Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » May

    Filed on May 31, 2004 at 6:53 am under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooling seems to have a strange reputation in the media. Sometimes, it’s seen as a right-wing, religious wacko kind of thing. When it’s convenient, though, it’s cited as evidence of being kind of a leftist, environmental wacko. Today, we’re leftists:

    With his wife and five kids, he bought land and moved here five years ago, supporting the family mostly on a government disability check.

    They’re the kind of folks who do home schooling.

    And who have wind power and solar energy units on the roof.

    Dave Brown Hamlin Valley Resident: “I JUST WANTED TO GET OUT OF SOCIETY.”


    Filed on at 6:39 am under by dcobranchi

    Sometimes I seriously doubt it. How else can you account for the editors of the New York Times calling for a national ID card on the same day that the paper runs a story about a man who was held in jail for two months and nearly deported because of a fingerprint database snafu?

    The very idea of a national ID card gives me the willies. Think replacing a lost driver’s license is a headache? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Your life could be on hold until some bureaucrat deigns to “pass” on you. You think I’m kidding? Just before the first Gulf War, Lydia went to change her name on her Social Security account. Armed with two birth certificates (one in Arabic) and her US passport, the clerk refused to make the change, insisting that she couldn’t have a SS number as she wasn’t a citizen. Weeks and multiple trips to the SS administration later finally cleaned up the mess. Multiply that 100-fold for a national ID card.


    Filed on May 30, 2004 at 10:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Staunton (VA) News-Leader is rapidly assuming the lead in my mental list of worst papers in the US. Here’s more evidence:

    OK. Here’s a pop quiz; who made this statement: “Just as it would be foolish for the warrior to give his arrows to his enemies, it is foolish … to give their children to be trained in schools run by the enemies of God.”

    a. Osama bin Laden

    b. Ayatollah Khomeini

    c. Bruce Shortt and T.C. Pinckney

    Although the sentiments expressed would fit nicely in the mouths of Islamic jihadists, neither the late mullah nor the current Evil One penned them; the answer is “c.” In fact, the ellipsis between the words “foolish” and “to” originally contained the words “for Christians.”

    That kind of ad hominem attack serves only to undermine whatever little logic is found in the rest of their editorial.

    Pinckney and Shortt’s object not to the American public school system’s lack of instruction in religion but its religious neutrality.

    If the g-schools were truly neutral to religion I think Pinckney would not have introduced his resolution. In fact, many schools appear to be anti-Christian. For instance, menorahs and crescent moons are not religious symbols but nativity scenes are. I understand why the schools do this. They are terrified of 1) breaching a church-state barrier and/or 2) offending a minority group. Regardless, many Christians (such as Pinckney) see this as active animosity to the religion that a plurality of Americans profess. Is it a “fatwa” to call this to the attention of his church? The News-Leader owes Pinckney a big apology.


    Filed on at 9:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Just kidding, Tim.

    Newsday (the very big Long Island paper) has a nice article about the proposed NJ homeschool bill. Tim Haas figures prominently:

    TRENTON, N.J. — Public education bored Tim Haas, so he and his wife decided they were better suited to care for and educate their two sons than the state.

    But Haas and the thousands of other New Jersey families that homeschool now face what they say is an unnecessary and unfair intrusion by the same state regulators they tried to escape.

    …Parents like Haas said they will continue to oppose restrictions on how they educate their children. He cited a 40-year old court ruling that allowed a New Jersey woman to provide the equivalent of a classroom education at home.

    “The legal, moral and practical questions about the fitness of homeschooling parents to care for and educate their children were answered decades ago in New Jersey,” Haas said. “Let us honor our venerable history and keep homeschooling free.”

    Way to go, Tim! It sounds like the pressure is starting to work, too.

    Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, the bill’s sponsor, has agreed to make changes that would require children to take just one physical exam. Weinberg also is rethinking how to implement the academic testing.

    The lawmaker says it was not her intention to besiege those who home school their children.

