Archive for March, 2013

So Many Choices But Only A Few Options

March 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Youth 1 is taking college course at the local university. This is the first step in this child’s future, if this future is selected. It doesn’t mean this school will be the selected school. We begun our university search two years ago and are now coming down to the wire. Next fall Youth 1 will apply to a number of schools. One would think there would be excitement with Youth 1, but this is not the case. We have looked at schools from FIT, not Fashion Institutue of Technology, try the second selection in google. There has been Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Penn State, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware and I even think Connecticut. The Ivy League schools shouldn’t be excluded either. For various reasons, the mid-West schools haven’t been looked at as heavily. Alabama was ruled out by me.

What should a homeschool family expect when the reach this point? Look at your local high school for help. Seriously! Our local high school guidance counselors have been more than helpful. We have been allowed to go to a few after school meetings concerning financial aid. We were able to attend a college night where schools came to recruit. Contacting the schools of choice is no different for homeschool parents than “normal” parents.

We are looking at Youth 1’s interest of study as the primary motivator for selecting schools. You do not see religious institution listed because these schools do not offer what Youth 1 wants. Small teaching schools have been ruled out, too. Youth 1 did look at the Merchant Marines. Don’t ask why. This should be the reason for any family looking at schools with their child. If you want to study Ceramic Engineering, you don’t apply to a liberal arts school.

Another inhibitor is the distance. The West coast has been omitted because of distance. Now if the education is fully paid then I’m looking. If Youth 1 wants to attend Hawaii, we have logistics to look at, and it is not a pleasant journey going from the East to the islands. You have to think about the effort of taking you child to the school, holidays and end of the year. Do you want to spend three or four days travel to deliver and pick up your child?

The size of school matters. One of the main reasons to visit schools is to determine the fit for the teen. There are small schools, medium schools and large schools. The reality is none of these are too different. If you go to a large school, you will only spend your time in a small portion of the school. My area of study kept me from the business college, Hotel Management group and some others. The best part about a large school are the resources. You can’t beat a big university. This ranges from activities outside of class as well as what you are studying. You will not have the professor-student relationship at a large school. You get close to that in your junior and senior year. You are a number at a large school. The large school offers more than the smaller schools, but the student needs to seek them out and not be passive. I’m being redundant here, so I’ll stop.

Tuition is the last item to look at. I don’t know if Youth 1 will end up with a scholarship. We are new in this area. Youth 1 has found opportunities for scholarships, but it will be a while before we find out. There are the student loans. My child will be buying a house with this method. Tuition will no stop my child from applying. We have until the end to decide based on tuition. Friends of mine with children who were in the same position a year or two ago tell me that tuition is not as big of a deal as I think. As a homeschooler, how do I earn these scholarships? Research your local area for what is offered. The Rotary or Lions Clud or some other group may offer scholarships. Some time schools just plain want the teen and are willing to pay full tuition for the teen. Yes, that has happened.

The number of schools on Youth 1’s list are really not as many as we think. The list of schools I mentioned early are really no more than two or three. There are a few I didn’t list. Come fall the list may have changed once more. It is my child that is going to school and not me.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags: ,

My #4 Post Is Not Very Good

March 24, 2013 Leave a comment

As I finished #4, I wasn’t happy with it. I could not put to words what I was trying to do. My thoughts gravitated to homeschooling in general. What is my point of the blog? I know what it was initially. I also know what it morphed into. My intent was to bring a little reality to homeschooling. After homeschooling for around ten years, I have learned much. I’ve been there; done that. What I haven’t done, I’m doing now.

This little series that I have created through numbers is the original homeschool blog intent. It is to provide the reality of homeschooling and truths. The one thing I have learned in life is nothing is black and white. Homeschooling didn’t teach me this; living the years I have lived has taught me. Looking back, I often wished there was someone with the perfect advice. Instead I was met with inconsistent advice and a lack of understanding. Todd Wilson’s humour told us that we were not so different. He didn’t tell us how to do it. We learned on our own even when we were members of different homeschool groups. No one matched my family. Truth be told, we related to public school families more than homeschool families. I do not think that is so different with other homeschoolers. This is why I wrote my #4. When I got to know some of these “perfect” families, I noticed how imperfect they were. These families hid their issues. What I did learn was as the families aged out of homeschooling, they no longer hid the reality. That is how the first homeschool family I visited was. Their last child was a junior. Gone were the fronts they put up.

