Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Most Home School Oriented Area? Churches?

ND Home School Families,

Two interesting questions came to the NDHSA office recently that I need help answering:

1.       Where is the most homeschool oriented area of ND?
2.       Are there any churches with only homeschool parents in ND?

Please REPLY TO THIS BLOG POST with your answers or related thoughts so that others may benefit from your perspective on these questions.

I'll be looking forward to reading your comments!


Jim Bartlett

Can College Be Homeschooled?

Written by Sam Blumenfeld    
What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all have in common? They all dropped out of college and pursued their interest in computer technology so that today they are among the richest men in the world. They proved that a college degree is not necessary for success in our high-tech capitalist economy. But what they did have was ambition, intelligence, inventiveness, perseverance, and a total commitment to what it was they wanted to do. These facts should be of interest to homeschoolers who have reached that point in their education where they must decide whether or not to go on to college or a university.

Of course, in making that decision there are a number of factors to consider. First, the individual must determine if the career he or she is pursuing requires a college degree. If your goal is to become a lawyer, nuclear engineer, marine biologist, or medical doctor, attendance at a graduate school will no doubt be necessary. Entry to a graduate school may require four years of prescribed preparation at a college. Thus, it’s wise to investigate well in advance what kind of preparation is needed. It may be possible to do a lot of the undergraduate work at home.

As many homeschoolers already know, it is no longer necessary to attend a college in order to get a degree. There are now many accredited schools that offer bachelor's, master's, and even law degrees by home study. Modern computer technology has made home study a very convenient and effective way to earn a degree in virtually any subject area. For example, Auburn University offers an almost totally nonresident MBA and Master of Engineering degrees in such fields as aerospace, chemistry, computer science, and industrial engineering. The courses are videoed in the classrooms and mailed or downloaded to distance students who are required to maintain the same pace of study as resident students.

Regent University at Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers a Master's degree in business administration or management with only two weeks of attendance on campus. There is even an online university that reaches students all over the world: Kaplan University. It offers over 125 degrees. It also has learning centers around the country for those who need to sit in a classroom.

There are now about a half-dozen books on distance learning on Amazon: How to Earn a College Degree Without Going to College by James P. Duffy; Bears’ Guide to College Degrees by Mail and Internet; Bears’ Guide to the Best Computer Degrees by Distance Learning; and others. These books list hundreds of accredited educational institutions that offer home study courses leading to degrees. These include Boise State University, Brigham Young University, Colorado State University, Skidmore College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Oklahoma, and many more.
There has been an explosion of educational institutions with nontraditional, off-campus programs offering degrees in just about any subject you might be interested in. And no doubt we shall see more and more such off-campus educational opportunities for several good reasons. First, it is no longer necessary to sit in a classroom in an ivy-covered building 500 miles away from home just to listen to a young instructor repeat knowledge that can be found in a textbook. Few full professors actually do any teaching anymore in person. They operate at the graduate level. For undergraduates, they may be available on a CD or DVD.

Second, attending college can be very expensive. An education at a prestigious university can cost as much as $30,000 to $39,000 a year just in tuition. It is common for many college graduates these days to start out their post-school life with a student-loan debt of $120,000. That kind of debt can become a very heavy burden when one is getting an entry-level salary.

Third, not every homeschooler has to or ought to attend college. Basic liberal arts subjects, such as English literature and history, can be studied at home. And in this era of high unemployment, home businesses provide plenty of opportunities to develop work and entrepreneurial skills. Apprenticeships and Internships can be sought out for valuable work experience. Also, there are jobs for highly competent homeschooled high-school graduates whose knowledge is certainly equal to if not better than that of many of today's college graduates.

Most liberal arts colleges have become arenas of mindless social activities involving binge-drinking, partying, experimentation in sex and drugs, interspersed with boring classes taught by '60s radicals, feminists, and deconstructionists promoting their own political and social agendas. It makes no sense to be homeschooled and then waste your time and money at such an institution in order to be brainwashed by the humanists. If you desire a social life, you can find it among local homeschooling groups, at church, or in political activity.

The best way for homeschoolers to gain the equivalent of a liberal arts college education is to read those books that the liberal professors don't want you to read, books by Von Hayek, Von Mises, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, R. J. Rushdoony, and others. For example, if your aim is to become a teacher in a private school (public-school teachers generally need a degree in an “accredited” politically correct college of education), read those books critical of progressive education, books by Rudolf Flesch, Beverly Eakman, and yours truly. There are dozens of wonderful books critical of the public-school curriculum and the federal programs aimed at creating a dumbed-down population easily manipulated by the ruling progressive establishment.

Today's liberal professors teach evolution as fact. You can counter them by reading some of the very fine books by creationists who are critical of evolution. You won't have time to read those good books if you're at a college and forced to read only the politically correct books required by your professor. The same goes for such controversial issues as climate change and global warming.
The essence of homeschooling is educational freedom. Which means that you can choose what you want to learn, read the books you want to read, and choose a future career that reflects your own desires and talents. There is no reason why those principles should not apply to college level education. Look through the course catalog of a good university. Check out the courses you would like to take. Examine the books required for the course, and get books critical of that particular discipline. You will probably learn more by reading the critical studies than the mandated texts.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

College and Alternatives

By Jim Bartlett

New York Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto explained how corporations, foundations, psychologists and education professionals designed the public school system to mass produce a pliable workforce for global corporations. They purposely teach people not to think for themselves and to follow anti-Christian social orders according to Mr. Gatto in his books Dumbing Us Down, The Underground History of American Public Education, and Weapons of Mass Instruction.

If getting pliable followers, not Christian cultural leaders, into the corporate workforce is the goal of school and college accreditation structures and content, then Christians need to understand and evaluate the effects of institutional college education on their families, church and culture.

Getting into college should not be the goal of home education, but glorifying God in the means, purposes, details, and ends of both the college and or career education. Many home school families are finding or creating alternatives to conventional secular and Christian higher education to better serve God and their family goals.

Below are are a few references that have been helpful to home educating families when advising their sons and daughters on college and career decisions.

The North Dakota Guide to Home School High School contains information that may help with your college planning. That document is linked HERE.

A convenient list of many occupations is linked HERE.

For information on..

A guide to 111 traditional Christian colleges is linked HERE.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Homeschoolers Can Help Promote Homeschooling

Written by Sam Blumenfeld ,   
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 08:50
I’m sure that homeschoolers will agree that defending and expanding educational freedom is in the interest of homeschoolers. The public education establishment, which has enormous political power through the National Education Association, would love to get rid of home education, and that is why they keep trying to get state legislatures to impose all sorts of onerous regulations on homeschoolers.

