Tuesday, March 28, 2006

After [Home-]School Activities

There have been several articles the past year about homeschoolers and extracurricular activities; here's my contribution to the stack. My personal theory is that for many folks, the face of "education" is not so much the classroom as it is the football game, band concert, or some other public event. Why that would be, I can't say -- maybe we all tend to gloss over the routine day-by-day life of school, in favor of the more exciting activities we remember, or the outside events we can share with our children.

How else can I interpret the response of near-relief I see when I talk about what homeschoolers do when they're not hitting the books? Apparently even some of our friends fear that we're hunkered down behind raised drawbridges, peering out at a confusing and frightening world through the embrasures of our little 3-bed 2-bath castles.

Sorry, we're not in right now; we'll be glad to call when we get back from basketball practice, band rehearsal, and debate class.

Homeschoolers Branching Out
Sports, music, and debate competitions among the extracurriculars

RALEIGH — The popular image of homeschooling is a mother and her children leaning over the kitchen table or gathered in the family room with their schoolbooks. This is not inaccurate for most families, but it is far from complete.

Studies show homeschooled students are involved in many after-school activities along with their public and private-school counterparts, such as scouting, 4-H, church groups, and sports leagues. Yet home educators also are building their own programs to provide more of the traditional high-school activities, such as varsity athletics, band, and academic clubs. …

(Carolina Journal Online, March 27; print edition, April 2006)

Monday, March 20, 2006

New News

This just in from my friend Joe Wirtz at The Cultural Commission -- a new news blog called The Cultural Report. Today was the first time I've read it but it looks good.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A moment of weakness

I went out to lunch with some friends and associates today, and while we discussed politics and business matters over Thai chicken, grilled salmon, and Philadelphia steak sandwiches, at one point conversation got right chummy about personal experience with Volkswagens and tubas.

Everyone had a Volkswagen story, and three of the four had tuba anecdotes.

Talk about strange affinity. The parties will remain nameless but I can say it included an economist, two newspaper editors, and an engineer, all from different states.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More graceful towers

The trade journal Transmission & Distribution World reports that the Finnish municipal utility Helsinki Electric had to upgrade their existing 110kV lines and their 50-year-old lattice-steel towers, to support the seven-fold increase in electrical demand since the lines were first built. However, due to the critical location of the right of way through a scenic part of Helsinki, they enlisted a veteran industrial designer to create a more artistic tower.

Professor [Antii] Nurmesniemi presented an A-shaped tower made of rounded steel elements that satisfied structural demands and, when seen from a distance, also looked graceful. An architect's slogan is: “If you cannot hide a structure, make it visible.” Besides this original design, the color of the towers was to be nontraditional. A blue color was chosen purposely to stand out from colors that appear in nature.

Personally, I've always loved steel latticework, whether in a bridge or a tower structure. But here's the Professor's take on a more graceful powerline, dubbed "Antii's Steps" in his honor.The photo appears on the webpage of the construction firm Eltel Networks.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Speaking at HOME

Melanie and I had the opportunity to speak at a meeting of the HOME support group -- Homes Offering Meaningful Education -- in Fayetteville this week.  Good friend and fellow board member Sandi Crosmun had asked us months ago if we could come, and not knowing the timing of this week's chicken pox epidemic, we said certainly. 

Well, thankfully, our oldest son is a fully-qualified and very capable babysitter, and since HOME asked if we would do our presentation on "Strengthening the Homeschooling Marriage", which we've done quite a few times and already revised once -- it didn't take a great deal of new preparation in the midst of the spots. 

We got a very warm welcome and many thanks from a good-sized group -- I counted 53, about a third of them men, which is an encouraging turnout for a local group.  Many thanks to Sandi for inviting us down … It's always good to meet with folks on the same journey!