". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why We Homeschool - Exhibit A

Sitting here comparing our homeschool day to that of institutionally educated children around the country, I am reminded yet again of why we do what we do. Had my children been in "regular" school today, here are a few of the things they would have missed out on:

French class with their father.

The joy ;-) of waking up and spending time with their little brother.

A morning phone call to their grandmother, who is approaching the end of her life, and who is at her most lucid early in the day.

Midday prayers around the table with their entire family.

Filet mignon for lunch. (I hasten to add this is not normal. Jewel had a buy-one-get-one-free sale. Additionally, due to my husband's likely departure in a few days to see his mother, an evening church voters' meeting which makes cooking tonight a challenge, and many fresh vegetables on hand from Saturday's trip to the Farmer's Market, we decided to have a big hot meal for lunch rather than dinner. Tonight we'll snack.)

A lesson in how to make fried okra.

Rush Limbaugh on the radio during lunch preparation.

Clean-up duty after lunch.

If they had been in public school today, of course, they might have been able to hear the President's speech on why they should stay there. You know, when I first heard about that speech (and the accompanying lesson plan, which has since been changed) I was concerned about Mr. Obama's turning the nation's schoolchildren into a captive audience for what I feared would be political indoctrination masquerading as a pep talk. It didn't turn out that way. I read the text of the speech earlier today, and it's actually not bad. (It's rather ironic, since it is a call for personal responsibility, but I digress.) And knowing the condition of public education in this country, I can't say I can blame the President for wanting to do his part to encourage students to tough it out. Because it's not easy, yet for many of them it's all they've got, and for better or for worse they need to get through it somehow. How sad that for many it's not a place where they can thrive, but one where they must endure. And for the record, the reason that it is that way has nothing whatsoever to do with money!

I am so thankful for the ability to be able to provide a "school" for my children that is not a place they have to be talked into attending but rather is one that nurtures their whole being and that makes them feel safe and loved.

As for them, I think they like the cafeteria choices.


Working man said...


I read your posts because I think you are very intelligent and you write well. I very seldom agree with you on anything, but I like to read and talk to people who don't agree with me.

Your reasons for homeschooling are your own and make sense. There is one thing in there that doesn't make any sense to me though. You talk about your kids in "regular school" listening to President Obama, and maybe be politically indoctrinated by his speech. I know you said it wasn't a bad speech, but you did fear it. Then you give a list of the great things your children would have missed if they had gone to "regular school" Rush Limbaugh on the radio. Talk about political indoctrination, and from my point of view just plain hate being spewed. The thing is though, it's your choice.

Dan said...

I was happy to discover your blog today. I was unable to find a contact link. I hope it's OK that I'm contacting you through a public comment. I've developed an educational program for Windows called SpellQuizzer that helps children learn their spelling and vocabulary words without the battle that parents often have getting them to sit down and write them out while the parents dictate to them. The parent enters the child's spelling words into the software making a sound recording of each word. Then the software helps the child practice his or her words. It really helped my children with their weekly spelling lists.

I would appreciate your reviewing SpellQuizzer in A Round Unvarnish'd Tale. If you are interested in hosting a giveaway of a SpellQuizzer license I'd be happy to supply a free license to the winner. You can learn more about the program at http://www.SpellQuizzer.com. There's a video demo you can watch at http://www.spellquizzer.com/SpellQuizzer-Demo.htm and a community site where SpellQuizzer users can share their spelling lists with one another (http://www.SpellQuizzer.com/Community). Finally, there's a page targeted to homeschooling families at http://www.spellquizzer.com/spelling-software-for-homeschoolers.htm. I'd be happy to send you a complimentary license for the software. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you very much!

Dan Hite
TedCo Software

Cheryl said...

