Homeschooling in the Country

     In the past, homeschooling has been thought of as mostly a rural phenomenon, but it is clear that it is growing rapidly in urban and suburban areas. We began our homeschooling journey while living in the inner-city area of Dayton, OH, and then moved to a suburb of St. Louis, MO. We just moved to a small town in a more rural area last year, but I grew up in the country, and all through the years, we have taken Country Magazine. In the Feb./Mar., 2009, issue, Sheila Beirne of Stow, MA, wrote the column "A Week in the Country." She and her husband Gerard operate Berlin Orchards and have six children: Gerard Francis, 6; John Paul, 5; Thomas Patrick, 3; Joseph Benedict, 2; Sheila Catherine, 1; and Bernadette Rose, 3 months. In her diary, she wrote for Monday, "It was rise and shine at 5 a.m. Today was Columbus Day, so we took the day off from school. We just started homeschooling Gerard Francis this year. He is in kindergarten." On Tuesday she wrote, "Today was a school day….I began Gerard Francis’ lessons early today. Like every day, we focused on phonics, reading, math and handwriting." She mentioned school on Wednesday, and then on Thursday wrote, "Today was busy. Gerard Francis’ school-work, is the most important thing I do, but the orchard is always on my mind. It’s a good thing that Gerard Francis is a good student and excited about learning, because we fly through his lessons. He would do more if he were allowed." Friday, she gave Gerard Francis the day off from school because of visiting family. I have always appreciated the way Country has promoted such a positive view of homeschooling.

I thought that this was interesting

     A Jan. 28, 2009, report from Time Magazine headlined, "Virginia Parents Fight for Easier Grading Standards" told how residents of the high-powered Washington suburb ofVirginia’s Fairfax County have been battling the district’s tough grading practices; chief among their complaints is that scoring a 93 gets recorded as a lowly B+. After forming an official protest group last year called Fairgrade and goading the school board into voting on whether to ease the standards, parents marshaled 10,000 signatures online and nearly 500 in-person supporters to help plead their case on Jan. 22. After two hours of debate, the resolution passed, a move critics consider a defeat in the war on grade inflation. At most schools in the U.S., a 90 earns you an A, but in Fairfax County, getting the goods demands a full 94. Merely passing is tougher, too, requiring a 64 rather than a 60. The reason for demanding the changes, protestors say, is that Fairfax kids are at a disadvantage on multiple fronts: snagging good-driver insurance discounts (which often factor in GPA), earning NCAA eligibility, winning merit scholarships, and – oh, yeah – getting into college. Thankfully, we homeschoolers, with all our other problems, at least do not have to worry about these kinds of things. But, now that I am past 50, I suppose that I should be allowed the privilege of saying, "Now when I was a kid…." And when I was in high school, it was an actual 95 that one had to make in order to be given an A, and (gasp), a 65 in order to pass! Oh well, as we often say, times are certainly different.

Good reading

     The Jan./Feb., 2009, issue of Home School Enrichment ( ) includes good articles by co-editor Jonathan Lewis on why Christian homeschoolers are the brightest hope for a world lost in the shadows, by Kathryn Frazier on homeschooling when mom is sick, being tempted to quit homeshcooling by our friend Ronda Marshall, teaching music by Marcia Washburn, writing essays by Janice Campbell, how homeschoolers helped make the Creation Museum happen by co-editor Matthew Lewis, a tale of a famous home scholar from the past by Katharine Trauger, beating the mid-year slump by Melanie Hexter, Charlotte Mason by Susan Lemons, non-traditional look at college by Kathleen Knudsen, mastering the times tables by Ruth Beechick, right attitudes by our friend Joanne Calderwood, and homeschool chuckles with Suzanne Broadhurst, among a lot of other good information. The Jan., 2009, issue of Home School Helper, the free homeschooling newsletter from Bob Jones University Press ( ) is about reading–reading aloud to your children, reading recommendations, and what elements define a good children’s book; in the spring of this year, the newsletter will be going to a digital format.

     The Old Schoolhouse: However, my favorite homeschooling magazine is The Old Schoolhouse ( ). The Winter, 2008-2009 issue is so chocked full of interesting and informative information that every homeschooling family should be able to find something useful in it, no matter what their situation may be. Editor Deborah Wueller has part 2 of "Homeschooling the Rebel." Pat Marcum writes about "A New Beginning." Linda Costner talks about a topic that you read on this blog and in my free homeschooling e-mail newsletter ( or ) frequently, "The Homosexual Propaganda Machine in the Public Schools." David d’Escoto gives "10 Big Reasons Not to Send Christian Kids to Public Schools." Vickie Chappelear tells about teaching children to think Biblically. There are a couple of "real science" articles on light, and one on "The Evolution Controversy" by Ruth Beechick. Maggie Hogan provides "An Insider’s Guide to Conventions" and Inge Cannon explains how conventions are an excellent opportunity for mentoring teens; these are followed by a list of 2009 homeschool conventions. Several articles emphasize the importance of teaching math. Interviewees include Kristen Collier of Young Writers Central. And articles on classical education, astronomy, and history appear, along with product reviews and other beneficial material. You can’t go wrong with The Old Schoolhouse!

And while I’ve mentioned something that relates to politics

      This is not homeschool related, but it is something that I’m interested in and is related to studies in U. S. government.  In another news report headlined, "Obama to GOP: ‘I won.’" I read that President Obama met with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning, but he also left no doubt about who’s in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation. Of course Obama won. Everyone knows that. However, George Bush won in 2000, and again in 2004, but Democrats proceeded for the next eight years to do nothing but whine, complain, criticize, balk, and in general do everything they could to delegitimize his win and block his agenda. Why, then, does Mr. Obama seem to feel that Republicans should just fall down as dead before him simply because he "won"?

While I’m on this subject

     According to news reports, about 400 supporters gathered outside Portland, OR, City Hall to urge Portland’s mayor to stay on the job despite an intensifying political storm over his sexual relationship with a legislative intern nearly four years ago.  Mayor Sam Adams has admitted lying about the affair with the young man to cover it up during last year’s mayoral campaign. His victory made Portland the largest city in the country with an openly gay mayor. The Oregonian and three smaller Portland newspapers have called for his resignation, but supporters rallied on his behalf throughout the day Friday. Many attending the rally hoisted homemade signs with messages that included "Portland Can Forgive" and "Sam Is Human." Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has agreed to investigate whether Adams committed any crime. City commissioners, the police chief and the local district attorney asked for the probe. Earlier this week, the 45-year-old Adams admitted having sex with a legislative intern who was 17 when they met. About 20 Portland arts, business and "gay" leaders spoke Friday at a news conference that included a statement from filmmaker Gus Van Sant, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for Milk, his film about the slain San Francisco gay-rights leader and politician Harvey Milk. In the statement, Van Sant criticized Adams but also offered support. "Portland didn’t elect Adams to resign at the first sign of controversy," said Dave Terry, a friend of Van Sant who read the statement at the news conference. "He was elected to do a big job." Editor’s note: It seems that Democrats, and especially homosexuals, can get away with just about anything and will have throngs of people lined up to support them no matter what. But let a straight Republican be involved in a scandal and it’s tar and feather him and send him packing immediately!

Homeschooling and homosexuality

     In the past couple of years, I have had a lot of news items in my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter ( or ) and this homeschooling blog (such as that posted yesterday) on the subject of homosexuality and the radical homosexual rights agenda. People may wonder why I would give so much attention to it since it is not specifically a homeschool related subject. I believe that homosexuality is probably the next great moral issue to face our culture, and I also believe that it will affect homeschooling families, particularly those of us who have Biblical objections to homosexual activity as unnatural sin and wish to pass these values on to our children. The radical homosexual rights advocates are not just looking for a "live and let live" situation. They want to force the government, schools, and even churches to recognize and endorse their behavior as a legitimate "alternative lifestyle," and to silence anyone who would speak or teach against it. In their minds, even saying that homosexuality is sin is tantamount to violating their civil rights, and they will work and work and work to make that illegal if they can–and if they are not stopped, I suspect that they will go after homeschooling parents. Already, there is a body of leftist academics who believe that the duty of the state is to make sure that children are exposed to views that are essentially different from those of their parents, thus seeking to destroy the age-old tradition of parents’ discipling their children (i.e., bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Eph. 6:4). Hence, there is an important parental rights issue imbedded in this problem. Because of this, I want to share with you the following items on the subject. And I personally want to thank all the folks who generally oppose homosexuality but went ahead and voted for Obama anyway because "he can’t be all that bad," and even those who just didn’t vote for McCain because he wasn’t ipse-pipse pure and perfect enough (he certainly would NOT have done what Obama has already done) for this. Some of us kept saying that this would be the result, but we were brushed off.

     Another take on the same subject: Illinois Family Institute was not the only one to report this. Also on Jan. 21, Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, in an e-mail headlined, "Obama acts quickly, lays out his abortion and gay agenda: One of his first moves pushes social issues to the top, said, "It didn’t take long for President Barack Hussein Obama to move his social issues to the top of his to-do list. His agenda can be found here, taken directly from the White House home page. This is only the beginning of Obama’s plans to reshape society. His view is that unborn babies aren’t worth protecting and that homosexuals deserve special rights. Now, not later, is the time to let President Obama know that you oppose his efforts. People like you who oppose taking the life of the unborn and who oppose giving special rights to those who practice of perverted sex need to take action now! It is time to ask your friends and family who have not been engaged to get involved. This is not the time to quit. It is a time to act! Our children and grandchildren are counting on us!" Here are some of the items taken from the new White Hous Home Page. "Supporting Stem Cell Research: President Obama and Vice President Biden believe that we owe it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which will allow research of human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos donated (with consent) from in vitro fertilization clinics. These embryos must be deemed in excess and created based solely for the purpose of fertility treatment. Supports a Woman’s Right to Choose: President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Adminstration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case. Support for the Homosexual Community–Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples."

     And one more: Under the headline, "White House outlines Obama’s pro-homosexual agenda," Fred Jackson of OneNewsNow reported on 1/21/2009 that the Barack Obama administration has wasted no time in announcing what his pro-homosexual agenda will include. Just hours after becoming president, the website has laid out Barack Obama’s agenda. Under a section of that agenda titled Civil Rights is a very detailed outline of what Obama plans to do for the homosexual community. First on the list is the expansion of "hate crimes" statutes to include extra punishment for crimes committed because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Highlighted is the president’s political history of support for hate crimes legislation. Obama also supports full civil unions and federal rights for homosexual couples, and calls for repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). According to the agenda explanation, the president also is opposed to a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as only between a man and a woman. As expected, the Obama agenda calls for the repeal of the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy to allow open homosexuals to serve. "The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals," says the website. Obama also wants to expand adoption rights for homosexuals. The 44th president, states the website, "thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not." Elsewhere on the Agenda section (The Agenda – Women) is a statement noting Obama’s longstanding support for abortion rights. On that issue, the "consistent champion of reproductive choice" — as Obama is described on the website — promises to stand against any effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, increase funding for "family planning and comprehensive sex education," and remove any insurance restrictions against contraception.

More of what we can expect from the Obama administration

Obama Begins Full Court Press on Extremist Homosexual Agenda Within Minutes After Oath of Office

1/21/2009 11:31:00 AM
By Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs –Liberty Counsel

Literally within minutes after President Obama took the oath of office yesterday, the official White House webpage was updated – under the heading of "The Agenda: Civil Rights" – to detail Obama’s wholesale "support for the LGBT (homosexual activist) community."  His stated plans include the following:

Defeating all state and federal constitutional efforts to defend the millennia-old definition of natural marriage;

Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) signed by Bill Clinton – the only line of defense keeping all 50 states from being forced to recognize so-called "same-sex marriages" from extremely liberal states like Massachusetts and Connecticut;

Repealing the military’s "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy;

Passing constitutionally dubious and discriminatory "hate crimes" legislation, granting homosexuals and cross dressers special rights – denied other Americans – based on changeable sexual behaviors;

Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would force business owners (religious and otherwise) to abandon traditional values relative to sexual morality under penalty of law; and,

Creating intentionally motherless and fatherless homes and sexually confusing untold thousands of children by expanding "gay adoption."

Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Alliance Action and Liberty Counsel released the following statement today in response to Obama’s stated pro-homosexual agenda:

"Well, the high-sheen veneer and ‘cult of personality’ euphoria surrounding Barack Obama looks to be dissolving rather quickly.  While millions had hoped for a political ‘messiah,’ it’s rapidly becoming evident that, instead, we’ve stuck ourselves with an extreme leftist ideologue whose brand of ‘change we can believe in’ is, in reality, ‘change we never imagined.’   

"For all the talk of ‘hope,’ ‘change’ and ‘coming together,’ it’s becoming abundantly clear that Barack Obama’s administration will likely be the most leftist, divisive and discriminatory in recent memory.  I suspect the immediate, stark and ‘in your face’ changes made to the White House website are a metaphor for what we can expect, in terms of policy, from his administration.

"The gravity of this situation cannot be overstated.  Right out of the shoot, Obama has told the world that he is signing off, without exception, on every demand of the extremist homosexual and transsexual lobbies.  The radical homosexual agenda and religious and free speech liberties cannot occupy the same space.  It’s a zero-sum game.  When 1 – 2 percent of the population is granted special rights based on deviant sexual proclivities and changeable sexual behaviors, to the detriment of everyone else, that’s called tyranny of the minority.  People of faith and those of you with traditional values: hold on to your hats – it’s going to be a bumpy four years."

