Friday, February 18, 2005

Homeschoolers are social! Page 1-A!

Some are finally beginning to get it. This story appears on the front page of the Durham Herald-Sun today (2/18/05)

Homeschoolers get social as more families go non-public

CHAPEL HILL -- Trash everything you think you know about homeschooling.

Forget the images of a small family sitting around a table, working out arithmetic problems. Toss out the thought of children whose only friends are their parents, brothers and sisters.

Today's homeschoolers say they are nothing like that.

A very positive article that interviews support group leaders in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough. My own contribution followed the comments of Ingrid Towey, leader of the Christian Homeschool Association of Greater Durham:

... the Toweys' decision to home-school wasn't based solely on religion.

"I just thought it was the best thing for our children, to allow them to learn at their own pace," Towey said. "It allows them to bolster their weaknesses, and run with their strengths. Yet it very much feels like God has called us to home-school. He has enabled us to home-school."

But most families do home-school for religious reasons, more flexible academics or social concerns, said Hal Young, president of North Carolinians for Home Education.

"Most families, if you talk with them, will pick one as the main reason, but admit they've considered all of the above," Young said. "My wife and I are Evangelical Christians and want that to be reflected in our children's education, but we're definitely 'all of the above' in the fuller scheme of things."

More than two-thirds of home educators are involved in a state or local organization, or both, Young said.

"Home-schooling is an individual activity, but it's not solitary," he said. "The support is key."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Good enough to be everyday news

It is a sign of the maturing of home education in the public view when homeschoolers cease being human interest curiosities and move into the pages of the regular news. The basketball program of Forsyth Home Educators in Winston-Salem has made the transition: they are a regular item on the sports page of the Winston-Salem Journal, as in this matter-of-fact report from last Friday (2/11/05):

Prep Basketball Roundup
West's 32 points lift FHE to OT victory

FHE 82, Stone-Eden 80 (OT): Kyle West scored 32 points, including the winning shot as the clock was winding down, as the visiting Forsyth Home Educators defeated Stone-Eden last night in a nonconference game.West hit a 10-footer in the lane with 1.2 seconds left in overtime. West also added seven assists.

Jake Claffee added 12 points and 10 rebounds for FHE (16-8), Colton Brown had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Nathan Miller chipped in with 10 points.

Andrew Daniel led Stone-Eden (24-8) with 31 points, Hal Young scored 17, Joseph Daniel had 13 and James Fagge contributed 10.

Comment from Hal: I've never met my namesake in Winston-Salem, but I guarantee any scoring record he cares to set will never be challenged by my athletic prowess, past or present.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Young homeschool filmmakers praised at Festival

The November/December issue of Homeschooling Today includes a story by Carmon Friedrich documenting the first San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, sponsored by Vision Forum.

Of the 130 film entries, 75 percent were submitted by homeschoolers: parents, children, or entire families together. First-time filmmakers competed with thouse who had been in the industry for many years. Thirty-eight semi-finalists were chosen in four main categories ...

This comment, though, caught my attention:

The youngest filmmaker, homeschooled Caleb McLeod Young, conceived the idea for his film, based on the book Christ in the Camp, when he was nine years old. With the encouragement of his family and the help of his homeschool history club, he made his five-minute film for $80. When the director of Time Changer, Rich Christiano, came to the podium to give a short speech, he pretended to take a call on his cell phone. "What, Lord?" he asked. "You want me to tell the folks you're more pleased with the nine-year-old who made Christ in the Camp than you are with Steven Spielberg?" The theater erupted in appreciative applause.

Caleb of course is my own son; the club is "Homeschoolers Unfolding History", a chapter of the N.C. History Museum's "Tarheel Junior Historians" organization, sponsored locally by the Public Library of Smithfield and Johnston County. The video was one of the 38 semi-finalists and was included in the "Best of Festival" DVD set.

Not being the youngest, perhaps, and having many worthy competitors in the young filmmakers category, my older son, John Calvin, has not attracted the same attention as Caleb. However, his HUH project, Independence Bound, was also honored as a semi-finalist and included on the "Best of" release, and both films are well-made, full costume presentations -- filmed at several historic locations around eastern North Carolina.

Dad's proud of both of them, of the Homeschoolers Unfolding History, and of Elaine Foreman, their sponsor at the library. Not to mention the regiment of mothers who sewed a closet full of Colonial garb (no coincidence that both of this year's productions are Revolutionary era, too).

Thursday, February 10, 2005

NCHE in The Old Schoolhouse

Just received our copy of The Old Schoolhouse winter '05 issue and find NCHE represented in several places --
  • Two photos of the NCHE Conference leading the article "The Value of Homeschool Conventions" by Amelia Harper and Deborah Wuehler, page 86
  • Quotes from our conference VP Nancy St. Marie ("The 'best' conference is the one that meets the needs of the homeschoolers who attend. The best measure of this is that the [NC] conference is still growing and growing ... ") and my wife Melanie ("Over the years, the families that I have seen succeed at homeschooling are those with deep roots -- a strong philosophical and spiritual basis for their homeschooling. Convention is where you get that ...")
  • Another photo of the NCHE Conference book fair on page 92, with the article "A Look Behind the Scenes of A Homeschool Convention" (Rhonda Barfield)
  • Although it's not identified as such, the comments of filmmaker Rich Christiano in Amelia Harper's report on the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (p. 56) refer to my 9-year-old son, Caleb, who directed one of the films in the competition.

(Amelia, btw, is an NCHE member living in Nashville, N.C., and the Media Editor of TOS.)

(Also btw, NCHE members can receive a 50% discount on The Old Schoolhouse magazine.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

NCHE in the News 2/2/05

Parents face school choices
Tours, open houses clarify regular public, magnet, charter, private options

Story by T. Keung Hui -- Raleigh News & Observer

Parents are sorting through the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and magnet public schools, charter schools, private schools and home schooling. Many schools are or soon will be accepting applications, and some want parents to make their decision by the end of this week. ...

Home schooling grows

Another nonpublic school option is home schooling, which is gaining in popularity. Hal Young, presidents of North Carolinians for Home Education, said various curricula and computer programs on the market are helping parents operate home schools.

In the Triangle, many support groups can provide parents help and offer youths extracurricular activities.

Young also said home schooling can be one-tenth the cost of sending a child to a private school, a key consideration when a family has multiple children.

"The major thing is, you're taking responsibility for your child's total educational experience," he said. "It takes a lot of time and a great deal of commitment."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

So what about socialization?

The North Raleigh edition of the News & Observer included this interesting report Friday:

No home court advantage:

Undefeated home-schoolers are showing they can hang with high schools

They assumed they were playing a team with no home, no student body, no real practice facility. In the world of high school basketball, it is easy for private schools to schedule a game with a home-school team and expect a notch in the win column.

But the Raleigh Hawks have schooled the competition this season.

The Hawks, after dismissing the Lighthouse Eagles 88-76 on Tuesday night, in one of their few games against another home-school team, improved to 16-0 with one game left in their regular season. ...

Later this month, the team will head to the North Carolina Home Educators State Tournament in Greensboro, where they've finished second the past two years. Of the dozen home-school basketball teams in the state, eight make it to the state tournament.

(Actually, it's the "North Carolina Homeschool Basketball Tournament", which is sponsored by North Carolinians for Home Education. There will be twenty-six teams there, not just eight, competing in boys' and girls' varsity, JV, and middle school brackets. And they're not there to socialize, you understand -- just planning to play some serious ball in Greensboro.)

Here's to the players, parents, and coaches, showing once again you don't have to have government funding or institutional backing to make a mark in your chosen field. Or court.

If P then Q

The leaders and my fellow bloggers at the John Locke Foundation's blog The Locker Room have discussed the questionable value -- if not legality -- of incentive plans offered by every level of government to woo Dell Computers to North Carolina.

Now that the state, Forsyth County, and Winston-Salem have allocated megabucks of incentives for Dell's new plant -- over $37 million of it local -- the Winston-Salem Journal reported Sunday that modification to a high school next to the plant site could cost as much as an additional $4.4 million:

About $900,000 of that money would be the direct cost of creating a new driveway system to get students onto campus off of Glenn Hi Road and closing the entrance from Union Cross Road. Officials with the computer company have said they want to keep students off the road that Dell trucks will use every day. The other $3.5 million would be used to undo some of the damage done to the campus by the road.

The new driveway would go through at least one fully lighted and irrigated football field, would destroy some tennis courts and would put the entrance of the school far from the principal's office.

A $5.6 million capital spending plan for the school has already swelled to $7.9 million due to inflation and "computer changes". Some on the school board are not happy, calling increased expenditures "not fiscally responsible."


Friday, February 04, 2005

Hal Young Posted by Hello