Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do You Know Your Grammar?

Whew, as an writer, I'm so glad I passed this quiz! Now, I'll have to give it to the kids!

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

You know, we could make up our own quizzes too. Wouldn't that be fun? Maybe Mike Aquilina could do Which Early Church Father Are You?; Steve Ray: Have You Walked in the Footprints of God?; Amy Welborn: Do You Know Your B16 Trivia?; Nancy Brown: How Chestertonian Are You?; or Mark Shea: Are You a Torture Proponant? The possibilities are endless! Elizabeth Foss could do Are You a Real Book or Twaddle?; Melissa Wiley: Which Little House Character Are You?; Cay Gibson: What Children's Picture Book Are You?; or Karen Edmisten: What Flavor Coffee Are You? If you've read any of Gregory Popcak's books or visited his website, you know he's the king of quizzes. Maybe Alicia VanHecke would do What Type of Homeschool Curriculum Are You?; or Cathy Duffy: What is Your Homeschool Style?; or Willa, Do You Know Your Latin. Oh gosh, the possibilities are endless!

Okay, everyone get on it!

And feel free to post your quiz ideas in the combox!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Books In the Mail

The mailman has been bringing new books to my house nearly everyday for the past week. I love the mailman!

First I got Mike Aquilina's newly expanded version of The Fathers of the Church. I'd tell you all about it, except teen son took off with it. He's planning on making it his religion course for the school year.

Then I got Steve Ray's newest book Faith for Beginners: Understanding the Creeds. I started reading it last night, it looks really good. I think it would make a great gift for a new convert or confirmation student. (Did you know that Steve is a homeschooler? I had heard rumors, but didn't know for sure until I stumbled onto his homeschool page a few weeks ago. Cool!)

For Rob, the mailman delivered OSV's updated version of Why Catholics Don't give . . . And What Can Be Done About It. Rob is the board president of the Catholic Education Foundation in our diocese and fundraising advice is always welcomed!

Next on Rob's "to read" pile is Masonry Unmasked: An Insider Reveals the Secrets of the Lodge. I may read this one when he's done since I my great-grandfather was a high-ranking Mason. (He converted to Catholicism on him deathbed -- remind to tell you the story sometime. It's a great story.)

For my outdoors enthusiast teens, Sir Mailman brought Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord: Encountering the Sacred in the great Outdoors by Fr. Joseph Classen. I can't wait to hear the kids' feedback on it.

For me, Fr. Groeschel's latest book was delivered. The Virtue Driven Life is now at the top of my "to read" pile!

For the littles, we got the Catholic Bible for Children, and for the middles, Year of the Black Pony.

God bless the mailman!

Did You Pay Attention in High School?

One of the blessings of homeschooling: You get to relearn all that stuff you learned back when you were in school.

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Hat tip: A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hershey Kiss Bread

With all of the latest evidence on the medicinal properties of dark chocolate, I've decided to bite the bullet and eat more of it. In fact, last night I made a healthy side dish for my family: Hershey Kiss Bread made with the dark chocolate version of Hershey Kisses.

It was a sacrifice, but a mom does what a mom has to do.

If you'd like to get your family on the road to good health, here's the recipe (from my sister Chrissy):

Hershey Kiss Bread
20 Hershey's Kisses
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 lg. pkg. biscuits (The kind with 10 in a tube. And make it the cheapo brand. The expensive homestyle version will be too big.)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix sugar and cinnamon.
Put one Kiss to one biscuit dough and close the dough around each Kiss. I roll it around in the palm of my hand to help keep it sealed. Dip into melted butter and then roll into the cinnamon mixture. Layer in a greased Bundt pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until nicely browned.
Let cool as the chocolate centers will be hot.
Chrissy says you can double the recipe with an angel food pan if you give it extra time in the oven.

The kids have fun helping with this dish. (Hint: Make the kids unwrap all those little foils from the Kisses!)

Great dish to take to a family event or for a special meal like Christmas.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Hat Tip: A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Monday, November 27, 2006

Recovering Catholics?

I have it from a reliable source that the mayor of my city refers to himself as a "recovering Catholic." I find this insulting. As if Catholicism is something so dark and sinister as alcholism or drug addiction.

Apparently, this is the new "in" phrase for ex-Catholics. Perhaps they don't mean it as an insult and I should just let it roll off my back. Or not.

