Saturday, August 21, 2010

Home Schooling - Structured and Unstructured Peer Play
















Play is important.  It teaches, not only applied societal rules, but basic problem solving.  New variables are constantly thrown at the child as new children enter the mix.  When you home school, it doesn't mean that the child is isolated.  There are numerous ways to set up structured play (sports or group activities).  


The strength of structured play lies in the controlled atmosphere of the learning.  Correct societal rules are taught and reinforced.  It allows learning to take place.  It teaches children how to play well with others.


The weakness of structured play lies in the lack of spontaneity in the children.  Structured play is a good for the mainstay of societal rules before more unstructured play is allowed.


When the basic rules are taught to the child...he can act appropriately with others and can, therefore, be a good friend.  


 


Now...it is important that a distinguishment be made between unstructured play and unsupervised play.  It is simply too dangerous now days to have your children play outside at areas not somehow supervised by responsible adults.  There are simply too many bad influences and evil adults that look for the unsupervised child to lead astray or far worse.  Have your child go to the park to play with other children...with you there.


Never allow the slipshod thinking of moral relativism to allow you to think that everyone is just as important as the next regardless of their actions or thoughts.  Your child is the most important person to you...and you want only the best influences around him.  


It is never OK to have him hang around with the children who cut school and smoke or do drugs.  Are you discriminating against them by not having your child play with them?....YOU BET.  


To discriminate is to use critical thinking.  You wouldn't want to eat food from cooks whom have a communicable disease...you must be discriminative in everyday life.  


 It is unjustified discrimination that is wrong.  To not have your children play with, somehow, disadvantaged children solely because of the conditions not of their control...(socio/economic - physical/mental disabilities) is wrong on so many levels.  It is about morals.  A good child is a good child...no matter his race or social status.  It is about them being able to walk with your child through life...on a correct path...that will lead them forever upwards. 


You would not want your child around children who cut school and smoke or do drugs because of their lack of foresight and morals.  They are on the wrong path and you wouldn't want your child to become part of any lifestyle that would be detrimental to his life....in any way.


Unstructured peer play with children who would make good friends with your child, in a safe and supervised place is what is desirable.  School is only social during recess and lunch...(or at least should be).  You will have not lost a thing by homeschooling.  You gain the opportunity to give your child the best of experiences through structured and unstructured.....but supervised play.


WHY?


Because that is what is best for your child...
and that is what a good parent ensures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Schooling - Plato Learning Program

The Plato Learning Program is accredited for use as a program of complete education in lieu of formal education (State School System)...used by many home school parents and their gifted students who have out grown the standard school systems.

 It is an online course of study that may be accessed 24/7 - 365 and at the students pace.  A student may advance, way beyond his grade or level, at will.

They offer grades K-6th and 6th - 12th.  All true subjects and all truly in-depth.  They teach through thorough explanations, highly relevant examples and illustrations.

The program asks the student conceptual questions to think about during the lessons.

It gives conceptual tests at the conclusion of each major concept and a practice chapter test....both of which must be answered at the 100% level before allowing the student to advance to the real comprehensive chapter test.  The incorrect answers are pointed out....the student goes back to master the misunderstood material...and retakes the test until mastery takes place.

The comprehensive chapter test is then taken.  The student must score at least 90% to be able to advance to the next chapter...his scores are then recorded on line for later review. 

It is also used by:

The John's Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth

Many of the students who are part of the Davidson's Institute Young Scholar's Program ( for the Profoundly Gifted ).

Here are some examples of Plato Learning examples:


Alex simply LOVES home schooling...as he can advance his knowledge without distractions and at his pace...he loves the Plato Learning Programs because the explanations are so thorough that he is able to grasp the concepts without frustration.  The knowledge is given to a depth of understanding that allows him to be able to answer questions demanding lateral thinking.  This is only possible when the concept is understood...it is a litmus test for true understanding vs. regurgitation.


English 

・English 8 
・Writing 
・Reading 


Math

 ・Algebra II 


Social Science

 ・American History 


Science  

・Earth and Space Science 
・Life Science 
・Physical Science 


The lessons utilize both major styles of learning: Verbal/Auditory  - Visual 

We try to cover Tactile / Kinesthetic  learning where appropriate.

Alex was learning online after his regular school to teach him advanced learning as he wasn't being stimulated enough during school.  It is now his normal school.  There is no time being wasted and he has become the master of his destiny...he is now allowed to advance himself unhindered...he says that he feels so free now.  Both, Alex and we, simply love Plato Learning.

We also supplement with various workbooks and other specialized learning media (University lectures on DVD covering advanced math theories...etc).

We (Alex also) heartily endorse this product...and more importantly...his enthusiasm for it and his results do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home Schooling - The Importance of Showing Your Work

The difference between showing your work and doing everything in your head is the same as the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Alex has always found math to be easy.  He is now starting to be challenged with Algebra II.  He used to complain about having to show his work...since he could figure out things easily in his head.  What he hadn't realized was as more and more variables are thrown into the mix....it becomes easy to lose track.  


There are many children who can think out many problems in their head....and it has its place...however, they never learn correct study habits....they never master the concepts of learning...they instead rely on their natural talents...not realizing that though they may be the speedy one initially...the ones who work methodically will eventually surpass them in capability.  As the problems get more complex...their ability to keep track of the details becomes strained.  When they write out the problems..they may then concentrate on problem progression.





This was one of his problems in today's lesson.  He tried to just figure it out in his head and give a snap answer.


He had gotten it wrong.....he retried...showing his work....






and had gotten it correct.



He was happy at not only answering the problem....but at the realization of the importance of showing his work.  He used to fight us over this since he hadn't seen the sense in it before.  He is taking on the aspect of the tortoise now.....the long term view of learning and math. 


The story of The Tortoise and the Hare applies to many things in life....read them the story when they are young....it is the way to true wisdom in whatever discipline they may choose.  Mastery of a logical progression of thought using proven concepts...step by step....Success is a forgone conclusion.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Great Importance of Teaching Deferred Gratification

In 1968, at Stanford university, a Professor Walter Mische conducted what has become known as the "Marshmallow Test". It was an experiment that used hundreds of 4 year olds (one at a time), an empty room with the exception of a video camera, a table and a marshmallow on a plate in front of the seated child. The child was told that they could eat the marshmallow immediately or, should they be able to not do so, in 15 min., they would be given 2 marshmallows to eat.



They were followed up many years later. They had found a great correlation among the children that could hold out...at least the longest....to being much more successful later in life.  The ones that had held out all had done well....some of the ones that could not ( a much lower percentage ) had also become successful.  This provides the thrust of this article.

The ones that had become successful despite their earlier failure had learned deferred gratification.  It shows that one can overcome an earlier disposition.

Deferred Gratification simply means to put off then for greater returns later... to put in the effort and to reap greater rewards later in life.

Now, the ones in this particular experiment showed that the 4 year olds that had waited had used distraction (thinking about something else....looked away...fiddled with their hair...etc).  A better way would involve keeping the desired result in focus and to enjoy the journey until reached.

Various techniques already exist...some instilled in our culture already.  The saving of change in a piggy bank for a nice toy in a few months is a good example.

Sports / music / academics (taken seriously - hours a day of practice) is a great way to learn Deferred Gratification.  It demonstrates to the child, so effectively, the real life benefits of striving then for great benefits later on.  With positive results....positive behavior naturally follows.  The "natural high" ....the internal satisfaction from achievement is a positive addiction....one in which the child strives to repeat.  With the parents guidance....ensuring the appropriate goals are set before them....the child will become more and more motivated with each successive victory...they are then on the correct path of self mastery.  This all important lesson is what keeps children drug / gang / failure resistant.  The concept of future is instilled.  Having a heavily desired goal (passion) with an efficient path lain out before the child (a direction for the resulting drive)...gives them a reason to forgo cheap Immediate Gratification at the sacrifice of directed Deferred Gratification.

With Positive Reinforcement of good behaviors and achievements...there is an immediate and a greater deferred gratification when the desired result is achieved.   This is why Positive Reinforcement is such a powerful way of teaching. 

Deferred Gratification is a result of having a goal...this instills drive...one that can overcome the drive for immediate gratification.  With this important realization....children will make it a habit that will carry over into all aspects of their lives.

The key to this is a worthy goal...and worthy objectives along the way.  Give them examples of success...great people in history or in life to emulate.  Lay out the path necessary to achieve that goal....plant plentiful achievable objectives along the way and give plentiful Positive Reinforcement throughout.

With a map of their future before them....they will have a concrete example that can then be visualized, and so, conceptualized.  This can then become a way for the child to measure their progress and provides a powerful motivator.  Just as importantly....it appeals to your critically reasoning child because you will have established cause and effect in their minds...and not blind faith.   Since it will make sense to them....it will become their journey...and their pride when they achieve the milestones along the way.

Drive is the most important variable in success.  Deferred Gratification comes naturally to those with a passion in mind.  For those without having realized their passions at that time (very few 4 year olds do)...Deferred Gratification is a necessary step to achieving their passions in the future....one that with practice...leads them to the realization of broader horizons (concept of future) to strive for....this will lead them to their passions....which develops their drive.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home Schooling - First Day Of School

Today was Alex's first day of home schooling. He was actually doing homeschooling since his last day of regular school. During the summer he was on a shorter schedule.

He uses Plato for his online primary course. He loves learning through Plato. He finds the examples to be very understandable. His mother utilizes various online / hardcover / workbook / DVD material.

Today's schedule of events:

9 - 10 am:            Breakfast - He usually free reads as he eats a light meal.

10 - 11 am:          Math - Plato Algebra II

11 - 12 pm:          Plato Reading Comprehension / English

12 - 1 pm:            Lunch - a nutritious meal but nothing heavy.

2 - 3:15 pm:         Plato Earth Science

3:15 - 4:30 pm:    Plato U.S. History

4:30 - 5 pm:        Workbook - Critical Reasoning

5 - 6 pm:             Reading (report after finished with each book)

6 - 7:30 pm:        Free time

7:30 - 8 pm:       Physical Training - varies on day

8 pm - 9 pm:      Shower / free time till dinner

9 pm - 10 pm:    Dinner - free time

10 pm - 12 am:  University Lecture DVD - one class - critical thinking practice / Bedtime reading


Alex LOVES home schooling. With the on-line / DVD / Books and workbooks to teach and supplement....he can advance without distractions and at a pace he can do. He is being taught what children should know....but are not taught in school. Critical Reasoning / True Science...etc. The hard core courses that leads to true thought and not the socially engineered subjective reasoning (...oxymoron) that is regurgitated...ad nauseum.


Sometimes Critical Reasoning is studied on the computer through The Art of Problem Solving.

If you are a stay at home Mother...or should your child not be excelling at school...you may want to give home schooling a try. A safe way to try it is during summer breaks. You lose nothing...your child gains everything.

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