2010 Home School Science Fair

Is scheduled!

It will be held Feb 13 and 14 at Har Mar Mall, at the corner of County B and Snelling in Roseville MN.

Here’s some info from the web site:

Have you been to the Home School Science Fairs? They are great! Some of the best and brightest kids in Minnesota were there. You could have learned how stable the Ark was in strong winds, how to, and how not to make yogurt, how weight effects the speed of a sled, and how to get energy from chicken droppings. Over 60 projects were up for display with many passersby stopping to check them out. It was a wonderful opportunity to place a Christian viewpoint of science before the public.

We heard about one lady who saw the Science Fair displays at the Mall. She began to read some of the verses on the displays and was convicted to start attending church and get right with God. There are probably other stories like this we have not heard but it shows the power of God’s Word through our program.

Comments

  1. #1 Mandrake
    February 1, 2010

    I don’t understand how people can homeschool their children. My wife and I are fairly educated–she has a B.A. and a B.S., and I have a B.A. and and M.A. We both did the honors/GT/AP route in high school, but I’d never assume that I could teach our children at more than a basic or intermediate level in most subjects, and to “refresh my recollection” in most of those subjects well enough to teach them at middle or high school level is not realistic.

    So how do seemingly so many people homeschool? Are there any reliable studies or statistics as to the quality of a typical (if there is such a thing) homeschool education?

  2. #2 JohnV
    February 1, 2010

    Reading through the brief list of sample projects all I can think of is that pointing to a poster characterizing Noah’s boat may by counter productive to the stated goal of touting the greatness of homeschooling.

  3. #3 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    February 1, 2010

    Is it just me, or should we expect people to pay attention to grammar, so that they would know the proper word usage for “convicted” and “effected?”

    Oh, wait, it is homeschooling do pedantic details don’t matter.

  4. #4 Joshua Zelinsky
    February 1, 2010

    Ow. My eyes. That format and color choices seems like a Geocities page from the late 90s.

    For additional fun play spot the typo in Greg’s quote. Greg quoted it correctly: it is in the original and when you see it you’ll laugh.

  5. #5 Lorax
    February 1, 2010

    It was a wonderful opportunity to place a Christian viewpoint of science before the public.

    If you ever needed a better indication that you’re doing it wrong (it being science), it’s when you place a ideological viewpoint on it. Crap, I don’t know if I can stomach a third year of this. Parkview Center School, just down the road from Har Mar, is having their K-8 science and art fair next Tuesday, if you want to see many, but not all, of the same projects albeit sans bible verses.

  6. #6 Virgil Samms
    February 1, 2010

    I’d be interested in learning how the Christian view of getting energy from chicken droppings differs from the non-Christian view of getting energy from chicken droppings. They’re not gonna pull some loaves and fishes multiplier effect, are they?

  7. #7 wrpd
    February 1, 2010

    Well, the good news, I suppose, is that you don’t have to pretend you are a scientist to be a science fair judge. They will team you up with a “real” scientist. Hmm, that doesn’t sound very scientistical.

  8. #8 Betz
    February 1, 2010

    Wait, do people still use the phrase “get right with god”? Un-ironically?? Whoa, that’s so 70’s.

  9. #9 Lutjens
    February 1, 2010

    Oh dear, there’s a Barnes & Noble in Har-Mar which I shop frequently. If some eager, young, home schooled scientist wants to show me their project I might oblige them. To keep the experience from being a total waste of time I will probably bring real science into the discussion.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2010

    I’m thinking we should have a home school science fair party. There are enough regular readers of this blog that live a short distance from HarMar that we could get together at B&N for coffee, browse the fair, etc.

    I’ll bring Huxley. He can debate them.

  11. #11 gwen
    February 1, 2010

    As a pediatric RN, I cared for many homeschooled children. I am NOT impressed with the quality of their educations. It is a problem when the news media plays up the occasional home schooled child that gets into an Ivy League school, but no one looks at the millions of children who end up with a worse than mediocre education. I talk to these earnest but ill equipped and ill educated parents, and can understand immediately why 11 year old Johnny is reading at the first grade level and cannot do simple math. Oh yes, and they can’t tell me whether the earth revolves around the sun, or the sun around the earth. This is not as important and teaching the agenda that convinced them to home school in the first place!

  12. #12 megan
    February 1, 2010

    Could someone get with the rest of the ScienceBloggers or Phyrangula’s crowd and Skept Chicks to harange and go after this underground Creationist cult group.

    Trying to read more on earthquakes and plate tectonics I came across on Youtube this guy and his vids and website. Planets are actually balloons expanding to explain earthquakes and mountains, versus the millions of years known geology requires. I was gobsmacked.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/nealadamsdotcom

    Now neocon/fringe Christians are going after ALL established science and acting like it is all a conspiracy the testing and proving of facts and data, but instead wild misuse of basic information strung together into pseudo unprovable theory ad shlock experiments is ‘valid’.

  13. #13 Alasandra
    February 2, 2010

    I do wish Greg Laden would stop characterizing all homeschoolers as anti-science fruitcakes.

    And I do wish the Anti-Science Fundamentalist Fruit Cakes would stop acting like they speak for all homeschoolers. I am sure there are some secular or inclusive homeschool groups in Minnesota who actually do REAL SCIENCE, not this Christian Viewpoint as Science tripe.

    Honestly I am not sure who I am more upset with. Greg is smart enough to realize all homeschoolers aren’t anti-science. The Anti-Science Fundamentalist Fruit Cakes are just deluded. The purpose of Science Fairs isn’t to convince people to attend church

  14. #14 Stephanie Z
    February 2, 2010

    Of course, Alasandra, Greg is doing no such thing.

  15. #15 Mitch Brown
    February 2, 2010

    A response to Mandrake: In my opinon i believe that home schooling can have many benefits but also have quite a few cons. Home schooling is a great way to teach children because there usually a great teacher to student relationship. Which leads can lead to progressive work, and a better education. Also students have custom curriculum, which mean that participate that is tailored to their needs. But with all of these benefits comes problems and flaws, for example some parents may not be cutout to home school their children. Many children will lose friend because they attend a public school, but also the teachers life will change with all of the time needed for schooling and taking care of their family, there is no time for friends or personal time. To wrap everything up i’m in favor of home schooling, and how it can lead to a healthy well educated life.

  16. #16 Pauly D.
    February 2, 2010

    Like many of my fellow bloggers, I agree that it is completely unconventional to homeschool your child. The best way, I can think of, to describe it would be “clingy” and “irrational”. Children do not necessarily need to learn in a more up-tight environment, but they do need to be around their peers. Without that essential interaction, they ultimately become less educated in more essential areas that will affect their daily life. (These areas all regaurding social interaction.) I gather my opinions from the simple fact that I have never met a SOCIALLY normal homeschooled child.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    February 2, 2010

    13
    I do wish Greg Laden would stop characterizing all homeschoolers as anti-science fruitcakes.

    Where did he do that?

  18. #18 Alasandra
    February 2, 2010

    Greg,
    In your title for one. Could you please specify that these are Christian Fundamentalist Homeschoolers you are talking about. Many Homeschoolers believe in Evolution and teach real science. It is aggravating to be lumped in with these anti-Science idiots.

  19. #19 Alasandra
    February 2, 2010

    Pauly D, You have probably meet tons of socially normal homeschooled children. You just didn’t know it because they didn’t bother to inform you that they were homeschooled.

    Mitch Brown, My children never lost any friends because they were homeschooled. They got together with their public school friends after school, on weekends and during school breaks.

    Homeschooling your child takes up no more of your time then a woman who works outside the home. Are you saying that all working women don’t have time for friends or personal time? The smart homeschooling Mom makes time for herself, just like a woman who chooses to work outside the home does.

  20. #20 Stephanie Z
    February 2, 2010

    Alasandra, the title is the name of the fair. Greg didn’t assign it. He only used it.

  21. #21 Pauly D.
    February 2, 2010

    Like some of you, I agree that it is completely unconventional to homeschool your child. The best way, I can think of, to describe it would be clingy and irratonal behavior. Children do not necessarily need to learn in a more up-tight environment, but they DO need to be around their peers. Without that essential interaction, they ultimately become less educated in the important areas-the ones that affect their everyday lives.

  22. #22 DJ Ronnie D.
    February 2, 2010

    I agree that homeschooled children do not experience the same things as public schooled children do. This can be both good and bad.

    The Good- Children recieving a regular, public school education often do not get the one-on-one time that they truely need. Homeschooled children, on the other hand, recieve, not only that, but also the patience and comfortability from their parents and they can move at their own pace.
    Also, homeschooled children do not work in a stuffy, classroom environment. They can take “field trips” and have more opportunity to learn by doing than most public schools give their students.

    The Bad- As for the bad, I almost agree with Pauly D. on this one. Homeschooled children, though they can be as normal as other kids, are often times less social. This is a problem because good social skills are necessary in the world we live in.

  23. #23 megan
    February 2, 2010

    I think the proper thing is high involvement in the education and learning of your children regardless if they are in public, private or home schools.

    I was literally ‘home schooled’ half days as a toddler/preschooler/kindegardener. Then went into public school for 3 yrs skipping 3rd grade. Next went into a Catholic school, as we were Catholics and skipped up another grade into high school a year younger than other classmates, taking advanced courses. I am from a very liberal progressive academic minority family that mainly hated the negative learning culture growing and being allowed in many public school districts.

    As of yet the Catholic Church has eschewed it’s old anti-science crap and teaches modern and advanced theory. Just maintains it’s dogma of why faith should trump science in social contexts, ie sexual orientation and equality.

  24. #24 DuWayne
    February 3, 2010

    I gather my opinions from the simple fact that I have never met a SOCIALLY normal homeschooled child.

    Wow Pauly – that makes it totally fucking true then. Very “sciency” way to form an opinion on the topic – anecdote is such brilliant evidence! And I am really impressed by your apparent ability to tell a child was/is homeschooled…Does that work for kids who were educated in private schools or charter schools as well?

    Alasandra –

    You are reading way too much into the title, which as Stephanie noted is the name of the actual event in question. While Greg may or may not have a low opinion of homeschooling in general, it is impossible to tell from this post – or it’s title. The only thing that one can glean from this post, is the notion that Greg is less than impressed with the Christian homeschooling nuts.

    DJ Ronnie D –

    While socialization can be complicated by homeschooling, there are ways to compensate.

    For the record, I would much prefer to homeschool my eldest. He has rather serious problems in the classroom that are largely due to his neurological issues – problems that do not extend to his behavior in daycare or at home. When he was homeschooled for the second half of kindergarten he learned more than he did through first grade – at least in school. Unfortunately his mother has control over it all at the moment – not that homeschooling would be particularly feasible anyways.

    The major advantage to homeschooling him, would be getting him off his meds. It would also get him out of the school for kids who have (some of them) very serious behavior problems. Whereas he has problems like crawling under his desk, or getting upset because it is time to transition from one activity to another – when he is still trying to work out the last one, many of the kids he is in school with are there because they are violent – such as the little fucker that stabbed him with a pencil.

    Homeschooling does not mean that socialization has to suffer. There are all sorts of options in most communities, for classes outside of the schools. In some communities there are even options that are free, sliding scale or extremely inexpensive as a baseline. And there is daycare – the one my eldest goes to after school (baby brother is there all day) rather appreciates his ability to (usually) be a good role model for the younger kids.

    And of course there are also regular trips to the library, local parks, sports (non-school and in some communities, public schools open sports to homeschool kids), playgroups and of course homeschool groups. The latter can be problematic due to the religionut domination of homeschooling in some areas, but there are a lot of forums that connect homeschool families. There are many of them that are geared for non-religious homeschooling – though many more are geared for various flavors of relgio-nuttery.

    The key is to do some homework and understand that you will need to make an effort to help socialize your child. It takes some extra effort, but there are a lot of children who are better off for it. Homeschooling can be especially helpful for children who for whatever reason have serious problems in school. My son, for example, does absolutely horribly academically in school – not so much at home. He is way behind in reading and reading comprehension in school – while when he was tested by the district psychologist, he is grades ahead of where he should be.

    I am not even being critical of the schools for how things work out for him – I just think it would make sense to do something different, given the option.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    February 3, 2010

    Some of my best friends are Christian Homeschooling Nuts.

  26. #26 Nutrimill Grain
    February 3, 2010

    Ahh, the days of the science fair… good for any ideology!

  27. #27 DJ Ronnie D.
    February 3, 2010

    I agree that it is in your child’s best interest to be homschooled because he has special needs that have to be met. However, I do not think that it is right to homeschool a child just for the sake of doing so. It’s not right to deprive a child of interaction with eachother. While there are compensations for this, they are not on a day-to-day basis.
    Also, why doesn’t the school offer some kind of one on one help room? Most schools do. It seems to me that a resource room, like that, would be more beneficial to a student because it will help them reach their full potential-academically and socially.

  28. #28 DuWayne
    February 3, 2010

    Dj –

    I am really not all that keen on going into why he is not somewhere he can deal with better options – suffice to say that I had little say in where he is now. He is not in a regular public school, he is in a therapeutic dayschool – one that has as many violent, some criminal thugs for students, as kids who just have general, if not extreme behavioral issues. Also suffice to say, a resource room can only manage so much.

    But I think that there are many other reasons to homeschool, including a friend who chose to do so, because the quality of teaching was problematic at best and the school literally had metal detectors and armed security.

    As for compensating for social interaction, when we were homeschooling eldest for the semester we did, he got daily social interaction with other kids and he wasn’t even in daycare. He was taking a phys ed class through the community center, we made weekly trips to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and he did several workshops there, he went to the library three to four times a week, we went to the park virtually every day it didn’t rain and we didn’t have a cross-town trip, we went to regular playdates and a playgroup (where he was one of the older kids, helping show younger kids how to share and play nice with other kids) and finally, I ran several activities at more than one community center – as well as story time at the library.

    Not only did he get plenty of socialization, he also had (and really has had and continues to have) a lot of opportunities to help younger children learn how to socialize.

    I understand that a lot of parents may not have the time or inclination to make that kind of investment, but honestly, in regular school or being homeschooled, I think that stuff is critical – especially as it does include being forced to interact with kids he doesn’t like and/or doesn’t get along with. As well as affording him the opportunity to upset his friends because he decides to be an asshole – or vice-versus. I really don’t think public (or private, or charters for that matter) schools are nearly that critical for socialization – quite the opposite, I don’t think the socialization that goes on in them is particularly healthy.

    A lot of eldest’s skills at developing interpersonal relationships are in spite of, not because of his experiences at school.

  29. #29 Lynn
    February 4, 2010

    Virgil: I’d be interested in learning how the Christian view of getting energy from chicken droppings differs from the non-Christian view of getting energy from chicken droppings.

    According to the rules, the Christian project would have to relate chickens to the Bible in some way,… such as YEC findings that chickens (like all birds with feathers, beaks and wings) were created *before* the egg. On Day Five.

  30. #30 Mitch Brown
    February 8, 2010

    Okay Alasandra, I was just noting that it is a possibility that a child or teen may lose friend from home schooling. If the child has been home schooled through his/her young life then it would be hard to find friends depending on where you live. By where you live I mean, in the city with many children his/her own age, which could lead to many friends for him/her to play with. But if you live on a street with no children or no other houses how will he/she obtain friends other than relatives.

  31. #31 Alasandra
    February 9, 2010

    Mitch, Most homeschoolers belong to a homeschool group. This allows kids to get together with other children their age that are homeschooled and go on field trips, as well as take classes at local museums. The George Ohr Museum did a lovely Art History Class for homeschoolers when I was homeschooling. My boys are in college now.

    Most homeschoolers are also enrolled in recreational sports groups, Boy/Girl scouts, 4-H and a host of other organizations where they can meet other children.

  32. #32 Mitch Brown
    February 11, 2010

    Well Alasandra, what do you mean by groups? Is it like a class room of 20 children, or small groups 5 to 10 children, just curious.

  33. #33 Deborah
    February 15, 2010

    Hmm…interesting set of comments. I wonder how many of the posters who have such nasty things to say about home education have even MET a real homeschooler? Or seen a group of them playing in the park, all ages together, with NO bullying and (generally) plenty of cooperation? One comment suggests that homeschooling is “unconventional”, which could not be closer to the truth. My husband and I are radical unschoolers, we have seven (college) degrees between us, we live on site at a scientific research facility, and the last thing we want for our kids is a “conventional” education. Our kids (one of whom is in college now) learned to read at ages 8.5, 13, and 11. The age at which a child learns to read is NOT correlated with bad educational practice: in fact, many kids who are not developmentally ready to read are dragged through years of “Reading Recovery” and similar programs, their schools forced to conform to the mandates of NCLB, even as recent research suggests that the age at which many kids are able to sound out words is much older than previously thought, possibly as late as 11. My homeschool group has some young earth creationists in it, and their parents are actually (surprise!!!) intelligent, articulate people who are providing a fairly comprehensive and rigorous education for their children, despite the fact that their understanding of scientific method is, well, “unconventional”. There are also young earth creationists on the local school board and attending the public schools, and they’re every bit as passionate and evangelical as their homeschooled peers, and their kind are wasting time in public school biology classes across the nation every day, with their lists of prepared questions which they naively think cast doubt upon the theory of evolution. (Their lists have nothing to do with real science, but that’s beyond the scope of this comment, which is already far too long.) I’d suggest that anyone who is seriously concerned about education of American children as a whole needs to switch his/her focus from homeschoolers to the concerted effort by the conservative Right to influence the Texas State Board of Education, which pretty much writes the standards for the textbooks which are used by public school children in almost every state of the union. Following recent actions by the board, textbooks must include material that suggest that the United States was “intended” to be a Christian Nation, and historical figures have been specifically included in or excluded from the texts on that basis. The language in biology textbooks has been altered to suggest that evolution is a questionable theory to which reasonable alternatives (intelligent design) exist. Homeschooling is legal in every state in the U.S. I don’t question anyone’s decision to send their children to the public schools, with all of their problems (of which I am well aware; my eldest did finish his compulsory education at a public high school), and the very *least* that civility demands is that the same courtesy be extended to those who choose to exercise their legal right to homeschool.

  34. #34 Graves
    May 16, 2010

    As a former homeschooled child, I am disgusted by all the comments that SUPPORT homeschooling.

    Yes, I’m happy to acknowledge that there are some homeschooled students out there who get a well-rounded education and social opportunities. But sadly, that is not the case for most homeschooling families. The students are generally deprived of a good education. I was because my mum is scientifically illiterate and terrible at math. I also lost all the friends I made in the public school system.

    Fuck homeschooling.

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