Archive for March, 2015

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?

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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.