Friday, September 30, 2005

Juggling With Hamsters writing contest

HomeschoolBlogger.com along with Jane Bullivant (author of the book Dear Lord I feel Like a Whale) are having a writing contest. The winner will receive a free subscription to The Old Schoolhouse AND be featured in Jane's new book Juggling with Hamesters, Raising Amazing Kids Without Chasing Your Tail. The book is due for worldwide release in 2006. Jane is a popular author in the UK so this book is sure to do well. So if you have ever desired to see your writing published and read world wide this may be your chance.

But you have to have a HomeschoolBlogger blog in order to enter. The first five entries will receive a free subscription to The Old Schoolhouse AND a copy of Janes first book. Along with the bonus of having some of your best writing and blog featured for others to see and read. (Who can't use more traffic!)

To get all the contest rules and details click on over here to my blog as HomeschoolBlogger and read how you can participate. There is even a kids category. So don't delay. Get writing.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Culture of Confusion

Patricia Hunter sent me this article on "TV, changing standards make it tough for schools to define unacceptable profanity" Here's the problem according to school officials,

Boca High found last year that some of the school's best students were getting suspended for cursing, blemishing their otherwise clean records. Administrators questioned whether pervasive profanity on television was sending a confusing message about what is acceptable in society.

"Societal standards have changed dramatically regarding acceptable language. If our policies do not change with societal standards, we set up our students for failure."

So they are rethinking their standards because the "bright" kids are getting suspended and a bad record is the result. Instead of teaching students the proper use of language, administrators relax the standards and blame TV for confusing what is acceptable for society.

So who do the guardians of our children's minds look to for a role model of proper languange usage. The parents, good literature, or church leaders? No. They send them back to the TV.
Boca High told students to use television newscasters as their models for contemporary word usage. The newscasters speak extemporaneously without using profanity, McKee said.
And of course those dutiful students will turn the TV off right after their "English lesson" and get right to their homeword. Without watching the shows right after the news. Yeah right! And they wonder why our nations children are so confused.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not Yours To Give

This is just excellent. I read a copy of this years ago. It's a speech given by Davy Crockett in the House of Representatives. I often refer back to it when people say that the government
should be paying for something. Thanks to Izzy for reminding of it's relevance in regards to paying for the college education of our young people. This speech is worth re-reading every once in a while just to remind us of how it all is really supposed to work.

This is an important consideration when we think about whether the government should be paying for college in a dual enrollment program. See this thought question for further discussion.

Take Your Parent to School Day

Schools are spending thousands of dollars trying to figure out ways to get parents involved in the education of their children.

Here's a few examples,

A group called Chalkboard is spending $30,000 to get a web page up to help parents track student homework. What ever happened to the good old days when you just pinned a note to the child and sent him home. Imagine how many safety pins you could buy for that amount of money.

Or how about this school district in AZ that is running night school for Mom and Dad.
Through "parent universities," schools are bringing parents and teachers together for night classes to discuss the best ways to encourage learning at home.
Be still my beating heart! For a minute there I almost thought they might be advocating homeschooling.

And in Australia they are begging parents to run the public schools again. I love this quote.
"Barry McGaw will tell a conference today that public schools should be run like private schools to ensure they do not become "a residual provider bogged down in
bureaucracy".
I think he's a little late on the "bogged down" aspect. And has he considered that private schools only require those schools whose children enroll to pay the bill!

It is ironic that the state has "compulsory attendance" thereby removing the most basic layer of inovlvement and then then the state complains when parents aren't involved in the process.

Education Carnival

I am so thankful for the fine folks over at Edwonk. They were one of my earliest supporters at Spunky Homeschool. And even though they are public school teachers have been very willing and open to all aspects of education...including homeschooling.

Take the time to give them a look.

And today would be a great day. This is the day of their weekly Carnival of Education. There is always intersting reading and Edwonk puts it all together in a great format. I think this has been going on for over 30 weeks. It is also an excellent way to get to know other bloggers in education and get a little PR for you blog as well. Happy reading.

Thought Question



Do you think it is a good idea for the government to pay for the last two years of high school as part of a dual enrollment program with colleges?

I am not asking if it is good for high school students to go to college but if this is something that the government should be paying for? I know many homeschoolers who rejected the government being involved in education who are now accepting the money for their children's tuition.

Here's the link that got me thinking a little bit more. With my oldest 16 years old should we be considering this for her? (Assuming she's going.)

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hurricanes and homeschools

No this isn't another update on Katrina or Rita. This is about my own personal hurricanes that can seem to erupt at a moments notice before any evacuation plan is available. Or so that is what my children are now calling their squabbles and disagreements.

We have been reading the Thinking Toolbox. And in Lesson 2, the "Brothers Bluedorn" , talk about the difference between a discussion, a disagreement, an argument, and a fight. When I finished reading the lesson and the exercises my insightful son said, "Mom, these are like categories of a hurricane. The more heated the discussion the higher the category." Now my children are beginning to identify their squabbles by category. (To read my review of this book click here.)

With that in mind, I am pleased to see that Chris O'Donnell and Scott Somerville have kept their discuussion of HoNDA to a Category 2. It's done over several posts so make sure you read them all.

Our Candadian friends at ATypicalHomeschool have a nice roundup on many of the blogs who are keeping track of this legislation as well.

___________________________

Also, make sure that you follow the discussion in the comments here. I have learned so much from the wonderful people who took the time to comment. Thanks!

The next generation speaks

It is always so encouraging to see young people grapple with the tough issues that face homeschoolers today. Alex at Smart Homeschool is doing just that in an excellent little series on "What's Wrong With Public Schools". He starts it off with this satement.
It seems the public school system is riddled with problems, but today I'd like to look at just one of them - its effect on a person's faith.
And through a thoughtful analysis comes to the conclusion,
Of course, all this analysis simply backs up what God has already said through his word; that the parents are the best ones to teach their children.
His wilingness to look at the tough questions in a scriptural way is just outstanding. And then to articlulate them so well is a real blessing.

What's even more amazing is that this is one of the dynamic duo at Still Thinking that did my web redesign. (Can you tell I really like these kids!)

Talk about timing! No sooner do I post this, that I see Agent Tim has also blogged about it too!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Interruptions

I have had a series of interruptions lately. I've had a cold, Spunky Jr. had a hip injury that has made my "executive assistant" of Spunky Homeschool unavailable. And then there are a few other things that have distracted my attention and time from the normal routine. Some of them simple to solve others more long term. Sigh!

