Friday, September 30, 2005

Do you think different colors have different flavors? Posted by Picasa


Sharing an afternoon snack. Posted by Picasa


We'll be trying to identify these this evening. What do you think this butterfly thought of his shadow? Posted by Picasa


We interrupt all this political stuff to remind ourselves why we homeschool. We took a field trip to Prairie Gardens and picked up some Asters. We watched to see which colors the butterflies preferred. Today our flower pots have been teeming with actitity. Posted by Picasa


Call Senator Inhofe's Office Monday

Kara came up with the brilliant suggestion in her comment regarding Senator Inhofe's letter to call his office to register opposition to his bill.

Here's the information:
So, Monday it is! Tuesday if we're able to flood the lines so completely as to overload the phone lines on Monday!
In the Senate, the bill is known as S 1691 a.k.a. Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act or HoNDA.

You might like to state that you're a homeschooler and you are opposed to the bill, you believe it will harm homeschooling, and are asking Inhofe to drop his sponsorship of the bill.

Here are Inhofe's phone numbers (from his website here.
It's probably best if you're out-of-Oklahoma to call the D.C. office, but I left all the numbers here anyway.

Senator's Offices

Washington, DC
453 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3603
Phone: 202-224-4721
Fax: 202-228-0380

1924 S. Utica Avenue
Suite 530
Tulsa, OK 74104-6511
Phone: 918-748-5111
Fax: 918-748-5119

Oklahoma City
1900 NW Expressway
Suite 1210
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Phone: 405-608-4381
Fax: 405-608-4120

215 E. Choctaw
Suite 106 McAlester, OK 74501
Phone: 918-426-0933
Fax: 918-426-0935

302 N. Independence
Suite 104
Enid, OK 73701
Phone: 580-234-5105
Fax: 580-234-5094


Senator Inhofe Responds

Check out what the sponsor of S 1691 has to say. Verrrrry Interesting......


Rockford Daytime Curfew on Home Education and Other Stuff


Moral Compass Gone South

William Bennett of K12 fame (or infamy regarding some cyberschools such as Ohio) apparently has some issues besides the gambling one. The former head of the Department of Education apparently had an 'output slip' on his talk radio show. He said
But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky
I just can't imagine how you can flimflam out of that statement. Impossible, ridiculous, morally reprehensible BUT?Talk Radio keeps people talking and eventually.....
The site with the links to the quotes has this bias below, but I used it since it also had a convenient audio clip of the statements.
dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Heard around the house

My oldest son was playing Zeus (7 years old). "A., does everyone have to have a job?" whined N.
A. replied, "Yes, everyone has to have a job so they can be happy."

I love the historically based simulation games from Sierra/Impression Games. Right now my oldest son is trying to figure out the distribution line so he can feed his town. The kids also had the discussion on how if you raise taxes too high, everyone packs their bags and leaves town. I think every politician should have to play these games.
We have Zeus/Poseidon, Caesar, Emperor, and Pharaoh/Cleopatra. We've even managed to get grandma to play Pharaoh.


"On Trying To Fix What Ain't Broke"

Federal bills of HR 3753 / S 1691 are laid out in 4 committees in DC right now. Finance in the Senate for S 1691. Ways and Means, Education and Workforce, and the Armed Forces Committees in the House for HR 3753.

The Committee and contact information is linked on Kara's blog in the right sidebar:

This post highlights some of the issues that Illinois homeschoolers should consider regarding this bill:

It ends with the reminder of Harvey Bluedorn's piece called:

On Trying To Fix What Ain't Broke

His editorial was written the last time it was attempted to bring "home school" into legislation affecting Illinois homeschoolers.

OPINION -- The classic question of "Why try to fix it, if it ain't broke?" It has to be asked about current contemplations of legislative action with the expressed purpose of protect home schooling in Illinois.

Parental control over education is a basic constitutional principle and a fundamental right. It can be protected by legislation, but it cannot be made to rest upon legislation. If a fundamental right rests upon legislation, it then ceases to be a fundamental right, and it becomes a special "right" granted by the state.

If it is a special grant by the state, then it is also subject to the control of the state whenever the state - legislatively, administratively, or judicially - chooses.
[continued at site]


More General Daytime Curfew Information

Just ran into this and thought it had good general information on it regarding daytime curfews.
I know that Theresa Henderson (the NHEN webmaster) lives in Louisiana. In my experience, she has always done a very professional and thorough job as the webmaster keeping things updated. At any rate, I hope she and her family have fared well with their home.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Do I need a lawyer? aka homeschooling with confidence

Great post from a new blogger. The blog is called More than Fine. Another great post to read is called "An inclusive evangelical unschooling homeschool activist ". I enjoyed that one also.


Legislators and OUR Pot of Gold

Or how about "It's time for a political enema" ?

That phrase was from a Pennsylvania rally organizer riled about the 16-54% pay raise PA legislators gave themselves. And check out this PA homeschooling mom's involvement:
"No place else do I know that you can vote yourself a raise," said protester Michele Diehl, 41, of Greensburg, the Westmoreland County coordinator for a group spawned by the pay hike called

"They're very arrogant about it and condescending to taxpayers," said Diehl, a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her children. What angers her most is that lawmakers "hide in their offices and won't take responsibility," she said.
Straight on, Ms. Diehl. (drifting here, how come they put her age in there anyway?)

Ok, back to IL politicians and the need for an enem.....mancipation.

Last Sunday's Illinois Tally compiled by Roll Call Report syndicate in paper caught my eye as related to the voting record of the people who were elected to represent us (the citizens and taxpayers). As stated in the Tally:
Senators voted 55-39, to require public disclosure of pork-barrel items in the final version of the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal 2006. At present, such "earmarks" typically are hard or impossible to find in spending bill. A yes vote backed the disclosure bid. (HR 2744)
Public Disclosure, now what honest, up front leader could be against that? Senator Richard Durbin would be against that. 'Nuf said about that guy. Senator Obama voted for Public Disclosure. 'Nuf said.

And Head Start was renewed to continue the constant push for Cribs in the Classroom. An odd and troubling issue for me is that there were 2 bills last week with religion in the language "bill stresses academics and allows publicly financed hiring based on religion."

Here's the other bill on Religion-Based Hiring:
Members voted, 220-196, to amend HR 2123 to allow faith-based Head Start sponsors to use federal funds to hire only those of the same religion. A yes vote was to expand a law that now requires sponsors to use their own funds for religion-based hiring.
The Bill of Rights:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I did run into this interesting site about the different changes and court rulings regarding the Constitution These bills are a bit in the face. Who has time, darn it?

