new online math program

     On Thursday, August 26, 2010, the following e-mail was received from Andrew Joseph” ( andrew@tenmarks.com ):

     I wanted to make you and your homeschool support group aware of TenMarks, a new online service for kids to practice and master math concepts online.  TenMarks was launched earlier this year, and has been getting great reviews from homeschooling parents who’ve been using TenMarks, mostly as a supplement to the core material.

     “I love TenMarks as a parent. It’s been a while since I’ve had to go over 8th grade concepts, and helping my daughter with it now really has me strugglingYour videos really help me reinforce what I know, and help her practice and learn everyday. Thanks for bringing this program to us.”  –       Homeschooling Mom of a 8th Grader

“My son doesn’t like most worksheet programs, but he likes the online worksheets on TenMarks. He says it works well for him because the hints help him when he needs assistance. The videos too. Great job.”  –        Homeschooling Mom of a 5th Grader

     TenMarks was developed with the help of math curriculum experts, and has been used by thousands of families.  To try it out for yourself, just go to http://www.tenmarks.com/tmother/homeschooler-index and try it for free. Programs cover grades 3-10 and are only $10 a month or $89 for a full year. 

      The TenMarks unique approach to math works because:

     1.     Programs are personalized for each student – based on their skill levels

     2.     Topics covered are mapped to state standards, and cover various approaches

     3.     Interactive worksheets help student master each topic, guiding them to success

     4.     Hints and video lessons help students build confidence and succeed

     5.     Students are motivated with success, rewards, and certificates

      I also want to let you know about a new  free math resource site for educators – called “TeacherZone”.  “TeacherZone” is a free resource for homeschooling parents and teachers, and has thousands of  free math video lessons for Grades 3-10.   It’s available at http://teacher.tenmarks.com/

     If TenMarks would be of interest to your support group, we would love to have you share the site with them.  We’d also be very interested in your thoughts – please share any feedback or suggestions with me directly.  If you’d like us to set-up a discount for your support group, please let me know and we’ll be happy to set one up for you.

     Best regards,
Andrew Joseph
Co-Founder & President
TenMarks Education  – The Smartest way to Practice and Master Math.
www.TenMarks.com

     (As always, I am not necessarily recommending this, but simply passing along information that you might be interested in.)

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more on homeschooling in Sweden

     On August 23, 2010, the Home School Legal Defense Association sent out a notice, “Homeschoolers Vow to Continue in Face of New Law,” as follows:

     “We made the decision this weekend that … we’re going to take this year again to homeschool.”

     Homeschool mom Lisa Angerstig, an American married to a Swede, states that she will continue to homeschool in Uppsala, Sweden this coming year—with or without permission from the authorities. In the midst of a court battle with the local municipality and ever-increasing fines equivalent to $1,400 in U.S. currency, the family is convinced that the best way for their son Isak to learn is at home.

     A Swedish radio station recently interviewed Angerstig, as well as two Swedish officials involved in the Uppsala court battles against local homeschool families.

     “Over the years,” Lisa says, “homeschooling has really helped our kids individually.” She points out that in the United States, homeschooling is quite common and is considered a good alternative for attaining the same goals the schools are striving for. In fact, studies have shown that homeschooled children often receive higher test scores and are more socially well-adjusted than their public-schooled peers. In addition, Lisa states that homeschooling helps to foster an environment where children are open and curious to learn. “The goal of education [is to] instill that curiosity that doesn’t stop throughout their lifetime.” Educating their children at home has also helped the family as a whole: “We stay close and communicate better.”

     In a recent article by the Swedish newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning, 12-year-old Isak expresses his opinion: “I want to continue to homeschool in the fall when I start in sixth grade … Homeschooling means I get more help, and that I can spend more time on topics I am interested in.”

     Angerstig also presented a clear case against Sweden’s aggressive position that all children must attend public school, regardless of circumstances. The homeschool mom states that their local municipality has never given any information as to why homeschooling does not work, whereas the family has provided positive evidence to the school again and again. Authorities have repeatedly criticized homeschooling as an unviable form of education, Angerstig says, by offering answers such as, “He’s not being socialized unless he’s in school.”

     “That’s not a real answer. Because I can say, sitting in school, they can’t guarantee me my children are going to be socialized.”

