Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Records of the Seventh

One of my ancestors, Jacob Edgar Powell of Fairfield Co., South Carolina, served in the 7th Battalion, South Carolina Infantry, during the War Between the States. My father's files included copies of Jacob's service records, including hospitalizations in Charleston, Wilmington, and Richmond, the last on the occasion of losing his right leg May 14, 1864.

The 7th was attached to the command of General Johnson Hagood, and his Memoirs of the War of Secession are often cited for historical information on the unit. This is available online at Google Books. I've been looking for this book for a while so when it turned up this evening I thought I'd better mark it down someplace.

The incident which led to my great-great-great-grandfather requesting a wooden leg from the Association for the Relief of Maimed Soldiers in September 1864 [1] is probably this one:

... sending Orderly Stoney to recall Blake and his men, the latter now thoroughly demoralized, Hagood directed Captain Brooks of the Seventh battalion to deploy his men behind the line of breastworks occupied by our line of battle, and at a signal to leap it and drive the skirmishers back. The company numbered about 90 men and was well officered. It gallantly performed the duty assigned to it, and succeeded in getting a good position for the bridgade skirmish line. Brooks was then relieved by the regular skirmish detail for the day composed of detachments from each regiment. [2][3]
This took place at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia. Jacob's right leg was amputated at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond that same day. He was officially invalided out on November 1, 1864, after a lengthy hospitalization and furlough.

1 Confederate Archives record, Ch. 6, File 74, page 340. Photocopy, Harral Young Jr. Collection

2 Johnson Hagood, Memoirs of the War of Secession (Columbia, SC: The State Company, 1910), pp. 234-235.

3 According to biographical notes on Capt. John Hampden Brooks in another history, the unit suffered over ninety percent casualties in this action -- including the captain himself. "At the battle of Drewry's Bluff, Va., Captain Brooks was three times wounded, and lost sixty-eight out of the seventy-five men carried into action, twenty-five being left dead upon the field." (D. Augustus Dickert, History of Kershaw's Brigade, (n.p.: E. H. Aull Co., 1899) p. 481). Quite an engagement.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sometimes they do get it

My wife recently wrote the author of the Chinese textbook we're using with our children, explaining briefly that we are homeschooling and requesting access to certain instructional helps on the publisher's website. Behold the author's return salutation:

Dear Young laoshi,

which means, in mixed Mandarin and English, "Dear Teacher Young".

Good! He got it.

In a way, it's surprising how often people outside of the homeschooling community really don't consider the parent educating their own children to be a teacher, not really. I don't know if it's a matter of class size, institutional identity, state credentials, or what, but it might be worth examining sometime.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Geeks at Play

Son John is working on trigonometry with wife Melanie this morning. I had to share the Beaver cheer with them:

I'm a Beaver,
You're a Beaver,
We are Beavers all
And when we get together,
we do the Beaver call!
E to the U du dx
E to the X dx
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
Integral radical mu dv
Slipstick, sliderule, MIT!
Go Tech!
Not that I have any claim to it, I just appreciate the poetry of it.
(The title of the post is borrowed from a website where I read it some time ago)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Updating Scott

Friend Scott Somerville has stopped posting on his old Homeschool Blogger site, Somerschool (a good title, sorry to see it go!) but has moved his mission over to "The K-Dad Network". I've updated his link accordingly here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Links

I've added a few new links for easy reference:

Bible Gateway is an excellent tool for checking nearly any translation or version of the Scriptures and the one I use to link passages for this blog.

The Online Parallel Bible links to a number of useful study tools though it doesn't have my translation of choice, the New King James Version.

Monergism is a Reformed website with numerous useful pages, including doctrinal articles, translations, classic Christian books, confessional statements, and many historically-proven commentaries, all available and searchable online.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Utility's Lament

While I was working with the power company, I found that we all watched the weather -- not just to see if a hurricane or a winter storm was going to disrupt our weekend plans, but longer-term, if the mild weather was going to cut into the expected revenues from air conditioning and heaters. It's been so unseasonably warm this winter, I sketched out this doggerel ... and now that we have a prediction of winter precipitation of the wrong kind today, I thought I'd better go ahead and post before it's overtaken by events ...


Oh, the weather outside's displeasing
'Cause it's hardly got to freezing
And we've got to make the meters go --
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

When the weatherman says there's ice,
Oh, we hate going out in the storm
But a little snow would be nice
People stay home and stay warm!

But our profit will be declining
If the sun continues shining
And the PSC persists with "No" --
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Howdy, Grampa! What's for supper?

My teenage son is leaving for work carrying his own special dinner: ranch baloney salsa cheddar wrap.

