Archive for December, 2013

Homeschool Note Taking

December 27, 2013 2 comments

There are many, many pleasing aspects of homeschooling. All homeschoolers could name more than just a few such as spending time with our children and watching our children grow with knowledge. The positives are many, but there are some downsides to homeschooling. They increase the more inattentive the parent is. There is one downside I have yet to find a good solution to.

Taking notes in a lecture setting is not available with homeschooling families even when considering co-ops. I have often wanted to teach a history or math course in a co-op where the students would be required to take notes on my lectures. Unfortunately, this opportunity has never happened.

If we look at a typical homeschool day, this is what the majority of homeschoolers tell me they do, we see students studying independently. This is not a bad method… unless the parent is not involved. What is lacking is some type of lecture. Most homeschooling parents are directly involved with the immediate learning of their child if they are not disassociated with their child’s learning process. In fact, I can not find a single instance of a lecture between parent and child.

Even the computer course do not give opportunity for proper note taking. Youth 2 watches the math course on the computer and immediately jumps to the homework. No notes are taken. The Great Courses we use is the most likely scenario for taking notes. We use these courses in a different and more creative way. We listen to the course and discuss it. Then we either create a lapbook or some type of board about the course.

Note taking is a needed requirement for the university world. If you do not know how to properly take notes, you may find yourself struggling to keep up or even understand. I see some syllabuses discuss how to take notes and even one professor has a pdf example of how a sheet of paper should be organized for taking notes.

My oldest child has poor note taking habits. This increases the difficulty for my teen. There is a struggle at the university to be able to organize and understand the notes taken, if they are taken. We are using this final senior year to learn how to take notes as well as study.

My only advice is to research how to take notes. I have used websites from college professors. Some will discuss not only how to study for the class but to take notes, too. Until I find an answer, this is the best I can do.



December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Years ago, around 17, I visited my brother and his family during their vacation at the beach. We had spent much time together since he had gone to college and then married. This was the moment to spend time together.

A game was brought out by my brother. The game was Stratego. I remember the commercials growing up but never played the game. Indeed this game never was in our house during my youth. This alien game was set up, and I was briefed about the rules of the game.

In case you are not familiar with this game, each player has forty pieces to place on a 10×10 board. This is similar to chess except your pieces can be placed anywhere on your board. Each piece has a ranking with the weakest piece to the strongest piece and one piece that can conquer the strongest piece. The object of the game is to find the opponent’s flag. For more information, please search for Stratego.

Our first game didn’t last very long. I was soundly beaten by my brother. For one, I really wasn’t interested in playing the game. I was doing it for him. Two, I was not very good. In fact, I was horrible. The first game had me thinking of no more than two more game before I would quit.

The second game took a while longer for my brother to beat me. I had learned from the first game. Still, it was not too hard for him to beat me, but something had happened during the second game. I was beginning to see the strategy and tactics of the game. I was understanding the game.

Our third game ended in a draw. We had played long enough to eliminate most of our pieces thus leaving our flags protected by “bomb” pieces and no way to remove these pieces. I had studied the previous two games while I played. The first game was unknowingly studied by me. This third game perfected my understanding of how to play Stratego.

The fourth game was victory for me. It took a bit longer for me to win, but it was decided by the midpoint of the game. I was not to lose another game the entire evening. This would include at least an additional ten or more games. In fact my brother noted how he could not mount any attack or defense against me. I was too good.

It would be about 17 years later before I would play this game again. Youth 2 would be the person to introduce the game to our family. Youth 2 wanted to buy a gift for the Educator and myself from the heart. My gift was an version of Stratego.

My first game was against Youth 2. This version has a 9×9 board and a new piece. My 10×10 knowledge and strategy as this doomed me to defeat. Give Youth 2 credit, too. I made an error in judgment and Youth 2 took advantage of it. This was actually a quick game. I went from winning to losing in a quick fashion. The second game against Youth 1 was a drawn out game with me the winner early on even though Youth 1 did not know it. My strategy was not adjusted to the new board, yet. My deception tactics still worked. You see, Youth 1 does not understand deception where as Youth 2 either ignores the deception or may understand the concept.

Why am I writing about Stratego? It is a board game. These types of game are seldom played by kids. Anymore it is the electronic game that is played. As much as I think video games have their place, board games still have a strong value that can not be matched.

Playing a board game has direct family involvement. We are face to face studying our faces and enjoying our company. Board games force you to think about strategy and future moves. There is just so much to learn from playing board games. Unlike a video game, a board game gives you time to think about future moves and what your opponents are doing. The best part is spending time with your family and shaking the hand of your youngest child after you are beaten.

Play a board game with your family today. It is a wonderful way to spend time together.

Categories: Games Tags: ,

College Killer

December 17, 2013 Leave a comment

There are many obstacles for a college student to overcome. You have study habits to learn and homesickness to deal with for those living away from home. There are also college relationships to deal with. Then comes college life. There is so much to do.

There is one attribute that drives these obstacles. It is maturity. Being 18 does not mean you are a mature, young adult ready for life. You are more likely a deceived young adult believing in your own hype. The lack of experience in life has not prepared you to be on your own.

This is what a freshman college student encounters when they finally leave the nest. Parental influence fades with the distance. Judgments not learned now come into play. This is where maturity or lack-of hinders our decision making process at this young age.

