Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » February

    Filed on February 28, 2006 at 9:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    American 18-24 year-olds are just not very bright.

    Americans ages 18 to 24 came in next to last among nine countries in the National Geographic-Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey, which quizzed more than 3,000 young adults in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States. Top scorers were young adults in Sweden, Germany, and Italy.

    Out of 56 questions that were asked across all countries surveyed, on average young Americans answered 23 questions correctly. Others outside the U.S., most notably young adults in Mexico, also struggled with basic geography facts. Young people in Canada and Great Britain fared almost as poorly as those in the U.S.

    Among young Americans’ startling knowledge gaps, the study found that

    • nearly 30 percent of those surveyed could not find the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water;
    • more than half—56 percent—were unable to locate India, home to 17 percent of people on Earth; and
    • only 19 percent could name four countries that officially acknowledge having nuclear weapons.
    Several perhaps interrelated factors affected performance—educational experience (including taking a geography course), international travel and language skills, a varied diet of news sources, and Internet use. Americans who reported that they accessed the Internet within the last 30 days scored 65 percent higher than those who did not.

    You can take an abbreviated version of the quiz here.  It’s pretty simple.  The only one I had trouble with was finding Israel.  Of course I know where it is; it’s just very tiny on the 12″ laptop screen.  (Tip credit: Unique)


    Filed on at 8:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice piece about a homeschool team in North Jersey.  The girls went 17-3 going up against independent private schools up that way.


    Filed on at 8:24 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m not quite sure what this is all about, but it’s kind of an interesting read.


    Filed on at 7:42 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s Carnivale time.


    Filed on at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s definitely not a homeschooling story, but that won’t stop the bureaucrats from trying to cover-up their own malfeasance.

    Seven months before Lynn Marie Paddock adopted the 4-year-old boy she’s charged with killing, Johnston County social workers went to her remote farmhouse to investigate allegations of child abuse, officials said Monday.

    And weeks before she adopted Sean Ford from a Wake County foster home, his uncle told Wake Child Protective Services that the boy returned from a visit to Paddock’s farmhouse with welts on his backside and legs, the uncle, Robert Ford Jr., said.

    The adoption of Sean and his older brother and sister went through anyway.

    Folks need to be prepared when the inevitable happens.


    Filed on February 27, 2006 at 5:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    It seems like the Nitwit Times has at least one ally in the IN House.  From HSWatch:

    An amendment to this bill would force HEKs to take the state accountability tests, the ISTEP.

    Sec. 16.5. (a) A student who attends a nonaccredited nonpublic school that provides home based instruction shall participate in the ISTEP program testing under this chapter at the same time that students enrolled in the school corporation in which the nonaccredited nonpublic school is located are tested.
    (b) The results of the ISTEP program testing under subsection (a) shall be made available to the department.”.

    Indiana home educators, start your engines!


    Filed on at 5:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    The four horsemen of the apocalypse. Melissa Wiley pointed me to this utterly insipid anti-homeschooling editorial out of Virginia. A few choice quotes should adequately set the tone:

    Why would a state with one of the strictest standards of accountability for public education — the Standards of Learning — want to give home-schooled students a pass? Why would a state groaning under the onerous demands of President Bush’s inflexible and unattainable No Child Left Behind Act allow such a dichotomy to exist at the home-school level while the legislature is attempting to strike a bargain with the federal government to get free of NCLB?

    Home-schooling should be held to as high a standard as public education. While there are parents with only a high school diploma who possess enough intelligence and education obtained by non-traditional means to give their children a quality education, we cannot apply that standard to every parent who wishes to home-school their children. It’s not fair — either to the children who are being schooled at home or to the children who must deal with the Alice in Wonderland bureaucracy that our state and federal government have turned public education into

    I especially liked the digs at NCLB (as if that were germane).


    Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

    NC home educators ought to keep an eye on this one. A 4-year-old Raleigh-area boy died in his sleep the other night. His mother may have been arrested for felony child abuse (the article says she has, but there is no word of it in the video.)

