Signs of bullying aren’t always easy to spot

     In the Fall, 2006, issue of STL Superkids, sent to us from SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center here in St. Louis, the following question appeared in the “Ask Dr. Tim” section. “My daughter has been complaining of stomachaches and headaches before school, but they usually go away later in the day. Should I be concerned? She seems to feel sick almost every day.” Dr. Timothy Fete responded, “It is possible that your daughter's complaints are a result of being bullied at school. My colleagues and I see similar symptoms in some of our patients that appear to be illness, but actually reflect a child's reluctance to go to school. Warning signs for bulling are not always easy to spot, which is why it's important for parents and teachers to know what to look for, especially as the school year begins. The U. S. Department of Health and Human services offers the following signs to help determine whether your child may be a victim of bullying:
Damaged or missing pieces of clothing or books.

Unexplained cuts, bruises or scratches.

Few friends.

Afraid of going to school, riding the bus or taking part in organized activities with peers, such as clubs.

Sudden change in academic performance.

Sad, moody or depressed after school.

Frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments.

Trouble sleeping or frequent bad dreams.

Loss of appetite.

Anxiety, low self-esteem.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, please talk with your child, and his or her teacher. School officials can help shed light on social interactions at school and address a problem, if one persists.” I might add that while I do not necessarily suggest running from a problem and I assume that a lot of school officials probably want to help, I know of many parents who have faced this problem and received little or no assistance from the school which was either unwilling or unable to do anything, so they found that the best solution was homeschooling.

Preparing homeschoolers for college

     I received the following e-mail recently: Do you have a homeschool or unschool teen who is thinking about going to college? Do you need help familiarizing yourself with which college or university will meet your teen's needs? Do you know how to prepare for and apply to college Do you know the ins and outs of financial aid and grants? Do you know which colleges will be most eager to enroll your teen? We can help with an online tool called (GALN) which is the ultimate tool for finding and getting into the right college through direct communication with the right people. GALN’s specialized online portfolio (ePAQ) is designed for both high school and homeschool students. GALN is a unique web-based system allowing students to effectively compete for collegiate opportunities by communicating directly to key decision makers at colleges, universities, technical and trade schools throughout the United States. GALN helps students create a personalized electronic packet (ePAQ) that showcases their talents, skills and accomplishments to set them apart from other students. GALN helps students find the right schools based on their interests and achievements, the types of schools and the areas of study they’re interested in, and the state or region where they’d like to study. GALN helps students reach the right people by sending the ePAQ directly and instantly to key decision makers including admissions directors, deans of colleges, coaches in all sports and lead instructors. No other program offers this unique service. It allows students to customize their portfolios based on their unique educational experiences. Not all students need to have a GPA or certain test scores. GALN provides the forum to tailor students’ portfolios based on their needs. For more information on how GALN can help your homeschool teen please visit our website at: . Melanie Weber, Riveredge LLC / GALN; Phone: 262-240-0595 x106; Fax: 262-240-0596; .

Good Reading

     Imprimis: Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard and host of the Beltway Boys on FOX News, has an excellent article, adapted from a speech delivered in Palm Beach, FL, on Feb. 22, 2006, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, entitled “Is the Mainstream Media Fair and Balanced?” in the Aug., 2006 (Vol. 35, No. 8) issue of Imprimis from Hillsdale College, a very homeschool-friendly college. His answer, in a word, is no, but he provides ample evidence in the speech to back up his claim. Imprimis is a free, monthly publication of Hillsdale College containing speeches that deal with important issues related to today's culture and politics. You can subscribe by writing Hillsdale College, 33 East College St., Hillsdale, MI 49242; e-mailing; phoning (800) 437-2268; or visiting

     World Magazine: The Aug. 26, 2006, edition has a very interesting article “Saving while studying” by Timothy Lamer which contains some good tips on finding ways for students to economize in view of the high cost of going to college. Also, a letter to the editor says, “When did it become the responsibility of our schools to instill in our children civility, kindness, gentleness, refined use of language, and a love of learning? We are homeschooling because of the problems we see in public schools, but we place the blame on parents, not teachers. Dysfunctional students reflect dysfunctional homes–a far more ominous crisis than the public-school system.” I would agree with the writer and applaud him for homeschooling, but I would add that at least public schools could promote civility, kindness, gentleness, refined use of language, and a love of learning; unfortunately, many of them do not but engender just the opposite. Another letter writer said, “The public school is the reflection of the values of the society, not the producer of them.” That is most likely true too, but it becomes a vicious circle; as the public school reflects the values of society, they then pass those values on to new students who come to them rather than trying to combat them. One other letter writer agreed with an observation of the first, saying, “Modern schoolteachers are far less effectual in shaping the values of children than are the narcissistic parents and the icons of a decadent and nihilistic pop culture.” Again, that is right; ultimately parents are responsible, and if more parents would demand better schools, things might improve, but we cannot discount the influence of left-wing teachers unions, relativistic curriculum publishers, judicial supremacists, and government bureaucrats in creating situations that even good parents who want good schools sometimes find intolerable and unfixable (is that a word?). If we want to protect our children and raise them up to be warriors against the nihilistic pop culture, homeschooling is the best answer.

What Our Kids Are Missing Out On Department

      Under this title, Barbara Frank in THE IMPERFECT HOMESCHOOLER monthly e-newsletter for August, 2006, wrote, “I remember when I was in junior high (now called middle school), the big scandal was when the principal divorced his wife and married the pretty, blonde math teacher. Well, that was nothing compared to what goes on in middle schools these days. Must we lock up our sons as well as our daughters?” Then she cited this news story, entitled, “Ex-Michigan Band Teacher Admits to Sex,” of July 7, 2006,which said, “A former middle school band teacher admitted she had sexual contact with six male students and entered a guilty plea one day before her trial was scheduled to start. Laura L. Findlay, 32, pleaded guilty Thursday in Saginaw County Circuit Court to 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 16. Under an agreement with prosecutors, she faces at least seven years in prison at sentencing Aug. 17, though the judge could sentence her to up to life in prison. Defense lawyer James F. Piazza said his client might withdraw her plea if the sentence exceeds seven years. Prosecutors say Findlay had sexual contact with male students from Ricker Middle School in Buena Vista Township over five months in 2004. She had taught at the school for seven years. Assistant prosecutor James T. Borchard said the students and their parents agreed with the plea deal.” If you are interested in The Imperfect Homeschooler e-newsletter, published by Cardamom Publishers, PO Box 81, Algonquin , IL 60102, learning more about homeschooling, or homeschool encouragement, visit “The Imperfect Homeschooler” Web site at   Oh, by the way, will someone argue that we need to subject our children to this kind of thing so that they will be “ready to face the real world”?

The University of California’s rejection of Bible-based science texts

     In past issues of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter ( ) there were reports that the University of California's Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS) decided to reject core courses taught in private Christian schools, such as those who offer physics, biology, history, government, and literature using, say, a Bob Jones University Press textbook, based on the fact that the BJU text added a Christian viewpoint to an otherwise standard curriculum. Such courses would not meet the requirements necessary to gain admission to the UC system. Many of these same kinds of texts are used by homeschoolers, so the homeschooling community, especially in California, could well be affected too. Therefore, the Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI) sued, claiming that UC had violated both the California Constitution and the group's First Amendment rights to free speech, association, and exercise of religion. The case has not gone to trial yet, but UC filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that ACI had failed to establish a religious free exercise claim since the schools were still free to teach whatever they wanted. District Judge S. James Otero disagreed, saying that when the state denies an important benefit such as admission to the state university system, because of conduct mandated by religious beliefs does place a burden on religion and that UC's censoring of Christian viewpoints likely violated the first amendment. Therefore, the suit will proceed and probably have national implications. (source: World Magazine; Aug. 19, 2006; p. 22).  I certainly hope that ACSI wins big!!!

Democrats and homosexual marriage:

     (Note–On August 14, 2006, Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association reported the following information.)


     Activists pushing for legalizing homosexual marriage say they will not stop with just homosexual marriage. They demand more. They want government and societal acceptance, approval and financial support for many kinds of relationships, including polygamy. Activists say that marriage is “not the only worthy form of family or relationship,” and it “should not be legally or economically privileged above others.” The statement was signed by 270 homosexual rights activists and heterosexual allies. Other kinds of relationships that they say deserve marriage-like benefits include “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner (polygamy)” and “queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households.” The goal of the activists is the destruction of traditional marriage. The Democratic National Committee has developed plans to help the homosexual activists achieve their goal. DNC spokesman Danien LaVera says the DNC has developed a five-point plan to help homosexuals block any legislation which prohibits homosexual marriage, and to push homosexual marriage. The first successful effort by the Democrats occurred in Illinois where the Democrats donated $10,000 to help the activists keep the marriage protection law off the ballot in that state. LaVera said the DNC strongly opposes efforts to ban homosexual marriage by amending the federal or state constitutions and that the Democratic party plans to step up efforts to promote pro-homosexual marriage bills in several states. Democratic parties in eight states have already adopted platforms endorsing homosexual marriage bills. They include New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

Greenup County and vicinity in Kentucky

      We recently attended a family reunion at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park near Greenup in Greenup County, KY. The Jesse Stuart Lodge, 965 Lodge Rd., Greenup, KY 41144 ( ), in the park not only has spacious rooms and a fine restaurant but also serves as a museum of Jesse Stuart mementos and other items related to the history of the region, with a library and reading room devoted to the works of Stuart. A few years ago when there, we went to the Jesse Stuart Nature Preserve on W Hollow Rd., just north of the Park.  My wife remembers when she was a child and visiting relatives in the area about going to Jesse Stuart's farm which was then open to the public, but it is now a private residence.

     While we were there this year, I picked up some information about several interesting sites to see in the area. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit them, but I thought that I would mention them for your information in case you should ever happen to be there.

     There are two covered bridges in Greenup County. The Bennett's Mill Covered Bridge is on KY Rt. 8, 3/4 miles north of KY Rt. 10, and crosses Tygart Creek. It was built in 1855, restored in 2003, and is believed to be the oldest and longest single-span covered bridge in the world still open to traffic. The Oldtown Covered Bridge is on Co. Rd. 705, 200 yards off KY Rt. 1, south of Greenbo Lake State Resort Park. It was built in 1880 and was restored in 1993 but is closed to traffic.

     The Old Fort Earthworks in South Portsmouth, KY, is a Hopewell culture mound site dating back 2,000 years. Nearby are Lower Shawneetown, site of an important 18th century trading center for the Shawnee Indians, French, and English, and The Forest Home Park, a working farm since pioneer days.

     The Historic McConnell House, 100 McConnell House Dr., at the intersection of U. S. 23 and KY in Wurtland, KY 67, in Wurtland, KY, was built in 1834 and is now operated by the Heritage Arts Science and Tourism Center as a cultural and tourism center. It is open for tours and has many scheduled activities throughout the year.

     The grave of Mary Magdalene Pitts, a three-year old child who was cruelly murdered by her father and step-mother in 1927 and is reported to be the first documented case of child abuse, is in Riverview Cemetery, behind the Greenup County Health Department on U. S. 23, in Greenup, KY. In January of 1928, 20,000 people came from near and far to attend her funeral, and since then her gravesite has been visited by thousands of people who continuously decorate it with loving mementos. Billy Ray Cyrus, country singer and native of the area, made or is making a motion picture, As Fate Would Have It: The True Story of Mary Magdalene Pitts, with Antonio Ranieri, about the incident. Information about these sites can be obtained at .

     Also, in nearby Boyd County (Greenbo is taken from GREENup and BOyd Counties) is the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, which includes the science ZOOMzone, a Front Porch exhibit, Little Joe (an actual river towboat), Aviation Station, historical exhibits from Native Americans to the World Wars, and the Country Music Heritage Hall. It is located at 1620 Winchester Ave., Ashland, KY 41105, and information is available at .

Some observations

     Several issues of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter ( ) have carried warnings about the series of children's books “His Dark Materials” by Phillip Pulliam. Oscar Miles, a gospel preacher, homeschooling father, and good friend from the Florence, AL, area, recently sent me this information. “The Washington Post reports best selling children’s author Philip Pullman as saying, 'I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.' Do we know our enemies, parents? They may show up anywhere.”

     In a somewhat related remark, Oscar noted, “Once again Hollywood movies rated G or PG far out-earned R rated movies in 2005. The more positive the message, the more moral, the more the films earned. It is encouraging to know that most Americans really don’t want the smut that comes out of Hollywood. It is frightening to know that Hollywood still doesn’t care.”

     Oscar also sent me these comments. Regarding television, he wrote, “Still think the media doesn’t affect sexual behavior? A massive study was recently conducted on 12-14 year olds in from North Carolina’s Durham, Orange and Granville counties. The results showed that teenagers who watched more sexually explicit TV were more than twice as likely to engage in sexual activity within two years. The study also found that one of the strongest factors in discouraging premarital sex was parents who expressed their disapproval of such activity. Another study from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth found that those who remained virgins until at least age 18 were much more successful financially than those who didn’t. Once again, God’s way is always best.”

     And concerning the recent Narnia movie, he said, “If, as a popular book put it, women are from Venus and men are from Mars, from what strange planet did actors and actresses migrate? Tilda Swinton, who played the white witch in the recent move The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, recently commented at San Francisco International Film Festival that C.S. Lewis’s book (upon which the movie was based) is actually 'anti-religious.' In reality, the book is blatantly Bible based! She also admitted that they changed the certainty of the resurrection from the book to the witch 'interpreting the magic differently' than the Lion. Well, wherever she’s from, she does not claim to be a white witch but a red witch because of her membership in the British Communist Party. Communists failed miserably in rewriting history, and they will not succeed in rewriting C.S. Lewis’s masterful books.” One has to wonder why, as in the recent Lord of the Rings movies and the film based on The End of the Spear, as well as Narnia, producers cannot find actors who are more sympathetic to what the books upon which they are based stand for.

Reason # 497 to homeschool your children:

     The Washington Post has announced that a new company, BusRadio, plans to install radio equipment in school buses as a way to target corporate advertising using school children as a captive audience. The company's first pilot project is in Massachusetts, and is scheduled to begin in September, targeting children as young as five. After Massachusetts, BusRadio plans to go nationwide with their program. Children riding school buses will be forced to listen to the music and commercial ads while on the bus. The primary purpose of the BusRadio is to make money for their company. And the way they plan to do that is to sell their captive audience to advertisers. School children should not be used as a vehicle to sell commercial advertising. This program needs to be stopped before it is started. I HATED riding the school bus when I was a child, and now there is even more reason to hate it!

Other Homeschooling Magazines

     While I think that The Old Schoolhouse is one of the very best homeschooling magazines available, there are others which I read and support as well.  The various magazines are not so much “competitors” as they are “collaborators.”

     An article of mine entitled “The Parable of the Homeschooling Family,” that I originally wrote back in 2001 for HEADSUP when it was a local support group newsletter, posted on several homeschooling e-mail lists shortly after that, know as a result was used in some other homeschool support group newsletters, included for a while on the Missouri page which I coordinate for The Old Schoolhouse magazine website, then ran again in the May, 2006, issue of HEADSUP, and put on my personal homeschooling blog ( ) appeared in the Volume 16, Number 4, issue of the Home School Digest (P. O. Box 374, Covert, MI 49043), along with several other excellent articles by editor Skeet Savage, Israel Wayne, Andrea Schwartz, Jenny Veleke, Elysse Barrett, Jill Dixon, Celia Sorensen, John Notgrass, Kenneth L. Pierpont, James Boyes, Joel Turtel, Steve and Carol Ryerson, Bob Surgenor, Rachel Thompson, Tom Bushnell, and Kathy Lowers, among others. There is always a lot of worthwhile reading in Home School Digest. And if you are looking for something else to read, there are usually several pages listing books “Worth Reading.”

     The July/August issue (#71) of Practical Homeschooling (P. O. Box 1190, Fenton, MO 63026; has nothing by me, but a few items especially caught my eye. There is an interesting letter from a social worker who has decided to homeschool and publisher Mary Pride's excellent response. Managing editor Bill Pride has a good article on “High School Biology” (which is on our agenda for Mark, age 15, this year, and we have decided to do it through HomeLink). And I really liked Mary Biever's “The Final Word” column on “Summer Sensations.”