End of school year notes and Biblical Homeschooling

   YIPPEE! YAHOO! Today is our last day of "school" (formally speaking) for this school year. No disrespect intended to those who homeschool all year long (the nice thing about homeschooling is that each family can choose the course that best fits its own schedule), but, while we love our two boys, Mom and Dad need a summer break, let alone the kids! However, even though we don’t "hit the books" as much during the summer, we don’t stop learning. There will be lots of P. E. (with baseball and summer bowling league). And we take lots of "fun" (and educational) trips. In June the boys will be going to summer camp for a week in Ohio. In July, after visiting with friends in Indianapolis, IN, we plan to spend a few days in Springfield, IL, to see the Abraham Lincoln related sites there. In August, after my wife’s family reunion in Kentucky, we plan to visit her hometown of Ft. Wayne, IN, and see some of the sites there. And even after school starts back up in September, we plan to take a week off for a "camp out" at Lake of the Ozarks State Park here in Missouri with a number of other homeschooling families who are associated with churches of Christ.

     By the way, the June, 2007, issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter Biblical Homeschooling is ready to be e-mailed out beginning next Monday. There will be a guest editorial by Jane Boswell, editor of Home Educator’s Family Times; articles on patriot Joseph Warren (of the Battle of Bunker Hill), American composer William Henry Fry, the history of Psalm singing in the church, and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt; and interview with Whit Sasser who was homeschooled years ago when his parents were missionaries and now homeschools his own children; along with news and notes, copious book reviews, and other items related to home education. If you are not a subscriber and would like to be, you can send a blank e-mail to biblicalhomeschooling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and then follow the instructions that will be e-mailed back to you, or you can subscribe from the web at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ . If you have any questions, you can contact me directly at wswalker310@juno.com .

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Something you may want to know about the SAT

     There are two well-known SAT tests–the Stanford Achievement Test, a standardized test given to elementary and high school students; and the Scholastic Aptitude Test, given to college applicants. Most homeschooled students who want to go to college have to take the SAT (or the ACT). In the June 2, 2007, issue of World Magazine, Janie B. Cheney wrote concerning the latter, "Once upon a time good grades, recommendations, and an application essay weighed equally with test scores on college applications. But today, increasing mechanization of the process has made the SAT (or ACT) the major factor in whether students are accepted by the university of their choice." Mrs. Cheney pointed out that because of this fact the College Board, which is the sponsor and administrator of the formerly all multiple-choice SAT, added an essay portion under the assumption that a modern-day student who scores high on the essay must surely be well-rounded college material. However, in an informal experiment by Les Perelman of MIT, Perelman coached an eighteen-year-old college applicant in the essay portion of the SAT and saw that student earn a score of five, which is one point shy of perfect, by following the guidelines to the letter–using appropriate vocabulary, demonstrating variety in sentence structure, and avoiding most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics. Yet, the essay was also riddled with historical errors and sloppy reasoning, for example, claiming that the impetus behind Franklin Delanor (sic) Roosevelt’s New Deal was economic competition with Russia which had driven the U. S. economy to ruin. Cheney noted, "His point was that standardizing the essay forces student composition in to a narrow range of skills that emphasize style at the cost of substance, and divorce an argument’s methods from its value. Far from indicating a student’s ability, they actually harm that ability. This at a time freshman composition classes nationwide are swamped with remedial writing students."

Another homeschool magazine

     Practical Homeschooling: As I’ve said before, The Old Schoolhouse is my favorite homeschool magazine, but there are other great ones available.  Issue #75 (March/April, 2007) of this wonderful homeschooling magazine, published by Mary Pride, has a couple of especially interesting articles. "Why We Chose NARHS to Create Our High School Transcripts" by Teresa Schultz-Jones is about the North Atlantic Regional High School (NAHRS), an organization founded by homeschooling father Steve Moitozo of Maine to provide evaluation of homeschoolers’ work, create a transcript, and upon fulfillment of Maine’s requirements, issue an accredited diploma. Steve spoke at the first Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo, and as chairman of the speakers committee, I came to know and appreciate him highly. Also, a "branch" of NARHS is "Home Link," an organization which was founded by April Thome and began in Washington State to provide co-op type classes for homeschoolers. There are HomeLink chapters in several places, including one here in St. Louis, and I have been teaching some of the classes. All HomeLink classes are accepted by NARHS. Somewhat related to that, the other especially interesting article was research about "Choosing a Homeschool Co-op" by Christina Magnaghi and Geneva Miller. There is other interesting information, including Sam Blumenfeld’s "Preserving American History: How History Was Taught Back Then."  Go to http://www.home-school.com to get more information or to subscribe.  Love ya’, Mary.

