Cursive, The Decline of Man, and Responsibility


Recently I heard a conversation that went like this:

“A friend of mine, a public school teacher, told me that they’re no longer teaching cursive in school.”

“How will they read old documents?”

“I know! And how will they sign their name? If they can’t sign their name, how will they identify themselves? Here’s how: it’s going to be an embedded chip. We’re just waiting on the Lord’s return!”

Continue reading

30 Days of Homeschool – Day 19: Vocabulary

(30 free posts about free resources for homeschooling)

“Who needs a large vocabulary when you can just make up any word at any time? It makes life a whole lot more emeaglibop.”
Jarod Kintz, How to construct a coffin with six karate chops

“Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”
Mark Twain

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: One of our great joys as parents is hearing our children speak gooder and gooder (just kidding…) as they grow up. Part of this process is expanding their vocabulary. Just learning vocabulary can be downright unproductive, if not a cause of regression, because we can throw so many words at them without context that they don’t grasp the meaning or purpose. We can also allow our own inadequacies to stand in the way, acting as if an expanded vocabulary – including understanding lots of nuances, permutations, variations, situations, synonyms and antonyms – isn’t important. What you consider as an appropriate vocabulary range is certainly up to you, and how you teach it is up to you, too. But I suggest that it’s like starting a fire in the great outdoors – when you prep for a fire, you get twice as much wood ready as you think you’ll need.

Since vocabulary is just part of the whole of communication, we need to show them that there are differences between how we write emails and leave voicemails; between how we talk to our friends and to our parents; how we talk to our neighbors and new people; how we write a letter to our grandparents and to a senator. While we may want to impress an audience, we don’t need to impress our friends. And, kids, your parents WILL know if you’re talking like an improved and more intelligent you, or like someone else.

Continue reading

30 Days of Homeschool – Day 17: Effective Communication

*(reminder: 1 – this is just 1 of my 30 posts about free resources for homeschool)

Earlier this morning, I read this article, about effective communication in business, on Inc. and thought it fits perfectly with schooling at home – some great words to heed.

Continue reading

30 Days of Homeschool – Day 15: Free Online References

(reminder: this is about free resources for homeschool, in 30 non-consecutive posts…meaning: there won’t be a post every day, but there will be 30).

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: Gone are the days when college-age salesmen were at the door constantly to sell you dictionaries and encyclopedias. I’m a bibliophile, so I certainly don’t mind hardcopy books. And there’s still the occasional salesman. But the advent of e-books and online access has really put the hardcopy industry under duress. With each age of change there’s typically some kind of silver lining. In this case, there are SO MANY free resources out there that their influence can’t be ignored. One set of hardback encyclopedias used to cost $300 +, and you didn’t get free or cheap updates; now an online resource can be free, though you may have to skip around to put together the information you need. This helps homeschoolers a tremendous amount. Even if you don’t have a computer, you could potentially go to a friend’s house (a friend who has a computer, of course) or use your public library, and access these quality resources – all for free.

Continue reading

30 Days of Homeschool – Day 14: Free Curricula

(reminder – 1. this is about free resources for homeschool, in 30 non-consecutive posts…meaning: there won’t be a post every day, but there will be 30 🙂

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: There are those who like to use what they have, some like to unschool, some like to buy this and that, and still others like the framework provided by a curriculum. This is for those of you who prefer the last option, yet don’t want to spend the money on it.

Continue reading

30 Days of Homeschool – Day 13 : Load up your computer with free software

(reminder – this is about free resources for homeschool, in 30 non-consecutive posts…meaning: there won’t be a post every day, but there will be 30 🙂  )

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: I’m always on the lookout for free or low-cost things for PCs, servers, mobile devices, et al. The computer isn’t necessarily free, but with a computer and an internet connection (or if someone you trust can give these things to you on a thumb drive) then you’re set!

Continue reading

Quotes from John Taylor Gatto

John Taylor Gatto was named “New York State Teacher of the Year” in 1992. After years and years of teaching, he left because of what he learned he was teaching, what was actually going on in public schools.
Here are some quotes from this phenomenal teacher:
“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.”
“By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers – backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. – has ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled.”
“…‘How will they learn to read?’ you ask, and my answer is ‘Remember the lessons of Massachusetts.’ When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease, if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them.”

“I’ve come to believe that genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us…  I began to wonder, reluctantly, whether it was possible that being in school itself was what was dumbing them down. Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children’s power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior.”