I currently refer to myself as a "practicing Catholic." (Practice makes perfect you know!) Maybe I'll start referring to myself as a "recovering heathen" instead. But then, I don't want to insult practicing heathens.

I Love Verts!

I was having breakfast with some girlfriends recently when one of the moms got on the subject of sacred music. She's an ex-Catholic who recently returned to the Faith. A revert, as opposed to a convert. You couldn't help but get pumped up listening to her - she was so on fire about music and all things Catholic.

It was then that my dear friend Ann exclaimed, "I just love verts!!!"

I couldn't help but crack up. I never heard converts and reverts referred to as "verts." I think Ann has coined a new phrase.

And she's right. I love hearing the conversion stories of new Catholics. They seem to have a fire burining in them. They come to the Church, not because they were born into it, but because they chose it. They know more about the Catholic Church than many cradle Catholics in the pews.

However, I've never really thought too much about reverts. Perhaps, because I'm one of them. Yes, I left the Church for a while and then came back. It's a long story, but in a nutshell: I had a wild, misspent youth. I didn't leave the Catholic Church for Protestantism or any other organized religion. I was, well, quite frankly, a heathen.

I've long envied those of you who have always been in the bosom of Mother Church. Those of you who have always loved Church teaching. Those of you who have always lived Church teaching. Oh, to have few reqrets and know that you have pleased your Lord!

I can't change the past. Only the future. I don't make excuses or justifications for past sins, but I try to learn from them. Hopefully I'm doing a good enough job that people will someday look at me and say, "I just love verts!"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

PopeStNick5: Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know
Author: Diane Moczar
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Date Published: Feb., 2006
ISBN: 1933184159
Price: 13.95
Comments: The divine surprises and chastisements that shaped the Church and changed the world.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Moving On

We're officially house hunting.

St. Joseph pray for us!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

KC Catholic Homeschool Conference

If you live anywhere near Kansas City, keep the weekend of June 15th and 16th open. I'll be at their Catholic homeschool conference that weekend. I'll keep you updated on details as they unfold. It would be nice to meet some online friends in real life person!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Calling for All Catholic Homeschool Carnival Submissions

From Love2Learn:

The deadline for submissions to our December carnival, is fast-approaching. Please send in those Advent and Christmas ideas, stories, reviews etc. (prayer requests are also welcome) by November 26th. This carnival will be hosted by O Night Divine: A Blog Devoted to the Celebration of Christmas on December 1st!

Cool Stuff

Cool stuff in the blogoshpere:

Maureen in IL's Mom and Me and Recipes Project

The 47th Weekly Homeschool Blog Carnival

Cool stuff on the Internet:

Library Thing

Library Elf

Monday, November 20, 2006

Looking for Donations: Science Olympiad

A plea from my 3 oldest kids:


We're part of the Science Olympiad team this year. Last year the team won 3rd place in our region!!! Our team name is CSI -- Creative Science Investigators. CSI will be competing in up to 23 different events at each of our competitions.

Our personal events include: Boomilever, Metric Mastery, Health Science, Remote Sensing, Simple Machines, Astronomy, and Forensics.

There's a lot of expense involved and we're looking for donations. Because we're homeschooled, we don't have the funding public school children receive. We need supportive friends and family to help us with the financial needs.

Any amount you could donate would really be appreciated. If you'd like your name to appear on the back of our competition T-shirts, then make a donation of at least $10 before November 29th (larger donors get larger print). If you own a business, this is chance to receive some positive advertisement while supporting future scientists.

There are four levels of sponsorship:
Mendel $10
Newton $25
Pastuer $50
Einstein $100

However, if you want to donate some other amount, that's okay too. There are two ways to send a donation (not tax deductible, sorry). You can mail a check to our coach (please email our mom,, for the name and address). Or, you can pay online through (including credit cards!). The payment would go to If you donate this way, please leave the following in the comments: Name of the student you'd like to sponsor, do you want to be on the T-shirt, and how you'd like your name or business to appear on the T-shirt.

If you want to know more about Science Olympiads the websites are:

More than anything, we ask for your prayers: that we will serve our team well, learn a lot about science, and give glory to God in our school work.

God Bless,
Christian, Mary, and Laura

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mom's Always With You

Teen Daughter asked if she could have a wallet of this picture. She says that way when she goes out alone, she'll be reminded I'm still looking over her shoulder.

I think I'll have one made for each child and keep the pictures pinned to their shirts.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Clothes Shopping with Teen Boys

Shopping for a teen boy who is growing taller faster than wider is a very interesting endeavor, to say the least. It's impossible to find clothes to fit a 6-foot tall teen who only weighs 120. They have Big and Tall Men stores, why not Tall and Skinny Men stores? Is it too much to ask clothiers to make blue jeans with a 29 waist and 36 length? Thank goodness for belts!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Which Do You Like?

Went to the photographer today to have a new press photo done. The old one (seen here) was outdated (1998). Besides, Rob hated it - he calls it my Miss Manner's picture.

You can see the pictures I picked from today's shoot at this website (just click on: View Slideshow). Now, I need to narrow it down to one. Let me know which one you like best.

Oh, I should tell you, the last shot was just for fun. The photographer was kidding me and he caught me scolding him on film. Don't laugh too hard at me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling: Autumn Blessings

The newest carnival is up and running. In fact, it's the 46th weekly Carnival of Homeschooling.

So, grab your cotton candy and head on over to Sprittibee's place to check out all the rides. Make sure to dress warm as fall is in the air. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Catholic Homeschool Reviews

Have you been to Cathy Duffy's website lately? You know, her children graduated eons ago, and yet she continues to minister to those of us still in the trenches. She is such a blessing. You'll especially want to check out her Catholic homeschooling page - lots of reviews.

The first homeschooling book I ever owned was Cathy's Christian Home Educators' Curriculum Manual: Elementary Grades. Rob gave it to me, a year or two before we even began homeschooling. It was a slim volume in those days, not the thick tome it is today.

Cathy's newest book, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, would be really helpful to new homeschoolers who are trying to figure out where to get started, or a veteran in need of a fresh start. It's not like the old days, when I began homeschooling. With so few resources around, there was little choice to make. Now, it's overwhelming with all the curricula available. 100 Top Picks has a test in it that would help a want-to-be homeschooler figure out what style of homeschooling would work best for her family. Cathy then guides the reader to the curriculum that works best for that style - sticking to just the best that's available (in her opinion, of course).

This would be a good title to recommend to your library!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Homeschool Participation in Guinness Record

I find it so cool the way Walden Media has been reaching out to homeschoolers. I received the following from their project support team:

Dear Homeschoolers:

Attached is yesterday's press release announcing the attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the "Most People Reading Aloud Simultaneously in Multiple Locations" using a passage from E.B. White's classic book, "Charlotte's Web." See further information at I would like for all homeschool participants to indicate on their registration form -- "homeschooler." This will enable the influence of homeschooling can be clearly demonstrated to all involved in the attempted world record event including gatekeepers in the press, wducation, and entertainment. This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the clout of homeschooling and its strong commitment to reading and great books. I would love for you to consider spearheading participation within your spheres of influence. I'm of the opinion that homeschoolers could single-handedly break this record on their own! Vivat domesticus schola!

Your friend in film,

P.S. Please pass this along to all who need to be included in this opportunity.

Yeah, this is a promotion for the upcoming film: Charlotte's Web. It's also a great, and fun, opportunity for us homeschoolers. Make sure to mark your calendar for Dec. 13th (noon EST) and then go here to sign up. Make sure to also read the FAQ's. The deadline to register is Dec. 8th.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

OSV Essay Contest for High School

The following contest is from OSV. Spread the word:

Our Sunday Visitor invites high school students in Catholic schools and homeschools to answer the question:

"How has your Catholic faith helped you live out Matthew 25?"

The Jan. 28, 2007 edition of Our Sunday Visitor will feature an "In Focus" section dedicated to Catholic schools. For this section we invite high school students attending an accredited high school or home school to write a 250-word essay answering the question above.

Our staff will select the three best essays to be published in the Jan. 28 issue. Authors of the published essays will receive a one-year subscription to Our Sunday Visitor, Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Church History by Matthew Bunson and When Did We See You, Lord? by Bishop Robert J. Baker/Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.

Essays must be submitted by Jan. 8, 2007 and can be submitted via mail to Our Sunday Visitor Essay Contest, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750, via fax to (260) 359-9117 or via e-mail to (please type "Essay Contest" in the subject line).

Friday, November 10, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling: Library Edition

Speaking of libraries, the theme of this week's Homeschool Carnival is libraries. Stop by over at Spunky's place to check it out. Better make sure you have some extra time to surf before heading out though. Spunky has quite the carnival going.

RC History Contest

RC History is having a cool contest (see below). A simple little something you can do to with the kids while practicing writing skills, reviewing history, and having fun!

The First-Ever RC History Contest!

RC History is pleased to announce our first-ever history contest.

Several years ago, our family began a fun and educational project inspired by another homeschooling family.

Using the famous rhyme: "In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue." we began writing our own history rhymes to help us remember key facts and points from the events we were studying.

Our goal was to construct a rhyming timeline of history that we could continually add to and memorize over the days, weeks and even years!

Unfortunately, due to a series of life circumstances, our project was interrupted and eventually lost in a fire.

But, with your help, we'd like to begin afresh!

Not only do we want to construct a rhyming timeline, we want YOU to contribute your own history rhymes to the project, which we plan to publish, so that everyone who wants to can benefit from the creativity, fun, educational adventure of Rhyming Through History!

If your family would like to enter the contest, please send us an email and we will send you the rules and rewards!

Write to: with the Subject Line: RC History Rhyming Through History Contest

RC History is committed to making history your favorite subject!
Enter today!

UPDATE: Click here for rules and entry form.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HomeschoolLibraryConnection: A Thomas Jefferson Education

Homeschool Library Connection is a Yahoo Group similar to Pope St. Nicholas V, except that the focus is on general homeschooling books. Nancy Brown is the moderator of the group and does a great job. I suggest giving it a peek. Nancy only sends out 2 or 3 emails per month, so it's not going to take over your mailbox. Here is one of her more recent recommendations:

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century
Author: Oliver Van DeMille
Publisher: George Wythe College Press
Date Published: January 2006
ISBN: 096712462X
Price: 26.95
Comments: Andrew Pudewa, of the Institute for Excellence in Writing recommends this title. It's also all the rage these days in Classical education circles.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

PopeStNick5: Pope John Paul II

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

First check to see if this DVD is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: Pope John Paul II
Starring: Jon Voight, Ben Gazzara, Christopher Lee
Director: John Kent Harrison
Studio: Luxvide
Date Released: October 16, 2006
Run Time: 180 minutes
Price: 24.95
Comments: Based on the powerful true story.

Addendum: Interview with Jon Voight and another from NCR by Tim Drake.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Prayers Needed Today

There are a lot of important races and ballot issues all over the country today. Please devote an extra rosary or two for this intention, especially for Missouri and South Dakota.

A Prayer for Our National Elections
O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

We thank You for the privilege of being able to organize ourselves politically and of knowing that political loyalty does not have to mean disloyalty to You.

We thank You for your Law, which our Founding Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law.

We thank You for the opportunity that this election year puts before us: to exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, but also to influence countless others to vote, and to vote with a correctly-formed conscience.

Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened. Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation, their response to You requires that they be politically active.

Awaken your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith renewing the world.

Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to You in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth; that the same eyes that read your Word are the eyes that read the names on the ballot, and that they do not cease to be Christians when they enter the voting booth.

Awaken your people to a commitment to justice, to the sanctity of marriage and the family, to the dignity of each individual human life, and to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin, and not one moment later.

Lord, we rejoice today that we are citizens of your kingdom.

May that make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Libraries and Homeschoolers

This is great news: Children's librarian writing a book on how libraries can serve homeschoolers. Looks like she already has a publisher. Check out the author's blog and leave many comments on what you would like to see in her book. This is an awesome opportunity to get our voices heard.

While you're at it, go check out Nancy Brown's Yahoo Group: Homeschool Library Connection. It's similar to my Pope St. Nicholas V list, only designed for homeschoolers in general.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Are Homeschoolers Prepared for the Real World?

5,000 homeschool grads are surveyed. Are they social misfits, or prepared to face the real world?

Catholic Homeschool Blog Carnival #2

It's a carnival! Grab some treats and enjoy the rides.

Catholic Homeschooling 101

Got my new Family Life Center catalog in the mail yesterday. Lots of great stuff in there. I was excited to see a CD of my interview with Steve Wood. Cool

To check it out, or purchase, click here. Or, you can get the Combo Special.

I think I may buy the Homeschooling through High School CD: Finishing the Final Lap. I can never have too much encouragement in that area!

