Sunday, November 30, 2008
to the last load of dishes...
Thanksgiving Day was a huge success.
My daughter, Katie, was such a big help (she peeled 14 lbs. of potatoes by herself), that I told her Friday was her day; I'd do whatever she wanted . Her eyes lit up and she squealed, "Shopping. Tomorrow. Let's do it!" And so we did. Not at 4AM mind you. We left at a much more sensible 7AM and the dear girl even treated me to a Starbucks! Tomorrow, it's back to a normal schedule and hopefully normal eating habits.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
For those that are not cooking turkeys tomorrow and are looking for something interesting to read:
The Carnival of Homeschooling is up at the Common Room and
The Homeschool Blog Awards have announced the winners. Congratulations to them all.
Finally, if you're looking to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping this weekend, you can get an awesome gift for the homeschoolers on your list without battling the crowds at the mall or breaking the bank. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is having a sale on subscriptions during their annual Black Friday Sale. From November 26 -30 you can get a one-year subscription for the low price of $7.95. You can get all the details and learn about their other offers here.
Happy Thanksgiving, I'll be back in a few days.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So imagine my surprise when I read Christine Escobar's article at the Huffington Post about liberals and home education and found a bit of common ground. Escobar is a left-leaning homeschooling mom, who was prompted by the "demented" comments of Joy Behar to remind her fellow liberals that being open-minded is supposed to one of their trademarks.
"I think it's healthy for people to see the flip side once in a while. It seems the problem with some folks who consider themselves open-minded, liberal and left-leaning, is that they think you aren't for the people unless you are 100% behind public schooling. That's utter nonsense.The spectacle of pro-choice liberals opposing homeschooling has to rank as one of the seven great wonders of the political world.
Left-leaning people support the right for men and women to choose marriage, whether they are gay or straight. I support that too. They often support the idea that women's bodies are theirs only and that the government must not make laws dictating their choice to have or not have children. I support that too. So, what's wrong with having the freedom to choose your child's best educational environment?
Escobar's advice about seeing the flip-side might also come in handy now that the holidays are upon us. Parents in a California elementary school are in a feud over Thanksgiving costumes that some find offensive. Both sides seem pretty determined not to give in to the presssure of the other.
And in a nod to political correctness, Florida Gulf Coast University is now limiting holiday decorations. They have renamed their giving tree a giving garden and traded their greeting card contest for an ugly sweater contest. So how long before someone is offended by the term "ugly" and they change it to an "aesthetically challenged" sweater contest?
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Monday, November 24, 2008
Our world has plenty of divisions. It is easy to find things to judge in other people. Places where we disagree, fundamentally offend, and just plain don't like. The hard part is finding common ground, which could also be called sacred ground. Until we expand our common ground, the fantasy of a peaceful human race will be impossibly out of reach. In the case of homeschoolers like me, and male-led-family homeschoolers, the common ground is very tiny but very clear: we both believe in our right to make our own family culture. The right to organize our family in the way that best supports its members, free from judgment or coercion from outside forces. So while I vehemently disagree with the premise of Bible-endorsed male-led family structure, I am just as adamant in the right for a family to make that choice. I encourage all homeschoolers, religious and secular, to embrace a culture of non-judgment. Isn't that a value we can all agree on?The problem with asking if a culture of "non-judgment" is something we can all agree on, is that those that say "no", are likely to be judged by those who think that this is a value we can all agree on!
But I'll take the risk and say, "no" I don't think a culture of non-judgment is something we can all agree on. Simply because judgments are made by each of us every day and those judgments will affect others. Choosing one curriculum over another is a judgment that affects both vendors. If I tell others why I chose one over the other this multiplies the effect and has the potential to offend. On my blog, my choice of topics and voicing my thoughts about them could cause others to feel judged by what I've said. It's happened before and will likely happen again. Should I stop blogging on a topic simply because others may feel judged? Should I cease taking a strong stand on a issue because others might become offended?
Making a judgment of right or wrong should not be banned from public discourse. Rather, it is how I respond when confronted by those judgments that is more important and within my control.
I cannot prevent others from judging me for my choices nor can I prevent them from feeling judged by what I say or do. But I can refuse to become offended by their judgment and hopefully deal with them and the disagreement maturely. So, rather than asking for a culture of "non-judgment" and attitude of non-offense when disagreements or judgments occur would be a much better choice for me.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008
Free e-books from Trivium Pursuit
If you're not familiar with Trivium Pursuit and the Bluedorn family, you're missing out on some of the best resources available for homeschoolers. I'm using their book, The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox, as a supplements in my informal logic class for middle schoolers with great success. Until the end of the month, they are making two of their e-books available for free. You can get all the details here. While you're at it, if you're looking for excellent picture books for young readers check out Johanna Bluedorns books as well.
