25 October 2013

Why I haven't been writing in 2013

Well, I am back. I have had quite a year. 

My husband was driving early in the evening last New Year's Eve, a few miles from our house, going about 45 mph. A dually pickup truck left oncoming traffic, crossed a median and oncoming traffic and hit my husband's van.

He was trapped in our van for 52 minutes before the jaws of life could get him out. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby trauma center. He sustained a punctured and lacerated left eyeball, and heavy trauma to his entire body including shearing forces on his very brain cells. He had 15 bones and sinuses broken on the left side of his face. He had broken ribs, his scapula, sternum, left hip and pelvis, left thighbone and knee, both wrists, left forearm and left upper arm shattered. He was in a drugged sedation in ICU for 3 weeks, airlifted, and in-patient rehab for a month. 

He has continued in his recovery very well. He is walking with a cane, swimming, and cooking seated by the stove. 

I couldn't help but thinking that he would certainly, certainly have died if this happened before modern trauma centers. He was on IV antibiotics for over a month. He had an intubation, tracheotomy, feeding tube, 29 bones set with plates, rods, pins, screws. Round-the-clock skilled nursing. I can't even imagine what life would've been like without painkillers this year. 

If you want to read about his recovery you can here. Just keep pushing "newer posts" and you can read it all chronologically.

But now for the new school year I've been able to take my focus off of James' injuries and turn my attention to our school again. I hope to start writing more.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

13 September 2012

Incorporating Video into Homeschool Instruction

We are doing The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Vol. 2, The Middle Ages this year.

Today I discovered YouTube Education videos. We are in chapter 3, Augustine, Monasteries, and Book making, and this video was a helpful addition.

In Science, we are studying Astronomy this semester. Over at Kahn we watched these two videos. Super!!

  Scale of Earth and Sun: Scale of Earth and Sun

  Hubble Image of Galaxies: Hubble Image of Galaxies

 I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

07 April 2012

I'm Pregnant!

Wanted to let any interested readers know that we're expecting a little boy in the middle or end of July this year! Isn't he beautiful!

Psalm 139: 13-14

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

06 February 2012

Poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, for a WTM- guided Homeschooler

Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809-1892

We read "The Beggar Maid," "O Swallow, Swallow," and "The Charge of The Light Brigade." They were nice and easily understood by my third grader. The 4 and 6 year old listened with attention. When we read poetry, I give a few clues as to what's coming, I read it, and then we verbally dissect it. We go through it stanza by stanza and figure out metaphors and vocabulary words. Then we read it again. It seems to work well.

At the Poetry Foundation, there is a thorough biography of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The Beggar Maid seems to have a lot of backstory, cinematic and literary references that we didn't go into. Learn more about King Cophetua and the rest of the story here. It was easy to understand, especially when I mentioned it was like Buttercup marrying Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride.

O Swallow, Swallow was beautiful and fun to figure out. At first we thought it was about a Confederate soldier sending love to his Northern bride, but then we realized from the stanza;

"Why lingereth she to clothe her heart with love,
Delaying as the tender ash delays
To clothe herself, when all the woods are green?"

that really he hopes she will commit her heart to him. I couldn't find when it was written, so if you know more about which North and South he's referring to, I'd love to know. Here's an ash tree leaf.

We found a lot about "The Charge of The Light Brigade," a "rousing poem, with a hypnotic beat. The thumping, rhythmic tempo, echoing the galloping hooves of the chargers, is alluring and has made this poem a popular favourite over the years, in spite of its description of a military failure." source

There are a few reasons that there is such a wealth of information on this poem, and not the others we read, including "It just happened that the first modern war reporter witnessed the charge and the leading poet of the day wrote a poem about it." This refers to British war correspondent William Russell, and of course the poet is Lord Tennyson. Of course, no mother wants to think her soldier died in vain at the hands of a poor decision, but we must remember that any soldier who dies in battle deserves our respect and admiration.

"The Charge of the Light Brigade” recalls a disastrous historical military engagement that took place during the initial phase of the Crimean War fought between Turkey and Russia (1854-56). Under the command of Lord Raglan, British forces entered the war in September 1854 to prevent the Russians from obtaining control of the important sea routes through the Dardanelles. From the beginning, the war was plagued by a series of misunderstandings and tactical blunders, one of which serves as the subject of this poem: on October 25, 1854, as the Russians were seizing guns from British soldiers, Lord Raglan sent desperate orders to his Light Cavalry Brigade to fend off the Russians. Finally, one of his orders was acted upon, and the brigade began charging—but in the wrong direction! Over 650 men rushed forward, and well over 100 died within the next few minutes. As a result of the battle, Britain lost possession of the majority of its forward defenses and the only metaled road in the area.

In the 21st century, the British involvement in the Crimean War is dismissed as an instance of military incompetence; we remember it only for the heroism displayed in it by Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse. However, for Tennyson and most of his contemporaries, the war seemed necessary and just. He wrote this poem as a celebration of the heroic soldiers in the Light Brigade who fell in service to their commander and their cause. The poem glorifies war and courage, even in cases of complete inefficiency and waste. Source

-118 men killed
-127 wounded
-60 taken prisoner

Here is a good YouTube video... A little wordy for third graders, maybe, but visually, a good way to put the scenery, uniforms, destruction and vulnerability of the horses vs cannons in their mind. It has multiple readers , with their voices overlapping, saying quotes from survivor's letters. Another option would be to play the clip with no sound and read the poem over top of the images.

Here's a link to a more fun clip from the movie "the Blind Side" where the adoptive father explains the poem using football as an analogy, which the son understands well. link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaKzps4O1aU

I'm so pleasedyou are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

18 January 2012

A New Method of Homeschooling For This Season

We have gone through some phases in the past few years of our homeschool. This is normal for all of us; we need to keep in mind that it's not only normal for our friends or neighbors, but is also ok for US.

