Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here is your chance to answer the Socialization question!

We have been offered an opportunity to weigh in on the socialization question by a former homeschooler who is researching development of social skills in homeschooled adolescents. If you haven't seen this yet, please consider whether you would be willing for your child to participate.

Dear Homeschool Family,

My name is Jason Downing, and I am a former homeschooled student who benefited from the support of homeschool organizations like HSLDA. As a doctoral candidate, I am looking for individuals to participate in a research project relating to the development of social skills in homeschooled adolescents. Eligible homeschool participants are needed to complete a simple survey questionnaire.

As a former homeschooled student, I understand the importance in offering as much information to families as possible, as they weigh the pros and cons of home education. It is my personal belief home educated students develop the same social skills as their public school counterparts. Your participation in this research is of vital importance, as the home education option is continually debated.

My research centers on a comparative study between homeschooled and publicly educated adolescents. The focus of the research is to determine if a measurable difference exists in the development of social skills between these two groups.

The research consists of a social skills questionnaire developed by Pearson Assessments. Pearson is a nationally known as creating accurate and effective research tools. The questionnaire itself will take approximately 15–20 minutes and consists of the eligible participants answering 39 fill-in-the-blank questions.

I am looking for participants who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Homeschooled for at least two years;
  • Between the ages of 12-18 years of age;
  • Currently enrolled in a homeschool program.

A packet will be mailed to all willing participants. This packet will consist of the following:

  • Pearson’s Social Skills Rating Questionnaire;
  • Instructions on how to complete the survey questionnaire;
  • A pre-paid return envelope;
  • As the research will involve individuals under the age of 18, a consent form will be distributed for the parent(s) or legal guardians of the chosen individuals. Consent forms will also be distributed to the participants.

As a former homeschooled student, I also understand the importance of privacy for any participants of this research project. In order to protect the identity of the participants, no participant’s identity will be collected or disclosed during the course of the research project. Only the overall results from the total population of participants will be used as part of the research.

If you are willing to participate in this research, please contact me directly—by phone at 571-212-1355 or by email at Jason.downing@waldenu.edu. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding this project.

Thank you for your time and willingness to participate,

Jason Downing

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Proverbs 31 woman had a home business

We have talked about whether you CAN work and home school - but you may be wondering if you SHOULD?

The Proverbs 31 woman had time to purchase fields and plant vineyards with her earnings, work vigorously, provide food for her family, oversee profitable trading, make bed coverings and sell homemade linen garments, AND faithfully instruct her children. Nowhere does it criticize her for trying to do both.

Now it is certainly possible that in your personal circumstances you will decide that God is not calling you to work at all, but to be a keeper of the home. Or you may feel that you do not have the energy or self-discipline to teach your children at home. Only you can know what He is asking of you, and you should do that. But I do not see that Scripture precludes working from home, even for a mother with children. He will not ask you to do anything that He will not also empower you to do.

10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Radical Christian Unschooling

"You could have knocked me over with a feather," as my dad used to say.

After 18 years, it has finally occurred to me that what we have been doing all along was "Radical Christian Unschooling".

Yes, we did use some curriculum over the years. Sort of. We did Switched On Schoolhouse a couple of years. And The Weaver. And The Sycamore Tree. And Saxon Math. Those were the ones we actually used, and frankly they were all good in their different ways. They are all still around

Then there was the stuff we didn't ever use. In fact, sometimes I think our house is the Graveyard of Expensive Unused Homeschool Curriculum. (Well, not anymore - that is how I got into eBay selling!)

Yes, my son is enrolled in an online program. Um. Yeah.

As a matter of fact, all the angst, all the turmoil, all the drama associated with the time of year I always started cracking the whip and panicking about academics was when I started feeling like we HAD to finish all the work that was laid out in the books/CD/workbook/fill-in-your-own or I was not doing my job. This was mostly due to pressure from my husband, or pressure from other people, mostly my in-laws, who were not terribly supportive of our decision to homeschool.

But the real problem was that the constraints these methods forced on me didn't match what I really believed about school.

And today, I finally found the words that articulated that.

I'm not sure how I got around to visiting Christian Unschooling. I think I may have found it through reading various articles by our great group of Moms and women who contribute to Blissfully Domestic Magazine. But however I found it, at Christian Unschooling I found this definition of Radical Christian Unschooling that was posted by CrunchyChristianMom:

"Radical Christian Unschooling is the Trust that not only will a child seek out and learn what he needs to know when he needs to know it, without coercion, without school or school type methods, in the freedom and safety of his family, but that God will direct the child’s path Himself. Our role as parents is to act as guides and mentors in the learning process, and to disciple our children in our Faith through our daily example of walking out our faith before their eyes.”
WOW. That's it.

Did we execute that vision perfectly. No. We are not the poster family for successful homeschooling.

But it may be that trying to squeeze myself - and my kids - into some kind of mold that was wrong for us contributed to my failure in certain areas. I allowed the homeschooling industry and the opinions of others to dictate what I believed I was supposed to be doing - and how, and when - instead of letting the Lord take me through His agenda for us, one step at a time.

But God is good, and it isn't too late for us, even now, to turn things around for my son here in the home stretch.

And it isn't too late for you.

If you are new to homeschooling, or particularly if you have been homeschooling for a while and feel like you are just not able to get with the program, maybe it is the program and not you that is the problem.

Visit Christian Unschooling and check out whether this educational philosophy might be the answer you were looking for.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Equipped for the Workplace

Equipped for the Workplace
TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20

Over 70 percent of our time is spent in the workplace, yet our training and teaching focuses on areas where we spend much less time. The workplace is the greatest mission field of our day, yet we do not train workplace believers how to effectively integrate their faith into their workplace. The wall between Sunday and Monday still exists. Most workplace believers do not understand that all of life is spiritual, not just life on Sunday.

A recent study found that 50 percent of Christians have never heard a sermon on work; 70 percent have never been taught a theology of work; and 70 percent have never heard a sermon on vocation. Why do we focus on the fringes rather than the center where most people spend most of their time - the workplace?

God is removing the wall of separation by speaking to pastors and workplace believers all over the world. A pastor recently shared how his church ordains their workplace believers for their calling to the workplace. Another pastor described their church's commitment to integrating training for their workplace believers on the theology of work. Another told how they began a workplace ministry within their church for their workplace believers, and even integrated Sunday school programs specifically geared to help workplace believers understand their calling in the workplace.

