Thursday, July 22, 2010

Did You Know You Were RADICAL?


How the Nation Views Homeshooling

Did You Know You Were RADICAL? How the Nation Views HomeshoolingLike 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.

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 permits 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:

"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!" 

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is the Country Becoming LESS Tolerant of Homeschool?

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.

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.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Free Homeschool Curriculum Week!

It is free curriculum week at the Simple Schooling Classroom.  All week we are offering you the opportunity to sit your kids down and see how fun can be!  Included in this giveaway are two awesome printables - almost 1000 pages worth!  Believe me, this event isn't something you want to miss out on.  So come on down and get your stuff!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homeschool, The Kentucky Derby, & Horses

By J. Anne Huss

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.

So 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!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Simple Homeschool Classroom - Homeschool Expo

WOW! The Homeschool Classroom from The Simple Homeschool has really taken off. Parents are excited about the all new interactive format for homeschool curriculum and unit studies, and they LOVE the fact that every single week new unit studies are added for free. It really is an investment that keeps giving back all year long.

During the week of May 10th-14th, they are planning a super Homeschool Online Open House EXPO where both parents and students and get an entire week of classes FREE to try out and see if this new interactive format will fit their style. In addition, there will be special HUGE printable that has never been offered before, as well as a sneak peak at the new Interactive Middle School Physics - an all-inclusive, computer based, full year science course that was written especially for homeschool students to foster a love for science and give them the tools they need to succeed.
Come visit The Classroom today and register for your FREE week of online classes!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Great Ideas Gone Bad

How the Public School System has become the Betamax of America

I can think of so many - the mullet for example. I mean business in the front - party in the back - sounds great, right? Or how about Betamax? Anyone still remember that little mistake? Back in the late 70's there were two competing systems for watching movies at home. One was VHS, which we all know about, and the other was Betamax. Betamax is still a little dark spot on the household name that is Sony, kind of like Speed 2 or say...public school.

Yeah, public school makes the list. See the thing is, even Betamax knew when it was beat and joined the revolution that was VHS. Public school however, is clinging to life in the good old days when one room schoolhouses were necessary for the survival of the country.
Today, the good idea that was the public education system has gone terribly wrong partly because it has become obsolete and partly because it is ripe with corruption. Regardless, the public school system in America makes Betamax look like the idea of the century.

And it simply can't be "fixed". This isn't a rant about the public schools or the teachers, or the parents, or the students; although all of those people are part of the problem. I'm talking about the system. When a public education in D.C. costs almost $18,000 we have a problem. A BIG problem. And if you think taht is bad, you haven't seen nothin' yet - think $17,000 a year is bad? How about $28,000? You could send your child to the BEST private day school in your area (any area) for that money!

Watch the vidoos below...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Parents Defend Unschooling

By J. Anne Huss
The Simple Schooling Classroom

Well, I was wondering when the "mainstream" media would start their attack on homeschool again. I mean, it is rather predictable, what with the comparison of conservatives to domestic terrorists over the weekend by Bill Clinton. What better way to alienate these "radicals" than to point out that "10%" of homeschoolers are actually radical unschoolers.  If you haven't seen the piece, you can find it here.

First of all - I beg to differ with that number. I've probably run into a handful of unschoolers in my 8 years as a homeschool parent and curriculum provider. But whatever. The numbers don't matter because a version of this method is actually being used all over the country in "mainstream" schools - yes - it is called Montessori and no one seems to be doing any "stories" on them.

Second - they start the piece with "Imagine a WORLD without school."  A WORLD WITHOUT SCHOOL?  What they really mean is a world without their idea of school.  Let's just get that straight.

But again. Whatever. It is clear that the reporter from ABC has no idea what she's talking about - "Did you ever miss or regret not being in a NORMAL school?"

Define normal? Maybe normal means government institutions flooded with card carrying union members whining about how they don't make enough money? Or maybe a normal school is one where students are bullied, beat up, or worse. Or maybe a normal school is one that has children parroting the political agenda of the left-wing loons that dictate the curriculum choices?

Is that “normal”?

Unschooling is not for everyone and just about every homeschool I've ever met knows that this method would not work for them because the first exercise in preparing to homeschool is to understand how your students learn. I know that 10% number is false. I don’t know where it came from but anyone in the homeschooling world can tell you it’s off. The radical unschooler is few and far between.