This is the inevitable life of a homeschooler. We don't live in a vacumn where life is santized and we are free to concentrate one one thing or subject for extended periods of time. Unlike a classroom in a government run school, when a homeschooling parent is called away there is no substitute. When a child is ill, there is no keeping them home so the others can continue without them. These are small interruptions that may create havoc for a day or two but there are other interruptions like a birth or death that create long term changes in the routine. Adjustments need to be made otherwise the household will suffer and so will the learning. I used to resent these interruptions and get frustrated because they ruined my agenda. But then a few years ago I happened upon this quote and my whole perspective was turned around.

I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work - one's work for God - consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most imortant part of the work of the day - the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work, trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.

Annie Keary 1825-1879

It is my desire that I never get to the point where I think that homeschooling is about me or about the children. Interruptions are one of the tools God uses to humble me and make me realize who is really in charge and who this is all for.

Conserve Energy... Homeschool

Always one to support conservation and "saving our preceious natural resources" I am in full support of the Governor Perdue of Georgia's proposal.

If all of Georgia's schools close, the governor estimated about 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel would be saved each day by keeping buses off the road.

Perdue also said an undetermined amount of regular gasoline also would be saved by allowing teachers, other school staff and some parents to stay home. He says electricity also would be conserved by keeping the schools closed.

It's refreshing to see a politician come up with new an innovative ideas.

The Religious Nature of Education

While cruising around the other night I stumbled upon this excellent article by David Sant called the Religious Nature of Education. Here's a peek
All education is indoctrination into a religious worldview, whether it be the true religion of Christianity, or any of the myriad false religions invented by men. All education is undergirded by presuppositions about the origin of the universe, the origin of man, the purpose of man, ethics governing relationships between men, and the continuing existence of the universe in an orderly and predictable manner. It is an inescapable fact that all of these basic assumptions are fundamentally religious. Therefore we must view the schoolroom as the place where children are indoctrinated into the religion of their society. The school is, in effect, a temple. The question which Christians in twentieth century America are late in asking is this: Into what religion do the government schools educate our children?
Do read the whole thing. It is excellent.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

In The Beginning..... There Were No Diapers

In the Beginning... There Were No Diapers Laughing and Learning in the First Years of Fatherhood by Tim Bete

Everybody remembers their first days of parenting. But nobody recalls them with the humor and insight that award winning author Tim Bete does in his new book "In the beginning...There were no diapers." I have read many books about parenting and family life. Most were written by women for women. But this book articulates very well the perspective of a father in the first years of fatherhood. After reading the book, it was obvious why Tim Bete is also the director of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop at the University of Dayton.

In a very easy to read style without a lot of wordiness, (he obviously understand the attention span of a new parent) he offers nuggets of wisdom and advice on a variety of issues. They range from how to change a diaper on an airplane to getting rid of household pests. My personal favorite was chapter two, "How I determine the sex of our baby - The miracle of birth". He included special advice to fathers on how to handle the "fertility police". He shares my love of humor with a slight edge that makes a larger point. Here's his answer when someone asked him if he knew whether he was having a boy or a girl.
"Yes," I replied with confidence. Then waited. After about a moment of silence she inquired "Well which is it - a boy or a girl?"

"I told her I hadn't decided yet. This left her perplexed until I launched into my high school biology lecture.

"The male of the species determines the sex of the offspring." I began in my best academic drone. "I am the male therefore, I decide the sex of our child. I will make up my decision sometime between now and when the baby is born." (I skipped a few biology classes but I think I got the gist of it.)

"Until our baby is born I can change my mind as many times as my little heart desires," I concluded.
Good insight from a father of 3 and a great answer to those difficult questions put to all of us with large families by strangers who feel no inhibition about asking us very private questions.

The real proof of the humor in this book came one day when I walked in the door and found my oldest reading Chapter 13 "The Perfect Child - The Miracle of Christmas" to her siblings. They were all laughing hysterically outloud as she read Mr. Bete's slightly revised version of "Twas the Night before Christmas". You'll have to buy the book to find out what that's all about.

All of the anecdotes reflect the author's love for life, his family, and the Lord. He looks at the struggles and triumphs as miracles. Each "miracle" he recounts is uplifting and fun. He makes you smile at the most mundane tasks that confront all parents and somehow glad for each one.

This is a delightful read and a great gift for a first time dad. But I am curious about one thing he doesn't answer in the book...How did he get two bare bottomed babies to pose for the front cover without making a mess? Hopefully, there will be a sequel and we'll find out that answer as well.

Note: The book "In The Beginning...There Were No Diapers" by Tim Bete was provided free for my review by Mind & Media. Make sure you visit her site to find out how you can particpate in this wonderful enterprise.

Friday, September 23, 2005

High school the new college

Daryl linked to an article yesterday that is worth thinking about. Here's his excerpt

an interesting education experiment (reg. req'd) - dual enrollment for the last two years of high school. Florida Gulf Coast University hopes to start recruiting in December or January students who want to attend the university's Collegiate High School set to launch next fall.

Juniors and seniors from public high schools will qualify for state tuition waivers and have their books paid for under a dual enrollment program that would make it possible for a student to earn an associate's degree or two years toward a college education by the time his or her high school graduation rolls around.

This is an interesting development that is just starting to take place in a few other states as well. The state is counting the last two years of high school as college and starting to pay for it. It's really a part of the K-16 restructuring of education.

Helen in her comments underneath the post gave me a link to an article "Taking Charge" by Larry and Susan Kaseman that succinctly describes what is going on here. All homeschooles should read it. Although, the article is dated 1997 much of the information is still good even if some of the terminology has changed slighttly. It is no longer called School-to-Work but the implementation of the plan is still going strong.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A statement of unity in the midst of conflict

On Monday, The Old Schoolhouse published a review of my critique of Created to Be His Help Meet. Including a statement by the Pearls endorsing this review. This caused quite a stir among some in the blogosphere.

Here is a joint statement from both me and the great folks at The Old Schoolhouse.

Thank you to all who have expressed their opinion about the book, Created to Be His Help Meet and the review by Spunky and her husband. It is obvious that emotions are strong on both sides. Thank you to Deborah Wuehler for taking the time to write a review of what Spunky said and answering some of the objections that were raised. Your time and devotion to the Lord and that task is commendable.

While it may appear to some that the publishers of the The Old Schoolhouse, their Senior Editor, and Spunky are at odds with each other, nothing could be further from the truth. We are united in Christ and our friendship is stronger than ever. We do not discourage honest debate of critical issues facing homeschoolers today. This book is one such example. As long as the debate remains civil and constructive we encourage all who call HomeschoolBlogger home to "study to show themselves approved unto God and rightly divide the word of truth". And part of that means allowing the blogs to be used to challenge each one of us to look at what we believe in light of the Word of God and what it teaches.

