Thursday, April 28, 2011

Home Schooling - Concept Of A Concept


Song:  Silent Wings
Group:  Secret Garden

A Concept is...
 an all inclusive synopsis of related ideas...
presented in logical progression...
specifically designed to engender
a working understanding.

It is in essence...
the root of the tree of specific knowledge...
it lays out the path to the trunk, branches, twigs and leaves...
in that order.

With the concept thoroughly understood...
you needn't have directly experienced something
to understand it...and so, you may predict outcomes.

The importance of conceptual understanding
greatly eclipses mere memorization of figures
or facts...as this only allows regurgitation.

With the governing principles understood...
they will be able to, not only, answer the questions...
they will be able to generate more questions in their minds.

This will give them the direction necessary...
to pursue the correct answers.

With the children tackling new material...
conceptualization is extremely important for...
 not only their ability to remember principles...
but for them to see other general guiding principles.

A way to teach this ability in children
is to have them list facts in a reading...
have them notice correlations...
and have them look at the variables in each
to attempt to establish causations...
then to simplify to the fewest principles...
and then to generalize those into a governing concept.

Let us take Global Warming as an example...

What we know is that this is a cyclical phenomena 
that has been occurring long before humans 
had anything to do with it.

Glacial...Warming...Glacial...Warming...
seen through undisturbed layer upon layers 
of Antarctic Ice...
as evidenced through coring...
evidence of precipitation or a lack of...
of higher CO2 levels during warming...
and lower levels during glacial.

By looking at Co2 levels and WHEN they had risen...
by noticing that the rising CO2 levels 
was an effect of the naturally
occurring temperature rises 
(CO2 is normally sequestered in the oceans
and is released as a RESULT of higher temperatures)...
the levels of CO2 rose after the temperature rise this time...
(not that controlling unnecessary pollution of any sort
is a bad thing)...

Scientists hypothesize that corresponding solar activity 
(active during warming trends...lack of during Glacial periods)
drives the known cyclical warming and glacial trends.

We are naturally entering a beneficial time...
one of great growth of arable lands...
one where the population growth around the world
will positively explode.

The real problem will be when we enter the next Glacial cycle...
this is when the once great arable lands will once again
recede...and the precipitation will diminish...
along with the CO2 levels (which the terrestrial plant life
will have had used to greatly increase its growth).

This, of course, shall greatly decrease realizable food...
fresh water, and the land on which to live.

You run into the problem of a world dependent on 
the warming cycle to provide for its population.
What you will have is a great die off of perhaps 
as much as, or even more than, half of its population.

Uncontrolled population is...
and has always been...
our major problem.

Although up until now...
uncontrolled population
has been a local one.

After this warming cycle...
it shall be a global one.


By my looking at scientific facts...
reading of the correlations...
by combining the principles of each
and how they interact with each other...
I have come to a conceptual understanding
of what true global problems 
shall present themselves
(not the local ones)
as a result.

This is an example of gathering facts...
noticing correlations...
simplifying to the principles...
getting a conceptual understanding...
to be able to predict (whether right or wrong...
it depends on the strength of the evidence and 
the quantity and quality of correct variables).

It is this principle of gathering information
around them to simplify to a concept...
that I am concerned with.

This is what children need to have done for them initially. 

By showing your process...
you show them how to conceptualize
for themselves.

Simple Mathematics can be by simple rote...
to solve simple written problems.

When they have no conceptual understanding...
a problem arises when they encounter
unfamiliar problem setups
(word problems - as in real life).

They are taught to execute a problem that is preset...
not to identify when and how a problem exists...
much less solve it.

d = rt

A principle that may be used to solve uniform problems
with ease.

Conceptual understanding allows them to solve 
for un-uniform ones with ease.

It also allows for the solving for any one variable 
should the other two be known.

Ex...you see son...
distance is the length covered
by the object going...lets say...
 100ft. per second for 2 seconds...
the time it took to reach the wall for instance...

If a golf ball is going 100ft. per second (rate) for 2 seconds(time)...
100ft x 2 = 200 ft....this is the distance(d).

Ok daddy...I understand...this must also mean that...
200ft. being the distance...divided by the time...
the speed is 100 ft a second....yes, I see how this works...
this makes sense...I can do this with anything.

Ok...this was extremely simplified...but the principle applies.

You tell them why it works and how it applies to all other similar
problems.

Give them real life problems for them to solve...
this will give them confidence in their ability
to identify and correctly categorize the problem.

What you wish, is for them to know the overall governing 
principles and to incorporate them into a guiding concept...
the main idea...the one pointing to complete understanding
of that which is the subject of study.

When your children study and get stuck...
it is not the answer that they crave...
but the concept...
 so they may solve on their own
without frustration.

On their reading assignments...
it is as simple as having them 
answer the age old questions...

Who...
How...
What...
When...
Why...
Where...
(exhausting each in...
 Past...
Present...
Future).

When they can do this...
they will then have...

Conceptual understanding...

and they shall be able to answer
any reasonable question on the subject.


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