Monday, May 16, 2011

Beat the Education System - The Homeschool Option for Everyone

The mission of the Taxpayer Watchdog is to expose waste with a goal of keeping government limited and responsive. This principle applies to government schools. I constantly hear from parents who are frustrated by their public school experience but are intimidated considering home schooling. Those who follow me on Facebook know that I am a huge fan of the homeschooling system, Time4Learning.

Our kids absolutely love Time4learning and never hesitate when told to get on a computer and do your school. It is 100% canned, off the shelf, and so engaging that it actually has built in fun activities called "playground" that your child gets to do once the work is done. They even have pre-K curriculum, so my four year old is cranking through that and almost ready for Kindergarten.

Despite the fact that it is SO easy from a parent's perspective, it is also so amazingly comprehensive and shockingly inexpensive. Check it out. The fact that way software works in "the cloud", you can do it from any computer, anywhere in the world. Also, the more people using it, the less pressure they have to raise prices. That is why, even though I am getting a tiny little check for doing this post, and more tiny little checks for successful referrals, I should have shared this a long time ago.

Time4Learning has given me the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. Time4Learning is an online educational program that can be used as a homeschool curriculum or for afterschool enrichment. While I was compensated, the content in this review was not written by Time4Learning. The opinion is entirely my own.

The Hidden Tax of Corporate - Environmental Bedfellows

The unsightly film on our "clean" dishes had become a source of great frustration in our household. Dish washing was the job of my daughter and she was evidently was really slacking off. We worked with her on critical strategies like pre-washing, proper loading technique and the importance of rinse aids. Still, we found that the dishes usually had to be washed at least twice and with increasing amounts of detergent. In this lousy economy and runaway food and fuel inflation, I was using 50% more Cascade detergent and running twice as many loads. This deal worked out great for the the water and electric utilities, and especially for P&G (Proctor and Gamble) but not so well for us.

As a conservative, I believe there is a right way and a wrong way to do just about anything from how to install toilet paper to what ingredients are key to a product. That makes me a consummate label reader. So one day I noticed that Cascade was "phosphate free". That struck me as really odd because I dutifully inject that naturally occurring element into the ecosystem every time I use my Miracle Grow "Bloom-booster" plant food. So how could something that is good for plants be evil for the environment?

I asked my friend Kat, who is a full time environmental activist and I challenged her. I am now using at least twice as much water and electricity, not to mention time as I spent before on clean dishes. She toed the party line, that too much phosphates in sewer systems somehow creates too much algae which disrupts ecosystems.

So I explained my situation and the fact that a huge corporation about which she should be suspicious of before me, was making out like bandits. I asked her, "Do you realize you are working for the man?" "What?" She asked. The irony was quite amusing.

It would be funny were it not so outrageous. The whole thing reminds me of the two-flush toilets the Government mandated ostensibly as a way to conserve water and the new light bulbs that GE (Government Electric) has convinced the dim bulb Congress to force us to buy.

The phosphate free detergent is so egregious because this one is too unsupportable for even the Congress to enact it. Most of the environmental phosphates come from poop! So the lobbyists turn to the states and successfully obtained phosphate bans in the 17 silliest state lawmaking bodies. Playing both sides, P&G still sells it because it is the only solution that really eliminates the white film.

As a former lawmaker, the question I have is who was paying the lobbyists in favor and who was paying the lobbyists against. Were there any against? Did P&G send in an army of lobbyists to fight this at every turn? Did they take out full page ads in the New York Times and warn America that they would be wasting twice as much detergent, water and electricity? If they did, they capitulated early because now that 17 states have banned phosphates in dish washing detergent, the folks at P&G have now embraced the ban.

My friend Kat had a suggestion. She said I could find this really great eco-friendly detergent at, of all places, Whole Foods. Sure, it costs more, but it works. There is no way I will be making any special trips to that company we tried to support with a BUYcott until they ended up forcing out their CEO for his sin of opposing Obamacare, Whole Foods, in order to pay even more for a basic product. Instead, I found a much better solution.

Thank you Walgreens for carrying "Sun Sations" for three bucks, on sale for $1.99. Yes, my dishes really are once again "virtually spotless". Moreover, it is made in the USA, in red state Utah. Salt Lake City, no less. God bless America! Go jump in a lake, P&G!