    Lynn Paddock, Bizzell said Sunday night, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse. Her arrest, however, was not in connection with the 4-year-old’s death.

    Bizzell said the boy was one of seven children who lived in the house on Grabtown Road. All but one of the children was adopted, he said. All of the children are home-schooled and spend time each day working on the farm and doing chores.


    Filed on at 5:44 am under by dcobranchi

    Several home education leaders respond to the editorial from a couple of weeks ago.


    Filed on at 5:38 am under by dcobranchi

    Last chance to get your submission in.


    Filed on at 5:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Is Econ 101 a requirement in the g-schools? Perhaps it ought to be.

    Renters with children should pay school tax too

    The antiquated system of school taxes needs a major overhaul. This system was instituted when most families with schoolchildren owned property and renters were basically out-of-town visitors. In today’s world, a large share of families with children are renters and do not pay school tax. Property owners pay for the education of children not their own.

    Renters with children should pay a per-child school tax, collected with rent. This system would force women and teenagers to think about birth control, instead of being a burden on society.

    Brett Gofgosky, Georgetown


    Filed on February 26, 2006 at 9:37 am under by dcobranchi

    An Earth-shattering paper. 🙂


    Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

    I am sometimes amazed that creationists allow themselves to be quoted in the paper:

    Evangelist Ken Ham smiled at the 2,300 elementary students packed into pews, their attention rapt. With puppets and cartoons, he was showing them how to reject geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology as a sinister tangle of lies.

    If a teacher mentions evolution, or the Big Bang, or an era when dinosaurs ruled Earth, Ham said, “You put your hand up and you say, ‘Excuse me, were you there? Can you remember that?’ ”

    The children roared their assent.

    “Sometimes people will answer, ‘No, but you weren’t there either,’ ” Ham told them. “Then you say, ‘No, I wasn’t, but I know someone who was, and I have his book about the history of the world’ ”

    He waved his Bible in the air.

    “Who’s the only one who’s always been there?” Ham asked.

    “God!” the boys and girls shouted.

    “Who’s the only one who knows everything?”


    “So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?”

    The children answered with a thundering: “God!”

    Well, there’s another 2000+ kids who won’t grow up to cure cancer.


    Filed on at 7:08 am under by dcobranchi

    Another HEK is heading to the National Spelling Bee in DC. This is a three-peat for the family.

    UPDATE: And another one. Interestingly, both girls had to spell “lieutenant.”

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on February 25, 2006 at 6:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Money tips for kids. My kids all seem to have inherited my cheap genes. Anthony paid for the gaming computer he and I built a month ago. All with babysitting and birthday money. And Chelsea has a gift card from Target that’s at least 3 years old. She just won’t spend the money. I’m so *sniff* proud.

    (Yeah, I know the money’s really already been spent. To her, though, that red gift card is green.)


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m judging a couple of events in a regional competition for the Science Olympiad. I’ve got “Wheeled Vehicle” and “Scrambler.” Perhaps not quite as much fun as my previous gig, but a whole lot warmer.


    Filed on at 6:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Well, it’s really like the “sentence of the day.” Check out the last ‘graf:

    Baccalaureate program is excellent education value

    The International Baccalaureate program at Mount Pleasant High School is another example of the way in which public high schools are an excellent choice for students.

    My daughter is a junior in this program and finds it challenging. She enjoys the acitivities along with the diverse population of the school. Having attended a small Catholic elementary school, she was ready for a bigger world. This program emphasizes critical thinking, writing and problem solving for a global work force and college preparation.

    When we moved to the area 10 years ago. we too heard negative stories about the local public schools. We are glad we chose this public high school, which offers one of the most academically challenging programs.

    I can work just part time and be home when the children leave school. We have more time and money for family activities by taking advantage of public school. If one is not afraid to trust their children in diverse and challenging situations, a great education value is available in Delaware.