But I will let you into a little secret – all of us WISH we were unschoolers. We do. We love them and we will protect their rights right along with our own because it is up to the PARENT to deicide how to teach their children life lessons, not JuJu whatshername or the Department of Education.

This story isn’t about unschooling, homeschooling, or anything else. This piece is to show "mainstream" America that homeschoolers are not regulated enough. That homeschoolers, because they support unschooling, must have more government involved in their lives. It is just another pathetic attempt to marginalize people who refuse to let Big Daddy Government take care of them.

Go worry about your own kids, our kids are busy learning.

Monday, April 5, 2010

$50 in Free Simple Schooling Homeschool Curriculum

Hi Homeschoolers,
Today I just wanted to blog about the complete site redesign we've done over at the Simple Schooling Classroom.  Not only does it look fabulous, but there is an integrated forum and Facebook-type community where you can comment, post pictures, join and create groups, post polls, answer polls, review curriculum, and sell stuff!  We also have a testimonials page where you can read about how Simple Schooling has helped homeschoolers.  You can even leave one yourself.

Plus, all subscribers to the Simple Schooling Classroom have access to every single unit study from every page.  What could be easier? 

This brings me to our special $50 in FREE Simple Schooling Curriculum.  We want you to get involved in our community so you can have a more positive homeschool experience and it will help us build the site faster.  All you have to do to get your free curriculum is follow the 7 steps outlined here.  That's it!  All users who complete the 7 steps will be given a special membership to the Classroom where they can claim their free stuff.

And, if you decide to become a Simple Schooling Classroom subscriber you will gain access to even MORE FREE curriculum as we move into summer.  Look for a TON of history to be added and even more science!

There is no better value out there so we hope you'll come on over and give us a try!

See you soon,

J. Anne Huss

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Forensic Science and Homeschool

When I went to graduate school I was lucky enough to choose a master's program in forensic science.  Forensic toxicology to be specific.  So after I graduated I was thinking to myself, what do I have to offer in the way of homeschool curriculum and of course, forensic science immediately came to mind.  Kids LOVE anything and everything to do with crime scene investigation.  It just perks up their interest when you start talking about solving a crime. 

Realistically, I knew that this type of course is not for all ages, and so that is why I wrote the Simple Schooling Forensic Science course for upper middle and high school.  This is an elective course.  They can take
it in addition to biology and another year of CORE science, but realistically they cannot take it in place of those important subjects.

I did decide to leave a few topics out, such as blood spatter and graphic details about body appearance after certain types of death (because in school I was forced to see these and I will say, I am not easily grossed out but burn and drowning victims, not very palatable.)

So the REALLY gory details are left out but included in the text are CSI, death investigation, solving a case study, ballistics, toolmarks, arson, poisoning, toxicology, DNA analysis, the autopsy, fingerprints, and much much more. 

It is a great course, one of our most popular in fact.  And that is why I added it to The Simple Schooling Classroom as part of the yearly subscription rate.  It comes with the full printable student textbook/workbook and 6 interactivities for each unit (20 separate units total).  If you are a Simple-Zine newsletter subscriber you will get a free sample of it in the upcoming weeks. ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010

What is it with Boys and Writing?

Just the title alone is enough to make homeschool moms with young boys cringe. Yes, I'd say 99% of us have the same problem.


And Writing.

I have tried several curriculums over the years, most recently Jump in Writing, which I love and am keeping for the future. But he's so resistant.

About two weeks ago we were finishing up the unit on the 13 colonies in Simple Schooling American History and the assignment (which I wrote, mind you) asks for a report on their favorite colony.

So he picks Georgia.

And sits there.

And moans.

And whines and complains and makes a nasty comment or two about how stupid this is and how he will NEVER ever need to write in HIS career and finally cries.

LOL. I was like, you've got to be kidding me? I asked for 500 words on the colony of Georgia not a dissertation with footnotes.

So I get it together and say, OK I'll help you. We brainstorm all the things we can say about Colonial Georgia. We've got it all on the board in bullet points. Alll he has to do is turn them into sentences.

He freaks out. Finally, after about 2 hours he manages 150 words.

I declare success and let him read.

This was an eye-opener for me. The kid shuts down when he has to write. So I did what all homeschool moms do - I go to the computer and search for the "perfect curriculum" to make it all better. I find Writing Strands and order it in a hurry. 2 day shipping even.

It arrived last week and we got started right away. By day 3 he says "I think this is actually helping me."

