Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

Shamelessly swiped from the Facebook status of my dear sister Donna, a homeschool mom of eight children 17 and under:
It only takes...

...One Macy's catalog to convince me I'm not beautiful enough

...One Timberdoodle catalog to convince me that I'm not homeschooling enough

...One Vision Forum catalog to convince me I don't have character enough

...Yet just One Word from God shows me that I am loved more than enough!

Thank you Lord!
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

Related Post: Better Homes and Schooling

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Monday, November 23, 2009

NEA Puts Power Ahead of Kids

It's really no surprise to anyone ever that the NEA was more interested in protecting its power than educating children. What is surprising is that they actually feel confident enough in their power to admit it. Here's the NEA's General Counsel admitting as much in his retirement speech this past summer.
"Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power....

This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.

If you're a parent with children in the public schools you can voice your objections here. But the best way to object is by removing your children from their schools. Without your children they have no real power.

In a related story, future teachers in Minnesota are being "reducated" and become "culturally competent" in order to obtain a teacher certificate.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homeschoolers and Health Care

For all my homeschooling friends who think ObamaCare will solve their financial and health insurance woes, think again. It may give you temporary relief for your financial headache, but it may also invite government nannies into your home to improve your child's well-being and health.

HR 3200 that passed the House of Representatives, currently has a provision for funding states that implement a "voluntary" home visitation program for parents with young children or who are expecting. (See Sec. 1904 sec. 440)
The intended purpose is to " improve the well-being, health, and development of children by enabling the establishment and expansion of high quality programs providing voluntary home visitation for families with young children and families expecting children."
In America we used to believe that was the role of the parent, but now it's the role of our benevolent and compassionate Uncle Sam. A gaze over the Atlantic will show us exactly where we're headed,
"Health and safety inspectors are to be given unprecedented access to family homes to ensure that parents are protecting their children from household accidents.

New guidance drawn up at the request of the Department of Health urges councils and other public sector bodies to “collect data” on properties where children are thought to be at “greatest risk of unintentional injury”.

Council staff will then be tasked with overseeing the installation of safety devices in homes, including smoke alarms, stair gates, hot water temperature restrictors, oven guards and window and door locks.

The draft guidance by a committee at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has been criticised as intrusive and further evidence of the “creeping nanny state”.

Where are the safety devices for the "creeping nanny" who keeps sticking her nose into our personal lives?

Why homeschoolers support this bill or President Obama is beyond my understanding.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Subsidizng Irresponsibility

Regarding the punitive consequences for those that do not acquire health insurance, Obama said this to Jake Tapper.
"I think the general principle is simply that people who are paying for their health insurance aren't subsidizing folks who simply choose not to until they get sick and then suddenly they expect free health insurance. That's - that's the basic concept of responsibility that most Americans abide by," Mr. Obama said, "Penalties are in place for people who try and free ride the system and force others to pay for their health insurance."
If you really believe in the basic concept of responsibility, Mr. President, then those have an abortion should be required to purchase abortion insurance or face jail time and strict fines. Getting pregnant is the arguably one of the most preventable medical conditions. Why should responsible taxpayers subsidize immature fools who simply choose irresponsible behavior and get pregnant and then suddenly expect the the federal government (taxpayers) to pay for their abortion?

Using Obama's own logic, penalties should be in place for people who try and free ride the system and force others to pay for their abortion, which many believe is a selfish act of murder.

Obama once said that if his daughters make a mistake and get pregnant he doesn't want them "punished with a baby." Instead, it seems he'd rather punish the taxpayers and make them pay for those who make a similar "mistake" instead.

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Rebutting Socialism

This week, a group of college students at Washington University in St. Louis sought to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the eventual end of communism in Russia. But the university forced them to take down their display because it was "too offensive."

Instead of going away quietly, the students decided to take their message national. Campus Gulag website reported:

On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, the day that gloriously lead to the eventual fall of Communism in Russia, the ideas that led to the slaughter of 100 million souls in the 20th century alone are alive and well. Far from being on the ashheap of history, Communism and socialism in America is growing, and tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers need to see the impact of socialism: the extermination of political dissidents and unwanteds. From national socialism to international socialism, the same bad ideas lead to the same bad results: imprisoning dissidents and their eventual execution.

You and I can stop this, because we can reach students with the message of freedom, the message of hope, and the message that socialism and its ideas leads to mass murder.

This would have been a mild display compared some of the offensive displays I saw at the University of Michigan twenty years ago! At least these people were clothed! I guess freedom of speech only applies to liberals teaching communism or praising Mao.

And if you think socialism doesn't lead to communism, just ask yourself, if the Obama health care plan is so good why must our limousine liberals in DC criminalize and threaten citizens with fines and jail time for noncompliance? Or why an "ethics committee" from the CDC meeting to debate who should have access to a ventilator for the swine flue?

As my dad often says, "This isn't the country I grew up in."

But, intimidation only works for those willing to be intimidated. Don't give up and don't give in. (You can read my own run in with a liberal prof while in college here.)

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Reaching Homeschoolers

At a homeschool convention last year, another vendor and I struck up a conversation. He had a lot of energy but seemed a bit uptight; however, he readily admitted that he felt totally out of place because he didn't homeschool and this was definitely not his "typical convention." Not really interested in finding out what his "typical convention" was like, I smiled and assured him that we all knew he was out of place the minute he walked in the vendor hall, but we're a polite group and so we didn't point or stare as we talked about him to each other. He grinned and relaxed a bit.

"Obviously, you're a pretty direct person," He said. "So I was wondering, how does a guy who knows nothing about homeschooling sell his product to homeschoolers?"

Ignoring the fact that this out of place "greedy capitalist" was there just to make a profit, I chuckled and asked him, "Why do you think homeschoolers would even want to buy your product if you know absolutely nothing about us?"

He didn't seem to want to answer that, so I continued, "Get to know us a bit and you'll figure out it's not that hard to sell to us. We're pretty frugal but can be gullible in the right circumstance with a promising product, especially at a homeschool convention."

"Fair enough." He replied. "Then I'd like to show you my stuff and see what you think. But first there's one thing I've been wondering about homeschoolers for quite a while now."

"Oh, and what is that?"

"Why do you homeschoolers have so many kids?"

"Umm, gee, maybe it's because we have more exciting things to do than watch Jay Leno after the kiddos go to bed?!?" (Okay, I didn't really say that but I did think it.)

Instead, I politely tried to explain that for some of us homeschooling isn't just an educational choice but a life decision based on a belief that children are as a blessing from God. He wasn't getting it and I was getting hungry so the conversation quickly died of natural causes.

If I ever run into him again, however, I'm sending him over to Ethan Demme (of Math-U-See fame) who gives a much more thoughtful and complete answer to the question, How do I reach the homeschool community? His post is directed at politicians but he starts from the same premise that you have to know something about us, past and present, in order to reach us.

As a homeschool grad and marketing guru, Demme provides an excellent round-up of information and resources to understand this growing but changing movement of homeschool radicals who actually believe they can teach their children at home and live to blog about it. Check it out and keep in handy if you ever run into my vendor friend at your state homeschool convention.

(Note to Demme: Please add a paragraph on fecundity and homeschoolers, thanks in advance.)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

The real epidemic in our schools

Obama declared H1N1 a national emergency but there's another virus that is threatening our children's minds that could prove more widespread than once believed. Big Hollywood has posted 11 more videos of children in various schools around the country singing praises to Obama and quoting his speeches.
This is about brainwashing our children into Leftist identity politics. Sure, the schools can argue that they had some kind of parental permission — which, if true, is somehow even more disturbing — but who even considers doing something like this with young minds? That’s a rhetorical question.
Homeschooling is the cure for the Obama virus that seems to be infecting our schools.

There is one student, however, who might not be singing the praises of President Obama right now--his own daughter, Malia. Speaking at a middle school, President Obama went off telepromter and used Malia's poor grade on a science test to encourage parents to set a high standard for academics in the home.

His message is sound, but do I feel sorry for his daughter. It's bad enough to get a lousy grade on a test but it's even worse when your daddy tells the whole world. And besides I thought his kids were off limits? Maybe to make up for his mistake, Malia will make him show his college transcripts and how poorly he performed on some of his tests. Here's the video

Michelle Malkin has adds more thoughts about Obama worship in the classroom and provided the photo above.

