Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » March

    Filed on March 31, 2006 at 9:27 pm under by dcobranchi

    This anti-homeschooling rant is so over the top, that it has to be a spoof. A brilliant one, at that:

    #10 Vegetarians and homeschooling: Many homeschoolers don’t have TVs, don’t eat meat; that’s just freaking stupid. The New Testament shows how in touch with modern times the Apostle Paul was:1 Timothy 4:1-4 “In the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron: forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” In our society, not having a TV and homeschooling your kids is as good as making them Quakers and really really isolating them. LIVE IN THE WORLD, JUST DON’T BE WORLDLY. MAKE YOUR HOMES FORTRESSES AGAINST THE EVIL IN THE WORLD, just remember that fortresses are not ivory towers, which offer no defense against the foes you fear.

    Recipe for social disaster: Homeschooling, weird diet, poor understanding of popular culture.


    Filed on at 9:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    This short post has to be among the most heart-wrenching I’ve seen.


    Filed on at 5:07 pm under by dcobranchi

    Kevin Drum’s beat is usually politics. Today he diverted into beating on the creationists/IDists. Sadly funny.


    Filed on at 7:01 am under by dcobranchi

    The April 18th edition of Family Circle magazine has a quite positive article on home education. Laura Derrick and Rob Reich are quoted. Reich’s quotes are (surprisingly) not negative. I wonder how long the interview went on before the reporter found two she could use.

    The article does not appear to be available online. In the dead-tree version of the mag, it starts on page 59.


    Filed on at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    No commentary required:

    Give teachers a break by helping kids read

    In response to Roger A. Essi’s March 22 letter, “Get the education system on track with pay cuts”:

    Yes, we would like every child to be able to read, but if we don’t get the parental help and other help in our society, teachers can only do so much. It would be different if it was all the students, but we are only talking about some who are not reading at the level or where they should be according to the state.

    Just like adults, some students have faults, and reading may be their fault. Give the teachers a break and help your children with reading as much as you can at home and maybe the improvements will come through.

    As far as cutting money: Teachers don’t make that much in North Carolina. Turnover in the state is tremendous. We have teachers from all over because they aren’t paid enough at our schools to stay. When contracts are up, teachers look for a state that will pay them more. To cut teachers’ pay, well, you might as well say your children do not have teachers at all.

    Teachers do the best darn job that they can. If it weren’t for the teachers in our schools now, where would your children go? We have wonderful teachers in our surrounding counties: Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, Harnett and the others. Give them a break.

    Michelle Scott


    Filed on at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

    A 14-year-old HEK is getting a solo show at a gallery in Seattle. Apparently, the girl’s work is quite good:

    In her gallery show, there will be two prints (reproductions of the paintings), 14 midsized paintings (24 inches by 30 inches) for $450, and three large paintings (4 feet by 5 feet) for $1,200. All are acrylics on canvas, and all are landscapes. Crowley favors heavy colors, scraped down and painted over to silky effect. The colors seem to have flexed their muscles against each other before achieving an orchestrated resolution.


    Filed on at 6:01 am under by dcobranchi

    From the proprietor of homeschool.com (quoted in an article about the “business” of home education):

    “A general rule of thumb is that homeschooling costs more than public school, but less than private school,” Kochenderfer said.

    Yeah, more than “free” and less than 30 thou a year.

    UPDATE: This fact is not, in fact, true:

    In 2003, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that there were 2.1 million home-schooled students in the United States.

    The title of the report? “1.1 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2003”


    Filed on at 5:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Mary Nix at HEM found a reference to “home schools” in pending federal legislation. It seems pretty innocuous, excluding private, religious, and homeschools from whatever the new law is trying to do to for the g-schools.

    But a good catch, nonetheless. You never know when Michael Farris’ corrupt lapdog/congressperson, Marilyn Musgrave, will try to slip in some new obnoxious legislation affecting us all.

    Finally, if you love Musgrave as much as I do, here’s her likely opponent in 2006. You can contribute here.


    Filed on March 30, 2006 at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    The latest edition of Home Educator’s Family Times is us up.


    Filed on at 6:18 am under by dcobranchi

    What are the chances that I’d randomly come across an article that mentions the small-town church that I grew up in?

    This outward-looking, evangelical Catholicism is also alive and well, as these communities grow in such Bible Belt bastions as Chattanooga, Tenn.; Atlanta; Tyler, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; and Taylors, S.C. A surprising percentage of these priestly vocations and attendees are converts or reverts to the faith.