We are entering a new era in the Church when workplace believers are seen as a remnant of the Body of Christ who need to be mobilized and trained for the work of the ministry to their own mission field-the workplace. Are you one of the men and women God is raising up for this task? Pray that God will help pastors understand and affirm this calling, and that they will respond by training the people of their churches for their own ministry to the workplace. When we reclaim the 70 percent, the remainder will be reclaimed automatically.

Reprinted by permission from the author. Os Hillman is an international speaker and author of more than 10 books on workplace calling. To learn more, visit http://www.MarketplaceLeaders.org

Friday, September 26, 2008

Act NOW to stop The "Education Begins At Home" Act

Now, doesn't THAT sound like something we can support! But don't be fooled by what sounds like a homeschool friendly title.

The bipartisan "Education Begins at Home Act" was introduced by Senators Bond (R-MO) and Clinton (D-NY) in the Senate (S. 667), and Representatives Davis (D-IL) and Platts (R-PA) in the House (H. R. 2343), and would provide grants to help establish or expand voluntary home visiting programs for families with young children. It has been kicking around in various forms for several years and been stuck in committees, but was recently revived and is back under consideration.

Unfortunately, you don't even have to look at the fine print to know that this is another shameless power grab designed to wrest away control from parents and give it to government hacks.

H. R. 2343 To expand quality programs of early childhood home visitation that increase school readiness, child abuse and neglect prevention, and early identification of developmental and health delays, including potential mental health concerns, and for other purposes.

How could anyone be against "child abuse and neglect prevention"? Or any of those other high sounding goals? But let's take a closer look at that last clause.

Potential mental health concerns? As decided by whom? In practice, this will mean government officials will "voluntarily" visit hospitals and homes to promote an agenda that may be diametrically opposed to that of the people they intend to "serve". The program stresses that the visits are "voluntary", at least initially.

Kind of like the "voluntary" Income Tax. What began as voluntary now uses the full force of the State to intimidate taxpayers into compliance.

So, if some bureaucrat determines that your child "needs" medication, or some kind of other "mental health" treatment, will you be allowed to object?

Then there are those "other purposes". What other purposes? That vagueness leaves a hole big enough to drive a truck through. There is no telling what that could mean in the future if the legislative climate changes towards parental rights. If institutionalized Pre-K is mandated in the future, every homeschool family would be subjected to the additional scrutiny currently reserved for those who pull an older child out of school in order to begin homeschooling.

HSLDA warns:

Early education constitutes yet another intrusion of big government, this time imposing itself directly into the home. Institutionalized, government-approved pre-K programs threaten parents’ right to direct the upbringing and education of their children by forcing subjective screenings and state-approved, politicized curriculum upon America’s impressionable youth. Some pre-K bills, including H.R. 2343, include provisions for socio-emotional/mental health screenings, which, unlike vision or hearing tests, are based on inherently subjective diagnostic criteria. After children are identified as needing mental health services or medication, it is not clear if their parents will have the ability to refuse such treatment. Similarly, once trusting parents enroll their children in institutionalized early education, there is no guarantee that they will have any warning or authority over what their child is exposed to in the classroom.

Remember Melissa Busekros, the German teenager who in 2006 was forcibly removed from her family by representatives of the Jugendamt and fifteen police officers and placed in a mental institution? When examined by a psychiatrist, she was found to be developmentally delayed by one year and suffering from - are you ready? - "school phobia". She was only homeschooled for a time so that she wouldn't have to repeat an entire grade, when she only had bad grades in two subjects. The rest of her siblings were in school, so obviously her family was not philosophically opposed to institutional schooling.

What in the world would a similar tribunal decide about American families for whom homeschooling is a lifestyle?

I know, I know. This isn't Germany. But tyranny usually starts with something that seems innocent, and while nobody is paying attention.

The "Education Begins At Home" Act is making a deal with Little Red Riding Hood to hold the door open so the Wolf can come in and eat Grandma, only later to discover that he intends to turn and eat her as well.

******URGENT UPDATE******

HSLDA has issued an ACTION ALERT requesting that you call your U.S. Representative today and urge him to oppose H. R. 2343, The Education Begins at Home Act.

It is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler. You can say something as simple as the following:
“I am a constituent and I strongly oppose H.R. 2343. The government should not be involved in funding questionable early education programs, especially at a time of financial uncertainty when our hard-earned tax dollars could be better spent elsewhere.”

You can reach your U.S. representative by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, or by using our Legislative Toolbox.

This bill has been placed on the House calendar and could come up for a vote anytime this week, or even during the weekend as Congress rushes to finish legislative priorities before they adjourn.

I originally posted this important update at Moms In The Right and Blissfully Domestic on September 25, 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Except the Lord build the house...

"...they labor in vain that build it..." Psalm 127:1

I want to talk for just a minute to my Christian homeschooling sisters. If you are not part of this group, this post really doesn't apply to you. No offense.

For those of us who are Christian homeschoolers, the first question should not be "What about socialization?" or "What is my child's learning style?" or "Do I have time to homeschool?" or any of the questions that we have asked, and hopefully answered, here in this blog over the last couple of years.

The first and most important question should be, "Does the Lord want me to homeschool?"

If the answer is no - if this is something that you think might be a good thing for your kids, or you don't want them to be bullied, or you think it might be something that will fit into your lifestyle, but it is not a deep conviction that burns within you like a mandate from God - you may not make it.

In fact, you probably won't make it.

In fact, even if you do make it, if it is not something the Lord wanted you to do, it will have been in your flesh and not even a "good work" in His eyes. Twelve to fifteen to twenty years of your life ending up on the "wood, hay and stubble" heap.

Thanks, but no thanks. Home schooling is too hard to take a chance on spending that much time when the Lord had something else for you.

But if the answer is yes - if you KNOW that you know that homeschooling is God's only choice for your particular family, that certainty will sustain you in the hard times.

...When you feel like an utter failure, and find yourself looking longingly at the school bus as it passes your house.

...When you find gaps in your child's education and don't know how to fill them, or even if you should.

...When criticism from your friends and family reaches critical mass.

...When at the other end of the journey, one of your children takes a tumble out of your homeschool and ends up with his or her feet firmly planted in the world you fought so valiantly to shield them from.

This last one in particular is when it is so important to know that you did the right thing, even if it doesn't look or feel like it. When it is so important to know you did what the Lord asked you to do, and then to leave the results up to Him.

Even if your child stumbles and falls. Or doesn't go to college. Or whatever it is that is your greatest fear. Homeschooling is not a foolproof way to keep your child on the straight and narrow. Oh, it helps. It may delay the onset of bad behavior. But, eventually, it becomes a matter between your child and the Lord.

And He is in control.

The most important part of Christian homeschooling takes place on your knees. Don't neglect it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling)

Natalie Criss of Ramblings, Rants and Remedies has done a fantastically clever rewrite of the song "I Will Survive", which was originally performed by Gloria Gaynor.

Talk about 15 minutes of fame!

I see she has a blog award from "evolved homeschooler", which means we likely don't agree on much of anything, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Kudos to Natalie!

Not only is it really funny just to read as a poem, if you remember the song, the word substitution, the rhythm, the flow - it's just a wow.

Even Simon Cowell would have to give it a thumbs up.

First I was afraid
I was petrified.
Kept thinking I could never teach
’Cause I’m not certified.
But we spent so many nights
Reteaching homework that was wrong.
I grew strong,
so now I teach my kids at home!
We study math
and outer space.
I just kept on despite the fear
with a big smile across my face.
I bought a set of Base Ten blocks.
I bought books with answer keys.
My parents think we’re nuts,
but they don’t even bother me

Come on, let’s go walk out the door.
We’re on the road now,
'cause we’re not home much anymore
My friends would frown and say we’d be unsocialized.
I heard one grumble
that I’d give up by July.
Oh no, not I!
I will survive!
As long as I know how to read
I know we’ll be alright.
I've got all my life to learn.
I've got energy to burn.
and I'll survive.
I will survive.

It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart.
Decided to attend
a play date at the local park,
and I met oh so many moms
who offered eagerly to help.
They used to cry.
Now they hold their heads up high,
and so do we!
My kids are cool!
They’re not those chained up little people
stuck inside at school.
So if you feel like dropping by
don't you expect us to be free
I'm spending my time learning
with my loving family!

Be sure to visit Natalie's blog to hear the original song if you are not familiar with it. Only then will you be able to appreciate just what she has done with this song.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Home Schooling Pros and Cons

People considering home schooling often make a list of advantages and disadvantages to help them decide. Here are some talking points to help you make an informed decision.


1. Home schooling allows individualized attention and instruction. In a one-on-one setting, homeschooling parents can better observe how their children progress, what areas they find difficult and can focus on helping them learn what they do not know, rather than wasting time on what they already know. This means that you do not need to require "homework" because you already know whether they have mastered the material. You can also forget about making your child sit for six or seven hours a day. When there are not 30 other kids to deal with, you just don't need that much time to present the lessons.

2. Children learn at their own pace. In a home school setting, children can advance at any time, and not wait for the rest of the class to catch up. Conversely, if the child is a slow learner or having difficulties in a certain subject area, she/he can remain to focus on that area without pressure that others are already moving on.

3. Parents can pattern their teaching style and curriculum in accordance with the child’s learning style, allowing him/her to successfully understand the subject matter. Hence, better results are achieved. This is particularly true of children who may have difficulty focusing, or who are dyslexic, or who learn in other non-traditional ways.

4. There is limited peer pressure. Many homeschool families are quite large, and provide a special kind of environment where there are other children at different ages and levels of development. Families with one child, or only a few children provide many extra-curricular activities for socialization. Yet, even when they are diligent about providing social interaction for their child, these parents observe that they have much more control over who is influencing their children. No one group is with the child 30 or more hours a week setting the standard of "cool", either in opinion or behavior.

5. Real World Learning occurs naturally. Activities which are outside the context of books are very much essential to the child’s learning process. Trips to the park, the museum, the zoo, going fishing with mom and dad can be a great way to spend an afternoon educating your child. Everyday life provides many learning opportunities - even a trip to the post office or the grocery store can be educational. And every time you are out with your child during school hours is an opportunity to explain why you homeschool, and for your child (and you!) to hear your reasons.

6. There is plenty of time to impart your family's values. The main problem with institutional schooling is that it doesn't permit enough time to share your own family's beliefs and values in a way that will counteract the relentless opposing view your child is encountering in the outside world. If your child gets on the school bus at 7:45 AM and then plays a sport, has a piano lesson, or some other activity after school, they may not get home until after 5 PM. Then it is time to eat dinner, do homework and chores, watch a little TV or spend some time on the computer, and go to bed. Good grief! How do you have a relationship with someone you see for only a few minutes a day? This is especially important for Christian and other faith-based families since there is considerable hostility to expressions of faith in schools.

7. You have the flexibility to vacation whenever it is convenient, and not necessarily during the summer. So you can schedule around the parent's vacation rather than around the school year. And vacations can be a great time to see all those historical sites or national monuments that you can count as a field trip!


1. For the homeschool parent, much time and effort is required for preparation of teaching materials, lessons and managing the child’s opportunities in order to cultivate friendships and expand the child’s interests. Sometimes this includes covering material outside of the parent's realm of expertise or experience. There are plenty of people you can enlist to come alongside your and your child to fill in the gaps. Don't be afraid to begin home schooling because you are afraid you can't teach calculus!

2. Parents who homeschool do not have enough time to spend for themselves when kids are constantly at home. This frequent time of being together can be very challenging. It can result in "Homeschool Burnout" and laziness on the part of both parent and child who withdraw from the conflict instead of learning how to deal with it.

3. Homeschooled children must aggressively pursue opportunities to bond and develop friendships with peers. For many families, this really is not a problem and is supplemented by taking the kids out to play in the park, attend lessons in ballet, karate, etc. However it takes a lot of effort on the part of parents to ensure that their kids have these opportunities.

4. Homeschool parents must aggressively pursue opportunities to bond and develop friendships with peers. It can be difficult to feel you have to explain yourself all the time and you may find that people who do not home school can be either suspicious, or somehow threatened by your decision. Teaching moms find themselves outside the social stream during the school years, when relationships are based on the relationships of the children in classes, teams, and clubs.

5. Someone has to stay home and teach. This results in less disposable income, and the resulting belt-tightening can create stress in your marriage or family life.


