Thursday, June 30, 2005

Reconstructionism and Homeschooling

There's been interesting and diverse opinions about HSLDA/Patrick Henry College on our MI neighbor Spunky's blog. I just ran into this article about Reconstructionism and it includes some information about homeschooling. I want to quote the Chris Klicka portion specifically. Mr. Klicka is the HSLDA representative for Illinois the last I looked (on one of their E-lerts). (And I have NOT read all of this. Wish I could, wish I had, but bills to pay, kids to transport, 4-H Fair, etc. I do plan to read up on the links provided under Forced Homeschooling by the Reconstructionist Movement on Ann Zeise's site as I think it's an important issue.) Here's the section I referred earlier to:
Similarly, the Christian "home schooling" movement is part of the longterm revolutionary strategy of Reconstructionism. One of the principal home schooling curricula is provided by Reconstructionist Paul Lindstrom of Christian Liberty Academy (CLA) in Arlington Heights, Illinois. CLA claims that it serves about 20,000 families. Its 1994 curriculum included a book on "Biblical Economics" by Gary North. Home schooling advocate Christopher Klicka, who has been deeply influenced by R. J. Rushdoony, writes: "Sending our children to the public school violates nearly every Biblical principle. . . .It is tantamount to sending our children to be trained by the enemy." .
Pretty harsh. There are some people in the ps system who do impossible, some might say miraculous, educational feats for kids. Great mentors like my beloved high school coach or my biology teacher who helped me LOVE the Miracles of science. Many are even Christian. So why is Mr. Klicka judging their accomplishments despite the school system? I don't like the bureaucratic system most of our communities' children are locked into, but there are many individuals w/i that system that don't deserve the Enemy Trainers label. *Correction; none deserve that. There's nasty people in the ps system that do terrible things to kids and families, but I don't like his assertions.
More from the article
He [Klicka] claims that the public schools are Satan's choice.
Ummm...not nice. Satan (ps parents) chooses public school? Charming. There are book references regarding this quote. Don't have time to chase it down now as I do like to see the primary document for accuracy.More:
Klicka also advocates religious selfsegregation and advises Christians not to affiliate with non-Christian home schoolers in any way. "The differences I am talking about," declares Klicka, "have resulted in wars and martyrdom in the not too distant past." .
Maybe he's reading from a different Bible, but a couple of Jesus's messages come to mind. This one goes both ways, doesn't it?
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
Another one that really sticks in my mind is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I know there's many more as being Christian does not mean seclusion with the like-minded.And finally
According to Klicka, who is an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, "as an organization, and as individuals, we are committed to promote the cause of Christ and His Kingdom."

Estimates of the number of home schooling families vary enormously. Conservatively, there are certainly over 100,000. Klicka estimates that 85-90 percent of home schoolers are doing so "based on their religious convictions." "In effect," he concludes, "these families are operating religious schools in their homes." A fringe movement no longer, Christian home schoolers are being actively recruited by the archconservative Hillsdale College.

For the record, Scott Somerville (HSLDA) responded to me in a NHEN discussion:
Susan, we have 2,522 active member families in IL. If there are 2,000,000 American homeschoolers, I would estimate IL has 90,000 (based on IL's share of the US population). If we say there are about 2 kids per average homeschool family, we would compute around 45,000 homeschool families in IL. This means HSLDA's membership in IL may be more like 5% of the total (5.6%, to be exact), not 15%.

That is based on the assumption that there are 2M homeschoolers. If there are only 850,000 homeschoolers (the Census Bureau's current estimate), HSLDA's segment of the IL homeschool population would be much larger: I calculate 12.9%, using the methods above.

HSLDA's share of the homeschool population in other states can be higher or lower. Kansas, for example, is a state where there have been a lot of random homeschool prosecutions, and HSLDA's membership there is pretty high. If I make the same assumptions in Kansas as I did for Illinois, I would compute a percentage somewhere between 17% (if there are 2M homeschoolers) and 40% (if there are only 850,000).

Scott W. Somerville, Esq.

(I think even that figure is a little overstated, but I'll still give him that for the following point.)
Do I want an organization such as HSLDA with the views of Mr. Klicka fronting for me with legislators and such when they admittedly only represent 5.6% of the Illinois homeschooling population?
No, I'm sorry. I don't.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An Immunization Tracking System in CO

Colorado Homeschoolers Fear New State Database Threatens Freedom

Homeschool activists in Colorado knew they had reason to be wary of the new majority in the state legislature, but they also were disappointed by one of their allies this spring when Gov. Bill Owens (R) signed a bill changing the state's immunization tracking system.

In the 2004 elections, several state lawmakers who had demonstrated support for the homeschool agenda were replaced by less-supportive officials. Familiar legislation that had been opposed--and previously defeated--by the homeschool community progressed this year through the House and Senate.

On April 29, Owens signed into law Senate Bill 87, which allows Colorado's health department to create a statewide database of immunization records and to contact parents directly when their children are due or overdue for inoculations.

Treon Goossen, a spokeswoman for Concerned Parents of Colorado--a grassroots group that lobbied against S.B. 87--said the homeschool community's opposition focused on privacy issues. While some homeschool families choose not to get certain inoculations for medical or religious reasons, she said immunization itself was not the primary objection..

This article goes on to give examples of misuse in CO already.
This spring, a laptop computer containing sensitive medical and personal information on 1,600 children was stolen from a state health department employee's car. Even more disturbing, Goossen said, was the fact that an autism study on the computer's hard drive contained information obtained without any of the parents' consent.
Surely not! Surely there wouldn't be information obtained, might one say...illegally... without parents' consent?!?

And CO has a new age governor. Fusionist is new to me, but I thought libertarian was minimal government, so what do I know? "It gets to my fusionist view of balancing libertarian values with what's in the interest of the community good," he said.
Tracking, tracking, tracking. The computer age has definitely spawned an excited bunch of bureaucrats who love databases of citizens and tracking. We should be paying lots of attention to that.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Active Homeschooling Advocacy

Good for CT homeschoolers! I wish we had some more of that in Illinois. Maybe we'd have a little less coercive messages pitched by Illinois ps administrators here and there to serve their over-compliance demands. On Dupage's Regional Office of Education site they have this statement:
"For more information regarding home schooling fillout the form below." leading you to a homeschool form asking for way too much information. Annoying.
Back to CT, Deborah Stevenson, attorney for NHELD and Judy Aron, who wrote up the NHELD article regarding mental health assessment did a great job stirring up this pot along with their fellow homeschoolers. Here's the CT Post article:
Homeschoolers dial Rell for state ed law changes
HARTFORD — The governor's office fielded about 60 phone calls Wednesday from homeschoolers unhappy with the way local school officials are treating them.

