so I think we'll have time for one more before Christmas arrives. I would love to hear your family's recommendation for a Christmas read aloud.

Churches Shutting On Christmas Day
And that brings me to one final thought about churches shutting their doors on Christmas Day. This is mostly the doing of the mega churches who consider it a family day even though Christmas is on Sunday. I cannot add much to what Ben Worthington said about this so I'll just quote him,

Our culture does not need any encouragement to be more self-centered and narcissistic or to stay at home on Sunday. It is already that way. Christmas above all else should be a day when we come together as the body of Christ to worship and adore the Lord Jesus. Christmas should be the day above all days where we don't stay home and open all those things we bought for ourselves INSTEAD of going to church. Christmas should be the day when we forget about ourselves for a few hours and go and honor the birthday of the great King, our Savior.
I wonder if Narnia opened on Christmas Day would the Christians stay home then?

Confessor blogged about it here. Agent Tim has blogged about this topic as well and JollyBlogger had this post up with some links.

Special Needs Homeschooling

Blog Awards

A reader e-mailed and asked if I knew of any curriculum geared towards special needs, learning disabled, children. She is prayerfully considering homeschooling, and cant find a lot of resources for this area. Here are a few resources that may help. If others would like to share their blog or website information in a comment please feel free.

NATHHAN Homeschool The stated purpose of NATHAN (National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network) is to encourage homeschooling families with special needs children, in ways that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and to find Christian homes for children with special needs.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has just started an e-newsletter for parents looking for help for the children. It will be written by homeschooler and author Christine Field. It's going to be for parents of special learners. That can mean a learning disability, or ADHD, or a different learning style. The goal of the e-newsletter is to equip the parent/teacher of that special learner, with encouragement to do the job the Lord has given you. Her blog Christine Field Notes has all the details.

Ann Zeise at Homeschooling A to Z also has bunch of links to special needs websites.

Any one else with some tips?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Come on Glenn! Just Homeschool

Blog Awards

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) is all in a dither that his second grade daughter has to carry such a heavy load home each night from school. Here's a picture of her back pack of books. He says that it weighs 19 pounds. Nearly one third her body weight. Glenn is surprised that no one seems to care. From the KnoxNews:

The folks at the school, however, don't seem to care; I've raised it with them but they've been utterly dismissive.

Given that they seem to find time during the school day to have kids write D.A.R.E. essays in which they promise that alcohol will never touch their lips, I wonder why they can't find enough class time to get all this work done during the school day?

Knox County Schools seem to be able to find time for everything except, you know, teaching. I can't say I'm surprised that they're losing so many people to private schools and homeschooling, but I am surprised that the folks from Knox County don't seem to care

He can end her pain and his too --just homeschool. If he acts quickly enough there may even be time to get him nominated for Best Homeschool Dad Blog. With his readership he'd be a shoe in for sure. Or maybe he can start a whole new blog and call it InstaSchool!

(HT: Joanne Jacobs)

A Real Winner

Blog Awards

While I'm on the subject of awards, here's a young man from California who definitely deserves some recognition.

Michael Viscardi, a senior from San Diego, won a $100,000 college scholarship, the top individual prize in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. (snip)

Viscardi tackled a 19th century math problem known as the Dirichlet problem, formulated by the mathematician Lejeune Dirichlet. The theorem Viscardi created to solve it has potential applications in the fields of engineering and physics, including airplane wing design. He said he worked on it for about six months with a professor at UCSD.

"He is a super-duper mathematics student," said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. "It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he's only 16 years old," she said.


(Thanks to the Evangelical Ecologist for the tip.)

Thank you!

Thank you to Sallie at Two Talent Living for the Blogs of Beauty Awards. It is no small job to coordinate and execute such a task. Outstanding job!

Congratulations to all the blogs that won. There are some excellent blogs out there! I have learned about many new ones through this contest. (Here's a complete list of winners.)

Thank you to all selected me for Best Homeschooling Blog. The other finalists, Guilt Free Homeschooling and Dominion Family, are both excellent blogs. I hope you take the time to visit and learn from them.

Even though only one winner can be selected in these awards, I don't look upon my fellow bloggers as competitiors. We are more akin to fellow comrades in a desire to do the best for the Lord, our families, and one another.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13

Thankfully, that is one race where we can all be winners and I hear the awards banquet will be heavenly.

(Note: There is still time to nominate in the Homeschooling Blog Awards 2005. This is an award for those bloggers who homeschool.)