The Writing is on the Wall
Friday, 14 March 2008 14:58
By: Mimi Rothschild
Recently, the California judicial system has directed a two-part assault on Southern Baptist homeschoolers throughout their state. First, they have banned the words “mom and dad” and “husband and wife” from their schools – please read www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58130 – and are forcing teachers to promote a more alternative sexual lifestyle.
The second part of the assault came last week when three judges essentially banned homeschooling, deeming 166,000 children truants – www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=25469 – and their parents as criminals.
This absurd ruling needs to be reversed. Please visit: www.ReverseTheRuling.com, and learn more information about this alarming issue, and have your voice heard by signing the petition. Our goal is to gain enough signatures to present this petition to the courts and let them know that America is watching. And we know what happens in California can happen anywhere in the United States!
More so, we know that this ruling has long-term ramifications of indoctrination on our children, diminishing the Christian Values that we’ve worked so diligently to instill in them. This is not a one-off case that only pertains to an isolated incident! No, it is a Ruling that eliminates a freedom that dates back to our forefathers.
Stay informed. Spread the word. Sign the petition.
Questions Before, During, and After Reading: Part 2 of 2
Thursday, 15 November 2007 10:18
By Mimi Rothschild
Here’s part two of “Questions Before, During, and After Reading.” I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
How Can You Stretch Students’ Thinking?
The best way to stretch students’ thinking about a text is to help them ask increasingly challenging questions. Some of the most challenging questions are “Why?” questions about the author’s intentions and the design of the text. For example:
“Why do you think the author chose this particular setting?”
“Why do you think the author ended the story in this way?”
“Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from the point of view of the daughter?”
“What does the author seem to be assuming about the reader’s political beliefs?”
Another way to challenge readers is to ask them open-ended question that require evidence from the text to answer. For example:
“What does Huck think about girls? What is your evidence?”
“Which character in the story is most unlike Anna? Explain your reasons, based on evidence from the novel?”
“What is the author’s opinion about affirmative action in higher education? How do you know?”
Be sure to explicitly model your own challenging questions while reading aloud a variety of texts, including novels, subject-area textbooks, articles, and nonfiction. Help students see that answering challenging questions can help them understand text at a deeper level, ultimately making reading a more enjoyable and valuable experience.
As students become proficient in generating challenging questions, have them group the questions the time they were asked (before, during or after reading). Students can determine their own categories, justify their reasons for placing questions into the categories, and determine how this can help their reading comprehension.
When Can You Use It?
Students who have similar interests can read the same text and meet to discuss their thoughts in a book club. Members can be given a set of sticky notes to mark questions they have before, during, and after reading the text. Members can then share their question with one another to clarify understanding within their group. Since students’ reading level may not necessarily determine which book club they choose to join, accommodations may need to be made, including buddy reading, audio recordings of the text, or the use of computer-aided reading systems.
Good writers anticipate their readers’ questions. Have students jot down the questions they will attempt to answer in an essay or short story before they write it, in the order that they plan to answer them. Stress that this should not be a mechanical process – as students write they probably will think of additional questions to ask and answer. The key point is to have students think of themselves as having a conversation with the reader – and a big part of this is knowing what questions the reader is likely to ask.
Students can ask questions before, during, and after solving a math problem. Have students think aloud or write in groups to generate questions to complete performance tasks related to mathematics.
Use before, during, and after questions when beginning a new chapter or unit of study in any social studies topic. Select a piece of text, and have students generate questions related to the topic. At the end of the unit of study, refer back to the questions and discuss how the questions helped students to understand the content.
Use before, during, and after questions to review an article or science text. You can discuss articles related to a recent scientific discovery with students and then generate questions that would help them to focus their attention on important information.
Lesson Plan: Questioning, The Mitten
This lesson is designed to introduce primary students to the importance of asking questions before, during, and after listening to a story. In this lesson, using the story The Mitten by Jan Brett, students learn how to become good readers by asking questions. This is the first lesson in a set of questioning lessons designed for primary grades.
Lesson Plan: Questioning, Grandfather’s Journey
This lesson is for intermediate students using the strategy with the book, Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say.
Lesson Plan: Questioning, Koko’s Kitten
This lesson is designed to establish primary students’ skills in asking questions before, during, and after they listen to a story. You can help students learn to become better readers by modeling how and when you ask questions while reading aloud the true story, Koko’s Kitten, by Dr. Francine Patterson. This is the second lesson in a set of questioning lessons designed for primary grades.
Lesson Plan: Asking Pre-Reading Questions
This is a language arts lesson for students in grades 3-5. Students will learn about asking questions before reading and will make predictions based on the discussion of the questions.
Lesson Plan: Asking Questions When Reading
In this lesson, the teacher will read The Wall by Eve Bunting with the purpose of focusing on asking important questions. The students and the teacher will then categorize the questions according to the criteria for each.
Public Schools Promoting Islam?
Friday, 20 July 2007 16:46
By Mimi Rothschild
Randy Dotinga of The Christian Science Monitor reports that public schools around the nation are changing their schedules, policies, cafeteria food, and setting up prayer rooms, all to accommodate Muslim students. The intention of this blog posting is not to argue against the religion of Islam, but rather expose the apparent hypocrisy of public schools in America.