The call-in, orchestrated by a national home education association with Connecticut roots, asked Gov. M. Jodi Rell to direct school districts to stop requiring letters of intent from homeschoolers and eliminate misleading language in the state law that allows home schooling.

Wonder what the Commissioner and the attny general don't understand about a clear cut word like "voluntary". Kinda like "voluntary" mental health screening, I guess.
"I can tell you that Gov. Rell fully supports the rights of parents to home school. The governor also supports [Commissioner of Education Betty J. Sternberg's] right to seek an opinion from the attorney general whenever there is a question regarding this topic," said Liegeot. "We are currently awaiting the decision of the attorney general."

Marie Drew won't sign the form because it is supposed to be voluntary and because she would be pledging to attend annual portfolio reviews she believes would be pointless.

It'll be interesting to see Mr. Blumenthal's opinion. Glad homeschoolers sent a message beforehand. Hats off to CT. homeschoolers.
Sternberg has asked Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to spell out the rights of parents and responsibilities of school districts in ensuring instruction is taking place. Blumenthal has promised an opinion this summer.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Homeschooling: It's not what you think

Wow! This article has pictures of homeschoolers having fun. They're not standing by the kitchen table with mom in her jumper and 6 dozen kids. Not that there's anything wrong with jumpers or 6 dozen kids (Ryans have at least half that many kids), but you get kinda tired of seeing that same picture with a different face every time a homeschooling article pops up.

From the article:
Homeschoolers, a friend said.

"Freaks," Erickson thought. "I just had it in my head that homeschoolers were women who make their own clothes and were out of the cultural norm."

Over 10 years ago, before I started homeschooling, I thought homeschoolers were Amish (and made their own clothes). Now I'm one of those freaks and loving it.
Glad they made a distinction between homeschooled and publicly financed education. This is a Florida based article and apparently they have every which way to educate their children.
"Homeschooling," said New York University sociologist Mitchell Stevens, "is a really creative way through a problem" in an American society "that hasn't figured out how to have women work and create a reasonable system of parenting." Homeschool parents, he said, "give up income and suspend a career aspiration for a while. But you get this kind of unstructured, unscheduled time with your kid, which is something that otherwise only really affluent people can do."

This sociologist has the real essence of homeschooling figured out. Having the unstructured, unscheduled time with your kid is a real joy.

Liked the article, loved the pictures. The little boy holding onto the electric ball dohickey (husband says that is a Van de Graaf Generator)reminds me of the U of I Physics Van visit our group had a couple of years ago.


Public School's Backyard

Let officials tend to their duties and leave home schoolers alone
Tribune Editorial
June 23, 2005
With the AIMS test staring the Class of 2006 in the face, you might think the Arizona School Boards Association would have its hands full making sure public school students pass muster. Well, you’d be wrong. Instead, they’re fretting about the welfare of home-schooled children.

Or they could be concerned about the documented problems within the public school system. I don't want to bash public schools, but there are some distinctly shady characters mixed in with our communities' children.
“There is no way of knowing what is happening to those kids,” laments Oracle board member Betty Harmon. “I think it is more a matter of protection for the kids. I have nothing against home schooling . . . but every other child in the state, whether they are in a private school or a charter school or a (traditional) public school, they have people to monitor them . . . There is nothing like that for home-school children.”.

There is that monitoring in brick and mortar private, charter and public schools, but does it always help?

Apparently not. Or we wouldn't be seeing this
Required under the No Child Left Behind Act, the report by sexual-harassment researcher Charol Shakeshaft concludes that such misconduct is "woefully understudied," but that as many as one in 10 students may be subjected to some form of it during their K-12 careers. A draft version of the report was made available to Education Week when Ms. Shakeshaft submitted it to the department in late February. ("Sexual Abuse by Educators Is Scrutinized," March 10, 2004.)

Meanwhile, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National School Boards Association all said the report could create a false impression in the public’s mind that the physical sexual abuse of students by educators is rampant in schools. The NEA called the report’s tone alarmist, and the NSBA suggested that it diminished the problem by appearing to overstate it.

It seems to me that their reaction should have been that this greatly concerns them and they'd like to pursue the results in this study. That they'd like to assure the public and the parents that they will deal immediately with any members who abuse any of our children.

Instead we see on p 41 of this study that
LaRue found no state that specifically listed educator sexual misconduct (or language that was similar) as a reason for terminating or dismissing an employee.
National teacher associations, to date, have not included suggestions for preventing educator sexual misconduct nor conducted studies of incidence. Suggestions for collective bargaining model language from the two national teacher unions do not specifically include language on educator sexual misconduct.

Why Not?
The editorial continues:
Perhaps it’s too much in this day and age to suggest that parents are in the best position to monitor their children’s well-being. The “experts” know best, of course. Oh, well — we’ll suggest it anyway, and strongly urge the Legislature to reject this solution that is looking for a problem.

Looking for the few and horrific child abusers, has been fairly unsuccessful even with the oversight and monitoring in the school system. So why suggest spreading resources even thinner by including involved and engaged homeschooling parents in the pile? Looks like a bureaucratic answer that has very little to do with solving the abuse problem for children.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Federal Amendment LOST Regarding Mental Health Monies

There is a radio archive from voiceamerica interviewing Dr. Karen Effrem and Representative/Dr. Ron Paul regarding the since failed amendment 366 to take out federal funding for universal mental health screening. As I observed in Springfield at this May Fee For Services Initiative hearing; Illinois children's mental health screening proponents are hugely interested in this federal money. It failed 97-304, but my Representative voted for it, so I'm satisfied with that, at least. Thank you, Representative Johnson, for protecting parental rights.
Allen Jones is also interviewed regarding his firing from the PA Attny General's office for his whistleblowing regarding the pharmaceutical-legislative link.
From the Illinois Leader
The RWJ [Robert Wood Johnson] foundation funded the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Task Force, which produced the report Illinois’ Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 is based on.
The BMJ [British Medical Journal] ran the story that sparked the current controversy by reporting the findings of Allen Jones, an Investigator in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Special Investigations, who had to file a whistleblower report to preserve his rights to speak to the press.

What is posted below was written by Karen R. Effrem, MD regarding this interview concerning the federal bill on MindMatters (voiceamerica).
Congressman and physician Ron Paul is courageously continuing his fight against government sponsored and pharmaceutical industry supported universal mental health screening programs. The Labor/Health and Human Services/Education appropriations bill, HR 3010, contains $26 million for "state incentive transformation grants" to fund implementation of the New Freedom Commission recommendations for universal mental health screening and psychiatric drug treatment. This is the same amount requested by the President in his budget.

The Paul amendment simply states:
"None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to create or implement any new universal mental health screening program."
This is a very important amendment. It will protect both children and adults from invasive screening that is based on vague, subjective, and politically motivated criteria that will result in labeling with dubious diagnoses. These diagnoses will follow people for the rest of their lives and will result in drugging with ineffective and potentially lethal medications. The HR 3010 amendment supports freedom of thought, as well as civil and parental rights. The bill will be debated Thursday (tomorrow) and Friday, June 23rd or 24th, with the amendment coming up late Thursday or, more likely, Friday.

You may click here to send an email to your Member of Congress to ask him or her to support this vital amendment. Everything is there for you -- a letter and background information. If you wish to follow up your email with a phone call or fax, just click here for the numbers.

The fallout continues from the New Freedom Commission's controversial screening and drugging recommendations. Since last year, when Congressman Paul first introduced this amendment, much has happened that vividly illustrates the folly and danger of these screening and drugging programs, including:

* The FDA held hearings on the use of antidepressants and children. The FDA issued its strongest black box warning after discovering that information on the lack of effectiveness and dangerous side effects of these medications was concealed from physicians and the public, sometimes for years. Yet organized psychiatry is trying to get those warnings removed, because they would rather conceal the dangers to children than give up the profits.

* The story of Aliah Gleason became public. Aliah, a 13 year old African-American girl, was forced into a state mental institution, denied contact with her family for over 5 months, physically restrained over 26 times, and treated with as many as 12 different psychotropic medications (some simultaneously) without her parents knowledge or consent, all as a result of a school mental health screening. (When linking to this story, use code MJZL6Y.)

* Chelsea Rhodes was labeled with two different psychiatric disorders based on a computerized mental health screening called TeenScreen, given in her school without her parents knowledge or consent. Her parent, with the aid of the Rutherford Institute, are suing the school district and the mental health provider that did the screening.

* A preposterous study was released from Harvard and the National Institutes of Mental Health claiming that more than 50% of all Americans will be mentally ill during their lifetime. Even psychiatric experts such as the former chairman of psychiatry at John Hopkins found that idea very difficult to swallow. The debate is raging within the psychiatric profession over the boundaries between mental health and mental illness. "Pretty soon," he said, "we'll have a syndrome for short, fat Irish guys with a Boston accent, and I'll be mentally ill."

There is no public support for these kinds of Orwellian programs. A backlash is brewing. Please let your Member of Congress know that a vote for the Paul amendment is a vote for freedom. A vote for the Paul amendment is a vote against government-corporate-foundation special interests. Let your Member of Congress know that you will be watching closely. Thank you.

I hope people still let their legislators know what they think. Thank them for doing the right thing. Let 'em know they screwed up, if they voted against the amendment. Many abstained, for that matter, which always makes me wonder why the person is a legislator if they can't make up their mind in time to vote.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mental Health Faqs??

Heads up, other states. The FAQs statement below is your warning.
Mental health programs and services for children in Illinois – like that of most states – are highly fragmented, under-resourced and limited in scope.

Continuing on with their happy talk, we have
The Children’s Mental Health (CMH) Act of 2003 was created to develop a comprehensive system of community and state programs, services and resources that promote the mental health and well-being of children ages birth to eighteen, intervene early to address potential mental health needs, and provide comprehensive mental health services for children who need them.

That's right and even pre-natal.In their current Plan, on page 8,they left in one example of their 1-2 year strategy plan per Karen Van Landeghem's
It was really important to identify priority ones. Ones that we felt were important, ones we felt that needed to be done immediately, ones that also we felt that the policy makers, state legislators would be able to embrace and that was really an important part of a, of getting the Mental Health Act passed, but also the initiative passed.

W/i one-two years they will
Research Illinois barriers that keep women from accessing screening during the peripartum period - pregnancy and the twelve months following the infant’s birth.
g. Provide training and consultation to obstetricians, gynecologists, pediatricians and other relevant primary health care providers in public (e.g., WIC and Family Case
Management) and private settings about appropriate screening and referral practices.
4. Expand Medicaid coverage to include the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
a. Disseminate information to primary care providers on Medicaid reimbursement for
perinatal depression screening.
b. Promote pediatricians’ use of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during well-child visits as a risk assessment of the infant.
5. Examine and modify the state Medicaid plan to extend coverage for pregnancy-related care including family planning services beyond the current limit of 60 days postpartum to one year post partum.
6. Expand Medicaid coverage to include assessment and treatment services for perinatal depression up to one year post partum.
7. Establish funding mechanisms for public and private insurance reimbursement of perinatal depression screenings conducted by healthcare professionals.

Sounds like they're getting ready for lots of screenings. Lots and Lots.
In the Fee-For-Service Initiatives Committee hearing I attended, the Elgin Mental Health Center rep. in charge of Screening, Assessment and Support Services (SASS) stated that she was
excited about screening the Medicaid population
She was only
concerned about doing it and not getting payment

It was also stated that
DCFS and the entire Medicaid population is screened now.
Why are they looking at the Medicaid coverage, funding and insurance? Typical and very unfortunate part of this is that one of the Fee-For-Service Initiatives Committee hearing meeting's purpose that I attended was to find a way to reimburse the providers who are already doing the screening. Some of these agency representatives were almost out of their chairs upset with Public Aid not paying up. But the funding wasn't in place, ya know. They were so confident that this Plan was going to be steam rolled through that they provided the 'services' without funding.
By the way, the only time voluntary was used in the 7/9/04 original Plan that they spent time/energy and wanted bad was here
3. Provide at least two voluntary home visits by a registered nurse to all Illinois families following the birth of a child to assess the physical, social and emotional health of the new family, and link them to appropriate follow-up services as needed to prevent the emergence of developmental,behavioral and psychosocial problems.

If anyone wants that version; the true Want List before they had to take the longer route, I'll be happy to send it to them. Voluntary is inserted 8 times in the new Plan. I have to wonder if the families in the Medicaid system were given the voluntary option. Didn't sound like it at that hearing.

Why are we in Illinois is the position where you need to tell your pediatrician or obstetrician that you do not want a mental health screening? What if he/she thinks homeschooling is wrong? And then you refuse a voluntary mental health screening? What's wrong with you?
Here's another example of the possibilities.
The family has seen the worst of the Baker Act system, Lee's father says.

"In roughly a fourth of Baker Act cases involving children, there are references to psychiatric drugs, a study by The Tampa Tribune shows.

The analysis involved nearly 600 sheriff's reports in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and was part of a five-month Tribune investigation into the rising number of child Baker Act incidents statewide.

In at least 10 percent of the cases, the child had refused to take a prescribed psychiatric drug, often because of unpleasant side effects. Several other reports listed a recent medication change as a factor in the crisis.

The insane part of this is the unpleasant side effects of these prescribed drugs are suicidal tendencies.


Monday, June 20, 2005

A Pretty Bird

Hooray! I'm so happy. I was looking out our front window and saw that the goldfinches are still here. Hanging around our holly bush. We were afraid they were just passing through last month. It looks like they nest in late June and early July, so we're going to keep them well fed so they'll wanna stay.

