Just a comment

     Mark McWhorter, a homeschooling father, sent me these “humble thoughts” prompted by something in the 8/06 issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter (http://groups.yahoo.com/biblicalhomeschooling/ ).  “Socialization is not something that happens later when someone is ready for 'it' to happen. Socialization is a process that is always on- going. Socialization is the process of interacting with others no matter the age. Thus, even the infant is learning socialization by interacting with adults. When asked if we are worried about socialization, our response is, 'Yes, that is why we are homeschooling.'”  So true, so true.

Privatizing education

     Scott Esk, a homeschooling dad from Oklahoma City, OK, sent the following note. “The article in the link below contains some very thoughtful arguments against ever allowing government to direct education. Here in Oklahoma, I'm trying to reason for the fairness of letting only those who are current users of the govt education system to be those who pay for the entire system, as a stepping-stone to totally privatizing education. Once the small percentage of households who have children in the govt. school system are paying all the bills for it, there will be major efforts to bail out of it. Whatever state privatizes education first will be the envy of all the other states, I guarantee it. Read on!—   


http://www.lewrockwell.com/young-andrew/enterprising-education.html   . “

Marmaduke and public school sports

     In a previous blog, I cited a “Marmaduke” cartoon that appeared on 7/28/06 and mentioned homeschooling. I was not the only one who noticed it. HomeSchoolBuzz.com picked it up from my blog. Also, the Sept./Oct., 2006, issue of Home Education Magazine (p. 6) says that News and Commentary editor Valerie Bonham Moon showed her annoyance at this cartoon dissing homeschooling. You can read her comments at http://www.homeedmag.com/blogs/newscomm/?p=481 .

     Valerie B. Moon also made another interesting comment in the Sept./Oct., 2006, issue of Home Education Magazine (p. 6). “The motivations that seem to underlie the reason why homeschooled kids shouldn't play school sports are all mixed up. I don't think homeschooled kids should play public school sports because, by doing so, homeschoolers are pulled into public school politics, and I think sports should be either a private or a community activity, not a school activity, but I think that's fairly straightforward.” Well put!

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 GetALifeNow.com (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: http://www.galn.com/cdcii/www/HomeSchool.aspx . Melanie Weber, Riveredge LLC / GALN; Phone: 262-240-0595 x106; Fax: 262-240-0596; http://www.galn.com .

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 imprimis@hillsdale.edu; phoning (800) 437-2268; or visiting http://www.hillsdale.edu.

     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 http://www.cardamompublishers.com.   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”?