Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » March

    Filed on March 18, 2005 at 5:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    Mmmm, a little something for every side in the access debate in this story of the National Geography Bee disqualifying last year’s New Hampshire state champ because he’s home-educated:

    Matt was last year’s state geography bee champion. In this year’s bee, which is underway now, he won the school-level contest at the Great Brook School in Antrim. But that’s as far as National Geographic will let him go this time. Unbeknownst to Matt, his parents, or the teacher who signed him up for the bee, National Geographic had changed the rules for this year’s contest. Home-schooled children are no longer allowed to compete at a public school. They have to compete in bees hosted by their home school association. Matt is home-schooled.

    Matt and his parents thought they had followed the rules. They did just as they had last year. But the teacher who signed Matt up had not read the rules change. When Geography Bee officials found out that Matt was a home-schooler competing at a public school event, they disqualified him. Rules are rules, they said.

    Well, the family didn’t follow the rules. But nor did the organization go out of its way to publicize the rule change, which looks suspiciously as though it was done because HEKs keep beating the PS kids. But it’s a private contest, so the org is allowed to make whatever rules it wants. But it’s a community-based event that just happens to use schools as a venue, so why shouldn’t all kids from the community be allowed to compete together? But … but … but …


    Filed on at 5:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Blogging will likely continue to be limited for the next few days. I move to NC in 40 hours. Between now and then our house goes on the market, and we have to essentially vacate the property all day tomorrow. The fun never ends.


    Filed on at 6:38 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice piece about a group of HEKs who are studying ballroom dancing. Interestingly, the youths started the activity in part to fulfill a physical education requirement. Do some states still have PE requirements for HEKs? How quaint.


    Filed on March 17, 2005 at 6:01 pm under by Tim Haas

    Over at the AHA blog, there’s an interesting Q&A with an Ohio HE activist who debated Doug “My First Pulitzer Is Getting Lonely” Oplinger at a press club lunch back in January:

    Mary: How did the Akron City Press Club approach you to participate in this luncheon with Doug Oplinger?�Was it a direct result of the Akron Beacon Journal “series”?

    Paula: The moderator of the Akron Press Club called and said that he got my number from the Akron Beacon Journal. They wanted to have a discussion at their monthly meeting about the homeschooling series and that Doug would be the other speaker.�Apparently he had made several other calls and he was having trouble even getting someone to return his calls. Hmmmm � I wonder why homeschoolers wouldn’t want to talk with the press in Akron?????

    GO FRAN!

    Filed on at 4:12 am under by dcobranchi

    In an otherwise bland article on Illinois lowering its compulsory attendance age from seven to five, we find this gem:

    There are reportedly some 60,000 home-schooling families in Illinois representing about 2% of the school age population, according to Fran Eaton, a home-schooling activist. They represent a small, but powerful political force whose only desire historically has been to be free from state intervention with respect to their children’s education.

    I wish every state legislator across the country had that graf (appropriately edited) taped to the wall of their office.


    Filed on at 3:57 am under by dcobranchi

    The ProJo is reporting (passwords) that the bill will be amended to exempt home education. Good but not great. It needs to be amended to exempt all non-public instruction.


    Filed on March 16, 2005 at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Vermont home educator and swapped wife Nancy Cedarquist is redeeming herself in my eyes by attacking the hand that manipulated her:

    [D]o not get Mrs. Cedarquist started on the scene she agreed to film in which, she says, she pretended to be asleep — she had indeed overslept one day, but cameras were not present — or the new rules she agreed to post for the Oeth children, which, she said, were written not by her (as the narrator suggests) but by a producer working off-camera on a laptop computer.

    “This is where you should play the stupid hillbilly music,” Mrs. Cedarquist said, a reference to the “Dueling Banjoes”-style soundtrack that is, incongruously, laid over images of her Montgomery Center, Vt., home. “I really thought reality television was more real than it is.”

    To Wendy Roth, co-executive producer of “Wife Swap,” the postproduction concerns expressed by the two women are a function, at least in part, of a naïveté people have about reality television.

