Category Archives: Annie’s Classroom

Annie is a longtime contributor to Intellectual Takeout, in addition to her own new Blog – Annie’s Attic. Her work also appears on a series of other sites as well – and we are so glad to have her join us. Metropolis.Cafe published our first column by Annie on January 30, 2017.

Annie received a B.A. in Biblical Studies from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. She also brings 20+ years of experience as a music educator and a volunteer teacher – particularly with inner city children – to the table in her research and writing.

In her spare time Annie enjoys the outdoors, gardening, reading, and events with family and friends.

Lost in the Shuffle: The Dramatic School District Decline of the Last 100 Years

While compiling a list of individual, public-school districts in Minnesota the other day, I noticed something curious. My list consisted of around 330 districts … but the district numbers weren’t all consecutive.

The list started with Aitkin (District Number 1*), proceeded to Hill City (District Number 2), jumped to McGregor (District Number 4), and then to Anoka-Hennepin (District Number 11). The numbers continued jumping, eventually reaching Ada-Borup-West (District Number 2910).

“There must have been around 3,000 districts in Minnesota at one time,” I concluded, thinking that going from 3,000 to just over 300 was quite the reduction! Continue reading

Teach the Basics or SEL?

We’ve reached the home stretch of the school year, and by now, most parents, teachers, and even students understand the lay of the land in their schools. It’s pretty apparent whether classrooms are under control, whether students are learning, and whether teachers are getting burnt out by top-down mandates and demands.

Unfortunately, it seems the individuals smart enough to decipher these signs aren’t liking what they’re seeing, for according to a new poll from Pew Research, only 16% of Americans believe the public education system is going in the right direction. Continue reading

Homeschool Moms: It’s Time to Kick Your Inferiority Complex

You’re more qualified to teach your kids than you think you are.

Homeschooling parents who learn alongside their children often share their enthusiasm as well. (LightField Studios/Shutterstock)

I had lunch with a friend the other day, and it wasn’t long before our conversation drifted to her role as a homeschool mom. In essence, she was frustrated and overwhelmed, convinced that she was doing a terrible job teaching her children, and desperately wondering if she should put them in a traditional classroom.

“Well, I wouldn’t put them in a public school – on an academics basis alone,” I said, working my way through lunch. Being an education researcher has its perks, because when she asked what I meant, I started citing the proficiency statistics for a public school district near her own. “Did you know that only 23 percent of kids in that district can read proficiently?” I asked. “Think your kids can do better than that?”

“Oh,” came her response, and as a hint of a smile played at her lips, I knew she’d suddenly realized that maybe her kids were doing way better than she thought. Continue reading

It’s Time to Kick Your Inferiority Complex

You’re more qualified to teach your kids than you think you are.

I had lunch with a friend the other day, and it wasn’t long before our conversation drifted to her role as a homeschool mom. In essence, she was frustrated and overwhelmed, convinced that she was doing a terrible job teaching her children, and desperately wondering if she should put them in a traditional classroom. Continue reading

Annie ~ A 1944 Prescription for Teaching Students the Principles of Good Citizenship

Here’s how to turn students into responsible citizens.

While digging through a folder of items belonging to my grandmother during her high school years, I came across several copies of Weekly News Review, a periodical full of news items and current events apparently geared toward young students… Continue reading

What a 1945 High School Civics Exam Prep Book Shows Us About Today’s Students

Several days ago, I was handed a pile of old schoolwork and curriculum found in paperwork and memorabilia from my grandmother. Sifting through the stack, I soon pulled out several booklets labeled “Minnesota State Board Questions Certified.” Yellowed with age and somewhat dog-eared, they appear to be workbooks with which students could prepare for their yearly school exams.

I grabbed the one labeled “Introduction to Social Science” from 1945, the year my grandma was 17 and likely a senior in high school, and paged through it. Judging from the cover, it appears she was a scribbler like me, doodling by writing her name and some shorthand. Judging from the inside, students like her had to know their lessons well in order to pass their exams… Continue reading

Holmquist: Why Progressives Hate Memorization

As a student, I was a whiz at memorization, so much so, that I remember basically memorizing two lead roles for different plays – one at age 13 and one at age 16 – after only one serious and focused read-through of the scripts. As an adult, I see myself mirroring my mother’s shock at such a feat, but at the time, such ease in memorization was simply second nature.

But while memorization was a hugely beneficial learning device for me as a student, it often seems like a sidelined and disgraced learning technique in the contemporary education system. Continue reading

Why Homeschool Fearmongering Should Be Taken With a Grain of Salt

Movie music is the subtle cue that tells you how to respond to a certain scene. Happy, sad, afraid, angry – you name the mood and the composer will ensure that the desired emotion is accomplished.

I sometimes wonder if news articles work the same way. Take the recent and widely shared Washington Post article on the explosion of homeschooling occurring since Covid. “In 390 districts,” The Post explained, “there was at least one home-schooled child for every 10 in public schools during the 2021-2022 academic year.”

That 10 percent mark, also known as “the tipping point,” helped inch the numbers of homeschooling students up to a high of 2.7 million – 1 million more than the number of students in Catholic schools, according to The Post.

Such numbers, although still relatively small, appear to have The Washington Post worried. Very worried.
Continue reading

Holmquist: The Recipe for a Happy Nation Requires Religious and Moral Instruction in Schools

A Founding Father’s vision for American education included a strong foundation of religious and moral instruction.

As a grade school student, one of my favorite field trips was spending a day attending the one-room school at a local historical site. My friends and I would pack our noontime meal in lunch buckets, dress in aprons and bonnets, and participate in a spelling bee at the close of the day.

But our lessons in the classroom covered more than just the three Rs. Continue reading

3 Missteps of the Education System According to Mike Rowe

Putting shop class BACK in session should be number 1 on the list…

Everybody loves Mike Rowe. His matter-of-fact sense of humor, his humility, and his willingness to get involved in the many work sites featured on his “Dirty Jobs” show make him an endearing figure.

But Rowe is also very intelligent. He has his finger on the pulse and problems of America in a way that many others often don’t recognize. Take the recent interview he did with Nick Gillespie of Reason in which he discussed how the missteps of the education system produced a generation of entitled young people who turn up their noses at blue collar or low-paying work. Continue reading

George Washington’s Guide to Being a Gentleman

George Washington, it’s famously said, was “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Such firsts undoubtedly contributed to his other great achievements, including his election as president of both the Constitutional Convention and the United States.

In other words, Washington was not an average man. But his above-average nature didn’t happen overnight. At age 14, he copied out more than 100 maxims of good behavior in his school book, likely intending to implement them in his own life. Many of these are still applicable today. Following them can help modern men be true gentlemen who stand head and shoulders above the crowd in both character and conduct. Continue reading

UPDATE: Choosing the Best Education at Risk of Arrest

The chilling story of the Romeike family

NOTE: What you are about to read will sicken you. Joe Buy Deng and his crew have opened the Borders of this country to the largest number of future Demon-Cratic voters, but do NOTHING to protect those who have come to this country and conducted themselves as loving, caring, contributing human beings. ~ Editor

If you’re like most parents, you want the best for your children, especially when it comes to education.

But to what lengths would you go to achieve that best? Would you be willing to risk arrest by the government in order to choose the best education for your child? Continue reading

Going Local With the Little Red Microschool

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “Go Local“? The concept, which encourages supporting local industries and businesses, has grown in popularity over the years with people of all political persuasions.

But oddly enough, there’s one area where “go local” has been roundly shunned over the years, and that is education.

Oh, sure, people give lip service to having local schools or community schools. But history shows that politicians and officials are interested in anything but local schools, and instead of going local, schools have done the exact opposite. Continue reading

Why Every Home Needs Burgeoning Bookshelves

A house full of books is a house full of blessings, so don’t be afraid to let them pile up

Books offer countless benefits for every period in one’s life. (Biba Kayewich)

A few years ago, another bookshelf made its way into my bedroom. As the ample built-in bookshelf that had already graced the area was starting to acquire a sort of double-stacked look, and extra books were finding their way into cupboards and other piles around the room, the purchase definitely qualified as a necessity.

The new bookcase alleviated shelf constraints … for a while. But soon I found myself buying a third bookcase. Unfortunately, the shelves on that latest addition are now rapidly becoming less empty, and it may take some creative thinking to find room for the next bookshelf that’s likely to join my fleet down the road. Continue reading

Countering Propaganda One Read-Aloud at a Time

It’s time to fill our children’s minds with the good, true, and beautiful.

Between gender wars, deviant sexual education, declining academic achievement, and plain old safety issues, today’s schools have turned into landmines for parents and students.

But while parents are increasingly seeing the problems their children are facing in school, it’s also hard to know how best to deal with them. Parents can take their children out of public schools … but private school or homeschool isn’t always an option. Parents can try to stay in touch with school administration and teachers, making sure to opt their child out of something they believe is inappropriate … but such moves aren’t always viewed kindly by school staff. Continue reading

Holmquist: Middle School Reading Lists 100 Years Ago vs. Today

Author’s note: Research into old curriculum and an unexpected unearthing of a middle school reading list from Edina Public Schools prompted me to write this article back in September 2014. It was published right before the weekend, and to my surprise and delight, was going viral by the time I returned the following work week – something it continued to do in the years following as new individuals would find and share it widely.

The popularity of this piece didn’t stem from the fact that its observations were extraordinary; instead, the interest it generated likely occurred because it touched on something everyone suspected, but could never solidly prove. I present it once again as a testament to the falling education standards today’s students are subjected to. ~ A. Holmquist
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Old Kindergarten Requirements Suggest Today’s Classrooms Are Too Much, Too Soon

I received a rather frantic email from a friend when school started last fall. Panicking over the number of parents posting first day of preschool pictures, my friend wondered if she had made a mistake by not sending her four-year-old to school. “When did preschool become so popular?” she asked in dismay. Continue reading

4 Tips for Financial Stability from Noah Webster

With inflation, prices, and bank failures all on the rise these days, many of us are looking anxiously toward our pocketbooks and wondering what we’ll do when the financial crisis inevitably hits. Will we have to start over with our retirement fund, or will we be impoverished in a matter of months?

There may not be a surefire way to completely shield ourselves from potential ruin, but there are ways to safeguard against it. One of those ways is tucked away in an obscure corner of American founder Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book. Entitled “Domestic Economy Or, the History of Thrifty and Unthrifty,” Webster (1758-1843) spins the tale of two men, the one a financial wizard, the other a financial failure. Continue reading