An enema, a political enema would be...(hmmm, sorry I read all of those definitions of enema... had no idea). Well, it would still do a world of good if our country had one of those to resolve the impaction issue.


Monday, September 26, 2005

I just found this...

Homeschool Directory. It has links and a blog. I hadn't seen it before and I found some nifty websites reading through the blog entries.


More Info about the Military Section and Background

Publius posted some excellent information about the HSLDA connection and the military section in HR 3733/ S 1691.

Take a look. The 2000 article from Home Education Magazine's Larry and Susan Kaseman concerning surveys and the 5 year pilot program 'worked' by HSLDA with Congress is noted. This program appeared to have come about without input from the homeschooling community (again).

Please read the further comments clarifying more problems with this legislation. One of the problems is that the Home School Legal Defense Association has written itself into federal legislation.

This reminds me of Howard Richmond in PA that pushes for more restrictive legislation for homeschoolers because he makes money off the families with his "accreditation agency" .

From Section 10 (a newly written section):
`(5) The graduate has provided the Secretary concerned with a third-party verification letter of the graduate's home-school status by the Home School Legal Defense Association or a State or county home-school association or organization.'.


Desperate Homeschooling Housewife?

Just down the road (my pot holed, farm road) is Wisteria Lane in Bloomington. And on Wisteria Lane lives a homeschooling family:

If there is a Bree on Bloomington's Wisteria Lane, it's Janet Harman, neighbors say. The former model is a stay-at-home mom who home schools, has dinner on the table at 6 every night, fixes her own toilets and stashes four different colored feather dusters in her closet -- one for each of her children, who also are assigned color-coded bowls and towels. It's not that she's obsessive, just practical.

"If something's left on the floor, I know who's responsible," she said, with a laugh.

Although she doesn't watch much TV, she tunes into "Desperate Housewives."

"There aren't many shows I'd stop an hour to watch, but that's one I get a kick out of," she said.
Well! The only thing I've ever modeled is my elastic waistband maxi skirt that I made in 4-H. Dinner is served every night; at some point and in some fashion.

I fix our toilets too, in particular the water miser one. I have a plunger ready and waiting that has a cup that just so happens to be a color coordinated match to my bathroom decor.

We have different colored feather dusters......somewhere. And my siblings and I had our own colors too. I was red. Looking back, I wonder why I was red?! Might need to be counseled about that.

No desperate homeschooling wife here, and I suspect that Janet Harman isn't one either. That was quite a jolt seeing that article in our Sunday paper however.


Hurricane/Homeschooler Relief Efforts

From Chicago and Texas:
The Cenacle retreat house put the family—Lee, his mother Mattie B. Lee, his wife Olgarita Lee, and children Stephen-Michael and Christopher, both 13, and Renae, 10—up for the week they spent in Chicago, and the Pasta Bowl, a neighborhood restaurant, provided a meal each day. One afternoon, the family bought new sneakers for everyone. “We only had one pair of shoes each,” Lee said.After the meeting, Lee and his family were headed back to the Houston area, where they are staying with his brother, sister-in-law and their three children. His children are being home-schooled, as they were in New Orleans—with the help of a Texas home-school bookstore, which gave them a voucher for $400 worth of materials, another blessing.“All their books were in the house,” Lee said. “We just packed for a few days. We didn’t even take any of the important papers.”

From Colorado, a 16 year old and her dad:
Feed the hungry
Alyssa, 16, said she “did a lot of cooking” in the tent kitchen, but also had time to visit with victims of the storm. Many needed a shoulder to cry on, she said.
“A lot of people seemed to open up to me because I am so young,” she said. “It was really a great experience."
A highlight of her three weeks in Mississippi was meeting President Bush when he visited the city to thank volunteers for their efforts.
Alyssa, who is home-schooled, said she would be glad to return to the Gulf Coast. Reilly said he would return “in a heartbeat.”
If he can get time off from work, Reilly said, he would go to areas damaged by Hurricane Rita if the Christ in Action team is called to assist in recovery efforts as expected.
“I believe we are put here to help other people,” he said. “I’m a Christian … and I’ve been doing this kind of work for 20 years. I just think it’s my calling to help people in any way I can.”

From Washington State:
Joni Smith’s daughters Emily, 13, and Sarah, 9, had worked on separating the donated clothes during the weekend. The girls, who are home-schooled, were at the warehouses again Monday, helping assemble wheelchairs, while other local students were still in class. Joni said the project had warranted shifting their school schedules around. “It’s kind of like a puzzle fitting the pieces together,” Joni said, sifting through boxes full of spare parts


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Controversial Links - POLITICS in the homeschool community

REBECCAWOW'S Blog site has a recent post on the controversy around HSLDA. She has plenty of links so you can go visit her sources.


Bulletins Covering HR 3753/S 1691 Sections

Did we point out these particular Bulletins? I can't remember. So let's do it again. These Bulletins were related to the 2003 bills that died but are now regurgitated. They're still pertinent and well worth a read.

INFORMATION BULLETIN #1 - please distribute - regarding Higher Education Act changes
Did you know that:A letter was written in November 2002 by the Department of Education to clarify the issue regarding college admittance and homeschoolers. The letter "Eligibility of Home-Schooled Students – Institutional and Student Eligibility" can be found at [this link]
Please read further at the site.

INFORMATION BULLETIN #2 - please distribute - regarding IDEA Child Find changes

Did you know that:

Under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), 34 C.F.R. §300.505, parents already do have the right to refuse consent for evaluations and the right to refuse placement of a child. There is no need for any change in IDEA to protect homeschoolers.

Please read further at the site.

INFORMATIONAL BULLETIN #3 - please distribute - regarding Coverdell Education Savings

Did you know that:

Parents are not able to take advantage of the Education Savings Account unless they comply with the federal rules that established the account. A change in Federal legislation regarding the Coverdell Education savings Accounts is simply one more way that homeschoolers will be included in a category of parents who must endure federal regulation. Until now, the Internal Revenue Service had no ability to review anything about homeschooling. With implementation of this bill, yet another agency of the federal government will be authorized to intrude on and regulate the activities
of a homeschooling family. With implementation of this bill, the IRS will have a new definition of homeschooling.

Let's look at the changes propose in the federal legislation HR2732/SB1562 which is being considered by Congress and analyze it.
Please read further at the site.

And here's another in depth analysis of the effects of the Section 6 infringements...."clarifications".

