HOMESCHOOLING, WHERE EDUCATING CHILDREN COMES FIRST

     An article "HOWEVER TEMPTING, YOU CAN’T JUST SKIP MIDDLE SCHOOL" by Julia Steiny, a former member of the Providence School Board, appeared in The Providence Journal, Rhode Island on February 5, 2007. I actually saw first in the HomeSchoolBuzz weekly e-newsletter a second article about homeschooling by the same author in which she says, "Judging by my e-mail, last week’s column offended a large number of families who teach their children at home, rather than send them to school….I implied that a child’s experience at an excellent middle school would be preferable to home-schooling." I had not seen the previous article and wanted to read what had offended a large number of homeschoolers. Not finding it on The Providence Journal website and not knowing what it was entitled, I wrote to Julia asking if she could send it to me or tell me where I could find it. She sent it to me.

 

     She had written about a recent get-away in which the young proprietress of a bed and breakfast learned that Julia was involved in education and said : "Our kids are still in elementary school, but we’re thinking of pulling them out and home-schooling them when it’s time for middle school. What do you think?" Julia asked why do you want to do that, and the young mom replied, "Oh you know. So they can just skip it. I’ll just keep them with me, and we’ll go around and do cool things." Julia concluded, "I told my charming B & B acquaintance that keeping pubescents home is not ideal. Somehow, these kids need a world of their own, as well as a home to retreat to. The mom’s heart is in the right place, but she’s not doing her kids or herself a favor if she tries to ‘skip it.’"

 

     I did find several blogs which took Julia to task for her observations. When I wrote Julia asking to see the original article, I said, "I publish a homeschooling newsletter and do research into media references to homeschooling. Your February 11, 2007, article ‘Home-schooling, Where educating children comes first,’ from the Providence Journal was passed along to me. You made reference to ‘last week’s column.’ I have tried to search for your previous article on the Providence Journal website and have been unable to come up with it. I would like to read it to see what might have been ‘offensive’ to homeschoolers. Is there some link by which I can access the previous article? By the way, I do appreciate the good things you had to say in the Feb. 11 article. Thank you for your attention."

 

     Julia responded, "Here it is. It was really about middle school, but I took off from a comment. After tons of interaction with home-schoolers, they’ve begun to remind me of unionized teachers — offended by everything, quick on the draw and often blind to the bigger picture. Sorry, I’m just clearing out the last of their mail. It has not been a fun two weeks."

 

      I replied, "Thank you for responding and sending the article. I am truly sorry if the homeschoolers who contacted you about this article came across as offended by everything. Perhaps because homeschooling has been so often maligned and criticized, some of us tend to be a little more defensive perhaps that we always need to be. I can see why some homeschoolers did not agree with some of the things in the article. I myself do not necessarily agree that ‘these kids need a world of their own.’ I am firmly convinced that even as they grow older, they need loving families more than anything else to help them mature and prepare for adulthood. Given what is often said by educators today, I wonder how this nation even survived before compulsory attendance laws were passed in the early twentieth century and public schooling became almost universal. Of course, those are philosophical arguments that are still going on. But, having read the second article, I again thank you for your followup article on Feb. 11."

 

      I did not say this to Julia, but after reading the article again, I noticed her statement, "Pubescents don’t need to be spared the locker room; they need counseling and advice on how to deal with it." Well, I have been in "the locker room"and know what goes on there Yes, it was 35 to forty years ago, but I am sure that it has only gotten worse since then. Having experienced such things myself, I believe that children ought to be spared the locker room, and by keeping them home and instructing them myself, I can provide the counseling and advice on how they can handle things like it when they need to.

 

     Julia wrote back, "Of course they need loving families. That’s a straw dog. But many kids rebel — appropriately so according to evolution and child development — and they do want mini-worlds of their own, hopefully populated with the all-important peers as well as wonderful adults who will triangulate with the parents. School is not the answer to all problems by a long shot. And there are some terrible schools out there. But it is an institution that will continue to educate — whatever that means — the vast majority of the kids in this and all developed countries and for that reason alone it needs and deserves our best attention and sympathy. The many people who wrote irate that I didn’t think most urban parents would make good home-schoolers were just nuts in my opinion. By all means, go your own way. But take care from your side not to contribute to such a powerful divide between us and them. Let many flowers bloom. Sorry, I got a few more today and I’m smarting. Your note was perfectly respectful. Thank you for that."

 

     I really do not want to keep up a running argument with Julia. I certainly do not agree with her comment that "kids rebel–appropriately so according to evolution and child development" because I reject the false doctrine of evolution and the humanistic theories of child development that are based upon it, with its stress on "the all-important peers." I have to wonder if that is where the whole problem of "peer pressure" in our modern society began to develop! I realize that there are many who agree that the public school "is an institution that will continue to educate…and for that reason alone it needs and deserves our best attention and sympathy," so I will try "not to contribute to such a powerful divide between us and them." However, my own view is that the public school system as it exists today is fundamentally broken and simply cannot be fixed with "attention and sympathy." It needs to be totally dismantled and the responsibility of providing education put back into the hands of parents. Therefore, those who are involved in public schools do have my sympathy!

 

      In her second article entitled "HOMESCHOOLING, WHERE EDUCATING CHILDREN COMES FIRST," Julia said, "I apologize for raising their blood pressures. Many home-schoolers have compelling reasons for getting their kids off the educational grid….This column observes all kinds of kids and programs, but I admit home-schooling gets short shrift….Mary Ryan, coordinator of the Home Education Network of Rhode Island, believes that in the best of all possible worlds, all children would be home-schooled by their parents. ‘Schools should not be the norm! Because of them, children have become nothing more than a way to fund teaching jobs.. Sadly, she is not entirely wrong about this….Ryan is entirely correct that we must stop organizing schooling of all kinds for the benefit of the grownups. The system needs to be turned on its head so the kids and their families come first. We need to empower all the parents with more options. Including the home-schoolers."

Another good reason to homeschool

      On Fri., Apr. 20, I was listening to The Rush Limbaugh Show on the radio in the car. A lady called in to say that the school where her fourth grade daughter attends was going to show Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth to the students and was asking what she might do about it. An Inconvenient Truth asserts as fact the leftist "conventional wisdom" that all global warming is a recent man made phenomenon, caused primarily by automobiles, which we must immediately stop now or the entire planet is doomed to perish in the near future. Of course, not all scientists agree. Rush said that parents in other places have demanded that a balanced film be shown or have opted to have their children skip the film. However, he cited one school in Florida which told parents that if their children opted out of the film they would be penalized in grade. I tried to find confirmation of that claim and could not. But I did read a Drudge Report that a high school in one of California’s most prestigious neighborhoods sent 1,500 of its students to see An Inconvenient Truth–boarding 30 gas-guzzling buses to go across town. According to Sarah Utley, a science teacher at Beverly Hills High School, the field trip was funded by a very generous alum so that they could see the film for free. On the subject of balance, I also found the following information by Steven Milloy. "As Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth becomes mandatory viewing for many U.S. school children and nears becoming the ‘official truth’ about global warming, it comes as most welcome news that an absolutely gripping film rebuttal has made its international debut, much to the chagrin of true believers in man-made climate change. Last week, the UK’s Channel 4 premiered a 75-minute film entitled, The Great Global Warming Swindle. Through interviews with prize-winning climate experts and others, this masterful documentary explains the origins of global warming alarmism; debunks claims of man-made global climate change; exposes the motivations of organizations, scientists and activists sounding the alarm; and explains why it’s been extremely difficult, if not downright dangerous, for climate scientists to question global warming orthodoxy publicly." Let me state my opinion clearly. Showing An Inconvenient Truth to young school students, and even to older ones without any attempt at balance, is not education. It is nothing but leftist propaganda and indoctrination by the public schools. And that is one reason why I homeschool!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

     WAHOO! The Spring, 2007, issue of this wonderful quarterly homeschooling magazine is out. I can’t begin to list all the great resources contained in these pages. One of the letter writers said, "Every issue is just like attending a homeschool conference–motivation galore!" Gena Suarez’s short meditation "Can You Shelter a Child TOO Much?" itself is worth the price of the magazine. And there is an interview with Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis on "The Question of Sheltering" too that is worth much more than the price of the magazine. And there’s–well, you’ll just have to get your own copy and see. The website is www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com .

A couple of items from other homeschooling bloggers at HomeSchoolBlogger.com

     The great homeschool debate rages on: On Apr. 14, 2007, a blogger at homeschoolblogger.com (I forgot to note the URL) wrote, "Ok, I think it’s time for me to just put the brakes on people giving me their negative opinions on homeschooling and they guise it as ‘well, you need a break.’ I don’t need a break from my kids. I love having them around and I do enjoy teaching them. So what that my oldest is a control freak, stubborn and highly intelligent. She would do the same thing in a public school. At least here I can control that she’s not getting ‘ammo’ from some snot-nosed kids teaching her bad words and/or behaviors. If people really thought highly of me and believed in me, they’d stop with the ‘but it’ll be so hard with a new baby and you’ll be homeschooling TWO next year and your DH’s job and you need some time to yourself.’ I certainly don’t talk to my friends and family that send their kids to public school about how they need a break or how hard it’ll be. I really don’t care to be honest! But I sure get alot of negative attention when I say I’m going to homeschool. My all time favorite line is now ‘Stop preaching to me about homeschooling MY children. I’m trying to get them into heaven, not Harvard.’ I saw it somewhere in a post on a forum (a good forum, not the horrid ones I’ve written of previously) and I got a big chuckle out of it because it’s true. These are MY children and between me and my husband, WE are choosing what is right for OUR children. Is homeschooling hard? Yes, sometimes… but so is sending them to public/private school. Just different challenges." I responded, "I deeply appreciate your commitment to homeschooling and the cleverness of your response about aiming for heaven not Harvard. May God bless you as you continue."

     It’s not your momma’s Walt Disney any more: A blogger at HomeschoolBlogger.com ( http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/dlmiranda/315091/ ) wrote, "I’m a little late on this post, but have you read the latest about Disney? Read this from OneNewsNow – it will make your stomach turn and may make you think twice before your next vacation to the Magic Kingdom." The article ( http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007//04/families_warned_disney_to_allo.php ) is dated Apr. 10, 2007, is entitled, "Families warned, Disney to allow homosexual ‘weddings,’" and reports, "Christian families could be exposed to more than they bargained for if they take a vacation to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, according to the president of the American Family Association….The Walt Disney Company recently announced it was making wedding ceremonies at its parks and on its cruise lines available to homosexual couples. For years, The Walt Disney Company had limited its ‘Fairy Tale Wedding’ program to couples with valid marriage licenses. But a Disney spokesman says that policy was changed after a homosexual couple contacted the company, wanting to use its wedding service….The wedding service offers ceremonies at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California (homosexual ‘marriage’ is legal in neither state) and on Disney’s cruise ships. According to Reuters, the packages can cost upwards of $8,000." I don’t make this up, folks, I’m simply reporting "just the facts, ma’am, just the facts."

Public School Bible Battle

      On Apr. 12, 2007, Matthew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law., reported that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes the state of Missouri) will hear oral argument involving Gideon Bible distribution in public schools. In Doe v. South Iron R-1 School District in Annapolis, Missouri, federal district Judge Catherine Perry issued a preliminary injunction barring the school from allowing any outside group to offer Bibles to willing students at any time on school property, including noninstructional time. Liberty Counsel is represents the District, and has appealed the injunction, arguing the injunction is unconstitutional because it requires the District to discriminate only against a particular religious message – the Bible. The South Iron R-1 School District has had a long-standing open access policy that allows many groups to present literature and information to students at District schools. The many diverse groups include the Army Corps of Engineers, Red Cross, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Iron County Health Department, Missouri Water Patrol, Missouri Highland Healthcare, and Union Pacific Railroad. In 2006, the District passed a written policy setting forth its long-standing open access policy. This policy confirms the District’s intent to create a limited public forum during noninstructional time outside of the classroom. However, the ACLU filed suit, seeking to prohibit the Gideons from distributing Bibles under the policy. Judge Perry issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the distribution of the Bible, which she described as an "instrument of religion." Judge Perry also ruled the open access policy unconstitutional under a novel (and itself unconstitutional) theory that it must allow a private third party the opportunity to veto the distribution request of the private applicant. Erik W. Stanley, Chief Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated, "There is no violation of the Establishment Clause when a school creates a neutral policy and allows a wide variety of groups to give literature to students. Singling out the Bible for censorship is patently unconstitutional." Staver noted, "The First Amendment provides that community groups must receive equal treatment under an open access policy. The Bible is not a radioactive device that harms children. Religious viewpoints are clearly protected. The ACLU might not like the fact that equal access means equal access for religious speech, but equal treatment is required by the Constitution." I certainly support the efforts of Liberty Counsel, but the beauty of homeschooling is that we can not only teach our children the Bible in their academic studies, but also relate every subject which they consider to what God’s word says.

Another item related to freedom of speech

    I really have no love for Don Imus, but the day before, on Apr. 13, WorldNetDaily reported that since radio talk-show host Don Imus has been banished, a liberal partisan media watchdog group headed by David Brock says it’s time to clean up the rest of talk radio. Next in the crosshairs for alleged expressions of "bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity" according to Media Matters for America, are Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, John Gibson and Michael Smerconish. In a 6,000-word report, Media Matters documents what it perceives as the case against the talk-radio hosts. Brock’s Media Matters was "developed" with help from the Center for American Progress, funded by billionaire George Soros, a major financial backer of the Democratic Party and allied far-left groups such as MoveOn.org. Brock, who was formerly of the conservative American Spectator but jumped ship to the other side, is backing a "Renew the Fairness Doctrine" campaign to have the Federal Communications Commission monitor and regulate talk radio. His group is "dedicated to correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Since the liberals have found little appetite for their talk radio, they want to engage in "ethnic cleansing" to remove conservatives from the airwaves. In contrast, the Associated Press reported that former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says the racist comments that led to broadcaster Don Imus’ firing means other media figures could also be out of a job. The frequent Imus guest said the radio host’s description of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as "nappy headed hos" was inexcusable and wrong. But Huckabee says other celebrities have also made offensive comments. He gives as examples Rosie O’Donnell and Bill Maher. What’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander!

News items from World Net Daily

     More reasons to reject the popular culture of today and educate our children at home: On Apr. 14, 2007, WorldNetDaily.com reported that a Los Angeles artist opened an exhibit this week called "Christ Killa" in which the audience is invited to participate in a video game and shoot hordes of "homicidal Jesus Christs." Digital and video artist Eric Medine describes his work – a video game linked to projectors and TV monitors – as the "ultimate arbitration between politics and Christianity," noted Michelle Malkin. The game landscape "is filled with Googled images of Christian propaganda posters, religious shrines such as St. Peter’s in Rome, and clichéd representations of Christ who constantly mumbles messages of tolerance and compassion," says a news release. Malkin condemned the exhibit, equating it with controversial works protested as religious bigotry, such as photographer Andres Serrano’s "Piss Christ," the Brooklyn Art Museum’s Virgin Mary painting stained with elephant dung and, most recently, the canceled "Chocolate Jesus" vulgar statue slated for exhibit during Holy Week in New York City.

 

     Still another reason to educate children at home to protect them from the homosexual agenda: Also on Apr. 14, WorldNetDaily.com reported that a rally was planned on the steps of the Oregon Capitol as Bible-believing individuals and leaders from across the state protest the legislative plan to adopt as state law a "pagan morality" that would include public education to "eliminate attitudes" that oppose the homosexual lifestyle choice. David Crowe of Restore America ministry was publicizing the event as well as coordinating a petition against the state’s Senate Bill 2. "The law – and this is onerous – has a clause that talks about developing a program of education to change our attitudes," Crowe said. "To change our attitudes? Is it the government’s business to change attitudes? But that’s precisely what’s in the bill." He also said many questions still remain unanswered, including who defines sexual orientation and what is that definition; will pedophiles be protected; and what sexual acts will be protected. If it happens in Oregon, how long will it be happening where you live?

 

     More about how the homosexual agenda affects our society: Again on Apr. 14, WorldNetDaily.com reported that a billboard company in Omaha, NE, refused to sell space for an advertisement that was to promote this weekend’s "Love Won Out" conference on the issues surrounding homosexuality, scheduled by Focus on the Family, officials said. Only a few weeks ago, Clear Channel refused to accept an advertisement for the same conference when it was held in Phoenix, AZ, "Love Won Out" conference officials confirmed, so they weren’t exactly surprised. Melissa Fryrear, a speaker for the conference and director of gender issues at Focus on the Family said, "Apparently the idea of embracing a diversity of opinion is not extended to groups like ours, which offer the message that same-sex attractions can be overcome by those who are dissatisfied living homosexually." The billboard was to have featured an image of a smiling man and the words: "I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How." Officials at Focus said the company, Waitt Outdoor, rejected the ad via e-mail without explanation. When we lived in Dayton, OH, the local newspaper publisher was fired because he refused to accept a paid ad for a homosexual event.