Picking The Perfect Firearm For Your Child

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Spend time researching the right firearm for your child.

I will always remember my first firearm. I was 12 years old, and the firearm was a Marlin model 98 .22 long rifle. The rifle-fed from a tubular magazine in the butt stock. It had been my Uncle’s, as had the .12 Gauge break action that was handed down to me. Both guns were old, had little sentimental value since my Uncle was alive and were notoriously unreliable (had not been properly taken care of).

My Dad, not wanting his son to have inferior firearms, went to the local gun shop and picked me up a Remington 870 Express .12 gauge. I opened the package the 870 came in that Christmas. I pulled back the wrapping paper to reveal those beautiful green letters that spelled “Remington,” and I knew it was going to be a good Christmas! I was taller than most boys my age and I could easily handle the .12 gauge. In fact, I lugged that shotgun all through my beginning hunting years as I pursued turkey and deer in upstate New York. To this day it still accompanies me in the field every year for turkey. I’ll never get rid of that shotgun.

The Right Firearm

As a hunter, shooter and firearms instructor I have folks ask me all the time, “What gun should I purchase for my child?” As a father of three, with my oldest just now closing in on the age where they will get their own firearm, I can say there are 50 different answers to this question. My wife and I both hunt and shoot and our children have shown strong interest in both sports.

After teaching young folks how to shoot for years and taking youngsters into the woods on their first hunt on many occasions, I have some very strong opinions. Here are my top picks for a youngster’s first firearm.

Wholesome Entertainment And Christian Heroes For Christian Kids!

The .22

1. Davey Crickett .22 long rifle built by Keystone Arms. This is a great rifle for a little one to start shooting at around the age of six. It is smooth, easy to operate and has a solid cross bolt safety. I like the single shot .22 for first-timers because the process of loading a single shot is a great way to instill firearms safety in your child. And your child is going to have to learn to make every shot count. Single shot rifles also are a great way to conserve ammunition in an ever-changing world. One nice little gimmick about these rifles is they come in several different color options, so a boy can go for black or laminate, and a gal can go for pink.

Price Tag: Around $100-$120

2. Remington 572. The iconic Remington pump .22 has been in production for 60 years. Built like a tank and with a silky-smooth action, this is a perfect .22 for the older child/teenager. It costs a pretty penny as .22s go, but this is a rifle your child will have their entire life and will probably be passed down for a few generations to come! This is not the rifle for a first-time shooter, but for an older child or your teen, there is no better choice out there.

Price Tag: Around $550

The Shotgun

In my opinion, a child needs to be around 10 or 12 before being taught to shoot a shotgun. Sure, there are some children who start younger, but with the much stouter recoil it can be hard on young ones. Both of my choices are pump shotguns, as they allow for follow-up shots and their heavier weight reduces recoil for small shooters.

3. Mossberg 510 Youth 20 gauge. This is a great little shotgun. It has a 3-plus-1 capacity, adjustable shoulder stock that grows with your child and an assortment of chokes. You also can purchase an adult stock to install when junior gets bigger. I have found these shotguns to be very quick pointers and very handy in the woods. My wife has one with an adult butt stock and I have even borrowed it before for squirrel.  

Price Tag: Around $320

Teach children gun safety

Make teaching your children firearm safety a priority.

4. Remington 870 Express or Wingmaster in either .12 or .20 gauge. This shotgun has much more heft, is quite a bit larger and should only be considered for your growing teenager. For young ladies and smaller-statured teenage boys, a .20 gauge is a fine choice. For those strapping farm boys in your family, get the .12 gauge – they will thank you for it later on. The Express my father gave me has been with me for more than 20 years. The firearm is indestructible and has never failed me. If you want a prettier gun with superior fit and finish, get the Wingmaster model. Either option, this is a gun that will stay in the family.

Price Tag: Around $320

The Game Rifle

5. Rossi Single Shot Youth .223 Rifle. This is my first choice for a young child’s deer rifle. Yes, a .223 can kill up to a deer-sized critter. With this rifle there is no recoil, which is a very attractive thing for a youngster. No, it is not suitable for elk, moose, bear or anything larger than a whitetail. But if you want a first deer rifle, this can work well. It also is great for kids wanting to get into the shooting sports.

Price Tag: Around $250

6. Ruger American Rifle. This is a terrific, cheap and accurate rifle. The trigger is great and the accuracy and relatively-smooth action are also very good. Fitted with a decent optic, you will be very surprised with the rifle’s accuracy. For the older kid or teenager, this is a terrific choice for a first “real game rifle.” For a younger child, I would suggest a chambering in .7mm-08, which is one of the most effective and light kicking cartridges around. For a teenager, I would choose a .270 or .308 for a little heavier punch.

Price Tag: Around $350

What would you add to this list? Take away from the list? Share your opinion in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here..

The post Picking The Perfect Firearm For Your Child appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Prepping in College: Being Prepared for a College Bugout If Necessary

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College Bugout When the SHTF!

 

I was preparing myself for a college bugout!  When my oldest started his last year of high school, I realized that his decisions of if and where he wanted to go to college was going to impact me more than in the pocketbook.  I realized that in the back of my mind, I would always be thinking about how far he actually was from home.  How would he get home if the “world went crazy?”  And what would things be like for him on the way back if the “big one” hit?

Luckily, he chose to go to the local community college and then transferred to a program with the local university.  But, these thoughts came flooding back to me this week when I was emailed by a young college student.  The email read…

I have recently begun prepping as I find it fun and thought-provoking as well as practical. I have been reading some articles from your website and have begun listening to your podcast daily. First, I would like to thank you for putting time and effort into these tasks to help others become more prepared for when SHTF. I also was wondering if you could point me in a good direction to continue prepping. I am a college student and don’t have many funds available but did put some money into a basic bug out bag. Besides improving my bug out bag I’m not sure what my next steps should be. I am living in a dorm (over an hour from my house) so stockpiling food or water is not practical. I didn’t know if you had any suggestions as to how I could best prepare while living on campus. Any thoughts are welcome!

I responded to the email after a few days of thinking about this student’s situation, but I also thought that there are others out there, students, parents and even prepping grandparents, who might be in the same predicament.  So I would like to share and elaborate on my thoughts.

The Bugout Bag

Having a college bugout bag is an important and key element for a university student.  In a collapse or SHTF situation, they are truly in a situation where they should “bugout” to another location.  That location is going to be home or wherever the family will be located, if that is a bugout or retreat location.

The bugout bag is going to have to match the distance that the college student is traveling.  In the email that I received, the college student was only an hour away from home.  In this situation, I would have a minimal bugout bag.  I would have food or snacks that could be eaten on the go, water bottles, a phone charger, a means of defense (more on this below) and a first aid kit.  I would also always have the basics to filter and purify water, make fire, a knife and material to make a crude shelter if needed.  Of course, the bugout needs to reflect the season of the year.  Bugging out in the Spring is going to look and feel a lot different than bugging out in the Winter.

If the distance from college to home is farther and will take days and maybe even weeks, the bugout bag is going to have to be more robust.  For sure, food will have to be more substantial, probably a combination of dehydrated and even some survival tabs to manage hunger.  Water will need to be replenished, so a good filter is needed.  A fire kit, first-aid kit, shelter, defense, map, compass or GPS, and clothes will need to be in place.  Again, the distance and season will determine the specifics.

The bugout bag should always be ready and stored away in a closet.  It is recommended to have a bugout bag regardless if the student has a vehicle to travel home.  You just never know.

There has been a lot written on bugout bags.  For more, visit What Do I Put In My Survival Kit?

Transportation

The perfect bugout would have the student getting in their vehicle and driving home without any issues or even catching a flight back home if they are across the country.  However, not every college student can afford a vehicle on campus and you can’t count on a flight.  After all, we are talking about bugging out from college.  You never know which SHTF situation you are really prepping for!

The next best option would be a bicycle.

If a bicycle can be kept locked up and not stolen, I think a regular mountain bike would do.  The college student should have a spare tube, manual pump, and tools to change the tire if needed.  They also make puncture proof tubes that might be of interest.

If the bicycle is not safe just being locked up outside somewhere, then a foldable bicycle that can go under the bed might be required.  There are foldable bikes on the market that are made well and are reasonably priced.

The plus side of having a bike on campus is that the college student could use it to get around too.

Routes Home

Regardless of the mode of transportation, the college student needs to have various routes home.  A search on Google maps will give a student or their family member helping them prepare options.  Once several routes are established.  It would be a good idea for the student to take the various routes home when they visit home to make sure the routes are safe to travel, what concerns they might have and if there are any potential resources that could be utilized in a bugout home.

Defense

Defense is a big topic in the preparedness community.  It should be for college students too.  Unfortunately, most colleges are liberal snowflake hubs.  The State of Texas does allow college students to conceal carry on campus, but there are still rules that prohibit concealed carry in certain areas of the campus.

Other states that allow concealed carry on college campuses are:  Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin.  SOURCE

One way that students can defend themselves if they can’t carry a firearm is with pepper spray.  Students should be familiar with their pepper spray and practice on deploying it quickly.

READ – An Open Letter to My Past Female Students Entering College

Information

This area is very important and one that the college student should take seriously.  Our world is so fast paced and everyone is so connected that if an SHTF event was to happen, people would know pretty quickly.  The problem is that college students don’t always pay attention to the news and what is going on in the world.

The good news is that almost every college student is plugged into social media.  Like it was mentioned above, news travels fast.  The hope is that college students will see any important news and events going on and monitor the situation to see if they will need to respond.

One social media that young people use is Twitter.  Twitter can be very helpful to gather information fast.  Personally, I use Twitter for news.  That is the reason I only follow news organizations (mainstream and alternative news) on Twitter. It is very easy to open the Twitter APP and scroll a little bit to see if anything significant is going on.

In an SHTF situation, it might be beneficial for a college student to have a means to listen to radio reports, shortwave and weather.  A good, handheld crank, solar, battery operated emergency radio is nice to have.

If the grid goes down, due to cyber terrorism or an EMP, a small handheld ham radio, like the Baofeng, enclosed in a small faraday cage will be invaluable.

Closing Thoughts

Being away from home and in the middle of an SHTF situation, the college student’s first priority should be to get home.  A little bit of thought and consideration should be given to getting home.  Parents can help their child with purchasing the gear they might need and helping them think through some of the plans they should have in place if they ever needed to bugout from college.

Peace,
Todd

Herbal remedies, You might be doing them wrong.

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I’ve been using herbs all my life, as most of you have. Herbs are such a big part of our life we actually don’t think about them most the time. But the herbs I want talk to you about today deal with our healthcare.

Because of the rising cost in healthcare, or the man-made medicines that people don’t trust, or many other reasons, natural remedies are making a comeback.

One can get overwhelmed with the amount of natural remedies out there on the market. Most people would like to be able to raise their own herbs to treat their families. And for some people such as myself, gathering wild herbs is not only fun, but also very cost-effective.

The largest problem I see with herbal remedies is people trying to gather too many herbs. Instead of gathering 100 herbs to treat one ailment each, I suggest focusing on 10 to 20 herbs to treat multiple symptoms.

Knowing your own body and the loved ones you intend to treat, should come before any herbs are gathered. Finding what herbs work for you and your symptoms, is going to be trial and error that only you can do. Just because someone says some herb is a good one to use, does not mean that you are not allergic to it, or said herb will not respond to your body’s needs.

I do not believe that there is a list of herbs that everyone must have, or even one herb that everyone should use. Everyone’s body is different, what herbs works for me, may not work for you. Your herbal remedies should be very personal.

I’m going to give you one example of an herb that is very pronounced across the world. It is used for a food crop for both animals and humans. It is simple to gather, is probably in your yard, and most people overlook this herb.

Clover is nutritious and relatively high in protein content. Some Clover are high in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, chromium, phosphorous, potassium, niacin, and the list goes on.

Some of the common uses and health benefits of clover are:

White and red clovers are considered to be blood purifiers. Thus, they can be used to promote the health of the liver and the digestive system.

White clover is also sought after for its effectiveness in healing respiratory ailments. A tea brewed from young clover leaves and blossoms is said to be a good expectorant and reduces the spasm brought on by whooping cough. It is believed to be anti-asthmatic in nature.

The phytoestrogens in red clover account for its popularity as a natural remedy to alleviate menopausal symptoms.

Being a rich source of many minerals, clover is believed to aid in the proper hormonal functioning of the glands in the human body.

The calcium and magnesium content in clover help to relax the nervous system.

Clover is also believed to promote flow of lymph and improve the immunity of the body.

Clover is considered to be a diuretic and thus reduces inflammation in cases of gout. Owing to its alterative and antispasmodic properties, red clover promotes muscle relaxation and can allay cramps and aches. White clover is also considered to be effective in reducing inflammations due to arthritis. It also decongests the salivary glands and reduces ocular inflammations.

Clover is said to be beneficial in treating skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. In fact, red clover plant is often used for the treatment of various skin ailments.

Clover is said to be a cancer-fighting agent and finds use in alternative medicine for the management of certain cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases.

Red clover is rich in coumarins that are chemical compounds with anti-coagulant properties. Hence, this herb offers protection against heart disease. It thins the blood and does not allow plaque to build up on the walls of the arteries.

Warnings:
Headaches, nausea, and fatigue are some general side effects caused due to excess consumption of clover. Its high concentration of estrogen can also upset hormonal balance in women. Any medication using this herb needs to be administered under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

As I said before, your herbal remedies have to be very personal. As you can read by the list above, Clover as one herb has a multitude of uses.

Will some or all of those uses work for you? This is something only you as an individual, can find out. Some herbs will work better for you than others for different ailments.

