Utterly Meaningless » 2005 » July

    Filed on July 16, 2005 at 9:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Izzy points to a pretty ignorant essay on what is and isn’t science. A taste:

    For a topic or subject to be deemed science it must be measurable, experimentally reproducible or studied in some quantitative way.

    …The study of science is the study of those topics that are suited for investigation by the scientific method (some scientific way). Topics like chemical interaction, biological processes, genetic variation, the fossil record, geology, population dynamics, etc. – all lend themselves to scientific evaluation. Both evolution and creation have reasonable theories that encompass these (and many, many more) scientifically evaluated topics. Students should be exposed to this ongoing debate so they can form their own opinions following a thorough evaluation of the scientific evidence.

    Some scientific way? Good summary.

    Here’s my nickel explanation of what science is and is not. Science is a rational process which attempts to explain the physical realities of the universe we observe. It is not a religion. It does not invoke non-natural explanations for the universe. It is absolutely silent on the existence or non-existence of God. So, ID is not science, and neither is it’s purer form, creationism. Neither belongs in a g-school science class.

    BTW, the author is a home educator.


    Filed on July 15, 2005 at 11:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    This guy, if guilty, should be beat over the head with a baseball bat:

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — A T-ball coach allegedly paid one of his players $25 to hurt an 8-year-old mentally disabled teammate so he wouldn’t have to put the boy in the game, police said Friday.

    Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, is accused of offering one of his players the money to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn’t want the boy to play in the game because of his disability.

    Under league rules, if he’s convicted, he won’t be allowed to coach next season. I hope that really means “for life.”

    LAZY 419ER

    Filed on at 10:44 am under by dcobranchi

    The latest 419 missive is pretty funny. The guy is the chief auditor of the “AFRICAN VELOPMENT BANK” (sic). The account has 33.86M USD in it and he didn’t offer me a penny for my assistance. I don’t think I’ll be playing along this time.

    And, in related news, I must be the luckiest man alive. This week alone I have won first place in three different lotteries, and I never even bought a ticket.


    Filed on at 6:06 am under by dcobranchi

    The article is almost completely unrelated to home education, but click over anyway. Then left double-click on any word in the piece. Pretty cool, huh?

    Re-posted from HEM.


    Filed on at 6:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Except apparently in PA.

    Jesse sometimes gets to the breakfasts that are also part of the new free summer food program of the Line Mountain School District. He usually rides his bike or walks to his school.

    …A federal grant is providing funding for the program with the district reimbursed $1.56 for every breakfast and $2.74 for every lunch served.

    … The program is also open to district residents who attend parochial and cyber schools and who are homeschooled.

    Tipster Mike wonders if this isn’t some nefarious scheme to trap HEKs. I think it’s just the educrats once again expanding their reach into what should be a parental obligation.

    Re-posted from HEM.


    Filed on at 6:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a press release for an event in August. Of note:

    Homeschooling writer and veteran homeschooler Jeanne Faulconer will present sessions titled “Swimming Out of the Mainstream,” “Balance, Boundaries, and Bravery,” and “Let Your House Do the Homeschooling.” Award-winning storyteller Jim Weiss will also captivate audiences in “Animal Tales” and “Abraham Lincoln and the Heart of America.”

    That’s frequent-commenter (and FOH*) “Jeanne.” Way cool.

    *Friend of Helen 🙂

    Re-posted from HEM.


    Filed on July 14, 2005 at 9:59 am under by dcobranchi

    An Illinois woman apparently misunderstood the recommended amount of water she was supposed to drink each day.


    Filed on at 6:43 am under by dcobranchi

    How do folks like this even stand to look themselves in the mirror?

    Iraq should be bombed from air to quell terrorists

    Speaking after the London attack, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was no Churchill when he stated that the vast Muslim people were really innocent in this matter, and that in defending ourselves, we must not even think of harming them. The truth is different. Terrorists worldwide live comfortably in Islamic countries. After every bloody success, Muslims smile approvingly. If we act on Blair’s mistaken idea, we will surely lose this conflict with terrorism.