INFORMATION BULLETIN #4 - please distribute - regarding Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act changes

Did you know that: The government should not have access to any records of any homeschooler and parents should not encourage such practices by merely"clarifying" existing laws. We should work to eliminate such laws. Why should laws exist that allow public school officials or government officials of any kind to retain records of children in "non-public schools"? If the "schools" are "non-public" shouldn't the records also be "non-public"? Why allow insertion of any language in a federal bill purporting to prevent the "release" of these records without the consent of the parents? If the bill purports not to "require" educational institutions to maintain records of non-public students, then why is there any need to make sure that those agencies don't release those records without the consent of the parents?

[Please read further at the site. ]


Homeschool Public Relations Progress?

From Murray State in Kentucky were comments about the cola war. You'll have to excuse my distraction here, but this quote is progress to me. Charlie Adams understands that there is a very diverse homeschooling world and that's good news to me.
Of course I know what I'm drinking, being an unhealthy American teenager, but a newcomer to the world of cola (maybe like a home-schooled vegan or something) wouldn't know what was in the bottle.
The substance of the article explains why he's a physics major?


Friday, September 23, 2005

Chicago-style voting

There were some voting irregularities over at Atypical Homeschooling. The owners of the poll discovered the ballot box was being stuffed. The poll was moved to a new location.


New District 150 truancy center appears to be working

Okay, no field trips to Peoria. I wonder how long before officials pick-up a homeschooler on the way to the library to do research. This could get interesting.


Where's The Beef??

The Southeast Missourian says:
Education legislation has divided those in favor of homeschooling with supporters applauding efforts to guard against discrimination, and opponents fearing government intervention.
"Guard against", "clarify". I don't feel discriminated against until I see legislation out and about that affects homeschoolers. Then anyone can take pot shots. In my viewpoint, guarding against and clarifying laws sounds like the other side (bureaucrats) revving up their accountability motors and running a group down that has been happily ignored.
This bill is a step in the right direction because homeschool needs should be addressed, said Mary Ray, who has homeschooled for the last 11 years.
Step in the right direction? There's more? I hope she isn't in on another HSLDA secret.
Ray's daughter, Nicole, attended four years at Southeast Missouri State University, graduated with honors and is a homeschool success story.
She did not face any discrimination when she applied because Southeast Missouri State University only looked at her GED score and her SAT score, but that is not true for all homeschool students who apply for college admittance, said Ray, of Cape Girardeau.
Where's the Beef?
Lowes said getting her daughter Victoria's homeschool hours accredited for college admittance will be difficult if they don't go through some of the homeschool programs that have online classes.
"Luckily the school system here is working pretty well with us in trying to make sure she gets credit for what we do here at home," she said.
Where's the Beef?
The bill also would allow federal education savings accounts to be used for homeschool expenses.
Ray said she would be interested in using those accounts for her homeschool expenses "if there's not a lot of strings attached."
Getting the picture here. Money. And there's always strings attached. People's sense of "a lot of strings" or not is relative, isn't it? Thanks but no thanks.
Some homeschool organizations such as National Home Education Legal Defense do not support any federal legislation that affects homeschooling because it is a "slippery slope," executive director Deborah Stevenson said in a news release
"It opens a door to federal legislation that is dangerous, unnecessary and will in the end hurt many homeschooling families," she said.
Stevenson said the potential harm outweighs the good and urges homeschool families to do more research before supporting the bill..
Thank you NHELD for your foresight.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Finance Committee Contacts For S 1691

Senate Finance Committee Member contacts:


Trent Lott, MS



Pre-K Now Funded Study Pay Off

A new 'study's' press release from Pre-K Now (mission is to .... to lead a movement for high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds). Double think.

So Economist and co-author of the study Clive Belfield states that "You're not spending a dollar, you're spending more like 32 cents," said Clive Belfield, an economist at Queens College, in Flushing, N.Y., who co-authored the Wisconsin study with Dennis Winters, research director at NorthStar Economics Inc., in Madison."

Wonder why they didn't just look at the generation of pre-schoolers hitting the streets now in their early adulthood? It smacked me in the face with an Adult Education Rally in our state capitol. What kind of rationale is this study based on? The same kind that I use sometimes when I've found a discounted math program despite all the unused books/cd's/curriculum we already have. I tell my husband that we're saving money. Then he rolls his eyes.

Wisconsin Pre-K Really Pays Off, According to New Report on Program's Economic
First-ever statewide analysis on economic gains created by expanded 4K program could save counties millions of dollars down the road

(Madison, WI) - Pre-K Now today released a first of its kind statewide study for Wisconsin measuring the economic impact to Wisconsin's K-12 system if the state expanded Four-Year-Old Kindergarten (4K) to more children. An Economic Analysis of Investments in Pre-Kindergarten in Wisconsin was prepared by Clive Belfield, Ph. D., of Queens College City, University of New York and Dennis Winters, Ph. D., V.P./Director of Research, NorthStar Economics, Inc. The report provides compelling economic evidence of the cost savings associated with high-quality pre-k.

Pre-K Now collaborates with state advocates and policymakers to lead a movement for high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three and four year olds. We gratefully acknowledge past and present funders: The Pew Charitable Trusts, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, the Foundation for Child Development, the Kellogg Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and the McCormick Tribune Foundation.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Poll on HONDA

Go on over and vote. Only 5 people have voted so far and I'm one of them.


Update on Ohio story

Susan previously posted an entry on the story of the eleven children found in a house where some children were sleeping in cages. The title of the post was "Hero?". Well, some more information has come to light. Over at HEM an article called Children in Cages: Where was CPS?. In the article it points out that the children were enrolled in Ohio Connections. Ohio Connections is an online public-school-at-home program. This program requires teacher contact with the family every other week. All those articles I read that mention homeschooling and none of them mentioned that it was really a public school with teacher oversight.


State Control Over Private Home-school

On HEM-Newscomm, it's asked if we're Seeing a pattern in bureaucratic oversight of homeschooling?

I say absolutely! And what I've seen here in Illinois (and elsewhere) isn't so much of homeschooling but of the more back door attempts at parental controls.

What I see is a lot of data tracking, partnering with other governmental agencies and the use of databases.

10-digit identification numbers to every child in Alaska, including private home-school children. was pushed in Alaska by legislators. And why?
Information about the child’s educational process would have then been reported to the Legislature each year.

The Department of Education and Early Development was slated to administer this tracking system in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Services.
Department of Health and Social Services? What does that have to do with education? I notice this is also via a Dept of Early Development in tracking. (Check out the sidebars to the right about Universal Preschool.) And I notice that despite the Alaska bill being defeated, it will come up again during the next legislative session.It's pervasive. And the attitude is along the same lines as an IL legislator who refused to listen to Illinois taxpayers who said they didn't want the compulsory attendence age lowered. It wasn't low enough for him and that is what really mattered.