Fortunately, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has been largely successful in keeping the wild dogs of the NEA at bay. But one can be sure that the NEA will keep trying, and there are many legislators who are beholden to that powerful organization for their support. So it behooves homeschoolers to be ever alert about what is going on in their state legislatures. It also behooves homeschoolers to rally as much support from their fellow citizens as possible, since many local school superintendents think they have a right to impose their own regulations on the homeschoolers in their communities, despite state laws to the contrary. Every community has its own would-be dictators.
There are many things that homeschoolers can do to gain the support of their neighbors. First, they should inform their fellow citizens that homeschooling costs them nothing. In fact, it saves the taxpayers the cost of educating homeschooled children in the public schools. his is no small matter considering how much money home owners pay in real estate taxes just to pay for the public schools in their communities. And, as we all know, educators are always clamoring for more money.
Here are some ideas on how to promote homeschooling. 1. Arrange for an exhibit of home-education books and materials at your local public library. Volunteer to man a table in the library during that day so that you can answer questions that people may ask. Most libraries have a meeting or conference room in which a talk or a power-point presentation can be given. Be sure to have an adequate supply of leaflets and free literature to distribute. A good time to have this exhibit would be a few weeks before the local or state homeschool convention takes place, so that you could encourage potential homeschoolers to attend the convention and see for themselves all of the materials available and hear some of the talks given by inspirational speakers.
2. Just as important as reaching the public is, so is reaching your lawmakers. So visit the State legislators and present them with homemade cherry pies. The cherry pie will remind everyone of George Washington and the famous incident with the cherry tree. Home-baked cookies or sweet buns might do just as well as the pie, especially if you want to hand out as many items as possible without breaking the bank. Also give them some literature explaining the benefits of homeschooling to the children, the family, and the community. These lawmakers should be reminded that parental rights and educational freedom are important values in a free society.
Also, visiting the legislature is a good lesson in government for your children. Make it an important event and let the local media know about it well in advance so that TV cameras will be there for the six o’clock news. That’s when your neighbors will be able to see how well your children behave when giving lawmakers cookies or pies.
3. Get to know people in the local media — the local newspaper, radio talk show, and TV station’s news department. Most people in the media are sympathetic to homeschoolers who manage to win spelling and geography bees. So treat them as potential friends. Tell them of the homeschool convention coming up or actually give them a write-up of an event that is newsworthy.
4. Develop good debating skills. You will inevitably encounter people who oppose home education for any number of reasons, and you ought to be able to counter their negative views with positive arguments of your own. Well-meaning people who are simply ignorant of the great benefits of homeschooling may be open enough to have their views questioned and changed. But you will also find those who are part of the education establishment and are so committed to a statist philosophy of government that no amount of eloquence on your part will be able to budge them. But what you can learn from them is how better to hone your own arguments with those who will listen.
5. If the weather is nice you can invite local dignitaries, ministers, school-board members, and public school teachers to a homeschooling cookout and open house. Have homeschooling parents explain the benefits of home education and have the children recite their own poetry or give readings. The purpose of such an event is to win friends and influence people.
6. Organize a homeschool crafts fair at your church or community center. You might combine it with a yard sale to attract the public and talk with them about homeschooling their own children. You should not be afraid of proselytizing others to become homeschoolers, for you are persuading them to adopt a great new, wholesome, family lifestyle.
7. Have your homeschooled children visit the elderly, in their homes or at senior centers or in a retirement or nursing home, and present them with cookies. Senior citizens appreciate visits from the younger generation. Make sure that some of your cookies are sugar-free for those seniors who are diabetic. You might arrange for your youngsters to volunteer helping the elderly once a week or once a month. These senior citizens often have interesting life stories to tell. The best way to learn about the past is to get to know those who lived in it. War veterans have lots of stories to tell.
I’m sure you can think of other things to do to promote homeschooling and the concept of educational freedom. It is in your interest to make sure that the public has a positive view of the homeschool movement, even though they may be sending their own children to the public schools.
Build up your own library of good homeschool books, which you may want to lend out to your friends and neighbors. Our country is on the brink of changing from a constitutional republic to a socialist democracy. But socialism and homeschooling are incompatible, for under socialism the state becomes the educator of everyone. So, homeschoolers must also get involved in politics, for the future of their freedom depends on who the public votes for. Despotic regimes are often elected democratically by a public unaware of the consequences of their votes. But when they eventually find out, it may be too late to avoid the disaster ahead.
But homeschoolers have the sad duty to be the canary in the coal mine, sensitive enough to threats against freedom, so that they can warn their friends and neighbors about the dangers of ever growing despotic government.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are we becoming a nation of theives?

By Lee Duigon
June 11, 2011

A Gallup Poll released last week claims that roughly half of Americans believe “the government should enact heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth in the U.S.”

This is truly shameful. Could anything be more crass? When I was growing up, government redistribution of wealth was known as “communism.” Everybody laughed at Khrushchev for predicting, “Your grandchildren will live under communism.” (Ironically enough, his grandchildren won’t!) But according to Gallup, “a solid majority of Americans, 57%, believe money and wealth in the U.S. should be more evenly distributed among the people.” Looks like Nikita knew which way the wind was blowing, doesn’t it?