    “This does not mean in any shape or form that I am attacking homeschooling but the state has right to know how many kids are homeschooled and to know they are getting the basic essentials,” said Weinberg, D-Bergen.

    Weinberg also disputes that she was trying to take blame away from DYFS, which was supposed to supervise the Collingswood children’s welfare. She said that case was an example of how problems inside homes where children are taught can be missed because no education oversight is required.

    “I saw too many things that fell through the cracks,” Weinberg said.

    In a couple of weeks, the bill will be down to “Parents, pretty please register with the state.” It will then be referred to an education sub-sub-committee where it will die an ignoble death.


    Filed on at 9:32 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, the title is sexist as heck. So, I’m a jerk. I’m also a former boy.

    The New York Times has a lengthy piece on the death of teenage romance and how it’s now all about “hooking up” (which may or may not be a euphemism for oral sex). Most depressing of all was the description of “friends with benefits.”

    On Valentine’s Day, I was invited to spend the evening with 12 junior and senior friends in an upper-middle-class suburb of Chicago. They were hanging out, eating pizza and watching TV. Not one had a Valentine, and most said they wouldn’t have it any other way. Several pointed out that having close friends of the opposite sex makes romantic relationships less essential. Besides, if you feel like something more, there’s no need to feign interest in dinner and a movie. You can just hook up or call one of your friends with benefits.

    Casual sex taken to its (il)logical extreme.


    Filed on at 9:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    A (long day) quick trip to New York and back. Let’s see what the educrats have been up to today.


    Filed on at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

    …homeschool graduation ceremony.

    Must be a trend.


    Filed on May 29, 2004 at 2:12 pm under by dcobranchi

    I was asked to write a post giving some history. Predictably, it turned out longer than I intended.


    Me at my desk, writing this post

    I am a home educating father (well, a father supportive of my lovely home educating wife). We have four children ages 12 down to almost 5 as of May 2004. You’ve probably seen pictures of them on the site. We’ve been homeschooling since Sept. 11th, 2001. Yes, I recognize the significance of the date. I was on the phone with the Delaware Department of Education requesting the appropriate forms when the first plane hit.

    Early on, Lydia (the aforementioned lovely wife) and I decided to split the homeschooling responsibilities along these lines: she would handle the day-to-day “educating” and I would be responsible for the political/protection role. So, I learned as much as I could about Delaware home schooling laws, got active with the Delaware Home Education Association, and (confession time) joined HSLDA. Hey, I was a newbie; that’s what newbies do.

    While working with DHEA, I got to know Joey Ashby. Joey was a long-time DE homeschooling stalwart. For years, she had been keeping other DE homeschoolers informed about what has happening in the state and beyond. She regularly scanned the local papers and the legislature’s website for homeschooling-relevant info. She was also getting ready to move out of state. Shortly before leaving for good, she asked if I’d be willing to pick up her “job” and email some folks when I came across anything interesting. That original email distribution list had about 10 folks on it. We called it the DHEA Yankees (because it mostly consisted of DHEA members in the northern part of the state).

    I started scanning the local papers and other websites and was finding interesting (to me) stuff every day. I think I started to aggravate some people on the list with the constant emails. Emailing articles turned out to be a problem, too, as everyone had a different email client, and cutting and pasting in a format accessible by everyone was a technical challenge. That’s when I read a brief article about this guy called Instapundit and this new thing called blogging. The light bulb went off. Here was a way I could post some articles and email a link to the distribution list! I signed up on blogspot that day. The blog was http://dheayankees.blogspot.com It’s still there. That first post was made May 9th, 2002. It was pretty primitive blogging- no permalinks, no comments. Still, a vast improvement over the email route. Finally, about a year ago, I got frustrated with constant outages at blogspot and moved to my own domain.

    And that’s the history of the blog. Oh, yeah, one other thing. In my other life, I’m a chemist with DuPont.


    Filed on at 8:14 am under by dcobranchi

    This lede caught my eye (no pun intended):

    Children who are younger than 5 years old should be screened in the primary care setting for vision problems, including lazy eye, crossed eyes, and near-and far-sightedness, according to a new recommendation issued today from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.


    Filed on at 8:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice article about a graduation ceremony.

    My kids are a long way away from this, but it’s something to keep in mind. What do y’all do (or plan to do)?

    We are “independent” homeschoolers (i.e., we don’t belong to any kind of umbrella group). I wonder if any of the umbrella groups allow independents to partcipate in theirs. Or, if maybe DHEA, the statewide homeschool association, ought to sponsor something. (Traci, that’s a hint.)

    UPDATE: And another one.

    “I’ve heard some home-school graduates do their own graduation ceremonies at home,” said 17-year-old Bonnie Teplik of Mesa. “We’re basically doing it like the rest of the schools.”

    It’s important to home-school graduates to mark their accomplishment.

    “If I was just handed a GED, saying, ‘OK, you graduated,’ I don’t think it would be quite as exciting as getting to walk down the aisle with a whole bunch of other people who’ve been through what you have,” Teplik said.


    Filed on at 7:55 am under by dcobranchi

    A while back I discovered a GoogleNews feature which would automatically email you when Google crawled a site with whatever key-words you wanted to monitor. Just goofing, I entered my name and completely forgot about it. Well yesterday, I got emailed a link.

    Here’s the progression: I posted on H&OES. Laura Derrick had some excellent comments which Joanne noted. Fox picked up Joanne’s post, and now I’m starting the cycle over again.

    Tinkers-to-Evers-to Chance-to-Tinkers-to-Evers. A quadruple play!


    Filed on at 7:26 am under by dcobranchi

    The Southern Baptist Convention, er, convention is a little over two weeks away and there are now two proposals dealing with the g-schools. The first has received most of the press. The second, less-renowned, proposal is meant to counter the first:

    That publicity prompted Tennessee pastor Jim West to offer his own counterproposal, which calls for Southern Baptists to “affirm the American public education system and encourage its members to participate actively in the life of society so that they may indeed perform the dual functions of salt and light.”

    …West told the Baptist and Reflector, newsjournal of Tennessee Baptists, his essential concern is theological. “Christians aren’t supposed to withdraw from the world. They are supposed to minister to the world,” he said.

    He said the resolution submitted by Pinckney and Shortt sends a sign of withdrawal to the world. “It says, ‘We don’t want to have anything to do with you.’ You can’t be salt and light if you are hiding behind the walls of the church,” West said.

    I agree 100% with Rev. West. Christians are supposed to be in the world. Adult Christians. I seriously doubt kindergartners and first-graders are doing much ministry. If you accept Pinckney’s premise, that g-schools are not just neutral on religion but actively anti-Christian, I don’t see how you can fault his conclusion.

    For the record: Our church is affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, not to be confused with the General Baptists.

    UPDATE: EdWeek has more. Via Izzy.


    Filed on May 28, 2004 at 9:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Chris had suggested that I contact Danielle Perry (from this post), but I completely forgot. Fortunately, Ms. Perry stumbled across H&OES and asnswered some of Tim’s questions.


    Filed on at 10:14 am under by dcobranchi

    but I’m going to play him on H&OES.

    All the edu-bloggers seem to have picked up a horrific story of bullying and craven educrats. Joanne Jacobs, Kimberly Swygert, and Jim Peacock have all expressed righteous indignation. Read ’em all (and weep for the kids stuck in the system).


    Filed on at 3:21 am under by dcobranchi

    West Virginia homeschoolers seeking to play g-school sports notched a big “W” when the state Supreme Court refused an appeal from state edu-crats, leaving standing a ruling that excluding homeschoolers was unconstitutional.

    State Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said the department has not had a chance to discuss the ruling.

    “We understand this could have statewide impact,’’ she said.

    While I generally don’t back home educators’ push to have their kids play on g-school teams, it’s nice to see the edu-crats get slapped down.


    Filed on May 27, 2004 at 4:05 pm under by dcobranchi

    My antennae go up with ‘grafs like these:

    On a 7-2 roll-call vote, the board reviewed and approved the proposed job description for a coordinator of distance and online learning. Board members John Bain and Wuertenberg dissented.

    In reviewing the job description, Superintendent Scott indicated the initial focus of the coordinator’s duties would be on cyber school and home school students.


    Filed on at 4:40 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m sure this Op/Ed is selling something. I just haven’t figured out what. They have five ideas for improving education. I liked them until the very last sentence:

    Use the free market. Web-based publishers should make Internet learning games available directly to parents at reasonable prices. This partial home schooling provides educational choice without the drastic measures of full home schooling, private school or vouchers.

    Drastic measures? Ugh!


    Filed on at 4:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s some info on a conference in Kansas City. This bit surprised me:

    Usually a person has to visit the East or the West coasts to attend a secular conference on homeschooling, said Kriss Miller of Kansas City, who formed LEARN nine years ago with Kelly Wilson, also of Kansas City.

    The conference sports two heavyweights as keynote speakers: Linda Dobson and John Taylor Gatto.


    Filed on at 4:23 am under by dcobranchi

    A local homeschooler was killed in a bike accident yesterday. Sadly, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE enforce a helmet rule when your kids are out riding. ER doctors have a name for bicyclists and bikers who don’t wear helmets on the road. They call them “organ donors.”


    Filed on at 3:28 am under by dcobranchi

    First State Ballet Theatre has posted a photo gallery from their recent production of Sleeping Beauty. My favorite is above (that’s Katelyn fourth back on the left.) It’s hard to tell as they caught her mid-leap, but she was en demi-pointe there.

    Here’s a more recent shot (as in a few hours ago).

    By the way, First State Ballet Theatre has a kind-of “best of” performance scheduled for June 19th. Arabesque 2004 brings together dancers from across the country. It’d make a great homeschool fine arts lesson.


    Filed on May 26, 2004 at 9:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    No, not Anthony this time.

    Adam Yahiye Gadahn was 17 years old when he walked into the Islamic Society of Orange County and asked for permission to worship there. The farm kid who grew up in a home with Christian roots declared himself a Muslim, ready to immerse himself in his new religion.

    But his devotion eventually spiraled into trouble – and an arrest.

    Gadahn, who was named Wednesday as one of seven suspected al-Qaida operatives sought by the FBI, was later expelled from the mosque after attacking an employee. Records show he pleaded guilty to assault and battery charges on June 11, 1997, and was sentenced to two days in jail and 40 hours of community service.

    …Adam Gadahn was home-schooled at the family farm in Riverside County. He did not attend college. Omar said the family was a “more or less Christian household, but no one was particularly religious.”

    Tipster Brian Sassaman wonders what Dan Rather will say.


    Filed on at 10:30 am under by dcobranchi

    An update on the never ending search for a digital camera.

    I ordered the same camera from Amazon.com late last week. It arrived yesterday (via UPS who left the package on my front doorstep.) Beautiful camera. I’ll likely upload some pictures over the next few weeks. I’m also going to experiment with some QTVR shots, if I can find a suitable subject.


    Filed on at 10:14 am under by dcobranchi

    I wasn’t going to blog this story about an Arkansas woman giving birth to her 15th child, but every paper in the world seems to have picked it up. It’s all over my GoogleNews seacrch. So, here it is. She homeschools, of course.


    Filed on May 25, 2004 at 4:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    First Krispy Kreme blamed the Atkins diet for poor sales. Now, a retail group is blaming the success of Shrek 2. Whatever.


    Filed on at 11:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Tim Haas sends word that the NJ rally in Trenton yesterday was a big success. About 2,000 homeschoolers showed up for the “noisy” rally. Here are three local papers’ takes on the event:

    Parents rally in Trenton

    Home-school supporters rally

    Home-schoolers protest regulation

    The third is perhaps notable for this somewhat abrupt transition:

    Weinberg introduced the measure (A1918) after authorities last fall charged Vanessa and Raymond Jackson of Collingswood with failing to provide medical care or food to their four adopted sons. The brothers, ranging in age from 9 to 19 and weighing no more than 45 pounds when discovered, were described as being home- schooled.

    “The Jackson children are not a home education problems,” Adams said. “They are a DYFS problem.” Crackdown on repeat DWI passed The Assembly gave final legislative approval yesterday to a bill that would require prosecutors or judges to examine a person’s driving record after a drunken driving conviction to determine whether they are repeat offenders.

    *HUI- Homeschooling under the influence


    Filed on at 10:49 am under by dcobranchi

    File this one under “With Friends Like These…”

    Here’s a pretty ugly editorial out of VA. Chris, I think it’s clobberin’ time.

    The end product of this year’s General Assembly session is making its way across the desk of Gov. Mark Warner. One bit of legislation that should never have made it through the House of Representatives, much less to the governor’s office, has gotten the deep-six via the governor’s veto.

    …Home education should be based on standards, too, otherwise the drive to require them in public school is nothing but a sham and a means of dismantling free public education in America.

    …We don’t think it would be fair to place this alternative program in jeopardy by loosening its standards; in fact, we think doing so would play into the hands of home-schooling’s worst critics.

    Riiiight! The paper is so supportive of homeschooling that they think we “play schoolhouse.” Read the whole thing. And then thank God the Staunton News-Leader is not your hometown paper.


    Filed on at 1:52 am under by dcobranchi

    I’ve been promoted; guess I’ll have to learn to sing and dance.


    Filed on at 1:36 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a very nice summary of the state of homeschooling in the state of Michigan. While I wouldn’t have chosen Bill Bennett as a source, Trait Russell does a nice job of summarizing why many of us do what we do. Worth a click.

    Hat tip: Jema McCardell.

    UPDATE: Izzy didn’t like the choice of Bennett, either.


    Filed on May 24, 2004 at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    A straight-A student who didn’t even make the top 13 in his class is complaining that he’s not going to be the valedictorian and wants to change the rules. I have absolutely no sympathy here. He made his choices; he should grow up and live with them.


    Filed on at 6:52 am under by dcobranchi

    Did y’all know that homeschoolers aren’t locked away anymore and are particpating in this new-fangled invention called co-ops? That’s the trend down in Texas. They even do this socialization thing we’ve been hearing so much about. Guess I can take the leg-irons off the kids and let them out of the tower.


    Filed on at 1:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Diane Patterson tipped me off to a New York Times piece on tutoring in New York. Typically, some parents in Manhattan have gone way overboard and made grades and tutoring a blood sport. These are the same folks who “enroll” their child on a wait list for the most prestigious pre-schools even before the kid is born. Very much an upper-crust, money-is-no-object, status-is-everything disease. Apparently it’s contagious.

    Manhattan has long been the epicenter of the kind of parental competitiveness that surrounds everything from getting into the best preschool through the best college, but people familiar with the landscape say many of those practices are beginning to migrate to Westchester.

    “It’s definitely becoming in the suburbs like it was three years ago in Manhattan,” said Lisa Jacobson, chief executive of Inspirica, a company that offers tutoring, test preparation and high school, college and graduate school admissions counseling.

    I obviously have nothing against tutoring, which has a bit in common with homeschooling. In fact, once or twice, I picked up a couple of dollars tutoring chemistry. But, this is just plain nuts.

    “In general these parents don’t know what to do,” she said of her new customers. “They read about the valedictorian with the 1600’s who did not get in. People are trying to at least help their kids get to the level where they’re in line with everybody else. And then they go past that and try to get an edge.”

    No way, no how. The 1600-scoring valedictorian who didn’t get in is a myth. No school is that exclusive, that competititve. So, these parents are paying big money to help their kids compete with someone who doesn’t exist. And, it is seriously big money.

    Last year tutoring was a $4 billion business nationally, according to Eduventures Inc., an education market research and consultant concern based in Boston. The company predicts that in 2004, the tutoring market will be $4.56 billion and in 2005, $5.2 billion… Tutors in Westchester charge an average of about $85 per hour for academic subjects and $100 per hour for SAT tutoring. But there is a wide range. Inspirica’s tutors average $200 to $300, with top tutors commanding $400 per hour.

    It’s their money and they can piss it away if they want, but I’m not sure these parents are helping their kids in the long run.

    Tutors also reported that they have seen students who have become dependent on extra help. Some students stop listening in class, confident that the material will be reviewed later. Dr. Guthrie, the child psychiatrist, said that providing a great deal of extra help may set a child up for a fall in college.

    “I think they can become very entitled and high-maintenance kids,” Dr. Guthrie said. “But anxiety sells, and there’s a huge industry of tutors out there selling cognitive enhancement. The problem is, we also create a lot of performance anxiety in our kids, and if they’ve been poked and prodded and preened and tutored, they run the risk of caving under the pressure.”

    Several tutors, including a Bronxville tutor who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that college students they had once tutored in high school had sent them papers and homework assignments from college for editing and advice. The Bronxville tutor said, “At that point I tell them, ‘Grow up, honey.’ “

    Hey! I’ll edit those college papers. Only $500 an hour! Call 1-800-462-3665. That’s 1-800-IM-A-FOOL. Call before midnight tonight (or at least before your final tomorrow).


    Filed on May 23, 2004 at 4:11 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Santa Cruz Sentinel has an “exposé” of what sure sounds like a diploma mill.

    For $240, an essay and a letter of support from an adult, Wes Beach will provide a diploma to just about any high school dropout or homeschooled student who strolls into his office.

    We all know that homeschoolers don’t need this, but the article got me thinking: What’s to stop a high-school dropout from claiming (a few years down the road) that he was homeschooled? And, if he has sub-par academic skills, how does that make us look? We’ve recently seen teachers padding their resumés with fake degrees. I’d bet that it’s just a matter of time before claiming homeschool-grad status is the preferred dodge for g-school dropouts.


    Filed on at 2:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Katelyn's baptism, 5-23-2004


    Filed on at 7:04 am under by dcobranchi

    This is the better way.


    Filed on at 6:55 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a sweet article about the event. I didn’t quite get the “valedictorian” part, though.

    And, what’s with the Kentucky Derby URL?


    Filed on at 6:04 am under by dcobranchi

    A Louisiana reporter thinks that the homeschool/g-school sports issue needs to be resolved. She presents as evidence a 17-year-old swimmer who gets up at 4 a.m. for practice but isn’t allowed to compete. The argument would have been much more persuasive, in my mind, if the girl had actually been a homeschooler. She’s not.


    Filed on at 5:31 am under by dcobranchi

    From: Info at Rethinking Educaton
    Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2004 7:01 PM
    Subject: Rethinking Education Conference

    We are less than 1 week away from conference time!

    Greetings one & all:

    Please invite everyone you know who is homeschooling, unschooling or wants to….

    our One Day Special on May 28.

    >From 9am – 5:30 Friday only, you can choose from 36 sessions and attend our great Rethinking Education Exhibit Hall, offering wide-ranging curriculum, resources and supplemental materials for families and kids/teens for just $5 per person!

    Pre-registration is not necessary.

    Some of our Friday sessions include:

    How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Errors when Teaching Math,
    Free Range, Organic Learning Online,
    How to Find/Organize a Homeschool Support Group,
    Parenting in the Digital Age,
    Multi-Cultural Storytelling,
    How to Become a Scientist in a Hurry,
    Creating Family Chronicles,
    Seven Principals for Optimizing the Adult-Child Relationship,
    Speed Cleaning,
    Curriculum as Servant: How to Stop the Great Brain Robbery,
    English Grammar through Creative Laughter,
    Conflict Resolution… much more!

    Our Friday Exhibitors are:

    America’s Blood Centers, “My Blood, Your Blood”

    Homespun for Homeschoolers

    Genie U

    Usborne Books

    The Clean Team

    Keystone National High School

    Discovery Toys

    Creative Learning Environments

    Robert Muller School

    Classic Education, Inc “Homeschool Companion”

    Touch The Future

    Swansbury, Inc – BFH Handwriting

    Calvert School

    High Class Music & English is Not For Sissies


    Rainbow Man

    USA Next

    Small Wonders Enterprises “Snickerdoodle”

    BYU Independent Study

    Personal Professors.com

    Boundless Creations

    Dallas Peace Center

    K-12, Inc.

    Kiddie Connoisseur

    Nest Family

    Future Horizons – Autism/Aspergers

    Laurel Springs School

    Shiller Math

    Applied Scholastics

    What: One Day Special
    When: Friday – Only – May 28
    Hours: 9am- 5:30
    Where: Harvey Hotel in Irving, TX
    Highway 114 and Esters Road


    Free and ample parking available

    Rethinking Education is a 4 day event May 28-31.
    Contact Barb Lundgren for conference information:
    Phone: 817-540-6423

    Contact Sherri Smith to volunteer or exhibit:
    Phone: 540-377-9189

    Sponsors for the 2004 Rethinking Education conference include:
    Klutz (www.klutz.com)
    America’s Blood Centers (www.mybloodyourblood.com )
    Genie U (www.genieu.com)
    Home Education Magazine (www.home-ed-magazine.com)
    Homeschool.com (www.homeschool.com)
    Mentura (www.mentura.com)
    A to Z Home’s Cool (homeschooling.gomilpitas.com)


    Filed on May 22, 2004 at 3:42 pm under by dcobranchi

    I didn’t know it, but George Bush considers me a great friend. At least, that’s what Mercer Reynolds, Finance Chairman, RNC – VICTORY 2004 says:

    Dear Friend,

    Can I count on your support?

    President Bush has told me what a great friend you’ve been to him over the last several years. And all of us in the Party appreciate what you’ve done to elect Republicans, help us cut taxes and defend our freedoms…

    The funniest part of the letter- apparently Democrats want to keep us dependent on foreign energy sources.

    If liberals like Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton regain control of the White House… [w]e will never create jobs for the 21st century nor become energy independent…[W]e must make our nation energy independent by finding new energy sources here in America.

    I had no idea that Kennedy and Clinton were such good friends with the Saudis. Oh, wait. That’s the current resident of the White House. Anyway, here’s my response:

    Dear Friend,

    Pound sand!


    George’s friend Daryl


    Filed on at 2:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s some more info on the family who were found living in the Oregon woods. There are pictures.


    Filed on at 5:51 am under by dcobranchi

    I didn’t mean to bury Tim’s PSA.


    Filed on at 5:46 am under by dcobranchi

    The Department of Defense Authorization bill apparently mentions homeschooling.

    Other Hostettler measures in the bill: An increase in the number of family members eligible for travel allowances when a relative serving in the military is very seriously injured; the reinstatement and continuation of a Department of Defense home school pilot program.

    From the text of HR 4200:


    Section 571(e) of the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (10 U.S.C. 520 note) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘‘(e) DURATION OF PILOT PROGRAM.—The pilot program shall be in effect during the period beginning on October 1, 2004, and ending on September 30, 2005.’’.

    HSLDA’s doings, no doubt.


    Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Is this what CA youth’s have to do in order to get a job?

    The paperwork steps that are involved for under-18 employment are the youth must find an employer that will agree to hire and the prospective employee must then go to his or her school district office (usually school office) and acquire a Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit. This paper is taken to the employer to fill out. The youth, employer, potential supervisor and parent must all sign this paper which informs the state what business and type of work the youth will be doing. The youth then takes this paper back to the district office. The district office may then issue the Permit to Employ and Work paper, which a copy of is returned to the employer before the youth can be hired. There is no law which requires school authorities to issue a permit for maximum hours allowed by law.

    …Students attending charter schools and private schools obtain the work permit paperwork from their school sites. Home school or out-of-town visiting youths get their permits from the school district that they are residing in.

    I really don’t like that “may” part. Homeschoolers having to ask a favor of edu-crats can lead to trouble. Just look at New York.


    Filed on at 5:20 am under by dcobranchi

    The Pahrump Valley Times (that’s really the name of the paper) has a nice profile of a homeschooling family. Mom drank the accountability Kool-Aid, but the rest is very positive. The reporter seems to be enchanted with the family; this is how she closed her article:

    “There are days I feel overwhelmed, but then I remind myself what the long-term value is. And while every day may not be perfect, some days are.”

    BTW, have y’all noticed that most of these homeschool-family profile articles are written by women?


    Filed on at 5:10 am under by dcobranchi

    Winona Judd:

    Judd opened her concert by expressing her appreciation to the Pentagon audience. “I homeschool my kids and everywhere we travel,” she said. “I try to talk to them about how privileged we are as a nation. We live in the greatest country in the world. I so appreciate what you all do.”


    Filed on at 5:04 am under by dcobranchi

    I imagine that News-Journal employees got a chuckle out of publishing this letter “defending” Pres. Bush”

    President doesn’t know everything

    Why do people automatically assume the president is aware of everything that goes on? It has been proved time and time again that the president is kept in the dark about some things. In America you are innocent until proved guilty.

    Patricia Eden, Newark


    Filed on at 4:59 am under by dcobranchi

    The TN legislature passed the bill “fixing” the HOPE scholarship program. The Senate wanted to raise it to 23 for everyone like it is currently for homeschoolers. The House wanted to lower the homeschooler’s requirement to 19 like everyone else. So, they punted and picked 21. They also diddled with the 3.0 GPA requirement. It’s still an either/or, but now homeschoolers are included:

    The 3.0 or 21 ACT standard also applies uniformly regardless of where the student goes to school, be it a public high school, home school or non-accredited private high school.

    So, homeschoolers are eligible if they can claim to have a 3.0? That’s going to lead to some interesting problems. I expect another “technical fix” in next year’s session.


    Filed on at 4:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a terrific travelogue written by a homeschooler. A taste:

    Prior to visiting France, I had never tasted such delicacies as escargots and foie gras. Everything I tasted there was delicious, even the basic things like bread, butter and cheese were more flavorful than in the United States. I learned that the French have very high standards for quality in clothing, food, architecture, art, cars, etc. But one thing I despised was that practically everyone has a cigarette in his mouth at one time or another. They don’t even pay attention to the rules against smoking in the airports.

    Thanks to D.D. for the tip.


    Filed on at 4:13 am under by dcobranchi

    From Tim Haas, President, New Jersey Homeschool Association


    Date: Monday, May 24th, 2004

    Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., RAIN OR SHINE!

    Place: Front steps of the State House, Trenton

    We need you and your family in Trenton on Monday!

    For details, please visit www.geocities.com/jerseyhome


    Filed on May 21, 2004 at 7:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is just crazy. A boy has been suspended for 80 days for “pieing” his principal. Normally, that’d be a problem. Except the principal volunteered to be “pied” as part of a fundraiser. Here’s the video report. (Thanks to Jennifer Pack for the tip.)

    UPDATE: Zero Intelligence has more.


    Filed on at 6:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    This is just so bad on so many levels. I’m not going to excerpt it. You’ll have to click over.

    Be warned- it involves sex acts in a kindergarten classroom.

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