    I know for a fact that it’s the same Catholic church, as Prince of Peace had to get special permission from the Vatican to offer the Latin Mass.

    And, in case you’re wondering, there was a tiny homeschooling angle to this. From the bioblurb:

    Brian Mershon is a commentator on cultural issues from a classical Catholic perspective. His trade is in media relations, and his vocation is as a husband to his beloved wife Tracey and father to his six living children. He attempts to assist his family and himself in attaining eternal salvation through frequent attendance at the Traditional Latin rite of Mass, homeschooling, and building Catholic culture in the buckle of the Bible Belt of Greenville, South Carolina.


    Filed on at 6:02 am under by dcobranchi

    A week or so ago, Google changed their algorithm. Where there used to be a couple dozen homeschool blogs scanned, now there are hundreds of entries every day. So, if I happen not to find your gem of a post, blame Google (and then email me a link).


    Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

    I, for one, welcome our new globalized overlords.

    “We have a problem, Houston!” This is an obvious conundrum for conservatives and homeschoolers who find globalism antithetical to everything America stands for. Hopefully you will find this disturbing and incongruous with the American way of life and the rule of law according to the Constitution of the United States.


    Filed on March 29, 2006 at 7:03 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a neat profile of a couple of HEKs who are really into Revolutionary War reenactments. Jamestown is only about 100 miles from my home. Next big battle we might just have to make a roadtrip of it.


    Filed on March 28, 2006 at 7:10 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is definitely not homeschooling.


    Filed on at 11:51 am under by dcobranchi

    There will be a total solar eclipse tomorrow. If you want to see it “live,” you’d best get a move on– the best viewing will likely been in Chad and Libya.

    I once worked with a guy who chased these. IIRC, he once went all the way to Hawaii for a chance to see an eclipse.

    UPDATE: NASA has lots of info here.

    UPDATE II: A webcast is available for those folks who are too lazy (or broke) to trek to Chad.


    Filed on at 10:28 am under by dcobranchi

    The 13th CoH is up at Henry Cate’s place.


    Filed on March 27, 2006 at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi

    The DE legislature is considering amending state law to permit paddling in the g-schools. At least one Delawarean thinks this is a bad idea:

    Schools should not return to the violence of spanking

    I could not believe what I read in the paper this morning. As if there isn’t enough violence in this crazy world we live in, now they actually want to strike our most precious human beings, our children.

    You can try to make it sound better by saying “spank” but it’s inflicting pain on our children no matter how you look at it. And if parents are agreeing to this, well, what does that tell you about the parents?

    It tells me that the child is getting beaten at home, and let me tell you, the majority of those kids can’t wait to get to school everyday so they feel safe. That’s a very sad thought.

    Our children learn what adults teach them. Teach them violence and they will learn violence. I think Rep. John Atkins and the Indian River School District could use a good “SPANKING”. It took our legislators years to realize “paddling” wasn’t working. Let’s not go back.

    Rose Brainard, Wilmington


    Filed on March 26, 2006 at 1:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    The mis-named Democracy Lover opines on Rob’s favorite bugaboo, ethical servility:

    The state has a strong interest in having an educated citizenry. One that is able to analyze competing claims, theories and statements and arrive at reasonable conclusions. When parents act to prevent their children from receiving this kind of education, whether on religious or other grounds, they are abdicating their own responsibility to their child. Attempting to bring your child to adulthood without exposing them to ideas other than your own or those of your religious community renders your child incapable of carrying out their responsibilities as an adult citizen. Instead of talking about inculcating children with medieval religious ideas in the public schools, we should be talking about banning religious schools that do not meet standards and severly restricting home schooling. Parents who decided to indoctrinate their children instead of educating them are dooming this nation to third world status and should be stopped.

    There’s more. Read it if you feel your blood pressure is too low. Guaranteed instant 40 points.


    Filed on at 7:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a Richmond Times-Dispatch piece on Claude Allen. It spends almost no time on the shoplifting aspect of the tale. Instead, it’s about the man.

    There’s a bit of Northern snobbery apparent, sort-of sneering that there were dirt roads in outlying Raleigh 50 years ago. Hell, there are dirt roads in outlying Fayetteville today. In fact, I’m looking at one as I write.

    Damn yankees.


    Filed on at 7:40 am under by dcobranchi

    This is the real beauty of blogging– being able to publish in a niche so tiny that it’d hardly be worth the photocopying expenses for a dead-tree version. A perfect example: A pro-choice blog specializing in South Dakota.


    Filed on at 7:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Yeah, I know that Ken Ham is not a scientist and that the DI would probably like to throw him under the bus, but this really is what ID is all about:

    Lecture 2: How do I know there is a God? This lecture gave us students a practical way to show doubter that there is a God, and why we can have a firm reason to believe so. Mr. Ham used the complexity of the human genome, and the argument from the immensity of information which it contains to give a powerful argument for an intelligent creator, and thus a God.


    Filed on at 7:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out this post. Talk about clueless.


    Filed on March 25, 2006 at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    From RedState.org:

    I want to apologize to National Review Online, my friends and colleagues here at RedState, and to any others that have been affected over the past few days. I also want to apologize to my previous editors and writers whose work I used inappropriately and without attribution. There is no excuse for this – nor is there an excuse for any obfuscation in my earlier statement.

    I hope that nothing I’ve done as a teenager or in my professional life will reflect badly on the movement and principles I believe in.

    I’m deeply grateful for the love and encouragment of all those around me. And although I may not deserve such support, it makes it that much more humbling at a time like this. I’m a young man, and I hope that in time that I can earn a measure of the respect that you have given me.



    He screwed up. And now has admitted it. It’s over. Leave it alone, okay?


    Filed on at 1:26 am under by dcobranchi

    The Arkansas Times has a very good, very sad article on the “quality” of science education in Arkansas schools. Evidently, half the teachers in the state are afraid to teach evolution. Even the science museums avoid the subject.

    Teachers at his facility are forbidden to use the “e-word” (evolution)
    with the kids. They are permitted to use the word “adaptation” but only to refer to a current characteristic of an organism, not as a product of evolutionary change via natural selection. They cannot even use the term “natural selection.” Bob feared that not being able to use evolutionary terms and ideas to answer his students’ questions would lead to reinforcement of their misconceptions.

    But Bob’s personal issue was more specific, and the prohibition more insidious. In his words, “I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD … but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.”

    It’s long but well worth a read.


    Filed on at 12:46 am under by dcobranchi

    Blog hopping:

    Second stop, Best Buy, all the way in Emeryville. Why the Emeryville Best Buy? Because I had directions to that one, that’s why. We needed to buy “Corpse Bride” as a birthday gift for Mussman’s Friend-Girl that he will be visiting Sunday night. No time like the present. We tried to wait in the car while he went in and bought it. But the security lady said, “Why aren’t you in school?,” and he said “I’m homeschooled,” and she said, “Uh-huh, well, no minors allowed during school hours without their parents.” I don’t know whether this should please or offend me. Anyway we all had to go in.

    Is this corporate policy? Because it’s a dumb one. I guess all the schools in Emeryville must keep the exact same schedule.


    Filed on March 24, 2006 at 5:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    Via Google News:

    One in 10 parents said they homeschooled their child because of the child’s food allergies.

    They only surveyed parents of kids with extreme food allergies.

    NEW AD ——->

    Filed on at 3:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    I have to hand it to the Discovery Institute. They’ve got guts.


    Filed on at 3:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    (though she never really left)– Spunky has pulled the plug on her HSB blog and her writing gig at TOS.

    UPDATE: Corrected at 3:56 p.m.


    Filed on at 6:15 am under by dcobranchi

    Now that’s more like it. An absolutely stunning APOD today.


    Filed on at 6:11 am under by dcobranchi

    Joanne Jacobs reports that FL is set to force high schoolers to declare a “major” in the 9th grade. Is this the dumbest idea in the history of “education reform”? I knew what I wanted to do for a living in 10th grade, but I was the extremely rare exception. My very successful younger brother started out as business major, then computer science, and ended up letting me talk him into chemistry. In college. How the hell does the state expect a ninth-grader to have a clue what they want to be when they grow up?


    Filed on at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Between the various left/right wars we find our little community in, I’m exhausted. So, just a sweet little exercise you can do with your kids. You’ll need a clear night. (Tip credit: Rikki)


    Filed on March 23, 2006 at 6:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a powerful blogpost by a pagan home educator on what the First Amendment doesn’t mean.


    Filed on at 6:35 am under by dcobranchi

    She never realized that the folks who commented on her blog the last time are the ones who are boycotting HSB.

    Still clueless after all this time.


    Filed on at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    How to fix the schools:

    Kids waste time thinking about fashion

    If kids would focus more on learning than on trying to out-dress each other, maybe they could make the grade. Instead, they have to have the latest fashions to succeed in a popular society. Even some of the teachers dress to impress each other.

    There seem to be no rules in regard to morality at some of these schools. Kids walk around smoking cigarettes on their way to and from school. I have seen female students walk from school while school is in session and get picked up by male students driving vehicles, or trying to get rides with whoever would give them one. No wonder there is a rise in sexual assaults.

    The deputies assigned to these schools are not seen walking outside patrolling the area. If so, there would not be fights that seem to have escalated. If these kids had to wear uniforms, they might learn something. If these teachers had a dress code, they might learn something. If the school is not making the grade, then close it down. Problem solved.

    Raymond E. Wright

    Uniforms. That’s the ticket.


    Filed on March 22, 2006 at 3:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Week. Month. Year. And Millennium.

    Evolution is proved; we have a new species:

    Bible tells the truth about our creation

    Why is it that these evolutionists are trying so hard to deny that God created the Earth and all that is on it? Now we have an “educated” minister who claims that seminaries have proved that the beginning chapters of the Bible were not written according to the Word of God, but by unknown authors and added to the Bible by some editor. How about the words in John 1:1-4?

    I don’t think much of a minister who felt it was more important to preach about things he didn’t believe, rather than risking his post by not pleasing his (ignorant) congregation.

    The theory of evolution does not and cannot explain so much about the universe that we know. For instance, when and how did water evolve? How does it happen that gravity can hold us to the Earth, and at the same time allow us to step up without any trouble? How did it happen that the Earth is spinning at the exact rate that keeps us from feeling that movement?

    I find it much easier to believe that Genesis tells us the truth of the creation when we know from God’s own Word that nothing is impossible for him to do.
    Carol Crooks, Greer

    I really ought to be embarrassed by this one, as I graduated from high school in Greer, SC. Quit laughing, Kimberly. (via The Panda’s Thumb)


    Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

    *Future Scientists of America

    Here’s a very positive profile of a brother and sister (HEKs, of course) who are going to the 57th Intel International Science & Engineering Fair. According to the article, this will be the first time that siblings made the finals.

    The article is well-written. I especially liked the human-interest bit at the start. Mall of America. Too funny.


    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    The left blogosphere is all a-twitter about the WaPo’s employment of right wing blogger, former HEK, and O’Donnell card buddy Ben Domenech.


    Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Reb’s “Homeschooled by a Cackling Jackal” blog. Reb is very funny and a bit warped.


    Filed on at 5:45 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not taking sides in the brewing war between Portugese and British home educators. Can’t we all just get along?


    Filed on March 21, 2006 at 7:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s not what you’d think.


    Filed on at 10:14 am under by dcobranchi

    The latest edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up.


    Filed on at 6:58 am under by dcobranchi

    Are YECs evolving into a sub-species– homo non-sapiens?

    To date earth, it’s best to research both sides of debate

    The author of a recent letter purports to debunk the Christian view of the world as a fable.

    The writer bases his views on supposed scientific fact. Perhaps he should actually research his subject matter rather than simply repeating someone else’s either biased or uninformed opinion.

    For instance, if one asks a scientist how he determines the age of a fossil the answer is by the layer of rock in which it is found. Then if you ask how he determines the age of the rock, the reply is by the type of fossils found in it.

    Um, what is wrong with this picture? How about a fossilized tree extending through many layers of rock? This must be the Methuselah of all trees!

    If each rock layer were formed over eons of time the tree would have had to live thousands and thousands of years to have accomplished this feat!

    Lin Applegate, Wilmington


    Filed on March 20, 2006 at 7:44 pm under by dcobranchi

    Joanne has some more thoughts on TOS/HSB.


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Mary Nix found a reference to home education in a pending bill filed by the (soon to be former) Sentator Santorum.


    Filed on at 6:50 am under by dcobranchi

    Ron and Andrea are looking for beta testers among home educating bloggers. They’re setting up a free service (donations accepted) to host folks’ blogs. Sounds like a good opportunity to leave the child beaters and their apologists.


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

    If y’all are having problems with the new look, please let me know via comment.


    Filed on at 9:43 am under by dcobranchi

    The home educating family that runs together runs a LOT.


    Filed on at 9:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Bizarro hed in my local paper today:

    Young hunters hold a shootout

    The competition sounds interesting. HEK teams were eligible, but I didn’t see where any actually competed.


    Filed on at 9:30 am under by dcobranchi

    is getting boring. 🙂

    The Baltimore Sun has an entirely positive piece on home education. No “experts” quoted. No “S”-word snark. And lots of good quotes from real home educators. Worth a read.


    Filed on at 9:15 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not even going to get snarky with this headline. Fish in a barrel:

    Parents say Knox Co. elementary school is making students sick

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