Homeschooling Archives

As home schooling parents, who happen to reside in California, it has always been our intention to give our children the opportunity to attend whichever university they desired and were qualified for. While private universities are certainly an option (an expensive option), we have also wanted our children to have the opportunity to attend a state supported school (primarily because of the lower cost involved). Yet, it wasn’t until our first child was in her junior year of high school that we seriously addressed the following question:

How does a home schooled high school graduate properly apply and get admitted to either a Cal State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) school?

Are you a home schooling parent, in California, who can relate to this question? Has the prospect of home schooling your child through high school caused you to have more than a few sleepless nights?

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    Links for Sunday, 27 January 2013

    Home School Edition (particulary for a couple of new homeschool moms I know)

    Homeschooling and Socialization
    Ah, yes. The question that won’t go away. From the post,

    And lets face it — the “Lord of the Flies” social scene in most schoolyards never occurs anywhere else in life. I never encountered anything remotely resembling it in college, grad school or the work place. Women in groups may at times verge on being a bit “catty,” but maturity has deadened the sharper edges of the claws they may have had as schoolgirls. And besides, maturity works both ways — women have thicker skin than young girls.

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    Well, homeschooled kids ARE NOT well socialized
    Depending on how you define “well socialized.” From the post,

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s nothing “normal” about our kids. Your homeschooled child is odd compared to the schooled population because they have not experienced ongoing school-based socialization and standardization.

    When you consider that the homeschooled population makes up only 3-6% of the entire school-going population, you may begin to understand just how different your kids are or will be.

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    Does Homeschooling threaten public school systems?
    From Glenn Reynolds,

    Traditional public schools haven’t changed much for decades (and to the extent they have, they’ve mostly gotten worse). But the rest of the world has changed a lot. The public who eagerly purchased Henry Ford’s Model T (available in any color you want, so long as it’s black!) now lives in a world where almost everything is infinitely customized and customizable. That makes one-size-fits-all education, run on a Fordist model itself, look like a bad deal.

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    Homeschooling: resistance is futile
    From The Atlantic, even “progressives” have been smitten with the allure of homeschooling.

    So we are making a different choice. Sure, we have philo­sophical reasons. Some of the parents in our circle are “unschoolers,” convinced that early education should follow a child’s interests and initiatives rather than shape them. Some of us aspire to offer something like a classical education: logic and rhetoric, mythology, Latin. Most of us are put off by the public schools’ emphasis on standardized tests and their scant attention to the visual arts, music, religion, and foreign languages.

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    Your homeschooled teen will be better prepared for college
    Due to their lack of socialization skills, no doubt. From the article,

    They’re also better socialized than most high school students, says Joe Kelly, an author and parenting expert who home-schooled his twin daughters.

    “I know that sounds counterintuitive because they’re not around dozens or hundreds of other kids every day, but I would argue that’s why they’re better socialized,” Kelly says. “Many home-schoolers play on athletic teams, but they’re also interactive with students of different ages.”

    Home-schooled students often spend less time in class, Kelly says, giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.

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      Links for Monday, 31 December 2012

      Exporting the “old and sick” to another place

      But don’t worry – I’m sure it’s for “the common good.”

      From The Guardian,

      Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.

      …with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”.

      Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care.

      Something to think about as we travers the road towards nationalized healthcare.

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      The Last Radicals
      From the National Review,

      There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional.

      The author contends that opponents to homeschoolers have three core reasons.

      The first is that progressives by their nature do not trust people as individuals and feel that, whether we are applying for a credit card or popping into 7-Eleven for a soft drink, Americans require state-appointed overseers.

      The second reason for this hostility is that while there is a growing number of secular, progressive, organic-quinoa-consuming homeschool families, there remains a significant conservative and Christian component.

      A third reason is that the majority of homeschool teachers are mothers. A traditional two-parent family with one full-time breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent is practically built into the model.

      Long live independence!

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      Safe, legal and… rare?
      From Touchstone Magazine,

      The Federal Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) released a report on the eve of Thanksgiving showing that there was an historic drop of five percent in the abortion rate, the most in a decade. The data is from 2009, the latest year available, and shows that there were only 789,000 abortions. [emphasis in original]

      The author states that data from California was not included, so the number of abortions most likely was over 1,000,000.

      As for the demographics, this unsettling note,

      Approximately 85 percent of women who aborted their babies were unmarried. The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy. White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for African-American women was about four times that; and the abortion rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.