Free Thanksgiving Cookbook
Need a unique recipe to add sparkle to your Thanksgiving feast? New punch recipe? Crunchy salad? Fabulous dessert? Homeschool mom of six, Cheryl Moeller's cookbook, Aunt Sarah's Alaskan Cookbook, will give your guests cause for a standing ovation. You can receive a free copy from now until Thanksgiving Day. For your free cookbook, click here.
Free blogging advice from Spunky
I appreciate the encouraging notes that are sent to me from time to time from readers of my blog. The note usually includes a sentence that says something like, "I don't know how you have time to blog." We all have our addictions; mine is blogging and Starbucks. The bad economy has forced me to severely cut back on my Starbucks, but thankfully blogging is still FREE! There are a few free resources that I use to make my blogging easier. Bloglines enables me to read a lot of information quickly and categorize it for later retrieval. You can also subscribe to your favorite blogs by email and have their most recent posts sent to your inbox. (You can subscribe to SpunkyHomeschool by putting your email in the box located at the top of the sidebar on the right.) Utilizing these services have maximized my time on the internet and allowed me to blog efficiently.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Students in public schools would be checked during the school year. Arrangements would be made for homeschooled students also to be screened, Morrissette said.
However, if parents don't work with school and health officials, the matter could be turned over to the state Department of Human Services for possible investigation, he said.
Unless a parent complies they can be "investigated." So much for probable cause and innocent until proven guilty.
I've heard the illogical rationale for this type of legislation before. It usually goes something like this: If a parent has nothing to hide why would they object to their child being weighed?
Mr. Morrisette calls this a "nutrition bill."
"It is a nutrition bill with a near-zero fiscal impact that has the potential to improve every aspect of life in Oklahoma, as children need to learn at an early age the importance of eating healthy."Mr. Morrisette needs learn the importance of the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment. Something he obviously failed to learn at an early age.
HT: Homeschool Buzz
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Considering the comments come from Behar, I think "demented" might actually be a compliment.
Hat tip to Extraordinariliy Ordinary for spotlight this and reminding me once again why I don't watch TV. I think our discussion here about the Obamas and the education of their daughters was much better.
What caused this drastic change of heart?
I'm glad you asked.
Well, it all started with a phone call from my daughter early one frosty morning. The car had broken down. She was in a panic and needed a bailout. Momma can you come get me!
Next in the line up was my son. He just had tooth extracted and braces put on. The site where the tooth was pulled became infected. He was in serious pain and needed a bailout. Momma can you get me some medicine!
Then there was my five-year old who woke up early in the morning with the stomach flu. She was looking pretty green and in desperate need of a bailout. Momma can you get me a bowl!
After playing the bowl game for the third night in a row, I was exhausted and in need of a bailout. Momma can you come...
Suddenly, a light shown through the window and I had an epiphany. It wasn't momma I needed but Obama! After all, if he can bailout the Big Three why not Spunky! It was time to spread the mess around.
Immediately, I started singing,
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming The One.
He has trampled on conservatives who never have any fun.
He will cure my sick child and make my auto run.
His change is marching on.
Glory, Glory, I support Obama
Glory, Glory, I support Obama
Glory, Glory, I support Obama
Help is on the way.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The video production is professional but the build-up of suspense using music and courtrooms attempts to provoke a sense of urgency and fear that I'm not sure is warranted. The sentence "This movement has continued, its history undefined." also seems a bit confusing. History is written as people live their lives and make decisions. We should know the history of homeschooling, but I'm not sure how to "define" it.
My first introduction to homeschooling in 1981 until today, I viewed homeschooling more as a verb than a noun. I would say to my friends and family, "We are homeschooling." Not, "We have joined the homeschool movement."
I understand and accept that homeschooling has become a movement, but I never considered myself part of a particular movement toward a particular end, even though I am a Christian that homeschools. In fact, I usually resisted the "bandwagon" mindset that was prominent among many homeschoolers, especially in the early days when a certain curriculum was "God's choice" for the homeschool family and those that didn't adopt the curriculum were shunned.
Secular and Christian homeschoolers are both part of homeschooling in America and its history. Each has made significant contributions to the liberties we now enjoy. I certainly hope that those that seek to tell the history allow all the facts to be known. We'll see.
