Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Time marches on
We haven't been too busy and I guess that is probably why I haven't blogged much lately. I am back to equipping kids, enjoying the beach, meeting up with people and praying for our Floridan friends and relatives.
This past weekend. Grace and I went to a party at a friend's beach house. I was the oldest and Grace was the youngest the rest were in their mid 20's and most of them are law students. We were a part of the earlier quiter crowd (everyone stop laughing now). The party was really starting to wind up just as we were leaving. It was good to be there with Grace and meet some of our friend Emily's friends.
Grace also had a date with her dad. They went to hear Tom Brokaw speak at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. Grace would have loved to have Uncle Paul Dalis along with them.

I am currently reading out loud Prince Caspian book 4 of the Chronicles of Narnia to Michael. I read the whole set out loud a number of years ago. Michael has been reading them to himself but he asked if I would read this story aloud, gladly I am. The girls ease drop on occasion but don't tell anyone. We invited them to join us but they declined.

Usually we memorize some scripture together but this time we decided to memorize the Prayer of St. Francis of Assi. Since writing it helps us to learn I had the kids write it in their journals and I thought that I would type it here.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace!
That where there is hatred, I may bring love
That where there is wrong, I may bring the
spirit of forgiveness
That where there is discord, I may bring
That where there is error, I may bring truth
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith
That where there is despair, I may bring hope
That where there is shadows, I may bring light
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather
To comfort than to be comforted
To understand, than to be understood
To love, than to be loved.
It is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Letting another Home Educator speak for me
(As published in The Washington Times earlier this month)

The Washington Times
September 3, 2004
Washington Times Op-ed — Deregulation Places Trust In Parents
by J. Michael SmithHSLDA President
Every four years, we elect a president. Education is an issue the candidates must address because it affects so many people. With about 50 million children of compulsory attendance age (generally between the ages of 6 and 16 or 18, depending on the state), this represents a very large percentage of the population that is interested in kindergarten-through-12th-grade education.
At least 85 percent of all school-age children are being educated in public schools. Not only are parents interested in seeing that their children receive quality education, but all citizens have a vested interest in education.
One of the major reasons that education has received so much attention in past elections and in this election is because a significant percentage of our children are receiving less-than-high-quality educations, resulting in functional illiteracy.
This is happening despite the fact that the government is spending more money on education than ever before. When federal and state dollars are combined, public schools are receiving, on average, $9,000 per child annually, according to the Heritage Foundation. Many citizens are beginning to say that more money is not the answer.
As academic performance of public schools continues to spiral down, a segment of the education population has been producing high academic performance - the homeschool movement.
For more than 20 years, homeschooled children who have taken standardized achievement tests have scored 20 to 30 percentile points above the national average. Last month, ACT Inc., which produces the ACT college entrance exam, released figures showing that the average homeschooler scored 22.6, compared with the national average of 20.9.
This is happening without any government support. Homeschool parents have said "no" to government schools, believing that they can do a better job themselves. So far, the results indicate clearly that they can.
Despite this success, some, generally in the public school establishment, still are calling for more regulation of home education. This stems from the skepticism that parents could be successful when they haven't been professionally trained. In other words, they are not certified by the state.
Homeschoolers respond that not one scientific survey supports the need for teacher certification for someone to be able teach children, especially in a tutorial setting. There is no evidence to support the assumption that obtaining a teaching certificate guarantees teaching success.
Virtually all teachers in public schools must be certified. Yet the overall academic results of public schools in America are unsatisfactory by objective standards.
Another reason advanced for more regulation of home educators is their lack of accountability. Those seeking regulation would argue that homeschool programs need to abide by a specific day and hour calendar, submit to curriculum approval, show that teachers have some minimum educational requirement and undergo measurable evaluations on a regular basis.
The Home School Legal Defense Association has resisted these efforts because we know that the success of home education is the ability to individualize education. In other words, the homeschool parent can take an education program and mold it to his or her child. This is in the child's best interest. On the other hand, the child in the classroom must be molded to the education program being offered.
You cannot compare the results of an education received in a tutorial setting with those of classroom learning. This is what is meant by the slogan we hear many times from homeschoolers: "Don't take the classroom into your homeschool program."
This slogan is powerful. It simply means that you have the freedom to explore all kinds of creative ways to teach your child. Governmental attempts to standardize home education will destroy the genius behind home education and will detrimentally affect the academic achievement of home educators.
In addition, home educators can demonstrate that it is not necessary to regulate them. Every state has a different way of addressing homeschooling. Some states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, overly regulate home education. Others, such as Idaho, Texas, Illinois and Indiana, don't even require homeschooling parents to initiate contact with the state.
According to research done by the National Home Education Research Institute with thousands of homeschool students across the nation in both low and high regulation states, there is no appreciable difference in the results of nationally standardized achievement tests between those categories of students.
What this proves is that you can trust homeschooling parents to provide a quality education that meets the individual needs of their children. The next logical step is to deregulate homeschooling in states such as New York and Pennsylvania to save taxpayer dollars spent on bureaucrats' interaction with home educators.
Deregulation continues to be one of our goals at HSLDA. We know you can trust homeschool parents to do an outstanding job of educating their children without the "help" of the government.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

After reading quietly for the last 45 minutes to themselves Katie and Michael are going out for some much needed P.E. I have had a few of interesting conversations recently about educating children at home. I need to remember that our experience at home in Massachusetts and on the road since March of 2003 is our experience and no one can really refute it.

Each family is unique and each family has decisions to make about each child. Some families operate in the same way some school systems operate - this is how we do things each child is treated the same, each is given equal opportunities to the resources available. Some people try to live life that way. They need to have everything be equal, fair and right and they do that with absolutely no regard to the individual. Each of our children are fashion as a one of a kind. Dan and I are doing our best to be students of these young people who are each wiggling out of childhood into young adulthood. Some decisions are not easy to make but we are doing our best to seek wisdom and counsel. Laws and justice require more than just knowledge to execute effectively they also requires wisdom in order for a balanced judgment to occur.
So there you have it from the Beach.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Ivan the Terrible
As many of you know we had the wonderful experience of living in Southwest, Florida this past winter. We have both family and friends there. Please pray for all the Floridians and that Ivan will be reduced before it reaches Florida.
When you get to know and love people these disasters aren't just some news story, they become more personal.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon
Lenoure Mullaney due to an injury was unable to run the 1/2 marathon this year but she was able to bring a friend, Sharon to compete and be her cheerleader. Today, Sharon ran the RnR 1/2 marathon in VA Beach. We were so happy for her that she finished, strong and that we were here to be her host and provide comforting hospitality. It is a pure 1/2 13.1 miles. It was a good day for running, slightly overcast and not too hot. (see for more info) This was a case of everyone who crossed the finish line is a winner. It also made me think of the proverb, "finishing is better than starting." Hopefully, my kids were thinking of that too.

Sharon is a very interesting woman who was born to American parents, raised by them in the UK, has gone to school in Switzerland and in DC and lived on a kabotz in Israel in her early 20's. This is part of my children's education as we meet new people and they share their experiences with us.
Lenoure is Dan's oldest niece and is also a person who has had international experiences. She lived in Togo (a west African country) as a peacecorp volunteer for 2 years. In high school and college Lenoure lived in France. Currently, she is living in the DC area.
Since, we were in the presence of world travelers we played a game of Geo Bee Challenge by National Geographic. Grace won, Lenoure and Sharon held there own. I am so glad they came to visit us this weekend. Our time spent with these ladies has enriched our lives. We couldn't seem to bring the world to us so we are going to the world and making wonderful discoveries in Our Father's World.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Nauticus with Michael
Yesterday, the Naval Museum, Nauticus celebrated their 25th birthday. Michael and I went down to Norfolk to celebrate. We enjoyed part of our afternoon there and of course we boarded the USS Wisconsin which is a ship in reserves (so she still could be deployed). It is both scary and exciting to me to be here with Michael for a second time (both of us have been 3 times all together - we are planning to return with Dan who has never been before we continue on to FL) He is very interested in the Military. Uncle Paul Dalis (Michael's grand uncle) is a WWII Vet and calls him Capt. Michael. Uncle Paul would like to live to see Michael go to West Point. It will be interesting to see if Michael does serve our country in the Military.
It is nice to be back in Hampton Roads and we are now moved into our apartment.