Archive for the ‘Clippings’ Category

Practicing What One Preaches

June 10, 2006 @ 10:18 am | Filed under:

I tried to leave a polite inquiry on Reverend Jim West’s blog, but for some reason Blogger won’t let me comment. Perhaps Dr. West will be so kind as to respond to me here. He has written a series of posts harshly criticizing home education, which he opposes, he says, on theological grounds. Well, he’s welcome to his opinion, and I have no interest in trying to change his mind.

However. I find some curious and uncharitable inconsistencies in his statements, and I wonder if he himself is aware that he is repeatedly contradicting himself—and is doing so in a manner which runs counter to a central tenet of his religion, which instructs him to do unto others as he would have them do unto him.

In a recent post, Dr. West satirized homeschooling by presenting a fictional character whose home education by his uneducated mother resulted in tragic illiteracy and poverty. Thanks to “Bob Little’s” ignorant mother, he grows up to be a street sweeper who lives in a cardboard box. As satire goes, this one is clumsy and silly; among the evidence of Bob’s educational shortcomings is the observation that he “was a regular sight at the soup kitchen during the raging days of the Great Depression.” You don’t say. At least Imaginary Bob would have been in good company, standing in the bread lines with the thousands of well educated folks made destitute by the Depression. Ahem.

You know, I love a good satire. Dr. West’s post was not a good satire, but I’d have been willing to roll my eyes and move on if it weren’t for what comes next.

Blogger Christopher Heard wrote a post pointing out an unfortunate irony in Dr. West’s post:

The really funny thing about the satire is that Jim—a product of public education who holds a Th.D. from a non-accredited, distance-learning seminary, teaches at a non-accredited, distance-learning seminary, and and constantly champions the cause of quality control in scholarship against dilettantes even though the school of theology for which he teaches “offers a free and open educational resource for self-learners everywhere”—cannot properly form the plural of “homeschooler.”

I’d giggled over that too. Dr. West responded that the grammatical error was deliberate, an extension of the satire. I shall give him the benefit of the doubt. However, in his public response to Chris Heard, Jim West makes the following statement:

In any event, if folk have questions perhaps its best if they ask me directly rather than depending on infidel message boards or incorrect web addresses and slanderous misinformation. I may well oppose homeschooling on theological grounds- but Chris evidently opposes finding out the facts first. Readers will have to decide for themselves which is more egregious.

(Emphasis mine.)

And here, Dr. West, is my question for you. I am glad to hear you oppose “slanderous misinformation” and believe that omitting to “find out the facts first” is egregious. It puzzles me, though, that you are unaware of the manner in which your satire promotes slanderous misinformation (through the suggestion that homeschoolers are inadequately educated) and that you yourself are prone to making statements for which you have no factual basis. For example, you wrote,

Agape Press reports today One of the authors of a proposed resolution urging the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to come up with a plan to pull its children from public schools says the resolution is a “call to holiness” and a “call to obey God’s Word.”

That of course is pure unadulterated rubbish. But what can you expect from two people who have neither theological training nor any sort of intelligent comprehension of the Christian mission. Only the most foolhardy and uninformed fall for the notion being peddled by the “exodizers”.

The only people who pull their kids from public schools out of fear are the same sort who haven’t ever read the Bible in Greek or Hebrew. In other words, they are the sort of people who get all their information second hand. This whole crusade is nothing but another in the long line of senseless crusades entered into by frenzied, uninformed, twaddling and prattling mobs of unwashed peasants. And it is doomed to failure. Fortunately.

To brand homeschoolers “frenzied, uninformed, twaddling and prattling mobs of unwashed peasants” is not only uncharitable in the extreme—a clear violation of the Golden Rule—it is also the presentation of unsupported opinion as fact. You, sir, have failed to “find out the facts first.” Homeschoolers may be many things, but “uninformed” is a word that seldom, if ever, applies. It certainly doesn’t apply across the board. Neither are we frenzied. (We may, sometimes, be unwashed.) If you are serious about the faith you profess, you ought to understand that hypocrisy is explicitly disallowed.

Chris Heard’s post apparently contained an error about the college you attended. This bothered you, and you blasted him for it. He apologized. Yet you yourself have repeatedly made public statements riddled with factual errors and have shown no willingness to educate yourself with the facts. Readers will have to decide for themselves which is more egregious.

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Cracks. Me. Up.

June 8, 2006 @ 6:13 pm | Filed under:

I just enjoy the Deputy Headmistress so very much. Who else gives us mulberry stains, crazed birds, a nutria for Pete’s sake, not to mention a granny who knows it by its scat, Pre-Raphaelite angels, Wal-Mart, William Steig, and Elsie Dinsmore all in one post? Funny, funny stuff.

