September 12, 2014

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Did You Know You Were RADICAL?

How the Nation Views Homeshooling

Like my last blog post - this one deals with the state of the nation's tolerance level for homeschooling.  I am, and have been for several years, under the assumption that the view of homeschooling in mainstream society was one of reluctant acceptance.  A view that had matured to a certain degree over the years to blossom into the idea that homeschool had become an accepted outer circle fringe choice for parents.  Maybe not quite mainstream, yet not the albatross of weirdness that it once was.

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I was pretty confident in this assumption until I was browsing a National Review article called Coyotes in the State of Nature, by Kevin Williamson last week.  It is really a second amendment rights piece that illustrates how the Progressives hate the fact that the Constitution as it reads would allow just about anyone to apply for a gun permit.  Which just blew my mind anyway.  Living in Colorado gun permit means a conceal carry permit - not an actual permit to simply own a gun in your house.  Anyway - fast forward to page three of the article and he began to wrap things up with this paragraph:

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"The horror that progressives feel for gun owners is in many ways like the horror they feel for homeschoolers, whom they recognize, correctly, as one of the few truly radical movements in America. Prof. Robin West of Georgetown University’s law school offers a typical reaction to the phenomenon: “The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.” God defend the holy tax base!"

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I was, in all respects, a little taken aback to be honest.  People really see us as homeless vacant lot living weirdos?  Is that the mainstream image of homeschool?  Are we, as Williamson points out, "one of the few truly radical movements in America."  Really?

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How did that happen?  I mean, I know how that happened - it is a rhetorical question.  But ask yourself - how did educating one's child become such a threat to the Progressive ideology?  I looked up the “scholarly piece” Williamson quotes in his article and read it for myself.  Yup.  Sure enough Prof. Robin West of Georgetown University does indeed feel we are tarp-living homeless people who refuse to contribute their fair share of the tax base by having mothers stay home to - gasp - teach their own children.

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So, is it me or are these people the ones living in Bizzaro-Land?  Am I the only one who thinks sending your kids to school for brainwashing is abnormal?

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I guess it just stuns me that after all these years people still hate the homeschoolers.  They make up outrageous lies about us and "respected publications" such as Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, from The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland would print an article filled with such non-scholarly work.  A piece filled with bigotry and bias a mile long.  A piece that is titled "The Harms of Homeschooling".  I won't bother to link to it - that rag doesn't deserve my backlink.  If you really want to read the garbage you can do a search and find it almost anywhere.

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My point for this post is the same as the last post - homeschoolers are still considered "radical".  Heck, when a guy who writes for the National Review can print the sentence "The horror that progressives feel for gun owners is in many ways like the horror they feel for homeschoolers, whom they recognize, correctly, as one of the few truly radical movements in America." and say it with conviction - we have to know we have a problem.

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It's a good question - one that matters since now is the time when my HSLDA membership expires.  I will renew it - I ALWAYS do - and I am glad they are there because while I personally think homeschool is more accepted among my circles, I don't think large pockets of the country feel that way.  Let me give you an example - recently I was browsing Craig's List looking for ducks and noticed the "forum".  I have been on Craig's list for years and maybe visited that forum 2 or 3 times tops, but on this day I was curious so I went into the education section.

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What did I find?  Only dozens of posts bashing homeschoolers.  Really nasty posts too, not anything with a valid point - but I was amazed.  Maybe I don't mingle with the anti-homeschoolers enough or maybe I just assumed that people are like me and respect the rights of the parent to make choices in their child's life.  But I was wrong.  So I decided to post about my experience, telling people how rewarding it has been, what I've taught my kids over the years, etc.  And the filth that replied almost knocked my socks off!

That doesn't bother me really.  I have "friends" who put down homeschooling every chance they get, so a stranger is no big deal.  But a week or so later I see an article about Sharron Angle, you know that Tea Party lady who is running for office in Nevada?  She is telling her story of how a judge tried to prevent her from homeschooling even though it was legal.  Not surprising, I read the Homeschool Court Report - it happens all the time.  But the comments were just flat out calling her a liar.  Simple as that - L-I-A-R.  They felt it was fantastical that a JUDGE might legislate from the bench and try to deny someone’s individual rights and freedoms.