Dutch to Create Cradle-To-Grave Database sounds so oppressive, doesn't it? That's just Europe, one might say? So what's the diff between Netherlands and Illinois and other states and let's not forget the feds. Not much in this case, except the Dutch are blatant about it and US bureaucrats say one thing and do another.
The Dutch government will begin tracking every citizen from cradle to grave in a single database, opening a personal electronic dossier for every child at birth with health and family data, and eventually adding school and police records.

Now each child will get a Citizens Service Number, making it easier to keep track of children with problems even when their families move.
I'd say there is definitely a trend and News and Commentary is on to something.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Homeschooling Freedom - the HONDA Edition

A spin off of Homeschooling Illinois - Legislation & Learning. One stop shopping for links and information to derail HONDA (HR 3753/S1691). If you know of a link, sample letter or otherwise useful information please drop me a comment or an email: homeschoolillinois [at] insightbb [dot] com.

I just put this new blog up. I hope to have a very organized presentation for information. This week I will be working on a timeline to try and figure out when the bill will be in committee sessions. Next week I hope to start writing sample letters to help people write letters to kill this bill.


A new article...

Well, you can never lump homeschoolers into one or two neat even categories. What They're Reading at the Kitchen Table is not what we're reading but it's still an interesting article.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Comments on Spunky's Blog

There's a decent discussion starting on Spunky's blog about these federal bills. One comment from a reader made me think of an issue that seems to be a core problem with these bills. And I know that others have said this in a much better way than me. I'll dig those up later. But here was my response below about the statement in the bill about "when it clearly states "The United States Constitution does not allow Federal control of homeschooling."

I would say the federal government will interfere when you have federal Home School legislation mandated. Bills can say whatever they will about their supposed intent, but every single word laid out across 4 different congressional committees right now is what will truly affect us if this is passed.
I don't want my inherent rights (unspecified but still my rights)under the Constitution to educate my children explicitly enumerated, for one.


Home Ed Mag Commentary on HR 3753/S1691

An analysis of the Home School Non Discrimination Act is up on the HEM-News and Commentary.

Besides other excellent issues regarding this bill, this point seemed crucial in 2003 and is still the same problem in 2005. That was my comment on Spunky's blog about these bills.
If this was being pushed for the homeschoolers' 'good', why weren't there requests for feedback from all of the homeschoolers in each state before approaching our legislators with an OMNIBUS bill clear back in 2003 and again now? Every state is different and all of this language will affect each state differently.
In Home Education Magazine's analysis
In 2003 a similar bill was unilaterally introduced into Congress, just as was the current version, without discussion among homeschoolers. Many homeschooling organizations worked to keep the bill from being passed into law.
And here we go again. Time better spent with our families but tracking this instead. We don't get paid to be busybodies in legislation.


PJ Star Article about Homesteaders

Family friend Dawndra Cameron, executive director of Crisis Pregnancy Center in Canton, said she has "never seen kids who work so hard" and described the Howerters as a "very, very close" family.
It isn't unusual to see 7-year-old Sam keep an eye, without complaint, on 2-year-old Matthew while mom is busy and 9-year-old Caleb and Rachel are doing chores.
Yet, for all their work, there's plenty of play. The boys ramp down hills in wagons, speed toy trucks along dirt paths, climb rock piles or swing on ropes. Rachel's favorite activity is riding and tending to her horse, Star.

There's been a few Peoria Journal Star articles I've read in the past that I wasn't crazy about. But I liked this one. It reminded me of my farm girl upbringing 'walking beans', helping my dad out with the livestock, making tunnels and using baling string for trip wire traps in our hayloft, getting in trouble for wading in the creek, avoiding cowpies exploring in the pasture. Good memories and it sounds like this homeschooling family is pretty tight. Glad my kids can do a bit of that too. Droopy diapers and all.


Valuable Lessons

A Mississippi homeschooling family learns hard lessons.
Kathie Broom teaches her five children at their Ocean Springs home. After weeks on hurricane duty, the Broom children will resume their normal studies today as well.

"We haven't done a lot of book work," Mrs. Broom said. "But all of life is school. The things they've learned since the storm are just as valuable as algebra and chemistry."


Sunday, September 18, 2005

More Blog Info on HONDA

Valerie Bonham Moon of comments on Section 10 (RECRUITMENT AND ENLISTMENT OF HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENTS IN~ THE ARMED FORCES) of the HONDA bill on the Homeschool Alliance of North Carolina blog. She had originally posted it on the HEM-Networking list.

And this from Helen Hegener on her HEM-Editor's Blog.

Daryl Cobranchi has the entire bill up on his HEM-Home Education and Other Stuff blog.


You've got to read this...

HoNDA (HR3753 and S1691), a fisking. Nothing like the shredding of a bill with a good sense of humor. It's lengthy, but well worth it.


Bills Are Up on Sidebar

I finally figured out the secret of the site and put the bills on printer friendly status. The links to the bills (HR 3753 and S1691) should go directly to the bill from the sidebar.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

HONDA's Senate Version On Thomas Now

S1691 (the Senate version of HONDA) has made it to Thomas.

There are 2 co-sponsors (Inhofe of OK, and Sessions of AL) and it's sitting in the Senate Finance (link to members) Committee.

Once again, the House Education Committee (link to members ), House Ways and Means with members link, and House Armed Services Committee (link to members) have it in the House.

This can be nipped in the bud by killing it in Committee (s) with many voices from homeschoolers.


Friday, September 16, 2005


HONDA (Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act) is back as HR 3753. Plug in the bill number here. It was introduced on September 13, 2005 by Carol Musgrave, Colorado, with 59 cosponsors. 3 from Illinois so far: Hyde, LaHood, and Shimkus.
This is an omnibus bill. There have been new additions such as the SEC. 10. RECRUITMENT AND ENLISTMENT OF HOME -SCHOOLED STUDENTS IN THE ARMED FORCES.

There are many homeschooling groups and many homeschoolers who are opposed to this bill that was presented to federal legislators once again without any warning. In Illinois, the group pushing this bill has very little representation, but yet they have once again introduced legislation (federal, this time) that will differentiate homeschooling from private schools per our Illinois state statutes. This could easily undermine our homeschooling freedoms here just as almost occurred with the shell bill fiasco several years ago here.

Here's a link to contact your representatives . Scott Somerville estimated 5% of Illinois homeschoolers belong to HSLDA. One has to wonder if the special interests of and the law practice of HSLDA would flourish because of this law? Maybe this is a clue to the apparent motives here under the section noted before:
`(5) The graduate has provided the Secretary concerned with a third-party
verification letter of the graduate's home -school status by the Home School
Legal Defense Association or a State or county home -school association or

Here's some links with more information to do your own research and make up your own mind.