    “A documentary is a news show,” said Ms. Roth, who has worked as a producer on “Good Morning America” and several prime-time Oprah Winfrey specials. “We come out of the entertainment division. There is a certain amount of poetic license.”

    Ma’am, I’m afraid this license isn’t “real”. Now please step out of the editing booth with your hands on your head …


    Filed on at 8:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is one bad bill. It requires 20 minutes per day of sex ed for all students K-12 in public and private schools. Homeschools are not exempted.

    (2) For purposes of this section, “health education” means education of students in grades kindergarten through twelve (12) regarding human development and sexuality, including education on family planning and sexually transmitted diseases, that: (a) is age-appropriate, medically accurate, culturally sensitive and respects community values; (b) does not teach or promote religion; (c) teaches that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases; (d) stresses the value of abstinence while not ignoring those young people who have had or are having sexual intercourse; (e) provides information about the health benefits and side effects of all contraceptives and barrier methods as a means to prevent pregnancy; (f) provides information about the health benefits and side effects of all contraceptive methods as a means to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; (g) encourages family communication about sexuality between parent and child; (h) teaches young people the skills to make responsible decisions about sexuality, including how to avoid unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances and how not to make unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances; and (i) teaches young people how alcohol and drug use can effect responsible decision- making.

    To be completely fair, the current law also applies across the board. The big change that this bill would implement is the definition of what health education needs to cover. I’m pretty sure that part about not teaching religion would be found unconstitutional in a private school. There is also no severability clause in the bill; that one bit might cause the whole thing to be tossed out. (HT: Judy Aron)


    Filed on at 6:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Jason forwarded this tale of a diversity speech gone bad:

    Some white students at a South Jersey Catholic school walked out of classes Tuesday in protest over a speech by the New Jersey Secretary of State Regina Thomas.

    …Thomas issued a statement Tuesday in which she said that she is passionate about the topic of diversity and wanted to raise the level of awareness. She said that she never meant to be personal or critical of the students or the school.

    The Diocese of Camden said it has listened to the views of students and parents on both side of the issues. It said that a majority of those students and parents were offended by the speech and the diocese was going to tell the secretary of state that it felt the tone was inappropriate for a high school setting and that a majority of the students felt disrespected by the speech.

    How bad must it have been for the majority of students to be offended?! And now the black kids in the school are facing a backlash because of the speech. Ready. Aim. Shoot foot.


    Filed on at 4:46 am under by dcobranchi

    The Loudon (VA) Times-Mirror does an exceptional job covering their county spelling bee. An HEK won (of course), but I think the real story may be Shannon Sollinger, the reporter. Keep an eye on her; she may be a comer.


    Filed on at 4:37 am under by dcobranchi

    The legislature is back from their six week break.


    Filed on March 15, 2005 at 5:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    For future reference:

    Username: HEOS1234
    Password: HEOS1234
    E-mail (if req): HEOS1234@mailinator.com
    First name (if req): HEOS

    I’ve added a permanent link to this post just under the email links ———>.

    UPDATE FROM TIM: FYI, so far almost every single account signup I’ve done has required the full e-mail address as the username, so it probably pays to try that first. Also, sometimes the passwords are case-sensitive, sometimes not, so if you’re having trouble, try all caps or no caps.


    Filed on at 5:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    Scott Parks, education writer for the Dallas News, is an idiot. (Use the standard passwords to gain access)


    Filed on at 4:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Sorry for the profanity, but this kind of nonsense just makes us look like a bunch of hyperventilating idiots:

    There is a silent army loose in the Nation. It numbers more than 4-1/2 million strong. This army marches to a different drummer, but with greater discipline, power and enthusiasm than can be imagined. In a few years this army will reach Washington, Atlanta, New York and Chicago: all the places where liberals extend control of the culture.. These soldiers are Christian home-schoolers- and this army will turn the world upside down.

    First– there are not even close to 4.5 million HEKs. At most, we’re probably one-third that number. Second– “Christian homeschoolers” (i.e., conservative Christians) are not even in the majority of home educators.

    This column is a decade late. Back in the early ’90s, one could have argued that home education equals Christian army. No longer. We’re mainstream now. That means libertarians home educate. Moderates home educate. And, yes, even liberals home educate. Welcome to the 21st century.

