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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fessing Up to the Feds

It's a fad right now: Posting your disclosure policy on your blog. And this fad may be driven by the Feds as they try to clamp down on those sneaky advertisers using personal testimonies on blogs as a way to lie to the peoples.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I ever said it in so few words, so here it goes:
I am paid to blog for Sonlight.

Yep. Blogging is one of the many things I do here at Sonlight. One of the other things I do is correct totally odd things that have long been on Sonlight's website. I happened across this little guy today:



But back to disclosing: I can understand why the federal government would be concerned with this kind of thing. But it still feels odd. See, if you're not honest--and you only paint glowing, wonderful pictures of stuff--people will eventually tune you out. Consumers are pretty savvy when it comes to reviews, feedback and testimonials. We're pretty good at figuring stuff out.

If you hadn't noticed, several of my Other Posts of Note have recently had to do with the struggles and difficulties of homeschooling. The school year is still getting going, and feeling overwhelmed is commonplace. And it'd be dumb of me to not include those posts--which are encouraging in their own way--just to try to paint homeschooling in a better light.

But this new policy begs the question: How long before the Federal Trade Commission decides that they need to watch ThinkGeek reviews and IMDB ratings? Sure, this really does have to do with trade (you're trading your time blogging for a product or bonus or a couple of coppers to rub together) and personally instigated reviews do not. So, the FTC isn't likely to come play on most of your blogs. But what about Rewards links and the like? They going to clamp down on those?

Interesting stuff to think about in this world of "new" and "social" media.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Sarah said...

Hey, Luke! I just noticed the "expectant father" part at the end of this post, and wanted to congratulate and encourage you and your wife to take Bradley birthing classes.

I was going to mention these classes in my other comment, but decided not to go there.

But now that I see you're expecting, I'll say what I was going to say. I am a Bradley instructor in NM, and I am often disappointed/embarrassed about the business side of Bradley: the logo, the graphics, videos; the all-around outdated look that gives potential students a very bad impression that this course is out-of-touch with today, even though the information and classes are so good.

I have been knee-deep in the awful stuff these last few weeks, and, like I said before, I found it so refreshing to go to the Sonlight site and see even the tiniest of things that show dedication to excellence (I LOVED that you guys update/change things in the curriculum, especially because of my experience with my company).

That being said, I still believe very strongly that, given a good teacher, the Bradley method gives a superior education/preparation for parents on keeping healthy, low-risk and working as a team, knowing your options and the risks/benefits of different choices in pregnancy and birth.

Congratulations, again! Please contact me if you have questions. I LOVE the subject of birth!

Luke Holzmann said...

Sarah, sorry to disappoint, but our expecting is long with no due date because we're in the process of adopting.

So, no birthing classes for us. ...yet <smile>.

We're still hopeful that the day will come when we will be able to put your advice into play <smile>.


And I'm glad your experience with Sonlight has been such a positive one! Thanks for the encouragement!


Sarah said...

Sorry, Luke! I really just jumped to a conclusion on reading a very small part of your blog. Please forgive me for assuming. It was a mistake of ignorance and I hope not hurtful.

My opinion about Sonlight hasn't changed: I am TOTALLY impressed with the company.

So far, my two older (4 1/2 and 3) girls and I are enjoying plugging away at the preschool curriculum.

I just read your "box day" and a couple other posts and noticed that you were doing some reading at bedtime with your girls (albeit before you received the box, I guess).

Was wondering if that is what you continue to do, or consider an appropriate alternative to completing earlier in the day.

I ask because a relative (who is a school teacher) recently appeared concerned that I am so . . . "flexible?" . . . with when we do our "school." (She is a rigid scheduler.) Sometimes we read first thing after breakfast, sometimes, last thing before bed.

This is not something I see continuing through the elementary years, but I like to think that for this year, we are "playing" school, and that we have a while before we need to be extremely scheduled about WHEN the work is done.

I'm pretty okay with how we're doing it, but wanted to know both your experience in this, what you (or Sonlight) recommend(s), or even what other Sonlight preschool users do. Am I way off to be so flexible? Does my relative have reason to be concerned?

Luke Holzmann said...


I was not hurt by your comment at all! I realize not everyone has been following my story as closely as I have <smile>. But I'm glad that's cleared up, and we are still open to one day getting pregnant <smile>.

As to your question: What time is right to "do school"... here's my opinion based on my experience growing up, what we do at my house, and what I expect we will continue to do for the coming years:

Especially in the preschool programs--where Sonlight suggests you take it easy and enjoy the time, not try to push academics--do not think of any of the reading/activities as assignments that need to be completed. Just read whenever and for however long works for your family!

Although, I'm a big believer in having a routine... so I suggest you keep it fairly consistent whatever you find works best.

You are not "way off" to be so flexible. In fact, that's one of the beautiful things about homeschooling: You do what fits your family best!

My mom did a couple of the read-alouds with us during normal "school hours," but my dad read one of the school books every night as our bedtime story. So, read whenever, wherever, and however works best for you and your family. And keep that up for as long as you can. There are tons of pictures and stories of kids reading books in all sorts of random places (laundry basket, in a tree, upside-down off the couch)... and it works! We read wherever worked for us.

I'm honestly confused as to why your relative is so concerned. Perhaps she is thinking about classroom dynamics or something else that would make the flexibility of homeschooling impossible, but I suffered no ill-effects from the flexibility afforded by homeschooling <smile>. In fact, that's how college is, in many ways: You sign up for classes when will be best for you, and you do homework wherever you can best work: The common room, the library, the park, the coffee shop...

Again, I do believe routine can be very helpful for students, so that is good to set. But I don't think it should be ridged. We go through the same pattern every day, but it doesn't matter if we start at exactly the same time or not.

Hope that helps! Please let me know if I can clarify anything or give you any other insights from my experience <smile>.


Sarah said...

Thank you, Luke! I appreciate your time!

Luke Holzmann said...

Happy to be of service! <smile>



luke holzmann
Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
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box day
Box Day
Box Day stories and pictures from Sonlighters across the globe. Share your Box Day story!
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judy wnuk
Judy Wnuk
Sonlight customer champion and homeschooling expert.
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sarita holzmann
Sarita Holzmann
Co-founder and president of Sonlight Curriculum.
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