Get Ready to Homeschool This Fall

As schools and districts across the country finalize back-to-school plans amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some parents are instead choosing independent homeschooling. My inbox has been filling lately with messages from parents who may never before have considered homeschooling but are worried about their children’s potential exposure to the virus at school. Others are turned off by social distancing requirements being implemented by many schools, such as wearing masks all day and limiting interactions with peers.

Fortunately, research shows low infection rates for children, who seem to avoid the virus’s worst outcomes. New findings out of Germany, where schools have been reopened for several weeks, also suggest low infection rates for young people. Despite these encouraging signs, more parents are looking for schooling alternatives. As The New York Times reported recently, “a growing number of families are thinking about home schooling this fall.”

Here are six tips for parents considering homeschooling for this academic year:

1. Investigate Local Homeschooling Requirements

Many school districts recognize what a challenging time this is for families and are offering flexible back-to-school options, such as continuing with distance learning or allowing for part-time, in-person attendance. Some parents might find that these options work for them, and they can continue with remote learning tied to the child’s school. Other parents, however, may choose to go off on their own, separating from their school or district. In this case, parents will need to comply with local homeschooling regulations, which in most states involves registering as an independent homeschooler with local or state officials.

Connect with homeschoolers near you. Grassroots homeschooling groups and networks have reported surging interest during the pandemic, and these resources will provide the most relevant, up-to-date support and information. Search for Facebook groups in your area (by state, city or region), or Google homeschooling resources in your location. Nearby homeschoolers will be able to share the nitty-gritty on how to register and report as a homeschooling family, as well as offer guidance on curriculum, approach, learning tools and nearby classes and activities.

2. Consider Your Educational Goals and Approach

Some parents may see homeschooling this fall as a temporary measure and plan to re-enroll their children in school once the pandemic ends. These parents may feel most comfortable following a standard curriculum that reflects typical grade level expectations. Other parents may opt for an eclectic approach, blending some formal curriculum with a variety of informal resources and learning tools. Still others may want to use this time to “deschool,” or move away from a schooled mindset of education toward an unschooled approach where a child’s interests and curiosity drive much of the learning.

Independent homeschooling allows for maximum freedom and flexibility, so you can decide how structured or unstructured you want your homeschooling experience to be.

3. Discover Curriculum and Learning Tools

There are so many curriculum offerings and educational tools to choose from that it can feel daunting. The pandemic itself has led to many more free online learning resources. Here is some curriculum guidance by grade cohort:

For preschoolers and kindergarteners, play should be the foundation of your homeschooling environment. Allow your child’s incessant questioning to guide learning, and read lots of books together. Here is a good list of books as your children are just beginning to identify sight words, sound out words and read simple stories. And here are some great books for early independent readers. The But Why? Podcast from Vermont Public Radio is an excellent resource and an enjoyable listen for both parents and kids. Sparkle Stories also offers a wonderful collection of original audio stories for young children.

For elementary ages (PreK-6), the Brain Quest workbooks by grade level offer abundant activities that are aligned with state curriculum standards so your child can stay on track with daily learning. Free, online tools, such as Prodigy Math for math learning, Duolingo for foreign language learning and MIT’s Scratch and Scratch Jr. for introductory computer programming, are playful and interactive educational platforms. Outschool offers thousands of low-cost, online classes for children of all ages. Classes are taught live by educators over Zoom and you can search by subject, age and day/time.

Many of the above-mentioned resources will also work well for middle school age children (typically grades 5-8), but there are some other resources for this group. Khan Academy is the leader in free, online learning videos in a variety of subjects, and is especially known for its math programming that is used in many schools throughout the U.S. Parents and kids can track progress and identify strengths and weaknesses. Khan Academy has also added new features and functionality as a result of the pandemic, including daily learning schedules for children ages 2 to 18. NoRedInk, is a free, online writing curriculum with a paid premium option that provides writing and grammar lessons for middle schoolers and above. Additionally, here is a good list of middle-grade fiction books to encourage your kids to read.

