Saturday, February 28, 2009

Choice: It's a beautiful thing

Imagine with me, if you will, that you just bought a new home. You are so excited. The rooms are spacious, the neighborhood lovely, and the surrounding community is spectacular. The area is loaded with restaurants, museums, orchestras, and cultural opportunities galore. All to entertain and educate you and your children. You wander around your new dwelling staring at boxes and dreaming of the future.

Suddenly, your dream is interrupted by a knock at the door. Wondering who it is, you peek through the door. It's a face you don't recognize. You greet the stranger warmly. He, however, appears to be all business. "Are you Mrs. Jones the new homeowner?"

"Why, yes I am. Is there a problem? Did my dog get loose? Buster come back!" You yell out the door. "Oh, he loves to explore. Just like my children. That's why we bought this house, you know. There's so much to see and do. It's just wonderful. I can't wait to take them on Monday to the Chinese restaurant down the road. Have you been there?" You ramble on hoping to snag his interest and ease the tension in the air.

"No, I haven't and that's just what I'd like to talk to you about." He proceeds to explain that because you have purchased the home at 123 Maple you are only allowed to do certain things. You are only permitted to eat at one restaurant. - the Italian restaurant across the road. The only grocery store you can frequent is Jack's Pack N Save about 10 miles away. The only entertainment venue you can visit is the Starlight Theater that shows second run movies and hosts an Elvis week once a month. He also informs you that the foreign model car currently parked in your driveway is not permissible on county roads. But don't worry, there is a bus available to pick you up at a designated time if transportation is a problem.

"What do you mean?" You howl in protest. "I can't eat there. I"m allergic to tomatoes! In fact, I don't like any of those choices you have selected for me. Why should I have to eat, shop, and entertain my family at those selections simply because I bought this house? And I can't drive my car? That's ridiculous. It's down right unAmerican. Isn't there anything I can do about it?"

The man smiles slightly and replies, "Sure, you can go pay each of those businesses assigned to your address a fee. We have set up a seamless deduction system where the money is taken out of your pay each week. You won't even notice its gone. We have found that to be the best way to make sure that everyone's needs are taken care of equally. Then as long as your fees are paid up you are free to visit any other establishment you choose."

Outraged, you furiously attempt to refute his absurd suggestion, "If I pay those establishments I will have very little money left for my own choices. I can't afford both."

"Sorry, that's the way it is. Congratulations on your new home." He hands you a form to sign and leaves.

Questions: If we would never accept this in any other area of our life...why do we accept it in something as important as the education of our children?

(Note: This article was first published a few years ago, but with Obama in the White House and all the talk of socialism and national standards I thought it was quite relevant today.)

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama says "no" to dropping out

In his first State of the Union Address President Obama said
We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation...

This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education – from the day they are born to the day they begin a career...

And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American. "
Before we let Obama beat us down because we're too lazy to finish school, we should all understand that the very definition of "dropout" is controversial. Do all of the "industrialized nations" he puts ahead of us calculate the dropout rate the same way? I doubt it.

Even within the United States, calculating who is a dropout can vary from state to state. In Texas a student whol leaves high school to study cosmetology or to join the military is considered a dropout. Or worse, Kimberly Marciniak, a 2006 Texas high school student was considered a dropout despite a "stellar" academic career simply because she refused to take the TAKS state exam.

However, Obama's push for national education standards could eliminate our freedom to decide our own course in life and easily make a standard like Texas the norm from sea to shining sea.

So a student who does not fit the state's defined path from the day they are born until they begin their career may be considered a dropout; to Obama, this is just not an option because the country needs and values every American.

And just where does this leave homeschooling? Obama said,
"It is our responsibility as lawmakers and educators to make this system work. But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it."
Go ahead and call my children dropouts or question our patriotism President Obama but our children will never participate in this socialist scheme of state indoctrination and dependency.

More than a diploma, this country still needs Americans who understand and value freedom.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The State of the Computer

While the rest of the world swoons over Obama's State of the Union, I'm still fretting over the state of my computer.

So, for those of readers desperate to know if I've decided on a laptop or the rest of you who are dreadfully bored with wall-to-wall Obama, I am here to report that, like any serious blogger, I decided I was for buying an Apple before I decided I was against it.

