Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » May
  • WOW!

    Filed on May 20, 2005 at 8:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    I know that these social worker cases are rare. But when they do come up they certainly can be ugly.

    THE HOMESCHOOL OPTION

    Filed on at 7:20 am under by dcobranchi

    Is this why (alleged) HEKs have been faring so poorly in the military?

    The premise was simple: McSwane would try to join the Army as a high school dropout with an insatiable fondness for marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. No matter how stoned and stupid McSwane acted, a pair of recruiters wouldn’t wouldn’t let him go.

    McSwane insisted to the recruiters that he couldn’t lick his drug habit, but one recruiter told him to take some “stuff” that would “clean you out.” It turned out to be a detoxification kit the recruiter said had worked with other applicants. McSwane said the recruiter even offered to pay half the cost of the kit.

    McSwane’s claim of being a dropout didn’t discourage his recruiters either. He was encouraged to take a high school equivalency diploma exam, which McSwane deliberately failed. That’s when he said one recruiter introduced him to the “home-school option.”

    McSwane was told to order a phony diploma and transcripts from an online diploma mill.

    LOCKDOWNS

    Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Schools are locking the inmates students in with ever greater frequency. A great quote:

    Overreacting has been part of our process since Columbine.

    That pretty much characterizes the state of the g-school today: Lockdowns, zero-tolerance, etc.

    I think I’m going to institute these lockdown practices in our “school.” I just wandered through the cafeteria area (otherwise known as the kitchen) and found several deadly weapons (otherwise known as knives) just lying about. Bah! Just another good reason to home educate.

    DRUG WARS

    Filed on at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Certain conservative congressmen are no friends of liberty-loving folks. Skip Oliva, writing at Mises, points out a frightening escalation in the War on Drugs(tm).

    But drug testing in sports is merely the appetizer. The main course is a bill being shepherded by House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner that would expand mandatory prison sentences for most federal drug offenses. The bill will also make it a crime, punishable by a mandatory two-year prison sentence, for anyone to fail to report certain drug crimes, such as marijuana possession on a college campus. Parents will also face prison time if they fail to turn in their child for any drug offense.

    Godwin be damned– this is fascism, using the power of the State to force parents to turn in their children and kids to denounce their parents.

    THE PROBLEM WITH “HOMESCHOOL CHARTERS”

    Filed on May 19, 2005 at 9:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    It opens us up to rants like this. My “favorite” quote:

    The charter school advocates are less interested in their children’s achievement than they are in segregating their children from “them.” They proclaim “United We Stand” but are only united with those of like mind and social standing. These parents are America’s neo-segregationists. If they weren’t, they would be out there fighting for smaller class size for all kids, for smaller schools for all kids, for adult mentors for all kids, personalized learning environments for all kids. But then “their” kids would have to go to school with “them” —- an ethnocentric point the San Marcos school board and others are choosing to ignore.

    I have yet to see any government program worth the headaches and loss of freedom that come part and parcel.

    I’M CONFUSED

    Filed on at 10:49 am under by dcobranchi

    And so is he. I can’t find any article in the May archives that even slightly resembles this.

    LA ALERT: A BAD BILL?

    Filed on at 1:48 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s a proposal in the Louisiana legislature that would provide tax credits to just about every home educating family in the state. So what’s not to love? Just the definition of “home schooled”:

    For purposes of this Section, “home schooled” shall be defined as to teach school subjects to one’s children at home.

    As near as I can determine (from Ann Zeise’s excellent summary), there is currently no definition of home education in the Louisiana code. Furthermore, this little section of the existing code might create all sorts of problems for those taking the tax credit:

    For such an institution to be classified as a school, within the meaning of this Chapter, instructional staff members shall meet the following requirements: if a public day school or a nonprofit school which receives local, state, or federal funds or support, directly or indirectly, they shall be certified in accordance with rules established by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education…

    Finally, the definition would appear to be overly broad in that cyber-charter students would almost certainly qualify. Louisiana does not appear to have any cyber charters, but it does have a charter school law on the books.

    The LA Home Education Network website doesn’t have anything on this.

    ANOTHER FACTOID THAT ISN’T?

    Filed on May 18, 2005 at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

    And from one of our own at that:

    FEAST director Ruth Perez says, “This is our biggest convention ever; our pre-registrations are at an all-time high.” “Attendance at many conventions is breaking records this year as home schooling continues to grow in the state,” confirms Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), “as home schooling is the fastest growing educational alternative.”

    A few years ago, perhaps. But charter school enrollment (especially the cyber kind) has been growing much faster over the last 5 years or so.

    DING DONG

    Filed on at 6:56 am under by dcobranchi

    This one is for Darby. A home educating family is supplementing their curriculum by including some real-world business activities. The HEKs help out with all aspects of their mom’s Avon business.

    NON-CUSTOMERS FOR THE NON-STORE

    Filed on May 17, 2005 at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    Sorry, Chris.

    Cameras flashed as three graduates wore their red, white and blue gowns and received their high school diplomas.

    They were the only graduates in this small ceremony, held at Fond Du Lac Community Church in what organizers say was Duluth’s first homeschool graduation.

    I SEE, I SEE

    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Now I get it– the previous story was one side of the coin. Here’s the other:

    Torey also takes cooperative classes, including American literature and Latin, at Calvary Baptist Church in Bristol Tennessee.

    In addition to her personal trainer, horseback-riding and music lessons, the teenager has an art class with a private instructor and serves on the yearbook staff for Bristol’s homeschooled students.

    …”There’s a stereotype of homeschoolers – that we make our own clothes and our bread,” said Torey, who was stylishly dressed in a pair of capri pants and trendy sandals. “It’s not like that.

    So some HEKs fit the stereotype and others don’t. Whodathunkit?

    LOCK ‘EM UP

    Filed on at 6:09 am under by dcobranchi

    This one is really strange. I think the reporter was attempting to write a positive piece on a home educating family. In the process, though, she included every possible “S”-word stereotype.

    “We do not specifically get them involved in a social setting so they can meet other kids,” she said. “We really don’t think children have a good influence on one another.”

    …They are friends with one another, but they don’t have many outside their family, the children said.

    “I haven’t had much experience with being friends with other girls my age,” Donna said. “I don’t know how to act when I’m around other girls because I usually play with my brothers.”

    …Her older brother, David, seemed a lot like his sister, but slightly more outgoing. He said he doesn’t regret being more isolated from his peers, in part because he’s an introvert.

    He’s made a few friends at college, but he said he doesn’t know too many people. He knows how to interact in a group, but he’d much rather have a conversation with one or two people, he said.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    As an aside, I feel like I’m slipping here. I’m usually pretty good at remembering what I’ve read and blogged over the past three years. This article seems extremely familiar, but I can’t find it in the archives. Must be that 43-year-old brain slipping a gear.

    PSA: A NON-COMMERCIAL

    Filed on May 15, 2005 at 4:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Ungraduation Store

    PRESS RELEASE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    DATE: 16 May, 2005
    Fredericksburg, VA

    THE UNGRADUATION STORE IS NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS

    Home Educator and long time blogger Chris O’Donnell has announced the non-opening of The Ungraduation Store at his well known website ODonnellWeb. This initiative is the antidote to those attempting to cash in on the latest educational craze, homeschooling. The Ungraduation Store will feature no products, and the website will never actually be created.

    Founder Chris O’Donnell explained, “For years, home educators have worked in relative anonymity, quietly raising a generation of articulate, educated, and respectful kids who are doing just fine in the world. Recently though, the press and business world have noticed, and responded with an avalanche of homeschool related stories, and businesses targeting homeschoolers with everything from graduation gifts to curriculum designed by professional gambler William Bennett.” Even the public schools are in the act, as expulsion is now being marketed as “an opportunity to homeschool.” Chris asked, “What’s next, the Homeschool Collection from Hallmark?”

    The Ungraduation Store is not targeted to anybody, although we expect that the traditional stereotypes of homeschooling, the conservative Christian and the tree hugging hippie, will be quite excited by our non-offering. Christians will be able to safely ignore us without any pressure from encroaching secular society, and the hippies can feel good knowing that ignoring us does absolutely nothing to harm the environment or support the corporate infrastructure. Chris O’Donnell added,”It’s a win-win for everybody.”

    HSLDA founder Mike Ferris commented that he always happy to see homeschoolers succeed, but due to the near certainty of litigation, he would have decline our application for membership.

    Noted home education activist Daryl Cobranchi added “IAATM,” which we later decoded into the phrase ‘It’s Always About The Money.”

    More information about The Ungraduation Store is not available. There is nobody to contact with questions. No animals were harmed in the writing of this press release. This press release is satire, however if you steal the idea and make money with an Ungraduation Store, we will cry prior art and sue you into oblivion.

    “PRO” HOMESCHOOLING?

