Sunday, March 31, 2013

#1 Reason Chinese Students Out Perform Most Of The World




From the VLOG of Keith Ballard

"Chinese students will continue to outperform American students academically regardless 
of the amount of money that The United States Government throws at the Educational System. 

  The family structure of the Chinese is far more intact than the American family structure. 
         Without a strong family structure - there can not be a strong Educational System!"


It all starts with parenting.
You set the tone which shall reverberate for the entirety of your child's life.

Parents who value education...
make it a priority in their child's life.

Respect for education...
Respect for others and their property...
and, most of all...
Self-Respect...
these are necessary components for true education to take place.

A child without respect...
feels he has nothing to learn from others...
and so...
he doesn't.






Public Education:  U.S. vs. China

One of the questions asked by the interviewer...

"Do we want a 14, 13, 12 year old deciding what they want to do with their lives?"


My thoughts:

It is precisely because so many children don't think ahead...
 don't look at the horizon and plot a course...
that they don't feel the need to ever set sail.

There is no sense of urgency...
no sense of direction...
no need to stock provisions...
no sense of adventure...
no sense of future.

This is the reason that so many feel lost.

They feel that being a cork in the ocean...
being at the mercy of the tides...
 is fine.

To know a direction in life...
 is to have the inner desire to learn 
all that is necessary to excel as the Captain of his vessel.

To strive for his destiny
(as determined by him...not the currents)...
puts the value of his education at the forefront of his mind.

With the knowledge that his education will be a prime factor 
in his ability to choose his destiny...
he will automatically start to truly listen and observe...
to truly think and reason...
because it is important to his life.


True learning will simply not take place without this happening.

A goal for which to strive...
focuses the drive.

If merely focusing the sun's rays can melt steel...
what do you think the focused drive of a child can do?






Correct eating is taught by correctly eating where they learn...
at home...AND at school.

Ketchup is NOT a fruit or a vegetable.

Pizza (American style), Corn Dogs, Hot Dogs...
 are an occasional treat...
NOT a healthful meal.

Soda machines at schools?

SHAME ON THEM!


What children are fed early in life sets the pattern for what they shall later eat.

What a person eats in life determines much of his health for life.



Your child need not be part of the poor U.S. World standings
in K - 12 in ALL of the major subjects.

Homeschool them AFTER school...
everyday.

Start as early as possible...
make it a daily habit...
he will excel.


Now...
you will notice I said...
K - 12.

We are still known for the quality of higher education.

I am sure you can see the reason that many of the children 
in our country from our K - 12 public school system
never attend higher education...
or drop out.

They simply are NOT prepared.

IT IS NOT THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY
OF SOCIETY TO PREPARE CHILDREN
FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.

IT IS THE PARENTS' SACRED DUTY
TO ENSURE THEIR CHILDREN ARE 
PREPARED TO TRULY LEARN...
AND ARE GUIDED IN THEIR STUDIES...
AT HOME.

WHY?

BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES...
THAT IS WHAT WORKS.

Don't believe me...
look at what successfully works around the world.


LOOK...
LISTEN...
LEARN
 (analyze and reason...grasp the universal concepts)...
APPLY.


This is what it takes to truly learn.


One thing I have noticed...
time and again...
from other parents I have overheard
(yes...I eavesdrop...you learn far more from others 
when they do not know you are listening  :)...
so many are more concerned that their child's coach or teacher was
verbally stern with their child...
instead of them being concerned that their child was not truly 
OBSERVING AND LISTENING!

(I am talking from the general...
and not the anomalies)

They are so concerned that their child was shown disrespect!

Of course...
they hadn't thought of how their child had shown 
disrespect by not truly observing, listening, and applying.

RESPECT...
is more shown through correct actions...
and correct inactions...
than through anything else.

I am SO grateful for the adults in my life...
especially the ones who had to occasionally yell...
or had to physically check me when I needed it.

I was not so embarrassed at being corrected...
as I was ashamed at having made it necessary for someone to do this
in order to correct my actions.

I was the cause of the necessity of the correction.

I saw the need...
I appreciated the person caring enough to correct me
by what ever means necessary.

I felt a strong urge to make them proud of me in the future...
to show them that I was better than my past transgression.

This is RESPECT.

My self-respect came after seeing my self growth over time...
through my conquering of my fears and inner demons
(anger / laziness...ok...work in progress :)

SELF-RESPECT IS EARNED.

(and NO...it doesn't mean that you are a target of abuse until
you earn it.  Everyone deserves basic human respect...
however...self-respect must come from the concerted efforts of the person).


So much of today's disrespect comes from the free disturbing of others' peace. 
 So many youths feel free to talk and banter loudly in areas occupied by others.  

They, incorrectly, feel that "free speech"
allows them to say what ever they wish...when ever they wish...
and in any manner they wish.  

When youth lacks respect for others...
it means that they think THEY know everything.

A child who knows everything...
learns nothing.

Respect is a primer for learning.

It is taught...
AT HOME.


A parent who respects education...
teaches his child respect, and guides him in his studies.

A child who respects his parents...
truly listens (most of the time :)...
and will do anything to make them proud of him.

When he sees the results of his concerted efforts in his studies...
he learns self-respect.


A child who has learned respect...
learns to truly listen and observe.

A child who truly listens and observes...
truly learns.

A child who truly learns...
then learns how to apply.

A child who applies...
excels

(this pattern applies to everything in life)

A child who excels...
eventually achieves his goals in life...
whether it be in love, enough wealth, creative goals...etc.

So why is education SO important?

Because...
it allows the child to experience true and deep happiness in life.

Why?

Because it allows him to pursue that which makes him the most happy.

He is free to walk through any of the open doors of opportunity
which are presented to him because of his efforts...
not just the left over doors presented to those
 who had not applied themselves in life.














Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alex's Favorite 2013 SAT Vocabulary iPad Apps



Song:  Midnight Blue

Artist:  Brian Crain





Alex main study guide for his SATs.

He practices daily with these guides.

He reviews the Math portion...
does Essays...
Reading Comprehension...
and we use the guide for discussion and debate practice
in conclusion to each daily study session.


After Alex finishes his daily reading...
he usually likes to practice his SAT vocabulary on his iPad.  


These Apps make SAT vocabulary learning fun.


Alex loves learning using different applications...
as he may just relax on the sofa in comfort while he learns.



Alex finds the differing learning methods, all of which...
are presented in an interesting fashion...
to be highly stimulating...
as well as fun.

There are simply so many learning Applications on the iPad...
and so many of them being free...
that for these apps alone...
the iPad is such a valuable learning tool.


Should Alex become bored with one learning App...
he just downloads another.

There are numerous ones on each subject, or area, of learning.





Alex likes the interesting backgrounds used to illustrate the lesson.



He thought the fish dying when an answer was incorrect...
or when time had run out...
as being very funny.


While in many subjects...
it is the concept which matters...
there simply are some which must be memorized
(of course, when the roots of words are known...
association plays an important part).


When memorization matters...
making it a competition (such as these Apps do)
is a key to doing the necessary repetition...
while keeping it fun and very interesting.





Four Initiative Assignments In One Week



Song:  Crimson Sky

Artist:  Brian Crain



Alex's Social Studies Teacher offers a way to earn extra
credit in his classes....initiative assignments.

Alex has always done these every quarter...
however...
Alex's teacher made the slight error (earlier last week)...
of telling Alex that the current record for the number of completed
initiative assignments in one quarter was 5...
and that he would like Alex to beat that record
(his teacher doesn't realize that Alex is going to flood him
with completed assignments in a short period of time :)

Little did his teacher know...
Alex intends to set a record that will stand for a long time.

As Alex had already completed two of them when he had heard this...
he completed another four this last week.

Alex loves to try to beat records :)

Alex wants to, at least, double the last record.



Each assignment is generally 1 - 4 pages in length.

Alex just showed me his last four initiative assignments earlier today.

I will include them to give Home Schoolers ideas for assignments.





Alex completed this on Tuesday.










Alex had started this assignment at school...
in the library on Wednesday...
and had completed it at home that night.


















Alex had completed these last two...
 last night before we went out to dinner.







And for Alex's last Initiative Assignment for the week...
Alex had composed a Sonnet using the designated time period.

I was very pleasantly surprised with Alex's creativity.

His teacher told him he could write about anything.

Alex said he just got the idea last night 
to do a Sonnet for one of his assignments.

He said he was reading an autobiography for one of his English assignments...
by the Author (Jerry Spinelli) - and in it...he had said how he had written some Sonnets.

This is what had given Alex his inspiration to write his own Sonnet...
and he just put this one together with a historical time period theme.






Alex is getting so much more at ease with writing assignments
(the key of which...is repetition).

He is able to knock them out in a relatively short period of time...
all with no help from anyone else.

He is getting plenty of practice...
all of which will serve him well at University.

I am happy with his work...
but I am even happier with his initiative and drive.

These are what shall serve him well in life.











Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alex Using Statistics For A Presentation



Song:  Mas Que Nada

Group:  Brazil 66



Alex has a Manga (Japanese Cartoonized)
book on Statistics.