I refer to this as "Tex-Hex" cuisine because he'll be haunted by the decision the rest of the evening, I'm sure. And he thought I ought to blog it, so here it is.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Poetry is where you find it

Someone wrote a book on the unintended poetry of Donald Rumsfeld. There is unintended poetry in the Combined Federal Regulations, too. This one is entitled, "Prohibited Threads" -- I've reformatted it slightly to for reading purposes:

Prohibited threads
Cotton thread,
and monofilament thread
of any composition,
will not be accepted
for use
in structural applications
unless demonstrated
to the Commandant
to be equivalent
to standard thread
in durability
in all foreseeable
conditions of use
and stowage.

46 CFR Ch. 1 Sub 164.023-5,
“Thread for Personal Floatation Devices: Performance; standard thread”
(10-1-04 edition)

A later couplet rings with hidden meaning:

Each thread
which complies
with all of the requirements
of a specification listed in table 164.023–5(a)
is assigned Use Codes
1, 2, 3, 4BC, 4RB, and 5 (any).

Got to dig the "5 (any) " conceit.

Really, is there a Use Code 5(any) to be aware of? And did it come out in the floor debate in the House?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Creeping in on little cat's feet

Apologies to Carl Sandburg's poem "Fog", but it came to mind in a recent discussion of "regulatory creep".

The following quotation is from "The Interest of the Few and the Rights of the Many," an essay by John F. Mercer, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He said that many of his fellow citizens were not ready to defend their liberties or to exert "a watchful jealousy of the great and unnecessary grants of power and changes in a state of society which we know to be mild and free":

The people, long unaccustomed, in a good and guarded government, to bold and selfish designs in their rulers, look up with an unsuspicious confidence to any alteration which those entrusted with power may propose. However unconstitutional the changes, if recommended by men used to govern them, they seem to come forward under the sanction of legal authority. [This is especially so if the changes are] prepared in secrecy, the public mind taken by surprise and every engine previously set in motion, [and if] the unconceited and unconnected defense of individuals is branded with the opprobrious epithet of opposition and overwhelmed in the directed tide of popular clamor ...

-- The Annals of America, vol. 3, p. 276. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1976)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A time to speak, and time to be silent

I maintain a section of NCHE's website for statewide news and events, including an "Upcoming Events" entry which lists NCHE functions or outside occasions where board members will be speaking and representing the organization. We're on the list, too, so I thought it would be interesting to pull the last two years' archives and add a couple of non-homeschooling events we did, too. Although I'm doing fewer homeschooling events now that someone else is in charge of NCHE, I am preaching at our church on a fairly frequent basis. John did a couple of presentations in here, too.


Hal & Melanie
Fayetteville, NC - HOME Support Group
Winston-Salem, NC - 22nd Annual NCHE Conference and Book Fair
Clayton, NC - Johnston County Home Educators Graduation and End of Year Promotion
Sumter, SC - S. C. Home Educators Association 2006 Convention

Raleigh, NC - Leadership Raleigh
Garner, NC - Bountiful Harvest Homeschoolers
Wilson, NC - Sallie B. Howard Charter School
Smithfield, NC - South Smithfield Baptist Church

Sanford, NC - Christian Home Educators of Central Carolina, Homeschool Conference and Book Fair
Clayton, NC - Johnston County Home Educators Books

Hal & Melanie
Wilson, NC - Wilson Area Home Educators
Winston-Salem, NC - 21st Annual NCHE Conference and Book Fair
Sumter, SC - S. C. Home Educators Association 2005 Convention
Clayton, NC - Johnston County Home Educators Book Fair and Conference
Greenville, NC - HOME Homeschool Orientation and Mini-Conference

Wake Forest, NC - Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association
Raleigh, NC - Leadership Raleigh
Raleigh, NC - John Locke Foundation

Clayton, NC - New Support Group, Hocutt Memorial Baptist Church
Smithfield, NC - Public Library of Smithfield and Johnston County
Lumberton, NC - Robeson County Home Educators Expo
Wilson, NC - NCHE Eastern Support Group Leadership Conference
Montreat, NC - NCHE Western Support Group Leadership Conference

Link to a friend

Our friend Ken Porter just let us know about his blog, The Handsome Doorkeeper, which he's running to keep in touch with friends while he's in preparation for the Ecuadorian mission field. It looks good so far so I've added a link on the sidebar -- thanks, Ken, and say hi to Robin for us.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I'm sorry, he's in conference

It's time I start doing my year-end reviews of things. Last week I was looking over our family pictures for the year and was struck by the remarkable number of conferences I attended in 2006. Here's my wrap up:

Men With Vision Leadership Summit
Oklahoma City, OK -- February 9-11

This was a new event but a number of old friends attended. Christian Home Educators of Colorado put together this men's summit to discuss the future of the homeschooling movement from a Christian perspective. Speakers included old acquaintances Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, Michael Smith of HSLDA, and Rep. Kevin Lundberg of Colorado. I had an opportunity to interview CHEC's executive director Kevin Swanson (another speaker and author of an excellent new book, Upgrade), and ate dinner with Norm Wakefield of Elijah Ministries on the way home.