    UPDATE: Izzy was equally unimpressed (but much more polite about it).


    Filed on at 4:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    A second-grader allegedly found a gun on his way to school and brought it into class. Somehow the gun went off, shooting him in the hand. Pretty scary situation, I’d say. Apparently not:

    The school was not closed, and fourth graders at Leawood Elementary School took standardized tests as scheduled.

    Just one of those things, I guess.


    Filed on at 10:34 am under by dcobranchi

    A North Carolina HEK has received a very nice award from Volvo for her efforts to provide medical equipment to folks who cannot otherwise afford it.

    Suzie, born prematurely and with cerebral palsy, is a lively and charming 11-year-old girl who loves pop music, helping others and her family. She has bettered the lives of well over 100 people since Suzie’s Closet was started 18 months ago, supplying equipment like power wheelchairs and walkers she ships anywhere from Western North Carolina to Florida and Louisiana.

    “I think it’s exciting,” said her father, Greg Tipton, who has spina bifida and leads a full life with his wife Angela and their five children, four of whom were adopted and have special needs.

    “Suzie is way excited. It’s getting so huge so quick it’s crazy.”

    Only one person from thousands was chosen for the Butterfly Award, which includes a free trip to Times Square and a starring role in the Volvo For Life Award Heroes documentary.

    “Way excited.” Yagottaluvit. (HT: Hal Young)


    Filed on at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

    March 14, 2005
    E-Alert on HB 377 – Lowering compulsory attendance age

    We have received notice that HB 377 is going to come up for consideration in the House Education Committee Meeting on Wednesday, March 16, 2005. HB 377 lowers compulsory attendance to age 6 in school districts of the first class. Currently, the only school district in PA that is a first class is Philadelphia so this law would only mean a difference to homeschoolers in the Philadelphia school district. We must oppose this bill with all our might because it is the first step toward lowering the compulsory attendance age for ALL children in Pennsylvania regardless of their readiness or situation. It ignores the parent’s ultimate responsibility to determine the child’s readiness. Even though it exempts home educators, it would require Philadelphia home educators to file a notice with the school for their child ages 6 to 8.

    Action to take:
    We are asking that all homeschoolers make calls to the members of the House Education Committee on Tuesday or before 9:30 AM Wednesday. You don’t need to mention that you are a homeschooler. You should mention that you are a constituent of the representative if you live in his/her district.

    Talking points when contacting the legislators:
    – Ask the legislator to vote against HB 377
    – It ignores the parent’s ultimate responsibility to determine the child’s readiness. Not all children are ready at 6.
    – It creates an unfunded mandate for the Philadelphia school district.
    – It creates an unequal educational standard for the students of Pennsylvania

    House Education Committee Members:


    Stairs, Jess M., Chairman
    (717) 783-9311 Fax: (717) 787-0859

    Quigley, Thomas J., Secretary
    (717) 772-9963 Fax: (717) 772-2434

    Rohrer, Samuel E., Subcommittee Chairman on Basic Education
    (717) 787-8550 Fax: (717) 783-7862

    Stevenson, Thomas L., Subcommittee Chairman on Higher Education
    (717) 787-2047 Fax: (717) 772-2468

    Bastian, Bob
    (717) 783-8756 Fax: (717) 783-3899

    Browne, Patrick M.
    (717) 787-6572 Fax: (717) 705-1998

    Clymer, Paul I.
    (717) 783-3154 Fax: (717) 705-1854

    Creighton, Thomas C.
    (717) 772-5290 Fax: (717) 772-9869

    Diven, Michael
    (717) 787-4652 Fax: (717) 772-9994

    Fleagle, Patrick Elvin
    (717) 783-5218 Fax: (717) 772-2955

    Flick, Robert J.
    (717) 787-8579 Fax: (717) 787-5713

    Herman, Lynn B.
    (717) 787-8594 Fax: (717) 783-0143

    Mackereth, Beverly
    (717) 783-2655 Fax: (717) 772-9869

    Metcalfe, Daryl D.
    (717) 783-1707 Fax: (717) 787-4771

    Miller, Ronald E.
    (717) 783-8389 Fax: (717) 772-9869

    O’Neill, Bernard T.
    (717) 705-7170 Fax: (717) 783-3278


    Roebuck, Jr., James R., Chairman
    (717) 783-1000 Fax: (717) 783-1665

    Yudichak, John T., Secretary
    (717) 787-1751 Fax: (717) 783-3180

    Curry, Lawrence H., Subcommittee Chairman on Higher Education
    (717) 783-1079 Fax: (717) 787-2713

    Kirkland, Thaddeus , Subcommittee Chairman on Basic Education
    (717) 787-5881 Fax: (717) 787-9074

    Bishop, Louise Williams
    (717) 783-2192 Fax: (717) 787-2960

    Grucela, Richard T.
    (717) 705-1878 Fax: (717) 783-3180

    Leach, Daylin
    (717) 783-9114 Fax: (717) 787-0861

    Mundy, Phyllis
    (717) 783-1614 Fax: (717) 787-0861

    Pallone, John E.
    (717) 783-1819 Fax: (717) 772-9984

    Shaner, James E.
    (717) 772-5771 Fax: (717) 787-0861

    Sturla, P. Michael
    (717) 787-3555 Fax: (717) 787-0861

    Surra, Dan A.
    (717) 787-7226 Fax: (717) 772-9999

    If you are going to quote any part of this alert, please quote it in its

    Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania
    PO Box 115
    Mount Joy, PA 17552-0115


    Filed on March 14, 2005 at 7:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    HEK Laura Ann Brown won the Alabama state spelling bee for the second year in a row.

    Laura Ann, who also is active in sculpture, dance, karate and Girl Scouting, said she is excited about returning to the nation’s capital, where she will see friends she made at last year’s competition and more of the Smithsonian Institution. “It’s huge,” she said of the institution.


    Filed on at 7:20 am under by dcobranchi

    How did I forget this? This year is the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Miracle Year, during which he delivered three of the most ground-breaking scientific papers in history. The three were on Special Relativity, the photoelectric effect, and Brownian motion.

    Most everyone has heard of the theory of relativity, though few folks can explain it in relatively simple terms. One of the best explanations I’ve seen was written by The Man himself. Einstein’s little book on the topic is written at a high school level. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in science.


    Filed on at 4:16 am under by dcobranchi

    That’s what I tell Lydia we’re going to be now. You now– grow a garden. Girls in overalls. Grape-nuts kind of crunchy.

    Well, if we’re Grape-nuts crunchy, these folks are gravel and boulder crunchy. Off the grid crunchy. They also agreed to appear on yet another edition of “Wife Swap.”

    I’m still not watching.

    UPDATE: I really should read this blog more often. Tim covered this one the other day. My bad.


    Filed on March 13, 2005 at 5:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    No commentary necessary. Just click and laugh.


    Filed on at 4:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    Our house cropped.jpg
    OK- y’all probably don’t want to read about the trip, but it was such a fun (and exhausting) weekend that I want to document it for future reference.

    We left Wilmington around 5:30 a.m. and got into Fayetteville around 12:30 p.m., about 1/2 hour behind schedule. Our first appointment was scheduled for 12:30, so we were already rushed. No big deal though as that first house was a disaster. The owner was a bit of a handyman and felt it necessary to point out every bit of work that he had done and was going to do. He said he could have it all finished in a week. Riiight! More like 6 months. This was the house that was second on my personal favs list. So much for trusting the description.

    The next house was very nice, but the description was even less accurate. Thirteen rooms turned into nine. A basement turned into a crawl space with dirt floor. And the heat pump turned into straight electric heat. But it had a GREAT yard and was in the perfect home education community. I don’t think any family had fewer than four kids. Several were up over six. We put that house on our possible list.

    The third house wasn’t there. I mean it. There was no house. It was a new neighborhood, and the builder decided to list a house before he had built it. There was not even a foundation poured. Needless to say, we weren’t going to be able to close on that house by the end of April.

    The next house (Tim’s favorite) was the worst house we saw. The description was phenomenal. On a lake with a tennis court and built in swimming pool. Reality bites. The lake has no water (the dam burst). The pool has no water (the lining is ripped to shreds). And the tennis court has no fence or net. But it did have a bunch of weeds growing up through the surface. The interior, if anything, was worse. The sunroom was elevated on stilts. It was very scary and felt like collapse was imminent. The carpeting looked like an army had marched through. Several times. It did have a very nice den, however. If I had two years to fix it and a lot of energy, it’d have been a nice house at $125,000. At $235,000, no way.

    The fifth house of our seven must sees was our Hitchhiker’s Guide house. Yes, it’s about to be knocked down for a bypass. Arthur Dent would have felt right at home. We didn’t even bother to go out and visit Arthur.

    The sixth house the Realtor refused to show us. She knew the house and the owners. The were divorcing and upside down on the mortgage. The house was a wreck and they jacked UP the price in order to try to clear the mortgage.

    Our seventh and final house was and is home. It’s simply beautiful. Maintained perfectly. Way out in the boonies but only two minutes from work. It’s in a small development that seemed to have a lot of kids (judging by the play equipment in the yards). Our yard is 4.5 acres split evenly between grass and woods. Perfectly flat so a pool is definitely in the future. And maybe a horse. Yes– horses are permitted. The neighbor four doors down has two, so Katelyn is in heaven. After all of the disasters of the day, it felt nice to see a house that really was in marketable condition. It’s set up perfectly for homeschooling. (Lydia thinks the family is one of us). It was also underpriced. They had five showings on Friday (including ours) and three scheduled for Saturday morning. Lydia and I looked at each other and just smiled. I don’t think we even really discussed whether we should make an offer. I walked back in and told the Realtor to write it up at full price (the house had only been on the market for eight days). She called the listing agent and asked her to wait for the offer sheet. Their agent had the offer by 6:30 p.m. and by 7:00 they had verbally accepted our offer. Our agent said we had set an all time speed record for finding and buying a house– six hours start to finish.

    It still hasn’t really set in that we’re mostly done. Our house goes on the market this Friday, and we close on the new house April 18th. We’ll probably move around the end of April.

    What a trip!


    Filed on March 12, 2005 at 9:48 am under by dcobranchi

    Somehow I’m not drawing the same lesson from this case as the local teachers union prez is:

    A judge Friday put off sentencing a former Lafayette High School student whose assault on a teacher may have ended the instructor’s career.

    The judge cited letters indicating Shardae McKnight may be “turning herself around” while being home-schooled.

    But the head of the city teachers union said he will insist on at least a brief jail term.

    Moments after the 16-year-old Gibson Street girl’s sentencing was adjourned, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore said the case has to “send out the message about schools as a safe haven” in a troubled society.


    Filed on at 9:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Hard to know how to take this aside from a Times review of a new childhood memoir:

    Along the way, the children enjoyed a characteristically idiosyncratic version of home schooling. Their mother taught them reading and the health advantages of drinking unpurified ditch water, while their father explained ”how we should never eat the liver of a polar bear because all the vitamin A in it could kill us. He showed us how to aim and fire his pistol, how to shoot Mom’s bow and arrows, and how to throw a knife by the blade so that it landed in the middle of a target with a satisfying thwock.” Walls recalls that ”by the time I was 4, I was pretty good with Dad’s pistol, a big black six-shot revolver, and could hit five out of six beer bottles at 30 paces. . . . It was fun. Dad said my sharpshooting would come in handy if the feds ever surrounded us.” Surely it suggests something about our educational system that whenever the Walls children did attend school they turned out to be academically ahead of the local kids, who tormented them for their outsider oddness.

    “But of course!” doesn’t seem to have the requisite gravity.


    Filed on at 8:07 am under by dcobranchi

    Apparently, anyway (reg. req.; see comments here for our own private Bugmenot):

    Carlin admitted that he was a little rusty from his recent, highly publicized rehab stint, and that he would be presenting new material with the help of “study aids.” He brought his working notes with him, and he explained why.

    “My stuff is very exact,” he said.

    And so this rapt audience listened to Carlin’s hilariously sick takes on airline flatulence, suicide, assassinations, autoerotic asphyxiation, democracy, home schooling and more.

    About home schooling: “Dumb parents teaching dumb kids.”

    My knee hurts from slapping it.

    In England they’re banning pencil cases…

    Filed on March 11, 2005 at 8:16 pm under by Tim Haas

    Because, you know, kids might hide dangerous objects in them.

    Like letter openers.

    A school has banned children from taking pencil cases into class in case they are used to hide sharp weapons.
    St Anne’s Primary School in Denton, Greater Manchester, acted after a boy was cut with a letter opener by a pupil who had hidden it in a pencil case.

    The nine-year-old boy suffered minor cuts to his chest and leg when he was involved in what the school say was “boisterous play”.

    What will they do if next time a kid stabs another kid with a pencil? Make them all use fingerpaints?

    I’m not sure how this even got started…

    Filed on at 8:09 pm under by Tim Haas

    As far as I understand this story, someone took revealing/embarrassing photos of a highschool student and her boyfriend at a private party. Then, either the same someone, or someone else, anonymously e-mailed them to her classmates and teachers.

    At which point, her parents sued the school? For what?

    There’s got to be something missing from this story…

    The parents of a teenage girl depicted in lewd photographs e-mailed to Tri Junior-Senior High School staff and students have agreed to drop a lawsuit against the school district.

    The suit is still pending against several people, and a State Police investigation continues.

    Parents drop lawsuit against school district over lewd photos

    Another “gee whiz” article…

    Filed on at 7:58 pm under by Tim Haas

    This article doesn’t even have the usually obligatory nay-sayers…
    Ahead of their time, more homeschooled students enrolling in college early

    Students in Alisha Miiller’s Delta College French class did a double take when the 14-year-old told them her age.

    “We were going around talking and asking people how old they were, and when we got to her, whoa – people were amazed she was 14,” said Pamela Renna, Miiller’s French professor.

    Miiller is one of six children of Greg and Lori Miiller of Pinconning. The couple have homeschooled all their children.


    Filed on at 10:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Yet another home-educating family on Wife Swap next week.They live in Vermont. In a tree. With six kids. And a mother who thought reality shows were real. And who believes women don’t have the right to vote.

    Excuse me, I need to lie down for a little while.


    Filed on March 10, 2005 at 7:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    Let’s see an exposé on “Perverts in the G-Schools.”

    Peachtree City Police say Pike County’s school superintendent [Dr. Darryl Dean] tried to solicit sex online from a girl who he thought was 15 years old, but was actually an undercover police officer.

    …Dean thought the officer was a homeschooled 15-year-old girl who lived in Peachtree City, Murray said.

    …Police believe Dean’s explicit communications occurred while he was on his work computer.

    We’ll never see a paper focus on the schools like the ABJ did on home education. The papers and the educrats are way too close for that. And we’re way too easy a target.


    Filed on at 5:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    We’re leaving for the big house hunting trip WAY early tomorrow a.m. I’ll be completely offline (I’m not even bringing my laptop) until Sunday evening.


    Filed on at 9:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Why does the History Channel hate home education? Is it letter-writin’ time? (HT: Jeanne)

    UPDATE: Here’s a link to their feedback page. Click the “Contact Us” button to open up the form.

    UPDATE 2: Chris reports that the contest is now open to HEKs.


    Filed on at 5:26 am under by dcobranchi

    A bill addressing home education in Arkansas has been filed. Here’s the pdf version, but something seems strange. There’s really nothing there. I’ll try to find out some more.

    UPDATE: Here’s the entire text of the bill. Is a legislator trying some kind of stealth maneuver?


    SECTION 1. (a) The purpose of this act is to establish and amend various provisions of law concerning home schools, notice of intent to home school, and the home school office of the Department of Education.
    (b) The State Board of Education may promulgate rules as necessary for the proper implementation of this section.

    UPDATE: On the HSWatch listserv, Kay Brooks thinks this is a placeholder bill and the legislator will try to spring the real language when no one is paying attention.


    Filed on at 5:15 am under by dcobranchi

    A trio of California papers (inlcuding the Weed Press) has a very nice profile of a brother and sister who have been unbelievably successful in fiddle competitions. Both were HEKs, of course (of the unchooled variety, I think).


    Filed on at 4:56 am under by dcobranchi

    A friend has asked for some ideas that his wife could use to help their son who struggles with reading. He’s looking for some kind of packaged curriculum/program. I already suggested Reading Rescue 1-2-3. The boy likes computers, so online stuff would be appropriate. Other possibly relevant info– he has trouble hearing and is in 2nd grade.

    Do y’all have some ideas?


    Filed on March 9, 2005 at 12:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is so sublimely goofy I had to share: I just received a copy of the long-form Chinese translation of the business how-to book I ghostwrote last year. Given the notorious difficulties of translating between Eastern and Western languages, I wonder what some of these chapter titles really say …

    * A Chinese proverb, or so Google tells me.


    Filed on at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    This may be my last Delaware-specific post. I got a call from the Governor’s office the other day in response to my LttE and my email to them. This concerned HEKs being eligible for the scholarship, if public and private school students were. You may recall that I was concerned that the EdDept would take the language “public and private schools” to exclude HEKs, as we fall into the category “non-public.” The staffer thanked me for pointing out the semantics and promised that when (and if) a bill actually gets written, they would address the issue legislatively. She did recommend that DHEA contact Dave Sokola directly. Traci and Carol, you’re up, as I’m outtahere in 11 days.


    Filed on at 5:08 am under by dcobranchi

    The first two sentences from this above-the-fold local story say it all:

    Ryan Pergeorelis isn’t necessarily looking forward to going to school Thursday.

    The sixth-grader at George Read Middle School gets so stressed about state tests he has undergone more than two years of weekly school counseling for frustration and anxiety.

    …Ryan Pergeorelis first began manifesting test anxiety in second and third grade, when he dreaded going to school and lashed out at his parents.

    Finally, he admitted the problem to his mother. Ryan was afraid of failing the state tests.

    “He’d come home crying, literally crying,” said his mother, Daneta Wiseman of Wilmington Manor. “He was scared to death he was going to fail.”

    What parent in their right mind would subject a child to this? There are alternatives.

    I’m not necessarily anti-testing. The public deserves some kind of feedback for all those dollars wasted spent. But some kids just should not be forced to endure these high stakes tests. Ms. Wiseman– get him out of there.


    Filed on at 4:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Hal Young of NCHE forwarded the results of their state home ed b’ball tornament. The Herald-Sun‘s write up is not too snarky.

    As state champs go, they’re a ragtag bunch.

    The Durham Flight, a high school and middle school basketball program composed entirely of home-schooled students, didn’t even have alternate uniforms three years ago. Players wore their “away” jerseys for every game their first season.

    … But as comparisons go, the Flight is perhaps more like a “mid-major” college team than the wandering misfits people who’ve never heard of home-school basketball might imagine at first.

    They’re simply proud champions of a group of teams no one’s heard of before — similar to the Manhattan Jaspers and Southern Illinois Salukis of the college basketball world who bring the NCAA Tournament to its knees every March.

    Congrats, NCHE, on sponsoring a successful tourney, and good luck, Flight, in the “show.”


    Filed on March 8, 2005 at 10:58 am under by dcobranchi

    In the SC contest for Gov. Mark Sanford’s “Put Parents in Charge” proposal, the leader of the proponents just scored three own-goals.

    The man who wrote bogus letters promoting Gov. Mark Sanford’s tuition tax credit proposal has been demoted from his position as executive director of the lead group behind the effort.

    Todd McCauley, executive director of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, was replaced Monday as the day-to-day manager of the group after revelations that he had mailed three phony letters to The State newspaper’s editorial board.

    Can PPiC get any deader on arrival?

    Just to clarify- Although I’m generally in favor of vouchers, tax credits, and other forms of school choice, I think PPiC is a bad deal for home education, as it opens up SC home educators to government approval of expenses. If Sanford came out with a straightforward tax credit program– you don’t send your kids to the g-school, so you get the deduction– I’d be 100 percent in his corner.


    Filed on at 10:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Via Skip Oliva, the Agitator has a weighty post on obesity and eating disorders among g-school kids:

    Girls as young as five are unhappy with their bodies and want to be thinner, according to a study which blames peer pressure in a child’s early years at school.

    … The UK Eating Disorders Association said it was known that children as young as eight had been diagnosed with eating disorders and there may have been instances in younger children.

    This is why fitness, diet, and body fat aren’t any business of the government’s. Kids under 18 are more than 700 times more likely to have an eating disorder than Type II Diabetes.

    I hadn’t seen that statistic before, and it strikes me as implausibly high. I’ve requested a citation. Regardless, the Agitator is 100 percent correct that it is none of the educrats’ business how much a kid weighs. One more reason to home educate.


    Filed on at 3:27 am under by dcobranchi

    An AZ legislator has some problems with the state of debate on their accountability tests, the AIMS. Normally, I couldn’t care less. Except he felt it necessary or cute to throw a dig in at home education:

    As a humble, populist Democrat, I have to be careful. The closer I get to AIMS, the weaker my faith in government. I fear that I am becoming a backslider who might support home schooling.

    He meant “As an arrogant, statist Democrat…”


    Filed on at 3:16 am under by dcobranchi

    The Free Lance-Star has a nice profile of the home educator behind TheHomeschoolMom website/newsletter. Strangely, the paper doesn’t even provide a URL, let alone a direct link. Old media still don’t quite have a handle on this web thing.


    Filed on March 7, 2005 at 9:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    The caffeineawareness website is just hilarious. I had no idea that drinking coffee was so similar to being a heroin or crank addict. The best part is their fake-news video. Somewhere, the producer of “Reefer Madness” is looking down, smiling. Absolutely hysterical (in both meanings of the word). A suggestion– wait to watch the movie with your first cuppa tomorrow.


    Filed on at 5:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    An HEK was killed when his kite got tangled in some high tension wires.

    Ryan E. Williams was flying the kite alone outside his home in rural Jay County Sunday afternoon when the string, fortified with wire, touched a power line. Jay County Coroner Mark Barnett said the electrical shock killed the boy.

    Parents, please teach your kids never to run a conductor up the kite string. Nylon is a great insulator; without that wire he’d be alive today.


    Filed on at 5:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    You just gotta love this hed and lede:

    Homeschool team wins state

    The Arkansas State Homeschool Basketball Tournament was held in Conway. The senior girls finished their season with a State Homeschool Championship.

    Wow! A homeschool team won the homeschool tournament.

    Seriously– I applaud everyone who takes parts in these tournaments. They represent the best of prep athletics. Congrats to all.


    Filed on at 3:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    Did y’all know that March is National Caffeine Awareness month? And just who are the nannies behind caffeineawareness.org? Never mind. It’s an astroturf group.

    The Caffeine Awareness Alliance(CAA) was founded in 2003 to serve the needs of the Caffeine-Free Industry. The alliance creates a valuable network of resources and an authoritative voice for advocacy. It is an invaluable resource to position the caffeine-free industry for its future success, growth and maturation. One of the functions of the CAA will be to provide influential information about the industry that is easily accessible to executives, sales people, retailers, buyers, growers, media and associations.

    I’ll stick to my four double espressos, thank you very much.


    Filed on at 6:57 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m used to seeing glowing articles on home education from the WashTimes. Not so for the WaPo. That is, until today. Not a single snarky comment. No educrat quoted for “balance.” What a nice way to start the week.


    Filed on at 6:48 am under by dcobranchi

    In an article on the power of the Christian Right in Alabama is this throwaway line:

    [William Stewart, UA professor emeritus of political science,] said controversial social issues drive the Alabama religious movement: abortion, home schooling, the lottery and the display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings.

    I can see how three of the four are controversial. But homeschooling? I think we’ve gotten past the controversy, no?


    Filed on March 6, 2005 at 5:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    This letter to Time Magazine was in response to an earlier article about what teachers hate about parents parents:

    I AM THE MOTHER OF TEENAGERS WHO are succeeding in school, and I thank the competent teachers they have had. I know I could not do a better job. Parents who think they can should home-school.

    NORA MARTIN VETTO – Scottsdale, Ariz.

    I couldn’t agree more. Make sure to read the other letters; there are some real doozies.

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