Whether to homeschool or not depends in part on whether you are willing to set your own desires aside for a season and pour your life into your child's development. On top of all the learning materials, the field trips, and extra-curricular activities, home schooling requires a lot of love, patience, encouragement - and an extra measure of grace to deal with the intensity of so much togetherness. Only you know what is on your plate right now and what unique challenges homeschooling will bring into your life. But once you decide homeschooling is the right choice for your family, your children will flourish in the personalized environment and you will discover that the family closeness you have achieved is more than worth the sacrifice.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What exactly is home schooling?

Home schooling is one of the fastest growing alternatives to public education today. Simply put, it is teaching your own children at home. When we first started home schooling in 1989, there were still states where it was not legal, and most people had not heard of it. We were likely to hear – “Is it legal” “But what about socialization?” or “Why would anyone want to teach their children at home?” Even our families were opposed to the idea. Hadn’t we attended public school and turned out fine?

Nineteen years later, people still ask those questions, but there is less resistance since home schooling is now legal in all fifty states. Nearly everyone knows someone who home schools, or at least can name their sister’s boyfriend’s uncle’s ex-wife’s hairdresser who home schools. And even if they cannot, there is a growing body of adults who are former homeschoolers distinguishing themselves in every field of endeavor, from medicine to the military.

The laws governing home schooling programs differ from state to state. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here - there are already many good websites where you can learn about the specific requirements in your state. The bottom line is the same, however, no matter where you live: you have decided that you are going to take full responsibility for your child’s education. So the first thing you have to decide is whether you are willing for the buck to stop with you.

It isn’t necessary for you to do all the teaching. There are often local networking groups who have email lists where you can keep track of events and classes offered. Parents from several families may band together and offer a coop, where each one will teach a subject on a rotating basis for a small group of students. There may even be classes offered at your community college, or a special enrichment program for homeschoolers in an institutional setting like a church or a community center.

But it is necessary for you to take all the responsibility. When you have completed whatever grade level you have decided you are comfortable with – whether you just take them through elementary school or all the way through high school - what your child knows, or doesn’t know, will be largely a function of what you exposed him to. You will not be able to blame the schools, or the teachers, or “the kids at school” for any shortfall in your program or in your child’s education.

Don’t let that frighten you away from home schooling. If you can teach your children good study skills, how to read, write and communicate well, how math is used in the real world, and how to find out what they need to know when they need to know it, you are a wonderful candidate for a homeschooling parent! From that basic starting point, it will be entirely up to you and your child to decide what subjects you cover, and in what depth. You can choose a broad based “liberal arts” education, or you can custom tailor your child’s curriculum20% off curriculum during April! to a particular interest or ability.

If you are a home based entrepreneur, working with you in your business can give your child interpersonal and professional skills, and an opportunity to apply his academic knowledge in a real world setting. It can also give you a nice tax deduction if you hire your child and pay him a salary. And it will give your child an opportunity to have his own money and learn how to handle it in a controlled setting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ultimate Call - "Holy"

This is a recording of a Ramp broadcast on JCTV that was posted to GodTube by user "eblah". The singer may be named Crystal Greene, and this is one of those songs that has not been available on any Ramp or Chosen CDs.

Something to brighten your Sunday - have a blessed day as you celebrate the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Pitfall of Being Entrepreneurial

www.keyway.ca/jpg/david.jpg Church of God Daily Bible Study, Oct 8, 2007The Pitfall of Being Entrepreneurial
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, September 20 2008

"When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark..." 1 Chronicles 13:9-10

God's ways are not our ways. The most important quality God desires to develop in us is our dependence on Him and Him alone. When we begin to make decisions based on reason and analysis instead of the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, we get into trouble with God. David later learned the importance of this principle in his own life. This encounter was one of the stepping-stones in his pilgrimage. David was an extraordinary entrepreneur. He ran the nation very successfully, but he, like each of us, had to learn the difference between "good things" and "God-things."

There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do. Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God's eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good; it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a "good work." The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see opportunity. What appears to be a "slam dunk" may come back to haunt us if God never ordains us to enter that arena. There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in David's sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he immediately died. David became very upset with God about this situation; he questioned whether he could serve God.

Are you involved in anything in which God has not directed you to be involved? Do you seek God about every decision, every action before you take it? This is where God wants you and me to be. Ask Him to show you how to walk with Him in this way.

Reprinted by permission from the author. Os Hillman is an international speaker and author of more than 10 books on workplace calling. To learn more, visit http://www.MarketplaceLeaders.org

Friday, September 19, 2008

"You are hereby sentenced to 90 days in prison"

HSLDA brings an update this week on the plight of two home schooling families in Germany.

I wrote earlier this summer about the "final solution" that Germany has begun to implement in the homeschool community there.

Exterminate them.

OK, maybe that is an extreme characterization, but only a little. Germany does not tolerate homeschooling for any reason, citing laws dating to the Hitler era.
A recent member of a German homeschool network wrote to the country’s top education official, Dr. Annette Schavan, asking that the topic of homeschooling be put on the agenda for a national conference of state education leaders. He was told “The topic would not be discussed because it is impossible to homeschool in Germany.”
Even foreigners who are there temporarily, such as US military families stationed in Germany, are not supposed to homeschool.

So in practical terms, that is the same as extermination. This is unconscionable.

In a nutshell, this week we have good news and bad news. The good news was that the Jugendamt decided to release the Gorber children to the custody of their parents pending a family court hearing on September 25. They are in a public school, but were not required to attend "special schools" a long distance from their homes, or live in the state-run group homes conveniently located near the "special schools"

Meanwhile, Rosemary and Juergen Dudek have already been sentenced to 90 days in prison for homeschooling, and have had a new round of criminal charges filed against them. They continue to fight these charges, and have applied to be considered a private school.

Can you say, "Ja wohl, Herr Kommandant?" I used to laugh when Sgt. Schultz said that to Col. Klink on Hogan's Heroes when I was a kid. But I am not laughing now.

Could that happen here? It is by the grace of God that the eleven Christians arrested in Philadelphia for the "hate crime" of sharing the Gospel at a homosexual event a few years ago did not actually have to go to prison for the incredible 47 years they were faced with serving. Even though video of the events clearly showed that the Christians were not violent, Philadelphia police and officials insisted on interpreting their every move as hostile. Four of the defendants were charged with ethnic intimidation and rioting -- among other things.

Right. So what does that have to do with homeschooling?