Ann Zeise has a good round up of links and articles about the old bill presented in 2003.

From Home Education Magazine's Larry and Susan Kaseman:

Convincing Others We Don't Want Homeschooling Legislation and
Say No To The Federal Homeschool Legislation

From Virginia, some information regarding the old bill from VAHomeschoolers.

We'll keep revisiting this one. It's a stinker.



This past week, I've been watching this situation in Huron County, Ohio with the 11 children; some or all who had to sleep in cages. Home schooled was front and center in the many articles I read about the issue. There's been a couple of issues that have oozed out of the woodwork so far that seem to affect homeschoolers.

This floater, of sorts, in the last couple of days was regarding HSLDA's involvement in this case (Scott Somerville, specifically). He's recently started his own personal? blog and was posting information regarding his conversation with the custodial parent of these children. Here's a couple of excerpts from his blog post of "Eleven Kids in Cages":
From Sep. 13, 2005

They say "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on." The story about eleven Ohio children being locked up in cages is racing around the world, but, oddly enough, the first accurate report I could find comes from England. I spoke to the father of these children on Monday, and this story from the BBC is basically consistent with what he told me.

The BBC article states "The children, aged one to 14, said they slept in cells only one metre (40in) high. They had no pillows or blankets, according to a Huron County sheriff. " I don't know a lot about special needs kids, but most kids like to snuggle in a blanket. And a pillow, mattress?? Trying to keep an open mind though, one concludes from his statements that Mr. Somerville liked that article for its accuracy. Continuing on......
From Sep. 15, 2005, Mr. Somerville, Esquire states:

Doug Oplinger, at the Akron Beacon-Journal, is looking at the story. I'm going to be interested to see his take on it. I think he's too good a journalist to mischaracterize any of the facts, but I know he's very concerned about the possibility that bad people could use "homeschooling" as a way to hide abuse. He might run this as, "Ohio couple didn't hide, but what about the others?"

Uh, ok, now one can really scratch their head. Oplinger and Willard/Akron Beacon Journal ran the infamous and incredibly inaccurate series about homeschooling and homeschoolers last year. Bluedorns tore up the articles with their Newspaper Logic article and research. Valerie Bonham Moon did the same on her military homeschooling site. And finally, here's the Ohio Home Education Coalition's take on this all with their facts.

Then the Akron Beacon Journal article shows up yesterday written by Oplinger and darn if Mr. Somerville isn't quoted in that very article:

Scott Somerville, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association in Virginia, said he talked with Michael Gravelle before the story broke in the media, and he believes this is a family trying to help special children.

When a social worker visited the house last week, there was no resistance to an inspection, said Somerville, whose organization represents home-schooling families on legal matters.

``They had nothing to hide,'' Somerville said. ``He told me why they adopted these children and told me the problems they were trying to solve.

``I think he is a hero.''

Ok, Oplinger is either too good a journalist to mischaracterize any of the facts and all of the above is accurate which seemed to be unusual, in my opinion, for an article by Mr. Oplinger. If it is the case that these are accurate quotes; what very unfortunate remarks by an attorney actively trying to serve as a spokesperson for the 'homeschool image'. If the media is accurate, there are some questions about Mr. Gravelle's "physical mistreatment of the children". Not good and certainly not heroic.

Reading this, my little voice wants neon lights and huge signs that say:
Homeschoolers are NOT about caging their children in seclusion nor are they about whipping or abusing their children. Homeschoolers are about spending good family time and educating their children because life is short.

Grandma with her newest great grandchild 19 years ago


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Chicago Area National Merit Semi-Finalists

The Sun Times noted a couple (that's what I found, there might be more) Chicago area homeschooled seniors who were named Merit semifinalists.

Congrats to Janelle Jenkins of Winfield and Lincoln Stannard of Chicago.

These high school seniors may compete for $33 million in Merit Scholarship awards that will be offered next spring. Approximately 15,000 semifinalists nationally will advance to the finalist level, and it is from this group that all Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Save Trees, Regional Offices of Education

So parents could be reading along checking out different sources as they consider homeschooling. Good Plan. If parents read enough, they'd know that the ROE could get involved with checking out a family's homeschooling plan if there was cause. So you check out the ROE for your area and below is what you'd find in The Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of Education.
Ya know, public school folks can cut themselves a break as they really don't have to fuss around with that paperwork for homeschoolers. They really should take out the ditty about registering home school programs. Homeschool registration forms can just hit the trash can (recycling, of course) and save everyone the wood, hassle and who knows what else.

Regional Office of Education
The Boone-Winnebago Regional Office of
Education acts as an advocate for education by providing leadership, performing regulatory functions as directed by the Illinois School Code and Illinois State Board of Education, coordinating and delivering state and local services and disseminating information to educators, school districts and the community.

Great, ya think, they say they are performing regulatory functions as directed by the IL School Code. Reading on:

The Regional Office is responsible for registering teacher certificates, providing school bus driver classes, administering GED tests and issuing GED certificates, monitoring school bus districts for compliance with Life/Safety Code, providing environmental workshops and field trips to the Regional Environmental Center and registering home school programs.

Well, whoops, there is NO statute that states home school programs (or just everyday homeschooling families) have to be registered. No Illinois School Code says any such thing. But they do make it sound like you do.

The Dupage ROE has the same problem with their information form that's sent on to ISBE's Data Analysis & Progress Reporting Department.

Remember that the next time you hear a public school bureaucrat complaining about The Paperwork they have to deal with when 'they just want to concentrate on education'. Busy bodies, they are.


Funny Thing about [Public School] Educators and the Law

Just browsing around the homeschool news and ran into this Indianapolis article about dropouts. This particular lady got my attention.

Mary Duncan
Some obstacle always stands in the way of Mary Duncan completing high school.

As a teenager, she moved from Tacoma, Wash., to Indianapolis to Gaston, Ala. -- all within three weeks. When Duncan moved back to Indianapolis to attend Warren Central High School, she was told she had to wait a semester to enroll.

She dropped out, at age 17, instead. Duncan enrolled in Job Corps to earn her GED, but quit to return to Tacoma to take care of an ailing grandfather. An attempt to home school at her future father-in-law's Bible college ended when she became pregnant.

I think I'm correct that IN's compulsory attendance age goes up to 17 years of age. So how is it that she wasn't eligible for a free public school education even when it's not conveniently at the beginning of a semester. Result: she dropped out. Nice job, Warren Central High School.

The same sort of thing happened here in IL with a 14 year old boy who was told he "couldn't enroll in the middle of the year". Worked out well for him though. He and his mother got some information about homeschooling and he went on to community college. He was graduating with his associate's the last time I saw him at 17 years of age.

And the same sort of thing happened with a 15 year old boy here in IL. His situation didn't turn out well. One would think this happens quite a bit. And the last I heard, it's illegal.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Truancy Law Spreading Out In Rock River Valley

Rockford officials want more help from other towns.

Apparently CherryVale Mall just bugs the heck out of Rockford. They can't get their hooks on the kids skipping out and shopping next door in CherryVale Mall. Shopping?? I thought they were committing heinous crimes, vandalizing and creating mayhem and anarchy instead of going to school?! Ok, they could be doing something better than shopping, but the school's job is finding a way to keep them engaged in education. From the Rockford Register Star who like the ordinance:

CHERRY VALLEY -- Village police officers who find students playing hooky at, say, CherryVale Mall, would be able to return them to school under a curfew law Cherry Valley might enact next month.
If Cherry Valley returns Rockford students, do they get the money (fines) or does Rockford or do they both? Maybe no one does, but this seems like a money making venture in too many ways. Guess the kids will be busy not shopping, but paying fines and doing community service. But wait!?!! I thought the purpose was for the kids to be back in school. So confusing.
And if I was a taxpayer in the Boone-Winnebago Region, I'd be demanding my money back in paying the truant officers who are supposed to be doing the job (§ 105 ILCS 5/26-3) the Rockford police officers now have.

The Rockford School District has established a truancy hot line to collect information, namely specific places where truants gather, and pass it along to the Police Department on a biweekly basis.
Very creeeepy.
CherryVale Mall and other teen hangouts outside Rockford's limits aren't subject to the city's ambitious law. So the curfew law will have more teeth, Rockford officials say, as more Rock River Valley towns follow suit.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey and District 205 Superintendent Dennis Thompson have touted the curfew law as a way to curb the district's 8.3 percent chronic truancy rate, which is four times the state average.
While ignoring the history of daytime curfew laws in municipalities such as Waukegan with their current 8.6% (district)/24.8% (9th grade center)/9.3% (Waukegan High School)chronic truancy rate. Daytime curfew there, since 1992?, has really worked like a charm.

Rockford's curfew law, which took effect Aug. 25, made it illegal for minors to be unsupervised in a public place during school hours.
Which is why every kid is under scrutiny whether they are truant or not. There is no "exception" for homeschoolers when they have to "prove" that they are homeschoolers. If they have to be stopped, then they have lost their freedoms to be out and about as a law abiding citizen.

Leaders in Loves Park and Machesney Park have yet to discuss the curfew issue, but Loves Park Police Chief Pat Carrigan thinks Rockford's curfew is a good idea.
Spreading the 'love'.

The Cherry Valley Village Board will cast a final vote on a proposed curfew law at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Village Hall, 806 E. State St.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Self-Education History

Lost Crown Jewel of Learning

Who is this youngster?He started school at age seven and returned home in tears after three months. His teacher had called him “addled.” His mother took over, reading with him.
Guess who? I've often wondered how many kids are called addled now and get the ingenuity legally drugged right out of them.
Who is this lady? of the most literate Americans of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, wife of the second president of the United States and mother of the sixth, she never attended school. She was tutored by her maternal grandmother and encouraged to read. Her letter correspondence with her husband...stands out as unambiguous testimony to the power and development of intellect that can be achieved simply by desiring to do so.
This lady turned out to be a famous writer. (Love letters, in a sense.)
The study of history is a wonderful thing.


Bona Fide Heroes

From Jessica Rodgers, 16, a homeschooler

Being a hero doesn't even require going outside of your own family. Simply being a role model to those around you makes a bigger impact than you may imagine.

My own heroes come from my family. In fact, the only reason I began writing was to copy my dad because I looked up to him so much. In my book, my parents are bona fide heroes.

Thank you to everyone who keeps us safe each day. Thank you to all the people whom I take for granted all the time. And thank you to the heroes of Sept. 11.

May we always continue to learn from you.


Border's Coupon

Borders is having a great discount. $10 Off a Purchase of $40 or More. Today is the last day.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Eight Reasons Not to Register-Bluedorn Wisdom

Lynn has this posted on her website. Written by Harvey Bluedorn.

It's a good reminder for new and experienced homeschoolers who have this request made of them by public school administrators.


Friday, September 09, 2005

If you live in Winthrop Harbor District #1 - read this

Most homeschoolers live on one income. That makes big property tax hikes a big concern. So, if you live in this area, you may want to take a look at this. I'm not advocating you vote no, I just think you should research the facts. If I were voting in this area, I would look at this site and find a site that was for the tax hike. I figure the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I always worry about single income families and the elderly when there are huge property tax increases. Where we live, we are going to get slammed next year with property tax increases. As you look at this, remember that most assessors have increased the value of houses by a huge amount. That means that most taxes are going up significantly without adding on tax increases.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sun Times Homeschooling Article

School's in ... the home

Donald Stewart had a choice of six colleges, including Johns Hopkins University, Amherst College and Haverford College. He ultimately chose Dartmouth. The enviable list of schools wanting to admit him, he says, was the payoff of the education Stewart received -- in his Chicago home.

Looks like he has a bright future continued from his interesting past and present.
"It taught me in many ways if something's interesting to you to go out there and do it, and not wait for someone to give you instructions as to how and as to when," said Stewart, a musician who has his own record label.

Critics who worry about homeschooling are limited to teachers' unions: They are concerned parents aren't properly trained to instruct.

"Just as there is concern about having properly certified teachers in every classroom, that's also important for students being educated in the home," said David Comerford, spokesman for the Illinois Federation of Teachers union. "All schools should have the same set of requirements in terms of standards."
Just say congratulations to this young adult who found a way to educate that worked for him, Mr. Comerford, and get off your union platform.
College officials in recent years have become more eager to recruit homeschooled students. Those students typically impressed Anna Ivey when she was dean of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School from 1999 to 2000.

"More often than not, they struck me as people who had approached college with a seriousness, maturity and intellectual vigor that was often lacking in conventionally schooled students, who often take longer to land on their feet when they start college," said Ivey, author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions: Straight Advice on Essays, Resumes, Interviews, and More (Harcourt, $14).
Seems like the college crowd gets it about homeschoolers.
Homeschooling doesn't by any means require keeping the kids at home. Catching bugs in the backyard? Rogers Park mom Tiffany Ragland arms her sons with insect field guides and heads outdoors for "science class."
Me, too. I like that science 'class'! We, including the dog, just had an almost 'hands on science' encounter with a skunk walking down our road last night under a very new moon.

I liked this article!


Couple of Talented Homeschoolers

In Texas and Florida

In Texas, this 10 year AND his parents would need the sleep with a homeschooling schedule:

Cayman has known he wanted to be an actor since his parents took him to see
Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway when he was 6. Back home in Rowlett, he quickly
began landing parts. At 7, when he played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol at
Pocket Sandwich Theatre, the rehearsals went until 11 p.m., which meant he
wouldn't get home until midnight. Then he'd get up at 7 a.m. for school. His
parents decided to home-school him so he could get enough sleep.

In Florida:
"When she was in first and second grade, she used to draw her own cartoon strip," said Cindy Johanson, who has home-schooled her daughter since first grade. "It was called 'Down by the Creek' and had a bunch of critters in it. One was a bug called B.U.G. When I asked her why it was named B.U.G., she said, 'Don't you know that people sometimes go by their initials?' "


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Eragon's Homeschooled Author in Naperville Tonight

Christopher Paolini gives fantasy fans a second summer treat
From the Chicago Trib:

When you aren't writing, how do you spend your time?

I love art--drawing and painting. I don't get to do that enough. I listen to college courses on tape--science and history. I like working with my hands. I make my own knives, swords and chain mail.

It sounds as if you could make some pretty great Halloween costumes.

The best costume I ever had was when I was on my self-publishing tour for "Eragon." It was a medieval costume. But I don't have fond memories of that costume. I'll just say that it's hard to go in front of 500 high schoolers dressed like that.
I'll bet!
You were home schooled. What were your best subjects? Were you graded?

My mom never graded me. If it was a test, she would tell me what I did wrong. When I was in high school, my sister and I were enrolled in a distance school called the American School. I got graded there. I was best at history, writing and literature, and geometry--but not algebra. I hated art in school--and writing. I would hate having to write to meet a deadline and on a specific subject. I prefer to be self-directed.
Pretty interesting that he hated writing until he could 'self-direct'. Definitely a pattern that some unschoolers have detected via the John Holt philosophy.
Christopher Paolini will appear Sept. 6 at Naperville Central High School, 440 Aurora Ave. For information, call 630-355-2665.
More on Christopher Paolini and his new book Eldest here.


Reasonable Help for Evacuees from our IN Neighbors

From the Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo will get some normalcy into the families' lives and save the paperwork for later, if necessary.

"We're going to reach out. We're going to take care of them and treat them like they're one of our own, because they are when they come to Kokomo."

Reed said the evacuees should be enrolled immediately, and each child's educational history can be evaluated based on what records they have or on the parents' word.

She said students earning high school credits may earn credits based on testing, as some schools do when accepting home schooled or students from non-accredited schools.


The Diversity of Homeschoolers

It can never be said with accuracy (even though it is often said by the anti-homeschooling movement or people who don't know better) that the homeschooling community is not diverse.

Agree or disagree, a couple of homeschooled teens are saying their piece in St. Petersburg:
Likins was back the next week, along with 200 other protesters. He has continued to come, even though the city has removed the barricades.

"It's probably my upbringing," said Likins, who is homeschooled. "My mom was a hippie and a peacenik, and my dad always wanted me to think for myself."
Homeschoolers do tend to think for themselves or they wouldn't be constantly swimming against the educational mainstream current regardless of their political and philosophical mindset.
Being arrested last month has not kept Brendan Mannion, 16, from the protests, which he joined in 2003. He thinks it is important to draw attention to poverty, decadence and hatred.

"There is such a gap between rich and poor in this city," he said. "People can afford to spend $50 on a bar tab while there are people starving just down the street."

The Gulfport teen, who is being homeschooled while he works toward an associate's degree at St. Petersburg College, is thinking about becoming a lawyer or a Greenpeace activist. In the meantime, he hands out fliers about peace activities to his neighbors and distributes food to the homeless in Williams Park.


Tragedies for Homeschooled Family

Terrible losses for this homeschooling family from Virginia. Makes every second of life precious reading about this tragedy. Thoughts and prayers for the Bryant family.
From The Roanoke Times:

Elizabeth Bryant wanted to deliver a message Monday, to "anyone who has children or grandchildren. They ought to hug them to them close, because you never know when they might be gone. And they need that love."Family Fund Funeral arrangements weren't set Monday afternoon. The Bryants plan to hold a memorial service in Michigan, then bring the children's bodies back to Giles County for burial. None of that is likely to happen until the surviving children are well enough to travel. To help cover funeral expenses, the Bryants' church is setting up a fund. Contributions can be sent to Riverview Baptist Church, Bryant Family Fund, P.O. Box 206, Ripplemead, VA 24150.


Two Families and the Hurricane

In Throes of a Diaspora, Two Families Bind

I do love the picture of the 2 little girls.
Ms. O'Lear even offered to home-school Laurel, as she did Hayes, to allow the Mixons to avoid the search for a temporary prekindergarten.
These families have been through a range of emotions with a family they didn't even get to meet in person. This is unspeakably horrible.
So Ms. O'Lear was thrilled to hear Mrs. Jackson's voice, but only for an instant. Mrs. Jackson explained that her father, left behind in a New Orleans veterans' hospital, had died there of dehydration. Her mother, by his side as he lay unattended, had been evacuated to a hospital in Arkansas, but Mrs. Jackson had no idea where. Overcome by grief and anger - "The government killed my daddy," she wailed - Mrs. Jackson said she was headed home, hoping to bury her father and find her mother.
Now it was Ms. O'Lear who was sobbing, clinging to her husband as the family of refugees swallowed her in their embrace. At 9 a.m., these families had been strangers. Had it not been for their children, they most likely would have stayed that way, parting company in an hour or two.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Wonderful things going on... You can help

I was out shopping at Sam's today in Champaign and I saw the most wonderful thing. There were families filling flatbed carts with supplies: diapers, wipers, water and formula. A local church, Grace Community Church, is filling a semi and driving it to Baton Rouge. Until 5 pm this evening and from 9 am to noon tomorrow you can take cases of water, non-perishable food items, baby food and diapers to 2901 Watterson Court in Champaign behind the County Market at Duncan and Kirby. New Horizons is also helping with this effort. There is information on the second page of today's News Gazette. We will be taking the family shopping tonight to gather items to send.


Ambleside Online Offers Free Resources

I think that AO has made this available for some time, but I'm glad they're pointing it out for displaced refugees of the hurricane and flood (and all of the rest of us looking for resources).