      The liberal mantra of being there for the disadvantaged seems to get turned on its head.

      And to put some perspective on the killing of 1,000,000 unborn children every year, it’s like having 137 Sandy Hook mass killings EVERY DAY.

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      A belated Christmas Light Painting link for you all
      Here’s a great example!

      Merry Christmas Everyone!

      © Michael Ross

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      Doctrine vs. Methodology?
      From The Gospel Coalition,

      Pastors constantly face temptation to devote more time and energy to methods rather than to doctrine. If that includes you, then give heed to Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

      Following the imperative to keep watch on himself, Paul further instructs Timothy to keep watch on his doctrine. My observation, however, is that most ministers aren’t doing this. They don’t talk about doctrine. They don’t read it. If they’re paying close attention to anything, it is their methods and psychology. What’s the result? Less biblical fidelity. Less interest in truth. Less seriousness. Less depth.

      Neglecting doctrine results in less capacity to offer a compelling alternative to the thinking of our generation. I often hear the excuse that pastors aren’t studying theology because they’re too busy trying to reach more people. Ironically, this pursuit of identification often comes with a corresponding loss of communication. We put forth all this effort to make people feel comfortable and at home so they don’t feel the difference between life in Christ and life without Christ. Problem is, it is supposed to be different when you come to Christ. That is the point.

      [emphasis added]

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      From Radicals to Oddballs
      Oh, those homeschoolers,

      There are two facets to educating a child well. The first is to recognize that education is not merely the accumulation of facts, but that it has an unavoidably moral aspect. A suitable education must do more, therefore, than simply teach facts, even moral facts. Education must seek to cultivate the moral imagination of the child, for reducing moral education to a list of rules is bound to fail.

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        Friday Link Wrap-up

        In Canada, strip searches from possession of a deadly … crayon.

        Also from the Great White North, government intrusion into homeschool, saying that Christian parents can’t teach a Biblical view of homosexuality. Freedom of religion is being chipped away slowly enough that most don’t see it.

        If Obama is some post-racial president, why is he launching "African Americans for Obama"?

        Medical "ethicists" are seriously arguing that post-birth newborns are "not persons" and can ethically be "aborted".

        With all the religious implications of Obama’s policies, you’d think he’d have kept around his faith-based council for advice. Nope, they’ve just faded away.

        Movie reviewers of the liberal persuasion are all for anti-war, anti-military or pro-environmental message movies, but that idea gets thrown out when they disapprove of the message. Suddenly, it’s "propaganda".

        Scofflaw Democrats. "The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 further provides that if, for two years in a row, more than 45% of Medicare funding is coming from general revenues rather than Medicare taxes, the president must submit legislation to Congress to address the Medicare funding crisis. President Bush dutifully followed the law, but President Obama has ignored it for the last three years."

        Obama claims that we can’t drill our way out of the energy problem, and then, in the same speech, notes that domestic oil production is at it’s highest level in 8 years. Because we drilled! Can’t have it both ways, Mr. President, but the press will try to let you have it.

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          Training Young Adults in Christian Apologetics

          Recently, in Christian apologetic circles, it was noted that a former Christian professor of philosophy had converted to an Eastern religion. Dr. Michael Sudduth, from San Francisco State University, was highlighted in the blog post Michael Sudduth Converts to Vaishnava Vedanta!

          As part of our home schooling effort, we engage in a weekly Current Events series in which I have my oldest daughter (high school) read various news items (which I have selected), and then write a brief commentary on the item, first explaining what the article was about and then giving her opinion on the story.

          Here is what she wrote regarding the conversion story of Dr. Sudduth:

          This article is a letter written by a man who has converted from Christianity to Vaishnava Vedanta. He had been a Protestant Christian for 25 years, but had increasingly become drawn toward Vedanta, both trough a philosophical attraction and an experiential attraction. As he began to explore the religion more deeply, he became profoundly affected by it and to feel the presence of God through it. He began to believe that his former beliefs in God were a limited expression of the deeper meaning he found through Vedanta.

          Vaishnavism articulates a model of the love of God, where intimacy and separation are the two important elements of the divine-human love relation. People are both one with God and separate from God. The relationship with God is a simultaneous difference and non-difference. He believes that God is manifested in different ways, and God-realization takes on diverse forms. Vaishnavism acknowledges religious truth found across different religious traditions, and though the names are many, God is one. How we experience God depends on different aspects of our own personalities.

