The Non-School for Homeschool Schools

I read an article the other day in the Salem newspaper about a new homeschool, uh, school, opening soon. The idea being that students in the region who are schooled at home can get a “more traditional public education experience” one day a week at a Salem church. Nevermind the irony of putting homeschool students into a school because of the benefits of school, they’re seeking teachers, too!

They have openings for art, english, media, math and high school-level science teachers. Basically, those students are in a program being taught by parents who are way over their heads.

The founder of this new non-homeschool school says that this is a way for parents to put their kids in a program away from the drugs, violence and sex of traditional schools. Because high schools in Washington County are filled to the brim with people getting laid in the halls. Drugs, maybe. Violence only if you’re gay, black, brown or a wimp.

This goes to show the laxness of Indiana’s homeschool laws. You can set your kid down in front of Sesame Street and that counts as homeschooling your kid. I’m not even kidding.

I “get” that parents think all public schools are hell holes where brains go to die, and they’re largely right, but very few parents are sincerely qualified enough to teach their kids anything useful beyond basic elementary skills. If, like most of Washington County, they live in the middle of nowhere, the kids will lose all social interaction, too. The results are some pretty warped kids.

I worked with a homeschool kid once who was completely incapable of conversation, interaction or anything beyond reading and writing. They had experienced nothing in their life like games, sports, talking with friends or how to communicate outside of paper. It’s a sad thing that damages more than it helps.

Perhaps she’ll convert her non-school for homeschool school into some sort of private or charter school that offers full-time instruction. Maybe there’s enough demand regionally for such a thing and would really be a boon to Washington County’s reputation if they can do it and do it well.

Millions Cut Cable After Its Last Good Show Retires

Alton Brown, via Twitter:

G.E. fans, I’ve decided to cut the half hour series at 249 eps. There will be 3 new 1 hour eps this year and that’s it. But mourn not. New things brew on the horizon…’good’ things.

With the end of Good Eats, a series in its 12th year which in my mind is at its peak, there’s no longer a reason to pay your cable bill. For the longest time I kept cable just so I could watch Alton until his shows started appearing online.

Here he is frying a turkey:

A Question for Geeky Folk

Does this sound familiar?

According to my Google Reader stats, I read over 19,000 articles of news, tidbits, posts and the like in 2010. By “read” I mean that they popped up, I skimmed over them and said, “Mark all as read”. Of the ones I actually absorbed, the number is closer to 6,000. That’s still a lot of news and none of it probably mattered at all.

I mostly read a lot of web, Apple, business and tech news. I follow dozens and dozens of feeds on those topics alone in Google Reader and I use Twitter as a means of keeping a curated list of people similar to me with shared interests that post interesting tidbits from sources I don’t directly follow.

So I was pretty excited when News.me launched. It’s a service that takes those Twitter feeds and spits out an email every morning with all the top links shared from the day before. That’s great, I guess, but I’ve already been made aware of those by following Twitter. The email I received today featured 4 out of 9 stories alone from Smashing Magazine. It’s completely dominated by a few top publishers and by the time I read it, it’s old news. Maybe I need more people to follow on Twitter, but then I lose all control of Twitter and it becomes a collage of crap like Facebook. It just shows me everything I’ve already read. If I stopped following Twitter, how would I ever know to follow new users and what about the folks that I like that don’t do tech stuff? For News.me to work, I still have to keep all those people in my feed.

What’s frightening is how much time I spend reading the news. I asked a friend how much time they spent browsing around and while it certainly varies, they can sometimes spend most all day reading blogs, posts and other things that really don’t matter. Unfortunately, I do the same thing. There needs to be a filter or system in place.

But that’s News.me; that’s the answer for the system to parse through and give you what you want. Except,  I don’t know what I want, necessarily. I know that I want the good news that matters and I want to stop spending so much time parsing through everything, but I don’t know where to look and where to find it. It consumes hours upon hours each week. It’s important for me to stay on top of these things; it’s my job, but it takes time that I could be using elsewhere. The system needs human curation. I don’t think it can be adequately automated. Even if I followed just a few of my favorite blogs, like Daring Fireball or Shawn Blanc, I’d be afraid I’m missing some great post from Mac Rumors or Neven’s blog.

So, my question for you, dear reader is this: does this sound familiar? Do you have this same problem? As much as I enjoy reading through all the various links, blogs and stories, I’d rather be in better control of my time by not spending all of it reading this stuff.

What if there was a news service that aggregated all this stuff into the top 10 stories with none of the fluff. GigaOm, Engadget, Tech Cruch, The Huffington Post Tech section, they all latch on to the link-bait stories and post something every 15 minutes. I don’t want to know that Steve Jobs might sneeze tomorrow or that Microsoft “might be in trouble” according to some no-name analyst predicting the future or that HTC released some new version of Android device and another one’s likely on the way next week. I want to know whats really happening, what’s really going to happen and I want updated just a couple times a day: in the morning before I wake up and in the evening after work.

Breaking news, like if Microsoft declared bankruptcy or Google inventing a second sun, would be worth an interruption. Some original reporting would be great, if it were good, too. Some new jQuery library or a gallery of inspirational websites or tips on how to use an iPad as a steering wheel aren’t of use to me. If I wanted to see a gallery or some snippet of code, I’d Google around for it.

I’d even be inclined to pay for such a service. $2.99 a month for a subscription to such a service would let me save countless hours of time and remove half my feeds and halve my desire to check Twitter all the time sounds like a life saver. Make it integrate with Instapaper and everything’s covered.

Yes, they’re podcasts like TWiT, but that’s once a week and is a little too slow for my tastes. I want to have something to read every day.

What about you? Does that sound more or less like what you’d want to see and read? Nothing sensational, nothing hyperbolic; just great coverage of the truly important news and tips linked to sources updated twice a day.