Interesting reading related to homeschooling

     New Homeschooling Magazine: This information was reported in the Aug. 25 issue of the HomeSchoolBuzz.com e-mail newsletter. Secular Homeschooling is a non-religious magazine that reflects the diversity of the homeschooling community. Its readers and writers are committed to the idea that religious belief is a personal matter rather than a prerequisite of homeschooling. This magazine is for any homeschooler, religious or not, who is interested in good solid writing about homeschooling and homeschoolers. Secular Homeschooling is $7 per issue, including postage. Subscriptions to Secular Homeschooling are $28 for four issues. The website for more information is http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/index.html .

     Some Positive Homeschool Reading:   (I saw this at another blog, http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jab300/380444/ on Aug. 27, 2007.  )  I like magazines, especially most of the Reiman publications. I subscribe to Taste of Home and Simple and Delicious and occasionally buy other Reiman mags at the store. Well I am so glad I picked up this month’s issue of Country Woman! I was so impressed by this issue I just wanted to share. It is always a good read, filled with good recipes, crafts, decorating ideas, and articles about country living and farm life. But this issue struck me with all it’s positive exposure to homeschooling. I have never seen so many articles and references to homeschooling families in a mainstream magazine. And they fit right in and portray homeschooling as part of the norm…they aren’t like some articles that only even appear because they want to show a "unique" family or "different" way of life, kwim? [Editor’s note: for those who do not know computer shorthand, this stand for "know what I mean." WSW.] The homeschool families aren’t singled out they are just there. Love it!! I just am so happy there is finally some mainstream media recognizing that homeschoolers are everywhere and aren’t different or unique…just families like everyone else.

     Practical Homeschooling: My favorite homeschooling magazine is, well, I guess whichever one I am reading at the time. I am personally associated as a volunteer with The Old Schoolhouse, but I have had articles and/or reviews published in Home School Digest, Home Educator’s Family Times, and Home School Enrichment, and I subscribe to some others. One of the most venerable is Practical Homeschooling, published by Mary Pride ( www.home-school.com ), long time homeschooling mother and advocate. The July/Aug., 2007, issue (#77) has a lot of interesting information, including an article about Answers In Genesis’s new creation museum in northern Kentucky, an interview with the folks at Sycamore Academy who have been helping to serve homeschoolers for 25 years, and an entire section on homeschooling and the military (I mean, after all, if a family publishes a magazine they ought to be able to trumpet the achievements of their own children if they want to; as I say with Biblical Homeschooling, "It’s my newsletter, and I’ll sing if I want to"!). Michael Maloney also has a good article on the importance of teaching geography.

Just another good reason to keep your children as far away from a public school as possible

      The following information was reported in the Mon., Aug. 27, issue of my hometown newspaper, The Times Gazette of Hillsboro, OH. A Peebles, OH, Elementary School third-grade teacher, Sandra L. Bratt, 31, was charged with rape following her arrest Thursday on charges alleging she had an inappropriate relationship with a student for several years. According to the complaint filed in Adams County Court by Adams County Sheriff Kermit Howard, Bratt engaged in sexual conduct with an unidentified male student for the past five to six years. The student was approximately 11 years old when the activity began and is now 17 years old. I did not go to school in Peebles, but growing up in Highland County, I had the opportunity to be in and around the village in nearby northern Adams County many, many times. These kinds of problems do not exist only in the "rough" inner city schools of urban areas but are just as likely to happen in the "nice" schools of suburban and rural America too. And it is scary to the MAX how this kind of thing could go on, apparently unnoticed by anyone, for "several years"!

Have you patronized blasphemy lately?

      (And another general comment from AFA ActionAlert, Fri., Aug. 24, 2007.)  Did you know that there was a time when the entertainment industry was bound by a code that forbade them from using any blasphemy in a movie? The "Hays Code" stated: Pointed profanity–this includes the words "God," "Lord," "Jesus," "Christ" (unless used reverently), "Hell," "S.O.B.," "****," or every other profane or vulgar expression, however used–is forbidden.Hollywood is no longer restricted by the code. Many of today’s movies don’t simply blaspheme the name of Jesus. They go one further. For example, the award-winning Blow, directed by Ted Demme, is a typical R-rated film. The name of Jesus Christ is blasphemed eleven times in the movie. Three of those times, for some reason, the "F" word is used in the middle of His name. So, how can you (as one person), make a difference and influence the powerful Goliath of the entertainment industry? The answer is in your own hands. In 2005, roughly $8.8 billion was spent on movie tickets in the U.S. How much of $8.8 billion do you think came from those who call themselves Christians? According to The Barna Group, it was a massive $6.94 billion. Over 70% of the box office intake comes from people of faith. With more than 170 million professing Christians in America, we have a powerful sling that can hit Hollywood between the eyes and leave a deep impression on its money-making mind. They are causing an entire generation to hate Christianity, and to use the name of Jesus Christ to express disgust.

More about this sick, sick world

    An August 26, 2007, Associated Press article headlined, "Self-Described Pedophile to Leave Calif.", also caught my attention. It tells how a self-described pedophile named Jack McClellan, 45, came to the attention of authorities for a Web site where he posted photos of children in public places and discussed how he liked to stake out parks, public libraries, fast-food restaurants and other areas where little girls congregated. Superior Court Judge Melvin Sandvig issued a permanent injunction and a three-year restraining order that prohibit McClellan from coming within 30 feet of schools, playgrounds and other places where children congregate. Unfortunately, the judge’s ruling narrowed an injunction issued earlier in the month that barred McClellan from coming near anyone under age 18 anywhere in the state (why could that injniction not stand?). McClellan had spent 10 days in jail for violating that injunction when he was arrested earlier this month near a child care center at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, Sandvig’s new ruling also bars McClellan from contacting, videotaping or photographing children or publishing their photos without written consent from a guardian or parent. McClellan could be arrested if he violates that prohibition. What was McClellan’s response? He says that he is leaving California because the judge ordered him to stay away permanently from places where children. "I have to leave the state, really, I can’t live here under this Orwellian protocol," told KABC. "It’s nightmarish." Awww, that’s TOO BAD! Wittle Jackie take his marbles and go home. Many Californians might say, "Good riddance!" But does not society have a right to protect its children from people like McClellan, even if that means restricting the "rights" of a self-described pedophile?

The sick, sick, sick world in which we live

     I do not make very many comments for this blog or for my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter ( biblicalhomeschooling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ ) on our society in general that do not relate in some way or another to homeschooling, but occasionally I will. This is something that happened to catch my eye. A headline on my Juno homepage said, "Teammates Congratulate New Dad Tom Brady," and I figured that it had to be either something very good or something very bad to make the headlines. Unfortunately, it was something very bad. According to People Magazine on Sat., Aug. 25, 2007, new dad and New England Patriots star Tom Brady, 30, had a newborn baby, born the Wednesday before in Los Angeles, CA, with actress Bridget Moynahan. Unfortunately, the article also said, "Brady and Moynahan, 36, broke up in December after a three-year relationship; he’s currently dating model Gisele Bundchen." So, here is a man who "had a relationship with a woman" whom he never married but fathered a child with, and even before the child was born he broke up with her and is dating someone else. What is the reaction? "Several of his teammates and friends said they’d offered congratulations upon hearing the news of the birth." According to the article, Patriot linebacker Chad Brown , father of two children, ages 11 and 8, said, "I congratulated him and told him his whole life is going to change. He said, ‘It’s changed already.’ " I am sorry; of course, the poor baby is not to be faulted, but this guy does not need to be congratulated. He needs to be set down and given a lesson on responsibility. Years ago, he would have been standing at the altar long before now with the girl’s father behind him, shotgun in hand. In this sick society, all a person has to do is be able to throw a football reasonably well, and suddenly he is a "hero" regardless of how ungodly his personal life is. And the most important consideration? "Some teammates said they were glad the good news didn’t seem to distract Brady, who completed 17 passes Friday including two touchdowns."

Public School Virtual School:

     On Fri., Aug. 24, 2007, JoAnn Reese ( JoAnn.Reese@slps.org ) sent me the following e-mail. "Mr. Walker, St. Louis Public Schools is launching its Virtual School Program this year. K12, Inc. is our Virtual School provider at the K-3 level and Kaplan Virtual Education is our Virtual School provider at the 9-12 grade level. Our enrollment opened August 20, 2007. Classes will begin September 4, 2007. There is additional information on the district’s website: http://www.slps.org/virtual_school/index.htm . We are hosting an Information Session this afternoon for parents at Gateway High School, 5101 McRee Avenue 63110, 5 – 7 p.m. in the library. You may also contact me at 314-345-2551 or jreese@slps.org . Jo Ann Reese, Virtual School Director."

     Here is my response (I hope that it does not sound too impolite). "Dear JoAnn, Let me say first that I do appreciate the fact that you have contacted me. I assume that you have sent me this information because I am involved in various roles of leadership among homeschooling families here in the St. Louis area. However, in all honesty I feel that I must tell you that I cannot and therefore will not be recommending this program to any homeschoolers for one primary reason–it is still a public school program. I cannot speak for all homeschooling families, but the vast majority of homeschoolers, at least that I know, look upon homeschooling as more than just "doing their schooling at home." Rather, we view homeschooling as having the parents in complete control of their children’s education–choosing their own curriculum, including materials that show a definite Biblical worldview if that is their desire, and generally passing on their own values to their children. I doubt that your Virtual School Program will allow that. As far as I know, K-12 Inc. provides a good curriculum, and I have no argument with that (I do not know anything about Kaplan). However, independent homeschoolers have proven that their ways work by consistently high scores on standardized tests, growing college acceptance, and increased visibility in the work force–all without any aid or assistance from the public schools. While there may be many who are having trouble in traditional school settings and may benefit from your new program, most of us homeschoolers feel that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Sincerely, Wayne S. Walker."

Looking at things differently

     A teenage boy lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a fruitless search, he told his mother the lens was no where to be found. Undaunted, she went outside and in a few minutes returned with the eyepiece in her hand. "How did you manage to find it, Mom?" the teenager asked. "We weren’t looking for the same thing," she replied. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150." (from Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ, Fayetteville, NC.)