As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. We all have been sharpened by this discussion. The Publishers and Spunky stand together to provide a format for you to encourage each other and sharpen one another. And to that end we stand as one even if on particular issues there is disagreement. Our relationship is not predicated on the idea that we all must think the same way but on the truth that it is Jesus Christ who unites us. And in that you can be sure we all agree.

Thank you to the wonderful people at The Old Schoolhouse for providing me with a wonderful friendship, and great magazine and website.

God Bless,
Paul and Gena Suarez
Jenefer Igarashi
Spunky
Deborah Wuehler

(Note: For certain reasons I was not able to mention the TOS official review on my blog until today. Thanks for your understanding. Spunky)

Conservative Kids

When my son had just started his first business, a paper route, he had many questions about how to run a business. One stands in my mind still today. He asked, "How much money do I have to earn before I start paying any taxes?"

My husband said he would have to check on that to be sure but he thought it was around $600 before he paid any kind of taxes. My enterprising son then replied, "Good then I'll stop working at $599!"

It seems like I'm not the only mom who has had those conversations. Here's a book called, Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed. I think the book is a great idea only I might have titled it "Help, Mom! There are Liberals In My Piggy Bank!" because my son actually did have to pay Social Security taxes on his income last year. (And the cut off was $600.)

And here's a post my daughter wrote a while back on when someone asked her if she was a liberal or conservative.

Blogging HoNDA

No this isn't some hybrid car that let's you blog while you drive. (Although I'd be tempted to buy one if true!) This is a blog called Homeschooling Freedom that Kara (Homeschooling Illinois) is setting up to inform people about the HoNDA legislation introduced into Congress,
This is a blog devoted to the discussion of the HONDA legislation (Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2005 To amend selected statutes to clarify existing Federal law as to the treatment of students privately educated at home under State law) that is in committees in the United States House of Representatives and Senate. The bills are HR 3753 in the House and S1691 in the Senate.
Getting educated is the best way to make an informed choice on this important piece of legislation. I encourage everyone to read the legislation for themselves before reading the other positions on this issue. You can do that by going to the government website and typing in HR 3753. (The link expires so I cant' just link to it directly.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What Goes Around Comes Around

I love blogging. I find it challenging and fun. Even on the worst days I derive an immense amount of satisfaction in writing down my thoughts. One of the reasons to do so is so that when my children become adults and perhaps parents, they will know what I was thinking and hopefully learn a bit from what I experienced.

I was surpirsed and thoroughly delighted to read SpunkyJr this morning and realize that some of that has happened already. She was inspired to write this after reading my post yesterday.

So as I walk through life, I'm savoring every little bit. The joys and the sorrows. I have "slowed down" to take in everything. And I'm enjoying it...
Thanks for the encouragement sweetie!

__________________

Here's a few other blogs of note from my morning tour of duty,

Mrs. Happy Housewife is even happier since she moved to her new blog. Check it out.

Joanne Jacobs points us to to Vernice Jones a new blogger and homeschool mom in New York. She's black and determined to raise her 4 1/2 year old son the best way possible.

Edwonk has his carnival of education up and running. It's always worth a read.

I'm also enjoying getting to know Buried Treasure.

Scott Somerville is playing hookey for a while. Hopefully he'll start up again. Meanwhile, we are loving our first week of his wife's curriculum Tapestry of Grace. Maybe she'll start a blog some day.

Blestwithsons, has her Marine home and I'm wondering why she's still blogging. Then again she is asking the question today, "What's the point of it all?"

If you're looking for help with your blog Freshblog has some nice helps for blogger users. I still haven't had time to put it all together but the computer geek in me loves reading this stuff.

Kim at Large Family Logistics is always motivating me to get more organized. I love the tips she offers. She's also telling us about Crystal's new e-book.

And Agent Tim was able to meet Al Mohler! Make sure you listen to the interview and congrats Tim.

And don't miss The Anchoress she has an excellent take on the NY Times article about women from the elite schools rejecting high powered careers in favor of motherhood. I love this quote from one young lady attending Yale,
"My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time," Ms. Liu said matter-of-factly. "You always have to choose one over the other."
Smart girl! And her mom sounds pretty wise too!

Well, there's always something exciting going on in the blogs. I can't get to them all every day. (Even though some times I try!) So feel free to let us know what you're talking about.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Are we there yet?

When I was a child, riding in the back seat of my parents car was an adventure. With five little ones all croweded together (in the age before car seats) we always got into fusses with each other. And of course, there was always the proverbial question, "Are we there yet?" I'm sure these were stressful trips for my parents, especially on long trips.

But we weren't the only ones. My parents would have a diagreement every so often. It seems my mom had a few bad driving habits that drove my dad nuts.

When she was at the wheel, she would use both feet. She'd have one foot on the brake an one foot on the gas. She would adjust her speed and brake at the same time. This bugged my dad incessantly. He would always try to get her to change her ways. To no avail. My mom would cease the habit for a few miles and then eventually her left foot would creep back into action. I'm sure it was not intentional with five small children screaming in the back seat, she just wanted to "get there" the quickest way possible.

But a bad habit for my mom is translating into a good habit in my schooling. I am nearing the end of "formally" schooling my oldest and my youngest just turned two. I find my mom's old habit creeping into my attitude today. I see the end of the journey and want to see how fast we can get there. But I have an eye on the rear view mirror and want to keep one foot on the brake so that it doesn't all end too fast.

I remember when the children were young and I used to think about what it woul be like when they were all potty trained or could finally read by themselves. It seemed that I was always looking toward the next stage and wondering how fast it would come. Always silently asking, "Are we there yet?"

I find myself at a slower pace today. The sense of urgency to "get there" is not as important as slowing down to enjoy the moment. I have six now chattering and asking, "Are we there yet". Eager to tackle a new adventure and show how "grown up" they are. And yes, there are the fights and disagreements just like when I was a child. Some things never change.

But just like my mom, I plan on having one foot firmly on the gas to keep us on track this school year. We will hopefully be consistent with our studies and work toward finishing strong. But I will also have one foot on the brake so that we can enjoy the ride and take in all the sights along the way.

More on HoNDA

Home Education Magazine has a commentary on the HoNDA legislation and what makes it different from the bill that was defeated in 2003. It's worth a read.

UPDATE: AtypicalHomeschool has a poll on their blog about HoNDA. Scroll down and it's on the right.


Monday, September 19, 2005

HONDA is NOT good news for Homeschoolers

UPDATE: I knew Scott Somerville couldn't stay away for too long. He blogs a response to the HoNDA legislation here. http://www.odonnellweb.com/mtarchives/001917.php

Today is my daughters birthday so I 'll be busy today. But if anyone has blogged about this issue for or against I would like to know. People feel strongly on both sides so I would like to get as many thoughts on it as possible.

HONDA (Homeschooler Non Discrimination Act HR 3753) is back in Congress and this isn't good news for homeschoolers. (NOTE: to find text check search by Bill number and type in HR 3753)

HSLDA supports this legislation. Many others don't.

This sentence taken from this site pretty much sums up my thougts on this.




While the intent of the bill may be honorable, the effect of the bill is potentially disastrous for homeschooling parents who want to remain free from government regulation. This is because the federal government has no constitutional authority to directly regulate the education of homeschooled students, whether that regulation is for the benefit of the students or not.

Homeschooling A- Z has some websites to help you get to know what this is all about.

Here's an e-mail round-up I received to help you help you figure out where you stand. (My apologies for not making this look a little more nicely and hyperlinking but I didn't have time.)

http://www.cthomeschoolnetwork.org/HONDA.htm

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00BN9h

http://www.homeedmag.com/HEM/205/sotch.html

http://www.homeedmag.com/HEM/166.99/nd_clmn_tch.html

And Susan at Homeschooling In Illinois, Agent Tim and O'Donnel on the Web all have posts about it as well.

That should keep you reading for most of the weekend anyway.

Friday, September 16, 2005

How to Write for $1.99


If someone promised to help you and your children learn to write better for only $1.99; I'd say that it would be worth the risk wouldn't you? (I"ve spent alot more than that on writing books over the years!)

Well, that's what husband and wife team Herbert and Jill Meyer have done. They have turned their best selling book How to Write into an e-book and are selling it $1.99. This book is being used in colleges and homes around the world.

I downloaded my copy earlier this week and it is excellent. The book can be read in about an hour but I'm going to have to keep it handy for reference all the time. I plan on having my older two children read it this year. I also hope to implement some of the strategies with the younger ones.

Visit their website How to Write to read the reviews and look at a few sample page (PDF link)

Happy writing / blogging!

Note: Mr. Meyer also has a very interesting video The Seige of Western Civilization available that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on soon. We're doing the 1900's this year so I think his perspective will be useful to make sense of what's going on in the world. After all, this is the man who forcast the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980's as a Special Assistant to the Director of the CIA during the Reagan Administration. Read Herb's bio here. (Warning: Be prepared to be impressed!)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

We are a depraved people


This is truly sad. Group offers free abortions for hurricane surivivors. I had to google it just to be sure that it was true. And it is. God help this nation. Only a depraved mind would think of adding to the death toll and use Hurricane Katrina to raise the funds to do it.



Getting educated

Many have asked me how they can learn more about what all the education reform will mean. Here's an opportunity to educate yourself a bit. Sharon Hughes of One Place will be doing an interview with noted author and Professor Alan Quist on Friday.

"America's Schools: The Battleground for Freedom" with Professor Allen Quist

September marks the beginning of a new school year and Author of the highly acclaimed book, "FedEd:The New Federal Curriculum and How It's Enforced," tells us why he says "new math" is part of the larger American battle for freedom, and that state standards and assessments promote pantheism, multi-culturalism and a New Marxism which he details in his latest book, "America's Schools: The Battleground for Freedom"...(more) We will also explore what the International Baccalaureate is and what Professor Quist's concerns are regarding the We the People curriculum, which is being implementing in schools throughout America.

The good news is with internet radio the shows are archived so if you miss it today - - there's always tomorrow.

Sharon also did an interview today with Sam Alibrando, author of the book Nature Never Stops Talking. (He's got a great blog that is wonderful for learning about how to articulate the Intelligent Design position.)

Thanks to Stacy Harp of Mind and Media for pointing out Sharon's website. It's a goldmine of information.

Telling it like it is!

LaShawn Barber is once again encouraging parents to homeschool. (And she doesn't even have children yet!) She's responding to the Pledge of Allegiance debate that's once again in the news.

I'll say it again. If you can't afford private schools, HOMESCHOOL YOUR CHILDREN! Why wage war to recite the pledge in government schools when those
same schools teach that perversion is normal, America is racist, and Western culture is evil?

Yes, it makes the blood boil knowing our tax dollars are poured into a failing system and into the paychecks of incompetent socialists, but we need to pick our battles. The government school system is hopelessly lost. Focus on making sacrifices to homeschool your children and teach them biblical values, how to be decent people and good citizens. Let the deviants wallow in the muck they created. (Viva la cucumber!)

And she even mentions The Old Schoolhouse. Go La Shawn!

Also, Albert Mohler offers his assessment of the Pledge controversy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Pearls Respond to the Blogs

In their latest newsletter the Pearls respond to the negative comments and/or reviews of "Created to Be His Helpmeet" that have cropped up in the blogosphere. Here is the question from a reader of the book and her concerns, to which the the Pearls respond under the title, "A Blogging We Must Go."


My friends and I been reading "Created To Be His Help Meet." We have been greatly blessed by this book. In response to our "mini-reviews" of the book, there has been a rash of ladies who have quite vehemently suggested that it promotes a husbands abusing of his wife, even suggesting that Mr. Pearl has been abusing you, Mrs. Pearl. We are outraged. My question to you, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl, is this: What would be the best manner of handling the misinformation being spread about "Created To Be His Help Meet" and the mischaracterization of your personal lives? It is diffcult to sit back and watch hundreds of women buy into these malicious messages.

A friend

Dear friends,

Please be advised: I am not abused or mistreated, nor do I advocate that any woman should be abused or mistreated. I am treated like a queen, and my book is a study on how to cause your husband to want to treat you like a queen. Judging from the thousands of letters we have received, the book has been VERY successful in causing women everywhere to be revered by their husbands. But since we have heard from several people who are truly concerned about the nonsense being spread in "blogville", we have asked, Kathy Slayman, (her call name on blogsville is GJorderslady) a long-time friend (she watched our children grow up and also sees Mike and me on a daily basis) to blog for us each day. So, if you want to know any piece of personal stuff about the lady who wrote Created to be His Help Meet or the man who inspired the book, go to: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/. Then blog back to the bloggers in blogsville, and prayerfully explain to them that what they say is NONSENSE and that you know because you have the scoop from someone in the know.

It is unfortunate that the anonymous writer of the letter to the Pearls provides no documentation to support her claims. She seems to be referring to comments left on her blog but may also be referring to other blogs which have done negative reviews of the Pearl's book. Therefore, I want to make several things crystal clear about my review of the Pearl's book because it has been mischaracterized unjustly in the past. (Keer has also done an excellent review.)