In case you didn't already know, Steve Wood is a contributor to The Catholic Homeschool Companion. He wrote two great pieces: Twenty-One Things Fathers Can Do for Their Homeschool and Seven Ways Mothers Can Recruit Fathers.

Addendum: I don't know why the graphic of the CD came out lime green. It almost looks like a negative. (Or is it just my computer -- does it look okay on anyone else's computer?) The CD cover is actually quite lovely and looks a lot like the Companion cover.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Breath of Fresh Air

"As a current state legislator, member of the education committee and past member of the appropriations committee for k-12 and higher education funding, I cannot tell you how important it is that we elect John Knowles to the legislature. Education is not just about funding; it is about wise use of resources and wise decisions about education policy. We must keep educational choices in the hands of the parents first, not state government. One of the ways we encourage public education to do their best is by providing parents the options to, at their own expense, educate their children in a private school of their choice, or at home. Some of our best and brightest students are those who have been home educated. It would be unfortunate to have legislators who would work to stifle parental choice in education. Please give your support to John Knowles as he carries out his values centered campaign."

Jack Hoogendyk
State Representative, 61st district.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I received an email from Mark Meadows earlier today. It is not in response to my concerns emailed to him two days ago. Instead, he is responding to a homeschool dad.

It appears the only email Mr. Meadows responded to yesterday was the one sent by this homeschool dad. He didn't respond to the homeschooling mothers. When the dad brought this to Mr. Meadows' attention, he sent the following to the homeschool dad and cc'd us women.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I'm tired of addressing this candidate's lack of logic and knowledge.

My responding to you was all about me walking into the office after everyone had left and checking email. Yours was the only unopened one on the issue and staff had told me they copied others and had received some calls. I did not see any need to respond to other emails when you said you had disseminated my response. When I read the report of the interview, I was surprised that my comments had somehow made homeschooling my primary target for legislation. Especially after I thought I had quite clearly targeted people like the Hollands in my comments. I have alot I would like to do as a legislator-- homeschool legislation is not on the list. Someone also sent me the headline. I did not write the headline and I did not write the article. The reporter interviewed me by cellphone as I was going door to door. I thought I was pretty articulate but obviously I wasn't. We all agree that an abuser should not be able to escape scrutiny by deciding to homeschool after being identified. After I am elected I'll sit down with you and other homeschoolers and we'll noodle out a way to address my issue without affecting your rights. I added the email address of anyone I had gotten something from to this response so you might want to check and see if they are on your listserv.

All My Relations,


Update: I emailed MIRS. The reporter stands by her story.

Update #2: To read Candidate Meadows' response to me, click on the comments.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mark Meadows Responds

I emailed Mark Meadows yesterday regarding the interview with MIRS. I haven't heard back from him, but a homeschool dad did:
Sent: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 6:28:18 PM
Subject: Re: Home School

Actually, when I talked to MIRS I did not propose any new regulation of homeschooling. I suggested that a person who has been already identified in the public school system as an abuser or neglecter of his or her child should not be able to escape or reduce scrutiny by homeschooling his or her child. Homeschooling came up only because the Hollands decided to homeschool Ricky after they had been identified as potential abusers. I think the decision by the Hollands should have been a red flag. I agree with you (and apparently you agree with me) that underfunding and understaffing makes it difficult for FIA to perform the responsibilities placed upon it by state government. I want to require additional home visits under the Holland family circumstances and properly fund that function. My objective has nothing to do with homeschooling; it has everything to do with protecting children.

Thanks for writing.


I don't know where to begin. Mr. Meadows states that homeschooling should've been a red flag. Shouldn't the rope burns on Ricky's wrists, showed to his social worker, been a red flag? Shouldn't the fact that Ricky snuck into a neighbor's house looking for food been a red flag, or the fact that he stole food at school? What about his disclosure that he was handcuffed? Shouldn't his failure to thrive after being placed into the care of the Hollands been a red flag? There were red flags everywhere. They were tossed aside.

Mr. Meadows also states that abusers should not escape state scrutiny by homeschooling. The Hollands did not escape state scrutiny. There were multiple incidents of child abuse reported to the state. The Hollands were scrutinized. And nothing came of it.

Mr. Meadows also states in his email that he did not propose any new homeschooling regulation. Untrue. He wants to put "restrictions on who can homeschool." How is this not homeschooling regulation?

Someone, please enlighten me. How does adding more bureacracy and taking away homeschoolers' freedoms save children's lives?