Update: Malkin also concurs with my thoughts on Obama's college transcript.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hardball on Homeschooling

Last night, MSNBC's Chris Mathew's announced his litmus test for Republican candidates and wrongly stereotyped homeschoolers in the process. In a post election round-up he posed this question to Club for Growth President, Chris Chocola, after Chocola talked about the limited role of government:
MATTHEWS: Last question—here‘s my litmus test—are you pushing home schooling?

CHOCOLA: We don‘t—no, we support school choice.

MATTHEWS: No, but home schooling, where you don‘t go to public school because you don‘t want to mix with other children. You want to keep the kids at home, so you can teach them about life at home, away from the exposure of other social groups. Are you for that? Because I would consider that culturally conservative at least.

CHOCOLA: We do not push home schooling. We support school choice. We think parents are the ones that are best in a position to make a decision about the education of their children.

MATTHEWS: Mr. Chocola, I‘m with you on school choice. Thank you, sir, very much...
My liberal homeschooling friends might want to drop Mathews a note and let him know that the only one lacking exposure to other social groups is Chris Mathews.

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Courtship in the 24/7 Era

My friend, Kim, has a saying on her Facebook, "A woman's heart should be so lost in God, that a man has to seek Him in order to find her." But this generation seems to be lost to Facebook and their cellphone making it way too easy not only to find her but everything about her too. The combination has made any rules of engagement (pun intended) obsolete.

David Brooks examines how cell phones have changed the dating game.
Once upon a time — in what we might think of as the “Happy Days” era — courtship was governed by a set of guardrails. Potential partners generally met within the context of larger social institutions: neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and families. There were certain accepted social scripts. The purpose of these scripts — dating, going steady, delaying sex — was to guide young people on the path from short-term desire to long-term commitment.

Over the past few decades, these social scripts became obsolete. They didn’t fit the post-feminist era. So the search was on for more enlightened courtship rules. You would expect a dynamic society to come up with appropriate scripts. But technology has made this extremely difficult. Etiquette is all about obstacles and restraint. But technology, especially cellphone and texting technology, dissolves obstacles. Suitors now contact each other in an instantaneous, frictionless sphere separated from larger social institutions and commitments.
As a parent, we've encouraged our young adults to establish appropriate guardrails which will help them navigate the temptations that are ever before their eyes. But it isn't easy for them or us. We understand the traps that lay before them that could derail their hopes and dreams, but frequently our young people only see another "friend" to add to their growing list.

In the "Happy Day's era as Brooks identifies it, a young man thought longer before he reached for a phone and called a girl. More importantly, the ring of the phone and one-side of the conversation were heard throughout the household. Now, the instantaneous access to a new friend through cell phones makes it easy, very private, and speeds up the courtship process. Add in social networking sites like Facebook and young adults quickly learn what their new friend's favorite food, music, song, and a whole lot more before the first date. They become emotionally bonded and "in a relationship" before parents and others in their social sphere know they even exist.

Even parents like us, who have encouraged our children not to commit to a long-term relationship until they are ready for marriage are struggling how to navigate these waters. The only "script" seems to be written by the next generation as they go along, eliminating many safeguards that prevented heart break or at least softened the blow.

God said it was not good for man to be alone, so He created woman and said it was very good. We created technology that has become our constant companion and what is happening to our generation because of it isn't so good.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Rules For Radicals

If the maxim is true, we are what we read, then the NEA's book recommendation tells us much about what they want their teachers to become.

The National Education Association recommends its teachers read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals as "An inspiration to anyone contemplating action in their community!" Here's a quote from the book, Rules for Radicals,
"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution."
There is no more perfect avenue for instilling mass frustration and defeat than the public schools. Forget the NEA, Alinksy, and his Rules for Radicals; Spunky recommends reading John Taylor Gatto's Underground History of American Education instead. It's a book the NEA definitely doesn't want you to read and then it's time to get radical and homeschool.

Homeschooling is a revolution which does not rely on the passivity of the masses but active parents. It provides a promising future for those willing to let go of the public schools and change the future.

Barbara Curtis at MommyLife just started an online book club for those interested in reading Rules for Radicals.

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