Kelly and I watched a goldfinch hang on the end of a dandelion stem eating the seeds when we first spotted them last month. Right next to it was an Indigo Bunting. I've seen the Buntings pass through in the spring by our creek for years but was thrilled to see so many different colors right next to each other. (We have an overabundance of house sparrows and starlings so we love variety.)

And Kara, I've figured out how to take the picture on the digital. I will conquer being able to view it in my next unschooling lesson of the digital camera. (I could just read the directions, I guess.)


Friday, June 17, 2005

No Missed Revenue Opportunities in Illinois' Mental Health Vision

The Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership have a new tool on their site. Pretty clever. If people are directed to their site for first hand documentation of their Plan, then maybe they'll take a look instead at Frequently Asked Questions instead to get a brief synopsis. Rather than wading through their now 31 pages of the Illinois Children's Mental Health Plan by reading facts, I suppose they hope people will read their happy talk version. Problem is, their denials in their brief synopsis are very wishy washy in reality (documentation).
Here's some of their answers with some of my added details. They say:
little attention is placed on children’s
mental health until problems become severe. Nationally, over 20 percent of children have a diagnosable mental health problem, and only one in five of these children are receiving services.

This language (20% or 1 in 5 children) matches up with the 1999 Surgeon General's Report.
Approximately one in five children and adolescents experiences the signs and symptoms of a DSM-IV disorder during the course of a year, but only about 5 percent of all children experience what professionals term “extreme functional impairment.”

The state Plan can be more easily supplied with federal funding when their language matches up. At the Fee-For-Service Initiatives Committee hearing I attended, the Public Aid spokesperson Anne Marie Murphy stated that they
need to maximize federal funding which is critical.
It was also suggested that they use a recovery model (to retrieve funding)
by getting a copy of and implementing the New Freedom Report
The response was that they had already done that. It's called their Vision Report. And searching for the word voluntary in this 117 page document is a different version (page 48) than displayed in their FAQs
Missed appointments are missed revenue opportunities. Agencies may, in response, make enrollment less "voluntary" for difficult to serve consumers.

More later


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Spurlock Museum Activities

Following the world history posts as well as foreign language , here's a couple of kid activities going on this summer. We've done the Stories Around The World a few times. Great hands on activities as well as a scavenger hunt through the museum about the particular topic. In our experience, Spurlock is very homeschool friendly and much appreciated.

Stories Around the World

Explore world cultures and artifacts through the folktales people tell and the craftwork they create. During these one-hour programs, held July 23rd and August 13th, children will hear two artifact-related stories in the Museum’s galleries and complete a craft in the Rowe Learning Center. Each program will be unique and present tales and crafts that are new to the Museum’s programs. For ages 5 through 9.

Location: Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory, Urbana, IL
Dates: July 23, 2005 & August 13, 2005.
Time: 10-11 AM
Admission: Pre-registration is required. Participation is limited. Registration form available.
Cost: $5 per person.

And for littler ones:

Paper Party!

Create, play, and learn together during a great morning of family fun! Make paper crafts from different cultures in celebration of our Focus Gallery exhibit Following the Paper Trail from China to the World. This program is for ages 2 and up.

Following the Paper Trail from China to the World is co-sponsored by the UI Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies and a gift in memoriam of Dr. Yuen Tze Lo by his wife Sara de Mundo Lo.

Location: Rowe Learning Center, Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory, Urbana, IL
Time: Come in any time between 10 AM and noon to begin. Stay as long as you like. The event will end at 1 PM.
Cost: Suggested donation of $1 per person.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Foreign Language Supplements part one

Computer games:
French For the Real World
Spanish for the Real World
Jumpstart Languages (for the preschool/early elementary)
Asterix Learning Language Software - this looks interesting
Jumpstart Spanish

Lingua Fun Card Games - we picked this up in French at our local Borders Bookstore

Favorite books
French Dictionary ages 9-12
The Word Detective in French from Usborne (last I heard this was out-of-print, I borrow it from the library)
First French from Usborne Books
Hide and Speak French from Barron's
Goodbye USA -- Bonjour la France Book 1 and 2 from Barron's
Action French! Board and Card games, song, badges and lots more from Passport Books
Berlitz kids language kits
Babar's French Lessons
Asterix in French, Latin etc.
Cattus Petasatus: The Cat in the Hat in Latin
Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit The Grinch Who Stole Christmas in Latin
Winnie Ille Pu: A Latin Version of A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh
Harry Potter et Philosophi Lapis(Harry Potter Series) Latin Harry Potter
Virent Ova! Virent Perna! (Green Eggs and Ham) in Latin
Les Portes Tordues: The Twisted Doors: The Scariest Way in the World to Learn French! This looks nifty.
Minimus Pupil's Book: Starting Out in Latin
Who Loves Me? Quis Me Amat? (I Am Reading Latin Series)
What Will I Eat? Quid Edam? (I Am Reading Latin Series)
How Many Animals? Quot Anaimalia (I Am Reading Latin Series)
What Color Is It? Quo Colore (I am Reading Latin Series)

For the car:
Teach Me (insert a language here)
Berlitz kids: The Five Crayons, A Visit to Grandma

I didn't concentrate on Spanish because of the wide availability of Spanish teaching materials and books here in the US. Most of the books, software, etc listed can be picked up in many different languates. The exception would be a few of the Latin items: Minimus and the I Am Reading Latin Series. I'm sure this list will be added to as favorites emerge that were not put back on the shelf and as suggestions are made by others.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Helloooooo. Anyone out there??

If you are waiting for the post on foreign language supplements,there has been a slight delay. The cable company we use for high speed service has never buried the cable. You can probably figure out what happened from that little bit of information. Anyway, we were without service for half of yesterday and most of today. I'm guessing the next time the neighbor mows the lawn, the cycle will repeat itself. This has put me behind in the "things to get done" pile. I hope to post the list tomorrow. Much too tired to organize it all tonight.


Home-schooling mom speaks out against truancy allegations

Here's the entire article reprinted with permission
from the Southern Illinoisan
June 10, 2005
Home-schooling mom speaks out against truancy allegations
the southern

MARION - The home-schooling mom from Marion who was charged by State's Attorney Charles Garnati with permitting truancy, a Class C misdemeanor, pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday before Judge Phillip Palmer in Williamson County Circuit Court.

Kim Harris, 44, is alleged to have willingly and knowingly allowed her now 16-year-old son to be truant, first from the Marion school district as a student at the high school, and then later as a home-schooling mother who is accused of not following through with an established curriculum.

Harris told her side of the story Thursday.

"I had a meeting here with the truancy officer (Mickey Sullivan), Marion High School Assistant Principal Gerald Murphy and Mr. Garnati right here in his office and Mr. Garnati okayed me home-schooling my son," Harris said. "I feel like I'm being singled out when I haven't done anything wrong."