Karen also sent along a link to a Homeschool Leadership Summit taking place in March, 2009.
"The home education movement has reached a critical juncture . . . With the explosion of school choices and increased government intrusion in homeschooling, the time has come to define a vision, and in the words of George Washington, "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God." Otherwise, we will see the heart of what we have worked for fade away.
In March of 2009, Christian Home Educators of Colorado will host homeschool leaders from around the country at a national gathering in Indianapolis. The Purpose? To lay out a vision for home education in the 21st Century."
I do not want to see the freedom to homeschool fade away, but I'm not certain that a self-appointed group of homeschool leaders raising a standard for the "homeschool movement" is the answer. As Christians homeschoolers, we have one standard: God's word. Secular homeschoolers have whatever standard they choose to adopt or none at all.
The best way to make sure that homeschool freedoms don't fade away is to educate parents on what has happened and the possible ramifications of certain choices, especially those involving the state. But I do not see the need for a separate standard or to define a vision for home education for the 21st Century.
What do you think?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Children residing in the White House is not unique, Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter were also young girls when their dad entered the White House. But John Podhertz explains why maintaining the Obama girls privacy is likely to be more difficult this time around.
"Malia and Sasha Obama are part of the new world of childhood, a vastly more public world, with scores of television shows directed toward their age group, consumer goods specifically targeted at them, and the celebrity journalism sector completely without shame in exploiting performing children to keep itself in business. The question may not be what the adult Obamas will want, but what the junior Obamas will want. What if they decide, over the coming years, that they hunger for the company of Hannah Montana, that they would be thrilled to be on the cover of People?For the girls, sake I hope that people leave them alone. But if not, I suppose the Obamas can always homeschool!
More disturbing, perhaps: What if their school classmates decide to post cellphone videos of them on YouTube? What if rumors about their conduct hit shameless, willing-to-say-or-publish-anything sites like Gawker? One heard things, almost certainly invented, about the Clintons and their relationship with Chelsea from Washington people who claimed to know the truth because their kids went to school with Chelsea. But that was before the Internet really exploded.
Protecting Sasha and Malia from the mainstream media will be easy for the Obamas, because the mainstream media will go along. Protecting them from the world beyond it will be harder. And protecting them from the desires they may themselves feel when they know they can have or be anything they wish to be might be the hardest job of all."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
First we had Vice President-elect Joe Biden declared that paying taxes was "patriotic" now we have Barack Obama's choice for chief-of-staff Rep. Rahm Emanuel reveals that we need a civilian national security force to "bring out the patriot in all of us." From his book, The Plan: Big Ideas for America, Emmanuel wrote,
It isn't certain that Barack Obama will implement the plan exactly as Emmanuel outlines here, but the fact that he chose him as his chief-of-staff is not an encouraging sign. Emmanuel's co-author Bruce Reed says this isn't a draft. Then just how will "every" young people "know" that the nation will "enlist" them for three month of basic training without a draft?
It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service. ...
Here's how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They'll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we're hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities' most pressing needs.
How patriotic does this make you feel?
As a reminder, here's the speech Obama gave calling for the a civilian national security force that is just as powerful and well funded as the United States military.
(HT: The Examiner)
Voting has begun for the 2008 Homeschool Blog Awards.
There are plenty of great blogs nominated in a variety of categories, so here's your chance to vote for your favorites and become acquainted with some new blogs you may not know about.
In other blog news, I have been invited to live-blog the Midwest Homeschool Convention April 16-18, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'll also present a workshop on blogging and homeschooling on behalf of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This is a great event with an excellent roster of speakers. I'm humbled to be a part of this fun and informative event. If you can carve out some time in April, I'd love to meet you in Cinci.
Finally, I was invited by my daughter's Journalism Ethics professor to present a guest lecture on blogging and its impact on the culture and media. Her request came when she heard that I had competed against (and nearly beat) Penn State Professor of American literature and cultural studies, Micheal Berube for the 2006 Wizbang Blog Awards. The lecture is tomorrow at 10AM. If nothing else, I'm looking forward to giving one more lecture to my daughter!
(Truth be told, she is the one who set up my blog in 2004 and could probably do the lecture for me.)
Monday, November 10, 2008
I realized this today when I attempted to finish a post on Obama's plan to require community service; I started the post last Friday after a brief exchange in the comments section. At that time, I copied this portion from the Change.gov website.