Working Man,

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that you find things worth reading here. I have appreciated your reasonable approach to our disagreements in the past and look forward to further disagreements. :-)

You say there is one thing in my post that doesn't make sense to you. You don't state it explicitly, so I'm going to do mhy best to ascertain what it is. You mention my concern about the President's speech to schoolchildren turning into an opportunity for him to promote his political agenda (an agenda that I largely disagree with). Then you bring up our listening to Rush Limbaugh over the lunch hour, seeming to see some sort of contradiction there. But I don't see the contradiction. My children well know that Rush Limbaugh is a conservative commentator and that whey they are listening to him then are getting a conservative viewpoint. They know that they are being reared in a conservative household with a Christian worldview. They are my children, and so it is only natural that my husband and I would consider it our responsibility to pass on to them our faith, cultural heritage, and worldview. We would be remiss in our duties if we did not do so.

But it is not the duty or right of the government or any representative thereof to espouse a particular religious or political viewpoint. So it would not be appropriate for President Obama to imbue his speech with anything that might call upon children to support his political agenda. And that's what I would have feared if I had children in public school right now. I don't trust our President, and he is an amazing communicator who would be quite capable of subtly indoctrinating children with words that seem objective. There are in fact a few places in his speech where I felt he was doing just that. But as I said, overall his speech kept to the topic of staying in school and I did not find much to object to.

It is ironic, actually, to hear of parents keeping their children home yesterday, considering that children in public schools today ARE in fact being indoctrinated into a liberal secular humanist mindset on a daily basis, presidential speech or no presidential speech. The days and weeks and months of the rest of the school year are much more indoctrinating than yesterday's speech. And that, again, is one reason we homeschool--because when my children are at home we call things what they are, whereas public schools today teach liberal bias masquerading as objectivity.

As for Rush . . . well, I think you have your mind made up on that one, so I don't know if we should even go there. But for the record, I couldn't disagree more with your assessment of his commentary as "hate speech." That's a tired liberal cliche and I'm disappointed to hear it from you, Working Man. Rush is a conservative and a humorist. He is not a hater.

Cheryl said...


Thanks for stopping by. I am not a candidate for reviewing your product, though, as I don't explicitly teach vocabulary and spelling (at least not as part of language study--my children do study vocabulary related to specific disciplines). We prefer to obtain language skills through more natural learning methods. Thanks for the invitation, though.

Working man said...


You are right. My mind is made up about Russ Limbaugh, but your mind is made up about President Obama. In your own words, "I don't trust our President," but that isn't the point. President Obama is the President of the whole United States. He was legally elected to serve the all the people. Now, of course he has an agenda, and I agree it shouldn't be broadcast to school children. I don't think it was in this case. As for parents keeping their children home I am amazed, If we teach our children to distrust the President of our country where is this country headed. You may not be surprised, but I didn't care for the last President. lol, but I would allow my children to hear his speech or for that matter any President's speech. I think one of the major problems with this country now, and has been for quite awhile is that neither side ever listens to the other. The first thing both sides do is look for something in any speech or program that they can disagree with. The reasons we are supposed to have two parties is to keep the other party in check. I have no problem with that. My side or your side does not have all the answers.

Finally, I am not a left wing liberal. I do have liberal tendencies, but I have supported Republicans in the past and hope to in the future. My argument is with the extreme right, or for that matter the extreme left. Like I stated before no party or person knows everything.

Cheryl said...

Dear Working Man,

I don't have time to comment at length right now as I am heading out to a recording session. But please note that I did not call you a "left wing liberal." I don't know what your political leanings are. All I know is what you write here. I did describe your comment about Rush as a "liberal cliche" but that is not the same thing as calling you a liberal.

I'll address the rest of your comment later. Duty calls!

PMagness said...

Working Man,

Of course you are a left-wing liberal. You are left-wing, and you are a liberal. You may cloak your opinions in a veneer of moderation, but ducks quack and you quack like a duck.

As far as fearing Obama goes, yes he is a man to be feared. This doesn't mean we don't let our kids listen to him - they watched all the debates during the election last year. It just means that we don't look to him for leadership or inspiriation. That was the point in my wife's post: at our homeschool our kids got to listen to someone who is truly inspiring rather than the untrustworthy demagogue in the White House.