Praise the Lord and I'll give ya big Amen.

My son will write.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

President's Day Unit Study

The Simple-Zine Freebie newsletter is going out in - Oh, about 30 minutes - and I just wanted to put the freebie up for you Googlers! The President's Day Unit Study is the very first interactive/printable from Simple Schooling and is a glimpse of what is to come for many of our printable courses for next school year.

I know - is it too early to think about next year?
I was counting up the lessons left in our math book last week and I told my son we have to finish the book and he replied "Sheesh mom, I still have 4 months! Leave it alone!"

I was like - yeah, Ok. Point taken.

But us moms know that we start planning for the next year once Christmas is over and I bet many of you are making plans right now. So for your benefit (don't tell the kids!) here is what Simple Scholing will have for the 2010-2011 school year:
  • American History Part II - From Constitution to Civil War

  • Middle School Physics (Interactive)

  • Middle School Chemistry (Interactive & Printable)

  • K-3 Science full year course (120 lessons -includes mammals, bugs, amphibians, reptiles, sea mammals)

  • Ancient History (4-8th grade Egypt, Greece, and Rome)

  • Middle Ages and Reformation (4-8th grade)

  • Plus new interactive unit studies every week at The Classroom!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kick The Bums Out!

Ya know, I try to keep my blogs on track by making sure that I only write things relevant to homeschoolers, but today I am so unhappy with our government that I must make an exception. Senator Micahel Bennet's office in DC just lied to me and then threatened to call the Capitol Police on me if I continued to call and ask my question. I know what you're thinking - what kind of question warrants that reaction? It must have been a doosey.

Yes, it was. The question was how does Michael Bennet feel about the new spending bill.

Their reply - "What spending bill?"

I asked to speak to someone who knew what I was talking about and she said no. So I ask for her name and she hung up. That's great isn't it? She is sadly mistaken if she thinks I'm giving up that easy so I call back. She threatens to call the Capitol Police on me if I call one more time.

Now, it really isn't her fault that I am always up for a challenge, and obviously she's severely underestimated the American people's resolve, so I call back and she lets it ring for several minutes before doing the age old junior high trick of "pick up - hang up".

Nice one. I give it another try. She answers and says "Don't call here again!"

I'm sorry, what? Don't call MY SENATOR'S office so I can comment? I ask to speak to a supervisor, she replies there isn't one there and hangs up.

Boy, she's getting far fast isn't she?

I call again, the process repeats itself. Yet again, same thing. And one more time and guess who I get? A supervisor.

Oh, I thought there was no supervisor? Mike over at Michael Bennet's office in DC is pretty annoyed that I'm now asking why they condone threats to citizens in addition to why they are spending my money like its not their's?

The problem the people of Colorado have with Michael Bennet is that he was never elected. He was appointed by Governor Ritter to be his pet and act like a good in-the-pocket democrat. He doesn't care about the People because he's never been accountable to them. He never ran for Senator. He never had to LISTEN to us. And boy - that has never been more apparent than it was today.

I hope Michael Bennet and Bill Ritter stay good friends because they'll be seeing each other a lot next year when they are both out of a job. And Ritter can pretend it was for "family reasons" but we all know who Corey Voorhis is and we all know the lies they told about him.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Does Yahoo Answers help kids cheat in school?

I asked this of the Yahoo answers community and my question was deleted by the Yahoo powers that be. If you have not yet been to Yahoo answers it works like this: You post a question and people who have logged in answer it. You can also help the community be answering a question.

If you go to the homework help section of Yahoo answers it takes only a few seconds to see that kids ARE cheating in school by using Yahoo Answers. Many times kids post entire homework assignments - including the multiple choice answers. And surprisingly enough, many times people actually answer them! I have seen entire essays posted at Yahoo Answers. In fact, some kids don't even try to hide the fact that they are cheating - they say "Please tell me the answers, I am failing!!!!!" or "I need Help NOW! Homework Due Tomorrow!"

What kind of service is Yahoo Answers? Was this the original intent of the Yahoo Corporation? To make cheating easier? I mean, it is no secret that the internet holds the answer to almost any question, but typically a kid would have to do that research themselves and along the way they would learn a thing or two. Not so with Yahoo Answers. They just plug in their question and by magic Yahoo spits out the information, while they hurry up and copy it down to their paper.

