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Stop the texting!!

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Youth 2 has been a strong speller since birth. Yeah, I’m using birth. Believe it or not, he was able to spell at a very early age. Indeed, his older brother relied on him for years to help spell words. This went on for a period of time until my youngest started to get close to the teenage years. Having the sense of humor, my youngest began to have fun with his older brother. You may have guess it. The youngest was beginning to provide bogus spellings to his brother much to all of our laughter. Some of the words were really, really funny. Yes, we did have to correct our youngest and plead with our oldest to concentrate on spelling while not relying on spell check. That is another story and a funny one, too.

Youth 2 converses with quite a few friends through the use of a phone, XBox (there are some good things about this), computer and an iPod Touch. The touch is mostly used for texting. After school is finished and his friends get home, the communication begins. Soccer has been the biggest initiator of this mass communication. There is one side effect – my youngest is losing his writing skills. He no longer capitalizes, punctuates properly and spelling occasionally goes awry. The Educator has noticed a similarity between texts and essays. What is normally texted is written in the essay. Spelling suffers because of the shortcuts in texting. We have a growing problem as my ninth grader is entering the important years of education. He needs to communicate through writing. His AP class requires his writing, and these errors cannot be tolerated.

There is a upside to this story. Unlike a public or private school where a teacher has more difficulty in directly influencing the student, we have direct access to my son. We can work on his regaining the skill that has deteriorated more efficiently and effectively than a school teacher. His work is monitored by us and if no improvement is made, the iPod goes away. In fact, we can remove the cause in order to ensure his writing skills no only improve but return to normal.

I was aware of this issue about texting. There have been many articles over the years about this subject. It was never an issue, so I didn’t bother thinking about it. When his grammar grades slipped, no started off poorly and differently than what his standard is, the Educator and I needed to take action. Fortunately, we caught on very quickly. This serves as a reminder to us parents that we must keep vigilant on education.

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The Flaw Of Microsoft Word

August 14, 2014 Leave a comment

When Word became available, it saved me from hours of tedious typing and correcting. I could now toss the typewriter and enjoy easy corrections. That was many years ago. Today Word provides more help than you could ever need except for what you truly need. There is one problem with this program. Just google or bing “sinister buttocks” and you’ll quickly discover part of the problem.

Reliance on the spell check and thesaurus is like chumming for sharks while you’re in the water. You’re going to get bitten. This doesn’t apply only to students but adults as well.My oldest child has grown to rely on Word’s spell check and Thesaurus, to the Educator’s and my humorous enjoyment. It really isn’t funny, but the sentence or phrase concoctions bring us to tears. Homonyms are his biggest bane next to his plane inability to spell the word. I’ll save him from displaying examples. He is not the only person to suffer from Word’s well-intentioned help. Instead, I’ll display an example that I created.

O Head! My Head! our terrible journey is complete;
The container has weather’d every rack, the flagship we required is gained;
The harbor is close, the chimes I hear, the persons all reveling,
While follow eyes the stable capsize, the vessel forbidding and bold:
But O emotion! heart! heart!
O the hemorrhage drops of red,
Where on the level my Head lies,
Tumbled emotionless and dead.
O Skipper! My Skipper! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is threw—for you the announce trills;
For you bunches and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the influential mass, their eager faces turning;
Here captain! dear father!
This support beneath your skull;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve tumbled emotionless and deceased.
My Leader does not response, his mouths are pale and still;
My father does not texture my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The boat is anchor’d harmless and complete, its journey closed and complete;
From fearful trip, the winner ship, comes in with thing won;
Exult, O shorelines, and ring, O bells!
But I, with sad step,
Gait the level my captain dishonesties,
Tumbled emotionless and deceased.

I do not think people need to be careful when using word. They need to know what they are writing about and have a dictionary on hand. If you’re unsure about the spelling, look it up. If you wish to substitute a word for another, understand the context and meaning of the original word. Then understand the new word, too.

Now do you know who wrote this famous poem?

Online Video Education

There are plenty of online videos trying to teach people. There are videos on geometry, calculus and even chemistry. You can even find some history, too. On the surface these look impressive and to be a great way to learn. I took the time to interview my oldest and review these videos myself. My son has taken calculus, chemistry and physics. These online videos have been used by him at various times. As I worked alongside him in order to remember what was lost to time and age, I used these videos.

My son found the videos to be insufficient for teaching. It was not in depth enough for him to fully understand the concept. The examples on some of the sites were not worth his effort. The professors for the classes he took required different methods and concentrated on certain concepts more than others. These videos were helpful in a supplemental way for him. If he did not get a concept and was unable to contact the professor, he would use these videos to fully understand. In some cases these videos were successful but more often than not, the professor was the answer. In the end, he would recommend for supplemental help but not for complete instruction.

My viewpoint is close to his. I found reviewing these videos brought back much of what I had forgotten in a quick manner. I could watch a video or two and get the gist. Some of the problems were actually rather helpful to me. Time has a way of obscuring, and these videos helped to erase the fog of time. Sitting for a full course is actually more difficult. I tried to see if I could do a full course and found it wanting. I didn’t care to sit at my computer for any length of time and some speakers attracted my attention less than others. Some were very good but lacked the depth of a class. I found myself searching in order to remember more than trying to learn. I do believe these videos are worth watching.

If you wish to educate your child with the online sites, you need to find one that keeps your child’s attention. I would recommend using a textbook and setting up quizzes and exams for you child. Document the site you are using for education. The purpose of the textbook is for a more hands on education where the child should read the topic. The textbook also provides an official document for the homeschool course.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

March 10, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. There are many positives but the downside may be worse. For me it is love hate.

The modern electronic age is an addiction to immediate information. It is becoming clear that my family is expected to have overpriced phones for immediate information. Schools and businesses are trying to force us into the phone realm. There is an expectation for me to be connected to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other such mediums of communication. I need to be able to text and receive texts. It is expected that I continually play with my electronic gadget as I walk aimlessly and blindly. Apparently, I should eager to know the immediate sports score or some oblivious news item.

This is what I see with our youth. In a way they are dictating these changes and not for the good. I have noticed our youth to be less active because of electronics. In Youth 2’s soccer era, teens of the same age rather play Xbox or Play Station than play soccer on an evening during free gym offered by the school. These teens are out of shape and unhealthy. There is a real need to check their phone every two minutes. This reminds me of the smokers I work with that need the smoke break every ten minutes. Reading books is lower than ever on their list of things to do.

These people have no clue about being outside. I guess the good part of this would be the decrease in skin cancer from the sun. When the camp or hike the phone follows. If they go to sporting events the phone follows. These people are truly out of touch with nature.

I do not have a solution for this problem. At least I recognize it and understand how addictive it can be. My children can be controlled and hopefully taught moderation. As much as I see the benefits of this it is like our processed food. They advertise the food in a manner to attract us, and we knowlingly eat it us. The same is with our gadgets.

Categories: Electronics Tags: ,

Keeping Up To Date With Technology

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment

When it comes to technology, I try to get my children at the forefront. This is difficult to do for I find these fancy phone not worth the money people pay. My mobile phone does not have the capacity and is rather cheap to use.

Society and life advances at a very quick pace. To keep up with this advancement you need to be on top of things. This is difficult to do when you do not have the material. I used an electric typewriter growing up. My computer didn’t possess the word processor like computers do today. As I entered college, the word processor became a godsend. These early version didn’t provide the vast options and help, but it did help me finish my papers in record time. I was even able to print the paper. Entering the workforce I needed to make more adjustments. There were these strange things called spreadsheets. A few years down the road email entered my life. This is what life does. It keeps moving.

I work with various groups of people. Many are being obsoleted because they refuse to keep up. The old way was good enough for them. Again life is changing. I went back to school to take a few courses in order to market myself. This is what I had to do. Now I am in a similar situation. Do I go for my masters?

My two youths have the same problem. They need to know how to manipulate excel, word and even powerpoint. These three programs are very important for them. Youth 1 is required to use excel for one of the classes. Word has been used in almost all of the college classes. Powerpoint is not obvious, but you can use this program in many places. We all think of work, but I use it for our portfolios. Youth 1 has given presentations to councils and Youth 2 is now starting to learn. Knowing how to use these will help my two children as they progress into the future.

Even though many people think Xbox, Playstation or Wii are worthless, there are many parts of these three that are used in life. What people often do not realize is these technologies are related to the internet, phones, computers and other computerized devices. These consoles are an important tool for the youth of today to utilize. I can state your today will look vastly different tomorrow. Even to my disappointment, smartphones are also a key cog in life. I just don’t find how it is worth the cost.

I remember when my parents couldn’t work a VCR for they didn’t grow up with one. The Educator has very little knowledge of computers for that was never in the life of the Educator until recently. You have to grasp this strange world in order to understand it and live it.

I’m trying to escape it.

We need to prepare our children. Teach them word, excel and powerpoint. This is the most important. I use all three everyday in all aspects of my life. The Educator uses this, too. Colleges and work places expect you to be able to use these. Even at home there is an expectation from the outside world for you to use these three.

Computer skills is the next importance. Understand your computer. You do not need to be an expert but know how to use it. Move on to understanding the internet.

Smart phones and console gaming systems are not the most important devices to have, but they will help.

I will continue to prepare my two youths as I try to escape this electronic world.

New Computer

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Unbeknownst to Youth 2, there will be a computer Christmas gift. Youth 2 has been asking for a computer for years. I’ve always determined my child was not ready for this gift. There is a huge responsibility in having a computer.

Last week, The Educator and I went out and purchased a laptop for Youth 2. It is by no means top of the line, but it is pricey for us none the less. Now it is my job to get the computer ready for Youth 2. This isn’t much work. I need to make sure all of the pixels on the screen work, the hard drive works and all of the other vitals parts. What is most important is the education of Youth 2.

Youth 2 by accident has allowed a virus onto my computer in the past. As much as I have instructed what can be done and can not, my youngest child clicked the wrong thing. Yeah, it took a lot of work for me to rid my computer of the virus.

There are the common do not do items such as open email attachments or click on email links. There are other areas I need to instruct my child. With the new Crypto Locker virus, we need to pay special attention to doing everything correctly. I’d rather lose everything than pay a criminal. My child needs to learn to not download items from websites especially if it is “free”. There will Facebook at some point. My child will need to know that clicking “like” on items is not a good idea. There are links on Youtube than install malicious items onto your computer such as giving someone the ability to turn on or off you laptop camera. One way to tell if your camera is on is a light turns on when the camera is on. Mine is a blue light and is next to the web camera.

I will be creating a list to go over with my child and doing it sooner than later.

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Free of adware and malware

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

I have finally cleared up my computer from an invasive annoyance. After Malwarebytes and using Kaspersky, I resorted to a manual search and destroy through my registry to eliminate the threat. Now I want a new computer for my trust on this current computer is now lost.

No matter how much training and harping, people will eventually make a mistake. Right now, Youth 2 is on a temporary ban of all computers in the house. I’ve gotten over the issue but a lesson must be taught in a harsher way. Thus begins Youth 2’s banishment from computers for a while.

Categories: Electronics