Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Check Out the Yearbook...

This week's edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is certainly unique and rather ironic. Hostess Sprittibee has used the theme of a high school yearbook to highlight a wide range of homeschool bloggers. You won't want to miss this one!

Friday, October 26, 2007

More on Indoctrination at Colleges

As I posted recently, "Indoctrinate U" is a new documentary that exposes efforts at indoctrination in American colleges and universities. Dr. Walter E. Williams, economics professor at George Mason University, syndicated columnist and my favorite guest host of the Rush Limbaugh radio show, reports that the documentary describes how professors at some schools seek to repress free speech and control students with opinions different from their own:

Under the ruse of ending harassment, a number of universities have established speech codes. Bowdoin College has banned jokes and stories "experienced by others as harassing." Brown University has banned "verbal behavior" that "produces feelings of impotence, anger or disenfranchisement" whether "unintentional or intentional." University of Connecticut has outlawed "inappropriately directed laughter." Colby College has banned any speech that could lead to a loss of self-esteem. "Suggestive looks" are banned at Bryn Mawr College and "unwelcomed flirtations" at Haverford College. Fortunately for students, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has waged a successful war against such speech codes.

He also reminds us:

On other campuses, such as Lehigh, Central Michigan, Arizona, Holy Cross and California Berkeley universities, administrators banned students, staff and faculty from showing signs of patriotism after the 9/11 attacks. On some campuses, display of the American flag was banned; the pledge of allegiance and singing patriotic songs were banned out of fear of possibly offending foreign students.

Bottom line: if you're going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your child's college education, check out the college thoroughly so you don't find yourself paying the salaries of people determined to limit your child's right to free speech.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homeschooling Network

Scroll down the right side of this blog and you will see something new. I have joined FeedBurner's Homeschooling Network, a fine group of bloggers who offer lots of insight on homeschooling and the issues surrounding it.

If you have a question about homeschooling, you can use the search function in the Homeschooling Network box to see what others have said about that topic.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Post #200!

I didn't realize until I started to write this post that it's post #200. Seems like I should write about something a little more earth-shattering than a recipe Leslie requested in her comment, but I'm afraid I don't have anything more exciting prepared for this noteworthy milestone ;) OTOH, these scones are pretty yummy, and they do have chocolate in them, so I guess that makes them worthy of post #200, doesn't it?

BTW, Trader Joe's charges $2.99 for a skimpy package of these. Save money, time and make your house smell great by making them yourself ;)

Chocolate Chip Scones

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 2 c. flour, 2 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. baking soda and 1/2 t. salt.
Stir in 1/4 c. sugar.
Using a pastry blender or two serrated knives, cut in 6 T. butter (cut in pieces first) until mixture looks like coarse meal. Add 1 c. chocolate chips and stir well.

In separate small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 3/4 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt. Stir into dry ingredients and mix just until blended. (Warning: this gets gooshy.) Plop dough onto floured cutting board. Flour your hands and gently knead dough 3-4 times, then pat into a 1/2" thick circle. Cut into 12 wedges (I use a pizza cutter). Put wedges on ungreased cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown; enjoy!

(P.S. You healthy types might want to try this with berries instead of chocolate chips. That's what the recipe called for before I got hold of it.)

The Carnival is Up!

This week's edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up, courtesy of Kris. I just love all the cute graphics she has on her blog. She did a great job with the carnival, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Woody Woodpecker Stops By

I was washing the many utensils, etc. I dirtied while making chocolate chip scones for breakfast this morning (it was worth it!) when something large flying across the backyard caught my eye. When I realized what it was, I called dh, who loves birds and particularly the pileated woodpecker, which he'd heard was common up here but had not seen for himself until today.

It is around 15" tall, and it spent quite a while going rat-a-tat-tat on the tree, long enough for dh to get some video. The kids got a kick out of Woody, too.

Not Missing the Suburbs Yet

A friend of mine has suggested that I'm having a hard time getting things done since we moved to Wisconsin in August because my brain thinks we're on vacation. Here's a photo my dh shot yesterday when we went on a walk. Maybe my friend has a point.....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Yet Another Reason to Homeschool

If: Pedophiles are attracted to places where they can find children.

And: Schools are full of children.

Then: Pedophiles are attracted to schools.