On Monday, I went to the Apple Store to have a look around. The store was crowded and made me feel really old really fast. I think I was the only one there without buds sprouting from my ears and something silver dangling from my tongue.

Trying to remain inconspicuous, I avoided all conversations with a "genius" as I tried out a few machines. I left a comment on my blog using a Mac Book Pro, logged off, and exited quietly. With its lightening speed, this was surprisingly easy to do.

The MacBook Pro definitely seemed to be the machine for me and I decided to contact Susan, Mac user and photographer extraordinaire, who commented here about the machine she had available. I was a little nervous about buying a computer from a commenter but I reasoned, "Hey, if some couples find the love of their life on E-harmony, why not a computer? And I didn't even have to endure a 500 page compatibility questionnaire, just 50 insightful comments. If this works out, maybe I'll even start a companion blog, E-Spunky: helping homeschool families find the computer of their life. It was time to dream big!"

But that was Monday and do to an unfortunate string of events, I was not able to email her until this afternoon. Since Susan's blog is called Short on Words, I got right to the point:
Dear Susan,
So I'm seriously thinking this may be my machine. How much?
Spunky
Just like a Mac Pro, Susan responded quickly,
"Oh, Spunky
I just sold the machine on Craigslist."
So much for E-Spunky. The first serious relationship ended in complete incompatibility.

Which led me to seriously wonder if God was trying to keep me from biting the apple. Unlike Eve, I had the nerve to actually ask my husband what he thought about Apples. He dragged his feet with an answer, consequently, no apple. (Just think how things might have been different if Eve had done the same thing. )

Or maybe all this indecision is a sort of purgatory on my way out of Dell?

Oh dear. My apologies, I have a terrible tendency to over spiritualize in times of crisis. And this computer decision is becoming a serious crisis. Please pray for me, my eternal computing is a stake.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obama and Global Education

Barack Obama was said to oppose mandatory national standards prior to the election; however, you wouldn't know it by the words or previous actions of the new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Duncan came out strongly in favor of them at a recent meeting of the American Council of Education,
"We have to start by recognizing that our system of education is not aligned. Every state has different high school standards.

If we accomplish one thing in the coming years—it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America.

I know that talking about standards can make people nervous—but the notion that we have fifty different goalposts is absolutely ridiculous."

The notion that we have fifty standards is not ridiculous; it's the American way and precisely what sets our form of government apart from every other nation on Earth! But that's obviously the problem. We Americans are too independent minded and just don't conform to the dicates of the rest of the world. Duncan wants to fix that by aligning our educational standards to international benchmarks.

The President is deeply committed to this program because it will enable us to spur reform on a national scale—driving school systems to adopt college and career-ready, internationally benchmarked standards."
Duncan did not elaborate on the international standard he would select but given the fact that Chicago Public School System, under Duncan's leadership, has the largest number of International Baccalaureate schools in the world, it's likely that the standards we adopt will be aligned to the International Baccaluareate Organization (IBO) standards and goals.

For those not familiar, the IBO began as a niche educational organization forty years ago and has since become a major influencer of education policy around the globe. The Bush administration endorsed and helped funded IBO and under Obama our involvment in the IBO will likely increase. (Duncan is scheduled to speak at the IB America conference this summer.) The goal of the IBO is to become a socialization center using a universal curriculum for global citizenship based on a common morality.

The book, Brave New Schools explains the essence of global citizenship,
The goal of education is no longer to teach the kind of literacy, wisdom and knowledge we once considered essentials of responsible citizenship. It is to train world citizens--a compliant international workforce, willing to flow with the storms of change and uncertainty. These citizens must be ready to believe and do whatever will serve a pre-determined "common good" or "greater whole". Educators may promise to "teach students to think for themselves," but if they finish what they have started, tomorrow's students will have neither the facts nor the freedom needed for independent thinking.
Defenders of national standards might want to rethink their position; otherwise as a parent of a "global citizen," you may find yourself going before an international tribunal to appeal your child's failing grade because he still thinks God governs the affairs of men not Obama or the United Nations.

As for homeschooling, let's just say that parent-led education doesn't factor into the international educational policy. According to the IBO, "the best place to learn is at school from an early age."