    Gale Pineault, Wilmington

    Diverse and challenging? Euphemism for life threatening? A ringing endorsement for the g-schools.


    Filed on February 24, 2006 at 4:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Classy teacher at work

    Check out the photo of this g-school teacher in class. She was protesting the new dress code (for teachers) in her school district. I guess the schools really are prisons.


    Filed on at 8:22 am under by dcobranchi

    Folks have the right to teach their kids whatever they like. That doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t make fun of them.

    Inside the flagship lab of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a dozen home-schooled children and their parents walk past the offices of scientists grappling with topics from global warming and microphysics to solar storms and the electrical fields of lightning.

    They are trailing Rusty Carter, a guide with Biblically Correct Tours.

    At a large, colorful panel along a wall, Carter reads aloud from a passage describing the disappearance of dinosaurs from the Earth about 65 million years ago. He and some of the older students exchange knowing smiles at the timeline, which contradicts their interpretation of the Bible suggesting a 6,000-year-old planet.

    “Did man and dinosaurs live together?” Carter asks.

    A timid yes comes from the students.

    “How do we know that to be true?” Carter says.

    There’s a long pause.

    “What day did God create dinosaurs on?” he continues.

    “Six,” says a chorus of voices.

    “What day did God create man on?”


    “Did man and dinosaurs live together?”

    “Yes,” the students say.

    Only in Hanna-Barbera cartoons.


    Filed on at 6:20 am under by dcobranchi

    Is HSLDA opposing a bill creating cyber schools in MO?

    If you are a proponent of education and you follow legislative activity about education, you already may be aware of House Bill 1275 introduced by Representative Brian Baker. HB 1275 requires the State Board of Education to establish a virtual school by July 1, 2007. Any student in kindergarten through grade 12 could enroll in this virtual classroom, regardless of where the student lives in Missouri. The participating student would be officially enrolled in the district of their residency… Although there was no opposition in Committee, concerns have been expressed by the Home School Legal Defense Foundation (HSLDF). Their cautions are over funding and the potential for encroachment upon home schoolers.

    If the “potential for encroachment upon home schoolers” really is their reason, that’s incredibly weak. I really hope that Rep. Emery misinterpreted.

    Now where’s that ombudsman when you need him?


    Filed on at 6:04 am under by dcobranchi

    You should read 1/16th‘s take on a lesson in mummification. It had me laughing out loud.


    Filed on at 6:00 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure that I’m ready to routinely use NYCityMomx3‘s new definition of homeschooling, but I like it.


    Filed on February 23, 2006 at 7:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Venomous Kate from Wizbang.


    Filed on at 5:49 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Fayetteville Crusaders girls’ team won the state homeschool b-ball tournie. I think this is one of the groups that Lydia and I are officially members of (obviously not very active members).


    Filed on at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Kentucky TV station WBKO is doing a multi-part piece on home education. Part 1 introduces a home educating family. The four girls do the typical stuff: music, dance, etc. The reporter plays it straight with no snark. Part 2 contains an interview with a graduate and a fair bit about testing. Part 3 (scheduled to air tomorrow) is all about the “S” word. I’ll update this post when it’s available.


    Filed on at 4:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    to North Dakota. Kimberly Swygert has the details on a contest which should almost guarantee a win. High School sophomores and juniors are eligible. Better hurry, though– the entry deadline is Feb. 28th.

    Homeschoolers! Come on and sharpen those pencils.


    Filed on at 4:16 am under by dcobranchi

    This Wilmington News-Journal editorial is an early front-runner for “2006 Biggest Waste of Electrons.” It has nothing to do with education. Indeed, it has nothing to do with anything. Worth a quick read for the sheer inanity.


    Filed on February 22, 2006 at 7:14 pm under by dcobranchi

    out of GA:

    Primary caregivers of children under the age of 4 would be exempt from jury duty under a bill which passed the House. The bill would also excuse those home schooling their children from jury service.


