February 5, 2009

Homeschoolers under attack

Homeschoolers under attack – again!
Proposal would require review by 'credentialed educator'

Posted: February 05, 2009
12:00 am Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Homeschoolers in recent months have weathered the turmoil of a California court opinion that appeared to ban the activity, and while the threat later was removed, proposals that would hinder parents who want to teach their own children remain pending.

That's according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which monitors the situations closely. The newest warning, the organization said today, comes from New Hampshire.

Pending in the state legislature is a plan by Rep. Judith Day that would "radically" rewrite the testing and assessment demands under the state's existing laws.

"If passed, New Hampshire would have one of the most restrictive homeschool laws in the nation," said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney for HSLDA.

WND reported just weeks ago the homeschooling movement is sweeping the nation – with 1.5 million children now learning at home, an increase of 75 percent since 1999.

The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics reported homeschooling has risen by 36 percent in just the last five years.

"There's no reason to believe it would not keep going up," NCES statistician Gail Mulligan told USA Today.

HSLDA noted homeschooling is thriving "since all the research shows that homeschoolers significantly outperform their peers on standardized tests."

In New Hampshire, the existing law already is more burdensome than many other states, because in addition to an annual notice to school districts, homeschoolers must give an annual statement of academic progress and maintain two years' of records.

But the new proposal, HSLDA said, would "require all homeschoolers to take both a test, and to submit to a portfolio evaluation by a 'credentialed educator.'

"It then places subjective authority in the hands of a superintendent or non-public school principle to terminate a family's homeschool program," the HSLDA said.

"It’s amazing that New Hampshire is considering these kinds of additional restrictions when it already requires parents to provide annual assessments," said Donnelly. "This new law is unnecessary. It would simply waste taxpayers' money and parents' time."

He said hearings on the issue are scheduled in Concord Feb. 11. Such battles have become common in recent years in the state, Donnelly told WND.

"There is a concerted effort by a group of legislators in the state House to try to impose more restrictions," he said. "We're always having to fight that."

In a 2007 survey, parents cited providing religious and moral instruction as the most important factor in the decision to teach their children at home (36 percent). The second most important issue was concern about the school environment (21 percent), while the third reason was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools (17 percent).

Related special offers:

"The Little Book of Big Reasons to Homeschool"

"The Harsh Truth About Public Schools"

"My child is an honor roll student … at home"

"You've Decided to Homeschool, Now What?"

Nothing is sacred anymore

Say "I Don't" to More Bad Reality TV


Updated 6:01 AM CST, Thu, Feb 5, 2009


The planned CBS reality TV series "Arranged Marriage" promises a behind-the-scenes look at wedding bliss.

It feels like CBS is just messing with us at this point.

Any relation to the old Tiffany Network is now officially long gone – unless, of course, the couples featured on the planned new reality show “Arranged Marriage” are going to set up bridal registries at Tiffany’s.

Here’s the concept behind what sounds like the latest reality-TV degradation, according to The Hollywood Reporter: four marriage-minded but prospect-less adults let their families and friends pick a spouse for them. The couples exchange vows and the cameras follow them to happily-ever-after, no doubt.

The show, couched as a documentary, seems less a social experiment than a way to stoke the requisite controversy and the how-low-can-you-go anger designed to draw viewers. CBS used the same formula in the build up to 2007’s “Kid Nation,” where children were left to form their own society, with the ever-present danger of “Lord of the Flies” breaking out at any moment.

Courtship already has been turned into a game show by the likes of “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” and “Married by America.” But nobody on those “reality” programs was crazy enough to actually wed.

In “Arranged Marriage,” the couples are actually getting hitched. We may wind up learning, through the miracle of editing, more about them than they know – or want to know -- about each other.

“Kid Nation” didn’t last long. It’s unclear, of course, whether this new potential train wreck will draw many rubberneckers beyond the first few shows. Who knows – maybe it will become a huge hit. Maybe the marriages will somehow work. But that doesn't mean the show is a good idea.

People get married for a lot of good reasons and a lot of bad reasons. Getting to be on TV doesn’t merit a check mark in the “good” column.

Of course, the “Arranged Marriage” subjects are consenting adults – expected to be in the 25-to-45 range – and they almost certainly will be attractive with entertaining back stories. But will viewers be able to forever hold their peace amid the outrage pre-show marketing is likely to generate?

Attracting viewers by fueling controversy is a short-term strategy. If the show can’t hold an audience beyond the initial shock value, the only knot CBS will be tying is a noose.

If “Arranged Marriage” makes a quick exit, maybe the couples could move onto “The Newlywed Show” – a new version, hosted by Carnie Wilson, is set to debut in April – before ending up on “Divorce Court.”

Venison Stew

Venison Stew (from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins)

2 cups chicken stock
2 cups Madeira
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
8 juniper berries, crushed
1 bay leaf
3 pounds boneless venison shoulder, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
8 oz bacon cut into 1″ pieces
3 tablespoons flour
1 rutabaga (about 2 1/2 lbs) peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
12 small white onions
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups pitted dates
1 large fennel bulb, julienned
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley


* In a large bowl combine the stock, Madeira, red wine, vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon of pepper, juniper berries and bay leaf. Stir well and add venison. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.
* Preheat oven to 350
* Drain venison, reserve marinade. Pat meat dry.
* Place a large flameproof casserole under medium heat, add bacon, and cook until lightly browned and fat is rendered. Using slotted spoon remove bacon and set aside.
* Add venison to casserole in batches and brown quickly over medium-high heat, adding more oil if necessary.
* Return all meat to casserole, sprinkle with flour and stir well. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then add reserved marinade, cook another 2 minutes.
* Add rutabaga to casserole and bake on center rack for 45 minutes.
* While venison is cooking, place onions in pan of cold water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain onions, rinse in cold water, slip off skins but leave root end intact. Cut in half lengthwise
* (I’m thinking, at this point, my neighbor deserves a medal for making this…)
* Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add onions, cook for 2 mins, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and cook 1 more minute until caramelised. Remove onions set aside, also set aside skillet.
* Kill yourself
* (Kidding)
* Add onions and dates to venison, stir gently. Cover casserole and continue baking until tender. They say another 15 minutes. Our experience the other night says you might wanna try a little bit longer, say…45? Not for the meat, but those rutabagas can be bastards if they’re not soft enough…
* Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet. Add fennel, cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook until caramelized, 2 minutes, and set aside.
* When the venison is cooked, gently fold in the cooked fennel, adjust seasonings, and sprinkle with parsley.

February 4, 2009

my oldest wrote a short essay

I told her I would put it on my blog.
So here it is...

My Family
My mom has 3 children. She brought me into the world.
She loves me that is why she punishes me. My brother is 3 years or and my sister is 7 years olds. My dad brought us into the world and can take me out at least he says so.
(by my oldest daughter age 10)

I am cracking up laughing! We watch Bill Cosby's "Himself" on Netflix and hubby picked up the line "I brought you into this world and I can take you out and make another one like you and don't think I won't!" I think she gets it line but not the joke! LOL
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Words of Faith

"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" -Matthew 6:27

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5