Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Proof that Homeschoolers Are Weird

The task in her grammar workbook (Story Grammar for Elementary School by Don & Jenny Kilgallon) was to write a sentence of her own imitating the structure of the following model:
"Little Man, a very small six year old and a most finicky dresser, brushed his hair." - Mildred D. Taylor from Song of the Trees
My not-quite-seven year old offered the following:
"Cerberus, a three-headed dog and a most terrifying monster, guarded the entrance to the Underworld."
I'm pretty sure that the typical student at a government-run school would not have come up with that particular sentence just out of the blue. So yeah, homeschooled kids can be pretty weird at times.

But weird in a good way :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Take: Home-school Parents Deserve Freedom from Unwarranted Government Intrusion

Can you imagine the public outcry and indignation if an elected official called for mandatory home visits and regularly scheduled conferences with a social worker for all children of say, never-married mothers? After all, the politician could point to a handful of highly publicized tragedies and claim that justifies the gross intrusion of privacy for millions of families. Are our politicians afraid of the baby mama lobby?

If women insist on raising children outside of wedlock, they should be proud to show everyone how good a job they are doing, right? If they can’t, or won’t, perhaps their children really need to be rescued, and the mom sent to jail for neglect and/or abuse- shouldn't they?

Do you think any respectable newspaper would publish an op-ed piece calling for the implementation of the above policy?

Why, then, is it okay for school board member Peggy Boyce of Saugatuck, MI to call for government intrusion into families' lives for no other reason than their decision to homeschool their children?

If we would (rightly) be outraged by a politician considering all unwed moms to be guilty of child abuse and/or neglect until proven innocent, why aren't we outraged when it happens to homeschoolers?

By all means, child welfare authorities ought to investigate cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. But there needs to be some legitimate grounds for suspicion, not just the simple act of homeschooling. One cannot just go about calling for the government to invade the privacy of millions of American homes and to subject millions of U.S. children to interrogations by social workers without one heckuva good reason.

And the fact that Ms. Boyce in her not unbiased opinion considers homeschooling to be a "farce" simply isn't good enough.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Considering a Road Trip to Sacramento...

I've never been the kind of girl to attend a protest march or political rally. Just not my kind of thing, KWIM? Yes, I have strong opinions but to take time out of my busy life to go stand around with a bunch of other folks shouting slogans and waving signs? No, thanks.

When I first heard about the "tea party" movement last spring, I'll have to admit I rolled my eyes a bit. Was I mad about the Feds using tax dollars to bail out corporate losers in the financial services and automotive industries? Absolutely. But while I sympathized with the anger behind the tea parties, I didn't think much of the idea of protesting.

At this point, however, I'm so fed up with the whole Obamacare thing. I'm sick of being accused of racism and/or classism and/or being un-Christian and/or a Nazi and/or wanting people to die in the streets for simply having well-founded concerns about the quality of government-run healthcare. It's like the proponents are unable to make a legitimate case for their plan so they're resorting to ad hominem attacks on opponents. And conservatives are the ones being accused of wanting to stifle legitimate debate on the issue? Give me a break!

So I'm now seriously considering heading up to Sacramento on Friday for the national kickoff of the Tea Party Express bus tour. Not because I watch Fox News (we don't have cable or satellite). Not because I listen to talk radio (can't stand it). I'm not even a Republican (proud "decline to state" registeree).

But because I don't want my kids paying exorbitant taxes for mediocre government-run healthcare. It's time to stop being part of the "silent majority" against Obamacare and start speaking out publicly.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No Wonder I Was So Cranky Yesterday...

I was coming down with mastitis :-(

I'd been feeling a bit dizzy and weak yesterday afternoon before I went to the park, but had thought it was because I had had a light lunch. So I ate a piece of fruit to get my blood sugar up and didn't think too much of it. But by the evening, I had a low grade fever and two hard red spots on my breast. I drank a whole bunch of water and went to bed early but I'm still feeling lousy this morning. So now I'm off to the urgent care center for some antibiotics before it gets any worse.

With my oldest, I got a really bad case of mastitis and wound up in the ER with a 104 degree temp, ugh!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dear Overprivileged, Ubertrendily Dressed Park Moms...

I should not have butt into your blathering on and on about how people should boycott Whole Foods because its CEO does not support government-run healthcare.

I should have kept my temper in check and not let you know just how bad government healthcare REALLY is.

It really isn't any of my business how clueless you, like virtually all civilians, are about the massive shortcomings of military healthcare.

I should not have told you about the long wait times, how the patient has NO choice about whom to see, how much of a nightmare getting a referral to a specialist is, how routine procedures like a second trimester ultrasound are simply not done, how providers switch prescriptions to cheaper but less effective medications, and how poor the overall quality of care provided is.

I should not have pointed out that Canadians who can afford to travel to the U.S. for treatment often pay out of pocket to do so rather than waiting in the ridiculously long government lines.

I should have kept my mouth shut about that British woman who was forced to give birth ON THE SIDEWALK because some bureaucrat refused to send an ambulance for her when she went into labor early (HT: "Fausta's Blog").

I should have just sat there listening to you in your designer clothes with your overpriced Bugaboo strollers blather on cluelessly ad nauseum about the evil Whole Foods executive who wants to deny Americans health insurance.

That would've been the polite thing to do.

But I just couldn't keep silent any longer...

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Study: Homeschoolers Average in the 86th Percentile on Standardized Tests

Interesting results out from the followup to the 1998 Rudner study on the standardized test scores of homeschooled students. Homeschoolers scored nearly 40 percentage points above their government-run school counterparts on the Reading subtest and 34 percentage points above on the math subtest. Results did not vary signficantly by gender, family income, amount of money spent on homeschooling curricula, whether the parent held a state teacher's credential, or the level of government regulation required by the particular state. The education level of the parents did affect the results; however even when neither parent had a college degree the kids still scored in the 83rd percentile, well above the comparable results for government-run school kids.

Our family did not participate in this particular study as we've not yet had my oldest take a standardized test (she's only 6).