    The Islamic religion does not respect our moral standards, but ennobles violence to others as the expression of God’s will. Our restrained responses to violence merely convince them that we are weak and decadent.

    In World War II, we confronted two militaristic societies. Our air force’s merciless pummeling of civilians changed their hearts and minds and established the years of peace we still enjoy. This lesson should not be forgotten.

    In Iraq, terrorists have no defense against strategic, citywide bombing. It would cost us no casualties to hit them hard enough to convince them that Allah is on our side.

    Aaron Oken, Wilmington

    So I guess Dresden was a really good idea after all? And suggesting that we bomb civilians just a week after London was bombed is absolutely nuts! If any city in the world should serve as a lesson on how ineffective this strategy would be, it would be London. Somewhere, Santayana is rolling over in his grave.


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    A friend signs her emails “I homeschool in PA. Kick me.” When I saw this hed my first thought was that maybe finally PA homeschoolers would catch a break. Alas, it’s not what is appears.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Another lawsuit filed by home educators over g-school sports. Way to make us look good, guys.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a strange bit of blurbage right out of a press release (No, not one for them).

    “Parents’ & Teachers’” — This area, geared specifically for parents, teachers and home school educators will engage kids in history through fun activities based on the shows. It will include an introductory essay written by Jon Scieszka, original lesson plans for each adventure and an annotated list of resources for students and teachers, including books and links to relevant websites.

    Why do we form a separate category?

    Oh. GoogleNews. “Home school.” Bloggers.

    Mission accomplished.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on July 13, 2005 at 5:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Why is it that the main link to last year’s Akron Beacon Journal sludgefest still works, but the rest 404?

    Does anyone have archived versions of the series? I was too enraged at the time to think of saving it.


    Filed on at 5:22 am under by dcobranchi

    I wear the label proudly.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 5:22 am under by dcobranchi

    My friend Isabel Lyman links approvingly to this TCR essay. I’ll provide the link but not the approval– Kurt J. Bauman does not understand that cyber charters are NOT homeschoolsTM 🙂

    A second reason for the importance of homeschooling on the policy front is the potential growth of schools and institutions that serve homeschoolers. Some of these may be created by homeschoolers themselves (Hill, 2000). However, most are businesses and organizations lured by the expanding homeschool market. Homeschool families typically spend around $300 to $500 on curricular materials each year (Walsh, 2002). Huerta and Gonzales (2004) have discussed how organizations that take advantage of charter laws can be reimbursed up to $3,000 to $5,000 per pupil, or as much as ten times what parents spend on their own (Borja, 2004). This opening could potentially create a market worth many billions of dollars. If organizations are able to obtain large-scale profits from the homeschool charter operational model (a current point of contention), this market has the potential to vastly expand through publicity, advertising, and pressure for legislative accommodations by increasingly wealthy educational providers.

    …Allowing homeschoolers to take full advantage of charter and voucher opportunities is a more complex situation. This step could provide the impetus for a boom in the number of schools and students involved. Parents with no current interest in homeschooling could be drawn into this sector by advertising and incentives not available from schools with higher costs. This development would obviously be opposed by advocates for public schools. On the other hand, excluding homeschoolers from charter schools and voucher programs puts a limit on the dreams of those who envision them as a model for a new predominant model of schooling, and separates some of the parents with the strongest desire for individual schooling choice from the movement that claims to speak for them. Homeschooling participation in charters and voucher programs is likely to be a continuing battleground.

    It’s not just the g-school teachers who are opposed to faux homeschooling.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 5:21 am under by dcobranchi

    Home educators seem to be telling the state to keep their tax credit (use the standard email addy):

    Now who exactly was state Sen. Tom Reynolds trying to help?

    Last week, the West Allis Republican agreed to vote for the budget bill after he pushed through an 11th-hour proposal to give a state tax credit for home-schooling families. But his attempt at grabbing some budget pork isn’t winning him any friends among its intended beneficiaries.

    In fact, they sound downright annoyed.

