Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blogging is not educational

That's what a high school principal in Vermont thinks.

Principal Chris Sousa said the decision to block the site from school was made because blogging is not an educational use of school computers.
I guess that depends on what the teens are blogging about. If they are like most teens he's probably right but if he read a few of these blogs he might see things a little differently. Here's what these teens are blogging about:

Spunky Jr. standing in the gap and the myths of homeschooling
Adrenalin obedience and submission
Agent Tim his trip to the White House complete with audio
Voice in the Wilderness Prayer without ceasing
Boy Scout Blogger standing in the gap


For other blogs on education check out the
Education Carnival hosted by Edwonk.

(Hat tip: Weapons of Mass Distraction for spotting the high school in VT)

Spring Cleaning

Getting ready to do some spring cleaning. Here are some areas I am working on.

1. Declutter your thoughts.

2. Put away all gossip and idle chatter.

3. Wash your mind with the word of God.

4. Plant seeds of joy and encouragement in those you meet.

5. Rain buckets of praise upon those that are discouraged.

6. Sweep away all distractions that keep you from focusing on what is truly important.

7. Shine your light in the darkness.

Happy cleaning!



Having trouble getting your child to obey. Have him memorize what they youngsters in the 1800's had to learn.
Next to your duty to God, is your duty to your parents. He has made them your guides, because they are wiser than you and love you better than any other earthly friends. You cannot always understand the reasons for their commands. It is not necessary that you should. If you live to be as old as they are you will perceive that their restrains were for your good.

When your parents are absent observe their commands with the same fidelity as if they were present. The child who obeys only when under the eye of a superior, has not learned obedience. He, who seeth at all times, and in every place, is displeased with those who deceive their parents. He hath promised to reward those who "honor their father and mother".

By faithfully discharging your first and earliest obligations, you will be prepared to act well your part in future life. You will maintain good order in your families, and honor just government in the land. And if you live to be old, and have only a few gray hairs where your bright locks now grow, you will deserve from the young the same cheerful obedience and grateful respect which you have yourself shown to your superiors.
My children have all memorized this as part of our one room school house living history presentations.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Why didn't someone think of this sooner?

Edwonk highlights an "unusual" idea for education in Michigan.

Carman Park Elementary School may soon be a grade-free school. Students would learn based on ability level, regardless of age. If a fourth-grader is ready for algebra, he or she would be grouped with children of varying ages studying algebra. Teachers would no longer teach the same lesson to 25 students. Instead, educators would visit groups of five to seven students for instruction. The concept - called nongraded or multi-age education - isn't new, but it's unusual for a school district to eliminate grades.(snip)

Right now, we have a mass production system of education," Behm said. "We need a system that individualizes and is customizable."

So putting their ideas with those of the Denver school district I guess a homeschooler is a subsitute teacher who acts as a guide in a nongraded or multi-age system that individualizes and customizes the children's education.

And I used to think that I was just a mom.


Unqualified to teach

but not unqualified to substitute. That's what the Denver School District is saying and even willing to pay for. I don't get it.


What's your agenda?

Over at MSNBC they are priding themselves on their ability to stay above the fray free from pandering to the agendas of various groups.

While other shows may be catering to zealots and activists who have latched onto this issue just to further an agenda on one side or the other, today on Connected we are going to offer pure information, free of elected officials and family bickering.

A panel of some of the finest doctors and ethicists in the country will assemble for the hour to answer the fundamental questions at the core of this drama: How is brain death defined? Is it
possible to recover from a persistent vegetative state? And, most importantly, if a person is doomed to remain on a feeding tube for the remainder of her days, does that constitute xtraordinary care?

So here you have it. Politicians and family members have agendas but the doctors and ethicists don't? Can you see where this is headed? We are too partisan or too stupid to make decisions for ourselves we need the "unbiased wisdom" of doctors and ethicists. But what is their standard based on? Wisdom Matters.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Teenage wisdom

While the schools are giving parenting advice ....Adrenalin, (aka my son Jason) is giving advice to teens on submission and obedience.
When you speak to your parents does your tone of voice show that you respect them and want to hear what they have to say? When your parents ask you to do something do you grumble and complain about the work that they give you or do you cheerfully go and do what is asked. Let’s put it his way…when your parents tell you can go play a game or basketball do you grumble and complain? Put the same earnestness as you would in a game into your chores and schoolwork.
I didn't think like that when I was his age but I must admit, it sure does make my job easier.


Parenting the Parents

So now we have the schools teaching the parents how to be parents.

I think it's great that we want to help parents become better parents but why does the school district have to take on this responsbility? With a
budget crisis in Michigan and many schools suffering due to a lack of funds they are spending money telling the parents how to be parents.

Kirksey said that many of the parents who participate in the Parent-Infant and PREP programs are professionals who, despite being well educated in their fields, tend to be hungry for information about parenting.
So the public schools can make great workers out of children but leave them unable to parent for lack of knowledge. So who do these parents look to for help? These same schools of course. Makes perfect sense to me.


(For more reading see: Outsourcing Parenthood)

What the media has wrought

Michael Spencer has a great essay how the media impacts what we think about. Here's a peek.

Somewhere, someone is planning what we should care about next. Pundits, reporters, talk show personalities, activists: they all have a plan for what we need to care about. Millions of us listen every day, and our thoughts and emotions are driven by things that are real, but are far from us. Meanwhile, all around us, we lose track of the hurts and lives of real people that matter to
Jesus. I've addressed this before as it related to our spiritual focus, but now is a good time to ask the question: What will we care about next, and why?
We do not watch any TV and have not for the past nineteen years. That may sound radical but it isn't really. Sure content was a part of the reason but mainly it was because we found out exactly what you Michael Spencer did. They were telling us what to think about and what to think about it. We didn't want others to have that much influence over our thoughts.

One minute you hear about a murder on the news and the next minute your told about an NBA playoff score. Your mind tends to process both as equally important and slowly you become desensitized to the significance of one over the other. Moreover, over time the terms of the debate are framed using their definitions rather than a biblical one. Death is no longer the absence of any life it reclassified based on what functions are available. "Brain Dead", PVS, or other such things. Slowly, these definitions creep into the Christian vocabulary and the biblical standard is weakened. We have let others define the debate and we merely respond (using their terminology). That is a defensive strategy and usually not a winning won.

Turn of the TV and turn to the Word of God. Let God orient you thinking and your actions. If you think this can't be done in your family your wrong. We have 6 children and we haven't missed it at all. To find out how what we do click here.


(Hat tip: Proverbial wife)

Saturday, March 26, 2005

On Being Morally Neutral

I came across a column written by David Brooks for the New York Times. He is discussing moral relativism in regards to Terri Schiavo and making the distinction between the beliefs of the conservatives and the liberals:

The core belief that social conservatives bring to cases like Terri Schiavo's is that the value of each individual life is intrinsic. The value of a life doesn't depend upon what a person can physically do, experience or achieve. The life of a comatose person or a fetus has the same dignity and worth as the life of a fully functioning adult. (snip)

The weakness of the social conservative case is that for most of us, especially in these days of advanced medical technology, it is hard to ignore distinctions between different modes of living. In some hospital rooms, there are people living forms of existence that upon direct contact do seem even worse than death.(snip)

The core belief that social liberals bring to cases like Ms. Schiavo's is that the quality of life is a fundamental human value. They don't emphasize the bright line between life and death; they describe a continuum between a fully lived life and a life that, by the sort of incapacity Terri Schiavo has suffered, is mere existence. (snip)

The central weakness of the liberal case is that it is morally thin. Once you say that it is up to individuals or families to draw their own lines separating life from existence, and reasonable people will differ, then you are taking a fundamental issue out of the realm of morality and into the realm of relativism and mere taste. You are saying, as liberals do say, that society should be neutral and allow people to make their own choices. You are saying, as liberals do say, that we should be tolerant and nonjudgmental toward people who make different choices.(snip)

If you surveyed the avalanche of TV and print commentary that descended upon us this week, you found social conservatives would start the discussion with a moral argument about the sanctity of life, and then social liberals would immediately start talking about jurisdictions, legalisms, politics and procedures. They were more comfortable talking about at what level the decision should be taken than what the decision should be.

Then, if social conservatives tried to push their moral claims, you'd find liberals accusing them of turning this country into a theocracy - which is an effort to cast all moral arguments beyond the realm of polite conversation. Once moral argument is abandoned, there are no ethical checks, no universal standards, and everything is left to the convenience and sentiments of the individual survivors.

We are a nation seeking answers to a moral dilemma and we are bankrupt because we lack the wisdom necessary to make a moral decision. We have become a society so convinced that neutrality is the only "tolerant" option that we have abandoned core principles based on truth. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the 1830's about the greatness of America,
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts-the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.


My comments section is not registering comments very well. If you have left a comment and it is not showing up it is Haloscans dilemma I did not delete anything.


A culture of starving people

My Three Cents Worth has a nice little round up of what the culture war is really about.

After the depressing news about Terri all week and you are left wondering where our country is headed check out these sites. SpunkyJr. Agent Tim Voice in the Wilderness Boy Scout Blogger It will give you a little bit of hope that there are those in the next generation who are grappling with this issue and seeking truth. I especially liked this post by Blogging Teen called Spiritual Starvation. While most children think starving means just missing lunch this teen sees hunger in a whole different way.
In fact, this kind of starvation often occurs gradually, going unnoticed by the victim. More often than not, it is a result of a busy life. I am talking about those days where your worries and jobs at hand seem to push Christ out of your schedule. That leather Bible that you once gladly read, is sitting on a high shelf, gathering dust. It is neglected and forgotten along with your Savior.
"I have no greater joy than my children walk in truth." III John 3


Friday, March 25, 2005

Thanks for the tip

Researchers in Belgium have found the key to getting teenagers to learn
"In short," says Vansteekiste, " if teachers want to promote conceptual and thoughtful processing of learning material, they might do well in pointing out the intrinsic goal relevance of the learning material and using an autonomy-supportive style to introduce the learning material. The latter can be realized by taking an empathic perspective towards children and adolescents, offering choice whenever possible, and avoiding a subtle, guilt-inducing language."
So that's the secret. I think I'll try these suggestions on my teens today and let you know how it goes. Kristin and Jason, I think life is going to be a little different around here from now on.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Why I started this blog

About three months ago, I was sitting around with nothing to do. My house was clean, my children were peacefully doing their calculus and the baby was practicing a Brahm's lullaby on the piano. The laundry was caught up and dinner was simmering in the crock pot.

Feeling totally useless I said to no one in particular, "Does any one really need me anymore?"

They all looked up at once and recited in unison "the blogosphere needs you mom". Grateful for their suggestion and feeling needed once again, SpunkyHomeSchool was born.

Life feels normal once again. The house is a disaster, the children are in remedial studies, and dinner is still at the grocery store. But my sitemeter is averaging almost 100 hits a day! Doesn't that count for something? Okay, my son just reminded me that Hugh Hewitt gets that many in about 2 minutes. Oh well, the feeling of was great while it lasted.