Hate crimes bill – a threat to biblical teaching

     Jim Brown of OneNewsNow on 1/12/2009 reported that a minister and political activist warns that unless enough Americans "stir up a major stink" about the newly introduced federal hate crimes legislation, the measure is likely to pass in the first 100 days of the 111th Congress. Harry Jackson, Jr., of the High Impact Leadership Coalition was among a group of black ministers who, two years ago, took out a full-page ad in USA Today titled "Don’t Muzzle Our Pulpits." The ad, which was widely received, argued that the hate crimes bill before Congress threatened the free-speech rights of ministers. Jackson believes such legislation elevates the homosexual community to a protected class. "It puts their claim that they’re discriminated against into a real civil rights argument," Jackson contends. "And ultimately in every place around the world where this kind of legislation has been passed, we find that people have taken out lawsuits against preachers for preaching what the Bible says about sexuality and morality. And it is grounds for a kind of harassment that, I believe, will bring a cooling of our biblically-based messages." Jackson says under an Obama administration there is a danger the legislation will pass and stick, so he’s issued a challenge to Christians. "Now is not the time to be silent," he says. "Now is the time to lift our voice." Again, I have to ask, if this kind of legislation passes, how long will it be before "big brother" comes after homeschool parents who teach their children that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so?

Home-school protections in Idaho’s plans

      In a followup story from a previous blog last month, Pete Chagnon and Jody Brown of OneNewsNow reported on 1/9/2009 that Idaho lawmakers will be considering a bill in 2009 that will give home schoolers legal protection. Under current Idaho law, home schoolers have some shelter under the state’s compulsory attendance law, which says children between the ages of 7 and 16 must be enrolled in public, private, or parochial schools unless their parents are providing "other comparable instruction." While Idaho’s courts have understood that to include the right to home education, recent rulings around the country indicate that judges’ perspectives can change over time. That is why the language in the Idaho bill being developed expressly declares that "children privately instructed at home by their parent or guardian" are in compliance with the state’s compulsory attendance law. It also clearly identifies home education as a defense against charges of "educational neglect" under Idaho’s Child Protection Act. Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance says the bill was crafted in response to a California court ruling that briefly outlawed home schooling in 2008. Currently the bill lacks a number, but Fischer believes it will be submitted shortly after Idaho lawmakers convene. "[W]hat this bill would provide is that parents who choose to educate their children at home would have specific protection from Idaho’s code that provides sanction for parents who are guilty of educational neglect," Fischer explains. "So we believe this is a good law; it’s good for Idaho families. It will provide additional protection for their right to educate their children at home." Fischer says passage of this bill could cut down the number of instances that social workers falsely charge parents with educational neglect. "I think this bill is going to make it more difficult for social workers to abuse their authority and put home-schooling families at risk," he adds. The bill, which Fischer says is a plus for educational choice, also includes protection for online schools and charter schools. The Governor’s Task Force on Children at Risk and the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators pooled their efforts in developing the language in the bill.

And this is REALLY scary–Is parental authority on the U.N. chopping block?

     Pete Chagnon of OneNewsNow on 1/14/2009 reported that the chancellor of Patrick Henry College and homeschool leader Michael Farris is warning parents about a dangerous United Nations treaty. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was established about 20 years ago. Although the U.S. has signed the treaty, it has not been ratified according to Constitutional mandate. Farris says if the treaty is ratified during the Obama administration, it would override all state laws regarding parental rights. "The biggest problem with this treaty is that we replace American law [developed] by our elected officials with international law that is governed by a board of 18 child’s rights experts in Geneva," he explains. According to Farris, the treaty is far-reaching. It treats all parents like criminals — even before trial, he explains. "The child’s wishes have to be considered by the government, and the government gets to decide at the end of the day — when there is any conflict between parent and child, or any conflict between the government and the…parent — …what it thinks is best for the child," he points out. "That’s in religion, that’s in education, that’s in ‘do you let your kids put their real names on their Facebook accounts?’ On every parenting decision you can imagine, the government gets to make the final call." Farris is also certain that ratification of the treaty will be considered. He notes it will be up to the secretary of state — Hillary Clinton — to submit the treaty to Congress for ratification, a treaty Bill Clinton’s administration favored. "And the chances that it is going to be attempted are 100 percent," Farris contends. "Barbara Boxer said so in a meeting just before Christmas…every indication is that there is going to be an attempt." For more information on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, visit [Editor’s note: If I am not mistaken, all those European countries which are persecuting homeschoolers have signed the treaty. Furthermore, such a treaty could be used to require that homeschool parents teach their children that homosexuality is an acceptable alternate lifestyle or at least penalize them if they taught their children that it is a sinful lifestyle, which is exactly what the Bible says. WSW.]