Aside from the poll revealing an abysmal ignorance of how wealth is generated, a more important issue looms larger than that. We call ourselves Christians, most of us: but let us get a whiff of someone else’s money, and we trample God’s Commandments.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s.

But half of us believe it’s all right for the government to steal, as long as the politicians share the plunder with us. And we believe such a thing because our exalted leaders—not just the brigands occupying public office, but our so-called educators, our “news” media, and even a great number of our theologically-challenged churchmen—have inflamed us with a spirit of covetousness. How many alarmist ravings has The New York Times published on “income inequality”—as if there were such a thing as “income equality”?

God’s Commandments are not situational. It doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not steal, except from someone who’s richer than you.”

Do you think it’s not stealing, if the government does it on your behalf, through taxation? Do you think it’s “social justice” when one man works and Congress confiscates the fruit of his labor and doles it out to others?

Oh, but what about “fair redistribution”—the kind we hear about from the pulpits of our erring churches?

To believe in “fair redistribution” is an amazing feat of hypocrisy. You have to ignore the question of who gets to redistribute to whom. A Gallup statistic sheds light on this: according to the poll, 71% of Democrats want the government to redistribute wealth.

To put it simply, what we’re talking about is slimy, sleazy politicians—in other words, ordinary fallen, sinful human beings who are a bit more fallen and sinful than most—robbing some citizens so they can “redistribute wealth” to others. What others? Why, members of the Democrat voting base, of course! So where is the “fair redistribution”? The redistributing party in the legislature will always take money from people who don’t vote for them and dole it out to people who do. It’s how they plan to stay in power.

As wicked as this is, the greater shame belongs to the churches, for despising God’s Commandments and trying to curry favor with a culture of covetousness. The “mainline” churches are most to blame, although quite a few “evangelical” churchmen have hopped on the redistribution bandwagon.

Some of these hypocrites have the audacity to call theft “charity.” We must help our fellow man, they say. But where is the charity in helping someone with our neighbor’s money? This smacks of Judas Iscariot exalting himself by griping that the precious ointment poured on Jesus’ head should have been sold, and the money given to the poor. (John 12:4-6) Judas was so high-minded and holy, he was willing to help the poor to the last drop of Mary’s money!

Those who don’t want to be taken for Judas shouldn’t talk like him.

Even if “the rich,” whoever they are, didn’t get rich by working harder than others, or by risking their own capital, or by innovating more creatively than their competitors; even if they only inherited their wealth, which would have been created by their parents or grandparents working hard; even if they magically spun straw into gold, their property is lawfully theirs and it’s still a sin to rob them. Charity and generosity are virtues, but envy and legalized theft pollute a nation’s soul.

Then again, I can think of one form of wealth redistribution that seems both just and honest.

Let the members of Congress redistribute back to us the money that we worked for, that they sucked out of our paychecks, and spent on buying votes, setting up bureaucracies that suck up still more money, treating themselves to all sorts of luxuries, and trying to turn Nikita Khrushchev into a prophet. Let them redistribute all that money back to where it came from, and see how much their loss is America’s gain. Watch how this revives the economy and restores voluntary charity to its rightful place.

Who knows? It might even get them some votes.

© 2011 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dr. Dabney - On the Education and Crime Issues of the Civil War

