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Archive for December, 2014

When Will Common Core Go Away

December 20, 2014 Leave a comment

I awakened this fine morning as began to read a few article when I should be writing a four page paper. I ran across this: . I was struck by the last image in the article where it asks how to make 10 when adding 8 + 5. I thought stupid.

This problem, if real, is not critical thinking. You are not teaching critical thinking skills nor are you helping to teach math. This poor attempt confuses students. The problem does not help the student to think differently about the problem. Actually, it will teach the child to mistrust future problems where the true answer is desired. When a student is in physics and is asked, “The electron drift speed in a 1.0-mm-diameter gold wire is 5.0 × 10−5 m/s. How long does it take 1 mole of electrons to flow through a cross section of wire?”, how will they respond when they have been taught to not seek the correct answer but to make up an answer? The answer is 3.01 days. I can see a student doing some screwy work to get the wrong answer. If you’re taking physics, your process of how you get to your answer is important. If you did the take 2 from 5 and add it to 8 to get 10 and then add 3, I would take points off of you. You have just wasted time by doing senseless work and you created a chance of mathematical error.

My sons have always done this math work in a different method than the books we were using subscribed to. The answer counted to us, but the method also was important. Many times my sons used a more advanced method. I was fine with it. There were times where they used a simpler but longer method. I was okay with it, too, for it was logical. When they did stupid and I mean stupid methods as is shown in the previous example, we would go over the problem to correct the methodology.

There are better ways to teach critical thinking. Why are we not addressing critical thinking by using these better methods? Is it political as this article and many others suggest? I believe there is an agenda. Unfortunately, there is no middle of the road with anything whether it be education, policy or laws. This Common Core is agenda driven. Supporters will deny it while others will point the problems out.

I am for some type of standardization. I also recognize it may be impossible to ever implement a truly neutral standard. As long as we have agendas built into standards, we cannot allow it. We already have agenda driven ideologies in our public schools. Why allow more of it. At least the private religious schools are upfront about it. You have the option to not send your child there.

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Categories: Education Tags: ,

Finding Path and Purpose

December 19, 2014 Leave a comment

I admit it. I am very biased towards science and engineering. This is my mindset. I’m a mathematician and understand science better than most other areas. Though I love history and study history, it is not a path I would want my sons to follow. Understanding the path of my oldest is easy. I took the same courses he is taking. I remember the chemistry, physics and math. What I do not understand is what we engineers and science based individuals called the dark or easy side – anything non engineering or science.

My youngest would make a great engineer or some type of science related field. He just doesn’t enjoy science. This feeling of his is alien to me. He says, “I don’t like science” and I respond “Science.” I search out summer programs for my son that include math and science. Each year the says he didn’t enjoy it though he did well. This communication problem is on me. What’s not to like about science?? He can’t explain to me why he doesn’t enjoy it. I can give him hundreds of reasons to enjoy the field. We are at an impasse, and it is my fault. I don’t know how to help him. The Educator is also at a loss but less so. We are not of the liberal arts mentality or business mindset. Our youngest has not clue what he’s interested in. This can be a problem.

Our solution or the Educator’s solution has been to introduce our son to different fields. He is to visit businesses and spend time with individuals in order to develop an idea of what he is interested in. I am still looking at science fields. Even the Educator was until Youth2 turned down some astronomy place. We have begun to open our eyes and search non-science fields. There is the banking industry for one. Youth2 visited a bank and enjoyed his time there. There are a few other visits lined up for Youth1. I am even trying to find a way to arrange a visit to a sports team for my son to check out. There are business sides to this. What about history? He doesn’t like history. The learning process goes on.

We will keep working on finding the right path for our son. Eventually he will find his purpose in life. He only needs to overcome one major obstacle, me. I may not understand the dislike of science, but I am discovering there are other options out there.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags:

Homeschool Update

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

The first semester of our homeschooling is almost at an end. Our results are encouraging and discouraging. Like any venture, there is good news and bad news.

Our oldest child in college, is in the finals week. This is the son where some schools didn’t think he was good enough because of homeschooling. Well, this homeschooler hasn’t disappointed the nationwide homeschoolers. We are looking a 4 A’s and a B. Not bad for being homeschooled except this was my expectation… except for the B. To all of you homeschoolers wondering if it is worth it, it is worth the effort as long as you put in the effort. My oldest has yet to get anything less than a B. What is encouraging is his maturity about some of the classes. In one class, the students are updated with the lowest grade they can get. Imagine how disappointing it is to see some stop coming to a class when they reach a C. My son understands the value of continuing on for the future.

On the downside to this, there is a cyber school student that is taking the C, too. She is making a huge error.

Youth 2 is doing okay. Teenage hormones are in full swing. A smart kid that isn’t putting in the effort.  He sees his friends, public schooled, not caring as much about their education and getting good grades and wonders why should he put the time in when they do not. This is a normal thought for teenagers. We just have to slog through this and continue. At some point, this child of mine will realize the value of actually doing the work without trying to fake it. Those quizzes are really miserable when your parents are on to you. Yes, that is right. Our youngest gets quizzes each time he slacks. Other than the effort, he’s doing good.

For those of you with teenagers and similar problems, I don’t know the answer. Each teen is different.  My youngest is very bright but has developed a laziness to his education. He has gone from an overachiever to a slacker, if allowed. This appears as an overnight change, but it isn’t. This is a development from May to August or September. He is growing up and is trying to expand his responsibility. The action needed is redirection. We listen to him and make positive corrections.

To sum up this past semester, it has been a good fall. My oldest is keeping to his values and the youngest is developing his values, and this is why we need parents to make decisions for our youth instead of allowing them to make their own decisions. They are not mentally developed enough or mature enough to make sound decisions. There are many college students incapable of these decisions, so why should we give so much freedom to our youth?

Categories: Homeschool Tags: ,

Christmas Truce II

December 14, 2014 Leave a comment

I recently read an article that stated it was trying to explain why Germany doesn’t remember the Christmas truce. The author never fully explained or even explained the reason why. He was more concerned about a modern, political issue and related it to the British grocery store commercial. This is journalism for you.

When you lose a war and your pride has been crushed, why remember? You could do as the South in America did and re-write your truths into the Lost Cause. This is very evident with Edward Pollard and a few others that penned books shortly after the war in order to justify the South’s actions and restore their pride.

I linked to the Sainsbury commercial not long ago. My was to provide a nugget of history for the reader to research and learn about. Also, the commercial is very touching and artistic. It didn’t represent the true reality of the truce. In fact, there were areas on the front where there was no truce. The Germans and I suspect the British also used this truce to reconnoiter. The soccer match has been disputed but likely happened. Yes, the commercial is sanitized but so is our history books and other such media.

The biggest lesson to take away from this event was the fact it happened during a war between two unrelated sides. Historians will continue to debate this topic as they do for other historical issues. We can look at this event in a more humanitarian way.

Categories: History Tags: