Lily Tang Williams, a mother of three, testified before the Colorado State Board of Education that Common Core was similar to the education she received growing up in Mao’s Communist China.
“Common Core, in my eyes, is the same as the Communist core I once saw in China,” Williams said. “I grew up under Mao’s regime and we had the Communist-dominated education — nationalized testing, nationalized curriculum, and nationalized indoctrination.”
In a post at FreedomWorks, Williams wrote about her experience with the Chinese education system:
Our teachers had to comply with all the curriculum and testing requirements, or lose their jobs forever. Parents had no choice at all when it came to what we learned in school. The government used the Household Registration and Personnel File system to keep track of its citizens from birth to death.
“I came to this country for freedom and I cannot believe this is happening all over again in this country,” she said in the meeting. “I don’t know what happened to America, the Shining City on the Hill for freedom.”
She said Americans should not compare their children (or their kids’ test scores) to those being educated under the Chinese system.
“I am telling you, Chinese children are not trained to be independent thinkers,” said Williams. “They are trained to be massive skilled workers for corporations. And they have no idea what happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989 where government ordered soldiers to shoot its own 1,000 students.”
Lately my editor, David Swindle, has been encouraging me to develop a series describing my own out-of-the-box Jewish faith. It’s this mish-mosh of biblical proverbs, Torah adages, stories and songs tightly woven together by my American colonial heritage and intense Zionist pride. There is no one perfect word to describe my Jewishness beyond biblical in nature. Orthodox, Conservative, even Reform I am not. Reconstructionist or Renewal? Forget it. But I find commentary from all denominations (“streams” we call them in Judaism) interesting and acceptable in a “with malice towards none, with charity towards all” kind of way that gives me the liberty to define my Judaism in a way most of my compatriots are simply afraid to do. Which is probably why David finds my approach so fascinating. It’s rare to find a Jew who isn’t somehow fettered by the chains of guilt.
So I begin at the beginning, with Thanksgiving, the quintessential Jewish and American holiday. Traditionally Jews celebrate the idea roughly 1-2 months earlier during Sukkot, a festive fall harvest holiday in which we humble ourselves before the God who brought us out of bondage, not because we are perfect, but because He loves us and wanted to dwell with us. (Sukkahs, as in “tabernacles,” as in “the Lord tabernacles with us.”) When you understand the story of God and Israel as a passionate love story, the struggles are contextualized as are the prophecies, into tough tales with happy endings. When you understand the metaphor of God and Israel as a greater metaphor of God’s love for humanity (we’re just the physical reminders) you open your heart to the immense, overwhelming love of God. And there is nothing more you can do as a human being than reflect on that truth with awe-filled gratitude.
The most recent bar exam test results are in, and they are ugly. In several states, people who took the bar in July were more likely to fail than those who took it last year, and scores on one portion of the test dropped to their lowest point in 10 years.
Are America’s law graduates really getting dumber? The people who put together the bar exam seem to think so.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners, a nonprofit that prepares one of the state-specific multiple-choice sections in which scores dropped dramatically, sent a curt message to law school deans in October. “The results are correct,” wrote Erica Moeser, the group’s president, in an Oct. 23 memo. “The group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013,”…
As fewer people apply to law school, many programs have accepted less-qualified applicants in order to keep class sizes the same and to sustain their bottom line, says Derek Muller, a law professor at Pepperdine University. “This drop, while bigger than expected, is just a sign for what’s going to come for law schools as the incoming classes continue to decline in quality.”
Letting people in who are not qualified seems unfair to the students who invest so much time and then fail the exam. And what about the quality of the lawyers coming out? Is it compromised in terms of practice?
Ohio May Allow Elimination of Music and Phys Ed Teachers, School Nurses, Librarians, and Social Workers
I am DISGUSTED by the fact that #Ohio5of8 is even a thing up for vote. Elementary children NEED these things. They're not just supplemental.
— Ringless Princess (@_GodsPrincess_) November 10, 2014
Calling it a “horrifying spectacle,” education reformer Diane Ravtich wrote about an upcoming vote by Ohio’s State Board of Education:
On November 11, the Ohio State Board of Education will vote on a motion to eliminate crucial positions at elementary schools. The Board will vote on whether to eliminate “specialist” positions, that include elementary schools arts teachers, elementary school music teachers, elementary school physical education teachers, school nurses, school library media specialists, school counselors, and school social workers. Will they call it “reform”?
Education blogger Peter Greene said the Ohio Board was “gunning” for specialists:
The appeal for districts is obvious. Let’s have one music teacher for 10,000 students. Let’s have no music teacher at all. Great…Do we really need to argue that the poorest, most vulnerable students are the ones who most need these sorts of services and enrichment? Is there somebody in Ohio prepared, seriously, to argue that nurses and music and art and phys ed are unnecessary luxuries, and kids should just pack up their grit and do without?
Is this true? Does the State Board of Education in Ohio really want to deprive poor children of music and art education and social services?
Currently, the Ohio Administrative Code requires that for every thousand elementary students, schools must have in place five of the following eight specialists: art, music, counselor, school nurse, librarian/media specialist, visiting teacher, social worker, or phys ed – called the “5 of 8″ rule. The state board is simply considering allowing boards to have local control over staffing decisions rather than enforcing an arbitrary number of specialists, regardless of the individual district’s needs.
Tom Gunlock, the board’s vice chairman, told the Plain Dealer that the proposed change (the vote won’t likely take place until December) isn’t intended to eliminate those positions, but to let districts make their own choices.
“I’m sure they’ll do what’s right for their kids,” Gunlock said. ”For years, people have been telling me about all these unfunded mandates and that we’re telling them what to do. They keep telling me they know more about what their kids need that we do, and I agree with them.”
This is actually a good thing. Instead of treating children like numbers and treating all school districts the same, it returns control to local districts so they can decide which (and how many) teachers and specialists they need. As we’ve seen with Common Core, one size does not fit all and local control is better than top-down national (or even state) authority. If you don’t like something your local school board does, you can walk down the street and complain to someone who lives in your community. They’re your neighbors and their kids likely attend the public schools in your district. If they make decisions you don’t like, you can vote them out in the next election and get a new school board.
Nevertheless, near panic has set in in Ohio as word has gone out that very soon, art and music will cease to exist in the state — along with the union jobs that must be protected at all costs (whether they’re needed or not):
— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) November 10, 2014
— Mrs. Wiley (@MrsWileyArtRoom) November 11, 2014
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) November 11, 2014
Kids need to have the opportunity to be creative. You cannot take away their art,music, or other classes that will take that away #Ohio5of8
— Jessi⚡ (@stillj17) November 11, 2014
When people like Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin first began to sound the alarm on Common Core a few years ago, many people viewed it as a right-wing cause, one of those issues that split cleanly along party and ideological lines and would remain in the conservative camp. The promoters of the Common Core, including the Republican Governors Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and others, surely never saw the tsunami of opposition that was headed their way and now threatens to take down the standards that were adopted by forty-four of the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Here are 10 Signs Common Core Has Gone From Fringe Issue to Mainstream:
Halloween was always a point of contention in our house growing up. Naturally theatrical, I loved dressing up and relished in making my own costumes. And what kid turns down free candy? Sure, Jewish kids have Purim for these things and more, but when you’re in a mainly gentile neck of the woods, it’s a struggle not to be allowed to join in the party. As I grew into adulthood and took a deeper look at Halloween, however, I began to understand my parents’ objections quite clearly. There are definite reasons why Jews and Christians who base their faith in the Bible should re-think introducing and encouraging their child’s participation in this, the most pagan of American holidays.
Most of us parents are well into the school-year routine of getting up early to take kids to the bus or school and coming home to do chores before having to watch over the homework situation – and maybe having to do some intervention about something a kid or teacher said or did. Now, imagine spending the day in your pajamas discussing ancient Greece with your kids before sending them to do 20 minutes of math on the computer before getting ready to meet friends at the park — and all as part of their education. Homeschooling is a growing trend in the United States, and in addition to giving their kids a good education without the stress of an institutionalized setting, parents say one of the best advantages is that it makes for closer families. Here are ten reasons why homeschooling brings families closer.