For high school age learners, Khan Academy continues to be a good resource for free, advanced math instruction and practice, and here are some suggested books for high schoolers to read. While some high school age students may want to take classes through a local community college, others may want to enroll in a full-time, diploma-issuing, accredited online high school, such as Arizona State University Prep Digital.

Some high school homeschoolers may benefit from year-long, online courses in a variety of subjects. Thinkwell offers classes for homeschoolers taught by acclaimed professors in subjects ranging from high school and Advanced Placement mathematics and science to American Government, Economics and even public speaking. Blue Tent Online also offers year-long, online high school and Advanced Placement math and science courses for homeschoolers, as well as high school and Advanced Placement English classes.

Teenagers may want to use this time to build skills in an area of interest or develop knowledge related to a career goal. Classes and certifications offered by prestigious colleges and universities through EdX and Coursera (many of which are free), are worth exploring. Teenagers may also consider becoming entrepreneurs, developing a business around a personal passion or unmet need in their neighborhood.

4. Explore Neighborhood Resources

Most homeschoolers will tell you that the pandemic has caused just as much disruption in their lives and learning as it has for everyone else. Being disconnected from the people, places and things of our communities has been tough on all of us. Typically, homeschoolers spend much of their time outside of their homes gathering with friends, learning from teachers and mentors in the community, engaging in classes and extracurricular activities, visiting libraries and museums and so on. According to recent research by Daniel Hamlin at the University of Oklahoma: “Relative to public school students, homeschooled students are between two and three times more likely to visit an art gallery, museum, or historical site; visit a library; or attend an event sponsored by a community, religious, or ethnic group. Homeschooled students are also approximately 1.5 times more likely to visit a zoo, aquarium, or bookstore during the course of a month.”

This fall will likely be a very different homeschooling experience, as classes are more limited or non-existent, and libraries, museums and similar organizations operate with social distancing restrictions. Still, it’s worth seeing what in-person daytime programming and resources will be available near you. Again, connecting with local homeschooling networks through Facebook and elsewhere can help.

5. Collaborate With Others

Many parents are working from home during the pandemic, and may continue to do so indefinitely, which can make learning at home this fall more practical but also challenging. While many parents work and homeschool too, it can take some flexibility and planning. Viewing your role as a facilitator rather than a curriculum-enforcer, collaborating with other local parents and neighbors, relying on babysitters and being creative with your fall learning plan will make homeschooling in 2020 more feasible and fulfilling.

Some parents are connecting with others in their neighborhood to form small homeschool microschools this fall. As Good Morning America recently reported, the microschool movement is growing during the pandemic. Microschools are usually home-based, multi-age learning communities with no more than a dozen children that are facilitated by one or more instructors and/or parent guides. Parents may take turns teaching and supervising a small group of children in their homes, or they may band together to hire a teacher or college student to help. A modern take on homeschool co-ops, microschools can make homeschooling this fall a reality for more families who are eager for this option.

6. Enjoy This Moment!

This is an unprecedented time and a historic moment for our children. They will tell stories to their children and grandchildren about what it was like to live and learn through the 2020 pandemic. Experimenting with homeschooling this fall can offer some certainty and continuity in what is otherwise a tumultuous time. This doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. Enjoy this time at home with your children, watch their curiosity and creativity grow and don’t feel pressure to replicate school-at-home. Learning and schooling are very different things.

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Who Should Have Political Power?

I don’t want Muslims to have political power.

I don’t want black people to have political power.

I don’t want women to have political power.

I don’t want young people to have political power.

I don’t want LGBTQXYZ3.14159… people to have political power.

I don’t want Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, socialists, or Constitutionalists to have political power.

None at all.

That’s because I’m being consistent.

I don’t want anyone— no groups or individuals– to have political power. That includes straight white men of any (or no) religion and of any age.

Political power is an evil thing to hold. Why would I wish that kind of evil on anyone?

You have the responsibility to not archate. That’s plenty for anyone to handle.

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Power, Impregnation, & Identity (18m) – Episode 341

Episode 341 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the triple-edged sword that is vying for the government to assist you against your employer; impregnating others with ideas through writing and podcasting; what identity is and the absurdity of basing it commonalities with others instead of on what makes you unique; and more.

Listen to Episode 341 (18m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”. Support the podcast at Patreon.com/evc.

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Starlink and “Pollution”

I saw someone complaining about how their long-exposure photograph of comet “Neowise” was ruined by the passage of Starlink satellites.

If you are unfamiliar with comet “Neowise”, well, it’s a comet. And if you are unfamiliar with Starlink, it’s Elon Musk’s swarm of internet-providing satellites.

The various voices chiming in about the horrors of the ruined photograph sympathized with the harm done to the photographer, and the evils of polluting the world for profit. I’m more upset that Elon takes government subsidies and launches government payloads, but whatever.

But “pollution”? I HATE pollution, including litter.

Pollution damages property; without the damage, there is no pollution. I can’t think of a way these satellites damage anyone’s property. One of the dissenters told me that “damages property” was a strange way to define pollution, so I asked for his definition. He said he’d include harming people. I asked him who is being harmed. Silence. Strangely, I find most of my questions to those on the other side keep going unanswered– some of them seem to have blocked me.

Sure, people are “forced” to see something they don’t want to see, in specific circumstances. Or, perhaps they are forced to accidentally photograph something they didn’t intend to photograph. A photobomb of sorts (but one you can avoid with a little prior planning— at least for the time being). The newer Starlink satellites are getting harder and harder to see, even right after launch. Musk has been trying to make them less reflective to keep ground-based astronomers happy, so perhaps it is working.

Someone said the pollution is the damage done by ruining a little of the beauty of nature for everyone. That’s too subjective.

I want to go outside and look at the horizon without seeing any man-made structures or invasive/exotic trees blocking the natural view. Am I being harmed that this isn’t possible where I live?

I hate to hear dogs bark. I don’t like seeing boys hobbling around with their pants below their butts. Is this pollution?

If I see my neighbor walk to the end of their driveway and they aren’t attractive enough for me to want to see them, am I being harmed? I don’t think so. A better case for pollution could be made if they were smoking and I caught a whiff of their smoke. Yet I’m not petty enough to make an issue about that. They can smoke cigars as they walk out to the street naked and I can’t think of a way this actually harms me.

Yes, “astronomy” pictures taken with a long exposure can be “ruined” by the multiple streaks from Starlink satellites. How many satellite tracks does it take to ruin a photo? One? Three? A dozen? Do planes also ruin photos? Do meteors?

It takes a long exposure– specialty photography– to really have a problem with Starlink streaks. I could complain if I use infrared photography to take photos of my neighbor’s house and I see them inside doing things I don’t want to see, but who has the problem here?

Starlink is intended to fund Musk’s Mars missions and Martian colony. I am in favor of getting humans to Mars and to seeing if they can live there sustainably. It takes a lot of money– profit– to fund these kinds of things. Either direct profit spent willingly by those who earned it, or profit confiscated from the rightful owner by government through “taxation”– guess which one I like better.

One of the detractors said satellites are too expensive and it would be cheaper to run wires out to all the remote areas to provide high-speed internet. I think this shows a lack of understanding of how remote some remote areas actually are, and the economics of running wires out there and the people in remote areas being able to actually afford to use such a service. Plus, this only shifts the property damage to actual property. Would these people like to have a path bulldozed for this line– either underground or hanging on poles– through their property so they don’t have to see (if they look hard) something they don’t want to see in the dusky sky?

I have gone out at night and watched Starlink satellites pass overhead. Most of the time they were too dim for me to see. A few times I was able to see the “train”– a string of satellites following one another across the sky– with some success. It’s rather interesting to see and even beautiful in a way. But, even though I really like antique stuff made of brass, bone, wood, leather, and glass, I’m not a Luddite.