But f I can use my sphere of influence to challenge others to think about:

......... what they are doing
......... why they are doing it and
..........who they are doing it all for

then SpunkyHomeschool will be a success no matter what the site meter reads.

But that doesn't mean I still won't peek occassionally. It's one of the few personal measurements I can get excited about when it actually goes up.


Fair and Balanced Supervision?

Michelle Malkin is blogging about the controversy at a Seattle school.

Three veterans including Maj. Thomas were invited to speak at what was supposed to be a fair and balanced presentation on the war in Iraq. Instead, they were confronted on the high school theater stage with figures costumed as Iraqi men, women and children splashed with blood. Here's a reminder of how Maj. Thomas described the scene:

As I stood there in my Marine Corps Dress Blue uniform, there before me stood numerous kids running around in sloppily dressed and ill-fitted helmets and military fatigues with utter disrespect for the symbols and uniforms of the U.S. military. The walls were covered in camouflaged netting and the stage was covered with approximately twenty white, life-sized cut-out patterns in the shape of dead women and children, all of which were splattered in red-paint to depict human blood. Onstage, children were kneeling and weeping while dressed in ill-fitted Arabic headdress with white-faced masks similarly covered in red paint to depict human blood. At a podium, children were reading a monologue of how U.S. troops were killing civilians and shooting at women and children. Moreover, several grown adults were standing on stage in bright orange jump-suits, with black bags on and off their heads, some bound and tied, and some banging symbols and gongs in a crude depiction of what I believe were their efforts to depict victims of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse episode.

Within the auditorium, numerous adults appeared to have been supervising this behavior and children were literally running amok.

But who was supervising the "adults"? Parents where are you?

(Want to read more: Outsourcing Parenthood)

A little too close to home

Thank God that this young man was apprehended before he could hurt someone. The sad part is that the first name on his hit list was his mother.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged a 14-year-old Holly High School student with threatening terrorism, saying he had compiled a "kill list" of 12 people that started with his mother and ended with several classmates.
It's odd is that the police waited nearly a week before they acted on the information. What's even more disturbing is what his mother said to the Juvenile Court referee Scott Hamilton,

"I'd like my son to come home," she told Hamilton. "His behavior has been good. I haven't had any problems with him and I don't know of any reason he needs to be here (Children's Village)."
She doesn't think that the idea that her son wants to kill her is a problem? That's very strange.

As a side note: the town of Holly is about an hour from my home.


(Here's my thoughts on What Can Be Done To Prevent This?)

A parent's agony

I wonder if this is a bit like the face of another mother and father who watched their innocent son die about 2000 years ago.

(Photo courtesy of Fox News.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Pray for Terri

I long for the days when "courting a girl" meant you wanted to marry her and you feared what her father might think.

How times have changed.


Passing on our faith and values

Somehow I missed this post by Jen at Under His Wings. Here's a excerpt,
I think that the most important thing in teaching our children the things of God has been to live it out before them. We have always told them that we would be accountable to God one day for how we raised them and there were certain things that we would not compromise on.
Jen, Thanks for the insights, and sorry for the oversight.


Carnival Day

I love the carnivals. They are informative and it is fun to read what those in the blogosphere are thinking about.

Edwonk took the week off and JennyD has done superb job of filling in. For this Carnival I submitted How Can We Prevent This.

The Christian Carnival is at Nutt's View. Check out the audio link at the beginning. As always, this carnival provides great reading from a Christian perspective. I submitted a follow up article on homeschooling entitled Is Silence an Option. Read the comments as well.

Also, notice at the sidebar on this blog, the icon from Nick Queen. His biweekly summary of new blogs is a great way to get acquainted with new Christian Blogs. Check them out.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How do we prevent this?

Edwonk and many others are asking this question in regards to the shooting in MN.

The danger signs were there. School administrators knew that this young man was a potential threat to the community. The better question is: Why didn't somebody do something to prevent this?
Our society is based on the premise that people are good until they are bad. We do not arrest someone on the suspicion that they will commit a crime. We wait until a crime is committed. That is the way a free society must operate. Thinking wrong thoughts is not a punishable offense on its own.

Does that mean that nothing could have been done to prevent this tragedy? That depends on your worldview. A worldview that accepts all beliefs as true will provide fertile ground for the thinking that will lead to this type of tragedy. A worldview that believes that truth is not relative will challenge other forms of belief to resolve conflicts for the betterment of society.

The schools have chosen the first course of action. They cannot truly challenge the thinking of a young man such as Jeff Weise about his beliefs because they must then provide a counter argument that would show his to be false. This would require absolute statements that the schools are unwilling to make. This is the tragedy of the public schools. They cannot say wrong is absolutely wrong because they cannot say what is absolutely right.

Jeff Weise wrote in an online post

"The only ones who oppose my views are the teachers at the high school, and a large portion of the student body who think a Nazi is a Klansman, or a White Supremacist thug. Most of the Natives I know have been poisoned by what they were taught in school."
The teachers opposed his view but were paralyzed by the belief that a school must be neutral. Thus, real truth could not be presented that could have challenged and possibly changed his beliefs. Instead, the student was emboldened by their opposition rather than challenged by it. Jeff Weise went on to say,

The public school system, he wrote, "has done more harm than good, and as a result it has left many on this reservation misled and misinformed."
Jeffery Weiss might like to have known tht he was not the first to think this. Fisher Ames wrote in Palladium Magazine in 1801
"We have trouble in the classrooms, we are putting in new text books. Nothing wrong with new books but we are spending more time on them than the Bible; it is drifting to the back of the classroom. We cannot tolerate this in American education. The Bible's morals are pure, its examples are captivating and noble."
Who was Fisher Ames? None other than the author of the First Ammendment. One has to wonder what he might be thinking today.