Ambleside Online (named after Ambleside, England, where Charlotte Mason had a teacher's college) has the curriculum suggestions following the Charlotte Mason philosophy of late schooling and nature led learning. (That is a very imprecise description but Illinois' Lynn Hocraffer knows a bit regarding this learning style and she gives a much better overview. Lynn is noted on Ann Zeise's site along with a few other resources about the Charlotte Mason methods.)


Homeschool Buyers Co-op

I know frugal homeschoolers use food co-ops, etc. for quality items, but this is something I haven't seen before. I caught the information on the Home Education Editor's Blog.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Do your homework for Katrina Relief!

You can go to Charity Navigator to find out how well charities rate with how they use their funds. It tells you which charities get the most of your dollars to the people who need it. My plan is to give to two different high ranking charities. So many charities are crooked these days that I hope to increase my odds of getting the money to the right place by spreading it out. It's a sad commentary on our society.


Venting About Katrina Relief...

I sent this to FOX's Greta's Wire blog.
I am horrified by the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. I have watched more than one special on what would happen if there was a large hurricane in New Orleans. As I watched them pack people into the superdome, I knew this was a bad plan. Now I sit and watch Shepherd Smith at the 235 exit. After two days, there is no help for those people. He told them exactly where those people were. There is no excuse. There is no excuse for what is going on at the convention center where Geraldo just arrived and Steve Harrigan has been reporting. There is no excuse for FEMA not going into unsecured areas with aid. They could have put military in each truck armed, but they didn't. The Coast Guard and the military helicopters are doing heroic things. The politicians in Louisiana need to apologize for the way this has been handled. Mothers or fathers with children and the elderly should have been evacuated first. The college students should not have been put at the front of the line. The healthy tourists should not have been put at the front of the line. I hope those state senators who sent those buses for college students instead of babies and grandmothers get what they deserve. I am beyond angry at the way this has been handled.


Always the Bureaucrat?!

I was hopeful about cutting to the chase regarding homeless kids and their education, but this sounds a little unrealistic. I understand some identification issues, but they're kids who obviously are not able to be in their homes (with all the busy paperwork at hand).

Heads up from Home Education Magazine's Home Education & Other Stuff. Quote from the Mississippi paper:
“We just enroll them and write down their names.”Children from out of state
will more or less be treated like returning home-school students and will have
to provide shot records and other information. Placement tests will also be
involved.The DeSoto Health and Wellness Center will be assisting the school
district in that effort. “They will have to go to the health department to get a
statement of immunization.”


More Online Resources-Free

This information was put out in the last day or so for displaced families from the hurricane. Good research done on these resources. Check it out.

Maybe Bill Gates and Bill Bennett (K12) could open up their deep pockets and donate some computers and curriculum for many of the public school kids who are scattered across the South and elsewhere away from their schools and homes.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Help for Hurricane Victims

Through the Mississippi Homeschool Network Group PEAK. Here's the forward:

Parent Educators & Kids of Mississippi (PEAK) has been contacted by homeschoolers in multiple states who want to help homeschool families here who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. We are grateful for the offers of assistance, as we know there are homeschoolers who have lost their homes, who have fled their home towns, and who are facing tragedy.For those of you who want to help right now, we'd like to recommend that as a first response, please make a donation through the Red Cross at or 1 800 HELP NOW or the Salvation Army at or 1 800 SAL ARMY. There is no substitute for financial donations that will allow the basic necessities of life for families -- water, food, shelter, and medical care. There are communities north of the Mississippi Gulf Coast where there are many refugees. If you want to make donations to a reliable locally-controlled hurricane relief fund, you may send checks designated for South Mississippi Hurricane Relief to Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, 321 Losher Street, Hernando, MS 38632. One hundred percent of monies donated will go to aid victims, including refugees who have fled to central and north Mississippi for shelter. You can visit their website at, although the website has not been updated to reflect the disaster relief fund. I (Jeanne) spoke with a representative of this foundation this morning to confirm their policies, and I was already aware they have an excellent reputation in our community and in the state. (The sister community foundation to this organization on the Gulf coast lost its office; while "Northwest Mississippi" does not sound very local to the crisis, it is serving refugees here and is one of the few community foundations that can function in the state because of the crisis. They are working in cooperation with a similar foundation in Jackson, MS, which also has a large number of evacuees.)Homeschoolers immediately think about the beloved books and homeschooling materials that families lost or do not have access to. To those who have offered to help collect books and learning materials to donate to homeschoolers, we encourage you to do so. However, most families are not in a position to resume homeschooling and will not be ready to do so for some time, as more basic needs of food, water, shelter, medical care, and finances are addressed. We recommend that homeschooling groups or individuals collect, organize, and make arrangements to temporarily box and store materials locally for now. Please take care to place materials in "shipping-worthy" boxes and consider organizing and labeling them by general ages and/or subject matter. Contributors may want to collect or raise funds for shipping and/or storage. We know that keeping these boxed materials in a church store room, community center, or home may be difficult, but keep in mind that the people we want to help cannot receive these supplies right now. At the same time, we know that while the crisis is so severe, people are very moved to help. We appreciate your compassion and generousity and do not wish to discourage donations of educational materials. We simply wish to be practical and organized in the midst of a very chaotic time. If you will stay in touch with us, we will let you know when and where to ship books and homeschooling materials once more basic needs have been met. PEAK organizers have committed that any undistributed usable materials that have been donated can be used to create a PEAK Resource Center in Mississippi or donated to other charities. In either case, the materials will be used for the benefit of those who have needs related to Hurricane Katrina. If you do want to send homeschooling materials immediately, you may send them to Project Noah, based in TX. They do help people in other states on a regular basis. It is a Christian organzation but will help ALL homeschoolers in need, and they do have experience in helping hurricane victims. I (Jeanne) spoke with one of the organizers this morning to confirm that they are still "current," work to help homeschoolers of a variety of backgrounds and faiths, and are ready to project.noah@gmail.comwebsite: should go to:PROJECT NOAH15807 Brickman Ct.Houston, TX 77084fax number is 281-225-4562The Gulf Coast states have been devastated by this disaster. We appreciate your thoughtful inquiries into helping our fellow homeschoolers, and we hope that these ideas are helpful to you as you plan your relief efforts.Very sincerely,Natalie Criss ncriss@peaknetwork.orgJeanne Faulconer PEAK Mississippi Faciliators~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Parent Educators & Kids (PEAK) is an inclusive, non-affiliated network of homeschooling families across the state of Mississippi. Our purpose is to provide support for current and future home educators without regard to homeschool methodology, religious beliefs, political affiliation and lifestyle choices.Mississippi's First Homeschool Network:'s Ramblings, Rants and Remedies

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