We did intensive Well Trained Mind for a few years. Then my still little baby turned into a toddler and the preschooler started "real" schoolwork and we eased up a little. This was when my Cactus Flower was pretty prickly relationaly and we had to stop things at least a few times a week to get her re-centered. I started to feel like this guy:

Then we became involved in a local homeschool group, and the kids made friends and joined clubs. That was only a day a week, so we dropped our "off day" and substituted club/park day. In theory.

Now all the kids are bigger and older and smarter and not napping, not getting into stuff as much, but the converse side of that coin is they are more sneaky and try to shirk schoolwork more often.

I was in the wrong line when homeschool kids were issued. I meant to get into the "motivated and self-starters, diligent without training" line but I seem to have received a set of kids from the "start after whining and dash away when mom warms her coffee" line. When we get a great day of schoolwork done, I feel like this salesgirl from a Norman Rockwell:

Anywho, I hesitate to label the phase we are in now as "plodding along" but that's what fits. We keep going. There aren't any magical projects or impressive visuals to show for it, but that goes with plodding. So we are going along. Doing the next thing. Checking off the next subject. You did science yesterday; today we're reading for History. How many seconds did you shave off your math drill's best time?

So onward and upward we go. They keep getting older, and they surprise me now and then.

-Lily did an entire math worksheet joyfully with counting bears. (They were coming and going out of the "house" to visit their grandma bear, depending if it was an "add" or a "take-away.")
-Jackson is reading "The Call of the Wild" and not enjoying it! What is that about?!

-Claire is interested in spelling words correctly (what?!) because she is on chapter five of a book she's writing, about a girl named Lola who moves from Tennessee to Texas.

-Nathan is recognizing "N" everywhere. He loves New Balance shoes for this reason. Instead of being sad because I compare what my firstborn was doing at his age, I am excited that he knows what his name starts with.

- I am more and more often leaving the housework for AFTER the schoolwork is done. I can't find who said it, but I love the quote "If you want to come see my house, call and make an appointment. If you'd like to come see us, come on over."

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

12 January 2012

That Spark From Learning to READ!

My stubborn, smart, sassy, sharp little girl- six last November- read three board books with me this evening.

(sigh of contentment)

Here we are working on a math worksheet soon after her birthday. It was a really big deal for her to do it with me- she brought the worksheet to me, and allowed me to deign to show her how to slide the counting blocks from one side of the blanket to the other as she worked out the problems.

She will walk out of the room when I suggest doing schoolwork. She even will be enjoying reading or cooking with me, and when I throw in something educational, she will abandon a fun activity in order to avoid learning formally.

Her nickname is Cactus Flower- be wary, she can be prickly.

So last week I was sitting in my chair with the four year old playing an ABC game on my phone together. It was pretty basic-  there'd be "C_T" with a cat head and of course he's supposed to choose the A in the corner. Then, if he's right, the cat gets on a skateboard and you have to choose the first letter to the same word- there are four helmets with letters on them, and he's supposed to choose the helmet with the "C" on it.

Well he and I were doing it, I was sounding everything out and telling him all the answers and she was looking over our shoulders. But, of course, not getting involved, no matter how fun it was, because it was learning. But I was watching her. She was up on her toes, leaning in toward the phone, and I could see her trying to sound out the words with her cute little poochy lips. And she'd get grumpy when he got to touch the screen- wasn't she not playing?

Then tonight she was sounding out the words, and I grabbed her by the hand, pumped it up and down and pretended to be a reporter- "Wow, ma'am, that was amazing! Where'dya learn to read like that!! Call the papers! Get on the phones! Put it on the internet! Glad to meet ya! What a reader!" in my fastest most greasy fast-talking reporter-from-the-movies voice, and she just ate it right up.

First we read "Up, Up in the Sky" and then "On your Potty!" and last "The Best Ride." Silly board books from our baby book bin. Of course, she jumped ahead a few times with what she knew it said, and she shot daggers at her brother when he threw out a phrase (he had just had it read to him) correctly, but she really did sound out the words and stick the sounds together into words.

She was really proud of herself, and our last page dissolved into a tickle fest.

I'm so excited.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

05 December 2011

Why I don't Like Moon Sand

Look at those kids! Playing happily with their Moon Sand. Some loving adult invested their money in a battery-free toy for these lucky kids. Aw. How excited they are to mold and shape it. See how they haven't spilled it. None appears to be outside the confines of their little Moon Sand Mat. How idyllic. Hm.

I really dislike Moon Sand. There's a reason for that. I did get some. We used it alot. I didn't throw it out or give it away. By that I mean I didn't actively maliciously by accident throw it in the trash can or Goodwill box. I did, however, sweep it up molecule by molecule off the floor and table and my socks until it was pretty much gone. No, I am wrong. There was quite a bit stuck impenetrably in the crevices and corners of the molding shapes that came with the kit.

It sorta sticks to itself. It sorta sticks to the table. It likes to stick to damp little children's  paws  hands. It also sorta doesn't like to stick to itself and the precious little buildings and creatures you attempt to make seem to slowly melt. Ugh. Ok, I'm done.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear 

03 December 2011

Spanish Goals For the Kids

I've added some new activities to our Spanish lessons. Don't get excited- our lessons aren't very structured. I know Spanish well and like languages so I'm not sticking to some sort of curriculum. You can see my other post on basic instruction.

I really like the First Thousand Words in Spanish series. They have a lot of languages available to choose from. The pictures are friendly, detailed and clear. The book is big enough to share comfortably and I figured out a new way to use it.

We play "I spy" with it. I say "Yo veo..." and I point to the picture around the perimeter. Then the kids look for that picture in the drawing and when they find it, they say "Yo veo___." Sometimes I pantomime clues (I stood up today and did the pee-pee dance, saying "Donde esta el bano?!" very dramatically. That's what kind of mom I am; might not work for you!) Another time I said "El gato dice "Meow" to give them a clue when I didn't have the picture in the perimeter to point to.