Garnati said his recollection differ! s from Harris's. He said there was indeed a meeting, but he never "OK'd" Harris to home-school her son. He said he was against the idea all the way, but Illinois law prohibited him from stopping her.

Harris said she felt harassed by the truancy officer - that Sullivan was escorted by other policemen giving the appearance to neighbors that there was an ongoing crime at her home.

Harris said she and her son were home the first two times Sullivan visited her home unannounced, but had gone shopping the third time this spring, which led to charges from the state's attorney's office.

Sullivan was unavailable for comment Thursday, but said previously that Harris produced "no evidence of home-schooling" on any of the three occasions she met with the family.

Harris disagreed.

"She (Sullivan) didn't think I could home-school, that I wasn't smart

enough," Harris said.

Harris explained she didn't pull her son out of Marion High School fo! r educational reasons, but for reasons of safety. She said her son was involved in a fight with other teens on one occasion and then stabbed in the lip with a sharp object a second time at a local Huck's grocery by the same group of teens.

"I felt like his life was threatened, so I pulled him out of school because the same group of boys attend that school. And I'd do it again, too. No education is worth risking your life."

A single parent, Harris said her 16-year-old son is one of six children. The eldest, a female, is 20 and did not graduate from high school. There is also a 17-year-old daughter who dropped out of school and three younger girls, ages 12, 10 and 8, who Harris claims are doing quite well in school.

Because she is now employed with the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation as a personal attendant in Benton, Harris said she no longer has the time to home-school her son and that she was looking into transferring him to an alternative educational center this fall.

In the meanwhile, she must endure a cour! t battle that will run into September.

"In a way, I'm going to miss home-schooling my son," Harris said. "We drew closer to one another when we read books together. I think home-schooling's great."

618-997-3356 x15807

Copyright, 2005, Southern Illinoisan


Monday, June 13, 2005

Follow Up on So IL Truancy Case

A friend had asked me about this so I was checking around remembering that May 12th was supposed to be the court date in the original article.

I've found an article dated June 10th in the Southern Illinois. Wish I was going to the library today because I had to pay for this one. Oh, well...The Southern was generous in sharing their articles (with acknowledgements) before.

Ms. Harris pleaded not guilty June 9th to the State's Attny Garnati's charge of permitting truancy of her 16 year old son in the public school and later "as a home-schooling mother" The charge is a Class C misdemeanor.

Rotten shame the compulsory attendance age was changed to 17 from 16 or this wouldn't be an issue for any of us, ay?

Hmm...This is troubling if this was also included in the charge. She
is accused of not following through with an established curriculum.

We don't need to use an established curriculum.

Ms. Harris is quoted as saying that Mr. Garnati gave her the ok for homeschooling along with the truancy officer and the asst. Principal Murphey in Garnati's office?!? Still reading....Garnati says Did Not, but that
he was against the idea all the way, but Illinois law prohibited him from stopping her.

Harris said she felt harassed by the truancy officer - that Sullivan was escorted by other policemen giving the appearance to neighbors that there was an ongoing crime at her home.

Shades of Regional Office of Education Bully Boy Dennison and his truancy officer sidekick Horwedel a few years back.

Harris explained she didn't pull her son out of Marion High School for educational reasons, but for reasons of safety. She said her son was involved in a fight with other teens on one occasion and then stabbed in the lip with a sharp object a second time at a local Huck's grocery by the same group of teens.

Harris has 3 younger daughters in the school system who she says are doing fine in school.

And that she has a new job that doesn't allow for her to homeschool now so she's looking at an alternative educational center this fall.

"In a way, I'm going to miss home-schooling my son," Harris said. "We drew closer to one another when we read books together. I think home-schooling's great."

That's why a lot of us homeschool. Wonder what's what with this mess?

contact reporter for any questions

618-997-3356 x15807


Foreign Languages - Support Group Day

We’ve been studying foreign language for 7 years now. We started in kindergarten and we’ve always studied French. I’ve had a number of years of French instruction and felt more comfortable teaching that than starting something new. Just like with learning to read, I have filled our environment with available French materials.
We have French music cd’s, computer games, posters, card games, books, word puzzles, etc. The more ways you can introduce a topic, the better it will be retained.
For our French base curriculum, we use Rosetta Stone. It usually only takes my daughter 5 minutes to do a lesson, and I make sure she does them daily. I think the single biggest factor in her retention and success in foreign language study is that we do it daily. For a change of pace, we’ve used Powerglide French Jr. Adventure and a little bit of the Power Glide Ultimate Adventure. On cd rom, we really like French For the Real World from Knowledge Adventure. This is a really hard to find cd rom, but it’s really well done. They do a Spanish version also. I believe it was developed by Kaplan. (This is a middle school to high school level game, it’s immersion.)
We’ve been toying around with Latin for the last couple of years and are going to try and seriously do it this summer. We completed the Powerglide Latin Junior and really enjoyed it. Once again, we didn’t make it very far in the Ultimate Adventure. We’ve learned some prayers in Latin and are working on learning some more. I really, really want to do Latin grammar. The big slow-down is that I need to learn it also. With four kids, one potty training and one still nursing, it’s hard to complete a thought, let alone learn a new language. I’m hoping that learning the Latin and French grammar will help with the English grammar. A mom can dream…
I think learning a foreign language is an important thing for a number of reasons. I think it helps us to understand how difficult it is for people who speak English as a second language. I think it helps us to appreciate the diligence of those who speak multiple languages. I find a real sense of accomplishment when I can understand another language, whether it is spoken or written. I want my children to have it out of the way to learn other things when they are away at college. I was one year short of my foreign language requirement after high school and had to take it in college. College courses are expensive and I’d rather spend my tuition dollars on something I can’t teach my children.
If anyone knows of a really great Latin or French software game for the computer, please let me know. Tomorrow, we will be posting a resource list of books. Wednesday, we will post our software, games and music list. Everyone have a good week!


Couple More Messages to Send (the Guv and his staff)

This is from Ken Kramer who has done wonders in Florida regarding the TeenScreen public school problems. Below he states the Illinois problem clearly and part of the solution is at the bottom via the guv’s and his social services’ staff email addie. Please let them know that this Plan is invasive and harmful for Illinois’ children. Let your Representatives know too. Thanks!
Subject: Illinois Needs Our Help

The below came from friends in Illinois who need our help.

Illinois is only days away from becoming the first state to implement the President's New Freedom Commission recommendations on children's mental health.

Illinois passed the Children's Mental Health Act of 2003, which created the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership.

The Partnership is submitting a "strategic plan" to the governor's office, the final plan is due on his desk June 30. In 2004 the Illinois legislature recommended TeenScreen specifically in a house resolution.

This plan includes mental health screening, treatment and intervention for all pregnant women, and all Illinois children reaching into young adulthood. This Partnership answers ONLY to Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Partnership has posted the final plan for public comment, however, they are only accepting comments until June 17. Comments to the Partnershiip will fall on deaf ears. They don't care about opposition.

Only the Governor's office has the power to pull the plug on this plan. If successful, Illinois will set a precedent for other states to follow NFC recommendations using state laws.

The Governor alone can stop this.

Please let the Illinois Governor and his chief of staff hear what you have to say:

Governor Rod Blagojevich

Deputy Chief of Staff-Social Services - Louanner Peters


HB 181-A Smart Federal Bill Finally

The lawsuit that Kara noted filed in IN will have my attention in how it will play out in the courts. TeenScreen is horrid and there should be a lawsuit for this. It had the same fuzzy shades of the Medicating Aliah in TX problem related in Mother Jones. (Obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder wouldn’t be a diagnosis to research for a homework plan, you would think.)

But my bigger question regarding this lawsuit and the end result would be the times that the public schools do this for so many issues w/o parental notification. Should be interesting and I’m cheering the family on hoping it stops a lot of this dead in its tracks.
Plus public schoolers leaving the ‘system’ to homeschool could find an easier road. I totally understand the cautions that this shouldn't be a specific homeschooling issue. But as a parental rights issue, boy oh boy, homeschoolers should be fighting this just like compulsory attendence age changes. For exiting public schoolers sake' as well as the 0-18 years of age across-the-board inclusion for mental health screening. Primary care providers (pediatricians, ob/gyns) and pre-schools (private and public) are included in the training for mental health screening per the Illinois Childrens Mental Health Act/Plan, so homeschoolers beware.

There is a federal bill out right now that would dry up the federal monies for this mental health stuff. The Illinois language matches the federal so they and other states can get their hands on the money.
Here's a link to send a message(petition) to Representatives Hastert and DeLay to get rolling on this bill. Please contact your reps and ask them to get on board as co-sponsors. Representatives Hyde and Manzullo are the only ones from Illinois right now.

This bill prohibits the use of federal funds for any universal or mandatory mental-health screening programs. And as I saw in the Fee-For-Service Initiatives Committee meeting, the local and regional organizations and Illinois Departments are falling over themselves trying to get the money.
This provides more information and background about this bill. Read up folks! It's important.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Curriculum Talk - Critical Thinking Press/Bright Minds

Over the summer I like to do a lot of stuff on the computer and through games. It makes the kids feel slightly better about the year round stuff. This year I'm going to purchase Punctuation Puzzlers CD's from Bright Minds. I am a Bright Minds distributor to be able to buy the products for my children a little bit cheaper. I'm lucky if I do two parties a year and those usually consist of a group of us ordering over coffee. Okay, I'm never going to make a living off commission. So far I've been very pleased with the Bright Minds/Critical Thinking Press (CTP) software. It is not high tech, but it is really well done. We have Reading Detective and Math Detective. These softwares make reports for the parent/teacher that analyzes the types of errors your child makes in the work. I find this to be really helpful. I can figure out the weak points and go back and address them. For instance, if your child misses all the questions posed a certain way, let's say for example, true - false. Then you can go back and give a lesson on how to take a true/false test. It also analyzes the errors on different subjects. For instance, if your child misses all the probability questions in Math Detective or mood questions in Reading Detective then you know what you need to remediate. I find these programs to be really helpful in pointing out the weaknesses in my children's skills.
Editor in Chief is another great piece of software. This is way, way low tech. There is a paragraph with a picture and a caption just like in the book version. It tells the reader how many mistakes there are. The reader/student then not only has to find the mistake, but use a drop down box and find the exact rule that applies. You have to know if it is a mistake of misusing a pronoun (objective, nominative), verb tense, wrong word, etc. It does take some getting used to figuring out where some of the rules are in the little drop down boxes. Usually finding an error that sounds wrong is easy, sometimes fixing it is easy, but identifying why something is incorrect takes it to a whole new level of difficulty.
Here is a link to some demo's to download. I've been really pleased with all the software. This stuff is not super easy and you may have to sit with your child at the computer to get the full benefit of the software. I think this is especially true of Editor in Chief. If you're looking for something a little bit fun with a lot of learning, you just might find it with the Critical Thinking Software. If you have any questions about the software, drop me a line. I own all but the new ones and I'm putting in an order this week for most of those.


A Little Competition...

Periodically, I like to review all the French content we've completed in Rosetta Stone. Especially after we've had a bit of a break. After a few years, the same lessons are getting a bit tedious. So this time around I told my daughter I would race her. We have to keep the grades above 90% and we are racing to see who can get the farthest the fastest. Mind you, she's made it much farther in Rosetta Stone than I have. I'm hoping to remain a contender into Unit Four of French One. We'll see what happens. I've already hit the point where I am telling people to be quiet, I need to concentrate.

Has anyone found an especially effective foreign language program? So far we've had the best luck with Rosetta Stone. We've done some Power Glide, but tend to do really well on the Junior level and then flake out in the Ultimate Adventure. We've been trying for years to get the Latin going without success. I'm wondering if I should just cough up the $209 for the Rosetta Stone Latin. I think the important part of Latin is the grammar and Rosetta Stone will not help with that to the degree that we need that kind of help. We have Prima Latina and Latina Christiana and just can't quite keep up the momentum. I'm starting the Prima Latina again tomorrow and we'll see what happens.


Friday, June 10, 2005

More on Mental Health Act

Susan sent me this article today. Indiana family sues high school over non-consensual adolescent mental health screening. We then talked on the phone about how much this article had to do with homeschooling. Some would argue that it does not. I still think it is a good, and important read. It's always good to understand how the law and the politics work in the State of Illinois. I also think it foolish to assume that Illinois will remain as homeschool friendly as it currently is. I pray that it will, but I'm not willing to put all my eggs in one basket. If our worst fears were realized and we lost our private school status, then could we be subjected to the implementation of the Mental Health Act? What if the act were changed, or I should say the implementation, and it applied to private schools such as the Parochial school system or my tiny little homeschool? I think it's better to fight these things tooth and nail right now.
I firmly believe as an intelligent adult that I should fight for the children and families in Illinois over something that I feel is morally wrong. I feel that the testing of all the children of Illinois by mental health care workers and a system that may have an agenda other than the health and welfare of our children is morally wrong. Call my cynical, but in the State of Illinois follow the money and you'll see what the real agenda is. I have real concerns about the amount of pharmaceuticals that people are taking today and the interaction of those medications.

I was horrified by a high school sending a child home with a diagnosis. This is from the article, "The Rhoadeses became aware of the screening only when their daughter came home and asked what was the definition of obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. She explained that was the diagnosis she had been given at school after the survey."

Can you imagine being that child or that parent? My mother worked in the mental health field for 5 years and cannot understand how a child could be labeled with a diagnosis, or two after a screening. There should be a lot more evaluation before that type of label is applied. Then to send the poor child home with information she could not process and possibly understand. Given the diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive and social anxiety disorder, wouldn't the poor kid be a train wreck after being given that information? I know over the years, a lot of scary things have gone on in schools. It just seems that more problems are being legislated into the system by people who we voted into the legislative positions. I really think it is time we hold the legislators accountable. I'm certainly not afraid to call them up and tell them my opinion.

Another bothersome issue came up in this article --"However, there is controversy even among school school administrators as to the definition of parental consent and whether passive or active consent is appropriate. Passive consent means that the child would be screened unless the parent objects. In other words, it is incumbent upon the parent to object rather than the responsibility of the school to seek permission."

Does anyone really think it is morally okay for schools to pull this "passive consent" garbage? What "passive consent" means to me is the school doesn't let you know about something, or the note never makes it home and then they go ahead and do what they feel is right. In some areas, educators would prefer not to take into account the preferences and values of the parents. It is also difficult for parents who cannot read or who speak English as a second language to give informed consent or refuse a screening. I wonder how well these screening work for the various cultural and language differences? It would be interesting to know if an ethnic group is more likely to come up with a problem in these screenings.


Homeschool Radio Program

I made my daily trek over to Spunky's blog and found this post about a new Homeschool Radio Show that you can listen to anytime on the internet. I thought it was really nifty. I started out listening to it while I tidied in the dining room. Then the baby woke up and I missed a bit. Then, the baby became very fussy and I tried to pause it. There may be a way to pause it, but that would not be what I did. I really enjoyed what I heard of the show and am going to try and listen again when the kids are otherwise occupied. I recommend a trip to Spunky's blog and to the Homeschool Radio Show website. Most of us need a little rejuvenation this time of year.



Q. Most books I've ever owned.
A. We have way too many to count.
Q. The last book I bought.
A. Missing Persons by Stephen White (mystery)
Q. The last book I read.
A. 82 Desire by Julie Smith (mystery)
Q. The five books that meant the most to me. (I'm picking homeschooling books)
A. 1. How to Write a Low/Cost No/Cost Curriculum by Borg Hendrickson (out-of-print)
2. The Well-Trained Mind revised edition by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
3. Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp
4. The Complete Home Learning Sourcebook by Rebecca Rupp
5. The Story of the World Volumes 1-4 by Susan Wise Bauer


Bureaucrats Having Trouble Keeping their Bureaucracy Straight

Here's a South Dakota article about a homeschooled graduate not being admitted to a tech. program while another was. What is a good reason for the non-admittance other than some busybody bureaucratic issue or just saying no to the non-conventional? Unfortunate. Glad it got some coverage.
A Valley Springs teen who was home-schooled is being rejected for admission in a program at Southeast Technical Institute because the school requires a high school diploma.

Based on his ACT score, Jordan Scott probably would be accepted at several colleges or universities in South Dakota.

And from the Authority Figure at DOE
"They can't issue a high school diploma. It's not a high school," said Michele Bennett, a lawyer with the state department of education. "The only ones that can be called schools under our state law are accredited public or private schools."

Hmmm...I've found that DOE lawyers often interpret the law in their own special way, but I don't know a thing about South Dakota.
He knows other students at Southeast who were home-schooled and didn't have to get a GED for admission.

A friend, Kurt Shrader, was accepted and graduated this spring with a business administration degree.

Southeast hasn't changed its policies in the last few years, Noldner said. It's possible, he said, that Shrader was mistakenly admitted to Southeast Tech contrary to policy.

Too bad they don't "mistakenly admit" Mr. Scott "contrary to policy" so they could get a successful graduate in Business Administration like Mr. Shrader. Pretty silly.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Another Scholastic Book Sale

June 23rd-25th. The flyer says there will be Drastic Reductions on Books and More. I've always found a good deal at the Scholastic Warehouse Sales. Great products!


Learning Tidbits of the Day

Here's some that we like to check out:

Word of the Day-This week's theme: words from the 2005 Spelling Bee

Astronomical Picture of the Day-A different astronomy and space science related image is featured each day, along with a brief explanation.

Quotes of the Day with THE man for one liners, Mark Twain
To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.

This Day in History From the History Channel. You can also check out what else important happened on your birthday.

Earth and Sky tells you what's out there to view each night


Mental Health Experiment

Catching up with the Chicago Tribune, I ran into this little ditty about Drugs and Drug Ads.
An experiment was carried out and (from the article)
Researchers found that primary-care doctors were easily persuaded to prescribe anti-depressants, even unnecessarily, when a patient mentioned having seen television ads for them.

In this unusual experiment, actresses posed as mildly depressed patients who did not need medication. But doctors were five times more likely to write prescriptions when an ad for Paxil, a popular antidepressant, was mentioned.

In defense of the doctors, Kravitz said, depression can be difficult to diagnose and many people resist the possibility that an illness may be mental. An openness to trying an antidepressant appeared to be an important cue to the physicians, he noted.

If the patient says they want a drug....then give 'em a drug because that want (stirred up by the approximately $4 billion pharmaceutical advertising budget) is an important cue?!? Objective, educated and scientific medical training in evidence here?

Doc Kravitz says depression can be difficult to diagnose. But yet every Tom, Dick, and Sherry should be screening kids for mental health per the IL Childrens Mental Health Act.

I like this letter in response

Mental illness claims
Chicago Tribune
Published June 1, 2005

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that actresses portraying "depression" got doctors to prescribe powerful drugs for them ("Doctors and drug ads," Editorial, May 30). A professional performer can portray just about any "mental illness" to a doctor, a board certified psychiatrist included, to be admitted to and treated in a psychiatric facility. Actually amateurs can do the same, as did the leading character in "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." The fact and the problem is that there is no objective clinical or laboratory way to diagnose any "mental illness." Claims to the contrary are not substantiated scientifically. Nor is it there a clear consensus of what "mental illness" is.

The Tribune's editorial is barely the tip of the iceberg to the monumental mental illness tragicomedy our society has been in the midst of for over half a century, which has been cultivated by special interest groups such as the academic, medical, pharmaceutical business "complex" and fostered by the conventional press' silence. The unconventional press such as the Internet is different. It has been voicing fast growing, devastating criticism about the "complex," more so since the "complex" began to expand its business to include school children, compulsively. Hopefully the Tribune will break the silence and will investigate and expose the state of the mental illness affair, including the evidence and opinions from scientists and professionals representing the other side of the official story.

Nelson Borelli, MD



Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Spelling Bee

Congratulations to Anurag Kashyah! He's not a homeschooler, but he spelled a whopper (appoggiatura!) to win.
Looking at the stats this year, there were at least 34 homeschoolers in the Nationals. Very cool!
Hadn't checked the spelling bee site out before, but they have some pretty handy spelling tips on a weekly basis. Looks like it concentrates on root words quite a bit.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

For Girls Only

Parkland Community College (awesome CC and homeschool friendly) is offering a Computer Anatomy 101 class for girls entering 9th grade and just finishing up 12th grade. (13'ish to 18'ish)

Sounds like a great opportunity and it's Free! Plus you get to go to the Cave at the Beckman Institute.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mental Health Screening Plan Coming to Illinois

Here's a follow up regarding the outcome of the IL Childrens Mental Health Act in the June School Reform News published by the Heartland Institute.
Parents express concern about program’s assumptions, reach
Written By: Fran Eaton

some scattered excerpts:
According to the ICMHP, a group of mental health advisors in the state, one of every 10 children in Illinois suffers from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, "severe enough to cause some level of impairment”.

The state, they said, is no longer assuming children are mentally healthy--with this program, it will presume all children need mental health services unless tests prove otherwise. That paradigm shift concerns parents who don't believe psychiatric evaluation is an appropriate part of a local public school's mission.

"Therein lies the problem," said Karen Hayes, associate director of Concerned Women for America-Illinois. "Those setting this new system up don't like to admit this, but in order for them to determine what 'mental health' is, they need to define what 'mental illness' is. That's where they get into dangerous territory."

Below is a quote from B Shaw in this article, but what she says about the intentions is not what is documented in the ICMHP or the New Freedom Initiative. She's not the only one to do this. Truth is good.
"Our biggest concern is that all children and expectant mothers have access to good mental health care," ICMHP Director Barbara Shaw said.

Sounds good...followed by the big whoops
"We have no intention of setting up a mandatory system of screening. We just want the 20 percent of children who need mental health care to get what they need."

Disputing that comment is one of the ICMH Plan's priority recommendations (to be carried out in 1-2 years) which stated:
Screen all women for depression during pregnancy and following the birth of a child up to one year post partum, and provide necessary follow-up treatment services.

And the short term recommendations' importance was clarified by Karen VanLandeghem, speaking at the Assoc of Maternal & Child Health Programs 2004 Conference,who, as a speaker, sent regrets from B Shaw and stated:
one big challenge is moving from broad recommendations to concrete action steps. Again, we have these 50 recommendations and we're really trying to hone in on what are those ones we want to do in the next two years in terms of changing the system.

And check out the Report on pages 10 and 11 under Key Findings and Principles, in particular the early prevention and intervention efforts.

More excerpts from the article:
That far-reaching system is already being put into place: By the end of 2004, the ISBE had incorporated social and emotional developmental measures into the Illinois Learning Standards.
While the state's current fiscal crisis may prevent the plan from being fully implemented as soon as it's presented to Blagojevich at the end of June, some aspects will be initiated this year. Most funding for the plan will follow children deemed in need of assistance through federal health care programs such as Medicaid and Kidcare.

It has already followed many of these children. At a Fee-For-Service Initiatives Committee hearing in Springfield last month, I listened to the Dept of Public Aid spokesperson mention that all Illinois children that are in the Medicaid
system are now screened for 'mental health'. Representative Mary
, who voted against the Children's Mental Health Act asked some very pointed questions about this information. She ‘gets it’ and was pretty awesome in speaking her mind.

Also in the Plan, one of the strategies listed was to “research the existing barriers that keep women from being screened during pregnancy and post birth of a child in Illinois”.
One last article excerpt:
The Illinois Children's Mental Health Act of 2003, which focuses on early intervention and prevention of mental health problems, calls for a plan to link the state Office of Mental Health with the Department of Public Aid, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and every school district statewide. Under the law, a final plan to do so must be on the governor's desk by June 30.

They’re poised and ready to roll July 1st. Here's only part of what's listed in the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health Index regarding future plans. The State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative (SECCS)led by the Illinois Department of Human Services/Office of Family Health is looking at all Illinois Children birth to five for the goal of implementing a comprehensive system of services for families with young children through collaboration with the Birth to Five Project and the Illinois Early Learning Council.
The Office of Family Health has a State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (SECCS) Initiative that is funding training in 2005 for front-line providers (WIC, FCM, TPS, PTS, HFI, HCC-IL) on screening and referring for perinatal depression and social emotional delays in development.

It's a Brave New World unless we stop this craziness.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

We're noted in May's Home Education Magazine Support Group News

That's helpful and thanks Mary! Interesting interview about building use for homeschool groups. Empty buildings during the day being filled up with homeschoolers.


Don’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain

Good for California homeschoolers! They responded directly to attendance officer Valadez's threats and demands.

I don't know much about California homeschooling except it's not as simple and clearcut as homeschooling in Illinois. But I love the tone and directness of this letter:
Gilroy Dispatch
Don’t be intimidated in the slightest by attendance officer

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to “Home School Students Must Comply” (5/27) by Frank Valadez, Gilroy Unified School District attendance officer.

For more than a decade, the California Homeschool Network has guided many thousands of parents through the process of establishing their own private schools in compliance with California law. We have some very good news for the families of Gilroy Unified and for Mr. Valadez.

The legislature of the state of California has honored the right of parents to make educational choices on behalf of their own children. Parents may withdraw their children from public school and enroll them in a private school at any time without permission from Mr.Valadez or any other GUSD employee or board.

Parents who form their own private schools should follow the steps outlined in a helpful free pamphlet called “Just the Facts” downloadable at Personal assistance is available by calling 800-327-5339.

Once a private school has filed an affidavit with the California Department of Education, a simple letter notifying GUSD that a child is being withdrawn and enrolled in a private school is all that is necessary. If Mr. Valadez will read the full text of the laws he cited, he will find that his legal authority is strictly limited to verifying that a private school has filed an affidavit with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. No appointments, no requests for exemption, no review board, no truancy proceedings, no referrals to the Santa Clara County District Attorney - a simple phone call to the State Department of Education will do the trick. So the good news, Mr. Valadez, is that your job is a whole lot easier than you thought.

Jackie Orsi, CHN Legal Rights Committee, Hayward


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Games for World History

Computer Games
Pharaoh by Sierra Games (has been seen in the dollar bin at Target) - Cleopatra is the expansion that goes with this
Caesar III by Sierra Games (has been seen in the dollar bin at Target)
Emperor by Sierra Games
Trade Empires by Eidos Interactive
DK – My First History Explorer

Honor of the Samurai by Gamewright
Mummy Rummy by Gamewright
Senet (Egyptian): - link to history of the game and how to make your own senet game
The Favorite Game of Egyptian Pharoahs by Northwest Corner wooden game
Maya Madness by Gamewright

Homeschool Legislation Watch
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