Why am I not surprised?

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

The new American Idle

Interesting commentary on the new "American Idle?"
President Obama is auditioning American Idle contestants. These non-producers of our society stole the show at his town meeting in Ft. Meyers, Florida on February 10, 2009. It was like watching a Saturday Night Live skit when a parade of sad sacks asked for handouts...

It's as if these losers of life's lottery were expecting the president to turn water into wine or to take five loaves and two small fish and feed the entire nation. These examples are just the loudest illustrations of people in America growing up with a mentality of entitlement to their every desires...."

So, in reinforcing these bad behaviors, we can expect more of the same. That dynamic is the way of operation for the Democratic Party. Over the next two years we can expect more of these contestants who want to be the next "American Idle."
The reinforcement of the entitlement mentality is not unique to the Democratic Party but firmly entrenched in the minds of conservative Republicans as well.

How?

One of the biggest entitlements ever put forth by the government is compulsory public education. This "sacred cow" of entitlements is so entrenched and accepted that to even call it an entitlement will result in howls of anger from all sides. But that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of Americans rely on the state to educate their offspring. This entitlement, first promoted as a way to educate the poor, has grown so large that even parents with the means to pay for their child's schooling take the educational bailout rather than pay for it themselves.

The fact that we are watching "American Idles" in Fort Meyers demand more from their government isn't surprising but expected; once parents blithely turn the minds of their children over to the state for their education, why shouldn't their offspring boldly expect food, shelter, and other benefits from the state as well? And the state rewards them with more handouts and less freedom.

Until parents are willing to just say "no" to the educational bailout, we can all expect a continued decline in the number contestants auditioning for "American Thinker" and a steady rise in "American Idles."

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Have you considered an Apple?

After saving my pennies for many months, I was all set to purchase a new laptop this week. I had pretty much decided on a Dell, it was just a matter of determining which one and from where? So, I went to Best Buy yesterday to look them all over one last time. As I was messing around on a Dell Inspiron, the sales guy helping me asked, "Have you ever considered an Apple?"

I looked up with a blank stare. Did he actually just ask me if I considered an Apple? Didn't he know? But of course, how could he know? To him, I'm just an old bedraggled mom shlepping into his store looking for a laptop so my daughter can play Clifford games all day long and I can store my photos. To him, an Apple was the obvious choice.

Feeling more insecure than I had since first grade when we all lined up to pick sides for kickball, I had a strong urge to flaunt my resume and inform this young geek that I had a degree in computer science from the University of Michigan and used to sell PC's back when he was in preschool and believed apples only grew on trees. I wanted to humble him by letting him know that my commission on a single sale was probably more than his pay check for an entire month! And it wasn't from selling Apples.

That was back in the good ol' days when Reagan was in the White House, IBM ruled the market, making a profit on a sale wasn't considered greedy but a good marketing plan, and no one thought Apple would survive to see the new millenium.

But that was then and this is now.

Barack Obama's in the White House, computers are a commodity, a living wage is a fair wage, and Apple has not only survived but thrived.

Of course, I didn't say any of that lest he think I am looney bedraggled mom. Instead, I obediently followed him over to the Apple counter and allowed him to flaunt all the features of the MacBook. Humbled, I am now facing the very real possibility that a MacBook may be in my future. To make the purchase even more enticing, they even allow homeschoolers in on the educator discount.

And so I turn to you dear reader and ask Mac or Dell, which should it be for me?

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

How's that again?

My twelve year old daughter came to me after taking her science test and said,

"Mom, I only got three wrong on my science test today. But don't worry, it's just because I didn't know the answers!"

I love homeschooling, if for no other reason than it gives me a reason to scratch my head and laugh at the same time.

Like the time my daughter said to me as she and I were cleaning up after a very busy and messy day, "Mom, it's a good thing you homeschool us, otherwise who would you have to help you clean up all of these messes each day!"

But please don't let these momentary lapses of intelligent thought fool you, my kids are brilliant -really they are.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

National Standards

With hope and change all the rage these days and calls for nationalizing banks and healthcare, I fully expect the call for national standards in education to intensify in the coming days. Homeschoolers should be leading the charge against them.

