Supplement Your Child's Education

Are you concerned your child isn't getting the education necessary to compete in the global economy or even, perhaps, to carry on the lessons and learning of Western Civilization? If so, you have a number of choices. You could, of course, consider changing schools to a charter school, private school, or even homeschooling. If that's overwhelming for you right now, you can always supplement your child's education. There are a number of ways to do it, with many helpful books and online guides. Our hope is to point you in the right direction below. 

Please keep in mind that there are a variety of options for parents, and often the decision should be made based on a variety of factors including time, money, personality of the child, etc. The key, though, is to take charge of your child's education and not leave his or her future beholden to a well-meaning, but often failing educational system.

Math

American students recently are reported as ranking 25th in the world for math. If you'd like to assess your child's math skills, you can do so for free through SingaporeMath. The site also has a helpful guide for determining material for teaching math at home, which is available by clicking here. Another curriculum company to consider is Saxon for math. You can view their material here (click on the "Request a Catalog" link).

If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of supplementing your child's education on your own, you may want to consider tutoring or a program like Kumon Learning Centers.

For individual math lessons, please consider visiting the Khan Academy online where you can view helpful videos like the following:

Area of a Circle

Finally, please keep in mind, too, that there are many, many other free resources online. For instance, here's a site, dadsworksheets.com, that offers free math worksheets. The site also links to numerous other free resources. 

Reading

Just as with their math scores, American students' reading scores rank quite low compared to other developed countries in the world. So what can you do? First, of course, you may want to determine how well your child is reading currently. A number of online reading assessments exist. Here are a few:   

San Diego Quick Reading Assessment Instructions

Checkpoints for Progress

Reading Skills Assessment Test

The Abecedarian Reading Assessment

We would be remiss if we neglected to mention the need for phonics education for younger children. Here are two helpful books for teaching your young ones: Noah Webster's Reading Handbook and Phonics Pathways.

Once your child is past the learning to read stage, one way of supplementing your child's reading is to recommend good books. Improving reading abilities and building a vocabulary involves reading ever more challenging texts. Additionally, you may want to inquire into the substance of the books your child is reading whether at home or at school. Does a book promote virtuous behavior? Does a book challenge the reader? Does the book enrich the mind? All of these questions (and more) are important to consider as there are good, mediocre, and bad books.

For a wonderful read on virtue and classic stories, please consider "Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination".

To learn more about the Great Books Programs, please consider visiting our Topic Page on the subject:


Great Books
Great Books

 

Cursive Handwriting

More likely than not, if you take a look at your grandparents' old letters, you will find well-written documents composed entirely in flowing cursive. It's just one more example of the subtle downward slide in education. Penmanship seems to be a dying art these days, which is a shame. If you share our appreciation for handwritten letters and cursive penmanship, and believe that it's important for your child to have such a skill, you may have to help your child yourself.

If you're wondering if cursive handwriting matters in our digital age, you may want to consider reading this article. For an interesting article on how cursive handwriting helps develop cognitive skills, click here

For a helpful site that will give you tips on how to start teaching your child (or yourself) cursive handwriting, please consider clicking here.

General Knowledge

Several recent studies indicate that American students aggregate understanding of history, civics, and other areas of general knowledge has declined precipitously in recent decades. Two studies on the subject are the following: E Pluribus Unum-The Bradley Project on America's National Identity and the Fordham Institute's The State of State U.S. History Standards 2011

It's certainly no easy matter to concisely lay out the various topics in history, civics, philosophy, etc. that a well-educated individual living in a free society should know. To that end, we recommend two books on the matter: The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and E.D. Hirsch's Books to Build On: A Grade-by-Grade Resource Guide for Teachers and Parents. Both books do a wonderful job of presenting quality educational material for children at each stage of learning. 

Finance/Economics

Judging by the rapid growth of the national debt and personal bankruptcies in recent years, at least a few Americans are in need of remedial finance education. You'll surely give your son or daughter a leg up in life by helping them understand economics and finances, particularly as they relate to the individual. Teaching finances is a mixed bag of teaching money discipline, the importance of thrift/saving, etc. to your children and often doing that in the real world. 

For online tutorials on various finance and economic topics, we again refer you to the free online Khan Academy. There you will find videos like the following:

If you would like to introduce your older child to economics, there are a few books that you might want to consider starting with: The Law by Bastiat and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. 

 

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Commentary or Blog Post

Hall reports on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the House Budget Committee on June 3, 2009. Bernanke believes that the higher spending is necessary in the short term to prevent further deterioration of the economy, but could lead to significant problems down the road.

"Because Bernanke appeared before the House Budget Committee, much...

