Homeschool Resources you might be interested in

      Do you get those cellophane wrapped packages of cards of homeschool-related business advertisements? What do you do with them? Many people may just toss them out, but I like to look through them every now and then to see what is available. In a recent package, three stood out. The first was Driver Ed in a Box. I have seen this advertised for years. When we lived in Ohio, I was told by Diana Fessler, a long-time homeschooling mother, one-time member of the Ohio State Board of Education, and later a State Representative, that she had researched the subject and found that homeschool driver’s education programs were simply unacceptable. The driver’s license law was written in such a way that the instruction had to be provided by a state-certified driving school. Here in Missouri, there is really no need for a formal program at all because the law requires only logging so much driving time under the supervision of any licensed driver (i.e., the parent!). However, Driver Ed in a Box might be useful in many states (and for many insurance companies!). It has 2 interactive CD Roms, 1 DVD, and a 60 page parent companion, along with some other items, for the regular price of $229 ( www.driveredinabox.com ). The second is The Violin Book Series by Eden Vaning. I consider myself a musician of sorts, having majored in music theory and composition in college, but while I learned to play piano and brass instruments and can make my way on a recorder, I never learned to play strings and have always wanted to do so. This simple, step-by-step curriculum for learning the violin is designed for parents with little or no music background. Maybe even I could do it! ( www.TheViolinBook.com ). The third is Rosetta Stone. Foreign languages are a "bug-a-boo" for many homeschooling parents. There are several programs available, but I even hear advertisements for this one on the local radio stations. It has won awards from Practical Homeschooling, The Old Schoolhouse, Homeschooling Parent Magazine, and Cathy Duffy. Mark says he wants to learn German, so maybe… ( www.RosettaStone.com ).

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‘The Animated Kids Bible’ series

     Enjoy a literal ‘world first’ as we present a unique and exciting collection of childrens Bible stories from the world’s most celebrated book, ‘The Bible’! Your kids will delight in the timeless tales of courage, faith & endurance with characters like Adam & Eve, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles. Our truly unique DVD’s bring biblical stories and characters to life. The Animated Kids Bible will cement their favorite biblical stories and characters in their memories for all time, by first entertaining them, and then helping them to develop deeper understanding and knowledge. They are the first bible stories in 3D-CGI animation. They have stunning graphics. They use vibrant colors. They use the latest sound techniques. They have child friendly dialogue. They have unforgettable musical soundtracks. They are a fun way to learn. They re-tell favorite biblical stories. They are family entertainment. They are collectible and will build into a complete family library The UNBELIEVABLE 3D effects give extra life and dimension to the characters, and the graphics add an extra visual impact to all these well-loved biblical stories. From Genesis to Revelation, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, children from 6 to 12 years of age of every world culture will truly enjoy the ‘Animated Kid’s Bible.’ For more information, or to start your collectible library now and purchase these fabulous DVD’s, go to http://www.thekidsbible.com .

More good reading

     In addition to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and the Home School Court Report that I mentioned in a blog a few days ago, there are other good homeschool related publications.  The Sept./Oct., 2007, issue of Home Educator’s Family Times ( www.HomeEducator.com ) has interesting articles on "The Difference Between Home School and School" by Gea D’Marea Bassett, "Family Education" by Jon Remmerde, "Homeschooling with Profoundly Gifted Children" by Kathryn Flynn, "Homeschooling with Pets" by Kari Satterfield, "Homeschooling to Prevent Rebellion" by Barbara Frank, and others. The July/Aug., 2007, issue of Homeschooling Parent ( www.homeschoolingparent.com ) has interesting articles on "AD/HD and the Homeschooling Parent" by Bryan Goodman, "Challenges to Parents" by Joanne Baum, "Discipline Starts at Home" by Jon Buzby, "Responding Effectively to Disrespect" by Bill Corbet, "Point of View" by homeschool graduate Rachel Dudley, and others, plus an announcement of a homeschooler who won a $50,000 scholarship for her creationist research paper.

More on HSLDA

     HSLDA in Ohio: (The last couple of issues of my homeschooling newsletter — biblicalhomeschooling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling/ — have dealt with the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program or MO-VIP, a public school virtual academy which has been marketed to homeschoolers. Consider the experiences of this family with a similar program in Ohio.) Virtual Schools not Virtual Enough. The Wyler family (name and some details changed to protect family’s privacy) decided to homeschool their eight children after some of their children were bullied, one even being stabbed, in the Cleveland public schools. After homeschooling for a few years, the family decided to try an Ohio virtual public school. They thought it would be easier and simpler than homeschooling since all virtual school materials were provided at no cost. Because they would still be doing school "at home," the family didn’t think much about the fact that they were re-enrolling in the public school system. It wasn’t long, however, before the Wylers realized that while they were still able to shield their children from negative peer influence, they had to toe the line regarding school schedules and work assignments. The flexibility they had enjoyed while privately homeschooling was gone. For example, teacher/monitors called the Wylers when their children weren’t logging into the virtual classroom often enough or at the right times. When assignments weren’t completed on a "timely basis" for grading, more phone calls came in, reprimanding the family. The Wylers began to realize that one of the benefits of homeschooling over virtual schools is being able to direct the curriculum for each child and incorporate schooling into the family schedule instead of always arranging the family schedule around a school’s schedule. When the Wylers decided to withdraw from the virtual program and go back to homeschooling, the virtual school threatened to bring truancy charges against the family. Working with Home School Legal Defense Association Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly, our member family was able to navigate the withdrawal process without further dispute from the virtual school. HSLDA believes that homeschooling is characterized mainly by parent-directed education that takes place under the primary supervision and direction of parents or another appropriate person designated by the parents. Virtual public schools may offer the benefit of free school materials and support, but these government benefits also curtail a family’s freedom from governmental involvement. (—by Michael P. Donnelly.)

HSLDA in Texas

     (Yesterday’s blog was on the subject of HSLDA, so while we’re discussing it, this item comes from Feb, 1, 2006, but it well illustrates what HSLDA does for homeschooling families and why we need HSLDA.) Homeschool Family Grilled in Court for an Hour but Case Won. "Who in their right mind would homeschool?" exclaimed the El Paso, Texas, judge. The Rivera family trembled, wondering what was going to happen next. Ray and Sharon Rivera had been homeschooling their daughter since 2001. They love homeschooling and their daughter is thriving. They began their journey to homeschooling upon a recommendation from the principal of the local public school. Because the Riveras helped expose violence and crime at the school, and their 10-year-old daughter was identified as a "whistleblower," the principal warned he could not guarantee the girl’s safety. When their daughter was beaten up by bullies, the family decided to heed the principal’s advice. The Riveras withdrew their daughter from public school and filed a letter explaining they intended to homeschool according to the requirements of the Leeper case by establishing a private school at home. Home School Legal Defense Association had advised the Riveras to take this course. Nonetheless, last week a truant officer came to their door and said they needed to place their child in school. The following day, the "at-risk coordinator" for the public schools came to their house and told the Riveras to put their child in school immediately. The very next day, a police officer arrived and served the family with a summons to appear in court in two days. The family contacted HSLDA and attorney Chris Klicka scrambled to provide a defense since the family would be in court the next day. It was too late to fly to El Paso, Texas, or to hire a local lawyer who could represent the family. So Klicka prepared a letter and memorandum explaining Texas homeschool law and faxed it to the court that night. Klicka asked the judge to dismiss the case because the family was legally homeschooling according to the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Leeper. Klicka also explained that there was no requirement for the family to notify school officials of their decision to homeschool, even though they had done so by letter in 2001. Klicka further pointed out that the burden of proving that the family is not educating their child is on the school district, and that the family is not required to have their curriculum approved by the school district. The Riveras arrived in court on the morning of January 26 and waited as the judge levied heavy penalties and jailed mothers in other truancy cases. This made the Riveras nervous. But they were confident in their right to homeschool and that it was worth fighting for their daughter. When it was time for the Rivera case to be called, the judge looked up and said, "Does anyone know the law on homeschooling?" The truant officer and the at-risk coordinator both shook their heads. Mrs. Rivera then asked the judge to read Klicka’s letter and memorandum. As the judge began silently reading it, he said, "I need to read this out loud to everyone." He did so, then said: "I think I will dismiss this case. What do you think?" School officials objected. The at-risk coordinator said she was never notified of the Riveras’ intent to homeschool, and that during visits to the family home she never saw the child being homeschooled. Sharon Rivera then showed the judge her 2001 letter and returned receipt. She also explained that truancy officials who visited their home had merely looked in through the ground-floor kitchen window, and that the family homeschools upstairs. At this point the judge asked, "Who in their right mind would homeschool their children?" The mother then pointed out that the principal recommended they homeschool because of the violence at public school. The judge got a little teary-eyed but continued to grill the family. "Isn’t this child isolated?" he asked. The mother described all the activities that their daughter was involved in and that she spends time socializing with her peers. Then the judge asked how she teaches her child. Sharon was able to show the books she uses and samples of the child’s work. The judge looked at the books and said, "How can you give grades to your child?" She explained how teachers’ manuals worked and that this was a method used by many homeschoolers. Sharon held her own explaining how well homeschooling worked for their family. Finally, she told the judge that her relative had turned her in to the school district. At this point the judge dismissed the case. Then he looked over at the truant officer and said, "I don’t want you ever again to serve a summons and charge somebody with truancy and make them come into the court the next day!" The hour-long case left the Riveras relieved. They were so happy that they had been delivered and they were thankful that HSLDA provided a defense for them. This was certainly a team effort with a virtual lawyer and a mom who loved her child and would not give up.

The Home School Court Report

      The Sept./Oct., 2007, issue of this magazine from the Home School Legal Defense Association ( http://www.hslda.org ) has a lot of good information in it, including articles on apprenticeship, homeschooling in Spain, homeschoolers and the Congressional Award, homeschool graduates, Dr. Raymond S. Moore, and other items, but I was especially interested in Chairman Michael Farris’s article on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This has been around for years, but the U. S. has refused to sign thus far. However, with the Democrat takeover of the Congress last year, the backers of the UNCRC are hoping for victory. The goal of "protecting children’s rights" sounds noble, but a little closer examination reveals what the Convention is actually all about. Geraldine Van Bueren, one of the drafters and a law professor at the University of London, wrote about the impact of the treaty on parental rights in the Human Rights Quarterly, saying, "Arguably, states parties to the Children’s Convention are obliged to respect the rights of parents in providing ‘direction’ to the child in religious matters, but such ‘direction’ is subject to two conditions: the parental direction should take into account the evolving capacities of the child and should not be so heavy-handed as to amount to coercion." To illustrate, many parents homeschool a child for religious reasons. However, if "the evolving capacities of the child" result in his not wanting to be homeschooled or if he claims that his parents’ actions are "so heavy-handed as to amount to coercion" (they "force" him to be homeschooled), then the state must step in to "protect" the child’s rights from the parents. Not all homeschoolers come from a conservative, Biblical-oriented worldview, but ALL parents, whether conservative or liberal, whether Bible believers or New Agers or even atheists, especially homeschoolers, should recognize this power grabbing attempt to take away parental rights in the upbringing of their children and make those children wards of the state under the guise that "nanny government knows best"–and oppose it! Sometimes homeschoolers of all stripes say that homeschooling should be kept separate from politics. But here is one "political" matter that could directly affect the rights of all homeschooling families. As Farris says, "They call it children’s rights. But what the Convention on the Rights of the Child really gives us is an excuse for internationalist social workers and child-care ‘experts’ to substitute their judgment for that of parents." Amen and Amen!!! Anyone who wants to help stop this travesty and secure Constitutional protection for parents rights, there is a petition at http://www.ParentalRights.org .

homeschooling article from our local newspaper

Homeschool numbers growing
Georgina Gustin
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
 
     Below is the link to the story.
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/48D461747D8789858625736900124E88?OpenDocument 
 
      Bellefontaine Neighbors — Weekdays in the Perry household start like those
in any other. The kids brush their teeth, dress, grab a quick breakfast.
 
     Then, they make their way to school — at the dining room table.
 
     Anna, 7, tries to focus on her workbook. Bekah, 5, squirms in her chair and
plays with 2-year-old Danielle, who needs a nap and starts wailing. Books
are stacked on every surface. Little posters with insects and alphabets dot
the walls, stand-ins for typical dining room decor.
 
     "Welcome," says their mother Kim Perry, smiling amid the disorder, "to our
classroom."
 
     The Perrys are part of a growing home-school movement. In 1999, according
to federal statistics, there were 850,000 home-schooled children in the
United States. In 2003, that number rose to 1.1 million. Some estimates put
the figure today as high as 2.4 million.
 
     "It’s certainly on the rise, there’s no doubt about it," said Brad Haines,
executive director for the Missouri-based Families for Home Education.
"Exactly how fast is up to speculation."
 
     Before their four children were born, Kim and her husband, David, decided
they were going to home-school them. They had the most common reasons for
doing so: They wanted an alternative to the sometimes violent culture of
American public schools, and they wanted to educate their children with a
Bible-centered focus.
 
     "People always ask me, ‘Why do you want to stay home with your kids?’"
Perry said. "I tell them, they’re my kids. I want to have a positive impact
on them. I want to raise them according to my values not someone else’s."
 
     Neither Missouri nor Illinois tracks students who are educated at home; the
two states have some of the loosest regulations on home-schooling in the
country.
 
     A parent doesn’t have to tell authorities they’re deciding to home-school
their children, and home-schoolers want to keep it that way. Efforts in
both states to tighten the rules have been extinguished as quickly as they
flared.
 
     In both states, home-schooling support groups have flourished and
multiplied. Membership in support groups suggests the number of
home-schooled children in the St. Louis area is 6,000 or higher.
 
     "I get calls from people all the time, from people who want to pull their
kids out of public schools," said Perry, who is on the board of an
80-member home-school group. "We’ve been growing by a third every year."
 
CONNECTIONS
 
     In both Illinois and Missouri, parents who home-school their children, in
effect, set up a private school, usually with the mother as teacher and
father as principal. Neither needs any particular academic qualifications.
There are lesson plans they can follow, and bookstores cater to home-school
families.
 
     For many families, though, the most important resource has become the
Internet, which has linked even isolated households and helped support
groups organize field trips, athletic events or classes.
 
     "It’s certainly made it a whole lot easier," said Wayne Walker, minister of
the Affton Church of Christ, who home-schools his two children. "You can
find like-minded people, more information."
 
     Walker sends a 20-plus-page weekly e-mail with a list of available classes
and activities to a host of home-schoolers every week. Like many
home-schooled children, his participate in many activities. "It’s really
provided an opportunity for our children to meet friends," Walker said.
 
     Home-schoolers say they feel more connected to a community.
 
     "We’ve chosen to be at home, but if we wanted to, there are so many
classes, we could be gone all day, every day," Perry said.
 
MEASURING STICKS
 
     Education authorities say they worry that, because home-schooled students
aren’t required to take statewide achievement tests in many states,
including Missouri and Illinois, students may not meet expectations.
Science class in a home-school household, for example, might veer from
teaching evolutionary theory. A science course might instead have a name
like "God’s Design for Heaven & Earth," as it does in the Perry household.
 
     Home-schoolers say the diplomas they confer on their children are evidence
of a solid education. So are the transcripts they submit to colleges.
 
     Increasingly colleges say they agree.
 
     "They were so used to dealing with traditional transcripts and grades,"
said Ian Slatter, of the Home School Legal Defense Association. "Now the
overwhelming majority of colleges have home-school admissions policies or a
home-school admissions officer."
 
     The University of Missouri and the University of Illinois have learned how
to evaluate home-schoolers, though they receive relatively few applications
for admission.
 
     "We’re trying to do more to reach out to them," said Barbara Rupp, director
of admissions at the University of Missouri. "I see a big difference in the
level of sophistication of transcripts. But, yeah. Mom and Dad are
assigning grades."
 
     Regina Morin, director of admissions at Columbia College, says the school
is seeing more home-schoolers apply each year.
 
     "They tend to be better than their public school counterparts," she said.
"They score above average on tests, they’re more independent, they’re often
a grade ahead."
 
     "Traditionally colleges can be afraid of them," Morin added. "They don’t
know how to assess them."
 
     The home-school community concedes that not all kids emerge college-ready
and that some parents aren’t up to the task.
 
     "This is not an escape," Haines said. "It’s a choice you make and stick
with."
 

ggustin@post-dispatch.com  | 618-624-2438
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