I get it, though. If I had my choice I’d turn the clock back to the Pleistocene or something and wear animal skins and live in a cave. I don’t care to see plastic everywhere I look– I’d rather see mammoths. But I can’t pretend someone is harming me just because the world isn’t the same as it used to be or as I might wish it still were. There are more important things to fix.

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Conservative Copsuckers Blame Leftist Politicians

Someone forwarded an email to me full of “memes”. In one, it said something like “Did you ever notice that the police leave you alone if you aren’t doing anything wrong?” Another showed a 911 operator and said something like “911, what is your emergency? Oh, I see you v*ted to defund the police. We’ll send someone to visit you in 3 to 5 business days.” While another showed the St. Louis couple guarding their home with their guns, saying something like “This is why you need an AR15“.

I should have left it alone, but I replied.

I said that yes, the guy who used an AR15 (or whatever specific type of firearm that actually was) used his gun to defend his home, and then the cops, who will supposedly leave you alone if you are doing nothing wrong, came and stole all his firearms, leaving him at the mercy of other thugs. So much for being protected by police. And that this is why I am in favor of defunding the police and the politicians who control them.

The guy wrote back and said what the cops did wasn’t right, but that it is the “leftist politicians” who are at fault.

Conservatives apparently imagine that if you just got the “right kind” of politicians holding the leashes of the police that the police would turn into the heroic saviors the conservatives seem to want so badly for them to be. Nope. That will never happen. Good people don’t seek a job that gives them that kind of power over others. Not politics or policing.

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America’s “Days of Rage”: The Extensive Left-Wing Bombings & Domestic Terrorism of the 1970s

As the summer of 2020 dawned, left-wing radical groups began rioting and taking over parts of America’s cities. While this specific form of left-wing violence is new, left-wing violence itself is far from new in the United States. Indeed, one of the most hidden and concealed parts of recent American history is the extensive left-wing violence that began in the late 1960s and continued into the 1980s.

At first, one might think that these were isolated incidents of small-scale “protest” or even minor violence. However, upon even brief examination, we find out that the outpouring of leftist violence over this time period was anything but minor. The most likely explanation for why you have never heard of this until now is that the events of these years have been consciously buried by those who would prefer you not know about them.

As the left once again ratchets up both its rhetoric and its physical violence, it’s time to re-explore this period of American history. What started as a non-violent student movement quickly escalated into a campaign of terrorism against the American people. And while the similarities may not be terribly striking yet, astute readers of this article will quickly see the world in which we live more and more closely resembling the Days of Rage.

The Days of Rage

The Days of Rage were in fact a short and discrete period of time – three days of demonstrations that took place on October 8 through 11, 1969. Throughout this article we will discuss events that took place both before and after the Days of Rage, but consider this period a sort of “coming out” party for the Weathermen, also known as the Weather Underground.

The Weathermen started out as a faction within Students for a Democratic Society. Without getting too much into the weeds, much of what happens during this period of leftist terrorism in the United States has its genesis in a faction fight between the Weathermen, who controlled the national SDS organization, and the rest of their faction (known as the Revolutionary Youth Movement II or RYM II), who were in opposition to the more classically Maoist Worker Student Alliance.

Tensions ran high because the stakes were high – nothing less than total control of the largest student radical organization in America and all of the spoils that came along with that. Many within the Weathermen faction of RYM II believed that they were fighting literal fascism coming to America in the form of President Richard Nixon.

Sound familiar yet? It’s about to sound a lot more so.

On October 6, 1969, a statue memorializing a police officer killed during the 1886 Haymarket riots was blown up. No one ever figured out who committed this act of iconoclasm, but the tangible effect of the act of political terrorism was the final isolation of the Weather Underground from the rest of the SDS.

The Weathermen then shifted their activity to the Days of Rage, a protest rally with the slogans “Bring The War Home!” Many wielded lead pipes and were clad in football helmets, ready for a confrontation with the police.

Turnout was disappointing. The Weathermen expected a massive turnout, but only got about 800, who stared down 2,000 Chicago police likely itching for another fight after the 1968 Democratic Convention. By the first night, about 500 had deserted the protest, with about half of the remaining 300 being Weathermen from around the country.

