Archive for October, 2014

Books I Have Read In 2013

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

I was thinking about the books I have read. The recent years have not been kind to book reading. I find so little time to read. There was a time when I would sit or lay next to The Educator and read. The Educator was studying and I was reading. Yep, no critters running around. Now I can not get enough time to read. I need to be selective and therefore magazines and web articles are what I look for.

1. The Hobbit (Umteenth Time)
2. The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic (Gift to me. Actually, is not a bad book)
3. A Christmas Carol (Yearly read)
4. King Alfred’s English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do (A horrible and disappointing book.)
5. Lotions, Potions, Pills, and Magic: Health Care in Early America (Enjoyable book. Should make you think twice about the home remedy idea)
6. The Great Gatsby (Read this as a teen and loved it. I still do. What a treat to read it again. Too bad, my oldest couldn’t appreciate this book)

There were a number of books that I did not finish. In my research, I would only read sections of historical books. For the most part, they were dull except for the information I was seeking. These will be excluded for I did not read them from cover to cover.

2013 is the second year in a row I did not read the entire Harry Potter series since the series was completed. Time was likely the biggest culprit. Yes, no LoTR this year.

Some of the books I read were ebooks. I do not like ebooks for they tire me out for some reason. Another problem is running out of battery as you sit in the backseat of a car at night.

I am very certain I’ve missed a bunch of books. I read books and set them aside once finished. Seldom do I remember what I read until I start re-reading the book. I have even purchased the same book twice on several occasions. One had a different cover. There are some books that come to mind but the problem with these is the year with which I read them. I’ll leave them out.

I’ll leave this as is with the knowledge of the list being incomplete. I should create a list of books I want to read. That list would be number over 1,000.

Categories: Books / Reading Tags: ,

Mathematical Mistakes

October 16, 2014 2 comments

Though I am currently doing some history research, I thought it would be a nice idea to throw some mathematical myths out there for some people. There are plenty of myths or mistakes to go around, but a few of these should suffice. These reside in the algebra zone but apply elsewhere.

1. ax + b = a(x + b). An easy way to check this is to apply some values. a =2, x = 3 and b = 4. {2*3 +4 = 10} does not equal {2(3 + 4) = 14}.

2. a – (b + c) = a – b + c. Again, using a = 2, b = 3 and c = 4 you clearly see the mistake. {2-(3+4) = -10} does not equal {2 – 3 + 4 = 3}.

3.(a + b)^2 = a^2 + b^2. Apply the numbers and you see these do not equal.

4. (a – b)^2 = a^2 – b^2.

5. (a – b)/(c + b) = a/c

6. a(b + c)/(b + a) = (ac)/a = c

7. a/(b+c) = a/b + a/c I’ve seen my oldest make this mistake many times.

8. (ax + b)/(ac) = (x + b)/c

9. (a^x)(a^y) = a^(xy) Keep in mind ‘^’ means raised to the power.

10. a^(x+y) = a^x = a^y

These are but ten of the common mistakes students make. The easiest to double check yourself is to apply values to the variables and do the calculation.

Who Are The Homeschoolers?

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Before my spouse and I began to homeschool, my opinion of homeschoolers was an ignorant and uneducated viewpoint of whackos. These people were the oddballs of society not willing to conform to the societal norms. They were indoctrinating their children with poisonous garbage. My source of the knowledge was, I believe, a biased 60 Minutes story on homeschooling and maybe another biased article or two. In reality, I had no clue about homeschooling other than what anti-homeschoolers fed me. This viewpoint changed eleven years ago when my family was put in a position of protecting our child.

The day I realized conformity was what our school systems require was when my oldest was recommended drugs by a teacher. My child was too difficult for the teacher. This child was too advanced in math for the class. This was stated by the teacher. I was told to NOT teach my child math! I was to allow the educational system take care of my child. This is no exaggeration. This teacher informed me that my son was in the top three of the class. This top three was by far way ahead of the other classmates. She was trying to dumb down these three students in order to make her teaching life easier.

My thoughts immediately went to homeschooling and thus the research began. The Educator was investigating this, too. We were researching independent of each other. It did not take long for the two of us to come to a conclusion and inform each other. Two college graduates with a child came to the same conclusion. Our homeschooling adventure began.

We are not the typical “religious zealot” homeschooling family disagreeing with the teaching of evolution. We are not the typical “prepper” homeschool nor do we belong to some “oddball” religious community or any of the other stereotypes. So who are we?

The homeschoolers I have met are varied in beliefs, ideals and reasons for homeschooling. My family is a little of both and none of them. My spouse and I have entirely different viewpoints on why we homeschool. The reason we do so today is different than the first day we homeschooled my son. We are dynamic homeschoolers in the sense we make decisions that are best for our children. We have thought about sending our last child to a private school. We even briefly considered the local public school. This evaluation is based on our child’s needs. Our religious belief has no bearing on our decision. Educational matters are a big part of our decision as well as our final child’s social development. Safety is not a big concern for us. The school district we are in does not have the high rates of issues as do some schools, and we are aware of safety issues. Opportunities for my son are better than if he were in a public school.