Another way you could stretch this book is by studying the colors and then doing a color search on any given page. Or counting (in Spanish) how many girls are on a page, etc.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

30 November 2011

Travel Toys to Defeat Boredom at Home

We just got back from a loong roadtrip the week of Thanksgiving. It was extended by three nights in Tennessee when the transmission died and we had to get it replaced. We spent 4 days in a hotel. We watched TV (ooh! The History Channel's "History of Cans!") Who could resist?!!), swam in the indoor pool literally three times a day, and ordered pizza and sandwiches for dinner every night. Thank God for continental breakfasts at hotels!!

When there was nothing appropriate on TV we were a bit strapped for activities. We did a load of wash. We rode the elevator. We got hot cocoa in the lobby. We hopped the first-floor balcony and played in the field behind the hotel. I had one stash of unread books in the exterior pocket of the suitcase. We wrote our postcards. I cleaned out my cell phonebook.

But there are many things you can carry with you that take up very little room that are ideal for many situations. For instance, you might be waiting all morning at the doctor's office. You might be at a layover between flights. Or the power could have gone out because of a hurricane or ice storm.

Until December 12 Rainbow Resource Center has free shipping on anything from the Holiday and Toy catalog. I set up the link to open in the toy department. No Problemo.

Woo Hoo!! Did you hear that?! Free shipping on orders over $25 until  Dec 12th!!

Many of the following items I like are from Rainbow Resource Center:
  1. a shoebox of dominoes and a book of domino games
  2. a peanut butter jar of GeoMags- magnetic rods with steel balls
  3. some abridged Cranium games- they're in small sturdy boxes
  4. Wikki Stix- silent, pliable, non-melting or staining wax sticks
  5. scrabble tiles in a portable banana-shaped bag
  6. don't forget standbys like paper and pencils!
My son can be entertained for long periods of time with his knot-tying book and a shoelace. My daughters enjoy using a modern, more durable version of paper dolls- but they have magnetic clothes. My MIL gave the kids some king-size sheets to build forts with. Many of our homeschool math manipulatives can be used to entertain them for a long time- such as pattern blocks and tangrams.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

28 November 2011

Single-Celled Organisms Resources for Homeschoolers

I love biology and microscopes, cellular biology, in particular. I wrote a post detailing our microscope purchase. I wanted to let you follow this link (Teachers' Domain) to a short Quicktime video about single-celled organisms.

I had recently seen a great short animated video showing the bustling activity in a cell that I wanted to share with you. David Bolinsky, a medical animator, said that cells are the "envy of nanotechnologists" in their abilities and irreducible wonder. The video doesn't have any voice-over, but would be nice to play while you turn off the music and read to your kids about the complexity of the cell and how amazing it is that God created it so well, to behave so efficiently.

Here's a Discovery Channel video showing (with narration) the DNA replication and formation of a protein.

04 June 2011

Rhett and Link's Homeschoolers Song!

How have I not posted this yet?! I love Rhett and Link's songs... local commercials and YouTube videos... click here to see all the videos I've posted... a ditty to coffee and more Rhett and Link!

There's a ton of great articles here at Higher Education to help you in your homeschooling journey, whether or not you use the Classical method. Enjoy!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

10 May 2011

"Weekly Intensives"

Last month and this week we are trying a semi-break approach to school.

A while back we did a week-long focus on grammar. Each day we tackled a couple of parts of speech.

This week we are tackling geography. Five times over the course of the day I called my son or daughter to me and we went through the continent of South America. We have a nice sturdy puzzle of the continent, and to start out with we'd take all the pieces out. At first, I talked the most as they put it back together. As the day wore on, they did all the talking and I was surprised how quickly they learned the info when that's all we did.

Here are the points we covered for South America:
  1. Columbia is the link country between Central and South America.
  2. Brazil is the largest country.
  3. In Brazil they speak Portuguese.
  4. All the rest of the countries speak Spanish.
  5. The Amazon River is in the top third of Brazil.
  6. Bolivia is landlocked.
  7. Paraguay is landlocked.
  8. Chile is the long thin one.
  9. The Andes run between Chile and Argentina.
  10. Peru has famous ruins built by the Incans.
  11. The Galapagos Islands are where the old land turtles live.
  12. Antarctica is south of South America.
  13. the Equator is (this) line.
  14. The Atlantic is to the East.
  15. the Pacific is to the West.
No big crazy list, but the top points for now. Next we're doing Africa, then Europe/western Europe, then the far east, and last north America (to include the 50 states).

What do you do for geography? I've heard of some memory trick books that use music, imaginative pictures of what countries are shaped like, etc, but haven't used any myself.

Here are some online map quizzes, some have downloadable blank maps to print.

Sheppard Geography games- good for fast internet
Owl & Mouse Geography games- click and drag
the one I like best is "test your geography knowledge"

Here's Rainbow Resource's maps... awesome...

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

25 April 2011

5 Reasons to Join Homeschooling Legal Defense Associations

Here is a guest post listing some reasons why to join an association that defends your right to homeschool. Don't forget to ask your local homeschool group about defense groups in your state. Enjoy!

Many homeschoolers take for granted the right to teach our children ourselves. Many of us don’t know much about our legal option, or we don’t feel comfortable spending money for legal defense in that off chance someone knocks on the door to conduct an unwarranted search through the home. Besides, who has money to throw around these days?

What many people don’t know, however, is that associations like HSLDA (Home Schooling Legal Defense Association) can protect our rights to homeschool our kids. Answering services provide attorneys for any emergency situation; they don’t have business hours and can come to your aid 24/7.

Even if they can’t protect everyone, HSLDA has come to the aid of thousands of members and nonmembers when, despite what we call the off chance, someone did come knocking. Here are five reasons to join a legal defense association to protect your home, your children, and your rights.

Money is a genuine concern. Fortunately, most legal defense associations cost less than it would cost any of us to get a good attorney anywhere. HSLDA charges a paltry $115 annually. If you qualify for a group discount, such as through the Christian Liberty Academy School System (CLASS), you may pay as little as $8 a month. If you’re in California, the California Home Educators Legal Defense (CHELD) charges only an annual $25 a family.

Many associations keep you up to date with homeschooing news, resources, links, and analysis of relevant issues. No need to go Googling, anymore; it’s all in one place.

If your child or children are having problems, associations like HSLDA have special needs coordinators who can counsel members and supply you with helpful materials.

If you’re interested in homeschooling your child or children through high school, these associations can help you along the way. They not only keep the option to homeschool through high school legal, they offer members advice, resources, and plenty of support to make sure you and your children thrive.

Don’t just use your right to home school—stand up for and support it. The fee helps your defense association come to the aid of others like you. They might even help you one day.
If joining a homeschooling defense association still seems extreme, parents will at least benefit by familiarizing themselves with state homeschool laws.

Indeed, knowledge is power, and Homeschooling is Legal provides parents with a hub of relative information.

Guest Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching law scholarships as well as law school loans. Whenever she gets some free time, she enjoys watching a funny movie or curling up with a good book.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

23 April 2011

Now, let's (try to) stay on task!

If the following sounds familiar to your homeschool (as well as mine!), you should check out the entire article at Simply Charlotte Mason. I get their emails- not too frequently, they definitely don't bombard your inbox- and they are just wonderful.

Mom took a deep breath and began to read aloud:

I wonder how many of my readers have ever sat upon an ottoman. If you have, you know that it . . .

“What’s an ottoman, Mom?” six-year-old Stacy interrupted.

“If you listen, it will explain . . . ” Mom began.

“It sounds like a super hero: Otto-Man!” eight-year-old Nathan chimed in with a grin.

“I wonder what his super power would be?” Stacy added. “Maybe he would . . . ”

“Let’s get back to the story and see what an ottoman really is,” directed Mom, and she picked up where she had left off.

. . . you know that it is a soft, round, tufted stool, comfortable for resting your feet, especially a father’s feet after a long day spent hard at work. . . .

“Dad doesn’t put his feet up after he gets home from work,” mentioned Nathan.

“It sounds something like a footstool,” said Stacy. “Why don’t they just say ‘footstool’?”

“What time is Dad getting home tonight, anyway?” asked Nathan.

Mom plowed ahead.

. . . I fancy you may wonder how it got such a funny name. Well, when . . .

“I didn’t say it was a funny name,” explained Stacy. “I just wondered why they didn’t use the name ‘footstool.’ After all, that’s what it is, and . . . ”

Mom tried to redirect focus.

. . . when the furniture maker began making this new kind of footstool . . .

“There you go,” interjected Nathan. “They just said it was a footstool.”

“Oh, good,” replied Stacy. “But I still wonder why they didn’t just say that in the first place. Why did they call it an ottoman?”

“You are about to find out,” sighed Mother, “if you will just listen.”

. . . he called it an “ottoman” because its shape reminded him of the round hats worn by officials in the Ottoman Empire. . . .

“Sailors wear round hats too,” added Stacy.

Mom shut the book.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

21 April 2011

When Spitting on Mommy is OK

"Say it, don't spray it" poorly translated?

Today my five-year-old and I worked on pronunciation. She had practiced writing "Nathan," her brother's name, and then writing "th" a few times to get the pair in her little brain.

"They're partners," I told her, telling her how to mark the space between the pairs of letters on the page with her left forefinger. "They have to stand together."

She's always says "sanks" instead of "thanks" and "fink" instead of "think" so we practiced a while on placing her tongue under her teeth to make the /th sound. I was a little surprised to see that if I gently held her top and bottom lip still she could still say "Nathan" perfectly. This was helpful because she wanted to use her bottom lip to say the /f sound.

I could see that she had to think about where to put her tongue. She obviously had a habit of forming it with the /s or /f sound instead. She was actually pretty excited to be rewarded with praise and clapping for something as elementary as saying a word right.

Just in case you were having similar problems at your house, I ran out of words with /th pretty quickly after "the" and "thimble." "Nathan" seemed to be an extra challenge because the /th ws in the middle of the word. (plus Nathan was getting frustrated at us saying his name so many times!) So here's a tiny list: thin, think, that, then, thumb, thank, Thanksgiving, Thursday.

My son was sent to a speech therapist a few years ago. It was through Easter Seals. She quizzed him and said he was super intelligent- of course- and actually cut a few quizzes short because he nailed them so well. Anyway, she said he needed help with /th and /r. She gave me a five-second tutorial on how to tutor him on pronouncing the words right, but I figured just saying them right myself gives me a clue.... we didn't take him in for "therapy." I'm sure there's a time and place for it, definitely. But he was young, and my husband said he said the same things at that age. So we've let it sit, and today, he came up and told this to Lily as she spit "th's" at me (literally):

"Lily, pretend you're going to bite your tongue, but at the last second, pull it back!"

Here's a great article on Teaching Pronunciation. It has a lot of links at the bottom.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

27 February 2011


I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

25 February 2011

Homeschool Yahoo Groups

I wanted to give props to my local Yahoo! group... it's called Round Rock HOME (homeschoolers offering Moms encouragement) and I have been a part of it for 2 years. Last year, 2009-2010, I went as a guest with a friend on the first night of the year- a good meeting to go to. I got the introduction/explanation all up front instead of sporadically through the year.

They do park days each week, rotating around the local parks. They have a "not back to school party" and a welcome summer/field day. They have a party on the major holidays and service projects and field trips throughout the year. This year they're organizing a camping trip too!

But the second best part of the group is the Yahoo! site itself. It's like a forum where everyone gets the messages and can respond, and all the responses are visible to everyone. Or you can look in the database and contact just the one person you need. What's great about it is that not only can we plan field trips, we can ask developmental questions, curriculum advice, share school tips, links and articles, or ask for and receive encouragement. I love to see the responses when someone cries out in frustration and gets an inbox-full of love and assistance.

The most best part is the ladies and families I have gotten to know. It's so nice to hang out with other families that work like mine! Other people that trust their own skills and their kids' abilities. Other women who have the same doubts and certainties that I do. Meeting strangers at the different functions and having so much in common that we laugh at the same jokes. We understand how each other's homes work, and so much more.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

13 February 2011

Microscopic Dreams!


Guess what!!

I've waited five grueling long years as my oldest has trekked up the grades until now she has neared fifth grade. So it was time- glorious time- to purchase... to get.... finally... the microscope!! Eee!

We got a good microscope that should last us all the way through high school biology. It has 4x, 10x, 40x, and 100x objectives and an LED light. I also got:

which I am really excited about getting into and reviewing for y'all. I also got a microslide viewer which is similar to a viewfinder toy, except has the look and shape of a microscope. You buy long slides with 6 images- photos of professional slides, usually in a theme. The one I got was basic histology for the human body- pretty much an example on the cellular level of each body organ. I'm hoping that the microslide viewer, at only $10.50, is a suitable distraction for the two little kids while we use the real one. The perk of this set is that the slides can be seen on the regular microscope.
In addition, there are nearly 50 slides to choose from, at about $8 each. I purchased 3 sets of "real" slides from Delta Science and Education. Here's a LINK to their list of slides. I got the shapes of bacteria set, the invertebrates, and the protists. Also from them I ordered "plastic depression slides." We live near a pond! So excited!

List of Rainbow Resource's microscope choices.

Here's a really helpful chart describing the differences between the microscopes Rainbow Resource sells.

(FYI, I don't get anything when you shop at Rainbow Resource. However, I love them alot and write about them with some frequency. Click HERE to read about how I wrote reviews and won cold hard Rainbow Resource cash in return, for 8 months in a row!!)

A friend of mine was so jealous/excited about my purchase that I bartered babysitting for it's use! Since her daughter was studying the Protista and Monera Kingdoms (is that the right grammar?) the slides I bought cinched the deal!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

08 December 2010

Prayer Request

I just got an email from HSLDA with terrible awful news. The Swedish family who was on the plane to emigrate to India so they could homeschool in peace- the government took their son into custody, the mom had a nervous breakdown... remember? Well the dad has been arrested. This family really needs some serious prayer cover. Thank you. Read the article here.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

10 November 2010

New School Books!!

Ah, hello. Dear readers, whom I have neglected. So sorry!

Guess what?

Remember I got the scholarship from the Homeschool Foundation? Well I made my order at the wonderful Rainbow Resource Center. (Did you know they have a wishlist feature? I was able to make my order really easily because I just moved my items from the wishlist to the cart. And the other thing I love is the feature that automatically adds up your total as you fill the cart. And, they always have free shipping after you hit $150- great since books weigh so much.)

So here's what we have coming to us next week!

"Fun" stuff for all of the Kids

Character Building for Families Vol. 1
10 Things Future Mathmtns & Scntsts Must Know
Choosing Your Way Through World’s Ancient Past
Building Spanish Vocabulary

For Jackson (2nd grade)

Galileo and the Stargazers CD
Cloud Book

For Claire's Science (4th grade)

Computer Basics
Electricity and Magnetism (Usb Understnd Sci)
Physics Rocks! CD and Activity Book
Simple Machines Gr. 4-6 (Machines & Motion)

Claire's History/ TX study

Texas History
All Around Texas: Regions and Resources
Our Government Rocks! CD and Activity Book
Story of the World Vol. 4 Activity Book
Story of the World Vol. 4: Modern Age
United States Government Chart

English/Grammar/Writing for everyone when we determine where they are

First Language Lessons for Well-Trained Mind L3 Teacher
Writing With Ease Level One Workbook
Writing With Ease Level Two Workbook
Writing With Ease Level Three Workbook

Isn't it great that our family was blessed in this way!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education!
Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

28 October 2010

The Latest News

So... been livin' in limbo lately, since Tropical Storm Hermine flooded our house the first week of September. Has it really been that long? We are still displaced and staying with my parents across town. We aren't planning on going back to that house for a variety of reasons, including ongoing unemployment. *sigh* The new laundry room is spacious and beautiful.

Also, sadly, we had to put down our "old man dog," our Boxer-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, Eli. It was sad and horrible and it's hard to imagine our life resuming normal without him. It's probably been easier on all of us since we're displaced, and he was at a friend's house for 3 weeks, but there is definitely a hole in our lives. His eulogy is here, if you're interested. I was sitting at a red light and picked a piece of lint off my sleeve. I thought about finding some Eli hairs on clothes or bedding that is packed in boxes when we finally get settled... found myself welling up with tears.

I got approved for a homeschool scholarship from the Homeschool Foundation!! I filled out an application, they sent my friend a form (to be a reference), and then they sent me a check! They asked my friend if she thought it was likely that we'd continue to homeschool, if it continued to be a challenge financially. I thought that was a good question. They also sent me a scholarship for a one-year membership to the HSLDA. This weekend I am placing my order with Rainbow Resource and I should get our new books next week!!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

05 October 2010

Prayer Request

I just got an HSLDA update that said another Swedish family has fled, this time successfully, the country in order to continue homeschooling their children. Let's pray that they can sell their home and find refuge somewhere soon.

Here's the rest of the article.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

01 October 2010

How a Classical Homeschool Education Prepares Students for College

Thanks to Olivia for her guest post. Nothing like a first-hand account!

Homeschooling your child with a classical education has many advantages, not least of which is the joy of becoming intimately involved with your child's intellectual development. However, some parents may be concerned as to how well such an education may be preparing their child to enter and excel at an institution of higher education. Having only recently graduated from
university, and having been homeschooled myself, I can say without reservation that both the education and socialization aspects of homeschooling placed me at a much greater advantage over some of my peers. Here are a few things to consider:

1. In college, students will be asked to think critically. The primary difference between a standard high school education and a successful collegiate one is that in high school, rote memorization is the prime mode of learning, whereas in college, professors expect students to be able to think critically, to analyze, and to synthesize information. A classical education prepared me for this challenge perfectly, whereas many of my peers struggled to even put together a cohesive argument on paper.

2. In college, peer pressure is even greater than it is in high school. When I was younger, I did spend a few years in the public education system, and the struggle to "fit in" among different peer groups is a very real phenomenon, one from which I was thankfully relieved once I began homeschool. In college, however, peer pressure becomes a completely different ball game, as it were. While the influence of peers can be controlled to a certain extent with students in high school, in college the absence of parents creates a mayhem of binge drinking, drugs, and casual sex. Many of these supposed rites of passage are mere status symbols, and since many students are coming from an environment in which status-chasing was the norm, they continue
these behaviors in college. With me and a few other acquaintances of mine who were also homeschooled, the temptation wasn't even there. We had no desire to enter the college peer pressure fracas simply because we didn't care about being "cool."

3. Homeschooling fosters a seriousness and respect for knowledge that gives a higher education meaning and direction. The vast majority of students I encountered in college were there to enjoy themselves. Classes became an almost inconvenient interruption to having the supposed "time of your life." I'm convinced that having been homeschooled enabled me to develop a love of learning that carried itself into my college years. I did well in college because I was excited about learning. While just about anybody can float by in college, not learn much, and still receive that diploma, many of my friends who were not as serious about their studies now deeply regret that they wasted so much time. Classically educated students, I've seen, have a much deeper respect for knowledge acquisition, and will thus take their studies more seriously.

These are just a few advantages I noted during my college years that I believe directly stemmed from my homeschooling experience. For homeschool parents who are anxious about their children's ability to do well in college, you can rest assured that a classical education--although not very common--is a much better way to prepare students for the challenges they'll face in university and later in life.

This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

14 September 2010


Tropical Storm Hermine: the story of the flooding of my house last week.

Tuesday morning it was already raining when we woke up... and it continued to rain all day, all night, and into the next day. The creek behind our house was full again, and the chickens were miserable. We put a tarp over their coop and went to bed. At 11:30, my husband and I put on our rainjackets and grabbed the flashlight and went in the back to see how the creek looked. So, it was still full. Racing by, but not overflowing the banks or anything. We headed to bed.

At 1 a.m. we jumped up because someone knocked on our door! There was no one there, so my husband "checked the perimeter," peeking out the windows and checking the locks. We went back to bed. I got up briefly at 1:30 a.m. because I thought the sprinklers had gone on. At 1:45 our computer speaker started making a popping noise and James got out of bed and his feet landed in about 3 inches of water. Soon it had doubled. We moved the four kids (ages 9, 7, 4, 2) and two of the dogs (the old dog sat on his chair the entire ordeal, barely noticing as we raced back and forth) to our bed. I put the kids scrapbooks up to higher shelves, and then moved paper-wrapped bags of wheat and rice to the top of the piano and kitchen table until the water started receding after 3 a.m. Then, my dad arrived from across town and we went with him to his house, where we are still staying.

Our house is one story and inside, the water got to about 6-7 inches. In the backyard, it was a raging, 5-6 foot deep river and in the front it was about a foot deep but really fast. When we looked across the street at our neighbor's dry yard and house, we wondered if we'd have to carry the kids over there if the water continued to rise. In the backyard, our 12 X 20 shed moved 60 feet, plowing over the chicken coop and smashing it against some trees. Then it landed on top of the disc-gold goal and stopped. Thankfully, the doors didn't open and it wasn't washed clean.

We went back "home" Wednesday morning to survey the damage. The force of water is so impressive! We didn't recognize the backyard. As we approached the shed, we saw the disc golf goal peeking out from underneath like the Wicked Witch of the East, but not before we found an intact egg. Six of our 8 chickens survived, looking more miserable and waterlogged than we had last seen them (envision those wet cat pictures on the internet).

We have been overwhelmed by the situation and the action of our church family and homeschool group. I made one call Wednesday morning at about 8:30 and had a steady outpouring of help and love all day. I think about 35 people personally helped us from the body of Christ. Our Real Life group (a new group that met for the first time last Wednesday) came by and served us as we met for the first time. Our homeschool group has been amazing. All our bedding, curtains and the clothes have been taken and washed. Then, so many people took all our books, framed art, scrapbooks, pictures and files to a friend's empty apartment (up 17 steps two times!) to be kept dry from the humidity. We have a lot of books and only lost a few shelves' worth. A man we didn't know, yet, Scott, vacuumed silty water from our house for about 6 hours. Another friend ran the show like a capable general all day because I was sort of useless and slow. Friday, Steve and 17- year old Tyler took all the heavy, wet carpet and padding out of the house. Saturday, men from the church came over and emptied my husband's shed and city workers and volunteers cleared debris and stripped the siding off the shed.

I can't explain really well the feeling you get when you see building debris, ruined furniture, and trash in your friend's and neighbor's front yards. To see front-end loaders dumping it in construction dumpsters parked beside familiar cars. To see police, firemen, church volunteers, disaster specialists, and neighbors asking how they can help and what they can do. Little kids pulling wagons loaded with cold water and sandwiches.

Michelle, Angie, Leslie, Shalanda, Kevin, BJ, Niesha, Nina, Carla, Karen, Jeff, Tina, Jessica, Christine, Christina, Sommer, Barie, Laura, Mike, Kevin, Chris, Blake- new friends I can't remember their names and all the kids who pitched in- its so many to thank. Just their presence, their words, their box of trash bags- they are so appreciated. It's not that it was a big or small task, but that they took the effort to do it for us. As the house has been manhandled in the name of drying it preventing mold, we have been figuring out what our plan is for the next few weeks... more later.

p.s. we're not even going to attempt school until next Monday!
I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

05 September 2010

HSLDA: Got Our Backs

Texas: Education Agency Audit of Public Schools

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle has caused some alarm in the Texas homeschool community. However, HSLDA believes that the Texas Education Agency is acting in an appropriate manner in combating fraud in the public schools.

The Chronicle's article of September 2, 2010, entitled "High Number of Home-Schooled Students Leads to State Audit," is a follow-up to its March 10, 2010, article regarding possible fraud in public schools. Darren Jones of HSLDA sent out an e-lert regarding that article, clarifying some of the inaccurate statements that the Chronicle had made.

In the most recent Chronicle article, the Texas Education Agency has revealed that in an attempt to combat public-school fraud, it will be conducting an audit of students who have recently withdrawn from public middle or high schools. It appears possible that some public
schools are claiming that students who are withdrawing from their school are going to be homeschooled, when the student may simply be quitting. This means that the public school would not have to report a student as a dropout.

HSLDA fully supports the Texas Education Agency's effort to make sure that public schools are accurately reporting and to make sure that state money is not misspent. However, if you or any other homeschoolers are harassed in any way by the TEA, please let us know so that we can assist you.

Darren A. Jones
Staff Attorney

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

31 August 2010

Back-to School Blues... Already?

We have been back at it for over a week now... the first 3 or 4 days were golden and beautiful. Then we had Friday, and the weekend, and here we are, practically to hump day and sort of dragging.

We are trying to focus on good attitude and attention span. The newness of my campaign seems to have worn thin already!

Math is going well, although my fourth-grader's workbook has been MIA all week and she and I are doing drills. My kindergardener is intimidated by the ABCs for some reason so we are working on numbers. I can't believe she's practically 5! Physics is going well, but I wish that our WTM- suggested book had more explanations in it. I don't want to sound like I'm winging it! But Claire's experiment sheets are turning out beautifully.

I am also very pleased with their narration and copywork/dictation skills. I explained to my son that the chapter we read is like a movie, so he needs to condense it down into a commercial or preview. That seems to work well for him. Today they all found it utterly hilarious that the Spartans were naked in his book.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

23 August 2010

Day One

My little girl, nearly 5, got up this morning and put on her favorite dress. Puffy sleeves, deep peacock blue, with flowers, buttons, and a bow in back. I put her hair to the side with a matching clip and she was all set for her first day of kindergarden. (sigh...)

First I told her how we use the dotted lines on the page. She wrote her first name, we talked about the lines, we wrote it again. I said we would also do our last name. I talked her through the 4 letters. You'd have thought that our last name was Knostantinoplesohn or something!

Meltdown! I was informed that only ABC's are kindergarden. That I would be getting a frowny-face on my paper. That she wasn't going to listen to me anymore, and she was DONE!

Then I listened to her route to her bedroom by the banging and crashing sounds making a trail. My son, today is second grade, ran behind her cleaning up, so that he could announce: "I cleaned up all of Lily's tantrum, can I have points for being on a team?!"

And so it goes.

We are taking the schoolwork expectations slow. We are focusing on just 3 things for 6 weeks. They are:

  1. working as a team in the family
  2. having a cheerful, uncomplaining attitude
  3. practice focus and growing an attention span

I'm glad to report that both my 2nd and 4th graders (eeek!) did their copywork/ narration/ dicatation beautifully, math was stellar and tear-free, and we're breaking for lunch. We're going to return for history or science. Great start, team!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

19 August 2010

Someone Like Me

Monday night was the first meeting of the local homeschool group for the 10-11 school year. This year I am the Secretary/Treasurer and so I have been learning the behind-the-scenes flow.

It was a joy to go to the meeting and see the familiar faces and new faces and even though I had to stand up and explain about the clubs I help run, it was a fun night. We are trying to bring the club back to it's roots- an interesting excursion since not many of us were here when it started up.

Many of us felt like we would LIKE to get to know the other moms, but never get a chance to because when we get together at a function, we're always watching the kids or helping with the craft. So I planned a coffee at my house, purely for fun, so the moms could begin creating relationships with each other. I'm excited to see how it turns out!

I was chatting with another member of the leadership team for quite a while and the most coherent thing I came up with was something like this: It's nice to go to the meetings and hear about HOW to homeschool, or about transcripts or different methods, but mainly I want to hang out with other people who share my lifestyle. I want to talk with other parents who are with their kids all day. I want to hear that other kids whine about math. I want to hear about their dishes and vacuuming schedule and what they say to their mother-in-laws who don't understand what we're doing. I like the instructional speakers at the meetings, but mostly I go to get to know the other homeschoolers!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

12 August 2010

Peer Age Groups

Well, I have taken only a few pictures of my own kids in the past few months. However, in the past 4 days I have taken about 90 pictures of the 10 kids in my class. Tomorrow is (thankfully) my last day and this week I have been making a "photo diary" of the activites of the kid's day so their parent can "see" what they're up to each week. I feel so much for the parents of these children! As I was downloading all the pictures, my husband says, "do you just love these kids so much?" and I had to admit, no, I did enjoy them, but it wasn't for the kids that I took the pictures. It was for their parents.

Quite a few of the kids had their birthday in the past 5 weeks that I have been in their room. Many of the parents would come by for lunch or bring approved cupcakes in honor of the day. Plenty of invitations were put in the cubbies. But some of the parents couldn't or didn't get away for their child's birthday, and that made me sad. I am probably the only teacher there that worried about it.

Having worked in a preschool environment thiis summer has solidified all my thoughts about why we homeschool. I read today in some blog's comments that she homeschools not as an educational choice but as her family's lifestyle choice- a conscious choice for togetherness and unity.

One thing I noticed about the kids being grouped together by age.... abilities or lack thereof really stand out. In my house, with my kids spanning 7 years, they know that some of them can do a task and some of them are learning; that some of them are the example and some of them are the ones watching. The big ones become the teacher and helper of the younger ones.

In the classroom, they all knew that (so-n-so) was the slow one who couldn't cut or write his name or whatever. They knew that (so-n-so) was the one who always got praised for her careful cutting or her knowledge of the shapes or letters. I had to work hard to teach my students to come alongside one another and assist each other, instead of chat amongst themselves about the obvious deficiencies of their peer. They were shocked that they got stickers on their charts for simple things like saying "Good job on your cutting- you're getting better!"

