Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home Schooling - Khan Academy - Free K-12 Online Learning


Song:  Miracles

Group:  Jefferson Starship




Alex is learning some of the subjects from the Khan Academy.

There are over 2,400 videos covering an extensive range of subjects.

Coverage extends from K through 12 and includes interactive exercises.

It operates on Positive Reinforcement through the use of virtual badges
and the opening up of new areas to study.

It is free to all.

It is a non-profit organization dedicated to delivering a high level of learning
to all who are interested in academic achievement.

There are many on line courses for home schooling...
this is one suitable for those who do or do not
Home School.

Using these courses to supplement your child's education...
whether to reinforce ideas...
get extra practice in trouble areas...
or to learn advanced material...
it is simple and free.

Learning a new subject...
or turning bad grades to good ones...
is not through miracles...
it is through conceptual understanding...
and adequate practice.

This is just another possible path for your child to take
to better grades.

As it is free...
the only investment that need be made on 
your child's part...
is time.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home Schooling - Peace Of Mind - The Art Of Paying Your Dues


Song:  Nostalgia

Album:  Live at the Acropolis

Artist:  Yanni



True peace of mind...

comes only when you know you are walking the correct path...
are traveling at the highest sustainable rate...
have eschewed hedonistic actions
(that which would hinder or halt progress toward the goal)...
as measured against the way points (objectives)
of your planned route (to the goal).

It is never being satisfied with where you are...
but in the direction and at what level of efficiency
(which will give you your endurance and
ultimate rate of travel)...
you are traveling.

When someone wishes to have peace of mind as their goal...
what they are really striving for is a lack of stress in their life.

While many think that a lack of external stress is somehow good...
instead of realizing that it is a prime motivator in life...
a fuel that feeds the fire of true desire...
and that to eliminate it is to hamstring yourself in the progression of life...
they blindly attempt to minimize all possible missteps in life
by simply not taking the journey.

It is by knowing yourself enough to realize that
which makes you most happy...
the steps necessary to achieve it...
by planning the provisions necessary to complete it...
by traveling at a rate quick enough to achieve it in your lifetime...
and doing it.

The peace of mind
 doesn't just come at the conclusion of the journey.

It is with you every moment...
so long as you are steadily walking that path toward
goal fulfillment in the most efficient and effective manner.


Through the correct striving toward goal fulfillment...
a peace settles in...
along with a lingering excitement...
of things to come.

All of life seems so fulfilling...
so wonderfully alive.

Colors are brilliantly vivid...
simple tunes become a symphony...
an orchestral performance in the mind...
a simple hamburger becomes a veritable feast...
a drink of water becomes liquid pleasure as you feel
it coursing from your core to your extremities...

I think you get the picture...  :)

What I speak of here is nothing that is new to anyone.

What applies to the micro...applies to the macro...
what applies to the macro....applies to the micro.

Just as so many of you have experienced in a long hike...
where you had planned and provisioned...
had carried a burden up a long path toward a peak...
breathing the delicious mountain air of the high country...
reaping great internal rewards with each objective conquered...
with the goal ever in sight and ever in reach...
the momentary discomfort and pain only adding to the
great pleasure of the ordinary...
the simple beauty of the sky and landscape...
of the clouds and the sunset...

once your goal is achieved...
you have the sacred memories to recall at will...
to once again... vividly live...
all the while being motivated, all the more...
to once again...climb...

all of life is no different from a well planned hike.

To have yourself helicoptered to the peak...
is to have cheated yourself from the true experience...
the beauty of life only gotten from having walked
steadily up that path...
of having experienced the pain so necessary
to experience true beauty and pleasure.

That is paying your dues.

It applies to academics as well.

I know only because I had done it incorrectly...
for so long, in my youth.

For too long...
I hadn't studied...
I hadn't completed my reports before the weekend.

I had this constant dark cloud over my head...
a constant and nagging worry.

I really could not enjoy anything all weekend.
I would then have to rush late at night the night before it was due.

Had I just paid my dues first...
I could have enjoyed all of my weekend...
and realized a better way of life earlier.

Although I was paying my dues in physical endeavors
much earlier in life...
I had stupidly not seen the application of it to everything in life.

Only when I had gone into the Army (at 17 years old)...
where we paid our dues first
(there was no choice)...
did I realize how much more enjoyable life is
by paying your dues first...
not only at goal achievement...
but throughout the whole process.

Life took on a whole different meaning.
Everything in life became far more beautiful...
far more pleasurable...
deeply satisfying.

Those who are...
 bored...
depressed
(situationally... NOT psychiatrically)...
even lack a zeal...a zest for life...
lead a hedonistic lifestyle...
unnecessarily medicate themselves in search of
peace of mind...

are the ones who helicopter themselves onto that peak...
and so, miss all the beauty and pleasure from the ordinary...
that necessarily comes through the discomfort and pain
of their journey...
of having skipped paying their dues...

and wonder why they don't feel full of life.

Take a look at the woman in red playing the violin solo
in the video
(about 2/3 of the way).

She is one of the top violinists in the world.

She makes her violin sing.

Her playing is the embodiment of perfection.

She had sought, and achieved...
mastery of herself, and so...
mastery of her instrument.

For a person to reach such levels...
they had to realize early on...
the pure pleasure to be had by
having true...
Peace of Mind...
from each step of her journey.

That is the only way anyone
can practice long and hard enough...
to reach her levels.

The look on her face as she plays is
not one of a feigned state of exuberance...
as one so often sees in musicians and singers.

The look on her face bespeaks of sublime rapture...
one that is pure...genuine...
one that is only gotten when one experiences the
supreme satisfaction of becoming one with her instrument
and her music.

She has paid her dues.

Peace of Mind is never stagnant...
not just of what was...
not just of what is...
but of what will be...
with steady effort...
along an intelligently mapped route.



Friday, September 23, 2011

Home Schooling - Alex Playing The Flute - Before (3 Months ago) And After (Today)



This is the Before video of Alex in one of his first practice sessions...
about 3 months ago.

It took him a week to just get a steady tone from the flute.

From there...
as he learned a portion of a song...
I would add a little more to it.

I had him start the tone practice on a major pentatonic...
as it is small...and easy to handle.

All of these flutes are from Das...

I put more info on links to finding out more about them
and how to order from Das...
further down this article.

I don't receive any sort of compensation from Das.

I do it because he is a man who puts out high quality
Bamboo Flutes with richly resonant tones...
custom made to order with a quick turnaround...
and all at a very reasonable price.

It is to help out those who want to give their child
a great gift in life...
a love of music...
and Das is a man who can deliver a high quality...
inexpensive tool to help your child
 discover music.


When I started teaching him the song "Sakura"...
a couple of months ago...
I switched him to the Alto double minor Pentatonic.




This is Alex playing Shiroi's version of: "Sakura"
(Alto double minor Pentatonic)

This is his first song.

As Alex is studying for a major test coming in a couple of months...
the priority is on academics.

Everything else is taking a back seat to his studies...
and so I had to scale back all his other activities.

He generally practices music only about 20 minutes a day in total.

I realized that due to time constraints...
teaching him to sight read at this point in time would 
be more an exercise in frustration...
as he doesn't have the time to devote to it.

I decided to teach him to play by ear for now.

Later...
I shall teach him to read music...
and eventually, to transpose music that he hears...
and perhaps later...
to compose.


By teaching him increasingly intricate songs to play...
instead of practicing endless scales...
I hope to ignite a love of playing.

His next song will be a duet...
with me playing in support.

We will have differing parts and we will have to coordinate our playing.

This will teach him the importance of timing and consistency.

We shall, at first...
practice our respective parts separately.

When he can play his lead portion in its entirety...
we will practice together.

This will be the second song for Alex...
and his first duet.

It will also be the fulfillment of one of my dreams...
I had always dreamt of one day playing a duet with my son
(I know..it sounds selfish :).

I have just ordered a couple of more flutes from Das...
they should arrive soon.

They will be the ones in which we shall play our future duets.

Both are Diatonics...
his in the key of G...
mine in the key of C.

I have tried other flute makers in the past...
they were ok
(I only order from Das now)...

however...
they just didn't have that Das sound
(nor his excellent pricing or choice of finishes).

If you are looking for an excellent Bamboo flute...
one that can be custom made...
and has a deep... rich and very resonant sound...
a VERY reasonable price...
and can be shipped anywhere in the world
(check with him for the postal charges)...

Das is your man.

The following is an excerpt from an earlier article...
in it is Das' ordering E-mail and web and Youtube sites.


I custom order all of my flutes in a dark color.

Das can make them in anything from natural coloration to all dark.

I highly recommend Das for his Bamboo Flutes because of his quality
and his pricing.  

(I get no compensation for my recommendation)

The prices are extremely reasonable and the tonal quality
is rich and resonant.

Here is the E-mail ordering address:


There are also 2 web addresses to see more of his products:
(although both are undergoing construction...
you may get ordering information from each)



I advise you to check out Das on Youtube.

You will be treated to rich tones and subtle humor.


Having music in your child's life...
gives him something that can never be taken away.

It is both...
the armor...
the wings...
of the soul.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home Schooling - Modified Tit For Tat - A Winning Strategy In Dealing With Aggression


Song:  Bring Me To Life

Group:  Evanescence


The reason behind this article is to reinforce what should be
common sense to all...
yet, throughout my life...
I had found to not necessarily be so in so many
(sounds arrogant doesn't it?...  :)


If what I say here is not agreeable to you...
then what follows will not flow logically.

There is a Right...
There is a Wrong.

There exists Good...
There exists Evil.

Just because we may not know where each lies in a situation...
does not mean they do not exist
(It had to be said as so many attempt a retort with the mindless cliche of
"The world is not black and white...but a shade of grey").


Assertion is Good.
Aggression is Evil.

Everyone has the right to self preservation...
to self protection...
so long as they are in the right
(if the virgin action was borne of Assertion...
not that of Aggression).



As with everything in life...
there is a framework of knowledge from which to base
further knowledge.

There also exists...
 many common fallacies of logic...
a nebulous moral relativistic outlook (where there is no wrong)
and the incorrectly simplistic common manifestation of it -
"What applies to one...must apply to all...equally".

Now...
just follow me on this - 

The guilty (Aggressors) do not have 
the same rights as the innocent (Victims or Asserters).

We only apply equal protection under law because the guilt or innocence
is yet to be determined with suspects
(and rightly so).



Moral Relativism: 

Where there is no absolute right or wrong - 
just the agreed upon right or wrong 
by personal or societal floating standards...
a Subjective (non) standard...
there are no absolutes...
no musts or shoulds...
where anything goes
(Anarchy).


For those who need further convincing - 

Following such a line of thought...

There could be no long term team work...
the rewards are not assured.

Not with individuals...
not in companies...
not in nations.

There would be no progress.


All Violence is Wrong!

Clearly not.

If that were so...
Evil would win by default.

The Aggressor would merely have to up the ante
until...knowing you could not resort to violence...
 winning by default.

They could take property or lives at will.

The Asserter must sometimes resort to violence to
protect himself, and the innocent, from harm.


War is Evil!

No...
it is the Evil person(s) who sometimes makes War necessary.

Whether we talk of persons or nations...
most often there is an Aggressor...
and an Asserter.

It becomes a battle of Good against Evil.


So why make you read this obvious line of thought?

Because what follows...
many will balk at.

Many will agree with the above rationale...
and yet...
reject the methods of achieving the results
of the above rationale.

Many have been raised by the social mantra of
never using force...
never retaliating...
as if it were, somehow, evil.

Even if it (retaliation) were to just achieve Justice....
it would still be right.

But it is far more than that...
it is to assure future corrective behavior
of the Aggressor.

This precludes the notion that EVERY
little wrong must retaliated.

Actually...
what I shall present is just the opposite...
by design.



This also precludes the necessity of using this notion
from Parent to Child.

There is a unique dynamic reserved for Parent to Child.
It is a sacred bond to which this does not apply.

This is for the teaching of your child in how to deal
in an effective manner with aggressors in his life.


I am now reading an extremely interesting book - 

Titled:  Magic Universe - A Grand Tour Of Modern Science
Authored by Nigel Calder
Oxford University Press  
Year of publication 2003

It is an A to Z of some of the areas of great intrigue in modern science.

Some of the areas and topics covered include...

Altruism and Aggression
Biological Clocks (molecular level)
Brain Rhythms
Extinctions
Forces
Genes
Grammar
Human Origins
Immortality
Matter
Memory
Primate Behavior
Prions
Relativity
Speech
Stem Cells
Tree of Life
Universe

These were just some of the topics and disciplines of science covered
and all done in layman terms and presented with rational
examples and explanations.

This is actually a perfect book for advanced Junior High Students...
and certainly High School Students.

In the Altruism and Aggression section...
I had come across a sub section in which a commonly 
used tactic for which group cohesiveness often relies...
the Tit For Tat mode of operation.

I, in no way, support a strict Tit For Tat mode...
and neither does the book express nor imply it.

What it goes on to cite were actual observations of various behaviorists...
of animals and of humans
and of the studies and experiments they had constructed to, at first...
find out the most successful strategies and to then verify...
time and again...under various circumstances 
and real life conditions.

Now...
you don't need studies to what to most is...
common sense.

If what I observe, over time, in life seems to be true...
when I read of it and it coincides with real life experience...
and it is supported with correct reasoning...
it greatly strengthens my belief in my general rule.
It becomes a standard of belief until shown to be incorrect...
or in need of modification.

I wish for you to read and reflect over your lifetime and 
see if in fact you have seen similar scenarios played out...
time and again.

What they had seen...time and again...
was the use of the modified Tit For Tat.

First of all...
just to clarify...
Tit For Tat is basically an Eye for an Eye.

An injustice occurs...
you retaliate...
just once and in the same amount of damage...
no more.

At the conclusion of the retaliation...
normal relations resume.

The weakness of the, what they had referred to as the 
"Pristine Tit For Tat"
(unmodified)
is that the retaliation is blind...
merely reacting to results of actions
with no room for lack of intent or mistakes.

This is what keeps feuds going indefinitely.

The Arabs of old had what they called...
Blood Money.

It was the institution of a monetary loss for the guilty party
to the innocent party in lieu of a never ending feud.

Of course...
what we have are the Civil Courts.

In a modified Tit For Tat...
the book cites that there are two basic modifiers
of the strategy that have proven to be effective.

One is called the Generous Tit For Tat.

It merely involves only retaliating to a certain percentage
of offenses.

This is too arbitrary.

The one which the makes the most sense is called...

Contrite Tit For Tat.


It has the innocent party absorb the mistake
(in life it would be accepting an apology...
along with any damage caused to be reimbursed
without retaliation).

BUT...
it does call for retaliation against a true aggressor.

Study and analysis of...
 Wars among nations...
International Trade Rules...
Negotiations among nations...
Military History...
throughout history...
 has shown to confirm that the best
way to deal with aggression...
to prevent future attacks by the original aggressor...
and to prevent future attacks by others observing the outcome...
is in the proper and prompt handling of the initial challenges
(Assertion).

For most men...
it is intuitive.

The testing and attempted aggression of the playground...
is no different later on in life.

Human nature is human nature.

The games go on...
the players move on to easier targets
when met with Assertion.


A modified Tit For Tat in a child's life commonly
involves an unjustified action
(which must first be analyzed for intent)
being met with one of the same in return.

A child gets unjustifiably yelled at by a play mate...
he yells back...once.
They often resume playing as if nothing had happened.

So long as the response is proper in initiation
(against an unjustified action...not a mistake)
and in proper relation to the offense
(a one time yell back)
it was an act of Assertion...
and so...
correct.

A child is unjustifiably pushed by a playmate...
he responds by pushing back...once...
correct.

Now...
would he have punched the playmate in response...
it would have been an improper response in relation to the offense.


If a child is left with no viable response in return...
such as one where he must tell someone of authority
or he must tell them to stop after he had already been pushed down...
he would be a toothless and clawless tiger...
one that can only growl...
but could never respond.

He would be left defenseless and a target...
and extremely frustrated at having been put into
a no win situation by those who he looks to 
to guide him effectively in life.

He would have to take it until he could not anymore...
and the resulting response would be so disproportionate
to the latest offense that he would then be targeted by everyone
as an imbalanced Aggressor...
someone dangerous to the group.


It simply is not enough to try to marginalize
an event, claiming that it is nothing...
 if the same small events never stop...
or come so arbitrarily that it becomes torture.

Even a rabbit will bite when poked and prodded repeatedly.

If a child is not given a true and viable retaliatory 
tool to respond to aggression with...
he will eventually either explode
(over respond)
or self destruct
(withdraw from life).

When Alex feels he has been treated unfairly by me...
he responds pretty much right away.

He first tries to verbalize it...
I usually listen so long as it makes sense.

He has actually been right at times.
I apologize to him, correct my action, give him a big hug...
and with my guilt running on high...
I will buy him something or take him out to eat his favorite meal.

Once when he was a kindergartener...
while lining up for class...
a child simply cut in front of him.

Alex immediately cut back in front of him.

Appropriate response.


Once, when I had to yell at Alex to get him to listen to me...
he kicked me!  :)
(just lightly on my right shin...still inappropriate response).

Although I said to him that he is not to do that...
I could only say it in a lighthearted manner...
not only because I had understood his frustration...
and he immediately apologized, but because...

I was so very proud of him!

He was developing Assertion.

Although he was incorrect...
 in both, the initiation of and relative response...
he did have an inner fire...
courage to stand against perceived injustice
regardless of any resulting penalty
(there was none).

He is developing into a man!


The Tit for Tat...
is actually a fully natural response...
one that naturally develops in children.

It is often squelched by societal decree
(unjustifiably in my mind)
and by well meaning parents.

In my mind...
it is not the fire of justice that drives a child 
to correct injustice that needs to be quenched...
but the correct initiation of and proper relative response
that needs to be taught to ensure that only the truly guilty
gets responded to and to the appropriate degree.

A boy who is taught that all violence is wrong...
is one who grows up to be a pacifistic male...
one who is not prepared to visit violence
upon the violent...
one who will not protect himself or other innocent people
against violence...especially if he has the excuse of Pacifism
to hide behind.

A boy taught that all conflict is wrong...
is one who will not only not do anything...
he will then not even say anything.
He will end up playing monkey
(see no evil...hear no evil...).

Such a boy growing up...
will always be a male...
but never a man.








Monday, September 19, 2011

Home Schooling - Concept Of Mission




Song:  To Sir With Love

Artist:  Lulu

From the movie:  To Sir With Love


The impossibility of operating at the highest efficiency and effectiveness...
in any capacity, when it comes to groups of people
(non mission oriented)
lies in divergent views...
and so, the un-unified goals, and the objectives to achieve them.

This leads to a division, and the duplication, of effort...
 of misplaced priorities and of mistimed, or non-coordinated actions.

This comes when the Subjective overcomes the Objective...

when the individual is seen as more important than the Mission...
that which is for the betterment of the whole...
that which is ultimately right for the long term.

It comes about when feelings are considered more important than
doing that which will effect right...
correct actions.

It comes about when individuals come to think that it is the
world's responsibility to adapt to the individual...
instead of the individual adapting to that which would be correct
(most efficiently by working as a team...putting the mission as a priority).

No sports team...
no top company...
no military...
can operate, nearly so effectively...
by prioritizing the individual over the group or mission.


The only questions that need be asked...

if the goal is worthy...
if the mission is necessary to achieve that goal
(is there a lesser way to achieve it?)...
if the result will effect the desired change...
if it is fashioned in the most efficient and effective form.


If these questions can be answered in the affirmative...
then it is the individual who must adapt to the needs of the mission
(ultimate efficiency and effectiveness automatically
imply that a meritocracy apply...the most fair and
progress inducing form of operation).

To think that a company must adapt to the needs of each individual
over the needs of mission accomplishment, hamstrings the company...
which ultimately makes all of the employees at risk of losing
their future employment, as the company is at risk for failure.


So...by this point you must be asking yourself...


What in the world are you talking about, Shiroi?

How does this apply to raising a child?


It all boils down to egocentric thoughts...
which naturally lead to egocentric behavior.

How to prevent a child from becoming egocentric?

First and foremost...
by not having egocentric parents  :)

Although I am joking in delivery...
I am not in context.

It is the child who learns to think objectively...
who naturally thinks in terms of mission first.

It is in the most efficient and effective realization of goals...
by looking at all the variables...
how they interact...
how they affect the outcome...
that the child subjugates his immediate ego satisfaction...
to that of mission completion
(Deferred Gratification).

This places the correct prioritization in life.

To think long term over the short.

For a parent to engender this realization in the child...
starts with the setting of correct limits through structure.


You don't spoil a child by giving unfettered love and affection

(you should always give this freely...you never withhold this...
as this is not a tool with which to manipulate others...
and so...the true meaning of unconditional love).



You spoil a child by the not setting of limits...

by not having structure in his life...
by allowing him to do anything other than good...
by the giving of false praise

(praising mediocre performance instead of showing him...
with love and guidance...
how to do it correctly...
and then giving praise)...

by letting him think that he is the most important person
in the world (unearned)...
instead of letting him know
(through actions as well as words)
that he is the most important person in the world...
to you.


Why not have your child falsely think that he is the best in the world?

Because a person who thinks he is already the best...
no longer has motive to try to improve.

A person who thinks he is inherently better than all others...
not through better actions leading to better results...
but through entitlement
(the essence of Elitism)...
becomes a Tyrant.

A Tyrant can only operate if he has total control
over the fate, and so, the actions of all others.

As your child will not have total control
(nor should he)...
he will end up alienating others...
turning, from the start...
potential allies...
into enemies.

That is not only the beginning of evil over good
(as a method of operation)...
that is the mark of a willfully stupid person.

His life will be marked by frustration...
and he will have effectively become hamstrung
by the very people who should have guided him
onto a correct path in life.

As a former Correctional Officer...
the most common thread I had seen in the
criminal element was one of extreme selfishness...
and an almost total disregard for
Deferred Gratification.


Their whole life revolves around the satisfaction of
their immediate wants...
to the direct detriment of others' needs...
even of their own.

They constantly think, operate...live....
short term gains over the long.


A great way to teach the importance of Mission...
one that had enjoyed widespread use
throughout the school system
(that is no longer used early on)...
is through sports and music programs.


It is through individual reliance upon others
for coordinated efforts
to achieve a goal over the immediate
glorification of an individual that a child
realizes the core of group dynamics.

He learns to work with others...
to subjugate his desire for self over the greater good
of the group.

That is the real value of all group sports...
whether it be...
 Soccer...
Baseball...
Football...

and that of Music...
Orchestra or Band.


The various branches of the Military
live this way of life...
it is impressed extensively...
and any other way is simply not tolerated
(nor should it be).


I have noticed throughout life...
that the ones who had had participated in at least one of these
type of group activities...
had much better work ethics
(in general...of course there are many good people
who had not done any of these things).


Although it is not strictly necessary
to do these activities...
as there are other ways to impress this point...
it is such an effective way of facilitating good parenting...
and a fun way for the child to learn this intuitively...
why forgo it?


Another thought...
higher end companies look for three basic attributes
in its employees...

Work Ethics...
Adaptability...
Being able to work well with others.

Hmmm...
Team sports, music programs, and the military teach all of these.

That is why it is such a plus to employers
to have examples of these in the resumes of their
prospective employees.


One last thought...

To Sir With Love

A great movie depicting the growth of wayward children
under the tutelage of a teacher who had to first
(in effect)
become their parent.

It gives an example of good parenting...
of how to teach others to operate effectively as one in society.

It is a movie of a mission...
the mission of a teacher...
the personal sacrifice made in the
service of others...
and of the impartation of a sense of mission in his students.

Although it was made many decades ago...
the message and methods are timeless.

It was made great by one of only two actors
who, because of their intelligence and class...
could have pulled it off so convincingly...

Sidney Poitier
(the great actor who had portrayed the teacher)

David Niven
(the only other actor who could have done it...
in my not so humble opinion).


This movie should be a must see for all older
 Elementary School students.

Come to think of it...
it is now the correct time in Alex's life to see it.

Hmmm...
tonight seems to be open...




Sunday, September 18, 2011

Home Schooling - Concept Of Hope - Alex's Karate Exam


Alex at his Karate Exam for Orange belt.


Alex has steady interest in his Karate training.
It is not a passing fancy...but an ever burgeoning passion.

He was very happy when he was presented with his Orange Belt.

Although he is still very much a beginner...
one who must learn so much more just to be able to move with
some semblance of total body coordination...
he is making steady progress.

I had, again, reiterated the cause and effect of his achievement.

It had everything to do with his steady practice.

Just as a hiker must take countless steps toward his goal
if he is ever to reach the peak...
Alex must do no less in his endeavors.

 Just as a hiker, who gets satisfied to just rest by a lake...
getting more interested in fishing and lazing by the water...
forgoing the goal and the associated pain and effort...
Alex must not daly with his practice.

While he should be happy with his path and rate...
he must never be satisfied with where he is.

This is where the striver gives up his goal for the immediate comforts...
for the lack of the stress that is so necessary for his growth.

It is not where he is...
but in where he is heading...
and at what rate...
 that makes me so happy.

He is studying all his subjects everyday...
some days more than the next...
but some everyday.

He realizes the speed at which he reaches his accomplishments...
is totally dependent upon him.

Should he merely put in his time at practice...
it means he is merely deepening an already practiced grove.

I always stress that the old cliche is incorrect...
it is not...

Practice makes perfect....

It is...

 Perfect practice makes perfect.


He must strive to improve, if just a little, each time.

Should he make a mistake...
he must stop...go back...
slow down until he can do it correctly...
then practice it until his speed naturally develops.

This applies to everything in life.

His Karate...music...studies...
these are just different paths to the same 
way of life.

Steady perfect practice...
gives steady perfect results...
giving steady progress.

This is a key to happiness in life.

To never have...
 an unseeable goal...
an unreachable goal...

is to have ever expanding horizons...
an ever ready adventure to begin...
an ever expanding world to explore.


To know that all is reachable...
 if the appropriate amount of true effort is applied in practice...
is to know that you are in ultimate control of your life.


To know that true effort pays off...
in some way...
every time...
and with interest...
the longer you do it...
allows people to invest their energy...
into long term goals.

This is the wellspring of Hope...

without which...
there is nothing to live for...
except hedonistic...
short term diversions.


Why teach a child...
 a Musical Instrument...
a Martial Art...
any art form demanding a heavy investment 
of effort and time?

It is for the realization
and the constant reinforcement of...
this one all important concept...

Hope.

All of the positive attributes...
Optimism...
Drive...

all of the associated
 dreams...
 planning...

are all begot from...

Hope.

This is one of the most powerful and effective
ways of...

drug...
gang...
criminal...
depression (situational)...
hedonism...

proofing your child.


A child that is told this concept...
can recite it.

A child that realizes this concept...
by doing it...

Lives it.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Leisure Reading - Book Review - The Book Of Virtues For Boys And Girls


Song:  Bolero

Composer:  Ravel

Rendition:  Andre Rieu


Virtue...
not merely the thought or code...
a Moral...

a Virtue is...
a correct action in the face of duty...
or a correct inaction in the face of temptation.

It is a state of being...
as guided by Morals and
 as defined by past actions or inactions.

Again...
it is not enough to merely believe...
it is the actual demonstrating of the belief...
that is living a Virtuous life.



This book is a very well put together conglomeration of...
virtuous acts, and ways of living, as transmitted through
 stories, poems, letters and sayings of such great people as...

Robert Frost...
Aesop...
Anne Frank...
Benjamin Franklin...
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow...
Aristotle...
Rudyard Kipling...

among others.

The book is divided into five great virtues...

Friendship...

Work...

Courage...

Honesty...

Loyalty.


It uses examples from the aforementioned Authors, and the lives
of some others, to illustrate the chapter.

The book also has a forward penned by Doug Flutie (of Football fame)...
whose son (Doug, Jr.)  has Autism.

Both, he, and his wife, are helping thousands of others through their...

Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism.

Doug briefly talks of how the five virtues have played 
a major part in his life, and of his success in football.


The book is written for any age group from Mid-Elementary School on up.


As there are numerous examples of Hedonism
throughout popular culture...

(it floods our prime time T.V. ...
our airwaves through radio...
certainly...the Internet)...

children often grow up without a moral compass
to guide their actions to those of virtuous ones.


By reading this book to them at bedtime...
as well as more in depth books from the great thinkers...
while they are young...
children are given a nicely polished set of moral armor
to protect them from the fiery dragon's breath...
that spews from the thoughtless mouths of so many
in the Music, T.V. and Movie industry.

Alex loves being virtuous...
and, although, he sometimes strays from the virtuous path...
he feels bad enough to correct himself and make up for it.

It is when a child doesn't feel bad that they have not had their
conscience developed to a great enough degree.

Just as a computer must have...
 proper programming...
a correct operating system...
and an anti viral software program installed...
to operate in a correct manner...

a child must be fed correct information...
so he may live a virtuous life.

This book may be had on Amazon for under $16.00.

It makes a perfect bridge from Aesops Fables to real life...
all in a highly interesting and easily digestible 200 or so pages.

Alex enjoyed reading it.

While he doesn't realize it...
he is being given a solid framework to base his
knowledge of self, and others, through this, and similar books.


Don't blame the child for any deficit for that which he was not taught.

Lay a solid framework for him to navigate his way through life...
with this and other like books.

It is a solid investment in your child's life.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alex's Strengths And Weaknesses - The Conundrum Of A 2E Child


Song:  Bridge Over Troubled Water

Artists:  Simon And Garfunkel


A 2E Child...
is a child who has realized great statistical odds against
any one child having a very high functioning Autistic condition
(rare in itself - being at the upper end of the wide Autistic Spectrum)...
and being Profoundly Gifted
(an exceedingly rare state of being)...

and so...

2E
(Twice Exceptional).


The conundrum being that while Alex is exceptionally strong
in so many areas...
he still has deficits that he must strengthen...
ones that come naturally to most children.

If it weren't so potentially serious...
it would be a ludicrous state of being for an exceptionally intelligent 
person to be in.

I will be covering his basic strengths and weaknesses to give you an 
idea at the wide disparity that encompasses his range of capabilities

(He had to learn what is intuitive
to many children...
and he had to conquer many obsessions and compulsions).


Before I go further...
I have to, once again, so very gratefully acknowledge
the great staff that had provided Alex's ABA therapy when he was 3 years old.


They had Alex conquer many of his earlier deficits...
and so much of what they had taught him...
formed the basis of our parenting.

Our first real clue to Alex's giftedness came while Alex was in preschool.



As Alex continued in public school...
my wife wanted to have Alex tested by a leading Child Psychologist
who specialized in the IQ and Performance testing of gifted children.

My wife wanted evidence to present to the school that he needed more advanced 
learning material and grade advancement.




Alex was 8 years old at the time...he had just finished the 3rd grade.



This was the result of his Achievement test as given by Dr. Palmer.

Briefly...

The AE stands for Age Equivalent
(The average age of participants performing at the same level in the given material).

The GE stands for the Grade Equivalent
(The average grade of the participants at the same level in the given material).

The Easy to Difficult (Diff) is the age level
he was performing at from no mistakes (easy)
to finally failing to answer correctly (difficult).


Earlier that year...
my wife had gotten Alex into the testing for an international
achievement test.


Alex also completed Intro to Algebra in 3 months in 3rd grade
(the school had Alex go to a computer lab to take an online 
Intro to Algebra course in lieu of math in class).

It was these scores...
as well as a portfolio of other achievements...
that my wife had submitted to get him accepted as a
Young Scholar at the Davidson Institute.



He is also a very sweet, loving and happy child.


So...

What potential problems could exist?

What deficits could possibly hamper his journey in life?



Alex, although officially diagnosed as in the Autistic Spectrum...
the spectrum is very wide...
and up until recently...
a condition that existed in the Autistic Spectrum...
Asperger's Syndrome
(which Alex fits into by symptoms...
or into High Functioning Autism)...
is what we think Alex has.

He tends to be rigid in his thinking
(sees the world in black and white).

Hmmm...
I wonder where he got that?  :)


He is very detail oriented...
sometimes to the exclusion of the wide picture...
the implied or hidden meanings.

He has difficulty in judging true emotions of others
through their body language
(obvious signs no problem...deceitful actions...problem).

He is forgetful and generally disorganized in everyday affairs
(although he has greatly improved - he would forget to bring home his
homework when he was going to school)...

Ok...perhaps those came from me also...  :)

He is subject to over stimulation by physical/visual/auditory stimuli
(although he, again, has greatly improved - he can function normally
in normal situations...but when surprised by loud noises or sudden...
potentially dangerous situations...he freezes or over reacts).

I fear he will be taken advantage of by evil people...
as he is so trusting and gentle.

I greatly fear him starting to drive.

There are times when an accident is unavoidable...
and it is crucial to react correctly
to avoid greatly exacerbating the situation.
Although, I shall make all efforts to have him taught by professionals
(including a race car or bodyguard driving school for the correct 
handling of the car under extreme circumstances).
I shall also thoroughly drill and train him once he gets his permit
(all weather and condition driving...as well as endurance driving...
to let him know how his body reacts under fatigue).




His physical coordination was so off initially...
he couldn't control his arms when he ran.
They would just go everywhere...
out of synch with the rest of his body.

Sports has greatly improved his coordination to the point
of his being able to do very coordinated gross body motions.

Although his tics have greatly decreased from what they were...
every so often, he reverts
 (I had taught him the same techniques I had used
as a child to conquer my tics...
and, for the most part, they have disappeared).



His mother has done an outstanding job with everything relating to his academics.  
She has researched his condition and tutored him
with the best material available.  

From the online courses he uses...
to the detailed explanation of the concepts of the material...
she has been his greatest teacher.

One of the areas of great deficit in many on the Spectrum.

While he excels at most of the areas above...
to have any deficits in the above areas...
could mean the difference between 
succeeding or struggling in life.

His areas of weakness include...


Independence

He is behind in this aspect.
I will be concentrating on this area...
life skills and the application of concepts...
to navigate through the jungle that is, at times, life.
Although he has great skills...he lacks practical experience.



Social Responsibility and Interpersonal Relationships


As I am basically a social klutz...
my wife shall be handling most of this.



Stress tolerance and impulse control


Although I lack in the above...
when it comes to anger...

I have developed techniques through life...
that have allowed me to not be overcome by it...
to the point of no return.

I have successfully retired from a job because I had
learned to control stress and impulsive behavior.

While this is not especially difficult for most people...
it was for me.


I have a quick temper...
and while many people do...
I had sometimes acted upon it...
in my youth.

One of my greatest fears, for much of my life...
was I would do something rash...
utterly impulsive...
that would destroy my life.

Although it seems counter intuitive to have someone
who has a tendency to be outspoken...
and quick reacting when injustice is perceived...
it is because I have greatly curtailed it to the point
of being able to navigate the great river of life...
without ending up on the shoals...
that I know how to teach what has worked successfully for me.

Because Alex, and I, share this trait...
I have an insight to the mitigation of it.



Flexibility


My wife teaches this.

I am still considered to be...
somewhat...
inflexible.

Although...
I don't believe I am...
many in my life seem to think so.

Hmmm...

and so...

wifey will teach this.  :)


It is because of his lack of apparent social graces...
that I fear there will be others later in his life...
that will take great delight in sabotaging him or his efforts.

Because they will feel slighted...
unknowingly by Alex...
I fear many will attempt to use Passive Aggressive actions...
or more directly through...
gossip and emotionally charged words...
in an attempt to get him to self destruct on the job.

Although he has great empathy toward others, as well as animals...
he doesn't know how to express it so well as would be expected
by others.

The great myth is that Spectrum children don't feel emotions.

They not only feel them...
they feel them to a much greater depth.

Often times...
they simply don't know how to effectively deliver their 
message to others in a manner other than directly.

The social rules that many cling to...
mostly out of convention...
don't make much sense...
and so, they often reply...
without perceived tact.

Or..not knowing how to deliver it...
or even not understanding a conflict over what is said...
and actions that should have been taken and not...
they simply don't say anything at all.

While many people attempt to establish a personal connection
through a description of a problem...
the spectrum child will attempt to solve the described problem...
instead of seeing the real reason behind their mentioning it in the first place.

While many wish to simply have a note of sympathy from the listener...
to be heard and understood...
and so have their existence acknowledged and empathized with...
the spectrum child will often take the question or statement literally.

Many people will take this as not really caring about them.

In short...
many Spectrum children do understand what others are feeling...
just not why.

Their motives often escape children on the spectrum.


Hmmm...

is it really a deficit to want others
to say what they really mean?


Anyway...

We, as his parents...

by teaching him...
supporting him...
 making sure he succeeds
in his efforts to establish a life filled with happiness...

 shall be his...

Bridge Over Troubled Water...

whenever...
wherever...
by whatever means.





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