    A spokeswoman for Gov. Jim Doyle said the office has been flooded with calls and notes from those opposing the $100-per-child tax credit. “Most of the e-mails and calls are from parents of home-schoolers,” said Doyle flack Melanie Fonder. The office had heard from only one person who urged the Democratic governor to keep the Reynolds item in the budget.

    …This isn’t the first time Reynolds tried to lend a helping hand to the home-schoolers even though their trade group, the Wisconsin Parents Association, wants as little government involvement as possible.

    A few months ago, Reynolds pitched an idea to Larry Kaseman, head of the group, which represents 1,200 families. Kaseman declined to disclose the subject of Reynolds’ brainstorm except to say he politely but firmly told the senator to put it in the circular file.

    “My sense is that he feels that he’s doing home-schoolers a favor,” Kaseman said. “Frankly, he just doesn’t get it.”

    I love the Kaseman quote. A bit more info is available at the other blog.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 5:20 am under by dcobranchi

    but why is the whole piece written at a third grade level? Make sure you turn off 3/4 of your brain before clicking over. Yes, I know it’s a transcript, but even the voiceovers are just plain dumb.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on July 12, 2005 at 9:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    Life in Fayetteville:

    Lawmakers should say no to a state lottery

    I urge all Christians to pray for the lost souls. Pray that they may experience the joy and peace that comes with being a child of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Pray that our lawmakers will see the light and vote no to a state lottery. Gambling affects families in a negative way.

    Robert B. Arnold, Fayetteville


    Filed on at 5:29 am under by dcobranchi

    In the Charlotte Observer column on “Support Groups”

    ENRICHED HOME-SCHOOLERS: Support group serving home-schooling families of all ages, methods, faiths and races in the Cabarrus County and University areas. For details about meeting times and locations, call (704) 788-2538.

    Here’s the backstory.


    Filed on at 5:29 am under by dcobranchi

    School district budgets are so tight (How tight are they?)… They’re so tight that some districts are considering selling naming rights to the schools. I think this is a terrific idea, and I have a suggestion for the ideal candidate corporation.


    Filed on at 5:29 am under by dcobranchi

    Natalie is all over a really dumb Op/Ed-type piece on the NEA website. She beats Dave Arnold up, down, and sideways. Start here and then follow up here.

    School janitor. And he call us amateurs. Can we just put the NEA out of its misery and declare home education the winner?


    Filed on at 5:29 am under by dcobranchi

    The Kansas City Star has a “how-to-get-started” sidebar posted. No complaints. And as an aside, the Star‘s editors seem to grok the internet. Check out their first two suggestions:

    ■ Find out your state’s legal requirements at homeschooling.about.com/od.

    ■ Submit a letter of intent to homeschool (may be also referred to as an affidavit) to your school district, available at the district office, as required by your state’s laws.

    Most other papers would have just written that with a local spin.


    Filed on July 11, 2005 at 6:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA has come out in favor Wisconsin’s $100 tax credit for private schoolers and HEKs. But then there’s this:

    Like the homeschool law in Wisconsin, the $100 tax credit, will require constant monitoring to make sure no conditions are added in the future. HSLDA carefully watches the current homeschool laws across the nation to make sure legislatures do not add regulatory burdens to homeschool families.

    Is the potential loss of freedom (and the required eternal vigilance) worth a measly $100?


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    CNN has a piece up about the effects of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (aka , PFOA and C8) and the DuPont Company. I know just a little about this subject. Yes, we’ve used C8 for decades as have many other companies (it was a 3M product until 2002). No, we never made it at Washington Works. No adverse human health effects have ever been identified. The levels in the water around WW were approximately 150 times lower than the level that the WV and OH EPAs have set as safe (There is no federal EPA guideline.)

    And, yes, I’ve used C8 many times in the lab.


    Filed on at 6:08 am under by dcobranchi

    From a future g-school teacher:

    Lesbian isn’t going to wait until state protects rights

    As a lesbian who has grown up having great pride in being a Delawarean, I have become very disappointed with the backward steps state government has taken in regard to protecting the basic rights of all of its constituents. It saddens me that once again the Legislature has allowed Sen. James T. Vaughn to hold House Bill 36 in committee until the end of session.

    To pass H.B. 36 would not mean that gays and lesbians could marry. There is already legislation that prevents us from gaining that right in the state Constitution. This bill would only mean that I could not get fired or evicted simply because I am a lesbian.

    Employers cannot fire African-Americans or Latinos simply because of their race. Why should they be allowed to fire someone simply because they are gay? Some might argue that race is inherent and sexual orientation is chosen. However, having lived openly as a lesbian for some years, I can assure you that I would never choose the discrimination and threats of violence that I have had to endure. Neither would the rest of the state’s gay population. So why should people be allowed to discriminate against us?

    I have been forced to decide to leave Delaware altogether after graduating from the University of Delaware, knowing that I could be fired from my job or evicted at any time because I am a lesbian. I cannot wait around any longer for social conservatives to grant me the basic rights I deserve. Instead, I am going to move to a state that respects diversity in all its forms, such as Massachusetts or New York, taking my education and tax dollars with me.

    I hope that Vaughn is happy. Another educated, promising young person will have to leave Delaware because he and his colleagues in the Senate Judiciary Committee could not look past their archaic values in order to legislate in favor of basic human rights.

    Think about that in 10 years, when Delaware ranks among the lowest in the nation yet again in education — and think about me, the educator that your school system could have had.

    Stacy Konkiel, Newark

    Ms. Konkiel is correct in her description of the bill. It would not create special rights for gays and lesbians, nor would it allow them to marry. Delaware has a fairly substantial gay community (centered around Rehoboth Beach). It really is unconscionable that Senate procedures allow a single senator to bottle up legislation for years that would easily pass if put to a vote.


    Filed on July 10, 2005 at 9:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    but it might not matter much.

    Broward County students who transferred out of low-performing schools last year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act didn’t gain a significant academic boost by changing classrooms and teachers, according to a report released by the school district on Thursday.

    The analysis of 842 transfer students shows they did no better on state tests than their peers who decided to remain at their old campuses.

    It’s the first study to evaluate President Bush’s signature education reform program, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

    Now two years might not be enough time to judge any progress, but these early results aren’t particularly promising.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 9:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    and regained.

    My WiFi router died a week ago, and I’ve had to fight the kids for internets access all week. A new router and I’m in heaven again.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 9:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    In other action Thursday, the school board voted unanimously against a resolution proposed by the Associated School Boards of South Dakota that supports a repeal of the state law that requires school boards to excuse a child from attending public school. The proposed resolution also would give the Department of Education authority to approve all applications for alternative instruction and make DOE responsible for revoking those applications.

    Janak, who serves on the ASBSD board of directors, said he is concerned that if the resolution advances, it could harm the efforts Rapid City has made to work with families who choose to home school or send their children to private schools.

    “Maybe in certain environments, it makes sense,” Janak said.

    “The board has spent enormous amounts of time working with private and home-school families to let them know that we welcome them and want to cooperate with them,” Rosario said.

    Any SD home educators out there?

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 9:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail has a terrific essay up by an HEK. It’s a beautiful “defense” of home education. My favorite part:

    I’m also often asked if I feel that I’m at a disadvantage socially because of my home-schooling, if that makes it difficult for me to talk to other teens who aren’t home-schooled.

    In all honesty, it does at times. It’s partly because in many cases I’m the “home-schooled girl” in a crowd of traditionally schooled kids. More often than not, this gives me instant “weird” status.

    Lydia Lowe writes extremely well. Click on over. You won’t regret it.

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.


    Filed on at 3:48 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one strikes a little close to home in a number of ways. The Wilmington News-Journal reports on a defamation/blogging story that involves the paper that got me started blogging. And then there’s this:

    But the lawyer for John Doe 1, also known by most people in Smyrna as the mayor, refused, saying his client’s First Amendment right to critical anonymous speech would be violated. However, Slights ruled that free speech comes with the condition that others aren’t defamed by it, and the Cahill’s have been.

    John Doe 1’s lawyer, David Finger, has appealed Slights’ ruling to the state Supreme Court. The Supremes must now rule whether Judge Slights’ order to release the identity of the blogger was correct. If, as expected, the high court rules Slights was correct, the defamation suit in Superior Court will proceed. It may even coincide with the lawsuit brought against Schaeffer by Gene Mullen, who lost the April election by two votes because of some mischievous absentee ballots distributed by the mayor.

    Those two statements better be factual, or the N-J might be facing a libel suit of its own. I’m not sure the mayor of very small town Smyrna would qualify as a public figure. (Tip credit: Traci)


    Filed on at 2:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Michael Lopez at Highered Intelligence is blogging his last. Three years of near-daily blogging was enough. Mike– you’ll be missed.


    Filed on July 9, 2005 at 8:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, liberty.

    This is really depressing. The federal government is giving away $10M in tax dollars to schools to help them develop drug testing programs for the kids.

    “This grant will help prevent drug use among students by providing school districts with the funds needed to establish a student drug testing program, and thereby improve the climate for teaching and learning,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. “Students engaged in sports or extracurricular activities are often pressured to take drugs. The student drug testing program will provide students with another reason to say no to drug use.”

    Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the case which allowed the schools to test virtually every kid for no reason whatsoever, has to be one of the worst decisions in the last decade.

    Cross-posted from HEM.


    Filed on at 8:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    The American School Board Journal has a pretty good piece on the growing use of blogs by educrats to communicate with teachers and with the community.

    One veteran education blogger is Tim Lauer, principal of Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Ore. Lauer, who has worked with blogs at his school for five years, publishes his internal staff bulletin on a password-protected section of the school website, instead of sending it around as an e-mail or on paper. Lewis Elementary’s website, www.lewiselementary.org, is arranged like several blogs in one in an organized and cleanly designed format. It sports an events calendar and a weekly public group blog from teachers about their classes’ activities.

    “The weblog tools give me the opportunity to share content with my community and at the same time keep an archive of that content,” Lauer says. “It’s just one of many ways that schools can work to be more connected with their communities.”

    It’s a decent introduction and worth a read.

    Cross-posted from HEM.


    Filed on at 8:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    My GoogleNews scrape for home education articles picked up ten press releases all posted by the same news organization. In the U.A.E.

    Cross-posted from HEM.


    Filed on at 7:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Score this one for ID. An influential Catholic cardinal has come out with a statement that Catholicism and an acceptance of Darwinian evolution are incompatible.

    “Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense – an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection – is not.”


    Filed on July 8, 2005 at 9:51 pm under by dcobranchi

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.

    The WV Supremes yesterday ruled that the g-schools don’t have to let HEKs participate in extra-curriculars. Predictably, some parents aren’t real happy. What I found more interesting, though, was a bit of premature gloating by a local educrat:

    Randolph County Schools Superintendent Sue Hinzman says that not many home-schooled students in Randolph County participate in athletics, but some do. Hinzman also says that it is possible that this decision could, in the long run, help Randolph Schools.

    The school system has been suffering from declining enrollement. This could help bring students back into the school system.

    Only a tiny fraction of HEKs were participating when it was an option. Now that the parents would have to send their kids back to prison the g-schools, I’d be willing to bet that the number of HEKs who enroll will be measured in the single digits.


    Filed on at 9:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    Re-posted from the HEM blog.

    (PRWEB) May 19, 2005 — The annual New England Homeschool and Family Learning Conference is coming to the Boxborough Woods Holiday Inn on July 15, 16 and features dozens of workshops and interactive sessions for parents, teens and children. Join hundreds of families for a weekend of learning, encouragement and support. Whether you have already started homeschooling, are just beginning, are simply looking or want to supplement your children’s traditional education with the methods that are succeeding for over one million American children, this conference will provide what you need.

    One of the most respected, this conference offers one hundred workshops taught by nationally recognized experts to help all families develop a lifestyle of learning. Workshop tracks include: Getting Started; Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Gifted Children; Dealing with Learning Disabilities; Child Development; Avoiding Burnout; Understanding Learning Styles; Succeeding with High Schoolers; Teaching Math, Science, Reading, Literature, Social Sciences; College Preparation; Houesehold Management and Organization and much more. Methods of homeschooling and alternative education are presented: eclectic homeschooling, unschooling, natural learning, Waldorf, Montessori, the classical approach, umbrella schools, virtual homeschooling, distance learning, online education and much more; an educational smorgasbord under one roof. The full exhibit hall features over 80 exhibitors and thousands of the finest resources.

    Especially for kids and teens, this year, the FRC Museum & Community Education Expo joins the fun as a major exhibitor occupying over 1500 sq. ft of exhibitor space in the 4 workshop classrooms. This space will be completely devoted to hands-on programs and learning opportunities presented by the best New England area Museum & Community educators. Featuring:
    – 40 Museum & Community Educators
    – 5 LIVE Animal Presentations
    – Over 50 Educational Workshops for children, teens and families
    – An Evening Planetarium Show and
    – A Family LUAU Party Friday Night!

    Special speakers and keynotes include international award-winning storyteller, educator and performer, Jim Weiss, National Home Education Legal Defense attorney, Deborah Stevenson, early childhood expert, Dr. Susan Snyder, special education author and expert, Suzanne H. Stevens, educator and reformer, Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld and dozens more.

    One thing is well documented: home education offers hope and optimism for choices in education and brighter futures for our children. Although states offer few formal choices when it comes to traditional schooling, parents today DO HAVE the opportunity to make changes and there is help readily available. One of the conference speakers Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld, well known educator, author, commentator and champion of school reform writes, “Fortunately, there are a growing number of parents who have seen the light and have turned to home-schooling… we ought not to expect politicians to solve our education problems. They will have to be solved by parents willing to make the necessary sacrifices to send their children to decent private schools or educate them at home, for the only true reform of education will take place when the government gets out of the education business.”

    Families, parents, educators, and those interested in the future of education are invited to Boxborough, MA on July 15 and 16 for the 15th annual New England Homeschool & Family Learning Conference. This event offers newcomers, veterans or the interested everything they need to know about the opportunities offered by homeschooling and school choice.


    Filed on at 6:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    Natalie has a post on a New Republic interview with a bunch of conservative thinkers. The topic? ID, of course. I have to say, I wasn’t particularly impressed with most of the comments. They really didn’t seem to have a handle on the concept at all. But that’s never really stopped these types from pontificating before.

    Meanwhile, Jeanne tipped me to an NPR piece on the same topic. They interviewed Behe and Miller. Pretty balanced piece and Beehe comes off as a likable enough guy.

    NPR wins this round, hands down.


    Filed on at 7:17 am under by dcobranchi

    Today’s photo makes a great desktop. Click on the picture for a higher res version.


    Filed on July 7, 2005 at 9:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s reason 1,435,987 to home educate– another pervert in the schools.

    A Staten Island coach and community figure has been arrested on charges of spanking teenage boys if they missed their basketball shots, officials said.

    Drew Sanders, 49, of 50 Turf Rd. in the Heartland Village section, was charged with second-degree attempted assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, 23 counts of forcible touching, 23 counts of third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

    It is estimated that 10 percent of kids are abused by a school employee before they graduate. Hard to believe, I know, since “Schools are the safest place for students to be.” (Tip credit: Skip)


    Filed on at 9:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    Becky, up Darby’s way, (Do y’all know each other?) is a home educating mom and farmer. She’s also a brand new blogger who’s off to a good start.


    Filed on at 9:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Education Intelligence Agency has been live blogging the annual NEA convention. Some of the antics of "those professional teachers"TM make the event sound almost enjoyable. Almost.


    Filed on at 9:30 pm under by dcobranchi

    Roseville City (CA) is considering a daytime curfew that would fine kids for staging a prison break cutting school. A telling quote:

    Neves said school and law enforcement officials alike support the proposed ordinance as a way to keep student safe and in school.

    But of course. That’s a distinction without a difference.