So, yes, we are teaching our children to distrust Obama. It doesn't matter that he's our President. Lots of people hold respectable offices but don't merit trust. Obama is one of them. It's a good lesson to teach our children: respect the office but don't trust the man.

Working man said...

I was having a nice discussion with your wife. Then out of the blue I get someone who seems to be omniscient. For you to state that I am a left-wing liberal, and for you to state that President Obama is a "untrustworthy demagogue" is to my mind truly amazing. First, you don't know a thing about me other than the fact I don't like Rush Limbaugh, and for you to call him "truly inspiring" is so out in right-field. The man is not like your wife said a "conservative and a humorist," but a opportunist, and con-man with very questionable morals and ethics. And speaking of quacking like a duck, you have all the right wing quacks down pat.

Since I told your wife I like to discuss with people I don't agree with, I am open for you to show me some examples of President Obama's untrustworthiness and demagougary.
Do you ever disagree with Limbaugh? When other people point out something that he said that is totally wrong or some of the racist, homophobic, or sexist statements do you just give the normal pat answer, It's just the left-wing media telling lies about him. Do you ever do any personal research?

Cheryl said...

Working Man,

I'll let my husband respond to your questions for him if he has time. But just so you know, he is busy today and tonight leading music for a pastors' retreat at our church, and tomorrow morning he is flying to Texas to visit his mother, who is dying. So if he does not respond I trust you will understand.

One thing that I find interesting is your dislike of being called a "left wing liberal." I have no problem with someone calling me a "right wing conservative." It's what I am. Having said that, there are all kinds of things that might brand one as a "right wing conservative," so it would be dangerous for someone to take that label and decide that they know what I think about each and every issue. There's no way they could. And of course, there's no way either my husband or I can know what you think about each and every issue. Thus my reticence to call you a "left wing liberal." But certainly you have posted enough times on my blog that I have begun to get a picture of you that suggests that you have many left wing liberal leanings. My husband has read your comments as well and is obviously a little more assertive than I in calling things as he sees them. That is partly a function of his personality and partly a function of the fact that he is just more politically aware and astute than I am and thus more likely to state his beliefs more forcefully.

My "students" are waiting for me to have lunch with them, but I will try to quickly respond to a few of your other points. Number one, we see President Obama as untrustworthy and demagogic based on his past behavior, both before and after his arriving in the White House. Just one example. For months we have heard about 46 million Americans without insurance. Suddenly in his speech a few nights ago that number became "30 million uninsured American citizens." There was no explanation of why the number changed. It appears that the reason it changed is because he decided to leave lllegal aliens out of the number so that he could state that they would not be getting coverage under socialized medicine. But if that's the case, why were they included in the number to begin with? My guess is that it was either to elevate the number or because the original plan was to cover them under Obama's plan. It is this playing with numbers for effect and not being up front about them that leads me to mistrust him and call him a demagogue.

My five year old is "hungry this minute." Perhaps I can write more later.

Cheryl said...

Final thought for now, Working Man:

I gave you an example of why I see Obama as untrustworthy and demagogic. Please provide an example of Rush Limbaugh being racist, homophobic or sexist. I stand my assessment of him as a conservative humorist/satirist. And I stand by my husand's description of him as inspiring. We are inspired by him because when we listen to his show we feel hopeful that there are still people in this country who value personal freedom and responsibility and do not expect the government to take care of them.

PMagness said...

Working Man,

Here are my replies:

1. You were not having a nice discussion with my wife. You were commenting on her blog. It is a public forum.

2. I know more about you than your misinformed opinion of Rush. You have written here many times about more topics than that.

3. Regarding your continued tropes about Rush personally, they are tired left-wing canards. And they reveal who you are. So get over it: truth is truth regardless of who speaks it. We've covered this before.

So Rush is not a perfect person. That's supposed to be news? Your insistence that anyone who advocates the true and the good can only do so if they are true and good is simply evil. But your judgmentalism won't convince anyone here. We're new creations in Christ Jesus! The Accusor has no power over us.