    Filed on at 7:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty good rant about anti-scientism (yes, it’s a real word). A minor correction– Marie Curie won two Nobels. One in 1903 for physics and another in 1911 for chemistry. Pauling won one for chemistry (1954). In 1963 he was awarded the Peace Prize which isn’t really a Nobel.


    Filed on at 6:58 pm under by dcobranchi

    LttE of the NitWit Times:

    What you call lax laws on home-schooling, I call freedom. Do you actually believe the laws would stop at testing? Seat belt laws have gotten so restrictive that now it is difficult to car pool or even own a vehicle big enough for all the car seats if you dare go against popular opinion and have more than two children.

    Your recommendation for testing is based on “all too often,” not a statistic. What does a vague “too often” mean?

    Twenty-two percent of Indiana public high school graduates graduate from college. This is not exactly a promising statistic to attract people to our state or retain those we already have. Public schools should concentrate on students whose parents have entrusted their children to them and not on coercing home-schoolers into the system. Please leave our freedoms alone.

    Real information on home-schooling can be obtained by attending the Indiana Association of Home Educators in Indianapolis in March.

    Also, thank you for letting me know who not to vote for in the next election. By the way, home-schooled graduates have a very high percentage of voter turnout.

    Laurie Guess, Kouts

    I’m pretty sure she’s responding to the editorial I blogged a while back.


    Filed on at 6:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Before reading this piece, I didn’t know who J. J. Redick is. Evidently, he’s a pretty good basketball player at Duke. He’s also a former HEK.


    Filed on at 6:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    Bad article.

    What was Joel Turtel smoking when he wrote this pro-homeschooling piece? A few choice bits:

    If public school employees had to work for private schools and compete for their jobs in the real world, they would lose their security-blanket tenure. That’s why school authorities view homeschooling parents who challenge their monopoly as a serious threat.

    That second sentence is a complete non-sequitur. What do private schools and tenure have to do with home education?

    By 2004, however, pressure from parents, Christian homeschooling organizations, and recent court rulings pushed all fifty states to enact statutes that allow homeschooling, as long as certain requirements are met.

    2004? I’m pretty sure the Homeschool Wars were settled long before that.

    [M]any states and school authorities still harass homeschooling parents. That is because the Supreme Court slapped parents in the face when they gave local governments the right to regulate homeschooling.

    Cite, please? AFAIK, education is still (theoretically) one of the rights covered in the 9th and 10th Amendments. That means it’s local. Whether it’s a fundamental right reserved to the parents (my position) or it’s “reserved to the States,” it certainly shouldn’t be under federal regulation. What is Turtel trying to say here?

    If you are a homeschooling parent, you must know how to protect your legal rights. To do this, you should seriously consider joining the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

    A paid ad for HSLDA? It certainly gives new meaning to the title of this post.


    Filed on at 5:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is pretty cool:

    Working late in the developmental biology lab one night, Matthew Harris of the University of Wisconsin noticed that the beak of a mutant chicken embryo he was examining had fallen off. Upon closer examination of the snubbed beak, he found tiny bumps and protuberances along its edge that looked like teeth–alligator teeth to be specific. The accidental discovery revealed that chickens retain the ability to grow teeth, even though birds lost this feature long ago… The mutant chickens Harris studied bear a recessive trait dubbed talpid2. This trait is lethal, meaning that such mutants are never born, but some incubate in eggs as long as 18 days. During that time, the same two tissues from which teeth develop in mammals come together in the jaw of the mutant embryo–and this leads to nascent teeth, a structure birds have lacked for at least 70 million years. “They don’t make a molar,” explains development biologist John Fallon, who oversaw Harris’s work. “What they make is this conical, saber-shaped structure that is clearly a tooth. The other animal that has a tooth like that is an alligator.”

    Yes, evolution and common descent really are a wonderful theory. (via The Panda’s Thumb)


    Filed on at 4:26 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Chronicle of Higher Education is coming out next month with a special issue on “the interplay between primary, secondary, and higher education.”

    School & College will examine how well (or not so well) America is preparing its young people to make the most of a college education. School & College will look into the ways in which society is dealing with the issues that will determine the future of education — day to day, year to year, kindergarten through college.

    The issue will include articles that explore how much or how little cooperation there is between schools and colleges; why colleges think schools are failing — and vice versa; whether schools and colleges are meeting the needs of businesses and society; what state governments are doing to coordinate reform efforts to improve the preparation of college students; and whether education schools part of the answer or part of the problem.

    School & College will bring together people who often talk past each other: leaders of school districts; high-school principals and teachers; college presidents, provosts, and professors; key people in education schools; government officials; and leaders of community organizations, foundations, and think tanks.

    It’s free.


    Filed on February 21, 2006 at 5:32 am under by dcobranchi

    Another stunning photo from the folks at NASA who run the Astronomy Picture of the Day. The hi-res version (just click on the picture) makes a great desktop background.


    Filed on at 5:24 am under by dcobranchi

    WISH-TV in Indiana aired a piece on homeschooling Monday. From the transcript it’s hard to determine if the tone was neutral or negative. I want to focus, though, on a post-script that didn’t air.

    Big Response

    Since Monday afternoon, WISH-TV has been blitzed by phone calls and emails about this report.

    Why does the topic hit a nerve? Why does it spark so much passion and controversy?

    Before our report aired Monday at 6:00 pm, we received a fax from the Home School Legal Defense Association in Washington, DC attorney Scott Woodruff. He had read our preview of the story on WISHTV.COM and wrote, “I would like to offer to review your homeschool story for legal accuracy before you air it.”

    Woodruff sent an email to countless Indiana subscribers requesting they barrage us with phone calls and emails – and barraged we were.

    Hundreds read or wrote from a script. It listed a half-dozen talking points. It repeatedly called our information quote “inaccurate.” This was before our story aired.

    Not all of the emails were critical. After the broadcast home schooler Tony Grahn wrote, “It’s so refreshing to hear a broadcaster not put home schooling in a negative light.”

    Home schoolers don’t want much regulation but they don’t want critics to think they are free to do nothing. They were sensitive to the interview with the Indiana Deparment of Education where Mary Tiede Wilhelmus told us that home schooling parents don’t have to turn anything in to the state.

    In fact, as the home schoolers’ emails point out, there is a state statute that says a home school is considered a non-accredited private school. It requires children be in school from the ages of 7 to 17, and 180 days of instruction be provided a year. It does not require mandatory subjects be taught or standardized tests given and teachers do not have to meet any qualifications. It does not require any reporting to the state unless a school official raises questions.

    Home school advocates say there are many studies showing home education successes. Indiana University Professor of Education Dr. Robert Kunzman says most studies have been conducted by home school advocates.

    “The studies that have been done on home schooler academic achievement have not been comprehensive. They often times been self selected participation,” he said.

    But Dr. Kunzman and the Indiana University admissions director say home schooled students who apply to IU are usually very qualified.

    Yes, those HSLDA E-lerts are oh so effective… at making us look like a bunch of idiots.


    Filed on at 5:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Some good news for a change.

    Legislation to more easily allow parents with high school diplomas to home school their children won approval of the Virginia Senate on Monday and is headed to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s desk.

    The Senate voted 27-13 for the measure sponsored by Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle County. The House of Delegates also voted 61-37 Monday to pass Sen. Phillip P. Puckett’s bill to set the same educational threshold for home-schooling parents.

    Anyone know if Kaine is likely to sign it?


    Filed on at 5:00 am under by dcobranchi

    This doesn’t sound like a good idea at all:

    Home-school diploma variation wins backing

    Senators gave preliminary approval Monday to legislation that would allow home-schooled children to receive a new kind of high school diploma simply for passing two tests: the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test and the ACT college entrance exam.

    If this passes, how long do you think it’ll take before the UoU requires this diploma for homeschool grads?

    UPDATE: Here’s the text. The key bit starts at line 59. Interestingly, the kids will need to score in the 85th percentile on every section of the ACT in order to get this diploma. I guess the UofU would be hard-pressed to force all HEKs to pass at that level. Are UT homeschoolers supporting this? Perhaps someone who knows the lay of the land (and the legislature) will wander by.


    Filed on at 12:04 am under by dcobranchi

    Welcome to the 8th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling. Glad you could drop by. This week’s version might be a little different from previous carnivals. No purple prose or pretty poetry here at HE&OS. You see, I’m a product of SC public schools (Unofficial State Motto: Thank God for Mississippi). Hence, stringing more than two sentences together is quite taxing (as you’ll no doubt notice if you peek into the archives). Fortunately, the contributors are much more adept with the written word. So, kick back and grab a cuppa (or a beer) and enjoy. The theme, such as it is, is the 5 Ws and 1 H.


    Steve Walden at Dad’s Corner thinks that home educators ought to pay attention to the teachers’ union protest over Jon Stossel’s recent report on the state of the schools.

    It seems that the “elites” have discovered home education. Business Week has all of the details. JJ Ross had an erudite post on it. I just had snark.

    Spunky notes that just because you’re schooling at home doesn’t mean you’re a homeschooler. And in a Tinkers to Evers to Tinkers moment, Spunky links back to an essay that Tim Haas published here at HE&OS.

    And, finally, Dr. Isabel Lyman (Ph.D. and soon-to-be J.D.) pulled a fast one on me and submitted an interview with the vampire blogger.


    Unschooling was the recent subject of a report on CNN. The Thinking Mother, er, thinks the piece was not exactly favorable to our side. BTW, my un-unschooled teenage son sometimes sleeps to 11.

    Laurie Bluedorn at Trivium Pursuit has a hands-on review of the Hands and Hearts Early American History Discovery Kit. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    Crossblogging writes on the increasing number of homeschoolers who are making the jump to college athletics. NCAA 1, state high school athletics governing bodies -1,000,000.

    And Heather at Sprittibee has a valentine to parents. Or, perhaps it’d be better described as a valentine from parents to their kids.


    When life throws lemons at you, Patricia Hunter at the Pollywog Creek Porch blog says take a trip to Lake Okeechobee.

    And the Lioness has one of those moments when we learn more than the kids.


    Twice Bloomed Wisteria has a nice post on how to make the most of your library day. (Yes, I know this probably would fit better under “How,” but I really needed a “Where”).

    Where in the US is Tenn? Tenniel (not Tennessee) has a neat idea for teaching US geography to young one.


    Editor’s Choice: Chris O’Donnell rolled the dice and let me pick one from his archives. I thought about being evil, but in the end I decided to play it straight. Here’s a good reason why we do what we do– We don’t want our kids to turn out like this.


    Jo VanEvery at Tricotomania writes on how to think about teaching subjects that might not be our strongest points.

    Over at Out of Lascaux, we learn how to piss off a g-school teacher in one easy blog post. Aside to the teacher in question– it’s wicked Uncle Ernie.

    This next one was one of the easiest to categorize: “How do I avoid homeschool mom burn-out?” Tami has some good advice. Homeschool support systems (i.e., the dads) ought to pay particular attention to point #2.

    How many? The Headmistress, Zookeeper has a long post with lots of suggestions on how to teach number concepts to young children.

    Beverly Hernandez has a quick post on how to build a homemade geography geology kit. (Good catch. I typed in Beverly’s post just after Tenn’s, so I had geography on the brain.)

    And over at Principled Discovery, Dana Hanley has an internal debate on how to motivate our kids.

    Three of the Above?

    In one of those cosmic coincidences, Henry Cate submitted this long after the 5Hs and 1W theme was chosen. His introduction could have gone into What, Why, or How.