    Filed on at 2:49 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a tiny update on the “home ed” hooker. Really no new news. But this brief section caught my eye:

    The school is not accredited, meaning the students cannot obtain a recognizable high school diploma if they graduate from there.

    “They would have to get a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) if they completed the program and wanted to go on to college,” said Rob Houchin, Tazewell County’s regional superintendent of schools, referring to New Hope Christian Academy as a “glorified home school.”

    You can’t go to college in IL unless you’ve graduated from an accredited school? That can’t be right. And the GED, of course, is not the “General Equivalency Diploma” but the General Education Development test. Two major errors in a single sentence– a new world’s record!

    IAATM

    Filed on at 2:26 am under by dcobranchi

    The lede says it all:

    The way Superintendent Jim Thomas sees it, Scio is ready to welcome at least 100 new students — and the state money they’ll bring with them — to a charter school the district hopes to open this fall.

    The charter is a cyber, and the students are soon-to-be-former HEKs, of course.

    FIRE THE PUBLICIST

    Filed on May 14, 2005 at 2:38 am under by dcobranchi

    With a little more notice, I might have been convinced to attend this event (with my “Press” badge firmly wedged in the band around my fedora, of course):

    On Saturday, May 14, 2005, parents from across the Raleigh-Durham area are invited to attend a free, day-long Innovation in Education Expo hosted by K12 Inc. The Expo is designed for families who are interested in homeschooling and the K12 learning program. It is also an opportunity for home school families in the local area to meet, share ideas and experiences and hear more about K12. Moreover, the Expo is an excellent opportunity for families to learn more about the option of homeschooling and find out how K12 is helping to provide a high quality program to thousands of homeschool families across the country.

    G-SCHOOL SPORTS

    Filed on at 2:31 am under by dcobranchi

    They worked for this HE-grad.

    Fisher took an unusual road to the Academy. He was home schooled by his mother from kindergarten through high school.

    …A regulation passed by the Florida High School Athletic Association prior to Fisher’s first year of high school allowed him to play on the Chamberlain High School boys tennis team, the public school in his district.

    “It was hard at first because I was like an outsider coming onto the team, but as soon I met all the guys, we became friends. We had a good team. There was actually another home schooled player on the team. It was a great chance to play on a competitive team and experience what it would be like play in college.”

    HOME ED IS NOT ANTI-GAY

    Filed on at 2:19 am under by dcobranchi

    Let’s you and him fight and leave us out of it:

    A Houston lawyer who called on Southern Baptists to remove their children from “godless” public schools last year is now asking churches to investigate whether schools are promoting acceptance of homosexuality.

    …The resolution says schools promote acceptance of gays through officially sanctioned gay clubs, diversity training, anti-bullying courses, safe sex and safe schools programs.

    It says that if churches find that public schools are teaching acceptance of homosexuality, parents should remove their children and either home-school them or enroll them in Christian schools.

    Schools really have no choice when it comes to GSAs; the schools have to recognize them if they recognize other student-led clubs. As for the other “charges,” this proposal makes the NEA look good:

    NEA spokeswoman Melinda Anderson responded: “It really baffles me how a caring parent could find fault with public schools for trying to teach children to be respectful of others.”

    3 AND 43

    Filed on May 13, 2005 at 4:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    I missed my 3rd blogiversary Monday. Darn! Also, blogging will be mostly non-existent for the rest of the day as my parents will be in town to help celebrate my birthday (Friday the 13th– Ooooooo). See y’all tomorrow.

    UPDATE: For Traci– I only have stats dating back to June ’03 when I switched off of blogspot. Since then there have been ~430,000 visits. We’re currently running around 39,000 per month with about 16,000 uniques and 100,000 page-views. According to the MT count, there have been 5079 posts since starting on May 9, 2002, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. It seems that several posts were imported twice in my move off of blogspot.

    SCHOOL CHOICE

    Filed on at 1:08 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Heritage Foundation has a large section of their website devoted to choice issues. Unfortunately, they chose to lump home education in with other “choice” options. I tend to think of choice as some way of using tax dollars- charters, vouchers, etc. Home education and the private schools are different. I’d like to keep them that way.

    15 SECOND BOOK REVIEW

    Filed on at 11:54 am under by dcobranchi

    It didn’t take me long to decide that “The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Home Schooling (sic)” is one to miss. From the opening chapter:

    Even in the most regulated state, homeschooling is still permitted. In no case can you be prevented from homeschooling your child, given you meet the basic requirements. In fact, most of the states’ requirements are quite reasonable and are likely to be things you would do even if they weren’t required.