It shows that things we really don't believe could ever happen here are already happening. If people can't be sure they have First Amendment rights on a public street, how can parents be sure they have the right to teach their children at home, privately and away from Big Brother's watchful eye? As I said in an earlier post, these things are the germ of the same idea that is resulting in the prosecution of these German parents.

Would YOU be willing to serve 90 days in prison for homeschooling?

My earlier posts on the German homeschooling problem can be found here:

Ill Wind Blows for Homeschooling
Germany Strikes Again
Germany Declares War on Homeschooling

Thursday, September 18, 2008

OT and it isn't even Wednesday - What is your favorite TV Comedy?

Well, I just felt like doing something different, even though it isn't Wednesday, so I checked out a "spark" - in this case, a kind of linky-love free link exchange - over at SocialSpark.com, a social network for bloggers where you can get paid for blogging, and my friend over at Dragon Blogger asked this question: what is your favorite TV Comedy?

I didn't even have to think about it. I mostly hated comedies, and I had a reputation of being on the somber side. It isn't that I don't laugh easily, but in general I have an odd sense of humor. But a few years ago, I discovered Everybody Loves Raymond. I originally posted about it at TV.com in 2006, and my opinion hasn't changed.

I have seen most all the episodes now, but when I first discovered the Barone Family in syndication a couple of years ago, my husband couldn't believe there was actually a sitcom that could make me laugh out loud. But the laughter was from twenty years of recognition of my own peculiar challenges of having been a non-Italian, non-Catholic career woman marrying into a closed society. The depiction is spot on.

I'm not sure that anyone outside of New York or New Jersey who isn't Italian, or married to one, can appreciate just how brilliant this comedy is. Ray Romano didn't make this stuff up. He had to have taken these characters out of his own family, or the families of friends.

They are authentic, right down to the last detail. The decorations in their homes, the mother who dominates "for love", the obsession with food, the plastic slipcovers, the combination of affection and hostility that characterizes all communication, the relationship between the sons and the mother, the obnoxious cousin who plays the accordion--I have seen them all. They just aren't as hilarious in real life. This is one of the best comedy ensemble casts ever.

Everybody Loves Raymond contains some mature themes and a fair amount of profanity, of the kind that is routinely thrown around in this setting. Probably less than is actually used in real life, and a whole lot less than other shows, but enough that it is not suitable for young children, in my opinion. That is why I never watched it when it was in prime time - my children were young and I thought it was inappropriate. But if that isn't an issue for you, and you could use a good laugh, Everybody Loves Raymond is a great place to start.

TBS airs 3 episodes daily, back to back from 6:30-8:00 PM EST.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Utterly Off Topic Wednesday - I Got Slapped In the Face!

Today's special guest blogger is Joe Holman. Joe is a homeschool dad who left a successful pastorate in Virginia, and with his wife, Denise, and their 11 children, followed the Lord's leading to the mission field in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He is a conference speaker and teacher of national pastors and leaders in Bolivia and throughout South America. He is a regular contributor to the Sandy Cove Home School Conference Newsletter, which is where I obtained this article. Make a mental note that Joe and Denise will be speaking at this summer's home school conference. Visit the Sandy Cove website for more information.

I Got Slapped In The Face!

I really did. Only, the dumb part of it is that I slapped myself. Here in Bolivia, bugs are a normal part of life. At any given time, our kids will have about 20 scabs on their bodies from insect bites. Mosquitoes, fleas, and native blood sucking body biting insects are so numerous that I want to claim them as dependents and write them off of my income tax.

Well, I was driving down the road, and a huge fly…the Goliath of Flies…was taunting me and challenging me to a battle. It kept buzzing my face and then landing in striking distance, only to prove that it was much faster than I as it took off milliseconds before I hit it. I could hear it making fun of me in buzzanol (the official language of bugs). It buzzed around my face, and then landed on my nose at a red light. Without thinking I slapped that bug. I mean SLAPPED that bug. I hit it full force with the palm of my hand, or tried to hit it. It flew away and I literally punched myself in the nose! My eyes were watering and my entire forehead and nose were red. My nose wasn’t bleeding, but it was sure hurting.

I started laughing with the bug (I could understand it’s buzzanol and knew it was laughing). How silly. Yet here is what happened. The irritant was greater than my thinking processes. I allowed something as trivial as a bug flying in my truck to refocus my priorities and make me do something that I ended up regretting. As I looked objectively at the situation… I only had to wait seven days at the max and the little bugger would be dead (lifespan of a fly). However, I let this little buzzing noise totally grab my attention and cause me to do something that wasn’t wise and that I regretted…and it did not solve the problem.

How often do we do that in life? God allows irritants in our lives to show us areas where we need to submit to Christ. He uses these so that by our reactions, by our thoughts, by our desires towards them we can see the fruit of our own hearts. The irritant (many times it has the name of one of our children—just being honest here) is a teaching tool that God can use to make me more like Christ. Then in wisdom and with the heart of God, I can respond to the irritant in a way that solves the problem and brings honor to Jesus Christ.

But what do we do? We look at the irritant and it irritates us (go figure). One of the things that I have discovered is that sinners respond sinfully to sin. We also many times respond sinfully—or at best unwisely, to problems that frustrate our desires. So we slap at them. We strike them. We focus on them. We want nothing more than to be rid of them. And we end up….slapping ourselves. We slap ourselves by the way we speak to our loved ones. We slap ourselves by the way we treat those around us. We slap ourselves by the thoughts we think. And we punch ourselves by the way that we ignore the working of God in our lives.

My kids have a game that they play with the little ones. They take their hand and make them slap themselves (very gently) and say, “Stop slapping yourself, stop slapping yourself”.

My lesson from the fly? “Stop slapping yourself”.

With A Hurting Nose,

En Jesucristo,
Que la gracia del Señor Jesucristo, el amor de Dios y la comunión del Espíritu Santo sean con todos ustedes. (2 Cor. 13;14)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The ABCs of Home Schooling

Today's Model Of Personal Education Is Not Your Grandmother's Home Schooling

Amazing. A CBS News piece on Homeschooling that has no blatant negatives. This aired today, September 14, 2008.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Values Voters Summit LIVE here!

You have been watching the Values Voter Summit in Washington DC, LIVE! Sponsored by the Family Research Council.

The conference has ended.

Please feel free to comment. I have just discovered a great new tool called "Cover It Live" This live video did not use this program, but was from the blog at OneNewsNow.com As soon as I figure out how to do it, I will be using more live content.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Imagine being so successful at generating referrals...

...that you were able to buy the company you worked for.

The man who did this created a simple system for generating referrals that was so successful that he eventually purchased the insurance company that he worked for!

The company was called Lone Star Life Insurance. The insurance agent was Walter Hailey.

Walter was not terribly successful. But he discovered a method of getting clients that was based on naturally existing economic relationships. Naturally, he called it N.E.E.R. ( "Naturally Existing Economic Relationships" - duh)

Using this system, his life insurance company went on to sell over one billion dollars in insurance in less than 8 years! More...

This was originally posted at My Private Classroom on February 15, 2008. My Private Classroom is a FREE training site for home business owners. Join free to read the rest of this post and learn how to explode your business using social media.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering 9/11

It was one of those days you will always remember exactly where you were when you heard. A gorgeous Tuesday, crisp and clear.

A great day to take my son to the park.

I had just dropped my daughter off at a watercolor class. It was just a few minutes after 9 AM. It sounded like the guy on the radio said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Then while my son and I were trying to figure out what he had really said - because SURELY he hadn't said what we thought - another announcer said that another plane had hit the second tower.

My mind raced to the friends and neighbors who worked in the Twin Towers. I wonder where Bob is. He made it out when the Trade Center was bombed in 1993. He was on the front page of the Trenton Times covered in soot.

To my old neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, where I lived just a few minutes from the Twin Towers. I pictured my walking route, shortcutting through Trinity Church and braving the New Jersey commuters racing fifteen abreast in the Concourse toward Manhattan, as I raced toward Jersey City, down into the PATH tubes to catch the train to Exchange Place and my job at Fred Alger and Company in Jersey City. One of my co-workers there was Art Simon, one of the back office traders. What a sweetheart! He was a little older than the rest of us, except maybe Walter, and all those wild and crazy guys were always teasing him. After I left the firm he became a front office trader, and obviously made the move with them to WTC, so he was in the office when the buildings went down.

When I got a promotion into the "Front office" in New York, I had the privilege of working with Lisa Gregg, David Alger, and Ginger Risco.

2001 was the year my daughter was going to turn 16, and I was thinking of taking her into the city to Windows on the World, and taking her by the office and introducing her to those of my old colleagues who remained.

I thought about it in August, but I never did make the phone call.

The Sunday before 9/11, we were driving along the river on the Jersey side on our way to visit Grandma and Pop Pop in North Bergen. My daughter the budding photographer asked her dad if we could stop at the park in Weehawken where there was a great view of the NY skyline so she could get some pictures. It had been a long day and he was tired and wanted to get our last family visit of the day over with before we made the long drive back to Trenton. So he said, "Next week we will stop and you can take all the pictures you want."

The next week, there was still smoke hanging over the skyline of Lower Manhattan. We didn't even go that way the next time. "I watched them build those towers in the 70's," my husband kept saying over and over. It was too painful to even look at the hole in the skyline. In fact, it was a long time before we ventured north after that.

The parking lot at the train station in Princeton Junction had a lot of cars parked whose owners never returned. Our nearby schools in West Windsor had many students whose parents never returned. Slowly we started to hear stories of neighbors who narrowly escaped with their lives.

In this part of the New York Metro area, you are no more than one degree away from someone who was there, or who knows someone who was there, or who knew someone who died.

Seven years. I can hardly believe it. I left the firm almost 24 years ago. That's even harder to believe.

Check out this video tribute at www.911archive.org. My friend LaRae also wrote a song and did a video about that day, and you can find it on the front page of her website.

Rest in peace, my friends.

Finally, a judge with sense in California!

"That God places prominently in our nation's history does not create an Establishment Clause problem requiring curettage and disinfectant of Johnson's classroom walls. It is a matter of historical fact that our institutions and government actors have in past and present times given place to a supreme God." - Judge Robert T. Benitez

For the last 25 years, math teacher Bradley Johnson has had a banner on the wall of his classroom measuring 7 feet by 2 feet, on which are inscribed the words "In God We Trust," "One Nation Under God," "God Bless America" and "God Shed His Grace On Thee." He has had a second banner for 17 years that quotes the Declaration of Independence by including the phrase, "All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator."

Even though 4,000 students have passed through Johnson's classroom without a single complaint in 25 years, in January, Westview High School principal Dawn Kastner told him his banners were no longer permissible because they convey a Judeo-Christian perspective.

Right. Now I have heard everything - trying to ban a quote from The Declaration of Independence from a classroom. And this from a school district that allows other teachers to hang Buddhist, Islamic, and Tibetan prayer messages on their classroom walls.

The Thomas More Law Center sued on Johnson's behalf. The school district fought to have the suit dismissed, on the incredible grounds that "because Johnson was a teacher, he had no First Amendment protections in his classroom."

Only in California.

But this time, a judge got it right! Last week, Judge Robert Benitez strongly disgreed with the school district's argument, saying that it amounted to to saying that Johnson has no free speech rights at all because he is a government employee. He even quoted (the audacity!) a 1952 Supreme Court ruling, Zorach v. Clauson: "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."

This is a welcome ruling. While it doesn't specifically mention homeschooling, the events that prompted the lawsuit are not as few and far between as we would like to think, and are indicative of an increasing hostility on the part of the educational system to God or any suggestion that He had a hand in the blessing of our land.

Last month I posted several times in this blog about the suit pitting the University of California against Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murietta. The ruling in that case was in favor of the university.

One of the issues that was debated in the case was the use of texts that attributed historical events to divine providence.

I received several excellent comments on that one, including a very insightful one by "Mary", who is affiliated with the University. She actually presented a clear explanation of the university's position and how the particular restrictions on curriculum content in this case did not actually interfere with either Calvary Chapel's right or ability to teach alternative worldviews, or Calvary students' ability to take the required courses and be accepted into UC schools. I had to concede that the regulations did not discriminate against Christian students.

But she didn't seem to ever grasp my point about the Judeo-Christian worldview being increasingly under attack by those in the educational system, or my concern that the California ruling, which today is directed at specific students and their specific high school texts, could ultimately morph into some kind of monster statute that would penalize all Christian high schoolers, and Christian home schoolers seeking to enter institutions of higher learning in California. People who believe that "God created..." or "God shed His grace on Thee..." are currently marginalized, prohibited from attributing their academic success to Him in valedictory speeches, and taught that it is okay for them to believe that God created the heavens and the earth or that He governs in the affairs of men, as long as they understand that the "real truth" is what the secular schools teach instead.