What it all comes down to is this: A politician using the tragic death of a sweet little boy to further his own political agenda. A tactic that his own state party leader has decried in televised political ads.

If Mr. Meadows position really "has everything to do with protecting children" then he should be calling for a full investigation into why the state not only left Ricky in the Holland home, but why they continued to place children with the Hollands after they had been identified as "potential abusers." Instead, he wants "to revamp and put restrictions on the way home schools operate."

I hope John Knowles gets lots of homeschoolers volunteering to get the vote out this weekend.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

State Rep. Candidate Vows to Restrict Homeschooling

The first bill former East Lansing Mayor Mark MEADOWS would introduce if he wins the 69th District House seat would be to revamp and put restrictions on the way home schools operate.

This is the lead-in paragraph to an article from the MIRS Capitol Capsule, THE paper read by all the Michigan politicos.

The article goes on to say:
Although he doesn't believe the Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM administration could have done anything else to save Ricky HOLLAND's life, he does think tightening up home schools would prevent further deaths.

For those of you who do not reside in Michigan, Ricky Holland was a seven-year-old boy who died at the hands of his parents. His mother was convicted of first-degree murder this week and his father pleaded to second degree murder. It was a child murder case that couldn't help but break your heart. Little Ricky was failed every step of the way.

It had nothing to do with homeschooling. Ricky was a foster child given up by his biological parents at two-years old. When the state severed their parental rights all together, the Hollands adopted Ricky. Because Ricky was considered a hard-to-place child, i.e. not a baby, the Hollands received financial incentives by the state.

There were problems from the beginning. Ricky told his social worker of being tied to bed and handcuffed. Neighbors and teachers reported child abuse incidents to the state. Toward the end of his life, the little boy was pulled by his parents from psychological visits and from school.

This is where Candidate Meadows gets it all wrong. He says the state couldn't "have done anything else to save Ricky Holland's life." What??? The state was called in, again and again, and did nothing.

The article goes on:
It's not uncommon for parents who have abusive records, like the Hollands, to home school their kids to hide the abuse, Meadows said. There's no restriction on who can home school their kids, so it makes it much easier for families who are abusive to keep the child at home, Meadows said. If the kids aren't in school, it's harder for others, specifically teachers to see the abuse.

But wait a minute, Ricky was in school. Remember, he wasn't pulled out until later. His teachers reported abuse to the state. The state did nothing.

Also important to note is the fact that neighbors reported the Holland's abuse. Also testifying at the murder trial was Ricky's doctor. Little Ricky was a normally developing boy until he entered the care of the Hollands. At that point he began to fail to thrive. They were starving him.

The article still goes on:
By law, teachers are required to file a report when they suspect that a child is being abused. Tightening up home schooling laws would keep kids in the public eye, which might result in more cases of child abuse being reported before it's too late, Meadows said. Meadows said he doesn't know if other states have similar laws, but he wants to give it a try. This might help state workers, who never seem to have enough personnel or money, to stay on top of every case, Meadows argued. "I think a Democratic Legislature would place a higher priority on this," Meadows said about increasing human service funding and passing his home schooling legislation.

Even after Ricky was pulled out of school, he was still in the public eye. He still had social workers assigned to him, he had the family doctor, he had neighbors, and he had extended family.

It is completely absurd that Candidate Meadows seeks to make this a case about homeschooling, while giving the State of Michigan and Governor Granholm a Get Out of Jail Free card.

It just doesn't fly.

To express your concerns to Mark Meadows, visit his website .

Please note that Mark Meadows is predicted to win this election. His opponent, John Knowles is rock solid pro-life, pro-family, and, yes, pro-homeschooling. To donate to Mr. Knowles' campaign and help him get out the vote, visit his website. I already made a donation myself. He takes Paypal and credit cards.

The election is only six days away. A win by Mark Meadows could translate into the loss of freedoms by homeschoolers. Michigan used to be THE most difficult state in which to homeschool. A lot of people worked hard and sacrificed so that people like me could educate my children in the way that I, as their parent, know is best for them. Let's not turn back the clock.

ADDENDUM: The contact page at Mark Meadow's webpage isn't functioning at this time. He can be emailed at

Sophia Institute Titles at a Discount

Aquinas and More Catholic Goods is running a special on Sophia titles: 20% off. Check it out!

They also have a Catholic Homeschool page.