Archive for January, 2016

The hardest part

January 15, 2016 Leave a comment

My oldest has been in college for a few years, now. This means that in several years he will have to disconnect from our household and start a new life. The base of his living won’t be at our house or  the chances of it are slim. It is during these thoughts I realize how much I will miss him.

For most of our life together, we have done little together. We have sleep, work, and other activities to suction away our time. The moments where we could spend time together are further stolen with activities he wants to do and activities I want or have to do. This leaves the two of us with little time together. The best I can hope for is usually his presence. I get a satisfaction of knowing he is around.

As a parent, we seldom realize the noise a human makes. It is not necessarily the vocal part of noise for there is physical noise and a residual noise. The physical noise is the person being in the house. I know when my son is around because I see him pass by or using some item within the house. This is the physical noise. The residual noise is what the person leaves behind. For my son, these are dishes, laundry, whatever he was playing with, and the open garage door. It drives us up a wall, but when you are without your son, you actually miss it. Wait! Did I say that?

I never understood my parents reaction to my being away, especially when I moved out. They were always encouraging me to come home. My life was full of, well, life. I couldn’t find the effort to always travel the two hours or more to go home. My parents home became a source of boredom, because there was nothing of interest there. My parents were happy to have me in the house, but I didn’t understand. They could continue with life while I struggled to find something to do at the house. It was no longer my home. They were reclaiming what I am now seeing – a loss.

To spend so many years dedicating your life to your offspring is very hard but satisfying. The most difficult part is the separation, more so than the birth of our children. Now throw in homeschooling and it is compounded. We have homeschooled our children for so many years that our lives are happily more intertwined than ever. I was a part of my son’s education. I would trade the frustrations for anything. I just wish I understood them better.

It is hard for me, a person with a cold and emotionless demeanor, to cope with this. Much of what bothers me is kept inside while a rigid human presents a rock of stability. At the death of my father, I never cried but only appeared to be the stable person with the ability to continue one, after all I understand death is normal and will happen to all of us. Still, all of it is difficult.

As I look into the future, I see a change that brings a bittersweet emotion. I will happy for my son’s new life but be saddened for the loss I will encounter. My memories will fade until reminded by his visit. My consolation of understanding what my parents desired and understood does not bring the comfort I seek. Instead, I must soldier on and adjust to life just as my son will do. The best I can have is the comfort of my wife. In the end, half of my life will go away and grow elsewhere. Will I finally weep and such a wonderful but sad loss?


Weekly Planner

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

I received an email from a homeschooler telling me to get the HeyMama Planner. Besides looking like a phishing scheme, I was intrigued as to what this planner was. After a bit of checking, I did get the free planner. What are my impressions?

For me, I found the planner to be worthless. It isn’t bad, but it doesn’t have the format I want. You can fill information for the day for each month. That is nice, but the layout is not friendly to me; not in a way I would use it. After each month, there is a section for notes. Don’t know why I would use it. There is a “week of” section, but it is too vague for me. I use more detail when instructing. There is even an attendance chart as if I need that. My requirement is 180 days, so attendance is mandatory for us. Another area is the “Monthly Goals” which is the same as the “Semester Goals” and “Yearly Goals”. These consist of multiple items to record. The most worthy part was the “Books Read This Year”.

Table of Content

Now when I say worthless, it is with respect to my needs. I record much of this information but in the format shown and in more detail than can be provided. At 178 pages, I find this planner more work to maintain and find things than my three or four word documents. The format that this is in makes for a bulky section forcing one to page to find what they are looking for, though you could type in the page number and then search. There is some nice information ranging from the thirteen colonies to the branches of the government. Not planner material in my mind.

How do I plan? We have a weekly planner where each day lists what is required of each subject. For example, my son has math every day, so we list what is required for that day such as the lesson being covered that day. There is history, so the reading requirement is listed like reading chapter 6 on Monday, writing a post on civil liberties and civil rights for Tuesday, so on and so forth. Chemistry may have module 6 with stoichiometry on Monday with a limiting reactants lab on Tuesday. Some classes have a blank for the day of the week. Spanish has no class on Wednesday. This list specifies what must be done each day and thus what must be completed by the end of the week. Now there is some play. My son had to read Oliver Twist chapters 43-45 for Monday, 46-48 Tuesday, 49-50 Wednesday, 51-52 Thursday, and 53 for Friday. He has the liberty to postpone the reading until Friday if he wants to. He needs to have this reading completed by Sunday night.

This plan or log complete multiple tasks. It is in a standard format for us to use with our portfolio that we still maintain. Second, it provides a list of what my son has to do for the week. He can make a decision of what he can move around and what can’t be moved. Third, it provides us parents a reminder of what we expect our son to accomplish for the week. Each weekly page lists the subjects and the days of the week. This layout works well with AP courses or college courses, too.

You may ask about booklists. Well, we maintain a simple structure that conforms to the layout of our log, and this is for each class. We are able to introduce each area of study with a booklist specific to the subject.

Since we belong to an accredited homeschool group, my son receives an official transcript which works with colleges. The academic transcript provided in the other planner is not sufficient for us. Each homeschool group is different.

I believe planners need to meet the user’s needs and not the other way around. We originally developed our planner to meet the detail we wanted. Skills learned has no meaning or value to us. The planner layout for us works well but maybe not for others (yes, I should include a copy of what our layout looks like. I don’t have it readily available.) when looking for a planner, determine what you need most and how you want to access it. To me 178 pages is too much to go through.



Gun Control and Violence

January 5, 2016 Leave a comment

President Obama’s gun control method, whether you agree or not, is a poor attempt at curbing gun violence. The stated goal is a failure from the initial concept and would do well to be retracted. The President fails or doesn’t care to understand the underlying problem, and it isn’t guns. The first problem is the idea of gun violence. Is that the only violence in existence? Is gun violence the most numerous? Is gun violence a problem? The President is playing politics as well as using fear to attain a goal which is NOT to curb gun violence but to reduce guns. I say reduce because elimination of guns is impossible at this point.

If you ask me what I fear most, gun violence is the last on my list or near it. A shark attack is near the bottom for me unless violent and vicious sharks can swim into the hills using the shallow streams and then launch from these streams to attack me. What I fear are people. It doesn’t matter if they have a gun or not. I have watched road rage where no gun was used, but there was violence. What about the recent spate of soccer violence where several people were killed from punches? I can list a number of violent stabbings, sexual assaults, domestic assaults, and other violent crimes that required no guns. Guns are not a problem, nor are they a convenient weapon of choice.

The issue, believe or not, Trump actually hit on, and it is mental health, but that is only a part of it. We are in a society where aggressive action is encouraged. Don’t think so? Think of Melissa Click and her need of muscle or UC Santa Barbara professor, Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, and her actions she had taken against anti-abortion protestors. These two example are violent actions. If you scream at your opponent this, too, is a violent action.  These two individuals by their actions are telling students that aggressive actions are an acceptable means of coercion. There is no compromise.

Compromise is the issue. Even in marriage, compromise is not necessary in our narcissistic desires. Our own government does not compromise. Look at Donald Trump. There is no compromise in his position, and I am not talking about his political position. His aggressive manner does not allow compromising, and his followers adopt this idea. If we can learn to compromise, we can see the accidents of life as well as the selfishness in ourselves. No longer would we overreact to innocuous incidents where violence becomes the only solution.

This doesn’t solve many mental health issues, but it is a start. Mental health is a complex issue that needs addressed. Simply throwing money at it solves nothing just like how we like to throw money at education in the mistaken belief it will fix something. This is just wasteful and unnecessary. To solve this problem, a goal and the problem need to be identified and targeted. Only then can we allocate money to the problem. Just as in education, I would not allocate a dime to mental health until there is a well-defined goal. The one thing we cannot do is enable or justify for selfish reasons in this case.

Gun control does nothing to alleviate violence, nor does fear mongering the public. Gun control is not a solution nor a temporary solution. All of the statistics in the world solves nothing. Changing the aggressive attitude begins to solve the problem of violence. A non-intrusive method needs to be found and integrated in society. It should not restrict the public but enable the public to maintain individualism and freedom of thought.  To add gun control as a solution, we might as well as restrict alcohol, drugs, movement within the nation, work, finances, sports, marriage, religion, politics, and many other results of aggression.