This article describes in nauseating detail how pedophiles work within the school system. True, they are only a small percentage of the total number of teachers and other personnel, but if your child was the victim of one of them, you would consider that percentage is far too high. (Be sure to click on the accompanying graphic to see where your state ranks in terms of sexual abuse in schools.)

You cannot guarantee that your child will not be the victim of a sexual predator working in a school unless you keep him or her out of that system: just one more good reason to homeschool.

I'm sure this girl wishes she'd been homeschooled:

In Hamburg, Pa., in 2002, those "red flags" should have been clear. A student skipped classes every day to spend time with one teacher. He gave her gifts and rides in his car. She sat on his lap. The bond ran so deep that the student got chastised repeatedly — even suspended once for being late and absent so often. But there were no questions for the teacher.

Heather Kline was 12, a girl with a broad smile and blond hair pulled back tight. Teacher Troy Mansfield had cultivated her since she was in his third-grade class.
(BF: emphasis mine)

"Kids, like, idolized me because they thought I was, like, cool because he paid more attention to me," says Kline, now 18, sitting at her mother's kitchen table, sorting through a file of old poems and cards from Mansfield. "I was just like really comfortable. I could tell him anything."

He never pushed her, just raised the stakes, bit by bit — a comment about how good she looked, a gift, a hug.
She was sure she was in love.

By winter of seventh grade, he was sneaking her off in his car for an hour of sex, dropping in on her weekly baby-sitting duties, e-mailing about what clothes she should wear, about his sexual fantasies, about marriage and children.

Mansfield finally got caught by the girl's mother, and his own words convicted him. At his criminal trial in 2004, Heather read his e-mails and instant messages aloud, from declarations of true love to explicit references to past sex. He's serving up to 31 years in state prison.

..... In Pennsylvania, after news of teacher Troy Mansfield's arrest hit, girls called Kline, his 12-year-old victim, a "slut" to her face. A teacher called her a "vixen." Friends stopped talking to her. Kids no longer sat with her at lunch.

Her abuser, meanwhile, had been a popular teacher and football coach.

So, between rumors that she was pregnant or doing drugs and her own panic attacks and depression, Kline bounced between schools. At 16, she ran away to Nashville.

"I didn't have my childhood," says Kline, who's back home now, working at a grocery cash register and hoping to get her GED so she can go to nursing school. "He had me so matured at so young.

"I remember going from little baby dolls to just being an adult."

The courts dealt her a final insult. A federal judge dismissed her civil suit against the school, saying administrators had no obligation to protect her from a predatory teacher since officials were unaware of the abuse, despite what the court called widespread "unsubstantiated rumors" in the school. The family is appealing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Cheryl tagged me, so now you must suffer through "Seven True Things About Me":

1) I've been to a speech by my favorite president (Ronald Reagan) and a concert by my all-time favorite band ("Chicago"). Dh and I could have gone to one of Elvis' last concerts in 1977 but we were poor college students and couldn't afford the $12 tickets.

2) After living in Illinois my entire life, I just moved to Wisconsin; however, I will never be a Cheesehead.

3) My hubby and I have worked at home full-time for the past 12 years; yes, we are still married ;)

4) I'm a homeschool publisher with two new books nearing completion, God willing!

5) In Bible study a few years back, we were asked to share our LCMS (Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod) heritage. Here's mine: my family joined the local LCMS church because it had pews while the ELCA church had folding chairs, and my mother preferred pews...I am not making this up! :0

6) My little sis has been a Los Angeles radio personality for the past 20 years.

7) I have not flown in an airplane since I was six and my dad took me for a ride in his private plane out over Lake Michigan. I said I'd never fly again; forty-plus years later, I've stuck with my pledge (and I'm praying none of my kids ever wants to get married in Hawaii!)

Now I have to tag seven people....let's see, how about Rona, Janet, Beckie, BarbaraLee, Gena, Julie and Theresa.

Am I a Secessionist?

Mark Steyn is one of my favorite writers. I found his book America Alone to be very thought-provoking, and I enjoy most of his articles.

Today I was reading a very recent piece he wrote, "The 'Cold Civil War' in the U.S.," and was surprised to see that in discussing the not-yet-physical battle between the Left and the Right in this country, he describes the Right in an interesting way. Just after listing some of the exploits of the Left, he moves across the spectrum:

Well, it takes two to have a cold civil war. The right must be doing some of this stuff, too, surely? Up to a point. But for the most part they either go along, or secede from the system -- they home-school, turn to talk radio and the Internet, read Christian publishers' books that shift millions of copies without ever showing up on a New York Times bestsellers list.

