Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Title: (Untitled) | Camera: Kodak Z740 without image stabilization | Exposure: Auto | Shutter: 1/400 sec. | Aperture: f4.0 | ISO: 64 | Lens: built-in at 6mm (36mm equivalent) | Metering: Pattern

This is a Christmas photo that my mom took last year. The tree is a Blue Spruce in our backyard. The photo was edited considerably in Adobe Camera RAW (comes with Photoshop) through cropping, brightness, contrast, and color. None of the content was changed.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Black Pearls

Title: Black Pearls | Camera: Kodak P712 with image stabilization | Exposure: Manual | Shutter: 1/50 sec. | Aperture: f3.5 | ISO: 64 | Lens: built-in at 63mm (380mm equivalent) | Metering: Center-weighted Average

This photo of the Black Pearl plant was taken in the Cann Gardens of Ponca City, OK. I spent most of that cool September morning taking portraits of a friend for school and had been blessed with a pleasing fog that made the portraits come out well. The same fog that helped me with my portraits also allowed the dew to linger on the plant, which I photographed while my human subject disposed of breakfast remnants. Black Pearl plant has small, round, dark purple peppers and equally small purple flowers. The thick stem also shares the purple coloring as do the leaves, although I can see from my photo that some of the leaves are green.

This photo is for sale, just email me at wholesomeworks[at]cableone[dot]net if your interested.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

At Home with the Government

The biggest reason I haven't posted much lately (and won't be posting much for a while) is college. Although all of my classes keep me from my blogs, it's my english composition class that wears out my typing fingers. So, I thought I would share with all of you an example of what has been keeping me away.

The essay below is about homeschooling and is my second college essay. Please bear in mind that I exceeded the limit of 500 words by nearly twice that much and therefore did not have the page space to say all that could be said.

English Composition 1 – Essay 2

8 October 2008

At Home with the Government

In Peter’s Quotations, Dr. Laurence Peter quotes Confucius as saying, “The strength of a nation is derived from the integrity of its homes,” if that is true, then several states are entertaining laws that bring the constitutional freedoms of U.S. citizens under attack (249). If passed, those laws give the local state governments the right to regulate what happens in the homes of its citizens. The government would no longer protect children from physical abuse only, but also from the perception of educational abuse. The proposed laws will mostly affect home-educated children and tell the parents of those children that they are not capable of choosing the best education for their child without the monitoring of a state sanctioned instructor. As a result, the laws discriminate against home education.

The current laws ignore the fact that home-educated children, without the aid of teachers with education degrees, regularly score fifteen to thirty percent higher on standardized tests than does their public schooled counterparts (Ray). Even Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Henry Meigs recognizes the evidence that the education of the teacher does not affect the learning of the student. Judge Meigs’ 1979 ruling in the Reverend C.C. Hinton, Jr. et al vs. Kentucky State Board of Education, et al case was, as stated, “Expert testimony in this case certainly established that there is not the slightest connection between teacher certification and enhanced educational quality in State schools” (Holt). According to around three-quarters of the nation’s colleges, including elite universities such as Harvard and Purdue, now have special policies concerning the enrollment of home-educated students to encourage more students to attend ("College Admissions for Homeschoolers" par. 5). Kennesaw State University in Georgia aggressively recruits homeschoolers for the reason that home-educated young adults, when compared to public schooled students, academically apply themselves better (Cloud and Morse par. 21).

The proponents of the laws cite the social depravity of homeschoolers as a reason why passing the laws is so important. Are home-educators and their children actually socially deprived? Chris Lubienki, an instructor at Iowa State University, believes that home-education socially threatens public-education by taking the “parents who know how to get things done with [school] administrators” out of the school system (Cloud and Morse par. 7). If homeschooling is pulling the active parents out of the state school, these same parents should be able to teach their own children how to be socially and politically active too. Those parents could also organize groups of home-educators, bringing them together and teaching their children the same social skills. In the year 2001, JC Penny found out just how much sociopolitical capability home-educators have. Threatening to boycott JC Penny, a large number of homeschool families forced that company to pull an offensive t-shirt line off the shelves on August 8 of that year. Home-education does not have to deprive children of social interaction if just a little more effort is applied (Cloud and Morse par. 2).

In addition, the laws as written threaten the constitutional rights of home educators. The first amendment of the Constitution gives all U.S. citizens the right to practice whatever religion they would so choose. Most home educators’ religions are at odds with the public schools teaching the theory of evolution as an explanation of the beginning of the universe and chose homeschooling as an alternative. By making laws that force state licensed education onto home educators, the laws violate their first amendment rights to practice their religion as they choose. The ninth amendment declares that all of rights laid out by the Constitution be applied equally to all of the people of the United States. The proposed laws require a certain group of the population to either spend a part of their income for a state licensed educator or enroll their children into state schools, all the while leaving the remainder of the people unaffected. The fourteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that the state may not make laws that encroach on the privileges of U.S. citizens. Homeschooling is a privilege in America and the laws inhibit that privilege if they pass.

Some home educators receive welfare from the government for homeschooling. In those cases, the state has the right to know how the families are using the funds through testing or some other form of monitoring. The state, however, does not have the right to force homeschoolers to use their method of education, especially when home-educated students maintain better academic scores than public education. These kinds of laws take away the freedoms of a small portion of the people and if Americans allow such laws to pass uninhibited, could bring about more laws that limit the freedoms of America. U.S. citizens need to stand against these laws, even if the laws do not affect them, for the cornerstone of America is choice and freethinking, not a unified education system.

Works Cited

Cloud, John, and Morse, Jodie. “Home Sweet School.” Time 27Aug 2001: 46-54. ABI/INFORM Global. Proquest. Northern Oklahoma College Library, Tonkawa, Oklahoma. 2 Oct 2008 []

"College Admissions for Homeschoolers." Homeschoolers Changing the World. May 2005. 2 Oct 2008 [ asp=""].

Holt, John C. "A Case Won." Growing Without Schooling. 26 Jan 1979. Home Education Magazine. 2 Oct 2008 [].

Peter, Dr. Laurence J. Peter's Quotations Ideas for our Time. Quill, 2003.

Ray, Brian D. "Research Facts on Homeschooling." National Home Education Research Institute. 2 July 2008. NHERI. 25 Sep 2008 ["com_content&task=view&id=199&pop=1&page=0&itemid=5"].

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

My chihuahua mix named Gracey, my family and I want to wish everyone a
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Results!

The official judge's decision was:

Image #3 from the last post.
Black Pearls - Winner of the Award of Merit.

Image #1 from the last post.
Wildberries - Honorable Mention

Image #2 from the last post.
Skyscape - The one that didn't make it to the show.

These photos are for sale if you would like to have one for your wall.
Just drop me an email at wholesomeworks[at]cableone[dot]net if your interested.