How to communicate a Biblical worldview

      On May 2, 2007, The Homeschool Minute, a weekly e-mail newsletter of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, had this advice from homeschooling father Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries. "Boy, I’m excited to be a part of the THM team, although I’m feeling a little odd being the only male writer. So let me just say right up front that I think like a man. I don’t make smiley, winky, or frowny faces out of punctuation marks. I never LOL, quote poetry, or talk about the beauties of childbirth. I can’t – I’m a man. But I am real and will give you a ringside seat into the real and sometimes-ugly world of the Wilson home. Actually, I’m not sure I can even write a coherent sentence at the moment because I’m sitting in our RV surrounded by seven children in a Wal-Mart parking lot just south of Springfield, MO. We live in an RV (and Wal-Mart parking lots) for about 3 months as we travel to many state homeschool conventions around the country. Today, we head for Lansing, MI for the INCH state convention. Actually, a Wal-Mart parking lot is the perfect setting to discuss a biblical worldview. The truth is, we tend to wrongly associate ‘a biblical worldview’ with a glossy-covered textbook, a DVD curriculum, or a seminar where a man in a crisp, white shirt and a patriotic tie discusses current events and the Bible. But more accurately, a biblical worldview is passed on in places like Wal-mart parking lots. For example: this morning, I’ll run into Wal-Mart and return with a cartful of stuff. Here’s the worldview part. RV’s park about a mile from the store and the temptation is to leave the cart for someone else to deal with. BUT everyone knows that the carts are to be returned to the cart-corral. So after I’ve unloaded the cart, my children will see me push the cart the mile back to its corral, and I will have shown them a biblical worldview that Wilsons obey the rules (that God has put in place) and put others’ needs above our own. That’s how you teach a biblical worldview. You model biblical living to your children on a day-to-day basis. You let them see how to trust God when the car doesn’t start, how to be kind when the lady at the counter isn’t, and how to ask forgiveness when you’ve just acted like a creep. As the old saying goes, ‘More biblical worldview is caught than taught.’ That’s what this man thinks." If you wish to subscribe to The Homeschool Minute, go to http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com ; email publisher@thehomeschoolmagazine.com ; or phone 1-888-718-HOME.

What goes on in our schools today

     In an article headlined, "Suspensions, furor over ‘anti-gay’ shirts: Parents, students, church leaders press board for free-speech rights," WorldNetDaily.com reported on May 23, 2007, that parents, students and church leaders had packed out a school board meeting in California after more than 100 suspensions were issued to students wearing T-shirts with biblical quotations against sodomy and homosexuality. Students at San Juan High School in Citrus Heights, Calif., say they want to resolve the issue amid protests, suspensions and censorship of religious messages that have continued weeks after the school observed a national event promoted by homosexual activists, the "Day of Silence." One shirt that caused an uproar was emblazoned with, "Don’t touch God’s rainbow." The student said he wore the shirt to school because he was offended homosexual activists had stolen the biblical symbol of promise and turned it into an icon of perversion. The school district took the position that if the shirt is offensive to anyone, it cannot be worn. Because a particular message comes from the Bible, officials said, doesn’t mean it’s automatically acceptable in schools. Well, excuse me. The whole idea of the "Day of Silence" to promote homosexuality in schools is offensive to Christians, but that does not seem to stop the schools from allowing that!