"Secede from the system".....I like that phrase! Still, it makes me wonder if, in this case, seceding is the same as giving up. Something to ponder.....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Newsflash: Motherhood Plus Two Careers is Hard!

It has been said about women, "You can have it all, but not all at one time." Ain't it the truth!

This is especially true of the way God has designed the seasons of women's lives. We were given our infancy and childhood to prepare us for life, our young adult years to bear children (while we're fertile) and raise them, our middle age years to regain some freedom while still being there when our now-grown children need us, and our old age to share the life wisdom we've gained with our loved ones, even as we prepare to leave them.

When you stick with that program, it makes so much sense (as does everything else God designed). But when you start messing with it, life gets considerably more difficult. Pursue a full-time career in your 20s and 30s, and when you finally get around to having kids in your 40s you find that your body won't cooperate. Have the kids when you're young, but take on college and a full-time job while they're toddlers, and your kids show the result of not having you around much. A lot of this is just common sense.

But some people, even very intelligent people, are short on common sense. They're the people who want things on their own terms, but tend to complain an awful lot once they get what they want. Case in point: Rosa Brooks. In today's L.A. Times, Ms. Brooks complains that modern motherhood is just too hard, too much work, too much to expect of her or anyone:

Of course, it's virtually impossible for parents to hold down two full-time paying jobs and also manage the full-time job of modern intensive parenting. Something has to give -- and much of the time, it's still the woman's free time, or even her career, that goes.

How's that for a news flash? Having kids and raising them means you have to give up some of your free time. You think? And if you insist on having your kids after establishing a career that you want to maintain, it's going to be hard. Good grief, that's just common sense (there's that concept again). But as usual, we have to place blame somewhere, and Ms. Brooks does that:

What to do? In the long run, the workplace needs to be more flexible to accommodate parents -- both women and men -- who value the making of families as well as the making of money.

So it's the workplace's fault that Ms. Brooks chose to have not one but two careers (she is a columnist for the L.A. Times and a law professor) in addition to being a mother of a preschooler. Well, at least now we know who to blame for Ms. Brooks' hardships.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Public Schools: Where You Don't Get What You Pay For

What does it cost you per year to educate your child?

I probably spend less than $100 a year to homeschool dd16 and ds14, but that's because they're my second pair of homeschooled teens and I'm reusing the books I used with the first two. Nevertheless, I don't think I ever spent more than $1000 a year to homeschool the older two, and we only hit that high number during the few years we used a satellite school.

But I'm guessing even the wealthiest homeschoolers, the ones who keep their credit card right next to their Rainbow Resource catalog just in case they get the urge to order something new, don't spend more than $2,000 per child per year. (Note: I'm only counting money spent on education, not on a roof over the child's head. The mortgage payment and utility bills would be due whether or not you homeschool. Maybe that makes what's coming two paragraphs from now an unfair comparison, but bear with me.)

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably heard that homeschoolers are outperforming public school kids by quite a margin. So will someone please tell me exactly what kind of superstudent you produce when you spend $64,000 a year educating one? And no, my zero key is not stuck. That's $64,000, which is what the richest school districts in New York state spend per student per year! And before you start feeling sorry for the kids in the poorest New York school districts, be aware that those districts spend about $10,600 per student per year.

Now compare that $10-64,000 per student to what you spend to homeschool your child over the course of a year. True, I told you not to include your house in your total, while the public school total includes infrastructure. But obviously, whether a New York student attends school in a decrepit building or one worthy of Architectural Digest (which is what I'm guessing the $64,000 school districts must have), the simple fact is that you can throw money at public schools year after year and the students still don't do as well as homeschooled kids.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

College: Education or Indoctrination?

If you've been homeschooling for any length of time, you may have already noticed that the older people of your acquaintance tend to picture the public schools of today like those they went to, the ones they fondly remember.

But of course the public school of today is nothing like those of 50 or more years ago. So when they question you about why you would choose to homeschool and thus reject public school, you have to realize that they have the wrong picture in their heads of what you're rejecting.

The same could be said of parents like me who went to college. We often picture college the way it was when we were there. But like the public schools, today's college campuses have changed. Parents now spend tens of thousands of dollars to send their children to colleges where they'll come out with a degree, but not always an education; in many cases, what they absorb is more of a social indoctrination than a solid education.

Filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney recently created a documentary, "Indoctrinate U," about the extent to which colleges and universities now indoctrinate students by restricting opposing viewpoints. Here's the description from the Web site for the documentary:

Speech codes. Censorship. Enforced political conformity. Hostility to diversity of opinion. Sensitivity training. We usually associate such things with the worst excesses of fascism and communism, not with the American universities that nurtured the free speech movement. But American higher education bears a disturbing resemblance to the totalitarian societies that are anathema to our nation's ideal of liberty. Evan Coyne Maloney's documentary film, Indoctrinate U, reveals the breathtaking institutional intolerance you won't read about in the glossy marketing brochures of Harvard, Berkeley, Michigan, Yale, and hundreds of other American colleges and universities.

"When we think of going to college, we think of intellectual freedom. We imagine four years of exploring ideas through energetic, ongoing, critical thinking and debate," Maloney said. "But the reality is very far from the ideal. What most of us don't know is that American college students check their First Amendment rights and individual freedom at the door."

Hailed by the New York Sun as one of "America's most promising" documentary filmmakers, Maloney has assembled a scorching indictment of higher education in America today, one that should make students, parents, trustees, lawmakers, and concerned citizens sit up and take notice. The London Telegraph has called the long-awaited feature-length film "as slick and incisive as anything by Michael Moore."

This documentary sounds like worthwhile viewing for all homeschooling parents, and particularly those who are currently helping their college-bound teens choose a college or university. You can fill out a form on the site to request that the documentary be shown in your area. Screenings in some cities have already begun. Check here for the next scheduled screening.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Homeschooling No Matter What

One of the ironies of homeschooling is that, as overwhelming as it appears at first, it becomes such an integral part of your family's life that you pursue it no matter what obstacles get in your way.

I've known families that kept homeschooling despite financial difficulties that would cause most other families to send Mom to work full-time and the kids to school. I've also known families, including mine, that continued to homeschool even after the birth of a child with disabilities and/or medical problems. (It still amazes me that I used to interrupt math to ask one of my kids to check and make sure the baby's lips weren't blue and that he hadn't stopped breathing again; our average homeschooling day sometimes included hearing his apnea alarm go off.)

Perhaps one of the most challenging situations that I've seen is the family that continues to homeschool even after Mom has fallen ill with something more than just the flu. One recent example of that kind of dedication is Pamela Berthume. She and her husband are the creators of Homeschoolopoly. I met Pam last winter when she had a booth across the aisle from mine at the InHome Conference in suburban Chicago. I was inspired to witness her positive attitude as she described her life as a homeschooling mom and businesswoman who just happens to have multiple sclerosis.

More recently, however, I was alarmed to hear that her MS had progressed to the point that she became paralyzed from the waist down this past August. Yet despite that difficult news and the financial problems resulting from expensive testing and treatment, Pamela continues to homeschool her teenage daughter and two younger children (her eldest is a young adult now) and is hoping to retrofit her car so she can drive her children to regular activities like Awanas.

I find her resolve inspiring but not surprising. Once a mom begins to see the fruits of her homeschooling labor, she wants to keep at it, no matter what. Pam is a great example of a dedicated homeschooling mom.

(Pam's family is going through some tough financial times because of her illness. If you'd like to help them out, you might want to check out something her friend Lorrie Flem of TEACH Magazine has set up. You'll find it here. Even if you can't help Pam and her family out at this time, please keep them all in your prayers. )

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This Week's Carnival of Homeschooling

It's cold and rainy here (yes!) after several days of tropically warm, decidedly un-Wisconsin-like weather: the perfect atmosphere for making a hot cup of tea (today I'm into peppermint) and settling down with the new edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling, hosted by Apollos Academy.

Note to those pressed for time just now: there are so many great posts linked there that you might have to go back and finish tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How Homework is Hurting His Family

Imperfect Homeschooler newsletter subscriber Michelle Leichty sent me a great email the other day. She shared her response to a newspaper columnist whose family's life is being run by his son's homework. Check it out:

"How Homework Is Hurting Our Family"

This was the headline of a column in Sunday's Daily Herald, written by Jeff Opdyke. His column for The Wall Street Journal is entitled "Love & Money." To read his column, click here.

I had to respond - I was so glad that my 4th-grader is not under the kind of stress his 5th-grader is! Here's what I wrote:

Mr. Opdyke,

Thank you for your column on Sunday about how homework is hurting your family. I've heard similar complaints from parents with children in the public schools in my school district - although I don't think it starts as early as fifth grade. I was struck by your column especially because my oldest son is nine years old, and in fourth grade - I cannot imagine him having the kind of stress your son has.

He is not under that kind of stress for one major reason. My husband and I have decided to teach our four children at home. Your column on Sunday made me so thankful for that decision. We started homeschooling when my oldest was going into kindergarten and I was expecting our fourth child three weeks after school started. For a number of reasons, we decided it would be less stressful on me if we kept him at home (it seems counter-intuitive, but it really was less stressful).

Here are some reasons why we still teach our children at home:

1. Much less stress on our children. Not only less stress, but they learn to love the process of learning. They aren't learning information because it'll be on a standardized test - they are learning because it's interesting. The longer I've homeschooled, the more I've realized that learning really happens all the time - not just between eight and three on school days. As I write, my oldest has taken the initiative to start preparing for an upcoming science fair with our homeschooling group, and has already made a plan for the history fair next February. Instead of dreading these projects, he eagerly anticipates them.

2. More free time. Because I'm only teaching four in my home, we are able to complete our formal schoolwork before noon. If my older two still have work to do after lunch, it's because they've dawdled (lesson learned!). Every afternoon, they have time to play with their siblings, read books that interest them, draw, color, or just play outside. Unstructured time is so important for children, and I'm glad that our schedule allows my children several hours a day.

3. Learn to balance school (eventually, work) with real life skills. Since my children are at home every day instead of school, they are learning from a young age how to manage a house. This may seem a bit silly, but is really an important life skill. They are learning to make breakfasts, lunches, plan dinners. They know how to clean the bathroom, sweep the floor, do the laundry. The bonus for me: help with the housework, and self-sufficient children.

As I read your article, I thought about the amount of time, energy and stress you and your wife are putting into one child's school work... and now even hiring a college student to help. I realized I probably invest about the same amount of time and effort in teaching my four children their formal schoolwork (ages 9, 7, 6, 4), but with much less stress for all of us.

Admittedly, homeschooling requires financial sacrifice. I do not work outside the home (although I run a business from my home), so my husband and I have chosen to cut back financially in many areas, such as:

*We live in a small, older home.
*We drive older cars - currently both are over 10 years old.
*Our vacations are to visit family members or friends - not resorts or Disney World or overseas.
*We shop at thrift stores, wear hand-me-downs.

We happily make these choices - especially since it means less stress on our children, our family and our marriage. Because we homeschool, homework actually helps our family.

Didn't Michelle do a great job of making the case for homeschooling?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Trying to Recapture the Past

Dsds14 often wakes up with an idea that he can’t shake until he acts on it. When he came downstairs this morning and marched directly into the garage, I could see he was on yet another mission. Turns out he was looking for our folding table. He insisted he needed it.

My husband humored him and gave him the table, which ds set up in the middle of the living room, right in everyone’s way. Of course, since we have too much furniture from our old house crowded into our (smaller) rental house, this couldn’t be helped.

Anyway, I knew when I told ds that it was time to do school that he would have some excuse related to the table. That’s how his mind operates. Our usual procedure on the days when he wakes up with a plan is:

He tells me he can’t do school because of it,
I shoot down his objection,
and we get to work.

His missions usually involve him being Spider-Man and needing to rescue Mary Jane, him being Santa Claus and wanting to check on the elves, him being Batman and looking for Robin……this kid has a very vivid imagination (and watches a lot of movies). Still, I’m pretty good at side-stepping his plans and steering him towards our schoolwork.

But today he informed me that he couldn’t do school because he had to set the table since everyone is coming to lunch: his sister, his brother and his new sister-in-law.

Ouch. I dread the days when his plan involves the big kids, and I can’t just shoot this plan down as I usually do. Wanting his siblings back is a sore spot, and one I feel guilty about. It’s been four years since his sister moved to her own place and his brother left for college, and he still hasn’t gotten over it. Every time they come home for a visit, he’s overjoyed. And every time they leave, he asks “Why?” for weeks afterwards. All he wants is to have everyone back home together again…for good.

I feel guilty because A) I’m the one who homeschooled everyone, and B) I’m a mom, so guilt is a regular part of my thought processes when it comes to my kids. After all, if I hadn’t homeschooled them, dsds14 wouldn’t have had so much time with his siblings and probably wouldn’t miss them so much. After all, they’re 8-10 years old than him. Their lives in school would have been their priority. They would have been gone all the time. He wouldn’t have gotten used to having them at home.

Please don't misunderstand. I’m glad I homeschooled them, and I think the closeness that can develop between homeschooled siblings who were together all their lives is a good thing. But it can be so painful for the youngest one to watch everyone else leave. And when the youngest has developmental disabilities, he doesn’t understand why everybody keeps leaving him. His plaintive questions make it painful for those of us at home with him as well.

Fortunately, we still have dd16 here. She’s also had a hard time letting go of the older kids, but she can understand why they’re gone and where they are, and that makes a big difference. Her presence does ease dsds14’s pain. But he still regularly asks for the older kids; on days like today, he decides to take matters into his own hands and set the table, figuring that effort might make them appear for lunch.

That’s not going to happen. Dd24 lives less than an hour away (she was just here yesterday) but she’s at work today. And ds22 and his bride are also both at work today…ten hours from here. Understanding distance, however, is not one of dsds14’s strong suits.

So I calmly explained to him, yet another time, that the kids can’t come home for lunch today, that they live far away in their new houses because they’re big now. I reminded him that he just saw his big sister yesterday (he even made a chocolate cake for the occasion), and that he’ll be seeing ds22 and his wife when they come up for Christmas.

He seemed to accept that, and we got going on school. He worked hard all morning, and we finished up just in time for lunch. But then he ran upstairs, and when I called him back to set the table, he didn’t answer. So I went up to his room, where I found him wrapping household items (including the ceiling fan remote, an empty video case, a cd, and his toy ball) in birthday paper (the Christmas paper is packed away).

“Look, Mom! Christmas presents!”

I guess he figures if he declares it’s Christmas, maybe the kids will come home today after all.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The October Newsletter is Ready

Earlier this week, I realized I was so late producing my September newsletter that it needed to become the October newsletter. Here it is, with three brand new articles and a few other little goodies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Supernanny: Epilogue

The only thing surprising about this is that it didn't happen sooner. One of the kids in a family counseled by Supernanny has torched their family room and now the family's homeless. (It's also divided, because since being counseled by Supernanny Jo Frost two years ago, the parents have separated.)

I'm sorry, but how could we not see this coming? These nanny shows highlight families where the kids are in charge. The nannies then tell the parents what they're doing wrong in raising their kids and spout all sorts of advice, along with this warning: never, never punish them physically.

In their effort to be politically correct, these "supernannies" take away a tool that parents sometimes need in order to keep their kids safe. If little Joel had been told not to touch the kitchen stove lighter, and given a swat on the tush the first few times he disobeyed that order, and the promise of more swats if he touched it again, the family would not be homeless now. (Even expensive research studies of the human brain have shown that people improve their behavior when threatened with punishment.)

Thank God nobody died in that fire!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This Week's Carnival of Homeschooling

I don't know how Tami does it: homeschooling a growing family, running a successful business and hosting blog carnivals. But she sure does a great job---check out this week's edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Living Within Your Means Should Be A School Subject

I think we can all agree that Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are all worthy subjects for children to study, whether on their own or by assignment, as they grow up. We homeschoolers are fortunate that we can add whatever we deem necessary to those Big Three subjects.

That said, I’d like to propose a fourth subject that should be considered important enough to rank with the Big Three: Living Within Your Means. There are some scary things going on in this country right now, and they’re the result of people living far beyond their means by obtaining mortgages with steadily rising payments that they cannot afford, or by borrowing against the equity of their homes, whose prices are now dropping (and in some places, plummeting) in value.

Every day I’m reading about people who are losing their homes because they bought more than could handle out of greed, ignorance or both. And now President Bush and some members of Congress are proposing that we bail out some of these foolish people, in an effort to minimize the potentially devastating effects this could have on our economy. Of course, any bailout is going to come out of the pockets of the taxpayers, i.e. us.

How much pain and suffering can be avoided if people live within their means! If we teach our children from the time they’re little to use money wisely, to know the difference between a need and a want, and to pay upfront for the things they need instead of borrowing the money (this brings advances on the allowance into question), we can try to protect them from the world of hurt that many Americans are about to go through.

Homeschoolers are in an excellent position to teach our children these things because we have so much time with our children every day. Of course, we should also be setting a good example for them by living within our own means.