Homeschoolers are insecure with their education. It is normal to be so. Without this insecurity, how can you find mistakes in your teaching and correct them? If you are secure with how you are educating your children then you do them a great disservice. When homeschooling parents open up, you find them frazzled and full of anxiety about their children. Some more so than others. Many of the questions I hear are the same questions that race in the mind of my spouse and me.

I have found homeschool children to be not so special contrary to many of the stories I’m told. They are just as immature, shy and confident as the non-homeschooled kid. Sorry, that is the trust no matter what “study” has been done. The parent is a major influence with their child, and there lies secret to raising children. It is not a secret, but we treat it as one.

If there is one bit of advice I can actually provide, it is “Relax”. It is not how to teach nor what to teach.

Categories: Homeschool Tags:

#4 Beware Of The Homeschooler

March 24, 2013 1 comment

When my family was first looking into homeschooling, we were told many “truths” about homeschooling. I’ll be honest, it was enticing. Time invested in homeschooling has opened my eyes. Homeschoolers are liars. Okay, I’m over doing it a bit with the word “liar”, but we deceive in every way in order to hide our inadequacies. Forgive us for we do know what we are doing. Liar is too harsh of a word. We tend to be self-conscious about our homeschooling and thus put up a front. What are some of the lies I speak of?

Our children are not genius’. You generally hear all the good “stuff”. Inside our minds are kept the dark secrets. Johnny really is horrible at spelling and Jane can’t add worth a darn. Spend enough time around these children and you see the truth. They are no more advanced than your children. Those of us that admit our child’s imperfections secretly believe they’re a genius.

A homeschooler’s house tends to be unkept. You will find homeschool material littered where ever their is education. Take our house for example. It is not uncommon to find our dining room table unable to be used because of a project, homework or something related to homeschooling. We have on average three rooms dedicated to homeschooling and not the intended purpose. Our first visit to a homeschooling family was like this. You will find that many homeschoolers will not own up to this. To be fair, there are homeschoolers with clean houses.

Here is one that caught me the first time I heard it. You can do everything in three hours, and public schools only spend three hours a day of real teaching. I am here to tell you that if you are not into your child’s education, then yes you can teach in three hours. Only children do not apply. Youth 2 is able to do the work in three hours and it shows. We run our school from morning to way at night; we include the weekends. I have met children that do homeschooling for three hours a day. Let me say I understand why schools want homeschooling to cease.

Allow me to provide an example of my first and third tall tales We had a genius, yes the mother thought her child was one, studying the same subject as Youth 1. A deal was made for the Educator to teach the first half and this mother to teach the second half. Youth 1 would end up never being taught by this mother. Her child had no clue what was going on in the subject being studied. This child couldn’t answer the simplest questions and didn’t read anything. A genius this child was not. Apparently Mom left the education to her child and it showed. Her house was spotless, and I never saw any education material. Coincidence?

Our vacation was a homeschool education. Nope. Not really. Oh, we may have applied a few lessons here and there by visiting a historic site or museum. It really is nothing more than a field trip in most cases. We do it all of the time. We go to the beach in the South East and will hit historic sites for my own education. We are not studying the Civil War but it becomes part of our curriculum. We find sea creatures and use them as a part of our studies. The original intent is not for education. Yes, we have done trips to Jamestown for education only, but in general we are doing it for the education.

While I’m at it. We love homeschooling, because we can come home late and start school later. This is one of those secrets that many homeschoolers do not admit to. Yep, we’ve gone to sporting events and come home after midnight. The next day ends up being shorter in duration for education.

The bottom line is homeschoolers compete with each other. I can’t say this happens for everyone, but it is common. Our version of events changes to make us look better and feel better. At some point, I believe families realize the pointlessness of it. This problem persists where there is a commonality in homeschooling or one group needs to be better than the other.

If you are interested in the reality of homeschooling, look at Todd Wilson’s comics. His comics brings the truth in the form of humour. The Educator was brought to tears one year at a homeschool convention. This comic relieved much of the fear and stress. Allow me to borrow form Todd the line in one of his comics – “Oh look, you made my favorite… Frosted Flakes, again.”

Categories: Homeschool Tags:

The Useless Tool

March 24, 2013 Leave a comment

This year has been the year of breakdowns from appliances to me. Even our vehicles are not immune to this problem. The home improvements may have to wait because of all our our unexpected issues. Funny, the jokes about me didn’t breakdown. What didn’t fail was my observation at Sears.