Here's American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten making the case in the editorial pages of this week's Washington Post.
Education is a local issue, but there is a body of knowledge about what children should know and be able to do that should guide decisions about curriculum and testing. I propose that a broad-based group -- made up of educators, elected officials, community leaders, and experts in pedagogy and particular content -- come together to take the best academic standards and make them available as a national model....

I'm not so naive as to think that it would be easy to reach consensus on national standards, but I believe that most people would agree that there is academic content that all students in America's public schools should be taught, and be taught to high standards. And I would expect near-consensus on the fact that, today, we are failing in that important mission. A national agreement about certain aspects of what every well-educated child in every American public school should learn won't be easy to arrive at, but that is no reason to give up before we even try.
Mr. Weingarten acknowledges that education is a local issue and he expresses his desire to involve a broad based group to develop a national model, but did you notice who he left out of this "broad based" group?

Parents.

As parents, we are charged with the responsibility of educating our children according to our own standard and definition of a well-educated child. That's the essence of a free society and a free people. However if national standards are adopted, our individual definition of "well-educated" will become subordinate to the consensus definition and will eventually require some proof of compliance. Failure to conform to the national standard would likely result in lack of consideration for college or employment opportunities or worse, charges of educational neglect simply because our definition does not match theirs.

The rule of debate is - he who defines wins. I am NOT willing to yield the definition of a well-educated" child to the state or a self-appointed group of experts in pedagogy. National standards are nothing more than social engineering with the goal of transforming our children into a commodity to meet the demands of the state, not the dreams of the child.

If the "experts" who desire national standards had their way, the Preamble to the Constitution would probably read something like this,
"We the state, in order to form a more perfect worker, establish national standards to insure domestic conformity, provide for common tests, promote general dependency, and secure the tyranny of stupidity for its citizens, do ordain and establish public schools for the people of the United States of America. "
No thanks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Climbing Mt. Homeschooling

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

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

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

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

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

"Huh."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Introducing Spunk & Jeers

Inspired by a commenter in the previous post and in the spirit of Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors honoring George W. Bush, I'd like to dish up a competing brand - Spunk & Jeers - in honor of President Obama. Here are the current flavors being offered:

Loose Tax A personal favorite of Tom Daschle and Tim Geitner.

Ooo! Ooo! Pick Me Cluster The most popular flavor of the unwashed masses hoping for a handout at an Obama town hall.

Heavenly Bash An elite flavor served only to those deemed worthy enough to be in the presence of The Messiah.

Nothin' but nuts! Served exclusively by the Obama White House without preconditions to the detainees at Guantanamo and a personal favorite of Ahmadinejad.

Berry Biden Blast A light vanilla cream blended with a burst of fruitiness that causes Obama frequent indigestion but Rush Limbaugh seems to devour.

Oreo Crunch Supreme An immensely satisfying flavor proudly served for the first time by Michelle Obama when she and Barack dined with the new Secretary of State.

Fudge-A-Latte An ice cream with intense flavor demanded daily by Obama's chief economic advisors.

Partisan Porkulus Parfait This stimulating Obama concoction is generously infused with Pelosi pork and then lightly sprinkled with a few Reid RHINOS as a garnish.

Warning: The Spunky General warns that consuming too much Spunk & Jeers ice cream can be hazardous to your pocketbook. In all fairness, a healthy diet of talk radio is strongly recommended.

Humor is good for the soul

If the jokers in Washington aren't enough, here's a little something extra to add a chuckle to your day...

In honor Lincoln's Birthday, a creative dissenter revised his historic address to commemorate the battles we face today in The Obamasburg Address
Three weeks and two days ago our community organizers and voter fraud operatives brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Socialism, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created to be subservient to their government....
(Read the whole thing here.)

Finally, a prescription for all the members of Congress who voted for the biggest government boondoggle in our nation's history, Stimulus: Because all economies have performance issues.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

For the children?

It took only one homeschool family's abuse trial in California to nearly shut down homeschooling in California. After all, we have to protect the children.

It only took one "anonymous allegation" for CPS to move in with tanks and guns and take over 400 FLDS children away from their mothers. After all, we have to protect the children.

It took only one "Hard Lemonade" at a Detroit Tiger's game for a father to temporarily lose custody of his son. After all, we have to protect the children.

