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Teen Makes a Difference to People in Darfur

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


I wanted to find an uplifting, inspirational story to share as we head into this week.  It didn’t take me long to find one that is definitely worth sharing. It not only highlights how ingenious homeschoolers can be, but how teens in general want to make a difference.

Joshua Guthrie is a teen who wanted to make a difference. The homeschooled teen has done that, in a big way. Joshua is the director of the Dollar for a Drink project, a non-profit organization that raises money for fresh water wells in Sudan, Africa.

Joshua was disturbed by the fact that water related illnesses kill more than 3.5 million people each year. He was troubled by the suffering he knew was going on in places around the globe. He wanted to do something about it.

The idea for the project came about in the summer of 2008 after Joshua read the book “Do Hard Things”. The book is a best-seller written by twin brothers Bret and Alex Harris. The premise of the book is to encourage teens to rebel against the idea that teens are immature and irresponsible. The book inspired Joshua to get moving and actually do something about the issues that had been troubling him.

In less than one year’s time, with help from other teens, Joshua was able to raise money for one well in the Sudan. They are already raising money for two more.

The Dollar for a Drink project is working with Baptist Global Response to make these wells in Sudan a reality for the people in that area.

You can read more about Joshua and his Dollar for a Drink project here and here.

Copyright 2009

Few Homeschoolers Participate in Public School Sports

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


I read a recent article about the Tim Tebow bill.

For those who might not be aware of what that is, the Tim Tebow bill would allow homeschooled students access to public school programs. The bill was introduced to the Alabama legislature in 2005.

The bill is named for Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow who was homeschooled. He lived in the state of Florida where homeschoolers have access to public school activities. The thought is that if Tebow had not had access to public school he might not have gone on to be the superstar athlete that he is today.

Right now 24 states allow homeschoolers access to their public schools. Alabama is not one of them but it is one of nine states considering legislation to change that. The Tim Tebow bill is currently stalled in the senate.

What struck me is that the article I read said that in states that do allow homeschoolers access to public school programs, only 3-5% of homeschoolers actually tryout for public school sports. I was rather surprised by that number.

On any given day I stumble across articles where homeschoolers are rallying for their right to utilize public school programs. So how can it be that such a small percentage actually takes advantage of public school sports?

I’d like to hear from our readers on this. Do you live in a state that allows access? Do you utilize your public school for any reason? Are you satisfied with the programs and the community response to your involvement? If you live in a state that currently does not allow access, are you hoping that changes? Would you use public school sports programs if you were able to?

To discuss this topic, head over to our discussion forum or send an email to [email protected].

Copyright 2009

Communities to Participate in Earth Hour

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


Earth Hour is upon us.

What began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 has quickly caught on across the globe. This year the goal is for 1 billion people to switch off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time. Flicking the switch is a vote for earth.

Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support. We live in Las Vegas and the entire Vegas strip will be in the dark for one hour tonight to show support for the movement. Communities across the globe are encouraging their residents to turn out the lights for one hour tonight.

Homeschool groups from all over are using this as an opportunity to talk to the kids about conservation and taking care of the planet. One of the homeschool groups we belong to is hosting a pre-Earth Hour party. The host of the party is going to spend an hour teaching the kids about conservation and have the kids make candles. Then they’ll take their candles home to light during Earth Hour.

What are your local groups doing to celebrate Earth Hour? Send an email to [email protected] and I’ll share your story with our readers. Maybe we can swap ideas for next year’s Earth Hour.

For more information about Earth Hour, check out this link.

Copyright 2009

School District to Expand Homeschool Program

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


I stumbled upon an article today about a homeschool program that is run through a school district. I’ve never heard of anything like this. Maybe our readers are familiar with this type of program or even utilize a similar program. If so, I’d sure love to know more about how this type of program works.

The program, in Washington State, is called Three Rivers Homelink and is run by the Richland School District. They are currently looking to expand the program which currently serves 50 students. The expansion could double that number.