ITO's Devin Foley responds to a CNN reporter who attempts to make a mockery of a dad at Chicago tea party. Here's an excerpt:

"In watching the video, two things are blatantly obvious:  1) The CNN reporter is biased and 2) She has never taken a finance class in her life. She also...

"President Obama's ambitious plans to cut middle-class taxes, overhaul health care and expand access to college would require massive borrowing over the next decade, leaving the nation mired far deeper in debt than the White House previously estimated, congressional budget analysts said yesterday.

In the first independent analysis of Obama's budget proposal, the nonpartisan...

The Boston Tea Party remains one of the few events leading up to the American Revolutionary War which so truly defines, for the average American citizen, the nature of the colonies' severance from England. Aside from the war itself, the Tea Party, in many respects, embodies this resistance movement.

British attempts to colonize the newly discovered continent of North America began with...

On the eve of the April 15, 2009 tea party protests, ITO's Foley asks the important question, "What is the purpose of a protest rally?" He traces some of the history of civil disobedience in the United States, details the immense debt burden the United States government has taken on...

"New Research by Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy examines the cost of the debt in another way. Using the Congressional Budget Office's long-term budget projections, this chart compares the relative contributions of general, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security and net interest spending. While general spending and Social Security spending are projected to remain...

In this article Thorndike contends that the Tea Party was not a protest against high taxes, but rather a response to a "corporate bailout" by the British government of the East India Company, that it was a "carefully managed (if not entirely scripted) episode of civil disobedience," and that the Party did not garner much of a following until decades after the event...

This article from EyeWitness to History examines both the English's imperial motives for taxation as well as the understandable outrage from the beleaguered colonies.  It also offers a brief account from George Hewes, one of those present at the harbor on the infamous evening of December 16, 1773.

In this short blog post, Lindsey worries that the conservative movement has lost its intellectual grist is now living on "intellectual junk food." He also worries that the Tea Party movement, and some associating with it, will taint the liberty movement. He argues that:

...

De Rugy discusses the affect of interest payments on the national debt. "Starting in 2012, the cost of the debt as a percentage of GDP will explode from a mere 1.8 percent of GDP to more than 30 percent of GDP in 2082."

Stoll, author of Samuel Adams: A Life, recognizes, that the discontent over the spending and taxation plans is legitimate, but questions holding protests in the name of tea parties.

"The skeptical...

Chart or Graph

The graph above was produced by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. It measures the growth of the monetary base between February 15, 1984 and September 21, 2011. It shows a massive expansion of the monetary base since the 2008 financial crisis.

This chart shows the change that will be taking place in government as 60% of federal employees are eligible for retirement through 2016.

"Using the Congressional Budget Office's long-term budget projections, this chart compares the relative contributions of general, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security and net interest spending."

According to The Washington Post, the CBO's latest analysis projects huge deficits, forcing the U.S. to borrow unprecedented amounts of money.

"Notice that under either of CBO's scenarios, the net interest payments, or the costs of the debt, rival the cost of two of our nation's most expensive social programs."

"Total public debt outstanding on June 9, 2009 divided by the United States population on June 11, 2009 means that at the time this piece is written that on a per capita basis each American owes $37,148.95."

Analysis Report White Paper

This paper discusses Federal retirement statistics in order to gain a better understanding of the future makeup of the Federal workforce. A significant number of employees are eligible or will become eligible to retire in the near future, making a deeper analysis of the retirement of Federal civilians more timely and meaningful.

Were the individuals involved in the Boston Tea Party activists? Extremists? Terrorists? Todd Alan Kreamer gives his opinion and puts their actions into 21st century perspective.

White presents a very in-depth analysis of the events leading up to the $700 billion bailout including what Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Benanke were requesting, how the citizens reacted, and the actions taken by Congress.

Video/Podcast/Media

"While politicians blame each other for the House's rejection of the $700 billion bailout bill, some economists warn that if the bill had passed, it would have signaled the end of the 'free market' structure in the United States."

"CNBC's Rick Santelli called for a 'Chicago Tea Party' Thursday, leading the charge for calls to revolt against the Obama Administration's mortgage bailout plan....

The clip has gone viral on the Internet, bringing with it loads of opinions, both pro and con."

While there was talk of Tea Parties prior to Santelli's famous "rant," in many ways he gave legitimacy to modern day Tea Parties and got the movement rolling forward. Some charged that Santelli's rant was a staged "green top."

Belinkie blends Batman with the 2008 $700 billion bailout. The video makes quite a statement.

Primary Document

Other cities soon follow the Bostonians actions, refusing to allow ships to anchor in their ports. Just over two weeks after the Tea Party had taken place, it had ignited similar actions across the colonies.

New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Boston (all port cities) had the possibility of receiving the tea shipments. This article was a cry for Boston, the eventual last option for East India Company, to stand strongly against the Tea Act.

This article features the initial reaction to the Tea Act in the colonies. The British had hoped that the establishment of lower tea prices would mask the fact that the tea tax, which had begun with the Townshend Acts, remained in place. Unfortunately for England, this did not escape the eyes of the perturbed colonists.

"The first published account of the Boston Tea Party by a participant was recorded from the words of Joshua Wyeth. He was just sixteen when he joined other patriots in boarding the tea ships in Boston Harbor. Mr. Wyeth told his story to a journalist in Cincinnati where he lived during his later years. The account was published in 1826, 53 years after the event has occurred."

"The tea destroyed was contained in three ships, lying near each other at what was called at that time Griffin's wharf, and were surrounded by armed ships of war, the commanders of which had publicly declared that if the rebels, as they were pleased to style the Bostonians, should not withdraw their opposition to the landing of the tea before a certain day, the 17th day of December, 1773, they...

"Throughout November, the Boston's patriots have been meeting, writing, and agitating about the tea. On November 28, 1773, the Dartmouth enters Boston Harbor carrying 114 chests of the East India import. Matters are at an impasse: if returned to England, the tea and the vessel carrying it may be confiscated; if the Townshend duty is not paid by 17 December, the customs collector can...

As news breaks of the Tea Party, as it quickly came to be known, colonists celebrate their temporary victory and debate further action.

Thomas Paine's famous and radical 1776 pamphlet made a bold case for American Independence from Britain, at a time when the notion of Independence was still contested among the colonists.

"Chairman Spratt, Ranking Member Ryan, and other members of the Committee, I am pleased to have this opportunity to offer my views on current economic and financial conditions and on issues pertaining to the federal budget."

As part of the First Continental Congress, the Declaration of Colonial Rights was adopted as a result of the passage of the Coercive Acts by Parliament in 1774. It is often argued that this was a direct precursor and influence of the Declaration of Independence.

Predominantly written by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence formally and eloquently justified the independence of the United States from British monarch King George III.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was not the first stimulus bill passed in 2008, but it certainly was the largest at over $700 billion.

Dickinson's famous series of letters demonstrate the growing unrest within the colonies over the increasing British imperial control. This letter focuses on the Townshend Acts, foreshadowing the more vehement protests over subsequent Parliamentary acts in the coming years.

Philadelphia reacts to the passage of the Tea Act by refusing tea to be shipped to its ports. The author likens this new act to the infamous Stamp Act of 1765, complaining that this, too, is simply a tax for revenue.

The colonists make it quite clear that they will not tolerate the presence of East India Company's ships in their port.

"As health care costs continue to grow faster than the economy and the baby-boom generation nears eligibility for Social Security and Medicare, the United States faces inevitable decisions about the fundamentals of its spending policies and its means of financing those policies. This Congressional Budget Office report looks at a range of possible paths for federal spending and...

Jenyns, a commissioner of the board of trade in England, depicts the imperial standpoint over the question of taxation of the colonies. His objections to the colonial protest are valuable because they bring to light the simplistic view many Englishman held on the matter. Very few sympathized with the colonial viewpoint.

Perhaps the most controversial of the Coercive Acts (also known as the Intolerable Acts) of 1774, this was part of England's harsh reaction to the Boston Tea Party. Several of these acts specifically targeted MA in an attempt to set an example for the rest of the colonies.

Otis provides a unique colonial outlook as he attempts to reconcile the dilemma of colonial subordinance, while also maintaining some power through representation. He lays out an original argument against taxation without representation and provides a good background to the momentous events that would come ten years after this publication.

This piece is contained in the Boston Pamphlet as part of the reaction against British attempts to strengthen their stronghold on the colonies. Moreover, it was a response to the slew of acts England passed during the 1760s and would remain a symbol to the colonists who participated in the Boston Tea Party.

Ordering a tax stamp on many printed materials in the colonies in order to help fund the Seven Years' War, this act was the first that resulted in significant colonial objection. Although it was repealed just a year later, it alerted the colonists to England's taxation objectives.

This act precipitated further rebellious action in the colonies, which already held strong grievances toward Britain. It eliminated the transfer of the tea through Britain and instead directly taxed the colonies (which it originally attempted to hide from the colonies) to boost the struggling East India Company. Furthermore, it strengthened the monopoly of the East India Company at the expense...

The most relevant aspect of these acts dealt with the trade and taxation of tea. The British East India Company had maintained a monopoly on tea trade for some time. But with such high prices, cheaper smuggled tea became popular for many colonial people, thereby suffocating East India business. To overcome these economic strains, Parliament decided to tax the colonists on tea, again raising...

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