But when there were 586 documented cases of child abuse in the Chicago Public schools, the teachers got a slap on the wrist and the Chicago Superintendant, Arne Duncan, was promoted to Secretary of Education in the new Obama administration. After all, we have to protect the children our power.

A child in the Chicago schools said,
"I'm thinking that I don't really feel safe,"
I'm thinking that I know exactly how he feels.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Meet Julio

A struggling college student who is destined to become the new darling of the liberal media.



I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry when I think about the next generation of Americans and how they look to the government to solve all their woes.

UPDATE: Julio seems to be enjoying all the attention he's getting including some job offers. He said,
"I have never felt this good except maybe when I got my Playstation3 for Christmas."
How bad can his life really be, if he has a Playstation3 and time to play it? Maybe if did something more productive earlier in his life, he'd have the skills now to do something besides flipping burgers at McD's. (See my previous post for further thoughts about young people and video games.)

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Monday, February 09, 2009

The rest of the story

(Note: This story was first published last week on The Heart of the Matter website. Readers wrote and wondered how it all turned out. I decided to republish the story here and tell the rest of the story today.)

"Mom, I have something to ask you. "My fourteen year old son said with a concerned look on his face as he walked into the kitchen.

“Sure, what’s up?” I replied as I continued to prepare dinner.

“You’ve taught us from the time we were little to listen and obey your instructions. And I think I do a pretty good job at that most of the time. (He breaks into a slight grin) But what am I supposed to do if I think you’re wrong about something? Not something like go clean your room, but something more important.”

“Like what?”

“Well, say you have a house rule that I don’t think is right.”

“Like what?”

“Maybe video games. I mean the Bible doesn’t say, thou shall not play video games? So what’s wrong with them and why don’t we have any?” (He seemed somewhat relieved to finally get the question out in the open.)

“What does the Bible say?”

“Nothing.”

“Are you sure?” I countered as I turned away from the stove and looked straight into his eyes.

“Mom, don’t be ridiculous. There were no video games back then.”

“Just because the Bible doesn’t talk about something specific, does that mean that video games are okay?”

“Let me think about that.” (He leaves the room and comes back with his Bible and a concordance. He looks up a few possible words and then comes back to me.)

“Mom, I can’t find anything. What am I supposed to look up?”

I gave him a few suggestions and for the next hour or so he was consumed with finding out what the Bible had to say about entertainment and video games. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Not because he’s consumed with trying to convince me our decision was wrong, which he obviously was, but because he was willing to work hard to find out the Truth.

When I was a new mom with toddlers under foot, older parents frequently said, “You think it’s tough now, just wait until they’re teenagers.” The terrible two’s were supposedly no match for the turbulent teens.

Well, a decade later, I concede that they were right up to a point. The teen years definitely require parents to be at the top of their game at all times. Since that day, many similar issues have come up where our teens have wondered why we do things the way we do. It’s also hard sometimes for a parent to accept that their questions aren’t because they are challenging our authority, but because they want to know Truth for themselves.

Later, I had a discussion with both of my teenage sons. They told me that growing up is difficult because some people don’t understand their desire to be men and they still treat them like little boys needing to be mothered. I must admit learning to let go isn’t easy. I enjoy seeing them mature into manhood, but selfishly I want them to be boys just a little longer. They also reminded me that it takes three things to make a relationship work: Two people who want to have a relationship and a shared interest.

I am eternally grateful that my children want to have a relationship with me and that the thread that binds us together is the Truth of God’s Word. It is our shared love for the Truth that will keep our relationship strong in the face of challenging questions and decisions. Despite the turbulence, I have no greater joy than to be the mother of six children who are seeking to make the Truth their own. (3 John 1:4)

The rest of the story....

Our decision not to allow video games remained in place. At fourteen, he began to understand the the Bible is definitely not silent on issues of entertainment and how we are to use our time even if videos are not mentioned specifically. However he was still a little unsettled about them and thought that playing videos in moderation would be okay. After voicing his thoughts, he accepted our decision.