The expansion is also expected to give more opportunities to older children in the program and to cover more grades.

The program supports homeschool families by providing onsite and online classes. They have access to the Homelink staff that makes visits to their homes. Families in the program are also eligible for reimbursement of educational expenses.

The Homelink program is paid for by the state, base on the district’s enrollment numbers.

I’m intrigued by this. If children attend classes on site is it still homeschooling? Do families have to use a specified curriculum to participate in this program? Are children required to take standardized tests? I realize there are as many ways to homeschool as there are families who homeschool. But this seems less like homeschooling and more like a way for the district to keep tabs on kids and to ensure their own funding.

I look forward to hearing from our readers about similar programs.

Copyright 2009

Homeschoolers Want Exemption From State Disclosure Laws

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


There are two homeschooling bills working their way through the senate in Washington. The bills concern homeschoolers and public record laws.

Homeschoolers have asked that their registration forms be exempt from state disclosure laws. So far there has been no opposition to the bills.

State education officials say the number of homeschoolers in the state is around 20,000. That number may be higher since not all districts report homeschooling numbers. Some have estimated the number may actually be double that.

Those who spoke in favor of the bill said that some homeschoolers may not be registering for fear that their information could be shared with the public. Most homeschooling forms ask for children’s names, ages, address and phone number; with some districts asking for more detailed information such as social security numbers.

Some agencies do not oppose the bills simply because there are other ways of getting the same information. Rowland Thompson of Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington said that he doesn’t oppose the bills because the information found in the declaration of intent to homeschool can be obtained through other means.

I’m not sure about you but I find Mr. Thompson’s words rather ominous. Our information is out there and someone is going to get it no matter what. However, other than identity theft, I’m not sure why anyone would want that information.

DiAnna Brannan, a lobbyist for the Christian Homeschool Network of Washington and supporter of the bills, expressed concern that someone could use the forms to find out where moms and children are home alone.

The second bill in question would prevent school districts from sending unsolicited mail concerning learning programs to homeschoolers.

Copyright 2009

Homeschoolers Protest Curfew

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


Homeschoolers were among a group that took part in an anti-curfew rally held this weekend at the Bedford City Hall in Bedford, Texas.

Opponents to the curfew claim that it criminalizes children simply for being in public during daytime hours. One opponent stated that it is nothing more than governmental intrusion into how parents dictate the activities of their own children.

The city ordinance, which states that children under 17 are not to be in a public place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days, was put into place as a way to crack down on truants. Bedford Mayor, Jim Story, says that the ordinance does not violate civil liberties and is effective at keeping kids in school.

Story stated that being with parents or being homeschooled does not violate the ordinance. However, whether or not to issue a citation is up to the discretion of police officers. The citation comes with a hefty $500 fine.

I understand what the ordinance is in place for. However, Story says being homeschooled does not violate the ordinance. Okay, but how do they know if a child is homeschooled? It isn’t like our children have a big letter H painted on their foreheads.

If a police officer sees some kids hanging out at a neighborhood park, how does he know if they are truant or homeschoolers? He could ask them but is he honestly going to take their word for it?  I’m just wondering how this type of ordinance is enforced without stepping on civil liberties. Any homeschooled child who is outside is instantly suspicious. So, how can they not feel criminalized by this ordinance?

City officials are happy with the results of the ordinance but the city council plans to review the policy again in July.

Copyright 2009

Homeschool Convention Expecting Big Turn Out

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


The Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati will be held April 16-18. Homeschooling families from seventeen states are expected to attend this event which has already attracted a record number of advanced registrations.

The convention will have more than 200 exhibits to go along with its workshops and seminars. All of these are designed to cover a broad range of topics and to provide encouragement to any homeschooling family, whether veterans or those just starting out.

For more information on The Midwest Homeschool Convention please visit this link.

Copyright 2009

Homeschoolers to Present Innovative Idea at Denmark Conference

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


I was scouring the web, looking for a positive, uplifting bit of news to start off the week. I came across this article.

It is not unusual for a child to complain and pout when things don’t go their way. For Faith and Drew Oakes, things did not go their way in the summer of 2008. They spent the summer stuck inside due to wildfires in the Sierra foothills.

Rather than letting this bring them down, Faith and Drew got together with four other children in the area and came up with an innovative plan that would help firefighters catch fires earlier; keeping them from spreading.

The children came up with an idea to place solar-powered video cameras in the tree tops around Tahoe National Forest. The cameras, linked to the internet, would also have free screensavers available that would show multiple real time views of the forest.

The idea is that anyone in the world looking at the views of the forest could possibly spot a fire, alerting the fire fighters before the fire has time to take over. This would greatly help the volunteers who currently staff the three actual lookout towers in the Tahoe forest.

This innovative group of homeschoolers, who range in age from 11-13, has been chosen out of 13,000 teams in 40 countries to present their idea at the Children’s Climate Call conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

They will compete against five other youth teams from around the world for a chance to make their idea a reality.


Copyright 2009

Mom Turns Author

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


We often describe ourselves as “mom” or “dad”. It is not unusual for me to fill out a profile synopsis by stating, “I’m a homeschool mom.” There is nothing at all wrong with those titles. But sometimes people start to see us as simply “Joe’s mom” or “that homeschooling mom who lives down the street”.

We are all so much more. Some of us have other jobs. We have hobbies and interests. We’ve achieved some amazing things while raising our children. Such is the case for Partricia Parson Sparkes. She is a homeschooling mother of 14! And she now can add published author to her title.

Sparkes, originally from England, has written a series of books about ‘The Good Egg Gang’. The books are aimed at 5-8 year olds. Sparkes is currently looking for investors to turn the books into a television series. One of the books has already been made into an 11 minute pilot that they are trying to sell to television companies worldwide.

Two of Sparkes children have autism so 2.5% of the proceeds from the sale of the books go to the UK National Autistic Society.

This got me to thinking about other homeschooling parents out there; moms or dads. I’d like to hear from our readers. I’m always asking to hear about your children’s accomplishments, but now I want to hear about the parent’s accomplishments. Are you a published author? Do you participate in community theatre? Do you volunteer? Are you a fabulous cook?

It can be anything! Send your story to [email protected] and we’ll share your story.

Copyright 2009

Governor Declares Homeschool Awareness Week

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 1:00 am

by Amy Tjaden News Editor


The Governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons, has declared that March 30th-April 5th is Home Education Awareness Week.

This acknowledgement of homeschooling is a source of pride for those who homeschool in the state of Nevada.  To mark the occasion the Nevada Homeschool Network is hosting two celebrations, one in Reno and the other in Las Vegas.

The Reno event, to be held on April 3rd, is a book fair and fundraiser at Barnes & Noble. The Las Vegas event, on April 2nd, will be a homeschool community potluck. Homeschoolers from across the area will celebrate Home Education Awareness Week by gathering together for a potluck picnic.

The Las Vegas celebration will include many community resources, including the Las Vegas Mounted Police, Fire Safety and Cap’n Dave Eisenstein and his fossils. Those are just a few of the many guests scheduled to attend this event.

There will be media coverage of the celebration.

As a homeschooling parent who currently resides in the state of Nevada, I have to say that I am really pleased by this news. As I’ve stated before, it can often seem like the powers that be work against us. It is somewhat reassuring to know that the Nevada governor supports homeschooling enough to declare Home Education Awareness Week.

We’re a military family so we won’t always remain in Nevada. I can only hope that the next place we venture is as supportive of homeschoolers as the state of Nevada seems to be.

If any of our readers are in the Reno or Las Vegas area and would like more information on the upcoming events, please check out the Nevada Homeschool Network.

Copyright 2009

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