Scrutinizing Sources Central to Happy Home Education

1 12 2006

The culturally suspect Woody Allen is quoted by the online movie database as saying of his innocent, charming, funny Annie Hall star:

“In real life, (Diane) Keaton believes in God.
But she also believes that the radio works because there are tiny people inside it.”

Thinking Parents need to get good at evaluating all kinds of sources. Then if they are really smart, they help their kids learn to do the same. They needn’t lose their innocence, charm or humor to learn this, and they may be better able to keep all of the above if they DO learn to evaluate sources thoughtfully before believing and acting on what they are told.

We had some silliness on our local homeschool list today, an ancient urban legend earnestly posted as fraught religious scoop straight from Dr. James Dobson, something about atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair plotting to kill God on tv. It seems to have started as a cynical, disrespectful prank to make fools of innocent homeschooling Christians like this mom, counting on their credulity and sincere sharing of it with everyone they know — blinded by faith not just in God but in all his declared earthly experts, in the infallibility of the printed word, and apparently in the power of technology to be always good, never evil.

It’s so not-good for home education and for all Christians, to allow matters of ultimate concern to be compromised so foolishly and seem Unthinking. It’s most especially not good for home-educating and Christian children, who fall more often under scrutiny as Unthinking in this culture of ours.

I remembered this quote and found it. Sadly, I think I’d better keep it handy.

Colleges Hot to Attract Winter Wonderkind

1 12 2006

They still diss football players as scholars but ski bums are high-class recruits?

The good news–unschoolers and homeschoolers exemplify the same personal strengths that snowboarders and ice skaters apparently do, and can make excellent college students for all the same reasons.

The bad news may be that as a professional class, the so-called intellectuals guarding higher education gates so diligently the year round, do not. They haven’t learned to make daring leaps yet, not so much from white sports –pun intended– to all sports, but from prizing individual strength and concentration to — well, selecting for individual strength and concentration! (How hard should that be, seriously?)


Let’s hope the admissions game players don’t fall through the ice instead, with some idiot No Child Left Inside winter-sports mandate.

If admissions officials are as disciplined, daring and open to mastering new academic tricks as they find these accomplished athletes to be, maybe they can follow the recommended half-pipe learning curve for snowboarders, and turn this first little thrill of lifting off for a split second, into some extraordinary moves worthy of oohs and ahhs from an adoring public audience.

Among colleges, specialized winter schools have earned a reputation for producing not only accomplished athletes, but students who can handle the intellectual rigors of a campus.

“From an academic point of view, we certainly have a high opinion of ski academies,” said Bob Clagett, dean of admissions at Middlebury College, adding that academy graduates often arrive with extraordinary time-management skills. “They end up being some of the strongest students we have.”

Winter-school students, whose applications are not packed with a variety of extracurriculars, are not necessarily penalized for it.

“We far prefer to see a higher level of talent and experience in fewer areas than dabbling in many,” Mr. Clagett said.

Growing up in Florida means we don’t know Snow, but tennis academies here are world-renowned and most other sports are available to aspiring young people at a very high level. My kids are deeply into the arts and entertainment rather than athletics, but it all seems like the same power of story to me and shares the same happy ending, if we can keep our own focus on what counts.bollitieri-tennis-coach-blonde-kid.jpg

Public success isn’t decided by the diplomas and deeds you have on file, any more than success at home is having the right marriage and birth certificates on file, or money in the bank.

If success is defined not by law or riches, rule or school, but by who you become, and how you pass THAT on to your children — then how could any lawyer or bureaucrat possibly belong between you and your child in that process?