published on or around the 15th of the month
from the author of
November, 2006    volume 1- Issue 3


Children With a Wild Streak
by Amy Cortez, Editor - The Eclectic Telegraph
I read an article with the title: "Raise Children With a Wild Streak" by Mark Pruett in the Charlotte Observer recently. The article was a plea from a college admissions counselor wishing for an interesting applicant. My reaction to the article was that clearly not enough homeschoolers had applied to this college! [read on]

Perfectionism:What A Man Can Do, What A Man Can't Do.
by Amy Cortez, Editor - The Eclectic Telegraph
If you are homeschooling a gifted student, you see it at least once a week, and sometimes, daily. I know I do. Your student will be chugging along, full speed ahead on a task and then stops cold. Or, perhaps they just don't start the task at all and as the master procrastinator, give you many very intelligent reasons why they haven't started it yet, even displaying those signs of ADD sometimes gifted students are misdiagnosed with, flitting from one task to another, getting nowhere near the task at hand. When I first started homeschooling, this phenomenon dumbfounded me. How could a kid this smart just fall apart on a task like this one? It wasn't until I started reading in detail about giftedness that I realized this is what perfectionism looks like on the surface... [read on]

Dumbing Down American Students: Really Bad Textbooks
by Amy Cortez, Editor - The Eclectic Telegraph
In general, we do not use textbooks in our homeschool and recently I was reminded why. My student is taking a US Government course through a correspondence high school that uses a textbook I would have definately NOT chosen.

A chapter exam asked my student the following question.

Which of the following is not a goal of government?

  1. to provide order to a group of people
  2. to tell people who they can marry
  3. to protect people against various dangers
  4. to promote the public good.

Being the ever aware citizen that my student is and up on current events, not only was this multiple choice question singled out as outrageous, a rather interesting essay accompanied the test question.

This same text also introduced the first amendment of the Bill of Rights as "The right to "Freedom of Religion"(it later revealed the true content of the amendment) and it again referred to it as "The right to "Freedom of Religion"in a test question. Made my student nuts. Now many American citizens, including my student, know this amendment states:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This amendment, a personal favorite for discussion around our house, clearly translates to Separation of Church and State. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom co-authored by founding fathers, Jefferson and Madison also comes up in discussions at our house, so needless to say, yet another interesting essay accompanied this test question that referred to this amendment inappropriately.

To me, it is no wonder American students fall behind in comparison to students of other countries and that we have such a high number of high school dropouts. The materials our students are exposed to everyday in the Public school system is not engaging or even interesting. Their academic experiences even less interesting.

Dropout Nation
Posted Sunday, Apr. 9, 2006

The number of high school students who leave before graduating is higher--much higher--than you think. Inside one town's struggle to reverse the tide. [read on]

The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives on High School Dropouts
March 2006 , Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Why do students drop out?

  • 47 percent of dropouts said classes weren't interesting
  • 69 percent were not motivated to work hard; 66 percent would have worked harder if more had been demanded of them.
  • 81 percent called for more "real-world" learning opportunities
  • 75 percent wanted smaller classes with more individual instruction
  • 71 percent favored better communication between parents and schools and more involvement from parents

Listen to NPR on this topic or [read on]

In this edition of our newletter, OldSage looks at why the textbooks our students are exposed to are so bad. I was surprised at the findings.....


culturekitchen is a community blog committed to providing a platform to political activists and cultural creatives. Our mission is to explore socially libertarian and politically progressive solutions to the issues of everyday life in the United States by focusing on arts, culture, entertainment, life, media, politics, sex, and technology.
As fervent advocates of free speech, we welcome people from different political persuasions and countries to participate in our community.

Sample the writing:

The Lesson the Republicans Forgot
Submitted by mole333
8 November 2006

Americans woke up and realized their government had been lying to them for 6 years. They saw the depth of Republican lies and corruption and they voted accordingly.

The Republicans forgot a very important lesson: “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

--Abraham Lincoln, the best Republican President

The Future Now
Sample the writing:

The Tao of Poo
One summer a few years ago, I worked as a keeper at the Miami Metro Zoo. I may remember those halcyon days for the times that I spent scratching the belly of a tapir, petting bongo antelopes that made your hands look like you had eaten a bag of Cheetos, helping name a baby dama, or trying to quiet down a howler monkey that didn’t like me much. But the fact is, most of my days were spent dealing with crap. Shoveling crap. Scooping crap. Raking crap. Spraying down crap. Wheelbarrowing crap. Lots and lots of—well, you get the idea.
So it comes as no surprise that crap was fresh in the minds of the folks at the Miami zoo when they rolled out their new exhibit, “The Scoop on Poop.”


[read on]

Travelin' With The Kid

Read about our adventures in our own back yard and on the road! From a mom who has been homeschooling and traveling with a highly gifted student for more than 5 years.

Sample the writing:

I Voted Today

...As we approached the Gothic structure, The Kid reminded me of The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom co-authored by founding fathers, Jefferson and Madison, where “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever...”. I often wonder why he can’t remember his multiplication tables. I told him it was actually the bingo hall that was our destination, so it really wasn’t a religious worship place. The Kid continued, he wanted to know why the rest of us had to vote on gambling and slot machines but this place was allowed to have bingo...sigh... the trials of mentoring this sort of human being.

[read on]

The Future Now
A website from the magazine of the same name. Loaded with Science and Tech news for those who love Science and Technology. A favorite place for Daphne the Science Guinea Pig!

MadSci Network
The MadSci Networkrepresents a collective cranium of scientists providing answers to your questions. For good measure we provide a variety of oddities as well.

Bright Kids at Home
A practical website geared towards homeschooling and traveling with gifted and talented students.
From a mom who has been homeschooling a highly gifted student for more than 5 years. Here you will find ideas about how you might homeschool your gifted student. You'll find ideas about how to homeschool and travel.

Huh? What's a podcast?

A Creative Movement for Democracy
NPR Radio:Fresh Air
October 25, 2006

Unbowed written by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai
Kenya political activist Wangari Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. Her new memoir is called Unbowed. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over thirty million trees across Kenya. In 2002, she was elected to Kenya's parliament, and in 2003 was appointed assistant minister for the environment.

College Class on Environment Redefines the Field Trip
by Taki Telonidis

Day to Day, November 6, 2006 · Each fall semester, one college professor in Washington state takes his environmental studies class on a journey across nearly a dozen Western states. They visit people with an interest in environmental policy in the West and conduct a class in each location.

High School Dropouts Aren't All 'F' Students
by Elaine Korry
NPR Radio Morning Edition
March 2, 2006

A new study from the Gates Foundation finds that high school dropouts aren't always getting F's on their report cards. A surprising number are C or better students, and most say they regret having dropped out.


Try something new!
The Scoop on Poop
This exhibit runs through January 10 at the Miami Metro Zoo

Fish do it, frogs do it, pythons, eagles and elephants do it, yet poop is one of those subjects we find difficult to talk about with a straight face. Kids, however, are positively fascinated by it, and poop is interesting stuff, really! Animals use poop to build homes, hide from enemies, attract mates, send messages, and cool off - some even eat it.

Want to Start Volunteering?
There are hundreds of ways to help out. With VolunteerMatch, it's never been easier to find a rewarding way to give back and make a difference.

Need Volunteers?
As the largest online network of participating nonprofits, VolunteerMatch attracts thousands of volunteers every day.

Referrals: 2,745,257
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Volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages Store
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the oldest and largest fair trade organizations in the world. Fair trade organizations connect consumers in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand to unemployed and underemployed artisans and farmers in developing countries through fair trade relationships – benefiting people, rather than maximizing their own profits. The artisans’ income helps pay for food, education, health care and housing.

Volunteers are vital to the day-to-day operation of Ten Thousand Villages stores. Our store teams welcome volunteer involvement and work with each volunteer to create meaningful opportunities that fit individual interests and skills. Store volunteers may work one or more days on a weekly or monthly basis depending on their interest and availability. Contact the store manager directly to inquire about volunteer opportunities at your local store. Volunteer

The Adopt-A-Native-ElderProgram exists to create a bridge of hope between Native Americans and other cultures. It allows us to reach out to one another, share our gifts, and mend the broken circle of our relationship with the Land and the Native Americans who hold it in sacred trust.

Adoption is a tradition of the Native American people. Our program is designed to build a bridge between two cultures and between individuals based on the Native tradition of the Giveaway Circle. The Giveaway Circle has a tradition of giving the best that we have. That may be a gift of time, talents or skills, or actual gifts of food and clothing.To offer a gift in the Native way is to give something that is of value to you, and because it is valuable, you want to share it with someone else. In this way you honor that person with your gift.

If you decide to adopt an Elder, you send a request form and a stamped self-addressed envelope. You get an information sheet on an Elder who needs assistance, including their address. it is requested that you contact the Elder directly by mail, introducing yourself. Boxes of food and other items must be mailed by U.S. Postal Service because UPS and other forms of delivery are not available in remote locations of the reservation.

[click here] if you would like to obtain an adoption sheet for an Elder

Elder Adoption FAQ

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)(located within the U.S. Department of Education ) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.

The NCES Data Handbooks provide guidance on consistency in data definitions and maintenance for education data, so that such data can be accurately aggregated and analyzed. The online Handbook database provides the Nonfiscal Handbooks in a searchable web tool. This database includes data elements for students, staff, and education institutions.

Look at the information that is likely being preserved through the public school system regarding your student [here]

For those of you who celebrate Christmas...There is a cyber-museum where you'll find information about the development of electric Christmas lighting in America during the 1900-1950 time period. The Antique Christmas Lights Museum

You can find out about all the Religious Winter Holidays at the History Channel website?

Beautiful young people are an act of nature. Beautiful old people are a work of art.

Great people talk about ideas.
Average people talk about things.
Small people talk about other people.

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Updated: December 6, 2006