          The author says that he does not believe he is worshipping a different God than he worshipped when he was a Christian – he believes it is the same God, under a different, and fuller manifestation. He says that the basic principles of Vaishnavism are compatible with a number of fundamental Christian beliefs, and that he is not relinquishing these beliefs but situating them in a different philosophical and theological context. He closes his letter by saying that he doesn’t want to convert any of his friends to Vaishnavism, but he hopes that they’ll make each other better devotees in their respective faiths.

          From this letter, it seems like the author has based his entire conversion on experience. He felt something when reading the texts associated with Vaishnavism, he felt a closeness to the person of Lord Krishna, he felt profoundly affected and overwhelmed with a sense of the presence of God. He felt Krishna’s presence in his bedroom, he felt a validation of his spiritual journey. Even when he starts talking about philosophy and theology, he says that he has found aspects of the Vedanta theology and philosophy appealing to him. I think that his question should not be, “is it appealing?”, or “does it feel right?”, rather, he should ask “does it line up with reality?” He seems to ignore this question, replacing it with how he happens to feel. If these beliefs don’t line up with reality, if they’re not true, they shouldn’t be believed no matter how appealing they are or how good they make one feel.

          The author claims that Vaishnavism is compatible with Christianity. He even claims he is worshipping the same God he worshipped before he switched religions. However, if he really means this, he couldn’t have been worshipping the Christian God before. Jesus said that He was the only way to God – obviously, the author believes there are many ways to get to God, so his beliefs are in direct opposition to fundamental Christian beliefs.

          Lastly, he says that he’s only interested in making his friends better devotees to their respective religions, not in making them converts to Vaishnavism. Why is this? If he believes that Vaishnavism is true, then shouldn’t he want to convince other people of that? This religion seems to be one without much substance – it seems like anything you believe goes, and I don’t think that lines up to the way the world we know actually works.

          Personally, I think that it is incumbent on us, as Christian parents, to prepare our children for the realities of a post-Christian America, thereby providing them with the resources to not only counter the worldviews they will come up against, but to courteously provide a clear explanation of the veracity of the Christian worldview.

          And, I’m proud of my daughter’s grasp of these concepts, while in high school. We must engage our young adults (that would be anyone older than 13) in the marketplace of ideas, stretching them, and setting the bar high – they can achieve it.

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            Homeschooling: Not Just For the Religious Right

            While it’s never been solely a Christian-oriented movement, homeschooling is also rising with folks of a more liberal persuasion. Some of the reasons are different, but a surprising number are similar as well.

            Before getting to the specific homeschooling instance, in New Jersey, I wanted to point out this wonderful irony.

            According to federal Department of Education statistics nearly 2 million children in the U.S. are home-schooled. The number in New Jersey is estimated to be about 40,000.

            While supporters cite the studies suggesting home-schooled students do better on standardized tests, critics counter that these students are not held to the same standards as their peers in traditional schools.

            Um, guys, that’s the very reason many people homeschool, so they won’t be held to the same standards as public schools. We prefer higher ones. Hence the better test scores.

            On, then, to the main thrust of the story. Read the whole thing.

            There was a time when Heather Kirchner thought mothers who home-schooled their children were the types “who wore long skirts and praised Jesus, and all that.”

            But that was before the Sayreville resident decided to home-school her own daughter, Anya.

            Kirchner actually wears jeans, and like the two dozen other families that are part of the year-old Homeschool Village Co-op in Central Jersey, she doesn’t consider herself to be particularly religious.

            The co-op is one of dozens in the state formed by home-schooling parents looking to network and provide their children with opportunities to conduct science experiments, play sports and games, and socialize.

            What’s different about Homeschool Village is that its mission is secular.

            According to a 2007 survey conducted by the federal Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 83.3 percent of home-schooling parents named “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction” as an important reason to home-school, and it was the most important for 35.8 percent of the parents.

            “We are the opposite of that,” said Vanessa Bowden, a former South Brunswick public school teacher who already is home-schooling her 2 year-old daughter and 4-year-old twins.

            In Bowden’s view, there are “two sects of home-schooling people” — the religious kind “and then the hippies,” like her.

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              Only in California (v. 2)

              A Summer camp to help socialize your… dog?
              Camp Bow Wow is not limited to California but they are, apparently, serious. From the ad,

              “Mom & Dad, take me to camp…
              …so I can socialize,”

              Remind me again – we’re in a recession so severe that some are comparing it as the closest we’ve come to the Great Depression? And yet, we have people sending their dogs to camp?

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              And so goes public education, on the slippery slope
              Governor Brown signed into law SB 48, this past summer. An excerpt of the bill,

              51204.5. Instruction in social sciences shall include the early history of California and a study of the role and contributions of both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups, to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society.

              [emphasis added]

              Wait, it gets better.

              51500. A teacher shall not give instruction and a school district shall not sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, or because of a characteristic listed in Section 220.

              [emphasis added]

              And if you think that you have the right to teach what you want in the privacy of your own home, consider this little paragraph.

              SEC. 6. It is the intent of the Legislature that alternative and charter schools take notice of the provisions of this act in light of Section 235 of the Education Code, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or other specified characteristics in any aspect of the operation of alternative and charter schools.

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              “(Q)uestions regarding vaccination laws are public policy matters for the government to decide.”
              From ParentalRights.org,

              …this past weekend …California governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB499 allowing children as young as 12 to make their own decisions regarding the Gardasil vaccine.

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              Well, at least Governor Brown’s recent signing of 3 gun-control bills will help. Right?
              Maybe we need a gun-control bill for the LAPD. It seems that they had some trouble controlling the whereabouts of some of their firearms. Not to worry, though, they only lost some submachine guns. It’s also reported that criticism of those who were negligent has been light, presumably because they are fellow officers. David Codrea also points out that the LAPD Chief is a darling of the Brady Campaign, is against open and concealed carry, and doesn’t want honest citizens to have normal capacity magazines. All this, I suppose, because the normal citizen isn’t responsible enough.

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                Rusty Nails (SCO v. 43)

                He said what?
                Richard Dawkins said “Jesus would have been an atheist had he known what we know today.” Wow. I know that Christian apologists have been clamoring for a debate between William Lane Craig and Dawkins, but if he makes such an ignorantly absurd statement like this, then…?

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                Only 1 in 4 want to ban handguns
                An all-time low (26%) and this spells bad news for liberal democrats. From Gallup,

                A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.

                N9ggmdee1k60atawqdbprq
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                Evangelical Capitalism statement of the day:
                “I’ve never seen an empty seat make a decision for Christ.” – Andy Stanley

                While this notion is sincere, it usually degrades to nothing more than a “numbers game” approach, and the logical conclusion of this methodology is to do just about anything to entice people through the door (and onto a… seat) where they can then be swayed to “make a decision.” And I wonder just what priority is given, if any,, to that of making a disciple of Christ (what the Bible actually states).

                “Christians Need To Stop Making Converts” – Read it again, for the first time.

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                Geek News # 1
                Checking out footprints of the Apollo moonwalkers.

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                Geek News # 2
                Searching for Snoopy… Apollo 10′s Snoopy (aka the Lunar Module)

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                A Homeschooling convert?
                So in the middle of realizing that school is really just a babysitting service, I became militant. I realized that public school is like Social Security. There is no money to do what we are pretending we are aiming to do. We should just grow up and admit that we cannot have effective public schools for everyone. Just like we cannot have Social Security for everyone.

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                  Rusty Nails (SCO v. 42)

                  “The Incredible Shrinking Man” – Daniel Amos, circa 1984
                  Perhaps a bit prescient. From a LifeSiteNews.com article,

                  “We have a man problem in American society, and we need to address it,” Bennett said.

                  Bennett cited figures showing a decline in male participation in the workforce, education, and life commitments.

                  “Men are not marrying, not making the commitments in the way at they used to,” Bennett added.

                  “Women have said, women I’ve met, daughters of friends of mine in their 20s and 30s, have said, ‘Where are the men? Where are the men? Where are the men we want to marry, where are the men we want to raise our children with?’”

                  So, where are the real men?

                  ###

                  Well, here’s one:
                  28 year-old Christian Camp Director, married father, and foster-father Dustin Ellermann. Also, winner of Top Shot: Season 3. Watch video of the final challenge (skip to 38:45).

                  From the news link,

                  With his $100,000 in winnings, he plans to help pay off the new camp chapel, expand camp his way to reach more kids, and find a bigger place so he and his wife can take in more foster kids.

                  “Some of the guys say this is the biggest accomplishment in their life, but I kind of have a bigger perspective on that and I try to look at how God sees stuff and this is just a manmade accomplishment thing and God helped me through it, but honestly it’s my kids and passing on good things to them and the kids that we minister to here at the camp, that’s what really matters in life because that’s what goes on after I’m dead and gone,” Ellermann said.

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                  If this helped girls, could it also help boys?

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                  Nuclear annihilation has been a potentiality for over 50 years now
                  Why hasn’t it occurred?

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                  Thinking of homeschooling? What about the issue of “sheltering” your child from the “real world” of public school?
                  I like one of the points in this article,

                  Here’s a question for you: When has “the real world” of the school institution ever again entered your life? Does your workplace only hire people from a specific zip code? Do you only hang out with people who were born in the same year as you? When children aren’t compelled to sit in an institution all day, they grow up in the real world.

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                    Public/Private/Home … School, Healthcare, and Beyond

                    Recently the Paul interview sparked a conversation about the limits of government to take our choices putatively for the public weal. This is, for the nonce, the status quo regarding education. How that impacts us in society is of some relevance as the progressive/liberals in our midst have the notion that this would be a good thing if moved to other spheres, like healthcare. What they fail to do is point out the downside for the ordinary person. Read the rest of this entry

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                      Friday Link Wrap-up

                      Post-war (i.e. WWII) marginal tax rates (the top individual tax bracket) have fluctuated from above 90% to below 30%, but W. Kurt Hauser noted that, in 1993, the total tax revenue, as a percentage of GDP, stayed virtually constant. Really. The data has been updated to 2007 and the observation holds. You can’t soak the rich. Raise their rates, and GDP goes down to match, in addition to the tax shelters that suddenly become very popular. Social engineers who want to use the tax code to implement what they want ought to be very disturbed, if they even know about this.

                      In terms of absolute dollars, federal revenues have tripled in the last 50 years (quadrupled if you consider the amount just before the recession). The problem is, federal spending has outpaced even that. Ed Morrissey has the charts to show that we don’t have a revenue problem.

                      Homeschooling is such a success that liberals at the NEA, in the Dept. of Education and in Congress are "troubled" and "concerned" by it, and of course consider it racist. Yes, really.

                      The pro-life cause continues to advance, recently in Ohio. And Americans United for Life has put out a scathing 181-page report on abuses and law-breaking at Planned Parenthood, and is taking it to Congress.

                      Global warming seems to have stopped. Well, Scientific American says, "Blame Asia!"

                      Obama, in prosecuting war, embraces his inner Dubya.

                      Just like the press (and the anti-war movement) has gone very quiet about wars, old and new, being prosecuted by this President, the NY Time even notices that the press has been ignoring the poor during this recession. And they’re part of the press to blame for it! What a difference a Democratic President makes!

                      Andres Oppenheimer says it best. "What Chavez has done in Venezuela over the last 12 years is nothing short of an economic miracle: Despite benefiting from the biggest oil boom in Venezuela’s history, he has somehow managed to turn the country into a shambles." Read the whole thing. It’s amazing to see truly how much money socialism can spend on people, only to make their lives worse.

                      Comparing and contrasting the economic stimulus under Clinton (that got rejected) to the economic stimulus under Obama (which passed) and which was actually better for unemployment.

                      If the debt ceiling is not raised by August, we would still have enough money coming in to not default on interest payments on the debt, and cover Social Security, Medicare, and "essential" defense. Don’t let Obama’s threat about withholding Grandma’s check scare you.

                      The ban on circumcision that will be on the San Francisco ballot in November is rife with anti-Semitism. That’s just about all you need to know about it, but here’s more.

                      And some more slipper slope for you. (Click for a larger image.)

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                        Rusty Nails (SCO v. 37)

                        Of course there are .22 caliber shotguns! The internet told me so.
                        A couple of years ago I overheard a recent college grad, at work, exclaim to a colleague, “What did they do before there was Google?” It seems they were searching for some elusive answer to an inquiry they had. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I use the internet for a variety of searches, typically those involving how to get a piece of software/hardware to do what it is supposed to do. However, a good dose of incredulity is in order whenever one reads a search result on the internet. Especially from an “ehow” type site.

                        Case in point is the article Do You Need a Gun License for a .22 Caliber?, over at said eHow. From the article, in response to the question “What is a .22 caliber”?,

                        There are many types of guns that use this size ammunition; these guns include revolvers, rifles, pistols and shotguns.

                        Hmmm. While I suppose it is possible to build a .22 shotgun, it seems to be pretty much a one-off.

                        Also,

                        To own a .22 caliber, it is necessary to complete a Federal Firearms License application.

                        Well… you purchase a firearm (regardless of whether it’s a .22) through an FFL dealer.

                        And,

                        You must submit this form to the AFT (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.)

                        C’mon. AFT? Try ATF (which kind of corresponds to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms).

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                        Them Homeschoolers are always kept at home… except when they’re winning stuff

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                        Amazing Milky Way Timelapse

                        Plains Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

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                        Rep. King Calls Out TSA on Security Breach
                        Of course, this now means that TSA will step-up pat-downs of 5 year-old girls, 90 year-olds in walkers, armed forces personnel, and nuns.

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                        Facebook Tip for Parents
                        Did you know you can submit an underage report for your kid if they’ve signed up to FB and are under age 13?

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                          Rusty Nails (SCO v. 32)

                          Air Traffic Controller sleeps on duty at Reagan National Airport
                          Isn’t it ironic, considering that President Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers, that an air traffic controller falls asleep on the job at Reagan National Airport?

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                          Similar to the boy in the bubble among us? Or simply a nuisance to everyone else?
                          Where do we draw the lines to our accommodation of those with disabilities? At what point do we say, enough, you (the disabled person) need to limit your actions because of your predicament? Regardless, it’s another reason to homeschool.

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                          eBooks, weeding, and the demise of the public library?
                          No, the title is not an Elmer Fudd pun on the act of reading. An interesting op-ed argument regarding how the advent of ebook technology, along with the limits of ownership rights, may impact how libraries currently function.

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                          Imagine a truck, full of printer ink, spilling its load
                          Imagine no more (click the image for stunning detail)…

                          Image © Boston.com

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                          Video: Pelosi violates the “separation of church and state”
                          But it’s okay, because it suits her needs.

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                          Geek News of the Week:  Hi-res photo of Mars Rover Opportunity from orbit
                          7 years into a 3 month mission, Opportunity was photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Click the image for a hi-res version.

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                          Well, it IS “Frie”-day
                          For all those IN-N-OUT aficionados out there (and for those who long for the experience).

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                            On introverts, lazy kids, and rude teachers

                            High School teacher Natalie Munro has, evidently, caused quite a stir recently with her blog posted rants about the many shortcomings of her students and her students’ parents. From the National Post, ‘Frightfully dim’: Teacher suspended for blog insulting students,

                            Although she didn’t name her school or any students, she used her real first name and initial and had a photo of herself. In a completely unsurprising turn of events, school officials found her out.

                            Parents, administrators and students alike weren’t too impressed with how she described her pupils:

                            • “A complete and utter jerk in all ways”
                            • “Although academically okay your child has no other redeeming qualities”
                            • “I hear the trash company is hiring”
                            • “I didn’t realize one person could have this many problems”
                            • “There’s no other way to say this, I hate your kid”
                            • “Rat-like”
                            • “Dresses like a streetwalker”
                            • “Frightfully dim”

                            Indeed, such candidly negative descriptions of one’s students seems to exemplify virtues contrary to what one would expect from a teacher. Although, I wonder if Munro’s crime was not so much that she has negative feelings about some of her students as that she committed those feelings to print (cyber-print, as it were). How many of Munro’s colleagues have similar feelings about some of their students? For that matter, how many students have negative feelings about some of their teachers? Yeah. You know what I’m talking about.

                            Could it be, however, that those criticizing Munro are over-simplifying the problem at hand? Consider what Susan Cairn stated on her blog Quiet,

                            I want to talk about Munro’s view of quiet and shy students. Here, according to her blog entry of January 21, 2010, is what she wished she could put on their report cards:

                            • “A kid that has no personality.”
                            • “She just sits there emotionless for an entire 90 minutes, staring into the abyss, never volunteering to speak or do anything.”
                            • “Shy isn’t cute in 11th grade; it’s annoying. Must learn to advocate for himself instead of having Mommy do it.”

                            Munro seemed to have no understanding of how tough a place the typical American high school can be for introverts — like an all-day cocktail party without any alcohol. She believed that these kids should suck it up and act like everyone else. And she was right, to a certain extent; we all need to fake it a little, extroverts too. I’ve met many introverted kids who are thriving and happy, and most of them have learned how to adopt an extroverted persona when need be.

                            It seems that what we have here is a classic example of the diversity of the human psyche. Contained within a typical classroom are students (and teachers) of various personality types, learning styles, and intelligence levels, who also bring with them the baggage of life – both the good and the bad. If this complexity exists, then it should be no surprise that it manifests itself in equally complex ways.  Thus, a “kid that has no personality” may indeed not have a personality, or he may have mental issues, or he may be extremely apathetic, or he may tend towards not publicly displaying emotion, or any combination of the above.

                            Is Munro unable to discern the simple fact that humans have differing personalities? It does seem difficult to comprehend that one who is used to seeing classrooms full of new students, each year, would be so myopic. In our own home school household we have seen this clear distinction in differing learning styles, as related to personality differences, with a total sampling of only 2!

                            If, in fact, Munro is an extrovert who has her blinders on with regards to the diversity of human personality traits, then it would be in her best interest to educate herself on this subject – to expand her horizons – indeed – maybe she should think outside the box.

                            Yet, before we dismiss Munro’s opinions of her students, and condemn her for having the audacity to express them, could it be she has thought outside the box and is now alerting us to another problem in our midst? Could it be that, within the walls of our public schools, there are students who are lazy, whiny, apathetic, and disrespectful?

                            From News.com.au,

                            “My students are out of control,” Ms Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post.

                            “They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”

                            And from Yahoo!News,

                            “They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative,” Munroe said of her students in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “The students are not being held accountable.”

                            Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration — and of a feeling that many kids today are being given a free pass at school and at home.

                            “Parents are more trying to be their kids’ friends and less trying to be their parent,” Munroe said, also noting students’ lack of patience. “They want everything right now. They want it yesterday.”

                            Some may say, in response to the last two article quotes, “well, that’s not news”. Yes, it is not news that today’s students are “out of control”. Yet, it would be too easy to scapegoat the reason why: drugs, being coddled, lack of federal money, teacher’s unions, extrovert / introvert, parents, lack of parents, the myth of adolescence, learning styles, technology, affluence, etc. Rather than a single reason, could it be “all of the above”?

                            I think that with a problem rooted in complexity, the solution will reflect a similar complexity.

                            • Teachers need to exercise patience with problem students, learn how differing personality styles affect differing learning styles, and display a genuine interest in their students – among other things.
                            • Parents need to get involved in the lives of their children, not cater to their children, discipline their children, and love their children with a tough, yet gentle, love – among other things.
                            • Students need to grow up, exercise respect, study, work, and think – among other things.
                            • Society needs to stop blessing adolescent activities as normal, stop treating young adults as children, stop putting the notion of “self-esteem” on a pedestal, stop throwing money in the wrong direction, and start demanding results from students, parents, and teachers – among other things.
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                              Rusty Nails (SCO v. 23)

                              If this is okay
                              then,

                              this should be as well…

                              and this too…

                              and, lastly, this also.

                              ###

                              Be careful how you hold your cellphone when you’re in public
                              It just might be considered a weapon.

                              ###

                              One soldier, with a knife, against 40 armed thieves
                              Result: Thieves – 3 dead, 8 injured. Soldier – a serious wound on his hand. This is one reason why the notion that banning objects, such as 30 round magazines, with the intention of curbing acts of evil, is flawed. Humans have the uncanny ability to utilize available tools, combine them with courageous virtue – or evil desire – and act.

                              ###

                              Why you should be concerned about something like Pod Slurping.

                              ###

                              Abortion and the Argument from Inhuman Sociopathy
                              Joe Carter pulls no punches in this critique.

                              ###

                              Geek News: 25 years since Voyager 2 passed by Uranus
                              From JPL,

                              “The Uranus encounter was one of a kind,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager, based at JPL. “Voyager 2 was healthy and durable enough to make it to Uranus and then to Neptune. Currently both Voyager spacecraft are on the cusp of leaving the sun’s sphere of influence and once again blazing a trail of scientific discovery.”

                              ###

                              ID Theft not all it’s cracked up to be?
                              From Consumer Reports,

                              You have a low likelihood of becoming a victim of true identity theft, and even if you are unlucky, your finances will probably not suffer. Don’t waste money on expensive services offered by credit-reporting bureaus and other ID theft protection companies. Most of their products are unnecessary or ineffective, or they duplicate things you can do yourself, for free.

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