My intention has never been to malign Michael or Debi Pearl but to examine what they wrote in light of their past writings and the Scripture. Nowhere in my review do I suggest that the Pearls promote abuse or that Debi is abused.

The subject of how to handle abuse, however, was a part of my review and caused quite a stir in the blogosphere. All I did was point out that the Pearls did not address the issue of abuse adequately and left too many questions unanswered -- questions that could make the book dangerous for some vulnerable women suffering under an abusive husband. I also pointed out that the book contradicts itself, Scripture, and the Pearl's website with respect to this and other issues. Doing a thorough analysis of someone's writing and asking tough questions is hardly what I call "nonsense" or "malicious."

It is the writer of the letter, in fact, who is doing the very thing that she accuses the blogs of doing. The writer makes negative statements and provides no supporting evidence. The Pearls accept her assessment as valid and trustworthy and then categorically dismiss dissenting bloggers' concerns as "nonsense" as if that makes the issues go away.

I am amazed that the Pearls do not answer the points raised in my (and others') blog reviews directly. Instead, they suggest we read someone else's blog who knows what they are like. It is of no interest or value to the issues at hand to know what their lives are like at home. I'd much prefer they address the serious issues raised by myself and others. Why are the Pearls dodging the questions and issues raised? This is unfortunate.

I have already been to Kathy Slayman's blog, having visited it the first time over a month ago. (As a part of the Homeschool Blogger team I try to visit many of the new bloggers.) There are only two entries, one dated August 2 and another dated August 11. Unfortunately, the "daily scoop" by those "in the know" isn't very helpful and doesn't clear up the serious issues raised about the Pearl's book.

Instead of providing idle gossip about the Pearl's personal lives (something Debi warns against in her book), perhaps Kathy will address the substance of the Pearl's book since the Pearls are not. I look forward to hearing her analysis and responses to the serious questions I and others have raised about the book -- based on facts rather than emotional appeals.

There are five parts to my review. Please see the sidebar under Best of Spunky - A Review of Created to be His Help Meet. Or click here for Part One and follow from there. Please read the comments as well. They say zero but there are loads of comments.

Note: This post has been revised from earlier today.

Update 9/26

Debi Pearl and Rebekah Pearl have both published another response at homeschoolblogger at Mercy in the Morning. I think that Rebekah's comments are the most enlightening about what the controversy is all about. Here's what Rebekah said and I believe encapsulates the heart of the matter. She said, I believe that there is a deep root-reason for much of the negative controversy over CTBHH. I believe the negativism lies in a misunderstanding in the doctrine of salvation and sanctification. Take the time to read all the comments especially Catez's comments. They are excellent.

Also note I am an independent contractor with The Old Schoohouse. The views expressed on this blog do not represent those of The Oldschoolhouse, homeschooblogger, or the publishers.

Thanks

Education is Not Neutral

Thanks to the Deputy Headmistress for pointing me to these articles by Buried Treasure. They are worth a look. Here's a quote from Part 2.
Education is not neutral, and the methods we use to educate our children are not neutral. The government has no jurisdiction biblically or constitutionally to take money from one group of citizens and give it to another for a purpose it deems worthy,
Neutral is not an option for the Christian parent. We are called to teach our children not just knowledge but wisdom. The foundation for wisdom is found in the fear of the Lord. Since the public schools position is "neutral" on who God is and there is no fear of the Lord, there is no foundation for wisdom. (See How Then Shall We Educate)

From time to time I am challenged on this. Here's an exchange I had with a fellow blogger a while back that is worth repeating.

In response to How Then Shall We Educate fellow blogger Jeremy Pierce wrote
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 HIM is actually against HIM. 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, teachers, and curriculum 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."

Putting my children under the tutelage of those that do not profess Christ is a stumbling block. 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? Psalm 111:10 states "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". Those that argue that wisdom can come without the fear of the Lord are arguing for a middle without a beginning. 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.



Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Who said this?

The reason I want to focus attention on homeschooling, as it is currently practiced, is that it is the single most worrisome institutional arrangement for educating children to be critical thinkers. This is not -- I hasten to add -- because parents generally speaking are motivated to impede critical thinking. (In point of fact, I think that a homeschool environment could in practice be one of the most effective ways to foster critical thought and autonomy.) This is because homeschooling proceeds in many states now without any check whatsoever on parents' educational activities. One of the bare minimum conditions of creating critical thinkers, it seems to me, is that the school environment (public, private, or homeschool) engage children with views different from those of their parents. But this idea is what seems to drive some homeschoolers nuts. JJ and Scott, would you sign on to this idea?


I'll give you a hint. He's a liberal, an acquaintance of Scott Somerville, and dead wrong.

To find out click here.

The Bible and Its Influence


Here is the book I'm sure the ACLU has been waiting for.....The Bible and Its Influence. The first Bible textbook for use in the public schools. Here's what the press release says,

A STUDENT TEXTBOOK: The first and only student textbook on the Bible for public high school courses in 30 years. Explains the narratives, themes, and characters of the Bible. Students read from the Bible translation of their choice. Respects but does not promote various faith perspectives.

CULTURAL CONTEXT: Covers the cultural influences of the Bible - with examples of art, literature, rhetoric and music - in engaging features like The Bible in Literature, Cultural Connections (music, art, rhetoric), and Into Everyday Language. Special one or two-page features include Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, Handel's Messiah, The Bible and Emancipation, Shakespeare and the Bible, and others.

RESPECTS FAITH PERSPECTIVES: Presents facts academically, without prejudice to a particular view of canon and doctrine, preserving the ability of parents to teach their view of the Bible's religious significance.

Tapestry of Grace

Our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace by Marcia Somerville, (wife to Scott) arrived just before we left on our small vacation. I spent a little bit of time reading it over the weekend. I think this will work out well for us. It is a literature based history curriculum.

Our family is sort of split into three groups right now. My oldest two children, Kristin and Jason, do high school work. My younger two girls, Katie and Elizabeth, do upper elementary, and my middle son, Josh, floats between them. Tapestry of Grace divides children by stages in a similar fashion and not by age so this works out well for us. It is designed to teach differing levels a historical period at their level.

We're doing Volume 4 (1900's) this year because that is what Kristin and Jason wanted to focus on . The reading for them looks interesting and challenging.

The year is subdivided into four 9-week units. We'll start Unit 1 "Casting off the Moorings" next week.

Educating All

This is part of a series of Why Public Education.

The second reason cited for a public education was,
State control of education is necessary, because it ensures the transmission of commonly held American cultural values essential to the population of our institutions.
Jenny D.'s recent post dovetails this reason. She asks the question, "Do We As a Society Have an Interest in Educating All Children?" She offers this as a thought exercise and muses,
Imagine if we decided we were unconcerned about whether all American children learned core democratic values. What if a parent decided that a quality education meant learning about jihad against Americans, and not math or language arts? Should the state pay for that choice in education? How about if parents chose a school that promoted sexism, and told girls they were second class citizens, and refused to teach math to girls? Should the state pay for that?
I understand that Jenny was just provoking thought but we have been educating all for over 100 years and we are LESS not MORE able to identify core American values. How many can distinguish between a democracy and a republic or recite the Bill of Rights?

I did an informal survey of a group of about 30 college educated woman (some teachers) that had one question...

Where is this quote found, "From each according to his ability to each according to his need."

Well over half told me the Constitution, some told me they didn't know, and only a very few identified it correctly as Karl Marx. Sad but true. So much for recognizing core democratic values.

And while TRUE choice in education may worry some about parents who want jihad against the US; others are equally concerned about our own teachers promoting what some might consider ANTI-American values. What is a core democratic value is no longer an easy term to define and universally accepted.

That's a striking contradiction for those who defend our need for a public education as the source to teach those values.

What if a parent decided that evolution is theory and wanted it taught as such. What if a parent decided that Christ is the reason for the season and wanted their learning to reflect that belief. What if the parent wanted their child to learn WISDOM and not just knowledge? Should the PARENT still be required to pay for an education that doesn't?

To ask if the state should pay for something it doesn't feel appropriate, is like my son TAKING a $10 bill I intended to use to buy milk and then deciding I don't need milk but Coke because Coke is better for me. (I just haven't been enlightened enough to know). Then he buys me only eight dollars worth, questions ME on why I want milk, and pockets the change for the trouble. He would be wrong to decide what I wanted to buy and so is the state.

That is the reason public education will never work for all. The state is taking money that is not theirs and deciding what is best for ALL When a free people begin to accept this, we are on a road to losing our freedom.

Society has an interest in an education for all but let's not confuse society with the state. They are not the same thing. And a lack of state control does not necessarily translate into a lack of concern by society.

Monday, September 12, 2005

We're Home

You know you're on vacation when......

.... Your son's suitcase looks the same way it did the day you left.

..... Your two year old is eating marshmallows for breakfast and sharing them with everyone else.

..... Momma is still sleeping at 10AM and that's why everyone's eating marshmallows for breakfast.

..... Nobody knows what a shower is. ("But mom, I swam in the lake all day how could I be dirty?")
.

...... You climb large hills of sand for two hours, barefoot in the hot sun, just to see Lake Michigan. (See picture on right.) Narrowly escape a rattle snake and then turn around and climb the same hills back to your car. And call it fun.

..... After playing in the sandbox all day, you yearn for a Starbuck's Frappacino to recharge and refresh but the closest thing is a gas station with a 99¢ self serve cappacino so you play it safe and opt for the canned Arizona Iced Tea.

...... No one has wireless internet but everyone in the town seems connected to each other.

..... The school bus passes by your cottage, you thank God you homeschool and say to the children, "Of course you can go out and swim."

You know you're home from vacation when.....

..... The laundry is higher than the sand dunes and everyone is out of underwear except your son.

...... There is no food in the fridge and suddenly no one wants marshmallows for breakfast anymore.

..... You open your e-mail and someone sends you an note addressing you as Ms. Pearl and wants to order a copy of your new book. (Strange but true!)

..... Everyone in your neighborhood has wireless internet but no one seems connected to each other.

...... The school bus passes by your house, you thank God you homeschool and say to the children, "Of course you can help with the laundry."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

We're outta here!

All our bags are packed. We're ready to go. I'm standing here at the library posting because our internet crashed. (A sure sign we need a vacation!) When everyone else goes back to school we go on vacation. So we'll be gone until next Monday. See you then!

What is Homeschooling?

Are charter schools and virtual schools the same as "traditional" homeschools? Some are making the distinction between home schooling and schooling at home. Personally, I think HOW someone educates IN their home is their business. However, WHAT we call what we do matters to society and legally.

Terminology is important.

Moreover, it is important that the definition be determined by who holds ultimate authority. If the parent holds the ultimate authority they are homeschooling...if another entity holds the authoriy they are doing not. Keep in mind, I am not saying the parent has lost their complete authority in the home. They have just decided to allow another entity to hold the authority for the education of their children.

A distinction is necessary to ensure that the freedom to homeschool is not lost through increased regulation. If we combine the two groups then when the state seeks to increase regulation on the "schooling at home" crowd the "homeschooling" crowd could be affected by the changes and potentially lose some of the authority to direct the education of their children.

Here's an article that sums it up pretty well.

The foundation of the original fight for homeschooling was freedom. Many virtual academies and cyber charter schools begin with leniency, but over the years,
rules creep in, subtle new policies begin to crop up, and gradual restrictions choke out your choices at home like crab grass run amok. This sets a precedent to increase regulations on other students who are educated at home, whether they're enrolled in a virtual academy or not.
A distinction is important, not to cast judgement, but to keep clarity in who is affected by increased regulation. That's a distinction all should welcome because if the parent ever decides to abandon the cyber or charter school for another way, they will have the freedom to do so without having to prove anything to the state.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Germany: An Insider's View

Agent Tim and Alex Harris (brother of Josh Harris "I Kissed Dating Goodbye") teamed up to interview Hans Guenther.
Hans lives in Germany with his parents and siblings. His father, Rich Guenther, is the director of School Instruction at Home, the German equivalent of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense). Serving his parents as a secretary in their endeavors to legalize homeschooling, Hans graciously consented to the interview, giving us an inside look at the current situation for homeschoolers in Germany.
Here's a couple excerpts from the interview:

TR: How bad is the persecution against homeschoolers in Germany today?

HG: Generally speaking, the government first applies financial pressure by issuing tremendous fines of up to hundreds of thousands of euros [Note: 1 euro = $1.24]. The next step often taken is taking the child by police force to school. Most families comply or leave the country before this takes place. In some cases, the state takes the custody of the children away from the parents, forcing the child to live in a foster home. In such instances, the state typically refuses to inform the parents of their child's whereabouts. The authorities argue, and judges affirm, that a child cannot develop properly apart from public school attendance.

AT: Would you say that the actions by the government are "control of society"?

HG: The government is enforcing integration. In their own words, multiculturalism is over, now everyone must integrate into the society. The government defines the societal values.

Many of the states here in the US are patterning our "reform" after Germany. So what's going on in here could happen to us down the road.

Excellent job Tim and Alex!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Moral Levees

I was explaining to my chilren this week a little about self control. A man who loves and fears God will have self control. And when he fails he will have the humility to make it right both with God and those that may have been hurt. Love keeps his heart tender and fear keeps his behavior pure. But a man who has not love or fear of God is lawless. Other measures must be taken to restrain him. It is so much more efficient to do it the first way. But we have lost our way and devotion to God is not the compass by which our society directs its affaris.

One hand clapping had a great analogy to explain this more clearly. He said,
As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called - no, commanded - to be ruled by law leavened with love, not wrath. We are commanded to be transformed in our inward
being so that we willingly heed and obey the moral commandments of God.

It was no crime for the hungry, thirsty or naked to take food and water and clothing from stores; Louisiana law even allows for it when the governor has declared a state of emergency, according to news reports. There is, however, a thin levee between taking things for support of life and outright looting, as experience this week sadly shows.

One of the things that churches should do is train the moral sense of it members. The God who created us also demands a high level of morality in us. The Ten Commandments do not say that a little murder is okay, a little adultery is permissible, a little thievery is allowable. Instead they instruct: No murder. No adultery. No stealing. There's no wriggle room.

Our continuing challenge as Christians is to follow the moral commandments of God's law without becoming legalists imprisoned by moralism rather than freed by morality. Rules are brittle; alone they make poor levees. When stressed from exceptional circumstances, rule-bound people are often the first to find their base eroded and their moral will overflowed. Rules alone oppress rather than liberate, stunt the spirit rather than grow it. Rules are imposed from the outside. Under stress, their restraints too easily break.

Love, though, comes from within. The silken covenants of love are not as easily broken as the iron chains of law. But love without rules leads to licentiousness. We can justify anything by claiming "our hearts are in the right place." Rules bring the reign of reason into the impulses of the heart. Rules can serve as a lens to focus the impulses of love and bring needed discipline to love’s fleeting nature. Love provides desire, but rules provide a will.

Only one moral levee can withstand the category five challenges we may encounter and hold back the churning seas of chaos from flowing over us. We need a solid bed of the rules of God topped by a strong wall of love.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

An Evacuation Plan

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many lives is a bus worth?

Photo


I'm sure alot of people are going to be wondering why they never used these. Here's an excerpt from the disaster relief plan courtesy of The Drudge Report.

Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00'

The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating'...


And here's a quote from a blogger who is providing eye-witness and up-to-date info and sums up alot of what I've been thinking.
I'm sure there's been human error in this catastrophe. How could there not be? But what I'm saying is that I've come to expect poor decision making and a total lack of initiative from government. They can't even balance a budget, at the federal, state, or local levels. I could balance my checkbook and spend within my means when I was a teenager. But I'm not gonna point fingers and get into the blame game. If you want me to blame something besides the storm herself, I blame the nature of government in the first place. It's too big, it's too slow, it's too inefficient, it's too bloated, and it's too intiative-stifling to be effective in normal circumstances, much less in a disaster. It's a systemic issue, more than an issue of individual people in government.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

HSLDA "Operation Extended Family"

Scott Somerville , staff attorney with HSLDA, asks for help from homeschoolers to temporariy house other homeschool families displaced by the hurricane. Here's the info from his blog,

One bright spot revealed by Hurricane Katrina is that homeschoolers are some of the most generous people around. HSLDA's office has been inundated with offers of assistance. We've also heard from many with needs.

The Home School Foundation is already helping to replace curriculum. But one of the greatest needs that we're hearing about is housing.

If your family would be interested in providing temporary housing to another homeschooling family displaced by Hurricane Katrina, HSLDA is willing to match your family with a family who needs a place to stay.

To make an offer of housing, please provide us with the basic information requested below. Email it to hurricanerelief@hslda.org.

Please be assured that we will keep your contact information confidential. When we learn of a family that needs help, we will contact you with their contact information (phone number or email address) and you can contact the family to determine if they are the right match for your family.

Name:
Address:
City, State, Zip:
Phone #:
Limitations: (e.g., two months max, only want boys, teenagers only, can take up to 4 people)
Provide transportation to your home: (e.g., bus tickets, frequent flyer miles, will pick up)
Any special facilities: (e.g., handicapped access, room for pets)
Other offers of help: (e.g., can provide job, have curriculum for 3rd grader, car available)

Thank you for being a part of the extended homeschooling family. Please join us in continuing to pray for these hurting familes.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith

President

Bibles Needed

Lori Seaborg (Hurricane Katrina) says that there is an urgent need for Bibles for the refugees.

I certainly don't think FEMA will be passing those out! So, we can do it!

With our big homeschool group, we can distribute Bibles throughout the Alabama Gulf Coast, which includes two of Alabama's largest counties. Hundreds of refugees from Mississippi and Louisiana are in our shelters.

We can pass out Bibles, if you can get them to us.

The refugees left their homes with few or no belongings.

Send Bibles via Media Mail to:

Tim and Lori Seaborg
18930 Highland Drive
Fairhope, AL 36532

You may also want to mail them through Amazon.com. If so, click here.

Thank you so much for helping!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sad and senseless

This is from Doug Phillips blog;

We just received this from our friend, Franklin Sanders. Please know Vision Forum will be making a donation to help this family in their time of need.

Dear Ones:

Last night Michael Osborne was murdered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Michael was formerly my business partner, a co-defendant in our federal trial, one of my closest friends in the world, and a dear Christian brother. Michael's wife, Nancy, drove to Memphis with their two daughters yesterday because Hurricane Katrina had blown two trees on their house. About 7:00 p.m. Michael went to Lowe's to get a part for his malfunctioning generator, which they didn't have. They directed him to another store in a bad section of town. Somebody shot him in his car, which then ran off the road into a telephone pole. It's not known whether the shots or the impact killed him.

Michael and Nancy have six children, two grown daughters, and at home two teenage sons, and two young daughters. Would you please pray for them? The funeral will be next week, after the coroner's inquest.I am sure that the storm has devasted the Osbornes financially, and the whole support of four children at home now falls on Nancy. If you would like to send her a donation, send it to:

Nancy Osborne
c/o John Spearman
9045 Spring Grove Cove
Cordova, TN 38018

Lord, have mercy on us! Christ, have mercy on us! Lord, have mercy on us!

Yours in the bonds of Christ,
Franklin Sanders

Hurricane Katrina Blog

Homeschooler Lori Seaborg lives in the area hit by the hurricane and she has started a blog called Hurricane Katrina to inform others about what is going on and what we can do to help. Take a minute to visit and encourage Lori and if there is anything you can to help I know she would appreciate it tremendously.

(BIG HINT: PLEASE LEAVE HER A COMMENT AND PASS THE WORD ALONG!)

Private -vs- Public Education

This is part of the series of Why Public Education? (This is not a "bashing" of the public schools but a look at the variety of arguments made for its necessity.)

One of the common thoughts is that a public education is superior to private control especially for the poorest among us. Expat continues to talk about the need for a public education for that purpose. Here are some of my thoughts on what he said,
'Base on the stark realities it is impossible to get a better quality education for everyone. Captialism creates winners and losers."
All systems to some degree create winners and losers. It is a matter of who PICKS the winners and losers. In a free society, parents and the children have the most control over whether they are a winner or a loser. Thus, it is parental rights and individual freedom that survives.

In a public school the state controls the winners and losers (based on curriculum and testing) and the parents and children are forced to work within the parameters set by the state and its schools. (All using the parents money through taxation.) Thus the state has the largest control and parental rights and individual freedom is worn away.

"Under a capitalistic system some schools would improve, but overlooks that some would be worse off than they are now"
True enough. But under a free market system those schools that are worse would eventually die off rather than be continue. (None of us laments the loss of the horse and buggy!) As parents are given the freedom to choose the school they will not be forced to stay in these schools because of compulsory attendance or financial contraints imposed by taxation. They will have other choices to consider. Perhaps not the elite school but certainly one better than the current poor one.

Considering vouchers, expat, cited the failure of the Milwaukee School System,

Of the 106 voucher schools visited, "there were about 10 to 15 schools where professionalism appeared lacking, facilities were not good, and the overall operation appeared alarming when it came to the basic matter of educating children." Got that? If 10 of 106 were alarming, that is a nearly 10% failure rate!
Vouchers are not the same as the free market so it is difficult to compare. The vouchers are still government controlled. Who gets a voucher and what schools are allowed to participate is subject to the government. Furthermore, it is not free market because the parent is paying first to the state and having the state give it back to them. Eliminate the state. I don't pay the government to then give me a voucher for groceries for my chilren, why should I do so for education. The current voucher system is ripe for corruption and failure.
"Remember that these schools aren't making cars, butter or widgets. They are working with children that get one shot at an education. A failing (public or private) school damages a child for life."
That is correct but who has the compelling interest in the child? Consitutionally and according to the laws of nature and natures God it is the parent who has the highest interest of the child. However, the state has usurped that control through taxation, compulsory education, and testing. If the child suffers let it be because the parent failed. God and society have remedies for that (or atleast they used to before the state took that over too!). But if a child suffers at the hand of a poor state education there is no remedy. (Can a parent or child sue the state or teacher for failure in spelling or math?) And that is the current situation. Educational neglect is not abuse and therefore not illegal except in the area of compulsory attendance. But compulsory attendance does not guarantee against educational neglect. And if neglect were illegal the prisons would have a whole lot of parents AND teachers behind bars.

Based on the laws of capitalism, it ALWAYS produces losers. A private educational system will do that, too. Yet, a public sector education can have universal success (like our interstate system - for example).

Bill Gate's children's school district is universally successful.

A public school system cannot have universal success. Because unlike highways, we have a personal will. (I live in MI where the success of the interstate is a debate for another day!) And despite even the best private schools we still have failures because of free will. Bill Gate's school is NOT universally successful. That they may be above average on stanardized tests, is not a determmination of a successfully educated child.

They may create functioning citizens but they are not universally successful. Furthermore, if this were true that there would be no divorce amongst the graduates, no alcoholism, no unwed pregnancy, and no suicide, or unemployed. They would be producing a hybrid human. And clearly that is not true. A state standardized score or graduation rate does not tell us how successful an education was. That is born out over time in the life of the child.

For a teacher or anyone to accept a test or college acceptance as a measure of success is worrisome to me. As it should be to all. There are many who fail a state test and never go to college who are far more successful than those attain them. Bill Gates is not even a college grad. At a certain point in his life I am sure other thought him "unsuccessful" because of his lack of a degree. (Especially when his office was in a garage!) I, on the other hand, have a college degree in Computer Science and would have been considered to be "successful" around that same time. Yet, I have little success to show for it from a "social" perspective atleast compared to Bill Gates. (Thankfully, I don't measure success in that way!)
"Only public schools can ensure equal opportunity for all."
False. If this were true why hasn't it happened in over 100 years. Surely, it can't be that more time is necessary. Since their inception, schools have declined not gotten better. Time is not proving to be the schools friend.

"The private sector limits social mobility."
Social mobility is limited by a variety of factors -Education among them. However, it is who most controls that mobility, the state or the individual, that is an issue. I believe that the laws of natture, God along with our Consitution provide that the control rests with the parent.

Lastly, referring to perpetuating the status quo in education he concludes,

"America is beter than that"
I agree, and when America's citizens are allowed to be free they are better than that. When they are controlled by the state we become a product of the state and the citizens suffer. If America is failing in education it is because public education has failed Americans.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief

Today is Blog for Relief Day for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Here are two homeschool organizations that are helping in the effort.

Scott Somerville of HSLDA posts that The Home School Foundation has established the Hurricane Emergency Response Program to help families who have suffered losses from the hurricane. Here's the info if you would like to help.

We will use contributions to this program to assist families with replacing lost or destroyed curriculum and meeting emergency needs.

If you know of homeschooling families who need our assistance, please have them call us at 540-338-8899 or email info@homeschoolfoundation.org.If you would like to make a gift to help these families, here's how.

Donate online at: Home School Foundation or

Send your check:-Payable to: Home School Foundation-Memo: Hurricane-

Mail to: Home School Foundation, PO Box 1152, Purcellville, VA 20134

----------------------------------------------

The Beehive is also posting that The Noah Project is available to help homeschoolers who have been affected by Katrina. They will even accept new or gently used curriculum. Here's their address

15807 Brickman Ct.
Houston, TX 77084

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The Common Room alerts us to Ambleside Online which put together a small emergency lesson plan for families ot use. While there check out their website. It's awesome.

Instapundit has list of other disaster relief organizations.

Truth Laid Bear has a running total of donations so far. Here's the stats as of Friday at 7:30 AM (EST)

$227,443 in contributions so far log your contribution
1,321 blogs participating (see list of blogs) and if you want to add your blog
142 charities recommended (see list of list of charities)and if you want to add a charity

Please pass this information along to let other homeschoolers know how they can help families affected by this disaster.

Technorati tags: flood aid and hurricane katrina.