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Teaching Textbooks Scores

I thought I was finished with discussing homeschooling, but I was wrong. As my spouse sells our material, she cannot get rid of Teaching Textbooks, and the reason she is told are the test scores. Apparently, the scores have dropped. This leads me to wonder if it is the parent and child and not the curriculum. Here is why I think this.

My sons switched to Teaching Textbooks (TT) beginning with algebra. Prior to this, my sons used Saxon Math, a very nice curriculum for the lower maths, but not very impressive for the upper level. We tackled Algebra I with Teaching Textbooks and carried on through to Pre-Calculus. How did my sons do?

On the standardized test, my youngest score perfect scores in math. My sons scored very high on the SAT for math and one had the option to test out of math for college. Taking calculus at the major university as an early to college student, the lowest grade was a B, and I blame my oldest for his attitude and not applying himself. In fact, I would say only 2 B+’s were worst grades my sons achieved at the university. This is a total of 6 or 8 math classes. Forgive if I forget how many the oldest had taken as he has just graduated from college. This data does not fit well with the idea of Teaching Textbooks producing poor testing scores.

We had one demand on my sons with TT as well as the other curriculum. They had to complete ALL of the problems for math. Work had to be shown and explained if required. All problems that were incorrect had to be reworked until correct. Any major issue in comprehension meant that WE, parent and child, went over the lesson and problems. This meant 50+ problems had to be done each day and corrected each day. We did this with Saxon math as well.

Going from verifiable data to anecdotal or information provided to me by parents, the child never did all of the problems and few if any corrected what was wrong. The parent may have gone over the problem instead of having the child redo it. I do not think this is the primary issue as I believe parents do the same with other curricula. TT provided an out for the parent whereas other curricula do not. The child doesn’t require the parent as the solutions to the homework and tests can be viewed by the child without the parent being present. THIS is the major flaw and it is on the parent! Parents routinely allow their child freedom to do use the answer keys to check their work without the parent’s supervision. Doing this does not allow for an understanding of the material. It is a common theme amongst homeschooling parents to allow their child to educate themselves whenever possible. TT is viewed as a digital instructor where no parent is needed. That is the flaw.

Of course, this is my opinion based on the limited data I have, but it should be considered as a potential reason for TT’s failure in the test score realm. Parents are limited on time, especially the larger families, and this allows for shortcuts to be taken. These shortcuts hurt the education of a child. TT allowed the parent to believe they could effectively shortcut their parental-educator role. The solution is for the parent to become involved with the education.

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College Degrees Are Useless

I ran across a video online that had successful businessmen discussing the need for a college education. This ranges from Donald Trump, Elon Musk to the dolt Zuckerberg. Listening to these men, you would think a college education is worthless and for Musk, it goes down to the high school level. What are their points about the useless education?

The biggest point is that colleges do not give you practical experience and are a waste of your time as you could spend your time doing other things. Musk brings up Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but fails to point out several issues. One bald chap correctly points out that colleges traditionally are designed to give you a foundation to fail and not a foundation to get an A. One person stated, the A students work for the B students while the C students run the businesses. Are these men accurate?

It is a yes and no answer. If you look at these men, you can get a grasp on what they are seeing and that is initiative whether it was done honestly or with deceit. The A, B, and C student analogy is closer to reality as I see this every day. The C students truly do not understand or know. Incompetence moves upward, however, this doesn’t explain whether a college degree is useless, but it does get you closer.

We must keep in mind what they are referring to. They are discussing business which is different than the liberal arts, engineering or the sciences. I will readily admit liberal arts degree are very useless especially when you look at Gender Studies, Feminist Studies, and many of areas of this field. If you need proof, all you need to do is review the journal publications and Ph.D. theses or follow the twitter feed of “New Real Peer Review”. Without a degree in the engineering and science fields, we cannot ever accomplish what Musk wants to do or even provide these men the money and power to do what they want. You absolutely NEED a degree in the engineering and science field. You can come up with your own examples. This leaves us with the business degree.