Two years later....Josh is now sixteen. He took his first college class and taught himself to draw in order to prepare for a possible career in transportation or product design. He is also become proficient at the violin and spends time playing in a community orchestra. In order to pay for his lessons and college classes, he has recently taken a job life guarding. (He also had a paper route, cut lawns, and shoveled snow.) Although I am proud of his work ethic, I don't share this to boast. I think our decision not to allow video and computer games forced him to use his time more wisely and to develop skills and potential career opportunities. At fourteen he accepted our decision; at sixteen he sees the wisdom of our decision.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Infanticide Happens

We've talked quite a bit about abortion in the months leading up to the election. Here's a follow-up reality check for Barack Obama and others who think calling in a second physician is too burdensome when a baby is born alive after a botched abortion.

The Department of Health said Renelique was scheduled to perform an abortion on a teenager who was 23 weeks pregnant in 2006. Sycloria Williams had been given drugs in advance to dilate her cervix.

According to the complaint, she gave birth at a Hialeah clinic after waiting hours for Renelique to arrive. The complaint said one of the clinic owners put the baby in a bag that was thrown away. Police found the infant's decomposing remains a week later.

Babies born alive are citizens and deserve the same legal protection as all citizens.

In his defense, the doctor said he never intended to do abortions when he came to the United States to work:

"That was not part of my goals when I came to Florida," he said. "But I had to do it to survive."
There will never be a punishment great enough for this doctor and others like him who practice murder in order to live.

Maybe we ought to move the Guantanamo detainees to the various abortion clinics around the country, that'll get them all closed down fast! After all, compassionate liberals like Obama seem to hate torture when it's imposed on our enemies.

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"Learning to let go" live podcast

I'll be giving a live podcast today at 8 AM (PST) / 11 AM (EST) as part of the Say What You Mean Convention. The topic for my talk will be "Learning to let go."

There's quite a bit written about how to begin homeschooling, but not as much about how it all ends. We all hear about the academic achievements but there is much more to letting go than just graduating from high school and moving on to college. I'll be sharing my own joys and struggles as I learn to let go; it's not as easy as you think.

Hope you can join me for this interactive podcast. But if not, it is being recorded so you can listen to it at your convenience.

Get all the details for attended here.


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Thursday, February 05, 2009

What do you think?

There is quite a bit if discussion about whether homeschoolers should participate in public school activities, but what happens when the situation is reversed?

Suppose a group of homeschool parents form a top-notch music program or a classical co-op springs up offering Latin or logic and news of this great activity travels around the surrounding area. Parents of public or private school students want their children to participate because the course is not offered in their school, or the instruction is superior to what they are currently receiving, or maybe a boy misses the cut for the high school varsity team so he wants to play on the homeschool basketball team, should the homeschoolers let the student in?

There are pros and cons.

Pros: Allowing students may reduce the financial burden or in the case of the music program increase the number of instruments in the orchestra. Additionally, it may bridge the often tense relationship between parents who choose different educational methods.

Cons: Non-homeschooled students may feel out of place in a homeschool group or if a conflict arises forcing them to choose between a school event or the homeschool event, they will likely choose the school event, especially if their grade is dependent on participation.

Should homeschool groups open their doors and welcome in non-homeschooled students?


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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obama fatigue

After only two weeks into his Presidency, Barack and Michelle Obama traveled to a DC Charter school and told a classroom full of second graders, "We were just tired of being in the White House."


I can't say as I blame them. After only two weeks in office, I'm tired of them in the White House too!

By the way, if anyone wonders why school vouchers are a bad idea, just look at what's happening to the executives who went to Congress begging for help. Control, control, control. In remarks announcing salary caps for exeuctives, Obama said:
"This is America, we don't disparage wealth. ... What gets people upset, and rightfully so, is executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers,"
Why stop at executives? How about punishing those that run Washington, DC starting with the Department of Education and ending with Congress! There's enough failure there to keep Obama busy his whole time in the White House.

Who speaks for homeschoolers?

John Holzmann has provided more information, including correspondences, surrounding Sonlight's ban from the Colorado state homeschool convention. It's long but worth reading.

I've been thinking a bit more about this and I realized that Sonlight actually operates in a way similar to CHEC. That is, as owners of Sonlight they review an enormous amount of material and select only some for inclusion in their curriculum. Over the years, they have dropped certain books and added others in an effort to provide the best material for those they serve and when they didn't find it, they wrote it themselves. Sonlight wants the best curriculum possible and is willing to let certain books go in order to achieve it. Isn't the same thing true for CHEC?

CHEC promotes itself as a Christian homeschool organization and provides a convention to a certain segment of homeschoolers in Colorado. CHEC wants the best convention possible and is willing to let certain vendors go in order to achieve it. They are free to select (and exclude) vendors that best suit the needs of the families that they seek to serve. We may not agree with their selection but it is their choice, and just like Sonlight, I wouldn't want to deprive them of it.

However, choices have consequences.

Just as there were negative consequences for Sonlight because they chose certain books, there are possible negative consequence for CHEC. As a business, Sonlight is free to inform those they serve about their exclusion from the state convention and the possible reasons why. Obviously, CHEC would prefer their decision to remain a private matter. However as a business, , Sonlight is under no obligation to keep silent nor are those that read about it. Discussion allows homeschoolers to examine CHEC's decision, learn more about their purpose, and to decide whether they share a similar vision for homeschooling. This will lead some to question whether CHEC is the best organization in Colorado to meet their needs or represent their interests as homeschoolers. This may or may not be good for CHEC but it is ultimately good for homeschool education, both in Colorado and across the nation.

Which brings me to John Holzmann's question in this post,
"Who is truly speaking up for the home education movement as a whole in Colorado. . . much less for Christian home educators?"
Perhaps the best answer is NO ONE and EVERYONE. There are many excellent organizations which exist to aid homeschoolers and to help keep us all informed, and some who are all too eager to speak on behalf of all of us. But I pray that homeschoolers never allow one person or organization to speak up on behalf of Christian home educators or the home education as a whole. Staying informed and speaking up are the responsibility of each and every homeschooler. Let's all strive to keep it that way.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Conventions, Carnivals, and More

The Say What You Mean Online Convention kickofff is Wednesday, February 4th at 8AM (PST)/11AM EST for one hour. The theme is homeschooling and includes loads of prizes and freebies. I'll be participating in a roundtable discussion tomorrow and then again on Friday. Admission is free. For call in information details click here.

The Carnival of Homeschooling hosted by Dewey's Treehouse is up. Enjoy!

Don't forget to enter the Homeschool Blogger Contest to win a free trip to the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati.

If you're new to homeschooling and not sure what to expect at a convention, you might consider signing up for Barabara Frank's free four day e-course, "Keys to a Successful Homeschool Convention Experience" Frank is also author of the book, The Imperfect Homeschooler's Guide to Homeschooling and Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers.

After I'm all done homeschooling I think I'm going to write a book. The title will be, The Imperfect Mother's Guide to Homeschooling Teenagers Who Think They''re Perfect. It may never sell one copy, but I just writing it will be incredibly therapeautic.

Finally, a very hearty and humble thank-you to Home Educating Family Magazine for featuring my blog in their current issue. The theme of this issue is the politics of homeschooling with articles on everything from parenting to voting all focused on equipping parents to raise up another wise and strong generation. Thanks for including me!

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Over-the-hill homeschoolers

Yes, it is my birthday. At 46, I'm already over-the-hill and making the downward slide toward 50. I also realize that I have hit another milestone: I am now officially an over-the-hill homeschool mom. I have been educating my children for 15 years and I still have another 15 to go until I'm done. (Unless Elaina turns out to be absolutely brilliant and I enroll her in college at 12.)

To celebrate I've come up with a few ways to recognize when you've hit the midpoint of your homeschool journey:

You'll know you've become an over-the-hill homeschooling mom when....

You have a few denim jumpers in the back of your closet that haven't been worn in years, but you just can't seem to part with them.

You finally accept that you'll never live on a farm out in the country and begin to make the best of life in the suburbs.

You realize that the vendor who told you that his program was the ONLY spelling curriculum you'll ever need, lied.

You talk about college choices more than curriculum choices.

You know that everything that went wrong that day was NOT your husband's fault.

You understand that you can have a very bad year and your children will never notice.

You no longer read child training books, but gobble up everything on menopause.

You realize that some things you thought would happen never will and that's okay.

You realize that some things you never thought would happen actually do and that's okay.

You now know that with God all things are possible, even homeschooling through high school.

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