What about other homeschoolers?

Yes, I have met and been involved with religious oriented homeschoolers. These people have a church organization as the focal point of their homeschooling. Everyone in the church homeschools. I’ll admit they are eccentric but no different than many of the non-homeschooling families I know. Their curriculum is religious based, but they do well with educating their children. These people tend to maintain relationships within their community.

There are the religious homeschoolers who are independent of their church. They may belong to a religious homeschool group with the same religion. They are similar to the group above but are more likely to associate with non-homeschooling groups outside of their religion. Religion plays a large part of their education. An example of this are some of the Catholic homeschool groups.

Next are the independent homeschoolers. This is a wide variety of homeschoolers. My family can be considered as independent. Generally speaking, they homeschool because of safety, poor quality education in public schools, evolution issues, health and even sports. Looking at a few of these people you see a huge difference.

I know of families who homeschool because of health issues. These families are forced to homeschool for the current education system is incapable and may never be capable of dealing with the child’s needs. It may be as simple as an allergy to more severe health reasons.

One family I know of homeschools because their child was having difficulty in a school setting. They took their son out and have homeschooled. Interestingly, their second son is going to a public school. They are religious, but religion isn’t the primary reason.

Another family homeschools because of sports. This family is not religious. Indeed, they call themselves atheists. This is a perfect retort to those who say homeschoolers are religious fanatics. There is no religious association with this family, and they homeschool. I’m very certain they do not believe in creation.

I know I have not mentioned all of the groups out there, but this listed group displays a variety especially if you include my family. What is evident is we are very different.

Who is educating the children?

The level of parent education is varied. I know many former teachers and some families with college professors. In fact, I can name three families with a parent that possesses a PhD. College graduates are the most numerous. As I look at the families I am aware of that homeschool, I can say three or four that are without one of the parents having a college degree. This would place the percent somewhere around 2% of the homeschooling families. The number can be lower if I continue to rack my brain for I came up with another PhD parent as I am writing. Throw another PhD parent in this to make it 5. I know of West Point graduates that homeschool.

Homeschooling families are not some unique, outside the norm group of people. These families come from different backgrounds, ethnic groups and beliefs. They are like the families with children attending public and private schools. The only difference is where homeschooled children are educated.

Categories: Homeschool Tags:

Real World Math

October 3, 2014 Leave a comment

My sons have been involved in various STEM activities at various points in time. Few of these activities were realistic or even a sample of reality. The mathematics was limited. Nothing in the world of STEM informed my sons of the importance of mathematics. I don’t have a problem with this. These programs were an introduction to some part of science for my sons in order for the Educator and me to determine the level of interest.

There has been talk talk about using “real world” applications for math classes. This I find laughable. I have studied math and have a career where mathematics is used. Within my job are different mathematical requirements. Most of my use are your standard adding and subtracting. I thought about my work as well as those working around me. What math do we use?

The largest use of mathematics are the simple computations. These are addition, subtraction and multiplication with division a distant fourth. Seldom do I see calculators used. There is no time for a calculator check. Even when we go to the store, we do not use calculators to determine if we have the money. To me this is fundamental math. The real world of this usage is rather boring. Calculating tax on a purchase or determining the amount of money left over after a purchase. Even calculating how many miles I can go when I buy a few gallons of gas. These are the same calculations I do at work. Interestingly, I use estimations more than exact values.

I do use algebra for my work. Little of it is very complicated. My co-workers utilize algebra as much as I do. There are a few who use algebra extensively. Calculus is seldom used. I believe there is one or two people using calculus but not a daily basis. There are times I use calculus for my work. The real world application for us is no different than using the standard integration you see in college. Matrices are used by a few. Geometry is not used by me. Drafters may use it. Linear algebra is more common than most. This depends upon what the individual’s job is. Trigonometry is the big item in use. I use this to calculate volumes and other such requirements. I set the work up on excel and plug in the values. Quite a number of people use trig. We do not do research and therefor do not require what many would call higher levels of math.

This is a sample of the useage of mathematics. The reality is we are not tasked with paragraph lengthed mathematical problems. There is no hunt for what we want. What we do have is a basic understanding of math. We know how to add or do algebra. We know most of the trig functions and formulas. It is our basic knowledge that allows us to apply critical thinking to math.

When task with find the volume of a cylinder between two heights, I had to develop the method of finding the answer. My familiarity of trig and geometry allowed me to solve the problem. I understood the formulas and what they are.

I stick to a belief of knowing how to do the basics especially without calculators. If you understand the topic you can solve the problem.

Categories: Homeschool, Math Tags: ,