     In Isak’s case, Lisa says, “we’ve had oversight [by officials] … to show that homeschooling does work.” Lisa explains that Isak did very well last year and met all the requirements. “We follow a similar plan as what the local schools follow. We look at their plan, and we buy some of the books, too. He’s getting the same information as what any other fifth or sixth grader would be getting. So it’s simply a question with the [municipality] of how it’s delivered.”

     The radio station also interviewed a Swedish lawyer who is involved in the cases against homeschoolers. Her comments support the staunch position that in Sweden all children must attend school. She completely discounts the positive results that homeschooling is producing. Instead, she focuses on whether homeschool parents have teaching credentials and a “school-like plan” for socialization.

     “Places like Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Berkeley [are] all admitting homeschoolers into their programs without any reservation,” states Lisa. “So to say it doesn’t work and not provide a reason is definitely a reason for us to continue on with the legal process.” Lisa states that it is not their intention to pit homeschoolers against the local schools; they simply wish to retain the right to direct the education of their children. This means that the Angerstigs, along with other homeschoolers in their area, will continue to petition the court and homeschool regardless of the outcome.

     Sweden’s new education law, passed in June 2010, allows parents to educate their children at home only in the most rare of cases. By adding the phrase “exceptional circumstances” into the law’s two-page section on home education, the government effectively eliminates the possibility to homeschool legally in Sweden. Over the past year, homeschool families have already endured the denial of permission to homeschool, fines amounting to hundreds and thousands of dollars, and countless court cases. Swedish homeschoolers are waiting to discover how officials will interpret the new law and what ramifications may follow.

     Yet as the interview with Lisa Angerstig demonstrates, Swedish families remain committed to pursuing the best form of education for their children. When homeschooling is the best option, families will continue to teach their children at home this coming year, even in the face of an unfavorable legal climate.

     ROHUS, the Swedish Association for Home Education, has posted the 11-minute interview to its website. Please go online to listen to the interview (portions of the interview are in English).

     HSLDA continues to support embattled Swedish homeschoolers to advance the cause of homeschooling and family freedom. To be a part of our efforts to support international homeschooling, you can become a member of HSLDA or donate to the international fund at the Home School Foundation’s website. HSLDA is grateful for the support of our members and invites you to learn more about maximizing your membership by reviewing the benefits that are available.

     — www.hslda.org

Board Takes Revenge, Closes Charter School

     Bill Bumpas of OneNewsNow reported on 8/24/2010 that just six days before school was to begin, the Idaho State Board of Education voted to uphold the closure of a charter school that tangled with officials over the use of the Bible in the classroom.

     The Idaho Public Charter School Commission decided earlier this year to close the Nampa Classical Academy because of financial problems, and the state board has now affirmed it in a 4-3 vote. More than 500 students were enrolled for the academy, leaving parents scrambling to find another alternative. Many are reportedly choosing to home school their kids.

     David Cortman of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) says he is disappointed by the closure, “especially in light of the fact that the entire state’s educational system is undergoing a financial crisis.” He does not think it was just for the board to take on the one school.

     ADF helped the Academy sue the commission over the Bible issue, so Cortman believes some revenge is being extracted.

     “There’s no doubt in my mind that they aggressively went after the school because of its stance on the use of the Bible and other religious texts in the curriculum; there’s certainly no doubt as to that,” he notes. “The Nampa Classical Academy basically took a stand on behalf of all public schools in the state and said, ‘Look, we need to find out where this stands constitutionally,’ and the Charter School Commission certainly took offense to that.”

     The Nampa Classical Academy had been open for only a year, and the ADF attorney reports that the current lawsuit is in the process of going before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

     [Editor’s note:  So-called “charter” schools are often sold as alternatives to homeschooling.  While they may be acceptable for those whose children are in failing public schools and have no other option, they are NOT the same as homeschooling and NOT as good as true homeschooling.  Often they are promoted with a “bait and switch” approach, where the family is made all kinds of promises, such as choosing a curriculum that suits you, more parental oversight, and even Bible classes, but they are still government-controlled schools, and their history is that the government noose just keeps getting drawn tighter and tighter and tighter.  Homeschoolers, beware of charter schools!  WSW.]

more on MATHCOUNTS

     Concerning the previous post regarding MATHCOUNTS, the following item came in yesterday from Home School Legal Defense Association.

MATHCOUNTS Reinstates Homeschool Teams for Upcoming Year

HSLDA, August 23, 2010

      On Tuesday, August 17, MATHCOUNTS, a prestigious foundation dedicated to the encouragement of math among middle school students, announced a ban on homeschoolers competing as teams.

     Banning homeschool teams from the annual competition program was a shock to the homeschool community because MATHCOUNTS had allowed homeschoolers to compete as teams for the past 20 years.

     HSLDA, as well as many homeschoolers, contacted MATHCOUNTS to express our concerns about the new policy.

     After a phone conversation between HSLDA and MATHCOUNTS, an agreement was reached to have a face-to-face meeting on Friday, August 20. The main result of the meeting was a temporary change in policy which allows homeschool teams who participated in last year’s competition to be grandfathered in and allowed to compete again in this year’s program.

    This is a welcome change, because many homeschool teams are already busy preparing for this year’s competition. HSLDA appreciates the quick response from MATHCOUNTS.

     It should be noted that MATHCOUNTS does not intend to discriminate against homeschoolers. However, the organization faced a growing number of problems that caused difficulties for its program.

     We understand that the revised policy does limit some homeschoolers, but MATHCOUNTS has committed to work with HSLDA, and homeschoolers, to find a long-term solution to this problem.

     We can assure you that MATHCOUNTS has heard your concerns and is willing to make a good faith effort to reach a solution which is fair to everyone. At this time we do not believe it is necessary to make any more phone calls to MATHCOUNTS.

     HSLDA appreciates and applauds MATHCOUNTS’ work in creating a fun way to get students involved in math. We have heard many stories of students beginning to enjoy math and wanting to further their studies in math due to their involvement in a MATHCOUNTS competition.

    It is our hope that by working closely with MATHCOUNTS over the next few months we will be able to achieve an equitable outcome for homeschoolers.

MathCounts won’t count home schoolers

     Bill Bumpas of OneNewsNow reported the following on 8/23/2010:

     Home schoolers are expressing disappointment over a decision that will no longer allow them to form teams and compete together in a national math contest.

     MathCounts, which is comparable to the National Spelling Bee, has decided to ban home schoolers from team competition in an attempt to curb cheating. However, most, if not all, of the cheating was committed by non-home school kids, according to the understanding of Penny Nance, CEO for Concerned Women for America (CWA).

     MathCounts officials counter that students will still be allowed to participate individually, but that decision does not please Nance.

     “The problem is about 60 percent of the slots in the competition are only open for group competition,” she explains. “So now you have a whole group of home school children who would have been able to compete but now will not be able to compete because MathCounts doesn’t want to do the extra work to check their paper work and to make sure that the kids who say they’re home schoolers really are home schoolers.”

     Jeanne Reppert, a home school mom in North Carolina and a big fan of MathCounts, describes that this ban will communicate to her children “that that aspect of the program is no longer valued when it comes to them as participants. So they could get the paper test and answer the questions as an individual, but the dynamic that occurs between the students on a team just won’t be there anymore.”

     Small schools and virtual schools are also prohibited from participating in the team competition.

reason #10,018 to keep your kids as far away from public schools as possible

     In the “What Our Kids Are Missing Out On Dept.” of her e-newsletter The Imperfect Homeschooler, Barb Frank shared the following item, saying,  ” The school health center put this 15-year-old in a taxi and sent her out to have an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. Seriously. ”  Here’s sthe item

Mother furious after in-school clinic sets up teen’s abortion

 By KOMO Staff

     Summary The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.

     Story Published: Mar 23, 2010; Updated: Mar 25, 2010.  SEATTLE — The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.

     The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as “Jill,” says the clinic kept the information “confidential.” When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

     “She took  a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center,” she said. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.” Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing. “We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus,” said Jill. “They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility.”

     The Seattle School District says it doesn’t run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students’ privacy. T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it’s always best if parents are involved in their children’s health care, but don’t always have a say.

      “At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy,” he said [editor’s note: but, of course, they can’t receive a pain reliever or take their asthma medicine to school unless they have parental consent!  WSW]. But Jill says she not only didn’t have a say in her daughter’s abortion, but also didn’t know about it. “Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away.”