Comments are off

Secrets of the Bloggers

June 4, 2006 @ 3:50 am | Filed under:

Maureen of Trinity Prep has invited readers to share their Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers. Maureen’s list is here. (My favorite: “Be yourself: let people get to know you. We love to hear your success stories but sharing in your failures is when we see ourselves in you.”) Mary G posted her list and Henry Cate of Why Homeschool shared his thoughts on the subject. Over at Principled Discovery, Dana passes along some advice from Greg of Rhymes with Right, such as, “Become an expert. Make yourself a “go-to-guy” on certain issues. I did on the Abdul Rahman case earlier this year, and have written a lot on William Jefferson. School censorship cases are also a topic that I often write on.”

ProBlogger is putting together a bound-to-be-way-more-than-seven list of blogging tips. The running list of contributors is here. Also of interest: this article on essential sidebar content. #1 on the list is a site search engine, which surprised me. I used to have one here but took it down a long time ago. I think I’ll put it back and see if I notice a difference in page views.

Seth Godin has some tips on how to increase your blog’s traffic. Among other things, he recommends encouraging comments “so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler that feeds itself.” He also advises the use of Technorati tags and (The latter is a “social bookmarking” site: you can store your bookmarks there just as you do on your own browser. The advantage of this is that you can access your bookmarks from any computer, anywhere, and also because you can share your bookmarks with others. I like it for marking posts I want to come back and read or blog about later. However, I seem to have really flubbed by importing all my Safari bookmarks to—I forgot about the big long list of bookmarks I never use that came automatically with the browser. Now my list is too unwieldy to use. Anyone know how to delete a whole category on As in, all posts tagged “Apple”?

Finally, here’s a post from the Deputy Headmistress not about effective blogging, but rather effective blog-READING. Like me, the DHM is a big fan of Bloglines. There’s no way I could keep up with the blogs I enjoy without the help of my Bloglines subscriptions.

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Lunchtime Link

June 1, 2006 @ 10:53 am | Filed under:

Okay, this is pretty cool. I can’t wait to show my kids. It’s called The Human Clock: “A clock photo for every minute of the day.” People from all around the world have sent in pictures displaying the time in creative ways. I wonder if there are any in ASL? Maybe we’ll take a picture.

HT: Jinkies! <-- I cannot stop saying "Jinkies." Scott is writing a lot of Scooby-Doo these days, and that's Velma's favorite word. And it will—not—get—out—of—my—head. Help. (At least rrit's rretter rran Rrooby rralk.)

What Kind of Mother Are You?

May 20, 2006 @ 9:59 am | Filed under:

According to this quiz, I’m a “Love of Learning” mother:

• Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.

• The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.

• Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.

• Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her.

HT: Elizabeth

Stay Tuned to ClubMom

May 18, 2006 @ 10:28 am | Filed under:

So I dropped a hint the other day about my upcoming new gig. has decided to launch a group of blogs blogged by mommyblogging bloggers who are also mothers. They’ve assembled a diverse bunch of moms who will blog on such topics as: weight loss, pregnancy, cooking, religion, staying home with baby, parenting tweens, parenting teens, parenting special-needs children, and (drumroll) homeschooling. (Bet you didn’t see that coming.) (Okay, so you saw it coming a mile away.) Starting in the next few weeks, I will actually be getting paid to blog, which is both very nice and hard to believe.

Last week ClubMom began to roll out the first of the MomBlogs, and it’s been fun to watch each new one appear. (While waiting in excruciating suspense to find out what mine will look like and what it’s going to be called, because they asked for suggestions but haven’t said yet whether they actually, you know, LIKED any of my suggestions, and the suspense is so great I am completely unable to concentrate on the laundry. Oh that’s right, I don’t DO laundry. Whew.) Having recently developed an appetite for food blogs (ba dum bum), I am particularly intrigued by Big Slice of Life, Small Slice of Cheesecake‘s new “Small Slice” sidebar feature, where blogger Jenny Lauck (aka BigSlice) promises to post daily photos of her dinners, complete with instructions. I love it when food bloggers allow me to vicariously savor their meals while I eat my frozen pizza.

As for me, I have been asked to focus primarily (but not solely) on the topics of homeschooling and special-needs children. (Including, sometimes, homeschooling special-needs children.) I will still be blogging here at Bonny Glen, especially on all things related to children’s literature and the living-books lifestyle. And if there are any topics or questions you would like to see addressed either here or there, please do drop me a note!