The business degree is likely the most useless degree, especially the MBA. In general, we all learn how to conduct business from birth as we negotiate, set prices, manipulate the workforce, and see innovation as we grow from a baby through adulthood. Every day you are marketing yourself, selling something, or committing some action related to the field of business. The nature of business is life itself and we practice the methods taught in colleges, so your everyday experience is your education. Through living life, you understand the value of money, labor, product, research and development, and the rest of the business requirements.

Even though I stated a Liberal Arts degree is worthless in the general sense, I do think a classical Liberal Arts degree is good for knowledge. I find today’s Liberal Arts degree as a foundation to give you an A. Again refer to the “New Real Peer Review” to understand what I mean. As for engineering and science degrees, as long as the foundation to fail attitude still prevails at the university and all scientific ideology (one that predetermines what is fact and true) is not present, these degrees are imperative for all human life.

Going to college for a business degree is not a requirement for success in the business world. That requires some intelligence and shrewdness. You need to be willing to screw over your fellow human and this is what Mark Cuban and the others in the video have done. The MBA is a prime example of something not needed except for the promotion factor in businesses. These men overstate their case, but there is truth to what they say.

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History Has Passed Me By, And I’m Better For It

April 20, 2018 Leave a comment

History, to me, has always been about the past and the collated facts that make up history. Throw in some unknowns where we generally know what was meant or happened and you have history. Gradually my view of history was one where it is nothing more than a modern viewpoint about the past, facts be damned.

Earning a Master’s in history was a great accomplishment for me, but there was a sour taste to it as I had to battle the forced entry of color, sex, and orientation. My successful arguments against much of this modern painting of history have not left me with a positive view of history. I am now more uninspired by history than ever. Any desire to educated at any level is gone for I do not belong in the world of farcical history.

Farcical history is where “historians” now construct a narrative to distribute queer theory,  feminism, or any number of other social justice ideas. You see the references to transgender soldiers or that all soldiers of this era were gay or that there were women Viking warriors who were more manly than men. We have historians attacking historical figures in a one dimensional way as we see in Robert. E. Lee, Lincoln, Churchill, Hitler, Caesar, Jefferson and any number of other individuals in history. Modern attack terms are applied toward Europeans as a way of explaining how evil Europeans were and are, yet Asian history or even African history is given a pass.

Historians are no longer historians but propagandists. I guess one could argue that they’ve always been propagandists. We do not have to go far in the past to see the false representations of history towards Amerindians, blacks, or even the Irish. All societies have this type of history from China to Russia to whatever society you select. Today’s history doesn’t reflect my historical beliefs, and it has left me behind.

I have come to understand that all societies are very similar no matter the region, era, or ethnic background they are. Every person from our past is three-dimensional with attributes we admire or hate. Emotionally, I become attached to people based on some attribute I like while others I dislike because of their attribute. Educating others about history requires me to check my emotions.

In terms of books, journals, lectures, and forums, history has taken a mythical turn with applying labels or researching modern culture in the past that never existed. This is why I argued with a professor that I do not agree with the terms gender and will stick with male and female. There is no other type of person. There is no gay ideology hidden within some Confederate soldier or even a Chinese nationalist of the early twentieth century. This stuff is fiction, and the journals that publish this material have begun to lose their reputation. I noticed an American Civil War journal spending more time about “gender” in the Confederate capital or some other irrelevant assumption.

This modern history can pass me by, and I gladly allow it to. My research will continue in a far substantial and realistic sense. I will answer questions about the past without some ideological belief that possesses my thoughts. The facts will remain facts and fantasy will be found in the fiction section of a bookstore.

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This is the End

April 19, 2018 Leave a comment

We or I should say “the main educator” was going through our homeschool room cleaning out the room. I would venture to guess thousands of dollars worth of homeschool items were being reviewed and sorted as we began our decluttering of homeschool material. The numerous books, language courses, math texts, and science-related material were bringing back memories and the “Oh, I remember that, now. We never used it.” It was a culmination of over ten years homeschooling that we were cleaning out.

Our humble beginning began when a school teacher recommended ADHD drugs to my wife for use with my oldest son. The only knowledge I had of homeschoolers was some old 70s movie and a 60 minutes episode talking about those crazy people. Other than buying into the media’s version of who these people were, I never gave it a thought until I came home from Colorado and was told we were homeschooling. My response to my lovely wife was, “Okay.” She was persuasive in her own right, but the issue of drugs upset me. My family isn’t the first to encounter the standard school indoctrination issue. Also weighing on me was this same teacher telling me to NOT teach my son mathematics because he was “too far ahead of the class and needed to slow down.” Our parent-teacher meeting was not very friendly and I was not going to be bullied by a woman that is too lazy and hate teaching (Another story). In as kind of a way as I could, I told her where she could go and that I would continue to educate my son. He paid a price.

I must say that I was naive about homeschooling as I was told of unschooling and how you only teach a student for three hours which amounts to the same as a public school. My sons and I took a field trip on our first day of school together as I had no clue what to do. Thankfully, I had my wife who was organized and planned out the path we as a family would take.  I became the principal, Severus Snape, the evil headmaster, Mr. Wizard (Gotta go way back for that reference), and several other instructors. As Mr. Wizard indicates, they were all antagonists to my sons. My niche became the evaluator of the curriculum which meant I went to homeschool shows and talked with those selling items.

I learned quickly that most children do not do well teaching themselves, so you had to understand your child’s method of learning. Unfortunately for my family, my sons were different learner which meant different material at times. Science and math were my things, and you could sucker me with neat science experiments, however, I bought from established companies and not the Mom and Pop sellers. History was another area of expertise, but this did not translate well as my sons did not enjoy history. Go figure. They can’t be mine.

What developed in our family was a closeness where our education was year round and vacations were education oriented. We would go to a talk at the local historical society about a figure in history and then go visit relatives with the primary focus on visiting the site of the where the figure had an impact on history. It was also easier to go to a sporting event on a weeknight and get home late. My sons could sleep in.

It was not all wine and roses as my sons could be difficult. Think of being the husband arriving home to a frustrated spouse, obstinate son, and the thought that work was the better place. I never mastered the idea of what I was supposed to do when I came home. I got used to eating in a small place at the table surrounded by experiments and even the smells of unfinished dissections. Struggling with a stubborn child could be frustrating. We still find occasional notes in the math texts my oldest wrote about me. See where the Snape reference comes in?

We held a huge fear that we were not doing enough and were failing in our educating of our children. There was a constant question of our effectiveness even though all indications said otherwise. Even as my oldest come close to graduating from college this May, we won’t confirm a success until he is holding that degree. How could you brag about your child knowing that they will fail? Our children’s success was an affirmation of not only what we did but the fact we did the right thing.

As we went through the various curriculum in the room and reviewed the old posterboards, papers, and whatever else our children wrote on, smiles came out like a bloom after a Spring rain. We chuckled and remembered everything with fondness recognizing it was hard work but work worth doing. These items had served their purpose and some of them, hopefully, will help others as we decide what to sell and toss out. For me, the memories brought some sadness as I missed much of the experience while working.

This curriculum and documents are an affirmation of the work my family willingly performed in order that my oldest can graduate and go to graduate school in the science filed and my youngest can go to a university with a scholarship. Soon we will have only memories and a few mementos as we finish cleaning the room. Even this blog will finish its transition from homeschooling to some other activity. Our fifteen or so years of homeschooling was an overwhelming success in so many ways. We went from going into the unknown to the enlightenment with homeschooling. We chose a tough path but the rewards were worth the effort. I have reached the last page of a book that had no title. I encourage others to take on that book with no title and create the title as you will not regret it.

Homosexuals Didn’t Make and Break the Roman Military

I was recently introduced to a discussion where a young man was spewing forth his historical knowledge and analysis of military history. He came across to most of his fellow listeners as an expert in knowing history but placing it into context. What he was really doing was disseminating erroneous data in the form of historical knowledge. What facts he distributed were buttressed by opinion and fallacies.

One of his tenets was that the Roman military was successful because of homosexuality. The gay soldiers fought harder for their male lovers. Now I can google this subject and find many sites where someone has perpetuated this tale to varying degrees. Historically, there were gay men in the military but it is highly doubtful they were all gay and fought harder for their lover standing next to them. In reality, warfare or general stress forms bonds between those experiencing the same stress. Throughout military history, there are countless episodes describing how men and even woman fought for their fellow soldier. It has been recounted so often that it has become a common theme in Hollywood movies.

The next element to his gay idea is, “Did the Roman soldiers become less gay and that was the reason Rome fell? Or were the Germans at the Battle of Teutoburg gayer than the Roman legionary?” We can explain Hannibal and Carthage’s defeat to not being gay enough. This idea of some pointless, minor fact accounting for a major event breeds historical fallacies taken as fact.

What the young man ignores is the Roman military evolution. Rome evolved to meet and defeat her enemies. The Greek phalanx initially worked against Roman enemies, but the tactics and strategy had to change to maintain success. The weaponry, armor, and formations had to change. We see the move away from the phalanx to the maniple and another modification of the Roman military formation. This is why we read about the Marian army reforms and the creation of the professional army of Rome. In fact, Marian’s reform was such an evolutionary advancement that no European group could effectively challenge Rome.

It doesn’t take gay people to make or break the Roman army.  What is needed is failures and innovation to make the Roman army and failure to maintain the innovation break the army and empire. What cannot be ignored are the non-military influences such as the empire’s wealth, ruling stability, population, and societal innovation. These can contribute greatly to how effective the military was, so to this young man, it was not homosexuality that created such a strong Roman military machine but innovation and adaptation that made the military machine of Rome.

Success of Homeschooling

January 8, 2018 Leave a comment

My youngest is now finishing the last half of the senior year while the oldest is finishing the last semester of a college career. These two have been homeschooled for most if not all of their life. There were predictions of how they would turn out and most were negative. In fact, I would venture to guess that most if not all homeschooling families have encountered opposition to homeschooling.

When our decision to pull my oldest out of school and homeschool was made, the teachers and principal notified us of how we would “ruin our child.” We were told of how backward our child would be. Our child would amount to nothing and be rather stupid. We were viewed as horrible parents who secluded our child from the world. Our oldest would be destroyed based on our decision to homeschool him after a horrible several years experience at a school.

My youngest never had the opportunity to go to school. The idea of destroying this child was prevalent within the community we associated with. School teachers told me of how my son wouldn’t learn anything and how public school was so much better. My youngest was ostracized by the public school families as these parents looked down upon my youngest. He was destined to be the second failure in our family and a lost cause to society.

How did it turn out? Are my two children ruined? Is my oldest finishing up some cheap online degree from a no-name school because he cannot handle a “real” college? This private university with an endowment of $88 million and some 5,500 plus students is not some no-name school. It sits within the top 10 of the Parents and Colleges ranking. It is in the top 100 colleges worth considering. Not that I buy these rankings, but it shows that my oldest goes to what is considerd a worthwhile school and is “earning” his degree in chemistry. Yes, that is right. He is earning his degree with a current 3.84 gpa. He has been accepted to graduate school from multiple major universities.

What about my youngest? He is attending a major university for his second year and holds a 4.0 gpa at the university as a high school student at this school. His SAT was higher than any of the averages of the local high schools. He has taken calculus, biology, and upper-level college courses. Nine classes are taken and nothing less than an A. He is currently deciding what university he would like to attend next fall.

What do you think? Are my children failures? Has homeschooling destroyed them? I would say no! Academically, they have succeeded beyond all naysayers expectations. So, what about their social skills? Obviously, they are socially awkward and cannot function within society?

My oldest is giving a presentation at some event this spring and is favored by underclassmen for the classes he’s a lab assistant. He has many friends who are not homeschooled. He talks to strangers and interacts with them, too! He used his social skills for applying to graduate school, working, and many other things. He has dated young ladies without any issues.

As for my youngest, he is very active with his friends at the university. He has a friend from Pakistan as well as others from different parts of the country. He is not short on the activities he involves himself in at the school and outside of the school. He was capable enough to perform in front of an audience.

Even though I cannot go into too much detail about my sons and their social life, I have given enough evidence to show that my sons function in society. Now they do not pick on or make fun of people because of the societal disposition concerning what is normal. The treat everyone with respect and are eager to help those in need.

Is homeschooling a success for my family? Yes! The same can be found with many other families. In fact, had we not homeschooled my sons, I doubt if my oldest would be in college or my youngest would be out of trouble. I do not necessarily blame public school as much as I blame parents, but the influences found in public schools can be very detrimental towards our children.

For anyone struggling with homeschooling, take this post as proof that you can succeed and your children can succeed. If you are wondering if you should homeschool but are afraid homeschooling does not produce success, then keep this post in mind. Ignore the naysayers and trust yourself. It is a lot of hard work but the effort is worth it and success will follow. The success of your child is based on you, the parent, and not the naysayers.

We are finished with our homeschooling years and I won’t say it was easy. In fact, it was trying at times and even expensive at times for us, however, this was a sacrifice we were willing to take. We held a constant fear that we were not doing a good enough job with our children. I want to belay the homeschooling family’s fear of not doing a good enough job. You are doing a nice job of homeschooling.

When it is too much on a resume?

October 13, 2017 Leave a comment

One of the biggest issues for a college graduate is the lack of experience. As most graduates construct their resume, they find there is little there and they find the need to pad the resume. To a person such as myself, this is annoying as I have to dig through mounds of goop to find everything about the person.

This young person graduated in May, and there is little or basically no relevant experience, so the person listed a half of a page of volunteer experience. Though nice, I do not need to see this much. If you find the need to include this, in the instance where it is not pertinent to the job, then make it very brief. Do not allow it to control the resume and stretch it into a second page. I may not be familiar with the event you volunteered at some consider combining your volunteer work highlighting the important aspects you did.

Another problem new graduate add are their classwork. Frankly, I have no idea what Math 452 Abstract Math, Compsci 422 Web Development, or Eng467 Sound and Vibrations mean. This is worthless. How do I know what you did with web development? Consider combining your classwork in a short three sentence paragraph describing the important elements. For example, you can explain how you didn’t use templates for web development and designed or wrote some section of the work. I need a pithy description. This adds meat to the resume and not some filler that has no meaning.

If you were a waiter at different restaurants, do not go into your role of waiting on table or cleaning tables or even providing customer service. I actually know what you did. You waited on people like me. Just say where you worked and that you were a waiter or dishwasher unless you did something special that should stand out. Waiting tables and washing dishes is not something that stands out. You can list the place you worked and your position. If it is a crew member at a fast food restaurant then only state that. I honestly do not care that you worked with a diverse team or it was fast-paced.

Do not oversell yourself with buzzwords or relevant skills that you really are just a novice in. As an example, I see many resumes for programming that list language after language within such a short timespan. To go along with this is the person that listed 21 bullet points underneath one of their elements of work experience. I’ve been at my current position for over 15 years and I do not 21 bullet points to list. Be honest with yourself and accentuate what you are truly good at. Everything else tells me you are taking a shotgun approach just to get an interview.

Finally, I am not interested in reading a book, so please keep the paragraphs to a minimum. Include it in your objective if you need me to know that you want a job. If you want to write a paragraph underneath your experience, then try to keep it within four sentences. In relation to this is the length of the resume. Try to keep it within two pages, but also know the field you are entering. There may be circumstances where a long resume would be applicable.

The resume introduces you to me and tells me if you are worth talking to. A bloated resume loses my interest especially if I am reviewing 100 resumes. The less fluff the more likely your special skills or that something about you will stand out and catch my eye. You want stand out from the others. Your resume is that fishing lure that will make me bite.

 

 

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