This fall my youngest will have higher expectations on the papers he will write. This does not include the AP class we are overpaying for. No, this is within our household. Because of my continuing education, I’ve been tasked with teaching my son how to write or more correctly how to do citations.

The program I am in requires Chicago format citation. I guess historians like this style better than APA or MLA. Chicago or Turabian is generally used for history. APA is generally used for psychology, and MLA is used for literary studies. Is there a difference? Yes, it is basically an arrangement of information issue as can be seen below:


Vanderbilt University. “New model of cosmic stickiness favors ‘Big Rip’ demise of universe.” ScienceDaily. (accessed July 1, 2015).


Vanderbilt University. (2015, June 30). New model of cosmic stickiness favors ‘Big Rip’ demise of universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 1, 2015 from


Vanderbilt University. “New model of cosmic stickiness favors ‘Big Rip’ demise of universe.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2015. <>.

These three citation were taken from Science Daily, an online science news website.

If we take a look at journal articles, we can see a huge difference the three.


Frame, Murray. “DUNDEE AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, 1917-1918.” Slavonica 6, no. 1 (April 2000): 75. Academic Search Alumni Edition, EBSCOhost (accessed July 1, 2015).


Frame, M. (2000). DUNDEE AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, 1917-1918. Slavonica, 6(1), 75.


Frame, Murray. “Dundee And The Russian Revolution, 1917-1918.” Slavonica 6.1 (2000): 75. Academic Search Alumni Edition. Web. 1 July 2015.

We can see, the three citations are very similar. Only the Chicago and MLA list the access date. The volume and number (6 and 1) slightly differ in presentation between the three. The publication date (April 2000) is found in different locations between the three. There isn’t too much of a difference.

My preference is the Chicago / Turabian. Why? This is what I am told to use when writing my papers. There are reasons why we have a variation in citations, but this post is not about that. What you should take away is the awareness of citations and the fact there are varieties. These are not the only three citations out there. There is a Harvard and even Brazilian version to name two.

As for my son, he is going to learn how to apply the Chicago / Turabian citation method. This should prepare him for the future in college even if he is asked to use a different method. Being aware of citations and knowing how to apply them will help in the future. My son will be familiar with citations.

Here are three links to help with the understanding and implementation of citations. These are not the only three out there but only the three that came to mind:  Princeton Univ. Citation SamplesBloomsburg Univ. Citation Styles, and Purdue Online Writing


Birth Order Baloney

May 30, 2015 1 comment

There are many beliefs people have and most turn out to be nonsense. Even homeschooling parents can get things wrong. I am quite certain there are mistakes in my beliefs about issues. Often times we are met with a coincidence and believe there is some special meaning or reason to the event. It is important that we sometimes detach ourselves from issues or subjects we are not familiar with and assess what we know, in order to get the proper perspective.

I was reading a homeschool parent’s blog about birth order recently. She was talking about the needs of children particularly the firstborn. There was a list of firstborn characteristics: reliable, conscientious, structured, cautious, controlling, achievers and perfectionists. As I read these while thinking of firstborns, I was chuckling at the silliness of this myth. Allow me to counter this.

My oldest child has none of these characteristics. If we are simply looking at this black and white. He’s not controlling or a perfectionist whatsoever. Reliable? Sometimes yes and no. He isn’t even structured. If you describe my son with these seven words, I wouldn’t recognize him. If I look at my oldest sibling, these do not apply either. My spouse’s oldest sibling is none of these, too. As I went around looking at firstborns I know, not one matches these descriptions. Does my youngest have any of these? Again, not really. These words are simple too simplified not unlike going to a fortune teller who provides you with generalizations. It sounds great but not really.

She continues on with education. The reality is my oldest sibling has only a bachelors degree. No different than anyone else in my family except my middle sibling and I have take graduate courses. Again, my spouse’s oldest sibling never went to college and has the least amount of education. As I search families I know, the idea of the firstborn having more education if basically false.

Are firstborns natural leaders? Yes and no. The simple truth is anyone can be a leader. This kind homeschooling parent is forcing her children into spots while ignoring the reality. She is ignoring some characteristics while applying those she wants to fit into her idea of firstborn needs.

Are there differences between siblings? Yes. Each child experiences a different reality or childhood if you will. Does position in a family matter? We know firstborn children are treated differently by parents for this is their first child and the parents are learning, Having a second child affects the firstborn depending the age of the firstborn. There is a change in family dynamics and the age of the first child makes a difference on how the child reacts and experiences. The same applies to the second child and so forth.

Here are more of her examples. “To be noticed and appreciated.” Everyone needs this. “To be trusted to self-correct.” What does this even mean? “Some alone time with Mom and Dad.” Doesn’t every child need this? I could go on, but this is poor advice from this well-intentioned homeschooler in my opinion.

We can’t pigeonhole a child to a particular characteristic. When we reads books about child raising, we need to scrutinize the author. Even authors that appear to be qualified can be most unqualified to talk about the subject. Observe your child and go with what you believe your child needs. Birth order has some type of influence but it is the environmental sources and genetic design of your child that dictates the most. If your child has a need, meet it.

Enjoy your children and do not try to categorize them.

School year 2015- 2016

There has always been one part of homeschooling we as a family do and that is involved our children in the decisions whether it is curriculum or to continue with homeschooling. We not only value their opinion but also they see themselves as having something to offer. This isn’t a complete democracy. My sons are young and wisdom is earned with experience and years.

We were leaning towards sending our last child to a private school. There were many well thought out reasons for us to do so. It was understood what we would sacrifice in order to gain in other areas of need. Approaching our child, he balked at this decision. He was allowed to state his case. The discussion lasted for a short while, and his argument did not hold up. His brother even decided against him. Yes, we have appeals. It is to come back with a stronger case and win the main educator over. The next day I was presented with the new argument. The Educator and I discussed this idea of my son’s. It is not perfect but workable. There are doubts to my son’s logic, but it is good enough to continue one more year.

What is the reward for my son? He must take another AP course, and we are trying to get him to concede to a second. As I stated in an earlier post, this class is more for college acceptance than gaining a credit. These AP courses are a validation to potential schools that our son has been educated. He must participate in sports. Sports is an outlet to interact with actual humans rather than virtual humans (friends through electronics). There is a group of homeschoolers that meet on Tuesdays to play sports. He must now attend these functions. Also, he has me looming in the distance with mathematics. I’ve already told him that I will be more strict with him than his brother. I learned a valuable lesson with my oldest.

Okay, the lesson is never be soft. I allowed my oldest to occasionally use math formulas when taking an exam. This doesn’t help reinforce the education and causes struggles later on in math. The oldest won’t admit it, but he knows I was correct. He admitted, he thought we were punishing him at the time. I don’t get that one. Never punished a child with more or harder school work. School should be as fun as you can get.

The youngest son has so much educational potential. He is also requires a heavy dose of social interaction. He is unable to entertain himself. It continues to be my belief that mental health needs to be taken care of with homeschooling or any type of schooling or even non-schooling situations. My youngest needs to feel liked and wanted where my oldest does not care what you think. Funny how children from the same family can have different strengths and weaknesses.

We will begin a new school year in August. Actually, my youngest has required reading throughout the summer. It actually begins now whether he is ready or not. We feel better at reinforcing positive morals for one more year. It is a shame to see so many children whose morals suffer because of public and even private school. I am not referring to religious morals but morals on how we treat one another, integrity, empathy, compassion and kindness.

Do not believe everything you are told.

Years ago I was researching global warming. Most of it was through online sources which led me blogs. These were the most prevalent and may be so today. There was one site I connected with because the blogger had similar interests with me and lived nearby. He always noted that he was a publicized expert, though I took it with a grain of salt.

Reading a few of his anger filled global warming posts, I decided to do more in depth research using his sources so I may understand his side. I asked for his resources, after all he was making extraordinary claims which required extraordinary evidence. A request for his sources is a valid request. Any researcher or reader would like to have the opportunity to vet the research or whatever else it may be. I saw this as an opportunity to learn, understand and maybe even agreeing with his point of view, though not as angrily. It was a moment for me to educate myself. Kindly, I asked for his sources in order for me to learn and understand.

A day later he responded to my comments. It was typical of his blog posts. There was much anger and insults thrown at me for not already knowing the “truth”. If I didn’t know where the sources were, he wasn’t going to waste the time to provide them. He basically denigrated me and made every attempt in his return post to invalidate me. A vitriolic attack for a simple and valid request. There was no hint of doubt or accusation to his posts. I just wanted to see the information myself.

He hasn’t been the only global warming person to act this way. I have seen it everywhere from the internet to the television to people in my community. These people treat anyone not blindly believing in the most acrimonious and belittling manner. Local people are not as angry in many instances, but they have their denigrating movement and quip to insult you especially in front of people.

What is the most disappointing are the academic people advocating change on behalf of global warming with biasness. There is one young mathematician that believes in global warming that she’ll sacrifice his knowledge in order to push for a cause that she doesn’t clearly understand or know. She sticks her nose in areas she is not familiar with or prepared for. She is blinded by a propaganda belief and willingly follows this belief to the edge. Shame on her for her actions, but she is unapologetic for the mythical cause is most important.

These people understand little of what is going on because they choose not to understand. Their religious belief in global warming overwhelms everything else. Earth is an interesting lab where changes 100 years ago are displaying the effects today. If we rehabilitate our land, that is putting wetlands back in or allowing for streams and rivers to overflow onto the flood plains for example, we can solve many issues we see today. If we listen to people more familiar with the environment, the Inuit or similar groups, we may avoid making tragic mistakes.

I can’t confirm CO2 doesn’t affect the climate, but I can say the way we have altered our landscape around us has. Deforestation has done more to increase temperatures than CO2. Changing whether by accident or intentionally a waterways natural flow or path can affect the microclimate. A single railroad bed through a wet land can change the hydraulics, so can a major city, wind mills or even major solar power centers. Instead of chasing a red herring, we should focus our money and efforts on the problems we can fix and improve our Earth.

Categories: Outdoors Tags:

Difficult Choices

Two homeschooling families I know have sent their teenage sons to school. Both sons asked to go to school and are enjoying this experience. One goes to a public school while the other is attending a private school. The families still homeschool but with one child in a school. What happened and what went wrong?

The answer is nothing went wrong and nothing happened in the household. What these parents recognized is a social need on their teenagers part. Not all children are alike and should not be treated as if they are the same. Homeschooling parents need to recognize this as much as public school parents need to recognize what is best for their children.

My oldest thrived in the homeschool setting. My wife and I know if our oldest had gone to public school, he would have never succeeded. Part of this is his learning style and another part is the poor quality, public school. He would have gone to a private school but success would not be guaranteed. He is a type of learner that public schools are not designed to deal with. It is not cost effective to adapt education to him. Public school is not for everyone!

My youngest is different than his brother. His learning style is 180° from his brother’s style. We have had to change how we educate. He would thrive in a public school. In the local public school, he would be a 4.0+ student and never learn. His full potential would never be reached even if we send him to a private school.

There is one area where my youngest suffers. This area is in socialization with those of his own age. Unlike his brother, a few close friends does not help his mental development. With the oldest being away, the youngest is now alone with two adults and few youths his own age to interact with. This is not healthy. Sports and activities are not as helpful as we had hoped for it doesn’t give him enough interaction time to develop socially. He thrives on new intellectual experiences and not with those holding the same views. Now may be the time to make a switch.

We will sacrifice great potential in education for what I believe is mental health if homeschooling is stopped. Our local homeschool groups do not offer the contrasting views we want our son to experience. A school will open my son to unwanted experiences about sex, drugs and even violence. Their is lying and deceit at school. We are hoping our educating our son in morals for all of these years have been entrenched and will prevent the negative views from developing.

This is not about homeschooling hindering socialization. It is more about a human needing more than what we could provide for. These other two boys needed more for their well-being. These three boys, my son included, need something in addition to what they were getting while homeschooled. The first two families have thought a sacrifice was worth the mental health of their children. There are times we must recognize that homeschooling may not be the solution.

For my family, we are left to ask, “Is homeschooling best for our son, Youth2?”

Potpouri of Homeschooling

March 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Graduate school has be writing each week and reading well over 100 pages each week. It is much to as I work full-time and help to manage a family which includes residence maintenance. I’ve seen over half of my class drop out this term. For some it is not what they think and others the time required for the class is too much.

The one thing about having a ninth grader taking a higher level AP course is the chance of running into an area where the student has never studied and therefore can longer proceed without instruction. What am I talking about? In the world of science and math, you encounter sections such as logarithms where you may need it in one area of science or math but not in others. Geometry doesn’t really require logarithms and you can get by without understanding logarithms in calculus but you will hit a snag with calculus or even statistics where there is a section requiring some knowledge. Now I must enter the world of math and tutor for a short time. Talk about running out of time for graduate school.

Score one for homeschool on the college front. My oldest, formerly Youth 1, has been doing well in college thus proving homeschooling can work. What is more important is a professor’s statement about how my son, a homeschooler, provides well thought out discussion comments unlike non-homeschoolers. This is a validation for homeschoolers wondering if they are doing the right thing.

Need more proof of the positives of homeschooling. Youth 2 is experiencing the negatives of public school through his sport. The group of youths he played soccer with are treating him rudely and ignoring him. He has taken this in stride though it may hurt inside. Since he is on a team with players from different communities, he has had no problems getting along with the other players. We see on a daily basis the bullying, rudeness, poor actions and closed mindedness by the public school students. My sons go out of their way to not alienate as well as show empathy and kindness to others. They have always provided encouragement to those with lesser skills at sport or education. The background for all of this is not only my spouse and me providing our morals to our sons but the reduction in negative influence on them because of homeschooling.