I am looking forward to the next week here at home once again. I hope to spend the week reconnecting with my kids and bringing them back around to a homeschool lifestyle. How I am newly thankful for late wake-ups, slow breakfasts, and one-on-one, unrushed time with each of them. Napping together, reading books on the couch, and making lunch. Even the 15-minute cleanups are going to be refreshing, for a while at least! I have only seen my kids in little snippit visits over the past 5 weeks. A stolen moment here or there in the hall as our classes pass. A few moments under the hawkish stare of classmates when I'm on my lunchbreak. And then, of course, the tired and hungry hour after "camp" is over and we make our way home again. Tramping exhausted throught the grocery store and hurrying home to let the dogs out.


I wanted to say thank you to my readers... you've been great to come check back even when I've flaked out. I have to tell you, when a blogger gets comments, she feels a relationship and comes back to write more. I know some of you have issues with the comment form procedure, let me assure you that it is not by choice!! I think it might have to do with your browser, but I don't know.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

05 August 2010

Where I've Been

... I've been working full-time at a local day care. I worked there over 10 years ago when I was engaged and a newlywed. It's nice as far as childcare centers go. It has a big focus on learning, with ABC instruction, educational concept lessons, great imagination- based toys, Spanish lessons, etc. They've put in a lot of improvements in the last 10 years- a splash park, a putt-putt course, an indoor playground, a gymnasium, a computer lab, and a special kitchen for the kids to do projects in. I called them up last month and the director told me to come on in and go through orientation, that I could have a four-year-old class for all of July. The substitute pay (pretty much sucks) is low but it's better than the $0.00 I was making at home while James is unemployed.

Plus, I could bring all four kids for FREE. The younger two would just be in the day care side, but my school-agers would be going on field trips every day. I envisioned them enjoying the field trips and new friendships, but with bonus " homeschool indoctrination" opportunities: they would hate getting up early, they would miss playing with their Legos/reading for hours on end, they would probably encounter some meanness and would have to endure institutional-style treatment (including lining up, waiting, no food choices, teachers etc).

All in all I thought it would be a nice change before our new school year started up. But oh man, it has been tough! Getting up was hard on us for the first week, but now it's not so bad. That's what I had really dreaded; the getting four kids up and out of the house clean, fed, and presentable.

But it was far worse when we showed up- my youngest two were sobbing, pulling on my clothes miserable for the first week and a half. Then my older two were sobbing at pick-up time, reporting horrible things.

And none of that includes what I was learning in my class! When my class had to rush inside from the playground so we didn't re-enact a tearful, scream-inducing meeting with my two-year-old in the hall, the four year olds wisely told me, "you gotta earn money, though."

More on this later... Some of you have commented that you miss me... well to be honest I didn't think I had any readers (by lack of comments) so I didn't feel obligated to write... glad to know someone is out there reading me!!

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

25 June 2010

Classical Curriculum

I did some work over at Classical Curriculum a bit ago and forgot to tell you about it... It also got a makeover (visually). I'm really pleased with it and hope it's navigation-friendly. Enjoy! (plus pass the URL on to your friends, and give me any suggestions for future reviews in the comments here!)

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

21 June 2010

Balance Benders

You know how you have those talks with people (who don't homeschool) about your ability (or lack thereof) to homeschool your kids? The talks where they clearly (or subtly) say that since you don't have a teacher's certificate, you surely are unable to educate your own children?

When your'e with a fellow homeschooler, you feel free to say things like "Oh, I have learned so much this year!" or "I didn't like geometry, but when I did it with my daughter, I really 'got' it." or "Why didn't I ever even hear about this in school!"

Well, I think this logic and algebraic reasoning workbook, Balance Benders, is going to be like that. I didn't get any logic training in school aside from the short introduction to the principles when in a debate class, when they explained the ways we could break down the opponent's argument. So, this book was a challenge to me.

One thing I would change if I could: I would move the section entitled "Balance Tips (Algebra Concepts)" from pages 41-42 to right after the table of contents. I attempted the first problem and felt frustrated... been a long time since Algebra! Then I found the review of concepts in the back and it was much more productive.

I'm confident that my kids will be more equipped to tackle logic problems than I am with the consistently challenging problems found in the Balance Benders workbooks. Check out their website- it is full of books that teach logic from the subject of science, reading, math skills, and also "Daily Mind Builders" and "Think-a-Minute" workbooks that get the brain going at the beginning of the day!

This was a review for MamaBuzz. In exchange for the review, I received a free copy of the Grades 2-6 workbook, a $9.99 value, from the Critical Thinking Co. I hope you found it useful!

If your household already inspires critical thinking, maybe you should enter their Critical Thinking Heroes contest.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

20 June 2010

God Bless John Gatto

I have read quite a few books by John Taylor Gatto, former award-winning public school teacher. I'm amazed he won any awards! He was an excellent teacher, instilling curiosity and desire to learn in his students- but did it by "bending" the laws and regulations.

Here's the best paragraph from "Against School- How Public Education Cripples our Kids, and Why."

"(Alexander) Inglis breaks down the purpose - the actual purpose - of modern schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals listed earlier:

1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can't test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.

2) The integrating function. This might well be called "the conformity function," because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.

3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student's proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in "your permanent record." Yes, you do have one.

4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been "diagnosed," children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.

5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to what he called "the favored races." In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit - with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments - clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That's what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.

6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.

That, unfortunately, is the purpose of mandatory public education in this country. And lest you take Inglis for an isolated crank with a rather too cynical take on the educational enterprise, you should know that he was hardly alone in championing these ideas. Conant himself, building on the ideas of Horace Mann and others, campaigned tirelessly for an American school system designed along the same lines. Men like George Peabody, who funded the cause of mandatory schooling throughout the South, surely understood that the Prussian system was useful in creating not only a harmless electorate and a servile labor force but also a virtual herd of mindless consumers. In time a great number of industrial titans came to recognize the enormous profits to be had by cultivating and tending just such a herd via public education, among them Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller."

For the rest of the article- well worth the read!! Also go to the nav bar button, above, "Resources" and read the article about the Prussian history of our PS system. More by Gatto:

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear