Jaycee Dugard: Homeschool Mom?

If the name “Jaycee Dugard” sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was all over the news a while back when Jaycee was found and rescued 18 years after being kidnapped when she was 11 years old.

Her kidnapper, a convicted sex offender, held her hostage all those years and also fathered two children by her. They are now 11 and 15 years old; they grew up believing Jaycee was their sister, not knowing she was actually their mother.

But according to the British press, she was also their teacher:

Jaycee’s strength and determination to care for her daughters as best she could has filled the family with admiration.

Both Angel and Starlit appear to have been educated solely by their mother – who herself never made it past the fifth grade.

Yet recent tests show Angel, 15, functioning close to the level of a high school senior – that is, a higher level than Jaycee was at when she was abducted.

Both girls are now receiving tutoring at the northern California home.

Now that’s what I call successfully homeschooling in adverse conditions, and it’s just more proof that homeschooling works.

Do Kids Need More Time in School?

President Obama recommends  shorter summer vacations for U.S. schoolchildren so they can attend school for more days than they do already, because he believes that they’re at a disadvantage compared to students in other countries.

His Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, says more school hours will “even the playing field” when it comes to comparing our schoolchildren to those in the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, homeschoolers excel with far fewer hours of instruction than most public schoolchildren receive. So is it really more hours of instruction that schoolchildren need?

First off, President Obama’s assertion appears to be inaccurate:

Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school.

“Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here,” Duncan told the AP. “I want to just level the playing field.”

While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it’s not true they all spend more time in school.

Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests – Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).

Apparently children in the countries that outscore ours in math and science attend school for more days per year but fewer hours per year. So the suggestion by Obama and Duncan that a longer school day results in “gains” (test scores, which do not necessarily equal learning) is not backed up by the foreign countries whose kids outscore ours. They actually have shorter school days.

But if you read the entire article, you find that merely educating kids isn’t really the point anyway. Here are your clues:

The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

Summer is a crucial time for kids, especially poorer kids, because poverty is linked to problems that interfere with learning, such as hunger and less involvement by their parents.

That makes poor children almost totally dependent on their learning experience at school, said Karl Alexander, a sociology professor at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, home of the National Center for Summer Learning.

Aside from improving academic performance, Education Secretary Duncan has a vision of schools as the heart of the community.

Those hours from 3 o’clock to 7 o’clock are times of high anxiety for parents,” Duncan said. “They want their children safe. Families are working one and two and three jobs now to make ends meet and to keep food on the table.”

Do you see it? What we’re talking about here goes way beyond merely educating a child. This is about raising children because their parents have been deemed unable or unwilling. This is about schools becoming publicly subsidized daycare centers for school-age children, even on the weekends.

What it’s not about is how many hours of instruction it takes to educate a child so he can beat the math and science scores of kids in other countries. Homeschoolers have already demonstrated that.

A Life Well-Lived

While many women of the past century shifted their focus from home and family to career, this woman was very busy….nurturing 11 children, 150 grandchildren, more than 1,000 great-grandchildren and even a few hundred great-great-grands…..over 1,400 in all. And she knew every one of them personally.

As if that wasn’t enough, somehow she found the time to feed the less fortunate:

“Grandma was a God-fearing woman her whole life, and her door was always open to the homeless and poor near the market who were looking for a place to eat,” said the grandchild of Krishevsky, who lived almost all her life near the Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s open-air market.”

Wow….now that’s what I call a legacy!

Blog Comments on Hold

Dear Bloggy Friends/Commenters,

Our recent move put me way behind on responding to comments at this blog and making comments at yours.

Now that we’re back on an even keel again around here, I’d love to say that I’ll do a better job of keeping up with the blogosphere. However, I need to buckle down and finish a couple of books I’ve written.

So, while I’ll still peek in on you when I can, I’ve got to stop commenting and answering comments for a while. Know that I’m still thinking of you as I chain myself to this keyboard and get some actual work done.

I hope to keep posting here once a week or so, but working on the books will come first. God willing, my newsletter will still come out each month.

Missing you already,


PS Prayer requests automatically rise to the top of the list, so if you express that need at your blog, know that I’m praying for you  🙂

Cardamom Publishers is Back at Work

Cardamom Publishers has reopened today after being closed for a week while we moved our business to Janesville, WI. Our books are in stock and we’re now shipping orders again. If you ordered a book in the last week to ten days, it will go out today.

Our new address is:

Cardamom Publishers

PO Box 2146

Janesville, WI 53547

Thanks for your patience while we made this transition!