      In another WorldNetDaily.com article headlined, "’Have sex, do drugs,’ speaker tells students: ‘Men with men, women and women, whatever combination you would like’" on May 21, 2007, Bob Unruh reported that a guest speaker at an assembly at Boulder High School in Colorado has told students as young as 14 to go have sex and use drugs, prompting school officials to say they will investigate. The instructions came from Joel Becker, an associate clinical professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles. "I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately," Becker said during his appearance at the school as part of a recent panel sponsored by the University of Colorado’s Conference on World Affairs. Why I am going to take that position is because you are going to do it anyway," he said. "I think as a psychologist and health educator, it is more important to educate you in a direction that you might actually stick to. So, I am going to stay mostly on with the sex side because that is the area I know more about. I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior." The Boulder school review promise came from board members who were confronted by Boulder High sophomore Daphne White and her mother, Priscilla White, with their complaint about the event. Priscilla White told board members it’s inappropriate for such a message to be delivered by a public school. She was reading excerpts of the presentation to the board when board President Helayne Jones told her to stop, because the language was inappropriate. "The panel discussion was a completely irresponsible and dangerous invitation to Boulder High students to have sex and take drugs," her daughter, Daphne, told the board. Daphne, a sophomore, had been required to attend the panel called "STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs," and accused panel members of presenting one-sided views and discrediting abstinence. No student should have been forced to be at that panel discussion, incoming Boulder Valley Supt. Chris King agreed. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly played a recording of an "unidentified male" from the conference saying: "We all experiment. It’s very natural for young people to experiment with same sex relationships. When you are 13, 12, 13, 14 certainly probably one of the most appropriate sexual behaviors would be masturbation. Even today, there are psychiatrists who will do sessions under the influence of ecstasy. If I had some maybe I’d do it with someone, but you know." The transcript obtained by WND showed those comments also were from Becker. Zelda, on her "Sleeping Ugly" blog, said parents need to be informed and candid on issues with their children. Addressing the panelists, she wrote, "You, on the other hand, could be a pervert who gets his jollies by talking about sex with minors. And another of my responsibilities as a parent is to make sure you don’t have access to my kids until I know for sure you don’t have an ulterior motive." Her conclusion? "Strike 7,867,960,071 against public education." I agree!

Poem for Mom

     May 13 was Mother’s Day and I forgot to include something for Mom earlier, so here is something. My friend Jeff Hamilton reported, "I am reading a reprint of an old book, Ideals and Moral Lessons from Actual Occurrences, by A. L. Byers, published in 1919. There are numerous good stories and poems within, but the one below I especially liked. I’ll probably copy some of the others to the list from time to time.

Mother Knows

Nobody knows of the work it makes

To keep the house together,

Nobody knows of the steps it takes —

Nobody knows but mother.

Nobody listens to childish woes,

Which kisses only smother;

Nobody’s pained by the naughty blows —

Nobody, only mother.

Nobody knows of the sleepless care

Bestowed on baby brother,

Nobody knows of the tender prayer —

Nobody knows but mother.

Nobody knows of lessons taught

Of loving one another,

Nobody knows of the patience sought —

Nobody, only mother.

Nobody knows the anxious fears

Lest darlings may not weather

Storms of life in coming years —

Nobody knows but mother.

Nobody knows of the tears that start,

The grief she gladly smothers;

Nobody knows of the breaking heart —

Nobody, only mother.

Nobody clings to the wayward child,

Though scorned by every other,

Leads it so gently from pathways wild —

Nobody can but mother.

Nobody knows of the hourly prayer

For him, our erring brother,

Pride of her heart, so pure and fair —

Nobody, only mother.

[Author Unknown]

Where are all those missing links?

          In a May 15, 2007, WorldNetDaily.com article entitled "10 things I don’t understand," Jim Rutz wrote, "The liberal media keep reminding us that only hillbillies and mindless religious fanatics deny evolution. Of course, polls keep showing that at least two-thirds of us still suspect God had something to do with the process, so there must be a lot of us hillbillies out there.   Now, microevolution is easy to accept. Those little disease bugs keep outsmarting every vaccine we throw at them. Apparently they’ve all read their Nietzsche: ‘That which does not kill me makes me stronger.’   But macroevolution, where one species morphs into another, is harder to swallow. It relies heavily on the existence of missing links – not a rare specimen or two, but hundreds of thousands of them. The hillsides should be strewn with the remains of millions of transitional life forms. Alas, our stalwart Darwinists have come up short in that department. It takes a monumental leap of dopey faith to get from protozoa to fish to Jessica Alba. Last I checked, the missing link count was hovering around zero."