Our educational system in America is suffering on many grounds. We will never truly fix the problem, but we can improve upon the problems. The first thing we need to do is get parents and teachers to wake up. Most parents have no clue how close their teenage youth are to being arrested because of their actions like bullying or even fighting. These are the same parents that tend to believe their teenagers are more adult than child. Sadly, they like most people are unaware that teenagers do not and cannot think like adults for their brain is still under development. The decision making process is not complete, and they need adult supervision. Even in our Twenties, we are still developing mentally and need guidance. Without guidance teenagers are more prone to error. This does not mean helicoptering but moral guidance and structure. What morals should apply? That is not up to me to decide. I could give what I think are proper morals, but would everyone agree to my morals?

Finally, we have had a nice year of schooling so far. Everyone in the family is worn out from education. This is just our style. We start early and get it done so we are not stuck in doors in May. I’m the only outsider on this one since I’m intending to school year round. Why am I doing this?

Categories: Homeschool Tags:

The Weather Did It

March 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Weather influences everything on the planet whether it be a fish, reptile, animal, plant or even a stone. Weather will affect whatever it may be. It is no secret weapon or any such utilized instrument to perform a function designed by man. Weather is very unpredictable and cannot be used as a consistent weapon of choice. This does not preclude weather from being involved in events involving man or man’s idea of using weather to gain an advantage. Weather is there and humans are only a flip of a coin away from benefitting or suffering from weather.

Reading Genghis Khan’s Secret Weapon Was Rain article on the National Geographic website, you are left with the impression the Mongols saw an opportunity with the weather and decided to wait for the rain and actively use this weather to their advantage. “The Mongols saw their opportunity and seized it,” is an inaccurate statement on many accounts. The Mongols, though aware of the weather, did not decide to go on a rampage because they saw an opportunity. It was not as simple as that. Before Genghis Khan took power, the Chinese were dealing with Mongol raids. Why hadn’t the Mongols taken the opportunity before Khan? Even Khan himself did not see the weather as providing the impetus for him to conquer so much.

Amy Hessel, a professor at West Virginia University, is quoted as saying the change in the weather, “must have created the ideal conditions for a charismatic leader to emerge out of the chaos.” This ignores the skill and determination Khan was possessed with. She is correlating the change in weather from drought to wet as causing Khan to come from nowhere to develop such a powerful army. This is simply wrong. History has shown Genghis Khan was an intelligent man with a drive to succeed. The change in weather did not develop this in Khan. What the weather could have done and has done for many other successful and unsuccessful leaders is provide a window of opportunity for a man to succeed just as men have used terrain in battles to become victorious. There is nothing remarkable about this. Khan was going to succeed without this wet period. What we can’t say is would Khan have been as successful without this wet period?

History is full of crossroads that affect the future. Weather is only a part of the puzzle. There is no need to make it as this amazing game changer of history. The weather has always played a role in human decision just as terrain has done. It just didn’t do what the article says it did for the Mongols.

The article mentions the data 1211 – 1225, but this does not coincide with Khan’s rise in power. It is in 1186 when Temujin, Genghis Khan, is elected khan of the Mongols at the age of 24. By this point, he had been fighting for a number of years. His power was growing as he consolidated the tribes. In 1197 he suffers defeat and is soundly defeated. Like any king or leader, they either go into hiding or lay low until they can build up strength.

To this point, I would say Khan is learning to be a leader and learning how to win. He is learning the science of war. He would learn an idea that weather could not teach. He would begin to delegate authority based on one’s merit as well as loyalty. This decision alone would be the factor that would drive Khan to conquering as much as he did. We can look at Subutai as an example of Khan’s understanding of leadership. The wetter climate was not the reason. It may have made conquering easier but not the opportunity as the article mentions.

Khan continues to battle the factions within the Mongol lands. Finally by 1206 Khan completes the unification of the Mongols. The Mongol Empire is born. This is before this climatic change that supposedly caused the Mongols to see the opportunity. What Khan saw was available resources. The weather may have helped provide the additional resources, but it was Khan who saw the opportunity years earlier. As Khan attached the Chinese kingdoms, he saw the weakness in each kingdom and acted accordingly. Khan would continue his magnificently, brutal conquering for years

The change in weather in Mongolia may have assisted Khan in some ways, but I would find it very surprising to see if another Mongol tribal leader would have been as successful if they were in power instead of Khan. The change in the weather and Khan’s rise to power was a coincidence. Without the wetter weather, Khan would have been successful just as without Khan there would not have been a great Mongol Empire. There was no “it’s rainier than normal and we have a surplus. Let’s go and conquer!”

Weather plays a role in history but not in the capacity as described. What happened with the Mongols took a man with the ability to learn, lead and conquer. The weather was ancillary with respect to the Mongols conquering as much as they did. It is also a coincidence that the weather event ended around 1225 and Khan died in 1227 at the age of 65.


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