We visited Sears for the several major appliances we needed to replace. There was one appliance we found that was what we were looking for. Sorry Lowes, you didn’t have what we wanted this time. Anyway, talking with the sales people, I noticed they had a sling. At first my thoughts were, “they’re having a rash of arm or shoulder injuries here.” No true. They were carrying a computerized instrument called an iPad. As we would ask questions about a particular appliance they would go to a place where they could set the instrument down and then point, click and struggle. When we finally purchased the item, our sales person walked over to this computer and started to work on the iPad. In the end, she had to use the computer anyway for our purchase and she used a calculator to calculate our discount.

I was able to observe Sears using the iPad on multiple occasions while searching for all the appliances needed. What “Fanboy” decided an iPad was needed for everyone? The iPad was worthless! Those that used the iPad to locate items or prices took longer than those that gave up and went to the computer. It was frustrating to me, the customer, to have these people playing around on the iPad. The age group didn’t matter nor did the experience with iPads. This is from several different Sears stores.

A while back I wrote about the Microsoft Surface and referenced the iPad. I still stay with my opinion. The iPad was not required at Sears. In fact, it is a waste of money to have one in this instance. Neither one of these instruments works well in this case.

Categories: Electronics Tags: , ,

Pre-calculus – A Teaching Textbook

March 23, 2013 4 comments

Youth 1 is near the end of A Teaching Textbook – Pre-Calculus. This last section is the introduction of calculus with limits and derivatives. I have had to do some instruction beyond that of the program cds.

What is my final assessment of this curriculum. I would have to give it a grade of B. I’m on the fence as to whether or not to give it a B+. What are my reasons for this grade?

I have found this course like its predecessors to provide a mode of education that relieves the Educator and myself of a burden. This doesn’t eliminate our responsibility. We do monitor and instruct, but it gives The Educator the freedom to work with Youth 2 as Youth 1 watches a lesson. The Educator isn’t comfortable with this subject and therefore feels more relieved with A Teaching Textbooks educating and me monitoring. The biggest plus of this course are the homework and test answers. There is a cd for each that will explain in detail how to solve the problem. This is a BIG for those of you without the mathematical confidence. Youth 1 gives this program a thumbs up over Saxon Math. Saxon’s upper math program is not endorsed by us at this time. I can attest that Youth 1 has an understanding of the concepts. This is the biggest plus! You need to understand the concepts.

The homework has two sections: a practice set and a homework set. This consists of six of the first and 22 of the second. You will find similar problems between the two such as ‘e’ and ‘f’ of the practice set are the same type as that of number 20 and 22 of the homework. This gives you the opportunity to teach using the practice set and allowing the student to work on the homework in the case of difficulty. Each lesson has problems from the past chapters. This provides a refresher much to the dismay of the student.

Now to the negatives. After 40 lessons in, it is annoying to have each problem have the same introduction. There comes a time where some obvious steps can be omitted. We are now in the upper 80’s and it is a pain to have the same reduction operations repeated; boring! The lesson plan follows each section and that can be difficult at times. I know Youth 1 should look at past sections but this doesn’t always happen. Some of their explanations are more vague. Here is where you need the additional detail. Their explanation of limits could have more depth for example. Since you likely won’t have a professor to ask, googling is the only option to help with difficult concepts. Yes, we used googling when Youth 1 could understand me.

Ideally, I would like a program that is self-sufficient. This is not the case for this program but none exist. You would need a professor on-call. This is where having googling skills is very helpful for a youth and parent. Teaching Textbooks does a nice job with this program. If there is one improvement to be made, it would be having supplementary section problems and tests. I found myself constructing extra homework problems and a few tests.

I would recommend this product.

This Isn’t Your Flintstones Gay Old Time

March 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Last evening, Youth 1 visited our neighbors for a few hours. Youth 1 was excited to show the neighbors a school project my child completed. A phone call to me to ask permission to stay a while, my evening was virtually quiet. The wife took the opportunity to ask my child about homosexuality and our religious belief concerning homosexuality.

Initially when my child told me, I was put out. I knew what she was up to. As nice as she is and we do get along, her viewpoints are often skewed for gain. She doesn’t respect the opposing viewpoints. My child was under fire with this person. Listening to my child’s account made me think not about homosexuality but more of my child’s growth and education. Yes, I still a bit put out, but Youth 1 is growing and has an opinion, too.

I have taught my children to not hate people with homosexual persuasions. Our religion states it is okay to be homosexual, but it is a sin to act upon it. This is an often missed statement by many of our religion that no longer practice because of a gay relative. The truth is, those of our religion do NOT know or understand their religion. They are too busy selling their souls to fuel their narcissism. My two youths mostly display this. Youth 2 displays this less, but it is more of immaturity than actual belief.

My two youths opinions are formed with religion on the right and the parents on the left. I have instructed my two youths my thoughts on homosexuality based on reading research on the subject and listening to a hundred or more individuals claiming to be gay contact a doctor concerning issues. Even the few homosexuals that I have known from my past have helped me to educate my children. This education is separated into two separate areas. One I would call clinical and the other personal.

My clinical version is based on the science I read and not opinions of pro-homosexuals or anti-homosexuals. The first fact is to recognize that homosexuality is mental disorder not unlike schizophrenia, bipolar or agoraphobia. Heck, we consider dependencies a mental disorder! This is where many people take issue with me. Sorry, we need to recognize it for what it is. A male is designed to engage in a relation with a female and vice versa. If the individual is attracted to the same sex then there is a problem. I know many if not most modern people considered it not a mental disorder, but then why should we call any mental disorder a disorder??

The personal side of this concerning how we treat people. They are human beings and deserve the respect that should be afforded to a human. You do not have to agree with them, but you can get along with them. I have taught my two youths to not treat homosexuals differently than they would a stranger. It is possible for them to have gay friends. I also believe based on the studies I have read that “gay” scouts and “straight” scouts should not mingle. It is no different than not having female and male youths tent together. This is purely biological.

My children will develop their own opinions based off of the family and religious beliefs. If there is one aspect I wish they carry, it is their treatment of gay people. They will not recognize them in a category, but recognize them as fellow humans.

We all have our viewpoints about this subject. My views are not supported by many people from both sides. That is fine with me. There are plenty of people that will have their hackle raised because I consider it to be truly what it is, a mental disorder. Some will be upset that I am not believing they should be punished, whatever that may be.

What started out as a neighbor asking Youth 1 what seemed to be innocent questions is turning out to be more of a political statement than a casual conversation. I guess I am still put out. There was no need to ask a 16-yr old those questions. I know why they were asked. Today, I must visit to stop a political outburst on a celebration of an accomplishment by Youth 1 that has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Categories: Education, Family Life

Fundraising And The Misery It Brings

March 19, 2013 Leave a comment

If there is one event that I shy away from, it is fundraising. It is made worse when I know the item that is being pawned off is not good. Having two youths involved in activities, I have become too familiar with this event, and I shall always hate it.

Walking door to door in blustery 40° weather is no fun as an adult. Watching a child do the same while trying to sell and item I do not think is very good is horrible. Youth 2 spent an hour of our time visiting approximately twenty houses only to sell to two houses. Two other houses donated. This can be considered a 20% success rate for our hour of pain. Hearing how rude some people are is saddening. The next day, Youth 1 and Youth 2 spent an hour selling in a snow storm. The success rate was much better. For their pain, I washed the dishes and took out the garbage as they were selling.

The problem with this fundraiser is my two youths are expected to sell their entire allotment. If they do not, they are then expected to purchase the leftover or the parents are expected to do the same. Sorry. I can not justify taking money out of the budget an alterating the needs of the family.

Every parent dreads doing this. We understand the necessity of it. The biggest problem of fundraising is the item that is to be sold. The majority of items are not desired. Often times the items are overpriced candy or pizza. There are cheap items that can be purchased. This makes selling very difficult. Now apply the door to door selling approach and you have pain for all.

I have been on fundraising committees. That too is no fun. The goal was always to find an item a person would want and target that individual. Flowers are an example. Depending on the time of year, flowers can be a wanted item and churches are a nice place to sell. If you can negotiate a fair price with a nursery, your selling price will be in line with the market. We did that. In fact our prices were slightly cheaper. The goal was to minimize the pain to the participating families and provide an item the customer wants. When you sell $1,000 of flowers on a first time fundraiser without pressuring, you are doing something right.

I still hate fundraisers. A saleperson I’m not. Doing all of the leg work to set up the function is more enjoyable.

Next in line for Youth 2 is another fundraiser for soccer. Sigh. We will be given the pizza forms or whatever it is to sell. We will buy $20 worth of items we don’t want and return the form. At some point, my neighbors will dread seeing us. That is why we limit what my children sell. This current fundraiser is all my children will sell. The pizza forms will not be sold.

Having lived on all sides of fundraising, I find no pleasure. I have purchased items from sellers, sold and run fundraisers. None of it is fun. I am actually counting down to the days I no longer need to sell. Youth 1 is less than a year. Youth 2 has five or six years left.

Have I mentioned I hate fundraisers.

Categories: Fundraising Tags: