Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » March
  • 24 HOURS

    Filed on March 31, 2005 at 2:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s when I’ll next have access. See you tomorrow.


    Filed on at 9:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Hal Young has a good response today to the editorial from the other day (blogged here).

    This proposed change in regulatory structure has no basis in academic achievement, in cost or in needed accountability. Private and home schools are no threat or burden to the state, but instead are an asset to the liberty, diversity and productivity of North Carolina graduates. As such, they should be left to continue the job they have elected, without interference from state bureaucracy.

    To its credit, the paper published his letter in full, waiving its normal length limitations.


    Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    I think these proclamations are plain dumb, even when they favor us.

    [Texas] Governor Rick Perry signed a Proclamation declaring the week of April 3 – 9, 2005 as Home Education Week. The proclamation states in part that:

    “I encourage all Texans to recognize the importance of home schools and the dedication of parents who choose this option.

    As we look to the future, let us continue to embrace our responsibility to our children, focusing always on building a foundation of excellence that will ensure their continued success.”

    Home educating families will gather at the capitol for some events and to listen to the bloviators legislators doing their thing.

    As an aside– why do papers always seem to pick the most ignorant-sounding home educators to quote?

    Doug, a homeschooling father from Houston who took time off from work to attend with his daughter, said that “I never knew until my visit that that I could have direct influence in decisions that are made in the government. I did not know that individual citizens could get involved.”


    Filed on March 30, 2005 at 12:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    The April/May edition (pdf file) of Home Educator Family Times is up.


    Filed on at 11:51 am under by dcobranchi

    Microsoft has been touting the new and improved MSN search a lot so I gave it a try. A search for “Home Education” yielded some surprising results.


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    The LA Times has a provocative (and, IMO, good) piece on the controversy. I’m sure it won’t convince anyone, of course.


    Filed on at 6:51 am under by dcobranchi

    A new study purports to show huge economic benefits to universal pre-school.

    The Rand study predicted that, for each statewide class of 4-year-olds, universal preschool would mean that an additional 10,010 of them would eventually graduate from high school and, in the meantime, 13,764 fewer would be retained in kindergarten or some grade level, and there would be 4,737 fewer cases of child abuse or neglect and 7,329 fewer juvenile arrests.

    Child abuse? And what about the likely 8 percent increase in kids who are abused by the “qualified teachers”? Did they get counted or are they just collateral damage? Stupid question– of course the study ignored that. What was I thinking?


    Filed on at 6:41 am under by dcobranchi

    File this under “Open mouth. Insert foot.”

    In an article on a program to fight childhood obesity, a home educating mom gives aid and comfort to the enemy:

    “It’s a wonderful program,” Sutton said. “I home school and my girls don’t get a regular school physical eduacation program. It helps teach better nutrition and offers fitness activities.”

    Hey, Chris- is this worthy of inclusion in the list?


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    This from HSLDA attorney Scott Somerville. It hasn’t been posted yet on HSLDA’s website:

    Army Opens Doors Wide to Home School Graduates

    Ever since HSLDA drafted and convinced Congress to pass a five year pilot project in 1998 to place all homeschoolers in Tier I category of military enlistment, homeschoolers have proven themselves with faithful service in the Armed Services. The Army has especially taken note and wants home school graduates.

    A recent Defense Department survey conducted in 1994 analyzed the home school enlistees attrition rates and performance in the military. Homeschool graduates serving in the Army showed good results.

    For example, home schoolers enlisting in the Army have consistently scored, on the average, as high as traditional public school graduates on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). For the first 12 months, their attrition rate was as low as public school graduates. Legal Waivers for drug and alcohol offenses committed prior to enlistment were 0%. And only 1.8 of all homeschool Army Recruits who left the Army received Less than Honorable Discharges.

    After working with the Army the last 6 years on homeschool recruitment issues, Chris Klicka, HSLDA Senior Counsel was told that the Army has started a new push to obtain home school graduates. In spite of the ending of the 5 year pilot project in October 2004 that placed homeschoolers officially back in Tier II, the Army has chosen to open the door wide for home school graduates and not apply any Tier categories to qualifying home school graduates. That means they have all the same benefits and positions that are available to traditional high school graduates.

    The Army is able to this with the blessing of the Defense Department. When the Defense Department refused to renew the five year pilot project last October effectively blocking home schoolers from most of the Armed Services, Chris Klicka called a counsel in the Bush Administration, who we have worked before, to help with this problem. He arranged for a meeting with an Assistant Secretary of Defense on the White House grounds. Klicka presented the problem and urged for a renewal of Tier I status for home school graduate.

    After following up with a Deputy Assistant Secretary, Klicka finally secured a January 21, 1995 directive-type memorandum that “afforded priority enlistment with no practical limit” to home schoolers without having to obtain a GED.

    The Army now offers qualified home school graduates a variety of enlistment incentives when they enlist. In fact, enlistment of home school seniors into the Future Soldiers program is also authorized.

    Under current Army policy, applicants who qualify as a home school graduate will now be eligible for the same enlistment incentives as a traditional high school graduate.

    This is part of a special test program the Army is developing to predict first-term attrition among Army enlistees. Currently, the best single predictor of an individual’s likelihood of adapting to the military is a traditional high school diploma. However, many individuals with alternative education experiences like home school are successful in the military. The goal of this new program is to identify applicants who are likely to adapt to the Army and successfully complete their first term of service.

    Home school graduates seeking to enlist in the military need to meet the following criteria:

    1) a home school diploma and transcripts are required at the time of enlistment. The course work must involve parental supervision and the transcript must reflect the normal credit hours per subject used in traditional high school

    2) Must score 31 or above on the ASVAB.

    3) Must take the Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM) test, which is 20-minute pencil & paper test. The AIM test score will be used to obtain data and will not effect his/her enlistment.

    4) At a minimum the last academic year (9 months) must be completed in a home school environment.

    For more information on this new pilot program, home school parents and students should contact the local Army recruiter. If any home school graduates have problems with the recruitment process, they should immediately call HSLDA and our legal staff will assist member families.

    We are thankful for the Army’s open door policy for all home school graduates who want to serve their country in this capacity.


    Filed on at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

    anything new.

    The Argus (SD) Leader has a short piece on dispelling the myths about home education. Pretty straight reporting. The most interesting part, perhaps, is a professor who really needs to read “The Fallacy Detective.”

    University of Sioux Falls associate professor William Lugo thought home-schoolers might not be well-prepared for college. That is, until he met Daniel Haggar.

    “Daniel changed my perception about home-schooled students,” Lugo said.


    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    Since the debate continues, I thought I’d point out this very helpful (and free) site that will walk you through the process of preparing a living will.


    Filed on March 29, 2005 at 7:27 am under by dcobranchi

    HE&OS is not going to become a NC-centric blog, so I’ve hesitated to post too much on the current proposal to regulate home education. But it seems that every paper in the South has picked up the story. Sometime commenter Hal Young is quoted at the end of this version.

    UPDATE: As bad as that was, here are a couple of worse comments. From a local editorial:

    The law requires home-schooled students to be tested, but reporting is effectively voluntary unless there is a complaint. Resulting variations in the quality of education that children receive are well known among college admissions officers. Given the academic demands on this generation, more vigilance would be wise, and Easley’s proposed reorganization would at least make it possible.

    And, in response, from one of the local listservs:

    I think the next to the last paragraph holds the key to the problem as they see it. Here’s an easy fix…put more money into the budget for those home visits and other oversight, precautionary and regulatory efforts already in place within the guidelines we follow with the DNPE. After all, wouldn’t we fall within the No Child Left Behind category as well? There is money from that, right? I know the ps aren’t getting theirs, but if we were that worried about them, our children would still be attending their schools.


    Filed on at 7:23 am under by dcobranchi

    I honestly can’t tell about this profile of an HE grad who is finishing up his undergraduate degree. A couple of strange quotes:

    “I’m probably criminally under-socialized,” he said.

    “I had really poor socialization skills when I entered my teen years. Fortunately, I had relatively painless lessons and learned quickly to be more understanding, nice and talk a lot less and listen more.

    …Dell acknowledges preconceived notions that many have about home-schooled students saying, “Most of the time their notions are correct.”


    Filed on March 27, 2005 at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting little home education tidbit– HE plays a prominent role in the long awaited sequel to The Graduate.

    Plans for a sequel to the film – starring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft as the predatory Mrs Robinson – have become part of Hollywood mythology. Now the speculation can finally be put to rest: the sequel has been written.

    Home School picks up the narrative several years later. Benjamin is now a father who, scarred by his own education, decides to teach his children at home. He has not, however, entirely escaped his past, as the seductive spectre of Mrs Robinson looms once again.

    But the agonising wait is not over for devotees yet. Charles Webb, who wrote The Graduate in 1963, has declared that Home School, which he completed two months ago, will not be published until after his death.

    …Home School owes its inspiration to Webb and his partner’s decision to take their own children out of school and teach them at home, an illegal act which left them on the run from the US authorities and seeking refuge by running nudist camps.

    It is this unorthodox subject matter which causes Webb to fear that a film version would wreck the integrity of his creation. ‘There’s never been a film before about a family that home educates its kids. Very few people in the movie world have had that experience, so I don’t think it’s a subject that would be treated objectively. It’s a runaway, underground, counter-culture kind of thing – that’s why it hasn’t been done.’


    Filed on March 26, 2005 at 5:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    No, not Terry Schiavo. The home education grad and his parents.

    Police say Michael Mitchell was arrested Thursday in Seminole, Fla., for trying to steal a gun from a gun shop so, in his words, he could “take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo.”

    Armed with a box cutter, Mitchell told the gun store owner that if he wasn’t on Terri’s side, he wasn’t on God’s side, either.

    …Pat Mitchell is a Rockford Register Star delivery driver, a job Michael had been helping her with for about a month.

    “The point is, Michael was doing what he believes in his heart was right,” Pat Mitchell said. “Even though I’m mad at him for doing it, I can’t blame him. The fact that he couldn’t get the gun pretty much shows you that he’s not too dangerous.”

    Russell Mitchell pointed out what he considers some improvements that could make his 190-pound son “look at life a little differently,” if or when he makes it back to Rockford.

    “I think he needs to gain some weight, get a house, become a little bit more of a couch potato, get married and have kids.

    “He’s too hyper. He worries about a lot of things.”

    Well, he should have a few years in a nice jail cell to calm him down. (Tip credit: Cindy)


    Filed on at 10:56 am under by dcobranchi

    This is one person who should not be allowed anywhere near a classroom.

    A married Ponderosa High School teacher is facing felony sex assault charges, accused of engaging in an ongoing affair with a troubled sophomore whom she says she wanted to help.

    Nicole Barnhart, 35, has admitted to having sexual relations with the boy – one of her students – twice, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court.

    …Court records show that Barnhart, who has worked in education for about 12 years, completed a deferred sentence in a child-neglect case last month.

    The sentence stemmed from an incident last July.

    Investigators say the mother left her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son alone in her car at Park Meadows mall while she went inside to buy a shirt.

    It was about 90 degrees that day, according to an investigator’s report. The car was turned off and the windows were rolled up.

    …Court records indicate that Barnhart was removed from her position as cheerleading coach because of concerns expressed by parents.

    School officials told investigators she was counseled last year for inviting cheerleaders to her home and playing Truth or Dare with them, the affidavit says.

    Strike three!

    A question– she’s admitted to the affair and yet she’s still being paid. Just what does it take for a teacher to actually, you know, get fired?


    Filed on at 10:40 am under by dcobranchi

    I have a feeling that Texas State Rep. Garnet Coleman would be opposed to charters and every other kind of educational freedom (including home education).

    When the Legislature considered an education bill recently, Texans expected their elected officials to make our schoolchildren, their families and their teachers our top priority. Unfortunately, the plan that narrowly passed the Texas House turned a deaf ear to the best advice Texans had to offer. Instead, House leaders forced passage of a House Bill 2 plan that was lifted, almost verbatim, from a report issued by the Koret Task Force, a product of a right-wing California think tank.

    …Yates High School is a historic anchor of the Third Ward community. It belongs to us, not profiteers.

    Coleman must love that “profiteer” sobriquet, as he employs it many times throughout his piece.

    And, yes, Coleman is a Democrat. Shocking, ain’t it?


    Filed on at 9:59 am under by dcobranchi

    The ABJ is back! This time the dynamic duo of Oplinger and Willard set their sights on cyber charters. It seems that the schools are growing very quickly and draining more tax dollars than anticipated. Of course, home education is to blame.

    Private schoolers, home schoolers and dropouts — children who previously cost the state little or nothing in tax dollars — are joining charter schools in increasing numbers. In fact, while the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that the number of Ohio school-age children has declined 2.5 percent since 2001, the number of children educated at public expense has risen about 1 percent.

    …[House Speaker Jon] Husted said lawmakers never intended to enroll home schoolers in online schools.

    “We do have situations where we have students who are taking advantage of the e-school (online) option that were not part of the public system,” he said.

    One possible solution, he said, would be to follow Colorado’s example of requiring a semester in a public school before allowing a child to enroll in an online charter.

    “We are looking at different changes in the law,” he said.

    I would expect charters to fight such a proposal tooth and nail as it would undermine their business model. Likewise, school districts that are benefiting by attracting former HEKs would not be in favor. Home educators are a prime market.


    Filed on at 1:19 am under by dcobranchi

    The authors of Trivium Pursuit are profiled here. In one of those “Oh, of course” moments, I learned that their now grown and single (yes, the paper notes their marital status) sons are the authors of “The Fallacy Detective.”

    And, for a bit of snarky fun, bonus points to the first reader who spots the usage error in this article lauding grammar and spell-checkers.


    Filed on March 25, 2005 at 2:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m back in DE for the weekend. 3 a.m. and 450 miles. MUST. SLEEP. NOW. I’ll be back this evening.

    Thanks, Tim, for picking up the slack. I’ll be back up to speed sometime soon.

    UPDATE: And Darby. Geez– I can’t even keep track who’s posting. Sorry, Darby. My way bad.


    Filed on at 12:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    Is this kind of surveillance typical of PS-at-home programs?

    The number of students who are being home schooled in Mohave County has dropped dramatically. In 2001, there were 1410 home schooled students, in 2004, the number dropped below 700 this year.

    On-line academies contribute to the drop in home schoolers. Schools run through the Internet are state funded charter schools that File said are a good alternative to home schooling. Such schools are available for all grade levels, from kindergarten to grade 12. High school students earn a diploma at an on-line academy, while home schooled students must take the GED test and do not receive a diploma. The on-line schools are monitored, so that students must continue to work throughout the day, and cannot turn on their computer and go out skateboarding.


    Filed on at 12:18 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a meaty, well-done overview of libertarian opposition to school vouchers:

    The main objection to government vouchers is that they are paid for by the taxpayers — the same taxpayers who already fund the public school system. So not only are vouchers an income-transfer program, they amount to a double tax: the taxpayer foots the bill for both public and private schools. Vouchers are “fresh money.” Tax money spent on educational vouchers does not come out of tax money spent for traditional schooling. No current voucher proposal even hints at a reduction in funding for public schools to pay for vouchers.

    I was a “wet” voucherist myself until relatively recently — I thought the subversion of the public system worth the redistribution aspect, but once I realized how much danger the very existence of private education would face when the government started sprinkling dollars around, I swam to the anti side and dried myself off for good.


    Filed on at 11:59 am under by dcobranchi

    First, the oxymoron:

    Public home-schooling in the Valley is popular and growing fast. Roughly 1,100 kids are enrolled this year in the Mat-Su Borough School District’s home-based education programs and at least 200 more are expected to join when the new Twindly Bridge Charter School opens in the fall.


    Parents who opt to home school through the MSB School District receive assistance from certified teachers to develop curriculum and track student progress. Unlike independent home school, which is also very popular in the Valley, public home-school parents receive government funding at 80 percent of the cost it takes to educate a standard public school student.

    And the irony? The name of the paper is The Frontiersman. Such hardy souls they be nowadays.

    Teachers suspended over student work…

    Filed on March 24, 2005 at 10:35 pm under by Tim Haas

    The evening news heavily endorsed a “why aren’t they regulating what’s taught in private schools?” slant. The gov’ts first response was to allow the school to handle it internally, but after media and political pressure they are now launching an Education Ministry investigation.

    Here’s a quote from the article that started the whole fuss:

    Two teachers at the Abraar Islamic school in Ottawa were suspended yesterday pending an investigation into the encouragement or incitement of hatred against Jews expressed in a young student’s violence-laden writing project.

    Principal Aisha Sherazi said the seven-member school board and administration were “shocked” by teacher involvement in the project that was brought to her attention by the Citizen yesterday morning, and decided at an emergency meeting to suspend the instructors.

    One teacher was apparently involved in the artistic production of the eight-page story of killing and martyrdom. Handwritten in Arabic and titled The Long Road, the cover page was illustrated by a drawing of a burning Star of David beside a machine-gun and Palestinian flag atop the Dome of the Rock, an ancient Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.

    The other teacher had written comments on the student’s paper, praising the boy’s story of revenge for the assassination by Israeli forces a year ago of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, a co-founder of Hamas, in retaliation for suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

    “God bless you, your efforts are good,” the teacher wrote on the title page. “The story of the hero Ahmed and the hero Salah is still alive. The end will be soon when God unites us all in Jerusalem to pray there.”

    Islamic School Suspends Teachers Over Student’s Hate-Filled Tale

    There’s the potential for all sorts of interesting fall-out from this one. I’m sure it won’t take them long to figure out which student wrote it, and then the family’s going to end up under the spotlight as well. If I was in their shoes (unlikely as THAT would be!) I would worry about Children’s Aid, CSIS, the RCMP… Also, could increased regulation of private schools lead to calls of increased regulation of homeschools, as well? Not to mention, the unpleasant spectre of Canadian private schools covertly training up little terrorists. But maybe I’m just paranoid…


    Filed on at 12:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    Kay Brooks forwarded this as evidence that “Wife Swap” isn’t all bad. I think it just proves that you have to be really, really stupid to sign up.

    A reality TV show film crew intervened when a Nashville father they were following struck his 13-year-old daughter in the face repeatedly, a Metro police report says.

    According to police, the girl told a crew from the show Wife Swap that Yanni Panagiotakis, 38, struck her about five times in the face with his fist.


    Filed on at 11:06 am under by dcobranchi

    This “S”-word article out of Alabama is fine enough. It is their state home education laws that earn the title. I guess non-religious folks need not apply. Any ‘bama home educators out there?


    Filed on at 10:57 am under by dcobranchi

    An HEK won an oratory competition sponsored by the Optimist Club. Not a huge monetary award, but it does have at least one interesting feature:

    Lawles received a gold medal, $100 and a trip to the Zone contest.

    I’m assuming the Zone is like a regional. Pretty funny nomenclature.


    Filed on at 10:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Lawmakers in the Oregon Senate have introduced a bill to bring all private schools under the state DoE umbrella and force anyone paid to teach K-12 classes to have certification; home-ed co-ops would apparently fall under these rules as well. Here’s HSLDA’s take.

    Oregon, of course, was the state that tried to outlaw private education in the 1920s, an effort that resulted in the famous Pierce v. Society of Sisters Supreme Court decision. Plus ça change …


    Filed on at 10:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Can local boards of education in West Virginia just make up their own rules?

    A new proposal in Randolph County would require home school students to take a test to move up to the next grade level. The Randolph County Board of Education says the test would make it easier to track their progress.

    For the last ten years the way the school system has checked on the progress of the home-schooled students is through a simple pass-fail system. School officials say that system did not accurately track the students progress. The new testing proposal would require a student to take a test to go back into the public school system.

    Until now there has been no way to track the students progress. This new proposal would be the first major change in the program.


    Filed on at 10:16 am under by dcobranchi

    This amuses me no end:

    Home-schooled students could take drivers’ education from a parent or guardian under a bill passed Wednesday by the Iowa House.


    Opponents of the bill, mainly Democrats, said drivers’ education is too important to leave to uncertified teachers.

    Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, blasted the bill for giving home schooled students special status.

    “This bill is discriminatory. It allows one group of parents to do something another group isn’t allowed to do,” she said.

    Rep. Don Shoultz, D-Waterloo, questioned whether parents, especially those who haven’t taken drivers’ education themselves, would be able to effectively teach how to drive safely.

    Roll that last sentence around your mind for a few moments and you’ll be laughing too.

    (I actually do agree it’s discriminatory — all parents should be able to teach it themselves. When it comes down to it, don’t they already?)


    Filed on March 23, 2005 at 3:56 pm under by dcobranchi

    From NCHE’s website:

    Should N.C. homeschoolers report to public school authorities? They will soon, under a plan announced today to a joint appropriations committee – if the committee approves.

    Secretary of Administration Gwynn Swinson today presented Governor Easley’s latest budget proposal, which would move the Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) under the authority of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), ending twenty-five years of independence for non-public education in North Carolina.

    Secretary Swinson explained this as a cost saving benefit and a way to “deal with the proliferation of homeschoolers” in the state. Some committee members expressed interest in increasing oversight of homeschoolers.

    There’s more along with contact numbers.


    Filed on at 12:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    From the NG official who runs the bee, in an inset panel next to the op/ed Daryl blogged below:

    In 2004, procedures to register and participate in the bee were modified to ensure greater fairness to all participants. Those rules state that for the 2005 contest, public, private and parochial school students can only participate in the bee at their school if the school has registered with the society. Home-schooled students can participate in a bee through their registered Home Schooling Association.

    How, precisely, are these registration requirements more fair? Does it matter where the participants come from?

    Well, I’m beginning to think that it does to someone. From the rules:

    Bee registration is open to schools and homeschool associations with students in grades four through eight who are not over the age of 15 by the time of the national level. A student must be enrolled in a school or homeschool association that is registered with the Bee. Also, students of the eligible grade levels must be following a school schedule and academic course load comparable to the majority of the student’s grade-mates and age-mates. A student may not be enrolled in more than two academic courses at the high school and/or college level during each school year of the competition. We reserve the right to disqualify a student if we believe the rules have not been followed.


    5) What if there are not six eligible students in the school or homeschool association?

    We are sorry but that is the minimum requirement for the school-level competition.

    So, academically advanced HEKs need not apply. Unschoolers need not apply. HEKs whose families don’t belong to some kind of “official” group need not apply. And since we don’t want the embarrassing spectacle of too many HEKs in regional and state competitions, let’s make them knock one another out at the local levels.

    I smell collusion.


    Filed on at 10:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a very nice Op/Ed from the director of the GeoBee that Tim blogged the other day. It’s a Hillary’s village type of column, but very positive about home education in general.


    Filed on at 10:38 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a chance to participate in an old time Chicago tradition– stuffing the ballot box. A Celtic, Christian punk band comprised of HEKs is in a kind of online battle-of-the-bands. Voters will determine who takes the stage at a local concert. The kids met while they were being socialized in an HE basketball league.

    *Just kidding.


    Filed on March 22, 2005 at 1:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Delmarva Daily Times must be running a series on home education. The latest entry is all about the “S”-word. I’m impressed; they actually found an educrat who is more negative than Rob Reich:

    “Attending school is an important element in the development of the ‘whole child,’ ” said Dennis Evans, an education professor at the University of California-Irvine. “Schools, particularly public schools, are the one place where children of all the people come together.”

    Evans said a home-schooled student having only limited interaction with people other than their family will stunt personal growth.

    “The isolation implicit in home teaching is anathema to socialization and citizenship,” he said. “It is a rejection of community and makes the home-schooler the captive of the orthodoxies of the parents.”

    The rest of the piece is mostly harmless, though I could have done without the Drehmer quote.


    Filed on at 12:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Homeschoolpedia is a different kind of homeschool blog. Mark posts brief reviews of online curricula. Worth a click.


    Filed on at 11:09 am under by dcobranchi

    The local Gannett paper today is running a nice feature about the Home School Bands of Southern New Jersey, of which Alex was a member for five years:

    But what happens in the basement of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on the White Horse Pike every Monday is no ordinary scholastic band rehearsal. This is the practice space of the Home School Bands of Southern New Jersey — a group made up entirely of children who are home schooled.

    What began seven years with just 15 students — including some who had never even picked up an instrument — has evolved into a 50-member group that has performed concerts, produced two CDs and will take part in a competition this spring.

    The band is believed to be one of just two in the state and only a handful in the country. There is a new Central Jersey home-school band in Lawrenceville, and an intergenerational home-school orchestra practices in Bellmawr with home-schooled children and senior citizens.

    I’m not sure if it’s as rare as that — I found links to similar groups in four or five states on just the first page of a Google search — but I agree we’ll see even more of these kinds of groups as time goes on.


    Filed on at 8:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Thanks to Tim, I now have access to the site again. Just a quick post here while I still get established in NC–

    Under the category “Whatever Happened to American Parenting,” I saw this scroll on CNN yesterday:

    Parents may want to resist their middle-schoolers and junior-highers demands for a cell phone, scientists say, because long-term health effects are not understood.

    Demands?! The day my kids demand anything from me is the day they will rue for a very long time. Come on, folks. We’re the grups, remember?

    In my day…

    Filed on at 8:02 am under by Tim Haas

    It’s a “good ol’ days” article:

    Kids Morality Shouldn’t Be For Sale
    My “girl” magazines were loaded with dating tips, latest fashions and good reasons for not “going steady.” When a new dance came out, there would be footprinted instructions and words to go with the latest melodies.

    The years between my loss of interest in dolls and dishes, and the discovery of boys, left me pretty much on my own to pick my way across the minefield of adolescence. It was a confusing time, sure, but it gave us kids time to think about growing up before we were propelled into it.

    Not so today. “No questions left unanswered — whether asked or not” seems to be the pledge of media aimed at youth. Why else would a kids’ magazine run articles on oral sex and incest?

    Altruism? I don’t think so. There’s only one reason for such a trash overload — money.

    I’ve been a little out of the loop lately. Does anyone know if the author’s referring to a real magazine, or not?

    (Oxygen? We didn’t have oxygen. In MY day we suffocated and we LOVED it!)

    Another school shooting…

    Filed on March 21, 2005 at 11:35 pm under by Tim Haas

    I’m sure we’ll be innundated with news about this tragedy in the days to come, but if you want to read the basic story now, here’s the CNN link:

    Student’s Rampage Leaves 10 Dead
    A student on Monday killed two of his grandparents, then went on a shooting rampage at his Minnesota high school, killing seven people and wounding as many as 13 others before killing himself, officials said.

    Update: I initially linked to Reuters, but CNN is better.


    Filed on at 12:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t know if everybody checked out Chris’s music room/home theater setup the other day, but it looks as though the next generation of media consumers is starting early.


    Filed on at 10:19 am under by dcobranchi

    Hard to find anything to disagree with in Michael Smith’s latest Washington Times column:

    Interestingly, many parents intend to home-school only until sixth or seventh grade. It’s a strange paradox. Many home-school families plan to stop home-schooling right at the time when there is the greatest need for the one-on-one tutoring and high-quality education home-schooling provides.

    Why don’t these parents have a vision for home-schooling through high school? The main reason is a concern about the ability of parents to teach high school level classes. At first glance, it’s an understandable fear, but it is nonetheless unfounded.

    I’d love to see every HEK make it all the way through high school at home, but if that doesn’t work for the family, at least try to get them through the emotionally tumultuous middle-school/junior high years — the added maturity will make the pressures of senior high easier to handle.


    Filed on March 20, 2005 at 6:37 am under by dcobranchi

    OK– The big move starts this morning around 9. I’ll be sans computer until at least tomorrow (though perhaps until Friday).


    Filed on at 6:29 am under by dcobranchi

    8:14 a.m. EST


    Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice little piece about the growth of home education on the Eastern Shore. One noteworthy quote by an educrat whistling past the graveyard:

    “Our home-schooling policy is fairly liberal,” said Bill Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education. “I think the increase (for home schooling) in the 1990s parallels our growth in the public school system.”

    Yeah– I’m sure the g-school system grew 10x in the ’90s.

    SO FAR OT…

    Filed on March 19, 2005 at 11:09 am under by dcobranchi

    you can’t see us from there.

    Skip Oliva forwarded a link to a Eugene Volokh post that I found completely astounding. Law professor and consitutional expert Volokh wants to amend the Constitution to allow for torturing mass muderers prior to their execution. Why? Just for the fun of it. Skip writes, “This is an example of an individual who should not home educate:


    I shudder at the thought of anyone teaching children that state-sanctioned barbarism is somehow justified.” I can’t say that I completely agree; I think the right to home educate is fundamental and one of our basic rights. Just like the one against cruel and unusual punishment. Oh.


    Filed on at 2:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Home education is soon to be legal in Utah.

    Also Friday, Huntsman was expected to sign bills that:

    …Let parents home-school their children, exempting them from mandatory public school attendance. It requires parents to “maintain records of instruction or attendance.” Senate bill 59 was sponsored by Sen. Mark B. Madsen, R-Lehi.

    Now if only women could get the suffrage.

    And just try to get that song out of your head. Bwahaha.


    Filed on at 1:56 am under by dcobranchi

    An HEK has won the NM state Reader’s Digest Word Power contest and will travel to Florida for the nationals. First prize is a $25,000 college scholarship.


    Filed on at 1:50 am under by dcobranchi

    Perhaps Mike Peach and Chris can figuratively put their heads together and explain what this is supposed to mean:

    With more use made of him this time, Promise To Be Good (4.45) can step up on his Kempton second in the Uttoxeter bumper, and Saintsaire (2.50) is another leading light from the Nicky Henderson yard at Bangor. A natural in home schooling over fences, he will form part of the stable’s raiding party at Aintree next month.

    It has something to do with horse racing.

    ONE FOR M.A.

    Filed on at 1:46 am under by dcobranchi

    The PA religious freedom / home education lawsuits just got one plaintiff larger.

    A Crawford County couple who home-school their children said the school district’s monitoring policy interferes with religious freedom.

    The federal lawsuit, by Douglas and Shari Nelson of Titusville, is similar to several lawsuits filed across the state and will be consolidated with them.

    The Nelsons sued the Titusville School District after officials in February threatened to start truancy proceedings after the Nelsons failed to submit a proposed lesson plan.

    Carl Moore, the district solicitor, said the government has a compelling interest in ensuring that children are educated. The records the district requires are religiously neutral and not intrusive, he said.

    Next »