So far in this ongoing series compiling and organizing the best work from PJ Lifestyle’s contributors I’ve focused on critics and analysts of popular culture from all over the place. To the north in Canada, the punk rock capitalist canadian: “136 Kathy Shaidle Articles That Expand Your Appreciation of Life and Culture.” To the South, guaranteed smiles from a gifted Georgia writer: “116 Articles Exploring American Culture by Chris Queen.” And to the East Coast, in the wilderness of New Jersey, taking back feminism: “194 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Compelling Culture Commentaries”
Also check out these shorter collections from two newer contributors, focusing on war and comic books: “Don’t Miss These 20 James Jay Carafano Articles Exploring War’s Impact on Pop Culture” and “15 Great Lists Debating Comic Books and Pop Culture by Pierre Comtois.”
Today I highlight two more PJ Lifestyle writers who lead the way in other important fronts in the culture wars. What more appropriate way to promote the section’s family themes than to showcase the diverse perspectives from a mom and a dad? Paula Bolyard and Walter Hudson have both been inspirations to edit, learn from, and befriend over the past few years. They’ve both helped to shape my thinking for the day when I become a parent. Take a look at some of their articles and you’ll see why I’m so optimistic about the impact they can both have on the culture…
Paula is tremendously persuasive and compelling in her journalism exploring the world of home schooling. Her critiques of public school education and teachers unions have also shaped my perspective. When I have children someday they’ll be homeschooled. That’s Paula. She’ll change your mind too.
But Paula illuminates on a whole swath of issues. Our collaborations began when PJ was looking for an Ohio contributor in 2012. Paula provided very insightful, accessible coverage then and has returned to covering her home states’s news political controversies, and culture. Post-election I was eager to see Paula explore other topics. She’s had many successful articles on everything from parenting advice to religious commentaries to life reflections to goofy nostalgia pieces. Her pro-life articles are some of the best I’ve ever read — models of how to articulate values and win over fence-sitters.
After you check out a few of Paula’s articles please get in touch with us and let us know what kinds of ideas you’d like to see her explore in the future. Please leave your comments or hit us up on Twitter: @Pbolyard and @DaveSwindle
And now also check out today: “125 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing the Wit & Wisdom of Walter Hudson.”
- When Teachers Act Like Thugs ‘for the Children!’
- A Parent Guide to Teachers’ Unions
- Has a Century of Progressive Education Turned Us into Obedient Sheep?
- Should Parents Take Over Failing Schools?
- When Radical Teachers Occupy the Department of Education
- Can the Left and Right Find Common Ground on Common Core and High-Stakes Testing?
- Arming Teachers in Schools
- What is the Cultural Profile for the Class of 2017?
- Shelter-in-Place: This Generation’s Duck-and-Cover
- Weeping, Confession, and Hugs Replace Reading, Writing, and Math at School
- 10 Terrible Common Core Homework Assignments
- Should Colleges Have Parent-Teacher Conferences?
- Are We Getting Carried Away With Common Core Curriculum Phobia?
- 10 Things Your Kids May Never Read Because Common Core Neglects Cursive
- How Parents Are Winning the Common Core Debate
- Common Core: As Untested as the U.S. Speed Skating Suits
- How Can Parents Fight Back Against Federal Bleacher Bullies?
- Ohio Lawmakers Hold Common Core Repeal Hearings
- Terrorist-Supporting Kent State Professor’s Incendiary, Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts
- More Outrage at Kent State About a Sweatshirt Than a Terrorist Sympathizing Professor
- Think You Could Never Homeschool?
- Ohio Gives Homeschoolers Equal Access to Sports and Other Activities
- Will Your Kids Grow Up to Be Weird if You Homeschool Them?
- What If All the Homeschoolers Suddenly Enrolled in Public School?
- 7 Objections to Homeschooling Teens
- How Common Core is Coming to Homeschoolers
- Are Elite Colleges and Universities Discriminating Against Homeschoolers?
- 4 Secrets from the Hidden World of Homeschoolers
- Does Homeschooling Reduce Opportunities for Women in the Workplace?
- An Open Letter to Grandparents of Homeschooled Kids
- Ohio Lawmakers Want Social Workers to Have Veto Power Over Decision to Homeschool
- UPDATE: Controversial Ohio Homeschool Bill Withdrawn After Grassroots Tsunami Opposes
- German Homeschooling Family Can Stay in U.S.
- Do Homeschoolers ‘Rob’ Public Schools of Tax Dollars?
- Strong Religious Beliefs Can Shape How Women View Homeschooling
- 5 Pro Tips for Homeschoolers
- The Top 10 Reasons to Join a Homeschool Co-op
- The Top 10 Reasons to Avoid a Homeschool Co-Op
- Homeschooling Family Ordered to Follow Common Core Curriculum
Family and Parenting
- 4 Benefits of Marrying Young
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Your College Kid Home for Christmas)
- Raising Boys Who Grow Up to Be Men Who Go to Combat With Women
- 5 Busybodies Who Want to Parent Your Kids
- Stay-at-Home Moms: Will Your Kids Judge You for Choosing Them Over a Career?
- Small-Town Values and Two-Parent Families
- 7 Quick Tips for Parents of New College Students
- The 5 Best American Historical Fiction Books to Read Aloud to Your Kids
- What We Taught Our Boys About Girls Like Miley Cyrus
- Was Bad Parenting to Blame for the Sandy Hook Massacre?
- Is Your Child a Stealth Dyslexic?
- I Agree With Camille Paglia on This Kind of Family Planning for Teens
- Implementing Andrew McCarthy’s Proposed Compromise on the Marriage Question
- How Do You Survive When Your World Shatters?
- How Did We Survive Childhood Before the ’90s Safety Nannies Came Along?
- How I Evolved on Guns During the #BostonPoliceScanner Manhunt
- Evolving on Guns: Considering the Morality of Gun Ownership Now That I Refuse to Be a Victim
- Evolving on Guns: My First Foray into Gun Culture
- How to Commit Voter Fraud in Ohio
- It’s the Gas Prices, Stupid
- Will We See a Florida Recount Rematch in Ohio?
- Does Obama Have the Stronger Ground Game in Ohio?
- Ohio: Somali Voters, ACORN Tactics, and Voter Fraud Allegations
- Ohio Post-Mortem: Glitz, Gimmicks, Sleight-of-Hand, and Witnessing Fraud
- Is Ohio Governor John Kasich the Chris Christie of the Midwest?
- Cleveland House of Horrors: Should Somebody Have Done Something?
- Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Sentenced to 1000 Years, Blames Victims
- Cleveland House of Horrors Demolished
- Ohio’s Ashland University Slashes Tuition by $10,000
- Ohio Paper Can’t Find a Single Person to Argue Against Legalizing Pot… Really??
- The Top 10 Things to Do in Cleveland
- Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes ‘Win Tax’ for Cleveland Sports Teams
- Federal Judge Orders Ohio to Restore Early Voting on 3 Days Before Election Day
- Conflicted About LeBron’s Return to Cleveland
- Ohio Teachers Threaten to Strike Over Being Forced into Obamacare Exchanges
- Cleveland School Dumps FLOTUS Lunches for Chipotle-Style Burritos and Clam Chowder
- Cleveland VA Still Mired in Huge Backlogs
- Hundreds of Drive-In Theaters May Close Permanently at End of Season
- The 1970s Culture Clash in 2 Songs
- 10 Modern Technologies We Lived Without in Primitive, Pre-Millennial America
- 5 Memories That Will Make You Nostalgic for the 1970s
- The 10 Most Terrifying Public Service Announcements from the 1970s
- The 10 Most Essential Women’s Shoes in the 1970s
- Whatever Happened to Our Top 10 Favorite Tiger Beat Cover Boys From the 1970s?
- 10 Comic Book Ads That Destroyed Your Faith in Humanity Before You Hit Puberty
Life Advice and Reflections
- Baseball: The Last Refuge from What Divides Us
- On September 11, Another Pilot Died in His Seat
- 9/11 as the Chilling Details Unfolded Online
- Things We Take for Granted
- Get Off the Phone!
- 5 Reasons To Remain Optimistic That We Haven’t Lost America Yet
- 5 Things to Grab When You Hear the Tornado Sirens
- The Sacrifice of One
- 10 Surprisingly Unconventional Uses for Your Crock-Pot
- Christian Churches Occupied, Shia Mosques Destroyed, Nuns and Orphans Kidnapped in Iraq
- Marco Rubio and the Progressive Atheist Orthodoxy
- Dear Sister Wives Star Kody Brown: Love Should Be Exclusive, not Divided
- The (g)odless Inaugural Prayer
- Is a Spiritual Revolution the Missing Link in Our Quest for a Political Revolution?
- New Great Awakening: Should Pastors and Churches Be Involved in Politics?
- New Great Awakening: America Is Not a Christian Nation
- New Great Awakening: Does God Promise to Heal Our Land If We Pray?
- New Great Awakening: When Politicians Speak for God
- The Atheist Who Silenced the Astronaut
- What Would Dietrich Bonhoeffer Say to Anthony Weiner?
- Fal$e Teacher$ — Christian Rapper Shames Prosperity Preachers
- Is Your Church Too Old — Or Too Young?
- Why Liberals Hate Tim Tebow
- Should Christian Parents Send their Children to Public Schools?
- Will the Tolerance Agenda Destroy Christian Higher Education?
- A Model of Interfaith Dialogue: A Southern Baptist at Brigham Young University
- How about Celebrating Reformation Day instead of Halloween?
- At Least We Don’t Have Marauding Hippos in the Streets of America
- Right This Very Minute Someone Is Being Tortured
- Peace with God Amid Christmas Chaos
- Thanks to Our Atheist, Agnostic, and Liberal Friends for Their Help in the Liberty Wars
- Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?
- The Resurgence of God in Academia
- Will Christianity Survive the Sexual Revolution?
- Is Heaven Is for Real… Real?
- British PM David Cameron Emphasizes the Importance of Christianity in Society
- Where Was Jesus on Saturday Between His Death and Resurrection?
- Have You Done Enough for God This Easter?
- A Moment of Prayer on the Campaign Trail
- Sarah Palin: ‘Waterboarding Is How We Baptize Terrorists’
- 10 Quotes on Faith and Freedom from Eric Metaxas’ Hillsdale Commencement Address
- The Left’s Anti-Christian Bigotry Strategy 2.0
- Jesuit Priest Abducted in Afghanistan
- Extreme Makeover: Planned Parenthood Edition
- 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers
- Can This Powerful Song Change the Hearts of Abortion Supporters?
- Blood on Humanitarian Icon Mandela’s Hands
- The 3 Deadliest Words in the World: ‘It’s a Girl’
- What Happens to America’s Aborted Babies?
- Is It True That 50 Years Ago Christians Didn’t Care About Abortion?
- Obama’s America: Abortion Deserts Across the Country
- Ohio Cracks Down on Unsafe Abortion Clinics
- 5 Covert Conservative Lessons in Downton Abbey
- Best Moments from the Season Premier of Duck Dynasty
- Who Are You to Judge Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson?
- The Touching Asperger’s Storyline on Parenthood
- Why We Will Miss Downton Abbey
- 10 Ladies’ Room Rules That Will Keep Other Women from Hating You
- The 10 Dumbest Fireworks Fails
- The 10 Most Amazing Pet Home Birth Videos
- 11 Curious Spurious Correlations
Activism and Ideology
I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.
“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.
“No, not really.”
“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”
“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.
She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”
Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”
She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.
And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.
Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.
Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?
Sure, you know how to write an assertive cover letter and you have a wardrobe of freshly pressed black and navy blue suits. But, just because you’re doing everything the manual tells you doesn’t mean you aren’t going to make a mistake in your job search. From my other life working in human resources, I give you the ten best mistakes applicants have made in pursuit of a job.
10. Want to include the fact that you taught an adult education course on photography on your resume? Don’t dub yourself “Adult Photography Instructor.”
Language matters. In the age of social media and Google, applicants should understand that lying on their resume isn’t an option. Just be sure you aren’t getting so creative with your wording that you make yourself sound more qualified for porn than a professional environment.
I recently wrote about the top 10 reasons to join a homeschool co-op, where I discussed many of the positive aspects of joining with other families in a collaborative effort to educate your children. But like most good things, there can be drawbacks and parents need to consider both sides of the equation before signing up for a co-op.
Here Are the Top 10 Reasons to Avoid a Homeschool Co-Op:
15. Everything you know about the social stratosphere is wrong…
College is nothing like high school. You understand this in theory, but have never experienced the kind of social freedom you will in college. There are no cliques. There is no lunch table. Welcome to the world of being an adult. For the first couple of weeks you’ll attend pre-arranged mixers, usually orientation events or annoying team-building activities your RA spent all summer training to lead. These awkward moments are helpful for one reason: Discovering who has a car. As a freshman, be aware that the parties you crash at frat houses aren’t for making friends, they’re for getting drunk and hooking up. You’ve been warned.
You’ve come a long way, baby — and then gone all the way back and then some.
Ashe Schow writes in the Wash Ex about the fallout from the campus sexual assault hysteria:
Thanks to an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses – mostly due to an overblown statistic claiming 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – young college men are starting to rethink how they talk to women.
At first glance that might seem like a good thing – men learning to be more respectful of women and not be so rapey – but that’s not what this is.
This is about men actually avoiding contact with women because they’re afraid a simple kiss or date could lead to a sexual assault accusation.
Bloomberg reporters John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane interviewed multiple men from colleges like Harvard and Stanford who expressed concern over what was once known as a “hook-up culture” but is now labeled by feminists as “rape culture.” The change in terminology ensures that all responsibility is placed on men, just because of their gender.
Take Malik Gill of Harvard University, who said he wouldn’t even give a female classmate a beer.
“I don’t want to look like a predator,” Gill told Bloomberg. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”….
As I’ve written before, women used to demand to be treated as equals; now they demand to be treated like eggshells.
Count me out.
Yeah, me too. We will keep hearing the question from women, “where have all the good men gone?” as they live in their cocoons, never understanding that the guys went on strike a while back and many have left for good. Are college women to blame for this? Yes, because as Martin Luther King says: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If college women do not understand the injustices they are witnessing against men in our colleges today and strive to help, then they are part of the problem. They reap what they sow.
Image via shutterstock / auremar
Now that we’re quickly approaching the end of summer, many homeschooling families are making decisions about how they plan to educate their children over the coming months. In the early years of the homeschooling movement there were few options for parents. While many families belonged to support groups and there were plenty of books and magazines that offered information and support, most families handled the actual homeschooling duties completely on their own.
These days, there are countless options for families that desire to reach outside of their individual homes for educational options. There are online classes, community classes and activities, early college options, and a wide range of athletic and extracurricular activities. Perhaps the most significant change in the homeschooling movement has been the development of homeschool co-ops. Ranging from informal playgroups to formal classes that resemble private schools, co-ops offer a variety of opportunities for families wishing to expand learning opportunities for their children.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Join a Homeschool Co-op:
As a Gen-X/millennial crossover, I was fortunate enough to first meet Robin Williams as Mork from Ork on the sitcom Mork and Mindy. A comedic powerhouse, Mork’s colorful wardrobe and loud laugh were the first things I imitated as a child. As I grew up, I would look back and realize the many character lessons I learned at home were reinforced by a supremely acted alien outsider with a predilection for sitting on his head. In virtually every role he played, Robin Williams taught his audience a life lesson. As a young kid there was no one more fun to hang around with and learn from on TV than Mork from Ork.
10. Old people rule.
Mork marvels at the way the elderly are ignored and maligned on earth. On Ork, old folks are revered as the wise, experienced ones to learn from. “The Elder” is called on to remind Mork of his Orkishness. His was an early lesson in the importance of respect and reverence for the elders in your life and how very important all people are, no matter and, perhaps, especially because of their age.
11. Wonder Woman
Her fresh, All-American face premiered on comic book stands during World War II, making her the greatest enemy of the Axis powers. Daughters of original readers would go on to be inspired by Lynda Carter’s televisual portrayal of the superheroine in the 1970s. The Wonder Woman arsenal includes a dual-function tiara with bracelets to match and the awesome Lasso of Truth. Before there was Lara Croft or a chick named Buffy, Wonder Woman proved that strength could be sexy and gave Captain America a run for his patriotism with her flag-bearing style.
13. Bess Myerson
Recognizing a woman who appears to have parlayed her Miss America recognition into a minor-league acting gig may not seem logical, until you realize that Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, paved an uphill path for diversity in the pageant circuit. She was told by one Miss America exec that she ought to change her name to something “more gentile” and refused. Pageant sponsors refused to hire her as a spokeswoman and certain sites with racial restrictions refused to have her visit as Miss America. This was of no consequence to Miss Myerson, who was the first Miss America to win an academic scholarship. The racism she confronted was motivation for a lifetime’s work with organizations like the ADL, NAACP, and Urban League. She would go on to co-found The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and make boundless contributions to the city’s art community. Along with becoming a television personality, Myerson received several presidential appointments in the 1960s and ’70s and would receive two honorary doctorates.
thumbnail illustration via shutterstock / michaeljung
Homeschooling can be the greatest, most rewarding experience of your life. It can also be the most stressful. Here are some pro tips that can help you to keep things in perspective:
1. The World Is Your School
While it’s tempting to think that “seat time” is synonymous with education, traditional academic work is not the only way that children learn. A lot of what our kids learned about science—especially in the early years—they learned in backyard puddles, in the garden, and on hikes in the woods. They learned about agriculture at a corn maze that taught the kids about local farming with a clever scavenger hunt. One son even learned the locations of all the states when the results of the 2000 election were coming in and he faithfully colored the red and blue states as the returns were announced on TV. All of us learned about exotic cultures half a world away when missionary families that were home on furlough visited our home. Every trip to the grocery store, the veterinarian, and the pediatrician can be a learning experience if you approach life with curiosity and a sense of adventure and teach your children to do likewise.
Come see the violence inherent in Seussianism:
Dr. Seuss is safe at the Toronto Public Library — at least for the time being.
But one of his books was targeted for banning. A letter of complaint filed in March with the facility petitioned for the removal of all copies of the 1963 book penned by Dr. Seuss, “Hop on Pop,” United Press International reported. Why?
It promotes violence, the letter of complaint read.
Hop on Pop also encourages innocent youth to bite tigers’ tails, suffocate fish in trees, and to crush mice with houses.
The Introduction to Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…
Part 1: The Mask of Marxism
Part 3: Who Needs a Brain?
Part 4: Are Conservatives Cowards?
“The August 1991 coup in Moscow collapsed three days after it had started, providing the ultimate, ironic proof that nothing, not even a coup, could succeed any more in a society whose vital arteries had been calcified by 70 years of disinformation and dismal feudalism. The main loser was the Communist Party.”
– Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
Both the Democrat and Republican parties have been disinformed by Marxism. The Liberal wing of the Democrat Party has been duped into putting their faith in Marxism’s many forms (socialism, economic determinism, progressivism), while the Republican Party has legitimized Marxism as a form of party politics instead of a murderous, atheistic religion that empowers despots. The Conservative movement, by and large, is slow to recognize Marxism’s true nature, because we are a nation that has been drugged by Disinformation. Pacepa continues:
At the end of the 2001 summit meeting held in Slovenia, President George W. Bush said: “I looked the man [Putin] in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.” Unfortunately, even President Bush was deceived by disinformation. Putin consolidated Russia into an intelligence dictatorship, not a democracy. During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. Under Putin, the KGB, rechristened the FSB, is the state. Three years after Putin enthroned himself in the Kremlin, some 6,000 former officers of the KGB—that organization responsible for having slaughtered at least 20 million people in the Soviet Union alone—were running Russia’s federal and local governments.
