According to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel article by Marc Freeman on December 15, 2006, homosexual resource sites on the Internet now are just a click away for computer users at public schools. The Palm Beach County School District recently unblocked student and teacher access to several so-called "gay-supportive" Web sites after months of appeals and legal pressure by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. Some sites remain blocked. A message labeling the sites "Sexuality/Alternative Lifestyles" no longer pops up on School District computer screens when users visit Web sites run by the "gay rights council" and the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Michael Woods, a teacher at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach who is trying to start a "Gay Straight Alliance club" on campus said, "It’s great that [students and faculty members] can get reliable researched information."
That brings up another news item. During the debate on whether marriage should be limited to a man and a woman or be extended to include same sex couples, one question often asked of the pro-homosexual crowd was what about extending the definition of marriage to include marriage with animals. Well, according to the Los Angeles Times, January 21 2007, the documentary Zoo, about what director Robinson Devor accurately characterizes as "the last taboo, on the boundary of something comprehensible," premiered before a rapt audience the night before at the Sundance, film festival. What is that "last taboo"? It is sex between men and animals. Devor and his writing partner, Charles Mudede, who live in Seattle, WA, were stunned, as were many in the state, by a story that broke in 2005 about a local man who died after having sex with an Arabian stallion and the subsequent shocking revelation of the existence of an Internet-based zoophile community (the men refer to themselves as "zoos," hence the title). So, he decided to make a film about it! In the end, Devor ended up agreeing with the Roman writer Terence, who said "I consider nothing human alien to me." The filmmaker said, "It happens, so it’s part of who we are." My response on the message board (and I was not the only one to use this word) was, "Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick. But what can you expect from the ‘Hollywood values’ crowd?" Also, I wonder how long it will be until some public school teacher will think that "it’s great" to show this film to his or her students (just to get reliable researched information, of course)?
Wayne Walker here,
Next week, I will begin sending out the Feb., 2007, issue of the "new" Biblical Homeschooling, a free e-mail newsletter especially for homeschooling families associated with churches of Christ but available for anyone who is interested. It is my aim to have something that is beneficial for all and offensive to none.
The "new" Biblical Homeschooling will have information that you can use for language arts (Studies in Grammar using a story about Johann, Georg, and the Princess), history (Unsung and Forgotten Heroes of the American War for Independence), music (the American composer, and the Young Person’s Guide to the Hymnbook), and Bible study (Old Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me).
In addition, there will be guest editorials, homeschool encouragement, a monthly meditation, book reviews, news and notes, interviews with members of the Lord’s church who homeschool, and other items of current interest to homeschooling families.
If anyone would like to receive it, you can do so by sending a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and then following the instructions that will be sent, or by subscribing from the web at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling .
Should you have any questions or desire further information, just e-mail me at email@example.com .
At the 2007 Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo, we plan a whole set of seminars for special needs. Many parents of children with special needs receive their services through the public schools, but homeschooling parents often want to find other resources on their own. Since 1977 parents have been using Huntington Learning Centers to help their children reach their full learning potential. Their experienced teach of dedicated, caring professionals can pinpoint a child’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and tailor a program to improve grades, increase self-confidence, and restore the motivation to learn. The one here in the St. Louis area is located at 373 Watson Plaza in Crestwood, MO 63126; (314) 821-1995. However, each center is independently franchised and operated. To get more information, you might call 1-800-CAN-LEARN.
I know very little about what goes on in the pop culture world of music, movies, and television today, but in Parade Magazine, Jan. 21, 2007, Walter Scott’s "Personality Parade" was asked, "My sister and I like Corbin Bleu, star of Disney’s hit High School Musical. What’s his own schooling like?" The answer said, "Hit and miss. ‘I was homeschooled at times,’ says Corbin, 17. ‘At other times, I went to a private school, charter school and performing arts high.’ He’s deferring college to concentrate on his career and is now on tour with High School Musical. You can also catch him Wednesday on the Disney Channel in Jump In!"
A Word of Encouragement: Recently on a homeschooling e-mail list, Kathy Matthews posted the following note from a lady named Melinda. "It’s not published anywhere or anything, but I thought you would all like to hear this. My dad (Madison Avenue entrepreneur and CEO of a business credit services company) was visiting us this past weekend. In our discussion, my dad said that homeschoolers are in high demand in the business world. His clients (other big businesses) see homeschoolers as highly intelligent, capable, self-motivated and well educated. The educators might not ‘get it,’ but business and professional arenas certainly seem to!"
And a word from a former teacher now homeschooling: The following note was posted on another homeschooling e-mail list recently. "Hello all! My name is Sheri Percell. I am a homeschooling mother of 3: Hannah (9), Adam (6), and Owen (3). We are members at the Park Forest church of Christ in nearby Baton Rouge, LA. We currently live in Denham Springs, LA, but are in the process of moving to the West Houston, TX area. In addition to homeschooling, I run a small horse boarding farm….We are members of a local homeschooling group, but we do not have any local Christian friends that homeschool. The family that my kids are closest to are actually Mormons (which makes for awkward questions sometimes!). One of our main reasons for moving is to try to find better (i.e. Christian) influences for our children. Our current congregation has very few children, and of those all but one do NOT attend regularly. We decided to homeschool before our children were born as a direct result of me being a public school teacher (foreign languages). Ugh. (Terrible, rotten, underpaid job. I still have lots of respect for those who can do it.) I didn’t want that kind of socialization for my kids!
According to an Associated Press article dated 1/18/2007 by Jessica Mintz headlined, "Families sue News Corp., MySpace after children abused,"Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said Thursday. The law firms, Barry & Loewy LLP of Austin, Texas, and Arnold & Itkin LLP of Houston, said families from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina filed separate suits Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging negligence, recklessness, fraud and negligent misrepresentation by the companies." According to the article, critics including parents, school officials and police have been increasingly warning of online predators at sites like MySpace, where youth-oriented visitors are encouraged to expand their circles of friends using free messaging tools and personal profile pages. MySpace has responded with added educational efforts and partnerships with law enforcement. The company has also placed restrictions on how adults may contact younger users on MySpace, while developing technologies such as one announced Wednesday to let parents see some aspects of their child’s online profile, including the stated age. That tool is expected this summer. However, Jason A. Itkin, an Arnold & Itkin lawyer, said, "In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users." The lawyers who filed the latest lawsuits said the plaintiffs include a 15-year-old girl from Texas who was lured to a meeting, drugged and assaulted in 2006 by an adult MySpace user, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Texas after pleading guilty to sexual assault. The others are a 15-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old from New York and two South Carolina sisters, ages 14 and 15. Last June, the mother of a 14-year-old who says she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old user sued MySpace and News Corp., seeking $30 million in damages. That lawsuit, filed in a Texas state court, claims the 19-year-old lied about being a senior in high school to gain her trust and phone number. My comment is that while there is obviously some parental responsibility here with a need for oversight, the fact is that some places are just dangerous and young people need to be warned to stay away.
Our friend, Joan Elder who is a homeschooling mom in Minneapolis, MN says that the following is a good homeschooling website — http://www.homeschoolingfromtheheart.com/ . She also cited the following as a great resource of homeschool websites — http://www.books4homeschool.com/links.htm . And she recommended www.homeschoolradioshows.com and http://www.bartleby.com/ .