This is an excellent book for advanced High Schoolers.

It is no nonsense and explains the essence of Statistics and how to apply it
using the Excel computer program.





Alex learned the basics of Statistics using this book

(I hadn't taken Statistics until University...
Alex has a better understanding of Statistics than I have ever had).


He finds Statistics interesting and useful in everyday life.

Alex recently gave another presentation to his Math Club class.

He had plotted the math tests he had administered to his class...
and had shown each class member's scores and their distribution as a class.



After Alex had graded his classmates' tests of his self designed math test...


he compiled and analyzed them using Statistical methods.





Alex then presented his findings to his class.

Although he used Statistical ranges to show how each student stood 
in the class...he graded on a Non - Floating Standard

(He did NOT grade on the curve...
I had long ago explained to Alex the STUPIDITY of such a practice).


Another step in the correct direction for Alex's dream...
to be a guide to others in the understanding of the world through Math.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The ILBE Rucksack - A Bug Out Bag Supplement



ILBE Rucksack I

(NOT me in the video)





Another ILBE Rucksack video

(NOT me in the video)



This is a supplementary bag that is a necessity for a well rounded
Bug Out Bag (original article on a Bug Out Bag)




This great piece of gear...
the U.S. Marines ILBE rucksack...
is large enough to be a stand alone Bug Out Bag...
however...
I consider it to be a supplement to a Bug Out Bag 
as you may carry all of your immediate needs in it
while the extra equipment (for a base camp) may be carried
in the Army Duffle bag (such as a surgical kit - medication - extra Ammo...etc).


I bought one after extensive research and comparisons
with various rucksacks on the market.

Why had I decided on the ILBE?

First and foremost...
it is rugged.

The material is superior for wear resistance...
the stitching is extremely strong...
the attachment points are numerous...
the bag is cavernous...
the straps, back pad, and hip belt are very well padded and constructed...
it was designed to carry well over 100 lbs...
it was designed to be reliable in extreme conditions...
the design keeps the weight high and close to your center...
the internal frame is very stable and comfortable.


The U.S. Marines used this pack for many years.
It had to stand up to heavy loads for extended periods of time...
and through very rough use.

There are very few people who are as tough...
who can carry the heavy loads that this rucksack can carry for long distances...
as a U.S. Marine
(with the exception of...
a soldier of the U.S. Army  :)


They are readily available through Amazon for $137.49.

I bought mine through Amazon...
and through this seller:

dayton - surplus

(I don't include direct links to products to 
keep my perceived motive, and so, my recommendation, pure)


I can vouch that my received rucksack from dayton - surplus 
was in new condition...
all advertised parts included...
and that I was extremely happy with the whole transaction.


I will eventually buy one for Alex...
and one for my wife...
not only to go with our bug out bags...
but for all of our hiking and camping needs.

This is genuine U.S. Govt. issue gear.

Alex is posing with the rucksack
(some blankets put in...but NOT stuffed to capacity...
the bag will expand more than shown).





I cannot express enough how rugged...
how well designed...
how comfortable...
and how much of a value this rucksack is.

You will simply not find all of the positive attributes
that this rucksack has...
at this price...or even for much higher.

At such a low price...
each member of your family may have this extremely
valuable piece of equipment to enjoy hikes...
and to have all the necessities of survival close at hand... 
packed and ready to go.


While I was in the U.S. Army...
I had carried over 100 lbs in my rucksack
(an inferior model to this one)...
in winter conditions...in mountainous terrain... for weeks on end.

When I recently tried on this pack...
I immediately knew how superior the fit and weight distribution was.

The padding throughout all of the body contact points is simply 
the best I have found.  

It will allow a person to carry heavy loads for great distances
without the discomfort that inferiorly designed packs will give.

This is a pack that will last a lifetime...
and one in which you may hand down generation to generation...
as part of your Bug Out Bag.

For those who have not read my article on the Bug Out Bag...
once again...
here is the link:



This article goes in to the necessary mind set behind having...
and the basics of, a Bug Out Bag.




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alex's Reading Comprehension / Applied Critical Reasoning Practice



Song:  White Angel

Composer:  Florian Bur





Alex studies this guide everyday.

After his normal school homework...
and his advanced Math studies...
Alex studies this guide to improve his Reading Comprehension and Expressive Writing.


Alex composing his essay using the same time allotted at real SATs.


I then grade his essays.

After he completes all of his scheduled work...
I have just added one more daily area of study.

We both sit on the sofa for a relaxed session of 
structured argumentation and rational discussion.

I have him pick out an SAT article or essay...
we both read it, and then I have him synopsize it.

Afterwards, I ask him his views of it...
and we then enter into a debate on the concept of the article.

We started this daily practice last night.

Alex did well for his first time.





I had explained the formal argumentation process...
the basic rules of debating.

I then illustrated a debate by taking both sides of an argument...
pretending to be Alex (half of the time) so he could see the process as a whole.

I had explained how it is a mental fencing match...
that when the opponent thrusts...
you parry it and you may then make a counter thrust...
or a whole new line of attack.

As Alex already knows many of the basic fallacies of logic...
and he is familiar with Statistics...
he will be able to see false lines of attack and he will be able to effectively counter
once he gets familiar with the debating process.

As we will finish his daily studies with this every evening...
it is something we both look forward to.

It allows for the creative, and the rational, to meld into a single entity.

It is applied Critical Reasoning on the fly.

I call it Liquid Logic...
as it allows the person to...

set logic traps to ensnare the opponent...

to adapt to the opponents thought process 
to be able to anticipate their lines of attack...

 mentally bob and weave using forethought...
thereby setting up a counter before the attack is made.


To be able to effectively debate an issue...
foreknowledge of the issue...
or a firm grasp of the concept...
is necessary.

By making it a competition (formal debate)...
it stimulates the reader to more fully comprehend what has been read.

The full understanding of the article
(reading comprehension)
is, in essence...
the arming of the combatants prior to 
the arena of Intellectual Combat.


This type of exercise stimulates Reading Comprehension...
and exercises Critical Reasoning...
in one highly stimulating daily bout.

I look forward to seeing Alex steadily improve in both areas...
and to be able to see his thought process mature.


This type of exercise also teaches how to engage in a rational discussion
with others...to be able to support one's position with a sound rationale 
and/or the citation of empirical evidence...
all without the commonly used fallacies of logic...
without the emotionally based / subjective arguments.

As part of the debate process...
 he would have to come up with ways to improve a situation...
or to engineer his own solution to a similar problem.

This will engage his creative side...
and will allow him to realize that to defeat an unsound idea...
is still no closer to a solution...
that to deflect blows but to strike no mortal blows of his own...
is still...but a draw.

This will get him into the proper mode of problem resolution.

Once a child starts thinking in this manner...
it becomes automatic.

When this happens...
he then becomes part of the solution...
and on the path to becoming a leader.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Alex's School Ski Trip - First Time On A Ski Lift



Song:  The Crane

Artist:  David Lanz



Alex is much more confident in his skiing skills.

We arrived at Mt. Rose approximately 1 hour ahead of his school mates.

I wanted Alex to be able to enjoy many bunny hill ski runs before it got crowded
(Alex skied down the bunny hill 20 times before his classmates got there).

 The temperature was a perfect 38 degrees F...
the wind was almost nonexistent.

It was a beautiful day.



Many of the 7th graders in Alex's class were taking ski lessons.

Alex just continued skiing on the bunny hill in preparation for the ski lift 
to his first real ski slope (beginners hill).



Alex, and I, taking a break in the cafe
before he tackled his first ski lift and hill.



One of Alex's school teachers had taken Alex up on his first two runs.


She showed him how to properly board a ski lift.


She then accompanied Alex down on his first two ski runs.









This is Alex with his teacher on one of his ski runs.
She had actually taken some pictures of him skiing farther up the run.



Alex coming into the final stretch of his run.



Alex with a group from his school.
They are preparing for their final run of the day.



Alex did so well today.
He had lots of fun skiing.

In the future...
I will be accompanying him on all of his skiing adventures.
We are going to go on progressively more advanced runs together.

On the way home...
Alex said that he loved the feeling of acceleration...
and turning under speed.

He is going to really love the more advanced runs.

Alex showed great maturity on his runs.

He was neither timid...
nor was he reckless.

He only fell twice on this day...
one of them was a face plant near the end of one of his runs.

He got back up and continued skiing...
and lined up to go again.

This is the beginning of our more extensive
outdoor activity schedule.

We have plans for every season.

Hiking/Camping, Mountain Biking, and Fishing will take place 
this Summer through Fall.

Skiing will be our main activity Winter through Spring.

I shall continue to scout out new territory to explore.

To say no to the great outdoors...
is to say no to life.

We are going to enjoy as much of the many beautiful places...
right at our doorstep, as we can.

Alex has certainly earned every one of them.

Tomorrow, we will go shopping for fishing gear...
and we will look at mountain bikes
(it is always best to buy equipment off season).
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