It's basically a 9 year old kid cussing out his mom for not getting him chocolate milk while he's playing "Rainbow Six", which is a shooting game on Xbox (and entirely innapropriate for 9 year olds). It's incredibly disturbing for a multitude of reasons, and is practicaly a "how to" on raising a future felon.
As might be guessed by most of my positions, I am an advocate of homeschooling, and more generally, any non-public form of schooling. My wife and I intend to homeschool our children (when we have them) for a multitude of reasons I won't go into now.
Now, I just want to address one of the most common, but IMHO, the most irritating arguments against allowing parents to teach their own children: they aren't qualified.
The NEA (national teachers union) in particular holds this view, though that is hardly surprising. It essentially goes like this: Teachers in public schools are required to have 4 years of training to teach children. What makes parents think they are qualified without any training at all to teach their children? A particularly lame example is here.
The simplest argument which I haven't seen enough of to refute this goes as follows:
Public teachers must:
Teach 20-30 children at once.
Teach children they have never met before.
Teach children from dozens of different backgrounds.
Teach all 20-30 children the same curriculum, no matter how disparate their abilities.
Conform to numerous state and federal laws and testing requirements.
Teach children with almost no influence over their home life (amount of sleep, reading encouraged, help with homework).
Homeschool Parents must:
Teach their own children only.
Teach children whom they have known since birth.
Teach children with one identical background.
Teach children the curriculum that makes sense for them based on their abilities and interests.
Conform to few state laws and no federal laws.
Teach children for whom they control every aspect of the home environment.
To say that homeschool parents are not qualified because they cannot do the job of a public school teacher is actually to gravely insult public school teachers! Clearly, a public teaching job is orders of magnitude more difficult than a parent teaching their own children.
There's one more argument I find so offensive that I'll address it here too: Homeschool can be used to mask parental abuse of children.
This one is offensive (implying very nasty motives of all homeschooling parents), but also persuasive because, if you're being honest, it's got to be happening somewhere. The obvious arguments, and it amazes me that these do not occur to people the moment they write this insulting statement are as follows:
Many, many children are abused while going to public schools, and this in no way benefits them.
Some school teachers use TEACHING as a way to mask abuse of children, and as a way to have access to a steady supply of abusees.
The chances of being harrased or abused in school are alarmingly high.
There are very few proven instances of homeschool being used as a mask for abuse.
All I ask is that homeschooling be judged the same way as public schooling, and, IMHO, once it is you simply can't argue that it is the more dangerous of the two.
Well, I've been watching the housing market closely these past few months, and things look like they're starting to cool off. It's heartening really, and for the first time in a while I'm thinking maybe we'll avoid a disaster in this arena. Most bubbles only seem to end when things get to a completely unsustainable point, and then they end rather violently. But this time, maybe not (though I'm not too hopeful). In the article I linked to, it seems that many people are trying to sell right now for fear of prices going down soon. In short, maybe the comparatively free flow of information this time around will prompt people to get out sooner, meaning we should see a less acute downturn, and maybe just a leveling off followed by a gradual decline. People are reading up everything they can about "housing crash" or "housing boom" or whatever. In fact, about half of the traffic on my blog is directly related to the "Housing Crash?" entry I made, either through links or web searches.
This would be better for everyone, even me, though I don't own a home. A sharp crash and a panic will do enourmous damage to the economy, and the overall effect on everyone will definitely be worse than if we could just get things back into line a little more gently.
I mentioned in my first article on this that prices would need to drop 50% to match the 50% increase we've had since the 90's (actually, I think it's higher). This is incorrect. A 50% increase is actually wiped out by a mere 33% decrease, since we are talking 33% of the higher number and 50% of the lower number. A 50% decrease would therefore wipe out a 100% increase, which makes sense since a 50% decrease is half and a 100% increase is double.
So, my long term strategy remains the same: Save money like there's no tomorrow (a little time preference humor there for you), and when I can buy a reasonable house for 15% or 20% down without wiping out my savings or stretching my monthly budget too far, go for it. Whether that comes from increased income, more assets, or lower house prices makes no difference.
Apparently, Gavin Newsom, the intrepid mayor of San Francisco, has boldly discovered a new basic human right! It's exciting when we look to the past and realize that, all along, we have been denied something that is the fundamental right of all human beings, something so basic and central to their existence that it's absence is a violation of natural law and, in fact, self contradictory.
I am, of course, referring to wireless Internet access.
Just think, these thousands of years the millions, nay, billions, that have suffered under the tyrany of a world denying them the ability to download mp3's, peruse porn, and read my blog! The humanity!!
In related news, Webster's has simply removed the definition of the word "right", saying "We figured no one was reading it anymore, so why waste the ink?"
We interrupt this (hopefully soon ended) blogging drought to bring you this important community reminder:
GO SEE SERENITY!!! NOW!! Bring your friends, your parents, your neighbors, your pets and anyone you happen to meet on the street.
For those who will not simply take my word on this... here's a bit more.
It's a movie. It's a good movie. It's based on a TV series, "Firefly" that was mercilessly slaughtered and driven into the ground by a bunch of clueless, stuffed shirt morons with college degrees that work for Fox. If you got time, get a hold of the DVD's for Firefly and watch it some time, but do not let that stop you from seeing the movie now!
It's sci-fi. If that turns you off, get over it. It's better sci-fi. It's not pretentious. It's fun.
It's directed by Joss Whedon, but I couldn't care less. I've never seen an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and you don't need to know who he is or care to love the film.
Seriosuly, this is the best movie I've seen in years. It's a mix of sci-fi and western (yes, as in six shooters and hats) and it is refreshingly different from the over budgeted over wrought nonsense that's been out so much recently. The characters are fun yet have some heft to them, and the action is tight and actually suspenseful, as in, you don't know how it's all going to turn out.
For more info, feel free to check out the links in my article here, there's plenty. If you are still reading this and not going to get tickets right now, you are not paying attention! Get moving!