My friend Davis Carmen from NCHE's board attended (we shared a room) as did our elder David Auge and pastor Scott Brown; we had an excellent time of fellowship and encouragement both in sessions and between.

North Carolina Conservative Leadership Conference
Durham, NC -- February

This is the first of these events sponsored by the J.W. Pope Civitas Institute. I registered at my own expense since I thought it might be too partisan in its politics to count as a legitimate NCHE homeschooling interest. As it happened, the educational focus was almost exclusively about charter schools and "choice" options than home education. I did see several political and policy acquaintances while I was there and made some contacts which could be helpful for homeschooling in a general sense. The big keynote speaker was Sen. George Allen of Virginia, though Rep. Sue Myrick and Rep. Virginia Foxx spoke as well as the head of the American Conservative Union.

One good takeaway was watching the live bloggers in action in the lobby; it inspired me to set up something like it for NCHE's conference later in the spring. They also had an interesting schedule for workshop sessions -- identical for both Friday and Saturday, so you could either get to every session, or else have the full range to choose from if you only come one day.

HSLDA Legislative Summit
Washington D.C. -- May

Home School Legal Defense Association sponsors this meet-your-Congressman event for state homeschool leaders every second year, and as the president of North Carolinians for Home Education, I was invited to come this time. Speakers included Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and about a dozen other legislators from both parties. These are my friends Bruce Shortt of Exodus Mandate and Joyce Burgess of the National Black Home Educators; the man who lives here sends me Christmas cards but didn't invite us in the day we came by.

North Carolinians for Home Education Annual Conference and Book Fair
Winston-Salem, NC -- May

My last one as president. This one had some interesting changes and surprises; the new owners of the convention center had installed WiFi through the whole facility so we set up a live blog for the NCHE website and had several guest bloggers posting throughout the weekend. This can only get better, I think.

We had some friends over for a late night drop-in at our hotel suite (we have seven kids, we need that much space) and a couple of the speakers came by, too. Here's an old acquaintance, Rick Boyers of Virginia (author of Yes, They're All Ours and The Socialization Trap) and a new friend, Vodie Baucham (author of The Everloving Truth and the most talked-about speaker at the conference).

Melanie and I spoke about four times each, including one on homeschooling travel which we put together on short notice when one of our scheduled speakers cancelled for health reasons.

National Conference for Christian Homeschool Leaders,
Nashville, TN -- September

We look forward to this event every year. HSLDA brings together leaders from the Christian homeschooling movement from all over the world; predominantly, of course, it's Americans, but there are nearly always representatives from HSLDA Canada, the German organization Schulunterricht zu Hause, Mike and Pam Richardson from El Hogar Educador in Latin America, and people from somewhere in Central Europe. We have a number of friends that we've known for years through this networking opportunity; here are Melanie and Valerie Monk of Arizona Families for Home Education, at Andrew Jackson's home, "The Hermitage", where we had dinner the opening night.

Uniting Church and Family Conference
St. Louis, MO -- October

My friend Scott Brown, elder of Hope Baptist Church in Rolesville, NC -- and also the director of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches -- invited my son John Calvin and I to attend as guests of Hope. We took a fifteen passenger van of men and families representing five current or future congregations and had a fantastic trip of fellowship, encouragement, and challenge. John and I shared a room with Eddie Burroughs, a local pastor who recently resigned his post to start a new fellowship when his deacon board decided not to support his vision for a more family-centered model for their church.

I didn't take a lot of pictures because I spent most the time blogging. I did finally realize that if I was going to be meeting authors as often as I do at these events, I ought to at least get their books signed, too; I was able to get Alexander Strauch (Biblical Eldership), Arnold Pent (Ten P's In A Pod), and Voddie Baucham (The Everloving Truth) on this trip. Kevin Swanson was nice enough to inscribe Upgrade when we met in St. Louis.

Incidentally, this only covers the state and national "convention" type conferences I was able to attend. There are several ongoing projects I've been involved with, such as the new Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina group that I meet on a regular basis and a smaller summit sponsored by the South Carolina Home Educators Association, but those are both more focused on particular issues.