This Westview High School case result is good news. But that the case existed in the first place is further evidence that my concerns about our worldview being under attack are not unfounded.

Utterly Off Topic Wednesday will actually be tomorrow, as I remember September 11.

If you missed the excitement, the other posts in the series about Calvary Chapel and UC are located below:

  1. For All You Single Issue Voters Out There
  2. California Dreamin'
  3. Faith and Science - A Response to "Anonymous"
  4. As I was Saying
  5. "Anonymous" Revealed
Be sure to read the comments in order to really follow the rest of the posts.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

International Trafficking and My 15 Minutes of Fame

A special welcome to my Asian "Blog Explosion" readers! Please read this and make a comment. You'll see why in a minute.

The power of the internet still amazes me. Internet marketing has completely changed since I first ventured into this world in 1997.

You can have a conversation with someone on the phone and by secretly googling your subject matter can sound like an expert on a topic you had barely heard of moments before.

Now there are millions of websites about internet marketing, rather than only a few thousand.

"Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" is now called "Yahoo!"

Information products deliverable online eliminate the expense - not to mention customs hassles - of shipping products.

You can have develop a huge organization in a company and never have met a single one of them. For that matter, you may know people on the internet better than you know your own neighbors.

Your little homeschool (or other niche topic) blog can have a worldwide audience.

I expect to have a fair amount of international traffic because of my listing at Blog Explosion. Blog Explosion is a directory, pinging service and traffic exchange from which you can earn traffic to your blog by viewing other blogs. I have found a number of very interesting blogs from around the world that I would likely never have seen if not for my Blog Explosion membership, many of them from Asian countries.

I was checking my stats today and saw that someone searched on "Network of Five Elements" on the Google engine in Korea, and up popped my blog - then they translated it using Google's instant translation into Korean. The text (except for "Critelli", "networkers", and "homeschool") is entirely in Korean.

I hope my topic was not lost in the translation. I have no idea if this translation is accurate. Perhaps instant translation software has dramatically improved since the early days of Alta Vista and Babelfish. I am fairly sure my article about internet marketing was NOT what this person was really looking for.

But it was strange to see my picture and my blog in another language. It reminded me that both homeschooling and network marketing have their own unique vocabularies, and to be careful to describe things in terms that can be easily translated.

Though it would not be a stretch to say that my Asian readers are more proficient in English than some of the Americans I have encountered online.

I would be very interested in comments here from my Blog Explosion audience, particularly anyone who can tell me if what this article says in Korean bears any resemblance to the meaning of my original article. Blogger has an easy translation widget that I would consider enabling if I had any confidence that my article would not be lost in the translation.

Readers, help me out here?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sandy Cove Homeschoolers Winter Recharge January 2-4, 2009

I don't even know what I can say about Sandy Cove. The facility is beautiful, the staff is efficient and friendly, the peace of God envelops you from the moment you drive onto the property. I have spent many, many happy hours by the Cheapeake Bay in North East, MD, over the last ten years - most of them at the Sandy Cove Homeschool Conference that marks the first week of their Summer Together programs.

Sandy Cove is not as "unplugged" as it was when we first started going there, but there are still no televisions in the rooms (there is a TV room on the first floor). There is a Business Center with five or six computers where you can access the internet, and there is also wireless internet access in the lobby and outside the main dining area and welcome center. There are all kinds of great recreational activities in the summer, and beautiful indoor and outdoor pools. There are plenty of things to do, or NOT do. You are also free to rest and do nothing at all but have fun with your family. It has been a fabulous place to set aside everything and get alone with God and get recharged after a long homeschooling year.

What we appreciate the most are the warm relationships we have developed over the last decade. Going there now is more like a family reunion than a conference. The worship is incredible, as families of every theological and denominational stripe set aside their differences and come together because we love Jesus Christ and our families and are committed to homeschooling. It has too often been the only vacation we took during the year, and it has been a highlight of our summer.

So we were really excited to hear that they Sandy Cove was offering a mini-conference right after New Year's - January 2 -4, 2009 - The Sandy Cove Homeschoolers Winter Recharge. If you are on the East Coast and could use a time of refreshment and renewal before starting up your homeschool in January, there will be workshops and age-integrated, family focused activities.

Sandy Cove's all-inclusive package includes 2 nights lodging, 5 meals (Friday dinner through Sunday breakfast), all activities, fun and sessions.

$145 per person with a maximum family rate of $580. Family Max Rate: If you have over four family members in your room or on your site, they are free. And kids ages 0-3 are free. But don't let finances keep you away. Sandy Cove has a number of scholarships in place and will fund you up to 50% depending on your need and the available donations.

Now is the time to plan ahead - the Homeschool Conference maxed out the facility this summer. There were rooms available, but the children's programs, main auditorium and dining room were bursting at the seams because of our 600+ kids, so they closed enrollment and went to a waiting list. It isn't likely that will happen this time because of the time of year, but you still should check it out now so you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Get Ready to Read!

Get Ready to Read is a great resource site from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. While a lot of it is geared towards institutional educators and day-care providers, there is a section for parents that has a lot of great tips that can be used by the beginning home schooling parent.

One of the best items there is an eight minute video entitled "Raising Readers" that actually demonstrates fun and easy activites you can use to get your children ready to read. There is also a screening tool that can be used online to test your child's reading readiness. Online games and 36 printable activity cards are full of additional ideas for parents, tutors, or anyone at all who is interested in helping children get ready to read.

This literacy checklist is one of several available at the site can help you discover whether your home is a place where reading is modeled as a desirable activity, and can give you concrete steps to take to improve the literacy quotient of your home.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's not too late...Sep 8-19 Home School Program at Jamestown Settlement

Homeschool programs will be offered September 8-19 at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center. A special homeschool ticket is available, and the fee is $10.25 per family member (youth or adult) for general admission to both museums.

At Jamestown Settlement, homeschool parents can participate in a workshop related to the special exhibition, "A New World - England's First View of America".
The workshop is included with the Fall 2008 homeschool ticket, but space is limited. The workshop is for homeschool parents without their children. Adult-supervised homeschool students are encouraged to visit the museum during the workshop.