Abbie Hoffman and John Froines, two members of the Chicago Seven, showed up, but declined to speak and left. The remaining hardcore of Weathermen and their supporters shifted the goalposts to simply fighting the police as constituting victory.

At 10:25 p.m., Jeff Jones, one of the leaders of the Weathermen, gave the signal and chaos erupted. The crowd moved through the city, smashing windows of ordinary cars and middle-class homes throughout Chicago, as well as small businesses such as barber shops.

The next day, October 9, a “Women’s Militia” comprised of about 70 female Weathermen planned to attack a draft board office, but were prevented from doing so by the Chicago Police Department. The governor called up 2,500 National Guard members to protect Chicago, and protests for later in the day were canceled. The Black Panther Party’s local leadership attempted to distance themselves from the Weathermen, describing the group as “anarchistic, opportunistic, adventuristic, and Custeristic.”

The next day was the last day of the Days of Rage proper, centered around a march of 2,000 through a Spanish-speaking area of Chicago. The next day, October 11, the Weathermen attempted to reignite the protests, but were quickly sealed off by Chicago’s finest. Approximately half of the crowd were arrested in 15 minutes.

It was after the events of the Days of Rage that the Weathermen became the Weather Underground and began moving underground as the name would imply. At a meeting known as the Flint War Council, which was attended by Barack Obama advisor William Ayers, taking place between December 27 and 31, 1969, the Weathermen dissolved their version of SDS, changed their name to the Weather Underground and declared that they would engage in guerilla warfare against the United States government.

Before continuing with the laundry list of terrorist actions carried out by the Weather Underground, it is worth briefly explaining their ideology. The Weather Underground was not a classically Marxist nor, strictly speaking, a Maoist group. Their cues came more from the American New Left. Thus, much like the radicals creating chaos in American cities in the 2020s, they were far more focused on opposition to the American state, “white privilege” and “white supremacy” than they were in creating bonds across the working class.

In this regard, they differed both from the Maoism of the Progressive Labor Party (made up of former members of the Communisty Party, USA, who supported Mao against Kruschev and thus had very real ties to the American labor movement) and the so-called “New Communist Movement” (comprised of younger student activists sympathetic toward Maoism and Third Worldism, but without organic ties to the existing Communist left and the labor movement). They did not, as some other groups in both Maoism proper and the New Communist Movement did, seek either ties with the American working class (which they largely considered “bought off by imperialism”) or the official sanction of Beijing (a long-term goal of both Maoists and New Communists).

There are three important takeaways from all of this inside baseball:

  • The Weather Underground considered the American government to be fascist.
  • They believed that American military and civil government institutions should be treated in an identical manner to how the Viet Cong would treat the American military.
  • The American working class, in particular the white American working class, was considered apathetic and useless at best, but generally more considered an active opponent of revolution – thoroughly reactionary and thus, the enemy.

The Weathermen After the Days of Rage

In the first year after the Flint War Council, the Weather Underground engaged in a series of over a dozen bombings or attempted bombings throughout the United States. While supporters of the Weather Underground generally attempt to downplay the significance of the bombings, the group attacked courthouses, the New York Police Headquarters, the Pentagon and the headquarters of the National Guard. Additionally, police found multiple bomb factories designed to aid the guerilla efforts of the group. While 1970 was a highwater year for the group, there were other years of increased activity and the Weather Underground did not disband until 1977.

There were dozens of terrorist attacks carried out in the years between 1970 and 1977. It would be impossible to talk about them all in detail without writing an entire book on the subject. However, some of them are worth pulling out from the pack to discuss individually:

  • New York City Arson Attacks: The home of New York Supreme Court Justice John M. Murtagh was attacked with Molotov cocktails. Judge Murtagh was the presiding judge of pretrial hearings for 21 Black Panthers accused of planning a bombing campaign against the city. There were additional attacks against the Columbia University’s International Law Library, Army and Navy recruiting booths and a parked police car in the city.
  • Timothy Leary Jailbreak: Acting as hired mercenaries for The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a psychedelic drug distribution enterprise, the Weather Underground broke Timothy Leary out of jail for $20,000.
  • United States Capitol Bombing: On March 1, 1971, the Weather Underground detonated a bomb at the United States Capitol.
  • Pentagon Bombing: On March 19, 1972, the Weather Underground blew up the women’s bathroom of the Air Force wing of the Pentagon in commemoration of Ho Chi Minh’s birthday and in retaliation for the bombing of Hanoi.

In October 1973, the federal government dropped most of the charges against the Weather Underground because new restrictions on electronic surveillance (without a court order handed down from the Supreme Court) meant that the charges likely would not stick. A more complete – and voluminous – list of Weather Underground terrorist attacks can be found here.

Black Liberation Army

The Black Liberation Army was formed in 1970, by members of the Black Panther Party who operated as members of both groups concurrently. Between 1970 and 1976, the group was involved in over 70 acts of violence, including the murders of 13 police officers. Some of their attacks included:

May 19th Communist Organization

The May 19th Communist Organization was a reorganized version of the Weather Underground that emerged after the latter began to fall apart. It included members of the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and the Republic of New Afrika, as well as the Weather Underground.

The M19CO was more classically Marxist-Leninist, but no less eager to engage in terrorism. They broke Assata Shakur, convicted of the murder of a state trooper, out of prison and spirited her to Cuba. They were also involved in the robbery of a Brinks truck in 1981, along with the Black Liberation Army, as well as several bombings, including those of the National War College, the United States Senate, the Washington Navy Yard Computer Center, the South African consulate and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association.

Symbionese Liberation Army

Most people know of the Symbionese Liberation Army, if at all, as the group who kidnapped and brainwashed Patty Hearst. Beyond this, they are an excellent example of how a small, but committed, cadre of left-wing activists can wreak havoc far and beyond their numbers, which never exceeded 22.

Their first major action was the assassination of Oakland, CA superintendent of schools Marcus Foster and badly wounding his deputy Robert Blackburn. The pair were attacked with cyanide-packed hollow point rounds as they left a school committee meeting. Foster, the first black superintendent of schools in Oakland, was assassinated because the SLA believed he was going to introduce identity cards in the school system, which they considered “fascist” and which he, in fact, opposed.

Their most famous action was the kidnapping of Hearst publishing heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. She was held by the group for 19 months before she was apprehended by authorities. At first, the SLA demanded the release of Foster’s assassins, but when this proved impossible, they demanded the Hearst family distribute $70 worth of food to every needy person in California. The Hearst family took out a loan to do so, which would have cost $400 million, but the operation descended into chaos and the SLA refused to free her. The group sometimes restricted Hearst to a dark closet for weeks at a time. She was raped both by leader Donald DeFreeze (“Cinque”) and Willie Wolfe (“Kahjoh”).

When recovered, Hearst had an IQ of 112, as compared to 130 before her abduction. She chain smoked, had a flattened affect and had trouble remembering significant parts of her pre-SLA life. She weighed 87 pounds when apprehended.

The group committed a number of bank robberies both before and after Hearst’s kidnapping.

The Lost History of American Leftist Terrorism

Most Americans have never heard of these acts of terrorism from leftist groups that were so numerous throughout the 1970s. But this is a prime example of “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The urban unrest, which has rocked America in the early 2020s, is nothing new. The 1960s saw both race riots and left-wing terrorist groups looking to exploit animosity between racial groups in America.

The question is what are we going to do about it? The answer so far from our elected officials is “not much.” If leftist terrorist cells were willing to go this far when they had active opposition from government and corporate figures alike, what are they going to do when confronted with apathy or encouragement from elected officials and the business sector?

The answer remains to be seen, but will certainly be some variant of “nothing good.”

America’s “Days of Rage”: The Extensive Left-Wing Bombings & Domestic Terrorism of the 1970s originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

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