Friday, March 24, 2006

High Court to Consider Hearing Kindergarten Art Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide soon whether it will hear a case involving the censorship of student artwork with religious content.

Kindergarten student Antonio Peck submitted a completed assignment depicting his understanding of the environment. His poster had children holding hands circling the globe, people picking up garbage and recycling trash and a picture of Jesus with one knee to the ground and two hands stretched toward the sky, though He was not named.

School officials folded the poster to hide Jesus, claiming it violated separation of church and state and some might think it was an endorsement of religion.

In 2000 a federal court ruled the school had the right to censor religious content, but in 2001 a court of appeals reversed the decision and sent it back to the federal trial court. In 2004 the same federal judge again ruled that the school could censor a kindergartner's artwork. Liberty Counsel appealed the ruling, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that a school may not censor a student's viewpoint in a school assignment.

Mat Staver, president and general counsel at Liberty Counsel, said the fact that school officials went out of their way to humiliate a kindergarten student in front of his parents and classmates can only stem from antagonism to his Christian viewpoint.

"Common sense dictates that no one would assume the school indoctrinated students in religion simply because one kid's drawing contained an unidentified religious figure," he said. "If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, we anticipate it will agree with the ruling by the court of appeals that public schools may not discriminate against religious viewpoints of students when they address permissible subjects in response to class assignments."

Saturday, March 4, 2006

A Loving Tribute To Missey Gray

I've added a new song to my blog in honor of Missey so remember to turn up your volume, and as a tribute to her for those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing her, here is a letter of rememberance from just one of her many, many on-line friends who only got to see her heart instead of her face, which is the only part that truly matters anyway.

Missey was a friend of mine, someone I never met face to face but knew from words and pictures sent across the internet. Girls in Easter dresses, Missey standing at the zoo, the baby in his stroller, the girls standing beside her holding hands smiling, a picnic in the new yard, by the stream, Missey holding her youngest daughter who needed comfort from a boo boo, Nathan after surgery, his scar healed. Birthdays, presents piled, character cakes, all four of the children piled into a riding toy, their beautiful faces smiling for Mom. All Missey, all family.

We met five or more years ago, in a preschool homeschool group on line. Our children were similar ages. She had so much to share about Ruth Beechick and skills list and Early Education at home. As her knowledge of home school methods grew so did her files of how to combine this program with that, the best way to write your own Beechick LA lessons, how to use dictation and narration and what AO history books fit into what time period. She had a love of making lists and forms and a love of sharing and teaching, not only her own children but other HS Mom's as well. It was contagious and glorious and inspiring to read her words, her enthusiasm, her desire to help.

Missey and I were both teachers before home schooling, we shared that experience. That love of learning and desire to encourage.

I will never not think of her when I hear the name Ruth Beechick or dictation or narration or Charlotte Mason or Ambelside. When I see black composition books, I will remember Missey saying the children brought just one book and pencil to sit with her each day.

When I see home made planner I will remember the time she bound hers at the office supply and was so happy to have it done her way. When people share pdf files I will remember Missey who first showed me fine print a program that allows you to make pdf's. When I see Zorro I will think of her and how much she enjoyed staying up late to watch that with her oldest children. When I see juicy juice I'll remember a perfect day she wrote about and ended with saying how all the children remembered to throw their juice boxes in the outside trash. Missey shared pictures of how she decluttered her dryer top in a email group we were both on for cleaning and she was so proud, the dryer looked good too. I remember how happy she was to declutter a room she wanted to clean up for a long time.

She was so happy to have her Mother in law close and spoke of how blessed she was to have the farm for the girls and how her Mother in law helped her by watching the children in the afternoons. I remember how excited she was that Tom gave her money to spend at the HS convention and how thrilled she was he got a library card in his name for her to use.I remember how proud she was of her daughter's Columbus narration and recently her youngest coming along so well in reading. She taught a Five in a Row book to her HS group and her Mom helped her prepare the materials I remember the excited email she wrote about the day and how well it went.

Missey was the one I wrote to when I needed to know about curriculum, it was her advice I wanted. What did she think? How did she do this? Did that work and why? I counted on that, I want that . . . and am overcome with grief...

I know God has a plan and I'm trying to understand... I'm praying for
you all, Tom, for the girls, for sweet Nathan for baby Melissa.

Love in Christ,

~ Susan

Friday, March 3, 2006

How You Can Help Missey Gray's Family

Although I never met Missey Gray face-to-face, I knew her through the Five In A Row boards we were both members of as well as a Yahoo group she started called the RAKmoms, where moms could bless other moms with things they wanted to simply give away free of charge to those who could use them.

The RAKmoms, also known as 'Random Acts of Kindness' must portray what the real Missey Gray was really like. Someone who took the time to care about others and bless them through random acts of kindness. Through reading her many helpful post on her Basically Beechick site that is FULL of helpful homeschooling information and knowing her through the FIAR boards and RAK group, I have come to know and love Missey and her family. Although I am happy for my sister in Christ who now sits where I so long to be, at the feet of our Lord and Saviour, my heart is breaking for those she left behind, especially her children and her husband.

The family had no life insurance on Missey, so if you would like to help financially you may do so here , or, you can simply log onto Pay Pal and send money to . This has been set up by a dear friend of Missey's and every penny will go to helping the family with funeral and burial expenses.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

A Sad Day For One Of Our Own

One of our own (at HSB and Five in a Row) has gone on to be with the Lord. While this is wonderful for her, she leaves behind a husband and five children, ages 10, 8, 5, 2, and a newborn.

Missey was loved by many in the homeschooling community and had started many helpful on-line groups and had so much wisdom and knowledge to share when it came to homeschooling our precious children.

Yesterday, March 1st, Missey went in for her 5th C-section and sadly never came out. Here is an update from the Yahoo group she had started, Basically Beechick. It is an update from one of the ladies who talked with Missey's mother-in-law:

I called and talked to her mil. She was SO thankful that I called and SO appreciative that we are passing this news through the homeschool community, as they are very happy that so many are praying for them.

She said that yesterday Missey went in to get her stress test that she's been getting every 2 weeks. The test showed that Missey was loosing amniotic fluid and that she had lost enough of it for it to be alarming. That's when they decided to go ahead and take the baby. After they lifted the baby from her body, some of the amniotic fluid got into her blood stream and caused a blood clot, which is what caused her death. She never came out of surgery. Her mil said that this only happens 1 in 200,000. But it happened to our Missey.

She said that the girls are holding up OK. She said that they all slept, no clung, together in their bed last night. The oldest got up at one point and asked if little Nathan could also sleep with them, so they moved him into the bed with the 3 girls. She said that Tom is just in a daze. He has gone to the hospital this morning to be able to feed the baby.

She told me that if I needed I could call back any time. She was so appreciative of my call and concern. I told her that she couldn't imagine that number of homeschool moms who are praying for their family right now. I told her that I was passing this horrible news along to places that I visit, but that Missey didn't. I told her that I've prayed this same prayer for other homeschool mom's families that I didn't know and that I know other homeschool moms who didn't even know Missey would be doing the same.

Tom and Missey had chosen a name for the baby, but after Missey passed on they decided to name the baby Melissa Kate.

Let's be in MUCH prayer for this family. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and shock they are going through right now. Kinda makes everything else that seems so important very, very unimportant.

Off to hug my babies a little bit harder...