5. Obama's untrustworthiness: economic policy, social policy, foreign policy. Trifecta. Can't be trusted to do what is right for the country. Demogoguery: examples abound daily. Most recently, calling opponents liars in his State of the Union address. Three times! Most famous: his bluster on Afghanistan during the campaign.

6. Have I ever disagreed with Rush? Yes. But often I have turned out to be wrong and he turned out to be right. My opinion of him has risen therefore over the years.

7. re: 'racist, sexist, homophobic'. It is statements like this that reveal you to be the leftist you are. Average Americans don't talk that way; we actually snicker at people who carelessly bandy such accusations about.

So, "Working Man", do you get paid by some lefty organization to troll around the internet and masquarade as some sort of seeker? Is that your "work"? Or do you just do this because you are a true believer in the new fascism (i.e. Obama's Amerika)?

And what's this hiding behind some stupid icon of a chicken? Is it because you are ashamed that you have to fashion yourself as some sort of intellectual while you duckspeak the propaganda of the national socialists?

I'd be ashamed, too!

Working man said...

Oh my goodness! Where to start? Cheryl, I don't have a problem in being called anything you want to call me. I did state I have liberal tendencies. For me to be called a left wing liberal I think I would have to support abortion or gun control which I don't.

Your right, the number has changed. I see that as truthfullnes on his part. If the number he was given to begin with was 45 million, and now he has learned it's more like 30 million he said so, but either way 45 million 30 million is still way to many. If like you say it is because they took the illegal immigrants out. Well great. I don't support any health care for illegals that I have to pay for.

As for Rush and his statements. Sexist; He said when Bill Clinton went To North Korea to bring back those two reporters. Where is HillarY Is North Korea too important for the girl.

Racist; You know who deserves a posthumous Medal Of Honor? James Earl Ray. We miss you James, Godspeed.

I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

Take the bone out of your nose and call me back.

I left out the one about Donavan Mcnabb the Eagles Quarterback.

Homophobic; He made a joke about Barney Frank that was disgusting, of course he only made it because he was gay. Now you can call that funny, but to the gay population it is not. If I or anyone makes a derogatory joke about lets say confessional Lutherans would you consider that humor? and I don't care who makes any of these statement right, left, or moderate they are still unacceptable.

This is for your husband. I don't know what people you deal with, but I don't snicker at anyone regardless of how they talk.

Lies, to create a false or misleading impression. I think death panels or funding illegal immigrants qualifies as lies, I guess that makes the people saying these things liars.

Your final two statements are hilarious. I wish someone was paying me. I am not going to call you names, but the new fascism remark and Obama's Amerika deserve it.

Now to my chicken, He is foghorn leghorn one of my favorite cartoon characters. And for me being and intellectual, well I do say you have quite a sense of humor.

Finally if Jesus was not sent to judge the world but save it. why do you and so many like you feel that they can judge.

PMagness said...

Ah, you quote my Lord at the end of your rant, Working Man.

In our exchange a few months ago, I asked if I could appeal to your baptism and you declined. Based on our further exchanges that round I can only conclude by your lack of confession of faith that you do not really know the Word or the Chrisitan faith, but are simply plucking one of the popular quotes for your own purposes.

But I'm glad you went there. Perhaps you don't know about the sciptural teaching of Two Kingdoms (read Romans to understand this important doctrine). Jesus is talking of spiritual judgment, not temporal discernment. It is important not to confuse the two.

But there is a spiritual connection here. Your standard of being true to one's self actually makes you the judge. But in doing so you deceive your self, because God Himself is judge. The conservative standard in the temporal real of upholding virtue, despite the failings and sins of all of us personally, is an acceptanace of higher authority. True, some policical conservatives don't hold to the true Divine authority, but at least they are not playing the Enlightment game of self-apotheosis.

We all stand under the judgement, Working Man. Even if you cannot accept this teaching, I hope at least you may come to understand - as many honorable persons of other faiths have accepted - that holding to a higher standard is not hypocricy, but, rather, virtue.