    Filed on at 9:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    The tax credit ($100 per HEK) is now sitting on the governor’s desk. Wisconsin home educators shouldn’t spend the money, yet; a veto is expected.


    Filed on at 9:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    The press release is too long to post the whole thing, so here’s the important part:

    African-American Unschooling, a national network of black homeschooling families, begins a nationwide survey of African-American homeschoolers. The first of its kind, the survey is available online at http://www.afamunschool.com/survey.html and may be completed by parents, grandparents or guardians of African-American children who are currently homeschooled, may be homeschooled in the future or are homeschool graduates. Of particular interest will be the challenges faced by parents new to homeschooling and the experiences of parents of homeschool graduates.

    Created by S. Courtney Walton, author of the syndicated column, "Real Living, Real Learning" and editor of FUNgasa: Free Oneself! The Magazine for African-American Home Educators, the results of the homeschool survey will form the basis for a series of homeschooling guidebooks for African-American families.

    As an aside, what’s with all the "Send in some information so I can turn it into a book" lately? I can think of three that I’ve seen in just the past week.


    Filed on at 4:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    We have a logo! The Homeschool Blogads Network is up and running. I think I’ve added everyone who has expressed an interest. If not, please let me know. For the folks whose blogs are already listed here, the logo URL is http://www.cobranchi.com/archives/Homeschool%20Blogads%20logo.jpg and the correct link for ordering is http://www.blogads.com/advertise/homeschool_blog_network/order


    Filed on at 2:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Izzy interviewed me for the Free Market News. It’s in the July 7, 2005 section of “Editorials & Market Analysis.” Better read it fast as there are no permalinks. And please be kind; I answered her questions at 3 a.m. on one of my many sleepless nights.

    UPDATE: Izzy supplied the appropriate link.


    Filed on at 9:47 am under by dcobranchi

    Ruling in a g-school sports access case brought by a home-educated wrestler, the top court in West Virginia has ordered all HEKs off the mat:

    The state Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday the right of West Virginia education officials to bar home-schooled children from public school sports.

    The 3-2 decision upholds the constitutionality of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission rule that limits interscholastic athletics to students enrolled full time. Among other findings, the opinion said allowing home-schooled students to take part in sports would undermine the academic requirements for school sports.

    “Specifically, a parent could withdraw an academically struggling child from the public school system in order to maintain his or her athletic eligibility, thereby thwarting the efforts of the public school system to promote academics over athletics,” Justice Robin Davis wrote for the majority.

    Silly reasoning, right decision.

    UPDATE by Daryl: Here’s the text of the decision.


    Filed on at 9:32 am under by dcobranchi

    From the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (sorry, no link — the WSJ don’t play nice):

    UPDATE By Daryl: The link.

    While enrollment at private day schools is booming, boarding schools are seeing little or no growth. Boarding-school enrollment stands at 39,000 for the 2004-2005 school year, and has barely budged in five years, says the National Association of Independent Schools. That’s down from about 42,000 in the late 1960s, estimate some boarding-school veterans. […] Enrollment grew 2.7% over the past 10 years, versus 15% for private day schools.

    And one of the culprits?

    [M]any traditional boarding schools say their prospects are worsening. “It’s very critical because other alternatives that are close to home are emerging,” says Patrick Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents private and boarding schools. Home schooling and faith-based schools are among the options attracting families, he says. Boarding schools “have to make a better case for themselves.”

    To be fair, we’re not mentioned again, and this seems to be the real reason:

    [A] growing number of administrators, consultants and parents believe the biggest force at work is a shift in parent philosophy over the past generation. With more mothers working outside the home and with older couples having fewer kids, parents want to be more involved with their children than their forebears did, they say.

    Hmmm, wanting more time with the kids … maybe it is our fault after all!


    Filed on at 9:22 am under by dcobranchi

    If you’re still using Firefox 1.01 or earlier, you might want to update it. Now. Version 1.04 is available here.


    Filed on at 2:41 am under by dcobranchi

    This is the real thing. (via cemeterygates)

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