Hello?  What has this person been up to for the past 10 years?  That's just about all judges have been doing.  And today begins the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagen to the United States Supreme Court.  A woman who has never been a judge before and who believes that free speech can be limited.

I think the rise of "mainstream" homeschool has had a good run but I think we are deluding ourselves if we think this will continue.  I believe Sharron Angle's story because I know that people with "power" try to exert themselves on people who don't have any all the time.  Remain alert people.  Send in those membership dues to HSLDA.  They work SO hard for us.  All of us.  We must all hang together or we will certainly all hang separately.

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Agriculture production, pictured is a tractor ...

Image via Wikipedia

Thank a Farmer

Where does food come from?  You may or may not be surprised to learn that most children think food comes from a grocery store.  Since I work with farmers in my "real world" job I was sent the video below - it was made to help recreate the image people have of agriculture.  Personally, I love the AG business.  I love the people, the animals, and the industry.  Sure, everything has a down side - but we gotta eat.  And American farmers are the ones who feed the world.  Take a few minutes out of your day to watch the video - it's fun and well produced - and then pass it along to your friends.  Farmers are responsible people who literally work along side nature every single day.  They care about their animals, their land, and their legacy.  Let' spread the word...

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Bill Nye Videos are BACK!

(Just click the red button button in the middle - then DO NOT click high or low quality - just click the GREEN Button in the middle)


Homeschool, The Kentucky Derby, & Horses


Did you watch the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday?  First Saturday in May - I never miss it.  This year seemed especially lucky for the Derby winners - Super Saver makes Calvin Borel the Run for the Roses winner for a third time in four years. A new record and Super Saver's trainer, Todd Pletcher, won his first derby after only trying for 24 years.  To top it off, there was a contest this year where one lucky winner would get to spend the day at the track and then place a $100,000 bet on the horse of his choice.  Glen Fullerton picked Super Saver to win and took home almost a million dollars.  What a lucky day.  Calvin says this horse can take the Triple Crown...I can't wait to see the Preakness and Belmont. 

The Black Stallion BooksSo what does all this have to do with homeschool?  Well, I started thinking how horse crazy I was as a kid.  I had it bad.  I always had it bad - but I got it worse when I started to read The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.  Suddenly I was the only 10 year old who subscribed to the now defunct Turf Magazine.  I devoured The Black Stallion books - they were filled not only with lots of horsey things, but adventure at every turn.  That Black had more fun than a horse should.  I still have my original copy of every single book.  I went on to earn my undergraduate in Equine Science, but by that time I was obsessed with the Jumpers.  I can't get enough of the Jumpers.  Or the Eventers for that matter.  But thoroughbred horse racing is still my old passion and every time I see the Triple Crown races I am transported back to my horse-crazy youth and my obsession with The Black Stallion books.  I kept them on a special shelf in my room WELL into my teens.  I polished that shelf so much their spines would reflect off the wood in the sunlight, I was proud to own such a spectacular set of words, and I took very good care of them.

To some, horse racing is about betting and money, but to "horse-people" (you know who you are) it is about horses.  The Black Stallion books are also about history as much as horses.  All set in the 1940's and 50's, you cannot help but immerse yourself into days gone by.  There are 20 books in the series, with most written between 1941 and 1959, but a few oddballs linger on into the 60's, 70's and 80's, so it is the perfect series for middle graders who can't get enough books to read about a favorite character.  There are also movies that go well with the first two books - both with stunning locations, costumes, and of course horses!

If your kids are horse crazy and they're doing the Simple Schooling Science of Horses unit study - then why not add a few horsey classics to their summer reading list?  They'll love you for it and who knows - maybe 30 years from now they'll be watching the 166th running of the Kentucky Derby thinking about how they got so darn horse-crazy!


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