(Also read: Homeschooling Isn't Enough)


Another school shooting. This time on at a reservation school where 10 are now dead. When will we wake up and see that children are crying out for something more than what we are giving them. Whether it be by suicide or in mass murder children are telling us that life is not important. We need to rethink our "standards" and begin to tell children the truth.

We are cramming their heads full of facts but giving them no standard to process those facts. The long term fruit of this is becoming obvious. The best accountants use their facts to cheat companies out of billions. The best lawyers use facts to cheat people out of their lives. Knowledge will never be enough. We must learn wisdom.


(For more reading see: How Then Shall We Educate and Is Silence an Option)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Researchers see outsourcing trend

After four years video taping 32 families and spending $3.6 million dollars UCLA researchers made some startling observations and conclusions. Mothers working matters to the family dynamics and families are suffering for it.

It's a poorly understood seismic shift in both the nation's economy and daily life. For some families in the study, it allows them to own a bigger house, drive better cars and take nicer vacations. For many more families, two paychecks are necessary to put food on the table.

It means parents and children live virtually apart at least five days a week, reuniting for a few hours at night. In this study, at least one parent was likely to be up and gone before the children awoke. When they are together, today's families tend to stay in motion with lessons, classes and games. Or, they go shopping.

Researchers contend this chase appears to erode families from within, like a rusting minivan dropping parts as it clatters down the highway.

In the observation phase the director noted the following

"We've scheduled and outsourced a lot of our relationships," says the study's director, Elinor Ochs, a linguistic anthropologist. "There isn't much room for the flow of life, those little moments when things happen spontaneously

I talked about Outsourcing Parenthood: When a parent knowingly gives the raising of their children over to another. But I guess I didn't get paid $3.6 million to make these observations so it doesn't count for as much. (Or maybe she secretly reads this blog?!?) Probably not. In any event it is a hopeful sign that someone is calling attention to this trend.

For Ochs, the most worrisome trend is how indifferently people treat each other, especially when they reunite at day's end. In her view, the chilly exchanges repeated in so many of the study's households suggests something has gone awry. "Returning home at the end of the day is one of the most delicate and vulnerable moments in life," Ochs said. "Everywhere in the world, in all societies, there is some kind of greeting. "But here, the kids aren't greeting the parents and the parents are allowing it to go on," Ochs said. "They are tiptoeing around their children."

Here is the observation of one father who doesn't seem too worried by the trend.

"The kids are doing well," he says. "They are getting good grades. They're not obese. At the end of the day, this is good for them."

The sad thing is they have gotten so accustomed to this lifestyle that they don't even know what their missing.


Why Wisdom Matters

A life hangs in the balance as men debate whether Terri Shiavo is allowed to live or die.

This debate is only possible because we have elevated knowledge above wisdom. Knowledge is important and we must learn the facts but without wisdom, knowledge will lead us to debates about whether or not Terri Shiavo is allowed to live or die simply because she cannot feed herself.

Micheal Shiave claims to know what Terri would want to do in this situation. Based on a conversation long ago, he has determined that it is Terri's wish to die. A claim, if true, was made at a very different time in her life. Would Terri say the same thing today? We may never know. Would Terri even want to stay married to thie man who she committed to so long ago? Surely her wish that he remain faithful is just as sacred as her "wish to die". Micheal has changed from this experience. So much so, that he felt the need to take on another relationship and father children. Shouldn't the benefit of the doubt be given to Terri that her wishes may have changed as well?

Peggy Noonan wants the politicians to fear the wrath of the voters. And they should. But they should fear the Lord and the one who will hold them eternally accountable more.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" Proverbs 9:10

Micheal Shiavo, the attorneys, the doctors, the politicians, and any others who are involved will all give an account to God for how they applied the knowledge they had.

Wisdom is how we handle the knowledge we are given. One will use it unto death another will use if unto life. The only difference is the fear of God.


Dory at
Wittenburg Gate is asking an excellent question. Her site also has a great set of links to all the latest news on Terri.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Homeschooling isn't enough

Spunky Jr. alerted us to this sad story.
A 14 year, homeschooled, boy seemed to have it all together until yesterday when he commited suicide. Brendann Bremmer was a child progidy, playing the piano at 3, reading at 18 months and graduating from high school at 10 years old.
The 14 year old boy was blessed with talents most parents dream of for their children. He was given every opportunity for success and he seemed to be making use of them all. Why would he end his life?

This story reminded me of another story I heard years ago. A mother was speaking about the suicide of her oldest daughter. The daughter had left a note that said,

"You gave me everything to live life with but nothing to live life for."

Parents please don't assume that just because you homeschool or that your child is academically successful that this could not happen to your family. As Spunky Jr. quoted in her post,
"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:25)
Our children are looking for a reason to live, let us not disappoint them.

Friday, March 18, 2005

March Madness

So what's it really been like at my house? Here is a Breakdown.

Bowls. Most everyone has had the stomach flu. My one year old, Elaina, now thinks every bowl is used to catch the insides of someone's stomach. Yuck!

Basketball. My husband and children are heavily into basketball. This is a major event in our home. I don't understand the game and don't care to comprehend the madness either. I made my picks using the alphabet rule. Which ever team comes first in the alphabet was the team I selected. My son over ruled me on a few because he said that rule was just plain stupid. So far, I'm not doing too bad.

Blogging. I have only been doing this for three months and love that fact that I can talk even when no one is listening. It reminds me of what I do most of the time around my house any way.