Rich@ATC 10/22/2017

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7 Benefits Of An Old-Fashioned Family Mealtime

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7 Benefits Of An Old-Fashioned Family Mealtime

Family dynamics have changed over time. This is to be expected, and is often a good thing. But modern ways do not necessarily always represent actual improvement, and sometimes it’s tempting to take a step backwards and embrace the way families did things in generations past.

Mealtime might be an example of things that our grandparents did better than we do. Most people’s fondest images of family meals are not centered around mad dashes through the fast food drive-up lane or each person microwaving their choice of instant food and eating it in solitude. Most of us, whether it represents our own reality or not, envision the best family meals as the ones that are shared around a dining table.

It’s no doubt a lot harder to do that in the 21st century than it was in days gone by. Lifestyles are different, demands on our time are different, societal expectations are different. But here are some reasons why it’s worth making an attempt to sit down together at the table as a family—even if you can manage to actually make it happen only part of the time.

1. Kids learn table manners. Whether they use them all the time or not, good table manners help people feel confident in any situation in which food is involved, and kids will never regret having learned them. I’m not talking about fancy manners they might need for dining with the Queen of England, or even formal subtleties such as knowing where to place one’s utensils to signal being finished with the plate. What I do encourage is teaching kids basic skills—appropriate to their ages—like learning to wield a steak knife, nudge roly-poly peas into submission, and wind long noodles around a fork. But it’s more than how to use silverware. It’s knowing not to subject fellow diners to the sight of half-chewed food while they talk, and how to pass the potatoes and thank the host. It’s learning to be aware of house expectations—if no food is touched until grace is said or no hats are allowed at the table, it’s a lot less awkward when everyone knows how to play along.

Put God Back Into History And Teach Your Kids What They Won’t Learn Anywhere Else!

When your kids leave home, they will take meals with a wide variety of people, from coworkers to important professional clients to future in-laws. The more comfortable they are at the table, the better off they’ll be. Mentoring and gentle reminders at home are the keys to developing table manners.

2. Everyone learns and maintains communication skills. Dining together involves not only sitting in the presence of others, but interacting with them. “How was your day at work, Mom?” and, “How did you do on the science test, Joe?” are excellent phrases for diners to start with. Saying “please,” “thank-you,” “pardon me,” “you’re welcome,” and “certainly” are all great follow-ups. The ability to listen to others, hear what is really being said, and respond appropriately are wonderful attributes which help people be better friends, spouses, employees, bosses and citizens. So does the discernment to know when and how to offer sympathy or encouragement, or when and how to respectfully decline or disagree.

3. Debates are respectful. Getting along with others is hard, whether you’re six or 60. Sharing a table with people who are not your Facebook friends or who disagree with your politics or whose hygiene habits are different from yours can be an exercise in tolerance and restraint. But in a world where tolerance and restraint seem to be less common than they used to be, the family table is a delightful place to develop and implement them.

My two sons have always been on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, and our evening meal conversations were always lively when they lived at home. We all arrived at the table from vastly different vantage points, argued the issues of the day, and were still family and friends at the end of the meal. Sure, there was some eye-rolling and even a few snorts of derision and raised voices now and then. But we all remember those debates with fondness, and still laugh about some of the more dramatic moments. I’m sure it enriched our interrelationships and strengthened our bonds rather than weakened them.

4. An opportunity for technology-free time. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard people lamenting the constant presence of communication devices in our lives. And yet, we all have trouble escaping it. It can feel like technology swallows us whole.

Family mealtime is the perfect time to set aside a time without phones, tablets, laptops, TVs or earbuds. It’s not a whole camping trip or day at Grandma’s—it’s just an hour or so. An hour of being fully present with those in the room without being distracted by flashing screens and seduced by advertisements.

I never allowed even a TV on in the room during evening meals. I maintained that if I could take time out of my entertainment long enough to prepare the meal, they could take time out from theirs enough to eat it. There were some grumbles at the time, but there are no regrets now.

7 Benefits Of An Old-Fashioned Family Mealtime5. A pleasing and peaceful setting. Ever notice how nice restaurants are the ones with ambiance? You don’t have to spend money on eating out for that. In fact, setting the table for a nice meal at home can be fun for the whole family. Kids can not only set the table, but can have fun creating a nice space for the meal. Think construction paper napkin rings, flowers gathered and arranged in a vase, or other creative accessories and décor.

Light a few candles, get out your best tablecloth (even if it’s a repurposed sheet from a thrift store), and put on some pleasing dining music. Dinnerware doesn’t have to match to be beautiful, drinkware can be mason jars, and it’s more important that chairs are comfortable than stylish.

Take The Stress Out Of Family Drive Time!

People are drawn to beauty. A falling maple leaf, a symphony, a baby’s soft cheeks, a city skyline, a butterfly, a birdsong—and a beautiful table setting shared with loved ones.

6. Time away from outside stress. People are busy these days. I get it. I hear people saying that there is no time to sit down to a family meal together anymore. But the way I see it, today’s busy lifestyles are all the more reason to carve out a special time to set it all aside. Even if it happens only once a week or so, a family mealtime can be a mini-vacation from the pressures of the outside world—and for most families, it’s a break sorely needed.

7. Healthy eating habits develop. Our grandparents grew up learning to eat a variety of foods and not be fussy. Not everyone today does that, and it may be detrimental to our health. A well-rounded diet helps people maintain a healthy weight and avoid health problems. While both kids and adults might tend to reach for prepackaged junk food instead of roasted green beans or sliced tomatoes when eating on their own, it can be easier to make healthy choices when good foods are part of a family meal.

Instead of gulping down food merely as a means to curb cravings, sharing a family sit-down meal can encourage everyone to eat more slowly, avoid overeating, savor the flavors, and enjoy the experience.

If you’re still on the fence about family meals, here are some ideas to get you started. Commit to one night a week for the first few months, and ask everyone to make it a priority. Try offering simple family favorites at first and add new foods gradually, establish a few ground rules to begin and tweak them as you go, and involve the whole family in preparation and cleanup as much as possible.

Even if it doesn’t ever look like anything out of a Norman Rockwell painting, enjoying family mealtime at the table might end up being your own version of “picture perfect.”

Do you agree? Disagree? What tips would you add? Share your advice in the section below:

To Dress A Dish Of Mushrooms – 18th Century Cooking

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Published on Aug 14, 2017

Our good friend Michael Dragoo is in the kitchen again! Today Jon and Michael prepare a dish called “To Dress A Dish Of Mushrumps” from Martha Washington’s “Booke of Cookery”. This one is perfect for sharing at living history events!

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Top Tips to Prepare Your Parents for Emergencies

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Top Tips to Prepare Your Parents for Emergencies The glue that holds this society together is the parents. You have to understand that. No matter what stance you take on children you have to support those parents who are doing the work. The kids are our future. You know the deal. It was my kids …

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4 Easy Recipes Canning Cherries

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Enjoy 4 of my delicious recipes for canning both tart and sweet cherries

I am very blessed to be the Canbassador for Northwest Cherry Growers in Washington. For three years now I have created exciting recipes with their freshly shipped fruit.

In years past, I have created Savory Cherry Chutney and Peach Pistachio Conserve using juicy peaches and gorgeous sweet cherries.  This year, I went a bit more of a traditional route creating a pie filling and salsa.  But do know, pie fillings make excellent dessert toppings for ice cream and fill more than just pies – they make excellent filling for cupcakes, scones and crepes.  And this salsa – YUM!

This year I was sent another batch of sweet cherries from Washington!  And for you tart cherry lovers, I had 10 pounds frozen from last years harvest.  Let’s just say I had a cherry festival in my kitchen these last few days!  It was so worth it though!  Enjoy my latest 4 cherry canning creations and be sure to share with a friend.

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Pie Filling – Dessert

Sweet Cherry Berry Pie Filling  (makes approx. 5 quarts or 10 pints)

My family found its new favorite pie filling with this gorgeous blend of blueberries and cherries.  My daughter suggested the undertones of vanilla which really brought this filling to life.  Note, the vanilla extract is optional and can also be substituted with almond extract.

Ingredients

12 cups sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped or halved

12 cups frozen blueberries, thawed

4 cups juice, from fruit

1 cup Canning Gel or ClearJel

4 cups raw sugar

2 Tbsp Vanilla extract

1/4 cup lemon juice

Instructions

If using fresh cherries and berries, be sure to chop/halve the cherries and lightly mash the blueberries to break the skin to release their juices.

Place cherries and berries into a large colander atop a large bowl.  Drain juices from mixture for up to 2 hours or until you have captured 4 cups of juice. Cover mixture with dish towel while draining to keep pests away.

Measure 4 cups of juice in a large liquid measuring cup.  Add Canning Gel and whisk until dissolved.  Place into a large stock pot and whisk again.  Add sugar and vanilla extract.
Using medium high heat, whisk sugar until it dissolves, and continue to whisk mixture often as it increases in temperature.  As juice begins to bubble, add lemon juice and whisk well.  The juice will start to thicken quite quickly so continue to whisk to avoid scorching.  Once it begins to thicken, immediately add the cherry berry mixture all at once.  Turn off heat.

Use a large spoon and fold cherries and berries well so they are coated with the thickened juice.  Ladle into wide mouth jars (preferably) keeping a generous 1″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary.  Wipe jar rims with a wash cloth dipped in vinegar, then add lids and rings.  Water bath both quarts and pints for 35 minutes.  Remember, you timer doesn’t start until the water has come to a full rolling boil.

 

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Jams & Jelly

Cherry Preserves (makes approx. 4 pints or 8 half-pints)

I love fresh berries in my preserves.  Chunks of yummy goodness with every spread is a jar filled with pure deliciousness.  Enjoy this cherry-filled preserve on fresh bread, sandwiches, a cheese tray and alongside any turkey or pork dinner.

Ingredients

5 cups pitted cherries, frozen or fresh

2 cups raw sugar

3 cups juice

1/2 cup Canning Gel

1/4 cup lemon juice, if using sweet cherries

Instructions

Place cherries in a large colander atop a large bowl.  Drain juices for up to 2 hours or until you have captured 3 cups of juice. Cover mixture with dish towel while draining to keep pests away.

Measure 3 cups of juice in a large liquid measuring cup.  Add Canning Gel and whisk until dissolved.  Place into a large stock pot and whisk again.  Add sugar and whisk.

Using medium high heat, whisk sugar until it dissolves, and continue to whisk juice often as it increases in temperature.  As juice begins to bubble, add lemon juice if using sweet cherries, and whisk well.  The juice will start to thicken quite quickly so continue to whisk to avoid scorching.  Once it begins to thicken, immediately add cherries all at once.  Turn off heat.

Use a large spoon and fold cherries well so they are coated with the thickened juice.  Ladle into jars keeping a 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary.  Wipe jar rims with a wash cloth dipped in vinegar, then add lids and rings.  Water bath both pints and half-pints for 25 minutes.  Remember, you timer doesn’t start until the water has come to a full rolling boil.

Tart Cherry Jelly  (makes approx. 6 half-pints)

Typically when draining cherries for the required amount of juice to make pie filling there will be upwards of 3 or 4 cups of juice left over.  Especially if your cherries were frozen then thawed.  Use this easy recipe to make jelly with remaining juice.

Ingredients

4 cups cherry juice

4 cups raw sugar

1 cup Canning Gel

Instructions

In a large stock pot, whisk juice and Canning Gel until dissolved.  Add sugar and whisk.

Using medium high heat, whisk sugar until it dissolves, and continue to whisk juice often as it increases in temperature.  The juice will start to thicken quite quickly so continue to whisk to avoid scorching.  Once it begins to thicken, remove from heat.

Ladle into jars keeping a 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary.  Wipe jar rims with a wash cloth dipped in vinegar, then add lids and rings.  Water bath half-pints for 15 minutes.  Remember, you timer doesn’t start until the water has come to a full rolling boil.

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Salsa

Tart & Tangy Cherry Salsa  (makes approx. 4 pints or 8 half-pints)

Fruity salsa is amazing!  There is something special happening on our palates when heat and sweet are combined.  Even more so, this recipe gives you a bit of tang expanding its uses and its flavors.  Enjoy on the end of a tortilla chip, stuffed inside a pork loin or create a delicious appetizer atop a brick of cream cheese.

Ingredients

8 cups tart frozen cherries, thawed

4 Tablespoons raw sugar

1 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large jalapeno, finely chopped (keep seeds for more heat)

1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Once at a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Using a slotted spoon, fill each jar 3/4 full of salsa.  Ladle remaining juice over salsa keeping 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary.  Wipe jar rims will a warm wash cloth dipped in vinegar and adhere lids and rings.  Hand tighten.

Water bath pints for 20 minutes and half-pints for 15 minutes.  Remember, the timer doesn’t start until water is at a full rolling boil.

 

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Pitting Cherries

Be sure to head to your local cherry farm and purchase these gorgeous beauties while in season.  Do not shy away from using frozen cherries (or berries) as they were picked, prepped and frozen in the height of their flavor.  Especially if you are creating recipes where juice is a required ingredient.

Fresh cherries are perfect for any recipe!  Just be sure you properly pit them.  I used a Leifheit cherry pitter and was disappointed when almost half of the cherries still had their pits!  I had to hand cut each cherry to ensure not a single pit made it into my recipes.

The surefire way to ensure you remove each pit it to use chopsticks and physically hold each cherry in your hand to do so.  Now it all depends on the amount of time you have available so I leave it to you to decide which method is best.

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Have fun creating one, or all, of these delicious cherry-inspired recipes!  Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram at Canning Diva for more recipes, tips and techniques.

Happy Canning!

xx,
Diane Devereaux, The Canning Diva®
www.canningdiva.com

The post 4 Easy Recipes Canning Cherries appeared first on Canning Diva | Canning Classes, Recipes and Supplies.

 

More Great Articles to Read!

