Thousands Stand Together to Support Prayer in Jesus' Name

During the upcoming October 2013 term, the United States Supreme Court will be deciding a crucial issue that could impact every county and municipality in America: Is it constitutional to pray sectarian prayers before official legislative gatherings? 

Read more: Thousands Stand Together to Support Prayer in Jesus' Name

Defining the School Day

In the Smith family, the kids seem to spend a lot of time in their pajamas!  They wake up a bit late, spend a lot of time doing independent reading, gather for a time at the table to get assignments, then disperse for the day to work on their homeschooling.

In the Jones family, the children start their morning chores at 7:00 AM.  Breakfast is promptly at 8 and they are seated in their desks by 9.  After a midday break for lunch, it’s back to the desks until 3 or 4 PM.

Each family has chosen to define their school day differently.  Is it important how the document their day?

The answer to this question depends on where you live.  Do you live in a state that specifies the days required for homeschooling?  Here are some examples.  You state’s requirements might read:

  • Parent shall offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics
  • Attend at least 875 hours per year
  • 900 hours at elementary level and 990 hours at secondary level
  • Private tutor must teach “for at least three hours a day for 140 days each calendar year, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m."

In these instances, arrange your recordkeeping system to be able to demonstrate that you specifically complied.  For example, 990 hours of school over 180 days of the school year works out to 5.5 hours per day.  As you schedule your year, keep that daily figure in mind.

If you live in a state that does not specifically mandate hours or times, it is a good idea to at least keep a checklist of the days you do school.  For each of those days, keep a log of what you did, or maintain lesson plans.

A reliable record is one made contemporaneously with the activity being recorded.  If you try to document 2 months of school work 2 months later, your record will not be accurate. 

Keep good records.

Make the records contemporaneously to the activity.

Homeschool with excellence.

At the Center for Homeschool Liberty, our attorneys are available to answer any questions you have at any time during your school year.  Hope your family is off to a great start!

 

Law Talk Live Listening Notes

Last week on Law Talk Live (9.7.13), Attorney David Gibbs discussed the politics and the possibilities of a conflict in Syria.  Some of these questions require merely remembering something he said, but some require interpretation and opinion.  This would be a great opportunity to get your student(s) up-to-date on some of the issues in the Middle East.  You can always access the Law Talk Live podcasts here:  www.lawtalkliveradio.com.   This episode of the program was entitled The United States and War Powers.

Do the Senate and the President agree on whether to intervene in Syria?

Allowing the murder of millions of unborn babies, but going to war over the death of several hundred children in Syria:  Are these American positions consistent or inconsistent?  Explain your answer.

When President Obama ran for election, was he in favor of ending our involvement in military conflicts in the Middle East?

  • Does the President have the power to declare war?  Explain your answer.
  • What does it mean to say that Americans are “war weary”?
  • What article and section of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war?
  • Moralism, interventionism and globalism.  Find your best definitions for these words.
  • How many times has Congress actually declared war?
  • Was the Korean War authorized by Congress?
  • What is the American interest in Syria?
  • How do we decide what conflicts we get involved in?
  • Does the Bible say these Middle East conflicts will increase?  What role should America play in this?
  • What is a civil war? Is the conflict in Syria a civil war?
  • Is it the role of the United States to be the “policeman” around the world?
  • From an economic perspective, can America afford involvement in another conflict?

Back to school time is always challenging.  Getting into a schedule of teaching and keeping things humming in the home is time-consuming.  Have you taken the time to make your second-year donation to the Center for Homeschool Liberty?  Have we been a blessing to you in some specific way this year?  If you appreciate the work we do to help real families with real problems, put it on your to-do list to log on and donate at www.NCLL.org.

 

Will You Help Us As We Fight for the Unborn?

Last week, you may have seen this picture. It has garnered a lot of attention on the Internet and has even been publicized on Fox News and other prominent news outlets. If you haven't seen it, this is a picture of a woman moments before she went into an abortion clinic and ended the lives of twin baby girls. Why would this woman choose to end the lives of her baby girls? She said that she wanted to terminate the pregnancy becasue she already had two daughters and "didn't want anymore girls." 

As we heard this story at the national center for life and liberty, we were heartbroken over the fact that these babies tragically died that day. But the reality is that thousands of babies—just like these twins—die every day in America. 

Common Core Education? A Bad Idea for States and a Danger to Homeschoolers

The Common Core curriculum movement is an attempt to centralize and standardize what children will learn across the country. Common Core defines what every child should learn from grade to grade and includes teacher evaluations that are tied to federally funded tests. These tests are designed to ensure school compliance. The reaction? Not much common consensus. States and others are pushing back.

In its first term, the Obama administration announced a federal incentive program for schools called “Race to the Top.” Public schools who wanted to compete for the funds had to agree to adopt Common Core standards in teaching and testing.

Most states have adopted the Common Core, but some are pulling back. To date, 45 states have adopted the reading, math, and writing standards. Many are having second thoughts, however, seeking to slow implementation or prevent adoption. At the federal level, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with seven other senators, signed a letter calling on their colleagues to stop funding the implementation of Common Core.

As homeschoolers, why is Common Core a bad idea? From a big-picture perspective, it is another instance of Washington overstepping boundaries. It is the individual states that have educational sovereignty. State school boards of education are elected or appointed to determine education policy. They should not cede that authority over to the federal government.

Common Core is a concern for homeschoolers. Students who take national, standardized tests—whether to assess yearly progress or to earn college admission—will be tested based on the teaching and methodology of the Common Core.

Furthermore, Americans will pay a high cost for common core—not just in the books and teacher training. We simply can’t afford this. The Pioneer Institute estimates that, cumulatively, states will be on the hook for about $16 billion in implementation costs. Do state budgets have the room to accommodate this at this time?

Just last week, New York education officials reported that students across the state failed miserably on new reading and math tests meant to reflect the more rigorous standards, with fewer than a third of students in public schools passing the new tests. Other states will release their evaluations over the next year.

We need to slow down the train. The issue needs further study as to the effectiveness of these standards. Just last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) took steps to withdraw the state from participation with the testing arm of the Common Core standards, joining a growing list of states to step away.

Parents who cherish their educational choice should make their thoughts known to their legislators.