"The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start."When I grabbed the text, I forgot to copy the URL. When I went back to the website today to grab the link, I noticed the page wasn't there. In fact, nothing that I previously read regarding the Obama agenda was on the website. (There was a section at the bottom that linked to a variety of issues.) What happened?
Curious, I googled around a little and saw that The Washington Times noticed too. I also found a post from Little Green Footballs that noticed that the education section had been changed and the "requirement" portion edited. The website now has a section titled, America Serves which reads,
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.Most of the information was just repeated from his campaign website, so why take it down? Now that he's been elected, perhaps Team Obama is worried that people might actually read the fine print and find out just how "progressive" he really is. But requiring citizens to work without compensation is not progressive, it's regressive. Those are changes Barack Obama obviously doesn't want you and I to see.
Is it any wonder that Obama selected the URL "change.gov" for his new website? Obama promised to fundamentally change government. Perhaps he's hoping we won't remember exactly what those changes were now that he's President-elect. Thankfully, there are too many people paying attention.
Over the weekend an Obama spokesman, Valerie Jarrett, told Tom Brokaw, "given the daunting challenges that we face, it's important that president elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one."
Before day one, can somebody please remind Team Obama that he's in America where "we the people" rule and the President serves with our consent. They might also want to mention to him slavery was outlawed and no one works without just compensation, including our children.
Change.gov is a catchy URL, but let's not carry this change mantra too far. After all, there are a were a few moments in our nation's history when we did do things right.
Brandy has provided some excellent commentary on the same subject in two posts,
Change.gov: The new slavery and Change.gov: Infringements on Liberty. I especially liked this thought, "The Obama transition team deliberately appeals to the American ideal of freedom while undermining it at the same time."
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The teacher regrets saying "So, that means that your father could stay in Iraq for 100 years." She has apologized to the student and her parents for saying it. She also believes she is not browbeating the students and is troubled by the editting that was done. Watch the video interview at WRAL.com.
The students are defending the teacher saying,
The Swedish filmakers also defended the teacher,
"But the parents of that student, and the student herself, said Friday that teacher Diantha Harris did nothing wrong.
“She is usually messing around,” said Cathy Thompson, who was in Harris' fifth-grade class in May when a Swedish film crew visited for a documentary on American politics. “When she said that, I knew she was messing around.”
I'll have to go watch the video again, I must have missed the laughter from the kids the first time.
"Filmmaker Folke Ryden said during a telephone interview from his home in Sweden that Harris was “exaggerating” with her comments to students that day to get them interested in a discussion about the presidential race. He had asked her to talk about politics in the classroom for his film. He said the comment about the child's father staying in the military for 100 years was a joke.
“And I think her students know that as well,” he said. “But if you want to, of course, you can interpret the situation in a way that is not favorable for her, for the teacher, and I think that is what you are seeing.”
I guess this whole controversy is just the fault of conservative bloggers who just don't know how to take a joke! So what are we to think about the teacher saying "Oh, Jesus" every time a student mentions John McCain?
The Fayetteville Oberver adds more details here.
Previous post: Educating for Hope and Change
Thursday, November 06, 2008
(Note the clip is taken from a Finnish documentary on Barack Obama thus the use of subtitles.)
So much for tolerance and respect for diversity in the public schools. I can only imagine what would have happened if this had been a white teacher berating a black student for supporting Barack Obama because he failed to protect infants born-alive after a botched abortion.
It's going to be a long four years.
Update: The Superintendent for the Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, NC has issued a response,
I was shocked when I saw the clip of an interaction between a Cumberland County Schools teacher and her students as posted on YouTube. While neutral discussion of the political process is appropriate, at no time, particularly with elementary students, should a teacher infuse his/her political views into the discussion. Most disconcerting was the military slant that made its way into this discussion. We are a military community, serving over 15,000 military students and their families. We value the sacrifices, not only of the military parents but also those of their families.
We believe that military children are our children, military spouses are many of our employees, and military service men and women are our heroes. We proudly serve our military children and have received national awards for our support of military families.
I was particularly disturbed to see the uncomfortable position in which our children were placed due to the inappropriate actions of one of our teachers. Please be assured that the actions exhibited in this video are not consistent with the vision of the CCS. Moreover, the actions of one teacher do not represent the 7000 employees in our organization.
Once the video was brought to my attention, I immediately launched an investigation. Personnel laws prevent me from releasing information regarding individual employees and personnel action taken. I can assure you that upon completion of the investigation, I will take appropriate action.
Dr. William Harrison
(HT: Michelle Malkin)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Question: Spunky, now that the election is over will you be able to get over your bitterness and anger and support President-elect Barack Obama?
Answer: Spunky respects the decision reached by some people to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States, provided Barack Obama conforms to the laws and principles set forward by the Constitution governing these United States of America.
(If this answer seems confusing see this post.)
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
On a lighter less intimidating note, I was at the grocery store with my five year old and someone noticed she had on an "I voted" sticker. They asked her who she voted for? She said, "I'll let you know after the election, if McCain wins, I'm for McCain. If Obama wins, I'm for Obama."
Then she looked up at me and said "Is that how it works mom?"
Not wanting to dampen her idealist notions I repled, "Yeah, that's how it works. Sort of."
And please don't get too worked up about the outcome. After all, we're Americans. We don't worry, we eat.
To quote a Krispy Kreme ad, "Celebrating one of America’s most coveted constitutional rights can be oh-so-sweet." Krispy Kreme is giving away a free donut to everyone who has the "I voted." sticker.
Starbucks is giving away something today too, "If you care enough to vote, we care enough to give you a free cup of coffee." You don't even need the sticker, they're trusting you to be honest.
It's truly amazing that all of this generosity occured without Congress passing one law or taking the first bite out of my donut. Obviously, Americans are not as selfish as some would like us to believe.
Go vote and enjoy enjoy the day!
Update: Oops! It looks like Starbuck's promotion might be illegal.
"No good deed goes unpunished," said Nick Handy, director of elections.Handy said there is a federal statute that prohibits any reward for voting.
Starbucks' good deed can be perceived as paying someone to vote, and that’s illegal, Handy said."The way it is written, it expressly prohibits giving any kind of gift,"
Monday, November 03, 2008
It's been a long election cycle, so I thought it might be helpful to post this video from the Weekly Standard to document all of the different and contradictory statements Obama has said in his quest to become the next president of the United States.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
(Note: Stop the clip at the 1:09 mark, I don't condone the remarks or the use of an expletive in the final 30 seconds of the video.)
Obama loves rich people and he loves their money too. So much that he wants to take it and give it to other people to spend. He thinks that's charity, I call it stealing. As Davey Crockett rightly said, "It's not yours to give." Go ahead and redistribute as many of your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as you would like, but don't take mine and give it away while you keep yours and then turn around and call me selfish.
If Obama truly believes a rising tide lifts all boats then why doesn't he lift his Aunt Zeituni out of a rundown housing project in Boston and buy her a new condo with some extra cash to decorate? Just think of all the others that will benefit if she spends YOUR millions. He could even buy her a car and and hire a driver to get her around town with the royalties from his book, Dreams from My Father. In the book, Obama actually mentions his obligation to his Aunt Zeituni from Kenya:
What is a family? Is it just a genetic chain, parents and offspring, people like me? Or is it a social construct, an economic unit, optimal for child rearing and divisions of labor? Or is it something else entirely: a store of shared memories, say? An ambit of love? A reach across the void?...Nice prose for a memoir, but it's just words that provided millions for Obama but nothing for Aunt Zeituni. Ironically, Aunt Zeituni has found it within her heart to dig deep into her pocket to help her nephew. She has donated money to the Obama campaign.
If Jane or Zeituni ever fell ill, if their companies ever closed or laid them off, there was no government safety net. There was only family, next of kin; people burdened by similar hardship ...
Now I was family, I reminded myself; now I had responsibilities.
"Federal Election Commission records show that Onyango donated at least five times to her nephew's campaign in July and September. Three of the donations were for $5 each, and two of the donations were for $25. Records compiled by The Huffington Post show she gave a total of $260 to the campaign."Michelle Malkin reports that Aunt Zeituni is living in Boston illegally and as such, she is ineligible to to donate to a political campaign. So Aunti Zeituni lives in the United States illegally, living on welfare in subsidized housing, and illegally contributes to the campaign of Barack Obama, while he stumps around the country telling us we're selfish?
Obama, said, "Selfishness is not a virtue" true enough. But selfishness isn't a crime either. If it were Obama would be in prison for the way he treats his own Aunt Zeituni and other family members.
And this is the politics of hope and change?
Michelle Obama was right in 2004 when she said that Obama wasn't ready to be president because he hasn't done anything yet - not even for dear Aunt Zeituni.
UPDATE: The Obama campaign is giving Aunt Zeituni back her contributions to the campaign.