Thursday, November 20, 2008

Marshall Fritz Has Passed Away

Marshall Fritz passed away on November 4th at the age of 65 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Mr. Fritz was a leader in the libertarian movement and is probably best known as the creator of The World's Smallest Political Quiz. He was also the founder of the Advocates for Self-Government and The Alliance for the Separation of School and State. Lisa Snell at the Hawaii Reporter has written a wonderful tribute to Mr. Fritz. It begins:

Marshall Fritz, the longtime libertarian leader who founded the Advocates for Self-Government and created the world-famous World's Smallest Political Quiz, died November 4th of pancreatic cancer at the age of 65.

I knew Marshall Fritz as the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. He wisely advised that "Sunday School, Monday School—Neither is the Business of Government." He wrote, "some people think that the American "public school system" is broken so they try to fix it. The truth is that public schooling is not broken. Rather, it is succeeding in its main objective—strengthening government by undermining parents..."

As education reform advocates argued about what counts as markets in education and what are legitimate forms of school choice—from vouchers to tax credits to charter schools—Marshall was never willing to settle for half-measures. As he advised in a 2005 reason piece, "Let a Thousand Choices Bloom," "Start with your own children. Remove them from school-by-government. You'll not be paying twice for education: You'll pay taxes for the state to harm other people's children, but you'll pay only once for education—your children's."

You can read her entire article here.

Most of my knowledge of Mr. Fritz comes from The World's Smallest Political Quiz and some articles I have read on the Advocates for Self-Government website. I was surprised that I had never heard of The Alliance for the Separation of School and State before, so I quickly skimmed through their site today. I will be going back there to read other articles, but this one caught my attention, so I thought I would share it:

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away...

It’s a lively community forum. A nice young woman named Jan Smith from Freeland (a tiny country tucked away somewhere in Western Europe) is telling us about how Freeland has solved many of the problems our local politicians have been struggling with. Some think our city council members could learn from Freeland’s example.

“One of the problems we’ve dealt with quite successfully is the gun issue,” Ms. Smith says. “Now remember, we’re a free country like yours— we believe in individual liberty and responsibility. We certainly allow citizens to own and use firearms. However, we noticed that this creates several problems. Many people just don’t take proper care of their guns. They don’t know how to clean them, how to store them, how to make sure they are safe. Other people modify their guns in ways that are illegal or not in the best interests of the public. This poses a danger not only to themselves, but to the community...

You can read the rest of it here.

(HT: Why Homeschool)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dejection and Fear

Although I love debating and discussing politics, I have tried to avoid talking about it during the end of this past election cycle (which technically isn't over until the Electoral College meets, but I digress). The reasons I avoided it, especially here in such a public forum, were dejection and fear. Dejection because I was so tired of being treated by the media and politicians either as an ignorant child, who had to be protected from the scary intricacies of government that only "insiders" could understand or handle, or as a narrow-minded, selfish child who could be bought-off with false promises and hollow sweet talk. I just became plain weary of it. Fear because I didn't want my blog to become a virtual version of this, this, or this. (What happened to the good ol' days of stolen yard signs and snarky bumper stickers?) I still hear echoes of these hateful absurdities, but hopefully they are fading.

I am going to try to be optimistic and trust that once Mr. Obama is inaugurated, these types of things will stop. That we have learned. I don't want to end the intelligent, sincere questioning and debate that is necessary to maintain an informed public and a supervised government. That must continue. But the ignorant, hateful, disrespectful vitriol of late needs to end. My soul and the soul of our country and her people cannot, and should not, take it. I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's hard.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his now famous I Have a Dream speech, he was speaking specifically of the horrors and divisiveness of racism. I hope that Dr. King would not mind if I say that his words and intentions can, and should, be applied to all forms of irrational hatred, including politicism.

... But there is something I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone...

... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today...

We were warned

I think I'll be listening to Peter Schiff from now on for an accurate report on the state of the economy. I'm definitely not going to listen to the people who just sat there and laughed at him... laughed. Even if he hadn't have been right on target, how disrespectful is that? What ever happened to civility in disagreement?

(HT: Judy at Consent of the Governed)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember, Remember

Alright, I debated about whether or not to post this and decided to just go ahead. This revised and updated version of the Guy Fawkes rhyme came to me today. It was fun to write, and I was amazed how it just seemed to all fall into place. I hope you enjoy it. (If you don't, please don't yell at me or anything. Just smile and walk away. *grin*)

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The electoral season had stopped;
I know of no reason why this electoral season
Should ever be forgot.
The donkey, the elephant
'Twas their intent
To take power and office beyond what was meant.
Seven candidates would make a go.
Of only two we would know.
By God's providence we will stash,
The embers left from freedom's ash.

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the blogs sing
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God ease the sting!

Hip, hip, hoorah?
Hip, hip, hoorah?

Seven hundred million to feed the ol' Hope,
Another billion to choke it.
A bit of pork to help it down,
A filibuster to smote it.
Silence us with a stimulus check,
Silence us with Judas' peck.
Silence our rights and Constitution shred,
Then we'll say: All Hope is dead!

(Okay, that's enough politics for awhile. I'll take a break and post about something more innocuous, like homeschooling... or religion.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Too True

When I was researching Aesop's Fables for this week's Carnival of Homeschooling, I came across this fable that I had not heard before but thought was very appropriate given that today is election day.

The Ass and the Old Shepherd

A Shepherd, watching his Ass feeding in a meadow, was alarmed all of a sudden by the cries of the enemy. He appealed to his Ass to fly with him, lest they should both be captured, but the animal lazily replied, "Why should I, pray? Do you think it likely the conqueror will place on me two sets of panniers?" "No," rejoined the shepherd. "Then," said the Ass, "as long as I carry the panniers, what matters it to me whom I serve?"

In a change of government, the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master.

I also came across this quote in my cyber-space wanderings this week. It is amazing how much things change yet how much they stay the same.

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed since Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55BC

(HT: Henry at Why Homeschool)

And it has been commanded by the highest authority:

Submit yourselves to the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence teh ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
- I Peter 2: 13-17

Wisdom from Henry

Today is election day. Please heed this wisdom from Henry as you contemplate your vote today:

There is a push by many to have lots of people vote in the election tomorrow. Many seem to feel that large numbers of people voting is a good thing.

I would much rather have ten people vote intelligently, thoughtfully, with due consideration about the issues and the candidates, than to have a thousand people just vote along party lines.

Please study the issues. Please ponder the history of the candidates. Think about what would be best for the country, and what would be best for your children.

Please vote intelligently.

Thank you.

Yup. What he said.

COH ~ Week 149

The Carnival of Homeschooling ~ Week 149
"The Sky is Falling" Edition

If you have visited the Carnival of Homeschooling here before, you know that I have hosted the carnival four times and each time, something has happened to almost prevent me from being able to fulfill my promise to host. So far, so good this time. (Knock on wood...) I began to realize that I was just waiting to see what would go wrong next. It sounded a lot like the set-up to a fable awaiting a moral. I'm still not sure what the moral to my fable is, but Aesop's Fables are well-loved, have stood the test of time, and all have their morals neatly in place. I am not nearly as clever as Aesop, but I hope that you will enjoy the wisdom of the fables and homeschooling advice linked below.

The Lark Burying Her Father (youth's first duty is reverence to parents)

-Sheltered or Protected? by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

-OH-HS Alerts (regarding homeschooling in Ohio specifically, but much applies to homeschooling in general) by Mary at The Informed Parent

-The Beauty of Homeschooling by Stephanie at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood

- Friday Reward at Delighting in His Richness hosted by Erin

- Fix the Real Problem First by Barbara at her blog Barbara Frank Online

The Man and the Lion
(one story is good, till another is told)

-Writing Prompts for Grades 1-12 at

- Brainstorming With 5- to 8- Year Olds by Kim at In Our Write Minds

-Home-School Curriculum Notes by Suzanne at Adventures in Daily Living

by The Reluctant Homeschooler

-Teaching From the Known to the Unknown by Janice at Janice Campbell: Taking Time for Things That Matter

-Picture Book Interactive Notebook by Lynn at Ecelectic Education

-10 Favorite Family Audiobooks
by Gary at

-Homespun Comic Strip #285
by Christina at Home Spun Juggling

The Silkworm and the Spider
(true art is thoughtful, delights, and endures)

- Kids and Questions by ChristineMM, aka The Thinking Mother

- Honeybee Finale: An Art Project
by Shannon at Song of My Heart

-Thinking About Christmas
by Sebastian at Percival Blakeney Academy

- To Ancient Egypt and Back Again
by Renae at Life Nurturing Education

The Ass and the Old Shepherd
(in a change of government, the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master)

- Don't Forget to Vote by Alasandra at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog Awards

- How My Local Homeschool Group Works for Us
by Robyn at The Life Without School Community Blog

The Boy and the Nettle
(whatever you do, do with your might)

- Is Your Child an Eagle or a Chicken? by Becca at Inspiration for Mothers

- Homeschool Memoirs: Field Trips
by Miss Amanda at The Daily Planet

- Curriculum of Curiosity by Lori at Camp Creek Blog

- Emotional Intelligence by Amy at Kids Love Learning

- Ditch the Backpack: 100 Essential Web Tools for Virtual Students at Learning Gurus

- Diligence
by Rachel at Undefined

- A Modern Day Barn Raising
by Fairion at Lionden Landing

-"Illiberal Education" - Give Me The Old Timey Education
by Susan at Corn and Oil

The Crow and the Pitcher
(little by little does the trick)

- Cooking Lesson Plans by Alison at Homeschoolers' Guide to the Galaxy

- Memory Problems? Perhaps You Are Multi-Tasking
by Alvaro at Sharp Brains

- The Credit Crunch and Financial Aid: What Will It Mean for College Admissions?
by Mark at Great College Advice

Thank you to everyone who participated in this week's carnival. Don't forget to submit your posts for next week's carnival, hosted by at Walking Therein. Submission guidlines can be found here.


*If you'd like to incorporate some of Aesop's Fables into your homeschool lessons, check out these links:

Aesop's Fables - this link provides historical information surrounding the writing of the fables as well as the content of many of the more well known fables; there is also a printable book available's Aesop's Fables - includes lesson plans and other activities based on some of the better known fables

Online Collection of Aesop's Fables - an extremely comprehensive site; excellent source for over 655 of Aesop's Fables; includes both written and some audio versions as well as some classic images and lesson plans based on the fables; some Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales are also available on the site

Hey look! I'm still here, healthy and with electicity and everything! *grin*