While discussing an elementary school in San Diego, Dotinga asks, “In accommodating Muslim students, is the school unfairly promoting religion?” That’s a compelling question. Why are these public schools catering to Muslim students? American public schools seem to be so afraid of offending religious groups, with the exception of Christians.
Christian students have the right to pray at public schools, but they cannot “pray solely Christian prayers as an organized part of the school schedule” (religioustolerance.org). Does this law not apply to Muslim students too then? Public schools, like an elementary school in San Diego, have organized their day so Muslim students can pray during Islam’s designated prayer time in a specially provided prayer room.
Some public schools appear to be promoting the Muslim religion by helping Muslim students pray, eat according to the Muslim guidelines, and set up prayer rooms. Yet, when Christian students pray, they are often humiliated and told they are not allowed to engage in such conduct in a public school? Double standard?
To read Randy Dotinga’s article click here.
Texas Charter Schools, Part Two: Failing and Cheating
Friday, 6 July 2007 15:48
By Mimi Rothschild
The problems with charter schools in Texas are not limited to just one or two schools. There are charter schools all over Texas that are robbing students of a quality education, but state officials are having a tough time closing them down.
For example, Texas state officials are trying to close down the American Academy of Excellence charter school for four straight years of low ratings and financial mismanagement, but two bills that would have closed the American Academy of Excellence, and dozens of other struggling charter schools, didn’t make it very far at all. There are now a total of five bills which would’ve have closed failing charter schools in Texas that never passed due to a large number of opponents. But why do people oppose closing down charter schools that fail to educate the next generation of lawmakers, politicians, scientists, teachers, doctors, accountants, laborers, etc?
“Opponents of the bills say they would have punished campuses that are reaching out to dropouts, teen parents and other students who couldn’t make it in traditional public schools. Republican Representative Sid Miller said the school can’t be expected to meet traditional standards when its students arrive three to six grades behind other children their age.”
And what do Texas supporters of closing charter schools down say?
“Schools that can’t boost students’ test scores and get them to graduate aren’t doing young people any favors.”
I definitely agree with the last statement. Not only are charter schools wasting taxpayers’ money, but they are also setting their students up to fail once they graduate. Receiving a diploma is great, but a diploma from a Texas charter school most likely symbolizes a sub par education that was possibly influenced by cheating. Texas charter schools are doing a disservice to their students by staying open if they aren’t educating them or giving students the proper skills to succeed in life.
On the other hand, homeschooling offers hundreds of benefits. One of the most important benefits of homeschooling is that homeschooling delivers first-class customized educations to homeschooling students which equip them with skills that will allow them to be successful for the rest of their lives.
Public Schools Go On the Offensive for Old Problems
Tuesday, 26 June 2007 09:55
By Mimi Rothschild
Imagine a place with lock-downs, metal detectors, inspections, undercover officers and routine drug testing. What do you see in your mind? Sounds like a description of a prison to me. Actually, this is what many public schools in America have implemented to address the violence and drug problems. In addition to hundreds of other problems, public schools now look and feel like jail!
It may not surprise many home schooling parents that drastic measures are being taken, given the fact that drugs and violence are two major problems which have systematically plagued public schools for decades.
The Hawaii Board of Education is considering passing a law that would allow public school administrators to search student’s lockers. Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a bill that allows high school football players, baseball players and weightlifters to be subjected to random testing for steroids. Earlier this month 12 high school students at Washington’s Federal Way high schools were arrested by undercover detectives for selling drugs, rifles and semi-automatic handguns. Some of the drugs sold were cocaine, ecstasy and oxycodone.
Given these frightening conditions, it is understandable why home schooling is on the rise in America. Parents want their children to receive a quality education in a safe environment. Home schooling is increasing in popularity because Southern Baptists have answered the call of Pastor Wiley Drake and Bruce Shortt.
Bruce Shortt writes “The experiment with government schooling has failed. What Baptists need to do now is create a new public education system, a system that is public in the sense that it is open to everyone and that takes into account the needs of orphans, single parents, and the disadvantaged. With our existing buildings, our talented people, and the educational technology available today, it is now possible to create rapidly an affordable, effective Christian education alternative to the government schools.” Shortt is a co-sponsor of the “Exit Strategy” resolution
The Southern Baptist Academy has answered that call too and is providing Southern Baptists parents with affordable resources so they can successfully home school their children.
World Magazine on PBS Special about Homeschooling
Friday, 19 January 2007 11:07
By Mimi Rothschild
World Magazine’s Joel Belz takes the public school to task in a recent editorial. He is specifically covering a recent PBS special about homeschooling, which in his eyes, was relatively fair and balanced. Giving the last word to Dr. Bruce Shortt, the documentary allowed him to get this insightful thought in.
“Reich’s attack is fundamentally ideological. He is clearly a collectivist who, like his fellow travelers in the universities, is seeking complete cultural hegemony. What he is really objecting to is not the ineffectiveness of homeschooling, but its effectiveness. A homeschooled child is effectively a child outside the grasp of the state and, therefore, outside the grasp of those who control the state’s educational institutions. He fears that these children will have a worldview of which he disapproves and that he finds threatening. That is what drives Reich. His real concern is not ‘ethical autonomy’ or the welfare of children in any conventional sense; it is ideological control. Frankly, his ostensible arguments are so weak that it is difficult to view them as any other than a smokescreen for his ideological and cultural agenda.”
Right on! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The public school is terrified of homeschoolers. They are terrified of their academic excellence, their intellectual maturity, and ultimately, they are terrified of the ideological opposition they represent. Because of this fear, they will do anything they can to make it difficult for homeschoolers to do what they do.
To say that homeschooling keeps children from learning independently is a joke. The public school has been specifically designed to spread a specific worldview among youth. Anyone who thinks outside this box is a threat to the structure.
Engage or Withdraw?
Monday, 27 November 2006 11:22
By Mimi Rothschild
That seems to be the question on the minds of Southern Baptist leaders over the course of the last few decades. After all, how pastors answer this question determines very important policy decisions public and personal.
Take a look at a recent article in the Shenandoah Valley News Leader. While citing a family of Muslims who have chosen to deal with the pork-serving ways of their local school, many Christian families are leaning more towards the “withdraw” side of the continuum.
National leaders in the Southern Baptist denomination, citing a climate no longer compatible with the Christian faith, have wrestled internally with the idea of completely abandoning the public school system.
It seems to me that the crux of this issue is not whether we are called to engage the world positively. Christ calls us to go out into the darkest parts of the world, just as he did regularly in the New Testament. This is a moot point. However, are children equipped to cope with the dangers of an enviroment that is diametrically opposed to what they believe? Remember that Jesus did not start his ministry until he was well into his thirties. He spent the majority of his life training and growing with his family.
We need to remove the negative connotation from the word “sheltered”. As a parent, there are things out there that I’d like to shelter my kids from. We need to make sure we are not smothering our children, but sheltering can be a good thing!
2006 – A Banner Year for Atheism Pt. 2
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 11:21
By Mimi Rothschild
Mohler hits the nail on the head. He labels Dawkins as an evangelist for atheism. He is saying what atheists should believe but are too lazy or afraid to say in the public sphere. For instance, he says that evolution must lead to atheism.
I must say I respect folks like Dawkins for their honesty. I’d much prefer to have a discussion with Dawkins than politicians who proclaim their faith and regularly darken the doors of churches around the country on the campaign trail and then support agendas that oppose Christian values. At least we can have a meaningful, real discussion.
I’ve often thought that if I were an atheist, I would take full advantage of the hedonism and godlessness that comes with the territory. Why wouldn’t you? If you don’t believe in heaven or hell, what’s the point in even trying to have moral standards? At least guys like Dawkins aren’t toying around. You have to respect that, at least more than the false prophets. Dawkins seems to agree. He respects orthodox Christians who actually practice what they preach more than the wishy-washy agnostics.
This trend makes the study of intelligent design all the more pertinent. I don’t think that Christians will ever be able to convince Dawkins that God is real, outside of a supernatural change of heart, that is. However, we are waging a cultural war. This war needs to have scientists fighting for the cause of Christianity. As atheism grows more militant, Christianity must respond in kind.
2006 – A Banner Year for Atheism Pt. 1
Monday, 20 November 2006 10:46
By Mimi Rothschild
Albert Mohler’s most recent blog post is quite harrowing. In it he details a recent Wired cover story about the New Atheism movement spearheaded by such atheist luminaries as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, and Sam Harris.
What’s so disconcerting about so-called “New Atheism” is not its opposition to Christian values.
At the beginning of his article, he gets right to the point: “The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it’s evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there’s no excuse for shirking.”
Think about that. He’s not saying that religious people are stupid or whackos. He’s saying that we are evil. Essentially, he’s throwing freedom of religion out the window. This is a huge statement, and one that threatens the very freedoms that make this country such a unique place. The Pilgrims and Separatists who came to America did so to achieve freedom of religion, not squelch it.
I think we’re in the same position the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out. The more people who came out, the more people who had the courage to come out.
Wrong. No one is persecuting atheists. Atheists don’t have to hide their atheism to prevent the risk of getting dragged behind a truck. This analogy is ridiculous.
Alabama Southern Baptists Criticize Walmart
Friday, 17 November 2006 10:35
By Mimi Rothschild
Yet another news story has crossed my path regarding Walmart’s recent partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. This one comes from the Birmingham Business Journal.
Sidenote: Why do gays and lesbians need to have their own chamber of commerce? Thoughts?
Anyway, Alabama Southern Baptists did not call for a boycott, but rather a call to pray for Walmart.
All of this makes me wonder what exactly a partnership with the gay organization would entail. Obviously this means they are going to look for ways to specifically market to gays. Gays and lesbians have long been suspicious of Walmart’s status as a “family-friendly” company.
Prayer should be an afterthought. Is anyone out there planning on launching a personal boycott?