Friday, May 17, 2013

The German Homeschool Family Seeking Asylum in U.S.

Some of you have heard about the German family who came to the United States because it's illegal to homeschool in Germany and they were opposed to enrolling their children in a public school which teaches contrary to the family's beliefs.  The family overstayed their visa.  It was time to go home.  They didn't leave America, claiming religious persecution awaited them in Germany. 

Not surprisingly, the Home School Legal Defense Association is involved. 

The Inappropriate Homeschooler posted information on the case.  Is this case really about the US government trying to destroy homeschoolering?  Or might it be yet another case of HSLDA "helping" homeschoolers in a way that will benefit their organization, increasing membership, increasing our need to be "protected," and thus increasing their own power?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What Loopers Means to Me

My homeschool email list brought me friends.  I used to be able to leave my locale and visit them two or more times annually.  Now I cannot.  I miss that and continue to grieve over it even though there are wonderful friends right here close. 

But there are things in life that shape you.  And my in-real-life friends (the ones with whom I usually interact via our onlines discussions) have been a huge part of my life.  And Lora describes it SO well. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Common Core

First it was "A Nation at Risk."  Then under Pres Bush it was "outcome-based education" with nation-wide curriculum goals.  Then during Clinton's term, the name was "Goals 2000."  Then came the younger Bush's "No Child Left Behind."  The current reincarnation of national standards is "Common Core."  I'm sure the proponents of these plans think each plan is different and unique and wonderful, while the Other Guy's Plan is bad bad bad.

But all I see is the feds taking control of education.  Whether the nationalized goals are excellent or wretched -- it doesn't matter.  Control of education should be LOCAL.

In Indiana two moms got involved in fighting the Common Core, encouraging their state to back out of the program and say "no thank you" to the wad of cash with which the feds are attempting to bribe the states to go along with the program.

Two comments:

Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle did not get involved in opposing Common Core because of anything Michelle Malkin or Glenn Beck said to rile them up, but because of what they saw happening in their own children’s  Catholic  school. When experts or politicians said that Common Core would not lead to a surrender of local control over curriculum, Heather and Erin knew better. (Ironically, the leverage in Indiana was Tony Bennett’s school-choice program, which made state vouchers available to religious schools, but only if they adopted state tests — which were later quietly switched from ISTEP to the untried Common Core assessments.)

Got that?  These moms didn't even have their kids in public school.  But the school voucher system (which many conservatives are FOR) was what allowed the State to dictate curriculum to the private schools.

That's critical.  It's critical to decision-making in our parochial schools, our private secular schools, and our homeschools.  Taking government money is setting you up for submitting to government testing and government standards.

So why are so many good conservatives, from Jeb Bush to Rick Snyder, supporting Common Core? Many conservatives signed on to a clever strategy that asked them to endorse, not the specific standards, but the idea of high “internationally benchmarked” national standards. It is a principle of psychological persuasion that, once you act, in however small a manner, you will feel cognitively compelled to justify your action. 

So conservatives are concerned with lousy results from the school system.  They cry for higher standards and more control.  But "more control" means putting the federal government in charge.  And then ... look what we get.   But because people have made up their minds that they're in favor of "higher standards" and school-choice vouchers, they continue to support programs that are costly (both in terms of children's educations and in terms of tax-dollars).  And thus, the liberals and the conservatives both fight for more federal regulation of what happens day-by-day and hour-by-hour in kids' schools.

Something is wrong.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Starting the Sit-Ups Habit

When we were kids and took the Presidential Fitness Test, there were a lot of areas in which I did not excel, and some "strengths" in which I had no strength.  But sit-ups?  I could do sit-ups.  "How many can you do?"  "How long will you give me?"  I did sit-ups until they told me to stop and go to my next class.  No biggie.

Decades pass.  The Child-of-Strong-Stomach-Muscles becomes the woman who can only do two or three (or maybe four!) sit-ups.

So when Anthea wrote about her attempt to start some new good habits, I thought about getting into shape.  Being a person who does well with lists and the Awesome Wonderful Reward of checking things off, I printed out two Don't Break the Chain calendars.

Calendar 1: Sit ups.  Ten per day.  Oh, the agony ....   But after 10 days of daily sit-ups, it was easy to do 7, and possible to do [gasp] more than 10.   So the next month's goal was twelve sit-ups.  The following month's goal will be 15 sit-ups daily.  Hey!  This is working!

Calendar 2:  Going for an exercise walk.  Not working so well.  If I realize at bedtime that I didn't fit in a walk, I'm not going to get dressed again and go out in the dark (and the cold -- brrrrr!) to earn my check mark.  (A dozen sit-ups is easier to squeeze in at the last minute.  I can see why Anthea set herself a goal of reading for just five minutes.)

Right now there are a gazillion ideas I have for habit-starting calendars.  But I don't have enough space to hang 'em all.  Or ... enough brain-power and will-power to obey the calendars.  So for now, just two, with hopes of making habits

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Two lawnmowers.  Three workers.  Total of nearly five man-hours.  And the lawn is a little more than half done.


Moral of the story:  No matter how busy we are, no matter how tired and/or ill we are, no matter how cold it is next November, the lawn must be mowed One Last Time in fall.

Caramel without HFCS

I was recently making Glenda's Most Evil Dessert as a thank-you treat for some of my co-workers.  Of course, it never crossed my mind to buy a bag or two of caramels (which is one of the main ingredients).  So Maggie and I determined to mix up some caramels right-quick.  That's when we discovered we had no corn syrup either (a main ingredient in the caramels). 

So I substituted honey.  Y'know -- real honey.  Made by bees.  Instead of chemists.

Guess what?  Those were darn good caramels!

Finally, A Warm Day!

That was last weekend.  This weekend we're back to closed windows, jackets outdoors, and the furnace turned on.

My friend Jenny has been vindicated once again.  She says you never take off the winter bedding until the peonies bloom.  But we were tired of getting so HOT under that comforter.  And we were a full week into May, for cryin' out loud.  The peonies weren't blooming; surely Jenny had to be wrong.  I swapped out the down comforter for a thin quilt.

Jenny wasn't wrong.  We slept comfortably for two nights without the down comforter.  Now it's cold again.

But at least it is NOT snowing!  Whew!