The Importance of Proper Headspace When Home Canning
Three Main Elements to Safe Canning Practices
The Benefits of Pressure Canning
From prep to finish: The making of Canning Full Circle cookbook
BookCon 2017

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Parched Corn, The No-Meat Survival Food Pt. 2

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In last weeks episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn. Today is all about preparing our corn to eat in the easiest and most palatable ways.

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Parched Corn, The No-Meat Survival Food Pt. 1

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In today’s episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn, including methods from a pamphlet on maize written by Benjamin Franklin.

Another super food that predates early American history, parched corn was considered the original trail food by the pioneers. … Using dried corn kernels, parched corn is prepared in a skillet on the stove top much in the way that pop corn was prepared in the old days.

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Are “Long-Term” Storage Foods That Important?

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This is going to fly in the face of a lot of what you’ve likely read or heard with regards to food storage but here goes: You don’t need to invest a ton of money into buying special “long-term” foods. Seriously, you really don’t. In fact, for many people doing so is just a bad idea all the way around.

A common prepper question is some variation of, “What foods store the longest?” There are some foods, such as dried rice, honey, salt, and sugar, which will last essentially forever as long as they are protected from critters and the elements. They’ve found jars of honey, still perfectly preserved, sitting next to mummies several thousands of years old. That said, kinda hard to survive on just rice and honey.

Here’s the thing, folks. Shelf life, while important, falls far behind a few other considerations when choosing what to store. First and foremost is taste and personal preference. It makes absolutely ZERO sense to store food you don’t like to eat. I don’t care if you found it at an incredible price. If you don’t want to eat it now, you aren’t going to want to eat it later. Choose food items that you enjoy. Honestly, there is such a variety out there today, it would be foolish to do otherwise.

I often hear comments like, “If I get hungry enough, I’ll eat it, even if I don’t like it.” That’s all fine and dandy but why in the hell would you voluntarily store foods you don’t like now? I mean, that just sounds asinine. You have a relatively free and open choice of what foods to store. Take advantage of that fact and store things you know you’ll actually want to eat.

Many of the foods we eat regularly also happen to have long shelf lives. The aforementioned rice is a great example. Dried beans and canned goods are also commonly found in kitchens and pantries from coast to coast. These types of foods will last a long time and you’re already accustomed to eating them. Add a few extra bags or cans to your cart each time you go shopping and build up the supply slowly.

Second, choose foods that agree with you. We all have things we dearly love to eat but we pay for later, right? I mean, I love bananas but even just a few bites of one will give me stomach pains. If you’re considering adding a new food to your storage plan, try it first. Make sure it doesn’t give you indigestion. Disaster recovery is stressful enough without adding tummy troubles to the mix.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many, though certainly not all, of these special “long-term” foods require water to prepare. Water might be in limited supply, depending upon the nature of the disaster. Do you really want to be forced to choose between drinking the water and using it to prepare the only food you have on hand? If you’re going to invest in these long-term foods, plan ahead and be sure to store extra water as well.

Many long-term foods aren’t the healthiest things on the planet, either. Frequently they are loaded with sodium, which not only isn’t very good for you but will make you thirsty, causing you to consume more water. Now, I will freely admit I’m far from the healthiest eater on the planet so don’t take this as a pot meet kettle situation. But, you need to go into a food storage plan with both eyes wide open. If you’re going to rely upon these long-term foods as a primary source of sustenance, you’re going to suffer from some nutritional deficiencies unless you also stock up on vitamins and such.

A lot of these products are also fairly expensive. For the cost of one case (12 units) of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), I could feed my family of five for several days. The food would be healthier, too.

Here’s one of my big issues with these special long-term storage foods. A proper food storage plan will incorporate regular rotation. Meaning, you use the food and replenish it as you go along. However, these long-term foods don’t encourage that practice. In fact, the whole point is that you can buy a few cases and they’ll be good for 25 years or more, right? This, to my mind, is the lazy man’s way to preparedness.

Now, with all of that said, I’m not suggesting you abandon any plans of buying these products. They have their place in some scenarios. You just need to determine for yourself if the long-term food option is right for you. What I suggest to most people is to concentrate their food storage plan on the things they already eat regularly but also have a stable shelf life, such as rice, dried beans, dried pasta, and canned goods. Then, add some long-term storage foods as a backup.

jim-cobb-661x441

By Jim Cobb
You can find more from Jim at http://survivalweekly.com/

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Loving Couple Caravan Adventure

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Loving couple lived in a caravan for three years.

The Larsen’s loved living off grid in a caravan.

Loving couple Stian Berg Larsen and Susanne Madelen Larsen are having a DOUBLE celebration – their new daughter, Aurora Louise is one month old and after they lived off-grid for three years, they do not have to worry about the money anymore. They saved approximately 25.000 pounds by living in their caravan.

“The economic benefits for living off grid was a huge bonus”, Berg Larsen says.

They both agree that living off grid was one of the best experience they have ever had. That was, before their daughter was born of course.

It was after the Larsen´s got kicked out of their apartment in the Norwegian city Stavanger they decided to try a different style of living. The prices for buying and renting was rising, which made it difficult to find a place to stay. Susanne´s mum suggested a motel or cabin, but after some creative thinking they decided to purchase a caravan.

For almost three years, the couple lived on Sola Camping site in Southwestern Norway

“Even though we both studied and worked when we lived in the caravan, it gave us a great perspective on ways of living. I do not have anything bad to say about our off grid adventure”, Berg Larsen says.

The only negative aspect the couple could think of was the cold journey from the outdoor shower back to the van wearing just a towel. Norway can be quite a chilly climate, especially in winter when the temperatures often drops to about -15 degrees.

More than enough space

Although the loving couple lived in a tiny home they had room for a double bed, a kitchen, toilet and a living room. They now live in a house in Stavanger, but before they made their decision to go back to traditional living they took a gap year in Bali, enjoying the warm weather and each others company.

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Growing Tobacco In Early America

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Growing Tobacco In Early America
Published on Apr 13, 2017

Today Justin Filipowski from George Washington’s Mount Vernon sits down with Jon to talk about the tobacco trade in early America.

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Newborn Seized After ‘Off-Grid’ Parents Refuse Social Security Number

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Newborn Seized After Parents Refuse Social Security Number

HEFLIN, Ala. — A couple is charging that social workers took their newborn the day after he was born because of their alternative lifestyle and religious beliefs.

“They said our view was dangerous,” Christian Holm said of social workers for the Cleburne County, Ala., Department of Human Resources (DHR). “We were just trying to follow the Bible as close as we could and speak for Jesus.”

Holm and his wife, Danielle, have no house and live off the grid. They gave away their possessions and decided to enjoy life by hiking and camping out. When the two wanted to see the country, they put their car in storage and walked from Alabama to New Hampshire and back.

They were camping out at Cheaha State Park in northeastern Alabama in October when Danielle went into labor. She went to the Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Ala., to give birth, and DHR social workers came to her room and started quizzing the couple about their lifestyle and where they lived.

The Creators Of Adventures In Odyssey Have A Brand-New Project!

Christian said state officials opposed their religious beliefs about “man’s creation destroying God’s creation” and also had concerns that the couple didn’t want to give the baby a Social Security number, according to The Anniston Star.

Police and social workers took the baby and did not tell the couple where they could find it, The Star reported.

“They took the baby, said, ‘He’s ours and this is the court date. Be there.’” Danielle told the newspaper.

Two months later the baby still had not been returned and the Holms were still waiting for their day in court. A hearing in the case had been scheduled for Dec. 20, but it was cancelled after Judge Melody Walker recused herself, The Star reported.

The Holms have attracted a group of supporters in Anniston who picketed the courthouse after the hearing was cancelled. Supporters have organized under the tagline “#freebabyholm.”

Newborn Seized After Parents Refuse Social Security Number“You can see when you talk to them directly that they are very loving and caring people,” Jonathan Payton, a friend and supporter of the Holms, told The Star. “That’s what really hit home.”

Christine Holm posted on Facebook Jan. 15 that the couple is getting a single two-hour visit a week with the baby.

“They say well you can have another ISP and arrange more visits,” he wrote. “What? Another organized coercion and conversion meeting just to have more visits? This is nothing but psychological control tactics to force submission at the expense of our little baby boy. Where is his so-called attorney to protect his rights?”

On social media, the public is divided.

“The Indians did it hundreds of years ago and had plenty more than we do now these days, why couldn’t they [also do it?],” one woman named Sherry wrote.

But others argued that modern society is different.

“The Indians lived in groups and took care of each other, food and shelter,” a man named Vince wrote. “The couple needs a plan to take care of this baby, it can’t live like they do, it needs special care, shots and meds. … Moving from place to place, out in the weather isn’t the best for anyone.”

Do you believe the baby should have been seized? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Book: 52 Prepper’s Projects for Parents and Kids

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Prepare your child for the unpredictable through 52 prepper projects. Teach them basic outdoors survival skills, first aid, how to create their own “bug-out bag,” and more.

The post Book: 52 Prepper’s Projects for Parents and Kids appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Breakfast In The 18th Century!

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Published on Dec 12, 2016

A simple, delicious recipe from The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse

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The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9, Our Favorite Things

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creative Christmas gift

I was never an avid Oprah fan, but every year I looked forward to her holiday episode, “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”  If you haven’t seen one of these episodes, they were pretty spectacular.  Oprah would present about a dozen or so products that she fell in love with that particular year.  She raved about it, would sometimes interviews the inventor or designer, and then with a big fanfare, Oprah employees walked in with that particular gift for everyone in the audience.  You couldn’t help but wish you were sitting there!

Even now that her show is over, she is still showcasing her favorite things on Amazon. You can see them all here.

Several years ago, I decided to replicate this concept. It’s so much fun to put together this budget-friendly gift. Throughout the year, I pay attention to anything our family especially enjoys and then put all those items together in a collection of “Our Family’s Favorite Things.” It’s a fun process because it brings back so many great memories of the year gone by. Sometimes these things are favorite foods we’ve discovered, a gift card to a favorite restaurant, photos of some of your family’s favorite memories for the year, a favorite CD or DVD or a product you’ve fallen in love with.

Past boxes from my family have included:

  • A box of Kodiak Cakes mix
  • Patriots by James Wesley Rawles
  • Photos of my kids on their sports teams
  • Waterproof matches.  Sounds silly, but the kids and I tested them, and they really work! Most people have heard of them but have never actully used them.
  • A pillowcase sewn by my daughter.  She learned how to sew one year and these were her contribution to the basket.
  • Gift cards to a bowling alley (We re-discovered this fun sport just recently.)
  • Half-pound of See’s California Brittle
  • A copy of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Our family has loved the entire Percy Jackson series and I ended up reading aloud all 5 books.
  • Recipes for two favorite main dishes I discovered this year
  • Seasoning mixes
  • A favorite nail polish color or,
  • A favorite essential oil
  • Knork flatware. We’ll never use another brand. I’ve even purchased a set for my daughter when she someday moves out. Get on their mailing list and you’ll receive notices of really good discounts during the year.
  • Key West salted caramels made in a tiny candy shop we discovered.
  • Daim candy, another sweet indulgence we purchased in Iceland
  • Tiny bottles of local wine and liquor from travel destinations
  • Boxes of Texas-shaped crackers, now that we live in Texas
  • A CD of the songs we fell in love with during the year

Get the idea?  This can be a whole family project with each person contributing and there’s no limit when it comes to creativity.  The gifts can be handmade or homemade and don’t have to cost a dime, and if you’ll be mailing this across the miles, it’s possible to put everything in a flat-rate envelope. Plus, deciding what to include brings back lots of fond memories.

There’s still time to put this together.  It might be the best gift your family has given!

creative gift idea

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 3, Light Up Someone’s Holiday

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charitable christmas giving

Do you ever get tired of all the beautiful, sparkling lights decorating trees and homes at this time of year?  I never do.  I love watching the faces of our kids when they spy yet another home all lit up for Christmas.  We’re keeping a list, and checking it twice, of all the homes on our block that are lit up! One year every house but 2 were lit up, and it was a special treat.

Most of us say that our homes are at their most beautiful during this time of year, but not everyone has the means or ability to decorate. Charitable Christmas giving can go beyond a bag of groceries or a donation to the Salvation Army. Is there a senior citizen in your neighborhood or a family struggling to make ends meet who would love a strand or two of lights scattered around their front yard?  An inexpensive wreath and window decals can add a touch of extra Christmas spirit to a hospital room or the smallest apartment. You might even have an unwanted artificial tree sitting in the garage or attic that might be an appreciated gift to someone who won’t be able to afford a real one.

A couple of years ago, my daughter got together with a group of friends and they made beautiful holiday cards, ending up with 70 or 80. The following day, one of the moms took the kids around to a few nursing homes where they delivered the cards to the residents there. So many of these elderly folks have been forgotten by family and rarely, if ever, get a visitor. If there’s just one thing I could urge you to do this Christmas, it would be to find a way to reach out to these lonely hearts.

And don’t forget families who celebrate Hanukkah.  Blue and white lights, a box of Hanukkah candles, and, of course, a plate of homebaked goodies spread the real meaning of the season.

Charitable “Holiday Buckets” can include simple decorations for doors, windows, and mantles, as well as groceries, baked goodies, and small gifts. Over the years I’ve donated dozens of Christmas decor items to Goodwill and other organizations, so I’m certain you could find holiday decorations at thrift stores at very low prices. Just make sure they are operating, in the case of lights or music, and in near-new condition.

Another way to enjoy the holiday lights is to give a homemade certificate to the “First Place Winner” among all the homes decorated in your neighborhood.  Last year we handed out two certificates, left them by the front doors, actually, to the two homes we thought had the best light displays. It was fun biking around our neighborhood late at night, and then having a family pow-wow in the freezing temperatures to make our final choices!

This season can be one of beauty, warm memories, and there are thousands of newly unemployed people, and more families than ever who won’t have money for gifts and all the other holiday traditions of the past.  This Christmas, more than ever, let’s all look for ways to light up someone’s holiday.

charitable christmas giving

Newborn Seized Because Mom Opposed Vaccination (And, Yes, She’s Suing)

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Newborn Seized Because Mom Opposed Vaccination (And, Yes, She’s Suing)

Image source: Pixabay.com

PHILADELPHIA — A case that might dramatically expand parental rights has been appealed to one of the highest courts in the land.

If the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of Jodi and Scott Ferris, it might restrict the power of social workers and medical professionals to take children and make decisions for families.

A lower court ruled against the couple earlier this year without giving them the trial their Home School Legal Defense Association attorneys had requested. In October, the case was appealed to the Third Circuit.

In 2010, a social worker and police officers seized Jodi Ferris’ newborn baby at the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., just hours after birth, allegedly because the mom refused to let the baby get a vaccination and because she preferred natural childbirth over hospital delivery.

The workers reportedly kept the baby girl for around 48 hours and only let Ferris see the infant every few hours. The baby was eventually returned to Ferris and her husband, Scott, but only after a court order.

Want To Know About The REAL Constitution And What The Founders Truly Intended?

“That afternoon a social worker and two police officers came to the hospital and took our baby and kicked us out of the hospital,” Ferris said in an HSLDA podcast.

Ferris thinks the infant was taken from her because she refused to let the child be vaccinated for Hepatitis B, according to The Minot Daily News. The baby was born in an ambulance in the medical center parking lot after Ferris was rushed there in premature labor. Ferris had wanted to give birth at home but couldn’t because her midwife could not arrive in time.

Jodi also said she thinks her belief in alternative medical care and natural child birth caused staff to take action against her.

“I think the hospital staff took our wanting information as a challenge to their authority,” Jodi Ferris said. “One nurse told us that she took our questions as a personal attack against her qualifications as a nurse.

“The hospital’s attitude was we’re the experts so just do what we tell you. It bothers me that the doctors and the hospital were offended by our questions and used the so-called emergency removal to override our decisions just because they disagreed with us.”

The HSDLA filed a civil rights complaint against doctors at the medical center and a social worker in federal court in March 2012, claiming that the couple’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Tired Of Losing Freedoms — And Looking For Another Country? Read More Here.

Cheesemaking In The Early 19th Century

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We have a very special episode today! Deanna Berkemeier, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, walks us through the process of making cheese from scratch. Deanna is a master at the art of Cheesemaking. We hope you enjoy this! If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY, area, be sure to put Genesee Country Village & Museum on your itinerary! You won’t regret it!

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Ready Network Elite Pack -The Pack

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In this video, we talk about the pack.
The Elite Ready Pack is a high quality emergency pack equipped with all of the essential gear you will need to protect yourself and your family in a major disaster or survival situation. It’s also great for camping with friends and family.

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Paw Paw Pudding

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Ivy and Jon head to the kitchen with a basket of ripe paw paws! This exotic North American fruit is native to nearly every state east of the Mississippi, but we have yet to find them in any recipes from the 18th century. So what do they do with no recipe to follow? They improvise!

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32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP!

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Best Of the survival mom

In recognition of National Preparedness Month and to allow me a bit of vacation time, I’m pulling from the archives the most popular blog posts, ever. This one has been read over half a million times!

32 Survival Skills your child should know and be able to do asap. Great list of boredom busters! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comKnowledge is something that takes time to develop, so we need to start teaching the next generation now.  In case God forbid, our children are left to fend for themselves or we are injured or even just to make your family more apt to survive, every child must learn these survival skills so they can pull their own weight and contribute as much as they can.

It’s not just physical survival we need to teach them but mental, emotional, and spiritual survival as well. If your family learns now to be a well oiled machine, you will be more likely to survive any type of collapse.

  1. Grow vegetables from seeds. This isn’t the easiest skill to master and you’ll need expert advice.
  2. Have local edible and medicinal plant foraging skills. This book is a must-have for foraging beginners.
  3. Knowledge of dietary needs and how to meet them using wild plants and game
  4. Make a fire and know fire safety
  5. Cook on an open fire
  6. Open a can of food with and without can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with knife)
  7. Be able to tell if food is too spoiled to eat
  8. How to safely use a knife
  9. How to shoot a sling shot
  10. How to hunt small game with snares, traps and sling shot
  11. How to fish and hunt, using  a bow and gun when old enough
  12. How to clean fish and wild game
  13. Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
  14. Filter and boil water to drink
  15. Basic first aid
  16. Basic hygiene practices
  17. Find or build a shelter in the wilderness
  18. How to stay warm, cool, and dry in the elements
  19. How, why and when to stay hidden
  20. Self defense
  21. How to make a basic weapon and how to use it
  22. Be able to run and walk a good distance and be in generally good shape
  23. How to climb a tree to get away from predators, get directional bearings, and hunt
  24. How to read a map and use a compass
  25. How to read the sky for directions, time and approaching bad weather
  26. Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
  27. How to sew so they can mend clothing or any fabric and even make things such as bags or scrap quilts
  28. How to barter and trade (Kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales.)
  29. How to be responsible for themselves and to be aware of their surroundings at all times
  30. Have a natural curiosity and good problem solving skills
  31. Be hard working and a self starter and a family helper not a complainer!
  32. Have a strong faith in God (morals, memorize Bible verses, prayers, songs, and have a hope for heaven). Ultimately, everyone reaches a point in which their physical, mental, and emotional abilities are completely taxed. Spiritual survival can make the difference between giving up and finding strength from somewhere to hang in there, just one day at a time.

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How do your kids stack up? For more kid-friendly skills lists, check these out:

 

Colorado Forced Anti-Vaccine Parents To Sign Form Admitting They’re Wrong

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Colorado Forced Anti-Vaccine Parents To Sign Form Admitting They’re Wrong

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The state of Colorado violated parents’ First Amendment rights by making them sign an immunization exemption form that said they were harming their children, critics say.

“That (phrasing) amounts to compelled speech,” state Senator Kevin Lundberg told Denver’s KMGH-TV.

In August, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment began forcing parents who wanted to exempt their children in school from vaccinations to sign a form that read in part: “For nearly all children, the benefits of preventing disease with a vaccine far outweigh the risks. Declining to follow the advice of a health care provider, or public health official who has recommended vaccines may endanger an unvaccinated child’s health and others who come into contact with him/her.”

That language troubled many parents.

“The wording compels parents to have to admit something that isn’t true,” said Nathan Charlan, a parent and a member of a group called CitzenGo. “It’s language that forces a parent to admit that they’re somehow putting their child in danger, because they are choosing what they think is best for their own child.”

Several organizations, including CitizenGo and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA), complained that the form violated parents’ First Amendment rights to free speech.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

The HSDLA went so far as to threaten to file a federal lawsuit against the state. It also created an online petition that collected 16,000 signatures.

Eventually, the state gave in to pressure and took out the controversial language.

“I just don’t believe big government should be telling me what I should or shouldn’t do with my child,” said Charlan’s wife, Renee, “especially with the thing that we’ve gone through with my son, who has a significant disability.”

Nathan told KMGH, “Our son (9-year-old Zak) was born premature. He received his normal vaccination up until he was six months old. At six months, he started having seizures.”

HSDLA has abandoned its threat of a lawsuit but it is still unhappy with the form that the state is using. Its website says the state agency is unlawfully:

  • “seeking to impose a mandatory official immunization exemption form.”
  • “collecting immunization information through web forms connected to the Colorado Immunization Information System.”

Homeschool children must follow Colorado’s mandatory vaccination law if they participate in public school activities like sports.

The form allows parents to opt out of immunizations for personal or religious beliefs.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn The Real Truth About Vaccinations. Read More Here.

Mom Arrested For Leaving Kids, 8 & 9, Alone TO GET THEM FOOD

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Mom Arrested For Leaving Kids, 8 & 9, Alone TO GET THEM FOOD

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Delaware – A mother who was enjoying a vacation with her 8- and 9-year-old children was arrested last week after she left them at a vacation rental in order to go buy food.

The story of Susan L. Terrillion, 55, of Olney, Maryland, has sparked a debate over whether the arrest was necessary – and a quick glance on social media and in the local newspaper’s section shows that most people believe it was outrageous.

“That poor woman. When I was seven I rode public transportation to school and walked home,” one person wrote.

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A witness reported the mom to local police, who said she was gone for about 45 minutes while getting food at a restaurant, according to The News Journal newspaper.

“Shame on this neighbor for calling the police absolutely ridiculous!” another person wrote in the newspaper’s comment section. “They are 8 & 9 and she wasn’t even gone that long and they were not hurt. … I feel so sorry for this mother! That man should be ashamed of himself.”

She was arrested and released on $500 bond, charged with endangering the welfare of children.

Police, the newspaper reported, had responded to a “report of two young children left alone at a residence.”

“A witness told police that he made contact with the children when their dogs ran into Country Club Drive in front of his vehicle,” the newspaper reported. “… The witness stopped to help the children get control of the dogs and learned they were alone.”

Lenore Skenazy, author of the book Free-Range Kids, wrote sarcastically at Reason.com: “So really, you have to blame the dogs. Or a guys who calls the cops simply because he came into contact with unsupervised kids and felt the knee-jerk compulsion to get the authorities involved. Or the authorities, who feel compelled to arrest moms for trusting their kids to take care of themselves for a little while. … What a lovely vacation.”

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

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1796 Pound Cakes!

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Today’s recipe is for a traditional “Pound Cake.” This comes from Amelia Simmons’s 1796 cookbook, “American Cookery.” While it’s called a cake, there are clues in the text that this was intended to be made into something more like a cookie or even a cupcake. This is a delicious dish — one we highly recommend it!

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The post 1796 Pound Cakes! appeared first on WWW.AROUNDTHECABIN.COM.

Civil Unrest

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Are you Ready?
Be sure you have a supply of the following:

Water
Necessary prescription medications
Food and an off grid way to cook it
Or food that requires no cooking
First aid supplies
Lighting in the event of a power outage
Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusuable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
Survival and first aid manuals (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
Off-grid entertainment: arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, ect.

Now, according to some, being in a large city might not be the best thing during a disaster scenario. So if something happens that requires evacuation, you’ll want to be the first out, which means you will want to have your emergency gear easy to pack and haul out to the car without wasting time.

We will go over more details in the next video coming on Civil Unrest ….. Stay tuned!

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U.S. Government Finally Admits It’s Not ‘Equal Partners’ With Parents

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U.S. Government Finally Admits It’s Not ‘Equal Partners’ With Parents

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Following an outcry from parents and families, two federal agencies have backed off a policy that would have said the government is “equal partners” with moms and dads.

As reported by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the initial language was contained in a draft document by the US Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the position of the Departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” the statement says.

The draft document was titled “DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES.”

But the controversial language was removed. HSLDA contended that the language implied that schools had the same rights over children as parents. HSLDA’s Will Estrada met with members of the Department of Education to explain the organization’s concerns.

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The statement now reads:

“Families are children’s first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Strong family engagement in early childhood systems and programs is central—not supplemental—to promoting children’s healthy intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development; preparing children for school; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond. Research indicates that families’ involvement in children’s learning and development impacts lifelong health, developmental, and academic outcomes.”

But the document still contains problems, HSLDA’s Lauren Mitchell explained in a post at the organization’s website.

“The document’s working definition of ‘family’ still includes not only a child’s parents or legal guardians, but ‘all adults who interact with early childhood systems in support of their child, to include biological, adoptive, and foster parents; grandparents; legal and informal guardians; and adult siblings,’” she wrote.

The problem? If there is a conflict between parents and other family members regarding educational choices, parents could lose under this definition.

“There is much work to be done before decades of federal overreach in K-12 education is reversed,” Mitchell wrote.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Tired Of Losing Freedoms — And Looking For Another Country? Read More Here.

8 Ways To Homeschool AND Homestead Without Going Absolutely Bonkers

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8 Ways To Homeschool AND Homestead Without Going Absolutely Bonkers

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If you live in a homestead and try to homeschool your kids, then doing so may be one of the most challenging tasks you have to face every day.

On top of gardening, food preservation, animal care, mucking, cooking meals, child care AND a dozen more chores in the home and farm, homeschooling is an added responsibility that doesn’t always fit neatly in your day-to-day schedule.

Depending on the number and ages of your children, homeschooling can be either a complex or tedious job that places constant demands on you – mentally, emotionally and time-wise.  Whether you use structured curricula or opt for more flexible, non-traditional teaching methods, and whether you do it alone or with others’ help, it’s still a ball to include in the juggling act you already do every day, keeping a family and a homestead together.

And, whether you’ve just begun with a single preschool child, or you are a seasoned veteran who’s homeschooled three or four middle and high schoolers, you know how things can go crazy both in the home and in the farm without warning. A nanny goat gives birth to a kid who gets goat chill, needing emergency care; a fence gets broken and needs repair before nightfall; baskets of fresh produce sit in your kitchen, awaiting canning; one of the children gets a fever.

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Life on the farm is a far cry from the routine of an office job. At times, in fact, it can be downright dirty and unpredictable. How on earth can you provide a semblance of order, regularity and sanity in the midst of chaos and complexity?

8 Ways To Homeschool AND Homestead Without Going Absolutely Bonkers

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Here are a few tips that can help you manage the homesteading-homeschooling lifestyle without practically losing your mind.

1. Follow your own time. Choose a time of day that works for you and your household. If you prefer finishing the morning chores first – watering the garden, taking animals out to pasture, baling hay — do so, while the weather is mild. Then get indoors when the sun is too hot so you can settle down and shift to your role as teacher. That goes for months and seasons as well. There are those who choose to follow an agrarian calendar, since the autumn months are spent harvesting and canning. Others spread the school load throughout the year, stopping to enjoy one- to two-week breaks on different months only as needed.

2. Integrate homesteading into homeschooling. If you desire and foresee your children pursuing the same lifestyle as you and your spouse’s, begin training them in the farming way of life as soon as they’re ready. Children as young as five or six can already be taught simple skills like watering plants, weeding, feeding chickens, harvesting eggs.

Whenever any of our goat dams give birth, I immediately stop class; rather, I transfer the class into the barn for an on-the-spot training in animal husbandry. My 11-year-old daughter started serving as “birthing assistant” when she was eight. Holding a tray in her hands containing gloves, scissors, iodine, cotton balls and towels, she’s assisted my husband many times in the birthing process and already knows what to do. In a few years she can probably birth a kid on her own.

Remember that homesteading is a lot of science education in itself. Seed-starting is botany. Composting is soil science. Animal processing teaches anatomy. Fermenting kombucha is chemistry. Where else can you find a diversity of real-life, real-time lessons on the spot and on a continuing basis?

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3. Provide the basics, then take it from there. In terms of courses, provide the “3 Rs” — reading, `riting, `rithmetic — then see where your child’s skills and interests take him. After setting a rudimentary course, add and tweak as you go. As years progress and he matures, decide which path he (and the Lord) wants for him and choose which subjects to give priority to. Will it be the sciences? Math? Language? The arts? How about non-traditional lessons that complement an off-grid lifestyle: Beekeeping? Carpentry? Aquaponics? How to harness renewable energy?

8 Ways To Homeschool AND Homestead Without Going Absolutely Bonkers

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Include lots of fun stuff. Take the class outdoors. Camping, hunting, bouldering, building a fort, making a small waterwheel, designing a hover craft, the list goes on. For every age and stage in a child’s life there’s a hundred things to learn and discover that can’t be taught in the classroom, and aren’t dependent on the grid. On days that are way too busy or when emergencies arise and you can’t follow the day’s assignments, keep books, analytical board games, puzzles and Sudoku on hand to keep a child mentally busy for several hours. Meanwhile…

5. Don’t forget the “university” of the Internet. There are countless sites online that teach lessons, academic or not, for free. Our children have acquired dozens of skills from YouTube — from piano to sewing to bushcraft to baking.

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6. Take periodic breaks. A weary, burned-out, unhappy parent-teacher makes for an unhappy home, homestead and schoolroom. Try to enlist the help of a husband, grandparent, friend or sitter (if your children are young) so you can go to town and take a breather. If you can’t leave your kids, bring them with you and go on a bi-monthly or quarterly field trip where they can learn without your direct supervision. A trip to the museum, zoo, the ballet, a permaculture farm. Even just a half-day visit to the library every couple of weeks can take some load off your back.

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7. Realize you can’t do everything. Homeschooling takes a whole lot of patience, commitment, sacrifice AND the humble admission that you won’t be able to do it all, all of the time. Find a homeschool co-op. Start one if you can’t find any. Look for other homeschooling families in your neighborhood, church or county. Even just joining an online forum can provide the encouragement you need when you’re in distress, overwhelmed and ready to give up.

8. Ultimately, major on the majors. What skills, habits and values do you really want to develop in your children? For my husband and me, it’s their love for reading. Writing. Research. Critical thinking. Finding alternatives. Innovation.

What work ethic would you want them to have? Are diligence, self-motivation and perseverance encouraged? Over the months and years, as you see your student improve in these traits, give him – and yourself — a pat on the back. You’ve both done a great job! These are attributes not usually applauded or emphasized in traditional schools, where rote learning is the norm and the highest praises are reserved primarily for getting good grades.

What advice would you add on homeschooling while homesteading? Share your tips in the section below:

Tired Of Losing Freedoms — And Looking For Another Country? Read More Here.

Why Preppers Should Consider Homeschooling

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preppers homeschoolI don’t remember when I first became convinced that homeschooling was the only type of education I wanted for our children. I do know it was long before I ever became pregnant. Now that we’ve finished our eleventh year of homeschooling, I’m more glad than ever of our choice. Homeschooling has been the perfect fit for our prepping family.

The foremost benefit for preppers like us is that homeschooling provides a continuous flow of education in spite of changing circumstances. Any event that would normally disrupt the school year doesn’t have nearly the same impact on homeschoolers. During a time of intense stress and change, a homeschooling family is together, along with the reassurance and the anchor that only parents can provide. This family survival manual will set you up with everything necessary for getting ready for emergencies.

Experienced homeschoolers know that you can “do school” at any time of the day or night. You can fill a backpack and a Kindle with all the curriculum you need and hit the road. School can happen in the waiting room of a hospital, in a Red Cross emergency shelter, or at Grandma’s house for an extended stay.

READ MORE: What if you were forced to homeschool? Could you do it? What might you need to do now to prepare?

It’s the versatility of homeschooling that lured us to this way of life and should everything hit the fan, for whatever reason, it may disrupt our homeschooling for a time, but at least we have the curriculum, supplies, and confidence to continue, even through the high school years.

No relocation trauma

If a family decides to move to another location or has to evacuate for a time, other than losing some time in the moving process, kids can pick up their schooling right where they left off. When we moved from Arizona to Texas, it did take a bit of catching up and a few hours with a math tutor to get my daughter back on track with Algebra, but within weeks, it was as if we’d always lived here and our schooling just continued in spite of the rather large blip.

(Our move didn’t go exactly smoothly, and I wrote about it here.)

The trauma of leaving one school and starting over in another is a non-issue. Our kids didn’t have to face walking into a classroom of strangers and when we landed in our little corner of Texas, little by little, they found their place among homeschoolers. We joined a large group of homeschooling families, which offered a Girls Book Club, a Boys Book Club, papercrafting classes, a homeschool baseball team, horseback riding lessons, a homeschool archery club, a rowing team, rugby, lacrosse,  you name it. Within a short time, it was as if my kids had always lived here.

In case a pandemic hits, homeschooled kids will already be at home, along with their textbooks, computers, and everything else they need for learning. School closings and quarantines will be one less thing to worry about.

Will they be isolated and weird?

If you’re worried about socialization, that homeschooled kids will turn out “weird” and unable to order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s,  I present to you my two children.

My daughter is now a senior in high school and, gasp!, she’s been homeschooled since kindergarten and throughout her high school years. She has taken sewing classes, been on swim teams and in a year-round swim club. She’s tried out cheerleading, took piano lessons, has been in Toastmasters for 3 years, a homeschool drama class, has dissected just about everything a Biology student can dissect and is handy with both a rifle and a handgun. She cooks from scratch, can make her own homemade beauty products, knows how to dehydrate food and can use a Sun Oven.

When she left for church camp this summer, she packed a small emergency kit with her: an emergency blanket, her Swedish fire knife, a Sawyer mini water filter, a multitool and a flashlight. She is confident and in so many ways already ready for college and beyond.

So proud.

My son is now 14. He’s in Civil Air Patrol and focused like a laser on moving up in the ranks. He’s on a rowing team, plays on a homeschool baseball team, and can talk with anyone about anything, anywhere, anytime. In the past, he’s been on an archery team, gone to a shooting skills summer camp, taken horseback riding lessons, and has even made his own forge. I’ve seen him stay calm in situations where I was near panic and have come to rely on him as a strong and steady member of our family.

Just from these bits and pieces of my kids’ homeschooling activities over the years, you can see they’ve had plenty of time to learn practical skills and spend time with people of all ages. They aren’t unique. They are very much typical homeschoolers and ours is the typical homeschool experience.

The false argument, “But what about socialization?”, isn’t an issue, and it never really was. (I don’t happen to think that putting a gaggle of kids who just happen to be the same age in a room together for 9 months is the ultimate in developing well-rounded kids, but maybe that’s just me.)

Both social and practical skills

Our homeschooling has given them the time to develop practical skills, like canning and gardening, that would otherwise be limited by public school hours and homework. For preppers, this is the ideal educational setting: kids are able to learn academic subjects and still have time to explore their own interests and learn skills of self-reliance.

When I was in elementary and high school, decades ago, there were practical skills classes beginning in 7th grade. I learned how to iron, how to bake and cook, and how to use basic hand tools. Hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, and canning were once a part of everyday life for the majority of Americans. Now, if parents do not teach these skills to their kids, who will? Certainly not the public school system.

DON’T MISS: “Homeschooling: Where Academics & Survival Skills Meet

If you want your kids, to learn practical, life-long skills, it’s up to you. This is where grandparents and extended family can play a huge role. Certainly, among the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in you family circle, there’s an abundance of knowledge and skills that could die out with that generation. Just yesterday, I was wishing that I had thought to ask my own great-aunts about growing up during the Great Depression.

Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge right in your own backyard and prepare your kids for a future of self-reliance by learning those skills now. Homeschooling helps make this possible because the “school day” is generally much, much shorter than the 7-8 hours spent in public schools, Monday through Friday.

Homeschooling for the tightest budgets

Another reason that preppers should consider homeschooling is because it’s many advantages come with a tiny price tag. In fact, there is a multitude of resources online that are absolutely free.

The curriculum that our family has thoroughly enjoyed over the years is AmblesideOnline. This challenging, 36-week curriculum is completely free and follows the educational philosophy and principles of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who established several schools in the late 1800’s. The website, SimplyCharlotteMason, explains:

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

AmblesideOnline provides the curriculum, book lists, and dozens of resources — the only expense is the actual books, and many of those are free online and can be found in used bookstores. For many reasons, this curriculum worked out perfectly for my family. When I saw my 11-12 year old daughter reading the original Mary Poppins, the original Peter Pan, and Oliver Twist and then discussing with me the themes of the novels without the need of a textbook or workbook guiding her thoughts and conclusions, well, I was impressed, especially coming from a public school background as a teacher, where so much literature for kids is “bottom of the barrel.” (Captain Underpants, anyone? The mindset of the public school system is that kids just aren’t bright enough to comprehend “hard” books.)

There are dozens of other curricula, though, and if you’re a beginner, you can read through my articles of advice for beginners. The main point is that homeschooling doesn’t have to cost much money at all. In fact, since so many homeschooling families are single-income with mom staying home, you’ll find yourself right at home with families who are also budget-minded and prefer to live simply in order to provide this education for their kids.

A multitude of free homeschooling resources on the web can take the place of more expensive curriculum if need be.

Self-reliant families in homeschool circles

I have found that homeschooling parents are generally eager to share their experiences and offer advice and suggestions, and chances are, there are homeschooling activity groups and co-ops in your area. However, beyond that help, you will find that homeschooling families tend toward self-reliance, and you will likely find other prepper families in these groups.

We’re used to swimming against the flow and are just a little bit rebels at heart, so prepping and homeschooling are a natural fit.

READ MORE: Here is a list of all the homeschooling articles that have appeared here on The Survival Mom.

“Follow your heart”, isn’t always the best advice, but when it comes to homeschooling, I think it’s an excellent guide. If your heart is telling you to, at least, consider homeschooling, there’s no better time to do that than right now.

This article was originally published in June, 2009, and has been updated.

preppers homeschool

State Orders Parents: Register Your Unvaccinated Children

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State Orders Parents: Register Your Unvaccinated Children

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The state of Colorado illegally tried to collect information about unvaccinated children from parents, vaccine critics are charging.

A number of parents received a letter this month from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which said in the document that parents of unvaccinated children in school would be required to register and exempt their child through a state website.

The department later said the letter should not have been released.

The requirement would have been mandated by House Bill 1164, which died in a state legislative committee earlier this week.

Currently, parents tell the local school – and not the state – that their children are not vaccinated.

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“My biggest issue is that you are trying to take my child’s information – that you have zero legislative authority to do – to track and to possibly come back to me,” parent Missy Frazier said, according to The Gazette newspaper. “Where does this end, and with whom are you going to share this information?”

The letter that some people received said the registration would begin July 1.

“We regret the letter went out and have taken corrective action with our employee regarding the letter,” Mark Salley, spokesman for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told the newspaper.

Senator Kevin Lundberg, a Republican, opposed the bill. He also criticized the health department.

“I find it curious that the House has already killed 1164, whereas the health department has already implemented the provisions of 1164 in law on their website stating that by July 1, parents will be required to register online,” Lundberg said. “This online registration system is in complete violation of current statute. They don’t have the authority to require an online registration.”

Theresa Wrangham of the National Vaccine Information Center called the bill a “data grab.”

“They want to populate the vaccine registry and they want to know exactly who’s exempting from which vaccines, where they live and I think it’s a harassment technique,” Wrangham told a Denver TV station.

What do you think about a statewide vaccination database? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn The Real Truth About Vaccinations. Read More Here.

‘Nanny State Bill’ Passes Mandating That Teachers Grade PARENTS

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Nanny State: Bill Passes Mandating That Teachers Grade PARENTS

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Teachers would be required to monitor parents’ involvement with their children and even “grade” their interaction under a proposed state law in Mississippi.

If House Bill 4 is approved, then parents would receive grades for homework completion, attendance at school and even test scores. The bill is known as the Parent Involvement and Accountability Act and already passed the Republican-controlled House.

The parental grades would be written in a section of the report card that teachers would be required to fill out.

“My initial reaction is, this is absurd,” Mary Clare Reim, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation, told Watchdog.org. “The concept that parents should be graded by teachers on their involvement is a reversal of what the education system should look like. Parents should be grading teachers on their performance. Putting grades on parental involvement from the top down is not the way this should work.”

Discover The ONLY Way Back To True Freedom And Liberty In America…

Nanny State: Bill Passes Mandating That Teachers Grade PARENTS

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The bill sponsored by State Representative Gregory Holloway Jr. (D-Hazlehurst) would mandate how school districts in Mississippi regulate student and teacher behavior.

The bill applies to schools that receive a D or worse grade from the Mississippi Department of Education, although other school districts would have the option of implementing it.

“Each report card for students in kindergarten through Grade 12 shall include a section in which the teacher grades parental involvement as satisfactory, in need of improvement or unsatisfactory,” the bill says.

Parents would be graded on:

  • Attendance at parent-teacher conferences.
  • Whether children get to school on time.
  • Whether children complete homework on time.
  • What grades the child makes.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Mississippi House of Representatives by a vote of 75-4.

Would you support or oppose the bill? Share your thoughts on it in the section below:

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Obama’s Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, ‘Equal’ Partnership In Raising Children

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Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

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American parents soon could have “equal partners” in parenting — the federal government – and be faced with home visits, too.

That’s according to a draft policy statement from two federal departments that are full of Obama appointees: the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the position of the Departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” the statement says.

The draft document is titled “DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES.”

Increased Government Involvement in Family Life

The draft policy outlined in the document reads like a blueprint for increased government involvement in family life. It list a number of goals that could increase official interference in childrearing if implemented, including home visits.

“To support ongoing relationship building with families, programs and schools should conduct periodic home visits so that teachers and families can get to know each other and communicate about children’s ’goals, strengths, challenges, and progress,” the draft reads. “If home visits are not possible for all families, schools or programs should require that teachers or providers and families communicate at the beginning of the year to ensure that the relationship is started in a positive way.”

Under the policies, teachers and school officials would be encouraged to become more involved in the family life of children.

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Some of the goals in the document seem harmless, such as encouraging parents to read to kids and promoting early learning activities at home. Others are more bothersome, though. The document seems to encourage authorities to evaluate parents’ mental health.

“Parental health and mental health impact parenting and children’s outcomes. For example, parental depression may contribute to less responsive parenting and is associated with anxiety and depression in children.”

‘Big Brother Is In Charge Of Raising Your Childen’

Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

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Does that mean parents or perspective parents would be urged to submit to counseling or psychiatric care? A later passage seems to say just that:

“It is much more difficult to engage in children’s learning if a family’s basic needs are not met. This research indicates that the institutions where children learn cannot ignore family wellness if they want to meaningfully engage families and fulfill their mission to prepare children for school and academic success. While some of these needs may be met in schools and early childhood programs through onsite comprehensive services, others can be met through partnerships with organizations and specialists in the community. Meeting families where they are, promoting their wellness alongside their children’s through connections to community resources, and partnering with them on their children’s learning and development, will result in optimal outcomes for children.”

The New American criticized the document, saying it is full of assumptions that many parents would strongly oppose – even if it is surrounded by innocent-sounding language.

“At first glance, the Obama administration policy document appears to be merely about ‘engaging families’ in the raising of their own children,” Alex Newman of The New American wrote. “… What it implies, though, is that Big Brother is also going to play the role of ‘advocate’ and ‘nurturer’ to your children. Perhaps Big Brother can provide hugs and bed-time stories soon, too.

Newman continued: “[T]hroughout the document, it becomes brazenly clear that federal bureaucrats are starting from the false assumption that Big Brother is in charge of raising children, and that parents may be called upon to help out as ‘partners.’ It also purports to provide justification for governments to pry into every aspect of family life — an extraordinarily dangerous proposition that is a hallmark of totalitarian governments. The mindset evidenced throughout the document is beyond paternalistic and condescending to parents.”

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Obama’s Stunning New Education Plan: Home Visits For Parents, ‘Equal’ Partnership In Raising Children

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Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

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American parents soon could have “equal partners” in parenting — the federal government – and be faced with home visits, too.

That’s according to a draft policy statement from two federal departments that are full of Obama appointees: the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the position of the Departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” the statement says.

The draft document is titled “DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES.”

Increased Government Involvement in Family Life

The draft policy outlined in the document reads like a blueprint for increased government involvement in family life. It list a number of goals that could increase official interference in childrearing if implemented, including home visits.

“To support ongoing relationship building with families, programs and schools should conduct periodic home visits so that teachers and families can get to know each other and communicate about children’s ’goals, strengths, challenges, and progress,” the draft reads. “If home visits are not possible for all families, schools or programs should require that teachers or providers and families communicate at the beginning of the year to ensure that the relationship is started in a positive way.”

Under the policies, teachers and school officials would be encouraged to become more involved in the family life of children.

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Some of the goals in the document seem harmless, such as encouraging parents to read to kids and promoting early learning activities at home. Others are more bothersome, though. The document seems to encourage authorities to evaluate parents’ mental health.

“Parental health and mental health impact parenting and children’s outcomes. For example, parental depression may contribute to less responsive parenting and is associated with anxiety and depression in children.”

‘Big Brother Is In Charge Of Raising Your Childen’

Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

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Does that mean parents or perspective parents would be urged to submit to counseling or psychiatric care? A later passage seems to say just that:

“It is much more difficult to engage in children’s learning if a family’s basic needs are not met. This research indicates that the institutions where children learn cannot ignore family wellness if they want to meaningfully engage families and fulfill their mission to prepare children for school and academic success. While some of these needs may be met in schools and early childhood programs through onsite comprehensive services, others can be met through partnerships with organizations and specialists in the community. Meeting families where they are, promoting their wellness alongside their children’s through connections to community resources, and partnering with them on their children’s learning and development, will result in optimal outcomes for children.”

The New American criticized the document, saying it is full of assumptions that many parents would strongly oppose – even if it is surrounded by innocent-sounding language.

“At first glance, the Obama administration policy document appears to be merely about ‘engaging families’ in the raising of their own children,” Alex Newman of The New American wrote. “… What it implies, though, is that Big Brother is also going to play the role of ‘advocate’ and ‘nurturer’ to your children. Perhaps Big Brother can provide hugs and bed-time stories soon, too.

Newman continued: “[T]hroughout the document, it becomes brazenly clear that federal bureaucrats are starting from the false assumption that Big Brother is in charge of raising children, and that parents may be called upon to help out as ‘partners.’ It also purports to provide justification for governments to pry into every aspect of family life — an extraordinarily dangerous proposition that is a hallmark of totalitarian governments. The mindset evidenced throughout the document is beyond paternalistic and condescending to parents.”

What is your reaction to the plan? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Jailed For Homeschooling, Right Here In America

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Jailed For Homeschooling, Right Here In America

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Two separate homeschool families in Ohio face jail time and thousands of dollars in fines for narrowly missing state deadlines of which they were unaware.

The charges are for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” – even though the children were homeschooled and even though school officials later acknowledged that the parents’ program met state requirements.

The school system says the parents did not provide proper notification on time that their children would not be in public school.

Instead of notifying the parents when they were in violation of the law, school officials let the absences for the children pile up for about a month before bringing criminal charges against them, attorney Peter Kamakawiwoole of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) said.

In most cases nationwide, Kamakawiwoole said, “if the family resolves the issue promptly, state officials rarely pursue further action—like criminal prosecution—against the parents.”

“Unless you happen to live in Ohio,” he wrote on the HSLDA website.

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Both families were relatively new to homeschool laws in Ohio, the attorney said.

“One family filed a notice of intent when they began homeschooling last year, but did not know they had to file another notice for this school year,” Kamakawiwoole wrote. “The other family filed their annual notice of intent, but did not submit an educational assessment with their notice because they had not yet completed it, and had been told by their school district that there was no deadline for submitting the assessment.”

School officials should have contacted the families when the absences began piling up but did not, Kamakawiwoole said.

“As soon as both families realized their errors, they took action to comply with their districts’ demands,” he wrote. “After filing the paperwork, both families received a letter from their superintendent verifying that their homeschool program is in compliance with state law for the 2015-2016 school year.”

But then the school district brought criminal charges – charges which carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 in fines and six months in the county jail. Significantly, though, “each day that a child is ‘truant’ can be considered a separate offense,” Kamakawiwoole said.

That means jail time could reach years and fines into the tens of thousands of dollars.

“There is no question that homeschooling families have to meet certain filing requirements in Ohio, and this statute’s primary purpose is to deal with parents who ignore their responsibilities to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” Kamakawiwoole wrote. “But that is not what is happening here. When schools use this statute to prosecute families for what amounts to a simple clerical error, the response is disproportionate and draconian.”

The two families are scheduled to face the charges later this month, and HSDLA is representing them.

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Parents Fined $1,350 For Pulling Grieving Kids Out Of School

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Parents Fined $1,350 For Pulling Grieving Kids Out Of School

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Taking kids out of school – even if it’s related to the death of a relative — can cost a fortune if you live in the United Kingdom.

Kerry and Richard Bowering were fined $1,350 (£950) for taking their three school-age daughters on vacation to Spain to heal after their grandmother’s tragic death.

“In January, their gran (grandmother) died of cancer and then at the end of February their mum had a hysterectomy for cervical cancer,” Richard Bowering told Yahoo News UK. “They were really badly affected by those things – it was a nightmare time – so we thought we would give them a break and take them on holiday. I asked for a bit of compassion to allow us to do that. I asked the headmistress (principal) for permission and she refused.”

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The family that lives in Bristol, England, decided to take the trip anyway. That led the Bristol City Council to fine them around $85 per parent for each of the children. A local court then increased the fines to $1,350 when the parents did not show up in court.

“The council has a duty to follow the current legislation and national guidelines relating to pupil attendance, as set out in the Department for Education’s guidance,” a spokesman for the Bristol City Council told the website. “This includes fines which are also set out by central government.”

In the United Kingdom, schools are administered by local governments but all school policy is set by Her Majesty’s Government. This includes mandatory attendance, which can be very costly as the Bowerings discovered.

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‘I’m Here to Investigate Unsocialized Homeschoolers’

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'I’m Here to Investigate Unsocialized Homeschoolers'

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Simply homeschooling or having a large number of children can now apparently get a family investigated by a social worker in some states. In fact, one homeschool mom says that a social worker visited her home because her children allegedly were “unsocialized.”

The unidentified mom, called “Amy,” gave the account to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

“When the social worker stopped by this afternoon I asked her what the accusations are, and she said: ‘Well, it looks like we’ve got a report here of unsocialized homeschoolers,’” the woman told Mike Donnelly, an HSLDA staff attorney.

Donnelly was so astounded by the allegations that he asked Amy to clarify the remark. He even asked, “Did you say she is investigating ‘unsocialized homeschoolers?’”

“Yes, sir,” Amy replied.

“Unsocialized” apparently means that someone thinks the kids are not spending enough time with other children or in the community.

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“Here we are in 2016,” Donnelly wrote on the HSLDA blog, “with over two million homeschoolers in the United States, and social services agencies are still investigating homeschooling families for concerns about ‘socialization’! But this isn’t the first call we’ve received about this, and I doubt it will be the last.”

Donnelly told Amy that lack of socialization is not considered neglect or abuse under state laws. He suggested that she ask the social worker to reveal everything she was investigating. Social workers sometimes fail to do that “even though federal law and most state law requires them to do so at their first contact,” Donnelly wrote.

“She said that in addition to the unsocialized homeschoolers, the allegations included that our back yard was a mess, and that there was no way there could be enough beds in our house for our 10 children,” Amy told Donnelly after she had contact again with the social worker.

Amy told Donnelly that she thinks a neighbor – one she was not getting along with — called the social worker on her family. Complaints to social workers are anonymous.

Thankfully, the incident ended amicably, with the social worker, after a follow-up visit, telling Amy she had a nice-looking family and that she was closing the case.

The incident, Donnelly said, is a reminder that families – especially homeschoolers — should understand the law before a social worker visits.

“It is striking how many people are not aware of their rights,” Donnelly wrote. “And sadly, too few social workers or government officials actively seek to protect the rights of citizens they are investigating.”

HSLDA is a nonprofit advocacy organization that defends the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

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This New Bill Would Require Background Checks On All Parents

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This New Bill Would Require Background Checks On All Parents

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All parents of children in public and private schools would have to undergo social services background checks when enrolling their kids in school in Ohio under a new proposed state law.

The bill by State Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Youngstown) specifically exempts most homeschoolers, although it doesn’t exempt homeschool families who form what is called a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school.

The bill also would require school officials to inform Child Protective Services (CPS) if a parent who was under investigation enrolled a child in school. CPS would be required to continue the investigation or open a new one.

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has spoken out against the bill, saying that while it opposes child abuse, this bill is not the solution.

HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly is concerned that the law would open up sensitive state databases to school officials.

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“Instead of opening up access to sensitive databases and mandating background checks on millions of Ohio families, HSLDA believes that CPS improvements should focus on better training, requiring that current policies be followed,” the organization said in a press release. “This will allow social workers to focus on serious cases instead of following a one-size-fits-all approach that mandates an overly intrusive and broad investigation for non-serious allegations.”

This is the second time that Cafaro has written a piece of legislation that has attracted the HSDLA’s opposition. In December 2013, Cafaro introduced Senate Bill 248, which would have required background checks for all homeschoolers. It never became law.

The current proposal, like Senate Bill 248, was prompted by the tragic death of 14-year-old Teddy Foltz-Tedesco, who was badly abused by his mother and her boyfriend. Foltz-Tedesco had been withdrawn from public school sometime before his death.

“Senator Cafaro’s bill would not prevent another tragedy like the death of Teddy Foltz,” HSLDA said. “Teddy was kept from school, and it has never been proven that his mother ever said she was homeschooling. Local child protection authorities were aware that Teddy was being abused and failed to intervene.”

HSLDA, a press release said, condemns child abuse and affirms the “role of authorities in detecting and preventing abuse.”

“When too few social workers are chasing too many allegations, many of them anonymous and trivial, it reduces the ability of the system to prevent tragedies,” it said. “HSLDA encourages Senator Cafaro to invest time and energy in solutions more likely to prevent situations like the Teddy Foltz case, rather than the proposed approach of investigating every family that enrolls in a public or private school in Ohio.”

Cafaro’s proposal is only the latest effort to strengthen the relationship between CPS and schools. In Erie County, New York, CPS workers are now stationed at public schools to monitor children, Off The Grid News reported in October.

What do you think of the proposed bill? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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No Constitutional Right To Homeschool, Supreme Court Justice Says

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No Constitutional Right To Homeschool, Supreme Court Justice Says

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Parents do not have a right to homeschool under the US Constitution, says Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia also believes there is no right to school choice within the Constitution.

The conservative justice often is a favorite among those on the right and even among those within the homeschool community, but on these two issues, he strongly differs.

“The notion that everything you care a lot about has to be in the Constitution is a very dangerous notion,” Scalia said during an appearance at Georgetown University. “Because it begins with stuff we all agree upon, ‘Oh, sure, we ought to be able to educate our children the way we want.’ That was one of the early substantive due process [cases] — don’t get me going on substantive due process.”

Parental choice in education is among the important rights not guaranteed in the Constitution, Scalia told the law students at Georgetown University in mid-November, Education Week reported.

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The Constitution is “not a perfect Constitution,” and many “important rights are not contained there,” he said. For example, “my right to raise my children the way I want. To teach them what I want them taught, not what Big Brother says. That is not there.”

Educational choice is “simply not in the Constitution” and “I will not enforce it from the bench,” he said.

The Supreme Court did uphold parental choice in two cases in the 1920s with which Scalia seems to disagree. In a case called Pierce vs. Society of Sisters in 1925, it struck down an Oregon law that mandated public school attendance. In another case called Meyer v. Nebraska in 1923, it overturned a state law banning the teaching of foreign languages to children.

No Constitutional Right To Homeschool, Supreme Court Justice Says

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“Justice Scalia’s comments show that homeschoolers—and every single family—cannot fear attacks on parental rights solely from the left, but also from the right,” William A. Estrada, the director of federal relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) wrote on the organization’s website.

Estrada noted that Scalia, who is regarded as a conservative, has been asserting this position for years. Scalia made his position clear in a 2000 case called Troxel v. Granville.

“Our U.S. Constitution was drafted by our Founders to limit the role of the federal government, and to leave fully protected every fundamental right, including the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children,” Estrada wrote.

HSLDA chairman Mike Farris wrote a 2006 article in which he said his fear is that a future Supreme Court might use Scalia’s logic to justify a ruling against homeschoolers.

“In short, Scalia believes that no right is protected unless it is expressly stated in the text of the Constitution,” Farris wrote. “While most of us like this theory if it is used to reverse Roe v. Wade, we would be quite alarmed if parental rights were suddenly no longer a protected constitutional right.”

The next President could appoint as many as four Supreme Court Justices, Washington Times writer Dave Boyer recently noted. Boyer pointed out that three justices – Scalia (80), Anthony M. Kennedy (80) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (83) – will be at least 80 when the next president takes office. A fourth, Stephen G. Breyer, will be 78.

“Justice Scalia’s recent comments are a sobering reminder that we do indeed need an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines the current Supreme Court precedent protecting parental rights in the black-and-white text of the U.S. Constitution,” Estrada wrote.

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Cops Arrest Parents For Letting 2 Kids Play At The Beach

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Image source Pixabay.comA couple is facing charges of reckless endangerment for leaving their sons alone on a public beach supervised by lifeguards.

Charles Smith and Lindsay Pemberton were cited on August 23 after they let their seven- and nine-year-old sons play for an hour at a family beach in Truro, Massachusetts.

“Although Head of the Meadow is a family beach with lifeguards, the Truro police have been called there for numerous calls related to dog bites, shark sightings, lewd conduct and people taking pictures of children,” Sgt. Carrie DeAngelo of the Truro police department wrote in a report obtained by The Cape Cod Times.

Lifeguards called DeAngelo to the beach after they spotted the boys playing alone.

DeAngelo returned the boys to the couple who were camping nearby and filed a report of suspected child abuse – that is, neglect. That led to charges of reckless endangerment to a child against both Pemberton and Smith. In Massachusetts, reckless endangerment to a child can be punishable by a sentence of up to 2.5 years in prison.

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Here is what led to the charges according to the Cape Cod Times:

  • The boys wanted to walk from the beach to a nearby campground.
  • The boys were on the beach in August with only a blanket for shelter.
  • The boys were standing near a local food truck.
  • The boys’ shirts became wet from the rain while they were at the beach.
  • The boys may have had no way of calling their parents, who were at the campground nearby.

“Leaving two boys ages 7 and 9 alone, without anyone knowing, without proper shelter from the elements and without any way of contacting them placed them in danger,” DeAngelo wrote in the report.

The food truck operator also was present at the beach.

“Through my training and experience as a sexual assault investigator, young boys at the ages of 7 and 9 are prime candidates for sexual predators,” DeAngelo wrote. “This being a tourist community with a small year-round population, most people who frequent the beach are transients and unknown.”

Lenore Skenazy, host of the reality show “World’s Worst Mom” on the Discovery Life Channel and a supporter of the free-range kids’ movement, said the couple should not have been arrested.

The couple is from New York.

“Even though over 90 percent of sex crimes against kids are committed by people they know, not random beach inhabitants, the cop decided to file reports of suspected abuse or neglect in both Massachusetts and New York,” Skenazy wrote at Reason.com. “And, for good measure, [the sergeant} also ‘applied for criminal complaints against them in Orleans District Court.’

”Apparently it is a crime to let your kids do anything by themselves. After all, they could end up standing around a food truck! Or wet. Can’t have that.”

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The Right Way To Teach A Child To Shoot

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The Right Way To Teach A Child To Shoot

Image source: thewellarmedwoman.com

I love my kids. The energy they bring to our home, the warm embraces I receive every morning when they wake, and the joy of watching them learn and grow. All of these things make life beautiful.

I want them to grow up knowing the Lord, following God, valuing life, to be handy with a shovel, able to use a tractor … and a crack shot with a rifle. I desire them to be able to hunt game, dispatch a rabid coyote, and be able to drop a sexual predator with a well-aimed barrage of gunfire. In short, I want my kids to learn not only how to handle a firearm, but to respect that firearm and the responsibility that goes with it, and shoot extremely well.

Safety

As a firearm instructor, my top concern on the range is safety. This has to be our step one as a parent when it comes to teaching our children to handle guns. Every child needs to be taught to respect a firearm. They also need to be taught that a firearm in an inanimate object, and it is only dangerous if in the hands of a dangerous or evil user. My wife and I know a woman who was raised by her parents to fear guns. To this day she is deathly afraid of the sight of a rifle, shotgun or pistol. This should never be our goal as a parent.

Teach your young children to never touch a firearm, except with Mommy or Daddy’s permission. I let my 5 year old handle a firearm unloaded. I am already instilling in her little mind that her finger never touches the trigger until she is ready to shoot, and to keep the muzzle pointed in the safest direction possible. I am always right there when she handles it, and it is always unloaded unless she is firing at a target with my help. Our firearms remain locked up.

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Our goal should be to see our children become confident, yet not cocky. Respectful, and not fearful. I want to raise my children in such a way that if they were to come across a firearm at a friend’s house someday left out and loaded, my child could safe that weapon — meaning he or she can determine safely if it was loaded or not, and unload and safe the firearm if needed.

I have an example here in my own life. As a teenager, I once came across a potentially dangerous situation at the home of a farmer I knew. I used to hunt and work his property part-time. During deer season one year, the farmer who never practiced the best firearm safety had gone into town with his son. They left a few rifles and shotguns in a common building on the farm fully loaded.  One of their shotguns, a Browning Auto-5, had a round in the chamber, and four more in the tube magazine. The muzzle of the shotgun was completely full of hardened mud and pebbles.

The Right Way To Teach A Child To Shoot

Telegraph

I was aghast at the sight. I had grown up as a hunter and around firearms and I knew my way around them extremely well. I grabbed that shotgun before some of the other part-time employees who were a wee bit reckless came to work. I unloaded the shotgun, and then proceeded to unload the other firearms, a Remington 700 and a Mosin M1991/30. The shotgun with the plugged barrel sure made me feel uneasy, so I raced over to the tool shed, retrieved a cleaning rod and gun oil and gave the barrel a thorough cleaning. By the time the other knuckleheads arrived to work, I had stored the guns in a safe place out of their sight and told my boss. He shrugged as I handed him the ammunition I retrieved, but I knew deep down I did the right thing.

That is how you want to raise your kids to behave around a firearm.

Shooting a Firearm

Never start your kids on a high-powered rifle. I have seen so many idiots — and idiots is too kind a word — hand a youngster a .12 gauge or .30-06 for their first time shooting. When the kid is naturally bruised or knocked on his rear, the adult explodes in rip-roaring laughter. I honestly want to grab the firearm and wrap the barrel around the adult’s neck when I see this.

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We should desire to see our kids grow up to love shooting, hunting and the outdoor sports. The first time out should be with light cartridges and small guns. Even a BB gun is great. A .22 is terrific for youngsters. Get them comfortable shooting, and then work on accuracy.

A .22 bolt action is the best tool to teach a child how to shoot. I never let a youngster use a scoped rifle unless they really need one. Start with iron sights and build confidence. Gently teach, and encourage your child. However, be strict with firearm safety. You must never waiver with a stern hand when it comes to safety.

Also, never let your child handle a firearm that they are not capable of handling.  Many of us can remember last year when a firearms instructor in Arizona let a little girl handle a UZI submachine gun with tragic consequences. Let’s not let that happen. Start slow.

If they are going to start deer hunting, why not a light kicker like a .223, which contrary to many armchair gun expert’s opinion, has dropped plenty of deer. If you must go heavier, think a .243 or .7mm-08. A .30-30 can do fine for an older child.

As your child gains confidence, feel free to teach them how to handle larger chamberings. I strongly suggest waiting to introduce the shotgun until they are comfortable enough to handle recoil. I have found many larger 8 and 9 year olds are ready for a youth .20 gauge and turkey hunting.

Stay safe, and God bless!

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Homeschool Your Kid, Get Assigned A Social Worker

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Chose To Homeschool, Get Assigned A Social Worker

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A family in New York State was threatened with scrutiny by a social worker because parents chose to homeschool their son, the Home School Legal Defense Association says.

The dispute began in Mid-August when the unidentified family in the Minisink Valley Central School District in Orange County, New York, decided to homeschool their son. New York State law requires that parents file a document called an individual home instruction plan, or IHIP, with the school district in order to homeschool.

The parents received the necessary paperwork more than a month later, HSDLA reported. A week after receiving the documents, the parents got a disturbing phone call from a person identified as Lisa Delia, the secretary to Minisink Valley Central’s superintendent of schools. Delia told the parents that they had to turn in the IHIP immediately

“According to state law,” HSLDA wrote in a blog, “a parent has four weeks from receipt of the IHIP form to return it.”

That, though, mattered little to Delia, according to HSLDA.

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“She also informed the family that she would be assigning them a social worker and that their son had to remain in public school until the IHIP was approved,” HSLDA added.

Not surprisingly, the family was alarmed.

HSLDA staff attorney Tj Schmidt contacted Delia, “who admitted that she had called the family but denied saying anything about child protective services (CPS),” HSLDA said. “Schmidt informed Delia that state law allows a family four weeks to complete the IHIP and that the family wasn’t responsible for the district’s long delay in getting them the form. Schmidt also pointed out that state law does not require a child to remain in public school until the IHIP is ‘approved.’”

Delia later acknowledged that she had referenced CPS, but insisted she meant she would contact a social worker only if the IHIP was not submitted, HSLDA said.

Shortly after that conversation, Assistant Superintendent Christian Ranaudo contacted HSDLA and admitted that the family was in compliance with state law and that they had four weeks to submit the paperwork – and that no social worker would be assigned.

Once again, parents in America have had to turn to an attorney to get local school officials to follow state laws on homeschooling.

The Minisink Valley Central School District is located around Port Jervis, New York, or the near intersection of the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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My Story: Street Smarts & Situational Awareness

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The Story Starts

My day started out as a beautiful Autumn morning. Very pleasant, in fact, despite the frenzied atmosphere as we readied our son for school. We had recently moved and were living in Europe, in a new city beginning a new school year. As my son and I rushed out the door and headed down the street to the school bus stop, I began the usual morning parental interrogation: Brushed your teeth? Check. Have your lunch? Check. Money for field trip? Check.

A few minutes later, we arrived at the corner with other school children and pedestrians on their way to work. As we chatted, waiting for the school bus to arrive, I noticed one of the older students, the pretty daughter of a family who lived nearby, standing next to an older man a short distance away. Just then, the school bus rolled up so I gave my son a hug and kiss goodbye. He and the other students shuffled towards the bus to board—all the students, that is, except for the girl, Jean.

I watched her for a moment, wondering why she wasn’t approaching the bus, then noticed that the man was standing between her and the bus. Each time Jean tried to walk around him he blocked her, moving his face closer to hers as he stepped back and forth in her path. At first I thought it might be a male friend, another student intent on teasing her. Then I noticed that he was an adult, and I saw the look on her face. She was worried.

The Confrontation

I told my son to wait and I approached the two. I first asked her if she was okay. “I’m fine,” she said in a frightened voice. I then asked the man, “Who are you?”

“I’m nobody,” he replied, rudely.

“Well, okay, she needs to leave now,” I told him.

“I’m not done talking to her,” he said, as he moved around to face me.

“She’ll miss her bus, so she has to leave now,” I added, trying to stay calm.

“No, not yet.”

“Yes, she is leaving now. Look, she is too young for you, anyway,” I warned.

“I don’t care how old she is,” he countered.

His last, disgusting statement made me angry. Anger is an interesting, tricky emotion, a double-edged sword. It can be a good thing when it stirs someone to action, when needed. It can be also be a bad thing if not controlled and kept in check. When it’s not….

Despite my growing anger I tried to keep calm. I had been in another fight a few months earlier (protecting a victim who had been attacked in a subway), and did not relish the idea of returning to the office of Security in the U.S. Embassy and filling out another report. I gave the harasser another chance.

“Listen, her dad is a big guy, and a rugby player. You don’t want to mess with this young lady.”

“Right,” he smirked, “and what are you going to do about it?” With that last comment he gave me a shove. What was he thinking?

Actually, there was not much thinking from that point on, just reaction. I shoved him back. He stormed back at me with fists raised. I threw a punch, which hit him squarely on the left cheek. He came back for more. I struck him again, a blow which left him on the ground, his back against a tree. He then reached for his bag so I kicked it, sending pastries spilling out across the sidewalk.

The would-be sexual predator then whined, “Leave my croissants alone.” I answered, “Okay, if you leave her alone.” It would have been funny, if not for the violence.

The Lessons

I don’t tell this story to boast. I’m glad I intervened, but I made mistakes. 

What did I do wrong?

As I grew angrier, and angrier, I experienced a bad case of tunnel vision. My situational awareness went out the window, so to speak. I couldn’t see anyone but the man, the aggressor. I had no idea if he had friends, family, or accomplices in the area. I mostly just saw his face.

What did I do right?

I had arrived at the park with satisfactory, situational awareness. I was aware of my surroundings as I waited and began loading my son onto the bus, despite the stress of trying to be on time, and distractions while saying goodbye. I noticed the bus drive up, I saw others in the park, I recognized the students who were moving towards the bus and clearly identified others: pedestrians, people on their way to work, even retired people, milling about or sitting on benches. And I saw the jerk.

Despite the emotions, and anger, I still maintained some semblance of situational awareness. But emotions can make it difficult. Emotions will do that to a body. Emotions—anger, frustration, jealousy, even excitement—can cause someone to miss important details that we must notice, recognize, and process. Details that can save us from being assaulted by one man, or ten men. Details that can make the difference between being sexually assaulted and going home safe and sound. Even the difference between life and death. Emotions can impair our observation skills, and our awareness.

The Four Conditions

Many in the security field teach the concept of conditions, or levels, of awareness, or state of mind—white, yellow, orange, and red—and that we often drift between them during a typical day, often depending upon our emotions:

Condition white describes someone who is basically “asleep at the wheel.” She will not see the open manhole cover on the sidewalk, or telephone pole in her path, nor the suspicious man lingering near her car in the grocery store parking lot. She will not see a thing, other than her cell phone text messages, until it is too late.

Condition yellow indicates she is alert but relaxed. She knows someone is walking behind her on the sidewalk, is aware of someone shopping in the same aisle in the shoe store, sees the  manhole cover on the sidewalk, and vehicles (makes and models, even drivers) which take multiple turns with her as she drives home.

Interestingly, and contrary to what you would think, she is not paranoid because she is aware. (I would argue that people in Condition White are probably the most paranoid.) She is not scared because she is prepared. Everyone should stay in condition yellow—women and men—until they encounter a threat.

Condition Orange defines a state when a specific threat has been identified, such as the man who followed her around the shopping mall and is now standing next to her car. Once she has recognized a threat she will move to Condition Orange. She might have seen someone many times, over time and distance (not someone she notices in the same store, over a short period of time, for example), and has confirmed that she is under surveillance—that she has been followed by someone threatening. She will now take steps to either move away from the threat, or fight to escape.

Condition Red: At this point, the man who followed her through the movie theater has blocked her path towards her car, and tries to drag her inside his van, or the thug at the restaurant is trying to pull her out the exit door. She now has the Flight or Fight. (I put Flight first, since that is her best bet.) She will scream for help, she will resist with all her strength, she will run, she will kick and scratch and spray him with her pepper spray, and she will fight with all her strength, even fight dirty.

By remaining in Condition Yellow, by staying aware of her surroundings, a woman can avoid many situations before she is in danger, maybe when an assailant is still planning something. Many assailants, including rapists or sexual predators, follow a similar, chain-of-attack (unless they find a “target of opportunity”).

Predators will:

  1. Select a target
  2. Follow and surveil her to identify habits and route
  3. Finalize a plan, or possibly choose another, softer target
  4. Surveil her some more, and lastly,
  5. Deploy at a site along her usual route, waiting on the “X” (figuratively, the spot where he wants to kidnap, rape, assault, or even seduce a woman—for some sexual predators, it might be the back seat of his car)

Obviously, the optimum time to thwart an assault is early on—the earlier the better: better to identify him when he first approaches her, or strikes up a conversation, or is following her, or watching her, than to wait until she is standing on the “X”, or is in the back seat of a sexual predator’s vehicle.

How can she break the chain?

She needs to be observant and aware. She needs to see when a predator’s actions correlate with her own. She needs to notice when he is browsing through magazines and then leaves the store at the same time she leaves. She needs to see him enter another store with her. She needs to notice when he finishes his coffee at the same time, or walks to the food court at the same time. She needs to notice his demeanor: is he nervous, glancing at her, loitering without a purpose. She needs to really see him.

When she sees possible correlation—between his actions and hers—she can take more provocative steps to confirm that he is following her. She can walk through the Walmart in a “stair-stepping” pattern, making several turns while heading to the Pharmacy, for example, rather than two long straight-aways. This will force him to take the turns with her, and make it easier for her to confirm that he is following her.

She can execute a “reversal,” turning back down an aisle towards him, maybe looking him in the eye and letting him know that she knows. She can do a u-turn (vehicular reversal) when driving, heading back towards him, while jotting down his license plate number as she passes. She can then speed dial her dad, brother, friend, or the police, depending upon the situation. If she is in a store, and knows that someone is following her, she can go to the Manager of the store, or a security guard, and ask him to escort her to her car.

What happens when she is aware?

When a woman is aware, she will recognize an “X” and not go anywhere near it. If she sees a man standing next to his van, on her path ahead of her while walking from class to her dorm, she can stop well in advance. She will notice if he stops what he is doing, to see if there is any correlation with her action. Does he look in her direction, and act nervous? Or does he grab bags of groceries from his vehicle and head up the stairs into his home?

She might see a group of men in a parking lot near the exit of the movie theater, before she exits. She will stop, possibly act like she’s on the cellphone. She will notice whether they continue talking and laughing before they proceed to their vehicle, or she will notice that they are watching her, and wait.

She will notice a young man who is loitering near the entrance to her apartment building as she approaches. Is he sexual predator who is waiting for a young woman to arrive so he can push his way in the door and rape her? She can assess the situation and know if he is dangerous by stopping and waiting some distance away. She can watch, and might see the man’s girlfriend exit a minute later, and see them leave hand-in-hand—mystery solved, danger averted.

How will she feel?

Will her situational awareness cause her some perceived embarrassment? Will she feel paranoid when she turns down a ride from a man she does not know well? Will she feel foolish that she hesitated, that she was a scaredy-cat, when she waited inside a store, or asked the manager to accompany her to her vehicle? Will she be embarrassed if she intervenes on behalf of a friend who might be in danger?

No! She will feel proud that she is careful, aware, and smart. And you know what? She may never know that that her observation, awareness, and pause—that extra few seconds of waiting—might have just saved her life or the life of a friend.

Was I embarrassed that I got in a second fight, in less than 6 months? Maybe, a little. But I was glad that I was aware enough to notice a young woman in need of help. What might have happened if I had been oblivious and focused only on getting my son on that bus, anCIA Street Smarts for Women 9781462117680_fulld hurrying off to work? Who knows. But it didn’t happen, because I was situationally aware. And Jean went to school and returned home later that day, safe and sound.

B.D. Foley’s new book CIA Street Smarts for Women: Spy Skills to Tell the Prince from the Predator provides more information and specific skills, the same skills that he used and taught in the CIA, on how to test, vet, and “read” men; elicit information on their true intentions; avoid emotional vulnerabilities and manipulation; project a confident demeanor to stay off a predator’s “radar”; turn down an invitation or break-up safely; and much more. Stay safe!    

State Bullies 305,000 Parents To Give Kids Controversial Vaccine

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State Bullies 305,000 Parents To Give Kids Controversial Vaccine

Image source: Guardian

The state of Indiana sent parents of children and teens a letter urging the use of a controversial vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, and the action has upset more than a few parents.

At least 305,000 families may have received letters pressuring them to get their children inoculated with the Human Papillomavirus or HPV vaccine.

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent HPV infection and associated cancers that present later in life,” a copy of the letter obtained by The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette stated. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians, all children, 11 and older, should get vaccinated. By vaccinating at this age, preteens will be protected before any exposure to the virus occurs.”

The letter states matter-of-factly, “Please allow this letter to serve as a reminder to contact your healthcare provider and make an appointment to start the series (of vaccines).”

Not surprisingly, the letter caused an uproar and prompted one group, the American Family Association (AFA), to complain to Governor Mike Pence, according to The Journal Gazette.

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“We’re looking into it,” Pence said.

The letter was apparently printed and mailed at taxpayer expense by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) on September 21.

“We certainly want to respect the prerogatives of parents,” Pence said. “The role of the state Department of Health in making information available to families is longstanding. We’ll look into it and make sure it’s clarified.”

State Promotes Vaccination

The State of Indiana maintains a registry of all children who have no record of vaccination, The Indianapolis Star reported. Twice a year, the Department of Health mails a letter recommending vaccination to all parents of unvaccinated kids.

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The vaccination is controversial because it is designed to stop the Human Papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease which most doctors believe causes cervical cancer. Critics of the vaccine fear it could promote sexual activity among children and young teens.

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Even some supporters of vaccination, such as Micah Clark, the executive director of Indiana’s chapter of the AFA, are upset by the letter. Clark told The Star he became aware of the vaccination effort when he received a copy of the letter in the mail.

“We chose not to vaccinate our daughter for a sexually transmitted disease,” Clark said. “She has been vaccinated for easily communicable diseases like polio and mumps. This, however, is something with completely different moral connotations and risk/benefit considerations.”

Clark added, “I am not anti-pharmaceutical. I am not anti-vaccine. I certainly don’t want anyone to get a virus that might lead to cancer. I am for parental rights and limited government. A nanny state is not my idea of a self-governing, free society. I think our Founders would agree with me.”

The Home School Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, also expressed concern about the letter.

“It appears ISDH is now using pressure tactics to increase the use of this vaccine,” HSLDA attorney TJ Schmidt wrote. “HSLDA believes that parents should have the freedom to determine what immunizations are best for their children.”

What do you believe? Should states encourage or even pressure parents to get their children vaccinated? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn The Truth About Vaccinations. Read More Here.

A CPS Worker In Every School To Monitor Your Kids? It’s Happening

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Image source: uchicago.edu

Image source: uchicago.edu

There’s a new addition at some upstate New York schools that may make many parents uneasy. Workers from Erie County Child Protective Services (CPS) will have a physical presence in each school, monitoring children every week.

“So, instead of having their office down in 478 Main St., they will work out of that school,” Erie County Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger told The Buffalo News. He said that among other duties, the CPS employees will be able to quickly investigate children and their families.

“If we collaborate better, we can provide better investigations and better services to the community, but also we can identify families that have needs and we can prevent CPS calls,” Dirschberger said. He also said teachers and administrators will be monitoring students and reporting to CPS.

“If a school identifies a family that needs help, whether it be a mental health issue, struggling with a drug or alcohol issue, they can talk to the CPS worker and make connections back to our department,” Dirschberger added. “And we can refer that family for services so we can prevent a CPS call.”

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Not surprisingly, some parents and others are not very happy with the presence of CPS in schools. A number of negative reactions were recorded at the ParentalRights.org Facebook page. That group is pushing for a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ParentalRights.org is headed by Michael P. Farris, president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Public School Superintendent Demands Homeschool Family Follow Government’s Common Core CurriculumAmong the comments:

  • “My child would be pulled from this school system,” Teresa Swango wrote. “Under NO circumstances should DCF (Department of Children and Families) be given an office or be involved this closely with the school.”
  • “I love how these freedoms are being taken away so silently, so in the backdoor so that so many unsuspecting folks are thinking this is a good thing …,” Teresa Firek wrote.
  • “You know … in Scotland, they just passed a law that designates a social worker to every single child, even in utero,” Diedre Caldwell Johnson wrote. “These social workers rights over the child trump parents. Watch out … it will be coming this way someday soon. Seems like it’s already here.”
  • “More reason to homeschool,” Janee Campbell wrote. “Almost weekly I hear things that make me glad I don’t have to send my kids to public school. I know many don’t have a choice but more and more public school is becoming an unsafe place as far as family is concerned.”
  • “Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for CPS,” Kirra Armour wrote. “… But placing CPS workers in the school will put them in a position of needing to find children to remove from their homes to justify their existence. As another poster put it, this is a ‘make-work’ program; but the only work they can make up is to take children when they would be far better off at home.”

As Off The Grid News reported, in 2014 the Scottish Parliament passed a law called the Children and Young People Bill that mandates a government-approved guardian for every child in the country.

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Three children in recent years under Erie County CPS supervision died, The Buffalo News reported. The county responded by hiring 37 additional workers and 12 more part-time investigators.

CPS workers will be at the schools once or twice each week.

There are a growing number of organizations that provide legal services to parents entangled with entities such as CPS. Two such organizations are The Family Defense Center and the Home School Legal Defense Association.

What are your thoughts on CPS workers being in schools? Is it a good idea or bad idea? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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