Blogging Again? I know my kids say the same thing. We all share one computer that is occupied most of the time by my husband for his business. I sneak a post in while he eats, runs errands, or I bug him hard enough. March madness has given me more time for blogging. If you like this blog pray for lots of overtime games or another computer.
While you're at it could you pray for WIFI too!

Broke. Did I ever mention that my husband's office is in our bedroom? Thankfully, I can sleep thru faxes, phones, and printers pretty well. With the price of gas at $2.20 a gallon his short commute saves us alot of money. But as anyone who has started a business knows money is in short supply.

Behind. We are hopelessly behind on laundry. Mostly because of the "bowl thing" but also because it has hit 40 degrees this week. Which meant everyone went into the storage boxes looking for summer clothes. Our basement now looks like a tsumani relief collection agency.

Books. Schooling, oh yes, that. It will all be done by June...I promise. Jackie you will hold me accountable right!

Bible. We are reading thru both the old and new testament at the same time a few chapters a night. We just started Esther and are also in the middle of 2 Corinthians. This is the second time thru the new testament.

Blessed. Not quite the homeschool house you might expect. But I love what I do (being mom) and I love who I do it with (my family) and more importantly I love who I do it all for (Jesus).


Is Silence An Option?

Jeremy Pierce wrote some interesting comments in How Then Shall We Educate. He said,
Not assuming there is a God does not amount to assuming there's no God. The public school system is silent on that issue. If we confuse those two things, we'll be the intellectual laughingstocks nonbelievers think we are
Jesus said in Luke 11:23 "He who is not with Me is against me and He who does not gather with me scatters"

According to Jesus, anyone who is not professing a belief in God is actually against God. That's a hard lump to swallow in our "tolerant" age.

God has not given parents the luxury of being neutral in the discipleship of our children. This is includes the schools that we allow influence in our children's lives.

Jesus said in Mathew 18:6 "but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy milstone be hung around his neck and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea."

I do not want to stand before God knowing that I caused my little ones to stumble.

As far as being a laughing stock to non-believers I am not too worried. Noah went into the boat a minority and came out the majority.

Jeremy also comments,
Also, you're assuming that there will be no wisdom just because the most fundamental foundation of wisdom isn't there. Lots of people have excellent wisdom and indeed have some foundation for it without fundamentally grounding that foundation in something deeper. To claim otherwise is to act as if everyone who doesn't believe in God is a moral nihilist, and nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe they have no intellectual justification for their moral views, but they have them, and as with many other things that's due to God's common grace.
Yes, you are correct. I am saying that without the foundation for wisdom there is no wisdom. But I am not assuming it. Scripture declares it. Can there be a tree without a seed? Can there be an apple without a tree? You are arguing for a middle without a beginning. Psalm 111:10 states "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". One cannot be wise about somethings without having a foundation for wisdom. A tree without roots will not stand.

I also don't believe that one can be "good" without God.

Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned a fall short of the glory of God."

Psalm 53:1 states, "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God," they are corrupt and have commited abominable injustice, there is no one who does good."

If people could be good without God there would be no need for a Savior. To see ourselves the way we truly are and to see God for who HE is will be the foundation for the education of my children.


Call no man a fool

John, at blogotional has taken exception to my post on How then Shall We Educate. He said,

When I read Spunky's post I could not help but think of the Sermon On The Mount - Matt 5:22 - But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

We need to be most judicious when we use scripture to make our point. It is generally wiser to let scripture make a point to us. I am all for Spunky home schooling her kids, even if it is just because she does not like the decor at the public school. There is no need to resort to name -calling to justify it.

An interesting thought John Thank you for taking the time to make it.

In the Mathew 5:22 Jesus was referring to using murder as a means of settling dsiputes. He was raising a higher standard. The pharisees or "ancients" had made the determination that murder was wrong. They felt pretty good about their ruling. Jesus lifted the standard higher and said, "every one who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the supreme court and whoever shall say "You, fool, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell, if therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your offering there before the altar and go your way first and be reconciled"

Jesus was referring to disputes between brothers. In the heat of a disagreement it is easy to resort to name calling. Jesus was equating that to murder. I am not in dispute with my brother nor was identifying the public schools as a "fool" resorting to name calling.

The public schools are not my brother. They are an institution that professes no belief in God and therefore fools. The scripture has made the distinction this is not my opinion.

Jesus made the point throughout the gospels that, as believers, we are called to a higher standard. (He did something similar when he talked about adultery.) It is my responsibility as a parent to instruct my children in the way that they should go. I desire that they walk in wisdom. This is a higher standard. To know who and what is wise is the first step to walking in wisdom. To know who the scripture calls a fool is also helpful because it gives us the discernment necessary to avoid unwise situations.

Psalm 1 states, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delght is in the law of the Lord, and in His Laws he meditates day and night."

This is the standard for how my we are to conduct ourselves. I desire for my children to be blessed as well. To meditate on the law of the Lord day and night is a high standard. When I find a span of time that is neither day or night I will consider letting my children meditating on something else!

As far as not liking the decor at the schools I am not sure where that idea came from. I live in a modest 1700 square foot house with three bedrooms. This is shared by eight. We have four daughter sharing one bedroom (ages 16 down to 1) and I would love to have some of the "decor" in the public schools.

Will the family with the blog from Classical Education that e-mailed me please do so again. I somehow lost the link and I would like to add you to my blog list if I can find you again. Thanks.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

No Greater Joy

The scipture teaches that there is no greater joy than when a child walks in truth. How true that is. My daughter, Spunky Jr. had this to say about Passing On Our Values.

Since I'm not married yet, and therefore I don't have children, I don't really have to worry about this. But, I can tell you how my parents have impressed their values on me.It never has really seemed as though my mom or dad were trying to impose "their values" on me. As a youngster, I followed what they said. When I got older (I'm 16 now), I developed my own values. They are not far from my parents. I have looked at the way others have been raised. Some people I know have not followed their parents values and rebelled. Others haven't. But, I am not going to rebel or walk away from my parents values because I base my values on the Bible. This is where my parents also base their values too.

This momma is feeling kind of joyful right now.


A mom, a Bible, and a purpose

It's amazing what can be accomplished with just these three things. Peggy Noonan has the transcript of Ashley Smith and her time with Brian Nichols. Read the whole thing.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Twisted ironies

At the beginning of this week, Scott Peterson was sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, Laci. At the end of the week Micheal Shiavo will be allowed to "legally" murder his wife. Terry's husband had this to say on Nightline.
Terry will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away. This happens across this country every day.
That sounds like the definition of starvation to me. Let us pray for this man and Terri. What kind of a society are we becoming where human life is of so little value?


(Blogs for Terri has all the latest information.)

News flash: Babies can learn!

I found this sentence interesting from an article in the Chicago Tribune encouraging public school enrollment for preschoolers.
The emphasis on early childhood education reflects a growing body of research that shows learning begins at birth.
Duh! When did they think learning began? Anyone who has ever had a baby knows this is true. Only someone who sits around in a lab all day collecting grant money would think they needed to prove it.


More on music lessons

Little did I realize that my own daughter (aka Spunky Jr.) had blogged about her piano lessons when I wrote my post on music lessons. Here is what she had to say;

I haven't had a piano lesson for 2 weeks and tomorrow is my next one. I am grudgingly looking forward to it. At dinner this evening, our family was engaged in music talk (my siblings and I play various instruments) and I mentioned that I'm getting sick of piano lessons. My mom and dad quickly informed me that quitting is not an option!

As I pondered this, I realized that what I said (Confession time) was selfish and lazy. The fact that I hate practicing was leading me to my terrible conclusion but I don't want to quit now! More often than not, my thoughts are selfish and sometimes lazy and this is just one of the many examples.

In the future, I'll look at the motives behind my thoughts or actions and then make my decisions!I would encourage you to look at your motives before acting to make sure they are wise. If you can't, then ask a parent for wisdom and guidance. In my case, I needed parental guidance.

I thank the Lord for my children. Although teaching them at home and taking them to various music lessons has been difficult when I read things like this I am reminded why it was all worth it. (Spunky Jr. is my oldest daughter and she is 16 years old.)


Outsourcing Parenthood: When a parent knowingly gives the raising of their children over to another.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."


When I first wrote about Outsourcing Parenthood, I thought that it would just be a passing thought. But daily I seem to be encountering more and more areas where the schools are taking over responsibilities previously held by the parent.

The latest came yesterday when I was talking to a prospective flute teacher for my daughter. As we were discussing schedules she informed me that Thursday at 10 AM she goes to the local high school to teach students privately. She said that this was a new program that the schools are doing because the parents didn't want to have to take their children to private lessons after being in school all day and the parents' hectic work schedule.

The parent makes the initial contact with the private instructor and then works it out with the public school music teacher for a scheduled time. The student then leaves the normal class instruction one period a week for half an hour to be taught by the private teacher. (Interestingly, most of these teachers are non-certified and non-union.)

Obviously, this is more efficient for the parent it. Taking children to private lessons can be time consuming. I have 6 children. Five of them take some sort of private lessons. They are also involved in a community orchestra and a homeschool band. All this requires a commitment of time and energy to get them where they need to be. If our family chooses to have our children involved in music then this goes with the responsibility of parenting.

Yet, the school is willing to take on this responsibility. Why? Because the parents can't be burdened with parenting so the schools are there to take over. And the parents are thankful, it's one less thing for them to worry about.


Carnival Day

Edwonk has the Carnival of Education #6 . This carnvial always has an interesting array of opinions on the latest issues in education from a variety of prespectives.

ChristWeb is hosting the Christian Carnival #61. They have done a great job of putting together the entries. There are alot of interesting topics sorted for easier reading.

I am hosting my own personal "carnival" on How to Pass on Your Faith and Values to Your Children. If you would like to contribute click here for the details.

Happy Reading,


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

An Encouraging Trend

This is from an article in the Cincinati Equirer about blacks and home education.
Home schooling is no longer just the domain of white, religious conservatives or anti-establishment free-thinkers. It's become a civil rights movement for black parents trying to take back their children's education, said Joyce Burges, the group's founder.
"We're on the cutting edge of a powerful, powerful movement," she said. "
Within five years there's going to be an explosion ... of parent-directed learning "
We have a family friend who has 7 children and homeschools in Detroit. They are an inspiration to many of what can be done when parents are dedicated to the Lord and the training of their children. The enthusiasm of parents who finally realize that they don't have to put up with mediocrity and that they are in charge of their children's education is exciting and contagious.

The question remains, "Are the schools ready to give up the children and the money they represent?


PJ's in school

I thought I was being sarcastic when I suggested this
Let's just make the school a "mega mall" of parenting. Now, that I think of it wouldn't it just be easier to put in dorms and feed the kids there and let the parents check them out occassionally like a library book? This way they can ensure that their recommendations are followed. And they can charge a fine to the parent if the child comes back damaged! I better stop before someone takes this seriously.
But according to the San Francisco Chronicle the girls are all ready cozy to the idea.
IS NAPTIME beckoning? Is there a futon in every high-school classroom for dozing? These questions come to mind because several million teenage girls wear pajama pants to school every day.
Seems like the next logical thing would be to just bring in the beds too! After all the girls are learning what to do with a cucumber why not just let them practice in the privacy of the schoolroom? I better stop, I'm starting to blush.


What do we value?

When my son was little we were attempting to teach him the value of money. His grandmother had given him a $5 and we were trying to explain to him what that meant. He didn't seem all that interested in a piece of paper and saw little value in it. That is until we told him that if he took that piece of paper to the ice cream parlor that man would gladly accept his piece of paper for a dish of ice cream. Now that excited my little guy.

When we went to the parlor he proudly walked up to the counter and placed his order. When he received his ice cream he gave the $5 bill to the clerk. As he did he said, "I don't understand it, but for some strange reason you want this piece of paper more than ice cream!"

My son saw more value in ice cream than money and was willing to trade for it. He knew what he valued and was confident in his choice. Communicating what he valued was easy and obvious.

The first step to passing on our values to our children is knowing what we value not just what we say we value.

When we know what we believe and value it is easier to communicate that in a clear way to our children. If we are unsure or confused they will be also. If we are hypocritical in our values they will reject them. If we tell them we value the teachings of the Bible but they never hear us reading the Bible to them they are less likely to believe us.

We all live our values every day. Unfortunately, the way we live isn't always the same as what we say we value. For my son, it was obvious he was willing to sacrifice a "worthless" piece of paper to get what he valued the most. Are we willing to do the same?


(If you have thoughts about how to pass along your values to your children I would love to hear them as well. Get the details here.)

Attention All Bloggers

I was asked to give a talk next Thursday evening on Passing Your Faith and Values On to Your Children. I would love to have input from those who have had success in this area as well as what you have learned from any setbacks. You can respond in three ways:

1. Post a comment here.

2. Blog about it and I will link to you (I will keep a running post going if I get enough) as well as reference you in a handout.

3. If you would like to remain more private you can e-mail me at
spunkyhomeschool at yahoo dot com

If you haven't started a blog yet this may be a great time to get started. All ideas and suggestions are welcome. You don't have to be a homeschooler.

Feel free to pass this along to others bloggers as well. We can all learn from one another. I look forward to your ideas.


Update: Palm Tree Pundit has a great perspective on this topic. Read it here.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I gotta get one!

I think I might just have to get one of these bibs for Elaina. But I think that my 14 year old son might use it in moments of desperation too!


(Thanks to Proverbial Wife for the tip.)

Passing On Our Values

Anne, at Palm Tree Pundit has a excellent perspective on How to Pass On Our Faith and Values to Our Children. She writes,
Having been raised by Christian parents, I have often thought about how my parents passed on their faith and values to me without alienating me or causing me to rebel, as is often the worry of parents. The conventional "wisdom" (which isn't so wise in my view) often says that if you protect your children, they will naturally rebel and find their own way. Also, many parents believe that you should expose children to a wide range of teachings and let the child decide which way to go. I disagree with both of those views.
Please read the whole post it is very encouraging and helpful.

If you would like to pass your views to me on this topic I would be glad to link to you as well. For more details click here to find out why I am interested.


Can Johnny Run?

They do such a great job on the Three R's that New York Schools have decided to add a fourth running.
By next year, parents in half of the city's elementary schools will be getting fitness report cards for students that list weight and athletic ability. "Parents need to know their kids' fitness levels so they can make changes," said Lori Benson, the Education Department's newly appointed fitness director. The evaluations, known as fitnessgrams, are based on an exam that will have kids stretching, jogging, counting situps and being weighed. Instead of grades, students will receive a two-page printout with bar charts that show if they are in the "healthy fitness zone," and note any progress they have made on each exercise since the last evaluation. The reports will list personalized recommendations, such as "you should also eat a healthy diet including more fruits and vegetables."
Since when did the schools get the authority to take on this responsibility?

Since the parents began Outsourcing Parenthood. It's just one less thing for the parent to think about. Maybe the school ought to hire parenting coaches for a complete package!

Let's just make the school a "mega mall" of parenting. Now, that I think of it wouldn't it just be easier to put in dorms and feed the kids there and let the parents check them out occassionally like a library book? This way they can ensure that their recommendations are followed. And they can charge a fine to the parent if the child comes back damaged! I better stop before someone takes this seriously.


Blogging Lite Today

I will be not be blogging much today. I have had sick kiddos so I will be climbing the laundry mountain most of the day. If you are looking for some fun reading check out My Three Pennies Worth whose talking about Veggie Tales (read the comments too!);

Speaking of veggies Edwonk has a great roundup of the Cucumber Controversy.

Another site that I just became aware of that looks inspiring is the HomeSchool Encourager.

And if you have the winter blues take a trip to Hawaii and visit Palm Tree Pundit (a favorite of mine who always share fun tidbits of faith and the latest news).


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Please, Pretty Please Won't You Visit Us

It's a simple enough request: This week, pay a visit to your child's school.

That's what this Milwaukee School District principal is asking. What's absurd to me is that they even have to ask. Why wouldn't a parent want to visit the school where their child is spending most of his waking hours?

"And don't say you can't do it because you're working. "I think it's insanity for parents to put their jobs over the welfare of your child's education,"

I couldn't agree more.

(Update: Maybe the district can hire one of these coaches to help them out.)


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Separation of church and school

The ACLU is always on the lookout for violations in our schools. The Boy Scouts this week pulled the charter from thousands of schools to avoid costly litigation.
In a letter sent to the BSA last month, the ACLU vowed to take legal action against public schools and other taxpayer-funded governmental agencies that charter Scout groups, claiming their sponsorship amounts to religious discrimination and violates the separation of church and state.
This is unfortunate but predicatable. The Boy Scouts are no match for the deep pockets of the ACLU. The myth of the separation of school and state is unfortunately the by product of a nation that does not know its history. Consider what Fischer Aimes said in Paladium Magazine in 1801
,"We have trouble in the classrooms, we are putting in new text books. Nothing wrong with new books but we are spending more time on them than the Bible; it is drifting to the back of the classroom. We cannot tolerate this in American education. The Bible's morals are pure, its examples are captivating and noble."
Great quote but who was Fischer Aimes?

None other that the author of the First Ammendment.


Asking a New Question

This is a great article by a homeschool mom responding to the Montgomery School District Sex Ed video for 10th graders.
Being a home educator and mother of two, I have often been asked the question: "Why do you homeschool?" But I've come to the conclusion that the question most begging to be asked is: "Why do you public school?" (snip)

Could it be that we as parents have grown so lazy in teaching our own children moral standards that we actually desire that the public schools do our job for us? And are we so naïve as to think that if abstinence education is included as part of the sordid "do-it" sex ed, that our children will do the right thing?

Read the whole article.


(For more reading check out:
Outsourcing Parenthood and How then should we educate)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Outsourcing Parenting Continues

Everybody seems to be noticing how much electronic media our children are consuming. We now have Hillary Clinton and other members of Congress asking for $90 Million dollars to research how electronic media affects our children.

“We are exposing children to so much media that it is becoming the dominant force in so many children’s lives,” Clinton told reporters.
So it looks like Hillary agrees with me that parents are using TV and other electronic media to Outsource Parenthood.

Generation M
This is all based on a
study by the Kaiser Family Foundation reporting that on average American children spend 6.5 hours a day watching television, staring at Web sites, or using other electronic media. They call the children Generation M.

Most parents have no TV Rules.

This was startling to me. According to the report,
While prior studies indicate that parents have strong concerns about children’s exposure to media, about half (53%) of all 8-18 year olds say their families have no rules about TV watching. Forty-six percent say they do have rules, but just 20% say their rules are enforced “most” of the time. The study indicates that parents who impose rules and enforce them do influence the amount of time their children devote to media. Kids with TV rules that are enforced most of the time report two hours less (2:01) daily media exposure than those from homes without rules.“These kids are spending the equivalent of a full-time work week using media, plus overtime,” said Vicky Rideout, M.A., a Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President who directed the study. “Anything that takes up that much space in their lives certainly deserves our full attention.”
The solution

Let's study the problem some more. What else is there to study? Parents know it's bad they just don't want to do anything about it. They are too busy to be inconvenienced with the media consumption of their children. They want someone else to tell them what is bad so they don't have to make a decision themselves. So our government, always willing to step in to fill the void, will spend $90 million dollars to tell us what we already know. Our kids are "home alone" watching garbage even though the parents are right in the next room.

They will spend the money anyway. The findings will be released. Hillary will give more speeches. They will call for action. The parents will all agree and then go back to the homes shut the door and live life the way they always have. Until parents begin to take their parenting responsiblity seriously all the government study in the world won't change a thing. Any real solution will require the parent to sacrifice their time and life for their children.

Wanted: A Few Good Parents

This will require them to watch a movie before they let their children watch it. This will require them to sit down next to their children to train them about what is good and what is bad. Not just one time but many times. This will require the parent to spend the time necessary to investigate what good and bad means for them before they can teach their children the difference. This will require the parent to make tough and unpopular choices. This will require the parent to become the parent again.


(For more reading see: Don't Control the Remote, and Edwonk also blogged on this study)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

How then should we educate?

Molly at My Three Pennies Worth asks Is Public School a Sin? I prefer to phrase the question this way "How should a Christian Educate their children"? My answer comes down to a few basic scriptures that I can't seem to get past. It is on the basis of these scriptures that I have developed my answer.

It is my desire to have wise and not just "academically successful" children. The Bible teaches In Proverbs 9:10 that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding". So to become wise, my children must learn to "fear God". Fear is defined here as a holy reverence and awe. Wisdom begins when we have a holy reverence and awe for God.

How is a person to acquire this wisdom? By walking with the wise. Proverbs 13:20 states "He who walks with the wise becomes wiser still but the companion of fools suffers harm." As a parent, I desire to have my children walk with those that know and fear God. I cannot expect that my children will walk among fools and become wise. That runs contrary to the scripture.

One is left to wonder then "Who are the fools"? Scripture identifies two groups as fools or foolish. From Psalm 14:1, "He who has set in his heart that there is no God" and Proverbs 22:15, "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child". Where do we most often find these two groups together?

The public schools as an instituion has declared that there is no God. There may be Christian teachers but the curriculum and structure is built on the assumption that there is no God. With that as its beginning there is no foundation for wisdom to be established. It would not be prudent for me as a Christian parent to send my children to such a place regardless how good the "academic" training or how great the teacher.

Also, within the walls of the school it would be my foolish children walking among foolish companions. How could I in light of scripture expect that my children would become wise and free from harm (or in some cases doing the harming!).

The issue does not rest on whether my children will be a salt and light or whether the public schools will fall apart if all the "good" children leave. Nor does it matter what the philosphy is of a particular teacher or school. The issue for me is what does the scripture say about how to become wise. I believe that the Lord is clear, my children become wise by wallking with those that know and fear the Lord. Until the public schools are willing to acknowledge God, my children should not participate. Even then that still doesn't solve the dilemma of foolsih companions.


(For more reading see
The Myth of an Equal Education and A Message to Christian Parents)