Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » August

    Filed on August 17, 2006 at 5:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    HSLDA plays it absolutely straight in this blurb aboutVA’s new HE law:

    Official Offers to Correct Error

    Virginia families should be alert during this transitional year during which knowledge of the many improvements in the homeschool law is trickling down to local officials.

    In Franklin County, for example, the Coordinator of Assessments and Grants recently sent a family a notice of intent form which was not fully up to date. The form correctly stated that for families operating under Option 1, a parent must hold a high school diploma or higher educational degree.

    On Option 4, however, the form still followed the obsolete language and stated that a family must both include the Standards of Learning for math and language arts in their curriculum and “also” provide evidence of their ability to provide an education for their children. The “also” should have been “or.”

    Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Scott Woodruff called the official and pointed this out. She immediately acknowledged the form was in error and said she would correct it to show that Option 4 families have the choice of either including the Standards of Learning OR providing evidence the parent can provide an adequate education.

    Virginia families worked hard to obtain improvements in the homeschool law this year. Now we must stay vigilant to protect them.

    HE SAID…

    Filed on at 5:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    And she’s pretty darn quiet.

    a very positive piece on a group of HEKs in North GA. Lots of reasons cited as to why they chose to homeschool. I’m guessing this is a secular group.


    Filed on at 12:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    From CNN:

    A federal judge has ruled that the federal government’s warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately.


    Filed on at 12:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    Expect to see calls for increased regulation in AZ:

    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) – Police in Surprise arrested a couple accused of abducting their grandson in California in 2004 and recovered the 11-year-old after a raid on the couple’s home.

    Robert Lynn Embrey, 67, and Bonnie Gail Embrey, 66, were arrested Tuesday at their home in Sun City Grand, a retirement development, on a felony warrant for child abduction, Officer Michael Stewart said.

    Investigators with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office in Bakersfield., Ca., worked with Surprise police to locate the couple and make the arrests. They are being held in the Maricopa County jail pending extradition to California.

    The couple are accused of taking Travis Embrey from Bakersfield in May 2004.

    Stewart said the couple had guardianship of the boy, and objected to unsupervised visits with his mother. They asked a judge to block the unsupervised visits, and fled when the judge denied their request.

    The Embreys were living in a rented home, apparently the fourth they had lived in since arriving in Arizona. They apparently were homeschooling Travis.

    Their guardianship must have been revoked sometime between 2004 and now; else how could they be charged? Does this mean, too, that they weren’t legally home educating? From A to Z:

    Currently the Arizona Homeschooling law requires that:

    * Every child between the ages of six and sixteen years shall be provided instruction in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science.
    * The person who has custody of the child shall choose a public, private or home school to provide instruction.

    Presumably, that’d be legal custody.


    Filed on August 16, 2006 at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    My news scrape found an article with a very local flavor. It’s one of those “balanced” he said/she said pieces that Scott loves so much. Fortunately, either the reporter or the editor did a crappy job, as the “she said” section is quite lame:


    Home schooling is not without its critics. Some believe it is irresponsible to teach a child in an unstructured environment; that without structure, parents can teach their children anything. For example, some religiously-motivated parents may choose to ignore Darwin’s Theory of Evolution all together.

    This concern is strengthened when one considers that 33% of all home schooling families in the U.S. offer religion as their main motivation for home schooling their children, according to a 2003 report.

    Home schooling can also be used as a tool of abuse, as without a child being regularly introduced to adults outside of their family, their ability to report what is happening to them in their home life becomes limited.

    Another argument is that without working alongside other students their own age, home school students may not know how to handle themselves in the competitive world outside the home.

    “They need to be sure that the child is being taught,” said Principal of Alpha Academy School, Eugene Slocum. “One of the things that can become a problem, is that – just because a child is being taught, it does not mean they are being competitive.”

    Slocum worries that with no competition for students, the standard may be lowered as a result.

    “We, as a public school, have to meet the same criteria as other schools, we are accountable for what we do,” said Slocum. “We can’t just hide test results, we have standards to meet in order to help kids learn.”

    Both Slocum and Wiggs agreed that the decision to home school one’s children depends largely on the family itself. “Home schooling is not for everyone,” said Wiggs. “It is one of many educational choices available to parents. There is public, private … many different opportunities.”

    That first graf is a killer. I was unaware that unschooling and creationism go hand-in-hand.

    UPDATE: I figured out the first graf. It’s not unstructured as in unschooling. The reporter is using the word “uncontructured” in contrast to having the government looking over our shoulders telling us what to teach. In that respect, we’re all unstructured. “Unsupervised” would have been a better word choice. Still lame, but better.


    Filed on August 15, 2006 at 6:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s the Law.

    AlterNet has a good piece on the Reconstructionist movement. The really scary part is how close some of these folks are to the WH. (via Mainstream Baptist, who sadly seems less mainstream every day.)


    Filed on at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Dell has issued a big recall for potentially explosive laptop batteries. Details here.


    Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

    I see this all too often:

    THE YMCA is registering for a new program called Y Homeschool. Home-schoolers can get physical education credits and socialize with other home-schooled kids through weekly fitness classes at the YMCA.

    I’m pretty sure there are NO physical education credits required in the State of Texas.

    I imagine the YMCA is to blame. You’d think they would know the purpose of the program. Evidently not.


    Filed on at 5:12 am under by dcobranchi

    that, for once, I didn’t forget to post a link to the CoH.


    Filed on at 1:57 am under by dcobranchi

    Boy, this makes us look real good:

    Library officials will reconsider policies on buying books, two months after firing the system’s director amid criticism of favoring popular books over classics or nonfiction.

    …Amy Gregerson said she has a hard time with home schooling her children because of the selection at the library. She said the library had 20 copies of the latest Harry Potter book but only had four copies of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

    “We won’t have enough copies for the eight students in our middle school class,” she said.

    Hint to Ms. Gregerson– There’s this new thing out called an online bookstore. All you do is click this link and order the books you need.


    Filed on August 14, 2006 at 5:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    I really feel for anyone who falls for Ms. Passey.

    UPDATE: Correction– Thrice.


    Filed on at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

    Your BFF Joe is eminently mockable.


    Filed on at 6:46 am under by dcobranchi

    for a bad press release. And this one is really bad:

    When people talk about teaching their children from home in the absence of any definite or structured curriculum, it is perhaps natural to think that homeschooling is cheap. But this is far from the truth. Although homeschooling does not stick to any particular text, this is perhaps more of a bane than a boon, when it comes to finance. When you need to make sure that your children receives state-of-the-art education so that they can compete with regular school goers, expenses will naturally mount. The actual cost of educating a child at home is surprisingly high. Up-to-date textbooks, course materials, a library, computing equipment, lighting, specially designed furniture all cost money. In this case, the cost may be slightly lesser when it comes to homeschooling the second child. Add to this any additional tuition cost for tutors who come to teach subjects that cannot be handled by parents, like higher-level math or science. The total cost can be a bit mind boggling.

    If you take another important factor into consideration, homeschooling costs may effective triple. The need for having one of the parents tied to the house and fully dedicated to providing education deprives the family of a second earning member. The average homeschooling teacher is usually a lady with a college degree. This means that she can easily bring home a pay of $35,000 or more. It is also interesting to note that most families that have more than 2 children do not opt for homeschooling at all.

    True. And even more interesting is that most families with 2 or fewer children do not opt for homeschooling. Hell! Nobody opts for homeschooling. What am I even doing here?


    Filed on at 6:25 am under by dcobranchi

    It’s a two-fer. And they’re not even from the Fayetteville Observer.

    All’s fair in love and war, even the current Iraq crisis

    After reading David Broder’s column, “A Catch-22 in the Middle East Wars,” the thought came to mind that our government is always asking our military to fight these wars with one hand tied behind them.

    Our so-called leaders seem to have not learned anything over the past 60 years since World War II. Our country, along with our allies, fought that war without much thought, if any, to being fair.

    We weren’t out to defeat the German and Japanese military only. We ripped into their countries. We destroyed their industries, farms, roads, bridges, and infrastructures.

    We mercilessly killed civilians by the hundreds of thousands in the attempt to demoralize them and take away their ability to fight. We fire bombed their cities, day and night. We almost starved them into submission. In the end, in Japan, we finally nuked them.

    I have been against this war since our president called for it. Up until then and after “9/11,” Bush was my hero. He hit back at al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan and I was 100 percent in his corner, including most of the civilized world.

    But he became obsessed with Iraq. Now, as in Vietnam, we are asking our young soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors to fight those insurgents, but not to hurt the civilians.

    William A. Couch, Lincoln

    So, is he against the war in Iraq because we’re not firebombing Bagdhad and nuking Fallujah?

    Liberals want to destroy us, don’t want America to prosper

    Finally, a journalist admits to the sophist views of its immature cadre in the August 7th letter from Patrice Leonard.

    The public admission was stunning but well known. Failure of the press corps by its practice of specious reasoning and personal bias has resulted in plunging readership for several years. That and their moral relativism would be a danger if it were not so blatant and laughable.

    They may continue to side with and make excuses for those wanting to destroy us, but I choose the side wanting to keep America a vibrant republic for its many citizens. They should be very careful as they choose their bias.

    Richard Spencer, Frankford

    If one can consider blogging “journalism,” then I am a journalist wholeheartedly opposed to the war. I want the jihaddis to win. And I hate democracy.


    Filed on August 13, 2006 at 2:01 pm under by dcobranchi

    TechBarbargains has a link to a TI-84+ Graphing calculator for $65 after (ugh) rebates. Graphing calculators are almost required for certain SAT-II (Subject Tests). Make sure to C&P the coupon code: 25828894


    Filed on at 1:19 pm under by dcobranchi

    I mean Peucetia viridans. Looked pretty pukey walking along the edge of our pool. I hate spiders.


    Filed on at 9:54 am under by dcobranchi

    Check out the #4 hit on the word “educrat.” Add “home” to the search and he’s #1!


    Filed on at 8:45 am under by dcobranchi

    I finally figured out how to link to CNN videos. Here’s the self-watering tree from yesterday.


    Filed on at 8:17 am under by dcobranchi

    The New York Daily News is a big paper with a circulation of almost 750,000. Which is why I find this quote fairly interesting:

    Parents learned that the charter was coming after a city educrat was seen at the building last week checking out the space.

    No scare quotes around “educrat.” Just an ordinary everyday word. Hmmm.


    Filed on at 7:48 am under by dcobranchi

    From Cosmic Variance.
    The War on Water


    Filed on at 7:22 am under by dcobranchi

    This article implies that we’re all school-at-homers.

    Both families agree it’s worth buying proper school furniture, because it’s usually more durable than pieces designed for home use. Shannon’s husband is the information technologies director for the Vail School District, so she orders hers direct from school catalogs.
    And any avid home-schooler will tell you to keep the space interesting. Shannon has painted hers bright turquoise, royal blue and emerald green, with “lots of things to look at,” including a floor rug depicting a map of the world.

    Similarly, home-schooler Susan Elsberry goes for huge maps as visual stimulation for her son Colin, 11.

    …But although Susan acknowledges that most home-schoolers are “desperately seeking organization,” she has a few words for those who take tidiness too seriously: “The educators in my family are thrilled when they drop in and see work and projects and books and magazines on the floor. Good classrooms aren’t always tidy.”

    My kids do their work wherever they feel like it. For the younger ones, that generally means the couch or lying on the floor. We don’t have school desks.


    Filed on at 6:49 am under by dcobranchi

    This editorial in the Wilmington (DE) News-Journal just doesn’t click for me. Why would a man voluntarily submit to a paternity test if the goal is to get “fathers to acknowledge their children legally by getting their name on the birth certificate”? I can think of only one situation– where the mother denies that he’s the father. Other than that, I don’t see the need for the program.

    What am I missing?


    Filed on at 3:31 am under by dcobranchi

    Follow the links, especially the 2nd one.

    You gotta love the folks who read Revelation literally and ignore the part whereby only 144,000 will be saved.

    UPDATE: The permalinks don’t appear to work for comments (under FF, anyway). The comment I had in mind was Just Passing By’s.


    Filed on August 12, 2006 at 4:31 pm under by dcobranchi

    A really ugly (mis)lede:

    Last year’s measles outbreak in northwest Indiana, the nation’s largest in nearly a decade, could have been avoided, health officials say, had home- schooled children been vaccinated against the disease. So could a mumps outbreak last year that affected more than 2,500 people.

    Indiana has a religious exemption law, so even if every one of these kids had been in the g-schools it would have made no difference. The fact is that this outbreak had nothing to do with education. It’s a freedom of religion issue.


    Filed on at 11:19 am under by dcobranchi

    Always demanding separation of church and state (Passwords– HEOS1234@mailinator.com, HEOS1234). Why don’t they just move out and leave the country state county to all of the bigots good God-fearing people?

    A Texas County family filed a religious discrimination lawsuit Friday in federal court in Oklahoma City.

    The suit names Hardesty Public Schools, Texas County, the town of Hardesty and a dozen people accused of discriminating against Chester and Nadia Smalkowski and their two children because they are atheists.

    …The lawsuit contends school officials removed Smalkowski’s daughter from the girls basketball team in November 2004 after she refused to participate in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the coach’s direction. They used false accusations as a pretext for the move, the lawsuit states.

    Chester Smalkowski ended up facing a felony count of aggravated assault and battery after meeting with the school principal about his daughter’s dismissal from the team.

    The principal accused Smalkowski of assaulting him, but he was acquitted of that charge by a Texas County jury in June.

    The lawsuit alleges the principal attacked Smalkowski, then falsely accused him.

    Smalkowski contends he was prosecuted because of his religious beliefs, according to the lawsuit. Authorities offered to drop the charges if he and his family left Texas County.

    Via Mainstream Baptist.


    Filed on at 8:06 am under by dcobranchi

    Magical thinking in the US is now epidemic:

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) — Is it an artesian spring, a broken water pipe or an abandoned well?

    Lucille Pope’s red oak tree has gurgled water for about three months, and experts can’t seem to get to the root of the problem.

    …Mark Peterson, a regional community forester from the Texas Forest Service said he believes it could be a spring, but pointed out that would be rare with the drought conditions this summer.

    “If it is a burst pipe their monthly bill would be enormous,” Peterson said.

    Lucille Pope has started to wonder if the water has special properties.

    Her insurance agent dabbed drops of the water on a spider bite and the welt went away, she said.

    “I just want to know if it is a healing tree or blessed water,” she said. “That’s God’s water. Nobody knows but God.”

    Does anyone know if Canada is accepting immigration requests? Or maybe Hell. The demons seem pretty level-headed.


    Filed on at 6:42 am under by dcobranchi

    And the bleat goes on:

    A couple in Brussels has been threatened with criminal neglect for schooling their children at home, and a U.S. expert on the issue told WorldNetDaily the case actually could pose a threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Constitution.

    That’s because if the basis for the legal arguments being made by Belgian prosecutors ever would be accepted in – or imposed upon — the United States, that fact would make the U.N. protocol equal to the Constitution.

    What terrifies U.S. homeschool education experts is the authorities’ decision to cite the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a legal argument.

    …Under the protocol, children would be vested with freedom of expression, so that “any attempts (by parents) to prevent their children from interacting with material parents deem unacceptable is forbidden.”

    Reaching to the far end of that logic would produce this result: your 6-year-old wants Playboy magazine, or even to visit a Playboy club, and you pay for it.

    Yes, I’d say that was reaching for the far end of something. Fear-mongering? Wimpiness? Utter inanity? Whatever it is, it isn’t “logic.”


    Filed on August 11, 2006 at 9:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    Over at Edspresso, there’s an interesting debate finishing up on standardized testing.


    Filed on at 5:43 pm under by dcobranchi

    Looks like the RaptureReady folks are going to be disappointed one more time; Israel is ready to accept a ceasefire.


    Filed on at 5:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    It’s all the Dems’ fault. They made Gingrich (and Giuliani and McCain) cheat on their wives:

    But then again, that’s in sync with the spirit of today’s Republican Party. Thanks to amoral liberal converts from the Democratic Party, the Republicans are a party without any standards or morals. This is a topic I would like to expand upon in the future; for now, suffice it to say that we don’t need another Bill Clinton for president — even if his name is Newt Gingrich, and even if he has an R next to his name.

    The author is a former HEK:

    Rudy Takala is 17 years old and lives in Minnesota. He was homeschooled for nine years, and currently attends a local community college full time.


    Filed on at 5:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    OK, who said this? (And no fair Googling, Scott)

    “Never has so much military and economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively . . . I say the time has come for the American people to turn to new leadership not tied to the mistakes and policies of the past.”

    It’s found in the current edition of Rolling Stone magazine if that helps.


    Filed on at 4:28 pm under by dcobranchi

    Always sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong.

    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) – A Missouri couple who must get married, or move, in order to comply with a housing ordinance in Black Jack, Missouri, sued the town on Thursday, claiming rules prohibiting the unmarried couple and their children from living together are unconstitutional.

    The petition, filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, challenges a Black Jack city ordinance that prohibits more than three people from living together in the same house if they are unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption.

    …Shelltrack and Loving have lived together about 13 years and have two children together, along with a 15-year-old daughter of Shelltrack’s from a previous relationship.

    The town argues that they’re not a family. Where are all those “parental rights” folks now?


    Filed on at 6:30 am under by dcobranchi

    This is too far away. I’d love to ask him how HONDA “helps” us.

    Hickory, NC – Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) today announced he will be hosting a town hall meeting for families that homeschool their children on Saturday, August 12th. The event will be a picnic at Henry Fork Park (off Exit 121 on I-40) in Catawba County from 11AM until 1PM. All interested families from the area and members of the media are invited and encouraged to bring a picnic lunch.

    “I believe parents – not the federal government – know how to best educate their children,” Congressman McHenry said. “Please bring a picnic lunch and your questions on Saturday, August 12th for a great discussion on the issues that are most important to homeschooling families.”

    Congressman McHenry is a co-sponsor of the Family Education Freedom Act, the Hope Plus Scholarship Act of 2005 and the Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act of 2005, which give a helping hand to families that homeschool. The topic of discussion will vary amongst issues pertaining to homeschooling families as well as a broad assessment of legislation that affects all Western North Carolina families.

    For more information, please contact Laurie Moody at the congressman’s Hickory office at (828) 327-6100.

    WHAT: Homeschool Town Meeting/Picnic

    WHO: Congressman McHenry, Interested Families, News Media

    WHERE: Henry Fork Park, Catawba County (off Exit 121 on I-40)

    WHEN: Saturday, August 12th: 11 AM – 1 PM

    NOTE: Bring a picnic lunch!

    UPDATE: He’s buds with Musgrave. And his HSLDA-written endorsed “Family Education Freedom Act” would provide tax credits for homeschooling for “qualified educational expenses.” Yeah, I want to justify my homeschooling expenses to the IRS.


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    A quote ought to suffice here:

    Rockstar, the maker of best-selling video game series “Grand Theft Auto,” said on Wednesday it would launch in October “Bully,” a game with themes of school fighting that has antiviolence critics up in arms.

    The game’s main character is 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, who must defend himself against school bullies at a fictional U.S. boarding school called Bullworth Academy, while dealing with characters ranging from nerds and jocks to authoritarian prefects.

    Weapons included baseball bats that break after several blows, stink bombs and bags of marbles that when strategically thrown will lay flat most pursuers.

    “We think the school environment is a universal experience that so many people relate to,” said Walker, who added that criticism of “Bully” is unique in that it had preceded the release of the game, which has been kept under tight wraps.


    Filed on at 5:35 am under by dcobranchi

    Because I find this funny.


    Filed on August 10, 2006 at 8:29 pm under by dcobranchi

    “In God We Trust” is no longer. Our new motto is “Thank God for Turkey.”


    Filed on at 6:54 pm under by dcobranchi

    Godwin wins.

    “I’m worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don’t appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security and the evil of the enemy that faces us — more evil or as evil as Nazism and probably more dangerous than the Soviet communists we fought during the long Cold War,” Lieberman said.

    Yeah, a bunch of guys with doctored Coke cans are far more dangerous than was the Soviet Union. After all, they only had thousands of thermonuclear weapons.

    C-O-F-F-E-E L-O-T-D

    Filed on at 9:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Via JJ Ross, a new reason to home educate— the schools have coffee and diet sodas available to the kids.

    In response to Mr. Rounsaville’s letter, I would like to ask him if his job is in any way connected to the amount of money the booster club brings in? Mr. Rounsaville, you sound very uneducated about the consequences of kids eating bad food — both immediate and long term. Do you eat that junk?

    You obviously do not know about the attractive, healthy and delicious choices available. (Low-sugar soda is not one of them. Aspartame causes cancer and tiny wormholes in the brain.)

    Actually, there is nothing more shocking than selling potent coffee, sugar and pure junk to children in a place of learning; and then diagnosing them as ADHD or hyperactive and giving them more drugs to calm down. I would suggest that you visit the local natural foods store and sample the variety they have for a start. Then do some homework and order it cheap.

    I was a very healthy kid until I entered the Kodiak school system at age 6. I became more unhealthy in the hands of educators and babysitters until I was 16. Luckily, when I hit high school, it was common knowledge that all you had to do was start smoking to lose pounds. The high school even had a designated smoking area — and this was the ’90s!

    KHS is in the dark ages! Healthy is cool. Spread the word. Being fit and looking great is cool!

    And you’re dead wrong: Exercise is not the most important factor. You are what you eat.

    I chose to homeschool my kids for the sole purpose of keeping them healthy. They need life-long healthy habits more than they need anything the school has to offer. I wouldn’t send them to school on this island until the schools come out of the Dark Age and start teaching the importance of how to take care of one’s body.

    P.S. Kids want you to offer healthy choices. They want to believe you care about them. Coffee and sugar are addictive and you are promoting their addiction. Do you realize withdrawal from coffee and sugar is like quitting smoking?

    Aspartame causes brain rot? Caffeine is as addictive as nicotine? I amso screwed.


    Filed on at 3:27 am under by dcobranchi

    The proprietor of this website is hoping to get some feedback from HEKs and/or their parents. He assures me that it really is free and that he’s not trying to sell anything to users.

    I tried to take the test, but think I found several math errors (and one problem that makes an unnecessary assumption). But it’s 3:30 a.m., and my brain is not running on all cylinders.


    Filed on August 9, 2006 at 4:25 pm under by dcobranchi

    I can’t resist highlighting this one, as it’s completely over the top.

    Hi Daryl:

    There’s been a lot of mystery surrounding the startup of Founders College—the greatest revolution in higher education of our lifetime. You can be the first to get the real deal (not the media mush) on this exciting project out to homeschoolers by checking out www.founderscollege.com. You’re getting a first look because you’re a rational, prolific, powerful web communicator. There will be many exciting milestones to come—announcement of our location, full faculty listing, and much, much more–and we’ll be in touch along the way.


    Tamara K. Fuller
    Executive Vice President &
    Chief Strategy Officer
    Founders College Education, Inc.


    Filed on at 6:58 am under by dcobranchi

    This week’s host is Sprittibee. YeeHah!


    Filed on at 6:43 am under by dcobranchi

    Jackasses, one and all.

    Educrats– a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.*

    *Apologies to Douglas Adams.


    Filed on at 6:33 am under by dcobranchi

    Reading through this one, I thought possibly two stories got merged by accident:

    The most sweeping amendments, if passed, would ban civil unions and allow social conservatives to challenge the ability of governmental entities and private companies to offer domestic partnership benefits. Also in jeopardy, say legal experts, are parenting and real estate agreements, wills, powers of attorney, and other valuable legal documents that gay and lesbian couples are increasingly using to achieve some of the protections automatically provided by marriage.

    “We’re talking about language that very clearly bans civil unions and very broadly will ban anything and everything that would be a way for couples to protect each other,” says Leslie Shear, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-chair of the school’s Family Law Project.

    For Vahey and Taylor, that would be a nightmare.

    And it would be a nightmare for Aurora Greane, too. Asked what grade she’s in, Aurora doesn’t have a ready answer.

    “I’m in a variety of grades,” chirps the seven-and-a-half-year-old, who reads at the third and fourth grade level and spells at the second grade level.

    “That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling,” explains her mother, Debra. “She can learn at whatever level she’s at.”

    Aurora is working on math problems alongside her mom as sun streams through the large windows of the family’s new home in Madison, Wisconsin. The family moved to larger quarters to make room for Debra’s elderly mom, who will soon be moving in.

    As is made clear a bit further down, the family is headed by two women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂


    Filed on at 6:26 am under by dcobranchi

    Mimi’s giving away a Chevy Aveo. You have to subscribe to her newsletter to enter. For a BMW Z4, sure. Aveo? No thanks.


    Filed on August 8, 2006 at 9:23 pm under by dcobranchi

    Down 55-45 with 25% reporting.

    UPDATE 9:27 p.m.– 54-46 with 38% reporting

    UPDATE 9:36 p.m.– 52-48 with 50% reporting. Lamont leads by ~6,000 votes.

    UPDATE 9:42 p.m.– 52-48 with 57% reporting. Lamont leads by 6,600 votes.

    UPDATE 9:52 p.m.– 52-48 with 72% reporting. Lamont leads by 6,300 votes. (Not looking too good for Joe.)

    UPDATE:11:06 p.m.–52-48 with 95% reporting. Lamont’s lead is up to 10,000 votes. Joe’s toast.

    FINAL UPDATE: Joe concedes (sort of). Get your wallet out, Scott. Lieberman spent something like $12 million on this losing effort.


    Filed on at 7:41 am under by dcobranchi

    Patrick SwayzeDeborah Markus gives home education advice:

    Even with other homeschoolers, we can feel set apart at times. Though we are still a comparatively tiny percentage of the population, we are a large enough group to encompass a great deal of diversity. Maybe you breastfeed your toddler. Or you breastfeed your toddler and your newborn–often at the same time. Perhaps you unschool in a social circle that considers that to be just short of child abuse. Or you have a family bed and your in-laws don’t think it’s short of child abuse at all. You’re a vegetarian and so are your kids. You’re a vegan and so are your kids. You’re a vegan and so are your kids except for your nine-month-old, who still nurses exclusively. You don’t watch much TV. You don’t watch any TV. You don’t own a TV. You own a TV, but it’s out in the yard with an axe handle sticking out of the screen and you send your kids back there when they say they want to watch. You didn’t vaccinate. You didn’t vaccinate completely. You are trying to make up your mind about vaccinating or not vaccinating and your friends on either side of the issue think you’re nuts to even worry about it. You have a midwife instead of an OB/GYN. You had a homebirth. You had a water-birth, and even your home-birthing buddies are aghast. You have one child, and that’s all. You have four children, and that’s not all. Your children bear not the slightest physical resemblance to you. You’re into attachment parenting and your friends keep giving you tips on “Ferberizing” your two-month-old.

    …Keep Smiling

    Definitely worth a read


    Filed on at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

    Maybe Spunky can chime in here, but I don’t understand why HEKs couldn’t take advantage of the CC without first having to be sucked back into the g-school systems:

    Dual enrollment should be encouraged, marketed

    Michigan schools — especially those within spitting distance of Gogebic Community College — have a real trump card to play in today’s tough economic environment.

    It’s called dual enrollment.

    Dual enrollment been the law of the land in Michigan for some time, but word of it took a long time to filter to these backwaters of the Great Lakes State.

    In short, any junior or senior who has passed the state’s yardstick for scholastic mastery — the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test — is supposed to be able to enroll in college while he or she attends high school. There are limitations, but they are small. In truth, an enterprising student can get a high school diploma and a fair number of college credits under the belt before turning 19.

    There are logistical problems that make dual enrollment difficult, not least distance from college, the need to provide one’s own books and the expense of transportation (borne by the student’s family).

    A more significant logistical problem is school policy. Schools tend to downplay the dual enrollment option. In some cases it has been discouraged, and that’s disappointing.

    Those who would discourage dual enrollment put forth several arguments:

    –Students need to be in their high school buildings for social or other reasons.

    –They need to be in high school to fill out advanced classes, which are often starved for students.

    –The school needs to keep every single dollar it can in the building.

    We understand this thinking, but politely disagree.

    In fact, local school districts make money on every class a student takes at GCC via dual enrollment. The difference between the low GCC tuition and the fraction of state aid needed to cover the cost guarantees it.

    Dual enrollment could be the key to drawing students to the Ironwood district for their freshman and sophomore years, as well as junior and senior. Packaged well, the program might even entice some home schooling families to consider public school with dual enrollment as an option for their older children.

    Dual enrollment will never have a huge impact on local school enrollment. According to Ironwood records, the program cost the district about $10,000 during the last academic year. The numbers for other districts in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties are no doubt lower.

    Nor to we suggest that dual enrollment be the rule, rather than the exception.

    But for the motivated, high-achieving student, dual enrollment provides an unparalleled opportunity to grow. It should be encouraged, and marketed. — DAILY GLOBE (IRONWOOD), July 27.


    Filed on at 5:55 am under by dcobranchi

    I agreed with only 16 out of 30 on this (sort of) test. Personally, I don’t mind that machine guns are generally unavailable, and I fail to see how the income tax is unconstitutional, especially since, you know, it’s in the Constitution.

    Looks like Izzy’s going to have to soldier on without me in this cycle.


    Filed on at 5:43 am under by dcobranchi

    The LOTD is pretty good. I wish, though, that he would have stressed that he was speaking only for himself.

    Though we cannot attest for all homeschoolers, we know for many parents that have chosen the home school route for their children the following four values are of utmost importance. (1) Above all, we value God and thus believe the most important educational “subject” on the docket is to share with our children the good news about Him and what He has done for us, (2) we value a learning environment where the teacher’s authority does not play second fiddle to the rebellious student’s supposed “right” to act out in anger or to openly defy or mock his teacher, (3) we value sexual purity for our children, and (4) we value a learning environment that is free of pressures to embrace a lifestyle of violence or alcohol/drug abuse.


    Filed on August 7, 2006 at 9:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    Perverts. Get your minds out of the gutter. 🙂

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