     [There are some things here that don’t make sense–a daughter who is a pro-life advocate having an abortion, although if they are scared enough some people will do anything.  But the whole notion of schools arranging or even allowing someone else to arrange this kind of thing is repugnant and repulsive to any right thinking person.  WSW.]

The Tea Parties

     Imprimus, a free publication of Hillsdale College ( www.hillsdale.edu ) always has something of interest and relevance.  The July/August, 2010, issue has an article adapted from a speech delievered on June 6, 2010, during a Hillsdale College cruise from Rome to Dover by Stephen F. Haynes, who is a Senior Writer at The Weekly Standard and a FOX News Contributor.  It is entitled “The Tea Parties and the Future of Liberty.”  Many homeschoolers have become involved in Tea Parties.

     He begins, “Barak Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.  Within a month he signed a $787 billion ‘stimulus package’ with virtually no Republican support.  It was necessary, we were told, to keep unemployment under eight percent.”  Well, since then, unemployment has risen well above eight percent; there is a growing consensus (except among die-hard leftists) that the stimulus was a failure, and there is much evidence that a lot of the stimulus money was mismanaged.

     Hayes goes on to cite some of the ridiculous provisions of the misnamed and expensive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and says, “All of this set the stage for a revolt.  The accidental founding of the Tea Party movement took place in February 2009, when CNBC commentator Rick Santelli let loose a rant against the stimulus package, and in particular the proposal to subsidize what he called ‘the losers’ mortgages.'”

     However, he continues, “ALl of this has liberals in the mainstream media and elsewhere flummoxed.  At first they were dismissive,” and cites several examples of how the left and its willing accomplices in the drive-by media have mocked, ridiculed, and even slandered the Tea Party movement and compares it to the elitist holier-than-thou tone of the media before the 1994 mid term elections.

     He even mentions the fact that Speaker of the House “Nancy Pelosi, who had earlier dismissed Tea Parties as ‘Astroturf’–meaning fake grassroots activism–revised that assessment, telling reporters that, in fact, she was just like the Tea Partiers.”  How can you tell if a Democrat is lying?  His (or her) lips are moving!

     He then points out, “This brings us to the present day.  The president’s approval ratings are low, and Congressional Democrats’ are even worse.  Members of the president’s party are not only running away from him in swing districts, but even in some relatively safe ones.  Many analysts are suggesting that control of the House of Representatives is in play, and perhaps even that of the Senate.”

     After a paragraph citing the reasons for this dissatisfaction–not just “anti-incumbency” and not hate, but simple voter outrage with big government and it effect on the long term health of the country, he concludes, “Does all of this add up to big Republican gains in November?  Not according to the mainstream media.   The Boston Globe’s Susan Milligan recently wrote: ‘The Tea Party movement is energizing elements of the Republican Party and fanning an anti-Washington fervor, but the biggest beneficiaries in the mid-term elections, pollsters and political analysts say, could be the main target of their anger: Democrats.’  CBS News reported the same thing just a few days later.  What nonsense!  I think there is little question that the Tea Parties–and the enthusiasm they bring–will contribute to major Republican gains in November.”

     I certainly hope–and pray to the God of heaven, who rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever He wills (Dan. 4:32) and who has said that righteous exalts a nation while sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34)–that Hayes is right.  Also, I have to wonder what those who think that the Democrat party will benefit from the Tea Party Movement have been drinking and smoking!  Perhaps it is just wishful thinking on their part.

     Hayes added a final note.  “For many Tea Partiers, the massive and unconstitutional growth of government is the fundamental issue.  But I think there’s something deeper, too.  After her husband had won several primaries in a row in the spring of 2009, Michelle Obama proclaimed that for the first time in her life she was proud of her country.  It was a stunning statement.  It also foreshadowed what was to come.”  The Obamas and their ilk apparently think that there was nothing to be proud of about America until Barak Obama came along!  What a sad, cynical view of America.  And it helps to explain why the Tea Party movement has met with such success.

     Any study of  American government, world affairs, and other current events would be well supplemented by reading the speeches recorded in Imprimus.  And, remember, it’s FREE!