…Is it too far-fetched to suggest that this new Russia calls up the hypothetical image of a postwar Germany being run by former Gestapo officers, who reinstate Hitler’s “Deutschland Über Alles” as national anthem, call the demise of Nazi Germany a “national tragedy on an enormous scale,” and invade a neighboring country, perhaps Poland, the way Hitler set off World War II?
That is the secret power of disinformation.
Pacepa share these thoughts with me mere weeks before the Ukranian revolution and secession of the Crimea to Putin’s Russia. Disinformation is wielding its power on the American homefront as well. In his critique of Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, David Brooks embraces Piketty’s idea of a tax on the wealthy’s investment capital in order to create intellectual equality among the classes:
Think of how much more affordable fine art would be. Think of how much more equal the upper class would be.
His musings aren’t that far off from those of Russian intellectuals, who are “making do” with their government’s clampdown on free media and the right to protest. In exchange for their rights, these Russians whose intellectual arteries have been “calcified by disinformation” are being doted upon by their increasingly despotic government:
All sorts of entertainment is being lavished on Russia’s hipsters. Their favorite public parks have splashy, beautifully designed restaurants and clubs, comfortable biking areas and luxurious places to chill. Sanctions or not, Fedoseyev’s friends can still dine out at restaurants full of expats, take shopping trips to Milan, or buy their electronic gadgets online. Fashion Week this weekend was another party blooming with charming models and celebrities; the usual hipsters clubs, Solianka, Simachev, Oldich Dress and Drink or Strelka, felt as cuddly and crowded as ever.
To paraphrase Brooks, it would seem that the fine art is quite affordable in Russia these days. Like junkies seeking a quick fix, Russian intellectuals pursue disinformation at the expense of their freedom. Is Brooks suggesting we do the same, or have we already succumbed to the addiction? In either case, what we need to know now is: What is the antidote to disinformation?
“You need to have a good mood. Good family, good children, good work, and then you’ll be happy,” he added. “You need to be a sociable person. I love and respect all people. After what happened to me, I don’t only value my own life more, but I deeply value the lives of all human beings. It’s very important to have good company and good friends. I view everything with optimism, it’s very important.”
As a grandchild of a survivor, I’ve always had a special interest in Holocaust studies. I have read many memoirs and attended numerous classes on the subject. But, from the very first class in a small Israeli school in the suburbs of Afula, to the courses I attended in a large North American university — I had always felt that something I had learned from my Grandfather was missing from these lectures.
For years, I had trouble pinning down that missing piece. It frightens me that my grandfather’s gift may have been lost all together: No one would have known that there once lived a man named Srulik Ackerman, who challenged our understanding of human nature, and with that, could bring hope in even the darkest of times.
…after just a few minutes with my Grandpa you would see the mystery that had perplexed me for so many years. The first thing that would strike you would be his wide, welcoming smile. Grandpa smiled and laughed more than anyone I knew. He took every opportunity to tell jokes and bring joy to others. Without a doubt, Grandpa was the happiest person that I had ever met.
How was that possible? I spent two years writing his memoir, hoping to discover his secret. But, even after the book was complete, I still had no idea what gave him such unparalleled resilience.
So, I decided to ask him directly. “How do stay happy on a daily basis?” I asked during one of our conversations.
Do yourself and your kids a favor: Get to know a Holocaust survivor so you, too, and your children can understand how a human being can survive and thrive in the face of death. There aren’t many survivors left, but there are countless resources through which you can interact with their thoughts and experiences. Tomorrow, the United States Holocaust Museum is sponsoring a Google+ Hangout with Holocaust survivors specifically geared towards school-aged children. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know the real “secret” to happiness.
And don’t forget to thank them for sharing it.