Particularly if you are within reasonable driving distance of Jamestown, you should try to take advantage of this. All the information about registration and available programs is on the Jamestown/Yorktown site called History Is Fun.

What are your child's special gifts?

You can usually find articles about learning styles that limit the discussion to the three major recognized styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Criticisms have been leveled at IQ tests and other measures of either intelligence or achievement because they favor the visual learner.

But there is another theory about intelligence first proposed by Howard Gardner in his 1983 book, Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences. He proposed that there are several different kinds of intelligence, and eventually developed a list of eight recognized intelligences:

  1. Linguistic
  2. Logical-Mathematical
  3. Spatial
  4. Musical
  5. Bodily-Kinesthetic
  6. Interpersonal
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Naturalist
FamilyEducation.com has an interesting questionnaire that you can complete that will give you a thumbnail sketch of your child's special gifts, based on Gardner's theory.

It could help you decide whether or not to concentrate on a particular subject or discipline - for instance, you might decide not to foist the Scripps-Howard spelling bee on your child who has no particular strengths in the linguistic area, or stop trying to make your child into the next Beethoven when they cannot carry a tune in a bucket.

Friday, September 05, 2008

MLM Morons and Networking Ninnies

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If you have any questions at all send them to Support@MyPrivateClassroom.com

Listen to this message from My Private Classroom founder Diane Hochman about this week's free Webinar Gone Wild on Sunday at 9PM-10PM EST.

Visit My Private Classroom For Marketers at: www.myprivateclassroom.com

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Oh my gosh! My Private Classroom has gone PUBLIC!

It's true. The venerable MyPrivateClassroom, home of the most amazing social networking training, marketing training, leadership training, and mindset training that you could hope for, has thrown its doors open to the public.

Frankly, the window of opportunity to use social media for marketing will not last forever. NOW is the time to get trained.

We can teach you how to make videos, audios, how to use twitter, utterz, facebook, blogs and more, no matter what level of marketer you are - this is the place to learn everything you need to know, in an environment where you will be nurtured.

Even if you don't think you are interested in marketing because you are just a blogger, this is a great place for you to learn how to MARKET your blog and monetize it. Duh.

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Just mention my name when you sign up. That's C-r-i-t-e-l-l-i. :-)

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Utterly Off Topic Wednesday - The Perfect Worker

I haven't written anything lately about working at home, what with the beginning of school putting me in a homeschool state of mind. So today's OT post is something silly about working that I got in an email.
  1. Bob Smith, my assistant programmer, can always be found
  2. hard at work in his cubicle. Bob works independently, without
  3. wasting company time talking to colleagues. Bob never
  4. thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always
  5. finishes assignments on time. Often he takes extended
  6. measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee
  7. breaks. Bob is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
  8. vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound
  9. knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Bob can be
  10. classes as a high-caliber employee, the type that cannot be
  11. dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Bob be
  12. promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
  13. executed as soon as possible.
Addendum: That idiot was standing over my shoulder while I wrote the report I sent to you earlier. Kindly re-read only the odd numbered lines.

Making Math Fun with Dr. Mommy

No, not with Saxon, though there are people who swear by it. If your child loves workbooks or can work independently with answer keys, perhaps Saxon will work for you. Its method of building on material previously learned is excellent.

But "fun" would not be the first thing that comes to mind when describing Saxon. My kids hated it.

Today's Homeschool Hacks post contains great advice from Dr. Mommy of the fantastic Dr. Mommy's Homeschool Tips about Making Math Fun.

Where were you guys when I was slogging away at math worksheets 20 years ago?

Oh, right. There was no widely-accessible internet for me to find you. And no vast array of homeschool products and manipulatives to help me.

Happily, that was then and this is now. If you are interested in specific blueprints to follow in the teaching of specific subjects, Dr. Mommy is a great resource.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Homeschooling Causes Measles!

Well, that is what the people who wrote this Courier-Post article want you to think.

Can you imagine? Implicating homeschooling because "The CDC's review found that a number of cases involved home-schooled children not required to have the vaccines."

Right. We are talking 131 cases in all, and it's all those pesky homeschoolers' fault.

I think the real problem is with New Jersey's draconian schedule of required vaccinations - 60 doses before the age of 6.

New Jersey already has the highest autism rate in the country, in part because there are some remarkable services here for the autism community, so more families fitting this profile are moving into the state. But there are still plenty of questions about whether there is a link between vaccines and autism.

Or, more specifically, whether there is a link between New Jersey's 60-doses-by-6 and our high autism rates.

What there are no questions about is that the ingredients of vaccines should not be put into the bodies of small children. If you check the package inserts of vaccines, which are written by the vaccine manufacturers, you will find aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, latex rubber and a variety of potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

These package inserts also warn of serious side affects, such as encephalitis, myelitis, seizure, Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, even sudden death.

MS? Sudden death? How could those be better than measles, mumps, rubella, or chicken pox? I had all of those when I was young, and they conferred lifetime immunity. The vaccines do not confer lifetime immunity, which is why they have to have boosters every few years.

The medical establishment, and the big pharmaceutical companies that call a lot of the political shots in what is arguably the most corrupt state in the nation, will tell you there is no proof that vaccines cause autism. And why would they say otherwise? Autism is big money.

But for those parents whose child just happened to develop autism after a vaccine, no amount of explanations from the drug companies will convince them otherwise.

The New Jersey Public Health Council mandated two new shots for students entering sixth grade. Effective today, each New Jersey child entering sixth grade must have a meningitis vaccination and a DPT (diptheria/pertussis/tetanus) booster shot. They will not be permitted to attend school without proof of these two vaccinations. Children must also have proof of the hepatitus B vaccination, required for students entering sixth grade since 2001. The NJ Public Health Council has also now required hepatitis B vaccination for students in grades 9 through 12.

Parents do have the right to opt out of the new requirements based on religious convictions or medical necessity. In order to get a medical waiver, your child's doctor must certify in writing that the immunizations would harm your child. But don't be surprised if your doctor's explanation does not satisfy the vaccine nazis.

To obtain a religious waiver, you must certify in writing that the vaccination will "conflict with the pupil's exercise of bona fide religious tenets or practices." You cannot avoid the vaccinations based only on philosophical or moral grounds.