This is what Youth 1 is seeing at the local university. A friend “Chris” is a smart guy, but he is immature. He skips classes and has averaged 50% on some quizzes and tests. I do not doubt his intelligence for I saw a young lady, Amy, flunk out her first semester because of immaturity. Even I didn’t understand how maturity was in play then as I too was immature. Chris is likely to flunk out this semester if he can not pass his classes. What a waste of 15 to 20,000 dollars and may the loss of a scholarship.

I do not know how to prepare a child to deal with immaturity other than teaching good habits. This is where I have badgered Youth 1 on study habits and class attendance (mandatory in this family). Even Youth 2 is driven to show work and be timely.

Overcoming immaturity is difficult. The only solution is to grow up for each person matures at a different rate. The only help is to drive into a student good habits. We can only hope this will keep a student on the path.

If anyone knows of a solution, I am keen to hear it.

Final Exam #1

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Finals. I was never so excited for finals when I was in college. Even last year, as Youth 1 was taking finals, I was not as excited or nervous. This semester is different for me. I need validation of success.

Youth 1 is taking a chemistry final. There is no chance of Youth 1 failing the class. The worst possible grade is a C. I can tell you an A is expected, but there is always this final exam. Until the result is in, I will have questions.

Did my child study? Did Youth 1 understand a semester’s worth of information concerning chemistry. Does Youth 1 know how to study for a final exam? Did Youth 1 heed my advice even thought I thought I saw otherwise. These are the questions running through my mind. The question of “will Youth 1 get an A” is not one of them.

I shouldn’t feel attached to a final exam, and this won’t be the only final exam with the same feeling. It is a homeschool feeling. Did I properly prepare my oldest child? This is the lingering question. Once Youth 1 attends college as a freshman, my feeling will likely fade.

For now, I’ll sit back and anxiously await the result.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags:

Under Attack

December 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Our government has never been the citizens ally. The enemy most often comes from within. I can be called irrational, crazy or even delusional; there is one inescapable fact. A government can be and is often the enemy. A government stays in power because its citizens are controlled either thru force or propaganda. You see this in many forms of government from oligarchies to dictatorships.

When you have power, you want to keep this power. How wonderful is it to dictate your desires and beliefs! The problem with being at the top is you eventually fall down. This is where you need to keep those supporting you in control. Our founding fathers recognized this. Read all of the documentation from the Federalist Papers to the letters written between these men. I guarantee you they did not envision our government as it is. Indeed, our senators were never to be bought with the “popular” vote and to have unlimited terms. It was expected for these men to leave after their short stay. If you only look at the abuse of power within the Whitehouse to that of congress to our own CIA you can see the corruption.

Our government is restless with the personal ownership of guns and even homeschool. How can they indoctrinate your children with the Common Core if you are homeschooled. Think this is a fantasy? Consider those of use growing up in a public school from the past where we were fed disinformation about our history and presidents. Read the approved text books of our educational past.

There is also people who believe they are our intellectual superiors and thus know best how to educate our children. They will not stop until they have their agenda approved. They may or may not be religious, though most view religion in a denigrating way and as a hindrance to their world view.

In America, there is a governmental pendulum that swings based on who is in power. It matters not who you vote for. The end result does not change. Our personal freedom is what can and will change. The only time we turn back the governmental push is when we stand up to them and say no.

The link I have here is a blatant intrusion by government in the name of doing good. Whether or not you agree with the parents, you must accept the truth that the judge or any other person has no business in this:

This is not an anti-government post. No, this is a wake up post for people to stand up. Voting is one method of change but another is the voice. Governments based on some form of democracy will back down on events. We see this happen in our country from time to time. The best type of government is where people can not spend a life time involved in the institution such as politicians and their wily assistants.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags:

Offer Of Admission

December 14, 2013 Leave a comment

We continue to receive emails from colleges and universities telling my oldest this is the last chance to apply. They told us that last week and the week before. Youth 1 has applied to the schools of interest, so Frostburg, Mt. Saint Mary’s, SUNY, all of you schools in the New England states and to the many others we have ignored you may cease wasting your effort in trying to attract my oldest child. My child is interested in a select number of schools and one has already contacted us.

Youth 1 has been accepted to one of the universities that has been applied to. This is much earlier than I expected. Now it is up to Youth 1 to decide if this is the school to go to or wait for some other school.

It’s Beginning To Snow

December 14, 2013 Leave a comment

The first flakes of this storm are beginning to fall. They will cover the older snow from earlier in the week. I sit here with the grim knowledge that we will have to go outside and clear the driveway and cars at some point.

The tiny snowflakes are falling at a gentle pace. Their silent descent lulls you into a trance as you watch snowflake after snowflake trickle down from the sky. This advance guard of snowflakes acts as scouts for the larger flakes that will come in droves. This invasion is a beautiful site to see… if you only intend to stay inside or play outside. The wonderful physical transformation we do not see initiates the breathtaking site we see on the ground.

The snowflakes have picked up their pace and size. Like the beautiful works of Beethoven, Mozart or any of the great composers; a snowfall is a concert in full where you softly begin while building to the climax of the outdoor concert.

Yeah, it is all beautiful until we go out to clear the driveway; the beauty is then lost.

Categories: Outdoors Tags: , ,