Dr Dabney, in his letter to the Virginia Superintendent of State Schools (4/18/1876), put it this way as he spoke of the free school he was providing: “No penny of salary of its teachers is exacted by the tax-gatherer from unwilling hands. Your "free schools," like not a few of the other pretensions of Radicalism, are in fact exactly opposite to the name falsely assumed. The great bulk of those who pay the money for them do it, not "freely," but by compulsion. They are virtually thrust down our throats by the bayonet. And the exemplars you most boast and imitate not only make the payment compulsory, but the attendance also, as your consistency will doubtless cause you to do in Virginia also in a few years. The only freedom of your system is your freedom to compel other people's money.  ... Our true statesmen always taught us that government should not be allowed to go into any project aside from its direct, legitimate ends, especially if that project would subsidize many persons and create for them a motive of personal advantage to uphold it. Because whenever that project might be wrested to mischief, these interested motives might prevent a wholesome and necessary repeal. ... It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of the parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from the heathen Sparta and Plato's heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie. The dispensation of Divine Providence determines the social grade and the culture of children on their reaching adult age by the diligence and faithfulness of their parents, just as the pecuniary condition of children at that epoch is determined. By the plea that it (the State) is so vitally interested in the intelligence of the citizens that this entitles her to take effectual means for preventing their ignorance. See, now, whither this assumption leads. The morality of the citizens is far more essential to the welfare of the State; and the only effectual basis for morals is the Christian religion. Therefore the State would be yet more bound to take order that all youth be taught Christianity...  The fruits of the system show that such is the result, and hence the plea for the State's intrusion is utterly delusive. The regular result of the kind of education which alone it can give is to propagate crime. Allison's History of Europe states that four years ago [from 1876] two-thirds of the inhabitants of France could neither read nor write. In Prussia, at the same time, the government had made secular education almost universal, by compelling parents to send their children to school from seven to fourteen years of age. Statistics of the two countries show that serious crime was at that time fourteen times as prevalent in intelligent Prussia as in ignorant France—volume V., page 15. Again it has been found from the official records of the 86 departments of France that the amount of crime has, without a single exception, been in proportion to the amount of scholastic instruction given in each. Again, we are told that much of the largest number of the lewd women of Paris come from those departments where there is most instruction. In Scotland the educated criminals are to the uneducated as four and a half to one. M. De Toqueville remarked of the united States that crime increased most rapidly where there was most instruction. ... The Northern States of the Union had previously to the war [of Northern Aggression] all adopted the system of universal State schools, and the Southern States had not. In 1850 the former had thirteen and a half millions of people, and twenty -three thousand six hundred and sixty-four criminal convictions. The South (without State schools) had nine and a half millions, and two thousand nine hundred and twenty-one criminal convictions—that is to say, after allowing for the difference of population, the "educated" masses were something more than six times as criminal as the "uneducated." The same year the North was supporting 114,700 paupers, and the South 20,500. ... In the South State school-houses were unknown, and consequently jails and penitentiaries were on the most confined and humble scale. The North is studded over with grand and costly public school-houses, and her Jails are even more "palatial" in extent and more numerous than they. The law which we assert is accounted for by several practical causes. Parents who remain too poor and callous to educate their own children are so because they are ignorant, indolent, unaspiring and vicious. The Children's characters are usually as much the progeny of the parents as their bodies. ... The home education is so much more potential than that of the school, that the little modicum of training which a "common-school" system can give to the average masses is utterly trivial and impotent as a means of reversing the child's tendency. That which costs nothing [tax supported schooling] in never valued.”   Discussions by R.L. Dabney, DD. Vol. IV. 1897  Dr. Dabney was Pastor of General Jackson and seminary professor of a Presbyterian seminary.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Christian Culture and The North Dakota 2022 Project

By James Bartlett, 25 April 2011

I was in a meeting of about 20 people from a wide variety of conservative backgrounds when the topic of Christian culture came up.  It was a heart-felt, open and thorough discussion that lasted about one hour.
Some of the people in the group figured that since we were all conservatives, we were all Christians; and we already have a Christian culture.  Another person thought we wouldn’t want a completely Christian culture because men like Thomas Jefferson would not rise to influence.  Most agreed the culture had declined in their lifetimes and that America needs to return to its Christian cultural heritage, but couldn’t articulate what Christian culture was, is or how it was lost.  One or two figured that living by the U.S. Constitution was all that Christian culture involved.  Most figured that Christian culture will never return, and using common sense is all that can be expected or needed.
The result of this meeting of diverse individuals was a general consensus, with the exception of one self-identified Deist, that attention to the Christian influence on culture is important, but difficult or impossible to define and implement.
When starting with the presupposition that the 66 books of the Bible are the Word of God, principally teaching what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man, it is easy to find an authoritative and infallible definition for Christian culture. To read the rest of this article, please visit the NDHSA blog at http://ndhsa.blogspot.com.
A Definition of Christian Culture
Culture is basically everything that a person, state or nation believes and practices - along with their traditions and rituals - which extends to what is passed down through the generations.
Since (1) Christians are commanded to teach all nations everything which Jesus taught until the end of the world and the fullness of Christ (Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 4:13), and (2) Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1), then Christians are commanded to teach the Word of God to all nations until all nations are full of God’s Word.  A completely Christian culture in a state, therefore, would happen when all the people in the state are doing God’s Word (James 1:22) in all areas of life and thought.
Working toward Christian culture involves teaching God’s Word to our families and nation; and bringing into captivity every thought everywhere to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 
Do we have a Christian culture in North Dakota?
Yes, we do have some Christian culture in North Dakota. Probably your home is a part of the growing Christian culture in North Dakota.  As you meditate on God’s Word, pray, obey the Holy Spirit, and put God’s Word into practice in your life, marriage, family, work, home school, economics, politics, and hobbies.  That is Christian culture.
Could there be more Christian culture in North Dakota?
Yes, there could be more Christian culture in North Dakota, just as each Christian is growing slowly into the image of Christ.  There will, therefore, be more Christian culture in North Dakota as God leads His people to preach the gospel and the Spirit of God converts and renews hearts and minds.  Furthermore, as Christians look to God and His Word to transform their beliefs, practices, traditions, rituals, and that which is passed down through the generations by North Dakota individuals and institutions, North Dakota will slowly see more Christian culture.
Measuring Christian Culture
Pastors are able to measure Christian culture since they watch the soul of each Christian under their care and minister the Word of God to them.  This contributes to growth in the Christian faith and conformity to Christ (Hebrews 13:17). Some pastors are also able to guage Christian culture as a composite of individual souls and faithfulness to the Word of God in businesses, schools, colleges, institutions and governments. For example, since 1987, the Nehemiah Institute has been measuring Christian culture using surveys among Christian young people.
The North Dakota 2022 Project

Seeing opportunities for Christian cultural reform in North Dakota, the North Dakota 2022 Project was launched to deliberately encourage more of an observable measure of the historic Christian culture in North Dakota by the year 2022.
The North Dakota 2022 Project, as the Holy Spirit leads and directs, hosts meetings to connect Christian people who will themselves develop and work together on projects such as: start churches, host debates, train and campaign for political candidates, write articles to revitalize Christian cultural engagement, host father and son leadership training conferences,  provide strategic high school and college topics and projects, develop entrepreneurships and apprenticeships, undo a result of evolution in the law or medical professions, document the growth of Christian culture in North Dakota, and more.
You are invited to participate in The North Dakota 2022 Project if the Lord Jesus Christ is calling you to do so.  The original Westminster confession of faith will be used as the statement of faith for this project because it connects every thought directly to a specific Scripture and is thereby considered the best summary of Scripture ever written.  It was also significant to the building of the Christian culture that existed in the early American colonies because it speaks directly and relevantly to political issues and offers specific, Biblical, and workable answers to questions people ask.

You can begin participating in the 2022 Project by listening to your favorite topics at http://pocketcollege.com
There is no cost to participate in The North Dakota 2022 Project. Call me if you would like to be invited to the meetings, or if you have questions.

James Bartlett is the Executive Director of the North Dakota Home School Association (NDHSA.org) and the Biblical Concourse of Home Universities (BiblicalConcourse.com).   He and his wife Lynn home educate four boys on a small farm in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota (BartlettFarm.us).  They can be reached at 701-263-4574.