    I hope you enjoyed your trip through homeschooling’s version of Journalism 101. Next week’s CoH will be hosted by Henry Cate at Why Homeschool. Submission details are available here.

    Try the veal.

    Trackbacks: Eduwonk, Homeschoolbuzz, Tami Fox, PalmTreePundit. Dad’s Corner, Chris O’Donnell, Ripples, Tricotomania, Doc, Dr. Helen, Henry Cate, Scott Somerville, Dr. Lyman, Melissa Wiley, Kimberly Swygert, Education Wonks, Out of Lascaux, Pollywog Creek Porch, The Thinking Mother, The Modulator, Matt Johnston, The Thomas Institute


    Many people don’t know the differences between homeschooling and public education. There are many benefits in homeschooling that people don’t take in consideration which is why homeschooling is underrated. There are homeschooling resources online that should be taking advantage of.


    Filed on February 19, 2006 at 9:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Wilmington (DE) News-Journal has a longish piece on .public vs private school debate. Delaware has the highest percentage in the country of students not in the g-schools. Of course, the public school teachers aren’t happy about it:

    Whenever a family leaves a school, it takes something with it: the parents’ involvement and influence, and the children’s contribution to the classroom.

    Because private schools typically attract families with the ability to pay and the desire to push their children academically, they have a larger base of involved parents to draw from.

    The phenomenon is called cream-skimming, and when as many students choose private schools as in Delaware, that can have a significant impact.

    “I think it’s very detrimental,” said Barbara Grogg, president of the Delaware State Education Association. “If we really believe in diverse populations learning together, we want that to include all children.”

    You can’t always get waht you want.

    Homeschooling is completely ignored in this piece. I’m not sure where we’d fit in the skimming universe. Economically, we’re probably a bit lower than the average private school parent. But you’re not likely to find folks who are more involved in their kids’ educations than we.


    Filed on February 18, 2006 at 7:49 am under by dcobranchi

    This is a reminder that HE&OS will be hosting next week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. Please send your submissions (by 6 p.m. Monday the 20th) to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com.


    Filed on at 7:38 am under by dcobranchi

    And this was the hed for the very next article in my GoogleNews scrape:

    Help is out there for home school parents

    It’s about a support group in HI.


    Filed on at 7:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Ugly Lede of the Day:

    BAKERSFIELD – Parents who want to home school their kids can get help from the state, through a virtual academy.

    The school is called California Virtual Academy or CAVA for short.

    California, of course.

    A 3-PEAT

    Filed on at 7:30 am under by dcobranchi

    HEK Melanie Due won her county spelling bee for the 3rd year running.

    For Melanie Due, three really is a lucky number.

    She won the Grand Forks County spelling bee for the third year in a row Friday, which means she’ll be making her third trip to compete in the North Dakota Spelling Bee.

    Due, who was the 2005 state champion, is the third sister in her family to win the Grand Forks County Spelling Bee, to be a state champion speller and to advance to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

    She has followed in the steps of her sisters, Karen Due, the 2000 state winner, and Hannah Due, the 2003 state winner.

    Those damn homeschoolers and their unfair advantage. Nice job.


    Filed on February 17, 2006 at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Life among the Fayettevillians is always interesting. A LttE:

    Show support for the ‘fair tax’

    Several months ago, I wrote Sen. Elizabeth Dole asking her where she stood on HR 25, the Fair Tax bill. She replied that she didn’t support it for several reasons, one of which was that it would do away with the tax deduction for the interest paid on a home mortgage.

    This didn’t make sense to me, so I wrote back and asked, “If I am not paying any federal tax, keeping all the money I make, why would I need a tax deduction?”

    Later I received a form letter basically stating the same position as before. She didn’t support the Fair Tax because it would do away with the tax deduction on interest paid on a home mortgage.

    Well, duh…

    Fellow readers, I ask you to:

    Determine how much you and your spouse paid last month in federal tax plus payroll tax. Call this number “X.”