    That’s it. Train the newbie’s to be a bunch of sheep. Baaaaaa!

    A CAUTIONARY TALE ABOUT THE DANGERS OF A REVIEWER WITH AN AGENDA

    Filed on at 11:45 am under by dcobranchi

    This review of “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” moves along fine until the very end:

    This sweet, young innocent, long sheltered from evils of the world, has plenty of built-in demons.

    The film’s setup is, of course, that of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

    But the details are overripe with twisted family dynamics and parent/child antagonisms.

    “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” also may be seen as a tongue-in-cheek cautionary tale about the dangers of homeschooling.

    That’s the first mention of home education in the entire review.

    UPDATE: Per an email exchange, it was supposed to be a joke.

    ON THE ROAD AGAIN

    Filed on May 12, 2005 at 6:06 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ll be back tomorrow.

    MORE FODDER FOR THE ABJ

    Filed on at 5:57 am under by dcobranchi

    When they do their next in-depth research Nexis search, I’m sure this strange tale will be counted among the statistics. Of course it has absolutely nothing to do with home education.

    WORTH NOTING

    Filed on May 11, 2005 at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    An HEK in AZ has started a sort-of yard service. Of particular interest is how he financed the equipment he needed to start:

    A 12-year-old boy has taken advantage of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Youth Loans program to start up his own business.

    …The program is designed for youths ages 10 to 20 to establish and operate modest-sized, income-producing projects. The projects must be by members of 4-H clubs, FFA or similar organizations, or with a vocational teacher or county extension agent.

    …The loan program requires that the youth borrowers live in the open country or a town of less than 10,000 people and be unable to get a loan from other sources.

    ANOTHER WWHE

    Filed on at 5:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, this one may be a little obscure. But a part of NCLB requires g-schools to provide military recruiters with contact information (including phone numbers) for their students. Why this might not be desirable:

    [Army recruiter] Sgt. Thomas Kelt left this message on that young man’s cell phone: “Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn’t hang up on me. Anyway, by federal law you got an appointment with me at 2 o’clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That’s the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o’clock. You fail to appear and we’ll have a warrant. Okay? So give me a call back.”

    Needless to say, threatening to have a kid arrested for refusing to talk to an army recruiter is not exactly proper procedure. Parents can opt out of the contact list. Cases like this lead me to believe that the list needs to be opt in.

    APOD DOES IT AGAIN!

    Filed on at 5:14 am under by dcobranchi

    Another beautiful space photo from the folks at NASA. I especially recommend the high-res version (CAUTION: big file); it makes a simply perfect desktop.

    DEAR HOLIDAY INN

    Filed on at 4:54 am under by dcobranchi

    While I appreciate having “free” broadband access in the room, can you please explain why the LAN cable is only 4-feet long and reaches to exactly nowhere (except the floor)? If WiFi is out of the question, at least a 12-foot cable to allow one to sit on the bed would be a vast improvement.

    Oh, and an electric outlet somewhere on the same wall as the 4-foot cable. That’d be nice, too.

    YOU KNOW YOU’RE MAINSTREAM…

    Filed on at 4:10 am under by dcobranchi

    when you show up in the astrology column:

    VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): As public schools decline and private schools become more expensive, increasing numbers of parents are homeschooling their children. I predict that an analogous phenomenon will arise among religious groups. Called the “homechurch” movement by Christians, “homesynagogue” by Jews, and “hometemple” by other traditions, it will consist of people creating altars and conducting worship sessions in their own abodes. Seekers pursuing this approach will eliminate the middlemen and serve as their own priests, priestesses, and rabbis. If you have even the slightest attraction to this meme, Virgo, launch your own version of it. It’s time to crank up your spiritual intentions. The Divine Wow wants to talk.

    OK, it’s not really about home education, but it’s still pretty funny.

    PROM SEASON

    Filed on at 4:04 am under by dcobranchi

    Oregon HEKs (and prusably their parents) have organized their first statewide prom. As long as the kids stay safe (and sane), this is one g-school tradition that I see little harm in emulating. As for the parents who spend thousands of dollars on prom night? Idiots!

    A MUST READ

    Filed on May 10, 2005 at 9:57 am under by dcobranchi

    Jim Peacock has a terrific essay on Zero Tolerance policies. It ought to be required reading for every g-school administrator in the country.

    OFFLINE (TEMPORARILY)

    Filed on at 8:23 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m traveling to the great state of WV this afternoon. I won’t heve access to the internets until late tonight. See you then.

    MORE CA INFO

    Filed on at 1:37 am under by dcobranchi

    This brief article goes a ways towards explaining the various home education options in California. Good info. As a bonus the reporter includes an interview with Ann Zeise. As usual, she’s pretty funny:

    But even Zeise made mistakes.

    “Never teach genetics with anything that breeds,” said Zeise. “We have a lot of rabbits.”

    AN ODD ESSAY

    Filed on at 1:03 am under by dcobranchi

    I had only glanced at this one when it came out a week or so ago. An email from Gene encouraged me to read the whole thing. It’s not bad:

    So, yes, homeschooling does seem a little odd to many. It seems unnecessary, not a good fit for most families. And in a certain sense, that assessment is correct. Homeschooling is not a good fit for the modern family, if only because the family has, in modern times, ceased to exist. Family cohesion has been obliterated in large part by the mass school.

    Our society requires massive consumption. Needy, ignorant people consume more goods and services than educated, emotionally stable people do. The quickest way to create needy people is to obliterate the family. The quickest way to create ignorant people is to divorce them from their parents. The mass school is an excellent exercise in creating a market for your goods, whatever they might be. Unfortunately, what counts as goods for the market does not count as goods for the family—or, in the long run, for society.

    So now I’ll encourage you to do the same: Read the whole thing.

    SOFISTICATED PHISHERS

    Filed on at 12:53 am under by dcobranchi

    This one almost caught me. I’m not sure what made me suspicious. Just one of those things:

    Aditional PayPal Account Update!

    Dear PayPal Member,

    We have to inform you that paypal must check and update your account. The reason we are forced becuase we must restrict the fraud to a lower level, thanks for your understanding. If you believe that this action may have been taken in error, or, if you feel that your account may have been tampered with, please respond to this message so that we can provide additional information and work with you to resolve this issue. Go to link below and login to your account:

    https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_login-run

    After responding to the message, we ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be investigated. Emailingus before that time will result in delays. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and we would like to thank you for your cooperation as we review this matter.

    If you received this notice and you are not the authorized account holder, please be aware that it is in violation of PayPal policy to represent oneself as another PayPal user. Such action may also be in violation of local, national, and/or international law. PayPal is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts to misappropriate personal information with the intent to commit fraud or theft. Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Thank you for your ongoing commitment to PayPal.

    Sincerely,

    PayPal

    GRIDLOCK IS GOOD

    Filed on May 9, 2005 at 4:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Robert Clayton Dean, blogging at Samizdata, seems to have decided that small-“L” libertarians aren’t particularly well-served by either party. Too bad it’s only seven months too late. If the government that governs best, governs least, libertarians ought to be working for divided government at every turn.

    WHAT’S A “KID”?

    Filed on at 6:54 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s a serious question– How does the Census Bureau define a child? The reason I ask is this Mother’s Day factoid:

    The Census Bureau says it’s a growing trend, based on the increasing number of children who live in such households. In 2002, there were 10.6 million children with stay-at-home moms — or about one-fourth of all U.S. kids. That’s a 13 percent increase over eight years.

    There are 50 million in the schools. Plus the many millions below the compulsory attendance age. So, what gives?

    A REVELATION

    Filed on at 6:47 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this one sentence pretty much sums up the whole problem with the g-schools, both in the UK and here:

    All the teaching unions have opposed academies and many see the “parent power” message as divisive in home-school relations.

    And, yes, I recognize the cognitive dissonance of me calling for parents to exercise more control over their kids’ education at the same time I decry the push to teach ID in the schools.

    Hence, I will no longer fight the creationists/IDers on the basis of the fact that they’re not teaching science. If the majority (of Kansans, for instance) want their kids to be ignorant, fine. I will continue to fight against it though to the extent that it tries to establish religion (i.e., Christianity) in the schools as some state-sanctioned faith. Since I believe that is really ID’s raison d’etre you won’t see me joining Behe’s army anytime soon.

    A NORTHERN IRISH MOTHER’S DAY

    Filed on at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Carlotta indicated in the comments below that the UK didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday, so this article’s timing must be a coincidence. But it’s a very nice profile of a young home educating mom.

    Roy and I were married when I still had a year to go on my occupational therapy degree course at the University of Ulster, and I was five months’ pregnant when I was doing my finals. I gained a first class honours and was asked to stay on to do a PhD.

    I was faced with the decision of juggling motherhood and a career – but I’m the sort of person who likes to give 100% to whatever I’m doing. I’d always wanted to have a family and felt very blessed to be able to have a child so I decided to stay at home and be a mother.

    Read the whole thing; it’s a nice way to start the day.

    FAMOUS HEKs

    Filed on at 1:13 am under by dcobranchi

    Blaise Pascal.

    As an indication of how timeless parental concerns are, Pascal’s father was distrustful of Parisian schools and decided to home-school his boy. For reasons passing understanding, the father forbade the son from studying mathematics before the age of 15, thereby ensuring Pascal’s life-long fascination with the subject. While other boys were out sampling the sinful pleasures of Paris, Pascal was covertly studying geometry.

    LEGAL ADVICE

    Filed on May 8, 2005 at 7:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    And this has nothing to do with libel.

    Passing along a useful PSA:

    ATTORNEY’S ADVICE — NO CHARGE

    A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company

    1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

    2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED”.

    3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

    4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

    5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

    Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

    1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

    2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

    But here’s what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do this.)

    3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

    By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

    Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact when your wallet, etc. has been stolen:

    1.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

    2.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

    3.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

    4.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

    We pass along jokes on the Internet. We pass along just about everything. But if you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.

    MORE FROM THE LEFT COAST

    Filed on at 1:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    I have to admit that I really don’t understand CA home education laws. In particular, the “home school charter” thing just confuses the heck out of me. Questions I’d like answered: Do individual parents pick out the curricula or is it the charter administration? Do the kids have to take the NCLB tests?

    MOSTLY GOOD ADVICE

    Filed on at 1:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    This Q&A on getting started in home education is pretty good. I wasn’t real keen on the attendance records and graduation requirements comments as those are certainly state dependent. It’s a CA paper, though; that state is about as confused as you’ll likely find.

    IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS

    Filed on at 12:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    We’re expecting company for lunch so I have a few minutes to kill. I’m sitting (ok, lounging) in the porch swing. It’s 75 degrees; there’s a nice breeze blowing; and the WiFi has no problem reaching here.

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    Taking the daylight hours off. See y’all tonight.

    REALLY OLD ROCKS

    Filed on May 7, 2005 at 8:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Scientists, studying tiny Australian zircons, have come up with pretty conclusive evidence that the Earth was cool enough to have a liquid ocean as early as 4.3B years ago.

    LET’S HEAR IT FOR PRE-SCHOOL!

    Filed on at 6:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Now where do you think these young “Queen Bees” learn this behavior?

    The preschool Queen Bees were well-liked and socially skilled but also tended to be more arrogant and aggressive in managing relationships.

    They would exclude specific classmates from play groups, demand others not play with a specific child, threaten to not play if their needs or demands weren’t met and refuse to listen to someone they were mad at. The little Queen Bees were also masters at spreading gossip and telling secrets.

    …”By the age of 4 a substantial number of children have apparently figured out from their environment that relational aggressive strategies can be used to their advantage and are rewarded with social status,” co-author Robinson said in a press release.

    So how does a little Queen Bee develop? Researchers are not sure. It could be genetic, something they pick up from other kids or behavior they learn from observing their parents or media.

    Give me a break! The article states that approximately 1 in 5 girls exhibits this behavior by the age of 4. I’ll lay very long odds that there’s an extremely high percentage of kids who’ve been in jail daycare from almost day one in that aggressive group.

    Anyone want to take the bet? (Tip credit: Traci)

    IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR STREET

    Filed on at 1:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    CAUTION– large files.

    Our house.

    The front porch. And, yes, we do sit out on the porch drinking sweet tea.

    Our backyard.

    ONE SMART FELLOW

    Filed on at 9:49 am under by dcobranchi

    The proprietor of a teacher’s store in AZ knows a market when he sees one:

    [The] Mesa Teaching Tools is the local company’s new flagship store, he said. It’s big enough to include a whole section devoted to home-schooling — a pilot for the business.

    “We know there’s a big market here,” Bundgaard said. “We hired a former home-schooling mom to create the business and make us home-school friendly.”

    BTW, does anyone else know the tongue twister? It’s one of our kids’ favorites.

    HAPPY (HOME EDUCATING) MOTHER’S DAY

    Filed on at 9:42 am under by dcobranchi

    This essay is a day early but pretty darned good. I have only one little quibble. I’m sure it will jump right out at you, too.

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