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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pictures from the Alaska Tour

Posted by jlwile on January 25, 2010

I am back in Indiana now, and I am already missing Alaska. I just never got tired of seeing backdrops like this:

Typical View from Juneau

Typical View from Juneau

As I said before, I was speaking to parents and educators in Alaska’s largest public high school, called IDEA. It is an innovative partnership between a public school and home education. Essentially, the school gives parents the resources to educate their children at home, including curriculum, teacher support, and regular evaluations. It allows for a lot of flexibility so that many people can be comfortable homeschooling under the supervision of the state. Independent homeschooling (with no direct government intervention) is also done in Alaska, so IDEA is another solution that helps to meet the diverse educational needs of the people of Alaska. Other states should look at IDEA and see how they can adapt it for themselves.

I started my tour in Juneau (Yes I know, but Juneau?). I actually got “fogged in” after I spoke in Juneau. The mountains trap clouds so well that fog often makes it hard for airplanes to land. You can see a bit of that from this picture:

Mountains behind a cloud layer

Mountains behind a cloud layer


Because of the fog, I actually missed my second gig, which was at Soldotna. The people were wonderful about it, however. Some of them traveled quite a distance to get to my next stop (Homer), but some were unable to make it. Homer was overall probably the most beautiful of my stops. In the late morning, it looked like this:

Amazing view from Homer

Amazing view from Homer


The vantage point from which I took that picture allowed me to get a picture of where I was about to speak:

Best Venue Ever

Best Venue Ever


Needless to say, I had a hard time concentrating on my talks, because the view was breathtaking. After my talks, I “hung out” at a coffeehouse called Armageddon Cafe. I took part in a great discussion about creationism. The only vocal old-earth creationist was clearly feeling a bit “picked on,” so I helped out where I could, pointing out to the young-earth creationists that the early church didn’t really believe in Genesis days being 24-hours long and that the idea of no animal death before the fall is at best extraBiblical (it is unBiblical in my opinion).

One of the great things about Alaska is that bald eagles are everywhere. Here is a picture I got of an eagle on a streetlight.

Majesty on a streetlight

Majesty on a streetlight


From Homer I went to Anchorage and then Wasilla. In Wasilla, I spoke at another venue that made it hard to concentrate. Here is a part of the view from that venue:

Mountains behind trees

Mountains behind trees


Perhaps the place it was hardest to concentrate was my final stop – Fairbanks. It wasn’t the view, even though that was gorgeous as well. It also wasn’t the cold. 20 below zero (not counting the wind chill) really isn’t that bad. What made it hard to concentrate is that two people came from Barrow to see me. It cost them each $660 just for the plane ticket. Throughout my talks, I wondered if I was worth that kind of investment. In the end, they seemed to think so, but I am still on the fence about it.

So Alaska was wonderful. I had been there twice before – once in the summer and once in the Spring. This, however, was an altogether different experience. In addition to the amazing winter sights, the people were truly amazing. Alaska’s state government got something right with this IDEA program. I hope that other states can take a lesson from the “upper one.”*

*I decided to start calling Alaska the “upper one” because they kept referring to this part of the U.S. as “the lower forty-eight.”

Comments

8 Responses to “Pictures from the Alaska Tour”
  1. Torie Pendleton says:

    Dr. Wile,

    I have to say I am very happy I was able to hear you speak. I didn’t actually know about the seminar until Thursday evening because I am not an IDEA parent. We are with Cyberlynx, which out of another school district here in AK.

    Anyway, I was specifically encouraged by the High School Session. I brought my 14 year-old,10th grade daughter;I knew she needed to hear from someone,other than me,that home education was the best choice. She was very encouraged by your lecture and actually went away talking about which test she wanted to take for college. Thank you!
    Up until that point, she had been avoiding the subject everytime I brought it up. But, you gave her new insight into her future.We were blessed and encouraged by your facts and presentation.

    I have to agree, Homer is the most beautiful place on earth. Especially sunrise and sunset!I have beautiful pictures from the spit with all the colors of the rainbow present.

    Thank you again.Blessings to you and yours!

    In His Service,

    Torie Pendleton
    Eielson AFB, AK

  2. Dear Dr. Jay,

    Thank you so much for your kind words about Alaska. We enjoyed having you and are very glad you enjoyed being here, we wish it could have been longer. As the coordinator for the Fairbanks workshops I am already hearing back from parents who learned so much at your presentations and are very thankful you were able to come.

    For myself, I am also enjoying your blog very much and learning more and more. Thank you for taking the time to present this information to us. One thing I love is how you use critcal thinking to present your content. You are “critical thinking in action” LOL! I hope that many students and parents visit you here and continue to learn and grow and become…

    Finest Regards,

    Sandy Blewett
    Fairbanks/Interior Alaska Field Rep
    IDEA – Interior Distance Education of Alaska

  3. jlwile says:

    Torie, I am SO GLAD that your daughter found some encouragement from the talk. I tend to focus my homeschooling talks on the parents, so when I see students in the audience, I wonder if they are getting much out of it. Thanks for letting me know that your daughter did!

  4. jlwile says:

    Sandy, thank you for your great hospitality, and for the best fish and chips I have ever eaten. I hope that you continue to enjoy the blog. Perhaps the alien who runs your simulation will be stimulated by what you read :)

  5. The Black Sheep says:

    So jealous! It looks beautiful. There was a bald eagle in Indianapolis on Sunday! Of course it was trained and flying around The Luc for the game, but I’m sure that’s basically the same.

  6. jlwile says:

    Thanks for the post, Black Sheep. I am still waiting to see an avatar!

    Yeah…right…watching the eagles fly free and dive on prey is JUST like watching the trained eagle at the opening ceremonies of a Colts game. Much like eating a microwaved frozen dinner is the same as eating at Eddie Merlot’s!

    I do agree that it was STOOOOPID of me to not quip about seeing Russia. Shooter even reminded me about Sarah Palin, and I still didn’t think of that! I guess I am trying to block that whole election out of my mind.

  7. Beth Fields (and Josh) says:

    Hi Dr. Wile,

    Josh and I were captivated by your presentation in Fairbanks. We have always been pleased with your Apologia curriculum. We are currently in the 4th year of using your studies. Josh has begun, what will become, a life-long love of Science that you instilled in him.

    As far as homeschooling costs, the $660 that we spent for tickets, was our best money spent for homeschooling to date! Your topics for each seminar were timely, informative and educational. As we prepare for the remainder of Josh’s High School years, your talks couldn’t have come at a better time.

    Many thanks, and remember, your invitation to visit Barrow is always open!

    Warm wishes from the Arctic,

    Beth Fields

  8. jlwile says:

    Beth and Josh,

    Thanks so much for your very kind words! I truly do hope to come to Barrow, preferably when the arctic foxes and polar bears are frequenting your backyard!

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