I have even seen kids who "homeschool" on Yahoo Answers. I put it in quotes because the ones I've seen are all doing those "online public schools" and it seems almost "club-house" like over there at Answers. "Quick! I need answers for Connections Academy Chapter 2 in Physical Science!"

And sure enough, there would be answers for those specific Connections Academy questions right in the Yahoo Answers Homework Help section.

Connections Academy, by the way, advertises itself as a "Free online public school providing a nationally certified K-12 home schooling curriculum." Many homeschoolers are wary of these "public school at home" options, and as you can see - there is reason. They don't change curriculum, or tests, or homework assignments like traditional teachers do. They recycle everything. That's their way of "being green" I guess.

But I get a little off point here - Does Yahoo Answers contribute to kids cheating in school? In fact, I could go one step further and ask - Has Yahoo Answers contributed to the downward spiral of American public education? I don't know but just yesterday this title - ironically enough posted in Yahoo news, caught my eye:

"Colorado barely passes teacher-quality evaluation"

Not only is Colorado barely passing with a D+, it seems that the highest ranking sate (Florida) only gets a C - and most schools gets D's and F's. But how do teachers in traditional public schools fight against the intellectual corruption of children by a Global Corporation such as Yahoo Answers?

It seems a little off base not to ask whether we are promoting an environment that accepts cheating. Now I must give credit to the general Answers community because often they will either be rude to those asking for answers or they will refuse to do their homework. In addition, there are kids there who genuinely seek to understand and not cheat or copy. But it is obvious to me that the reason my question "Does Yahoo Answers Help Kids Cheat in School?" was deleted because it hits a little close to home.

Just another way they are dumbing down America I guess.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Independent Workers - He's On His Own Today!

I have to work at the Farm Show today as part of work, so I am leaving DS (12) to work alone. He's not home alone, mind you - just working alone. We do this a lot when I am working, which is only part time and seasonal. And I'm pretty happy with how he takes responsibility for his work. He gets himself up - later than usual of course - and checks off his work on the board as he does it.

Today he's doing Japanese (2 sections in RS and 1 page in his Hiragana workbook)

Teaching Textbooks Math

Simple Schooling American History

Simple Schooling Interactive Unit Studies (Space - he's done a LOT of space this year - but it is so easy and I just made it - plus it is fun - so he won't mind.)


Yesterday he wanted me to time him to see how long it would take him to do school if he didn't complain! What a good guy! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free Interactive Unit Studies!

I have heard that mid-year burn-out is high this year, mostly because we've fallen behind or the kids are giving us trouble - so I would really like to help by offering some exciting and fun interactive unit studies to my most loyal readers.

I have transferred dozens of high interest, time saving, and energizing units into one complete low cost package that includes tons of cool stuff!

I have placed all of these interactive unit studies on a membership website that allows me to sell them for just $7 each. That is such a steal, but I totally understand how tight money is right now so what I want to do is offer every single one of them at a significant discount. Instead of paying $7 a piece for the first 36 units I'm practically giving them away at $57 for ALL OF THEM! That is about a $1.50 each and a total savings of $195.00!

Plus, your membership is good for an entire year and new units are added every week.

In fact, entire courses will be uploaded over the next few weeks and every week thereafter

But that's not even the end of the deal here, I also have tons of printable Simple Days Unit Studies and Simple Days Free-4-Alls that are just hanging around on my hard drive, so I'm throwing those into the mix as well.

That is a more than a $50 value for FREE! If you subscribe before February 3rd you will receive more than $241 worth of homeschool curriculum for just $57. Plus you'll get more interactive unit studies each week!

I don't think a better deal exists, to be honest.

In addition, I would like to let you try them one more time so I am offering
TWO MORE additional unit studies absolutely FREE! I know you already received the Forensic Science Freebie unit this month, and I hope you enjoyed it, but more freebies are never a bad thing! I want you to make absolutely sure that the interactive units are a good fit for your teaching style and your student's learning style. Just click the links toget immediate access to your additional interactive unit study so you can create a fun and engaging homeschool experience for your kids.

OR - if you already know that the interactive unit studies are a good fit and want to get in on the limited time special simply
click here to join now.

Have a great time with the
two new freebies and I look forward to chatting with you on the membership site forum!

J. Anne Huss

P.S. I do want to make sure that you understand that the $57 price will not last. We will be adding so much value to the site that this introductory deal will have to be increased, so don't wait!