    Determine how much your monthly interest is on your home loan. Call this number “Y.”

    If you had rather keep all of X instead of giving it to Dole and the other politicians and them giving you back Y, write Dole and see if you can explain to her why a tax deduction for the interest on your home mortgage is a moot point if you are not having to pay a tax in the first place.

    Dole’s address is: 555 Dirksen Senate, Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. And pass on to her my warmest regards.

    Tom Davis
    Retired Army colonel


    Don’t colonels in the Army need to do some basic reasoning?

    Y = MX + B

    Filed on at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    P.Z Myers (no this isn’t an ID post) has an interesting post up in which he blasts Richard Cohen for being anti-algebra. I’m not sure that Myers or Cohen are entirely correct. Myers seems to have no sympathy for a girl who failed algebra six times trying to satisfy a HS diploma requirement, and Cohen seems to see no value whatsoever in algebra. It’s an interesting debate. If you’re going to follow the links, I suggest starting with Cohen’s WaPo column and then Myers’ response. And make sure you read the comments on Pharyngula.


    Filed on February 16, 2006 at 9:45 pm under by dcobranchi

    This reporter really hasn’t done any research at all.

    Kellie Gunner homeschools Michael, her 6-year old son.

    That may not be unusual in Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) where officials estimate as many as 300 students are homeschooled.

    And according to the U.S. Census website, as many as 2 million children nationwide are taught at home––and it’s growing by about 20 percent each year.

    What’s extraordinary is that Gunner is a state-credentialed schoolteacher.

    First, the Census Bureau really didn’t report that there were 2 million HEKs (in 2001, no less). It reported that there were estimates that high.

    According to widely-repeated estimates, as many as two million American children are schooled at home, with the number growing at 15 to 20 percent per year (McDowell & Ray 2000, Lines 2000).

    And the 15 to 20 percent figure is absolutely dated info. As Tim noted earlier today, in some parts of the country homeschooling numbers are flat to slightly down over the last half-decade.

    And then there’s that “extraordinary” claim. There are quite a few g-school teachers who end up home educating. Just like the huge number who send their kids to private schools.

    NEW AD ——>

    Filed on at 8:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Conquer “maths.” My first international ad.


    Filed on at 8:01 am under by Tim Haas

    I suppose it depends whether anyone believes me that we’re clearly into phase two in some parts of the country:

    “We’re very eclectic,” said Laurie Wheeler, who home-schools Sara , 12, and Yousif, 9.

    The family often joins Bec Thomas and her three home-schooled children, Jonas, 10, Aaron, 6, and Connor, 4.

    “The sky is the limit,” said Thomas, noting that the women tailor lessons to their children’s interests.

    These Camano Island families are among the dwindling purists. The number of traditional home-schooling families in Snohomish and Island counties has dropped off in recent years as school-sponsored programs have grown increasingly popular.

    Home-schooled students registered with the state through Snohomish County school districts dropped 8 percent in the last five years, from 2,346 in fall 1998 to 2,166 in fall 2003, the latest year figures were available. Nearly 130 fewer families registered as educating their children at home.

    Meanwhile, enrollment in parent partnership programs grew by about the same amount in one year alone, up 200 students to 2,000 this school year, according to the school districts.


    In Washington, the number of traditional home-schooled students remained flat over five years, at more than 19,300 in both 1999 and 2003, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    The state does not track parent partnership enrollments; it will start doing so this summer.


    Filed on at 7:29 am under by dcobranchi

    OK, Scott–

    How ’bout the US Government slamming the Australian press for broadcasting new (old) photos of Abu Ghraib?

    American officials have said the pictures should not have been released, with Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman telling The Associated Press their airing “could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world.”

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a staunch ally of the U.S., was quick to defend Washington on Thursday, saying the Bush administration had already dealt with abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

    I’d say that the station was a whole lot more courageous than Jyllands-Posten . So, what say you? “Courageism” or not?

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